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Big Brother says hello

It seems that the fine-print to the anti-terrorism legislation is still going through, in other legislation. Webdiarist Dale Mills is on to it once again. Thank you Dale.

by Dale Mills

Spy agencies and police across Australia may soon be given powers, for the first time, to monitor the phone calls, email and text messages of people not suspected of any crime. The power to spy on terrorism and serious crime suspects already exists.

The Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill was introduced to parliament on February 16. Under the bill, to qualify for your phone to be tapped, you merely need to be a “third party” to a serious crime.

Police will be given a 45-day warrant to monitor a person not under suspicion in the hope it might lead to a person who would be of interest to the police. The warrant can be renewed. ASIO can obtain three-month warrants.

The warrant is issued by a judge who, according to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, “has to take into account the seriousness of the offences being investigated, how much of the information would be likely to assist in the investigation by the agency, to what extent alternative methods of investigating it have been used, and how much use of such methods would be likely to assist the investigation by the agency of the offence”.

The judge “has to be satisfied in relation to a number of other matters; that is, the privacy of a person won’t be unduly interfered with”, Ruddock told ABC radio on February 15. However, Terry O’Gorman from the Australian Council for Civil Liberties points out that judicial oversight is not a safeguard. “Law enforcers go judge shopping. They go to the ... judges who more readily give warrants and are less questioning than others”, he told the February 15 Age newspaper.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said the powers are unprecedented. “It massively expands police surveillance and it’s directly targeted against innocent people who are doing nothing wrong.” He pointed out that a phone in Australia is already 26 times more likely to be bugged than a phone in the United States.

The text of the bill can be found at the Parliament of Australia website

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Re Mark Latham "How does Howard get away with it"?

Howard has taken to his breast the dictates of the Bush regime and its mentor, Karl Rove. There is no doubt that Karl is as brilliant a deceiver as he is dishonest. Probably the basic principle is "media control" - otherwise the "message" can't be planted in the minds of the plebes.

The difficulty for those who would have liked our egalitarian nation to survive is that Howard has the massive advantage of being a "moving target" and his controllers protect him from every disaster he tends to create. His megalomaniac nature provides a very corruptible source for the "powers that be". I have noticed in this forum and the demised "Have your say" in the Canberra Times, that he cannot handle any questions of which he has not been forewarned. So I believe that, like GW Bush, he is merely a pawn of those "powers that be". Corruptible, narcissistic, arrogant and unaccountable.

So, consistent with the Hitler dictum of create a "hatred" to unite your plebes behind you in your crusade to defeat them (Jews or Muslims or Communists or Arabs or Unions or whatever) he is able to be promoted as something that any person of integrity would abhor. What I consider is that this "man" is being media managed to be above the continuing incompetence of his Ministry and the evil that he and they do.

And then he either increases their salaries or gives them a "job for the boys" which the venal media claims is only unionist. Wake up Australia.

The Nuclear Scam

Perhaps we should raise a petition to President George W Bush and ask him to stop the exploitation of Australia and it's people?

Good idea

Ernest William, what a good idea, perhaps we could also send one to the ACTU, asking them to stop the exploitation of Australia and it's people.

Silencing opposition is Howardism, not democracy.

There are so many excellent contributors who are indignant about this unbelievable piece of Howardist legislation. I would like to comment with them all but, as Howard and his sycophantic ministers would say, "just let me say this" and as Mark Latham would say, "how does Howard get away with it"? It was gagged against debate but nevertheless still claimed in Federal Parliament, that the 47% of Australian citizens, who voted against the Coalition, have been denied representation in our once respected Parliament. It is disingenuous to suggest that the reason is the "incompetent Opposition" when those representatives are faced with the most biased Speakers the House has ever known and even, the Clerk of the House feels constrained to comment about the lack of decorum and accountability of the Howard regime. Well might the powers that be call it "question time".

However, I digress. Regarding the absence of representation in Federal Parliament. I wrote to what Howard loosely calls "my representative" in the House of Representatives, namely Mr. Gary Nairn. I informed him of the contents of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). No acknowledgement or reply. I followed up with the following letter approximately mid-2005:


I am a constant and vigorous critic of the current Federal Government, and I feel that my right to have an opinion and to express it in any way that is available to me, is protected by the Australian Constitution and the Australian Criminal Code's acceptance of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

As my representative in the Federal House of Representatives, would you kindly inform me if those rights have been, in any way at all, varied, diminished or removed, by the intended or established "Anti-terrorist" legislation recently passed through the House. It would seem somewhat disingenuous of you to expect our citizens, especially your constituents, to strictly obey the laws of which they have not even been properly informed. In this case, ignorance would surely be an excuse if an Australian still had access to justice after the event."

As yet - still no acknowledgement or reply from the "Liberal" only representative of Eden-Monaro.

No 7 happened today

On the list of fascist indications: 7. Obsession with national security.

As the terrifying Jihad Jack is convicted of receiving a few thousand dollars and an airline ticket from a terrorist organisation and altering a passport Mick Keelty hails it as a major success in the "fight against terrorism".

I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear someone from the AFP talking these days.  If this hopeless character is "a major success" in this (phoney) war on terrorism, heaven help those from the AWB who were backhanding Saddam. Surely channelling funds to a terrorist dictator is about as bad as it gets. Maybe even the wheat farmers who were bleating outside the AWB's meeting the other day claiming this was all a media beat-up could end up on charges.

Not Yet

I understand that "Jihad Jack" was today acquitted of the two serious charges against him of being a sleeping resource for an outlawed group. An air ticket and a few thousand dollars is nothing. (I'd take one from Satan if it got me back to Australia)

These verdicts were given by a jury in an independent and fair trial. I don't see any evidence of a state directed judiciary.

It would be more legitimate to question where the Prosecutor's zeal came from. To attempt those serious charges with insufficient evidence of the defendant's intent strikes me as a bit peculiar.

I also think it would be legitimate to say that the growing strengthening police/spy/military domestic surveillance network is a tool readily applied to support a fascist state emerge. We are tempting unscrupulous politicians. That feels like a mistake to me.

I agree with Jay White. It's time to fully exercise ALL our democratic rights and responsibilities. Dismantling the military apparatus is a good place to start.

Thank you, Sir

G Pulford, thank you for your reply. I honestly was attempting to ascertain why so many felt Australia was a fascist nation. I myself have been accused as such in only the last few years hence do not understand why?

“The point is that Australia is closer to being an autocracy then it ever has been before“.

Yes, agreed.

“This is not a good thing regardless of whatever perceived economic performance the Government can claim“.

This all depends on the person you are making the claim to, I feel. I do not have a problem with the present situation because I agree with many of the policies. However, if I was on the opposite side to this, yes I would have a big problem with what is happening.

The difference is that I would not be going about making excuses and wild claims for something that is failing to fall the way I would like it under a system we all agree upon. In fact, as a Liberal supporter I have been in the position you now face. It was called the 1980s and most of the '90s. One thing I do believe is the voter is always right even when they are wrong. Make of that what you will.

“Yes, I did exaggerate the scores - but I'm entitled to a bit of fun - it's called freedom of speech“.

Nothing wrong with that, good to see you exercising it. Welcome to the club!

PS talking of sexism two playwrights that I think will be read with reverence are Oscar Wilde and Arthur Miller. A few authors I think show greatness in the last century are Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and offbeat Brendan Behan.

I could, I guess, think of many more and I may well start some trouble here but a female is not amongst them. I think the closest in my opinion a female ever got to writing a “great” play or book was typing one out as spoken to. Am I wrong?

PPS Here’s a fun subject for you guys!

More from Peter Dead $ouls Woodforde

Then there’s - The Argument Sketch

The Cast (in order of appearance.)

M= Man looking for an argument
R= Receptionist
Q= Abuser
A= Arguer (John Cleese)
C= Complainer (Eric Idle)
H= Head Hitter ‘= M’Jay

M: Ah. I'd like to have an argument, please.
R: Certainly sir. Have you been here before?
M: No, I haven't, this is my first time.
R: I see. Well, do you want to have just one argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?
M: Well, what is the cost?
R: Well, It's one pound for a five minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.
M: Well, I think it would be best if I perhaps started off with just the one and then see how it goes.
R: Fine. Well, I'll see who's free at the moment. Pause
R: Mr. DeBakey's free, but he's a little bit conciliatory. Ahh yes, Try Mr. Barnard; room 12.
M: Thank you. (Walks down the hall. Opens door.)

M: Well, I was told outside that...
Q: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
M: What?
Q: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I'm not going to just stand...!!
Q: OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse.
M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
Q: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.
M: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
Q: Not at all.
M: Thank You. (Under his breath) Stupid git!!

(Walk down the corridor)
M: (Knock)
A: Come in.
M: Ah, Is this the right room for an argument?
A: I told you once.
M: No you haven't.
A: Yes I have.
M: When?
A: Just now.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn't
A: I did!
M: You didn't!
A: I'm telling you I did!
M: You did not!!
A: Oh, I'm sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
M: Oh, just the five minutes.
A: Ah, thank you. Anyway, I did.
M: You most certainly did not.
A: Look, let's get this thing clear; I quite definitely told you.
M: No you did not.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn't.
A: Did.
M: Oh look, this isn't an argument.
A: Yes it is.
M: No it isn't. It's just contradiction.
A: No it isn't.
M: It is!
A: It is not.
M: Look, you just contradicted me.
A: I did not.
M: Oh you did!!
A: No, no, no.
M: You did just then.
A: Nonsense!
M: Oh, this is futile!
A: No it isn't.
M: I came here for a good argument.
A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn't.
M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn't!
A: Yes it is!
M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes. (short pause)
A: No it isn't.
M: It is.
A: Not at all.
M: Now look.
A: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
M: What?
A: That's it. Good morning.
M: I was just getting interested.
A: Sorry, the five minutes is up.
M: That was never five minutes!
A: I'm afraid it was.
M: It wasn't.


A: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue anymore.
M: What?!
A: If you want me to go on arguing, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.
M: Yes, but that was never five minutes, just now. Oh come on!
A: (Hums)
M: Look, this is ridiculous.
A: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid!
M: Oh, all right. (pays money)
A: Thank you. (short pause)
M: Well?
A: Well what?
M: That wasn't really five minutes, just now.
A: I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid.
M: I just paid!
A: No you didn't.
A: No you didn't.
M: Look, I don't want to argue about that.
A: Well, you didn't pay.
M: Aha. If I didn't pay, why are you arguing? I Got you!
A: No you haven't.
M: Yes I have. If you're arguing, I must have paid.
A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.
M: Oh I've had enough of this.
A: No you haven't.
M: Oh Shut up.

(Walks down the stairs. Opens door.)

M: I want to complain.
C: You want to complain! Look at these shoes. I've only had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through.
M: No, I want to complain about...
C: If you complain nothing happens, you might as well not bother.
M: Oh!
C: Oh my back hurts, it's not a very fine day and I'm sick and tired of this office. (Slams door)

(M walks down corridor, opens next door.)

M: Hello, I want to... Ooooh!
H: No, no, no. Hold your head like this, then go Waaah. Try it again. M: uuuwwhh!!
H: Better, Better, but Waah, Waah! Put your hand there.
M: No.
H: Now.. M: Waaaaah!!!
H: Good, Good! That's it.
M: Stop hitting me!!
H: What?
M: Stop hitting me!!
H: Stop hitting you?
M: Yes!
H: Why did you come in here then?
M: I wanted to complain.
H: Oh no, that's next door. It's being-hit-on-the-head lessons in here.

(as Poo-Ling Hang Soon, North Korean guide to Deep Norf neo-fascist insanity): Please ixplaaaayn… (mostly © Monty Python)

Australian autocracy

Glad you liked it, Jay. If it makes you feel better I'll readjust the score, but it seems that you might be missing the wood for the trees. The point is that Australia is closer to being an autocracy then it ever has been before. This is not a good thing regardless of whatever perceived economic performance the Government can claim. Yes, I did exaggerate the scores - but I'm entitled to a bit of fun - it's called freedom of speech.

The scary part

Anyways you have been kind enough to supply your fascist list and ratings so I would not mind going through and getting some more in depth answers on why you are rating things this way.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. Score 1.

By the Government? Examples, please? Also what do you not like about nationalism and how would you end it? For example, would you make it unlawful to wave an Australian flag? Would you make it unlawful for one proud of ones nation to say so publicly etc?

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Score 1.

Examples, please?

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. Score 1.

Who? The only enemies I can think of being identified are radical terrorists. Hardly scapegoats and no sane person could think this way unless either A. One is a part of this group. B. One is an idiot.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Score 0.6.

I have no idea what this means. Australia does have a Defence Force although they are hardly visible all over our streets. Should we rid ourselves of all military?

5. Rampant sexism. Score 0.7.

I have no idea what you are hinting at. Please explain?

6. A controlled mass media. Score 1.

The last time I looked the mass media was all but privately owned. Are you saying the Australian Government controls Rupert Murdoch, the late Kerry Packer empire etc?

7. Obsession with national security. Score 1.

Wow, a full score on this one. Anyone would think ID cards must be shown on every street corner. That travel both in and out of the nation is nigh on impossible. Hell, I have offered on more than one occasion to personally drive those disgruntled souls looking to leave too the airport. As of yet none have accepted the offer.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Score 0.6.

Please explain?

9. Power of corporations protected. Score 1.

Please explain?

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Score 0.9

Please explain? The only thing I can think of that you could be referring to here is loss of union power. Membership in unions was down to around twenty per cent long before any IR changes. Any loss of power was primarily caused by themselves due to poor management and poor outcomes.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Score 1.

Part of free speech, I am afraid. Strangely, something not on this list, I wonder why? If people hear or see something they feel is badly done or just plain wrong they should and do have the right to tell it as is. If the poor dears see that as disdain, too bad they should get over it, strength makes for a better artist.

Anyway what is it that makes an artist or intellectual in Australia? Is it something self claimed due to the fact one holds some sort of unspoken compulsory left-wing position? I read the David Williamson piece complaining about this very issue and all I ever really felt was his delusion. Sure he is not a bad playwright; in fact, most times he is quiet good. However neither he nor the people he named are hardly on the worlds must read list. I am quiet sure they will not be studied with reverence by future generations. In that I guess they will join the rest of us mere mortals in death.

By the way there is something that I do not think Mr Williamson has picked up on yet. When right-wing folk call him and his ilk “elite” we are actually being sarcastic. Most people that I know under the guise of elite would not be entrusted with the job of buying the work place lunches let alone running a nation.

Pointing out a few things in a straight forward manner to a few people no different from most no matter how much they wish it was not so, is hardly tearing apart a Will Shakespeare or the inventor of the wheel now is it?

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Score 0.8

Please explain? In an ordered society people have such things as crime and punishment. Would you like to give me an example of a nation where this is not the case?

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Score 1.

Please explain?

14. Fraudulent elections. Score 0.4.

This one I found really intriguing. If elections are nearly half fraudulent and you have proof, have you reported this? Perhaps you would like to put the proof up here first and give Webdiary a truly huge breaking story?

I truly would like to see your justification for all the points you believe are signs Australia is a fascist state. This, I find, is something that has come up a lot of late and I think frankly is an over statement of the highest order. I also find it most interesting that the people claiming such things never put any alternatives forward themselves.

Perhaps these people honestly believe that a collective sense of change is going to fall over the entire nation one day, ending with all waking up and saying "we are in a fascist state; lets get the whingers and “elites” in power to save us all." Maybe this will happen I cannot tell the future, what do you think?

G Pulford, about believing Australia is now almost a fascist state is that so many others either believe it or somehow believe, by saying so, it somehow will reinforce the truth of the statement. An old advertising trick straight out of the 60’s mind you where so many still seem to reside.


M’Jay “The last time I looked the mass media was all but privately owned. Are you saying the Australian Government controls Rupert Murdoch, the late Kerry Packer empire etc?”

White-boy, he (the late one, may he rest in peace) had his hand up the Howard glove puppet’s arse right there in front of everybody in the Op House.

Must have been a bit crowded in the Howard Puppschen’s cloaca, with Jannette’s, little Jamie’s, Alan Jones’ and Bish Jensen’s arms up there as well.

Not to mention Trevor Flugge’s strong arm tactics, making the silly little old head bobble about.

They owns the government, M’Jay, not the other way round. Newspapers, wireless, TV, “new” media, etc, etc. Plus the football and incessant gambling holy cashcows.

And through the government, the ABC. Even the Argonauts.

Do try to keep up….

PPS - marking posts "Thank you, sir" makes you look like the guy from Nigeria (son of a chiefly minister) who has won a lottery or the like and just wants BANKING details so he can let you have 35 per cent. Is that you, M'Jambo? SPAM OUT, bro'. Same with hustling kiddie porn or hard dick pills.

Or wheat...

Don's party...


Fraudulent elections??? These Mengistu have been doin’ it for years, mate. Why do you think they is have such a strong interest in nursing homes?? The current Minister for Nursing Homes is Santo Santissimo, il Monstro di Pastini. Senator Santo can dictate the terms of trade of almost any centenarian rape/bashing/starvation centre in the country, and trusties ensure that demented people can vote at any election.

Santo’s previous deep norf state electorate of Merthyr in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley-New Farm (which he inherited from former Bjelke Special Branch boss, Bellino family hot-property and crim, the late LiberalÆNats rat Don Lane, post the latter’s long term imprisonment for ministerial fraud) teems with, well “interesting” nursing homes. These cash cows are full of folks who are past questioning what happens on polling day, and if that nice smiling Mr Lane comes round, well, they’ll vote for him. Or someone will. Even if Don’s been dead, or even if they have been, for many years.

Keep up the good work, Santissimo, Heaven’s waiting.

voting, whose right?

Peter Woodforde, you have made a good point. I have never considered whether there are requirements for the right to vote other than Australian citizenship. Once someone is demented or mentally incompetent in any other way do they still have a vote? If so, who votes for them and by what right? As the population ages and the percentage of incompetent aged increases they will certainly be a powerful voting block. Then again, not much lower as far as vigilance of our government's actions than the average mortgage payer.

Good old Gerard Henderson is always such a good investment. His ABC interview just this Friday consisted of justifying everything according to polls results – good results equals correct actions and policy. A little facile even for him? A little more discussion may have touched upon the validity of such a claim and made the Sydney Institute look less a fluffy propaganda tool and more an intelligent forum for debate to benefit our country.


Fascism Score

I wrote this in November 2005. Time to update it.

Just a back-of-the envelope calculation here to see how Johnnie boy and his team measure up against the 14 points that characterise a fascist state. I have truncated the definitions for brevity, the complete set is here.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. Score 1.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Score 1.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. Score 1.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Score 0.6.

5. Rampant sexism. Score 0.7.

6. A controlled mass media. Score 1.

7. Obsession with national security. Score 1.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Score 0.6.

9. Power of corporations protected. Score 1.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Score 0.9

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Score 1.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Score 0.8.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Score 1.

14. Fraudulent elections. Score 0.4.

Previous fascism score for Australia: 11/14 or 78%

Updated fascism score for Australia: 12/14 or 85%

Keep up the good work, John and Phil. You can do better.

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