Pedlars of hate

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has posters in her electorate office which label the Opposition Leader as racist, homophobic and sexist.

The posters, which were photographed inside the Sydney electorate office of Labor MP Tanya Plibersek, caught the attention of a 2GB listener who forwarded the photos onto talkback radio host Ben Fordham.

Carrying the slogans “Note to the ladies: Make me a sandwich” and “I’m threatened by boats and gays, gays on boats are my worst nightmare” the posters were this afternoon raised in Question Time with calls for Ms Plibersek to apologise.

On his Sydney Live show Thursday afternoon, Fordham asked how Ms Plibersek would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and “nasty posters” of Julia Gillard were on display in a Liberal MP’s office.

Here is a photo of one of those inoffensive posters.

Quite funny, isn’t it?

What isn’t funny is the offensive muck that 2GB themselves come out with that really does put the shoe on the other foot.

Did I say shoe?  I meant boot; the one they sink into those dastardly scumbags that keep their political hero out of The Lodge.

Good old 2GB.  The same radio station that employs those fine custodians of moral virtue, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley.  Maybe Ben Fordham might want to watch these two videos of his work mates in action before he sets the bar of decency at an unreachable level.

You have to be extremely right-wing, or of sick mind, to find them amusing.  I find them rather offensive, but obviously they pass scrutiny at 2GB; those pedlars of hate.

And as for that Tony Abbott poster, well I think I’ll hang it on my front door.  I can’t see it offending anyone around my neighbourhood.  It might even keep the Liberal candidate away. 😉

The Omen

As Tony Abbott leapt from his seat like a startled gazelle yesterday in his now famous dash for the parliamentary door I was reminded of the other door he repeatedly dashes at.  The front door of The Lodge.

Which reminded me again of something else.

Earlier this year I drove past The Lodge and noticed on the road a poor dead fox.  His deceased nose was pointing to the front gate, a sure sign of where he was headed.

Whilst I don’t like seeing animals killed on the road, even feral ones, I mused that this was an obvious sign that sly, sneaky, underhanded feral types will never make it to The Lodge.

An omen for Tony Abbott, perhaps?

A feral red fox with a Bobuck Possum in its mouth.

Analyse this

The failure of the political media to critically analyse the mutterings of Tony Abbott reveal that they are either entirely incompetent or they just don’t want to throw him a challenge.  Either or, we have a ludicrous situation where we are harrowed by an alternate Prime Minister who offers nothing and a compliant media who ask of him exactly that.  Nothing.

And oh how well they work as a team.

Abbott, for his part, is the master at answering the wrong question, inspired upon a faulty or unproven premise which sees him jumping one step ahead to solve a problem that isn’t really part of the question.

The media, meanwhile, keep asking the wrong questions (which I could argue is a case of deliberate deception).  By throwing meaningless questions to investigate, they have have greater control over the results.  Selecting the wrong questions diverts attention away from the right questions.

Both tactics provide the same result: the alternate world, under the alternate Prime Minister, is one worth fighting for and we, as media consumers, are to be buoyed by what “Tony Abbott says . . .”.

Somewhere along the way the need for any critical analysis, or even skeptical analysis, has been completely and deliberately ignored.

So when is someone from the mainstream media going to pull their head from out of their Murdoch infested arse and shout: “Houston, we have a problem. The alternate Prime Minister ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH.  See for yourself. Analyse something”?

Analyse this.

Over on the Alex Schlotzer blog Alex recently wrote:

Upon Budget 2012 being handed down, the Coalition was very quick to declare the federal government was cooking the books.

The ridiculous logic the Coalition collectively belched out was that since the government moved costs around in the budget, they were cooking the books. And let us not forget that such a phrase like ‘cook the books’ is politically and emotional charged; used in this case to portray the government as crooked.

The mainstream media were very quick to regurgitate the ‘cook the books’ line but lets take a more considered look at this nasty little phrase.

The Coalition declared that the government was ‘cooking the books’ because it was shifting figures around.  I hate to inform the Coalition but that is what happens in any budget, whether it’s a huge multi-national or the household budget. Perhaps the Coalition’s problem with its own Budget figures is that it hasn’t worked out what a budget is; or that it takes shifting figures around to make it work.

It is pretty serious that the alternative government would suggest the federal government is cooking the books based on regular budgeting practices. And it’s even more serious that the mainstream media have taken up the ‘cook the books’ like a clarion call.

Then the poor citizens of Australia suffered the rantings of the shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, who declared they’d never ‘cook the books’ and shift money around. The problem for the coalition with such attacks is that the coalition is hopeless compromised by them. Here’s a quick list of things they’re compromised on when speaking about the budget:

  • You only need to look at the alternative budget with its $70 billion black hole – they counted asset sales as savings for starters.
  • You only need to consider the fact that the Coalition seeks out catering companies to give costings for opening detention centers in foreign countries.
  • So far nothing costed by the Coalition has proven to hold true.
  • The baby bonus and school kids bonus are different because ‘they are’.

But worst of all for the Coalition is that by claiming the government was ‘cooking the books’, the Coalition is attacking ordinary Australians. Perhaps the Coalition hasn’t heard of what goes into creating a budget. Maybe for all their talk about being the friends of big business, the reality is that they’re clueless about business.

Unfortunately for the Coalition shifting amounts around to cover expenses and free up funds for other things is called budgeting.

It’s not cooking the books; it’s budgeting.

Every Australian creates their budgets in the same way – shifting amounts around to cover expense and free up funds for other things. Now the Coalition has called the Australian people unworthy because they’re cooking the books.

Unfortunately there still hasn’t been any worthwhile critique or analysis of the budget and its implications for the medium and long-term reforms of our economy in a global context of moving to a greener economy.

Now if Alex – just your ordinary Joe Citizen – can ask those obvious questions then why can’t the mainstream media?  How difficult is it?  Show me just one example of where they have.  Just one simple question like Alex has raised.  You’d think that with all the economic ‘experts’ in the media just one could have asked a similar question to any of the number asked by Alex.

How much longer must we put up with this “Tony Abbott says . . . ” bullshit about how bad the Government is and what a great world he’ll provide us while publicly demonstrating that he’s the complete economic idiot?  And the compliant media let him get away with it!  They spend 24 hours a day promoting him as an economic genius.

Try asking him a question!  A real one!  Not one that diverts attention from the real world.  And analyse the answer.

Or after 2013 we’re better off living on the planet of the apes.

Sorry Day

Guest post by JooR

Today is SORRY DAY . . . and I am personally not sorry for anything, I haven’t done anything to warrant issuing an apology.  I am however sorry for the pain felt by many Indigenous peoples over the time since European settlement . . . I am sorry that cultures tens of thousands of years old were shattered and much destroyed.

I am sorry that the traditional lands of many a people were, in reality, stolen. I am sorry that babies and children were ripped from their families.  I am sorry for the sickness and diseases the Europeans brought to you.  I am sorry for the Alcohol and the Tobacco.  I am sorry for the lack of understanding of Indigenous cultures (which I can be guilty of BUT PLEASE TEACH ME).

I am sorry that your women suffered abuses, I am sorry for the tragedies of Myall Creek and other instances, the tainted flour the poisoned water and I am sorry that people thought these things were fine. I am sorry for the humiliation and lack of respect given to those who fought alongside white troops in our armed services, when they returned home and were not given the same salutations.

I am sorry that there are those in our society that cannot even attempt to understand or who have unrealistic expectations of how you should live, think or feel.  I am sorry for your people’s suffering.  I am sorry that people shrug their shoulders and do not care. I am sorry that it took so damn long for you to be recognised as citizens in the land your ancestors had lived upon for tens of thousands of years.

I AM SORRY.

Meanwhile, in South Australia, Aboriginal people will be formally recognised in the state’s Constitution in a radical move planned by the State Government.

Premier Jay Weatherill will announce the move today to mark Reconciliation Week 2012. Aboriginal leaders have welcomed the announcement.

“For too long, Aboriginal people have been treated as second-class citizens,” Mr Weatherill said yesterday.

“This will elevate them to their rightful place as first Australians and (it) pays them proper respect.”

2:3 Normal or de jure version of flag, or obve...

The Australian Aboriginal Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pretty baby

There are times when one feels that today’s society is focussing not on the important, but on the trivial. However by focussing on the trivial, that there are victims.

An issue which concerns me is the sexualisation of children. This not new to human society. In cultures where one owns little more than one’s body, then children’s bodies are also commodities to be bought and paid for.

But what is the excuse for today’s Australia? Bodies are still commodities; bus stops are painted with overtly sexual signage, porn magazines sit next to the Snakes Alive lollies in service stations, T-shirts aimed at the pre-teen market carry overtly sexual messages. Television shows include Toddlers and Tiaras, where children little more than babies are waxed and plucked.

This theme carries forward to the crime of paedophilia. Was it not our own former Governor General who excused a paedophile priest stating that the 13 year old girl was, “Wise beyond her years”. The victim subsequently came forward, producing a photograph of herself which revealed a chubby pre-teen.

However, there are perhaps children who are wise beyond their years due to the overt emphasis on sexualisation. There are children who are subjected to, and in many forms in the media the ideal that they should be handsome or pretty and most especially willing to flaunt these attributes in order to gain admiration; yet while still too young to realise the implications of these.

In early April, the Australian Medical Association called for an inquiry into the premature sexualisation of children in marketing and advertising: “Self-regulation by the industry was clearly not working, its president, Steve Hambleton, said, pointing to images and messages that were ”disturbing and sexually exploitative”.

From an article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Groups continue to campaign against corporations that exploit the bodies of women and girls for profit. But without government and regulatory bodies demanding real change, it’s an advertisers’ free-for-all. Self-regulation continues to mean the industry gets away with whatever it wants.

Inadequacies in the present system include a weak code of ethics, the voluntary nature of the code, a lack of pre-vetting, the Advertising Standards Board’s lack of power to order removal of advertisements and meaningful penalties, and no consultation with child development experts. Even when campaigners get a win, it is meaningless. By the time the ruling is announced, the particular ad campaign is already over.

In April 2008, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission produced a report to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts
titled: Inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the contemporary media environment

Items include G.:

(f) children are to be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

(g) children are to be protected from all other forms of exploitation that is prejudicial to a child’s welfare

Since this time, the recommendations have sunk without trace. We have an industry who has shown almost no willingness to take affirmative action: profits before children.

I can excuse the Toddlers and Tiaras brigade; there are those whose superficiality makes then oblivious to consequences. However I do not excuse the media machine whose research into demographics makes them fully aware that the overt sexualisation of children brings them more dollars.

Note: in order to obtain a photo for this topic, it necessitated using some search terms which I would rather not repeat. This exercise in itself was both confronting and disturbing.

CU you remain terminally delusional.”

“Catching up

MAY 23, 2012 @ 4:51 PM

CU you remain terminally delusional.”

Tweed and your entire alias.

Tweed I have given great thought to your comment.  It is not the first time that you have alleged this bit after much thought, I am afraid I have to disagree with you.

I am well aware of how the world and politics works in this country.

I have been on this earth for seventy years.  I have enjoyed life at its best and I am sad to say, at its worse.

I began privilege, but life choices and uncontrollable reverses have made it an extremely rocky road.

I have learnt that we do not always have control over our life.

That is a proposition, that I amuser you will not agree with.  You are still under the illusion that you are in full control of your life, your future, and your finances.  I sincerely hope that you never learn that you are incorrect.

Tweed, we all need to respect the views and aspirations of others.

There are not right or wrong, when it comes to how we live our lives, or how we want the country to run.

The same applies to politics.

It is about our personal values, beliefs, aspirations, and priories.

I do not want to make value judgments, but I get the impression that you see the role of government is to be as small as possible.  You see it as being every man for them.  If they do not make it, so be it, as it is their fault.  You do not believe you are responsible for others.

I respect your right to have these views.  That being the case, your priories are much different to mine.  Your aspirations seem to be a society, where it is dog eat dog, for the country scare the daylights out of me.

Our government is working as the Founding fathers envisaged.

We have a minority government made up of representatives, that 58% of the voted for.

This is a duly elected legitimate government, according to the Constitution.

This government still holds the confidence of the house.

Since day one, Mr, Abbott has refused to recognise the legitimacy of the government has used intimidation and bullying tactics to bring it down.

If one believes this is acceptable, then I have to be in disagreement.

It surprises me that this government is working so well.  Yes, it appears to be hated, if one follows the polls.  That is not a reason for a new election.  All governments go through periods where they are not popular.  If people are still unhappy at the next schedule election, they will make their wishes known.

There is no need for Thomson to be hounded and bullies as he has been.  That should not be the Australian way.  We have a system of justice that will deal with the man it he is guilty.  Many investigations in this land take years, especially in the commercial world.

It is very dangerous to allow trial by media and kangaroo courts to become the order of the day.  They have a history of getting it wrong, and are cruel to the people accused.

I want to see oppositions that spend their time scrutinising all that the government does.  I want to see them put up strong opposition to what they believe to be wrong.  I want to see them try to get support of others to get their point across.  I want to see then proposed alternative, and convince us they have the better answer.

What I do not want to seem is an opposition that believes it should be in power.  I do not want an opposition that does not accept the voice of the people.  An opposition that believe the people got it wrong.

What do I see as the role of good governance?  That easy, one governs for the good of all.

I see the role of government to support those who cannot look after themselves.  I want the government that gives the weak and vulnerable the means to lift them up the ladder.

Government should take responsibility for proving the basic needs of a society.  It should ensure access to health, education and the judiciary systems.

Good governance provides the infrastructure that allows industry to thrive.

In this age, we expect our roads and transport to be adequate and safe.

We expect that defence forces are adequate to keep the country safe.

The economic system is not handed down by some god.  It is structures that are create by man, and should serve man.  Man should not serve the system.

It is the role of the government to ensure a strong economy, with work and opportunities for all.  There should be support for industry.

The taxation system should be fair.  It should not rely on regressive taxes.

I believe it is the voter wishes that count.  I believe that no party has the right to rule.  I believe that no government should rule forever.  Change is good.

I do not believe that a party should be able to gain power by bullying and intimidation.  It is a hollow victory if one has to destroy your opponent to win.

I believe that a party should be able to win by showing us; they have the better credentials to win.  Victory should come from being better.  Having better promises and dreams for the future.

This government meets my priorities.  It has provided a strong economy.  It is respected on the world stage.  It is putting in place the infrastructures, which ensure a strong future.

It is not perfect.  Nothing in this world is.  It cannot please all.  That is why we have regular elections.

What I do not want is the hatred and division that exists in our society.

What I realise is that the country and vision I want will never come to fruition.  That would be delusional.

It is not delusional or unreasonable to aim for a better society.

Winning might be important for some.  In fact winning is what life is about.

What is more important, is how one wins.  Winning at all cost, is not acceptable.  If one has to destroy all in their path to win, they do not have much to offer.

What is going on in politics, especially from the Mr. Abbott is wrong and dangerous.

We do not have the right to abuse others, because they do not agree or hold our views or because they have different priorities and values.  That is not acceptable and reflects badly on those who behave in this manner.

I acknowledge that others do not share my dreams.  That is OK and I respect the views they hold.

We all have the right to our own beliefs and aspirations.  None should are better than others.  They are just different.

I say let the best team win.

Tweed and those who come here to abuse.  What pleasure do you get out of it?

What type of society do you want to see.  I notice that you  spend much time telling us where we are wrong.  We hear little of your ideas and priorities.

Polygraph of Polly Prostitutes Plebiscite

Now that the MSM is paying prostitutes large sums of money to name selected politicians, what is needed is a good old fashioned witch hunt around Parliament House.  I suggest a special Senate and House Committee to administer a compulsory questionnaire/polygraph:

Q. Are you now, or have you ever used the services of a Prostitute?

Q. An “escort” service, male female or both at same time?

Q. Got lucky with a staffer following a subsidised dinner date?

Q. Visited or been shown adult erotic material from the Internet (even for purely research purposes)?

Q. Done anything risque on an overseas fact finding mission?

Q. Met with Christopher Pyne alone in a secluded room?

Q. Are you aware of any sexual trysts among your colleagues, provide details (attach list).

The Committee reserves the right to publish responses in a News Ltd publication (under parliamentary privilege).

Yes, I do believe him………..but have doubts about her!

 

I believed him, thought what he said was true.
His story’s unchanged. He’s said nothing new.
But the lady protests so oft, methinks,
Increasingly the air around her stinks.

Her stories change and are embellished
In many interviews, each one relished
By her audience, the peoples’ jury!
So why is he the focus of her fury?

What did he do to deserve this hell,
The unhappy member for Dobell,
When her entitlements have swollen
To far outweigh the sum she claims he’s stolen?

Isn’t it time we really got to know her,
This ‘heroine’, this ‘whistleblower’?
Who are her friends, lovers, connections?
Why for her so much media protection?

Why do editors find it so very hard
To spot an extra ‘p’ on a phony credit card?
If investigative journos checked out his alibis
Couldn’t they prove which of them is telling lies?

 

NOTES:   The response of mainstream media to Craig Thomson’s statement to the House of Representatives on Monday has been one of derision and almost universal denial of his charge that most of them were responsible for his plight.  Not surprisingly the Opposition have used the explanation for which they have  been calling for so long as an opportunity to expand their already extended trial and condemnation of him for a so far nameless crime for which there has been no charge.

I regret that the title of my pome suggests that I think I have the right to judge Craig Thomson’s guilt or innocence and would much prefer to support the Prime Minister’s efforts to leave this matter to the  courts, if indeed a charge is ever brought against him.   Now, however,  the public debate is about his  personal credibility when weighed against the huge disbelief expressed by the Opposition in Parliament,  most media commentators and apparently public  opinion if on-line polls are anything to go by.

Not surprisingly, at my favorite blog sites, here at Cafe Whispers, The Political Sword and the Poll Bludger there is a substantial amount of support for the Member for Dobell, informed by and linked as they all are to the research done by Peter Wicks or Wixxy and published by Independent Australia.    I think that comments by people like Psyclaw are typical of those sites.  i.e. that in his opinion Craig Thomson was telling the truth.

Having ‘nailed our colors to the mast’  as he put it, in terms of our belief in Thomson’s personal credibility, there are many other questions that need answering.  For myself the most important is about the media’s failure to follow up with normal investigative journalism a story which they believe to hold such wide interest .    Given that somehow access has been given to credit card vouchers with addresses of brothels and hotels Craig Thomson is supposed to have visited why have none been contacted or efforts made to track down at least one woman who might be willing to sell her story?   As well, there is plenty of material in the printed media and on recorded broadcast interviews which show how determined Kathy Jackson is to blame Craig Thomson alone for corrupt practices at the Health Services Union which seem to predate his tenure there from 2002 to 2007, and have certainly continued since he left.

Today Fair Work Australia have set in train proceedingsagainst three HSU officers, not including Craig Thomson, but naming Jeff Jackson, ex-husband of Kathy Jackson, who figured in a scandal around ‘adult services’ almost identical to that allegedly involving the member for Dobell.  

Schapelle and fishermen

Today’s Age leads with the story of the impending release of Schapelle Corby.

Irrespective of what one might think of the case, I believe that most fair-minded people would agree that eight years for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into Indonesia is a penalty paid.

Of particular interest to myself is the following:

Relations between Australia and Indonesia have improved with a series of high-level visits and recent suggestions by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa that a prisoner-exchange program could be established between Australia and Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Justice Minister has also linked Corby’s case with dozens of its underage citizens in Australian detention for crewing people-smuggling vessels. Several Indonesian youths have been released in recent weeks.

The above is something which former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd had been working hard to achieve. The background is that Australia has requested clemancy for Australian citizens imprisoned in Indonesia, with the response from Indonesia being that why should they; that Australia housed many Indonesian youths on people smuggling convictions.

Indonesia considered this somewhat hypocritical of Australia, to demand fairer treatment of our citizens whilst denying fairer treatment of under-age people smugglers.

This has been highly political with the Gillard government expecting a public backlash for “being soft on” people smugglers.

I therefore thought it an opportune moment to repost an article I wrote last year:

People smuggler fishermen

Federal authorities, due to mandatory sentencing routinely charge impoverished Indonesian crewmen who crew boats to Australia with offences as people smugglers

– these carry mandatory jail terms of up to 20 years.

In what human rights lawyers consider to be an injustice, more than 150 crewmen face charges that carry penalties as harsh as for murder.

Hence a major reason why the Federal Opposition’s claim that the Labor government is “encouraging” people smuggling, is wrong. “Encouragement” does not equate with mandatory jail sentences of up to 20 years and their livelihood, their fishing boat impounded and destroyed. The minimum sentence for first-time offenders is a five-year jail term with a three-year non-parole period.

Interviews with Indonesian people smugglers have confirmed:

The Indonesian crewmen are usually paid the equivalent of a few hundred dollars in rupiah for steering a boat into Australian waters. They are told Australian authorities will take care of them – even paying them for each day they are detained – before quickly flying them back to Indonesia.

The con is easily sold because for years that was the way Australian authorities treated the crew of illegal Indonesian fishing boats.

And this is still the way that illegal Indonesian fishermen are treated. The main job of the patrol boats out of Cairns and indeed Darwin is not the interception of people smugglers, but illegal fishermen poaching in Australian waters. It is therefore unsurprising that the above illusion has been easy to sell by the people smuggling organisers.

In Indonesia people smuggling laws do not exist, therefore nothing has ever been done to stop embarkations. Some blamed John Howard’s poor relationship with Indonesia as a cause, however Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has likewise been unsuccessful. Indonesia might agree to do “something”, but does nothing.

A recent article provides that there is a legal challenge to the prosecution of people smugglers, this being a test case under the Migration Act.

Legal Aid solicitor Gavin Green has stated that accused people smugglers are arguably entitled to bring asylum seekers here and should be acquitted. ”Under this legislation it is not unlawful to bring people to Australia who have a lawful right of entry.”

That is, should the court finds that the passengers have a lawful right to seek asylum then surely the prosecution must fail. Basically a prima facie act which is illegal becomes lawful should the result be something which is lawful. A comparison might be break and enter. Prima facie this is unlawful, but if the result for example is to rescue someone trapped, then the original act thereby becomes lawful.

There is clearly a lot of money changing hands in Indonesia over the issue of people smuggling with the victims being not only asylum seekers who have a genuine right to seek refugee status in Australia, but the impoverished fishermen/smugglers who received little more than a pittance and yet are facing years in Australian prisons. Ignorance of Australian law is not a plea one might say.

Hangman Jury

I was thinking today how lucky we are to live in a country like Australia.

Australia is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some things we can always rely on, well nearly always. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty for example, and, at the end of the process of determining guilt or innocence, a punishment is only handed down upon guilt being found beyond reasonable doubt.

Some of you may have seen my posts last week on the serious questions that remain unanswered relating to the HSU saga, if not, here are links to part one, and part two. It is fair to say that I have received all types of correspondence, as has Independent Australia, since publishing these posts. However, it is interesting to note, not one person has disputed any of the findings.

I did, however, want to take the opportunity to clear up a couple of misconceptions, and clarify a couple of points.

Firstly, I did approach some main stream media before doing the story myself. I am not going to name media outlets, however I will say in their defense that one of the major issues was time. My source had work commitments and it was unlikely that a story, that in part relied on access to that informant, was going to be put together for broadcast or publication before Craig Thomson’s speech on Monday. In addition to that, the person in question was not entirely comfortable fronting the media, given their situation.

There are however, those who have said that due to the story not coming from a mainstream media source it is therefore unreliable. That is only a matter of opinion, in fact, those who followed the links in the story would notice they led to official documents, as well as mainstream media sources. So my posts are only as reliable as their sources….

There are those who say that bloggers, and publications like Independent Australia, do not have the accountability of those in the mainstream media, and do not have as much to risk. To this argument, I would say “What utter crap”. The notion of somebody taking on a journalist, or columnist that has the backing of News Ltd, or Fairfax and their legal team, and their millions of dollars, quicker than they would run the risk of taking on me, with a pocketful of change, or Independent Australia, in a defamation suit is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence.

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