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Tag Archives: Brandis

Abbott’s Warm Fuzzy Melting Pot

Breaking news! “In light of the complex and challenging security environment facing Australia” Abbott has made another captain’s call; the amendments to section 18c of the racial vilification act are now officially “off the table”.

Apparently while it was perfectly OK for shock jocks to indiscriminately hurl racial abuse a few months back, what we NEED now, as a nation, is to set aside what divides us so we can all come together in a big warm fuzzy hug of national unity.

That is, of course, except for when we come together in collective condemnation of anyone who has been to “a designated conflict zone”.

Under new legislation on the Coalition drawing board, any “Aussie” so stupid as to go to “a designated conflict zone” without having the forethought to film their entire visit, (as proof they are not a terrorist), could be jailed without proof, refused re-entry, expelled from the country, or simply have their their citizenship revoked, all without any proof whatsoever they did anything wrong.

While I can’t pretend I am not pleased that the racial vilification act has survived Abbott’s ill thought out onslaught, I must confess to being somewhat skeptical as to the motivations for his back down.

I am quite sure someone within the LNP has pointed out that, given his abysmal standing in the polls, it might be better to pick his battles. With his reforms to 18c almost universally condemned (and looking set to face defeat), and with the budget stench still clouding the air, maybe it might be prudent to throw us a bit of a feel good bone, particularly when a much more Machiavellian ambition – to establish a legal precedent for the removing the burden of proof – could be at play.

art-George_Brandis_Senate-620x349

Photo: George Brandis Sydney Morning Herald

But then again maybe I am over thinking this, maybe it is just because, as Guy Rundle wrote this week in the Saturday Paper, “if George Brandis gets rolled on 18C, he will have no honourable choice but to resign as attorney-general”, and Abbott doesn’t want to lose a high profile scalp right now.

 

———

 

If it’s good enough for the Arts, is it good enough for Education?

 

“Arts Minister George Brandis has defended moves to block government funding for organisations that unreasonably refuse corporate sponsorship following the “preposterously unreasonable” termination of Transfield’s sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale.

“Senator Brandis also indicated that any ”commercially sound” company, including tobacco companies, should not be ruled out for arts sponsorship.

“Senator Brandis has written to the Australia Council asking it to develop a policy that would deny funding to events or artists that refuse private sponsorship after the Biennale board severed ties with Transfield over its involvement in processing asylum seekers offshore.

“Senator Brandis said on Friday that while it was reasonable for arts companies or festivals to reject corporate funding if they had concerns about a sponsor’s financial credentials, it was not reasonable for them to refuse sponsorship on political grounds.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, March 14th 2014

Scene – A Primary School. The School Council is meeting.

Principal – Good evening, before we deal with the other items on our agenda, I’d like to introduce Mr Point who’s a representative from the Federal Government whose here to talk to us about our recent grant for the new multipurpose centre. Mr Point over to you.

Point – Thanks. Well, it’s clear you don’t need any money from us, so we’re not going to give you the grant.

Mr Wall – What?

Point – You refused a sponsorship deal. And it’s not the first time. We’ve checked your records.

Mr Wall – Is this about our refusal to let an alcohol company name the multipurpose centre?

Point – They’re the ones who brought it to out attention, but we have discovered that there were a number of others as well.

Mrs Mitchell – But we didn’t feel it appropriate to have what’s essentially alcohol advertising in a primary school.

Point – Our new guidelines are quite clear. No refusal of funding on political grounds.

Mr Wall – But an alcohol company? In a primary school?

Point – Why not? If it’s good enough for the Australian Cricket Team…

Mrs Mitchell – But we’re a primary school!

Point – So?

Mrs Mitchell – We have young children!

Point – I am aware of what a primary school does. Do you think I’m stupid?

Mr Jones – So, if we take the money from them, does that mean we still get the Federal Grant.

Point – Well, I’d like to say yes, but like I said, you’ve rejected funding from a few other companies as well.

Mr Jones – Such as?

Point – Several fast food chains allege that you wouldn’t allow them to place signs in the canteen or to pay for billboards in your car park.

Mr Wall – That’s a healthy eating decision, that’s hardly political.

Point – Healthy eating not political? How do you figure that?

Mrs Mitchell – So if we allow the billboards and signs and the alcohol company, do we receive the funding?

Point – That’s a good start. But I’m afraid that the fast food companies would require teachers to point out that it’s easier and cheaper just get to takeaway whenever they hold a cooking class. And Sanmonto have expressed concern that they’ve been excluded your garden project with the Grade 5’s. And Skittish Tobacco have complained that you refused to meet with them.

Principal – But they’re a tobacco company. They’re not even allowed to advertise.

Point – They didn’t want to advertise, they just wanted to run a health campaign.

Mrs Mitchell – On what?

Point – On the advantages of having role models amongst your peers whose behaviour is worth copying no matter what your parents say.

Mrs Mitchell – That’s it? If all do all that, will we still get the funding? We don’t have to give space to the local brothel?

Point – Have they asked?

Mrs Mitchell – Of course not!

Point – Yes, if you do all that, we won’t stop the funding. But keep in mind for future reference that no business should be refused any opportunity for purely political reasons.

Principal – Well, that’s a great relief. If nobody has any questions we’ll move on to our assistant principal who has an update on concerns that the Australian Curriculum has become too political.

Tim Wilson Appointed To Human Rights Commission, Andrew Bolt won’t be DisAppointed!

“George Brandis appoints IPA’s Tim Wilson to Human Rights Commission”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-appoints-ipas-tim-wilson-to-human-rights-commission-20131217-2zi5z.html#ixzz2nh3o7Z3x

For those of you who don’t know who Tim Wilson is, here’s a quick summary from the IPA website.

Director of Climate Change Policy and the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit

Tim Wilson has worked with the Institute of Public Affairs since 2007.

Tim also serves on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s IP industry consultative group as well

being a Senior Fellow at New York’s Center for

Medicine in the Public Interest.

He can be seen and heard being outspoken, challenging and thought provoking on 3AW, Sky News and the ABC and pens columns in the The Australian and Australian Financial Review.

And here’s some quotes from recent articles by Tim Wilson

From “Free speech does not discriminate”

“But the solution is more speech, not less. We should preserve the right to speak out, mock them and ridicule them for the stupidity of their comments or the hate in their heart. And that also applies for incorrect statements. Free speech isn’t limited to factual accuracy. If it were, we’d never have a contest of ideas where ideas are proposed, exposed and corrected. The argument behind 18C is to afford some people higher legal standing than others for factors outside their control. It’s the antithesis of equality before the law.”

(Word Cloud of this Article)

Tim Wilson article

From “Paternalism An Unhealthy Threat To Freedom”

“But public policy is not driven by evidence, it is informed by evidence. Public policy is driven by the political values of those elected to govern. Those values determine what issues the government believes needs to be tackled, how they then approach it, how they weigh evidence, and the policy solutions ultimately proposed.

An “evidence-based approach” amounts to discarding the choice of democracy for government by technocratic bureaucracy, particularly when much of the evidence is financed by government to justify their decisions.”

Now, the IPA you may recall frequently endorses free speech, while calling for the ABC to be privatised. The ABC, it seems, is biased. And while as Tim says, free speech doesn’t have to include “factual accuracy” apparently “bias” is a no-no.

Early in John Howard’s reign, there was an interesting article in the Australia Financial Review. (Chomsky is right – if you want to know what’s really going on read the Business Section) It basically suggested that Howard’s aim was to set things up so that future Liberal governments would have less trouble. This meant removing various “watchdogs” or, if removing them was constitutionally or politically impossible, then appoint as many sympathetic people as possible.

Perhaps this explains the reluctance to do anything to help Holden and the PM’s recent insistence that there’s no more money for Toyota. If we just get rid of unions then we’ll be able to knock off a few more watchdogs like Fair Work Australia, and Labor will have less money. But surely that couldn’t be it, could it? Surely our PM couldn’t be hoping that unemployment goes through the roof so we have an excuse to introduce Workchoices and Gina can get her workers for the $2 a day she aspires to!

Ok, that may going too far. But it certainly explains reducing the advisory group on asylum seekers from twelve to one, the removal of the Climate Commission and one or two other things.

So, how does Brandis reconcile appointing Tim Wilson to the Human Rights Commission?

Well,

‘He was at the forefront in thwarting recent attempts to erode freedom of speech, freedom of the press and artistic freedom – rights and freedoms Australians have always held precious,” Senator Brandis said.

”The appointment of Mr Wilson to this important position will help to restore balance to the Australian Human Rights Commission which, during the period of the Labor government, had become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights.”

Restore the balance? To human rights? Surely things that are “rights” are just that. Sure sometimes they have to be balanced against each other. How do you balance a gay person’s right to marry against someone who thinks this will destroy society? (Quite easily, i’d argue)

So, exactly what was “narrow” about the Labor Government’s view? I’d like that one drawn out.

PS And for those who think I’m quoting him out of context.

http://ipa.org.au/news/2969/who’s-on-first-gay-black-man-or-disabled-muslim-woman

“Anger Is An Energy” but as it’s renewable, I think the Liberals will ignore it!

“They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley

The written word is a lie”

Rise

Public Image Limited.

There’s a lot of anger in the air. Of course, many would suggest that Abbott’s opportunism in blaming Labor for anything that went wrong is the reason.

Others would blame the Labor Government itself. “It’s because of the incontinence of Labour that the country’s broke”. (Not sure about that, but I definitely nearly pissed myself after reading that.)

And I know that Abbott is going to make a lot of people angry over the next few years. People such as Andrew Blot and the shock jocks go out of their way to say things which seem perfectly reasonable to their fans, but likely to provoke an irate response from any thinking person.

Personally, I’ve decided to take Gandhi’s advice and “be the change you want to see in the world”. (It was Gandhi, wasn’t it? I’m sure if I’m wrong I’ll have some halfwit Abbott groupie writing in the comments that I’m a “moron” and that it was actually said by Bono.)

So, I have to say that it’s totally unfair to blame Tony for the asylum seeker boats still arriving. I mean, it’s the Indonesian Government’s fault for allowing them to leave, right?I’ve read this in many places today. It’s just not right to blame the Australian Government for boat arrivals. And while Tony did promise to “stop the boats”, he never put a timetable on that. In fact, I can’t find any quote that says exactly where he plans to stop them either. Stopping them at Christmas Island is one place. Stopping at the Australian coastline is another. We don’t want those boats sailing on past the coast and unto our highways. (See Fiona Scott) So long as they are stopped, he’s keeping his part of the deal.

Yes, I know that some of you will think that we shouldn’t be stopping boats at all, but look at the terrible record of boat people in Australia. For example, at the election, one of my local candidates had arrived by boat in the seventies, and now he was standing for the Liberal Party.

But it doesn’t just end there. Tony Abbott, for example, arrived by boat.

On 7 September 1960, Abbott and his family left the UK for Australia  on the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme ship,  Oronsay.

September 7th – a day that will live in infamy.

And, of course, we have all those other refugees who arrived by boat after World War 2. Plus the “economic migrants” from Greece and Italy throughout the 60’s. As for the Gold-diggers who rushed to Australia to dig up our gold in the 1850’s. Similarly, the First Fleet (and the Second and Third) was comprised mainly of criminals.

It’s probably too late to round them all up and send them back where they came from, so I guess we’re stuck with their descendants.

As for some of the other things that Abbott has done – like get rid of the Climate Commission – well, they were part of his election policy, so he can hardly be criticised for keeping his promise to remove everything that Labor did on Climate Change, and replace it with his Climate Change Reduction Action Program (or CCRAP, as it’ll soon be known).

Another thing that has made people angry is the story of George Brandis claiming travel expenses to attend Mike Smith’s wedding.  People were furiously drawing comparisons between this and Peter Slipper. However, if one examines this more closely there is an enormous difference: Peter Slipper has been accused of deliberately misusing taxpayer funds, and George Brandis is a Liberal.

So, I’m breathing deeply, and remaining calm. And if anybody wants to bring up anything about the Labor Government, I’ll tell them to stop living in the past. If they want to do that, they may as well join Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

P.S. There some excitement when it was thought there’d been a rare sighting of an endangered Canberra species “The National Party Leader”, but it turned out to be a false alarm – it was merely a dodo.

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