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A letter to Peter Dutton

By Vanessa Kairies

Dear Peter Dutton,

If your wife was raped in another country by foreigners and they fled that country to their homeland, would you expect their government to extradite them to face prosecution?

If your child was raped at a party, would you ever send them back to that location?

If an adult handcuffed one of your children while a group of adults looked on and laughed would you take action? If an adult struck your 4 year old daughter with such force that she fell over and grazed her elbows, would you react?

If friends of yours were bashed to death or died from an infection due to lack of inappropriate medical treatment would you expect an investigation to find out the cause to prevent it from happening again? Would you also expect that the murderers faced prosecution?

C How do you feel about people who trade drugs and money to vulnerable people in exchange for sexual favours? Would you want this happening to members of your family?

If someone threw a rock at your child, would you act?

If your child’s pre-school recorded a “critical incident” at its centre once every 20 days, would you expect that centre be closed?

If your 5 year old child developed significant PTSD syndrome as the result of negligent treatment at pre-school, what would you do?

If your adorable little toddler, God love him, had tuberculosis, would you want diagnostic tests carried out immediately or would you prefer to wait for 3 months? Once diagnosed would you like to wait 3 weeks for the medication to arrive in your country before treatment could be carried out?

If someone was spying on your wife, how would you respond?

If your family had to flee their homes because of flooding due to rising sea levels from climate change, would you expect sympathy and a new home to live in or would you want to be imprisoned?

GRAPHIC 4 If you were studying your HSC in a foreign land, and due to be married to a national of that country, would you want to finish your education, get married and start a family or would you prefer to be dragged by your hair screaming and placed in a detention centre? Would you expect to have representation by a solicitor or would you prefer that that right was refused?

Just for fun, do you like to play the game of waterboarding and zipping on a Sunday? I could help cable tie your arms to a bed and my friends and I could throw you up into the air and let the bed land. Promise we won’t hurt you. After that we could try a few rounds of waterboarding.

Do you think that rapists should be caught, charged and imprisoned?

Do you think murderers should have the same fate?

If there were government departments responsible that could fix all of the things by closing these facilities, would you have expectations that the government minister responsible would act immediately, or would you expect that person to lie and cover up these human rights abuses?

On a different note, do you like to save money? Are you good with a budget?

Please let me know your thoughts, if you have lost your heart, conscience or soul, I can help you to find them. You could start by reading my article ‘Australia has a duty of care towards asylum seekers’. It might be a good place to begin looking.

Your sincerely

Vanessa Kairies

For more information about the Asylum seeker issue please see my cartoon folder in this link.

For more information about racism in Australia, please see my cartoon folder in this link.



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  1. diannaart

    Unless Labor offers to free the families in existing off-shore detention centres, recommences onshore assessment (saving both lives and big $’s), a return of the Coalition in 2016 is almost guaranteed.

    If Labor continues to believe their (slightly) more progressive policies on climate mitigation will turn the votes their way – why would we vote Labor expecting any improvement?

    In spite of the turbulence of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years – we still have buckley’s choice of gaining a democratic, progressive government after 3 years of Abbott.

  2. kerri

    At the very least diannaart, vote Green. Their policies are far more humane and economically responsible and they may well force Labors hand. Above all else, the LNP must be last preference on every vote!

  3. diannaart


    I do vote Green and Independent – placing both the LNP and Labor last. I enjoy that we have a diverse senate – that a variety of voices are heard. I would like to see a coalition of the Greens and other progressive parties in the lower house. However, I doubt the numbers are there. A coalition of Greens and Labor does have the numbers, but would only be possible if Labor returned to its heartland.

  4. kerri

    Agreed diannaart. My secret wish is a Greens/Labor coalition but it seems unlikely while leaders like Shorten want to be Abbott mini mes.

  5. Denisio Fabuloso

    The idea that reasoned debate will change the mind of these mediocre ideologues is beyond faint hope. Even the increase in refugee intake I have no doubt was more about political survival than survival of threatened desperate people. This Abbott omnishambles will be judged by history as the worst in modern times. Was it not all so obvious at the outset? Great South Extra Pathetica – electing morons is our forte’.

  6. mars08

    Denisio Fabuloso:

    …Abbott omnishambles will be judged by history as the worst in modern times. Was it not all so obvious at the outset? Great South Extra Pathetica – electing morons is our forte’.

    The magic of democKracy…

    “…As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    ~H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), American journalist and critic

  7. Darrell

    “…the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    Here in the Great Southern Land we have definitely surpassed the Land of the Brave and the Home of the Free, we have a cavalcade of downright morons in Canberra.

  8. mars08

    So… Australia, circa 2015… Land of the Home, Free of the Brave?

  9. Vicki

    Well said mars08. There is nothing left to say

  10. mars08

    @Vicki… when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done… That’s what I always say….

  11. Kaye Lee

    No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.

    – Robin Williams

    Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.

    – Yehuda Berg

  12. mars08

    @Kaye Lee…. I agree with you, to a point… but words will not change those who are too self-absorbed or REFUSE to listen…

    There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,’ he said. ‘Repeat it, if you please.’

    ‘”Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,”‘ repeated Winston obediently.

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’
    Through the Looking Glass

  13. Peter Llewellyn

    How refreshing to read a set of comments without vile language or vilification, with intelligent forthright thoughts and quotes, and helpful set of ideas. I am encouraged that somewhere in this lucky country there are people with both brains and hearts.

  14. keerti

    “If an adult handcuffed one of your children while a group of adults looked on and laughed would you take action? If an adult struck your 4 year old daughter with such force that she fell over and grazed her elbows, would you react?”

    as a member of a governing party with a high degree of maturity and integrity (it must be , they told us so!), dutton’s answers to the questions posed would clearly begin with………”If I was in this position having been apprehended as an illegal immigrant, I would not expect to be treated as anything other than as a criminal with no rights.”
    Of course he would!???

  15. The AIM Network

    How refreshing to read a set of comments without vile language or vilification, with intelligent forthright thoughts and quotes, and helpful set of ideas. I am encouraged that somewhere in this lucky country there are people with both brains and hearts.

    Thank you, Peter. We appreciate your comment.

    Mind you, plenty of vile comments get through but they quickly get deleted if a moderator is on hand. Known offenders don’t even make it past the spam filter.

  16. Mark Needham

    ‘afternoon Peter Llewellyn, “How refreshing to read a set of comments without vile language or vilification”

    Hang around Peter, we can be nasty when we gots to, ‘n sometimes we gots to, really bad.

    We can all be naughty, the odd crass joke, an uncaring gesture, a wince, wind in a phone box. Just wait and see the language when a politician does it though.
    Then you have, you will have a stereotypical conservative, uncaring, mongrel, budgie smuggling, red headed witch, obfuscating, F,n Wanker, Skidmark, total bastard et al.

    With practice we get even better.

    Mark Needham

  17. JeffJL

    Nicely put Vanessa.

  18. Lynne

    If you saw a photo of an adult man lying on his bed crying for his mother because he could not eat the rancid meat fed to him by Transfield, and you knew that that man had searched all the garbage bins for any scrap of food and found the bare because others had been there before him, and you knew that Transfield were being paid billions of dollars to treat nearly 1000 men this way, would you renew their contract for many more years?

  19. Micho

    Dear Lynn 1st of all i would try to stop being so melodramatic.It lessens the quality of your response. But on 1 of the points you made, I have knowledge very good knowledge about the quality of the food being served, its on par to what you would get at a a motel. Oh and yes i would renew their contract, because anything that stops the drowning of young children on our shores by keeping others in detention works for me every time without fail.

  20. johnlward010

    Bit by bit the US state legislatures increased corporate charter length while they decreased corporate liability and citizen authority over corporate structure, governance, production, and labor. But they were only going to be able to go just so far with this strategy. Because corporations are a creation of the government — chartered by the state legislatures — they still fell on this side of the line with “duties accountable to the people”. Minority rule by property was to be gained; they had to cross this line and become entitled to rights instead.

    And their tool to do this was the 14th Amendment, which passed in 1868.

    After a series of lower court cases, the watershed moment came in 1886 when the US Supreme Court heard a case called Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Citing the 14th Amendment, and without hearing any arguments, the Supreme Court declared that corporations are persons deserving the law’s protection. There was no public debate about this and no law passed in Congress — corporations received the status of persons by simple judicial fiat. And they did this at a time when all women, all Native Americans, and even most African-American men were denied the right to vote.

    A key witness before the Supreme Court in the lead up to the 1886 was Roscoe Conkling. A former Senator, who helped, draft the 14th Amendment. In his evidence he claimed that reading from his diaries of the time; it was the intention of the drafting committee, which the rights, to be conferred, on former slaves to citizenship: Were meant to be equally applied to corporations.

    It was not till thirty years after his death that his diaries were examined and found to have no such reference.

    He had lied to the Supreme Court, but by then the legal fiction of corporate personhood had defined corporates as natural persons.

    Ten years later, in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court established the “separate but equal” doctrine that legalized racial segregation through what became known as “Jim Crow” laws.

    Fifteen years later the writers of the Australian Constitution included reference to corporation powers in Section 51 xx. Four referendums from 1911 to 1926at which the people of Australia had been asked to enlarge the scope of Commonwealth power in relations to corporations received the NO vote. However in 1971 the high Court overruled its 1908 decision and thereby rendered those four referendums irrelevant.

    In less than 30 years, African-Americans had effectively lost their legal personhood rights while corporations had acquired them.

    In case you’re still wondering whether the primary purpose of the Constitution and the body of law it spawned is about protecting property rather than people, remember this.

    Of the 14th Amendment cases (granting Citizenship to Negro males) heard in the Supreme Court, in the first 50 years after its adoption,

    less than one-half of one percent invoked it in protection of African-Americans. More than 50% asked that its benefits be extended to corporations.

    When you look at two-plus centuries of US legal history; the pattern is that people acquire rights by amendment to the Constitution, a long, drawn-out, difficult process.

    Corporations acquire them by Supreme Court decisions.

    Rights for corporations, because they’re about property, is about who is excluded; rights for human beings is about who is included.

    Once corporations had jumped the line, they proceeded to pursue the Bill of Rights through more Supreme Court cases.

    In 1893, they were assured 5th Amendment protection of due process.

    In 1906, they got 4th Amendment search and seizure protection.

    In 1925 it was freedom of the press and speech.

    In 1976, the Supremes determined that money is equal to speech, and since corporate persons have First Amendment rights,

    they can contribute as much money as they want to political parties and candidates.

    And so we find ourselves at a time when corporations have amassed enormous power and wealth.

    They control nearly every aspect of our lives, because they masquerade, under the law at least, as one of us.

    But most of us don’t know it.

    A key reason for that is that the whole thing is pretty esoteric.

    A corporation is a legal fiction, an abstraction. You can’t see or hear or touch or smell a corporation; it’s just an idea that people agree to and put into writing. But because they have legal personhood status, corporations are like super-humans with all the advantages and none of the disadvantages that we mere mortals have. Corporations now have infinite lifespans so they can continue to accumulate wealth and power forever. You can cut off the figurative arm or leg or even head of a corporation, and it can still continue to exist. Furthermore, corporate lawyers invoke their personhood status or not at their convenience, allowing them to be whatever they want according to their needs.

    Along with this abstract existence, corporations have acquired a lot more abstract property. Ownership of land and buildings is still important; but now corporate property also includes concepts like mineral rights, drilling rights, air pollution credits, intellectual property, and under NAFTA — rights to future profits.

    All this abstraction fits into the ways property is used to maintain minority rule. When corporations were on the duties side of the ledger, the primary technique for enforcing minority rule was to establish that only a tiny percentage could qualify as “We the People”: In other words, that most people were subhuman.

    As different groups of people struggled to be included in those first three words of the Constitution and eventually succeeded. Corporation crossed over to the rights side and ultimately became superhuman, still maintaining an artificially elevated status for a small number of people.

    Today the work of corporatists is to take this system globally.

    Having acquired the ability to govern in the United States, the corporation is the ideal instrument to gain control of the rest of the world. The concepts, laws, and techniques perfected by the ruling minority here are now being forced down the throats of people everywhere. First, a complicit ruling elite is co-opted,

    installed, or propped up by the US military and the government.

    Then, just as slavery and immigrant status once kept wages nonexistent or at poverty levels, now sweatshops, maquiladoras, and the prison-industrial complex provide ultra-cheap labor with little or no regulation. Just as sharecropping and company store scrip once kept people trapped in permanently subservient production roles; now the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s structural adjustment programs keep entire countries in permanent debt. The world’s poorest people forced to feed interest payments to the world’s richest while their families go hungry.

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