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John has a strong interest in politics, especially the workings of a progressive democracy, together with social justice and the common good. He holds a Diploma in Fine Arts and enjoys portraiture, composing music, and writing poetry and short stories. He is also a keen amateur actor. Before retirement John ran his own advertising marketing business.

Mondays with Morrie Mince: A Story of Political Wisdom

Mondays with Morrie Mince was the highlight of my week, and this week l wanted to bounce a few things of a political nature off him. Yep, we meet every Monday arvo, just Wanker and me. Everyone called him Wanker. It was a term of endearment that had stuck since he was in his teens. I dunno its origins. No one ever said, but I had me suspicions.

We had been best mates since we was kids, and we liked to talk serious stuff while we sunk a few stubbies. Hand Grenada’s, we called em.

Morrie was a man of deep intellectual conviction and compelling insights that belied his ocker image. He was out the back havin a fag, listin to some country music when I arrived.

“G’day, Morrie” I said.

“Macca, how yah doin mate?”

“Not bad”, he answered with a sort of laconic laziness. “And you?”

“Yeah, okay, Morrie” The billy lids are playin up a bit. Gettin a frisky for the Sheila’s. You know what teenage boys are like.

“How’s Betty?”

“Same as usual. Always complaining. Nothin Changes”.

“Been wantin to talk to ya’ mate.”

“Yeah, what about’ Macca”

“We’ll you know. With an election commin up in a couple of years. I thought I’d get ya thoughts on a few things political.”

He looked at me with eyes that had politics written into his pupils. His body language became animated. I had lit the flame of his gift for political wisdom.

“You come to the right bloke, cobber”. He said.

“What do ya think of that fellow Joyce, Wanker?”

“Oh, a bloody fine writer Macca. One of the best ever I’d say.”

I was a little confused, and then it dawned on me.

“No, the politician Barnaby Joyce,” I said.

“Oh, that Joyce,” he said. “We’ll since ya asked, he reminds me of a beer bottle. Empty from the neck up and the same complexion.” Do you know that Littleproud is likely to retire before the next election, and Joyce will become the leader of the Nats again and the deputy Prime Minister as well?”

“Now ain’t that a scary thought, mate? Yeah, his mouth is so big he can whisper in his ear.” He added with a smirk as wide as the Harbour Bridge. And he’s about as useless as a bloody ashtray on a motorbike.

“Tell me, Wanker. What is it that attracts the nasty types to the right of politics?”

He looked at me quizzically.

“How do you mean, Macca?”

“You know, Wanker”, I rattled off a few names.

“Hanson, Barnardi, Jones, Bolt, Price, Mirabella, Dutton, Murdoch, Reinhardt, Hadley, Ackerman, Morrison. Bloody list as long as ya Warick Farm, mate.”

Wanker put his hand up, indicating that I should stop.

“Yeah, take a breath, mate. I take ya point, Macca. I dunno what it is, mate but they are all deeply conservative and a conservative believes that nothing should be done for the first time.”

That was one of those deep insights that were a bit over me head, but Wanker continued.

“I think it’s in their character traits Macca.” Let me explain. “Let’s go through the list. I’ll start with the Charley Wheelers. Now take that, Sheila, Ley. She might have eyes like two limpid pools, but she has a nose like a small diving board. And ya never trust a small nose, mate, never. And as for that other Sheila, you know, the blond with the voice. Well, if I ever met her, I’d give her a serve mate. You know I never forget a face, but I would make an exception in her case. And as for that Christian fella Morrison. Ya know he’s been described as a pain in the neck, but I have a much lower opinion of him. And that Bald bastard Glutton. I reckon he’s hated our first nations people since he was a copper. If he had a whip, I reckon he’d ask the government to drop em just to make an impression.”

Morris was on a roll, so I encouraged him with another stubby.

“And as for that excuse for a human being, what’s is name? Angus, yeah, that’s im. Speaks a lot of bull. Let me tell ya, Macca. He’s such a bloody twat, and so mean that if you paid him a compliment, he’d ask for a receipt. And don’t start me on that other bloke Bolt, mate. I heard he has willed his body to science, and science is contesting the will.”

And that’s not the end of it, mate. Let me tell you about Abbott, mate. Some time ago, I was yappin’ with a young bloke down at the Cock and Bull. He reckoned that Julia when she was PM, had character flaws that made her unsuitable for the position. I asked him what they were, but he wouldn’t be in it. So, I asked him (no doubt he was kicken with his right), in all fairness, to nominate what character traits he thought Peter Glutten had that would make him qualified for Prime Minister. He went for a piss, and I never saw him again. Fairdinkum, mate, what a bloody drongo. And did ya see that tool Taylor on Insiders last Sunday? Fair Dinkum mate, the man is an inspiration among fools?

“So, tell me, Wanker why do ya think we were so unpopular with Julia as leader?”

“It’s a bit like cookin, Macca.”

“Cookin, how’s that, Wanker?”

Wanker had that expression on his face when ya sorta know he was about to spruik great wisdom.

“I’ll give ya the recipe, Macca. Ya try to bring about some of the most significant policy reforms ever in Australian history while in a minority government. Then ya combine that with a massive scare campaign by the most negative lying bastard of an opposition leader Australia’s ever had.”

Ya could see he was warmin up with some big words.

“Then ya mix in the might of the vile Murdoch bastards. While that’s commin together, ya blend in the influence of the shock jocks. Then add a decent dose of anti-feminism and toss in the Labor Party’s inability to sell its policies. Combine all the ingredients and stir. Stir bein the operative word, Macca. The sterin is the most crucial mate.”

Wankers Warwick Farm was working overtime with the grenades, really bending his elbow, and he reached for another one. He was on his fifth already. I put another question to him.

“Whadya think will happen to that tosser Glutten ever gets in, Wanker?”

“We’ll let me tell ya, cobber. Me Mate Terry Dickson wrote a poem about it. It’s called 4 Duttin’s Lament, and it’s sorta like that palm from the Bible. The one about walking through the valley of the shadow of political death.’’

Politics is my shepherd… I am in want.

He maketh me to lie down on park benches

He leadeth me beside empty factories

He disturbeth my soul

Yea though I walk through the valley of the

Shadow of Recession,

I anticipate no recovery, for he is with me forever

He prepareth a reduction in my salary in the presence of my enemies

He anointeth my small income with immense taxes

And my expenses runneth over

Surely, unemployment and poverty shall follow me all the days of my life

And I shall dwell with a mortgage forever.

“What do ya think, mate? Grouse ah? Ya know what recession is, mate. It’s when ya neighbour loses his job, and depression is when you lose your job. But a recovery is when Mutton loses his.”

Just when our conversation was warming up, me bloody mobile rang. It’s Ruth, and one of the kids has cut his leg, choppin wood, and needs to see old Doc Needleless. Wanker overhears and can’t help himself.

“That prick.”

“Shit gotta go, Morris.”

“How is Ruth by the way, Macca? Still going to church.”

“Well, I’m not into gossip, Wanker. As ya know, Mate, I don’t judge people, but I do form my own opinions, of course. Anyway, she told me that one of her Catholic friends said that sin had gotten so bad at St Michael’s lately that they had to install an extra confessional with a sign over it. Eight items or less. Yeah, it’s getting to be like a supermarket for sin. And that’s not all. She said the last time she went to confession, the Priest asked her if she was troubled by improper thoughts, and she said no, not at all. I rather like them.

“Yeah, she’s one of those sorts who reckon the Popes not inflammable.”

“See ya on Monday, Morrie.”

My thought for the day

A greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply.


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Allegations of corruption keep coming for a party on its knees

After all the conniving corruption of the Coalition’s Luddite term of office, one might have reasonably concluded that they had drained the swamp of their own making. But more alleged corruption has surfaced from the residue left behind.

And before the Coalition can defend itself against a backlog of corruption allegations, new ones have surfaced from a seemingly bottomless pit of misdemeanours.

A. As of Monday, 24 July 2023, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) received 494 referrals:

“Approximately 13% of the referrals relate to matters well publicised in the media. This figure includes, but is not limited to, referrals relating to Robodebt.”

In other words, LNP scandals like car parks, sports rorts and land acquisitions might also be included.

The NACC will always have Coalition referrals, just as doctors always have patients.

B. Take this last month, for example. First, we had the revelation that the Morrison Government spent $20.8bn outsourcing more than a third of public service operations. An enquiry found the equivalent of nearly 54,000 full-time staff were employed as consultants or service providers for the Federal Government during the 2021-2022 financial year. This equates to one-third of the public service workforce. A Government de-facto workforce was doing work that the public service should have done.

C. Then we had the PwC scandal, where the tax practitioner’s board found that:

“… the former head of international tax for PwC Australia Peter-John Collins had been deregistered by the tax practitioners board for failing to act with integrity and for sharing confidential government briefings.”

The board of PwC has since confirmed that Collins had “made unauthorised disclosures” to partners and staff at PwC of confidential information.

The information concerned new rules to stop multinationals from avoiding tax.

D. This one occurred when Peter Dutton was Home Affairs Minister. The crux of the matter is that it has been alleged that Home Affairs gave a multimillion-dollar offshore detention contract to an Australian businessman only a month after federal police informed Dutton that the man, Mozammil Bhojani, was under investigation for bribery.

Indeed, Dutton would/should have passed on information of such importance to his department. Maybe he had a reason for not doing so. And why wasn’t he involved in the contract process? If he were on top of his portfolio, he would have passed on this vital information as a matter of course. Or so one would think.

And they say our international reputation has been damaged by the cancellation of the Commonwealth Games. What about all these allegations.

That’s not all.

We have the farcical situation where a businessman linked to Stuart Robert won’t face a parliamentary committee hearing because he has severed ties with Australia. Why is that do you think?

Last April The SMH reported that:

“Senior Liberal MP Stuart Robert stood to gain financially out of a consulting company called Synergy 360, which was part-owned by his business partner and chief political fundraiser and helped multinational companies win millions of dollar’s worth of government contracts.

The former Government services minister’s friend and co-owner of the controversial firm, John Margerison, gave evidence before a parliamentary committee inquiry that Robert was a part-owner of a company that Margerison nominated to receive funds from Synergy 360.”

(A joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) is looking into how the Government awards contracts.)

There are grave allegations:

“… which include suspect payments being made to senior politicians from Nauru and Papua New Guinea, requests for bribes, and complaints to Home Affairs falling on deaf ears.”

These allegations need to be seriously looked into.

Home Affairs and Peter Dutton gave out contracts without ministerial oversight. The question is why.

E. On a lesser note, we find that parliamentary expenses are in the spotlight again.

The expenses watchdog is chasing former Liberal politician Andrew Laming for a further “$8,000 over taxpayer-funded travel to Sydney and Melbourne.”

F. To finish, there is the matter of a $33 million grant to a company in 2017 without due process:

“The former government led by Malcolm Turnbull awarded a $33m grant to a company that was developing a mental health app after months of lobbying from one of its own mental health commissioners who was also a shareholder in the months-old startup.

The one-off grant was awarded in 2017 without a competitive tender to Innowell for a series of collaborative research trials into a digital mental health platform. Its shareholders include PwC, the University of Sydney and former mental health commissioner Prof Ian Hickie.”

There was no suggestion of wrongdoing by Hickie, who, together with PwC, were shareholders in the company Innowell.

All above board except for the non-competitive tender process.

Where does all this leave the average voter? The person who fronts up at every election thinking that the Government has been acting in their best interests only to find that they have been serving their own.

The answer to that question is like looking at a piece of art and finding that their opinion differs significantly from others.

However, their seriousness cannot be dismissed arbitrarily. That is due to the weight of the material; it must be that we investigate. To find the truth in all these accusations or alleged criminal activity. In all this, there is an unspoken suggestion that all is not right.

The Prime Minister has asked the Leader of the Opposition to explain why he didn’t tell his department that Brojani was under investigation (see D above). In doing so, Peter Dutton invoked the politician’s favourite defence of lousy memory on this week’s resumption of parliament.

Why did Home Affairs give out contracts without ministerial oversight? Is that normal?

In response:

“Labor has announced an independent review of the management of regional processing procurement by the Department of Home Affairs after revelations it granted contracts to a company linked to the subject of a bribery investigation.”

If deemed necessary, the inquiry can refer matters to the NACC. Undoubtedly, the Leader of the opposition’s memory will have declined even further by then.

A worry for the reader is whether the newly formed NACC can investigate all the referrals with any degree of urgency. And further, do the AFP and others have the capacity to prosecute? In other words, will law enforcement agencies be able to investigate the avalanche of suspected criminality?

If either of these assumptions is negative, nothing will have been gained. If the NACC decides not to investigate, the public will be none the wiser. In the words contained in the following sentences, there needs to be more for the general public. There needs to be more transparency of accountability. Who and what are the referrals about? What is the test for public hearings?

The only one l see making it to public hearings is Robodebt.

For me, you could drive a truck through the outs for politicians.

Note that the:

“NACC does not have to consider or respond to every referral it receives. The Commissioner can also decide not to take any action concerning a referral.”

And also that:

“A hearing must be held in private, unless the Commissioner decides to hold the hearing, or part of the hearing, in public. In deciding whether to hold a hearing in public, the Commissioner may consider:

  • the extent to which the corruption issue could involve corrupt conduct that is serious or systemic
  • whether certain evidence is confidential, or relates to the commission (or alleged or suspected Commission) of an offence
  • any unfair prejudice to a person’s reputation, privacy, safety or wellbeing that may be caused
  • whether a person giving evidence has a particular vulnerability, such as working directly to someone in a position of power, and
  • the benefits of exposing corrupt conduct to the public.”

What we will eventually know about the crimes committed by those in power during the Abbott-Morrison years may be forever shrouded in mystery.

My thought for the day

This Conservative Political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending only they have the answers originated in Australia during the Luddite period of Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. Australians fell for it in so many ways and continue to do so. I thought we were brighter than that.


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Conservatives are masters of scare because they have experience in it

For most of my working life, I worked in marketing and advertising, so I know how people are influenced, persuaded or swayed by branding and repetitive advertising. Companies spend millions of dollars to brainwash you subtly, to align you with a specific brand, product or belief.

The book Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard was written in 1957 and provided us with revealing insights into how we are exploited with all sorts of manipulative techniques. Updated versions of his book are available.

“It accounts for the research people, the advertising agency psychologists who analyse consumer desires and discover how to make people buy the things the agencies are paid to promote. Personalities, techniques, symbols, and approaches are discussed, and some leading advertising psychologists are interviewed.”

All manner of persuasive techniques, including sex and deceptive packaging, to solicit your goodwill, loyalty and outrageous lying are explained. They even measure the eye blink rate of women from hidden cameras in supermarkets to test colour reactions. Yes, it’s that sophisticated. And brand loyalty is what they want. (Ask yourself why Australia doesn’t have a sugar tax).

In the United States, the advertising industry employs more psychologists than the health industry. It is all calculated to take power over your decision-making. And it works.

The same can be said for Australian mainstream media; it also wants your brand loyalty and the power to coerce you into its way of thinking. It uses techniques similar to the advertising industry; the main ingredients are untruth and creating perceptions with subliminal messages.

In the media, it is easy to apply. It can be a distorted headline, a one-liner slogan like “stop the boats“, a photoshopped photograph, and, on television, how you lead a story or conduct an interview.

The industry manipulates us beyond free will. The often-repeated blatant lie takes precedence and is the best tool to use for an audience that is uninformed and, in a malaise, and thus susceptible to this sort of propaganda.

Of course, they have another tool: “Opinion journalism.”

Now let me add that there is nothing wrong with opinions so (we all have them) long as they are diverse and truthful. But we don’t have diversity, and we would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served by a media that controls a large percentage of news in our major cities. We can add self-interest groups and lobbyists.

Unfortunately, less-informed voters vastly outnumber the more politically aware and are the apparent victims of mainstream media deception, where everything is stripped down to simplistic slogans. The No case in the upcoming referendum is a case in point.

The opinion makers on the right of this issue use all manner of tantalising, seductive and provocative words and imagery to win you over to what they want you to believe. Media is no longer about reporting the facts. It is about persuasion by opinion.

It must have occurred to you whilst reading that it would seem unremarkable with a background like mine if I didn’t use some of my learnt techniques to persuade you.

I don’t. The nearest I come is with the use of my fiction writing skills. But then it is only to make an article more attractive to the enquiring minds who appreciate my work and those who let me know when I get the slightest fact wrong.

Unlike people like Andrew Bolt, who has to write for an average age of 13 to suit the demographic of the publication he writes for, I, as do the other writers for citizen journalism, seem to attract people of a higher level of thinking with a greater sensitivity of inquiry for things that matter.

As is often the case, I get responses to my writing from many people. 99% are interested in what I have to say about matters of public interest or why they agree or disagree or fall somewhere in the middle.

Others use the platform to let off steam, express anger, look for a fight, want to be sarcastic, change the subject to suit their argument and many more.

In the main, most have something important to say. The last cohort, however, for all their buffoonery, requires patience because they are, in this case, being skilfully manipulated by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and his equally skilful acolytes.

With all that said, I hope to have explained that the origin of my writing on the referendum stems from a long-held interest in social justice and inequality. And to improve the standard of governance our politicians are expected to deliver.

Despite the laboriousness of writing at my age, I am grateful that I have a megaphone by which I can express my opinions and await the comments that will adjudicate their worth. Being independent of mainstream media makes this possible.

The No case outlined in a recently published pamphlet is so full of ambiguous ravings that if the AEC could, it would burn the lot of them based on false advertising.

Read these Clayton’s arguments against the Voice:

“This Voice specifically covers all areas of “Executive Government.”

“This means no issue is beyond its reach. The High Court would ultimately determine its powers, not the Parliament.”

It risks legal challenges, delays, and dysfunctional government, says the No.

Eminent jurists and constitutional experts have said that this could not happen. In any case, the Parliament can knock back anything placed before it by the advisory council – the ultimate veto.

My thought for the day

Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

PS: My writing is the glue that keeps my days together.


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Domestic violence: An all too familiar story

Headlines come and go, but this one repeats itself with a familiar refrain: “In one week, three Australian women were allegedly killed by men they knew.”


The figures are staggering. Despite the programmes we instigate and the enormous amounts of money we invest to combat domestic violence, on average one woman is killed by a husband or partner every week.

Should I repeat that? One woman has her life taken from her by a man close to her every week.

Three women were allegedly killed by a man close to them a couple of weeks ago.

“Christine Rakic, Amira Moghnieh, and a woman in the Northern Territory had their lives terminated.”

The people who analyse these things use words that make you think, but it’s hard to get one’s head around it, the why of it seems beyond me.

“The advocates in this area say things like “absolutely horrifying.” Domestic and family violence experts say violence against women is at “epidemic proportions.”

All the statistics combined tell a story that might be called “How they suffer for their femineity.”

Tarang Chawla, an anti-violence advocate, recently told SBS News that.

“At a human level, it is absolutely horrifying.

“It’s horrible that we’ve had to have so many tragedies in such a short space of time for us to really take stock, listen and think about why this is occurring and what we need to do to stop it from happening with such frequency.”

I have heard Chawla speak of his own experience on ABC’s The Drum.

He had lived through a similar experience, losing his sister Nikita in 2015 when she was murdered by her husband in Melbourne. He urged the community to understand the true human cost of particularly men’s violence against women.

“When we talk about these things in the media, we sometimes gloss over the fact that these are real human beings and the tragedy will have lifelong consequences – and that’s the people who are left behind.

“The families of these people will never be the same.”

It has now become a familiar story. One that I have written about myself and in the annals of my own family history, I wonder if my mother may have experienced similar acts of cowardice.

Then I heard that police had raided the homes of almost six hundred male offenders due to the three murders mentioned earlier. The NSW police targeted the state’s most dangerous domestic violence offenders and turned up illegal firearms and guns – and a corn snake (whatever that is).

“The four-day operation dubbed Amarok III resulted in 1107 domestic violence charges being laid against 592 people, who were mostly men, but there were at least two women.”

As I read on, I’m told that 139 men were arrested, and of these, 103 had outstanding warrants for violent offences and were amongst NSW’s most dangerous offenders.

The article went on to say that of those charged, many face other severe offences, including prohibited firearm and weapon possession, drug possession and supply.

From what I have read to this point, I am shocked at the criminal element involved in Domestic Violence. It’s enough to overwhelm one’s emotions.

Am I that naive I ask myself to have not known this?

“Some 139 were amongst NSW’s most dangerous offenders, and 103 had outstanding warrants for violent offences. Some of those charged also face other serious offences, including prohibited firearm and weapon possession, drug possession and supply.

Police seized 22 firearms and 40 prohibited weapons, as well as various types of illicit drugs located with 89 detections.”

An article from The Courier quotes many more facts and figures, saying:

“We know domestic and family violence is one of the most under-reported crime types.”

That I am left in a state of shock would be an understatement.

Reporting for, Blake Antrobus says that:

“… specialist teams such as the Domestic Violence High-Risk Offender Teams (DVHROT) were also involved in the operation.”

“The NSW Police Force invests significant resources into responding to domestic and family violence, attending some 139,000 calls for assistance in 2022 – with more than 33,100 of those actual assaults and 17 domestic-related murders.”

What, in God’s name, I ask myself, am I missing here? What if I were to multiply all these facts and figures across the nation? The statistics would be incredible.

They have undoubtedly worsened because of the Covid pandemic and multiplied again due to the economic crisis and cost of living problems. And these figures don’t mention what I shall call the non-criminal cohort. However, I might be corrected on that one.

The next question I ask myself, is what is to be done? In the totality of what I know, I suggest seeing the crisis as a community problem; not just a family one. We should educate ourselves on the subject. Be prepared to report cases of abuse. Enlighten our children about what it means.

What exactly causes men to commit these terrible acts of abuse? What makes us tighten our fists and strike out? Low self-esteem, culture, misogyny, tempestuous or explosive personality, incubus personality, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Anyone with these personality disorders might commit domestic violence when under the influence of drugs.

Our first port of call must be education. To familiarise ourselves with the problem and arm ourselves with all the information we can digest and then speak it.

My thought for the day

If you are looking for the ultimate expression of the purity of love, there is no better place to look than in the sanctity of motherhood.


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A Robodebt response from a leader full of loathing

So incensed was I with the Leader of the Opposition’s response to the Royal Commissions report into the Robodebt Scheme that for a brief moment, I actually felt sorry for him.

However, in an equally brief deliberation, I realised that it was us, the people, that my sorrow was better directed. We deserved more than what Peter Dutton gave us. The Leader of the Opposition’s standing is fundamental to our democracy because he leads the alternative Government and therefore represents its philosophy and policies.

But alas, when responding to matters of importance, he attacks with all the ferocity of an angry Abbott or a lying Morrison. Let me explain his reaction to the Commission’s report in four instances.

1 “When the problems were brought to the government’s attention at the time, the program was stopped,” Mr Dutton told reporters.

FACT: The Commissioner identified the many times the scheme was found to be illegal and was never stopped. So that was a lie.

2 “I think the people of Fadden are much smarter than that – they’ve seen the personal smears against (Liberal candidate) Cameron Caldwell, they’ve seen the political advantage in the timing of the release of this report…

They’re not stupid. They can see that.”

FACT: The Government instigated the Commission, and its delivery date was decided before a bye-election became necessary. The Electoral Commission, not the Government, decided on that date, so any collusion was impossible. A lie.

3 “I caution the glee of the Prime Minister and Bill Shorten at the moment. They’ve sought to politicise this issue from day one.”

Glee means merriment, gaiety, joy, delight or cheer. Albanese and Shorten couldn’t be accused of being gleeful in all the media coverage I read or saw. Another one of your lies.

4 Dutton also accused the PM of trying to “unseal” the secret chapter of the report for political gain.

“Albanese has said he is seeking advice about whether the confidential, sealed chapter from the Commission’s report, which details these referrals, can eventually be released after further actions against named individuals and legal appeals are exhausted.”

Oops. Another lie.

Albanese can’t name anyone. He only went as far as the report would allow. Bill Shorten has also sought legal advice on revealing the names. There is no conspiracy to open any envelope.

The dilemma here is that, on the one hand, the public, after spending millions on a Royal Commission, deserves to know who was responsible for the gross mishandling of a scheme that oversaw many deaths.

On the other hand, those accused deserve the right to be innocent until proven guilty.

One cannot dispute (although Dutton doubtlessly will) that this Royal Commission was conducted with the highest ethics and integrity by Catherine Holmes, but at this point, it needs completeness. There has to be just transparency.

Heads of departments in the public service are empowered to take immediate action against public servants who are found to have acted unlawfully or incompetently, meaning that Kathryn Campbell and Renée Leon will lose their positions. So, might others. The Commissioner found adverse findings against 7 public servants.

Just who the politicians are is still unknown. Suppose there is no accountability or consequences, and the culprits remain unknown for what has transpired. If they remain unaccountable and unknown, the Commission will have achieved little other than telling our politicians they are free to continue their deception and corruption.

Of course, we have yet to determine how many names are in the sealed section of the report, but I imagine names like: Scott Morrison. Kathryn Campbell. Alan Tudge. Stuart Robert. Christian Porter. Annette Musolino. Serena Wilson. Jonathan Hutson. Mark Withnell. Paul McBride. Emma Kate McGuirk. Karen Harfield. Jason McNamara and Craig Storen would be shaking in their shoes right now.

There may be others, of course. All that can be said of these individuals other than the damming commentary in the report itself is that they are of a category of humanity that most of us are unfamiliar with.

Of the former Prime Minister, the Commission found that:

“It was Morrison’s pathological incuriosity that allowed cabinet to be deceived.

“Mr Morrison allowed Cabinet to be misled because he did not make that obvious inquiry,” Holmes’s report says. “He took the proposal to Cabinet without necessary information.”

Of Minister Alan Tudge:

“Tudge, Holmes found, was motivated by a desire to “save face” both personally and on behalf of the Government. He wanted to “minimise public embarrassment” after he had publicly trumpeted the new era of debt compliance when he became minister the year before.”

“As a minister, Mr Tudge was invested with a significant amount of public power,” the report says.

“Mr Tudge’s use of information about social security recipients in the media to distract from and discourage commentary about the scheme’s problems represented an abuse of that power.”

Of Minister Christian Porter:

“Mr Porter could not rationally have been satisfied of the legality of the Scheme on the basis of his general knowledge of the [new policy proposal] process, when he did not have actual knowledge of the content of the NPP, and had no idea whether it had said anything about the practice of income averaging,”

Minister Stuart Robert:

When Stuart Robert was appointed minister for Government Services, he was briefed on a Federal Court of Australia case concerning a Robodebt victim in which the Australian Government Solicitor had provided draft legal advice warning the scheme was almost certainly not lawful.

However, Robert:

“… denies being briefed on this advice in June 2019, but the Royal Commission does not believe him. This poses a significant problem for the former minister because it was another five months before the opinion of the solicitor-general was sought. This was the definitive, scheme-killing legal advice.”

Why was there such a long wait? Officials argue it was simply a long process:

“In the Commission’s view, none of this justifies the five-month delay in preparing and delivering the brief.”

Further, Commissioner Catherine Holmes said also that:

“… elements “appear to exist” of the little-known tort of misfeasance in public office, in detailed findings that targeted various former Coalition ministers over a scheme she described as wracked by collusion and dishonesty.”

The term misfeasance means that the victims could sue the Ministers directly.

There needs to be a form of obligation on the agencies receiving the referrals for potential civil action or criminal prosecution, the Australian federal police and the National Anti-Corruption Commission to take further action. As it stands, they need do nothing if they so desire. Therefore, I come down on the side of revealing the names of those ministers referred. They would still have the right to defend themselves.

I agree with Anthony Whealy, a former NSW Supreme Court judge and chair of The Centre for Public Integrity, who said:

“It’s better, I think, in the public interest that those people be named, and we know who they’re being referred to because I think that’s what the public is entitled to know.”

“Certainly, it’s a job unfinished … because the commission has the power to make referrals to various disciplinary or criminal agencies, and until we know exactly what it’s done in that regard, we don’t see the finished product, and therefore, I think, you know, there’s a certain air of dissatisfaction with that aspect of the outcome.”

Dutton’s response showed not the slightest concern for the victims of this corrupt and wicked scheme. He apologised to them, but it was an empty graceless apology that lacked empathy and emotion. 500 thousand Australians were affected, and 2000 committed suicide. By saying the things, he did, he put on display all the reasons why he would never make an Australian Prime Minister.

He is from the Abbott/Morrison mould that tried so hard to wreck our democracy.


Let me remind you of our immediate political past under conservative rule

Never in Australian politics did the Australian public so unintelligently elect a series of right-wing governments over a decade that were rotten, to the core, infected with hatred for the less well-off but happy with the burden they carried. So ignorant of its own incompetence. So willing to break laws and trash convention. So utterly corrupted with lying that they sometimes knew not when or why they were telling them.

So brutal toward those seeking a better life on the waves of empathy. So unsympathetic to those domestically in need of help. So full of ministers who didn’t care about the corruption that engulfed them. So unendowed with leadership were they that every decision passed through cabinet uncaringly and unquestioned.

That so many remnants of that era still exist in the ranks of conservatives must surely remind our citizens of how badly they governed. A sobering thought when the current Leader sees nothing wrong with their ideology.

My thought for the day

The previous Government’s performance in office was like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society.

PS: Commissioner Catherine Holmes said:

“It may be that the evidence in this royal Commission has gone some way to changing public perceptions. But largely, those attitudes are set by politicians, who need to abandon for good (in every sense) the narrative of taxpayer versus welfare recipient.”


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Is it possible for the Coalition to lose 35 seats? Yes, it is.

After the election of May 21 2022, I published a piece titled “Why the Conservatives cannot win the next election and why Labor will go early,” in which I wrote:

“Another reason the conservatives will be up against it in the next election is that many mature-aged voters dropped from the rolls and were replaced with a cohort of young folk seeking change. This is guaranteed to transpire again. Both parties knew it would happen sometime, but the LNP, with its born-to-rule attitude, did nothing about it.

A note of caution, though. The young are desperate for change. By that, I mean significant, meaningful transformation that excites and promotes new ways of doing things.”

Mainstream media has now also woken to this most obvious point. Historically when the polls are published, they show which age groups support whichever party; invariably, they demonstrated that older folk supported the Coalition and younger folk backed Labor and the Greens.

It meant that as older folk passed on, they would be replaced by a younger cohort more likely to support the left:

“A new analysis of voting trends by the Liberal-leaning Centre for Independent Studies has found that by the time people reached their early 50s, Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (1965-1980) were more likely to vote for a conservative party than a progressive party.”

The paper’s research suggests my thinking on this subject has been validated. The reader should think of me as something other than a political genius. It was simple. If you looked at the polls for many years, as I have, you would conclude that the young voted left and the old voted right. And that, at some time, the old would progressively die off, and the young left voters would replace them.

An analysis of the report by James Massola and Paul Sakkal for the Sydney Morning Herald suggests that:

“The Coalition could lose the next six elections because Millennials and Generation Z voters aren’t shifting towards conservatives as they age.

“The report further states that that trend is not being repeated among voters who are Millennials (1981-1995) or Generation Z (1996-2009). The percentage of Millennials shifting their vote to the Coalition is only increasing by 0.6 per cent at each election – half the speed at which Boomers and Gen Xers are shifting – which means Millennials will be in their 80s rather than their 50s before they are more likely to vote for the Coalition.

And for Generation Z, who were first eligible to vote in a federal election from 2014, support for the Coalition is falling, rather than increasing. This group is the least likely of any post-war generation to support the Coalition.”

All this analysis indicates that the Coalition could lose another 35 seats. The paper reveals that by 2040 – 70 per cent of voters will be from post-1980 generations.

The Australian Election Study proclaim to be the leading study of political attitudes and voting behaviour in Australia. Their paper examined the average primary vote for the Coalition in elections held in 1966, 1969, 1980 and from 1987 to 2022.

According to the paper’s author Matthew Taylor support for the Coalition among Millennials was increasing at a glacial rate compared to Baby Boomers and Gen X.

“If Gen Z support for the Coalition stays where it is and the generation that comes after has similarly low support, then even if Boomers, Gen X and Millennials keep shifting towards the Coalition at the rates we have seen in the past, that still isn’t enough for the Coalition to return to government in the next six elections,” he said.

After studying the report, I concluded that the Coalition has a rough sea to navigate before having any success in future elections.

Liberal Frontbencher Dan Tehan has called for a significant review of his party’s policies, saying the party needed to find better ways to prove that Liberal values were core Australian values.

They would have to do more than that, like getting rid of the blatant corruption that insinuates itself like rust throughout the party.

The Liberal Party has survived on policies aimed directly at the cohort that is now on its way to the long sleep, and those replacing them want other things from their government, like a revival of the fair go.

Added to their already substantial problems, I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people would be so gullible as to elect a government that performed so miserably for a decade.

Along the road to a new election, events will emerge to focus on the former Government’s corruption. A steady stream of bad news will be revealed before the next election. I speak of Robodebt and the long list of severe misdemeanours that will be placed before the National Anti-Corruption Commission in June. The Robodebt Royal Commission report which was handed to the Governor General yesterday is expected to be explosive (if it hasn’t been already). This can’t be good for the opposition, no matter what they say.

Of course, the best thing Labor has going for it is Peter Dutton himself. As I previously wrote, and still maintain:

“On all accounts, he thinks there is nothing wrong with the party he leads: Its philosophy, its morality, its trust, its economic credentials and its equality.

Peter Dutton is so disliked by all and Sundry that he couldn’t win an election if he started now.”

My thought for the day

I find the most objectionable feature of conservative attitudes is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge, science in other words because it dislikes some of the consequences that may flow from it.


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I dread to think about what the Royal Commission into Robodebt might conclude

I have read and watched the evidence of those involved in this sordid tale of political skulduggery, and I dread to think about what lay ahead for the chief protagonists.

In my email inbox sits the latest newsletter from the Robodebt Royal Commission. It reads as follows.

23 June 2023

“The Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme has updated a Do Not Publish order.

DNP-0022 has been updated further to include an additional exception on point (c) and (d) of page one.

Report Information

The truth shall set you free, or will it?

That is a week from now, but those like me who want justice done must wait until the Parliament sits again on Monday, 3 July. It will receive the report then and release it soon afterwards. Well, that’s what I expect to happen. A statement as inflammable as this will require the Government’s immediate attention.

The report promises to be highly explosive, with former Prime Minister Morrison, Attorney General Porter, Minister Tudge, Minister Robert, and Minister Payne facing an uncertain future. It is plain to all and sundry that some or possibly all of those mentioned will face further investigation by the Federal Police. And you can add to that a culpable public service.

Finally, the truth will emerge from an exhaustive Royal Commission by the Commissioner Catherine Holmes AC SC.

The Royal Commission was established to:

“… enquire into the establishment, design and implementation of the Robodebt scheme; the use of third-party debt collectors under the Robodebt scheme; concerns raised following the performance of the Robodebt scheme; and the intended or actual outcomes of the Robodebt scheme.”

The cruelty of the scheme, as has been widely reported:

“More than 2030 people died after receiving a Centrelink debt notice, also known as robo-debt, according to data released by the Department of Human Services.”

The Royal Commission spent over nine weeks in a Brisbane hotel ballroom cross-examining one hundred witnesses, including three former Prime Ministers. They were all sworn to tell the truth. Sometimes a little blood fell onto the dance floor.

Hours passed, and sometimes hours bled into days as public servants waited to give evidence. Politicians were forensically asked questions by a King’s Council and a former Queensland chief justice about one of the country’s most egregious failures of public administration. Arguably the worst failure in public policy in Australian political history.

The witnesses in this sordid affair were taken as far back as 2014 and questioned about emails, conversations, and even scribbled notes. In doing so, it found the origin of a government program that would unleash misery on the country’s most vulnerable.

A woman with extraordinary deftness led the Royal Commission and did what a court probably couldn’t. She wrenched open the iron gates of legal professional privilege and cabinet confidentiality to expose the passageways of power.

Why did the Government proceed with the scheme after finding it illegal? That is the big question. Who was responsible? Let’s hope Catherine Ena Holmes, AC SC, will provide the answers.

My thought for the day

Do you shape the truth for the sake of a good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down people’s view of you? Alternatively, do you use the contrivance of omission and create another lie? I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth, but there is no harm in it.


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The ugly side of politics

One of the promises made by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was that he would clean up the Parliament and make it more trustworthy. Events of the past fortnight suggest that he has so far failed abysmally. Is it his fault? No, it is not.

Well, whose then?

Firstly, it is the fault of the system and its rules. The failure to obey them is mainly the failure of men to grow up. Some of us have no control over what are, to some, men’s daily predilections: that of womanising. But some seem to have no control over that either. Sex is like a drug to some men who have trouble keeping their zippers done up.

Some seem to think flirting or an affair when away from home is a substitute, but some men become more lustful than others, forgetting that it isn’t on if it isn’t consensual. Some beautiful women are in the Houses of Parliament, but that is their luck, not the MPs.

Is it an excuse? No, it’s not. Whoever wrote the rules had better take another look and consider the examples of other organisations. Thank goodness Parliament only meets periodically, or you can imagine the problems.

We all toy with the idea of changing the world but never consider changing ourselves.

I’m not trying to be flippant here because this problem has become an unbearable and often heartbreaking problem. Especially when politics are intertwined.

Such was the case when the Liberals thought they could take the head of Finance Minister Katy Gallagher over the suggestion she had known weeks before about the Brittany Higgins allegations and had encouraged the complaint.

The ugly side of politics was about to rear its head again.

The mud-slinging began on the weekend of June 10, and debate in the House of Representatives and Senate question times over three days, amounting to nothing.

The Liberal Party had set out to prove that Gallagher had misled the Senate. They failed to prove their case, and all the old anti-women accusations came back to haunt them. The further it went, the deeper the mud became, and for the dignity of the House, Peter Dutton should have backed off. Foolishly he didn’t; Lidia Thorpe fearlessly spoke her mind in the Senate, and all hell broke loose.

Then on Wednesday, Senator Thorpe used parliamentary privilege to constantly interrupt Victorian Senator (while speaking about the Higgins accusations of all things) David Van to allege that he had sexually assaulted her in a stairwell at Parliament House. He, of course, denied the charge. She later withdrew under Senate rules but returned later to hone in on her indictment, giving Senator Van a decent tongue-lashing.

Not long after, former Senator Amanda Stoker calls Dutton to tell him that the same Senator Van had “inappropriately touched” her at a social function in 2020. It was then he made the decision to expel Van from the federal Liberal party room.

Dutton said another person had complained about the Senator, but he couldn’t disclose any details. Sounds rather convenient, but let’s move on.

Then Senator Van decides that he will sit as an independent now that he, as a consequence of those events mentioned earlier, had been dismissed from the party.

On the Sunday following all this Liberal Party head-hunting and shame, National Party Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie appears on ABC Insiders to tell David Speers what a wonderful thing it is to have such a strong and concerned leader.

“We know that both the Labor party, One Nation, the Greens, the Liberal party, all political parties have faced these type of internal challenges over the recent past and for a leader to be so decisive, I think was a testament to his strength of feeling around these matters, though.”

I think there was a lot of cheers silently across parliamentary offices with such decisive action being taken by a leader.”

Memories of how decisively brutish Mr Dutton had been in his former portfolios and his capriciousness in never displaying empathy toward others came to mind.

That wasn’t all. Bridget also indicated during the interview that people in her electorate had come forward and highlighted instances of sexual harassment or abuse, but she always kept them confidential.

Now, isn’t that what they were accusing Gallagher of?

On Tuesday, June 20, the Prime Minister suggested that the newspapers that published the original text messages in the Brittany Higgins case may have broken the law.

The Opposition Leader, his party and the gutter media had set out to take Gallagher’s head, but instead, they lost one of their own. In doing so, they had once again displayed that when it comes to women, the Liberal Party is nothing but a bunch of conservative middle-aged males who have an incubus attitude toward women.

I’m sure all parties would have found it restorative when the Prime Minister announced his intention to cleanse the Parliament of its Abbott/Morrison disregard for rules and conventions.

I even naively thought that the Liberal and National parties would take to heart their May 21, 2022, defeat and reform. After all, the Opposition leader had indicated his desire to become softer and more gentle.

However, I recall Dutton saying nothing was wrong with Liberal philosophy, manners and culture. And so, life goes on in the Liberal Party room. Nothing has changed. Nothing will. If he isn’t some “extreme right-wing person,” what is he, and who does he represent?

Here is an example of a promise too hard to keep:

Question Time continues to be the bear pit it has always been. It is devoid of wit, humour, words of intelligence and those with the eloquence and debating skills to give them meaning. Mainly it embraces maleness that believes in conflict as a means of political supremacy over and above the pursuit of excellence in an argument.

It certainly is one of the ugly sides of politics.

My thought for the day

Humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement. However, it is the truth that enables human progress.


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We cannot let racism decide

Racism is:

“… the process by which systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. Racism is more than just prejudice in thought or action. It occurs when this prejudice – whether individual or institutional – is accompanied by the power to discriminate against, oppress or limit the rights of others.”

Please have patience before I get to the point of my piece.

I once asked on these pages what the difference is between the purpose of life and the reason for it. It was a few years ago, and many people attempted an answer.

My answer was that, on the one hand, the reason for life was procreation, the continuation of the species. On the other, I concluded that the purpose must be that there isn’t any. Well, nothing specific.

I received answers from all manner of people: Folk of different ethnicities, standards of learning and backgrounds.

Sadly, the answers were wrapped in predictability and needed to provide me with what I sought. However, what stood out in their predictability was just how much of our thinking is influenced by our backgrounds.

Racism, for example. Our culture, family, leaders, religion (or lack thereof) and society we live in. Our work and education. Our wealth or lack of it. Our country of origin. All these things impact or even control who we are and what we think. They are more often than not passed on to us but can easily be acquired by any of the means mentioned above.

So shaped are we by all these behaviours that the question “What is the purpose of life?” is an impossible quest but fascinating, nonetheless.

Or the answers one does get are always interconnected to one or some of these persuaders. Mainly though, it is passed on. Somewhere in those baffling thoughts, which are just as mysterious, lies the question of why people are racist. The Bible tells us that it is because of the sins of the Fathers.

Indeed, it’s a sad day for Australia when an opposition leader plays the race card to prevent our First Nations people from being included in our Constitution and, secondly, from having a voice in the Parliament.

This rejection can be seen in many ways, but overwhelmingly, it is racist. We are often told, mainly by our politicians, that we are the most successful multi-racial country in the world. I think the USA should receive that title but let’s move on.

In Australia, conservative politicians have never hesitated to abuse those seeking asylum if it suited their purpose or those who originally occupied the earth they walked on.

We occasionally allowed the former to die, and the latter we have murdered or permitted to die in custody.

We have used any means to oppress those seeking a better life.

Lying, misinformation, lying by omission, subliminally implied suggestions, straightforward propaganda, deliberate scare campaigning and any form of untruthful communication have become the norm in how conservative politicians and the right-wing media converse with the public.

So typical and long applied has this form of racism become that we are now unquestioning of it.

Regardless of the facts, playing the race card is now everyday practice for the Liberal/National Parties. Remember, Peter Dutton said African gangs were wreaking havoc” in Victoria. Sudanese particularly. With his election as leader of the Liberal Party, he brought many accusations of racism. He had form, as we say.

Do you recall Andrew Bolt’s tirade against Adam Goodes? I think I wrote convincingly, pointing out the writer’s factual errors.

Robert Brown wrote in a letter to The Age on the 13th of June:

“Does Peter Dutton realise that “defeat for the proposed establishment of an advisory body means a lasting setback for reconciliation”, and does he accept his responsibility to the First Nations people and the reputation of the country if this was to be.”

Writing for The Guardian this week, Peter Lewis said that:

“Since then, the Hard Nos have brewed up an ungodly gumbo of fear and loathing: Dutton’s disingenuous demands for detail, alarmist accusations of apartheid, the “look what you are made me do” Stan Grant pile-on, anything to shift focus away from what the upcoming referendum is actually about: recognition and respect.”

At the time of the Goodes’ controversy, I wrote many words on racism and its effect on society. I pointed out the lies Bolt told in reporting the incident at the MCG and the claims by several politicians that violent African gangs were “wreaking havoc” in Victoria.

I shared my own experience of confronting racism at a football match and at basketball matches.

At the time of the accusations, gangs were “wreaking havoc” in Victoria, Waleed Aly reported in a video piece many statistics that placed question marks on recent claims by several politicians that violent African gangs were wreaking havoc on Victorian society.

I have asked many times on social media what specific Australian values are not universally held by other social democracies. I have never had an answer.

Perchance, in London, at the time, Multicultural Minister Alan Tudge, in a speech to the Australia/UK Leadership Forum, suggested a “values” test to fend off “segregation.” The Government was also considering adding the values test for those considering permanent residency to protect its “extraordinarily successful” multicultural society.

“Segregation!?” I dislike the word intently for the images it places before one’s eyes. Still, nevertheless, it is something we have practised for as long as racism has existed and is as crude as life itself can be.

When the Italians came to Melbourne they gathered together in Brunswick, the Greeks in Carlton and the Vietnamese in Springvale, and the Chinese are now in Box Hill. And Indians, well, they are everywhere. Then over time, they will rust into the mechanics of general society.

Some of the challenges to social cohesion today are made less easy by politicians with heinous motives and racist hearts.

Propaganda aims to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

A decade of LNP governance resulted in a suitcase of conservative bigotry and racism that they have never unpacked and show little effort to do so.

Australian politicians currently have a low trust rating. When people in the LNP who are not necessarily racist deliberately play the race card, they shame themselves and the nation.

Growing up as a small boy in slummy Brunswick, I witnessed this thoughtless small-mindedness. I was told not to walk to school on the side of the street where the Jews lived, but I happily sought their friendship when I arrived.

I lived through the period of Italian and Greek immigration when most Australians, through their ignorance, looked upon them with disdain. Later they celebrated the marriage of their sons and daughters to them, even overlooking a religious divide.

I celebrated as Australia began to absorb the breathtaking contributions of these nationalities that saw us grow as a nation.

Along the way, there were tensions, but they never stopped the Advance of Australia fair.

I observed the advent of Asian immigration and all the recycled hatred, only to see it vanish like the Greek and Italian animosity.

Now we are confronted with yet more odious loathing. This time it is directed at those from Africa. It doesn’t matter what their country of origin if they are Muslim, they will suffer the entire thrust of minorities xenophobia. As 99 per cent of Muslims want peace, so do 99 per cent of Australians.

We have a long history of finding fault with things we don’t understand. At various times we have blamed communists, Jews, women, the devil, indigenous people and, witches, even God for those things beyond our comprehension.

I have been privy to history’s recording of these matters. I am angry with the stupidity of Pauline Hanson. I loathe the inhumanity of Dutton, who would seek to deny our First Nations people the most minor steps toward reconciliation.

Sitting on the platform at Flinders Street Station and watching the passing parade of ethnicity, I can only admire a country I could never envisage from the same seat in the 1950s, even with its rampant racism.

My thought for the day

One side of me wants to hate human beings like Peter Dutton. The other wants to forgive them, for they know not what they do.


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Are you listening to The Voice and what it’s really saying? (Part two)

Continued from Part 1

Peter Dutton’s motives for supporting the No vote are questionable. I devoted most of part one to the character of the man who will lead the No vote. I did so because it is essential to question the motives of those who lead Conservative parties. I have concluded that (as part one shows) Peter Dutton has no moral ethics and that, in their absence, he is saying No for purely political reasons.

He and his Coalition partner, the Nationals, stand between justice for our First Nations people and continuing the status quo. As is usual in these circumstances, they offer no alternatives to what they oppose.

It is fair to say that in my lifetime, governments of both shades spent many billions of dollars seeking to improve the lives of Aboriginal folk. However, the programmes were devised by whites and implemented by them. It is also fair to say that many programmes failed for that reason.

Our First Nations people are asking first that they are recognised for what they are; the descendants of those who inhabited the lands for thousands of years. They would expect this be noted in our Constitution. Most of us, those who believe in a fair go, would agree.

Those who don’t are throwing spurious objections that are false or fake and intended to confuse the listener or reader.

Secondly, they ask that they be given a ‘voice’: One that will go directly to Parliament and be heard by those who make decisions. Parliament would not tolerate frivolous propositions and ambient claims. Thought-through proposals would be considered on merit, accepted or rejected.

It is a simple request for the First Nations people. There is nothing sinister to read into it. After long and thoughtful consideration, they have requested that they have a say in their future and be recognised in our Constitution.

Adding logic to the debate, Mark Kenny recently wrote that:

“It was not right-wing cowardice that defeated apartheid but moral clarity and fierce purpose. It came from Nelson Mandella, Steve and Ntsiki Biko, and countless others.”

Let us take a little time to examine what is meant by “moral clarity and fierce purpose” Kenny wrote (above) concerning the Voice.

We’ll start at the explanation of the referendum question and constitutional amendment:

Referendum question

On referendum day, voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question. Subject to the Parliament’s approval, the question on the ballot paper will be:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

Constitutional amendment

The proposed law that Australians are being asked to approve at the referendum would insert the following lines into the Constitution:

“Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

  1. there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
  2. the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  3. the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”

Constitution Alteration Bill

The Government has introduced the Constitution Alteration Bill into Parliament. The Bill sets the question that will be put to the Australian people later this year and includes the proposed alteration to the Constitution.

A Joint Parliamentary Committee will consider the Bill and report by 15 May 2023. Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

You can follow the progress on the Constitution Alteration Bill on the Parliament of Australia website.

Referendum 2023


There it is. It’s so clear-cut and easy to follow that blind Freddy could understand it. So why is Peter Dutton so intent on wrecking something that should have been done and dusted twenty years ago?

In his unwarranted attacks on the Voice, the Opposition Leader suggested it would re-racialise Australia. I must admit I hadn’t come across the phrase before. However, it may confirm thoughts he may have had when he so shamefully turned his back and walked out on the National Apology in 2008.

The concept of a Voice is but a step away from a treaty, so Dutton would also take down any hope of an accord or a republic.

Many in his party agree with Dutton’s sentiments, but they are from the Trumpish, brutal right flank of conservatives. Others ostensibly can see that the Voice is an opportunity to heal the divisions of the past.

It is also about truth-telling, recognising, listening and talking. If Dutton cannot identify those virtues, he has no place in Parliament, now or in the future.

It worries me; no, it disturbs me that now a little over a year since Labor won the election, no word of regret for their many failures (those who committed suicide or others hurt by their lack of empathy) has been uttered by anyone in the Opposition. Instead, its leader has indicated that he intends to take his party further right.

Admitting that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to starting anew, redefining who you are and what you and your party stand for. Dutton has yet to do this. Instead, he has opted to sabotage an idea put forward in good faith. One that would resolve generations of angst. After scaring the life out of decent people, will he drive them six miles out of town and let them find their way back.



My thought for the day

The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth, and reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.



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Are you listening to the Voice and what it’s really saying?

The muddying of the waters has begun. As did Howard and Abbott with the Republic referendum, Peter Dutton and others have taken another step in dirtying what was once a crystal-clear attempt to give the First Nations people a say in matters concerning their future.

The go-to tool of the provocateur is fear. And although we have nothing to fear but fear itself, we have witnessed, of late, all the signs that signal a fear campaign from Dutton and his acolytes against the Voice.

Extreme anger, outrageous indistinguishability and narcissistic behaviour usually accompany fear. We should have no fear of the extent those who oppose the Voice will go to prevent any advancement of Aboriginal norms.

Does fear work? My word, it does, provided people are fearful.

We recently had the spectacle of a former Australian Prime Minister, Multiple Ministries Morrison, the debaucher of Westminster conventions, defending them when applied to the Aboriginal race. On top of that, Dutton shirt fronted the “divisive, disrupting and democracy- alterating Canberra- based Voice”, saying it would “re-racialize Australia“.

All this fear against a proposal overseen and designed by the Parliament. So ridiculous and fearful was Dutton that he went further. An outburst of shrill mouth syndrome occurred on May 31.

“It would have an Orwellian effect where all Australians are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

What scintilla of evidence supports this statement? Is he telling us that his party is officially further to the right under his leadership? He went on to say.

“… instead of being “one” we will be divided, in spirit, and in law.”

When asked, but a few months ago, Dutton couldn’t explain just where his mind was regarding the Voice.

Now he thinks he knows the mind of the entire nation.

Maybe this sudden burst of outlandish language is meant to tell the truth about his walking out of Rudd’s 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generation. Was he wiping the table clean, waiting for this opportunity?

All this anti-Voice propaganda is being fed to us on social media in bulk – shitloads of it, daily racist thoughts for the unthinking citizen feeling intimidated by fear itself. I am tossing up between my country’s history and its future.

The drivel flows thick and fast on muddy waters sullied by racism.

  • “Sorry, can’t support racism in any form. #VoteNo.”
  • “I cannot support the mechanism of slavery.”
  • “Being a good citizen means saying no to racism and apartheid.”
  • “Safety first, Vote no for a better future.

The subtlety of these seemingly innocent words would seem harmless, but they are full of racism. The sort that Vance Packard might call “Hidden Persuaders“.

Good moral leaders wouldn’t go near these sorts of unethical propaganda methods, but as Howard and Abbott did in 1999, Dutton has no misgivings in doing so.

Dutton, of course, has a long history of antagonism when it comes to putting down disadvantaged people. He has form, as they say. Here’s an example of his ‘form’, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Inappropriate rising sea jokes, comments on Muslim Lebanese immigration, Manus Island and his lie about a 5-year-old boy.

He granted a visa to another au pair, despite his department warning him that she was at risk of breaching her work conditions on her tourist visa.

In 2015, Dutton denied claims made by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that she was spied on during a visit to Nauru. She was.

Before the 2016 election, Dutton said of refugees, “Many… won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English.”

In a 2015 poll by Australian Doctor magazine, based on votes from over 1,100 doctors, Dutton was voted the worst health minister in the last 35 years by 46 per cent of respondents.

In March 2018, Dutton made calls to treat white South African farmers as refugees, stating that “they need help from a civilized country.”

As both Immigration Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has defended an amendment to the Migration Act 1958 that facilitates the denial or cancellation of Australian visas for non-citizens on “character” grounds.

New Zealand nationals living in Australia were disproportionately affected by this “character test”, with over 1,300 New Zealanders being deported from Australia between January 2015 and July 2018.

Professor Patrick Keyzer and Dave Martin of La Trobe University criticized Dutton’s pedophilia remarks as misleading. He contended that most deportees from Australia had spent most of their lives in Australia and had little ties to New Zealand.

In September 2019, Dutton called the two children of the Biloela family “anchor babies.”

In October and November 2019, Dutton expressed his views on protesters and police response. He stated that when protesters break the law. “There needs to be mandatory or minimum sentences imposed.

In November 2019, Dutton said that the States should make protesters pay for the cost of police response to demonstrations.

In December 2019, Dutton announced that airport security measures would be increased to detect, deter and respond to potential threats to aviation safety. Measures include greater use of canines and the deployment of extra protective services personnel armed with MK18 short-barrelled rifles.

In March 2021, Dutton was appointed Minister for Defence. On May 21, 2021, Dutton directed the department and serving military personnel to stop pursuing a “woke agenda” and cease holding events to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, where staff wore rainbow clothing.

In November 2021, he branded former Prime Minister Paul Keating as “Grand Appeaser Comrade Keating.”

On June 16 2021, in the Federal Court, Justice Richard White ordered Dutton to attend mediation over a defamation suit he brought against refugee activist Shane Bazzi over a tweet calling him a “rape apologist”. In August 2020, it was announced this mediation had failed.

In January 2018, Dutton said that people in Melbourne are scared of going out because of “gang violence” involving African Australians but were “ridiculed” for it by people who live in Melbourne.

Dutton opposes any changes to negative gearing, which offers tax breaks to property investors, saying in May 2017 that changing it would harm the economy. He owns six properties with his wife, including a shopping centre in Townsville.

He opposes the Australian Republic and supports Australian school kids taking the Oath of Allegiance in schools, as new Australian citizens do.

His actions publicly have been in opposition to same-sex marriage.

Dutton supports the intake of white refugees fleeing the South African farm attacks. In 2018, amid pressure from the South African Australian community for a unique immigration intake for their family members, he declared that Afrikaners required refugee status in Australia because of the high level of violent crime in South Africa and “the horrific circumstances they face” in South Africa.

My backgrounding of Dutton is to highlight the character of the man leading the NO campaign in this referendum.

The Opposition Leader is orchestrating a not-so-thinly disguised plan to con the Australian people into believing they have something to fear from amending the constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Continued tomorrow: How Dutton plans to scare the shit out of you.

My thought for the day

We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is part of the very fabric of our existence.


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The rebirth of Donald Trump has biblical overtones, but can he win?

Who else but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be game enough to shape up to Donald Trump? A man who encouraged a pack of lowlifes to overthrow the Government because he felt (and still does) he had been robbed of a presidential victory. Millions of his followers side with him, despite the evidence to the contrary.

One thousand men have been charged, and one hundred have been convicted over the invasion by supporters of then-President Donald Trump when they swarmed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021

He is the only President in history to be impeached twice.

A jury of six men and three women recently awarded the writer E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages after finding him guilty of sexual abuse and defamation. Trump called the verdict a “disgrace“. Carroll now seeks an additional $10 million after the former President called her a “whack job” in a town hall meeting.

It gets worse. He will also:

“… face a criminal trial on March 25, 2024, over charges he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

That means Trump will be going on trial during the heart of the 2024 presidential nominating primaries, when he and his rivals to be the Republican candidate will be criss-crossing the country to drum up support among the party faithful.”

And so the story of this brainless cote continues. Trump is now in his second coming. Like Lazarath, he has risen from the dead to again challenge for the Presidency.

His first coming was like that of a Messiah, “I am the way the truth and the life“. Without wanting in any way to compare him with Jesus, one cannot but help to notice the similarities with Trump’s messianic messages.

Jesus was a messiah who wanted to rid the world of its sin, whereas Trump sang “My Way”, as if he had some sort of ownership of righteousness.

I’m not suggesting comparisons of virtue, but analogies of each one’s place in the world say that Jesus was all grace, compassion, and forgiveness. Trump had narcissism deeply embedded in the maze that is his brain. He admitted to being a genius. It’s my way, my truth, and only I can restore the great American dream.

Who but a narcissist would say such things? Who but a climate denialist would appoint acolytes with a long history of climate denialism to his cabinet?

But his troubles mount:

“In April, the New York Times reported that in an extraordinary appearance at the Criminal Courts Building in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, Mr Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to his role in what prosecutors described as a hush-money scheme to clear his path to the Presidency in 2016.”

More will be added, yet this man with a “mental illness” will again run for President of the United States despite all his abuse, convictions, lies, and denial.

Only a sick man who thinks he is “the way, the truth and the life” would dismiss an established scientific view without training in climate change. In fact, one would have to be gullible in the extreme to do so.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps it takes a man with a messianic message that says, “Greed is good.” That nothing, repeat nothing, comes before the great American dream of the land of milk and honey. That everyone is entitled to be rich above and beyond all other considerations. That regulations only get in the way. Science has a place if it enhances wealth, but it must be ignored if it prevents it.

Only a man who thinks he is some sort of capitalist Messiah would say such things. He had a cabinet of old white men and a few women who followed the Messiah’s teaching, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” In their lust for wealth before enlightenment they created an arrogance beyond measure; a vulgar display of wealth and success designed to impress a world in meltdown.

The former President is a recorded serial liar, yet millions still believe him and will vote for him. Only in America.

During his years in office Trump made the most outrageous claims to exaggerate the extent of his accomplishments. He overstated his achievements on everything from tax reform to manufacturing investments.

Venerable writer and commentator Robert Reich has likened him to Senator Joe McCarthy, who called hundreds of people communists during the 50s, thus ruining many lives. McCarthy’s advisor was attorney Roy Cohn, an expert at character assassination and mentor to Donald Trump.

Can this seriously flawed sex-crazed excuse for manhood win the Presidency in 2024? Currently, incumbent President Joe Biden is the favourite at most betting agencies. Biden has around +135 election odds. Donald Trump is about +250 at most sportsbooks, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is +550.

As an outsider, I find it disturbing that a political party like the GOP, or any political party, would allow a person with Trump’s gutter personality to represent it, knowing what they know. And secondly, how is it that a country like the United States of America is so embracing of his condition that its people might reelect him regardless of his questionable mental capacity.

Can he win? I don’t know. Strange things happen in a country that allows its children to be murdered in its schools. Where religion dominates its politics and its debt reaches thirty-five trillion dollars. Where black lives don’t matter, and women don’t either.

“Only in America” rings true.

My thought for the day

American exceptionalism is a concept that should not be included in the same sentence as making America great again.


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Why the Conservatives cannot win the next election and why Labor will go early

You are probably thinking, referring to the headline, that it is a stupid thing to say, and on the one hand, you might be right given the Government still has two years to serve. On the other, going early when your chances of winning are second to none is a good idea.

The Constitution provides that:

“… terms for the House of Representatives continue for a maximum of three years from the first meeting of the House after an election. This means that a Federal Election for the House of Representatives may be called at any time in the three years following the first sitting of the House. The Governor-General may also dissolve the House sooner than the three-year term.

The latest possible date of the next election is within 68 days from the expiry of the House. As the 47th Parliament first met on Tuesday, July 26 2022, it is due to expire on Friday, July 25 2025. The election for the House of Representatives must therefore be held by September 27 2025, the last Saturday within these 68 days. However, elections are generally called well before constitutionally or legally necessary.”

To make it clear, I support fixed election dates with 3-year terms, but in this instance, my support for an extended period of punishment for the conservative side of politics is as important to me as it is rising every day. And at my age, that is important.

Now, allow me to put this into perspective. After almost ten years of the worst kind of grossly offensive governance, the Liberal and National parties lost the 2022 election on May 21.

In the time that has elapsed since that date, not once have I heard from the lips of a conservative politician any form of regret or apology, even remorse or shame. On the contrary, we have been served a recipe of poached platitudes, banalities and lies.

To listen to them is like listening to those who cannot express themselves adequately and repetitively mumble, “but we were still born to rule.”

People will, over time, forget their crimes of corruption, the scandals and their men of mad, destructive political beliefs and decisions. Of inequality toward women and lacking equality of opportunity. All of which have been identified in various media over the years and will now be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

We must do as I am now, reminding everyone of how foolish and rotten they were. Then repeating it repeatedly because another ten years would be unbearable and disastrous for our nation.

And this is why we must remind the electorate right up to the next election and beyond. Now you ask what would prevent another Luddite period of (mostly) men.

Going early is not uncommon. It allows you to govern for five straight years in circumstances primarily to your benefit. It will enable you to fulfil promises in an unfulfilled, more orderly manner.

An early election campaign creates the opportunity to remind the punters of just how deplorable the conservatives governed.

Another reason the conservatives will be up against it in the next election is that many mature-aged voters dropped from the rolls and were replaced with a cohort of young folk seeking change. This is guaranteed to transpire again. Both parties knew this would happen sometime, but the LNP did nothing about it. A note of caution is that the young are desperate for change. By that, I mean significant, meaningful change that excites and promotes new ways of doing things.

Women still feel ostracised by a party that showed them an indifference that harks from an Elizabethan period when women weren’t allowed to vote or inherit. Labor needs to remind women of the LNP’s misogyny and unrefined manners.

On the road to a new election, events will emerge to focus on the former Government’s corruption. A steady stream of bad news will be revealed on the road to the latest election. I speak of Robodebt and the long list of severe misdemeanours that will be placed before the NACC in June. The Robodebt Royal Commission report will be handed to the Governor General in mid-July. The report is expected to be explosive.

Of course, the best thing Labor has going for it, is Peter Dutton himself. On all accounts, he thinks there is nothing wrong with the party he leads. Its philosophy, its morality, its trust, its economic credentials and its equality. Peter Dutton is so disliked by all and sundry that he couldn’t win an election if he started now.

Having said all this, it must be noted that there is much to do. Labor’s first year has also seen many challenges.

Inflation is still high, as are interest rates, the cost of living is higher than it should be, and housing and rents are also high. Most of this mess the Government has inherited from the LNP. Much of it has come from events beyond Labor’s control, eg the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

Then there is The Voice referendum. If it were to pass despite Peter Dutton’s hatchet job, it would give our First Nations people a voice in their future and allow Labor a free hand to complete its agenda. Dutton, in dismissing any form of bipartisanship, has played to form.

Labor has fulfilled 18 of its significant commitments, whilst others, like The Voice are a work in progress, and some are on hold pending the release of reports.

While writing, I also had Question Time playing on my iPad. The deputy leader of the Liberal Party, Susan Ley, asked the Prime Minister a question that she couldn’t seem to make coherent. The House burst into laughter at its stupidity. The Prime Minister admirably addressed it by calling it a salad, which I thought; “That the word salad sums up this Opposition.” It’s a combination of many ingredients. I’ll leave the dressing with you.

Later this year, Labor must announce significant changes leading into a fresh election. One that will cement the middle ground and a further three years.

My thought for the day

We can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things.


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China, the United States, and us

Some people can easily remember what they were doing at the time of significant events. The shooting of John F Kennedy or John Lennon. Or The moon landing. Or what they were doing when the twin towers were attacked or the unlawful invasion of Iraq? There are others, of course.

The exactness of where l was and what l was doing at the time of any of the events mentioned above escapes me, but their importance doesn’t. In particular, l can vividly recollect 911 and its aftermath. On the Sunday morning following the horrific event, l was astonished when we attended our local church, and the youthful Pastor made scant mention of the shocking occurrence and the resulting lives lost.

When it became evident that the subject would be secondary to the Pastor’s prepared sermon, we left in disgust and went to another nearby church where we were confident the issue would get a fair airing.

We didn’t require an injection of American political propaganda or exceptionalism. We were more interested in the human aspects. Words that might provide some comfort together with our compassion for the lives lost and the families overwhelmed with shock and grief – words compelling us to think about the present and future consequences.

Take the following, for example:

“The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was the military conflict of the American Revolution.

American Patriot forces under George Washington’s command defeated the British, establishing and securing the independence of the United States.”

History further tells us that since 1776 the U.S.A. has been at war for 93% of the time it has existed.

And that:

“Incomplete statistics show that from the end of World War II to 2001, among the 248 armed conflicts that occurred in 153 regions of the world, 201 were initiated by the United States.”

These include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Kosovo War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, and the Syrian War.

“According to a report released in March 2021 by Code Pink, a U.S. anti-war group, the United States and its allies have consistently bombed other countries over the past 20 years, dropping an average of more than 40 bombs daily.

Statistics also show over the past two decades, the so-called anti-terror wars waged by the United States have cost more than 929,000 lives.”

It would be unfair to blame all these incursions on the U.S. alone. After World War 2, when the world was divided into East versus West, America became the cop on the beat or the policeman of the world, intervening in other country’s affairs when a threat of Communism loomed. Cuba is but one example, namely the Cuban missile crisis.

Often America has borne the cost in lives and money of these conflicts. However, with the demise of the USSR and the rise of China as a superpower to match the United States, we have a competition of philosophy.


American capitalistic democracy Vs Chinese capitalistic dictated Communism

In trying to determine right and wrong, two factors must be considered.

On the one hand, the erosion of western democracy has been deplorable since the end of the second world war. On the other, China’s rise (despite becoming a dictatorship) over the past 40 years has been extraordinarily impressive.

China has achieved this without significant conflict. So, China is planning to re-shape the international order resembling itself.

“China has broken new ground in its diplomatic endeavours amid profound global changes and turned crises into opportunities amid complex situations on the international stage. These efforts have resulted in a marked increase in China’s international influence, appeal, and power to shape.”

The decline in real American Democracy began with the emergence of the neo-cons and Ronald Reagan, which saw a rise in the influence of fundamentalist Christian religion. Reagan gave them a licence to become involved in politics, and a slow path toward Trumpism began.

The likes of Carle Rove influenced the born-again Christian George W Bush, who had a distorted view of American exceptionalism.

I am often staggered with the vigour American atheists use to confront religion. However, when one examines the conduct of religious institutions in that country, I cannot say I am the least surprised.

In Australia, the LNP under John Howard began to rip our Democracy asunder. When they got the chance after a short break with Labor, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison completed the job. Howard’s action in joining America in Iraq relied entirely on their evidence that it had weapons of mass destruction. It did not, and Howard never asked the question; “Please double-check your information.”

So when debating the rights and wrongs of purchasing submarines and being aligned with the United States and England, the average Australian has much to chew over.

Are we safer with the involvement of America and England and with ANSUS but without guaranteeing they would support us in times of trouble, remembering they have an America First philosophy? Or would it have been better to develop our relationship with China while maintaining those with the U.S.?

In doing so, nobody should ignore the thoughts of Paul Keating. He at least has the guts to put forward views that, whilst they may irritate, are worthy of consideration.

For Australia to blindly align itself with the United States when the possibility that Donald Trump’s madness might again return to lead the conservative party is coloured red with danger.

America is a precarious democracy, hardly able to manage its affairs, let alone anyone else’s.

America may be the most advanced technological nation on earth. However, its social progress on matters of great moral importance is still fighting its way out of the dark ages when mysticism was rampant.

If we had been trying to enrich our thinking and diplomacy with China instead of pandering to the United States, we might have been in a better strategic position.

Moreover, we wouldn’t be facing the conundrum we now are.

My thought for the day

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we can discern and understand the potential for the good within us?


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Denying First Nations people a voice will achieve nothing

For some reason, I find myself yet again writing about this referendum. Why can’t people comprehend the simplicity of it? Is it because Aboriginal people solely occupied Australia before white people came along? “They didn’t own the land: The land owned them” (as our editor would say).

Two contrasting Redfern occasions

On the occasion of the “International year for the world’s indigenous people,” Paul Keating delivered a speech that later became known as the “Redfern address” (delivered on 10 December 1992) and is considered one of the finest political addresses ever. It was 1992.

Here is a short extract:

“Isn’t it reasonable to say that if we can build a prosperous and remarkably harmonious multicultural society in Australia, surely, we can find just solutions to the problems which beset the first Australians, the people to whom the most injustice has been done.

And, as I say, the starting point might be to recognise that the problem starts with us non-Aboriginal Australians.

It begins, I think, with that act of recognition, recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing.

We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.

We brought the diseases – the alcohol.

We committed the murders.

We took the children from their mothers.

We practised discrimination and exclusion.

It was our ignorance and our prejudice.

And our failure to imagine these things being done to us.

With some noble exceptions, we failed to make the most basic human response and enter into their hearts and minds.

We failed to ask how would I feel if this were done to me?

As a consequence, we failed to see that what we were doing degraded all of us.

If we needed a reminder of this, we received it this year.

The Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal -Deaths. in Custody showed with devastating clarity that the past lives on in inequality, racism and injustice.

In the prejudice and ignorance of non-Aboriginal Australians, and-in the demoralisation and desperation, the fractured identity, of so many Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

For all this, I do not believe that the Report should fill us with guilt. Down the years, there has been no shortage of guilt, but it has not produced the responses we need.

Guilt is not a very constructive emotion.

I think what we need to do is open our hearts a bit.

All of us.

Perhaps when we recognise what we have in common we will see the things which must be done, the practical things.

We have to give meaning to “justice” and “equity” and, as I have said several times this year, we will only give

them meaning when we commit ourselves to achieving concrete results.

The Mabo Judgement should be seen as one of these.

By doing away with the bizarre conceit that this continent had no owners prior to the settlement of Europeans, Maba establishes a fundamental truth and lays the basis for justice.”

Yes, it was delivered 31 years ago. It was Keating’s address, of course, but his speech writer Don Watson deserves credit for his finely attuned words that were so very much in tune with the truth.

That truth is as indisputable today as it was then. We have been trying to recognise that our First Nations people are just as good at sorting through problems as we are. We have failed because we have not grasped the thinking of the heart.

Some white people want Aboriginal people to live with us under our thinking without recognising that they, not us, are the rightful custodians of this land. They have life and death invested in it. We are but bystanders to their history.

All they desire is for their unique credentials to be recognised in our constitution. It is a cry from the heart for their own voice.

In practicable terms, we, the whites, have failed to improve their lot. For decade upon decade, we have imposed on them a philosophy of superiority. We know what is best for you. And we have spent billions on our “knowing best.”

Our First Nations folk want any opportunity to have a say in the future of any government decision that affects them or, indeed, to raise matters that do. To have a voice in their concerns is a paramount right for any First Nations people. So far, we have failed them and, in so doing, told them that we are righteous. Know your place.

Are you doing what is essential? What you believe in, or have you just adjusted to what you are doing?

Even though Aboriginal leaders are still finalising their crucial advice to the cabinet, the government plans to progress two bills to set up the Indigenous voice referendum in this two-week sitting:

“The referendum working group was expected to confirm its advice to government on the exact wording of the question and the constitutional amendment on Thursday. But a communique from its meeting in Adelaide, issued by Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney’s office, said the process was still ongoing.”

And as is familiar with conservatives, minor issues are being raised to delay, frustrate and confuse humanely genuine people.

In our humanity – the concoction of who we are. The most crucial ingredient is hope. Together with love, they make the perfect recipe.

My concern, however, is related to the original headline of this piece:

“Denying our first nations folk a voice might bring about consequences of a new militancy that would worsen matters.”

I am concerned that saying no by a large majority or a small minority or one state voting no might open the door to a new militancy that might eclipse the 2004 Redfern riots in its fury.

Those who remember the “Redfern riots” will remember the thousands of people who assembled in Redfern, which was described by the Sapien website as an:

“… impoverished area, with a relatively high concentration of public housing, where the local Aboriginal community has been commonly associated with criminality and violence.”

The Redfern Riots began with the death of a teenage boy being pursued by police. His name was “T.J.” Hickey. He was riding his bike, being pursued by police, when he hit a gutter, was flung into the air and came down on a fence. Another view is that he was being followed. He was impaled on the fence, causing penetrating injuries to his neck and chest. He was a first nations lad of 17. The date was Saturday 14 February 2004.

Would a no-vote be accepted with calm indignation, or would the more militant show their rejection in an avalanche of unwelcomed rioting like Redfern? Only history knows.

Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism.

No doubt our First Nations people will start with high expectations. Why shouldn’t they? They have a government that wants the yes vote to prevail as much as they do. Most people do, I think.

The thought of what the Leader of the Opposition might do leaves me looking for my Valium.

My thought for the day

When you push people beyond their capacity to understand their victimisation, you can hardly expect them, during demonstrations, to behave with any form of sound judgement.


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