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Bill Shorten’s Address at ALP National Conference on Asylum Seeker Policy – Key points

Below is the video of Bill Shorten’s address at the Labor Conference, regarding Asylum Seeker and immigration policies. Key points from the address are listed below:

Key Points:

  • Immigration has been one of the secrets of Australia’s success.
  • Shorten believes in a new direction for Australia’s immigration policies
  • Accept more refugees and ensure we treat refugees more humanely
  • Shorten guarantees to keep closed the lethal journey between Java and Christmas Island, which claims lives.
  • Australia can be the greater, kinder nation, we want our children to see.
  • A Labor Govt will keep more people safe in a more humane way
    • Safe from persecution by dictatorial regimes
    • Safe from the exploitation of criminal people smugglers who prey upon the vulnerable.
    • Safe from abuse in facilities which even fail to meet the basic standard of decency
    • Safe from losing people they love from having families torn apart from drownings at sea
  • In addressing this, unlike the Liberal National Coalition, we do not play to the politics of fear
  • Labor will never use labels to denigrate desperate people
  • Fleeing persecution is not a crime
  • We will not pander to a noisy tiny minority who will never embrace multi-cultural Australia
  • Shorten acknowledges the history of Asylum seeker policy
  • We must ensure Navy, customs officials and border force people never again pull bodies from waters
  • We must maintain regional settlement agreements Labor introduced. Safest deterrent to people smugglers
  • Under Labor’s policies people smugglers cannot falsely advertise settlement in Australia
  • There are now over 60 million displaced people in the world through no fault of their own and this will only increase
  • Risking lives in unsafe vessels will only increase and desperation will become more intense.
  • We should never tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable people.
  • We cannot allow people smugglers to take advantage of perceived weakness.
  • We need to ensure people smugglers cannot traffic vulnerable people.
  • We need to ensure Australia provides safe haven to a greater share of refugees
  • Displaced people will arrive here more safely.
  • We must have the option of turning boats around provided it is safe to do so.
  • By 2025, a Labor Govt will double Australia’s annual refugee intake to 27,000 people.
  • Labor will dedicate a portion of our program to resettling refugees from our region.
  • Labor will abolish temporary protection visas
  • Labor will reinstate the United Nations Refugee Convention in the Migration Act.
  • Labor will reverse the Abbott Govt’s retrograde efforts to undermine international law
  • Labor will deliver historic 450 million dollars to the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees
  • Labor will take up overdue leadership role to work and engage with our neighbours, including Indonesia
  • Labor supports regional processing.
  • Processing offshore does not mean we can offshore or outsource our humanity
  • Vulnerable people should never be subject to degrading violence in Australia’s name.
  • To guarantee safety Labor will implement Independent oversight of every Australian funded facility
  • Labor will ensure refugee claims are processed as quickly as possible.
  • Labor will restore access to the refugee review tribunal
  • Labor will ensure increased transparency for processing times.
  • Labor will fulfil the solemn duty we owe to children.
  • Labor will end the moral shame of children in detention as quickly as possible.
  • Labor will establish an Independent Children’s Advocate
  • Independent Children’s advocate will be separate from Department, Minister & Government, serving only the interests of children.
  • In addition to Whistle Blower safeguards, Labor will legislate to impose mandatory reporting of any child abuse in all facilities.
  • Labor’s plan ensures Australia takes a fair share of refugees
  • Labor’s plan ensures refugees in our care are treated with humanity and dignity
  • Labor’s plan ensures that Australia steps up and fulfils a greater responsibility as a global citizen
  • Shorten says he did not enter politics to shirk hard decisions and hard issues
  • Shorten is determined for our country to be responsible in the world and secure at home
  • Shorten is determined for us to be a welcoming, kind, compassionate and safe destination
  • Shorten is determined Labor will achieve this for Australia.

*Video sourced from Bill Shorten’s Facebook page.

Originally published on Polyfeministix


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  1. kathysutherland2013

    Well, it SOUNDS nicer, but what does it mean? Did Shorten actually say what he means by “turn back the boats?” And an explanation of “when it’s safe to do so” would be useful. Interesting points, but not enough detail.

  2. David

    The words of a speech writer, written for an experienced snake oil salesman, whose words come from his mouth not his heart. Intended to smooth the waters of the unhappy left, those who haven’t like Brendan O’Connor, caved in to the pressure.

  3. Kaye Lee

    I still think the boat turn-back policy is a bad one. It dumps the problem on the transit country, gives no help to the asylum seekers, and leaves the people smugglers free to try again, provided they don’t sink or starve on the way back.

    If we must retain offshore processing centres as a deterrent, why can’t our multitude of patrolling vessels pick the refugees up and take them straight to Manus or Nauru, confiscate the boat and arrest the people smugglers. That would be even more effective than turn-backs.

    And why must it take ten years to increase the intake to 27,000? It could be done immediately and with no net effect on immigration by reducing other quotas.

    In 2013–14, approximately 35,000 people lodged offshore refugee visa applications (resulting in about 6,500 visa grants) and the average processing time for refugee visas from time of application to the grant of visa was approximately nine and a half months (42 weeks).

    I also wonder about the Independent Children’s Advocate. We know children suffer if held in indefinite detention. What is the advocate going to do exactly? Is it window dressing?

    One of the problems about the offshore camps is the agreement to hire locals. The security firms are also questionable. If they must persist I would like to hear more about how they will address that. What exactly can Independent oversight do to prevent the abuse from happening if the same people remain in charge?

    I make these observations in the hope of being constructive rather than critical.

  4. mars08

    Well, of course his address can’t reveal too much detail about future policies of the ALP…. because …. eh because that would allow those wicked Greens to steal all the good ideas!!!!

  5. stephentardrew

    Boat turn-back is a garbage policy which undermines the rest of the lollies that are an attempt to soften the blow on progressives. Ain’t bitting sonny.

  6. mars08

    @stephentardrew…. you are so very, very wrong! But it’s an not an unusual mistake for people to make.

    Turning back to boats is NOT a Labor policy… it’s merely a vapid slogan they borrowed from Abbott….

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    Also pointed out, that once some Houston expert panel recommendations of the Nauru and PNG were put in place after work done by Gillard, by Rudd. Within weeks, number boats fell by 90%.

    Wonder can only guess what would have happened, how many live saved, if Abbott didn’t stop all attempts by Gillard. Yes, Malaysian Solution might have worked.

  8. Harquebus

    Just more bovine excrement.
    Accepting refugees does not solve the refugee problem.
    Having the courage to take on the abusers of human rights that cause people to flee in boats is not in our politicians DNA.

  9. jim

    “Bring it on”, I am and I think most of OZ is fully ashamed of the way the LNP are treating this issue, and I think people like Harboring hatred above have properly been born with a silver spoon in their mouths, and have no idea what compassion is. their way of solving the issue is to send them back, to likely face torture and their death. The trouble is when the LNP are booted back into opposition they and the MSM will be shouting “look another boat, and another boat arrival, with a “Labor make it too easy to come to Australia” thereby sending a welcome to people to get on leaky boats. Thats what they did last time, expect no different from the LNP MONGRELS.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    Labor has said the number will be doubled. Many of the new numbers will come from our region. Yes from transit countries, In fact will be implementing most Houston’s Expert Panel recommendations.

  11. aravis1

    Let’s realise that the issue is not yet debated at the Conference. It’s happening very soon. I am waiting to see just what is meant by turning back boats: one thing has been stated: that it would only be to Indonesia, not countries like Sri Lanka, and that hundreds of millions would be given to the UN HCR to process people. It apparently would not be a simple matter of pushing the boats towards Indonesia again, as the LNP have been doing.
    As for the rest, it sounds reasonably good, and light years better than the Liberals. You who want only to vent negativity are doing no one, least of Australians themselves, any good. And where are we to start, if not with words??? More to come.

  12. diannaart

    If refugees were assessed on mainland Australia with qualified staff – we can be more certain that asylum seekers are processed more quickly and would be less vulnerable to mistreatment as they are at present – not perfect but way more enforceable.

    Furthermore, if Bill Shorten is so concerned about refugees, why does he not seek to establish a working agreement with Indonesia?

    Assessing people BEFORE they get on boats, FFS!

  13. Trish Corry

    If you listen to the video he does state that their main priority is working with regional partners including Indonesia

  14. diannaart


    “Working with regional partners” is not setting up facilities to aid and assess migrants in order to prevent the desperation which results in people smugglers taking advantage of the intolerable situation. I do not see how Indonesia and other related regions are pleased with the current situation of having refugees shipped back (provided they do actually make it back to land) for the cycle to simply repeat itself.

    Prevention works better than “out of sight out of mind” boat-turning.

  15. Trish Corry

    We don’t even know the details of when or where or how yet. I think everyone just needs to settle down because as much as people seem to want to believe it; Labor will not treat asylum seekers with contempt like Abbott does. It is not in our blood. This is a very positive way forward and I’m blown away by some of the comments. People Keep putting shit on Labor over one issue (which is clearly a very positive step and poles apart from Abbott) and they will have three more years of Abbott.

  16. Harquebus

    Trish Corry.
    If it was just one issue, I would probably still be voting Labor.
    One eyed supporters are contributing to the decay of our political system. Labor can do anything and you and Victoria will still blindly follow.

  17. Trish Corry

    I admire Victoria’s work, but I don’t know her personally. I find it amusing how people link us as some sort of co-conspirators. All I can say is great minds think alike ?

  18. Kaye Lee

    I am not trying to put shit on anyone. I am trying to add to the discussion as I think most here do.

    Tow/turnbacks are not “working with regional partners”. Nor are they motivated by concern for the welfare of those onboard. I agree that people smugglers need to be put out of business so arrest them – don’t give them $6,000 and pat them on the head as they go back to fleece another group of desperate people. There are other ways to achieve the same result.

    I agree with dianna in that I would much prefer onshore processing for people who arrive without a visa but understand the need for a deterrent for them to do so. Increasing the intake and speeding up processing are two good steps as is giving money to the UNHCR who help support the millions of displaced people who will never even apply to come here.

    Labor have made a start but they should listen to concerns and suggestions on how the policy could be improved.

  19. John Kelly

    I am opposed to any form of boat turn back. It is abhorrent. Likewise I am opposed to any form of off-shore processing other than that arranged in good faith with our regional partners. I lament at what we have lost in quality asylum seekers who could have contributed to our country in a way that would have made us better. Notwithstanding the policy, I don’t believe any boats will be turned back under a Labor government. I believe Bill Shorten has played a cunning game here, keeping the option open, to deflect Coalition fear campaigns, but never intending to carry it out.

  20. diannaart


    With lying and flip-backs being the ‘operative du jour’ for our politicians, maybe Bill, is deliberately lying, so that when elected he can play the captain’s pick game and renege on promises – why not that’s how the Libs do it.

    I am troubled we now need to discern just which policies are true and will be implemented and which will put the Libs into check.

    Maybe I need be clearer: Does this mean we can’t expect any action on climate change either?

  21. diannaart

    @Trish Corry

    People Keep putting shit on Labor over one issue (which is clearly a very positive step and poles apart from Abbott) and they will have three more years of Abbott.

    A generalisation I feel safe with: people who are genuinely concerned by the treatment of asylum seekers definitely won’t be voting for Abbott.

  22. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Policies without procedures are a serious concern. Aspiration does not equal achievement guarantees.

  23. David

    Hope you are correct in your assumption John. My belief that level heads are guiding Shortens utterances, are keeping me sane. I do not for a minute believe Albo and the like are not offering him plenty of wisdom.
    Despite the doomsday contributors here, I have faith in most of the senior members of the caucus with the obvious exceptions. Fitzgibbon, Marles come on down!!!

  24. Marilyn

    Ah, dear Trish, still trying to pretend the ALP have some moral skin. There is no point in making such policies if you do not allow anyone to arrive.

  25. jim

    Why is it that the LNP are obsessed with Labor?, seems on every topic not just this one it’s “Labor did this” or “well labor did that” can’t they think for themselves.and say what they would do?My guess is; they have NO real policy and continually look to the past and try to rubbish the ALP. (to NO avail) IMOO. I agree 100% with John Kelly above nb My mum taught me it is ok to tell a lie if the lie helps the situation unlike the Abbott lies that divides our nation.

  26. Douglas Evans

    Shorten commits to working with regional partners especially our big neighbor Indonesia. Boat turn-backs ‘when safe’ will nearly all be to Indonesia from where the majority of people smugglers operate. Indonesia has previously shown itself less than delighted by our policy of turning boats back. ‘Working with our regional partners’ and ‘turning back boats where safe’ don’t seem to me to be compatible operating principles. Weasel words Bill or as Jo B-P used to say chaff for the chickens. Shorten’s stance on turn-backs has nothing to do with compassion for asylum seekers and everything to do with playing to the dark side of the Australian electorate. I welcome the other positive aspects of Shorten’s pitch despite the uncomfortable feeling that they were only offered to buy the compliance (or silence) of those in the Party whose conscience still bothers them when it comes to this issue.

    Irregular arrivals by boat are either turned back or very expensively warehoused in appalling conditions offshore (out of sight and out of mind). Their numbers have dwindled under the Abbott government. Neither Labor nor Coalition have anything to say about the large number who fly in with tourist visas and simply overstay. This group are treated onshore and have I believe much better access to the Australian legal system. Most of the former group are shown to be genuine refugees under the UNHCR rules but almost all the latter group are simply seeking economic advantage for themselves. Where is the logic or justice in this situation? What do the major parties have to say about this issue?

  27. Terry2

    One way or another Abbott had to be neutered ; with the gain comes some pain !

    Pragmatism means fighting fire with fire : the alternative was for Labor to deal themselves out of the game and that was not an option.

    Already Dutton is shrieking so something good must have occurred.

  28. Neil of Sydney

    Neither Labor nor Coalition have anything to say about the large number who fly in with tourist visas and simply overstay

    Also lots of people fly in on students visas. Education is big business in Australia and is used as an anchor to get permanent residence in Australia. Many overseas students apply for asylum before their visa runs out. Most are unsuccessful because they are not being persecuted back home.

    But it is stupid to say asylum seekers who fly in are treated differently to asylum seekers who come by boat. Alleged asylum seekers who fly in are legally here on a tourist or student visa. I believe the success rate for asylum seekers who fly in is less than 20%.

    But when i first heard about there are some asylum seekers who fly in i thought they were some poor desperates who just manage to hop on a plane before they were killed. No. Most fly in and like it here so much they invent some false story about how bad it is back home.

    And there is not much you can do about people who overstay their visas.

  29. Harquebus

    Who accused you of being a conspirator? Sheep also think alike.

    What I would like to hear is how do we take on the causes of people fleeing in boats. You know, things like poverty, oppression, abuse, too many people and not enough resources etc. Accepting refugees does nothing to address these causes and no one seems to want to talk about it.
    Accepting refugees and turning back the boats are the easy ways out, temporarily.

  30. corvus boreus

    Please let me know if the subject of a federal ICAC happens to be raised at the conference.

  31. Harquebus

    Distraction is a propaganda technique.
    Look at Labor, don’t look at us.

    You can also fight fire with water.

    Douglas Evans
    I have read that Indonesia is secretly pleased with the turn back policy as refugees are no longer transiting through there.
    Don’t quote me on that. I am not absolutely sure it.

    corvus boreus
    That is a fairly sure bet that it won’t be.


  32. trishcorry

    Marilyn, all I have done is type out the key points from the video, so people didn’t need to watch it if they didn’t want to sit through 15 minutes of video. This is not even my own opinion. Not one of my own thoughts have gone into this post. It is simple reporting, that is all.

    I don’t pretend Labor has a moral skin, I damn well know they do.

    To everyone else who is not happy. I felt sick up until the other day about all of this; but this list has some very important improvements to what is happening now. We don’t even know the how, why’s or when’s of the turnbacks yet; or if they will even happen at all. Some people are suggesting that they will be turned back, met with a safe ship and processed on the ship. I do not know if this is rumour or fact. I do know one thing, that Labor will take 100% absolutely a humane approach and they will do their very best to balance the complexities of people smuggling and the dangers of the people risking their lives on the water. They will do their very best to not let people come in by the thousands in an unsafe manner.

    They will co-operate with other countries and also the citizens of this country to develop the policy that best serves the needs of this complex issue. There are so many positives on this list and so many all over social media are just concerned with the one aspect, – turnbacks, which we have no idea if it will even happen.

    My main concern is not onshore or offshore, but humane treatment, protection for women and minors, access to medical and legal systems, basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter met in a dignified way, rapid processing, the cultural needs of women taken into account during processing interviews and most of all transparency. Transparency will leave Labor open to criticism, something the LNP has not had the guts to do. By opening up transparency, this will allow for commentary for better progress, because for once we will know what is happening and we will be able to welcome commentary on how to improve it. LNP have been flying blind in the dark, on their own, with no possibility of feedback from any other parties or citizens for improvement. By doing what they have done with secrecy, they have set us back years on this issue.

    I hope now that Abbott is neutralised; we can get on with discussing important issues for Australians, such as the massive unemployment, the way jobseekers are treated under Job Active, Homelessness, the pittance of welfare payments, the housing crisis, primary and secondary education, higher education, innovation and research, development of small businesses, moving on from resource based industry and transitioning to the next industry groups which will sustain us, health, over-whelming needs of aged care and disability and the protection of Indigenous people, the increase of voices of Indigenous people, a way forward to include indigenous people in our democratic process of Govt, marriage equality, rights of LGBTI people, the redress of areas of discrimination for women and taxation reform to name a few.

  33. mars08


    With lying and flip-backs being the ‘operative du jour’ for our politicians, maybe Bill, is deliberately lying, so that when elected he can play the captain’s pick game and renege on promises – why not that’s how the Libs do it…

    Why not?

    Well, because Bug Shrunken is still insisting that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland. He is still proclaiming that they are not welcome in Australia.

    So… even if there was a speck of intent to be more compassionate and humane…. any attempt to put it into action would be political suicide. The MSM would hammer Labor into the ground.

    As long as the confected asylum seeker “issue” is addressed in the Coalition’s terms… cruelty will be the order of the day. As with the Coalition’s budget deficit fetish… Labor is wedging itself yet again.

  34. diannaart


    Bug Shrunken (sic) is still insisting that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland

    That’s the bit which bites me too.

    We know that assessing migrants on shore is cheaper, effective and efficient and more humane.

  35. Neil of Sydney

    Just listening to Shorten at the National Conference on Insiders. Can we get the kids out of detention he proclaims. Yes we can he says.

    It was his ALP govt who locked all the kids up. The Rudd/Gillard govt locked up more men, women and children asylum seekers than any govt in Australian history.

  36. corvus boreus

    As well as the protection of children, another principle Labor might consider in their policy is to factor the overall inequality in conditions for the genders in the countries of origin/transit of many of the people seeking refuge/asylum.

    Within the general persecutions and atrocities that are occurring in various parts of the world (esp North Africa and the Middle East), the denial of basic rights (eg education) and levels of brutalities inflicted are often far worse for the female.

    I would argue for, in general policy, preferential treatment to be given to swaddling babes, then girls, then boys, then women, then men (just like the conventions of courtesy on lifeboats).

  37. aravis1

    Mars08, it is simply NOT TRUE that Shorten “is still insisting that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland. He is still proclaiming that they are not welcome in Australia.” You need to read and listen and watch, and you need to stop making untrue claims. Have you read the measures Labor has put in place? Increasing the intake of refugees to 27000; giving $450 million to the UNHCR so it can help process refugees faster; changing the way detention centres are run and other humanitarian measures. Regional resettlement does not mean no refugees will come to Australia.
    It really is time to stop with the keyboard warrior mentality and educate ourselves and then we can fight more intelligently for what is best for our country. And calling a man stupid names because he is not charismatic is only worthy of people who are on the neo-Liberal side. Don’t demean yourself.

  38. townsvilleblog

    A party dominated by lawyers not philosophers its not the ALP of the 1970s that had a backbone.

  39. aravis1

    You know that word – change? We must deal with what we have. What we have in Labor is a better, more human, and humane, party than the Libs. The way to go ahead is to support them, get them into power, and work with them – or against them if need be – to improve our society. We can’t go back to the 70s – witness Abbott who wants to go further and is making an almighty mess of it – we can only deal with the Now. And the one essential in the Now is to get rid of the LNP – forever if possible.

  40. Terry2


    Again you miss the point : it is not about who introduced the policy it is about getting these people out of detention on Nauru and Manus and enabling them to live their lives with dignity as a fundamental human aspiration.

    The coalition with all their blustering and secrecy cannot hide the fact that in almost two years in office not a single person has been resettled from the Manus detention camp and only four have been moved from Nauru to Cambodia at a cost of a $40 million bribe to the corrupt Hun Sen administration.

    The coalition’s policy on processing and resettlement has been a dismal failure and people like you need to recognise that.

  41. mars08


    …it is simply NOT TRUE that Shorten “is still insisting that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland. He is still proclaiming that they are not welcome in Australia.” You need to read and listen and watch, and you need to stop making untrue claims. Have you read the measures Labor has put in place?

    Oh spare me! Please…

    You might want to put that same question to Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek Penny Wong and Anna Burke. I’m fairly confident that THEY have “read the measures” that Blithe Smitten talked (vaguely) about. They aren’t convinced.

    For a couple of days all the MSM reported was that Shorten had accepted the Coalition’s turn back the boats policy. Little was mentioned about other “measures”. The opposition leader did nothing to rectify this reporting.

    If the opposition leader was serious about a more compassionate attitude towards asylum seekers, he should have spoken up… loudly and clearly. Instead he has tried to have it both ways. He is trying to impress the bogans, bigots and bed-wetters with his toughness and pacify progressives with a little sugar coating. If he was sincere about ALL his “measures” he should have made them more widely known to the electorate… not just the sexy, macho “stop the boats” bit.

    BTW… I don’t call him “stupid names because he is not charismatic”. It’s entirely because of his utter lack of conviction…

  42. aravis1

    So, I have to assume you have not followed the Conference at all? The boat question was only one of several, and the other measures have been fully accepted in toto. If you only read the MSM you have no basis for understanding any of this. The Guardian and the ABC are reporting on it. Labor Herald is reporting live, as is the Guardian. I’m sorry, but I am sick to death of negativity and lack of addressing of issues in depth, from too many keyboard warriors. It’s easy to criticise, far less easy to understand and then comment.
    And you have not answered my question: your source for saying Shorten is ” insisting that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland. He is still proclaiming that they are not welcome in Australia.” If you don’t answer that I must conclude that you are simply articulating prejudice. Because it is not, in fact, true at all.

  43. corvus boreus

    Rev Spooner calls him ‘Shill Borten’.

  44. mars08

    @aravis1… fair enough.

    He proposes that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland for processing and he is NOT proclaiming that they are welcome in Australia.


  45. trishcorry

    A number of key points about resettling refugees here:
    By 2025, a Labor Govt will double Australia’s annual refugee intake to 27,000 people.
    Labor will dedicate a portion of our program to resettling refugees from our region.
    Labor will abolish temporary protection visas

    Shorten has also addressed how climate change will affect our most immediate neighbours and Labor will look at prioritising these people. Say for example cyclone devastated islands such as Vanautu.

  46. Neil of Sydney

    it is not about who introduced the policy it is about getting these people out of detention on Nauru and Manus and enabling them to live their lives with dignity as a fundamental human aspiration.

    It is about who introduced the policy. A leopard never changes its spots. Labor locked all these people up and will do it again. But even for a nasty party like Labor i found this particular policy an abomination.

    Young-looking children were chosen to be transferred to the harsh Manus Island refugee detention centre to discourage other refugees from coming to Australia, an inquiry has heard……..Gregory Lake, the former director of offshore processing and transfers at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, told the inquiry he was directed by a ministerial staff member to choose the youngest-looking children from among those eligible for the first transfer of detained people from Australia to Manus Island in 2012, when Labor was in government.

    Brought to you by the ALP/Greens government.

  47. Ann

    We finally have the pathway. Now to defeat the negative party and it will be so negative. Labor needs to take the gloves off

  48. aravis1

    No, really; you are still re-arranging the facts to suit your opinion – not good scholarship. “He proposes that no asylum seekers will set foot on the mainland for processing and he is NOT proclaiming that they are welcome in Australia.” The whole tenor of his speech was other than your take on it. Did you in fact, watch it?

  49. diannaart

    Apparently significant members of the Labor Left do not agree with Bill – now why would that be?

    Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong are among those who oppose boat-turn-backs.

    I am hardly guilty of “Labor Bashing” as I appear in agreement with many Labor members – just not the right-wing faction headed by Bill Shorten.

    “That is why a Labor Government must have the option of turning boats around, when it is safe,’’ Mr Shorten told the ALP conference.

    In fairness to Bill, he has left himself some wriggle room by qualifying turning-back-boats “when it is safe”. However, he is still prepared to shell out mega$ for off-shore processing – when he could use overblown costs as ammunition against the set&forget Abbott government.

  50. mars08

    @diannaart… also Anthony Albanese and Anna Burke… both fanatical Labor bashers…

  51. diannaart

    @ mars08



  52. townsvilleblog

    The Australian population doesn’t want more refugees, we already feel like strangers in our own land when we go to the supermarket.

  53. townsvilleblog

    Neil, I hope they have happy lives back in some Muslim country, because we as sure as hell don’t want more mussies here, we are overstocked with them already, either that or anywhere far far away from Australia

  54. townsvilleblog

    aravis I am happy that at least 2 big issues have been decided equal rights for marriage and turn back the boats, two sensible positions that could win us an election.

  55. townsvilleblog

    mars08 it now seems inevitable that we will have to put up with the deadwood of shorten in order to achieve a Labor government which will be a 1000% improvement on the Adams family.

  56. townsvilleblog

    Ann yep we need to take the gloves off, trouble is in our corner we have the mild mannered wishy washy three dollar bill shorten, who doesn’t want to ahhh upset anyone.

  57. townsvilleblog

    Since when did one need to be a lawyer or a professor to be a member of the ALP? This party began defending shearers and ordinary low income members of society, now aravis you need to be a certain type of person to be in the party, well that’s the right wing gerrymander working.

  58. townsvilleblog

    Albo would be the leader if not for the right wing gerrymander where 30,000 members votes are split for 120 politicians votes and called equal strength, what bulldust.

  59. aravis1

    “The Australian population doesn’t want more refugees, we already feel like strangers in our own land when we go to the supermarket.”; O dear. Not sure if you should be allowed on the keyboard.

  60. townsvilleblog

    aravis the feeling is mutual but thankfully it is now Labor policy to turn back boats, so you had better take it up with $3 bill.

  61. Neil of Sydney

    Neil, I hope they have happy lives back in some Muslim country, because we as sure as hell don’t want more mussies here, we are overstocked with them already, either that or anywhere far far away from Australia

    No comment on the kids your govt locked up? No comment on picking the youngest looking as a deterrent?

    Young-looking children were chosen to be transferred to the harsh Manus Island refugee detention centre to discourage other refugees from coming to Australia, an inquiry has heard……. told the inquiry he was directed by a ministerial staff member to choose the youngest-looking children from among those eligible for the first transfer of detained people from Australia to Manus Island in 2012, when Labor was in government.

  62. Möbius Ecko

    But townsvilleblog that turn back the boat policy allows for increasing the refugee intake so actually allowing more refugees than would come by boat.

  63. townsvilleblog

    Hopefully, Ecko, that won’t come to fruition

  64. trishcorry

    Townsville Blog. Possibly you are of the assumption that boat turn backs and the rest of the policy will be operationalised in the same heartless way the Abbott Liberal Government has done. This is simply not so.

    Boat Turn Backs and on-water processing will take place within International Law and approval of UNHCR.

    On Water processing will only occur with approval from UNHCR, with proper access to legal advisers and advocates for asylum seekers. (Not the same practice Abbott has implemented in secrecy)

    Boat Turn backs will not occur to send asylum seekers back to the country of origin (from where they are fleeing), such as the Abbott Govt has done with the Vietnamese.

    Boat Turn backs (if and when safe to do so – as advised by experts in the operational field) will only occur back to a transit country (where asylum seekers have stopped after fleeing the original country. Countries such as Indonesia.

    Labor will work with neighbouring countries to assist with the processing of refugee claims and commits to a regional solution.

    Labor will commit to resettling more refugees.

    Labor has guaranteed an Independent Commissioner to oversee all facilities and an Independent Commissioner for Children. These appointments are Independent and separate from Govt and the Department. (Although this is a vast improvement, personally, I would advocate onshore, and I hope once Labor gets in that the public and advocates use their voices to push for this, as there is no chance for this under the Liberals).

    Amongst many improvements listed above.

    Labor has guaranteed to eradicate the secrecy of the Liberal party model and has committed to transparency. What transparency does, is it will open up for interested stakeholders to input their opinions to only improve the system and policies used. There is no room for improvement of policy under the Liberal Government. They are flying blind with no input from interested stakeholders and have closed themselves off to advice of interested stakeholders and public scrutiny and opinion. This type of attitude is gutless and regressive.

    These are starting points for Labor. This model though the promise of transparency alone enables the opportunity for improvement and progression in a positive way forward, as for once, interested stakeholders and the general public will know what is going on.

  65. trishcorry

    and can we please get over Albo? We have no idea how he, as leader, would have handled an Abbott Govt. Step back and appreciate what a nasty, conniving, destructive mob Liberals are. As organisational behaviour studies will even tell you, the Liberal’s type of behaviour in a workplace context, needs a particular type of strategy. It is no different than with politics. We may find it boring from the outset, but it is the only strategy that will work, and it is working and getting rid of Liberals is all that should matter.

    Liberals simply cannot have anything to bounce off of and that includes Labor making a lot of noise about Liberals. Even negative noise against them, gives them the oxygen they need to feed off of. They are like parasites and Abbott is nothing but a mindless attack dog, and it is showing.

  66. townsvilleblog

    Trish, what a bummer, more Muslims is something this nation certainly does not need, the reason immigration in the past has been so successful is that the people have assimilated with the people already here and got our sense of humor and didn’t take hum-bridge to being called ‘wogs’ or anything else they understood it was our way, even the ‘pommies’ settled in after a while. We don’t need more than the hundreds of thousands of “must pray 5 times a day to Allah” we have enough, nobody is campaigning for the pensioners who are living below the poverty line, and for me charity begins at home, you can please yourself Trish.

  67. townsvilleblog

    Trish Albo won the ballot fair and square having 58.6% of 30,000 members vote is a win in my book, but with this party there is always a caveat on democracy to allow the stinking right wing to rule, over and above the left, and no I won’t get over what should have been a straight out win for Albo, do you remember when old Joh was in power in Queensland, the chant was “one vote, one value” sadly decades on we can’t say that in our political party run by charlatans.

  68. townsvilleblog

    Trish, I concede that we may have to make this ahhh bumbling stumbling mild mannered fixer of AWU members lowly pay rates as Prime Minister to get a Labor government that will be ahhh 1000% better than the wicked and terrible Abbott LNP government, but that does not mean that we should quietly accept the awful injustices done in the past by our fearful leader, hopefully he begins campaigning soon or we may miss out on our chance to make the Abbott LNP government a one termer.

  69. mars08

    So Muslims are causing our pensioners to starve??? How fascinating…

    Yet it’s quite odd that Scott Morrison never thought to mention it!

  70. townsvilleblog yes Harquebus there are several distasteful actions from the internal gerrymander that operates in secret within the organization which allows the rabid right wing to triumph at the most volatile of times. I uncovered some of it as Branch Secretary in the 80s which saw a right wing AWU/SDA candidate go to prison for what she tried to get away with, they are the most unscrupulous mob I’ve ever seen, there is no end to the cancer they deliver to the party.

  71. trishcorry

    No one ever mentions the raft of members who voted Shorten because they thought he wouldn’t last and Plibersek would be elevated to leader, as his deputy. It is much easier to attack the process. If members are unhappy with the democratic vote given to them to choose the leader, in the only party which allows this, they can: Work hard to recruit more members; take part in reforms discussion (they are ongoing), get involved constructively in reform discussions instead of just bagging out Labor whenever and wherever they can, vote for the leader they actually want, not the leader they thought they would have. BTW I was a champion vote #HotAlbo and I am a member of the left. In fact, I have so much respect for Albo, I took what he said in his concession speech to heart – and that was “to stand united now.” It is not a hard thing to do to follow the advice of Albo if he is truly held in high esteem.

  72. townsvilleblog

    No mars08, all the attention is on the mussies and not where it should be on our own people starving and using cold water to wash dishes and clothes while the mussies get settled in accommodation while our homeless remain homeless, charity begins at home.

  73. townsvilleblog

    Trish, are you referring to the 1/2 of a vote we members received?

  74. trishcorry

    Townsville Blog: Can I please ask that you refrain from calling people of Muslim faith “Mussies” It is a term used by right wing hate groups against this group of people and it is only meant to be derogatory and divisive and is instrumental in the stigmatization of this group. It would be also good if you maybe could seek out for yourself some actual facts to challenge some of the unsubstantiated claims you make.

  75. trishcorry

    Townsville Blog: “Trish, are you referring to the 1/2 of a vote we members received?”

    I will refer to you my comment posted at 10.49

  76. townsvilleblog

    Neil, they had a choice they could have stayed in their country and fought for their freedom, but no, they chose to run, while our soldiers fight for their freedom, do we really want cowards to settle in Australia, send them home with a rifle and some ammunition so they can do what had to be done everywhere else to obtain freedom, freedom is not given, it’s won.

  77. jimhaz

    Any person that is not happy enough with these ALP promises on this issue is asking for far too much and is not willing to compromise

    Personally I don’t like the first sentence as it just means more of the same irresponsibility – getting out of debt problems and not facing long term issues via excessive immigration to lift growth.

  78. townsvilleblog

    Trish, wake up to yourself we were given a non-democratic .5 of a vote of which 30000 plus members voted 58.6% for Albo, sadly that was balanced by the vote of 102 politicians, that’s not democracy dear, that’s running a scam which the 30000 plus members allowed the corrupt rabid right wing to get away with. I could tell you some stories of rabid right wing behaviour that would make your hair curl, but some are happy with a good yarn, rather than the truth.

  79. townsvilleblog

    Yes Trish it would be great if I stopped talking, that way you and your right wing minions could rest easy and no one would know the scandal laying just under the surface, I do hope you win the next election and remove the tory bitch representing Rockhampton now, how did she get in, I thought Rockhampton was always Labor?

  80. townsvilleblog

    Trish, what type of reply is that 10.49

  81. Kaye Lee

    “The Australian population doesn’t want more refugees”

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people did not have to flee in fear. How you can vilify people for fleeing from the oppression and barbarity that you condemn is beyond me. These are people who just want a safe place to live and raise their children.

    “We don’t need more than the hundreds of thousands of “must pray 5 times a day to Allah”

    My in-laws say the rosary every day. They are continually praying. They go to mass at least three times a week. How does someone else praying hurt you?

    “they could have stayed in their country and fought for their freedom”

    Spoken like someone who has never lived under a dictatorial regime where dissent gets you killed.

    How have Muslims impinged on your way of life to make you so angry? What have they done to you?

  82. townsvilleblog

    Kaye the Abbott govt is bad enough, it borders on fascism I have no wish for my daughter to live under Sharia law which is what lies ahead if we do not act, send them to Cambodia, with a years supply of the pill, they are taking up government expenditure and of course this LNP government punishes the poor and the working poor. I survive on the disability pension, my only luxury is this computer my door into the outside world, we can’t lose any more or that will also be gone, but nobody is fighting for us, those who are not able to fight for ourselves, far too interested in mussies welfare to consider the welfare of your own people, that’s why I’m angry, I feel as though my country has deserted me because it used me up and has thrown me away, noone cares if my family eats, is able to see a movie or even afford an internet connection, I hate the LNP with a passion, but I see the flaws in my own party, should I be blind to ALP corruption and simply say we are better than the LNP, not good enough for me, I want to see a truly democratic party with candidates elected by branch members instead of phantoms and branch stacking, I guess I ask too much.

  83. Kaye Lee

    “I have no wish for my daughter to live under Sharia law which is what lies ahead if we do not act”

    What absolute rubbish. Your fear is totally unfounded. Australian Muslims (and I agree with Trish, please stop saying mussies) are bound by the laws of Australia exactly as you and I are.

    I agree that the disability pension is inadequate but that is not the fault of Muslims. Rather than venting your anger on people who have done you no harm, direct it to those in government who are the ones neglecting our vulnerable citizens.

  84. mars08

    Okay… just like those frightened Reclaim Australia creeps… townsvilleblog doesn’t just object to asylum seekers, but to Muslims as a whole.

    Glad we got that out in the open…

  85. miriamenglish

    townsvilleblog, Trish isn’t a right winger. The fact that she disagrees with you doesn’t make her so.

    I detest the muslim religion (just as I detest all religions), but have enjoyed the friendship of some muslim people (just as I’ve had christian and buddhist friends). If we welcome people and let them become part of this society then they tend to leave behind the crappier parts of their religion. If we express shallow hate for them then they gravitate towards ghettos, where they feel under attack from wider society and consider us the enemy. That’s the worst possible outcome.

    If we boot muslims out or turn them away when seeking asylum from those trying to kill them then we become a more general enemy of all muslims. That is a very dangerous position to put ourselves in too, considering our next door neighbor, Indonesia, is probably the most populous muslim nation on Earth.

    A country is made stronger by increasing its cultural diversity, not weaker. Every time a part of the world becomes a leader in technology, or art, or business, or learning, you’ll find it is always a place where many cultures come in contact with each other. We must attack racism and xenophobia whenever it rears its ugly head, as that, along with bullying, is the most dangerous weakness humans display.

    When you talk about “our” country, are you talking about this land you were accidentally born in? This random chunk of land protruding above the ocean? This land stolen just a few lifetimes ago from the dark-skinned humans inhabitants who lived here for around 60,000 years?

    When I lived in Preston in Melbourne for a while some years back I used to like sitting on a bench at the market on the weekend, looking at all the different people and in my mind drawing lines from all parts of the globe converging on that spot. It made me feel very proud that all these kinds of people got along so well, working together peacefully.

  86. townsvilleblog

    Muslims breed like rabbits some families have 16 children and 3 wives its not Australian law, but each of those children gets a vote, responsible couples in Australia understand our situation with regards water and have at most 3 children, that is 3 votes, who do you think will win change for Sharia law, not the 3 votes I assure you.

  87. Kaye Lee

    Well said Miriam. We are a collection of very different people with very different views. We look differently, we dress differently, we have different beliefs. But what we share is a wish to live a productive life in safety.

    Tolerance isn’t surrender – it is respect. It shows strength rather than fear. Diversity gives us a chance to combine the best that we all have to offer and to reject those ugly parts of society that cause hate and division.

  88. townsvilleblog

    miriamenglish very encouraging news, suddenly I realize I’m angry with Abbott and Co a lot more than I am angry with Muslims or ALP corruption, thank you you have helped me see through my cloud of depression that the LNP must be the target of my anger, it is a good deed you have done this day dear lady, and I thank you.

  89. Kaye Lee


    There is a direct correlation between poverty, education, and numbers of children per family. In my generation, the biggest Australian families tended to be Catholic because of their views on contraception and abortion. And the public doesn’t get to vote on legislation – your fears are not logical.

  90. miriamenglish

    townsvilleblog, I don’t know where you get your “facts” from, but I lived in an area populated by predominantly muslims when I lived in Preston, in the same street as the big mosque there, and I never saw a family of more than 4 kids. Many had just 2 or 3. People living under great disadvantage and instability tend to have big families because they need their kids to support them when they get old if the state doesn’t have a social safety net, and if there is a high rate of death then a large number of kids ensures some will survive to adulthood.

    My mother (from a relatively poor Irish/Australian christian background) came from a family of 8 kids. My father (from a more well-off Australian English-descended atheist background) came from a family of 3 kids.

    The largest families I’ve ever known were catholic, but most of the catholic families I’ve known had small families. It is impossible to make family size judgements based upon religion.

    Do you actually know any muslims? Or are you just talking through your xenophobic hat? As I say, I’ve known lots of muslims and some of them have been some of the nicest, gentlest, and capable people I’ve ever met. Many of them have no great obedience to their religion, just as many christians don’t really observe the rules of christianity.

    The pure muslim religion is a repellent religion, just as the pure christian religion is a disgusting religion. This is true of all religions. They enforce delusions upon their adherents which are used to divide people. People are good largely to the degree that they tend not to follow any religion. Thankfully most christians have largely abandoned their religion. The same is becoming true of muslims. This is a process we should encourage. We can’t do it by making enemies of them.

  91. mars08

    The furious anti-Muslin feelings in this country is EXACTLY why Shorten is unlikely to be PM. That is deaspite the backflip on turning the boats around. The Labor Party… because of it’s social justice pedigree, will never be able to convince the bigots it can be cruel or callous enough…

  92. miriamenglish

    Oops, townsvilleblog, sorry, you posted your reply to me when I was typing mine. I was responding to your earlier comment about family size. I’m glad you are lifted out of your downer. Please ignore my tone of exasperation. 🙂

  93. Neil of Sydney

    As usual Howard got it right. It was called the Pacific Solution and it worked. WE stop the boats and take our refugees from UNHCR camps. But everybody who voted for Rudd in 2007 created this current problem.

    I could not believe it when i read it but we have spent $11B housing the 50,000 boat people who turned up on Labors watch.

  94. Harquebus

    Our soldiers fought for us to keep our liberties only to have them gradually and steadily eroded by corporate sponsored politicians.
    I makes me sick to see politicians glorify our fallen heroes for their sacrifices on the one hand and then to turn around and make those sacrifices worth nothing by removing the very things that they fought and died for.

  95. Trish Corry

    Mars I think the bigot vote is strongest in QLD. Labor needs to focus on that.

  96. townsvilleblog

    Well said Kaye, and just for the record Trish I’m not a bigot, even though you may think so.

  97. Trish Corry

    I seriously did not imply that. My opinion is based on political polling

  98. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, no way I took great heart from your post, when you are isolated and unable to move around much you tend to listen to the commercial news which I should know better than to listen to, I’m ABC all the way from now on, and thanks so much for your informative post.

  99. townsvilleblog

    Harquebus I couldn’t agree more mate, I’m sure many Aussies thought ‘how can we vote for Labor when Shorten and Howes had crucified two sitting Labor Prime Ministers, how bad can the other lot really be’ well we found out quick smart how ferocious they could be, and if not for the Senate they would have been a lot more ferocious I’m sure that the public are prepared to change to a Labor government asap.

  100. miriamenglish

    True Trish. There is a lot of bigotry up here in QLD. I often wonder how it compares with other parts of Australia. I’ve seen bigots everywhere and I’ve seen the most open-minded, welcoming people everywhere too.

    We need to disarm bigotry and hate and fear because those are Abbott’s most reliable tools. He uses them more than anything else. If we can defuse them and appeal to people’s better nature then Abbott will have nothing.

  101. Kaye Lee


    I have found you reasonable in the past and your fear concerns me because I know others share it. There are some fringe-dweller Muslims who want to cause trouble. There are also fringe-dweller white supremacists who wish to do likewise. There are organised crime gangs who cause havoc for profit. There are fundamentalists whose extreme views do not allow tolerance. We can defeat these people by good people refusing to be afraid, refusing to let these fringe-dwellers dictate.

    Don’t fear Muslims. Do you fear people like Ed Husic and Waleed Ali? Many of our Muslim sports people are doing great work with kids. Consign the fringe dwellers to irrelevance. Let our legal system deal with those who promote violence. Australia is a great place to live.

  102. aravis1

    Harquebus, You might like to read a book I’ve just got and begun to read. So far nothing is surprising me, but I live in expectation. It’s by Ian Wishart, a NZ investigative journalist, it’s called Totalitaria. Main theme seems to be the deliberate removal of our freedoms by corporate interests, pandered to by politicians. Sound familiar?

  103. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, all jokes aside, Muslims number hundreds of thousands and so far we have had 2 go berserk, no I don’t hold anything against anyone who does the right thing and clearly the majority do do the right thing. I’m just feeling sorry for myself because I’m poor and struggling to survive on the pension.

  104. townsvilleblog

    Yes it is a very interesting book

  105. miriamenglish

    townsvilleblog, I’m glad.

    Definitely avoid the commercial TV, radio, newspapers. They fill you with fear and hate. I am one of the backers of the Kickstarter funding of the film “The Brainwashing of My Dad” by Jen Senko. She decided to make the film after her beloved, gentle, tolerant, left-leaning father became a rabidly hating, racist, right-winger after driving to and from work every day listening to the lunatic right-wing shock-jocks on the radio. They had altered him completely.

    I found the same thing with my brother. He was raised in the same tolerant, progressive family as I was, but he became insanely right-wing after spending a lot of time listening to the horrible crap on commercial radio and watching the awful repetition of lies and emotional propaganda on commercial TV.

    I don’t have TV, and I don’t listen to the radio, and the only “newspaper” I read is New Scientist. When I visit my folks every couple of months they always have newspapers on their table. I have a slightly obsessive condition where I read everything my eyes fall upon, and a number of times I’ve read articles in their newspapers and found myself getting upset and agreeing with the newspaper’s point of view, only to suddenly pull myself out of it with utter horror, realising that I’d been temporarily sucked into a vortex that was totally alien to my worldview. Scary!

    The mainstream media are quite literally dangerous to your mental health. Avoid them as much as possible.

  106. Bloggy

    “A Labor Govt will keep more people safe in a more humane way
    Safe from persecution by dictatorial regimes”

    Just how will Labour deliver us from the Coalition at the next election…

    I guess they could start by attending the political process.

    And would we want them either?

  107. Kaye Lee

    Living on a pension is hard. I can empathise with your struggle.

    Yes, a mentally deranged guy who felt ignored and abused by ‘the system’ shot one guy. He was shot dead. All the warning signs were there but ‘the system’ ignored them. One sick kid attacked two policemen. He was shot dead.

    Ask instead what drove these people to commit these acts. Mental illness? Adolescent confusion? People feeling excluded and alienated? These weren’t organised attacks. The day after the Sydney siege a woman in Cairns killed 8 children. Why? How did we fail to help before it was too late?

    Bad things happen. We as a society need to look at why rather than think we are under attack.

  108. townsvilleblog

    I agree with you wholeheartedly I’m a news junkie so I’ll stick to ABC News24 or ABC if I am looking for entertainment, is that the reason you don’t have a TV, by the way I’ve sent you a friendship request on facebook if you would like to talk more, or if you are interested to see some of the letters I write please look up Townsvilleblog.

  109. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, the trouble is that Abbott and his extreme right wing don’t even value us as workers, they think we as just scum, which is precisely what I think they are.

  110. miriamenglish

    Be careful consuming Ian Wishart’s writings. He is a fundamentalist born-again christian who believes in the inerrant word of the bible; that there was a couple named Adam and Eve; that Noah’s ark really existed; that Jesus really rose from the dead… and so on. In short he is a loon. He may be a very good and compelling writer, but that doesn’t mean he’s right. He obviously cannot think clearly if he takes a book of fables for truth. It is true that the state can be a genuine threat to its citizens, but it doesn’t mean that is the direction of all governments, nor that “big government” is more controlling than “small government”.

  111. kizhmet

    @ Trish

    Thank you for ALP’s details on the proposed boat turnback policy and other issues arising from the conference. Your points regarding Shorten and the ALP are well made and have certainly helped to clarify my thinking.

    Have to say a big thanks to all the folks commenting here as well. It has provided an opportunity to intelligently air differences of opinion, different perspectives that illuminate rather than obscure issues. Great reading!

  112. Harquebus

    “Main theme seems to be the deliberate removal of our freedoms by corporate interests, pandered to by politicians.” The TPP?
    Totalitaria. I will check that one out.

    Those with a less than 20 point disability envy those on the DSP. Chronic pain is worth zero points.

  113. Matters Not

    There is a lot of bigotry up here in QLD

    Historically, there are reasons for that, most of which can be traced to developments (or lack thereof) in education in the ‘immediate’ post World War 11 period.

    Up until the ‘split’ of 1957, Queensland was under the control of Labor Governments and had been so since 1932. While secondary education expanded rapidly in the post war period in the other Australian States it was not the case in Queensland which remained an educational backwater re participation until well into the 1960s. You can check out the details here.

    This lack of participation in secondary schooling flowed through to a lack of demand for University places and when the Commonwealth took over funding of Universities in 1974 it began allocating monies on the then existing participation rates. For decades, Queensland was denied its ‘fair share’ of university funding which had a significant ‘effect’ on the way Queenslanders ‘viewed the world’ (generally speaking). (Not sure if the funding has yet been fixed. It was something Rudd was going to do.)

    While I haven’t got the ‘links’ these days a search will find that Queenslanders tended to be less ‘multicultural’ than say NSW or Victoria. Their backgrounds were narrower. They were less travelled and so on. In many ways they were more ‘insular’ and much of it was rooted in the education they did (or did not) receive.

  114. aravis1

    townsvilleblog, I know it’s difficult on the pension – I do too, and work a few hours just to keep sane. But your remark about so many Muslims, and so far two have gone berserk – have a think about that as a percentage. Then think about how many born-here citizens have also gone berserk in the same timeframe. Think about the Reclaim Australia loons. It’s human nature, not religion or race, that is to blame for excess.
    If we could just stop putting others in boxes and hating them for being different, we would find far less extremism. People who are marginalised are inclined to extremism. And helping the young from other countries who live here, to not become radicalised, is the best thing we can do for them. Include them, smile at them, be friends with them. Help them when they are in need.

  115. aravis1

    Miriamenglish, I was reluctant to buy his book at first, on the grounds of his climate denial principally. But my sister wants to talk about it with me so I have done so, and will check his conclusions against what i know. It is worth being wary of any writer, and checking everything anyway.
    As for the dangers of the MSM, I saw a man with a large dark beard this morning – and for one nanosecond I felt fear. I was appalled! I don’t think most of us realise just how bad it is, what Abbott and his goons are doing, and how they are destroying our society. I never read that stuff, but even on FB it is all over the place and it is like a virus. This may be our biggest fight in the years from now on.

  116. mars08

    @Harquebus… do you mind telling me the last time our troops specifically “fought for us to keep our liberties”? I don’t recall that happening in my lifetime…

  117. Florence nee Fedup

    I for one is not certain Albo wants to be leader. He said at the time, when he chose to run, it was because he wanted the new leaders to be elected. He wanted Rudd’s new regulations to be implemented. Wanted the process to occur. That was the reason he gave at the time. I have seen no evidence that Shorten doesn’t have Albo’s full support.

    Albo and the deputy might have other concerns in mind. Yes, could be under pressure from the Greens in their inter Sydney seats.

  118. Harquebus

    WWII. Before my time as well.
    Even then, some say that Japan had no intention of invading Australia. Regardless, our soldiers believed that they were fighting for our liberties, freedom from tyranny or whatever you want to call it.

  119. miriamenglish

    Mars08, yeah… I was thinking that too.

    The first world war ANZACs were completely duped — outrageously played like fools by a completely hopeless British military, told to invade people who were not their enemy.

    The second world war was a bit different because the Japanese did present a real threat, but the troops weren’t so much fighting to keep our liberties, as to stave off a ferociously racist enemy. I’m not sure how many went to Europe to fight against Germany, but that was the same deal. Also, back then war was a glorious adventure and many young men went to it willingly, fighting for glory, not to protect our liberty. Now things are different because most of us know what a con war is.

    The Vietnam war was a travesty. Kissinger and the Rand think-tank convinced politicians of the erroneous “Domino Theory” belief that if Vietnam fell to the communists then so would the rest of South East Asia, and the rest of the world! Our troops went to prevent people from gaining self-determination, with the Yanks bombing their and our allies in Cambodia in the process and thereby unleashing Pol Pot on his murderous rampage.

    East Timor had been under murderous assault from Indonesia for many years before Australia finally went in (when it seems the Indonesians were pulling out). We gave some small help to the East Timorese and promptly stole most of their oil reserves, which was probably what the Indonesians were after anyway.

    The Iraq wars were invasions of another country on the shallowest lying pretexts, in order to plunder their resources.

    In the USA people are fond of praising their military of fighting for their liberty, but it is even worse there. USA is degenerating into a dangerous warrior culture apparently intent on world domination:

    “From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable systems. In the process, the U.S. bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.”
    — William Blum, Killing Hope

    I have many friends in USA and I worry for them and their culture.

  120. Anomander

    Muslims comprise around 2% of the population and the number of radical idiots is a tiny percentage of that. There are, without doubt, far more extremist Christians than there are Muslims in Australia.

    While we keep disparaging and marginalising them, we risk breeding our own home-grown discontent, and therein will be the threat, because we chose to isolate people based on a false perception rather than getting to know them and being inclusive. A prefect example of this is unemployment, which is difficult enough for everyone – imagine what it would be like if your name was Mohammad and you came from Lakemba in Sydney – your chances of scoring a job over a similarly skilled white kid is almost zero.

    I’ve been to school with, studied with and worked alongside loads of Mulsims throughout my life and most are no different to anyone else. They want the chance to live a good, honest life, to do a hard days work and earn enough money to get ahead. They want their kids to grow-up to be reliable, proud citizens of this nation, because many of them fled from persecution came here in search of a better life. The vast majority of them hate extremists and are not happy they are being tarred with the same brush because of false perceptions.

    If you want to argue about “good Christian values”, let’s start with people whose values are so good we need a Royal Commission into systemic child abuse in the church. In fact the most intolerant, bigoted and racist people I’ve ever met have been Christians, including members of my own extended family who I deliberately avoid because of their ignorant hatreds.

    As an atheist I detest all organised religion, but I accept people will have different beliefs to my own. In many respects I’m far more tolerant than most, and have many friends with wildly different beliefs, backgrounds and sexual orientation. We have gained far more from diversity than we can ever fathom.

    Variety is the spice of life – it would be very, very boring if we were all the same.

  121. miriamenglish

    Very well said Anomander!
    [enthusiastic applause]

  122. Trish Corry

    Hear Hear Anomander. Hear hear!

  123. Anomander

    Nowhere near as eloquent as your posts miriam (blush)

  124. trishcorry

    I am interested in people’s thoughts regarding this policy. There have been a lot of misconceptions about the practical operations of how this policy will work. Many are saying that they will jump to the Greens. However, there is still a bit of time for Labor to really engage with the public and to clarify some of the myths and assumptions which followed the announcement of the policy and National Conference.

    I feel that the Greens are using this as their ‘Carbon Tax’ Soundbite moment and only posting snippets or slogans that can be misleading. On the other hand, I do note that in Facebook commentary, there are also quite a few people asking the Greens to give more detail to what they would do including costs. I welcome this as, personally, I see very little evidence of the Greens being challenged or scrutinised as a serious contender. This is interesting, that especially if people are considering moving their votes to the Greens, the Greens will have to respond to more questions and not just be held to the ‘trust that they are all nice and good.’

    I am interested in other people’s perceptions, that if Labor communicates this effectively and the public are quite clear on the policy and operations and they do come to understand that it certainly does not equal the Liberal party’s version; and that there are quite a number of protections in place. They will come to understand that turnbacks mean ‘working within international law; never turning back to a country of origin to the oppressor, that turnbacks and on-water processing will work with approval of UNHCR, and implementing Independent Commissioners as over-seers’ and Labor supporting turnbacks is not exactly what it appears to be on the surface.

    Do others perceive that this will appeal to voters as a rational and sensible approach and vote with Labor (assuming this is their traditional vote and they will no longer shift to Greens)?
    Do others perceive voters will still not approve, even if the policy is well and truly clarified and they will still shift their vote to the Greens (as so many are saying they will)

  125. Möbius Ecko

    Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq – Stephen Kinzer

    Worth the read.

  126. Matters Not

    jimhaz, I clicked on your link and read same.

    After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels

    As an ‘example’ of same he lists Turkey – Muslim 99.8%. Well he has that ‘fact’ right, yet as someone who has been there on a number of occasions his claims, generally speaking, are absolute rubbish.

    Sure the Muslim Turks (the majority of whom are ‘Sunni’) dislike the Muslim Kurds (the majority of whom are Sunni), in particular the followers of the PKK, but this dislike is not based on religion – as should be obvious.

    What is noticeable is the difference between those who live in the cities and those who dwell in rural areas. All followers of Islam but you would never know it. By the way, if you do go there have an Effes or two which is available from your local store across the country despite the islamic ban on alcohol, at least in this life.

    Even with a 99.8% majority, Sharia Law is not practised in Turkey. Strange that.

    Further having been to other countries on his list as well I simply cannot agree with his outrageous generalisations.

  127. mars08

    Sadly… just mentioning the “every soldier who ever put on a uniform is a hero for defending our freedom” myth plays right into the hands of the rw nut jobs.

  128. Kaye Lee

    “that turnbacks and on-water processing will work with approval of UNHCR”

    But Trish…the UNHCR DON’T approve.

    On May 23 they issued the following statement:

    UNHCR has consistently expressed its profound concern at the interception at sea of individuals who may be seeking Australia’s protection and turn backs that appear to be taking place without adequate consideration of an individual’s need for protection.

    When boats carrying asylum-seekers are intercepted, UNHCR’s position is that requests for international protection should be considered within the territory of the intercepting state, consistent with fundamental refugee protection principles.

  129. Trish Corry

    Labor is saying they will only do this WITH the approval of UNHCR. They have committed to only undertaking turnbacks and on-water processing with the approval of UNHCR. If there is no way of doing this with the approval of UNHCR, I guess Labor will not ever have to use that option.

    On the other hand if Liberals do get all shouty and say they should do it without the approval of UNHCR like they have and break international law, like they have, what are the Liberals saying about themselves?

  130. aravis1

    It’s worth noting too,that the UNHCR issued this objection to the Liberals’ use of turnbacks, specifying the comditions under which they have been doing them. The other point that recurs to me often, is that Bill Shorten is using legitimate political savvy, hedging this issue with language which, as you pointed out, would obviate its use in any but legitimate circumstances.
    But whether Bill will spell this out probably depends on what he thinks will bring voters home.

  131. Kaye Lee

    Labor saying they will only do it with the approval of the UNHCR is misleading. They also will find it very hard to get agreement from Indonesia for turnbacks. They need to reconsider their approach because they know they will NOT get such approval which would make this purely a political move and make all those emotional speeches sound very staged. They will wedge themselves if they are not careful. What happens when a boat comes, as it inevitably will, and they have no approval from the UNHCR or Indonesia to turn it back?

  132. Trish Corry

    Why is it misleading Kaye?I really do not think that anyone can assume that the UNHCR will not consider any proposals put forward by Labor for consideration for clearance by the UNHCR, proposal put forward for consideration as a regional unit, if Labor does indeed become successful in working with regional areas as a bloc. Labor is a party of progress and the type of party they are is to work incrementally and progressively, within the realms of the law and respecting that. I think if we think in terms of responses and assumptions based on the UNHCR responses to the Liberal Govt, then it is saying that as a nation we are not game to progress, we are not game to challenge and we are not game to improve.

    What happens with no UNHCR approval?- Labor will work within the realms of international law. That is what will happen. Turn Backs are an option, not a mandatory practice. There is a good explanation on the podcast from Michelle Gratton, Albo and Marles on “The Conversation” site.

    I think Labor needs to take a Keating mentality and treat the Liberals as the joke that they are, and show that Labor can indeed work progressively with others for change. Labor is sincere on this.

    I think it is a very big call to make Kaye, to say the speeches may look staged because they ‘know’ they can’t get approval (see above point). It is a very big call to say Tony Burke’s speech may look staged and it is a very big call to say that the speeches made on behalf of very passionate groups, who some were left emotionally drained may look staged. I for one, would not be game to even remotely insinuate that to some of my very upset comrades.

    Shorten would be an absolute fool to take something off the table which appears to be working in the eyes of Australians. Labor can accuse the Liberals of breaking the Law and being inhumane, but when no courts, police or justice system are holding them to account, Labor, in the eyes of the ever cynical swinging voter, will just look like a pack of whingers with their school bags on. (and that is damn well sure how Abbott will do his best to make them look with the backing of MSM). They can however promise to undertake practices with transparency and within the law, with approval from UNHCR, which is I think what most Australians want. They want an end to the secrecy. They want an end to knowing there is abuse going on and they can do nothing about it.

    You say Labor might get wedged here? How? By either working with UNHCR and implementing an approved practice in conjunction with them that works, or revealing that an UNHCR approved practice is not an available option and the Liberals have broken international law repeatedly and could be charged in international criminal courts? I do not believe it is Labor who will be wedged on this, the Liberals are already wedged.

  133. mars08

    @Kaye Lee:

    Quite apart from the dubious legality and obvious cruelty of Shortens decision, I am astounded by by the desperation and futility of his policy switch.

    Is Labor really foolish enough to think the “turn back” chatter will somehow defuse the boats as a political football? Do they imagine that it will allow the bogans, bigots and bedwetters to start focusing on the REAL issues facing the nation? Like the Gillard government and it’s “hardcore” approach to asylum seekers… is Shorten deluded enough to believe that the bogans, bigots and bedwetters will start to look at the benefits of Labor’s policies rather than tremble in fear of being beheaded in their driveways?

    Labor is NOT going to win over the 3B’s by thumping their chests and getting all macho. Rather, by reinforcing the notion that asylum seekers are illegal, untrustworthy and unwelcome… Shorten has strengthened Abbott’s position as defender of our lifestyle and protector of our golden shores. All the ALP has done is confirm the belief that asylum seekers should be pushed back…. by hook or by crook… whatever it takes. Shorten has ensured that “the boats” remain a political football and the party with the most inhumane, ruthless approach to asylum seekers takes the prize.

    To win the votes of the bogans, bigots and bedwetters, Labor will have to sink lower than the Coalition has already done. Or, they could try to defuse the fear and misinformation about asylum seekers and Muslims in general, They could ignore the unwavering 3Bs and concentrate on winning over more reasonable voters.

    But that sounds like hard work, right?

  134. Kaye Lee

    ” revealing that an UNHCR approved practice is not an available option and the Liberals have broken international law repeatedly and could be charged in international criminal courts”

    Trish, they have already been referred.

    You need to understand that the UNHCR will NEVER approve boat turnbacks. And how anyone can pretend that is about drownings at sea is beyond me. If you were concerned about people drowning how could you turn the boat back?

  135. mars08

    Trish Corry:
    …if Liberals do get all shouty and say they should do it without the approval of UNHCR like they have and break international law, like they have, what are the Liberals saying about themselves?

    What are they saying…? They’re not saying, they’re SHOUTING. They are telling the nation that that are willing to do “whatever it takes”. They will defend our shores “by hook or by crook” They will be relentless in protecting our sacred way of life… and to hell with the wimps at the UN!!!! The valiant Liberals are breaking the rules to save us all from the surging hordes of illegals… just like Batman or Dirty Harry would do… ain’t that cool?

  136. Kaye Lee


    It is unfathomable to me and their excuses are so flimsy.

    We want to stop people smugglers.

    Ok, why not seek Indonesia’s co-operation and send in undercover people pretending to be asylum seekers to bust them. When we intercept a boat arrest the smugglers and give them hefty sentences instead of giving them tens of thousands of dollars to go back and try again.

    Give people hope they can get here even if they don’t have all the required paperwork. Fly them here and process them onshore. Why would they risk their lives and pays thousands of dollars if we offered them an alternative?

    Why not make a deal with Indonesia to resettle some of these people there. That is more likely to help get regional co-operation. We gave $40 million to a corrupt regime in Cambodia to take 4 people. I am sure Indonesia would appreciate some help in looking after all the people that land there hoping to get to Australia.

    Boat turnbacks is a terrible option, a lazy political choice. Indefinite detention is inhumane. Offshore processing is far too costly and even with independent oversight, you will not make the locals love the idea. Teenagers released on Nauru are being beaten up. It’s just wrong.

  137. Trish Corry

    Of course people are concerned about drowning at sea. I don’t have the source at the moment, but it is on an asylum seeker site. They said that more work needs to be done with countries such as Indonesia (transit countries) so Asylum seekers do not get on the boats. Labor has said that they are committed to working with other countries.

    This is an except from the link you put up before:
    UNHCR considers that actions to intercept and turn back boats carrying asylum-seekers are contrary to the spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the practice of turning back boats carrying potential asylum seekers sets a negative precedent for other countries that are hosting large numbers of asylum-seekers and who do not have legal frameworks and safeguards in place and may seek to emulate Australia’s practices and policies.This may have serious consequences for the international system of protection that relies on the sharing, not shifting of responsibilities.

    With this – what is there to say that Labor can indeed work with the UNHCR to counter any of their concerns here? Some discussion has been that the boat is intercepted, a ship is then sent and asylum seekers board the ship. On-water processing could be conducted with UNHCR approval, with access to proper legal experts, advocates and medical and those deemed not in genuine need are turned back, in a safe approved manner. Maybe they will fly them back. Who knows? These are ones deemed by the process as not meeting requirements of seeking asylum. This is still a vast improvement on flying asylum seekers directly back to their oppressor.

    This is just one example. There are ways to work with large governing bodies and achieve a progressive way forward. Once again, Labor has committed to no turnbacks to country of origin (back to the oppressor). They are committed to working within the confines of UNHCR. They are committed to ensure that drownings do not occur on their watch. They are committed to ending secrecy.

    Yes, I shared a similar ICC article last night; however, I have only seen this on independent media and it is hardly making the 6 O’clock news, nor is it splashed over every newspaper with bold ABBOTT IS A CRIMINAL or ABBOTT SHIRTFRONTS ICC headlines. The general voting public would probably have no idea. I consider myself, fairly well into politics and up until yesterday, I considered this a rumour.

  138. Neil of Sydney

    and send in undercover people

    I believe the Howard govt had a disruption program

    When we intercept a boat arrest the smugglers

    The smugglers will not be on the boat. The crew will be fisherman paid by the smugglers.

    Boat turnbacks is a terrible option

    It works. You only have to do it a few times until they get the message.

    But we are talking about a problem which had been solved by the Howard govt. You lefties created the problem once again by voting for Rudd in 2007.

  139. Kaye Lee

    Andrew Wilkie referred them last October. It was reported by the ABC and the Guardian. Don’t know about elsewhere. Church groups have also written to the UN.

    Don’t you think that Labor should have discussed this with the UNHCR and Indonesia before they announced it? Despite your confidence that they can get approval for turnbacks all the evidence points to the contrary. If they are taking the asylum seekers off the boat and flying them somewhere then that isn’t a boat turnback is it.

  140. mars08

    Kaye Lee:

    Boat turnbacks is a terrible option, a lazy political choice. Indefinite detention is inhumane…

    It’s the “lazy political choice” that makes this look so desperate and essentially futile. It’s tragic in a political and human sense. I just don’t see what’s to be gained.

  141. Trish Corry

    Kaye it appears you want an all or nothing approach to a situation which is absolutely fraught with complexities and you do not want to discuss Labor’s ideas put forward, but simply shut them down, by placing them in the context of ‘how it has been done by Abbott” I find this approach frustrating. I find it frustrating because an all or nothing approach will only return Abbott in this political climate. It is no different than change management in organisations, you need to appeal to the majority who will assist to bring people with you as you implement change and it is difficult to do that when you are fighting against something that is shrouded in secrecy. I feel that your opinion is that Labor’s view of change is towards the end of being negative and harsher, rather than bringing people with them to support policies which are fairer and more humane. I may be wrong, but I that is how I am taking your criticisms of the policy. I am on the side that believes Labor will work progressively towards fairness and humanity.

    As the IPA has asked Abbott to do (75 radical ideas) – push the country so far to the right that it will be impossible for the left to pull it back. Abbott has succeeded in this, in the area of Asylum Seekers. Regardless of what is in our hearts, this needs incremental change, not radical change, as Abbott has succeeded in shifting this as far right as possible and it is too difficult to just lurch it left. A lurch to the left is simply not possible in this political climate. This needs a rational approach, not an idealistic one. This needs incremental change and progressive moves back to the left. This cannot be done in opposition.

    This is a situation which successive Governments have worked to have solutions on (regardless of how we view them, I have no doubt the Govt’s want to be able to control this issue with success). As part of a global situation, we cannot close ourselves off to a ‘we know best attitude’ This is what Abbott has done and this approach does not allow for other interested stakeholders to have input for improvement and or oversight. By shutting down secrecy and opening up transparency, this policy can do nothing BUT improve. The voices of the nation will insist on that direction, once they have back the right to know what is going on.

    There are quite a number of areas in the Labor policy which are vast improvements which are worth talking about, yet the discussion from the public and of course the Greens is centred around a very narrow view of what Turnbacks under Labor even mean. The Liberals didn’t even bother changing their prepared comeback which was “Labor’s policy will open the floodgates” Which makes the Liberals look absolutely ridiculous.

  142. aravis1

    Kaye, my guess is that they will then take the people to an offshore detention centre for processing. They have promised to process fast and humanely.
    The turnback thing is, in my opinion, a political measure to wrest government from the Libs; and it is an indictment, not of Labor, but of the innate racism in our country. However, given the present dire situation we find ourselves in, due again to that racism and ignorance of too many, I consider that they should use ANY and ALL measures they feel they need. Let’s not get holier than thou and say lying or trompe lóeil is not acceptable. We can manage to swallow a few more lies in the cause of destroying the Libs once and for all.

  143. aravis1

    Exactly, Trish. You’ve nailed it, IMO.

  144. mars08

    @aravis1… believe me I would contemplate swallowing “a few more lies in the cause of destroying the Libs” if I thought Shorten’s brainfart had ANY merit at all. It’s politically ineffective and unethical…

  145. Terry2


    In my view the substance of this policy is aimed at neutering the Abbott re-election machine ; any alternative would have guaranteed that we would be locked in to another three years in the poisonous embrace of the Liberals.

    In office I expect Labor to actually have the asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus processed, ideally by UNHCR personnel and then work with the UNHCR to resettle these people in the region which inevitably includes Australia, New Zealand , Malaysia, probably Indonesia. and possibly elsewhere.

    I expect Labor to immediately move to normalize our relationship with Joko Widodo and in the process arrive at a mutually acceptable strategy to ensure that boats do not leave Javanese ports and if they do, those onboard are returned to an Indonesian port for processing .
    I expect Labor to work towards closing the offshore detention centres within their first term and, unlike the coalition who are under the rule of an emperor, I believe that the Labor Left faction will keep the pressure on to ensure that this happens.

    Finally, I expect that all matters concerning intercepts and detention centres will be completely transparent and open to scrutiny.

    Not easy for Labor but anything is better than the mess we have at the moment with no processing or resettlement in either Nauru or Manus in two years other than the token four dumped in Cambodia at enormous expense.

  146. Kaye Lee

    Sorry. I don’t lie. And I hate it when others lie to me. Show me UNHCR endorsement of this policy. Show me approval from Indonesia (whilst that is hard to do from Opposition, I would be very surprised if any shadow minister has raised this with them). I am firmly convinced that no such approval will be forthcoming so is Labor prepared to turn back boats without such approval?

    “you need to appeal to the majority”

    REAL leaders convince the majority to do what they know is right. They lead. They don’t decide policy on the basis of ill-informed focus groups – they convince people of the soundness of their argument. The only reasons being put forward here for boat turnbacks is so they can compete with Abbott. Compete with him by coming up with better methods to achieve what you want.

    As I have said, I approve of some of the policy like increasing the intake. The rest of it, about transparency, wouldn’t be necessary if we didn’t engage in the inhumane practice of mandatory indefinite offshore detention.

    Your accusations are disappointing Trish. If you can’t accept criticism and suggestions then you will alienate many of us who are just looking for a better way and recognise the danger of the me-too game. If you are prepared to sacrifice your principles and adopt those of Abbott just to win then I can’t follow.

    I fully understand the difficulties associated with the problem. I am somewhat miffed that you think I am trying to “shut down” discussion of Labor’s ideas. I will not unreservedly endorse something I think is wrong. I also try to make suggestions. Blind unquestioning acceptance is too much to ask.

  147. miriamenglish

    I hope you’re right Trish.

    It would be a real shit to find after electing Labor that we have exactly the same arrangement (perhaps without the heavy secrecy).

    If they play their cards right Abbott will be chasing his tail going into a mad-dog lather. It really all hinges on how much Murdoch’s propaganda machine can brainwash people.

    At the risk of being repetitive, I have to say I believe the very first thing Labor should do on gaining office is break up Murdoch’s media empire. He wields far too much power, lies criminally, subverts our democracy, and has already far exceeded levels of media concentration warranting anti-monopoly action. It would also be good to remove tax-exempt status of the IPA, as they’re really an advertising and strategy company working for the LNP.

    Incidentally, the Greens have always been completely transparent about their policies, generally getting them independently costed and released to the public. It’s not fair to snipe at the Greens for things that are not true. By all means point out things they do that are genuinely wrong (that’s what the Greens do with Labor and the LNP), but not criticise them for things that are myth. We expect that of the LNP.

  148. Matters Not

    aimed at neutering the Abbott re-election machine

    Spot on! It’s all about politics, defined in terms as The Art of the Possible.

    Politics like policy development in general always involve compromises. Such compromises often involve a conflict of ‘principles’, ‘values’ and the like. It’s not always pretty. Indeed it rarely is.

    I note that Shorten’s solution to what is essentially a ‘wicked problem’ (Defined in terms of:

    a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems

    can legitimately be seen as a compromise. Designed to offer a chance for Labor to win the next election.

    That’s his overriding concern.

    Is it cynical? Yes!

    But in political terms, it’s a necessary although not sufficient condition to rid the nation of Abbott. Sad, very sad. But true.

    On the other hand, Labor could have resolved (some time ago) to provide ‘leadership’. To change the racist, xenophobic, ethnocentric and the like ‘common sense’ that runs deep within Australian society. But apparently they decided that was a bridge too far. So they are simply dealing with an inherited reality rather than trying to create their own.

    Also very sad.

  149. mars08

    “…you need to appeal to the majority”

    Ah well… bugger me. Isn’t that exactly what John Howard set out to do with his sleazy “we will decide who comes to this country” dogwhistle? And isn’t that what Gillard did when she adopted offshore processing as a cornerstone? And isn’t that what Tony Abbott did in opposition?

    Spare me the facile fluff. It has never been about an existential threat to Australia. It has never been about the welfare of the asylum seekers. NEVER. It has always been about using innocent, vulnerable, isolated, powerless human beings to score cheap political points.

    And it sickens me.

  150. Trish Corry

    Mars08 – You had better hurry and write to all the organisational behaviourist change management theorists and tell them that they are wrong and that a radical way forward is necessary in times of the likelihood of high resistance to change.
    That is all I have to say about that.

  151. trishcorry

    I am not attacking you Kaye. It is very difficult to point to the stance someone is taking without mentioning that stance the person is taking. I could comment in an obscure manner as if you are not even here, but I don’t think that would work either. When we discuss politics and ethical issues, stance is absolutely important. My stance, your stance, everyone’s stance if others see it inherently a problem to working towards a solution, should be challenged. For example, you are challenging my stance repeatedly that you believe that Labor should not even have turnbacks on the table. Regardless of how I try to explain the process and that it will not the same as Abbott, I am not offended that you challenge my stance, because I understand yours. But that does not mean I agree with it, within the context of the political climate we are in now. I would whole heartedly agree with it, if it was a lovely rainbow world, where anything is possible and there were no evidence of risks to people taking a journey by sea and I didn’t take the time to listen to the point of view of those in my party who are for keeping this on the table as an option, including Tony Burke. I was deadset against this until I was almost sick when Shorten announced this. I have forced myself to think with my head, not my heart and take an objective, rational view. My view is built on the faith that I wholeheartedly trust that Labor will indeed take a humane approach as being complete bastards is simply not in their blood. Until this is proven otherwise, I will look upon this from that perspective.

    I find your stance personally frustrating as I feel by not even attempting to rationalise or consider that Labor will not be pure evil about this, you, yourself actually close off conversation about how Labor could make this work. I think you have already decided it is not workable, although I put forward a suggestion which could be a hypothetical workable solution with UNCHR. (which was ignored, you framed your response that Labor simply cannot have these discussions with UNHCR and UNHCR are against this. They are against Abbott’s approach. Anything from Labor and UNHCR working together is not possible to determine.)

    If we do not challenge ideas, even stances, the way people view things at a personal level; then we leave the door open to develop a world of closed ideas and insular thinking. For example, I take a mixture of a utilitarian and justice view at a personal level towards ethics. The flaw in that is that it may leave open discrimination to minorities, but that is where the justice view can try to correct that. The Liberal party ideology is built on the ethical view of egoism. It is insular and dangerous. So identifying people’s stances, is to me very important, as it sets the underlying constructs to their argument and where they sit.

    So for the record, I am not trying to alienate anyone and I personally find that accusation offensive, considering I spend a lot of my time, trying to start conversations in the community by blogging and being quite active on social media (which brings with it a lot of personal abuse, which I put up with for reasons why, I do not know). Whether people agree with me or not is really here nor there sometimes; the conversation and bringing issues into the open is what is important to me. I don’t blog because I think I have all the answers, I blog to talk about the world, and our communities and hopefully work together to understand problems better and find better solutions.

    I have responded to you a number of times about your concerns about UNCHR and Turn Backs. I see no point in repeating that again.

    With regards to your response about off-shore detention and transparency, I think I can use this as an example. I just spent a bit of time explaining from my point of view, how Abbott has shifted Australia so far to the right, that it is nearly impossible for the Left to pull it back, and this needed an incremental approach to change. Where I get frustrated is that this argument, is crucial (to me) in understanding a way forward, is ignored, and we are then back to square one with “Why does Labor think they can just do this?” There was no point me responding to the original question and putting forth my view on the question asked, really, if this is where we end up again and any thought I have put into your question is ignored.

    That is where I feel frustrated, not just with your comments here today, but others who just want to push the one point over and over and not consider what others put forward, or try to contextualise it in the current climate. I truly feel I do my best to respond to people’s questions or comments and not gloss over them and just talk about my original point again.

    If that feels like a personal attack, it is not meant to. But there is no point talking about an issue if it is just going around in circles. The choice is Abbott’s vision or Shorten’s, or a hung parliament which I hope I never see again in my lifetime. Oh and advance apologies to the person who has accused me the other day of being self righteous or some rubbish because I write long posts.

  152. Matters Not

    you need to appeal to the majority

    I think that’s the ‘core’ of the system we call ‘democracy’. While such a system has its obvious problems, perhaps we could trial the idea advanced by Plato? You know ‘being ruled by Philosopher Kings’. But I think that has its problems also.

    As for:

    It has never been about an existential threat to Australia. It has never been about the welfare of the asylum seekers.

    Can’t argue with that from a personal perspective but I concede it was a message that resonated with the average voter and a powerful driver as to how they voted.

  153. Kaye Lee

    I don’t feel attacked Trish.

    You said “I am interested in people’s thoughts regarding this policy” but I don’t think you meant it unless you only wanted to hear from people who agree with you.

    “I am not trying to alienate anyone and I personally find that accusation offensive”

    I do apologise. When I said “If you can’t accept criticism and suggestions then you will alienate many of us who are just looking for a better way” I meant the Labor Party. Sorry that you took it to mean you.

    “If we do not challenge ideas, even stances, the way people view things at a personal level; then we leave the door open to develop a world of closed ideas and insular thinking.”

    That is why I am commenting on this article.

  154. Harquebus

    What about raising a refugee army to fight the tyrants, oppressors and abusers of human rights that cause people to flee in boats? Just a thought.

  155. Matters Not

    trishcorry, while I understand and have sympathy for the arguments you advance, there’s an important point I want to clarify. You say:

    view is built on the faith that I wholeheartedly trust that Labor will indeed take a humane approach as being complete bastards is simply not in their blood.

    If Shorten is elected then the government will become a ‘Shorten government’ rather than a ‘Labor government’. It’s been that way for decades. These days the ‘identifier’ becomes that of the leader. In Queensland for example, we had the Goss Government, the Beattie Government, to name but two, while at the national level we had the Whitlam Government, Howard Government and the Abbott Government to name but three.

    And yes that difference in nomenclature is so very, very important. The truth is that, when in office, there is a clear distinction drawn very early in the term between what is ‘Party Policy’ and what is ‘Government Policy’. Believe you me, all the Ministers know that, being conscious of the fact their position is at the pleasure of the ‘leader’.

    While ‘lip service’ might be given to party policy, it will be the Shorten Government policies that will reign supreme.

    It a safe bet that the existing policies re turn backs will be maintained.

  156. mars08

    Trish Corry:

    …a radical way forward is necessary in times of the likelihood of high resistance to change…

    Oh really? Ha! I would dearly welcome a radical way forward, rather than the stupid, self-serving, tepid BULLSHIT that Labor is trying to sell.

    Good grief!

  157. Trish Corry

    OK. I’ll just slowly bash my head on the table here. I’m sorry you do not understand. The reason why I am sorry you do not understand is that deriding Labor because they are not lurching to the left and positioning them as weak, does nothing but have people think what is already there may as well stay. This is the most important election we will ever have in our history. Another three years of Abbott will kill this country as we know it. I say that with all sincerity. I am actually afraid of what is to come under another term of Abbott.

  158. Harquebus

    I am just as afraid of the undemocratic liberty destroying Labor Party.

  159. aravis1

    Terry2. With you on all the points you raised.
    Matters Not, I’ve said often enough that politics is the art of the possible. And cynicism is the life blood of politics. Sad but inevitable.
    And mars08, unless you can come to terms with that, you’d find peace in abstaining from political discussion altogether.
    Trish, don’t bash your head too long; been there, done that, and it doesn’t help! My remedy is to realise that some only want to disagree and emote, and there is nothing to be done with them. Like you, I was physically sick at first over the boat turnback business. But not now. Now I am glad that at last, Labor is realising that the evil in Canberra must be fought on a ground other than ideal. I am also glad that Labor is better than the LNP in a less rabid approach to our problems. If mars08 likes to call that brainfarts, you are free, but it sounds suspiciously like a refusal to accept that anything good can come out of Labor. So be it. I can breathe again since the weekend, and I can even see some honesty in our Opposition which in the world of politics is actually refreshing.

  160. Trish Corry

    Thanks Aravis1. I’m glad to hear someone else has gone through this up and down process since the weekend. I don’t feel so alone.

  161. aravis1

    Harquebus, that is not true – unless you are a rusted-on Liberal supporter, and I doubt that. Or perhaps, you simply don’t have an interest in intelligent thought?

  162. randalstella

    Trish Corry.
    ‘Another 3 years of Abbott will kill this country’
    Are the Labor Party saying this? Will they say this very thing and say why?
    I agree with the moral stress you provide. It is moral outrage. Are Labor prepared to express this?

  163. aravis1

    O, you’re not alone, Trish! I know a few on Facebook who are enduring the same thing. And facing abuse and derision from both sides as a result. I hope we will be vindicated in the end – but all I care about, really, is that the horror we are experiencing now be ended and we can start the work of recovery.

  164. Kaye Lee

    As far as I can see, there are four reasons put forward to justify turnbacks.

    1. We don’t want our navy to have to fish drowned children out of the ocean.

    That is an horrific thing for anyone to have to face but using these emotive images is deliberate. Where is the story about why so many people are willing to risk their lives on such a perilous journey? Do they care if those they turn back drown in Indonesian waters?

    2. We must stop the people smuggling trade.

    Whilst there are desperate people fleeing war, oppression, discrimination and poverty, with inadequate response by governments, there will always be a people smuggling trade. Stopping the boats coming here just means they go elsewhere – that’s called a hospital pass delivered by those who don’t have the ticker to take the tackle. Or refugees are stuck in transit countries who are far less equipped to cope than we are. Or worse still, they do not flee and are slaughtered.

    3. We must remove the sugar from the table.

    To do this, we have decreed that anyone who makes it through our naval blockade will be sent to a tropical gulag where they will be incarcerated until such time as they can find a country that will take them and it sure won’t be us. Their safety and welfare will not be our responsibility. Transparency will only amplify the harm this causes to innocent people.

    4. We need to say we will match Abbott to get some votes.

    Isn’t that what Abbott and Pyne did with Gonski? What Hockey and Robb did with the GST? I understand the debating technique of conceding points to your opposition but when they have pinned their supposed strength argument on something that is inherently wrong then that is when you go on attack – show their flaws and present a better way.

    Marles should be quietly and respectfully meeting with his counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia and asking for their help and suggestions – find agreement before announcing a policy that will upset our neighbours. Prevention is far better than cure and consultation better than edicts.

  165. Matters Not

    Another three years of Abbott will kill this country as we know it

    Possibly so.

    With the election of Abbott I argued that he would be on a course to change the Australian ‘common sense’. His first budget was evidence of that effort but it hit the wall. Thankfully. But I do not retreat from that broad position.

    But what he has done is change the ‘common sense’ in any number of other ways. ‘Transparency’ whether it be FOI, ‘border security’ measures and the like have been confined to the dust bin of history. And their resurrection is probably a bridge too far.

    As people, Australians have always been frightened little people. Ever ready to hide under the bed when ever scaremongering as a political tactic is employed.

    But yes, another win likely for Abbott, even though his agenda is now known, will be a disaster. But that’s the likely outcome because we are now playing on his political turf.

  166. Harquebus

    Which Labor politician represents their constituents? I despise Labor and the Coalition equally.
    I am intelligent enough not to be taken in by either side.

  167. Harquebus

    I does not matter who governs this country, Labor nor The Coalition. Both have absurd policies that will do absolutely nothing except to make matters worse.
    “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

  168. DC

    Assuming both sides are equal and then doing nothing to stop the worst side getting in (& the 2nd worst side stooping to the level of the worst) is not intelligent. Its just lazy. And it takes a special kind of arrogance to adopt this stance & still think you have any moral authority to criticise anyone else who participates in the democracy you depend on

  169. mars08


    …I’ve said often enough that politics is the art of the possible…

    Pandering to people’s fears and ignorance is always possible, and extremely easy. That’s exactly how we got here…

    But not to worry! Labor could still win the next election. But, if it does, it will be without my primary vote. But winning (by hook or by crook) is all that matters, right?

  170. Matters Not

    But winning (by hook or by crook) is all that matters, right?

    Perhaps? Or is it better to lose with your ‘principles’ intact and in so doing allow your opponents to win so they can operationalize and embed their ‘principles’ which you abhor?

    Not that I want to complicate the argument with moral dilemmas.

    Or worse still, draw a distinction between deontological and teleological ethical positions.

  171. silkworm

    What if the Navy intercepts a boat carrying asylum seekers and finds that the boat is seaworthy? If the purpose of turnbacks is to save lives, why turn a seaworthy vessel back?

  172. Matters Not

    and finds that the boat is seaworthy

    Extremely unlikely. Everyone knows that ‘illegals’ only come on ‘leaky’ boats. When I say ‘everyone’ I include the navy personnel who understand what the government wants. If in any doubt just ask General Jim Moylan. For a fee of course.

    Think of your career!

  173. mars08

    Matters Not:

    Perhaps? Or is it better to lose with your ‘principles’ intact and in so doing allow your opponents to win…

    As I stated at 5:53pm…… My principles (no quotation marks) are not the only thing that makes me reject Shorten’s proposed policy.

    The ALP has been getting more and more uncaring and hairy-chested about asylum seekers from back in the Beazley days. They’ve played the game by the Coalition’s rules but they’re still accused of being “soft” by Abbott and the MSM. If Shorten is serious about becoming the next PM, he has to go hard of go home. He has to “operationalize and embed” the level of cruelty that will endear him to those swing voters he needs.

    Yes… it IS a moral dilemma, but it’s not mine!

  174. aravis1

    As you already said, Harquebus. I could summarise your position by saying it is antipolitics. BTW, my avatar name is aravis1, not avaris1.

  175. aravis1

    mars08. It is all that matters AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I should not need to say that. The frightful creature holed up in the AFP barracks has made it mandatory.

  176. Trish Corry

    Mars08. Considering there have been a lot of explanations in the video and Key points and also in the comments regarding Labor’s policy; I think I can conclude safely that you do not believe/agree with any of the terms of operationalisation of this policy by Labor. I am wondering if you could outline what you believe to be the solution you would like Labor to put forward. Also could you please explain the pros and cons of what you would like Labor to adopt?

  177. Florence nee Fedup

    There are a couple of commenters on this site lately that I find insulting. I don’t believe in racism. I believe this site will be better off if comments of that type were blocked.

  178. Matters Not

    The ALP has been getting more and more uncaring and hairy-chested about asylum seekers from back in the Beazley days

    Agreed. Very sad.

    They’ve played the game by the Coalition’s rules but they’re still accused of being “soft” by Abbott and the MSM

    Agreed. Even sadder.

    Yes… it IS a moral dilemma, but it’s not mine!

    Well sadly for me it is still an ethical problem. If I approach the ‘problem’ from a deontological perspective with the emphasis being on ‘intentions’ and the like I am ‘torn’. Then again, if I consider it in terms of a teleological perspective with its stress on ‘outcomes’ I am also ‘torn’.

    It’s my problem I suppose but then again I am attracted to the notion that while ‘doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, when it comes to moral dilemmas, ‘certainty’ is quite absurd’.

    But each to … whatever.

  179. Matters Not

    believe this site will be better off if comments of that type were blocked.

    In principle, I don’t. Up to a point of course.

    I think the administrators ‘ought’ to be somewhat selective as to what threads are posted while also allowing a much freer rein as to what comments responders make.

    Generally, I think they do an excellent job.

    But that’s just my view. Perhaps it ought to be blocked?

  180. Anomander

    As Einstein once said “Insanity; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

    The very same could be said of our two party political system. Seems to me we keep repeating the same test of voting for either Liberal or Labor, over and over, expectantly hoping things will improve, but they never do – they both deliver the same old tired shit – greed, rorting, lobbying, corruption, screwing over the people, favouring big business, slogans, sound bites, broken promises and more bullshit – every single time.

    Isn’t it time we tried a different experiment?

  181. The AIM Network

    I think the administrators ‘ought’ to be somewhat selective as to what threads are posted

    That would take away the autonomy of the authors. Similar sites have just one person deciding on who posts what and when, but this site is more or less belongs to the authors, so it’s more of a collective.

    Generally, I think they do an excellent job.

    That is truly appreciated. It is a hard job keeping on top of all the moderating and we admit that a number of comments do get through that should not have. We do not have the time or the resources to be on hand to moderate everything that comes in, but neither do we want to have it that all comments must be cleared by a moderator before publishing them. Fortunately though, most of the discussion here is civil and intelligent, which makes our job much easier.

  182. Matters Not

    would take away the autonomy of the authors

    Indeed it would. But (thankfully) that ‘autonomy’ does not extend to the ‘who’ who post. Larry Pickering anyone? If not then why not? (Just joking.)

    Again I say, ‘congratulations’.

    And at any number of levels including the technical ability to ‘edit’ after first posting.

    Never thought it was possible.

  183. Harquebus

    My apologies. I will try not to repeat the mistake.
    Politics is not my area of expertise however, I do consider myself to be politically aware. Does one have to be a supporter of a major party to be considered such? Does one have to decide which is the lesser of two evils?
    Labor and The Coalition are the left and right testicles of the devil.

  184. miriamenglish

    Silkworm, interesting logical puzzle. As you point out, a seaworthy boat should not be turned back if fears are for people drowning. Conversely an unseaworthy boat shouldn’t be turned back, precisely because of the danger of its passengers drowning. At first I considered this merely an interesting but silly game with logic, but then I realised it actually does demonstrate important decisions about human lives when it gets transferred out into the real world. Turning back a seaworthy boat really is wrong if the concerns are supposedly for the lives of those on board. And turning back an unseaworthy one invites tragedy.

    Anomander, you make a very good point… one which First Dog on the Moon made humorously and worryingly in his most recent cartoon.

  185. Harquebus

    I totally agree with you.

    Censorship hides ideas and thoughts that are abhorrent and denies us the opportunity to argue and speak out against.

  186. The AIM Network

    Thank you, MN.

    Harquebus, I agree with you too, but sometimes censorship is needed to stamp out defamatory comments.

  187. Harquebus

    No argument there. The moderation on this site is way better than at the ABC.
    Censorship sucks and the censors, they suck the hardest.
    Ooops. I hope this is not considered defamatory. Feel free to moderate this comment as required.

  188. Terry2

    A further point concerning the payment of people smuggler crews at sea.

    I was overseas when this hit international headlines and it got a lot of coverage on BBC World and Al Jazeera. In the case of Al Jazeera, they had the exclusive film coverage of the Indonesian police counting the bundles money (new $US notes) in the presence of the arrested people smugglers.

    It was suggested on the BBC that this could be Abbott’s Watergate but, much to my surprise, on my return to Australia I found that the local media had not run with this story. Abbott, when asked on one of his doorstop interviews,virtually conceded that we had been paying off crews but seemed to be saying that it was a question of “whatever it takes”. WRONG ! We cannot be involved in people trafficking.

    This instance was, as far as I am concerned, just the tip of an iceberg and clearly breaches international law : those responsible for this illegal activity are facilitating the people smuggling trade and need to be held to account.

    So, whilst I am not in favour of politically motivated Royal Commissions we do need to get to the bottom of the egregious criminality : a job for a new Labor administration and a powerful argument for greater transparency.

  189. DC

    I can’t understand how someone can honestly expect 2 different political parties to be ‘exactly’ as bad as each other. Of course they’re both corrupt in many ways, opportunistic and in many ways ‘captured’ by the same interest groups but the capturing of political parties by private interest is ironically enabled by the very kind of voter apathy that comes from assuming parties are ‘equally’ bad. There are so many reasons why that assumption is ridiculous. The ALP & the Coalition have different structures and histories, private interest groups often donate disproportionately or sometimes exclusively to one party (like the coal & tobacco industries and the coalition), election campaigns have to be fought on the basis of differences not similarities. And we have a preferential voting system which could make the major parties much more accountable to voters if only more voters understood how it worked.

    If you use the “they’re all as bad as each other” excuse to do nothing because you can’t even be bothered with the most limited form of democratic participation i.e. casting an informed vote, then how can you blame either major party for being captured by interest groups or catering to bogan voters?

  190. Kaye Lee

    I should state that my objections to Labor adopting turnbacks will not lead to me voting for Abbott. I agree that getting rid of him is essential. But almost equally important is changing community sentiment about asylum seekers and I believe turnbacks and offshore processing are retrograde steps in achieving this. I also believe turnbacks are detrimental to achieving the regional co-operation necessary to address the problem as well as being inherently dangerous. Punish the smugglers, not the asylum seekers. Liberal will be last on my voting paper (or second last if there is a Rise Up Australia candidate or some other crazy like Family First) and I will be filling in the Senate tablecloth below the line. I sincerely hope that our next government is Labor (in coalition with Greens and Independents would be fine by me).

  191. mars08

    @Trish Corry…

    Frankly, any wishlist from me for Shorten on this subject is pointless.

    Over the years Labor has firmly wedged itself on asylum seekers…. AND with their budget surplus foolishness.

    Shorten and Abbott have conditioned the public to accept only one approach to both these “issues”. With the boats hysteria and the deficit disaster myth, the Coalition set the ground rules and Labor timidly followed… reinforcing public fear and misinformation.

    Now both parties are locked in a silly pissing contest to impress the electorate.

    So glad the adults are running the show.

  192. aravis1

    Harquebus, you are freely forgiven 🙂
    As for the other, I said antipolitics because it feels, at this time, that you are against what we have now, in politics – and that this animosity translates into a position that would destroy the nation if we all held it. I disliked thinking about politics, until the anti-Australian mob came to power, and consider myself now forced to do so. I believe that if we want to change the political system we must take extreme care. The far-Right are attempting around the world, to take over, to destroy democracy, and to relegate the people of the world to the status of sheep to be herded and used. The best example of this here in OZ, is the LNP, obeying the voice of their masters in the corporate world.
    So my position is that we are in a state of emergency at present. The fight must be fought on different grounds now. As in war, priorities must be set. IMO, the first priority is to get rid of the LNP. For that, I do believe that Labor is necessary. The process of changing the core of our democracy will be a long one, not to be accomplished in a few years. So trying to skip a step may be an unmitigated disaster in effect.
    I do also disagree though, that Labor is quite as noxious as you think. It needs to get back to the basics of its charter – but those basics have changed somewhat, as all things change, and we can’t arrest change. One of the things that have changed in our society, is that we do have more power – but don’t realise it enough. So the long view is, I think, that we must do the urgent first, then tackle the difficult. The impossible will be done after all that!
    Get Labor back in, encourage the Greens to grow in the meantime, and those who can, work towards people power. One of my sons is active in this area; as are many others.

  193. aravis1

    Terry2 and DC, full agreement there. IMO, emotion drives too much of our thinking in present politics. We need to get a bit more hardnosed. And we must avoid the danger of a one-issue attitude. – That said, my dog is staring at me and it is disconcerting,. so had better take her for her walk!

  194. kizhmet

    @aravis1 – Your post echoes my sentiments almost entirely. I was politically apathetic until LNP won the election in 2013. Didn’t watch the news (still don’t), didn’t read newspapers, listen to the radio.Now I read independents, like AIM, particularly the comments, I’m reading up on modern monetary theory, I’ve read the Greens’ policies. There’s not exactly a dearth of NON-right wing (conserviative neo-liberal garba … ooops) news 🙂 The discussions on AIMN are integral to me making informed decisions.

    Hearing about the boat turn back policy, I initially thought about ditching ALP. After reading different opinions here, and thinking things through, I will stick with ALP for the time being. LNP MUST GO while there is still something of our country left to save.

  195. Harquebus

    Despising both major parties does not mean that one is politically unaware. They are as bad as each other in different ways.
    I always carefully consider my vote, a waste of time since I am in the middle of a rock solid Labor seat and for the senate, I always research all the parties and always vote below the line as it is where my vote can make a difference.
    Those that blindly follow one party or the other regardless of policy differences are in my opinion, sheep.

  196. aravis1

    Kizhmet, glad to know more people are becoming educated about politics! I find others almost daily, which gives me hope for the future, because unfortunately, if we don’t take notice, we will be relegated to the status of blind and deaf sheep. I am amazed, when I think about it, that I got to the age of 70 without worrying too much about politics! But once you are aware, you can’t go back.
    Harquebus, I agree; blind party loyalty is dangerous and bad for the country. I do just as you do, for the Senate.
    Bottom line: EDUCATION. And for the young most of all.

  197. David Lawrence

    listening to a liar and a man with no morals or conscience is hard to do to the end of his speech of lies and left wing ridiculous ideals about increasing our immigration intake. Bill Shorten would say anything if he thought that’s what his audience wanted to hear. And he has done that before by proclaiming to be a christian at a Christian function to gain their votes and then immediately supporting gay marriage at his next public speech. Bill Shorten is a vacuous individual with no morals, no intellect and no ability to perform his role as a politician. He adamantly opposed bronwyn bishop for using taxpayer’s money for her travel while he is still under investigation from the ICC relating to massive donations to union funds from companies that were given “special treatment” by the Union leader at the time – Bill Shorten.

  198. miriamenglish

    Ummm… David, where is the clash between Christians and gays? I know some Christians think there is a problem, but many more don’t, just as many don’t think it’s right that their sisters can be sold into slavery, or that people should be killed for working on the sabbath, or that children who talk back to their parents should be put to death, or that slavery is acceptable, or that a city in which people don’t worship Yaweh ought to be the target of mass murder. There is also that interesting bit in 1 Samuel 18:1 – 20:41 celebrating a gay wedding between Jonathan and David.

    I don’t have a lot of respect for Bill Shorten, but using gays and Christians to denounce him is stretching things a bit.

    Yes, he is under investigation, but should we prejudge what the verdict is? Is that a smart or honest thing to do? It is debateable whether the investigation is genuine or another of Tony Abbott’s frame-ups. Abbott loves to throw mud, hoping that some will stick. Maybe Shorten is guilty, maybe not. The sensible thing to do is surely to leave it up to the investigation and see what comes out.

    Based upon your comment though, David, it sounds like you definitely don’t have your thinking cap on.

  199. David Lawrence

    The Bible generally teaches against any sexual relations except between husband and wife. The Bible specifically mentions sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex as among the forbidden acts. Homosexual acts are mentioned in seven Bible passages: 1
    2 refer to rape (Genesis 19:5, Judges 19:22)
    3 refer to intercourse between men (Leviticus 18:21-22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27)
    1 refers to intercourse between women (Romans 1:26)
    1 refers to prostitution and possibly pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
    1 is general in nature (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
    Old Testament
    The first mention in the Bible is in Genesis 19:1-13. The wicked men of Sodom attempted a homosexual rape of two messengers from God who had come to visit Lot. As a result of this and other widespread wickedness, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in a storm of fire and brimstone.
    The next two mentions are in Leviticus

    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (NKJ, Leviticus 18:22)

    If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NKJ, Leviticus 20:13)

    There is NO GAY MARRIAGE between Jonathon and David in the book of Samuel as you suggest – unless you’re reading a “gay edition” of the bible.

    You are another Tony Abbott hater because you believe what the Main stream media and social media tells you. Abbott had nothing to do with Bill Shorten’s past catching up with him. The biggest ‘mud throwers’ are the moronic left opposition who make claims of corruption and deceit against the government and then realise they are also guilty of the same corruption from their own past.

    If I don’t have my thinking cap on then you don’t even own a cap!

  200. miriamenglish

    David, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

    Do you wear clothes of more than one thread, such as cotton-polyester blend, or how about wool blends? It is forbidden by the bible. Do you work on the Sabbath? Forbidden under pain of death. It doesn’t have to be paid work — even picking up sticks is worthy of death. Do you eat kalimari? Scallops? Oysters? Oops. Forbidden. Do you eat fat? Forbidden. Do you eat black pudding or the blood in a lightly cooked piece of meat? Forbidden. Have you ever torn your clothes? Forbidden. Cut your hair or trim your beard? Forbidden. Have you ever sold land? That’s forbidden in the bible. Sounds like you bear a pretty strong grudge, David. It is forbidden by the bible too.

    The bible does say it’s okay for you to sell your daughter into slavery. You can buy people from neighboring countries as slaves. You can beat your slaves so long as you don’t kill them.

    Here’s something the bible orders you to do: If you find a city where the people don’t worship Yawhe then you must kill every man, woman, and child in the city and all the cattle, then burn the city to the ground and make sure nothing ever grows there again. (However while doing this you must remember that the commandment against killing stays in effect.)

    If you think Jonathan and David don’t celebrate a marriage in 1 Samuel, then I suggest you actually get your bible out and read it for a change (the King James is the one I refer to; I’ve never heard of a “gay” bible). Most “religious” people never bother to read anything in the bible other than a few verses here and there picked out by their preacher. They pick their readings to suit their pet hates then feel smug in their prejudices.

    You only follow the rules that your bigotry inspires you to follow, while ignoring that pesky commandment from Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself.

    You’re treating the bible as a graven idol. You’ve become an idolator. You completely miss the message of love and tolerance that is spoken by the person whose name you profess to uphold: CHRISTianity. He would be so ashamed of you. You hate where you should love.

    In case you missed it in my first reply, I have no admiration of Shorten. I think he is probably nearly as corrupt as Abbott and the rest of government and the opposition. Politics in Australia has sunk into deep corruption. These criminals are enabled by people like yourself, who let their hate be manipulated to blind themselves to the excesses of those who pretend to be religious. If they can get you all steamed up with hate against gays, refugees, unemployed people, windmills, solar panels, and so on, then you won’t be watching the theft of your country going on right in front of you.

    You really need to wake up and start thinking for yourself David. Don’t let the newspapers and radio and TV do your thinking for you. You were given that brain for a reason. Please don’t let it go to waste.

  201. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, a brilliant piece, I hope you don’t mind but I share all brilliant pieces with my facebook friends.

  202. miriamenglish

    🙂 Thanks townsvilleblog.

    Unfortunately, I doubt David will even read it, let alone absorb it. He seems to have far too much hate in his heart.

    What is it about religion that inspires such evil feelings? They all talk about theoretical love, but when it comes to practical application they set about hating each other for utterly ridiculous reasons, such as loving the “wrong” person. WTF? Do they even hear how insane that is? How sad that love can be such a crime in their eyes.

    You are most welcome to share anything I post. I’m flattered.

  203. diannaart

    Indeed, most excellent work there, Miriam.

    Although, next time, maybe, you shouldn’t hold back…. (irony alert)

    Maybe some of us will be entertained by a DarkMatter2525 video (its American, but, nonetheless, relevant).

  204. Florence nee Fedup

    To Abbott and co, Sovereign Borders is only based on one policy, turn back the boats, supported by the fact from now on, there will be no more permanent visas. Only TPV, which are for limited time, with very little citizenship rights. Like Howard did with Timorese and Yugoslavs. All expected to return to their homes. No more migration from those seeking asylums. refugees very low on agenda of this government. That is if it is on in at all. Not our business. Based on belief that the likes of the UN, even if we have signed the conventions, have no right to tell us what to do. Even written this into legalisation.

    All that Labor has agreed to when it comes to Abbott’s policy is they will stop boats coming from Java. No information of how this is to be done. Probably, I suspect, working with Indonesians themselves, as was occurring before Gillard was deposed. Indonesia had already changed their visa rates, making it impossible for more to come through that country.

    For Abbott and his cohorts, there are a couple very inconvenient facts. The boats had slowed down by actions of Indonesia and opening up recommendations Houston Expert Committee of Nauru and Manus.. Only bridging visas was possible for those here. By the way, they were to be released into the community, but unable to work. Much stricter that TPV that obsess this government.

    This government, for over 12 months refused to process any on Christmas Island or onshore, until they got their own way with TPV. People were left in Limbo.

    Therefore, it is easy for Shorten and Labor to say yes to turning back boats, as it means nothing., At the same time, effort to be put into putting in place more of the Houston recommendations.

    Abbott has to be made to take some responsibility of what occurred while he was in Opposition. Not good enough to prevent Labor getting any policy in place, them blaming them when things got worse. That was his plan. His whole policy was turning back boats and TPV. Would not listen to anything else. Opposition also have duty to the voter, to do the right thing, not concentrating on making things worse.

  205. Neil of Sydney

    refugees very low on agenda of this government.

    Disagree. Under Rudd/Gillard we took every Tom, Dick and Harry with $10,000. The guy who died on Manus Island, Raza Beriti was an architect. He could not get a job in his profession in Iran so he risked his life on a boat to get a better job in Australia.

    Under the Coalition we take people from UNHCR camps.

  206. miriamenglish

    Thanks Dianna. heheheh 🙂 The funny thing is I was holding back. I was trying really hard not to be too annoyed.

    My initial thought was not to respond at all; people like David don’t tend to hear what you have to say anyway. They’re too caught up in their hate. But then I thought of all the religious people who do see their way out of the craziness when someone gives them reason to break out of the suffocating bubble.

    I’ve often felt that the reason we have so much religious lunacy in the world today is because we atheists tend to be polite and not say anything when a religious person rudely comes in stomping on everybody’s toes. If we spoke up more often then religion might have less purchase in the world.

  207. mars08

    Because, apparently you can’t be an asylum seeker AND an architect…

  208. Florence nee Fedup

    Under this mob, we seem to take them from nowhere Yes, the man was a trained professional. He couldn’t get work because of his religion and culture. If he lived to 100, nothing would have changed. he was persecuted. Why are we not taking these highly educated people?> Doesn’t make sense.

  209. Neil of Sydney

    The guy could not get a job in Iran. That is why he risked his life on a boat.

    Raza was an economic refugee

  210. diannaart


    If we spoke up more often then religion might have less purchase in the world.

    Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, don’t hold back – and they even receive a shellacking from other atheists – personally I don’t have a problem with them – we need a few more uppity atheists.

    Hmmmm, maybe when the time is right we should not hold back… might frighten the horses though.

  211. Neil of Sydney

    Because, apparently you can’t be an asylum seeker AND an architect…

    You obviously do not know. There is large scale migration from poor countries to wealthy countries for economic benefit.

    I have many friends with University qualifications who cannot get jobs in research because the market is flooded from people from Eastern Europe.

  212. David Lawrence

    I have read it and also the NIV version and I don’t interpret that to be gay marriage.

    Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
    ‘eating shellfish etc and your list of “Forbiddens” are no longer forbidden because Jesus became the sacrifice.
    You are correct about Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us. It would appear that both you and I have failed.

    As for the rest of your comments, i see no point in debating our difference of opinion any further.


  213. Trish Corry

    God made everyone in his own image and God loves all his children , including homosexuals. That is all there is to consider.

  214. Trish Corry

    Terrorist 1: We will bomb that village
    Terrorist 2: nooooo not that one. I heard an architect lives there.

  215. mars08

    Asylum seekers from eastern Europe are coming on boats …to take our jobs? That’s scandalous!

  216. Neil of Sydney

    No economic immigrants from Eastern Europe are coming here to take our jobs. But the concept is that lots of people from poor countries are coming here for economic benefit not because their lives are in danger. And that is a fact.

  217. mars08

    Ahhh okay… … economic immigrants from Eastern Europe are coming here (via scheduled flights presumably) for economic benefit not because their lives are in danger.

    And they’re working here… BUT these people aren’t asylum seekers.

    So glad we got that sorted.

    If you don’t like it, I suggest you contact the appropriate federal minister…

  218. Trish Corry

    Economic Migrants won’t need to come by boat soon. Under CHAFTA and Abbott’s addiction to giving our jobs to overseas workers; they can just fly here and get a job on their first day, no questions asked. Australians need not apply. “Tony Abbott had a choice – he just didn’t choose you.” So true.

  219. miriamenglish

    Neil, there have been countless studies on the subject that show immigrants create jobs, they don’t take them. It almost doesn’t matter if they’re “economic” immigrants or refugees, though I expect refugees are likely to be even more highly motivated and grateful to the country that saved their lives. Economic immigrants generally have much more motivation that we slack Australians have. It is no wonder they create jobs.

    What takes away jobs from Australians is if you allow ultra cheap labour in via those visas Tony Abbott, Gina Reinhart and the mining industry want (I’ve forgotten what those visas are called), or if you outsource jobs to other countries as the TPP makes almost mandatory and Tony Abbott so dearly wants.

  220. Neil of Sydney

    Neil, there have been countless studies on the subject that show immigrants create jobs

    I agree with that.

    I tend to like unskilled immigrants as they are less likely to take a skilled job. Nothing worse than spending years getting a qualification and find the job market swamped by flyins.

    I have lots of friends with PhD’s who cannot get a job in Australian science because the market is swamped by Eastern Europeans. Also education is a big money spinner for Australia. There are 200,000 foreign students in Australia. They are supposed to fly home when they get their degree but they find ways of staying. Some apply for asylum. These are the so-called refugees who come by plane. But they are not refugees. Before their visa expires they apply for asylum and invent some false story about how dangerous it is for them to go home.

  221. miriamenglish

    You agree, yet the next few sentences say the reverse. You seem to be able to hold two mutually contradictory beliefs at once, Neil.

    How are you able to divine that these people make up false stories in order to stay, yet nobody else knows of this? Certainly the Dept of Immigration, with all its resources for researching people’s backgrounds, and which has a reputation for making it incredibly difficult for people to stay don’t seem to have the special knowledge that you do. Sounds suspiciously like hearsay inspired by xenophobia, Neil.

  222. Neil of Sydney

    I tend to favor non-skilled immigration rather than skilled migration unless there is a shortage. Would you really want to bust your guts training to be a dentist for years to find yourself competing with the rest of the world for a job in your own country. It is heartbreaking seeing what is happening in Australian science. Eastern European scientists get paid $12K/year so they all want to come here and get paid $90K/year + 17% Super

    Education is a rort to get into Australia. Some are the so-called refugees who fly in.

    We have to be vigilant in stopping old practices creeping back in,” said Phil Honeywood, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, referring to large-scale rorting of student visas in the mid-2000s for permanent residency. He said enterprising students were finding ways around strict new visa rules to stay in the country.

  223. miriamenglish

    Again, Neil, it isn’t the immigrants that are the problem. The cutbacks in spending on research by the government and companies in Australia are the problem. You are criticising the wrong thing. The immigrants still create more jobs.

    It is strange hearing someone complain of Australia becoming too smart because of all the skills immigrants are bringing, and arguing for a dumber Australia. Those skilled immigrants still tend to create jobs by starting up companies, even if they begin by taking existing jobs, being highly skilled they tend to open up opportunities for more skilled Australians.

    Immigrants create jobs. They don’t reduce the number of jobs available. Skilled immigrants increase the number of skilled jobs.

    I am sure there is a small number of students who do attempt to stay in Australia after getting their education despite the (unnecessarily) strict rules. When you compare the rorts being perpetrated by Australia’s wealthiest people, wealthiest corporations, and our politicians, I doubt a small number of well-educated people who want to stay here and work hard to make good lives for themselves (and us) features as a big bad thing worth worrying about.

  224. Neil of Sydney

    Rubbish. Skilled immigrants take jobs. Research in Australia is almost entirely govt funded. They are interesting jobs funded by the taxpayer. No extra jobs are created by skilled immigrants in research.

    I am sure there is a small number of students who do attempt to stay in Australia after getting their education

    In other words you have no idea. There are 200,000 students in Australia. Some try all the legal ways to stay. If that fails they apply for asylum and say they are from some persecuted religious sect back home and their life is in danger if they return or some other story. These are he so-called asylum seekers who fly in. Education is a rort to get into Australia.

  225. miriamenglish

    I used to earn a good living building 3D virtual worlds on the internet, but those jobs have all gone to India now. I’m not complaining about the Indians. Good luck to them.

    I’m annoyed that Australia is losing the race to be a smart country. We used to be a really well-educated country. However successive governments — both Labor and LNP — have screwed us over royally. They’ve wrecked our education system by cutting more and more funding from it, and done the same to our research institutions like CSIRO and the ABC and SBS who used to sponsor a lot of wonderful documentaries and associated projects.

    Abbott exploits racism and fear of foreigners to prevent skills coming to Australia, placing the emphasis on letting only unskilled immigrants in through temporary visas which will let companies pay them terrible wages, and ruining things for Australians. Abbott is keen to sign the TPP (I believe Shorten also wants the TPP) which will outsource many more jobs and businesses away from Australia, also reducing the chances to build up skills here.

    Neil, you are playing right into the hands of those who don’t give a flying fluck about us. Unless you are a millionaire, the politicians from the two big parties are not on your side. They are not only convincing you to vote against your own interests, but to do their propaganda for them too!

  226. miriamenglish

    I know it feels that way, Neil, but you are wrong. Seriously.

    It really doesn’t work the way you think it does.

    The very article you pointed to indicates that those foreign students you hate so much are bringing billions of dollars into Australia. That’s hardly a rort.

    You are a very rude person Neil. I was trying to discuss this courteously with you. You say I have no clue, but you’re relying on undefineable racist feelings that some foreigners are out to get us. Can you even hear yourself? I can at least get more than warped, hateful opinion to back up what I say.

  227. David Lawrence

    Australia could be the best country in the world if we didn’t have so many lunatic left losers who prefer to support all the failed policies of previous labor governments that have led to huge inflation and interest rates, massive unemployment and repressive laws for small business.
    Politics has become a war of words on social media which has no real substance or connection to the truth. Young people vote by the masses even when the masses are wrong.
    Tony Abbott is a good man who works very hard. He has a vision for this country and he backs it up by spending weeks with indigenous people in northern Queensland. He volunteers for many public activities like clean up Australia and he is involved with his local surf club.
    We never saw Julia or Kevin lift a finger to get involved in anything that required a physical effort. Typical labor left wing union people who have built their lives around representing workers because they don’t want to work themselves.
    The only way forward for Australia is to change the mentality of those who think that they deserve to be looked after when they don’t work.
    Is that you – miriam? do you have a job or are you receiving a government benefit?

  228. corvus boreus

    David Lawrence,
    I would respect and applaud Tony Abbott’s ‘charitable’ activities more (and view them less as publicity stunts) if he did not regularly slug the taxpayers (of whom I am one) for monetary reimbursement for such.

    P.s, is your generalised slagging of ‘lunatic leftist losers’ part of those Christ-ian teachings you were espousing before?

  229. Michael Taylor

    Dear oh dear, David. It must have escaped your attention that Julia Gillard was the first Prime Minister in over forty years to see inflation, interest rates, and unemployment all under 5% at the same time.

  230. David Lawrence

    If you hate Tony Abbott then nothing will change that.
    If you are a taxpayer then why would you single out Tony Abbott as slugging you when all governments take taxes and both sides of government are guilty of using taxpayers money for personal trips and benefits.
    Tony Burke has a lot to answer for and yes christian teachings oppose dishonesty and corruption.
    Yes, exposing the wrong is welcomed by the good.

  231. Florence nee Fedup

    It is not about hating Abbott;. I would be surprised if any here did.

    It is about having no respect for the man. The man has done little to earn respect from any. It is about what he has done and said.

    It is about the secret agenda he has. it is about him destroying all in his attempt to put extreme neoliberal policies in place.

    It is about the unfair budget that he has bought down.,

    It is about bullshit and lies.

    No, nothing to do with hate.

  232. Möbius Ecko

    Why single out Burke when Abbott has committed worse rorts?

  233. The AIM Network

    Why single out Burke, Mobius? Because he’s Labor, and it makes a good ‘hey, look over there’.

  234. corvus boreus

    David L,
    Let me put this simply.
    It is a matter of power of position and degrees of transgression.
    Tony Burke (shadow minister for finance) has, in my view, misused parliamentary expenditure, from all that I have heard.
    Tony Abbott (the current Prime Minister) has done so much more often and to a greater degree.
    Both are trying to avoid the issue, and I mistrust both for this, but only one currently holds the reins of state.
    Ps, Yes, I do pay tax on my honest (physical) labours.

  235. miriamenglish

    Thank you for your post, David. It gives a fascinating glimpse into the effects of the mainstream media upon people’s minds. Normally people here probably consider it more of a theoretical thing rather than coming into contact with it directly. You remind us how very real it is. You show us how effective they are at misinforming people, and making people believe things that (if you take just a moment to look) are clearly not true.

    Your post was truly breathtaking. I’m honestly very grateful. (I mean that; I’m not being sarcastic.)

    I’ll re-iterate what I’ve said many times before: that the first thing the next government should do is break up the corrupt control Murdoch has over the media. The fact that he can make people believe such a web of lies is deeply, deeply disturbing.

    David Lawrence is obviously not an intriniscally bad person, but he has been turned into a weapon by Murdoch’s hateful media. That is sad and quite scary. How much damage can such propaganda do to Australia? A heck of a lot, if you examine David’s passionately held beliefs. He believes that Abbott is trying to fix Australia’s economy and that Labor broke it, when even the most cursory examination of statistics shows the reverse is true. This means that not only does it push lies upon people, but it somehow manages to discourage them from seeking out the real facts. An impressive, if depressing feat.

  236. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott is an inadequate little man who has been promoted way beyond his level of incompetence. Having endured his bully boy conservatism at university where he was roundly ridiculed, I am still in a state of shock that this pissant gets credence from anyone at all. He was installed by vested interests because he is so easy to manipulate. I think he was as amazed as anyone when offered the leadership in exchange for becoming a climate change denier. No wuckins he said with a shit eating grin, I finally get to be captain of something.

  237. Michael Taylor

    But, but, but, he’s doing a good job. 😯

  238. Kaye Lee

    At what?

  239. Matters Not

    Please. David Lawrence is a caricature. A Neil by another name.

    As for:

    when Abbott has committed worse rorts

    True! (And in spades.) What I can’t understand why Labor isn’t on the front foot here. Going for broke if you like.

    Abbott, flying himself and his daughter to Tamworth (for a musical festival) on a return trip of less than 12 hours at considerable public expense, without even a pretence of a political engagement, ought to be front and centre.

    I can understand why Bishop the Elder could be totally pissed off when she was only doing what her ‘love child’ engaged in (and still does) and yet his historical rorts still fly under the radar.

    One must ask, who the hell is driving Labor’s smear campaign?

    Demand an historical audit of all politicians who have been in office for the last decade or so.

  240. Michael Taylor

    At lying.

  241. townsvilleblog

    Yes, those pesky lefties who want a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, decent conditions for pensioners and a reasonable standard of living for the population in general when billionaires and multinational corporations do not contribute to their responsible share of taxation, which of course is only right and proper, how dare the loony left put people before profits, its disgraceful, we should be proud to be exploited as we are, shouldn’t we?

  242. townsvilleblog

    Dis anyone notice by the way that Abbott didn’t have the guts to sack Bishop, he had to talk her into resigning, what a pansy.

  243. townsvilleblog

    We only want people who have a trade that we are short of electricians, carpenters etc, the rest can go to Cambodia.

  244. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, I can’t determine whether Neil is psychic or psychotic.

  245. Neil of Sydney

    Dis anyone notice by the way that Abbott didn’t have the guts to sack Bishop,

    The PM of Australia has no authority to sack the Speaker. It is illegal.

    You are a very rude person Neil. I was trying to discuss this courteously with you

    Miriam you have no idea what you are talking about or the lives you have destroyed. English is now the language of Science and every Russian. Polish, Eastern European scientist wants a job in Australia destroying the lives of nice aussie kids who have busted their guts to get a PhD but cannot get a job.

    What do you know about what is happening in Australian science Miriam?

  246. Roswell

    How the hell can you say that Miriam destroyed lives? You are utterly and totally pathetic.

  247. Rossleigh

    Everybody, mark down this day. I’ve read a lot of Neil’s comments over the years, in the hope that one day, he’d be right about something, and he’s right. The PM has no authority to sack the Speaker; it would have to be done by the Parliament.
    Day of miracles and wonder!

  248. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, yes it would make a change from those immigrants who are wealthy in their own country but seek to come to Australia, they come here and open up businesses which is precisely why Australia is such a rich country, we keep the hobo’s out and only accept the rich immigrants, and we are supposed to thank them for giving one of us a two bob job on starvation wages loading or unloading tiles as an example, its wrong, dead wrong.

  249. Roswell

    I’m stunned, Rossleigh.

  250. Roswell

    Neil, I didn’t bother releasing your last comment. It went straight in the bin. The attacks on Miriam are unfounded and pathetic.

  251. townsvilleblog

    Florence perhaps we don’t have an award that states that we can stop what we are doing and pray towards Mecca 5 times a day, perhaps that is seen as a loss of productivity, just giving a possible answer to your question.

  252. townsvilleblog

    Roswell well done, Miriam speaks the truth.

  253. Neil of Sydney

    Neil, I didn’t bother releasing your last comment. It went straight in the bin. The attacks on Miriam are unfounded and pathetic.

    Why? I have seen what i have stated. Young aussie kids with PhDs doing menial jobs while the Eastern European scientists are employed because they will work for half wages.

  254. Kaye Lee

    The average salary for a Research Scientist is AU$72,207 per year. I don’t think they do it to get rich Neil.

  255. The AIM Network

    Neil, you repeated your claim that Miriam destroys lives. We find that appalling.

  256. Neil of Sydney

    The average salary for a Research Scientist is AU$72,207 per year. I don’t think they do it to get rich Neil

    PhD salary scales start at $85K/year + 17% Super. Within a couple of years you are on $90K plus

    Neil, you repeated your claim that Miriam destroys lives. We find that appalling.

    Good. It is true. Greedy people from all around the world want a job doing research in Australia while our young kids are unemployed.

  257. miriamenglish

    Yes, Neil. I know very well what’s happening to Australian science. It is being deeply wounded by attacks from this government. The LNP is not alone in this though. Labor are almost as culpable. Both governments have cut science in almost every budget for decades. We have had to do more with less for a very long time. In spite of that, Australia has still managed to deliver better science for the buck than most countries, especially in medical science. Part of that comes from the great tradition of welcoming brilliant minds from all over the world. Australia was such a great place to live, with our peaceful, egalitarian, healthy, well-educated society it more than made up for our isolation. This attracted a lot of the world’s best scientists.

    Unfortunately that has gone sour. We now have an anti-science government that is bent on destroying all the great social advantages Australia has. They’re ripping funding out of research, health, and education, while at the same time inflaming racist hatred to divide our society, and pouring money into military and policing. When violence breaks out, as is the inevitable result of these changes (just look anywhere around the world these changes have been implemented) then they’ll take it as a reason to spend even more on these retrograde steps, while slashing further all the things that make Australia a good place to live.

  258. Trish Corry

    My goodness it sounds like you have a personal experience and are applying it to every uni in every research area and blaming asylum seekers. Your view of this Neil is quite bizarre.

  259. miriamenglish

    🙂 Don’t worry. Neil can insult me all he wants. It really doesn’t bother me. When he does so he says a heck of a lot more about himself than he ever could about me. He doesn’t know me, and I suspect he’ll never understand my motives, sadly.

  260. Neil of Sydney

    My goodness it sounds like you have a personal experience

    Absolutely. The same is for all the English speaking countries ie Britain, Canada, USA, Australia, NZ.

    Every Russian. Ukranian, Polish, Chinese scientist wants a job in Sydney because you get $90K/year. Hundreds of young Aussie kids cannot get a job because the Eastern Europeans will work for half wages.


  261. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, Great to read your words, they remind me of a much younger me, get stuck right up Neil and any other ‘troglodite’ who doesn’t understand, give them the facts and the education they need to become more like you, right on the money, not dealing with emotions simply facts, I love to read your words go girl!

  262. Kaye Lee


    That is a prime example of your deliberately misleading quoting of figures out of context. The link you provided very clearly states that a junior postdoctoral research officer gets $72,359 – we are talking about kids trying to get a job aren’t we? The figure you quote is for “Experienced postdoctoral researcher (i.e., a researcher who may be considered as a named investigator on the research application)”….not a starting salary at all. And can you give me a link that shows they get 17% super because I find that hard to believe. And even if, after decades of study, they reach the princely sum of $90,000 (which you made up), you can get more than that driving a truck.

    “PSP5 – Senior experienced postdoctoral researcher (i.e., a researcher who would normally be considered as a named investigator on the research application and is more than 10yrs post doctoral and/or would be expected to have applied for or held an NHMRC CDF (formerly CDA) or equivalent) $92,019”

  263. miriamenglish

    Trish, I don’t think Neil works in science. If he did, he would understand what this government is doing to it. No. It looks to me like he’s speaking as an outsider directing his racism against people who are not WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). It appears that he’s pretending outrage on behalf of young science graduates in order to vent racist anger (or perhaps, more insidiously, to inflame it in others). If he was really worried about damage to science he would be pointing the finger at savage cuts from this anti-science government. In just a single term this government has done massive, long-term damage to science in Australia. Labor are no angels, but at least they didn’t gut science the way this government has.

  264. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, let him have both barrels he’s living in fantasyland picking figures out of the air, what does a waiter earn, a shop assistant at Bunnings (owned by Wesfarmers one of Australia’s largest companies) never mind about research assistants, let’s concentrate where most of the starvation wage jobs are in retail, the lowest paid section of the Australian workforce and now Abbott and his cronies want to take their weekend penalties away from them, hideous is my descriptive adjective, hideous and evil.

  265. Neil of Sydney

    By the way that is why Labor was against Chinese coming to Australia; I am sure everybody has heard about the White Australia policy started by the ALP. It was most probably racist. But there was another component. Unions were worried that Chinese would come here and work for half wages driving the wages of everybody else down.

    Substitute the Chinese for the Eastern Europeans and you may get an idea of what young aussie scientists have to put up with. Russians willing to work for half wages or sometimes even nothing driving our nice young kids into other professions.

    And Miriam does not care.

  266. townsvilleblog

    I might just add that Bunnings and Masters (Wesfarmers and Woolworths) were up 10.4% June 2014- June 2015 on homeware sales and even coffee shops had increased earning of 4.9% for the same period, no crisis there, yet they want to take $12.50 off little Jimmy for his weekend work bloody disgusting.

  267. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, you’ve nailed him to the wall.

  268. Neil of Sydney

    The link you provided very clearly states that a junior postdoctoral research officer gets $72,359

    No. They are people with a Bachelors degree. PhD’s start on $85K and within two years you are on $90K + 17% Super. PSP4 is starting salary for PhD’s

    17% Super is standard for all University workers. Google it yourself.

    PhD’s start on $85K + 17% Super. Within two years you are on $90K. So at 27 years of age you could be on $85K. No wonder the Russians want a job here.

  269. townsvilleblog

    Neil, perhaps they are grossly over paid as it is, I certainly don’t know and don’t pretend to know, why focus on one tiny fragment of Australian society, why not try to be inclusive and see society as a whole not as a splinter? You are quoting figures out of thin air apparently (I would trust Kaye and Miriam with my life) so why not overcome the scratch on the record and move on to what everyone is concerned about, which is not what your singular focus is.

  270. Kaye Lee


    From what I can remember, Neil was a cleaner at a university. I may be wrong. I don’t think he understands very much about science research at all but he clearly doesn’t like people with accents.

  271. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, as my dear old grandfather told me in 1985, religion is simply a control mechanism to keep the people enslaved to their doctrine, it serves no real purpose these days and should be outlawed or taxed one or the other, I was raised to have good moral standards and try to do good rather than the other, on occasion I have faltered on the moral but I am answerable to myself not some invisible man who lay beyond the clouds (when I was a child) after the moon landing they changed that to everywhere but you can’t see him unless you pray really hard, sadly never hard enough lol!

  272. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, enough time wasted on Neil, me thinks.

  273. Trish Corry

    I think you need to YouTube Holly McNish’s poem about immigration in the UK

  274. Trish Corry

    That makes sense of something I couldn’t make sense of

  275. randalstella

    So, Neil was a cleaner was he?
    Well then, enough said. Unlike, say, a Scientist? I get no end of wisdom from them.
    Anyone see that deGrasse geezer on the tonight show with the other Jones?
    Some cleaners might have thought him not quite right in the skull.
    But, with my mop in hand, I’ll swear allegiance to Science – whatever it does.

  276. townsvilleblog

    Thanks Trish, it doesn’t matter if Neil is a cleaner of the CEO of Bhp Bilton he is not concentrating on the wide view we need to look at where the jobs are being created and look after their penalty rates for working weekends they don’t get anywhere near $72,000 p.a, we need to think of the shop assistants and the cleaners and the console operators and the hundreds of people who you come into contact with on a weekend sacrificing their home life to serve us, they are lucky to get $30,000 with shift penalties, the party who claims to look after labour in Australia should be fighting hammer and tong for these people, who do they think votes for them, not the CEO of Bhp Bilton and that’s a piece of advice for free.

  277. Trish Corry

    TownsvilleBlog: ” the party who claims to look after labour in Australia should be fighting hammer and tong for these people, who do they think votes for them, not the CEO of Bhp Bilton and that’s a piece of advice for free.”

    Labor IS fighting against changes to Penalty rates and other areas of concern in the Productivity Commission report. LABOR is fighting for workers rights, pay and conditions. Labor has been very vocal on this issue. A number of Unions are also fighting this, very loudly.

    Sometimes I honestly think it doesn’t matter what Labor does, the cynical will only see what they want to see. It is very frustrating indeed; when Abbot pays lip service to things and does nothing or his actions are harmful and people believe he is actually doing something positive. I honestly just want to bash my head against a wall or hide under the doona some days.

  278. aravis1

    Kaye, if poor Neil was a cleaner at a uni, I’m not at all surprised. Sometimes the “rarified” air of unis cause humble cleaners to imagine themselves as intellectuals. Neil needs badly to stop and take a good look at himself – and then subside quietly into a chair and breathe for a while. Being a LNP troll can get very exhausting, with all the lies and obfuscations constantly needed .
    I was going to ignore the poor type, and David Lawrence too; but one comment does not make a swallow, as they don’t say. Now I can happily go back to ignoring them both…

  279. townsvilleblog

    Trish, I share your frustration, I’m not having a go at the ALP simply urging it on, giving the fight the credibility of the masses who are concerned that they will lose their precious penalty rates, perhaps I don’t communicate properly, for that I am sincerely sorry but I hear nothing of the fight? I hate, yes ‘hate’ tories, I think their outlook on life is horrendous and if I could do anything about them apart from vote against them and write letters to Editors for 20 years about them and their wicked policies I would. I am a disabled pensioner who watches ABC News 24 most days but I have seen nothing of the fight, and I certainly wouldn’t expect to see anything on commercial TV News, so I’m left with the rest of the public, not knowing what is going on. If anything the Labor Herald should not concentrate on the glossy bits but the argument at conference to see why certain arguments were put and answered. You and I didn’t get off to a good start and I’d appreciate it if you knew that I was on your side but can also see the warts and all politics. Can we start again please.

  280. miriamenglish

    “Russians willing to work for half wages or sometimes even nothing”

    Sorry Neil, now you’re just making stuff up. I knew a Russian medical researcher at one of the laboratories I used to work at. She worked for exactly the same wages as everybody else. This is the beauty of wage structures. It means people are hired based on their ability to do the job, not how little they can be paid. I’ve never worked in a lab where people would be hired based on how little they could be paid. Neil, you’ve completely lost it, I’m afraid. Your obsessive racism is showing.

    You know, Neil, what I can’t understand is why someone like you would argue in favor of the very people who want to ruin your life. The LNP have absolutely no concern for you or me. They will screw us over as quick as look at us, and I doubt they would even deign to look at us. Labor have a traditional concern for the workers, though that seems to have faded a bit in recent decades. The are still more interested in giving cleaners and unemployed seniors a fair shake. Why all the vitriol when discussing progressive politics, Neil? It just doesn’t make sense.

    Another thing I find puzzling: if you hate progressive policies so much and prefer authoritarian royalists… why do you waste your time here?

  281. Neil of Sydney

    I knew a Russian medical researcher at one of the laboratories I used to work

    Well there you go. And why is this Russian here? There are no borders in Science. There is large scale migration from low wage countries to high wage countries. Not just the odd person here and there but thousands of Eastern European scientists want a job in Australia.

    And in a research lab the boss can write a contract or make you an associate so you can legally come to work and not get a salary. The Russians do it all the time. They front up and volunteer to work for nothing or half wages. Meanwhile the grant money runs out and the full time aussies have to leave while Russians work for not much. A few years latter the boss may get another grant and give it to the Russian. happens all the time in Research Labs which are funded by grant money.

    You obviously have no idea what is happening.

  282. randalstella

    aravis1 August 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm
    “Kaye, if poor Neil was a cleaner at a uni, I’m not at all surprised. Sometimes the “rarified” air of unis cause humble cleaners to imagine themselves as intellectuals.”

    This is parody? Surely.

  283. aravis1

    randalstella, I don’t believe Kaye was being satirical, and neither was I.

  284. randalstella

    Am I to take that as an admission?
    I could characterise the comment. I’ll let you guess what the characterisation might involve.
    You should be able to manage that.

  285. miriamenglish

    Honestly Neil, what possible point do you think you’ll make by lying? Scientists are not coming here to work for half wages or free. It is so absurd I’m amazed that you keep trying to push it. Clearly you think Goering was right when he said “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

  286. Kaye Lee

    Honours students or people doing their PhD do sometimes work for free as they work towards completing their studies. My b-in-law got paid to be a lab tutor for undergraduates but his own research he wasn’t paid for. My son’s g/f was part of a research study that was published as part of her honours year but she wasn’t paid.

  287. Neil of Sydney

    Honestly Neil, what possible point do you think you’ll make by lying? Scientists are not coming here to work for half wages or free.

    Well here is one guy working for nothing.

    As compensation, Dr Thang, who has worked at CSIRO for almost 30 years, was given an unpaid honorary fellowship. He continues to work at his former laboratory in Clayton, mainly supervising PhD students.

    Dr Thang is now working for nothing. It does not exactly describe what i am trying to say but you do not know what you are talking about.

    English is now the language of Science and there are thousands of scientists from Eastern Europe who come here to work for nothing. They approach a Lab head, volunteer to work for expenses and then hang around until aussies fall like flies. It is legal. They get the boss to make them an associate and then they can legally work.

    You have no idea what you are talking about. So you can get stuffed you uncaring load of shit.

  288. The AIM Network

    So you can get stuffed you uncaring load of shit.

    And that, Neil, was the very last sentence of the very last comment you’ll be making here.

  289. miriamenglish

    I hadn’t thought of that, Kaye. You’re right. I wonder if that’s what Neil is working himself up into a lather about. He was saying that scientists are coming from other countries taking up positions by working for free.

  290. miriamenglish

    Wow, Neil. You are a very rude person.

    What is the point? Why come here to rattle on, promoting a political party that doesn’t give two cents for the likes of you or me, spewing hate for people who really do care about Australia and Australians.

    On the subject of Dr Thang, who is allowed to continue his work (though without pay) after working devotedly at CSIRO for 30 years, why do you suppose he is in that situation now? It is because the Abbott government gutted science. If you want to point the finger at damage done to the future of young scientists, that’s where you should be pointing Neil. Not that you’ll hear. Your ears are closed, sadly. I have to wonder what makes a person do that.

  291. aravis1

    Very glad to know that Neil of Sydney won’t be appearing here any more. Enough that we have to endure Abbott and his gang of misfits and monsters, without a stupid nasty hanger-on plaguing us here as well.

  292. aravis1

    Randelstella, not sure if your comment was addressed to me or not, but I wasn’t meaning to denigrate cleaners. Neil of Sydney was making me so mad I let fly about him. That’s all.

  293. Roswell

    Message to Neil.

    It was me who banned you. I’ll own up to it.

  294. silkworm

    Neil’s problem is like a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He gets his jollies by lying and upsetting those of the left and anyone else who cares about other people. Sociopaths are invariably attracted to right-wing politics.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  295. aravis1

    Silkworm, you are so right. The twisting, distorting, and lying is typical. I have a daughter with an extreme case of it so am sadly booked on it. An NPD psychologist once did a blog on the condition, from his own perspective. His summary was that anyone associated with a person like this, has two choices: crawl to them forever – or leave and don’t look back. This was a man who was an NPD himself. My experience is one reason I cannot stand someone like this, and why, I think, I am so sick with the present government. Because several of them – won’t name names – are in this category. And it is why there is no hope for improvement from the LNP.
    God help us.

  296. John Vic

    Well, Shorten says Australians MUST CHANGE so islam can slide in and TAKE OVER. SORRY, never while i am Alive, i RESPECT Women and i am against SLAVERY.

  297. Miriam English

    Whaaaa? Whoever “John Vic” is, I think he has completely lost the plot… unless he’s just a troll.

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