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Fake threats, and democracy


Demands that we be kept “safe” by governments play into the hands of conservatives who simultaneously, and with an alarming degree of cognitive dissonance, express their distaste for a nanny state while instigating extreme measures they claim will fulfil both our expectations of safety, and their responsibility to fulfil those expectations.

All too often those measures are an opportunity for authorities to increase surveillance, harvest personal information and exert unnecessary control over citizens, resulting in an erosion of rights that does nothing to keep us safe but rather makes us increasingly vulnerable, not to terrorists but to the state.

As in the family, so in public life. The greatest threat to our safety is allegedly the stranger, in both the private and the public narrative. So we have President Trump’s seven country “Muslim” ban in the US, designed to make Americans safe. In Australia we have the secretive, punitive Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with their ring of steel around our borders and their concentration camps off-shore. Both governments justify extreme measures with repeated assurances that their only objective is to keep us safe.

However, in the case of both family and country, danger is far more likely to come from within the circle than from without: the family is potentially the most dangerous place for women and children, and terrorism is overwhelmingly perpetrated by citizens/permanent residents of the target country rather than refugees, or foreigners who enter the country with the specific aim of conducting attacks.

In a liberal democracy we are supposed to be participants. We have agency. The degree of safety we demand governments provide is incompatible with the freedoms we rightly expect. Governments are not our parents. While as children we are entitled to protection, as adults we have no such entitlements. Protection and safety must be a joint venture: we have to participate in ensuring our own welfare. Once we relinquish our responsibility, we’re on the road to totalitarianism.

Democracy isn’t just the right to vote. It’s a way of being.

Neither will government assurances of safety from external threat protect us from what is most pressingly dangerous: violence in homes and institutions.

Governments are most reluctant to commit resources to these obvious threats to safety and stability. Instead, billions are wasted on the containment of fake threats, and we continue to face real threats grossly under-supported and largely unacknowledged. Our protection in this instance does not require state intrusion into personal life: it requires adequate money and front-line resources administered by competent and experienced citizens, not politicians.

This is an example of democracy working. Secretive bureaucracies are not democratic, and neither is taking money from those in difficult circumstances to fund tax benefits for corporations turning billion dollar profits.

The robust exchange of views between Senator Jacqui Lambie and Islamic youth leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied, broadcast on ABC’s Q&A last week, is a complex example of the degree to which fake threats dominate our discourse. It also inadvertently provided a seminar in free speech, when a number of organisations petitioned the ABC to provide a “safe environment” in which Muslims may speak.

Senator Lambie has obviously swallowed the fake terrorism threat, as is evidenced in her noisy opposition to what she perceives as the imminent danger of Australia becoming subject to what she understands as Sharia law. At present, I’d argue, Australia is faced with the rather more urgent matter of dealing with the consequences of Catholic Canon law than with Islamic tenets, sad confirmation of the theory that the stranger is not our largest and most immediate danger.

I don’t like Lambie’s views on the matter of Sharia law, or her manner of expressing them, however, such views exist and attempting to silence them is not a useful option. Currently, the voices of prejudice, fear and hatred seem to have wrenched the mic from voices of reason and good will. We are under the governance of a conservative ideology that values combat and domination over citizens’ and community interests, while offering fake protection from outside forces in order to conceal that ideology’s very real threat to civil society.

Sharia law is not currently an issue for Australia: political negligence on matters of survival such as climate change and social inequality and injustice are.

I don’t yet know how we get the mic back. I don’t think anybody does. I don’t think forcible silencing of opposition is an option. It’s impossible to dictate the tone and language in which opposition is couched. Once again, personal responsibility stands side by side with freedoms. That there are people with platforms taking little or no responsibility for their speech and its possible consequences is truly awful, but it’s reality.

For mine, freedom of speech was exercised by all parties in the Q&A example, including the freedom of organisations to get up a petition protesting the event, and the freedom of their supporters to sign it.

This is how we contest fake threats. By embracing democracy as a way of being, not just something we perform at the ballot box every few years. It isn’t any government’s sole responsibility to keep us and democracy safe, and once we relinquish agency, we have truly lost all hope of safety, and returned to infantile dependence.

This article was first published on No Place for Sheep




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  1. auntyuta

    Spot on, Jennifer! Very good article. Thanks

  2. wam

    great read, jennifer. the deflection value of ‘operational’ silence and innuendo of nudge nudge there may be something is so useful for this gov. They are aided by the media and the muslim attacks.

    as for lambe she is a weather vane of the 50% on the left of the bell curve and many on the right.

    My view of QA ‘discussion’ was yassmin theory vs jacqui practice

    Sharia a la yassmin is hype and indoctrinated belief. Wonder what she thinks of the pictures of women in iran and afghanistan in the 70s?

    try this

    ‘And in a four-year investigation of British sharia councils, human rights activist Elham Manea “found clerics that ignored marital rape, condoned wife beating, and believed girls of 12 or 13 were old enough to marry,” the Independent reports’

    try aayam hirsi vs linda sarsour

    why is a hijab modest?
    Why not a niqab?
    She might have ‘bette davis eyes.
    Why not a burqa?

  3. Miriam English

    I’m waiting for the government to issue a ban on chairs and tables with legs, considering more people die from falling off furniture than die from terrorists. And we really need to do something about cars.

    Whereas terrorists kill something like 5 or 600 people each year, cars kill 1.2 million. Much more dangerous. AIDS kills about twice that number. And smoking kills about four times as many (about 5 million each year). But all these are overshadowed by starvation. That kills more than 16 million every year — ironically that’s about the same number of Australians (more than half our population) who are obese and killing themselves with too much food.

    The extreme measures against the fake terrorism threat look pretty stupid against all that.

    I can just hear the objections already: “But most of the starvation happens over there, among brown people.” True, but that’s where almost all terrorism happens too. Cars, smoking, and excess food kill lots of Australians. Where is the panic?

  4. totaram

    “‘And in a four-year investigation of British sharia councils, human rights activist Elham Manea “found clerics that ignored marital rape, condoned wife beating, and believed girls of 12 or 13 were old enough to marry,” the Independent reports’..”

    Source please. I have no knowledge of Sharia Councils either.

    I have no doubt that Sharia Law can be as bad as the Inquisition of the Catholic Church. The question is: Who is calling for Sharia Law to be applied to/in Australia? (except for the odd nut-case extremist). Can we first oppose the activities of the Christian religious organisations who are actively and openly agitating to bring homophobia and anti-abortion ideas into daily life through various means.

  5. Wayne Turner

    Great article.We have to change the conversation to the real threat – Self serving big business and the increase of inequality and unstable work.IE: Issues that really effect people.Sadly the hard part,is the BIASED MSM who along with the right to ultra right parties love these “distractions” from real issues that effect people.The MSM promote these “distractions”.

    The “minority bashing” of muslims and the like is the “weapon of mass distraction” and “scapegoating” by the puppets for the big end of town.

  6. Jaquix

    All this outrage about sharia law – when nobody is calling for it ! Fake issue, fake outrage. Jacquie was doing alright til she jumped on this bandwagon, raising awareness around veterans health issues and treatment. Ban the burqa is snother non isdue. There are already laws and conventions in place, eg courts, banks etc. If 1% of Australia’s population is female muslim we are only talking only a tiny few people who wear full burqa, the majority wear headscarf, a few niqab. The new generation are unlikely to follow this cultural custom. Perspective needed!

  7. jimhaz

    I’ve decided to respect Jackie Lambie, even though she is long way off being perfect. She seems to be one of the few true blue Australians in parliament. She has heart, and so very few others do.

    Sharia law is not a meaningless issue – because it goes against one our core right to be a free human. Your complaint about it being a lower immediate priority is fair, but it should be directed at Tony Jones for making sure it was brought up.

    There is no firm Sharia law, and differs from nation to nation, thus it has to be rejected outright. Abdel-Magied herself cannot know Sharia law. She was also the first to get stroppy, almost immediately. As our muslims originate from many different sources it would be too difficult to find a set of laws that ever satisfy muslims. We’d see continual requests from those wanting to make the laws more fundamentalist. They don’t actually need it to be law, it can and must be in a secular multicultural society merely religious practice. There is too much danger in Sharia being is used as an imperialistic tool as Muslim population increases as a percentage of the population.

    “Sharia also allows men to have up to four wives but if Australia says ‘sorry mate you can only have one’, sharia says ‘no problem, we’ll have one’,” Dr Ali said.

    But he said people could try and change laws, just like someone who wanted marijuana legalised did.

    “In a free society like Australia, you can try and get it approved, but if you can’t, then tough luck,” Dr Ali said.

    “A man can try his luck but if he can’t get four wives, he’ll have to bear with one wife and hope she keeps him in line.”

    Dr Ali said sharia was often misunderstood by Australians but also by Muslims.

    “With all due respect to Jacqui Lambie, I don’t think she’s alone, even many Muslims don’t know the law itself,” he said.

    “They are unaware of the internal complexities, the reality of sharia.”

  8. Gangey1959

    It all comes down to definition really, doesn’t it.
    Define :
    SAFE: A world with NO nuclear bombs, or so many nuke on all sides that no one is prepared to use the first one ?
    TERRORIST: A crazy person running around the streets waving a gun and screaming in some unintelligible language, or an accepted member of society X using their social position to rape or murder or line their pockets or deny others social justice ?
    HONESTY: The Truth, Reality, or what according to Voldemurdoch We the Voter ”NEED TO KNOW” ?

    I listened to our current Economuppet, Scooter moronscum ranting and raving at ”Them in Opposition” the other day. (Thursday?) about how bad things were going to get for We the Voter if TiO didn’t let him have his budget savings. Earlier in the week we had had the mad monk’s ex-bit-on-the-side admit on telly that bullshitting to We the Voter that the ETS was a tax when it wasn’t was just ”politics” aimed at getting rid of Julia, and young scooter, who let’s face it couldn’t tell a financial column from a pole up his arse, was complaining about TiO BEING MEAN.
    ” GROW UP, f*ck features. Your lot told HUGE porkies to the Australian public, about how the ETS was a tax, when in fact it was an INCOME stream. You know scooter, the BLACK column of numbers in the book marked BUDGET in large confusing letters.
    Not only was it making We the Voter a shitload, it was CUTTING carbon emissions. By a LOT. (WooHoo.)
    Then you all had to go and invent this mirrors-and-steam crap thing called Direct Action. Through which We the Voter PAY the polluters to not create CO2. (ROFLMAO). DA IS a tax you dickhead, and your lot LIED. When you do it in Parliament it is BAD, because it is called ”misleading”. But We the Voter got direct action anyway.
    And now you want to cut Social Services even further than you have already because looking after the unemployed is getting to be expensive, and we just wont go and find rich parents, (or even well-off ones because we’re picky) and aunty gina wont give up her 457’s because then she’ll have to hire real workers which will make the whole operation unworkable,and the now Derryn has passed the ABCC it’s a bit dodgy as well because, well it might just backfire on some of the big companies too.
    There are other ways you have of balancing the budget, like revisiting negative gearing, or making tax-evasion at least more difficult, or cutting back on politicians perks and fringe benefits, or look at some of the other things on what seems to be an endless list there.
    But stop shouting at the Opposition for doing what your lot did up until 2013, and will be doing again after 2019. It’s their role in the process, and MAYBE, if the ideas that came out of your pea brain weren’t shitfull, TiO might help you.”

    DEMOCRACY: The right to vote, or Government OF the people FOR ALL the people ?

  9. Christian Marx

    Great article. “Sharia Law” and “political correctness” scaremongering are the new dog whistling tactics of
    the far right. Just as the threat of Communism, blacks, Jews, homosexuals and 100 other scapegoats have been used
    throughout the years. The right want to destroy all social and economic gains for the poor and the middle class.
    By using these distractions from the real issues, they are able to appeal to the uneducated and the deeply hateful.
    When will the majority realize this age old game is the only trick the right have? Divide and conquer is their mantra.

  10. Gary Michael

    You have not seen Europe i guess.

  11. jimhaz

    What is so crazy is that we’d have the equivalent comparative advantage with renewables as we have with coal and gas. All it would take is for the ALP to properly market this, to adequately inform people that “No Australia will not lose out if we do what is right”. That is what they fear from renewables.

    What does the ALP do at the state level though – approve Adani.

    From SMH , Ross Gittins

    “But get this: Garnaut says we also have a comparative advantage in the new world of renewables.

    “Nowhere in the developed world are solar and wind resources together so abundant as in the west-facing coasts and peninsulas of southern Australia. South Australian resources are particularly rich…

    “Play our cards right, and Australia’s exceptionally rich endowment per person in renewable energy resources makes us a low-cost location for energy supply in a low-carbon world economy.

    “That would make us the economically rational location within the developed world of a high proportion of energy-intensive processing and manufacturing activity.

    “Play our cards right, and Australia is a superpower of the low-carbon world economy.”

  12. nurses1968

    Lambie had every right to raise concerns about Sharia law.
    It is a no no in Britain but that doesn’t stop them

    Up to 85 Sharia courts doling out ‘justice’ under the radar of English law
    AS many as 85 ‘toxic’ Sharia courts are operating in the UK dishing out justice according to Islam, it has emerged.
    And the all-male courts are rigged against women fuelled by “a toxic mix of religious fundamentalism, culture and tight-knit communities”, according to an explosive new book set to go before parliament in the new year.
    The book offers an insight into how the sharia courts operate under the radar of English law and rule on everything from relationships and divorce to crime.
    The book Choosing Sharia? Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism and British Sharia Councils was written after she was given unprecedented access to Sharia courts in England including 15 hours of hearing at Sharia courts in Leyton, east London and Birmingham Central Mosque.

    The legal scholar at Leiden University in the Netherlands, was able to scrutinise more than a dozen cases and then went on to interview a variety of Shaira experts including nine Islamic judges (qadis)

    Are there any “Sharia Councils” already in Australia, just thumbing their nose at Australian law?

  13. jim

    We need someone to raise awareness about corporate and state-engineered news media censorship around the world,and Australia.

    They’ve been dudding us all for far too long.

  14. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The Centrelink Robo Debt Disaster is one example where attention to the everyday threats to people’s lives have been over-shadowed by hysteria for fake threats.

    In this case, the wanton negligence and willful malevolence of the government to the most vulnerable in society on Welfare has blown up in their faces because of the public outcry that innocent people were being accused.

    But what about other vulnerable people who under the current austere Welfare system rules, who do have debts derived from some inconsistent and insecure paid work? Why should impoverished people who earn a few extra meagre dollars, lose a portion of their Newstart or Carer’s Pension or Disability Pension, if they are fortunate to earn some extra measly dollars to support their below-the-poverty-line benefit from Centrelink?

    The rules on acceptable levels of paid income must be made more flexible, so that people are encouraged to earn some paid income without losing their Centrelink benefits or having a debt raised against them.

    I call on Labor to follow the Greens lead in advocating significantly raising Newstart. I also call on both the Greens and Labor to call for raising those levels of acceptable paid income so to avoid the grief of the current Robo Debt Disaster, which has led to at least one known suicide already of a young man.

    I guarantee if Labor follows the Greens to advocate these improvements to the Welfare system, there will be widespread positive acknowledgement in the community from the Welfare recipients themselves, and also the diverse members of their social circles who do not condone such austere measures inflicted on them.

  15. guest


    do you really think that sharia law could be forced on Oz? Can you please explain how this might be achieved?

    Are there any other ethnic rules you might be afraid of being introduced, such as initiation ceremonies upon reaching puberty? Or circumcision at birth?

    How old is Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when she is to marry? Thirteen, I believe.

    Jackie Lambie has undergone military training which induces certain attitudes towards the perceived enemy. The MSM does the same kind of work in its indoctrination of the populace. Fear is a central part of that – and a desire to be rid of the fear for sundry reasons, often political. Sometimes it is just unadulterated racism.

    There are also religious attitudes. The evangelical desire of some religions leads to European colonials introducing the people of India to Bibles and calico underwear.

    As for multiple married partners, many people have had more than one wife or husband, not often all at once, but rather in the course of their lives. Many of them are celebrities – or a politician. In the case of a Muslim husband having more than one wife, there was a time when this was a custom in order to increase the numbers of Islam adherents in the face of danger of extinction from enemies. But these days polygamy would be an expensive indulgence.

    There has always been fear of that other tribe from over the hill with their funny ways – but expecting everyone, even our neighbours, to be just like us is tyranny.

  16. Robert G. Shaw

    “Sharia law is not currently an issue for Australia”


    Arguing against defenders or apologists for its anti liberal humanist ideology, is (an issue).

    Judging by Abdel-Magied’s responses I would contend that it is indeed an important conversation.

    Thank you Ruby Hamad. The only sober voice I’ve read on this issue.


    Yes nurses, excellent question. Are there any? We will never know.
    I find that a huge problem.

    And so to those who have the simplistic view of what constitutes “dog whistling” and the Left’s perfection of that sharp and shrill sound – read it and weep.

    Start with Adorno and Marcuse, lean heavily into Hughes’ “Culture of Complaint” as guide, and work your way forward to the authoritarianism and the balkanisation of the New Left.
    From there we can start talking.
    Divide and Conquer? You better believe it!
    No one does it better than us.
    Clinton tried it as THE ideological strategy of her campaign, for heaven’s sake!

    And the result of such harebrained, idiotic, laughable, naive, cretinous, Leftist lunacy?


  17. pierre wilkinson

    well said: our greatest threat today is domestic violence, against women, children and men, with more than one victim dying each week.
    How does our current government deal with this travesty? Big talk, Serious talk, Inquiries, commissions, reports. Then cut funding to refuges, eliminate councelling and councellors, defund wpmen’s groups, cut welfare services and hope the problem goes away.
    And all the time, declaim how wrong it is that we are experiencing domestic violence at all.
    Meanwhile in Russia and the USA there are moves a foot to decriminalise DV – after all, women should do as their husband’s wish, no arguments, and be proud of their bruises! good grief!

  18. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    Clinton and her followers are not Left, even if they say they are. They are Centrists and Neoliberals.

    Same goes for Conservative and Neoliberal elements in Labor.

    Time to define what Left stands for.

  19. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    “Time to define what Left stands for.”
    please do!
    through in a definition of “progressives” as well

  20. Phil

    Well argued Jennifer Wilson – thanks.

    The following quote from your piece succinctly sums up the current political clime in Australia and J Lambie sure as hell displayed the traits of one such card carrying conservative ideologue on the Q&A program.

    “We are under the governance of a conservative ideology that values combat and domination over citizens’ and community interests, while offering fake protection from outside forces in order to conceal that ideology’s very real threat to civil society”

    it is ironic that so many Australian conservative ideologues stand against what they see as the conservative ideological traits of some Islamic adherents – an example of the old mote in the other’s eye verses the plank in ones own?

  21. Red Leaf

    I fully agree with the sentiment that Sharia law has no place in a civilised western country. Sharia law is anti women and very anti-non muslim. I have many ex-muslim friends and one of them is in Malaysia and he is a lawyer and he was also Sharia lawyer. You see Kaye, my anti muslim stance is based on discussion with knowledgeable experts.

  22. Harquebus

    On religion and its practitioners.
    I think that the focus should be on relegating religious leaders to the lunatic fringe where they belong and trying to rescue as many as possible of the rest from their deity delusions. I would begin by imposing a religious indoctrination tax on all those that brainwash their kids with what is to most rational people, rubbish.
    I am a non-discriminatory anti-theist.

  23. wam


    Elham Manea is of dual nationalities, Yemeni and Swiss and specialized on the Middle East, a writer, and a human rights activist she was writing about her study of pommie women and sharia.


    lets start with the immunisation approach no curriculum and timetabling indoctrination except on week ends or federal/state funding is withheld.
    With inspectors to verify.

  24. king1394

    I would have liked it had Tony Jones given each woman a minute to explain exactly what they perceive Sharia Law to be. Apart from the younger one getting out that praying 5 times per day came under Sharia Law nothing informative happened. No doubt Jones thought the screaming match made for good television. I guess Senator Lambie and many others fear that somehow Sharia law might overtake our current legal system but they don’t recognise that this only occurs in a few countries where the entire legal system is basically a religious system – such as the Malaysian example above.

    (Catholic) Canon Law, and Jewish Law courts ( are other religious based legal systems that also exist alongside our English based court system in Australia, and. Aboriginal customary law is accepted as appropriate in some situations. Many civil matters are sent to mediation, rather than being disputed in court.. And then there is contract law and workplace laws. If you belong to a private group or club, you may have extra sets of rules that you are expected to obey. As far as I can tell, in Australia, Sharia law would only be applied to people who accept it as part of their faith.

  25. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    best you stay in the shadows.

  26. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    What are you on about?
    At least it isn’t ALLiances, but still, your response makes no sense

  27. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Did you read my post @ 12.51 pm, nurses?

    Your inability to see beyond your rusted-on RWNJ Labor stance does your party no favours. In fact, you just appear as ideologically unsound as the loony LNP neoliberals standing shoulder to shoulder with you on the political spectrum.

    If you’d like to start with your own definitions of Left and Progressive, be my guest. Then I will assess whether you’re correct or not.

  28. guest


    have there been any reports in recent years about sharia courts in the UK, or is this emerging “explosive” report written by a Dutch “legal scholar” entirely “exclusive”?

    I am reminded of Dutch right wing politics as espoused by Geert Wilders, who has things to say about immigrants, which is very revealing given that the Dutch colonised Indonesia for hundreds of years.

    So we get the title “Choosing Sharia?…”. Just who is choosing sharia is not clear, but the claim is that there are 85 such courts which no one except the legal scholar knows about. Nevertheless, the book will appear before Parliament at some future date.

    The remainder of the title is: “…Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism and British Sharia Councils”. The bit about Multiculturalism is the most odd bit, because Multiculturalism is broader than just Islam. So I suspect that the real motive of this book is, without reading it, an attack on the whole idea of broad Multiculturalism. It sounds a lot like eugenics, sovereign borders, illegal migration, latent terror, control and command, systemic subversion, etc and of course tight miltaristic surveillance of all citizens. No secret sharia courts here, please! We’re Dutch! Or British!

    Now the whole thing could well be genuine. The British have been asleep at the wheel? But it is quite clear there are subversives who generate “non-truth” – it has been going on for some time (here in Oz: Tampa, WMD, etc). One case is the riots in Berlin involving immigrants, a story now discredited. Another was a story in a cheap rag about how climate scientists had inflated temperature readings, but a glance on Wikipedia a short distance away revealed the truth with graphs and explanations which demonstrated the non-truth story to be a deceptive exaggeration. (Such claims about climate change are of the kind which have been repeated ad nauseam, despite debunking, and have delayed real action for decades.)

    It will be interesting to see who is affected by sharia law in the UK. We might also wonder about the effects of religion-based laws of the Christian kind here in Oz.

  29. Matters Not

    One case is the riots in Berlin involving immigrants, a story now discredited.

    Not sure about Berlin but the Frankfurt ‘incidents’ were ‘fake.

    A GERMAN newspaper has admitted a reported ‘rioting sex mob’ of refugees in Frankfurt on New Year’s Eve never actually happened. Now two ‘witnesses’ face investigation.

    The daily paper Bild apologised to its readers yesterday, publishing a statement that it regrets a report distributed earlier this month which quoted a waitress, a restaurant owner and his staff saying they witnessed “massive attacks by a mob of drunken foreigners” in downtown Frankfurt.

    The report sparked international concern and was widely distributed by right-wing news services.

    But the damage was done. Was it not?

  30. nurses1968

    There are plenty, go google, but to start you off
    Tuesday 28 June 2016

    “which no one except the legal scholar knows about.”
    How’d you come up with that furphy? plenty know

    MPs on the Commons home affairs committee have launched an inquiry into the operation of sharia courts in the UK to ensure their principles are compatible with British law.

    Sharia law
    Theresa May launches sharia law review

    Review led by Prof Mona Siddiqui to look at whether sharia law is being misused, particularly in divorce and custody cases
    The inquiry was expected to be completed by 2017.

    The Home Office said there was evidence that some sharia councils were working in a “discriminatory and unacceptable” way, contrary to the teachings of Islam, such as seeking to legitimise forced marriage or issuing divorces that were unfair to women.

    Mar 11, 2016

    “Around 85 Sharia courts are thought to exist in Britain and the
    Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, first introduced by Baroness Caroline Cox, which has already been passed in the Lords, will also force them to stop discriminating against women.”

  31. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-SmithFebruary 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    “Did you read my post @ 12.51 pm, nurses?”
    No, I usually don’t bother but your
    “Time to define what Left stands for.” caught my eye and I awaited you definitive guide

  32. Steve Laing -

    I didn’t realise that so many “proud” Australians were so afraid of the fragility of their culture or their institutions. Just 2% of the population apparently have them quaking in their shoes. What a bunch of wooses.

    But in reality, many of them aren’t really afraid at all. They just hyper-inflate what is a rather minor issue out of all proportion in order that they can legitimise their selfishness, because fundamentally that is all it is. And they will hypocritically suggest that these “others” are carrying out all manner of nastiness, whilst apparently happy to turn a blind eye to equally awful behaviour in those of their own culture. I’m still waiting for Abbott to apologise for defending the paedophile he happily gave a character witness to – they may be deviants, but their “our” deviants so no real threat apparently.

    And in the background the 0.1% keep stirring the pot, and keep laughing at us.

    Great article Jennifer.

  33. Kaye Lee

    Are there ‘Sharia courts’ in Britain?

    While there are undoubtedly lots of different councils and tribunals dealing with Sharia principles, they aren’t courts of law.

    Most are Sharia ‘councils’ set up to make decisions on purely religious matters, although there are some bodies that mix Sharia principles with legally binding arbitration. But none can overrule the regular courts.

    Some campaigners worry about using mediation by religious bodies to work out agreements about children and finances after a marriage breaks down.

    While feuding couples have to at least consider mediation before going to court, it doesn’t override family law. A court has to sign off on any agreement made after divorce for it to be legally binding, and won’t do so if the judge thinks it’s unfair.

  34. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You didn’t read it, nurses, coz you know the Lib/Labs are identical in depriving Welfare recipients of decent livable Welfare.

    Like I said before, Labor and Loony LNP stand shoulder to shoulder on the political spectrum but then you wouldn’t know that coz you allege that you didn’t read it. (Labor’s only chance of political redemption is if the leftish lot dump the RWNJs amongst you. Is that you, nurses?)

    Also don’t worry, I have to be feeling very benevolent to want to read yours too.

  35. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    you didn’t explain your
    “best you stay in the shadows”
    still have no idea what that waffle was about

  36. Kaye Lee

    I don’t understand why you two don’t ignore each other. This personal poking has been going on for too long. Comment on the topic, not each other.

  37. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Don’t worry, nurses,

    I’m not accusing you of practising Sharia Law, although you’re not backward in causing political division between Labor and your allies in the Greens.

    A united front in The ALLiance would be a force to be reckoned with in terms of the numbers of voters who support them. A united Greens/Labor/Progressives ALLiance would give the Public a strong sense that there is a political force that can stand up to their enemies and withstand the damages being committed by the LNP loonies now.

    But then you won’t read this comment coz your head is the sand of the glory days of old when Labor alone was worth believing in on their own.

  38. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Excuse me, Kaye,

    I will defend my viewpoint where I see fit.

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    … and I might add,

    nurses is concealed by a pseudonym and no photo. I am concealing nothing so don’t paint me with the same brush as ‘her’.

  40. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    How do I know you aren’t using a pseudonym and a bodgy photo?
    I have been advised many times not to use my correct name and it seems the majority of commenters do likewise

  41. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    “I’m not accusing you of practising Sharia Law, although you’re not backward in causing political division between Labor and your allies in the Greens.”
    OMG. you are losing it. 😀

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Said just like someone who has nothing convincing to say.

    When incapable of putting up a plausible argument, offend the opposition.

    Malcolm Muck Dumbf*ck has taught you well, nurses 😉

  43. Robert G. Shaw

    Jennifer MS, @1.26pm,
    you are correct. I use the term loosely only because it’s the only credible electoral party of the Left we’ve got (as with our own Labor).
    There is no point, to me at least, of talking about any single denomination of Left practice, by that I mean harder Left, if it’s not in a position to govern and implement Leftish policy (like our Greens for example).
    Which is one reason I have little time or sympathy for Green policy. Admirable though it may be it has as much chance of electoral realization as has my desire to see the word ‘troll’ struck from the vocabulary of the dull.

    But I make no apologies for my remarks: we, the Left, had opportunity to defeat Trump.
    We spurned it because of our hubris and our deviation from the very people we are meant to support; our ideological and historical raison d’être.

    To Gary,
    clearly she has not walked through some parts of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Copenhagen, Brussels, Berlin, Marseille, Paris.

    At times I could not tell if it were my skin colour or my race that was the object of contempt and barely veiled threat.

    This is a profoundly complex question and is little served by the platitudes of the “good will” set, or Abdel-Magied’s barbaric distortions couched in the language of urban chic juvenilia “diss” and “chill”, or those who genuinely believe in this ludicrous binary: “That there are people with platforms taking little or no responsibility for their speech and its possible consequences is truly awful, but it’s reality”, or even those, struggle as they might with the rudiments of comprehension, poor souls, still insist that this is about population percentages and either/or equations!
    It’s no wonder the Right is in ascendancy.

    We are all complicit – Left, Right – in addressing the questions that strike at the heart of something that we share, those values that underpin each of our often contrasting political ideologies.; freedom of speech, equality, justice, reason.

  44. Robert G. Shaw

    JMS, just saw your 7.44pm comment to nurses.
    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    Actually I do.

    Surely that cannot pass as insight or contribution?


  45. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Firstly RGS,

    how could you have missed my comment of 7.44pm when you had already commented on my comment at 8.56 pm?

    Oh dearee me!

    As for nurse’s little forays into big people’s political discussions, I suggest you leave well enough alone and let her/him do their own arguing.

    I’m sorry Jennifer Wilson that your sensible argument has for this interim declined into this barrage, but I will not be bullied out of my position and I think that is the salient point at the bottom of what you are saying too.

  46. Robert G. Shaw

    Jennifer, I saw your comment first. The one after mine from lunchtime.
    I read it. Thought of my response. Wrote it.
    Pressed the submit button.
    Then read the comments further down the page.

    Sorry to disappoint, but no, no great mystery.

    Nurses is doing very well on her own. She hardly needs help.

    Re: ‘big people’s discussions’ – your 7.44 comment contradicts you.

    I’m not trying to ‘bully you’. You’ve seen my response to you.
    Perhaps you could offer one of your own?
    If I could ask a little favour? Please leave out the Turnbull nicknames.

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    No RGS,

    I don’t believe you.

    Don’t say any more or …
    … I will start to think there is collusion between you and that other pseudonym aka nurses1968.

  48. nurses1968

    Robert G. Shaw
    It is best to give JMS some space as he/she is at times conflicted politically
    Over time she/he has considered becoming a candidate for a few minor Parties, pushed for some Independents one day and withdrew the next. had Xenophon high in the preferences for a while, all the while trying to form her own Party, the JMS Alliance {so far I think with a membership of one} and binding the ALP and Greens under her banner without any talks with them it seems
    Has some difficulty understanding that Parties have their own rules and constitution, but hey, whatever floats your boat

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    have a good night sleep and let RGS rest too.

    When you wake up in the morning, you might want to consider what the article is about since I think you both have lost track in your frenzied desire to appear expert in your particular pretentious political and scholarly endeavours.

    Please don’t expect any more exchange from me tonight, as I would rather enjoy my sweet dreams of The ALLiance working well, without political apparatchiks who put their own interests above Democratic Socialism.

  50. Matters Not

    At times I could not tell if it were my skin colour or my race that was the object of contempt and barely veiled threat.

    I too have walked many streets in many cities in many countries over many years but I didn’t ‘construct’ the same ‘reality’ as you did. Maybe, I didn’t begin such journeys with the same ‘mindset’? Perhaps next time, I might get it ‘right’?

    But I hope not!

  51. Miriam English

    Matters Not, yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. I’ve lived in many non-anglo neighborhoods — for some years in a strongly Muslim area several doors down from the Mosque; another time in a mostly Asian area; for a couple of years in the middle of Aboriginal Redfern; a few times in largely Italian and Greek areas. I walked everywhere and never felt any problem. People were always courteous and helpful.

    As you say, I tend to think it’s the fearful and suspicious mindset people view others with that is the problem.

    I’m wondering if Robert Shaw is in USA. He keeps saying “we” elected Trump and talks about the streets of Baltimore and Chicago, where scared white people should never venture. He also talks vaguely of some parts of some European cities where white people should be scared too. Perhaps he’s channelling the (Fox?) reporters who made up reports of “no-go” Muslim immigrant-dominated areas in Paris… which were immediately shown to be completely fabricated, but most Fox viewers still believe.

  52. paulwalter

    I looked here earlier and was dismayed at the derails and Chicken Little stuff, so am very, very glad as to the last few comments.

  53. paulwalter

    Seriously, what would we see if we had a genuinely detached look at ourselves and what we take for granted. Would we THEN finally take a look at OURSELVES, instead of always fervidly finger pointing outside of our own charmed circle. The clue rests in the understanding that that all of us are human and subject to the same basic conditions and conditioning.

    Time to end the Witch hunts, Inquisitions, Star Chambers and various other fevered manifestations of medievalistic McCarthyism.

    Two aspirin, a glass of water and lie down time?

  54. Robert G. Shaw

    Matters Not,
    You need to ask yourself why I chose to mention those cities, and not others.
    You need to ask yourself why those cities in the context of this ongoing conversation.
    ‘Reality construction’ and ‘mindset’ might seduce the dim with their impressive sounding jargon, but they are of little use here.
    My point was simply a corroboration of Gary’ point.
    My experience supports his one line critique of the article.
    Not as some sweeping assertion, but as a specific reference to the myriad issues confronting these, and other, European cities, that problematise several claims within the article.

    Anyone who believes that there are no ‘no go zones’ in those cities I’ve mentioned simply hasn’t been there and as such their contribution serves only as contradiction for its own sake.

  55. Robert G. Shaw

    Jennifer MS 9.43pm
    Uh oh, the cat’s out of the bag now.
    A confession.
    Nurses and I are political, philosophical, spiritual soulmates. We met at a Fleetwood Mac concert in ’78 where she seduced me with a twirl of her boho hippie skirt, a large trumpet joint, and showed me the butterfly tattoo on her bum. We drove a stolen, beat up, sky blue ’65 Mustang from LA to Mexico where we lived selling seafood, running naked in the moonlight, and teaching the Romantic poets to political prisoners.
    Oh, and gun smithing.
    She taught me everything there is to know about Marx, Gramsci, and Lukacs. And so armed with this revolutionary consciousness we travelled into Honduras and Guatemala to pursue the ideal and fought alongside the comrades against the US imperialist dogs and other assorted lackeys of the US imperialist dogs. We didn’t fight their dogs though. Care for animals was one of the things that attracted me to her. I owned a spaniel, Chester. She had Harris, a golden retriever cruelly cut down in his prime by a wayward postman delivering junk mail.

    I was scarred across the cheek in one dire hand to hand encounter with a short Cost Rican mercenary with bad breath.
    The scar was in the manner of a Hollywood movie star.
    She thought me more handsome despite the reference to US cultural imperialism.

    We left for South America to search for gold, idealism, and the wonders of basket weaving.
    Arrested by Pinochet’s death squads in ’82 we were imprisoned.
    Each night, as I held her in my arms I imagined the day when we would be free of this nightmare,
    free to explore our identities, our passions, our politics,
    to wander this world in the hope that one day,
    one day,
    we could settle someplace and commence the task that had been calling us since we met,
    since before we’d met!
    And so it came to pass that we arrived here,
    at AIM,
    to consolidate our combined intellects and experiences, our rich history of
    political expertise, our social ethics, our common love for the common man,
    here at AIM.

    But what’s to become of us now?
    Your uncanny sleuthing leaves us exposed.
    And we are fallen,
    to our knees,
    and asking forgiveness.

    Mercy Jennifer, mercy.
    Take me, and please spare nurses.
    I beg you.
    In the name of our cause,
    in the name of your cause,
    …..what was it again, the reliance?
    the appliance?

    Oh, I’ve forgotten!
    Such is my present woe!
    Spare her,
    take me…
    take me………

  56. Robert G. Shaw


    Find them for me.
    Timestamps please.

    If you cannot construct an argument, for or against the position,
    then why bother responding with this infantile baiting, this clumsy slur, this incessant ad hominem??

    You’ve seen my posts, yet never respond directly to the crux.
    I would normally ask, why?
    But ready know the answer.
    Such is your history.

  57. Roswell

    paulwalter, I always enjoy your comments.

    Just sayin’.

  58. paulwalter

    Thanks, Roswell. I don’t get the panic. What are we being distracted from that is a REAL threat, apart from ourselves?

    Can’t be everyone else’s fault ALL the time, can it?

  59. Deanna Jones

    At times I could not tell if it were my skin colour or my race that was the object of contempt and barely veiled threat.

    Some people do have bad reactions to velour track suits.

  60. Deanna Jones

    Good read, Jennifer W. The sociologist, Charles Tilly, once likened governments to organised crime systems, because they both offer protection from threats of their own creation. The quote becomes more relevant each day it seems.

  61. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’m glad I was asleep when Robert posted @ 4.34 am. (Robert, you might want to learn to cite my post times more accurately, as you refer to one that is incorrect in my case. Were your eyes getting a bit bleary by then?)

    However, it was delightful to wake up to it. I really hope ‘nurses’ is enjoying being portrayed as your sexy, dope-induced, guerrilla girlfriend.

    That should put a smile on his dial
    … if only for a while. 🙂

  62. helvityni

    Deanna Jones, I once asked my Aussie friend Bob: “Why are you wearing black business socks and shoes with you grey polyester-rich trackie-pants that are much too short for you?”

    Amazingly it did not break the friendship.

  63. Kaye Lee

    Is that another example of you defending your viewpoint JMS?

    Anyhoo….back to the topic….

    In October 2014 Jacquie Lambie made a speech in parliament in which she said “It’s about time we faced the fact that these maniacs and depraved humans will not stop committing their cold blooded butchery and rapes until every woman in Australia wears a burka and is subservient to men.” as she called for anyone who supports Sharia to be cut off welfare and/or deported.

    She posted a photo to her Facebook page of an Afghan policewoman shooting a gun while wearing a burka with a caption calling for the garment to be banned.

    The policewoman, Malalai Kakar, was Afghanistan’s first female police officer and was well known for her stance on women’s rights. She was gunned down in her car by the Taliban in 2008.

    The post was widely criticised, including by the photographer who took the image in Afghanistan, Lana Slezic, who labelled it appalling and insulting, saying the photo was used out of context and without permission.

    And speaking of without permission, Pauline Hanson loves to show clips of herself walking around shopping centres being greeted by grateful constituents. What she doesn’t show is when the centre manager came and told her that she wasn’t wanted there, that she had not been given permission to hold a press conference in the centre and to piss off.

  64. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes, KL, but with an attempt at humour. Sorry if that offends.

  65. Vikingduk

    There seems to be a little conjecture regarding the reality of either Nurses, Robert G. or both.

    Well, Robert G. me and my 65 kilo companion, Boris the Briard, were travelling through Mexico around that time and quite possibly it was you and Nurses we saw frolicking naked on the beach.

    Unfortunately we dismissed you both as two more stoned hippies. Little did we know that you had a higher calling, assisting the underdog in the perennial fight against the oppressor.

    Just goes to show where assumptions can lead man and faithful hound, judging books by their covers, coming to erroneous conclusions. Though, in defence of our judgmental ways, it could well have been the opiated Kashmiri hash clouding our vision.

    Though Boris may have had vengeance on that damn postman, Boris particularly despised postmen, particularly those delivering junk mail, absolutely monstering one soon after crossing the border into Texas.

    Boris long gone now, recently replaced by Ruby the wonder dog, another Briard of course.

    May mercy be shown to Robert and nurses.


  66. Miriam English

    In USA where fear of Muslims seems to be approaching hysteria proportions in some quarters it is interesting to note that there have been no Muslim terrorists so far, but in the last week alone there have been 3 white guys, 2 of them white supremacists who have been apprehended hatching plots of mass murder.

    One of these white supremacist geniuses had on facebook been babbling about how a list of prominent people needed to be killed, then was busted buying a gun illegally from an undercover FBI agent. Oops. Another of these morons had been refining the deadly poison ricin, a favorite of white supremacists, accidentally poisoned himself with trace amounts and was arrested after admitting himself to hospital complaining of symptoms. The third moron was just a white dummy who wanted to blow up a bunch of Target stores to mess with their stock value. No doubt it would have been quickly blamed on Muslims.

    It think the Trump campaign missed a few words in their slogan. I think it should have been “Make America a great steaming pile of…”

    The Australian right wing extremists look lovingly at USA’s meltdown and wish they could do the same thing here. Oh boy.

  67. Johno

    I agree with your above posts re the overstated terror threat.
    Howard got it going, Abbot put it into gear and now the Hanson mob jump around like they have ants in their pants screaming terror.
    Sorry, not buying any of it. Time for some relaxing yoga.

  68. Robert G. Shaw

    Jennifer MS,
    Oh yes, heady days indeed!
    Of free spirits, warm, intelligent, sensitive, passionate, and modest.
    Of living ideals, not just talking about them, but living them, in the jungles of Latin America, the campuses of the US, the activist newspapers of East bloc Europe, the insurgency training compounds of Morocco, Egypt, and Iran, and the makeshift political re education schools of SE Asia.
    Yes Jennifer, living the ideal!
    That’s why arriving here at AIM is such a blessing. We get an opportunity to meet other prominent luminaries of the revolution – powerful polemicists and theoreticians like paulwalter and Steve, who even without saying anything of substance are able to transmit their knowledge, ESP-like, about the fundamental questions of the political enterprise. Questions that can only be answered by the words ‘derail’, or ‘troll’, or like Deanna’s insightful ‘pompous fool’, cut right to the heart of any conversation, any topic, any question, any outstanding political, philosophical, or social question.
    When Lenin asked about the manner of proletarian revolution it was his loss, the world’s loss, that Steve wasn’t there to utter his famous dictum, ‘troll’.
    What a different world it may have been Jennifer!
    When Rosa Luxembourg sought to escape Ebert’s Social Democrats she should have employed paulwalter’s ‘derail, accusation and perhaps lived to herald the German revolution that Europe cried for at the time.
    When Trotsky opined on the state of International Revolution and the direction of trade unionism Deanna should have been there to call him a ‘pompous fool’. If she had perhaps he may have survived Stalin’s assassin and delivered us all a new way of living.
    We’ll never know.

    We’ll never know.

    Lest I be accused of derail, of troll, of being a ‘dick’ (thank you Miriam) let me return to task:
    what do you make of my comments about Sharia, Wilson’s article, the Left’s behaviour in the recent US election, the question of PC, Enlightenment principles, Ruby Hamad’s article, or Islam in general? What do you make of anyone’s comments on the prescient points written before you on this thread?
    Or is it that, like several others here, you don’t do specific commentary on specific issues and are more comfortable tossing stones from behind the cover of juvenile accusations that you’re unable to support?

    i’m just asking so that I’ll know next time whether to read your comments.

    I can start you off now if you care: what do you think of the Sharia councils/courts operating in the U.K. that can legislate inequality for woman, most especially in the 90% of cases being heard before the council on the subject of divorce?

    My thoughts are that they are an abomination and stand against any sensible, moral interpretation of the principle of equality.
    You thoughts?


    Sorry Vikingduk, no prizes for second.

  69. nurses1968

    Robert G. Shaw Vikingduk
    Robbie, Isn’t it strange, I had the same dream too {must have been the chili}

    And thanks Vikingduk for outing the philanderer Robert G.
    Vikingduk, unfortunately the nurse frollicking with Robert G. was not me {bloody two timer}
    You see, my dream started at an earlier point
    We parked the Mustang at a dingy flophouse,the ALLiance cafe and went in to eat.
    The joint was empty but it didn’t stop the grumpy waitress from rambling about ‘big people’s discussions’
    We ordered Green eggs and Ham, a lonely little egg we named Adam.
    We stuck a birthday candle in the egg, after all it was 1978, and my nom de plume may give it away {nurses 1968} and it was my 10th birthday

    Thanks Vikingduk for revealing the cheater, for alas it was not me frollicking on the beach with 2 timer Robbie and I hope you and Rubie the wonderdog go on fighting the good fight.
    Meanwhile, I’m off back to bed to try to kickstart the dream 😀 …….and mend a broken heart :-{

  70. Deanna Jones

    Miriam, and the White House list of terror attacks contained no white men, not one I don’t think. White male hegemony also shamefully appropriates other attacks such as Orlando, which was an attack against the LGBT community.

    We used to laugh at Howard’s ‘Go Bag’ but the sentiment prevails. Every day there are announcements on Sydney train stations warning us not to approach suspicious bags and if we see something say something. The only thing I see on the train that worries me are the gangs of armed thugs known as police, menacing people.

  71. Kaye Lee

    “what do you think of the Sharia councils/courts operating in the U.K. that can legislate inequality for woman, most especially in the 90% of cases being heard before the council on the subject of divorce?”

    That is bullshit Robert. Sharia councils cannot legislate anything at all. They encourage mediation for divorcing couples but it doesn’t override family law. A court has to sign off on any agreement made after divorce for it to be legally binding, and won’t do so if the judge thinks it’s unfair.

  72. Robert G. Shaw

    Nurses, thank you for giving me a smile this gray morning.

    And one more….

  73. Robert G. Shaw

    Kaye, when you apologise for lying, for blatantly misrepresenting me, on the last long thread I will address your questions/comments.
    Till then I condsider you, sadly, like many others here, intent simply on deceit to carry arguments.
    I’m not interested in playing those games.

  74. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee, I suggest you have a look at

    BBC Panorama doco, Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils
    Panorama goes undercover to investigate what is really happening in Britain’s Sharia Councils – Islamic religious courts. Some women reveal they have suffered domestic violence ignored by these councils as campaigners say it is time to tackle the parallel legal system which can run counter to British law.

    An example of Sharia “justice”

    “There are more worrying cases involving domestic violence and children. In Leeds, I met Sonia, an attractive woman in her thirties in a mini-dress and ankle boots. She was granted a civil divorce due to her husband’s extreme violence towards her and their children. He was only allowed indirect access to the children by the courts. But when she went to Leyton for a Sharia divorce, she was told she would have to give up her children to him.”

  75. Deanna Jones

    Catholiccare provides mediation and family dispute resolution services to couples here in australia but. I’ve never heard anyone express concern about that.

  76. Deanna Jones

    Nurses, but she wouldn’t need a sharia divorce when she had a legal one already. She may have wished it for her own cultural reasons, wanting the blessing of her church etc. same as christians do. I think you’re conflating cultural practices and informal social controls (to which all women are subjected), with formal legal processes.

  77. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Sorry Robert,

    was I meant to answer your diatribe @ 9.41 am?

    I lost track of your thread in amongst all that verbosity …

  78. Miriam English

    Robert Shaw, you blather on so much you lose track of what you say then accuse others of misrepresenting what you said. You live in a smarmy alternate world of “alternate facts” like Trump.

    Robert G. Shaw February 19, 2017 at 9:41 am “what do you think of the Sharia councils/courts operating in the U.K. that can legislate inequality for woman, most especially in the 90% of cases being heard before the council on the subject of divorce?”

    As Kaye said, that is bullshit. They can mediate but can’t legislate and the actual British law courts have the last word.

  79. Kaye Lee


    I prefer the truth to the telegraph. For a divorce to be legally binding in the UK…..

    “You also need a Civil Divorce (Decree Absolute). Contact a firm of solicitors dealing with matrimonial disputes. They will apply for Civil Divorce in a Local County Court

    Almost for all overseas Islamic Marriage you either need a divorce from the country of marriage, or a civil Divorce (Decree Absolute) from an English Court”

    Anecdotes of people doing the wrong thing do not change the truth that sharia councils CANNOT override the family law courts and for a divorce to be legal, it must go before the courts and be signed off by a judge.

  80. Vikingduk

    My apologies, Nurses, for being the bearer of bad tidings. Yes, a philandering two timer, a cad and possibly a bounder. Boris did try to warn me he was up to no good.

    Sleep in peace and wake in joy, Nurses, whilst I ponder what the contest was where there were no second prizes. A conundrum to be sure. Ruby and I go on, weathering the slings and arrows of a corrupt society, safe in the knowledge that a little Kashmir goes a long way.

    Interesting, your encounter with an egg called Adam, Boris had an encounter with a particularly tasty bone he insisted be called Eve. A distant relative, perhaps, though certainly hard to see any similarities.

    Sweet dreams, Nurses, often found Californian Sunshine, Tequila and Acapulco Gold were very efficacious for broken hearts, forgetting cheating, two timing philanderers and other wounds of the heart.

    And I’m sure I’ve been in the same greasy spoon cafe, complete with same grumpy waitress.

  81. Kaye Lee

    The Council conducts Islamic divorces only
    It does not conduct cases as part of the UK legal or judicial systems
    For advice regarding a civil divorce, please consult a qualified, legal representative.

  82. helvityni

    May I come up with a suggestion; ask Robert G. Shaw to write an article for the AIMN. He certainly seems to have the pull factor, the number of comments go up whenever he joins the conversation… 🙂

  83. Kaye Lee

    And today we have that purveyor of poison, Miranda Devine, carrying on with the same crap – immediately retweeted by Malcolm Roberts.

    ” As Professor Clive Kessler points out, Magied is correct that Sharia, or Islamic law, does say “that one must obey the law of the land”. But only where the “law of the land” is Sharia.”

    What a load of shit. This woman should be prosecuted for telling lies.

    helvityni, I would suggest that is because RGS talks shit which he gets called out on. I, for one, prefer facts.

  84. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kirralie Smith is being sued for defamation by Mohamed El-Mouelhy, so I don’t see why Miranda Devine can’t be sued for disinformation, which is intentionally false or misleading information that is spread in a calculated way to deceive target audiences.”

    As a professional journalist, her responsibility is to provide accurate, non-prejudicial news and not propaganda.

    Do journalists require licences to operate? If not, why not? If she were faced with the loss of her journo licence, that would significantly control Devine’s mischievous and malevolent fake news output (as well as Kenny and the other RWNJournos.)

  85. Roswell

    helvityni, the number of comments go up but the number of hits go down. I take a fairly close look at the stats of this site and when Shaw is here people tend to stay away. In a nutshell, he drives people away.

  86. Harquebus

    I try to get my relatives and friends to join the conversations here but, they are not interested. As with most other things though, I will keep trying.


  87. Deanna Jones

    Helvi, please, he hogs enough oxygen.

  88. silkworm

    “Nurses, thank you for giving me a smile this gray morning.”

    U.S. spelling alert!

  89. Mick Byron

    Kay Lee a comment at
    10:04 am
    Kaye Lee, I suggest you have a look at
    BBC Panorama doco, Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils and you answered at 10:20 am so I guess the BBC documentary isn’t on you viewing list.I have seen the documentary so are you concerned it will upset your deeply entrenched views

  90. helvityni

    Roswell and Deanna, of course my suggestion was not serious…

    I feel sorry for the other authors here as their blogs don’t get many comments when people flog to the one where Robert is posting…

    Kaye, best is to ignore the shit, no one talks to themselves too long… 🙂

  91. Matters Not

    silkworm, the (mis)use of apostrophes says much as well. US schooled people all suffer from that ‘error’ because in their view it’s not. And it matters not re the level of formal education. Robert G. Shaw who is very well read provides some evidence.

  92. Kaye Lee

    Mick Byron,

    Firstly, I have no deeply entrenched views unlike those who willingly pass on misinformation about Islam because of their own ignorance or fear or bigotry.

    Sharia councils do not rule on child residence or assets, knowing full well that only courts can issue enforceable orders.

    This is not to say that women aren’t discriminated against but women in all cultures have been fighting this for a very long time. To pretend it only happens in Islam is just wrong.

    I found this article far more balanced than the sensationalist stuff being propagated for shock value.

  93. Robert G. Shaw

    ‘legislate’ as in ratify law, pass law, enact law (within the context OF THIS DISCUSSION – Sharia). Not legislate as in having authority to usurp British Common Law. That’s your ridiculous insertion, your conflation, your misrepresentation, (your lie). It’s got nothing to do with me, my words, or my argument!

    FFS! Open a bloody dictionary, or borrow my thesaurus after Steve’s finished with it!

    And that’s exactly what the Sharia councils do when approached by a woman seeking a divorce.
    They conform to those articles of law, Sharia, and proceed from there.

    Taking the civil court route is not open to a number of woman because they are in religious marriages.

    There are numerous videos, articles, posts, reports out there confirming this.
    Look, put aside the ad hominem, and look.

    This from one of my unread links in the last long thread,

    “With divorce, compliance with both systems is possible. A husband and wife can serve out the 12-month period of separation both to have a valid divorce under Australian law on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage in accordance with Family Law Act 1975(Cth) and also comply with the extra-judicial form of divorce, known as talaq in Islamic law. A husband is able to pronounce talaq and, if all the legal requirements are met, the marriage is terminated, although there is a three-month reconciliation period.

    However, compliance with both systems is more problematic for wives. A wife does not have the same extra-judicial divorce option. If her husband does not agree to pronounce talaq, she is left to find someone with authority to hear her case and hopefully to grant her an Islamic divorce. Islamic law has always provided divorce options for wives, but each requires a third party – usually a judge or a body of legal scholars – to make the determination. In Muslim countries, the role is typically fulfilled by Sharia courts, but in Australia there is no judicial equivalent. As a divorce decree from the Family Court lacks any Islamic currency, it can mean that in the eyes of her community, her husband and herself, she is not really divorced. In the absence of an established Sharia court, tribunal or body, Muslim women have to find a Muslim person or organisation with Islamic credentials to hear her case and make a determination”.

    My italics.

    So again we return to the nub: talaq for men, but not for women??
    Legitimacy before the community and the faith for men, but not for women??
    What bothers me enormously is why on earth would Western woman, would any woman, defend any instance, no matter how slight, of inequality??
    It is an absurdity that only comes from being shackled to an unrelenting and merciless PC that enforces its own strict laws on what can be said, and what cannot.

    Absolutely incredible rhetorical gymnastics on display here.
    Either you support equality or you don’t.
    Enough of this ludicrous myopia when it comes to Islam.


    I may “talk shit”, that’s simply a matter of opinion.
    But I don’t lie.
    You can’t say the same.


    if my contributions affect the ‘hit’ rate, then I’ll leave.
    Can you offer any credible proof?


    silkworm posts!
    Pedantic ad hominem idiot alert!

    nurses, silkworm’s just uncovered something I hoped would remain secret: our time in a US military prison teaching English/US grammar to battle hardened jihadi’s the essentials of the Maoist 3 Phase Model of guerilla warfare. It’s where we met Vikingduk. His name is a distraction. He’s really a stocky used comb salesman with a lisp from Wichita who fought alongside the Sandanistas in the mid 80’s. The comb selling business was slow he said. He’s a great cook, and can whistle showtunes from Broadway in 3 keys! He’s penchant for story telling notwithstanding I wouldnt beleive a word he says!
    He’s a great guy!

    But that’s all blown now by silkworm.
    What to do?
    What to do?

  94. Deanna Jones

    Helvi, thank goodness. I certainly don’t make a point of posting where he is.

  95. LOVO

    Mods, mayhap set up an Cafe Talk like thread and shift off topic comments there.
    Though I must say that some comments are a hoot and I can’t wait for the book and/or the filum…looking at you Nurses n’ Robert..with a second prize to (what the hell is a) Vikingduk. ?

  96. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    only if ‘nurses’ gets to portray Robert’s sexy, dope-induced, guerrilla girlfriend! 🙂

  97. LOVO

    JMS, …and I thought Sid James could play Robert, but alas ?
    ……anyhoo, do Carry On.. 😛

  98. Kaye Lee

    “What bothers me enormously is why on earth would Western woman, would any woman, defend any instance, no matter how slight, of inequality??”

    What bothers me enormously is why on earth would Western men, would any man, pretend that inequality is purely a Muslim issue. How many female Catholic priests do you know? What’s the chances of the next Pope being female? Divorced Catholics can’t take communion. There was a recent move to change this and George Pell was one of the Cardinals against it. Why aren’t you up in arms about the rights of women in orthodox Judaism? They have a much harder time than Muslims when it comes to divorce. Jewish men start their day with a prayer which says “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman.”

    You pretend that your aim is to make people look at their own prejudices and faults. You have blinkers on buddy.

  99. Vikin

    Actually, Robert G, your assumptions lead you astray, I am actually a computer program written by a possibly unhinged rogue programmer exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence.
    Thus I have been released into the ether to interact with other humans.

    Though, in an alternate fact universe, I was there, flogging used combs, brushes and brylcream ( a little dab will do you ). But, Robbie G, you must know Wikipedia can be so misleading, in actual fact I was born in Lubbock, Texas, the cooking skills acquired from a wandering Taoist monk whom I met in the highlands of New Guinea, whistling skills from Glenn Miller who learnt on his travels through Mongolia.

    Funny, a lot of people don’t believe a word I say, can’t understand why.

    Hey, Robby, want to buy a used comb? Once more this shonky program presses wrong button, from Vikingduk

  100. Miriam English

    …and Shaw attempts to redefine “legislate” to make it look like he didn’t either lie or make a stupid blunder. How hard would it be to admit error? But puffed up with his own self-importance he couldn’t do that.

    I honestly couldn’t make it past the first few lines of his worthless blather.

  101. silkworm

    Helvi: “May I come up with a suggestion; ask Robert G. Shaw to write an article for the AIMN. He certainly seems to have the pull factor, the number of comments go up whenever he joins the conversation… ”

    Dear god, no. You do realize that this “Robert” is the same as Fedallah, who posted under numerous aliases (Ann of Cleves, Claire, Vanessa, Wood+Stone, etc., etc., etc.) at Table Talk last year, right? We even have on this thread the same garbage of Hard Left vs. Soft Left that we got from him last year, and which he was unable and unwilling to explain, even after many requests and challenges. Miriam is absolutely right. The man is a dick.

  102. helvityni

    silkworm, did you not see my reply to you on another thread; ‘once bitten twice shy’ …

    Of course I knew who Robert was, he abused me and others, and I did not want that again,so and stayed away.

    The ‘nesting threads’ on Tabletalk clocked up to 1000 comments at times…

    No doubt paulwalter and and some other posters here have kept well away for the same reason..

  103. Vikingduk

    Oh no, silkworm, you’re telling me/us we are talking to a fake construct. Robbie isn’t real? I’ve wasted so much silliness on some one who is not there? Devastated I am.
    When we met in the US prison, I thought he was real, just as well I kept my true identity as a Deep Cover CIA agent establishing gun running routes into Latin America secret, really born in Barre, Vermont, used combs sales person part of my cover.

    Is silly Sunday over yet or can I keep these foolish distractions ever onwards?

  104. silkworm

    silkworm, did you not see my reply to you on another thread; ‘once bitten twice shy’ …

    I might have… I’m not shaw. 🙂

  105. Vikingduk

    Lovo gave me second prize, oh joy, oh joy, relevance at last. What the hell is a Vikingduk? The answer is an known/Unknown, rumour has it that I am a rogue artificial intelligence program, or a program written by a rogue programmer, or the product of a slightly deranged intelligence living in a galaxy far, far away, or none of the above. I’m not shaw either.

  106. Kaye Lee

    Robert, if you are wondering where your latest sermon went, I edited it to take out the personal attacks and extraneous bullshit. Unfortunately there was nothing left.

  107. Robert G. Shaw

    Its no surprise you edited it.
    It spoke directly to your lies of the other day, and to that of today.

    You call this a “personal attack”??

    “You accuse: “…pretend that inequality is purely a Muslim issue”.

    Who has done that?
    Certainly not me.
    I challenge you to back up that accusation with time stamped proof.
    Or apologise and retract”.

    And your response?
    Delete my post.

    Well done Kaye.
    Ethics alive and well here at AIM.

  108. Kaye Lee

    I am very used to the tactics used by people like you Robert. Quite frankly, you bore me. Either speak to the topic or find yourself in moderation or in the sin bin like Orchid Jar. Your choice.

  109. Harquebus

    Don’t go there Robert. Just roll with this one.

  110. Roswell

    if my contributions affect the ‘hit’ rate, then I’ll leave.
    Can you offer any credible proof?

    Yes, I could. But I doubt whether the site owners would be too happy about you being given access to our Dashboard.

    So you just have to believe me.

    You’ll have to believe me that on days when you’re rampant with your bullshit in this site that the hits go down between 3-4 thousand a day.

    Yes, by all means leave, but we all know you’ll be back under another make-up name. What was the last one again? Do tell us.

  111. Vikingduk

    Yep, looks like silly Sunday is done like a dog’s dinner. Occasionally the need to be silly is so compelling I choose to not ignore it. Sometimes I feel the need to shout at random strangers —- wake the f*ck up —- at present I ignore that one.

    Thank you all at AIMN for allowing this indulgent behaviour, though I still can’t be absolutely shaw about this
    Vikingduk, an unknown known.

    Prost, y’all

  112. Robert G. Shaw

    Thank you Harquebus, I shall indeed.

    Speaking of topic:
    My arguments against Sharia stands.
    My argument for freedom and equality stand.



    “legislate” – make or enact laws, to control, create, or cause (something) by making laws.

    In the context of the Sharia councils/courts: they “make” the law by interpretation and determination to produce final judgement based on Sharia principles. They also “enact”, that is they ‘establish’, the Sharia law by the authority given them by Islamic jurisprudence (in this case the 4 schools of Sunni law) and the community.

    Therefore they legislate; they ‘make, enact, control and cause” a determination, an effect, or ruling based on Sharia.
    And as was noted by my italics, what I believe to be a crucial acknowledgement in this conversation, of the failings of such a system, and its operation outside of Common Law.


  113. Kaye Lee

    As has been pointed out to you many times, sharia councils do not make laws and cannot operate outside the law. They clearly inform their clients that they must get the court to ratify their divorce and advise them to seek legal advice from qualified legal practitioners.

  114. Robert G. Shaw

    To the current Mod.
    2 thoughts:

    1. If you determine to censor portions of my post then at least acknowledge it openly. For every word of mine on topic that you cull, know that a little piece of your integrity goes with it.

    2. I expect, if we’re to now follow your rule, all name calling directed at me be immediately removed.
    It will at least be evidence of some parity.

  115. Kaye Lee

    Robert, it is me editing your posts. I left the bits that were within the rules that I stated to you. If you don’t like it, either pay heed to my warning or leave. And a tip for free, you do not determine my integrity.

  116. Harquebus

    Robert G. Shaw
    A second warning mate. It’s time to back away. I know because I’ve been there.
    There will be other occasions in which to continue.

  117. Roswell

    Second warning, Harquebus? More like 150, but only the second as Robert Shaw.

  118. Kaye Lee

    Roswell, I apologise for overstepping my role. When pushed by a bully I tend to push back.

  119. Roswell

    What ya talkin’ about, Kaye?

    I would have done the same thing.

  120. Terry2

    There’s an enquiry underway on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which it seems the conservatives in government are hell bent on changing and frequently they use the QUT students case to bolster their argument as they attack the Human Rights Commission and its president Gillian Triggs.

    This link to the SMH article also has a sound-bite including comments by Turnbull and responses by Triggs ; you might wonder after listening, how a Prime Minister who is a lawyer himself was so badly advised to the point where his comments are both misleading and deceptive – or is that his intention ?

    Have a listen :

  121. Harquebus

    I quite like Robert G. Shaw, enjoy reading his comments, agree with most of what he says and don’t want to see him disappear. He stands by his principles and defends them. It’s what most here do.

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell


  122. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Reasonable comment, H.

  123. Mick Byron

    Harquebus I quite like Robert G. Shaws comments as well and find him very informative I read not comment and find myself coming more around to his way of thinking with his convincing arguments

  124. Miriam English

    I’m amazed. Shaw occasionally says things that appear to be concrete, but they are largely based on fear and generally turn out to be factually incorrect. Apart from that most of his posts are taken up with long-winded streams of pompous put-downs.

  125. Kaye Lee

    If Robert confined himself to arguing the topic that would be fine. Unfortunately he cannot stop himself from criticising other commenters. If he learns how to express himself without belittling others, then I may be prepared to listen.

    The thread so often becomes all about him and his rights.

  126. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    True Miriam, but we must be careful that we don’t become the Thought Police. Shaw is manageable.

  127. Rossleigh

    Once I had an elective class called “Oral English” which involved lots of discussion.
    Whenever they were discussing something, it would often degenerate into a shouting match.
    Eventually, I stopped them and asked when was the last time anyone changed your opinion by shouting at you.
    One girl said, “Never!”
    So I asked her why she did it.
    She told me that it felt good, and laughed.
    I asked the rest of them if that’s how they felt as well…
    They laughed and said yeah.
    “Go for your lives then,” I replied. “I won’t interrupt again…”

    A few days later, one boy told me that he thought that I made a great point.
    I always hope that it was the point about changing people’s minds and not the one about not interrupting…

  128. Miriam English

    Rossleigh, that’s the worst problem with Shaw, he continues to pretend he’s right when it’s obvious he’s wrong and anyone else would have politely conceded the point and moved on in a friendly fashion. Shaw keeps insulting people and protesting he is always right and everybody else is wrong — he doesn’t learn; doesn’t grow; stunts the discussion. I’ve come to believe he has no intention of learning anything from these discussions, but only wants to hear his own voice and troll the space.

  129. Rossleigh

    Yep, Miriam.

    Like I said to that class, “If you’re just enjoying having a good shout, keep going.”
    If you feel that the person isn’t there for an exchange of ideas, then move on and don’t engage.

    Did you read my most recent blog, btw? Read it then look at Neil’s comment.

    QED, case proven.

  130. Rossleigh

    Actually, Miriam, you don’t need to read all of Neil’s comment. Just the first paragraph will suffice!

  131. Kaye Lee


    Thought police? Give me a break. Belittling people takes very little thought and it is a tactic usually used because the belittler as a distraction from answering questions or conceding they may be mistaken.

    Rossleigh, I think your students are very lucky. They learn so much more than the curriculum.

  132. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kaye Lee,

    so censor the belittling bits but don’t overdo the censorship with aggressive responses to any comments that aren’t in tune with your position or authority.

  133. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    By the way Shaw,

    just coz I look like I agree with you (even though sometimes you amazingly speak sense) …

    … I may not agree with you but I uphold your right to speak with caveats which include:

    Don’t waffle so I lose interest in what you say
    Don’t dominate the stage so nobody else can participate
    Don’t scare off the audience who gets bored with verbosity
    Don’t abuse other commenters

    … coz if you do, I won’t tolerate you either.

  134. Kaye Lee


    JMS you are also guilty of wasting people’s time with your ridiculous feud with nurses which I politely asked you to desist from, a request you ignored.

    “censor the belittling bits ” is EXACTLY what I have been doing. And don’t you dare to presume to tell me what my position or authority is!

    Having just turned into one of Rossleigh’s students I will bid adieu while I regain my equanimity.

  135. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I knew you were aiming for me, KL.

    But like I said earlier, and I’m sorry you didn’t like it, I will not allow nurses to undermine my comments without using my right of reply.

    I’m surprised that you don’t see that it is a fair response. In fact, I’m not impressed with your statement and offensive comment either.

  136. Kaye Lee

    Aiming for you? FFS I’m gone! I am sick to death of people who think it is all about them.

  137. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well sadly, yes, KL.

  138. Miriam English

    Rossleigh, thanks for the pointer to your article. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got a good laugh while learning something interesting.

    Neil is tragic. I think he’s a deeply closeted gay guy. That would explain his constant obsession with gay sex and his hostility regarding it. No worries about me reading much of his dense diatribe. I couldn’t. I lost interest part way through and just couldn’t push myself to finish it. I wonder if anybody reads his pieces to the end. (I must admit I wonder the same about my own comments when I write lengthy pieces.)

  139. paulwalter

    After reading a lot of these comments I returned to the posting from Jennifer Wilson, re read and wondered at where many subsequent comments that bore no relevance to what she was saying about constructively thinking through situations and events, had came from.

    It became an interesting exercise in the study of human nature and behaviour at work, but depressing when you consider the future health of civilisation and humanity.

  140. Roswell

    So all of a sudden two or three people like Robert Shaw.

    He drives people away from this site. I will not have anyone telling me that his opinions are more important than those he drove away.

  141. corvus boreus

    Among the 7 nations that Trump attempted to legislatively demonize as ‘sources of terror’, the Wahhabi fundamentalist dominated monarchy of Saudi Arabia (a major source of funding and resources for the daesh) was conspicuously absent.
    Since 15 of the 19 men who committed the terrorist atrocities of 11/9/2001 were Saudi citizens, this is a very strange omission.

    Ps, the other 4 murderers were from the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon, all of which also missed Trump’s blacklist.

  142. Johno

    I wish the arseholes would give up on 18c. I listened to Turnbull comment on Triggs. He is pathetic.

  143. Johno

    I hardly ever read long posts. I guess it could depend on how much time one has. Neil lost me very quickly, albeit, it did seem like a very negative diatribe.

  144. Robert G. Shaw


  145. Robert G. Shaw

    To Harq, Jennifer, and Mick,
    Thank you for your kind words.
    And Harq, for your advice.

  146. Robert G. Shaw

    After some consideration I have decided on this route as an address to the debacle of yesterday afternoon.

    To Miriam and & Kaye,
    Miriam, to the topic – saying that I am dishonest or factually untrue in my claims about Sharia, or any other topic for that matter, means nothing if you cannot provide evidence in support. If you have a direct claim supported by both evidence and persuasive argument, then please deliver it. If not, then kindly desist from your slurs of ‘dishonesty’. They simply come across as silly examples of ad hominem.

    Kaye, yesterday you said that you had removed only “bullshit, extraneous stuff, and belittling”.
    We both know you removed more than that.
    Now while that’s your prerogative as moderator here, and that you act according to your conscience, I too must be given license to act according to mine and speak to your actions.
    It appears we differ on the definitions of what constitutes the application of Sharia within the Sharia councils/courts and what those rulings mean within the Muslim communities to which they apply.
    For the sake of final clarity: I am not saying, and have never said, that they operate as parallel systems to Common Law. I am not saying, and have never said, that it is within their power to usurp Common Law.
    What I am saying, and have always said, is: that for religious marriages the Sharia courts can and do operate as final determinations and that those guidelines under which it operates are detrimental, in nearly every respect, to the just and equitable rights of women.

    If you want to talk about other injustices, other inequalities; if you want to speak to the subjugation of women in other spheres and in other religions, if you want to speak about domestic violence, or violence against woman in general, then by all means do so. What you cannot do is conflate my critique of Islam/Sharia with some kind of neglect of these other circumstances.
    That is a strawman fallacy.
    Contrary to your assertion, I have never said, and would never say, that inequality against woman is “exclusively an Muslim issue”. That is a preposterous accusation and is an insult to me personally that you would believe I could think such a thing, that any sensible person could think such a thing.

    That’s my position at this end point of our conversation.

  147. Robert G. Shaw

    To paulwalter’s comment@3.49am, and anyone else who shares his view: if you see no correlation between the bulk of the comments and Wilson’s article, I would say look again. It is eminently justifiable for people to express concerns, where you perhaps may not. It is to the specific claims of the article that those concerns are raised.
    Perspectives differ, experiences differ, intellects and ethics differ, and the idea that Wilson seeks to relegate Lambie’s issues to the dustbin of prejudice, fear and hatred, I find to be just one perspective among many. I’ve tried, as have others, to offer an alternate perspective, as legitimate, as nuanced, and as concrete, as Wilson’s (and others).

  148. Robert G. Shaw


  149. Robert G. Shaw

    A concluding paragraph to come if it ever submits.

  150. Robert G. Shaw


    This was not simply about how Lambie demonstrated, according to Wilson, “the degree to which fake threats dominate our discourse”, this was also about how Abdel-Magied’s selective emphasis on the meaning of Sharia could also come to dominate the discourse.

  151. Robert G. Shaw

    Her definition is just one; that of a Muslim woman enjoying the full fruits of life in a Western liberal democracy, realising Sharia as a deeply personal experience and journey of spiritual growth and fulfillment, far removed from the harsh, often barbaric realities of Sharia for millions upon millions of Muslim woman worldwide who rightfully fear it as the instrument of their oppression, the vehicle of their torture, and the insurmountable obstacle to any prospect of human dignity and equality.

  152. Robert G. Shaw


    This was a tale of two competing narratives: the prejudice and hatred of Lambie versus the cherry picked deceit of Abdel-Magied.
    Wilson gave us just one.

    They are my thoughts in conclusion.
    My time on this thread is now done.

    Thanks again to those with kind, supportive words.
    I appreciate it very much.

    – – Excuse the multiple posts – they would not submit in total.

  153. nurses1968

    Robert G. Shaw
    more and more I am coming onboard

  154. Miriam English

    Wow! Something had an effect. Shaw’s last several comments almost completely refrained from insults. I almost skipped over them because of his history, but was actually able to read them without curling my lip. I’m surprised.

    Shaw, to the substance of your objections: you were using the term “legislate” in a misleading fashion. Anybody else would have said, “Sorry, it wasn’t my intention to mislead” and would have rephrased it. What I objected to was that not only did you use it misleadingly, but that you doubled down on that. You insisted everybody else was wrong and that they should have natural telepathy to know that you intended something other than how it read (even though it’s pretty clear from the context that you really meant it the way people took it, and that you changed the meaning afterward when it was clear you were wrong). You acted like a politician — it is all about the “winning” and information means little. When someone points out your error it suddenly becomes pitched battle for you where the other person must be belittled and insulted rather than addressing whether you might have actually been wrong.

    Regarding your repeated statements about Muslims and violence and oppression of women and pointed silence on other sources of oppression and violence, no, you didn’t explicitly say Islam was the only source, but when someone says something over and over and ignores or minimises other larger data then it becomes clear they have an agenda. Yours was clearly an agenda of inspiring fear of Muslims. That is what was being objected to, not what you pretend was a strawman. It is actually easy to make the mistake getting tunnel vision on a particular concern, but annoyingly once again you double down on the error and try to make a war of insults instead of admitting you were losing perspective.

    In your reply to paulwalter, you say you were on topic. Seriously??? When you descended repeatedly into pompous attacks on people and hallucinatory diversions you were on topic??

    All that said though, I feel like there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps you’re becoming less combative and more interested in contributing to a shared journey. I, for one, would be relieved.

  155. Kaye Lee

    Jacquie Lambie, along with Hanson, Christensen, Bernardi and others, is totally misleading the public by suggesting that there is a real threat of Sharia being imposed on all Australians. This is, of course, utterly ludicrous and has led to Australian Muslims being vilified in their own country.

    Jennifer’s article was about how this completely erroneous fearmongering is being exploited by our conservative government to pander to the anti-immigration crowd and to justify their disgraceful treatment of those who seek to escape from the horrors of other places and come to us for help. Just as Howard did with Tampa and 9/11, they use the “keep you safe” rhetoric for their own political purposes whilst ignoring the actual threats to our society.

    We live in a liberal democracy. That is very different to places like Saudi Arabia who have an absolute monarchy where the Qur’an is declared to be the constitution of the country and Islamic law is followed. To continually point to what happens in such countries as an indicator of what happens “in the suburbs” of Australia is being deliberately sensationalist and factually incorrect. I am sure you can find a few instances of people doing the wrong thing here. That is why we have laws to protect people.

    Talking about oppression of women in entirely different societies and pretending this is what Australian Muslims want introduced here is causing hatred and division. This is not an academic discussion – the hate crimes against Muslims have increased greatly both here and in the US.

  156. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    I read an interesting comment on the ways we are heading on Trish Corrys site by a mate of mine , He’s ok with me using it and it makes me wonder where we could end up
    “The current dilemma facing Labor is that the world is being led by those quite willing and able to play off Patriotism/Nationalism against the big enemy Globalisation and they are winning and it doesn’t seem like slowing down any time soon
    I do not have a complete in-depth understanding of the intricacies of politics that most of you have as I was always a unionist first and a political fighter second and my position has always been to fight for what is fair and just for the working class and for those for whatever circumstance needed a helping hand to lead a life of dignity.
    I’m just the foot soldier who hands out the leaflets and campaigns for what is fair.
    I had an opportunity to spend several hours travelling with a friend of yours and mine and got a basic 101 politics lesson on where on the shit heap we are now.
    The current thinking is that Pauline Hanson has a lot more mileage in her yet before the wheels fall off and the One Nation bandwagon has captured and copied the tried and tested method from overseas.
    Trump did it,5 Star in Italy, the French with Marine Le Pen, Hungary with Viktor Orbán, Spain, Greece and more and more through Europe have hijacked the working class with a simple us against them in the form of Patriotism/Nationalism against Globalisation
    Italy has monumental debt as does Spain and seem likely to follow Greece
    Watch the documentaries as the “Patriots” stand in deserted factory car parks and explain how the jobs have been outsourced to China or a struggling European country by the Globalists
    One figure alone shows 77,487 firms with employees numbering over 1000 were lost between 1996 and 2012 in the US.
    One commentator quoted a figure of 1000 Italian businesses a day closing
    With Brexit creating a kick off point for more to leave the E.U. countries who are EU members are now contemplating leaving or disregarding the EU completely in many dealings
    The backlash against asylum seekers and immigrants has been savage as they thumb their noses at the EU.
    Hungary beat Trump to it in building a wall to keep asylum seekers out and other EU countries are taking hard line actions
    The prediction I was given was that all the while Globalisation could be blamed and the bottom 70% bore the brunt The One Nations of the world had fertile ground to exploit and room to grow unless Labor starts to address some really basic issues of fairness equality and a living allowance for Centrelink clients.
    Scary stuff comrade, got an opinion?”

    end of comment

  157. Kaye Lee


    I agree with Bighead and cornie that the economic climate plays a large part in people looking for someone to blame for their woes.

    The problem is, this is a trend that will continue – partly because of offshoring of jobs to cheap labour countries, but also because of automation and that is only going to increase.

    There are areas where we could be creating jobs and we could always do with more nurses, more teachers, more aged care workers etc. But the absolute obsession with profit with no responsibility for equity or sustainability is making the divide greater every day as a minute number of people become obscenely wealthy on the backs of those they exploit.

    Governments could regulate to help address this but, as they are beholden to their rich donors, they instead choose to get rid of regulations pretending that “the market” will sort everything out. Well gee that’s going well isn’t it – NOT. Governments have to step up to the plate. They are the only organisation that can protect us from the greed of global corporates. But they are too gutless to take them on. Much easier to blame migrants.

  158. Harquebus

    Jobs and people consume too many resources and produce too much pollution. We need to decrease both.
    I know we won’t but, it will happen anyway.

  159. jimhaz

    I cannot see any positive outcome of high immigration since the Year 2000. Not one – stacked up against some really big negatives like housing inflation, a loss of community cohesion and increased corruption.

    Importing labour to do jobs we don’t want to do is not actually an overall advantage.

  160. nurses1968

    Here in my area the Illawarra employers are only fanning the flames of discontent and it seems to a growing One Nation in the region,
    Decisions like this don’t help
    HSU slams Warrigal plans to employ foreign workers
    Illawarra-based aged care provider Warrigal has been slammed by the Health Services Union over its plans to recruit 50 overseas workers on 457 visas.

    HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said Warrigal – which has 10 locations across the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands – had ‘’turned its back on local workers’’ with the decision.

    Our jobless rate second worst in NSW

    A NSW South Coast employment service provider has warned the Shoalhaven region is fostering a growing underclass of unemployed youth who do not appear in official figures.

    A report from the Brotherhood of St Laurence released this week, names the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands as a ‘regional hotspot’ with a youth unemployment rate of 18.4 per cent, well above the national average of 12 per cent.

    and therein lays the problem, a fertile breeding ground for Hanson

  161. Kaye Lee

    I do understand how that would cause resentment. It isn’t the migrants’ fault. It’s the government’s. It was my understanding that they could only employ 457 visa workers if there was a labour shortage. I would suggest a very concerted campaign to both state and federal representatives. The CEO of Warrigal claimed they were only being considered for its Bundanoon and Goulburn sites to address labour shortages. Hopefully the union can help determine if that is the case. Determining if the jobs have been advertised here would be a good place to begin. They should also be looking at training to help provide employees in the future as aged care will be a growing industry.

  162. Terry2

    Grit your teeth, folks as General Motors gears up to advertise their new range of “Holdens” manufactured for your convenience in South Korea.

    Perhaps the biggest achievement of the Abbott/Turnbull government has been to decimate our auto manufacturing industry by refusing to provide guarantees of ongoing co-investment (also known as subsidies by the coalition) beyond 2016.
    On 10 December 2013 then Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared there would be no more taxpayer assistance for Holden and called on it to reveal its plans. Detroit realized that they were now operating in what had become a hostile environment in Australia and decided to transfer production to South Korea which, whilst obviously not as stable a geopolitical environment as Australia, was at least welcoming.

    Between 2001 to 2012, Holden had generated $32.7 billion of economic activity and paid $21 billion to other companies while providing direct employment to around 3000 and receiving $1.8 billion in government subsidies.

    The full impact of this disastrous economic management has yet to impact fully on the Australian economy !

    As Oliver Hardy would say to Stan Laurel and as we could well say to the coalition :

    ” Well here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into “

  163. havanaliedown

    Corporate welfare cannot be sustained – either the business is viable or it isn’t. The folly of successive governments tipping billions into local car manufacturing is obvious – since the “Button Plan” opened the market to many foreign brands (you see more BMWs and Audis than Commodores on the road nowadays). I know a recently retired Holden dealership owner quite well, and he could see the decline in demand for Holden product, and took his nest egg home. The death knell was unrealistic union-driven wage rise demands that made our local manufacturing branch unsustainable, uncompetitive and unviable.

  164. Miriam English

    The government needs to spend on infrastructure and services to increase the amount of money and quality of life among the people generally (especially the poor). This extra money and mobility of people makes more money available to businesses so they employ more, and the economy starts to boom again, making people more comfortable and willing to be fair and help each other.

    Instead we have a government that cuts money and services from the people generally (especially the poor). This makes people angry and fearful. Existing jobs have to be filled, but how to fill them without money from the government to pay for them? We have two choices: automation or cheap immigrant labor (it has to be 457 visa labor because normal immigrants are protected from exploitation by minimum wage laws). So this fear and anger makes people want to vilify people who are different. This is nicely channelled by right-wing politicians — the same ones who are causing the problem — so they set up the conditions where they can continue to be elected.

    The problem isn’t immigration (not even 457 visa immigrants, though they do make things worse). The problem isn’t automation. The problem isn’t globalisation (it gives us cheap equipment and puts money in the hands of people who were dirt poor before).

    The problem is a government manipulating the economy to give us austerity (I’m not sure if they’re ignorant twits, or if they are doing it cynically — I tend to think it’s the former).

    That said, there is something to what Harquebus said. We actually need consumption to drop radically. Birth rate is already below replacement level here in Australia, but if we make the future uncertain and increase austerity we could kick off population growth again. We need low consumption to come from a place of good sense. We’ve done it before with energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, efficient vehicles, and so on. We need information and education from a responsible mainstream media, not dangerous fear and hate propaganda.

  165. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    “The CEO of Warrigal claimed they were only being considered for its Bundanoon and Goulburn sites to address labour shortages.”
    The exact area where ” Brotherhood of St Laurence released this week, names the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands as a ‘regional hotspot’ with a youth unemployment rate of 18.4 per cent, well above the national average of 12 per cent.”
    There are 2 young fellas work on the property here with me .
    Their mates aren’t blaming the companies but the “Muslims and illegals” stealing their jobs.
    I have spoke to a few of them over the past couple of weeks and they are starving on Newstart and see Hanson as their saviour .
    Couldn’t reason with them, they didn’t want to listen
    “They should also be looking at training ” we have an over abundance of useless NGO “training” centres making quite a nice little cop out of the forced participants in what seems useless and not very helpful training.
    A young bloke working on this property was previously on a benefit and these “Training Centres” were nothing less than punishment facilities looking for the slightest excuse to “breach” the participants.
    Thats why Cornie employed this young bloke, an old mates {Red Ned, who wrote the article on Trishs site} grandson, as he was suffering mental issues and they were driving him over the edge
    The only training providor should be T.A.F.E. not these money making fly by nighter shonky outfits

  166. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    The construction of infrastructure consumes huge amounts of energy, causes pollution and leaves an energy consuming maintenance legacy for future generations.

    Here is something that I read about cars just this morning. Refers to the U.S.
    “Sales bottomed out at fewer than 10 million units in 2009, but have risen steadily since, to an all time high of 17.5 million units, in 2016. What could be wrong with this picture?
    Couple of things. First….”

    Driverless Cars: Their Time Will Never Come

    “the economy starts to boom again” ???

    Infrastructure spending does not create wealth, it consumes it.


  167. Robert G. Shaw

    Miriam, there are a few things in your posts that require redress.

    “legislate” has a broader meaning that the one you choose give it. Do not attempt to lock my meaning into your assumption, or narrower fold.
    Look at the question again – “what do you think of the Sharia councils/courts operating in the U.K. that can legislate inequality for woman, most especially in the 90% of cases being heard before the council on the subject of divorce?”

    One of the definitions of “legislate” (OED, Webster) is to “enact”.
    Read my sentence again with that meaning – “what do you think of the Sharia councils/courts operating in the U.K. that can “enact” inequality for woman, most especially in the 90% of cases being heard before the council on the subject of divorce?”

    See that meaning?
    Unchanged as to its question.
    The fact that you quibbled on that single word meant, to me, that you had no real answer to the question, and contrary to your claims, there were no changes in my subsequent explanation and there was no instance of you proving me wrong. How could you prove me wrong without addressing the issue?

    You accuse: “Yours was clearly an agenda of inspiring fear of Muslims”.
    That is incorrect.
    You can of course believe it to be true. That’s your prerogative.
    But it is still incorrect.
    My agenda, my perspective as you call it, here and elsewhere, I thought quite clear:
    to interrogate the Left – it’s principles, practices, and bias – wherever I find it: in policy, in culture, in language, in education, in media.
    It matters little to me.
    My reason, again clear and simple: if we are to respond maturely, astutely, and with intellectual and moral integrity to the incursions of the Right, then we need to perform some very serious self-reflection so that what’s happened in the US, what looks like happening in the UK, France, and other European countries, isn’t replicated here.
    How else do you propose to counter the rapacious neo-liberalism?
    With insults and name calling?
    With mockery of Turnbull and Joyce?
    No, I’m not interested in that. By all means purge yourself, but do not include me in that endeavour and do not diminish the critiques I’m trying to make (such as the one on Abdel-Magied, for example).
    My very specific agenda, as you put it, in view of this conversation, was to confront the questions: Lambie, Abdel-Magied, humanist values, Islamic/Sharia values, propaganda, bias, fact, and the construction of narratives.
    I’m not interested in “inspiring fear of Muslims” as such. I’m interested in inspiring fear of every possible incursion into our civic body of antithetical practice.
    I don’t care where it comes from. Source is irrelevant.

    I began my argument initially from the what I assumed to be uncontroversial position that Sharia is bad.
    That statement was made in direct response to first, Abdel-Magied’s claim that Sharia was somehow the pinnacle of feminist theory and practice, and second, Wilson’s suggestion that only Lambie’s position of ‘hate, prejudice and fear’ was deleterious to the discourse.
    I objected to both those claims.
    That was my position 3 days ago, that’s my position today. I simply cannot see an argument to the contrary.
    What I have seen is the rather pedestrian acknowledgement that Christensen, Bernardo et al, are stoking irrational fears of Muslims, foreigners, migrants, queue jumpers, imminent invasion or Sharia takeover, or other such platitudes.
    These are remarkably unremarkable statements.
    They litter the reports, accounts, blogs, conversations, of every Leftie in the country, and perhaps quite a few Righties. They have been the prime undercurrent of our national discourse since Howard perpetrated the political masterstroke of “We decide who comes…..”. I doubt there is anyone in the country without some opinion on the matter, let alone political tragics like us.
    Who here is seduced by those calls?
    The fact that you think my arguments, for example, are responses to their oafish dog whistle says more about your ability to discern opinion and critique from propaganda.
    Expressing my view that the fundamental principles of freedom of speech, equality, and reason are in mortal threat every time and in every instance of proximity to Sharia does not signify my dancing to Bernardi’s fear mongering clarion call.
    It does not.
    It means that I will contest, as I mentioned earlier, any infraction to those fundamental principles, from Right, from Left, from Bernardi, from Abdel-Magied, from Trump, from Chomsky, from Lambie, from Greens, the Liberals, the Euro Right, the Euro Left, from Left bloggers, from Right bloggers. Anyone.
    I simply don’t care the source.
    That needs to be clearly understood by those here intent cramming my views into clearly unhelpful binaries.

    Miriam, the fact that I don’t mention something related though non essential in the context of a specific conversation does not mean that I ignore it, or think it inconsequential, or try to hide it.
    An example: Kaye Lee notes in her final sentence that Muslim hate crime has risen. It has, in the US by about 6-7%. She did not mention that hate crime against Jews has also risen, above that of the Muslim rate actually. Does that mean she has an ‘agenda’, that she is “anti-Semitic”?
    It simply means that she is addressing a specific question.
    That’s all.

    Your critique is therefore fallacious and unnecessarily paranoid.


    Timely post nurses.
    Tell your friend, thanks.
    I see things unfolding, unraveling, along similar lines.
    This particular battle – Global vs Local – still has a fair way to play out and my fear is that we, the Left, Labor, are ill prepared for the coming conflict.
    Not coming, but already here I should say.
    It’s why I keep banging on about the US example and it’s one reason why I don’t buy the ‘pollies blaming migrants’ whistle. What happened in the US convinced me of that.
    Re: the unions – do you know that one of the very first meetings Trump had as President, second or third day if memory serves, was with union leaders.
    By all reports the meeting was a “great success”.

    Trump could pull out another slice of the Dems traditional voters if these infrastructure projects proceed.
    Turnbull could do the same here, I imagine.
    Great care is required.

    Like you I have friends and family with ties to their respective unions. The mood range goes from listless to spitting blood fury.
    None are happy nurses. Some openly confrontational that their very livelihoods are put to risk by union action.
    And this is from people Left their entire lives!

    My feeling is that the Labor and Union relationship needs to change quickly.
    Very quickly.
    It’s the gap where the logic of havanliedown enters.
    Rightfully so.

    Troubling times.

  168. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Another ‘regional hotspot’ is the Latrobe Valley, particularly Morwell and Moe where unemployment has been around 20% for decades. The State Government initiatives being introduced to the Latrobe Valley must address opening up diverse employment opportunities in new, innovative industries, such as Renewable Energy.

  169. Terry2

    Havanaliedown, you said :

    The death knell was unrealistic union-driven wage rise demands that made our local manufacturing branch unsustainable, uncompetitive and unviable.

    ABC News14 Aug 2013, 12:41pm

    “Hundreds of Holden workers have accepted a three-year wage freeze in order to prevent the company closing its production line in Adelaide’s northern suburbs in 2016.

    In a series of ballots on Tuesday, 1700 employees at the Elizabeth plant were effectively voting to keep their jobs and continue producing the carmaker’s Cruze and Commodore models.

    A planned 3 per cent wage increase from November will now be deferred as the carmaker looks to save $15 million in labour costs in order to remain viable and keep building cars in Australia.”

    There is a lot of misinformation and fake-news around but I think we can still rely on the ABC for facts.

  170. Terry2

    Not having a go at you Havanaliedown but you also said :

    “Corporate welfare cannot be sustained – either the business is viable or it isn’t.”

    It is estimated that taxpayer subsidies to the private health insurance companies will be between $7 billion and $9 billion this year and that’s not a one-off it is growing exponentially year in year out.

  171. Harquebus

    I live a 20 minute walk away from the GMH Elizabeth factory.

    During the 2013 election campaign, I stumbled across Kevin Rudd’s electioneering circus at my local community center. I tried to talk with him but, was thwarted by the throng of microphones and cameras pointed at and surrounding him. I did speak to Penny Wong and introduced myself as Harquebus, she being on my mailing list. I was pleased that she recognized my moniker and seemed glad to meet me.

    I had to leave for a while and when I returned, the microphones and cameras were directed at a GMH worker who was calling for more assistance for his industry. The pollies had since left. At the end of the interview I asked, “May I ask a question?” Microphones and cameras were pointed in my direction and I asked the GMH worker, “What effect do you think that the peak oil phenomenon will have on the automotive industry?” Microphones and cameras were promptly taken and packed away. The journalists were not one bit interested.

    The GMH worker had never heard of peak oil. I wonder where he is now.


  172. Miriam English

    Harquebus, it depends upon what infrastructure. Public transport saves energy by deterring personal car use. Subsidising insulation saves energy. The internet saves energy by enabling a lot of things to be done without travel (for instance I was in meetings from 3pm to 6pm yesterday without having to move from my room).

    “Infrastructure spending does not create wealth, it consumes it.”

    In fact it really does create it. I won’t go into a detailed description of why though. Sorry, I’m tired and need to have a bit of a rest. Just have a look at times in the past when government spent on infrastructure (and I don’t mean pouring money into a few rich mates’ pockets). Improvements in public infrastructure floats all boats and boosts the economy. If done sensibly this can save large amounts of energy and physical resources; if done stupidly and corruptly then you’re right and it does waste vast amounts.

  173. Miriam English

    Shaw, good to see you are mostly dropping the invective, but I see you’re still doubling down on the “I’m right and everybody else is wrong” line. A pity.

  174. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    Saving energy is not producing wealth. It is the productive businesses and enterprises at the end of the infrastructure chain that produce the wealth. In the current and future environment, they will be increasingly unable to. We would be building roads to nowhere for no reason other than to maintain employment. Also an increasingly difficult task.

  175. Roswell

    Miriam, not only are you never right but you’re also paranoid.

    Your critique is therefore fallacious and unnecessarily paranoid

    For god’s sake, woman, get your act together. ?

  176. jimhaz

    Decisions from weak minded do gooders like this don’t help either

    “A government boys’ school in Sydney’s south has ruled Muslim students can place their hand on their chest instead of shaking hands when accepting awards.

    The “agreed protocol” was established at Hurstville Boys’ Campus of Georges River College in Sydney’s south after extensive consultation with the wider school community last year, a NSW education department spokesman told AAP on Monday.

    News Corp Australia reports there were several female presenters at the awards ceremony.

    The instruction is understood to derive from an Islamic hadith stating “it is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you”, News Corp reports.”

  177. Roswell

    jimhaz, a nothing story but by publishing it would have hoped to stir up a bit more hate. Has it worked?

    Personally, I wouldn’t care what they did with their hands. They can put them in their pockets, pick their noses or scratch their bums as far as I’m concerned.

  178. silkworm

    nurses1968: “… and therein lays the problem, a fertile breeding ground for Hanson.”

    You make a good point. However, Hanson will shift the blame to the foreign workers, rather than the companies that exploit them.

    John Pilger made the same point about Brexit. Certain companies were importing cheap labour into Britain from Hungary (or Romania, I forget which), and this was legitimate under EU rules. The effect was that wages became depressed in areas of the economy, and British workers who were unwilling to accept lower wages were pushed into unemployment. However, the racists in Britain blamed the foreign workers themselves rather than the companies who exploited them.

    This is what Hanson does – she blames the victims of exploitation rather than the companies who exploit them, and her followers are too stupid or misinformed to understand the difference. This is where progressives need to make a difference.

  179. nurses1968

    Already above, I made the point {probably poorly} that they are already blaming the 457 workers. Muslims and immigrants or illegals as they put it and NOT the companies.
    Hansonism is growing in this region
    There is some history of exploited foreign workers in the Region ,
    National Disgrace: CFMEU Forces Govt To Investigate $4 An Hour Foreign Workers
    The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has forced the federal government to investigate claims foreign workers at an ethanol plant on the NSW South Coast have been working up to seven days a week for as little as $4 an hour, while living in “cramped and degrading conditions”.

    The shocking revelations were uncovered by the CFMEU last week, at the Bomaderry Ethanol Plant on the south coast of NSW. The site is owned by the Manildra Group, a large Australian company and one of the nation’s most generous donors to the three major political parties.

    The Chairman of Manildra is Dick Honan, ranked 116 on BRW’s Rich 200 List. There is no suggestion from New Matilda Mr Honan had any knowledge of the scam.

    But the CFMEU believes the scandal may be just the tip of the iceberg –

    National Disgrace: CFMEU Forces Govt To Investigate $4 An Hour Foreign Workers

  180. Miriam English

    Roswell, I know. 🙂 Amazing that I’m so stupid. Lucky we have Shaw here to tell me I am.

  181. jimhaz

    I find that most posters are right to some degree…but still wrong in a more holistic sense (if there was a way to determine ‘wrongness’ by objective judgement).

    The bulk of facts on social issues are indeed individual facts (though many things classed as ‘facts’ are merely opinion or the person saying what they want you to think) – but polarised people give these facts far more weight than they deserve and other equally valid facts that conflict with the desirable facts receive no weight at all. Seeking and weighting as valid only facts that fits one argument means one does not have to have their ego kicked – and we don’t like do we folks.

    As far as I can see these social warriors on the Muslim and immigration issues act the same way that Harquebus does on the renewable energy issue.

    I suppose this is one of the problems with social media forums. Its very nature means that one has to take a side and provide as much evidence for your point of view to try and best your opponent, as one has an attachment to their argument. This just causes the opponent to do the same and it ends up getting everyone angry with or ‘sick to death of’ the other side – harming our ability to accept data that opposes our viewpoint.

    Robert appears to take into account both sides of an argument – he weights pluses and minuses, more than the hard core group here.

    I’ve always wanted to a see a web resource on contentious issues that has three columns. It is something I thought the ALP should have done with Climate Change when Abbott was in opposition

    For Arguments | Against Arguments | Tolerable Compromises

  182. jimhaz

    @ Roswell

    [Personally, I wouldn’t care what they did with their hands]

    Well you should. It is a rejection of one little bit of what it means to be an Australian or westerner – little bits that add up. i see no reason for Aust to give respect when your way of life is being rejected. The reason behind the refusal is a demonstration of fundamentalism and anti-women. It is not defensible.

  183. silkworm

    That Manildra story is from 2015.

  184. nurses1968

    “That Manildra story is from 2015”

    And? I said
    There is some history of exploited foreign workers in the Region ,


  185. jimhaz

    Something more recent on 457 in NSW

    Baird government replaces local employees with 457 visa workers

    “IT professionals are being hired on 457 visas in preference to Australian workers at the same time the NSW government outsources public services.

    The Public Service Association has called for an urgent inquiry into the Baird government’s decision to contract out public services, replacing full-time local jobs with overseas workers on temporary work visas.

    In response to questions from Greens MP David Shoebridge, the government has confirmed it has used people on 457 visas to fill 32 full-time jobs following its decision to outsource ServiceFirst which looks after IT, human resources and payroll services. Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet​ said that 32 workers “will continue in the role”.

  186. Terry2


    “What effect do you think that the peak oil phenomenon will have on the automotive industry?”

    Maybe he did answer but you didn’t hear him say……….TESLA

  187. Roswell

    Well you should.

    Well I don’t. Sorry, jimhaz, but I really don’t care.

    I’m more concerned that some overseas customs are being thrust down our throats, namely Halloween.

    My old country (America) is more of a threat to the Australian way of life than Muslims are.

  188. Harquebus

    Not shaking hands doesn’t bother me but, the reason stated does.

  189. Deanna Jones

    RoswellFebruary 20, 2017 at 7:06 am
    So all of a sudden two or three people like Robert Shaw.

    Blog politics is all that is. But he will become unbearable now.

  190. Miriam English

    I have to admit I’m kinda with Harquebus here. I couldn’t give a damn whether they shake hands or not. Shaking hands always feels weird to me and I can totally understand people not wanting to do it. But not wanting to because you don’t want to touch a woman “who is not permissable to you” (whatever that means) strikes me as kinda dumb.

    I’m not outraged by it though. It seems stupid the way wearing high-heeled shoes or ties is stupid. But there’s no law against people being wantonly stupid.

    The source of the rule is probably a misguided intention to stave off sexual desire in males. Of course, 2,000 years on now, we know that it has the reverse effect, and as with Catholic priests, makes them need to poke anything that moves.

  191. corvus boreus

    Jimhaz (2:07),
    ‘The instruction is understood….Newscorp reports’.
    Personally, I would prefer more solid intel than a single unverified Murdoch press claim; they are an organisation with a history of deliberately disseminating falsehoods in order to advance their own agendas..

  192. Miriam English

    Deanna, I was dreading exactly the same prospect.

  193. Miriam English

    Harquebus, “Saving energy is not producing wealth.”

    On the contrary, efficiency makes money because it costs less to not buy fuel than to buy it. Saving energy is the quickest, easiest, and most impactful way to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

    An example clarifies what I mean:
    You have $100 usable money at the end of every week after all bills are paid. But you have put to $70 of that into refuelling your suburban 4WD vehicle leaving you just $30 spending money. You manage to swap your vehicle with a friend’s tiny car because they’re moving out into the bush. This little car only costs $20 to fill. Now you have $80 spending money instead of $30. Efficiency just made you $50 per week wealthier.

    This applies everywhere, most importantly to buildings, where the savings can amount to enormous amounts when lighting, heating, and cooling are made more efficient. The retrofit to the Empire State Building saves the owners $4.4 million every year in energy costs.

    There is a point of diminishing returns, of course, but we have a long way to go before we get there — we are so unbelievably wasteful. And every bit of efficiency makes us money.

  194. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    No. The wealth was created and not spent on fuel resulting in a saving. When it is spent, it will be on something that has or will cause pollution. Real money can not be created, currencies can be conjured from nothing.
    We have been here before and are off topic so, I think I’ll leave it at that.
    I read all of and enjoy your comments.

  195. Kaye Lee

    I remember some very good advice I was given by a girlfriend when I was angry with one of my kids. She said to me “Is this really the hill to die for?”

    It was great advice meaning pick your battles. Silly stories about Christmas carols or shaking hands or non-gendered language are beat ups designed to cause hatred and they nearly always turn out to be greatly exaggerated or flat out wrong.

    Whenever I ask people how their life has been adversely impacted by immigration, it nearly always comes back to “they are taking our jobs.” Whilst that is certainly something to be concerned about, as has been pointed out already, blame the companies and the government. Don’t blame the people who are in the same boat as you just trying to feed their families.

    I also find it amazing that all these Aussie men have suddenly become feminists when it comes to the plight of Muslim women yet they abuse Aussie women who identify as feminists. They have made it a dirty word along with socialist.

    There are dreadful things happening to women in some countries, often using religion as the excuse for their violence and subjugation, but it seems Aussie men cannot accept that we have a domestic violence crisis right here. It’s not helped by female politicians like Bishop and Cash who also decry feminism as they teeter around on their stiletto heels spending a fortune on hair and make up and accessories so they look pretty for the boys.

  196. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear.

  197. Robert G. Shaw

    I explained to you the logical error of your “double down” accusations in 4 clear, concise points.
    And your response? The identical charge, “double down”, again.
    No explanation, no counter argument, no rhyme, no reason, no clue, no sense, nothing.
    Just the same charge on automatic default. Rinse, spin, repeat.

    I’m finding these sorts of exchanges immensely frustrating and shall do my very best never to have them again with you.


    jimhaz, I agree with your thoughts on the Hurstville school ruling; I too am wary of the increments. I certainly understand the counter argument, and it’s a solid one, but ultimately I remain unconvinced that it is inconsequential.
    These small steps never are.

    I read recently about an Afghan family that moved to Tasmania and experienced some ‘difficulty’ with their children’s school experience.
    There were some complaints, or if not complaints then some misgivings, some grievance, some gripe, from the mother that the children were having difficulty adjusting to the schools Christmas festivities.
    I remember clearly her lament, or was it her veiled criticism? She said that there wasn’t as much diversity as she’d hoped, that if our culture really was welcoming of other cultures and religions then they should do more to help families like hers adjust (I’m paraphrasing but the key points are there).
    If we really were welcoming……?!

    The irony struck me, or at least the history did.
    Pakistan. Sunni. The partition from India. The massacres, forced evacuations, terror, cleansing of all other religions – Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, even Shias, as well as any other minority group to have the misfortune to be within reach.
    And here she was, a monoculturalist, in Tasmania, idyllic Tassy, lamenting the lack of ‘diversity’?
    My mind spun.

    Two more quick ones,
    In most highly tuned PC campuses in the US – Yale, Amherst, Berkeley, even the better Mid West ones – there is now a new way to demonstrate one’s agreement with someone, or to applaud, or encourage someone.
    The most common expression so far has been to clap our hands, to clap, to hit our hands against each other and make a sound.

    Well these students have decided, in a fit of pure and total delusion to put a halt to that privileged and ablest practice, and now click their fingers to express their applause.
    Click their fingers.
    Because people with one arm, disabled students, amputees, are obviously unable to clap. Obsessionally anxious of excluding someone the students have come up with the click because it’s something that disabled people can do too.
    So they all click. Self righteous students smug in their belief that they’ve done something positive in this world and the solitary disabled person, wondering what the hell kind of idiocy is being done in their name.
    I saw it once jimhaz.
    I hope to never see it again.

    Finally, Prof. Jordan Peterson, refusing to use the gender neutral pronouns forced upon him. 11 by my last count.–and-why-you-shouldnt-either

    I applaud him.
    Click, click, click….


    To Deanna, the simple and otherwise positive outcome of a few people saying they read my posts galls you so much that you found it worthy of comment and a pithy little niggle.
    After everything that happened yesterday you think this is the right way for us to proceed?

    And Mods are asking me to hold my tongue?!
    Incredible stuff.

  198. helvityni

    Hear, hear, from me too Kaye, when as a newcomer to Oz, married to a Dutch-Australian, ( found on my travels and his), I was surprised that many Aussie men shook his hand but not mine.

    Visiting some of his Aussie mates, a male friend of his pulled two beers from the fridge and when seeing the surprised look on my face, said: make yourself a cup of tea, H. ( his wife was away visiting relatives)

    I would have welcomed a cool beer on a very hot day, and what’s more, I was a coffee drinker…

  199. Robert G. Shaw

    Harq, a question: this notion of infrastructure/ growth that is so antithetical to your conscience: how do you propose to reconcile it with people’s need and desire to work, make money, and live, send the children to school, buy a bottle of wine, go on a holiday, to do all the things that constitute the stuff of life?
    Most people, if not all, see your program as a direct threat to their lives/livelihoods.
    That being the case, what do you see as the argument here? What’s it’s shape, what does it look like, what’s its point of entry into our political, social, and private conversations?
    I’m curious.

  200. Deanna Jones

    “To Deanna, the simple and otherwise positive outcome of a few people saying they read my posts galls you so much that you found it worthy of comment and a pithy little niggle.
    After everything that happened yesterday you think this is the right way for us to?”

    That’s right Bobby old son, I’m like totally galled man. Bummer.

  201. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    A good anecdote to explain the thousands of little things that have gotten up our noses, helvi.

  202. Robert G. Shaw

    helvityni, your beer example is cultural, the Hurstville one, religious.

  203. Robert G. Shaw

    That’s right De De old girl, if it didn’t rattle your petticoat you wouldn’t have mentioned it.

  204. Deanna Jones

    Bob your ego clouds your judgement. Roswell mentioned it. I dismissed it as blog politics, which it was.

  205. Robert G. Shaw

    You did more than that, unless you’re telling me that final sentence isn’t yours?

    “Deanna JonesFebruary 20, 2017 at 6:09 pm
    RoswellFebruary 20, 2017 at 7:06 am
    So all of a sudden two or three people like Robert Shaw.

    Blog politics is all that is. But he will become unbearable now.”

    This isn’t the first time you’ve selectively cropped.
    You got form De.

  206. Kaye Lee

    Gee you nearly did well there for a little while Robert. Are you trying to piss me off again?

  207. Matters Not

    Understand that the moniker Robert G Shaw is notable in US history. The historical Shaw had a penchant for ‘writing’. Often.

    Might be in the genes?

  208. Matters Not

    how do you propose to reconcile it with people’s need and desire to work, make money, and live, send the children to school, buy a bottle of wine, go on a holiday, to do all the things that constitute the stuff of life

    Also interested in your response. Particularly RGS’ view re this: the stuff of life bit.

    But be careful, because your response could determine whether your current ‘bromance’ prospers or ends in a messy divorce. You have been warned.

  209. Harquebus

    Robert G. Shaw
    “people’s need and desire to work, make money, and live, send the children to school, buy a bottle of wine, go on a holiday, to do all the things that constitute the stuff of life?”
    This is not the right location for an in depth discussion on this topic.
    It boils down to, do you want jobs and the things that you state or do you want a sustainable world? I want the latter which, means that a lot will have to sit on the dole until they die.

    I look forward to discussing this in more detail with you at another time or here:

    Depopulate . . . or perish


  210. jimhaz

    @ CB
    [Personally, I would prefer more solid intel than a single unverified Murdoch press claim; they are an organisation with a history of deliberately disseminating falsehoods in order to advance their own agendas.]

    That’s fair enough, but I decided it was real enough as there was a quote form the Ed Dept included.

    Kaye said: [Silly stories about Christmas carols or shaking hands or non-gendered language are beat ups designed to cause hatred and they nearly always turn out to be greatly exaggerated or flat out wrong.]

    To steal from Robert….I am wary of the increments.

    Lets try and imagine some other reason than what was stated.

    Not a cultural thing? What culture – they should be from a lot of different cultures. What caused the kids or parents to seek this? How did they reach a consensus – loudest speaker perhaps…. and we know what they are like don’t we.

    Maybe they think we are dirty. We don’t use both hands the same way.

    Sorry can’t think of anything else.

    The religious LAW based reason seems the best explanation.

    Hurstville Boys’ Campus is not an Islamic school. Do they have the right to change our culture for theirs at awards night? Is it a sign of excessive pride, something which increases extremism in many areas.

    When people say Muslims represent only 2% of the Oz population, that fails to take into account ratios in individual suburbs/regions. It still creates locations from which fundamentalism can and I’m certain will grow (due to OS affects mainly). The above is just an example of what occurs when resistance to stupidity weakens.

    Please don’t play the game of handshakes being meaningless – its divisive behaviour at social events – only worthy of being done to a LNP politician, and thus enough to make a percentage angry particularly if Hanson uses it. Sometimes we are willing to ignore little differences like this with migrants, and wouldn’t be concerned if say it was a Sth Asian bow of some kind, but Islam has both that cultural difference and is a way of life, that is all too all invasive and not pliable (depending on place of origin and timeframe). There is also an association link to young louts – who have no respect for authority at all.

    Your expectation that Islam does not need to be viewed with the lens of strong caution is unfounded. The clear cut division you seek between here in peaceful enough Aust and continuous strife overseas is false – when judging positives and negatives the division fades….and if you’ve already long decided “muslim is more negative, than positive” the increments build up.

    Admittedly it was only a few kids, but there is no guarantee that peer pressure wont increase that. Should it take on wider popularity, as some sort of muslim pride thing, muslims are only going to attract more anger.

    I’d prefer the Muslims already here to not attract anger. It is not fair on the vast majority that just want to live peacefully, however their religion, or their adherence to it, needs to modernise – not us, ummm, well at least not as much in that way.

    I’ve said enough about this topic of late. Hopefully that is it.

  211. Harquebus

    If it was me handing out the parchment and they refused to shake my hand, I would drop that parchment to the floor and they can take it from there.

  212. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I find this discussion really hard coz I’m caught on both sides of the divide.

    On one side, I understand and totally support the need for cultural recognition of sex equality in terms of 50/50 women/men.

    On the other side, I endeavour to show cultural and religious respect that does not impose my view or preconceptions on a cultural or religious group.

    However if I must choose, since we are in Australia in the relatively New World, I side with what is appropriate according to Australian standards in the 1st quarter of the 21st century.

    Meanwhile, I am also very aware that those standards are nowhere near where they should be because of the high statistics of domestic violence, poverty experienced by older women, gross discrimination with employment opportunities and progression, and the general and constant disadvantages experienced by women and girls in most walks of life.

    For me, I prefer to comb out the different elements of discrimination and disadvantage between sex and race politics.

  213. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    that would be my attitude also. Or, I might put it on the nearest table so as not to appear to disrespect the recipient!

  214. Matters Not

    jimhaz I you want to ban Islamic schools, then you have my complete support – on one condition – that you ban all schools that have the advancement of a particular religion as part of their ‘overt’ and ‘hidden’ curricula. Indeed go further, provide a ‘rationale’.

    Turkey, under Ataturk, decided that ‘education’ was fundamentally about providing future citizens the opportunity to prepare for life in a secular, democratic society. That was the ‘prime’ role of public schools which all future citizens would attend. Thus between the hours of school, the Islamic religion didn’t feature. (Remember that all people born in Turkey are assumed to be Muslim – about 80% Sunni, the rest being Shia plus a whole collection of rats and mice’.) He wasn’t opposed to ‘religion’ but wanted a ‘secular’ democracy. And the schooling system he created was designed to do exactly that.

    In Australia, if we want a relatively cohesive society, then we should not only defund ‘private schools’ but demand that all future citizens attend their local school, experience the same ‘overt’ and ‘hidden’ curricula and be well prepared to contribute to our own secular democracy.

  215. jimhaz

    Well yes I would like that very much. I’d never seriously expect it to be possible though. Its a bit like the USA and their gun laws. No matter how fair and righteous it would be, too much power behind the status quo. Their must be a higher financial penalty though for those that can afford it, and limitations if they, or their community, cannot.

  216. Miriam English

    Matters Not, well said, though we have a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting any religious schools banned.
    Hmmm… maybe the Catholic kiddy-fiddler priests and the anti-muslim sentiment could both work to achieve it.

    It would be nice to have our secular country back instead of this creeping move to theocracy.

  217. Miriam English

    jimhaz, you missed my thoughts on why the no-handshake thing may have sprung up. I think it may be a result of this obsessive religious fear that males touching females will cause them to lapse into uncontrollable sexual behavior. Unfortunately the opposite appears to be true. Insulating males from females seems to make them think more about sex, not less.

    All the Abrahamic religions seem to have this weirdness about sex.

  218. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Probably heard it right.

  219. Matters Not

    Miriam English, as an aside re your comment:

    this obsessive religious fear that males touching females will cause them to lapse into uncontrollable sexual behavior

    It’s not only males touching females that arouses the ‘ire’ but females touching males as well raises reactions. I remember being at Brisbane Airport (not that long ago) and experiencing a (well intended) female flight attendant attempting to physically guide three Muslim men and their wives towards the correct departure aisle. The men recoiled in complete horror. Their reaction to attempted ‘touching’ will live long in my memory. That the flight attendant in question was so shocked said much about her cultural understanding. I guess she won’t attempt to ‘handle’ any ‘particular and peculiar’ men any time in the near future.

    As for priests and their handling of … whoever . We’ll not unpack that at this time.

  220. silkworm

    What might begin as a valiant attempt to protect women from sexual contact can end up as a psychological aversion to them or what can be regarded as discriminatory behaviour.

  221. Deanna Jones

    Miriam, it’s not a weirdness about sex so much as a need to legitimise female oppression by constructing women as jezabels and temptresses etc. They needed to make up a theory to support the practices, like everything else in religious doctrine.

  222. Miriam English

    Deanna, there is that constantly repeated thing about women being dirty. It’s in all three Abrahamic religious books, but seems to be worse in the Koran. It’s in other religions too. For a long time Buddhists believed that women were a lower form who could never achieve Nirvana. Only by first being reborn as men could they then do so. Probably some strains of Buddhism still believe such worthless crap.

    I don’t know much about many other religions, but even recent con-artist jobs such as Mormon and Scientology seem to have this thing about women being less-than. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Norse religions at least had a number of goddesses, but still had a male god ruling them all.

    Only Wicca seems to have any kind of real place for women, which probably explains why I have so many female friends who go in for that brand of delusion.

    Back in 2003 Radio National’s program “The Ark” (an often fascinating program about religion) aired an episode titled “Mrs God” which revealed how the Abrahamic religions originally had a male and female god — a Mr and Mrs God — but at some point all the temples and items of worship for Asherah (that was her name) were raided and methodically destroyed. She was almost entirely written out of the texts too.

    Download the episode as mp3. (It’s only about 14 minutes long.)
    And/or read the transcript.

    It’s funny that the command by the Abrahamic religions that their texts not be changed was subverted so early on so they all sprang from deeply corrupted seed. That never stopped religion though.

  223. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    Thanks for that. Something that I did not know.

  224. Miriam English

    Back to the topic of the article above, Trump has just promised another Muslim travel ban after the other one was killed off by the courts. In order to excuse it he pointed to a new terror attack in Sweden… except that he made it all up. There was no terror attack yesterday in Sweden.

    When our nasty right-wing imbeciles cotton on to the power of the Dark Side [spoken with Darth Vader voice] they’ll be trying to panic people all over the place too.

  225. Robert G. Shaw

    “….means that a lot will have to sit on the dole until they die”

    Quote of the thread.

    Harq, If you want to answer that one here then do so. Or perhaps pen a short article yourself?

    Much to agree with, much to consider, in your post jimhaz. Unpopular though it may be.

    Matters, to your question: would you say the issue is “advancement of religion” as such or “advancement of a religion” antipodal to our legal and cultural norms?

    There is a difference.
    Do you therefore see that difference as consequential?

  226. Harquebus

    Robert G. Shaw
    I would feel more comfortable discussing it here. It something that I wrote.

    Depopulate . . . or perish


  227. Robert G. Shaw

    OK Harq, I shall read it soon and return with some thoughts.

  228. Harquebus

    Robert G. Shaw
    Please put your thoughts on the page that I have directed you to. I will respond to them there.
    I apologize for the confusion. “here” meant the link.

  229. Pingback: Day to Day Politics: Destroying what we stand for. | WewUnik World

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