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Is this who we have become?

Yesterday Elizabeth Farrelly wrote an article for the SMH titled The Australian fair go is dead: now it’s the strong beating up on the weak which struck an ominous note with me.

“Increasingly, Australianness seems to involve the strong beating up on the weak. Rich on poor, male on female, citizens on refugees, priests (and others) on children, white on black, developers on communities, private schools on public, big mining on fragile ecosystems.”

Its truthfulness made me angry. If there is one thing I hate, it’s bullies.  Greedy, dishonest bullies.

To address domestic violence, we commission a report from PwC which argues against violence against women because it “costs us $21.7 billion a year”. In this world, it seems we are only motivated to act if there is a financial gain to be had.  Are we so addicted to paying consultants that we can no longer decide right from wrong?  Spend the money on refuges, affordable housing, legal aid, preventative programs, mental health….giving it to consultants to come up with that report does nothing to help.

The rise of patriot groups, supported by rogue politicians, is encouraging racists to whip up fear and hatred. In a country where religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution, we have people engaging in legal action to stop a mosque being built in case it promotes the spread of Islam.

We are told that the majority of Australians condone the torture of asylum seekers and accept the secrecy that shrouds the wasting of tens of billions of dollars persecuting innocent people who came to us seeking help. How can this be?

Cardinal Pell is living a life of luxury in Rome, refusing to be held accountable for his actions in covering up, and hence perpetuating, child abuse by Catholic priests. The hurt this must be causing the victims is hard to imagine.  This is, of course, the man who has publicly stated that abortion is a greater sin than pedophile priests.

As hundreds of millions are stripped from Indigenous programs, we see high incarceration rates, low school attendance, low life expectancy, high unemployment and tenuous land ownership. As Tony Abbott so crudely put it – we can’t afford to subsidise their “lifestyle choices” and, as we are seeing in Queensland, any rights they thought they had can be stripped away if there is a dollar to be made by the big miners.

Increasingly we are seeing community groups bearing the brunt of the fight for sustainable development as opposed to rampant greed by developers who only see regulations as impediments to business rather than protection of the best interests of our society. Governments from both sides have shown themselves to be putty in the hands of big business whose voice shouts louder, and whose pockets are deeper, than any other.

We hear much talk about coding and STEM subjects in our schools but there has been no reinstatement of the funding ripped from the future education budget. The Liberal Party’s connection to private schools sees them prefer a funding model that gives a great deal of money to extremely wealthy schools.  It is worth pointing out that the top 8 places in the HSC in NSW went to state schools with James Ruse taking the top position for more than 20 years.

We now have society serving the economy. Venture capitalists are protected at the expense of the sick and elderly.  Assets are privatised with future income lost for short term gain.  We can’t do what we know to be best for the planet and for our society unless big business says yes.  Policy for profit is now the name of the game.

So how can we address this?

Government is the only organisation powerful enough to protect us against corporate greed and they make the decisions about how funding is allocated so the people we elect should be of a much higher standard. George Christensen for Pete’s sake?  They really should undergo psychological screening.

We should get rid of all these political advisers and image and spin and marketing people. Provide clerical staff to politicians and employ good public servants that stay in a department regardless of who is governing.

Stop meeting with lobbyists. Get advice from credible experts rather than astroturfing institutes with no members and people who get anxiety headaches.

Stop the secrecy and restore some meaning to freedom of information. How can we be assured that practices are above board if there is no scrutiny?  I can understand a tender process being confidential but, once the decision has been made, and before the deal is signed, the reasons for the decision should be made public including cost, any modelling, and the cost/benefit analysis not purely in financial terms but, more importantly, the cost and/or benefit to society.  It is the only way that sensible, informed decisions can be made – decisions that take advantage of the expertise in this country to point out possible problems or improvements or better alternatives.

When you form your policies on the basis of what advertising people tell you from focus groups, you are reacting to ignorance rather than leading. Stop employing consultants who charge a fortune to stick to a narrow brief to produce a report favourable to a predecided direction.  That’s marketing, not governing.  Listen to advice from public servants who have no vested interest beyond the public good.  Seek out experts that can explain the science.  Check the credibility of your sources – the Murdoch press should not be considered a reliable source so could we please stop paying for all your subscriptions to his papers and for the trashy books you read.  It’s your democratic right to read what you please but if you want to read trash, or give gifts to people, pay for it yourself.

I could go on and on…and on…about the changes we need to make in government but it boils down to honesty, integrity, accountability, responsibility, and compassion.

Which brings me back to the strong beating up on the weak.

Governments are a reflection of society as every member of parliament received enough votes (or made a sneaky enough deal), to be elected. The mirror shows that we really don’t care about anything but increasing our own personal wealth or power.  The strong will be encouraged, the weak preyed upon.  The rich will get richer and the poor will get more desperate.  Business will be protected while those without a job will be persecuted.  Corporate cheats will be exonerated while welfare cheats will be hunted down.  Politicians can double and triple dip but new mothers should get back to work if they ever want to accumulate any superannuation.  Every man for himself and women should stop playing the victim.  And if we need to torture children to achieve our goals, or keep them living below the poverty line, whatever it takes.

Is this who we have become?

46 comments

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  1. mars08

    One thing I detest more than bullies… is bullies who claim to be the victims… and gain concessions because of it.

  2. Kaye Lee

    The examples of that are endless mars08

  3. kerri

    Another excellent article Kaye Lee.
    In short we are becoming America!
    How long will it be before we have to take to the streets campaigning on
    “Poor lives matter” or “disabled lives matter” or “Elderly lives matter”????
    The only thing to do is to kick the neo-con Lieberals as far as we can into the political wilderness!
    Never let another Lib set foot in the Parliament!
    The Nats need to go there too. They have shown their priorities with the whole MacFarlane saga!
    We need to vote in as many Independants and Greens as possible and make the bastards work for their priveleged lifestyles!
    When you mention VCE scores my husband pointed out yesterday that figures reported are raw numbers. Not percentages and not clarified by enrollment numbers. Specifically John Monash Science School which our daughter was a founding student of. (She completed her studies at a private school because she wanted to be with friends and regrets doing so but is now at Uni so ancient history but it is still a bloody good school!).
    Credit where credit is due!
    Not the Liberal way!

  4. mars08

    Indeed., Kaye Lee…

    Mining companies and their tame politicians claiming to be victimised by environmental groups. Men’s group fearing the the rise of feminazis. White Christians demanding that their ‘way of life’ be preserved. Police and intel services whining that they are hampered by the legal system. Billionaires screeching that they are victims of class warfare. Nationally syndicated media pundits who bleat that they are being silenced by political correctness…

    Loathsome, slimy bastards… all of them.

  5. Adrianne Haddow

    Strong, inspirational writing, Kaye Lee.
    I applaud you.

  6. Kaye Lee

    mars08,

    I would include the call to reduce the company tax rate. Kate Carnell sounds very caring and sincere but the facts show that our taxation laws are so slack that these companies legally get away with paying no tax by doing things like taking out a loan from a foreign branch of the company at exorbitant rates. All that happens is that entries appear on balance sheets but profits disappear so hey presto, no tax.

    Further on Packer moving to Israel, apparently they have a ten year amnesty on paying tax for new immigrants. Not sure if this applies to him but he bought the house next door to the PM. Expect to hear a lot more about Israel and ‘innovation’.

    Murdoch also has business interests in oil fields there.

  7. Chris

    Yes we have perhaps become worse to our own but as a country we were always worse than what most people realized.
    We are even supplying mercenaries to Saudi Arabia to fight Yemenis…” They join a growing group of mercenaries from as far flung places as Australia, Argentina, Mexico, some of whom were recruited by a private company run by Eric Prince, founder of the former Blackwater security firm.” https://robertjprince.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/post-iran-nuclear-deal-washington-gives-green-light-to-saudi-war-against-yemen/#more-13109
    Good article and all good comments.
    “Murdoch also has business interests in oil fields there.” The Golan Heights isn’t it ? ie Syria… Makes you wonder how much Murdoch has to do with IS oil sales that are claimed to come from Israel….

  8. Paolo Soprani

    Yes, this is who we have become. Not all of us mind, but enough to ensure that we have people like Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, Dan Tehan and myriad other in our faces every day. I am hoping that Malcolm Turnbull is going to change the Liberal Party for the better or he will go the same way as Abbott, the worst Prime Minister in history. Not just Australian history, in history.

  9. Anomander

    I don’t watch television because of the constant hyperbole.

    I happened to catch one yesterday afternoon, reporting on the Sydney tornado. They had placed a reporter outside Bondi Junction shopping centre to report on water coming through the roof. “Christmas shoppers were affected by the storm!” earnestly shouted the reporter at the camera. “Rain was pouring into the fashion area and expensive designer dresses were badly damaged!”

    This is what we have become – facile. The majority of the population is more concerned about some exorbitantly overpriced clothes being water damaged or with their critically important Christmas consumerism being disrupted, than they were concerned about our government stripping billions of dollars of funds from essential services and repeatedly battering the less well-off.

  10. mars08

    @paul walter… about your comment at 1:41pm. It reminded me of this candid statement by John Hewson on 13 July, 2015:

    “I have absolutely no doubt that we have ourselves to blame for this…”

    “The link between Iraq and al Qaeda was pretty vague. I mean Al Qaeda no doubt launched the September 11 attack, but the link to Iraq was very tenuous. I was concerned that by going into Iraq at that stage in what was, in my mind, an illegal war would risk creating civil war in the name of democracy and pretty much that’s where I think we’ve ended up…”

    “I think that it was a very, very sorry period in international history and Australia’s role in that, I think, should be an embarrassment to all of us.”

    Ha! Isn’t it aweful when well-known Liberal figures… and law enforcement bureaucrats don’t stick to the official story line? How dare ASIO suggest that politicians refrain from generating hatred and hysteria? What else are they supposed to do to generate votes?

  11. margcal

    It is indeed what we have become.
    We won’t get better politicians until we become better people.
    How? The likes of Kaye, other AIMN authors and most people making comments here aren’t making much headway 🙁

  12. paul walter

    Thanks, Mars.. Am in mind of the sort of hot air that contributed to the Bali bombings and cant resign myself to anything that infantile from any politicians.’I really feel I can join with Chris in expressing a nausea at this vicious and one sided little little genocidal war conducted by the Saudis in Yemen, esp after Arabian states just releasing a mound of pious humbug about how they are “against terrorism”…
    “Who, us?”

  13. Mick

    What really bothers me is how we suffer from this collective amnesia, as though these things are new.

    People in this county have been accustomed to bullying others since it’s establishment as a penal colony. We have had far right groups since forever. Jack van Tongeren ring a bell. Big business and empire have been rorting the place since forever. It is a part of the reason it is a petty offence to hinder a police officer but a criminal offence to hinder the operation of a mine.

    We have seen progress in this country, it is undeniable, but it has not been embraced by the entire poulation. Not by a long shot. While the current round of far right groups gather momentum under the tutelage of people like Alan Jones and Abbott and Dutton and Brandis and Morrrison and they suck our energies and resources into the rathole that is trying to counter hate-speech, let’s not kid ourselves…this has been a regular struggle in this nation since it’s founding and beyond into the early days of colonisation.

    We are in crazy times, but let’s not make it sound like we’re just talking about ‘kids these days’, as though back in the day people were all so much nicer to each other, and gave foreigners big hugs and kisses when they came here traumatised. Granted, the mandatory detention center has sunk to new lows under the extremely profitable yet costly mandatory detention human containment enterprise established in 1992, as compared to the Villawood of old, where asylum seekers were able to come and go within the community. But was the attitude of Australians to these people in general a thing to be admired.

    It is not as though high rates of incarceration for indigenous people is a new thing either. It has in fact, been the only game in town. We need to put ourselves smack bang in the middle of our place in the trajectory of this country and not act like this has come out of nowhere. We are talking about an ingrained cultural phenomenon. A time bomb built into our sense of national exceptionalism and the white supremacy that undergirded it from the beginning. There are people out there who are winding the clock forward on that bomb, and to our credit there are as always those looking for the right wires to snip to defuse it entirely.

    The thing about this latest bout of hatred though that to mind is truly modern, is that the public focus of the extreme right has shifted from mainly the Asianisation of Australia (though that is still a big boogeyman), or the Communist Threat to the Islamisation of Australia. Australia has now been involved in conflicts in the Middle East directly for nearly 25 years continously, with other stints during the first world war as well. The effect of having so many soldiers, and thereby families and friends of soldiers involved in these conflicts is having the same effect as having had so many of our people involved in wars in Asia, from Malaya to Korea to Vietnam and East Timor. All this, and the poison of the Howard/Bush/Blair years has lingered in our system and mingled with that instinctive toxic parochialism that people generally feel.

    I’m not knocking you’re article Kaye Lee, these are terrible things we are dealing with, with the potential to get worse without being addressed, but as far I can tell, these are not new sores from some new blight, but festering wounds from long ago; woodrot long set in on a beautiful plant unfortunately already root bound.

  14. Mick

    By the way, I have just found this very useful site on how to assist people who have fallen into the trap of being white supremacists. For any teachers, social workers, or other interested poeple, this site is definitely worth a look.

    http://guide.exitwhitepower.com/white-supremacy-in-australia/

  15. keerti

    Australians love to percieve themselves as egalitarian, generous, living in a country where “mateship” is unique. All of it is a delusion and always has been. Instead australia has a long history of oppression of the disadvantaged by the monied classes and their lackies (howard’s work choices is a modern example). It’s generosity is parsimonious at best (much of the money spent in the aboriginal industry never leaves canberra. Money given as aid has a similar fate- money which if not spent to punish refugees was spent more generously would be able to help them settle, but there would also be money left over to spend on australians. “Mateship” is not unique to australia (in fact people in some poor countries, Vietnam, India for example, often show remarkable willingness to help strangers in difficulty). There exists a strange willingness to describe ourselves as particularly good at things, regardless of reality (the latest was a claim In The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that australian scientists are particularly innovative- really! Apart from being the latest “catch cry’ of the un-liberal shambles, inovation is no more australian than anywhere else). People in australia having more socially inclusive values are in a minority (that is clear from the small number of green parliamentarians for example- the last vote was for the present mob!). As for people with compassionate and socially inclusive values they are regularly vilified as greenies, lefties or socialists. If ever a country needed to stop it’s collective w++king, australia is one. Australia hasn’t changed. It has simply forgotten how to hide it’s collective greed, combined with it’s distain for the less able.

  16. Beryl

    Kate Carnell is so loving and caring sharing tender and ever so understanding. She lives for others. She gives joy when there’s none to give. She is a wonderful ambassador for problem solving. Kate practices her sincerity technique in front of the mirror everyday. Oh Kate how I adore you. She really is full of it. Oh Kate

  17. Julian

    Great article. We have a history of political domination and supporting genocide so why would our politicians and their business mates behave any different. We say Australia was empty when the Europeans arrived, those indigenous Australians here were fought, killed, rounded up into camps, stollen, and those who could not cope with the New World Order and its laws were, and still are, put into prison camps. We assisted the invasion and genocide of the East Timorese on behalf of America (by denying knowledge and media black out, then lied and denied knowledge of our journalists murdered for 25 years), the invasion and ongoing genocide of West Papua (again for America’s interests), supported the killings in Bougainville (helicopter gun ships and navy blockade) broke the UN Charter (according to Koffi Annan) with the invasion of Iraq, now Syria…the list goes on. We are a pariah state. But its not particularly the people I believe, its the leaders. Our system of social representation (not “leadership”) has to change.

  18. Wayne Turner

    Sad,but true article.

    In recent times it started under Howard,with the me me me society of bribes for those that didn’t need it,demonizing asylum seekers,and demonizing the other less well offs such as the unemployed.

    Sadly,Labor were too GUTLESS to change alot of it,and of course it’s worse under the Libs.

  19. w ch

    Please explain how religious freedom in “enshrined” in the constitution. A proposal to do so was rejected in a referendum in 1944.

  20. Nato

    No, it’s not who we have become. Ppeople who advocate the policy measures you seem do despise do not think like that. But you do

  21. Wally

    “We are told that the majority of Australians condone the torture of asylum seekers and accept the secrecy that shrouds the wasting of tens of billions of dollars persecuting innocent people who came to us seeking help.”

    I always believed that a governments job was to do what is best for the majority while ensuring that no minority was victimised, abused or disadvantaged.

    Either I am wrong or the Abbott/Turnbull government is a dismal failure.

  22. mars08

    @Wally… the torture and collective punishment of asylum seekers does not count. They can be demonised, victimised and abused without negative consequences. Because, just because they are not an Australian minority. In fact, for almost 2 decades we’ve had certain opportunistic politicians and media pundits hinting that “those people” weren’t even humans.

  23. Kaye Lee

    w ch,

    Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia precludes the Commonwealth of Australia (i.e., the federal parliament) from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.

    The catch, which is probably what you are referring to, is that states can make their own laws. Twice a referendum has failed to fix that.

  24. Douglas Pye

    Indeed , Elizabeth Farrelly has identified many of the “challenges ” rampant in our current Governance , and ( consequently ) Australian Society – for what it’s worth I’m in total accord , & have written previously along these lines.
    There is a common denominator in all of this …. $$ Big Money $$ ! … over many years this ‘ heartless element ‘ has been allowed to infiltrate our system ( regardless of Political colour ) , to the point it clouds all endeavour ! ….. fostering simple Greed on a Grand Scale !

    The ‘ consumer ‘ philosophy, in hand with ” corporation ” structure has robbed society of human identity !

    Simply research far enough back and find the derivation of the word ” Corporation ” … notice that it came into being as a means of removing the onus / blame from an Executive ( human being ) for executing a business action which harms another reasonable human being ( or group thereof ) ! … think ‘ ethics ‘ !!

    This desertion of ethics has filtered down to society at large, and to the point that we’re all Mired … tarred with the same brush …. a bunch of ‘ pots ‘ calling ‘ kettles ‘ black ! …

    When a Political group can be brought together which have sufficient Power ( & ethical fortitude ) to build a barrier between $$ money $$ and Governance …. fund elections from the Public Purse on a capped basis…. win election on their achievements rather than the ” Spin ” thereof ! ….. wean off the Ad. industry and the slimy Consultancy effort !

    Whilst I am certainly not attempting to offer the complete panacea …..once we are able to remove $$ Big Money $$ / unfettered greed from our Governance it will be a huge step forward to free our Society..

    May this occur soon… well before we traipse down the path in step with America and others.

    We ARE the LUCKY COUNTRY …. we simply need to strike out on our own …think about it … ACT !

  25. paul walter

    Not the point Wally was making, Mars.

    There is little doubt society is anything BUT unanimous as to the brutality visited on refugees…it stays THE issue this century and is what drives the sort of cranky stuff we’ve seen (in 2015, for god’s sake??) at Bendigo, just this week, with hard right MP’s and Tabloid MSM again driving the fear and loathing.

    You can argue complicity, but very few people have the guts to do what the Vietnamese monks did to protest that nation’s rightist government and US interference back in 1963. The public is driven hysterical with latter day McCarthyism involving Third World people for consent manufacture and it will stay that way while it remains inconvenient for the people at the top to acknowledge that West Asian resistance to Western interference actually may have a justifiable, rather than religious or cultural basis, the latter being essentialist nonsense.

    They control the machinary of war and law enforcement and Brandis’ new laws just tighten the stranglehold of information flows they now have.

  26. lawrencesroberts

    The Squanderer’s are in the ascendancy. Must we wait for the tide to change?

  27. Wally

    mars08

    “the torture and collective punishment of asylum seekers does not count”

    I do not believe the government can take that stance while they foot the bill to keep people in detention, the fact that they have exercised control over the people confirms that they are morally and legally obliged to treat them the same as they would Australian citizens. The government provide legal services to the detainees but for some reason the legal people do not seem to be as efficient in obtaining results as they were when Labor was in government. Anyone smell a rat?

    paul walter

    Appreciate your input and perspective on the issue.

    Where are we at when members of the government are inciting fear and violence in our community?

  28. mars08

    @Wally…. Understood. I too “do not believe the government can take that stance” morally and (maybe) legally. But publicly, within the electorate, they are evidently getting away with it.

  29. madeleinekingston

    https://theaimn.com/is-this-who-we-have-become/

    Oh you don’t say? Concerned then about oppression of the weak? Me Too. Thanks very much Kaye Lee.

    I appreciate the broader issues raised in this article and by selected respondents.

    Unfortunately, many so-called “mainstream and/or ‘Independent Media” writers [present company excepted, of course], article moderators with the “Nazi” approach to moderation and perceived gaps in proper engagement techniques and/or respondents to their articles appear to think bullying techniques such as unsubstantiated commentary and/or assumptions about respondents represent acceptable public commentary; presumably in order to exert power and control in public dialogue.

    Such approaches appear to me, as an ordinary consumer of goods and/or services to not only be misguided in terms of marketing technique and/or intuitive communicative instinct; but also indicative on uncouth behaviour amongst so-called journalists of “perceived calibre”; or alternatively moderators of either mainstream and/or so-called “independent” journalists and/or their various categories of respondents.

    If mainstream and/or “independent” journalists aim to engage the wider population; a greater focus on engagement techniques may be warranted. My recent experience of attempts to effectively engage with both categories has been negative. Is this a reflection of mere “insularity” or something more sinister?

    Having said that, and especially given my general and/or specific interest in governance issues and very long-standing interest in human, civil and/or political rights of the oppressed, displaced and/or persecuted, whether or not meeting the narrow constraints of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its integral 1967 Protocol and the wider parameters of such universal human rights as the Universal DE clarion of Human Rights and the like; I must agree that current global political approaches to these issues are grossly deficient

    Some relevant citations; others available upon request with extensive commentary

    International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 Protocol

    http://www.unhcr.or/protect/protection/3b66c2A10.pdf

    Status of Refugees

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/StatusOfRefugees.aspx

    See also:

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx

    1.1.1 Adopted on 28 July 1951 by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons convened under General Assembly resolution 429 (V) of 14 December 1950
    Entry into force: 22 April 1954, in accordance with article 43
    Preamble

    The High Contracting Parties,

    Considering that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly have affirmed the principle that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination,

    Considering that the United Nations has, on various occasions, manifested its profound concern for refugees and endeavoured to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms,

    Considering that it is desirable to revise and consolidate previous international agreements relating to the status of refugees and to extend the scope of and the protection accorded by such instruments by means of a new agreement,
    Considering that the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international co-operation,

    Expressing the wish that all States, recognizing the social and humanitarian nature of the problem of refugees, will do everything within their power to prevent this problem from becoming a cause of tension between States,
    Noting that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is charged with the task of supervising international conventions providing for the protection of refugees, and recognizing that the effective co-ordination of measures taken to deal with this problem will depend upon the co-operation of States with the High Commissioner

    I note that, on the website of the Servant to Contracting States (=equals Servant-Master relationship in favour of Contracting States, with particular perceived hiccups in the SE Asia-Pacific Region) Region of which Australia is a major “influencing party and Co-Chair with Indonesia in the perceived sinister “Bali Process”, with a focus on criminalization and/or penalization through “deterrence policies” reflected in domestic laws seen to be in direct conflict with conventional international provisions, traditionally labelled as “international law.”

    I further note that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [UNHCR], as a servant to Contracting States has narrower foci to that of the Office of the United Nations Commissioner [UN Commissioner for Human Rights – UN OCHR] which covers human rights issues well beyond those identified as “refugees.”
    The misguided use of the term ‘refugees” in relation to those internally or otherwise “displaced” on the basis for example of war conditions; generalized displacement and/or climate change conditions results in inappropriate conflation of the terms “refugees” and “humanitarian intake,” the latter representing some 1% in total of global intake for “resettlement” [examples include humanitarian “Syrian humanitarian intake” which does not strictly speaking represent “refugees” under international conventional provisions; though most deserving of special resettlement consideration; conflation of refugee and humanitarian intakes leads not only to statistical distortion,; but also to perceived political manipulation]

    International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 Protocol
    http://www.unhcr.or/protect/protection/3b66c2A10.pdf

    UNHCR States Parties to the Convention and Protocol

    http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b73b0d63.pdf, retrieved 15 July 2010

    see also

    UNHCR “The Refugee Convention” [an overview document 2013]

    http://www.unhcr.org.au/unhcr/index/php?option-com-content&view=articleid=48&it4emiid=58

    See

    International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 Protocol

    http://www.unhcr.or/protect/protection/3b66c2A10.pdf

    Many of such parties are either unable or unwilling to actually deliver the principles embraced including those nations whose domestic laws deride or disregard such notional and/or aspirational goals as are contained in “conventional international laws”
    Please also see

    UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] [2012] [Detention Guidelines] UNHCR Detention Guideline: Guideline on the applicable criteria and standards relating to asylum seekers and alternatives to detention.

    http://www/unhcr.org/505c461f9

    http://www.unhcr/refworld/docid/503489533.html

    Further commentary available

    Some broader issues relating to human civil and/or political rights:

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr

    Declaration on the Rights of Persons or Minorities Belonging to National or Religious Minorities

    http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Minorities/Booklet_Minorities_English.pdf

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/PublicationsResources/Pages/ReferenceMaterial.aspx\

    Last viewed 30 August 2015

    Convention on the Rights of the Child

    http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1991/4.html

    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

    http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

    And so on.

    Political commentators across the board should attempt to avoid unfounded presumptions about both factual information and its interpretation and on respondents to journalistic opinion.

    Yours, etcetera

    Madeleine Kingston, Victoria, Australia

  30. paul walter

    Sorry mars 08. I, too understand your point. You are right to mention the play safe attitude of Labor when it should have repudiated this stuff from Tampa and Children Overboard onwards. Kim Beazley should have left the Howard government stewing in its own juice instead of bailing it out. Having painted itself into a corner the ALP has found no way out since.

  31. Sen Nearly Ile

    ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth’ Just words, ancient irrelevant drivel.that allows christian pollies to spout about ‘faith’ is private. drivel!!
    Gandhi’s struggles what Australian has struggled and over come oppression and racism? drivel.
    Look at the year 12 successes and see the gender imbalance where is the struggle to carry the success through the uni into the society?
    The septics, at least nominally, have given women full combat roles. That is worth watching and copying(the spitfire women???)

  32. mars08

    When it comes to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, the “children overboard” hoax marks the beginning of the storm. It set the tone for all the lies and demonisation that followed.

  33. Kaye Lee

    When government officials are told to purposely ‘dehumanise’ asylum seekers I think we can safely say we have moved into a world where marketing has gone mad. The sooner we get rid of eagre young advertising shmucks from advising governments the better off we will be. I have come to truly hate ‘marketing’. It should have no place in government.

  34. paul walter

    It comes of the gradual loss of sovereignty…shopfront politicians once “spoke” through their deeds and actions, but, expelled from this field of action have turned to glitzy ceremonial triumphs imagined by spinners whilst retreating to an inner realpolitik of unending internecine war over the spoils of defeat.

    Can you imagine someone like Trump as a serious candidate in the USA, a civil society similarly captured by unrecognised states-within-states, emergent in previous times?

    And, how on earth did we “buy” Abbott?

    Marketing is a sign that walls are up and the establishment has retreated back into the citadel. Business as usual and commodification, that business.

  35. Sir ScotchMistery

    I have just found a place called Redbubble. http://www.redbubble.com where you can design a Logo and have it put on a T-shirt or a mug or a throw cushion or damn near anything else.

    I designed a logo aimed at the elderly. You can see it here.

    Now I haven’t put that there so you can get that T-shirt, but every time one of us comes in here with a bee in our bonnet, we are addressing the congregation, and we are all reading from same hymnal. We need to change.

    A T-shirt has the capacity to start a conversation. No matter where. At the shop, the pub, on the bus, at the coffee shop. We need to have those discussions every single day, because people, right now the COALition is leading the polls and that says to me, the chances of them winning again is high.

    Add to that, I don’t believe the ALP are substantially better, but sitting behind our keyboards in the anonymity of the inter-web does not advance our cause one iota. We are the carriers of our truth, we need to own our truth, and share it with our fellow Australians, who believe the COALition are there for anyone but themselves and their mates in big business.

    Why aren’t we outraged about the companies paying essentially no tax? Well, in fact, most of us are, but who knows about that outrage? We do. And precious few others.

    Design your own logo to begin conversations. Own your outrage and tell others apart from us. We have this capacity to build the numbers of people who are engaged in the political process now. #Tags are only a small portion of the fight. How many 80 year olds do you think use Twitter? Damn few IMHO. Put your statement on your shirt and let others know that they may be outraged, but they are not alone. Start conversations with those who disagree with you and get them to justify their disagreement, or work towards changing minds.

    WE ARE THE PEOPLE.. They have given us voice. Let’s use that voice.

  36. Kaye Lee

    We’re all someone’s daughter
    We’re all someone’s son
    How long can we look at each other
    Down the barrel of a gun?

    You’re the voice, try and understand it
    Make a noise and make it clear
    Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo
    We’re not gonna sit in silence
    We’re not gonna live with fear
    Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo

  37. lance

    We are living in stage two of the Horrid Howard Years –descenitized by the social low bars–set by the Kirribilli wine cellar looters –and the lifelong age of entitlement public purse spongers the Howard’s -Ma and Pa Kettle Kirribilli house freeloaders certainly — done a job on the Australian way of life –dragging it out of the fair play nation status -into the mean and tricky –“We will decide who will come to Kirribilli house to drink the public bought wine –and the cicumstances in which they sup—-

    Tony Abbott was John Howard’s Bother Boy Protector and carried on his mean and tricky over the top public purse travel rorting –age of entitlement -budget emergency redneck backward ways —yes thats who wev’e become and that’s where we will remain.

  38. Wally

    Kaye Lee

    Arguably John Farnham’s best song.

  39. Sir ScotchMistery

    Wally – I refuse to argue that one.

    As a 12 year old I was at a camp/rock weekend (fending off the amorous advances of baby mammoths), where the aforementioned voice, performed along with the very lovely (at the time) and talented R Morris Esq., during which weekend that latter performed Real Thing.

    Since then I have blown 4 pairs of speakers listening to it in vehicles.

    Bose 901’s always survive.

  40. Chris

    Mars08 Michael Stapleton seems to get it …”I think people have forgotten where we came from. It’s always been the strong trying to beat up the weak, nothing new here. Why do you think Australians are so adverse to authority? It’s always the weak that have banded together to fight back against it.”
    There is a recreation/conservation park near(ish) to me that was at one stage a slum for the impoverished….people living in the bush with nothing. They lived there long after the gold rush had ended… http://tysaustralia.com/goldrushsouthaustralia.html Early 1900s I think.

  41. Wally

    Sir ScotchMistery

    “Bose 901’s always survive”

    901’s are good for the era they were designed but personally I prefer Wharfedale speakers they are much more efficient.

    A friend always believed his 901’s were the ducks guts until I bought a set of Wharfedale 603’s (I think) they have midrange facing each other and very specific installation requirements and hooked them up to my techniks class A amp, they literally shook the dinner plates in the cupboard when we cranked up Yothu Yindi playing a didgeridoo, apparently the lowest note ever recorded at the time.

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