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Last Post on an Origami Government

The object of origami is to take a piece of paper and with dexterous folding, you produce a facsimile of a “real-life” object. Of course, the folding of paper gives an angular abstract of the desired image, but that is good enough, as the imagination does the rest. Such also is the dream of LNP/IPA society.

Planning, costing, promoting and selling of such a phony dream also has that “angular-edge” appearance of origami, and you have to ask;”Is it real, or are these sharp, flat lines of “Agile Politics” a sculptor’s fantasy?” Like a child in anticipation, with all the anticipatory hand gestures of the impatient to get a touch of the object, Malcolm Turnbull draws pictorial images of what he imagines the finished product will look like. And not having competent command of those Aussie vernacular words adequate for even the most simplistic description, he stutters, stumbles and finishes with the fumbling tongue smacking of: “Look! Look! It’s like this …”. Like a child, really. Like a little child.

Of course, his dream of “Corporate Democracy”, like his “Origami Government” is nothing more than that old nightmare of Fascism. The angular creases in the plan being the “lines in the sand” where “shit happens” … shit like union decapitation … democratic protest debased … social media curtailed and the social welfare net ripped to shreds! In a democracy guided by “bottom-line” considerations, any emotive considerations for retaining loyal employment will not be considered, blind obedience to “profit consideration” will reign and as in the land of the blind, the one-eyed (in every sense of the word!) entrepreneur and speculator will be king.

Consider the personality type of our new rulers; “Disciplined, methodical, tough-love, tougher-hate and control”. All the best characteristics of the budding tyrant, and a tyrant’s dynastic reign. There are numerous contemporary examples.

But I blame history, or rather, a lack of understanding of it. Because the positioning of this government and it’s “lay-down misere” political business plan is the standard blueprint of many authoritarian governments shown throughout history.

I have to agree this time with Machiavelli in his “Discourses of Titus Livius” when he describes:

“… when I see, on the other hand, the works of greatest virtu which Historians indicate have been accomplished by ancient Kingdoms and Republics, by Kings, Captains, Citizens, Lawgivers, and others who have worked themselves hard for their country, to be more readily admired than imitated, or rather so much neglected by everyone in every respect that no sign of that ancient virtu remains, I cannot otherwise than wonder and at the same time be sad: and so much more when I see in the civil differences that arise between Citizens, or in the maladies which men incur, they always have recourses to those judgments or to those remedies that have been judged or instituted by the ancients.”

That there are set-pieces of both legislation and policy that once put in place will force the people to change their behaviour to be obligated by those laws to obey them, and like the set rules of origami, guided by realistic logic and exactness, a fold MUST be committed in a certain place, at a certain angle with a certain intent, or all is wronged and the model a failure. The deliberate manipulation of our history, our laws, our language and our mores by this economic rationalist philosophy has but one intent, one direction and one ideal: TOTAL CONTROL.

Again to Machiavelli:

“ … from not having a real understanding of history, and from not drawing that [real] sense from its reading, or benefiting from the spirit which is contained in it. whence it arises that they who read take infinitely more pleasure in knowing the variety of incidents that are contained in them, without ever thinking of imitating them, believing the imitation not only difficult, but impossible: as if heaven, the sun, the elements, and men should have changed the order of their motions and power, from what they were anciently.”

Time may have moved on, but not the mind-set nor behaviour of humanity within any given condition. Which is why we still gasp at moments of drama in a Shakespearean play, why we still absorb with interest the romance story of Antony and Cleopatra, why an ancient religious doctrine can insinuate itself so deep into the puerile imagination of humanity so it will kill, maim and destroy down through history and still, in this age hold sway over a nation’s heart.

Our human condition captures us on that “carousel of time” we are mesmerised by rather than acutely aware of the repeating absurdities of our own behaviour, each generation believing they are inventing a “brand new wheel”.

Of course, having come this far on a well-worn track, it is of little effort to imagine where it may lead to from here. As with any “T-junction” we have two choices:

A : The same-old same-old; a mad dog-eat-dog scramble for wealth, position and power.

B : Equitable socialism with thorough regulation of speculation enterprises.

History shows perfect examples of the end result of “A”, while the relatively “new” ideology of socialism has yet to be tried WIDESPREAD on a democratically elected society. It is not untried and where it has been sincerely used (I’m thinking of certain Scandinavian States), one has to admit it has less dramatic social upheaval than that capitalist love child, laissez faire.

“In each of us there is that twist,

That in the end will come to this.

No matter the culture, the mother, the art,

Each to each,

Heart to heart.

My hair be silver,

My eyes still shine,

Each part of me is a part of thine,

I am the Earth, the trees, the vine,

Drink of me, heart sublime!”


  1. helvityni

    Last Post on an Origami Government

    The very original, may I say a very creative title of the article caught my eye, and I have to say it’s a very apt way to describe this Government…

    Folded paper, a house of cards, a sand castle, whatever, they all fit only too well…flimsy and easy to knock down…

    Now that I have done the heading, I’ll read the rest of the article…

  2. Madeleine Kingston


    Welcome back. You are just so entertaining. I too have read through the headline and first paragraph and agree that Joseph Carli has given us much food for thought in a creative way.

    Joseph Carli, thanks so much. Love the title and the analogy. You are absolutely right about the controlling nature of this Government in particular in almost every aspect of our lives. The same-sex marriage equality issue is but one such example, wherein the fundamental rights of a particular segment of the community were stripped away by the Howard Government in a single afternoon by way or rejecting the notion that we live in a secular society where tolerance and compassion and equality are valued beyond the edicts of man-made religion

    In a provocative article that recently appeared in The Conversation with 420 comments closing for comments within 12 hours after the moderator had reached exhaustion levels in culling and deleting inappropriate dialogue, academics in the highly specialised field of divinity argued between themselves, many of them describing themselves as atheists, aimed to broaden the spectrum of philosophical discussion, one of them suggesting that times have changed as have societal expectations and that we can no longer expect to have edicts read to us from the mountaintops.

    I agree that there must be a more inclusive way of effecting dialogue between governments and their electorates. Joseph has raised issues of the controlling and dominating way in which governments operate, using the origami analogy aptly and creatively to illustrate his numerous points. We should consider the machinations of government-electorate communication and make demands as to what we expect as voters.

    Cheers, Madeleine.

  3. Joseph Carli

    Thank you helvityni and Madeline..a conscientious comment…I have tried, in my article posts to develop a style to incorporate a more artistic approach to political debate…believing that style of dialogue ought to be included as an inducement of curiosity of attraction for the a theatrical entertainment, but rather using the subtle of the art of writing (if I may presume) to lure the discerning reader deeper and deeper into the topic discussed. The use of art as an adjunct to political discourse is nothing new, but we are in an age of concrete thinking and hard-hearted debate…A little art cannot, surely, go astray.

  4. Madeleine Kingston

    Joseph you are very welcome. I meant it, as I am sure Helvi did. This is a very artistic creative form of engagement. I did not take it as theatrical entertainment, but rather a serious and subtle form of encouraging readers to think more deeply. There are challenges in the sense that it is not quite as easy to roll off glib responses and I suspect that readers will need time to get used to this entirely different way of analyzing the political sphere. We are inundated with the usual form of presenting news and the political scene but this is an entirely new approach.

    Congratulations on your efforts to encourage us to think more deeply. I am a relative newcomer and not as politically well informed on many of the specific topics addressed in the AIMN fora, but have appreciated the opportunity to dialogue on non-mainstream media outlets such as this. You need to be patient and allow time for catching up. I am not given to brevity but will try to make it up in other ways.

    Cheers, Madeleine

  5. Joseph Carli

    As regards to brevity…: Engaging in Twitter conflicts with a rabid Right-wing opponent within the limitation of 140 characters or less focuses the language!…fortunately, there are many and various four-letter expletives in a variety of tongues to elucidate their personality errors to them!

  6. Madeleine Kingston

    Joseph Carli

    Wow. I hesitated to say, but now you have raised it, I had attempted to explore the possibility of using the Twitter platform as a means of encouraging awareness of issues of social and community interest including in the context of flawed governance and respect for human, civil and political rights in particular and slogged my guts out over pursuing it within the 140 character limits, but eventually recognized that I simply did not have the skill-set for the task and have largely be absent for a considerable time on account of that. One has to recognize and come to terms with one’s limitations, otherwise not only does one fall prey to self-delusion, but one is at risk of unnecessarily expending energy likely to have no productive outcome. I also think one needs to have the capacity to laugh at oneself. We all fail with this.

    I think if we were more capable of coming to terms with our own limitations and recognize that most of us, with a few possible exceptions that I cannot think cite off the top of my head, are limited by the philosophical constraints of our own subjective conditioning, whether this refers to the training or work environment in which we have been raised and indoctrinated; or alternatively, conditioning that may represent a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental factors generally, and other external factors that are not necessarily limited to educational, training or workplace conditioning.

    Many of us are afraid to speak out for fear of public ridicule and/or non-acceptance by the community at large, since not one of us may claim to be immune from these impacts. Some of us can stand up for ourselves, others would rather remove themselves for these impacts because it the additional burden is too much to bear; possibly because of underlying vulnerability factors that go beyond the obvious triggering factors. In my view over-reaction may sometimes be justifiable; others may disagree.

    The boundaries of fragility are not easily defined since we are not clones and in each and every case those boundaries are specific and individualistic. I think we need to stand up for those who are particularly vulnerable, and if we have the capacity to take the blows for others, stopping short absolutely of undue self-sacrifice, self-emollition, suicide and personal symbolic substitute for the plight of others to the extent of losing one’s own quality of life or survival; or that of one’s family and/or friends, as appears to be common in some administrations, in under-developed and/or under-developed countries alike.

    As a community, we need to learn better strategies through which to deliver the message than stand on the streets inviting arrest. How would that solve things?

    Therefore I approve of the more creative approach in dialogue. I lack the skills, but that does not mean that I do not support the approaches of those wishing to stretch the boundaries of communication to its maximum capacity. These are broad concepts, but not necessarily immune from extrapolation.

    Bring it on please.


    Madeleine Kingston, Victorian Voter

  7. Joseph Carli

    I am going to re-read your lovely response…and then I will read it again to contemplate a suitable response…Thank you for the consideration of your thoughts.

  8. Madeleine Kingston

    Thanks Joseph,

    I hope you will not mind my rushing this pro tem, but …

    So then, I don’t pretend to know much about the, um the Machiavelli approach, but thank you for bringing it to my attention. I agree with you there, or you, whichever the most recent.

    How could I disagree with the perception as iterated within this article:

    “Again to Machiavelli:
    “ … from not having a real understanding of history, and from not drawing that [real] sense from its reading, or benefiting from the spirit which is contained in it. whence it arises that they who read take infinitely more pleasure in knowing the variety of incidents that are contained in them, without ever thinking of imitating them, believing the imitation not only difficult, but impossible: as if heaven, the sun, the elements, and men should have changed the order of their motions and power, from what they were anciently.”

    Now, as far as I can I can gather from this position that possible gaps in the capacity to draw (effective) conclusions may possibly lead to, forgive me for suggesting, as Machiavelli himself as already done and as you have highlighted, a superficial interpretation of the shall we say, the matters at hand generally, without necessarily translating such conclusions into practice.

    The issues of inter-relatedness are as broad as they are wide, not that I wish to refer to demeaning concepts as “forget the quality, just feel the width” (although I must confess so voce this concept is quite useful depending on how one uses it). One should never sacrifice opportunism without due consideration, don;t you think?

    That’s all for now. Just you and me for now. Your support is much appreciated. I get lost in momentum, but I will do my best.

    Cheers, Madeleine

    Madeleine Kingston, Victorian Voter.

  9. Joseph Carli

    Madeline…I have made several posts on this and another site regarding the regret of history not being more forensically examined for examples of habitual behaviour of certain political parties and personalities of this term of governance..I have had cause to draw attention to similarities of coincidental traits between political players in the Roman Republic (which Machiavelli dwells upon) and current politicians..see:

    Extraordinary similarities show more than coincidence, and I sincerely believe that this is because of the “organic” behavioral habits (natured or nurtured) that exist within the human condition / personality (most ppl. not being of such imaginative frame of mind to do anything different) so that they act or react in a predictable manner in no great difference (as Machiavelli pointed out) than that of the ancients.

    This predictable behaviour by an individual is magnified across a population so that one can use provocation to “steer” opinion and action in a certain direction…There is nothing new under the sun.

  10. Joseph Carli

    ” we need to learn better strategies through which to deliver the message than stand on the streets inviting arrest. “….

    To be honest, I cannot answer this statement…I have doubts that there IS any other way that a community will act different even if the most lucid, logical arguments are put forward..Lord knows I have tried many, many times..perhaps I have not the skills required, or the vernacular to reach those who are in such doubt. I have stayed the distance with conservative bloggers and twitterers until I have been blue in the face…to no then their fall-back position becomes those slogans so familiar to us here. It does seem hopeless.

    Again, I will fall back on my knowledge of historical example and see that there, in the pleas and reasoning of historical writers of such greater genius than I who could not succeed..and where they have failed, what chance I ? it gets a tad depressing at times I must admit.

  11. wam

    the baby boomers confined ‘yor shit’ to the back of the book and few of their children or grandchildren since then have got near the middle pages.

    None of the rabbottians or tradies on my page have any respect for history
    – little johnny set the scene with his no need to apologise:
    I do not believe, as a matter of principle, that one generation can accept responsibility for the acts of an earlier generation.

    how many eyes have those words closed?

    any faith in wikipedia for history??

  12. Joseph Carli

    G’day wam , you philistine you!!…I live in an area where the German / Silesian population has betrayed their revolutionary ancestors to move close to the LNP for warmth..the tragic result of not paying attention to their histroy..they feel they are “with the team” who respect their hard work and innovation…they have yet to learn.

    Wiki…as we all are aware , should not be relied upon for a final conclusion, but can be a very useful tool to lead to other pages.

    Das Blutgericht (Bloody Justice)

    Here in the village sits the court,
    More brutal than the inquisition.

    Here judgements are not given quickly,
    It may take life in a hurry.

    Here Humans are tortured slowly,
    Here is the torture chamber.

    And sighs are collected, manyfold,
    As witness of desperation.

    The lords are twenty, they are the judges,
    Their servants are helpers too.

    Instead of hiding the facts,
    They also help in the torture.

    Crooks you are, the devils breed,
    You hellish kujone (a Sorbish word).

    You devour the property of the poor,
    And curses will be your pay. (Anonymous Sorbian / Wendish curse)

  13. jimhaz

    Unfortunately, they all think of it as a game, as if they are players and coaches in the Rugby World Cup, with the world’s workers as the players bodies. When in the game they play little heed to the pains the body encounters – they’ve learnt to shut it down, to not acknowledge it. Pump up the testosterone…yippie! Plenty of willing reserves for the bodies that become too injured to play on. Sack the losers. Use the lie of performance drugs to so your body can do more than it should. Winning, crushing your opposition is all that counts.

    Problem is we are competitive creatures by nature, and it is a globalised world so such games will exist until …?

    What we have lost is the proper enforcement of the rules. The ruling bodies have been corrupted. The referees (politicians) have been bought, and the linesmen (unions) scared off. The audience are turning off and gamblers and illegal bookies like Trump are running amok. Shockjock hooligans are stirring up violence and fear.

    All corrupt systems fail eventually though and the game goes into disrepute for a time.

  14. Harquebus

    Is there an origami for ‘head up arse’? That would be a more accurate image of government.

    “Creatures shall be seen on earth who will always be fighting one with another, with the greatest losses and frequent deaths on either side. There will be no bounds to their malice; by their strong limbs a great portion of the trees in the vast forests of the world shall be laid low, and when they are filled with food the gratification of their desire shall be to deal out death, affliction, labour, terror and banishment to every living thing; and from their boundless pride they will desire to rise towards heaven, but their excessive weight of their limbs shall hold them down, Nothing shall remain on the earth or under the earth or in the waters that shall not be pursued, disturbed, or spoiled, and that which is in one country removed into another. And their bodies shall be made a tomb and the means of transit of all the living bodies which they have slain. O earth. Why dost thou not open up and hurl them into the deep fissures of thy vast abysses and caverns, and no longer display in the sight of heaven so cruel and vile a monster?” — Leonardo Da Vinci

  15. Joseph Carli

    Madeline…As I wrote earlier..I submitted several pieces on this site of a snap-shot of history of the Silesian settlers here in SA.
    See : “On the rim of a far horizon”……& : “On one side the night so dark”.

    But it is not just in this area that I see a lack of attention to historical example..It is a global phenomenon where repeated mistakes become as predictable as the slapstick of one of the Three Stooges with a long ladder over his shoulder.

    There is great reward received from the study of ancient history, in that it can reveal a connectivity of procedure that throws a light on how we got to where we are today…the behaviour and mannerisims that formed our now familiar daily household themes..of which I won’t extrapolate on here as they ought to be obvious to any creature of habit.

    But the draw-back to understanding the man-power management principles long put in place and used by experienced administrations to organise and control mass rule and tax cities and societies (The Romans counted and weighed the grains of wheat on a ripe head to calculate how much could be expected from a jugerum (acreage) of crop..and would pre-tax the farmer on that calculation), tends to create a kind of Cassandra complex in that one can see where a certain pattern of political strategy may be heading, but when so few are interested in ancient history, save the recording of incidentals and drama,one can plead till one is blue in the face but there are very, very few to listen or care..

    Such is life.

  16. Joseph Carli

    Yet there are so many..a majority, I would say , that only desire a life of relative peace and enough to live a dignified existance..You’d think the natural afflictions of health and weather would be enough to occupy our concern regardless of adding tyrannical civil interference to the general collection of woes that regularly afflict humanity. It’s getting to be beyond the joke!

  17. Joseph Carli

    I apologise if these posts become too extended, but there are interesting things that spring from replies to the original article. This poem was written in protest for the Silesian Weavers ..some of whose descendants ended up here in Sth Aust’ as early settlers escaping their torturers…unfortunately the current generation are now firmly in the hands of the conservative Liberal Party..the very types they cursed and sought refuge from!..A sad failure to understand their own history.

    The Silesian Weavers (Translation-German)
    This poem was inspired by a protest against the working conditions of weavers in Silesia, a province of Prussia in Northeast Germany. Riots occured in 1844, demanding better conditions.

    As a result of this poem, and the riots resulting in revolution, the king of Prussia was forced to allow his people a constitution. This theme was also treated in a naturalistic play called Die Weber by Gerhart Hauptman inspired by the accounts of Wilhelm Wolff. When first preformed in 1983 in Berlin, the German authority banned it.

    The Silesian Weavers by H. Heine
    Translated by Sasha Foreman

    Their gloom-enveloped eyes are tearless,
    They sit at the spinning wheel, snarling cheerless:
    “Germany, we weave your funeral shroud,
    A threefold curse be within it endowed-
    We’re weaving, we’re weaving!

    A curse on God to whom we knelt
    When hunger and winter’s cold we felt,
    To whom we flocked in vain and cried,
    Who mocked us and poxed us and cast us aside,
    We’re weaving, we’re weaving!

    A curse on the king, the wealthy men’s chief
    Who was not moved even by our grief
    Who wrenched the last coin from our hand of need,
    And shot us, screaming like dogs in the street!
    We’re weaving, we’re weaving!

    A curse on this lying father-nation
    Where thrive only shame and degradation,
    Where every flower’s plucked ere it’s bloom
    And worms thrive in the dank rot and gloom-
    We’re weaving, we’re weaving!

    O shuttle fly! Loom crank away!
    We weave unfailing, night and day-
    Old Germany, we weave your funeral shroud,
    A threefold curse be within it endowed-
    We’re weaving, we’re weaving!

  18. helvityni

    “A : The same-old same-old; a mad dog-eat-dog scramble for wealth, position and power.

    B : Equitable socialism with thorough regulation of speculation enterprises.”

    Without hesitation I’ll go for the option B, the Scandinavian way… 🙂

    “Das Blutgericht (Bloody Justice)”, well said, anonymous Serbian!

  19. Madeleine Kingston


    Thanks again for bringing to my attention the work you have done elsewhere in discussing these issues.

    I have had a first read of one or two of the articles you mentioned. The history lesson you provided in One Side of the Night So Dark for example of how South Australia was founded on the philosophical positioning of the degenerate was new to me. Unfortunately we have a major governance issue in this country nationwide.

    You went on to discuss how leaders are chosen because of their image, schooling and posturing and born to rule mentality, suggesting that this class of leader needs to be retrained. My view is that there is less and less to distinguish between the two major parties, and that there is considerable posturing between them, but both appear to have more similarities than differences. The stance taken for example on refugee policy is much the same, and both are still using the argument that “we need to stop the people smuggler trade and save deaths at sea” by torturing and detaining innocent people by way of attempting to use them to influence the behaviour of others.

    Governance patterns in Australia at all levels of government have been dysfunctional for as long as I can remember, through successive Governments. The Australian electorate has been subjected for far too many years to poor governance and leadership and those trends show no sign of being reversed.

    Your posts are informative in terms of what may be learnt from the past, and you have expressed the view in various posts that what we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat. Thank you for filling us in on some of the historical details of colonisation and drawing some parallels.

    It will take time to digest the scope and depth of the material you are using to stimulate further analysis by readers of what they should expect and demand of politicians and policy makers.

    Cheers, Madeleine

  20. Joseph Carli

    Thank you for your response, Madeline..I will read it again tomorrow (it is late now) and I will think on it..the subject deserves more analysis..Though on one point, I will object, that both parties are the same in regards to refugees..I agree there is similar policy as to incarceration of refugees, but I sincerely believe that Labor HAD good intention to bring the refugees here after a lesser period of time..unfortunately, the real politik demanded by a weak voting public had forced their hand..sure it was a weak hand, but we are not in an age of persuasive leaders, more an age of persuasive media.

  21. Madeleine Kingston


    Thanks for your interim response. I will wait for your further commentary when you are ready.

    We are in disagreement about the refugee issue a matter that I feel very strongly about. I would be happy to discuss this further at a future stage, provided that others contributing to this dialogue has the tolerance for it.

    For now all I will say is that I am unconvinced that there is any substantial difference between ALP and LNP policies on this matter. It was the Rudd government that re-opened the gulags at Manus Island and Nauru.

    The broader issues of governance generally are of concern, and I know from glancing at some of your posts elsewhere that you have expended considerable energy exploring this and providing your perspectives. You are better informed that I could possibly claim to be on historical issues dating back to colonisation and I cannot add much to that. I am deeply dissatisfied with the current government and am have strong views about the ALP’s position on refugees in particular.

    No need to rush your responses. Whenever you are ready is just fine. I am off to bed now. Goodnight.

    Cheers, Madeleine

  22. Joseph Carli

    Good morning, Madeline..

    Back to subject..

    On the refugee issue, I have to say I have “skin in the game”. My father being an Italian who escaped from Mussolini just before WW#2..(it is a family “joke” that he got away from Benito, only to be interned by Aust’ and sent to Darwin to get bombed out by Tojo!)…My grandmother on my mother’s side fled the murder in the south of Ireland in the war of independence and my mother’s two sisters married into Silesian settler refugees from Germany. So I come to this exchange of views fully aware of the want and loss felt by those who flee their homeland…As for my personal opinion on immigration, I don’t think it works..for while there certainly may be relief from life-threatening risk, the dis-enfranchising of cultural identity in the next generations can be isolating. I have stories of such..I’ll give you a link to one in a minute.

    But as for Labor’s attitude to the “boat people” refugees, I do believe they sincerely tried a variety of methods, both publicly open and some covert to find a solution..the height of emotion surrounding the visible holding of refugees, coupled with a Murdoch Media onslaught of outright undermining of both the Rudd and the Gillard govt’s as part of their campaign to get a LNP govt’ into power exacerbated the situation. I don’t think I have to go into the details here, we are all aware of the time-line and outcomes..But I do think the Greens were stooged by the Murdoch media (as they were on the carbon-trading scheme and have been several times since) over the Malaysian solution, NOT THE most ideal outcome ON PAPER, but it was a start..first cab off the rank, so to speak and it did show a determination by the Gillard govt’ to try and find an “off-shore” solution NOT in a “lock-up” situation.

    The unrelenting bombardment of the Gillard govt’ solely on this issue when there was so much other now stalled policy to be got through, set the framework for an immediate solution after the Christmas Island drowning tragedy made so visible on the main-stream media outlets and pumped to full intensity by a conga-line of tearful advocates in the Greens…and who can forget the Joe Hockey weeping lament and promise..: “No child will EVER, EVER be sent on my watch…etc etc”..and other such sentiments that were sadly less emotive at the (in my opinion) deliberate abandoning of the 300+ women and children souls in the SIEV X tragedy, set the scene for the Faustian deal with the devil that we now see played out in this even less sympathetic political climate.

    But this reply is drawing out A tad, so I will finish with the observation that political parties in Aust’ now are somewhat more beige than of yore, but THAT may be because the public now is a different beast than what we once were..I will opine where once there was determined idealism, now there seems more determined consumerism (where it can be afforded). I will leave you with this link to one of my stories on a refugee situation for your perusal or not..

  23. Madeleine Kingston

    Hi Joseph

    Thanks for your response and for filling me in on the details of father’s family’s escape during WW2 from M; the escape of grandmother’s family from the bloodshed in Ireland and how the family came to be settled in South Australia, marrying in the Silesian clans. I see you relate to the cultural isolation that is felt by immigrants. It is clear that the baggage that came with your family in terms of being forced to abandon their homes and ties has had a lasting effect on you. I do not doubt the extent of the impacts and have read some of your blogs on the impacts on Silesian groups. I will have a look at the new link you sent me and try to catch up a little on the historical background.

    This article is not specifically focused on refugee issues, but raises more generally grievances about governance and leadership issues. There are no doubt countless other concerns that responders will wish to raise and I don’t want to monopolise the discussion on this topic. I would have let it go with my post of 24 August, but you wanted to put forward your own views on refugee policy so I am responding at greater length than intended.

    This is one topic on which I have accumulated a reasonable collection of data and have tried to keep up to date with. If you write a blog on the topic where more extensive discussion can be accommodated on recent and current immigration policies in Australia, I would be happy to contribute to discussion. I cannot keep up with the knowledge you have of more distant immigration but find the general context of earlier history informative.

    I feel I must counter your views with mine and confirm that we remain in disagreement over my perception of similarities between the two major parties on refugee issues. I have very strong views and am reasonably well informed on certain aspects of policies past and present, but have to wonder if this is the right place for me to explore them. I have accessed and read and analysed numerous formal reports, press material and the like such as those authored by Amnesty International, Senate inquiries and commissioned inquiries (such as the Moss Review of 2013-4 with specific reference to the detention centres at Manus Island, PNG and Nauru.

    I cannot agree with you about how Gillard tried to resolve it by designing with the help of Chris Bowen the unconscionable Malaysian Solution. That unconscionable proposed measure which was scuttled by the High Court on 31 August 2012 on the grounds that the Minister could not guarantee the safety and welfare of the refugee ‘dumpees’, on the basis of unenforceable political hand-shakes between politicians, with no matching domestic laws to ensure protection. Good intent is not good enough. I quote from my inspiration, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who said when she visited Australia in 2011 “as international jurisprudence has shown, assurances are not a sufficient protection.”

    PM with Mark Colvin UN commissioner still critical of Malaysia deal. ABC

    Malaysia is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention 1951 and its 1967 Protocol and in general is not known to treat “illegal migrants” humanely. I had prepared a long response but recognize that this may not be the right place or article to delve into the sort of detail I have available.

    The so-called education and welfare arrangements made through then Immigration Minister Chris Bowen did not hold up to scrutiny. There were no formal arrangements for the education of children, and all other handshake arrangements were challenged. I have provided a link to an article by Nick Reimer called How Bowen Lied About Malaysia.

    Nick Reimer New Matilda (2011) How Bowen Lied About Malaysia (25 August)

    Letter from Claire Mallison Director Amnesty International dated 19 May 2011 to Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

    Julia Gillard ignored that plea from Amnesty International. Instead she sought to circumvent the decision of the High Court by amending the Migration Act 1958. That decision was widely criticized. The Immigration Minister was vested with unfettered powers and that remains the case, though Dutton in the role has acquired more portfolios and power, implying that both governments consider the judiciary to be extraneous.

    In 2011, I wrote to ALP politicians to provide all of these links with direct citations from the material relied upon. The material was accepted in stony silence, presumably because the truth was too inconvenient to hear.

    I have in a second related post provided substantiating links and could provide scores more with extended commentary not only on Malaysia and the swap deal but the principle of offshore refugee dumping within the region and in the Pacific Solution area where the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres. The PNG has ruled detention of refugees and/or asylum seekers as unlawful and Manus Island is to be closed in October, leaving refugees dumped on in another country once Australia pulls out. The argument about duty of care has been extensively aired though Australia does not recognize its obligations. Both major parties are responsible for this debacle

    I realise this is a long post with additional links to follow, but I just could not it go by that the Gillard and Rudd governments were travelling down the right path with the Malaysian Solution or the resurrection of the Pacific Solution. I have reams of material on this and have very settled views about it. As to the current government ….

    Please don’t feel you have to reply at all and expend further energy on this, but my additional links follow for the record

    Cheers, Madeleine

  24. Joseph Carli

    Hello Madeline..Yes..I did visit your twitter stream and went back to 2015 and saw the extent of your concern and research on the refugee quest’ BEFORE I replied this morning..I will not try to “compete” against your (vast) knowledge on the subject.. and do agree and acknowledge, as I somewhat lamely did in my post , that the Faustian deal done by Labor was quite inadequate, but going to the politics of the issue, when one is compelled to govern for the nation, even if that nation writhes under an illusion of stupidity or fear, How is one to govern in a hung Parliament when it seems the whole nation is against one?..Should one gird the loins and risk a vote of no-confidence , or should one bat the ball away till a better situation arises…THIS is the Machiavellian conundrum I wrote on in the article..Ancient history would advise taking the courageous step regardless, and I do believe respect would be gained by it..but today’s politics passes in the blink of an eye and lasting impressions only last as long as a goldfish’s memory, it seems. Does one “cut the Gordian Knot” with fearless abandon and lose office and opportunity? Or does one, in a climate of cowardly voter insecurity make that deal with the devil?..
    I am sad to admit that our country has gone down the cowards walk and history shows only too well what is at the end of THAT path.
    Oh..and I wouldn’t worry too much about hogging the commentary board..I suspect you and I will be the main posters on this subject now…topic de jour and all that!

  25. Madeleine Kingston

    Hi Joseph

    Thanks. Have received both your posts and will reply. Sorry about the Amnesty link. Must have been moved.

    Thanks for being accommodating about long posts, but the issue is overdue for re-airing and if you have the patience for this I can add more where I won’t have to deal with 140 character limits. Happy to drop out or change topic anytime. I am concerned about this issue being back on the drawing board. It has already been raised by the ALP with a more friendly response from the LNP, and Shorten has confirmed on a recent Q & A show that he has no intention of bringing refugees here because “we can’t have any more deaths at sea” We can, however, incarcerated people, shelve duty of care, have them tortured and mistreated and pretend it is not happening.

    I am preparing a further post with links to the full report “A Blow to Humanity: Judicial Caning in Malaysia and Abused and Abandoned: Refugees Denied Rights in Australia and will re-verify my links. This will be supported by graphic and disturbing photographic evidence from the World Corporal Research website. Don’t feel you must view that material unless you have a strong stomach. There is no protection for refugees in Malaysia or in most other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. This offshore thing is an excuse for refugee dumping that I cannot condone.

    I am just in the middle of doing this so bear with me. I have full access to hard copies of the High Court judgements and criticisms of the Gillard government’s persistence with shifting the goal posts and scores of relevant documents some in hard copy. It is not my goal to criticise a previous government but rather the so-called solution offered. This is no Solution, I can assure you.

    Cheers Madeleine

  26. Madeleine Kingston


    Whilst preparing other material, perhaps you will settle for my reproduced text from the Claire Mallison letter to Julia Gillard from my archives. It was in the public domain, so I take it no objections. I make a point of obtaining documents whilst still readily available and have frequently been disappointed when I try to re-access for links. One of these I would especially like to reproduce as the UNHCR no longer makes the 2007 Detention Guideline available with regard to the crucial Article 31 and its proper interpretation, but this can wait till I have provided further links, for those who may be interested in forgotten reports.

    I will get back to your comments about how governments are forced into doing things they don’t like doing. By the people?
    I suspect the link has been changed on the Amnesty site into archives and I can’t find it either.

    These reminders need to be made, so I’m taking you at your word. This is one of 17 documents I sent to ALP parliamentarians in 2011 with stony silence response. I will get back to your comments about how governments are forced into doing things they don’t like doing. By the people?

    The letter summarises the content of two major Amnesty Reports which I also have to hand in pdf format and not so easy to send, but I am familiar with them.

    Letter from Claire Mallison Director Amnesty International dated 19 May 2011 to Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia Previously found but no longer available at

    Ms Mallison, mentioned the Amnesty’s report Malaysia remains a country where human rights situation is not good where detention centres overcrowded caning epidemic.

    Amnesty International’s letter 19 May to AU PM expresses grave concerns on behalf of this organizations 125,000 members for fate of any asylum seekers slated at the time for sending to Malaysia.

    “In July 2009 and March 2010, Amnesty International conducted two fact-finding missions to Malaysia to examine first-hand the detention conditions endured there by illegal migrants including asylum seekers and refugees. The subsequent reports, A Blow to Humanity: Torture by Judicial Caning in Malaysia and Abused and Abandoned: Refugees denied rights in Malaysia, highlight serious human rights abuses against asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia.
    Asylum seekers transferred to Malaysia will face lengthy status determination times, inhumane detention conditions and torture.

    The UNHCR estimates that there are approximately 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. Malaysian law does not distinguish refugees and asylum seekers from undocumented migrants. It is unlikely the transferees will have access to adequate health care, schooling or employment opportunities. They may be forced to join the 1 million undocumented migrant workers working in dangerous and dirty jobs, subject to exploitation, and risking arrest by police and immigration officials or by state-sanctioned vigilante groups.

    Those transferred who found in breach of Malaysia’s immigration laws may be detained in overcrowded centres in appalling conditions. In one instance, Amnesty International representatives saw a facility where 120 men were detained in a building no larger than a tennis court for 24 hours a day. Former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International reported malnutrition, disease, violence and suicide attempts inside the detention centres. Those who were unable to pay various fines were detained for months on end. Amnesty International is concerned that transferees to Malaysia could be subjected to inhumane conditions in detention.

    The assurances by the Malaysian Government that asylum seekers are treated humanely and with dignity cannot be substantiated and contradict the dire circumstances in which asylum seekers and refugees are detained and treated in reality.

    Asylum seekers transferred to Malaysia from Australia may also face torture, in the form of caning. In 2002, the Malaysian Parliament made immigration violations punishable by “whipping of not more than six strokes.” Under international human rights law, corporal punishment in all its forms constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, which is prohibited in all circumstances.

    This agreement puts Australia at serious risk of breaching the fundamental principle of non-refoulement which dictates that people cannot be sent to back to countries where they are at risk of persecution or torture. Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention, nor has it ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
    We were absolutely dismayed at the reference to sending people to “the back of the queue”. For 99% of people who need protection, seeking asylum in another country is their only choice. Resettlement through the UNHCR in no way resembles a queue and, in any case, is only available for a very small group. The resettlement program exists to support the asylum system, not to replace or distort it.

    It is completely nonsensical to take asylum seekers who have entered Malaysia’s territory to claim asylum, but not those who are trying to enter Australia’s territory – when we are the country that has signed the Refugee Convention.
    Amnesty International welcomes the move to resettle 4,000 extra refugees from Malaysia, but believes this should not come at the expense of the right to seek asylum in Australia.

    Lastly, the Government should note that the number of refugees coming to Australia is low by international standards. The UNHCR’s latest report, Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialised Countries 2010, indicates that Australia receives only 2 per cent of the industrialised world’s asylum claims. Amnesty International does not believe the situation warrants sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia, in what is a serious breach of Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Refugee Convention.

    Amnesty International remains concerned about the Government’s recent policy directions in relation to asylum seekers and refugees. We urge the Government to adhere to Australia’s international obligations to protect these vulnerable people from further harm.”

    End of reproduced letter to Julia Gillard from Amnesty Australia’s director

    I do have copies of detailed reports and most applicable UNCHR documents where available as well as press material, and extensive informed criticism by numerous parties.

    Cheers, Madeleine

  27. Joseph Carli

    Yes..a quite detailed letter. I do remember the details surrounding the event at the was talked about loud and long on several blog sites at the time. I cannot, nor will I contest the truth of the statement, for it was broadcast often…What I will admit is that at the time, what with the above evidence and the protests of the Greens and other advocates (incl’ yours “t”) to bring them all onshore for both quarantine and assessing, there was enormous media pressure and accusations made on the floor of The House. I need not dwell on the pressure Julia Gillard was under from treachery amongst her own ranks, and the misogynist opposition and media..all this in a hung Parliament…one has to give ground in politics to overwhelming numbers..

    To quote the now familiar Machiavelli..: “For when a People or a Prince has sent out one of its Captains on an important expedition, where that Captain (having won) has acquired great glory, that People or that Prince is bound in turn to reward him: and if in place of a reward they, moved by avarice, either dishonor or offend him, not wanting (held back by this cupidity) to take the trouble, they make an error that has no excuse, but will leave behind for them an eternal infamy. Yet many Princes are found who err in this way. And Cornelius Tacitus tells the reason in this sentence; An injury is more apt to be repaid than a benefit, where gratitude is onerous and exultation is had in revenge.”

    I have to say that accepting that the moral grounds for the support of the refugees is honest and correct, and given that the good intentions of the refugee advocates is true..I have to agree that they (the advocates) had no choice in their place to follow through with their high-court contesting of the “Malaysian Solution”..

    Sadly, we also have to now admit that the “solution” sought by all parties at that time, both the ALP and the advocates, failed in all quarters and the current situation and the one that has been in place despite all those tears of Joe Hockey has been one of sad desperation and a total failure to satisfy any but those vicious people in the populace and ministers in the LNP govt’.

    So we have to come to the conclusion that the moral and ethical pontificating along with all the jurisprudence of the time came at the expense of thousands of lives of refugees..but then it was an inexpensive cost on many of our parts as we, living in a state of relative comfort and plenty could spare a little of “offended skin” at losing the fight…sure, we won the moral victory battle, but we lost the refugee resettlement war..or as old Jim Rice said at the front-bar 8-ball table after I had gone to great trouble blocking the pockets and he one by one knocked the balls aside and cleaned up the pool..:

    “Son…tactics are all well and good..(here he pocketed the winning black ball with thumping vigour) but you gotta sink balls if you want to win this game.”

  28. Madeleine Kingston

    Thanks Joseph for giving me a pause. Chunking seems to be working for me.

    I can vouch the veracity of the documents and if need be for verification purposes can scan and put them on a USB to send to you if needed. I think verification is very important but not always achievable if documents disappear for political or technical reasons.

    I am preparing my lists and need time to check links or make disclaimers and accessibility and to try segmentation of author types.

    I thought I might split these into categories, legal and related, including opinions of the former Solicitor General Stephen Gegeler now on the High Court bench following the retirement of Justice Gummow; opinions of international organizations with a special interest in human rights civil and political rights generally and specifically; press releases; mainstream and non-mainstream press and blogs including Australian and Malaysian outlets/

    This is the only reasonable way to give you time to consider these matters, and in any case I need to re-check my links and do the best I can to verify at my end. I am not hopeful that I will be able to re-access all documents that I may choose to cite.

    Meanwhile I appreciate your strenuous defence of the Gillard government. As you will already have gathered I am not inclined to be as lenient as you. You know governments have to take direct responsibility for all the flack that goes with governing the country as representatives for the electorate. Politicians are well compensated for their efforts, effective or not and I disapprove of attempting to shelve that responsibility as has been so in the case of the marriage equality issue. I am not as interested in the historical details of poor Ms Gillard’s demise as in what we may learn from the past. Sorry. I know you are a fan, and feel naturally defensive. Gillard and Bowen were a veritable pair in my opinion and I do not shed tears over them as others might.

    So moving on then, it is good that people are beginning to see that the Malaysian Solution was no solution at all and what is more the entire Regional Solution thing is a pathetic excuse by governments of all hues to shelve their responsibilities and entirely ignore their duty of care to those displaced through no fault of their own (other than in the odd case where the claim for refuge cannot in any conscience be sustained, and even then a humane approach is required).

    I will not indulge in retrospective argument about the poor displaced politicians. I would rather spend the time worrying about those who remain in office, who ought not to be there at all. This would take up all of my time, were I not distracted by blogging

    The main thing is, reflecting the sentiments in your post, is that lessons are slowly being learned. Or if that is not a stretch too far, at least recognition is dawning.

    I am working very hard to get my links together, not only because you have encouraged me, but because people just need to know.

    On the issue of good intentions, we all know that these are rarely good enough, and we are less forgiving of politicians than ourselves, being mere humans who are not as well rewarded for their efforts, if at all.

    Sinking balls, if what you mean is bury misconceptions as soon as possible, let’s do it. Sooner the better. The Regional Solution Package is a disaster; dictated by political self-interest all around, and should be the subject of daily criticism. I would if I could, but there are excerpts far more competent.

    Your penultimate paragraph rang a bell too. Thanks.

    I will return in installments, with the promised links and limited commentary.

    Cheers, Madeleine

    PS As I have said, you don’t need to reply to every post. At present I am putting my information material together. I admit that I am high maintenance .. but, you know these are serious issues of current political interest, to say nothing of the interest of the electorate.

  29. Madeleine Kingston

    Hi Joseph

    Don’t waste time getting back to me. Just pass it on; quick smart whilst everyone is asleep. As It is breaking news I interrupt my train of thought till I get my other resources together posts above refer.

    This is a clear and welcome message. As you know I am not usually the bearer of good news, half my luck. Messengers of bad new are not well received. I am used to that. So imagine how thrilled I am to hear that the ACT has geared itself up to deliver a clear and unambiguous message to the over-powered and power-hungry Minister Peter Dutton who has been vested with ridiculous power beyond his scope within the Peter Principle to deliver let alone within the constraints of Separation of Power Principles to the detriment of equality principles and as a special insult to the judiciary. Few and far between these joyous moments, so making hay.

    I am informed by Amnesty International that the ACT has passed a motion to resettle refugees that the Federal Government has warehoused on Manus Island and Nauru, Whether his Lordship Peter Dutton with unreasonable powers agrees to simply do it, but we should celebrate the spirit of it and congratulate the ACT Parliament for its leadership in this matter.

    Let us encourage the other States and/or Territories to do the same.

    Ming Yu Hah, Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, said:

    “Amnesty International strongly welcomes the move by the ACT parliament to pass a motion that calls for the immediate safety of the people warehoused on Nauru and Manus Island as part of a national program of resettlement.”

    “We hope that that this sets a precedent for other States and Territories to also step up and show the sort of leadership we’ve seen today. This sends a strong message to Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton that their deliberately abusive policies are not welcome and that they must come to an end.”

    “We hope that that this sets a precedent for other States and Territories to also step up and show the sort of leadership we’ve seen today. This sends a strong message to Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton that their deliberately abusive policies are not welcome and that they must come to an end.

    “What we need to see now is common sense and compassion from the Federal Government, they must listen to what has been said today and take action. Refugees and people seeking asylum who Australia has trapped on Nauru and Manus Island are not safe and further tragedy is inevitable unless Australia acts responsibly.

    “The Federal Government must stop harming people and instead must evacuate the camps immediately and bring all the two thousand men, women and kids to Australia.”

    “The motion, which was debated and then passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly today, noted the “ inhumane and degrading conditions” on Manus and Nauru, and declares that the ACT Government is willing and ready to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement.”

    It was verbatim but Amnesty won’t mind. Pass it on. Quick smart as it is the middle of the night and everyone else is asleep

    Cheers, Madeleine

    Other stuff on refugee issues in preparation

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