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One Nation can only dream about an approval rating like the ABC’s

There is nothing more excruciatingly embarrassing than watching One Nation give a press conference.

Out came Pauline, flanked by Malcolm and Brian, to gleefully shove it up the arse of the ABC.

How dare they ask questions about her plane, sorry James’ plane, or is it Bill’s plane. How dare they question Malcolm’s citizenship. How dare they still talk about climate change when there is no empirical evidence.

We all know they are “jihadi sympathisers” and “harbingers of terror apologists” who have “a fatwa on Pauline Hanson” as Malcolm Roberts told the Daily Mail (seriously).

Senator Burston bravely said he would block government savings measures unless ABC funding was slashed by at least $600 million in the last Federal Budget.

Well Pauline’s going to teach them a lesson!

Buoyed by her success at removing the head of Australia Post (according to her), Pauline has demanded that the ABC provide details of the wages of any staff receiving over $200,000.

What she intends doing with that information is unclear. If we are going to demand that people who are paid by the taxpayer justify their wages then we could start with our politicians.

“The Government has also agreed to undertake a competitive neutrality inquiry into the ABC and to legislate a requirement for the ABC to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’,” Senator Hanson said.

Now you can’t tell me that Pauline came up with the phrase “competitive neutrality”. Perhaps the “extensive consultation with industry bodies” was helpful in putting the words into Pauline’s mouth – like “fair and balanced”, the Fox News slogan.

When asked what she meant, after an awkward silence, she said she didn’t think the ABC should be allowed to bid for sports telecasts.

Gee I wonder who put that thought in her head? Are all those regional viewers Pauline is so concerned about expected to sign up to Foxtel if they want to watch sport?

The ABC Charter already compels it to be “impartial” and “accurate.” When asked how that was different from “fair and balanced”, Malcolm Roberts fired up, no doubt remembering his humiliating appearance on Q&A, saying impartial meant they could, and do, ignore whole sides of arguments.

According to the dictionary, impartial means “treating all rivals or disputants equally”. Synonyms include: unbiased, unprejudiced, neutral, non-partisan, non-discriminatory, objective, open-minded, equitable, even-handed, fair, fair-minded, just.

What Malcolm fails to understand is that, when you talk shit, informed people call you out on it.

Pauline proudly announced that “the Government has agreed to greatly enhance the ABC’s provision of services to rural and regional Australians.”

No new funding, they just want a bigger slice of it spent on regional areas despite the 2016 annual ABC Appreciation Survey finding that “79% of Australians believe that the ABC does a ‘good job’ covering country and regional issues, in comparison to the 43% that believe commercial media does the same.”

Pauline has also secured a commitment to provide an additional $12 million dollars in funding for community radio measures. Funny, I didn’t hear her complaining about the last budget in which the Community Broadcasting Program lost $1.4 million per year over the next four years. Pauline thinks community radio provides a “diverse and independent voice” as she signs up to allow Murdoch to take over our media completely.

One Nation has also requested a register of foreign ownership interests in media companies.

“If any foreign ownership is at 2.5 per cent it must be on a public register,” Senator Hanson said. “Higher than that – 5 per cent – it goes to the Foreign Investment Review Board to be looked at.”

I wonder if she realises that Rupert is a foreigner?

According to the survey, “A large majority of Australians – 86% compared with 84% in 2015 – believe the ABC performs a valuable role, with 49% rating the ABC as ‘very valuable’, the highest level since 2009. A large majority believe the Corporation provides quality content, and that is doing a good job satisfying its charter obligations.”

Pauline can only dream about an approval rating like that.

I will close with a rather disturbing excerpt from PHONy Senator Brian Burston’s maiden speech just to underline what fruitcakes this crowd really are.

“A further example of elite contempt for ordinary Australians is public broadcasting. The cultural Marxist takeover of the ABC began in the late 1960s when Allan Ashbolt stacked the current affairs department. Ashbolt introduced the radical critique of mainstream Australia that had become fashionable in university departments of humanities and social science. Almost 50 years later, there is not one conservative program or anchor on the ABC – not one, in a billion-dollar enterprise. The ABC’s oppositional stance to traditional Australia has grown to include the two other taxpayer-funded public broadcasters, the Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, whose explicitly ethnic mission is to cater to the identity and interests of the multicultural community, and most recently the National Indigenous Television network, NITV, created to represent the identity and interests of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. For budgetary reasons, NITV is now within the SBS stable. All three broadcasters are biased against mainstream Australia. They distort Australian political culture and support aggressive political multiculturalism. The systemic bias of public broadcasting is one of the clearest manifestations of a hostile cultural establishment. This bias has been known for decades but the conservative side of mainstream politics has failed to correct the situation. The time for complaint and diagnosis is over. It is time for the nation to break the bias of public broadcasting before that bias breaks the nation.

How might this be done? The main proposals have been to defund and privatise the ABC. But the country needs public broadcasters. Despite or perhaps because of their biases, the ABC, SBS and NITV have constituents who benefit from their services. It would be sad to throw the babies out with the bathwater. Might not balance be achieved between channels? A fair balance might be struck by leaving the minority ethnic channels intact while transferring funding from the ABC to establish a new channel that might be called the Patriotic Broadcasting Corporation, whose explicit mission would be to represent the identity and interests of mainstream Australia. It would present news and current affairs from the perspective of the historic Australian nation. Stripped of its mainstream content, the remaining ABC structure would receive funding commensurate with the size of its inner city, Greens-voting constituency.”


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    Quite curious all these micro and fringe parties emerging in recent years which seem to be mostly of the right or far right; destabilising the conservatives own sensible centre?

  2. Kaye Lee

    It is patently obvious that these people never watch the ABC

    The most frequently-appearing panellists on Q&A, as of 14 November 2016

    Name Role Appearances
    Tanya Plibersek Labor 26
    Christopher Pyne Liberal 24
    Malcolm Turnbull Liberal 22
    Barnaby Joyce National 19
    Bill Shorten Labor 18
    George Brandis Liberal 16
    Penny Wong Labor 16
    Joe Hockey Liberal 15
    Greg Sheridan The Australian 13
    Chris Bowen Labor 13
    Greg Hunt Liberal 13
    Janet Albrechtsen The Australian 12
    Julie Bishop Liberal 12
    Craig Emerson Labor 12
    Graham Richardson Labor, Sky News Australia 12
    Judith Sloan The Australian 12
    Kelly O’Dwyer Liberal 12
    Germaine Greer Author 12
    Sophie Mirabella Liberal 11
    Tony Burke Labor 11
    Amanda Vanstone Liberal, ABC Radio National 11
    Kate Ellis Labor 11
    David Marr The Guardian Australia 10
    Christine Milne Greens 10

    By my count, that’s 192 appearances for the right vs 151 for the left (and that’s counting Sky’s Graham Richardson on the left which is questionable)

    Without seeing figures, IMO The Drum would be much worse towards the right

  3. Johno

    Well said Kaye. Could not read Burston’s rave, so over PHON rhetoric.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    Roberts on ABC News Breakfast again having a go at the ABC for being “left wing”.

  5. Ricardo29

    Where do these clowns come from? This rant describes an ABC that eluded me over the 16 years I worked there in three separate periods between ’68 and ’01. If they really studied what is happening they would see the ABC is being unsubtly moved both to the right and into commercial TV fields, I.e. Chasing ratings. Traditional ABC viewers are turning off News and 7.30 as they start to mimic the commercial stations, chasing ambulances and with tug-the-heartstrings pap. Not totally mind you, but enough to be noticeable. The Libs appointments of first Scott and now Guthrie has gone a long way to changing the ethos of the national broadcaster. Ironic really because competition in their areas is what the commercials and the Murdoch minions constantly berate the ABC for.

  6. Robert REYNOLDS

    Senator Brian Burston claimed in his maiden speech that,

    “Almost 50 years later, there is not one conservative program or anchor on the ABC—not one, in a billion-dollar enterprise.”

    Well I am not sure which ABC Brian listens to and watches, but the one that I often tune into has Tony Abbot’s good mate Tom Switzer and the former Minister for Justice, Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in the Howard Liberal Government, Amanda Vanstone, as regular presenters,

    Then we have former ABC staff including broadcast journalist Sarah Henderson who is currently the Liberal Party Member for the federal electorate of Corangamite; and former ABC radio host and political correspondent, Pru Goward who, as a member of the Liberal Party, has held several ministerial portfolios in the N.S.W. Parliament.

    The above examples are ones that immediately come to mind. I did not even bother to research the records to see how many more examples of ABC staff who had/have allegiances to the conservative side of politics.

    Clearly, when Senator Brian Burston made the above quoted statement, he was talking abject nonsense.

    I myself have noticed what might be termed a degree of bias from the ABC when it comes to reporting, for example, the activities of Muslims in this country especially. The example of the Cronulla riots comes to mind. But that is a story for another day.

  7. stephengb2014

    Malcolm Rpberts is without a doubt the most cringe worthy voice, I have ever had the misfortune to come accross.

    The man is so bereft of intellectual capacity, heis the living epitome of the Dunning Kruger effect

    S G B

  8. Terry2

    I think that there are many Liberal supporters who would be deeply offended that their party would be doing deals with One Nation. Back in 1998 Tony Abbott launched an attack on One Nation. Writing in The Australian, he declared “the Hanson phenomenon could destroy the Howard Government and give responsible conservatives a bad name”. For once, I agree with Abbott.

    Hanson has said on Sky that she is concerned that the ABC are encroaching on the commercial TV stations : what the hell is this if not blatant pandering to Murdoch’s interests ?

    Hanson has also said that the ABC should have a greater focus on regional areas – a commitment entirely lacking with the commercial operators – but I don’t hear Hanson calling for increased funding for the ABC.

  9. Robert REYNOLDS

    stephengb2014, it gets worse than having Dunning Kruger sufferer Malcolm Roberts sitting in the Australian Senate. We have someone who has a very severe form of this ailment sitting in the chair at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue looking longingly at the nuclear button.

  10. Kaye Lee

    I recently asked a multiple award winning producer from the ABC if there had been a change in editorial influence since Guthrie took over. Her answer was an unequivocal “yes and not in a good way”.

    Terry, far from extra funding, the PHONys were saying they would block budget measures unless they cut “at least $600 million” of ABC funding. They were cross because their junket to Afghanistan was cancelled for security reasons

  11. Athena

    If anyone receiving public money needs to be transparent, it is One Nation. They are proven liars.

    What will changing the content of the ABC achieve? Those of us who watch it aren’t going to suddenly start watching shows that bore us. We’re smart enough to see through the right wing lies. We’re not going to suddenly lose that ability, and many good sources of left wing information can be found on social media. The Red Peril cannot prevent us from accessing it. All she is doing is driving me to be more politically active against her. One Nation is nothing more than a huge shit stain on the underpants of society.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    Then we have former ABC staff including broadcast journalist Sarah Henderson who is currently the Liberal Party Member for the federal electorate of Corangamite; and former ABC radio host and political correspondent, Pru Goward who, as a member of the Liberal Party, has held several ministerial portfolios in the N.S.W. Parliament.

    Crikey did a study a few years back on those who were working in or who worked for the ABC over the previous decade and who came out of politics, had links to a major political party or left the ABC to join a major political party or group. It found that over the previous decade there had been one more ABC management/staff directly linked to the L-NP than linked to Labor.

    Seems fairly balanced to me, that is until Howard came along and stacked the board and senior management with not only Liberal party hacks, outspoken conservatives but also two board members who were openly hostile to the ABC and wanted it commercialised.

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    I agree with the redhead. We do need urgent enquiry before next election into ABC. Even a RC. Followed by on into NBN. One thing for sure, will not show non existent left wing bias.

  14. Möbius Ecko

    It’s worth listening to the Roberts interview on the ABC this morning. He bags Fairfax and The Guardian as going backwards because they are not giving the people what they want, whilst the Murdoch media is savvy and successful because they are giving the people what they want.

    Fairfax has announced a turnaround this morning with a healthy profit after a big loss last year. In the meantime, News Ltd continues to prodigiously bleed money despite being given multi-million dollar handout by this government.

    Then by Roberts own standards, the right wing media must be a failure and he should be supporting the left leaning MSM due to their success.

  15. Mark Needham

    How dare any Australian, ask or need to know what salary, our Public Servants, Quangos and such, are on. They do rather well on the teat of “Freedom, no Responsibility”
    As for “bias”, of course there is Bias. I am biased, you are biased, biased to a line of thinking, understanding, that comes from others who comment, advise, spin, spruke, tell or admit.
    Saying otherwise, is a lie to yourself.
    Leaning slightly.?
    Mark Needham

  16. Matters Not

    ME, Roberts makes statement on the basis of empirical evidence. Unfortunately, he has his particular and peculiar definition that defies explanation.

    Michael Rowland, usually mild mannered, did bristle at times. As I’ve sad for some time, Roberts, Hanson and other nutters should have almost unlimited exposure on the ABC and SBS. Look what happened when Cassidy gave her significant time. The Drum would also do well to include them in their roster. They suffer when exposed.

    His claim that Murdoch’s media is thriving is laughable (both literally and figuratively.)

  17. Kaye Lee

    I have no problem with disclosure of payment. I would be less critical of Pauline’s request if One Nation wasn’t under investigation for covering up payments to them.

  18. Robert REYNOLDS

    I notice that there is much ‘hand-wringing’ and lamentation being expressed about the policies advocated by the One Nation politicians. I think that in addition to that understandable response to their behavior, we need to try to understand what drives people to support this party. Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Senators simply would not be there without the support of nearly 600,000 Australians.

    It seems that One Nation obtained the fourth largest number of votes in the 2016 election. Nationally, One Nation obtained 4.29% of the vote in the senate. See:

    How Well Did Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Do In The 2016 Federal Election?

    This put them in fourth position behind the Liberal/National Coalition, the ALP and the Greens. See:

    How Well Did Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Do In The 2016 Federal Election?

    I think that it is important to at least try to understand why it is that so many people would vote for a party that is not only unpopular with many Australians but is subject to a very considerable degree of ridicule in the media.

    Journalist David Marr, a person for whom I have tremendous admiration and respect, offers some insight into this question when he says,

    “The principal characteristics of her followers are this: they’re white, they’re at least third-generation Australians, they are – unlike most Australians – pessimistic about their own prospects and about the economic prospects of the country. This is a very optimistic country.

    “They’re not all old. About one-third of the people who voted for her in the last election were under 45. They mostly didn’t finish school. That didn’t mean their lives were wrecked; they went on to get other qualifications.

    “They are, above all, hostile to immigration. That is the most dramatic thing about them.”

    Marr says the fear of Islam is at the centre of Hanson’s appeal. “If people are not recognising this, they’re just not facing facts,” he says.” See:

    When I read this critique in The Conversation back in March of this year I thought, “that is interesting”. I could vote for a party that is hostile to the currently absurd and unsustainable levels of immigration. I am also very wary about letting too many Muslim immigrants into this country because they often bring a set of ‘values’ and beliefs with them that I view as being inimical to our secular way of life. Yet, despite these views that I hold quite strongly, I cannot bring myself to vote for a party that has the likes of Malcolm Roberts and Rod Culleton in it. I know that Rod has gone now but the fact that he was allowed to stand on the senate ticket in the first place, is something of a worry.

    We need to concentrate on offering an alternative to those who vote for this One Nation Party. That is where the real challenge lies.

  19. Maureen

    Yes “extensive consultation with industry bodies” can only mean lots of meetings with news-very-limited to plot “getting the ABC for Rupert”.

  20. Johno

    Thanks Lovo

  21. Richard Ure

    PHONEYS expect to be heard uncritically and consequently squeal when their nonsense is called out. Personally I enjoy unpicking what they say. I believe it helps ward off Alzheimers.

    As to fair hearings of all views, now he is PM Malcolm steers clear of Q & A his previous favourite pulpit.

  22. John Lord

    A fiction of their own imagination.

  23. Linda47

    And there is ALWAYS more Coalition voters in the audience of Q & A, than Labor. I check it every week when the percentages are shown.

  24. Freetasman

    Regarding Pauline we just have this in the news: “The Trump administration has listed Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party as a threat to religious freedom”

  25. Robert REYNOLDS

    Can you provide a link to support that claim please Freetasman? I would like to read it.

  26. Mark Needham

    Freedom from Religion, is what the world needs.
    “Free at Last”
    Mark Needham

  27. Robert REYNOLDS

    Mike, many thanks for posting that link.

    I have just finished reading the article. I must admit that I was a little taken aback by the tone of the message coming from Washington. My take on it is that it is further evidence of the chaotic state of politics at the global level at the moment. I do not recall anything quite like it in my 69 years. Things are changing apace and in ways that are often quite unpredictable.

  28. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you also for posting that link Rossleigh. I have just now finished reading it.

    I am utterly gobsmacked that the White House could be critical of some Australians, including would-be ally Pauline Hanson, after some of the comments that Trump himself has been responsible for. For example:

    To me, this is only further evidence of the fact that Donald Trump is nothing more than a dangerous lunatic.

  29. Michael Taylor

    Robert, I’m only half your age but I concur that I’ve never seen anything like I’m seeing in America now. As regular visitors to the US, my wife and I are deeply saddened by the unfolding events. Dare I say, but we saw it coming.

    Did I say “I’m only half your age?” Gosh, a damn typo. I’m sure that one of the moderators could fix it for me.

  30. Robert REYNOLDS

    Hi Mike,

    Yes, events in America defy the imagination. I thought that the place had hit ‘rock bottom’ when Ronald Reagan was elected President. But no, after a while comes along George W. Bush. Surely that had to be the nadir. Wrong again! With Donald Trump at the helm, it will be a miracle if we survive the next 3.5 years without a nuclear war. Trump is an incredibly dim-witted, dangerous and mercurial fool.

    I am sure that many, perhaps most Americans, are just as appalled by his behavior as we are. No doubt your American friends are beside themselves with worry and embarrassment. I must admit though Michael, I did not think that he would get elected. Not that I was enamored with Hilary. I doubt that America will ever be the same again after his presidency.

    Now, Mike as to the issue of your age. Don’t worry, you are probably at least half my age. Everyone seems to be younger than me these days. Make the most of your youth (and your hair) while you still have it!

    Speaking of moderators, I suppose that they exist here. l used to post on The Conversation. My posts would routinely be deleted by the moderators as my comments often seemed to fail to meet their precious “community standards”. Then they finally blocked me for good. Hence my appearance on this AIM site. As far as I can see, the policy here is much more liberal. Also the topics consistently have much more substance to them. At The Conversation they seem to think that by concentrating on fatuous small talk type issues, it will keep them away from controversy.

  31. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thanks for that Freetasman.

  32. havanaliedown

    “As regular visitors to the US”… by canoe I hope – or that would make you hedonistic Planet Killers!!!

  33. Michael Taylor

    Robert, you’re welcome.

    We do have a number of moderators here but fortunately the site seems to ‘self moderate’ thanks to the high standard of commenters we are blessed to have. When things do boil over – as they are prone to do – the commenters have the intelligence and the decency to get back on track.

    Some of the moderators are a bit tougher than others, which you may have noticed. In general though, we don’t tolerate racial vilification or vilification of minority groups. We don’t tolerate abuse towards other commenters, either. And especially, we get our back up if the writers are abused. There are a lot of people blocked from this site because they continually crossed those lines.

    As far as my age goes … I’m in my early 60s. Shhhh.

  34. Michael Taylor

    As if on cue, that idiot havanaliedown turns up.

  35. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thanks for that reply Mike.

    I am still “feeling my way” on this site. I know that at The Conversation your post could easily be deleted for being “off topic” but no-one seems to worry too much about that sort of thing here. I like that. I also strongly felt toward the end at The Conversation that if you were not “towing the correct ideological line” then you were destined to be deleted.

    There was really only one area that caused me trouble there and that was my disdain for Islam. I am an atheist and I have no time for any religion or the hocus pocus and fantasies that accompany it. At The Conversation it was quite O.K. to savage the Catholic Church. No criticism seemed to be ‘off limits’, but any questioning, let alone criticism of Islam immediately invited accusations of ‘hate speech’, ‘bigotry’, ‘racism’, ‘xenophobia’, etc. One interlocutor even suggested my comments were likely to be responsible for radicalizing young Muslims. I tended to treat those responses with what I felt was an appropriate degree of contempt.

    Anyway Mike, so far, so good here. But believe me, I take nothing for granted in this fast changing world.

    As for the last line of your post. Mum’s the word!! My lips are sealed!!

  36. Mark Needham

    G’day Robert. Differing views are put up with, here on AIM. Some attack like children, but mostly it is about, “What if”

    As, I often say about myself, being an idiot, correct or way of the mark, is an ability, that is becoming of us all. Sometimes, “All”, objects, and most vociferously, then you will get an earfull. I march to a different “drum” to some here, but we are often more close than any would admit.

    Long as the conversation is open, then I keep chatting….occassionally. Civility helps.

    My biggest hate, is that people are afraid to put their actual name to comment, ie, hide behind old …’de plume”.

    I wear an Australian flag, that to me is the most important thing. If you don’t want to live here in Australia, according to Australian Law and customs, then leave our country.
    Easy enough,
    Mark Needham

  37. Matters Not

    If you don’t want to live here in Australia, according to Australian Law and customs, then leave our country

    So whatever you do, don’t want to change Australian Law and customs? Perhaps Mark Needham (maybe it’s a pseudonym – not that it makes any difference – and who cares, except maybe Mark Need ham), Australia is now the perfect culture and further legislation (and the like) can only detract from same? It follows therefore that democracy is now irrelevant and we should just sit back and enjoy what we have (or don’t).

    Mark. I suggest that you go under cover, if you already aren’t because someone might recognise you in the street. And laugh. (Just jokin…

  38. Michael Taylor

    Robert, you can despise Islam as much as you like. You can despise Catholicism as much as you want, too.

    I think you’ll find though, that most Muslims are peace-loving people. As are most people the world over. The Muslims I have met – mainly at my work as a public servant – were wonderful people. I worked with hundreds of wonderful people and I wouldn’t have a clue what religion they were, or even if they had a religion. Many of them could have been Muslims. I don’t have a clue.

    Like you, I despise terrorists no matter what religion they kill for. But I don’t blame the innocent followers of that religion for their actions.

    I have a friend who was a very young girl in Germany during the war. Not long ago she was telling me that for all of her it was as though the war was her fault. All her life people have blamed her for it. Her family hated Hitler – as many other Germans did – yet it was all her fault. Silly, isn’t it?

  39. Harquebus

    “Differing views are put up with, here on AIM.”

    No they are not.

    “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

  40. Mark Needham

    Oh, Robert, people will reply, and put words in your mouth. Stuff, you have not said, shall be your words.

    for some,

    184 Cawarral Rd
    Qld 4702

    Islam. yeah, I’m, not fussed either, but then I am not fussed about any religion, ( well I lie, because I think religions should be purged from the human phsyche, denied their political, charitable and social status. Just not sure how its to be done., Truth, is the best way, Truth and Honesty.)

    Also, some shall joke, Ha ha, LOL, chuckle, but would tear you a new one, given half a chance….!

    Amazing how, some can be upfront and fair dinkum, as are most Australians, though we do have a back for the storing of the odd knife.

    Phone Number Next….?
    Mark Needham

  41. Roswell

    How funny is this? The two who are complaining are two who never listen to what anybody else has to say anyway.

    Although I must admit that Mark isn’t too bad. I don’t mind him. He’s quite likeable, in a way.

  42. Kaye Lee


    That is completely unfair of you. You have never been stopped from expressing your view. In fact, you have had whole articles published. The reason you sometimes get in trouble is because of your total disregard for others when you repeat ad nauseum the same stuff over and over and over regardless of what the article is about. I have no problem with discussions evolving but that isn’t the case with you. It ALWAYS comes back to your hobby horse on every thread on which you comment. That is just rude and selfish (and boring). You also immediately dismiss anything anyone else says. You don’t want to learn new things and that is stultifying. We like ideas, not endless doomsaying. You seem to think you are the only person who is aware of the challenges we face.

  43. Johno

    Pauline and Malcolm could do the current ABC smartphone survey. They might be surprised by the results.

  44. Roswell

    Kaye, thank you for saying it better than me.

    I had to contain myself. I admit I was a bit hot under the collar after what Harquebus wrote.

  45. Robert REYNOLDS

    If I may I would like to say a few words in response to some of the posts that were made last night while I was sound asleep in bed.

    Mark Needham,
    Your post about “Differing views ….”, is a good reminder that hubris is an ever present danger for us all. Thank you for that.

    You are also right to remind us of the need for civility. I can be remiss in that area too.

    Having ‘cut my teeth’ at The Conversation I am used to using my real name instead of a nom de plume. Actually I am more comfortable using my real name. However, I just use ‘Robert’ when contributing to the New York Times or the Washington Post sites. On the Washington Post site they are very lenient with the posts. You can be quite abusive and the post will remain there. (I would hasten to add that I try to avoid being abusive but sometimes the temptation to be sarcastic and be a bit of a ‘smart alec’, does get the better of me). Some of the posts are extremely witty. The Americans still have a great sense of humor despite that very dark cloud that has been hanging over Washington for the last 6 months or so.

    However, what I wanted to say was that on one occasion a year or two back, I had a particularly viscous exchange with a pro-gun lobbyist. (I am very much in favor of very strict gun controls.) As a result of that I was glad to be living on the other side of the Pacific and that even then, my interlocutor did not know my full name. So sometimes, the nom de plume, or in this case, first names only, can be useful.

    I regard myself as an internationalist, so I do not ‘wear an Australian flag’. I regard too much nationalism as a very dangerous thing. I will usually go along with the “Australian way’ but in cases like the Vietnam War and the way the Australian Government turned its back on the people of East Timor when Indonesia invaded it, I will (metaphorically speaking) use the Australian flag to ‘wipe my backside’

    Anyway, Mark nice to exchange views with you.

    Michael Taylor
    Your post requires that I need to make a number of points and that I should emphasize these strongly. Because I “despise Islam” and “despise Catholicism” I must repeat, that that absolutely does not mean that I go around ‘spitting chips’ and abusing Muslims and Catholics in the street and ripping off crucifixes and scarves for something to do to keep myself busy in semi-retirement.

    As far as Catholics go, when I was even younger than I am now, I had several Catholic girlfriends. There was one Catholic girlfriend that I will take fond memories of with me to the grave. Of course I did not try to hide my views from these girls, I merely tended to present my opinion with great diplomacy and gentleness, that is, in a manner that Sir Humphrey Appleby would approve of. I am always mindful Mike, of the old saying “that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”. But looking back, I think that that special relationship was doomed from the start. It was more than a case of the ‘orange and the green’. It was more a case of the ‘red and the green’. At our respective homes we both had copies of “The Tribune”. However, at her place it as the Catholic Tribune and at my place it as the Communist Tribune. Also, I strongly suspect that her father was a member of the National Civic Council. I am sure that you will recall the leader of that organization, Bob Santamaria, Mike

    Now, Mike, if you are still reading, a couple of years ago I enrolled in a course to revise my year 11 and 12 maths and physics. Believe it or not, the physical sciences is where my real interest lies. To me, science gives me much more satisfaction than politics and economics. But anyway, I met many Muslim students at this place where I was studying and I was more than delighted to assist them where I could. I have been a teacher of mainly chemistry for the last 35 years or so. I found most of them to be very pleasant people. I could notice a bit of that Middle Eastern surliness amongst a few but I let that go over my head.

    My grave reservations about Islam were formed as a result of reading myriad articles such as:

    and viewing videos such as the one available at:

    As a ‘by-the-by’ Mike, the woman who made this short film claims that she is a Sunni Muslim. However that did not prevent ‘the powers that be’ from issuing a fatwa against her

    and reading books such as “The Strange Death of Europe” by Douglas Murray.
    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the future of western civilization.

    I could list plenty of other examples, Mike but I will leave it there. But Mike, the main, take home message that I want to get across is that when assessing the influence of Islam you simply must, you must Mike, look a bit further than “that lovely Muslim family that lives down the street’ or ‘those great, friendly, generous Muslims who you work with” or “meet with socially”, etc.
    Of course there are many Muslims who do not support terrorism. But what are their thoughts on legalizing homosexuality or underage marriage, etc? Be careful Mike this issue is extremely complicated and fraught.
    I appreciate your short vignette in the final paragraph about your German friend. In response to your final question, let me answer emphatically, Yes!

    Well you certainly got yourself into a bit of ‘hot water’ with your comment! All I can say is that if you think that differing views are restricted here at AIM, then try ‘The Conversation’. On that site you will experience real restriction. This place (AIM) is like an absolute ‘breath of fresh air’ compared to ‘The Conversation’. They did me a real favor by blocking me.

  46. Kaye Lee

    Robert, all of your links refer to other countries. Australia is a unique place.

    From your link, there are Fatwas against terrorism, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. In Pakistan they issued a fatwa against suicide bombings, the killing of innocent people, bomb attacks, and targeted killings declaring them as Haram or forbidden.

    Pretty much every religion is anti-homosexual and under age marriage is illegal in Australia. Inside most religions you will find good people working to help the church evolve.

    Don’t equate the cultural practices in other countries with Australia and don’t ascribe the sins of some onto innocent people. Muslim migrants to Australia left those fundamentalist countries and chose to come here. Perhaps they abhor those practices as much as you do.

  47. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you for your reply Kaye.

    I would merely make a couple of observations.

    Firstly, no-one hopes more than I do that these fatwas against terrorism issued in Pakistan or wherever, are successful. By the way Kaye, how many fatwas have been issued against female genital mutilation, honor killings, forced and under age marriages, etc?

    Kaye when you say,

    “Robert, all of your links refer to other countries. Australia is a unique place.”

    I must admit that I had to have a bit of a chuckle to myself as I shook my head in disbelief when I read this. Kaye, whether you like it or not, we are living in a globalized world. If Australia possess any ‘uniqueness’ then lets for god’s sake try to preserve that uniqueness in the context of this globalized world. And that means excluding people from this country who want to bring into the place cultural and religious beliefs that are incompatible with our way of life.

    Kaye, in response to your comment that,

    “Pretty much every religion is anti-homosexual and under age marriage is illegal in Australia. Inside most religions you will find good people working to help the church evolve.”

    I would say that you are trying to assuage and diminish the role played by Islam in persecuting homosexuals. Horrible footage is only a mouse-click away on your computer of Muslims throwing those accused of being homosexuals of building while shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Can you so readily find internet sites where this sort of heinous crime is being committed by followers of other religions.

    Take off the rose colored glasses Kaye.

    “Don’t equate the cultural practices in other countries with Australia”

    Kaye, immigrants from other countries do not leave their cultural practices and belief systems at the door when they arrive here. For instance, on the issue of wife beating in Australia,

    Female genital mutilation in Australia

    Forced marriages to child brides in Australia,

    Hopefully that last one will not be behind a paywall.

    I am sorry Kaye to have to be the one to reveal these truths to you and to destroy your idealistic picture of Islam. But someone has to be the one to break the news to you. Sure there will be some Muslims who do not go along with these things but how to you tell the difference? And what if they decide to change their mind.

  48. Mark Needham

    ‘Onya Robert.

    I remember a conversation long ago, with some American Servicemen, in Subic Bay. I commented that I just loved the accent, ( southern drawl, I thinks). anyhow the boys said they liked my accent.
    “but I don’t have an accent!!”, I says.

    We learn very slowly, but hopefully we do learn, even if only a little.
    Mark Needham

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