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The rule of law “is not a smorgasbord to be picked at will”

When newly elected secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, defended the right of unions to take unlawful industrial action, there was outrage.

Leigh Sales opened with the loaded question “Do you believe in the rule of law?”

“It shouldn’t be so hard for workers in our country to be able to take industrial action when they need to,” Ms McManus responded. “I believe in the rule of law where the law’s fair and when the law is right, but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

The politicians went on the attack.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Senator James McGrath, said the rule of law “is not a smorgasbord to be picked at will”.

“It’s the entire underpinning of our legal system, indeed of our society,” he warned. “Taken to the extreme, what she is saying is that the union movement and the unions are not going to obey the rule of law in this country and that is a disgrace.”

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash was likewise alarmed, declaring: “This is an extraordinary admission … that [Ms McManus] believes she is above the law and that unions can pick and choose when they obey the law and when they do not.”

Bill Shorten joined the critics. “That’s what democracy is about. If you don’t like a law, if you think a law is unjust, use the democratic process to get it changed.”

Malcolm Turnbull was scathing.

“If she doesn’t believe in obeying the law, if she believes the law only applies when it suits her, then I don’t think we have a lot in common in terms of values,” he said. “This is a nation governed by the rule of law and if she thinks if she and her unions are above the law then there is not much work we can do with her, I am afraid.”

Peter Dutton joined in with his typically crass contribution.

“The ACTU has ended up with this lunatic running the ACTU, taking them further to the left, and Bill Shorten has nothing to say about it,” he said.

Well right back atcha kids.

You have been talking about changing the rules about citizenship in the constitution for decades and now your inactivity has come back to bite you.

Ignorantia juris non excusat


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  1. diannaart

    Could it get any more interesting?

    No one answer… yes, it can.

  2. Jagger

    I guess we’ll find out how much influence Brandis has on the High Court, anything to do with this government leaves me very skeptical. Brandis has run out of ink signing his “jobs for the boys” appointments, we’ll see if the Constitution still exists.

  3. Deanna Jones

    They’ve flicked the switch to Vaudeville.

  4. Miriam English

    I thought politics didn’t have much face left to lose, but the politicians just keep proving me wrong… especially the conservatives who appear to desire money and power beyond everything else.

    Only the Greens have acted genuinely and with good conscience. That certainly has to say something.

  5. Jagger

    Miriam, if the Greens had “acted genuinely and with good conscience”, they would have checked their eligibility to stand for Parliament, but I do agree they showed integrity by resigning.

  6. kerri

    More importantly why is no one criticising Denis Hart for saying straight up he WILL disobey the law before breaking the seal of the confessional?
    Where was…
    “Taken to the extreme, what he is saying is that the catholic church and its priests are not going to obey the rule of law in this country and that is a disgrace.” From James Mc Grath????
    Where is…….
    “This is an extraordinary admission … that [Archbishop Hart] believes he is above the law and that priests can pick and choose when they obey the law and when they do not.” From Michaelia Cash?????
    And where is………
    “If he doesn’t believe in obeying the law, if he believes the law only applies when it suits him, then I don’t think we have a lot in common in terms of values,” he said. “This is a nation governed by the rule of law and if he thinks if he and his priests are above the law then there is not much work we can do with him, I am afraid.”
    From Malcolm Turnbull ??????
    Hypocrisy thy leaning is definitely right!

  7. Kyran

    Smorgasbord or dog’s breakfast?
    To put it in context;

    “McManus was asked whether she supported the rule of law, to which she said yes.
    Presenter Leigh Sales asked if the ACTU would distance itself from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, one of its affiliates, for more than 100 court cases in which it was accused of breaking the law or contempt of court.
    “There is no way we’ll be doing that,” McManus said, because the CFMEU had been fined for taking industrial action.
    “It might be illegal industrial action according to our current laws and our current laws are wrong.
    “It shouldn’t be so hard for workers in our country to take industrial action when they need to.”
    McManus argued the CFMEU often unlawfully stopped worked because of a worker’s death. She said the union was fined more than companies “that actually kill workers”, citing Grocon, which was fined $250,000 for the deaths of three workers in 2014.”

    Ms McManus wasn’t referring to filling out a form incorrectly and then deciding the form was silly. She wasn’t referring to answering a question incorrectly and then deciding the question was unjust.
    To be fair, she was talking about deaths in the workplace and the only recourse for effected workers being illegal. That the penalties for negligent corporations were completely out of proportion to those applicable to their workers became a mere byline.
    Even though it’s fair to put the slipper into our politicians, there are so many other examples of the rampant disparity in how our laws are applied.
    The unions were subjected to a RC for their transgressions. Little was found, few charges were laid and even less were successfully prosecuted. We got an ABCC which is, to this day, even less effective. Even after all that, the ‘trade’ unions are out of control and in need of stringent oversight.
    Compare that with the activities of our banks. There transgressions are many and varied, and well documented. Their union, the ABA, insist that a ‘few little problems’ warrant no such scrutiny, that they will self regulate.
    Compare that with the activities of our miners. Their tax payer funded rapine of Australia’s common wealth, their blatant disregard for the reparation of the land they have plundered. Their union, the Minerals Council, says ‘nothing to see here, we can look after this’.
    Compare that with the activities of our businesses. Their blatant disregard for observing the rules of workers entitlements are legion. How many companies have been reported as ripping off their workers with bugger all prosecutions? Their unions, the ACCI, AIG, BCA, say that any scrutiny will undermine their business model. ‘We will take care of this’.
    That’s before we start on our governments blatant disregard for conventions they are signatories to.
    Yep, our politicians are a disgrace. Their benefactors aren’t much better. How we agitate for change is a far more urgent question. This madness is simply not sustainable.

    “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
    Howard Zinn

    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  8. Kaye Lee

    “Religious schools, including Catholic and Anglican schools, should have a legislatively protected right to teach their conception of marriage, Peter Dutton has said.”

    Does ‘conception’ trump law?

  9. Mark Needham

    We do need an inquiry into banks. But not a Royal Commission.

    The TURC, turned up heaps of Union Rubbish. But very little comes of it.

    Then an inquiry into banks would achieve exactly the same. We would smell the rot, but the cancer would not be incised.
    Not Giving up,
    Mark Needham

  10. Glenn K

    Spot on Kyran. Absolutely spot on. The quote from Howard Zinn pretty much says all we need to know in order to understand the masses.


    the lnp scoundrels dont apply the rule of law principle anyway. they do it selectively. the rule of law is essentially that gov are also subject to law. the laws made by lnp are inherently bias towards their donors and interest groups. in any event only if a law made is just should it be obeyed. if that were not the case then appartheid would still exist in south africa. fact is those with political power frequently make unjust laws. look at the philiipines. the principle of tje rule of law has only ever been paid lip service in aust and is espoused when it is politically convenient for those with power.


    dutton is an idiot. he should know the constitution prohits federal parliament making laws on religion. why are these uninformed morons running this country who do not even know the extent of their powers or the law of the land they govern. this is an indictment of the education and political systems in this country

  13. Terry2

    Sally McManus is at odds with this government as she is coming to this from the viewpoint of the Charter of the International Labour Organisation – to which we are a signatory – which guarantees the rights of workers to organise, have free assembly and the right to withdraw labour in certain circumstances. This government has no concept of these fundamental rights and considers that only they can govern workplaces.

    Of course, we have no guaranteed Rights in this country and that is something that we are going to have to address but it will only come about through a Labor government.

    We could learn a lot from the Canadians who had their original Constitution embodied in a British legislative instrument [as is the case in Australia] but they rewrote their Constitution and included an entrenched Bill of Rights

    We have a long way to go, folks !

  14. lefturnahead

    The theatre of the absurd strikes again!~!~

  15. Mick Yemm

    It’s been part of the neo liberal agenda for the past 40 years to restrict and undermine the power of Unions. Labor has contributed to it, but they haven’t been as openly hostile to Unions as the LNP. Industrial relations laws have been incrementally tightened over the years to the extent that the only way that workers can take meaningful actions is by breaking the law.

  16. Kaye Lee


    I agree about the significance of the undermining of unions. Workers alone have no power and the days of an employer showing loyalty to their employees are fast disappearing. Shareholders are a step removed from ethical concerns. Company directors have a duty to maximise profit. Governments have decided regulations are a bad thing. So who does that leave to protect the worker?

    As Ged Kearney so rightly pointed out…

    “Workers went backwards under Howard: casual and precarious work with inferior entitlements and conditions rose, the inequality gap grew and minimum wages growth fell behind average earnings, there was a deficit of investment in skills and training, and immoral business practices spread.”

    Re the Accord, she says

    “There were unintended consequences from that period that we are grappling with today: the growth of precarious work, skyrocketing executive salaries, the spread of sham business practices grew and insufficient attention paid to inequality, especially at the top end.

    Wage restraint from 1983 to 1990 meant unions held back from doing their core work of bargaining with employers for better wages and conditions, and some forgot how to organise and are still paying the price.”


    kaye lee. “Company directors have a duty to maximise profit”. directors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the company as a whole. as the payment of dividends is a discretionary decision of directors and dividend payments from profits is not compulsory, directors are not under a duty to maximize profits. only if maximising profits is considered yo be in the best interests of the conpany as a whole is maximising profit a duty of directors. it may be for instance that profits should be sacrificed for expansionary or equipment costs. if that investment is in the best interests of the company then thats what the directors duty is. there is no duty to maximise profits. what is in the best interests of the company is a decision of the directors.

  18. Mark Needham

    Superannuation, is gambled on the back of Union Workers.
    The need for workers to be paid more, and the business profits to drop, is a prerequisite for workers rights.
    The more pay we get , means the more superannuation, means the smaller business profits, less superannuation.
    All Hail workers rights,
    Mark Needham

  19. ceridwen66

    They’re fascists, the lot of them, what else does one seriously expect?

    In 47 BCE, the Ancient Roman statesman and orator Cicero mused that no fortress existed capable of withstanding the captivating lure of money. It is tempting to compare these words of Cicero to our modern Neoliberalist society where riches and wealth more often than not equate to great political influence and power, and human life itself has been seemingly reduced to scarcely more than a chip used as collateral by greedily corrupted governments and international banking conglomerates.

    Shades of Cicero’s Rome are startlingly visible when one looks into modern day Australian politics. The slaying of Caesar by Brutus is regularly re-enacted by a volatile Federal Parliament and voraciously lapped up as Bread and Circus entertainment by an apathetic public, seemingly bereft of concern for anything, except celebrity gossip and football scores. The Neoliberalist agenda will continue to promote divisiveness, inequality, and the social degradation of Australian society, by selectively encouraging the social and economic alienation of the vulnerable and discriminating against the poor and disenfranchised.

    If left unchecked and unbalanced, a myriad of Neoliberal conservatives, global conglomerates and corporate elitists will continue to stand above, arrogantly looking down at the masses, ordained as the rightful rulers. Neoliberalism will continue to succeed by its strategic positioning of subservient consumers at the very bottom of a toxically unfair hierarchal system.

  20. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, I often wonder just how many people in our society actually are interested in “gossip and football scores”. I know very few people who have any interest at all in celebrities or sports.

    Years ago I worked at a TV station. Mostly I worked on computers and studio equipment, but one day I was sent out with the outside broadcast van to live-broadcast a football match. It was a real eye-opener. Hardly any crew was required (from memory, just two people) and it gained massive profits from advertising. Even more of a surprise to me (because I don’t attend sports) was that all the audience were herded into seats behind the goals at each end of the stadium. The only time audience was shown was during goals, giving the impression of a full audience, when in reality about 90% of the seats at the venue were empty. It was a great big con. The advertisers were the intended victims, paying top dollar for what they believed were popularly supported events, when I wonder if hardly any viewers watched.

    It serves the status quo and is very patronising for people to look down upon ordinary people and say they’re only interested in sports and gossip, and that they can’t help it; that it’s all the common man’s fault for being so stupid. When I’ve pointed out to people that I don’t know many people who are big sports followers or mad-keen on celebrity gossip, I’m generally told that I just don’t have those kinds of friends, but when I ask those who insist that the masses are obsessed with such trivialities they always end up admitting they don’t know many either.

    I think it’s a con. It serves the would-be rulers to convince us that the masses are morons who are weighing us all down and need to be protected from themselves. It also pays well because gossip and sport are very cheap to deliver and reap top advertising dollar.

    Most people I know are interested in their family, their job, their friends, and a hobby.

  21. Harquebus

    It’s easy for those who create our laws to insist on the rule of law. That’s why we have obscenely rich at the expense of the disadvantaged by law poor. The law protects this inequality with armed force.

    What is illegal is not necessarily bad and what is legal is not necessarily good. Most, in my opinion, have an inbuilt ability to judge what is fair and what isn’t. Even though we can sense unfairness, we can not do anything about it because we have the rule of law and our democratic system does not seem to be able to rectify the situation.

    The judicial system interprets and decides on the letter of the law. Perhaps we should elect our judges and allow them to determine what is fair, just and right as part of their decision making.
    Jus’ thinkin’. It’ll never go down.

    “In his survey of ancestral type societies, Boehm found that, in addition to murder and theft, one of the most commonly punished infractions was failure to share.”

    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” — Albert Einstein.

  22. Harquebus

    I agree.

  23. ceridwen66

    I never patronise ‘ordinary people’ or anybody else for that matter, instead I read the actions of the mob and call them out for their enduring apathy, gullibility and ignorance in the escalating face of massive inequality, corruption and environmental destruction and ecocide. I am an ‘ordinary’ person, but thankfully, through a very strange and unconventional life had the blinkers ripped off early.

    I see a manufactured world gasping for breath. In the post 9/11 world, beyond almost two decades bathed in blood and horror, each day normally brings a new terrorist attack beamed out continuously to a fixated audience by a 365/24/7 sensationalism driven global media. A herculean effort is required to differentiate between a myriad of political, religious and social complexities within the all too human acts of terror, entertainment, criminality, insanity and revolution. I am frustrated and disappointed by the collective global willingness to continually exist in this carefully designed nuthouse where worth and quality are judged by what a bag of skin looks like and how many digital numbers one can accumulate on a screen within a given seventy five year period.

    It is so difficult for so many to accept the system as the enemy. It is also almost impossible to convince someone dependent upon it to look outside of it and see the world which is rightfully theirs. The ones who do such as MLK, Mandela, Malcolm X, Voltairine de Cleyre, Arundhati Roy, Gandhi and so many others are ridiculed, demeaned, incarcerated, tortured or assassinated.

    Call me cynical, paranoid or ridiculous, but I do not see a single political party on the face of this battered Earth – let alone Australia – espousing or being capable of implementing true egalitarian values. None of them are capable of the reformative concepts of apology, forgiveness and reconciliation. None are capable of acknowledging and accepting the extremes of troubled, violent historical injustices, or prioritising the creation of genuine, peaceful and mutually beneficial relationships, let alone assist in the development of significantly sustainable cultural, social, economic, and political change.

    I think the Wachowski’s say it best:

    When you’re inside the system, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

  24. Miriam English

    Harquebus, our legal system is gradually improving. Compare it to that which existed a thousand years ago, or a few hundred years ago, or even one hundred years ago, or even just 50 years ago.

    The way you speak makes it sound hopeless, but it isn’t. We do gradually improve our legal and political systems. Of course, it isn’t all plain sailing and unmitigated constant improvement, but when we do get fruit-loops like Abbott in power it gives fresh impetus to changing things for the better. Sure, there is corruption and self-serving among the lawmakers (there always has been), but that makes it all the more amazing that we have been succeeding for so long in improving the legal and political systems.

    Your bleak outlook seems to bleed into every aspect of your being.

  25. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, you need to take a closer look at the Australian Greens ( Their aims cover most of the points you make. Also a new political party in the making, the New Democracy Party (

    Today we live in the most peaceful period in all of human history, with the least number of wars, the lowest level of violence, people better educated than ever before, and living longer and more healthily.

    Of course there are still problems. We still have corrupt politicians and vote-buying by evil men. We have a terrible obesity epidemic while millions continue to starve. But on the whole these things are gradually being repaired, even with random small perturbations in the general movement toward improvement.

    Racism is now something that most people are disgusted by and most people are completely outraged by acts of violence. Earlier in my lifetime most people were racist and it was considered normal. Also, violence was considered normal — teachers routinely beat students and it was considered a man’s right to beat his wife. In my parents’ youth it was normal for millions of people to joyously march off to idiotic wars that had nothing to do with us. The world has changed radically in a very short period of time.

    Those working toward change, especially those who argue for peace, have always been met by ridicule and even violence. It is notable that those you mentioned, MLK, Mandela, Malcolm X, Voltairine de Cleyre, Arundhati Roy, Gandhi, are all highly regarded now (well, I hadn’t heard of Voltairine de Cleyre, but I notice she has a Wikipedia page and a book of selected writings by her on Project Gutenberg which has significant overlap with the list of her writings on her page at the Anarchist Library).

    It is changing for the better. Of course that doesn’t mean we should stop pushing for change. It means we can take heart from the fact that we are gradually succeeding.

  26. Havana Liedown

    I’m assuming that the books are all in disarray at… The Anarchist Library

  27. Harquebus

    Again, I agree and thank you very much for the time spent constructing your comment.

    Miriam English
    I don’t see it. That should surprise you not.

    The constant erosion of our liberties is another area where the rule of law is being abused.

    “Any individual who depends upon the System for [their] survival will defend it instinctively.” — Cathal Haughian

  28. ceridwen66

    Miriam, I do know the Greens platform, as I know the platform of every party in Australia and many of the international ones. If I was ever inclined to vote for any political party in this statist system, I’d probably cast a Greens vote even though I am nowhere convinced about Di Natale and his ideologies. I also am well versed in political theory and am enough of a critical thinker to see both the shortcomings and failures of them. The other party you mentioned? No thanks.

    The most peaceful period in history? At the risk of ‘patronising’ you, we must live on entirely different planets, but then again, I removed my rose coloured glasses a lifetime ago. Tell that to the millions of people dying of disease, starvation, abused and tortured under fraudulent ‘political systems’. What about the empirical indiscriminate, systemic bombings and eventual deaths and displacement of millions? The rapes, slaughter and the missing and blown apart kids. I am not going to continue because it frustrates me, makes me sick to the stomach to read any sort of justification for such horrific travesties – even if it’s simply ‘things are getting better’.

    Our species has had millennium to get its act together under elitist control. All that has bought us is misery. We don’t need ‘governments and leaders’ bought by insidious corporate interests to decide our fate. It is time for something new.

  29. ceridwen66

    Thanks Harquebus, I haven’t a lot of time lately, I have many uni assessments due, some of my words are taken from essays I have previously written.

    Have a lovely Sunday

  30. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, I’m not trying to justify such things — far from it. Those things should sicken us all and we should continue to work toward ending them. But be careful. By letting yourself be exhausted by those things you risk losing the will to fight against them. Far better, to my mind, is to be clear in the gains we have made so that we can see that we are gradually winning. That gives hope and carries us forward against the injustices.

    It really is true that we live in the most peaceful time in history. Deep poverty is being reduced at a greater rate than ever before. It is now common for people to hate war, for the first time in history — it used to open people to charges of treason or cowardice, but now it is normal.

    Yes, there is much still to be done, but don’t brush off all that has been accomplished so far. That belittles the hard work and great sacrifices of countless good people before you.

    Watch this talk by Steven Pinker on how violence and war are decreasing. (By the way, he makes an off-hand humorous remark about the temporary uptick in violence in the 60s because it wasn’t then understood. We now know it was caused by leaded petrol. Since being abolished violence resumed its downward trend.)

    The mainstream media and politicians have much invested in keeping people powerless by making them feel that violence is out of control. Don’t believe it. Ask any criminologist. They’ll tell you the truth. Violence has been decreasing for centuries. Look at the statistics of deaths in wars. Don’t just succumb to the fear instilled by the mainstream media.

  31. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, interesting that you dismiss the New Democracy Party without knowing anything about them.

  32. nurses1968

    Miriam English
    I heard you were aligned with some new party, Is it New Democracy Party?

  33. Barry

    I think the ACTU should cut loose from the Labor party and start a whole new political party that goes back to the beliefs that Labor seem to have forgotten

  34. ceridwen66

    Miriam, I dismiss any statist political movement as unsustainable and ideologically opposed to inherent human freedom.

    Violence isn’t just about overt droning and bombing, it incorporates much of the known human condition. The coming effects of a globally collapsing climate will peak unheard of levels of human violence.

    The gathering effects of Climate Change are increasingly being added to the United States national security and foreign policy narrative According to Busby (2008), a 2007 US National Security and Climate Change research report released by the CNA Military Advisory Board and funded by the United States Navy concluded that “Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national security challenges for the United States” (Busby, 2008, p.234).

    In April 2007, during the same month the above report was released, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), at the direct behest of the United Kingdom Government held an inaugural debate on the potential impacts climate change held on global peace and security. In 2014, the CNA released a revalidation of the 2007 report which alarmingly found many of the identified risks concerning the national security implications of climate change concluded in the first report were now advancing “noticeably faster than anticipated”. The 2014 revalidation reported although global emission reductions and adaptive climate efforts were developing within certain countries, the extent of these efforts to mitigate and adapt to the projections were “insufficient to avoid significant water, food, and energy insecurity; political instability; extreme weather events; and other manifestations of climate change”. The sixteen retired US Generals, Brigadier Generals, Admirals and Lieutenants involved in the report, found that imperative, globally coordinated, extensively well executed actions to “limit heat trapping gases and increase resilience to help prevent and protect against the worst projected climate change impacts are required immediately”.

    Climate Change as a global discontinuity and threat to power structures is not only valid; it is relevantly realistic. The United States Department of Defence (DOD) 2014 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) found that the projected effects of climate change

    “… are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions, conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence. We remain steadfast in our concern over the connection between climate change and national security”.

    In conducting personal research and writing essays, I have access to a database with hundreds of thousands articles and books of peer reviewed literature within it, these are only a miniscule available, many I have cited in international relations essays;

    Bornschier, V & Chase-Dunn, C 1999, The Future of Global Conflict, SAGE Publications, London.

    Brown, M & Sovacool, B 2011, Climate Change and Global Energy Security Technology and Policy Options, The MIT Press, Cambridge.

    Ife, JW 2013, Community development in an uncertain world : vision, analysis and practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ; Port Melbourne, Vic.

    Burns, T & Hall, P 2012, The Meta-Power Paradigm Impacts and Transformations of Agents, Institutions, and Social Systems Capitalism, State, and Democracy in a Global Context, Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt.

    Merry, S & Conley, J 2011, ‘Measuring the World: Indicators, Human Rights, and Global Governance/Comment’, Current Anthropology, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 83.

    Busby, J 2007, Climate Change and National Security: an Agenda for Action, Council on Foreign Relations Press, USA, p. 234.

    Busby, J 2008, ‘Who Cares about the Weather?: Climate Change and U.S. National Security’, Security Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 468-504.

    Gopin, M 2002, Between Eden and Armageddon the future of religion, violence and peacemaking, Oxford University Press, New York ; Oxford.

    Clapp, J & Helleiner, E 2012, ‘International Political Economy and the Environment: back to the basics?’, International Affairs, vol. 88, no. 3, pp. 485-501.

    CNA Military Advisory Board 2014, National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, Alexandria, VA: CNA Corporation, 2014.

    Collecott, P 2014, ‘The Emerging World Order’, Global Economic Observer, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 4-10.
    Cox, M 2012, ‘Power Shifts, Economic Change and the Decline of the West?’, International Relations, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 369-388.

    Tripp, A, Ferree, M & Ewig, C 2013, Gender, Violence, and Human Security : Critical Feminist Perspectives, NYU Press, New York.

    Watts, C & Zimmerman, C 2002, ‘Violence against women: Global scope and magnitude’, The Lancet, vol. 359, no. 9313, pp. 1232-7.

    Kjaerulf, F, Lee, B, Cohen, L, Donnelly, P, Turner, S, Davis, R, et al 2016, ‘The 2030 agenda for sustainable development: a golden opportunity for global violence prevention’, International Journal of Public Health, vol. 61, no. 8, pp. 863-864.

    I don’t subscribe to MSM or the fear and confusion it perpetrates. How patronising of you to believe so.

  35. Miriam English

    nurses1968, “aligned” is the wrong word. I became interested in the New Democracy Party when I read about it here on AIMN. I have attended a number of their meetings and remain on good terms with them, as they are a group of honest people who are genuinely trying to create a very unusual kind of grass-roots, decentralised political party to solve a number of the problems that other well-meaning parties have.

    They want to get big money out of politics, they want to fully acknowledge Australia’s First Nations people with more than a mere apology and actually address their systematic discrimination, they want to protect our environment, they want to boost renewable energy and get Australia off its fossil fuel addiction, they want to make a Job Guarantee, they understand and promote Modern Monetary Theory, so are not sucked in by pernicious neo-liberal dogma. What’s not to like?

    It is still early days for the party and they are still developing. For quite a while now I’ve stepped back from discussions and haven’t been to meetings. Whether I will get involved again or not, I don’t know. It probably depends largely on the amount of time I have. In any case, I would never stand for election. I’m far too much of a hermit for that.

    Why do you ask?

  36. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, “I dismiss any statist political movement as unsustainable and ideologically opposed to inherent human freedom.”
    🙂 Good luck with that

    On your other points, I agree.
    Lucky we are moving to mitigate those changes. Despite Trump in USA and Turnbull/Abbott in Australia trying to destroy efforts to remedy climate change, local city groups and companies and millions of individuals are working hard to retard climate change.

    China is accelerating adoption of renewables and winding back fossil fuel consumption. India is adopting solar and wind power at a great rate. African nations are leap-frogging the developed nations in their adoption of solar and other decentralised technologies. All around the world coal-fired power plants are being decommissioned and not replaced.

    Will we make the changes fast enough? Perhaps. It would be more certain if our political “leaders” (actually slow followers) would wake up, but there are nevertheless reasons to be hopeful.

  37. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, strange that you think that I’m being patronising when pointing out that the fear from the mainstream media paralyses people. How is it patronising to point out the truth?

    It is especially puzzling when you give exactly the same kind of fearful description of the world that the mainstream media push. Have you considered that you’re playing right into their hands?

  38. ceridwen66

    That Miriam, is my whole point and the reason for my initial comment on this thread.

    Ludwig Van Mises wrote:

    The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.

    Nothing has changed no matter how many different puppets are ‘voted’ into power. They are all rotten – some more than others but they all reek to different levels. And it won’t ever change you know, no matter how hard they attempt to spin it.

    Each person’s truth is different, the trick is to live together within the confines of those truths without disparaging, demeaning and trivialising each other. It is hard enough battling the system that shackles us let alone having those still trapped within it dragging us back down.

    Finally, surely the usual view of the world is one of fairy floss, working, paying taxes, Holly wood stars and winning Lotto. Those who buck that system and ask questions are usually put firmly back in their place.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂

  39. nurses1968

    Miriam English
    curiosity, nothing more 😀

  40. Roswell

    Miriam patronising? Would hardly think so.

  41. Miriam English

    Uh-oh… Ludwig von Mises was a dangerous neo-liberal loon. I’ve noticed he has inspired many young people today. It is weird and scary.

    When I read his stuff I hear the IPA, Tony Abbott, Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Creepy.

    Ludwig von Mises didn’t believe in altruism or society or collective good. He believed only in the pure unregulated marketplace, despite it being shown over and over again to be a total catastrophe.

    Pure capitalism is suicidal. It needs regulation in order to survive, and we need it to be regulated to protect us from its excesses. Government is the only tool we have that’s powerful enough to control capitalism. When it works we get both working well. When government gets corrupted by capitalism then it hurts everybody, including the market. I never understood why free-marketeers never seem to get this, despite oodles of examples.

  42. diannaart

    Keep on fighting the good fight, Miriam – have not been following much ATM – as, for some reason known only to Internode, I do not get updates from articles I have tried to subscribe (Michael knows all about it). Anyhoo, seems to me that some people deliberately misconstrue much of what you are saying.

    We still have violence – but not to the extent that was in the past.
    We do have more education for more people than at any other time in human history. Which also means we are more aware of wrongdoings than at any other time in history.

    Problem is we just take too much for granted and buy into the fear-mongering which is successfully keeping us arguing among ourselves, while our “leaders” do crap like this:

    The Federal Government is set to launch a welfare crackdown on some asylum seekers who were originally transported to Australia for medical treatment.
    Key points:

    More than $200 a fortnight in income support to be cut for around 100 people
    Affected asylum seekers will have three weeks to move out of government-supported accommodation
    Rights advocates slam move as "an act of shocking cruelty"

    The changes, which are estimated to affect fewer than 100 Australian-based asylum seekers, include cutting more than $200 a fortnight in income support.

    100 people to be made destitute because they sought asylum by boat!

    Sometimes a little knowledge is just not enough and permits manipulation of of fears and biases – hence we get the doom and gloom from the likes of Harquebus, without any balance of what we actually can achieve – which is a great deal, but obstacles such the manner in which we treat the unemployed, refugees or others deemed ‘undesirable’, prevent action in any real and cohesive sense.

    I agree with the comment of separating the ACTU from the Labor party – unless Labor remember just who they are meant to be representing.

    The solutions (like the truth) are out there. Getting to the solutions through the hurdles set up by naysayers and those with vested interests is the difficult part.

  43. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, surely the usual view of the world is one of fairy floss, working, paying taxes, Holly wood stars and winning Lotto.

    Try this little experiment. When out shopping, or visiting relatives, or on public transport, ask some random people whether they think the world is getting more violent or less, whether civilisation is moving toward collapse.

    If I was a betting person then I’d lay odds that almost every person will answer that the world is getting more violent. This is despite clear evidence to the contrary. As I said, ask any criminologist about violent crime. Look at the statistics. Check out how many die in wars and other large scale conflicts. They’ll also believe civilisation is about to collapse. This is part of the same insidious push to paralyse people with hopelessness and get them to surrender.

    The usual view is that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but there’s nothing we can do about it because all politicians are liars, and we little people have no power, and it’s best to just survive as best we can until it all collapses. That is the view most people believe because they’ve been carefully fed it.

    It is completely untrue.

    We all have power and we do fix things when we try. Many things about the world are improving (mostly because we little people take action). Good governments exist and create a safe haven for citizens and the market (see, for example, the northern European democracies). Bad governments are poisoned by unregulated markets and hurt everybody.

  44. Miriam English

    diannaart, thanks. 🙂

    Yeah, I haven’t been getting notifications either.

  45. ceridwen66

    Mises was a dangerous neoliberal loon. Ok. While I don’t exactly subscribe to his economic and praxeological views, and neither do they inspire me all that much, he wasn’t that much of a cockroach and he was famously known as a benevolent, erudite and pleasant gentleman.

    His student Hayek was far worse – as were others who came after and twisted Mises theory, notably Friedman who inspired Reagan et al.

    I simply like his full quote which to be honest is anarchist in the extreme and appeals to me on a visceral level:

    It has been necessary to dwell upon these truisms because the mythologies and metaphysics of etatism have succeeded in wrapping them in mystery. The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says “state” means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.

    That’s it from me, being patronised on a Sunday evening isn’t how I usually enjoy spending it.

    I don’t take political advice from statists.

  46. Michael Taylor

    I’m getting the notifications, so my email is obviously working again, meaning it’s not my ISP causing my problems.

  47. Michael Taylor

    I’m scratching my head trying to work out why you two are not getting the emails. Are you getting emails when new posts are published?

  48. Miriam English

    ceridwen66, despite what you think, I’m not a statist (I don’t worship government). As I said, government is simply the only tool we have that’s sufficiently powerful to keep the dangerous giant corporations in control. If someone comes up with something better I’d be the first to support it.

    Laws exist to keep the dangerous from hurting others. For good people the laws are no bother. Take, for example, the law to drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you’re a sensible person the law is immaterial because you’ll do it anyway. If you’re a drunken hoon then the law protects others from you.

    Are there bad laws? Certainly. Are our legal systems improving and slowly getting rid of them? Yes.

    Ludwig von Mises’ view of laws was that of an intolerant fundamentalist. I’m sure if someone caused a a car collision with him he would not have hesitated in appealing to the law, just as Ayn Rand, after a lifetime spent decrying social security, resorted to using it when her lifelong smoking habit gave her cancer.

    It would be nice if we didn’t need laws. One day I expect we won’t need them, but until then there need to be mechanisms to protect us all from bullies and crooks.

  49. Miriam English

    Michael, yep, I’m getting new article notifications. I’m wondering if I’m not getting comment notifications because I didn’t respond properly to the message asking if I want to be notified. I’ll try again.

    Further: I just checked, and I never got the request about whether I want to follow this topic. Odd.

  50. Miriam English

    Michael, I just now checked my WordPress subscription management and I had 7 pending subscriptions. Maybe they were blocking further notifications, though I doubt it. I’ve now confirmed them all, so we’ll see if that makes any difference.

  51. Miriam English

    Yay! I just got the request to follow this topic. Thanks Michael. 🙂

  52. diannaart

    I just double checked my spam, trash in-trays, nothing nada. No fair!

    But I do receive alerts of new articles… go figure – coz I can’t.

  53. diannaart


    YOU meant the pending in AIMN subscription thingy.

    …and I have 6 pendings from way, back 2016 and further – so clearing them out.

    Still doesn’t really make any sense though – then it doesn’t have to… back to topic; we see things are wrong and find ways to fix em!!!!!!!!

  54. Michael Taylor

    Dianna, my first thought was that you may have changed your email address, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. As the email notifications are done through WordPress (and not us), I’ll get onto their tech team and ask them to fix their little bug.

  55. diannaart


    Just received your comment above in my email – YAY!

    because I emptied 6 very ancient pendings from the pending part of managing subscriptions on AIMN

    No changes to my email, not my PC, just weird stuff occurring on AIM.

  56. diannaart



  57. Miriam English

    I’m now getting new comment notifications too. Yay!
    Perhaps the WordPress subscriptions tracker gets jammed up if there are more than 5 pending.

  58. Michael Taylor

    The equilibrium of the universe has been restored. ?

  59. Harquebus

    “Laws exist to keep the dangerous from hurting others.”
    I would say that laws exist to protect the the thieves and the dangerous from others. They do not last long in traditional societies. Try hanging a car thief and see what happens.

  60. Miriam English

    H, that has to be one of the most deranged comments you have made.

  61. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    Thieves and the dangerous include modern day corporate robber barons and the political classes that they control. We won’t see any pitchfork wielding villagers marching in their direction.
    It’s how it used to be and now it is the other way around. Where do you get deranged from?

  62. Miriam English

    H, it was a deranged thing to say because almost all laws are there to protect the general population from people who do bad things. The fact that some people are able to use their wealth, power, or fame to get around those laws has always the case. That isn’t an indictment of laws. That’s a problem with how we apply them. And it’s a problem that, over the greater span of time is decreasing.

    Whenever inequality increases and selective application of laws worsens we eventually do see angry people marching against the rich and powerful. This has happened many times, and that backlash is what Nick Hanauer warns his fellow rich people of.

    Even though equality is decreasing in Australia at the moment, the pendulum will move back the other way soon, as it always does. And, every time it does, some of those gains will never be lost. Overall, the general tendency is to move inexorably in the direction of equality and justice.

  63. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    Thank you for your response.
    I see things a little differently but, you already know that. I expect laws to follow the current trend and become harsher and more repressive. We’ll see.

    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” — Adolf Hitler

  64. diannaart


    Now this is just from memory, but Hitler committed suicide and Germany lost the war.

    We are watching a great deal of upset due to increasing wealth gap, unrest will reveal many disparate groups of disenfranchised. For example, the recent ‘Nazi’ protests while appalling are being met by a majority of people from both the right and left condemning their actions and their cause. Such protests were swiftly squashed in 1930’s Germany – public were not so well informed, lacking in knowledge.

    Should we have to return to simpler technology – more hand made than machine (which is unlikely BTW), we have a vast store of knowledge of how to build, how diseases occur, how to set bones; knowledge once acquired will continue to be used.

    Another example, the fight for equality by women is slow but inexorable, BUT, we are unlikely to return to conditions pre 20th century.

    If we can successfully adapt to sustainable practices, we have a chance of turning a corner and achieving the right to call ourselves humanity.

  65. Harquebus

    The propaganda techniques developed by the Nazi’s live on.

    “Just as the global “war on terrorism” is a criminality and treason disguised as “freedom fighting” and “the defense of liberty”, this war against Trump, labelled as the “new Hitler”, is part of an unfolding domestic terror operation, which ironically utilizes the propaganda techniques of Hitler and the Third Reich (Goebbels), not to mention the anarchist playbook of Saul Alinsky”
    “The mainstream corporate media, the engineers of delusion and mob-manipulating propaganda, is ginning it up, creating mass hysteria and mental affliction.”
    “The ultimate objective is to create social divisions which prevent the development of a real and independent mass protest movement against the seats of corporate power.”

    I know this relates to the U.S. but, it is an example of piece by piece, bit by bit. Such is the rule by law.

    “This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S., and it won’t be the last. One of the most important things to remember about this legislation is that it was ignored by the media”

    Congress Quietly Passed a Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Homes—Only 1% Opposed It

  66. Harquebus

    “Neoliberal politics has ruled the roost for so long – in both the Labor and Liberal parties – that when an unapologetic progressive voice like Sally McManus’ rises up, the ruling elite from the Right barely seemed worried. They are politically complacent and ideologically bereft of ideas.”
    “What this whole Mcmanusstan affair has shown is that the neoliberal status quo that has for so long dominated Australian political and economic affairs is looking old, tired and worn out.”
    “McManusstan might just create an Australia that works for all Australians. And just as importantly, Australians are no longer scared to embrace it.”

    The #mcmanusstan Debacle Shows Our CEOs Have Run Out of Ideas, And the People Know It!

  67. Miriam English

    H, now you quote that stupid globalresearch site defending Trump?
    You’re just embarrassing yourself now.

    It would have been better if you’d just admitted you were being flippant about laws being intended to protect crooks from ordinary folks, but no, you have to go and double down on it with this kind of stupid shit.

    Oh woe is us! Doom is all around! …if you ignore that we are the most wealthy, longest lived, best educated, most literate people in history.

  68. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    I am not trying to defend Trump. I am providing an example of the propaganda used by the MSM.
    Something that I read earlier stated that the MSM is responsible for the dumbing down of society that allowed Trump to prevail. I agree with that sentiment.
    You regularly seem to misinterpret my intentions.

  69. diannaart

    I knew I shoulda called out “Godwin’s Law” to H…

    There are many really really awful ideologies still sliding into the neurons of the easily persuaded that date back way further than 1930’s Germany. Fortunately we live in a world where we are both better educated and able to communicate globally, than ever before. This means rubbish will indeed be promulgated and, so too, will reasonable and workable ideas and solutions.

    While this world will never be perfect it remains far from the Harquebus Apocalypse.

  70. Harquebus

    Sure about that?

    Something else that I forgot to mention. I have been reading articles from Dr. Binoy Kampmark at that stupid Global Research site for a lot longer than he has been appearing here. Not sure who is reproducing who but, I reckon it would be theAIMN reproducing Global Research articles. If it’s good enough for theAIMN.

  71. mark

    Your voice of reason is a breath of fresh air, harquebus.As for the others,well,enough said.mark

  72. diannaart


    Harquebus’ doom and gloom is a “breath of fresh air” for mark

    Go figure.

  73. Michael Taylor

    I reckon it would be theAIMN reproducing Global Research articles.

    Huh? Not sure I appreciate that.

    We have never reproduced their articles.

    Binoy publishes his own articles here – where he is an approved author – and he also submits those (and other articles) to various sites. I have seen his work in a number of places.

  74. diannaart


    Thank you for the clarification.

    Nevertheless, I remain mystified by H’s comment.

  75. Michael Taylor

    Me too, Diana. Perhaps we momentarily forgot that he is the master of all knowledge. ?

  76. diannaart

    “Master” or suppository? So much changes these days, difficult for the likes of me to keep up.


  77. jimhaz

    [Harquebus’ doom and gloom is a “breath of fresh air” ]

    I’d imagine it would be a breath of fresh air to hear someone say we need far more serious action, like population limitation/decrease, than the current practices of kicking the can down the road and expecting “love” and science alone to cure all human ills at some future point. This is a kind of teflon view…or the sort of thing you’d tell a kid when his father goes off to war.

  78. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    Thanks for that. Duplications and not replications. My apologies.
    It was in response one of Miriam’s comments. Now my argument has to be, if it is good enough for Binoy.

    I would like so much to add to your comment. Unfortunately, no can do.
    Thanks anyway.

  79. paul walter


    Harquebus gets much right then mucks up with self defeating stuff. Yes, you should have been careful to avoid being seen as a Trump defender and the stuff re AIM itself cant win you friends either.

    Just slow down a moment, don’t get carried away in the heat of battle but be mindful, it is not just you that has to understand your own points.

  80. paul walter

    Btw, how about they change Australia day to Eureka Day, surely long over due as to formation of national identity. I know this would perhaps not solve the issue of Invasion Day, but it would be less provocative to first Australians and also eliminate much of the classism inherent with 26/1

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