Protest tactics matter

By 2353NM  Those that demonstrated around the world for ‘Extinction Rebellion’ recently have…

Sometimes Even Censorship Doesn't Help...

Most of you probably saw Monday's papers which contained words interrupted by…

Ted and Edie dance the Rumba

“I saw it happen an’ that’s how I knows it … and…

Morality

By RosemaryJ36  I think we will all go to hell in a hand-basket,…

Surplus to requirements, ScoMo?

Applause, stamping, hoots and catcalls resound up and down our wide brown…

The Coalition money shuffle

One of Joe Hockey’s first acts as Treasurer in 2013 was to…

Celebrity Protesters and Extinction Rebellion

Benedict Cumberbatch. Olivia Colman. Fine actors. They believe in Extinction Rebellion, or…

What The Liberals Did Next And Wasn't It…

Ok, I thought I might be imagining it, but I'll show you…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: ABCC

A Pitchfork for Setka. A Soft Kitty for Hanson: A Tragic Tale

As the media chase CFMEU John Setka down the road with their pitchforks, they stop to slip a hero’s cape over Senator Hanson’s shoulders. Our National Conversation is a tale of two cities. One which contrasts how bigots are protected and those who speak up are condemned.

A Soft Kitty for Hanson

Time and time again we hear Pauline Hanson vilify and deride the vulnerable. Media and Politicians alike then protect her derision and hail her as a hero.

The ‘Autism in Schools Debate’ is a mark where the media and politicians aren’t all beating the same drum.

However, there are still a number of commentators and journalists staying true to the traditional mantra. “Pauline has it right” and “This is what Pauline actually meant.”

Hanson is prone to Dog Whistling – about well anything now. No vulnerable group is immune it seems.

There are those who like to throw Soft Kitty at the Dog Whistle, to muffle it and silence it.

They do this by taking it upon themselves to falsify the meaning of what Hanson said and then explain it to the public as something good (which she did not say).

Soft Kitty Warm Kitty

Singing Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, makes everyone feel better. Those who agree with Hanson, don’t need to be ‘labelled’ as racist, xenophobic, or ableist. Those who cling onto the hatred espoused by Hanson, are touted as the ‘thinkers.’ As the one’s who ‘know’, but never say it.’ AKA  – The Silent Majority.

From “the conversations we need to have” to “This is what Pauline meant to say. There are those who continue to stroke the shitty opinions of those in agreement, by singing this song:

We do not need journalists singing their readers and listeners a soothing song.  We can all cope with discussing the harshness and contempt of Hanson’s words.

No other politician is afforded this type of pandering. None.

Singing Soft Kitty

The “Autism in Schools” debate is peppered with hailing Hanson as a hero who highlights the issue of funding on the basis of inclusion. It was not. It was about exclusion and segregation.

Some consistently falsify the meaning of Hanson’s words to mean something she did not mean. Why?

Insiders on Sunday 25th June (see from 25:10) also put a positive spin on Hanson’s intent.

This example of falsification of meaning from Insiders:

“People got a better sense of Autism from this if there was a positive aspect to it all” (Barry Cassidy)

“…If in a class with an Autistic child or something, it can take up more of the teachers time…..you need an extra teacher or extra resources or staff…. Hanson I think was trying to say all that but it came out all wrong and mean…..it just came out all terrible and that is why everyone jumped ugly on it” (Phillip Coorey).

You can watch the entire ABC The Drum Segment Here.

This example from – The Drum

“……..I don’t think that is what she meant.  I think that what she meant was that it is very, very difficult in a mainstream school. If you are not funding the classroom and funding the teacher and funding the aides to take care of large numbers of children with special needs”

These are examples of respected journalists on widely watched programs. They falsify the meaning of Hanson’s segregation speech as one of ‘misunderstood goodwill.’  It was not. So why reconfigure it?

Pauline Hanson knows exactly what she is doing. She knows her words cause division, upset and harm to others. Her speeches over 20 years which poke and prod at minorities are not just a coincidence.

Hanson means every word she says.

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, purr, purr, purr…..

Pimping our National Conversation with Douchebaggery

Hanson also said in her speech that “we can’t hold these other kids back”  She spoke about the fear of ‘other kids’ missing out on jobs due to kids with disabilities in the classroom getting too much attention. This means “the other” kids will lose their jobs to overseas workers. 

Take note from 14:00

Why is it a part of our national conversation that Hanson’s racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and now ableism is ‘because she means well?”  Media reporting and discussing Hanson in this manner is simply pimping our national conversation with bucketloads of douchebaggery.

Hanson does not mean well at all. For over 20 years she never has. Never will.

If Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull said what Hanson said, would they have excuses made for them? No. No, they would not.

The constant falsification of “What Hanson said” is delegitimising the experiences of anyone who is offended by Hanson’s words, particularly those who are the target of her words.

*No disrespect to the journalists who actually stand up against trash talk by Hanson.

A Pitchfork for Setka

In a compare and contrast, a Union Official emotional at the high number of worker deaths in construction and angry at the Government implemented ABCC which only makes workplaces more unsafe; is slammed backwards to sideways by all and sundry, for an emotionally laden shout down to ABCC Inspectors.

The media have reconfigured Setka’s words to mean something he did not say.  That his main intent was to ‘be a thug’ for the sake of it, rather than highlight the plight of workers.

We have seen Malcolm Turnbull’s rant at the Liberal Love-In this week.

There have been countless headlines condemning Setka, focused particularly for including children in threats and a referral to the Police.

Setka threatened to expose who the secret ABCC inspectors were to family, friends and footy clubs.

“The’ve gotta lead these secret lives because they are ashamed of what they do…We will lobby their neighbourhoods, we will tell them who lives in that house and what he does for a living, or she, and we will go to their local footy club. We’ll go to their local shopping centre. They will not be able to show their faces anywhere. Their kids will be ashamed of who their parents are when we expose these ABCC inspectors” (ABC 23/06/2017)

Setka Clarified his  Speech

Setka has clarified the emotion behind his speech.

“But as a family man and father of three beautiful children, if my comments were taken out of context or if they came across in a manner that was threatening, then I truly apologise,” he said.

“We’ve never gone to people’s homes or involved their families and we never would,” Mr Setka said in his statement.

“The thought of anyone going to someone’s home is reprehensible. My speech reflected the depth of anger construction workers feel about the persecution they face from the ABCC.”

What Setka Really Means is…

Imagine if the media treated John Setka the same way they do Pauline Hanson. Imagine if they listened to his accusation that he was deliberately taken out of context. (ABC 23/06/2017)

Imagine if they pandered to Setka and excused him. Just ‘An uneducated do-gooder, who just can’t can’t get his words right.’

What if the media reconfigured Setka’s speech and framed it all about ‘what he really meant?”

Imagine if the media and politicians framed Hanson as a thug whose words threaten and intimidate minorities and may incite hate crimes and insist she is referred to the police – every time.

What If?

What if Setka was just a man “Brave enough to say what the Silent Majority think?”

If only panel shows around the country discussed that, “He meant he was just angry at the ABCC being a tool of the Government – A Government that clearly shows they have contempt for the working class. A tool that provides an enabling environment for more injury and deaths of workers and rendering the Union powerless to prevent them.’ 

What if they said – Yeh – we should talk about that?

What if Setka was framed as  “A well-intentioned man who just wants to highlight that workers deaths are a huge issue and no one is talking about that?”   

Imagine if workers, risking lives every day in a high-risk industry, made even more dangerous by the ABCC, were treated as the ‘Silent Majority.”  

Imagine if Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese instead of agreeing with Turnbull that the this is just ‘Thuggery’ stepped forward and shouted down the Liberals and the ABCC.  

What if they said that they don’t agree with the way Setka said it, but understood the emotion behind it and then insisted the ABCC be abolished and this is what he really meant?”

If only all Labor MPs and media used this speech as the impetus and insisted we need to have a national conversation about safety at work.

What if the Media chased Turnbull with a pitchfork and insisted he explains the high number of worker deaths?

What if….

A Soft Kitty For Setka

If the media and politicians sang Soft Kitty the way they do for Pauline Hanson and spoke about what they ‘assume’ the underlying intention was, then more conversations would look like this, instead of tirades about Unions being thugs and good for nothing else. Workers deaths and Worker Safety would be highlighted as a real issue of national concern.

Bosses threatening Unionists who are trying to ensure the safety of workers on site, dangerous conditions and worker deaths and how to prevent them, would be the topic of talk-back shows and panels all around the nation.

A Tragic Tale

We have heard post the Grenfell Tower Inferno phrases used such as ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ contrasting the treatment of the poor and the wealthy in the UK.

Our National Conversation is also a tragic tale of two cities. One where the powerful bigots with platforms can demean already vulnerable groups. These bigots then have more powerful people cover up their bigotry. They falsify the meaning of what bigots actually say into something ‘nice’ they did not say and then explain “What they really meant.”

Then we have the underdogs, screaming for someone to notice their plight. Trying to highlight what the rich and powerful are doing to those who do not have full agency, who are not empowered, who do not have a voice.

Whether this is workers, the unemployed or asylum seekers or any other vulnerable group. The same powerful people be it politicians or media, cover up this contempt for these groups, and label them thugs, bludgers and terrorists.

Corbyn’s For the Many, Not for the Few – is not a platitude. It has the ability to change life as we know it. It is time we too, looked at our own national conversations through the lens of a Tale of Two Cities, where the powerful reign and the powerless suffer.

One Nation Voters – Hate the Worker. Hate the Poor

This is the third article in a series which discusses how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation is attacking the worker and the poor.  I am asking One Nation voters to reconsider their vote.

Anecdotally and through observation of social media engagement; One Nation Voters do not represent the elite and wealthy class in Australia. The majority of One Nation voters appear to be either working lower to middle class or recipients of full or part welfare payments.

Other suggestions have been that this party is also the third party choice of ex-Palmer United Party voters. Voters for Palmer were identified as low socio-economic, suburban and rural voters, low education status, unemployed or working part time.

One Nation has decided to support the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) and six billion dollars worth of cuts to welfare.

Hate for the Worker

The support for the ABCC will see a return of a star chamber style inquiry for workers who may stop work due to safety breaches (including deaths in the workplace). There is a punitive motive behind this commission.  That is to deter workers from striking. By sending the message that they will may be fined or jailed if they stop work. The Government is protecting the profits of business.

The worker will have less rights than a murderer, rapist or drug dealer. They will not be entitled to a lawyer and they will not have the right to silence. They can go to jail if they refuse to answer questions.

For One Nation voters reading this, is this the type of workplace you want for either yourself, your family, friends or your children?  How will you cope when your seventeen year old apprentice tradie is facing jail time? Facing jail because they chose to stop work because someone died from an incident on site? One Nation supports that the worker should keep working. They support this even if this means the hazard has not been controlled. They support this even if the workers may be in danger.

Here is what your support for this party, along with Coalition voters will bring to workers:

Does One Nation represent their working voters?

I get that there are many people out there who absolutely hate the worker and hate unions. These people normally support the Liberal and National Parties and Family First. I find it difficult to reconcile that One Nation voters would support a bill that endangers the life of workers. Or vote to see them jailed. I find it hard to reconcile that many people in this group fought hard against the VLAD laws under Newman in QLD, and would support a party that takes away the civil rights of the worker.

Abbott and Turnbull have worked their hardest to bash unions and create a lot of distrust. The existence of unions isn’t some fun game where you get to join in to bash unions. Unions have a legitimate purpose in the workplace. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure the employer provides a safe working environment. A safe working environment means you go home the same (or better) than you went to work.

I think there are a lot of people out there who should be standing up and on the side of the worker and unions. However for some reason choose the side of the elite and the wealthy. Why?

You are now a part of this

As a voter of One Nation, I have heard you say time and time again, that you “Stand up for Australians.” Well where is your empathy for working Australians? Where was your outcry the last few weeks when five workers died in construction and transport?  Where is your attack on Pauline Hanson and her ilk? *Crickets*

Voting isn’t a game. Vote with your heart and your head. The support of this bill will ruin the lives of hard working Australians and you are now a part of that.

The harsh reality that One Nation voters will need to face, along with Liberal and National party voters, is that workers will die because of this bill.

If you voted for One Nation in the faith that they would be good for the “Average Australian” please start taking a lot of notice of what they support in the Senate and reconsider your vote.

Hate for the Poor

The other plan that Pauline Hanson announced that they are supporting, is six billion dollars of cuts to welfare.

In a nutshell, this is taking money away from anyone who receives family payment, all pensioners (including veterans) and families who have just had a baby.  In addition, if you lose your job you will need to wait for four weeks for any unemployment benefit. Some who live week to week will get kicked out of rental accommodation. They will not be able to afford food. They will not be able to even purchase items for hygiene such as soaps, shampoo or women’s sanitary products, which are essential, not a luxury item.

This will increase homelessness, poverty and crime. Having no money for phone or transport will actually make it harder for people to find work. This then makes it easier for the Government to punish people and cut them off unemployment for longer periods.

The original period was six months and Labor, the Greens and Jackie Lambie fought against this and now the Government is ‘compromising’ and have changed it to four weeks.

Here is a video about poverty in Australia. Pauline Hanson thinks that by making poverty worse, it will force people to get a job. You know and I know that, that is a ridiculous way to look at the world. Especially if you have lived it or are living it. Especially when you know that there are 19 jobseekers for every job.

I am absolutely livid. Why aren’t you?

I know people who voted for Hanson understand what it is like to live week to week. I know they know what a struggle that is. Imagine at the end of that week when you are checking your bank every five minutes – there is another three weeks to go. What would you do?  What is the party you voted for supporting?  I am asking you very sincerely to really think about this. Please put yourself in their shoes, if they are not your own. I am asking you to have empathy for these people and I want to know why you are not angry – because I am livid.

Pauline Hanson is not standing up for Australians. It is time to have a think about whether she is just another politician who has pulled the wool over the eyes of voters. It is time to think about what her real motives are.

I am targeting Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party because they asked genuine good hearted Australians for their vote, on the illusion that her party would help people who are doing it tough. Hanson knows very well, that Australians are passionate about standing up for the battler. She marketed her party to appeal to those emotions.

I know that so many people have lost faith in politics. I know that so many people out there are looking for a third option. Pauline Hanson knows this and this is why she has made a come back. I am angry because she has tricked so many good people and promoted her party based on lies.

Conclusion

Pauline Hanson is an ex-Liberal party member who was sacked from the party because her racism against Aboriginal people and Asian people was so nasty, even the Liberals did not want her.  She has always believed that those who own their own businesses are ‘harder workers’ than the average Australian worker and she has never had time for anyone on welfare.

For those who say that ‘I need to familiarise myself with Hanson’s policies’ she is proving that her policies are not worth the paper they are written on.

A leopard does not change it’s spots and Hanson will not change hers. If you truly voted for this party, not because you agree with her racist beliefs, but you truly believed that she would stand up for the battler and the average Australian. Please take heed of her history and her actions now and reconsider your vote.

One Nation Voters – Nationalism, Patriotism and the ABCC

This is the first part in a series where I will discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote their party compared to who they really are.  I will pose the question that if you voted for them, is this who you really are?  This article will discuss Patriotism versus Nationalism and the ABCC. The piece of legislation that sent us to a double dissolution election.

For those who voted for the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party; I do not believe that all of you truly share the values of this Party.  I would propose that if many Hanson voters really looked at what has occurred so far in only 100 days, and listened to the content of the various Senator’s maiden speeches; they would realise that ‘that does not sound like me at all’ and reconsider their vote next time.

I ask you, if you voted for One Nation, please consider the discussion below and answer these questions:

  1. Am I a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Do One Nation really represent what I believe in?

Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?

Patriotism

nationalism-versus-patriotism

Did you vote for the One Nation Party because you believe in Patriotism?  Did you vote for One Nation, because you strongly believe we need to be very respectful to our flag and our Nation?  I expect many of you did.  I also would believe that many people when they think about protecting our rights and our freedom get quite emotional about our fallen soldiers, returned heroes and our veterans.

Many of us have an uncle, a father, a brother a son or a grandfather who has fought in a war and some have family and friends who are still there. Many of us today have an aunt, a mother, a sister or a daughter who have served and in the armed forces today.

Without those who fought for our freedom, where would we be today? That is a rather scary thought, isn’t it?

As a Laborist, I also get quite emotional about the men and women who have fought for our work rights.  I topped my Industrial Relations class at University with a very proud 99.5%, if I can take a self-serving moment to brag. This was not just because I was studious. It was because I was absolutely consumed with the fight for work rights and how important it is. How it goes to the very reason we get up in the morning. How important standing together and solidarity are to achieving justice and fairness.

We work to live, not live to work.  Our industrial relations history is the blood, sweat and tears and the backbone of Australia. It is the backbone of the fair go.

These brave unionised workers were jailed, beaten and killed and many families, including children went without food; just so we could have decent work rights today.

This struggle is still not over. Our country’s fine men and women are out there every single day fighting for safety at work and for decent pay and conditions. The fight is endless. Yet Hanson, along with the LNP call these unionised workers thugs.  You decide if the men and women in the videos posted below are thugs.

As at 7 October, 129 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2016.  I refuse to accept that number ever. The only acceptable number is zero.

I know if you do describe yourself as a patriot; there is no way in the world you would stand for companies cutting costs on safety for their own greed if it means people die at work. If that means they never ever come home to their families, including their kids.  I know even though you voted for Hanson, I believe most of you would stand on the side of safety of the worker. Unfortunately, your vote brought four politicians to the Senate who do not stand with the worker.

If Hanson is a Patriot, her party would NOT support the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Why? Because good and decent Australians do not accept a secret star chamber.  This is where there is an accident at work and your apprentice son or your brother or your worker husband, wife, friend or family member is hauled in for questioning and does not have the same legal rights as everyone else.

This could be you or even your children. Workers and apprentices are not allowed to have you as a parent in there as a support person or even have their lawyer by their side.  In fact, if they even talk about what happened in the interview, a worker can be fined and jailed.  They are intimidated and scared into saying what the others want them to say.

How the hell is that Australian and Patriotic? It is far from it.

Here are two clips about the ABCC.  One is the real experience of a former apprentice and the other is a more lengthy video detailing the experiences of many others.

Video 1 – ABCC Interrogation full version

Video 2 – Constructing Fear – ABCC an attack on all workers

In the first video you can see the blatant unfairness of the secret star chamber that workers are exposed to. This is taking away the civil rights of workers. For those who stood against Newman’s Bikie Laws in QLD, this is the same thing. These people too lost their civil rights under this law. I stood with them and I also stand with the worker. Do you? As a Hanson voter you are voting to say you don’t.

In the second video, you can really see the emotional toll the ABCC has on workers, even on really strong men.  Hanson cannot appeal to your emotions on male depression and suicide on one hand and then support a piece of legislation that sees men break down and families break up.

In short – Pauline Hanson has fed you utter bullshit and if you voted for her, you should call her out on it.

Yesterday Pauline Hanson and One Nation announced that they would support the ABCC.

Supporting a legislation that does these things to workers, is not Patriotism.

There is nothing more important to me than protecting the rights or the worker, the safety of the worker and protecting those who cannot work.  It goes to the very heart of who we are as people.

Regardless of who you respect, armed servicemen or unionists and the workers who have built this great country. When we reflect and think of them and everything they have allowed us to have; it is quite an emotional experience.  We feel a sense of pride. It is a collective pride, everyone standing together side by side, regardless of race, colour or creed. I share that with you.  That is Patriotism. One Nation is not patriotism. One Nation are Nationalists.  It is even right there in their name.

Nationalism

patriotism-versus-nationalism

The One Nation Party are not Patriots. They are Nationalists.  I know many of you do not trust politicians.  Pauline Hanson is no different. Why do you automatically give her that trust? She should deliver what you the voter really believe in and what she sold you, not what she actually believes in. This is what you should challenge her and her party on. She only promotes her party as Patriots because she knows it connects with your emotions.

For minor parties who never will Govern and have the Prime Minister as leader of their party and never need to make the tough decisions, this is their main strategy.  These parties will appeal to you on certain issues and they will target your emotions. Even if you think these types of parties are not ‘political’ like the major parties, that is not true. 

They are in politics because they are political. That is why Pauline Hanson pretends they are Patriots, when they are indeed Nationalists.  She does this because she needs your vote for her own power.  As ugly as this fact is for ALL parties, they do need your vote.  Other parties will stand broadly for what they stand for: Labor – The Worker, The Liberals: Conservatism, The Greens: Environmentalism. However, The One Nation party leads people to believe that other parties don’t really show what they stand for and One Nation is different. Well, yes they are; but not in the way they portray themselves as in a ‘different good’.  They actually promote their party as the opposite to who they are.  Although Nationalism and Patriotism share a love for country, they are polar opposites in all other respects.

In the section on Patriotism above; I spoke about being proud of your country for people doing great things, that makes the country what it is today.  I spoke about the collective effort and burden shared amongst us and how important it is that we stand together.  Patriotism is about togetherness and peace. Nationalism is not. Nationalism is about ‘us and them’ and resentment.

This is where I believe the problem lies for many people taking offence when other people call them racist because they supported Pauline Hanson. When these people do treat other people fairly and.are not inherently racist. It is the disconnect between feeling you are a patriot but following and promoting nationalism, is why others may confuse you as racist. It is because you are misrepresenting yourself. It is like being very pro-union but voting for the Liberal Party and speaking highly of them. It misrepresents who you are.

Patriotism is built on peace. Nationalism is built on rejecting those we don’t want to share our peace with. It is about choosing who belongs and who doesn’t. Why should Pauline Hanson decide who belongs and who doesn’t?  She is asking you to stand with her and take away all the wonderful things that make up a person and just judge them by one thing – they race, colour or religion.  That is not patriotism. But she told you it was. She lied.

The problem is because regardless of the emotional attachment people may have to their vote, it can be hard to accept, that a non-racist person did vote for a racist party. The One Nation party is racist. They are a racist party and they are an intolerant party. Every speech so far has separated out different groups of people by race or religion. They speak about different laws for people who are not Christian, when Australia is a secular nation. It is racist and intolerant because it is Nationalist.  What happens when you, your loved ones or friends are the targets of this type of intolerance?  

The difference between Nationalism and Patriotism is race and national identity are very important to Nationalism, but not Patriotism. Patriotism is about loving your country regardless of who makes up that country.  

Nationalism is explained as this:

Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.

In short, Nationalism does not believe that everyone is equal or deserves equality. Where as a Patriot does.

Patriots respect their country in a peaceful way, where as Nationalists are militant and aggressive and angry about protecting their country and have it remain as the ideal they believe that country should be.  What happens when you, or a loved one does not fit that ideal? You become the ‘them’ in ‘us and them.’ That is not patriotism, but nationalism.

Nationalist believe that their ‘race’ is more superior than any other attribute and this is what defines the greatness of a country.  Whereas Patriotism is about peace and togetherness; regardless of race. Pauline Hanson will state openly that she is not racist. However, her speech and the speeches of her Senators completely contradict this fact. This is now proven, every day of the 100 days since the election.

Patriotism is about believing your country is great and believing we can work together to improve it. Nationalists already believe their country is the best and nothing should change at all costs. Nationalists believe that foreigners are a danger to the ideal country, where as a patriot embraces the values of a peaceful co-existence and aims to prosper together.  The One Nation Senator calling for a “Patriots” TV Channel – is another blatant misrepresentation of who they are.  

One Nation will say anything to have you believe they are patriots, the same as the Liberals will try to make out they care about people.

With regards to the ABCC legislation discussed above; a Patriot would stand up for their workmate regardless of who they are or where they have come from or where their parents or grandparents have come from and regardless of what religion or sexual orientation or gender they are. To a patriot safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your safety is their safety.

A Nationalist, would seek to place blame on anyone who was not in the defined bubble of ‘what they see as Australian.’ They would believe only the worker who they considered an ‘Australian’ has a right to safety at work. A nationalist would see the harm of a worker who is defined as ‘non-Australian’ as justified.

A nationalist would push you to believe there was something about the foreigner that was a danger to your safety at work.  We see this in many examples of the One National party member’s rhetoric. For example, calling for a ban on Muslims when we do have Muslims living peacefully in our communities and they cause no harm.  In fact, they are business owners and workers, doctors and nurses, construction workers and cleaners. They are students and graduates. They share our dreams because they are not ‘they,’ they are us. They are our friends and our neighbours. There is absolutely no reason to separate out one group, and request a separate law for that group, other than racism, or bigotry

There is absolutely no evidence that Muslims break the law any more than any other sector of society. Yet, a law is not requested for any other group, because no other group incites fear simply due to the fact that radical Muslims are also terrorists. Hanson promotes the terrorism, but she never promotes the fact that the majority of victims of ISIS are Muslims.

The important thing for Nationalists is to prevent anyone who does not fit the ‘ideal’ to be excluded and treated differently.  This is the evidence from One Nation so far.

This is not patriotism.  

Nationalism places the superiority of national identity and race above all else, even if the consequences are harmful.

By One Nation Party promoting their party as Patriots and not Nationalists, if you are a patriot, what you believed you voted for; is not what you got in return.

George Orwell explained Nationalism very well:

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

I do not believe that the majority of One Nation voters automatically segregate people into good or bad, through class, race or creed.  However, this is the essential value, which drives the One Nation Party platform and it is evident every time Hanson or her Senators speak.  All I ask is that you really listen and make your own judgements and challenge what they are really saying. Ask yourself, “would I be comfortable if this was said about me?”.

Conclusion

I will finish with a quote from Sudhanva D Shetty of the Huffington Post:

Love for one’s country is imperative and necessary, but if this love becomes more important than Constitutional values or democratic ideals, it is misplaced.

If you voted for Hanson, because you are a Patriot. Your vote has been misplaced.

Stand up, listen and speak up to the One Nation party and hold them to account for everything you believe you voted for, but didn’t get. Do not treat them with kid gloves. Place the same expectations on them as you do other parties. They are not victims. They are politicians.

If you truly believe in patriotism, challenge and re-think your own support for One Nation’s Nationalism, as this is the opposite of who you really are.

For One Nation Voters…..

  1. Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Does the One Nation Party really represent what you believe in?

patrotism-versus-nationalism

Originally Published on Polyfeministix

What do our politicians do?

What, exactly, do our politicians do?

Today, Monday 18 April 2016, the Turnbull government took the almost unprecedented step of recalling all of Parliament for a three-week “emergency sitting” to debate and pass – or, hopefully, fail to pass – two specific pieces of legislation.

Much has been written about the government’s real motivations behind this recall and debate. With the repeated defeat of the ABCC “productivity” bill, Malcolm Turnbull has his double dissolution trigger. But before the vote, with its commonly expected outcome, the Senate spent a large portion of the day discussing the bill.

I had the pleasure of listening to Senator Scott Ludlam’s speech on the subject. Senator Ludlam’s speeches are almost always worth listening to – go on, listen to one or two right now, we’ll wait.

If you just took the opportunity to watch some of Ludlam’s speeches, or have previously done so, beside the clear speaking, reliance on facts and withering irony that he brings to his every contribution, the other notable feature of Scott Ludlam’s speeches is that the chamber is almost invariably almost empty.

It would seem fair to assume that on a matter of such national importance that Malcolm Turnbull would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring “nearly 150 MPs and their staff… back to Parliament from around the country”, that said MPs would want to listen with avid attention to the speeches in response. Presumably the job of an MP is to attend sittings of Parliament, engage in the discussions and debate there, and form an opinion on the subject at hand prior to casting their vote.

One might make that assumption, but one would evidently be wrong. Any cursory viewing of either Parliament or the Senate will show the real situation – wide swathes of benches, primarily governmental and opposition, clear of occupants. That is, until the bells are rung for a vote.

Debates in the Parliament and the Senate, it seems, exist for the sake of posterity and inclusion in Hansard, not to inform the level of understanding of those about to decide on the future of the country. Is it any wonder Question Time so often descends into farce? The stakes are so low, with all – or at least most – MPs already set in their intended vote, that they need to pass the time somehow. The result is a system of government too easily interrupted by process – filibusters, suspensions of standing orders, points of order, and political games such as tying unpalatable bills to legislation of clear national and popular importance, forcing MPs to vote against the good to prevent the bad, or to vote for the bad to achieve the good.

So if they’re not spending their time in their seats in the Chamber, what do our politicians do?

They don’t write their own articles.

They don’t even fact-check, or apparently have very much knowledge about the subject matter of their portfolio. Scott Ryan’s recent snafu with plagiarism is only the most recent of a continual string of egregious failures. Sometimes it seems that if politics were a school class, most Australian politicians would get a failed grade on account of not bothering with even the most rudimentary editing of their copied work.

They don’t rely on expert witnesses.

Greg Hunt, apparently the closest thing the Coalition has to a climate expert, went no further in his research than to visit a wikipedia page. Relying on Wikipedia would bring a failing grade for a student’s essay; why should we accept it from our elected leaders?

They don’t appear to have much knowledge of party processes that fall into their direct remit.

Nor do they seem to take an active involvement in running the companies of which they are the directors.  Sometimes it appears that politicians spend more time disavowing any knowledge of things happening in their own department than it would have taken to simply be aware in the first place. It helps that they seem to have such fallible memories. Even if they know something now, they almost certainly won’t know it by the time it becomes the subject of an inquiry. This is a peculiarly specific talent that seems unique to our politicians.

What our politicians do appear to spend plenty of time doing is sledging. Almost every federal politician in Australia, a refined product of the political system, is well-versed in holding the party line, spouting off talking points and heckling during whatever speeches they don’t manage to avoid being present for. Some might consider these to be lower-order priorities than the activities that might actually lead to better legislation.

It’s not as if we don’t pay our politicians enough. Even the most obscure of backbenchers [not] sitting in the pews at the back of the chamber is earning six figures – twice. If you’re reading this, almost certainly every federal politician earns more than you by a number of multiples. It has been said that “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”, as if that were a defense of exorbitant parliamentary salaries, but research has shown that the benefits of lifting politicians’ pay start to even out once the level of remuneration reaches a comparative middle class wage. Middle class wage is approximately the average full-time wage, or just under $81,000. Clearly we pay above the curve. Politicians and economists are wont to point out that if you pay less, you won’t attract the people you want into politics, or keep them there. Amanda Vanstone has argued that Australian politicians earn much less than company directors and others in big business. This brings us to the corollary. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys; if you pay a corporate salary, you get businessmen. Oddly, people rarely seem to question whether businessmen make the best politicians.

So, whilst Parliament and the Senate spend the next three weeks in Canberra having already voted down the extremely critical piece of legislation the Government absolutely needed to have passed, just remember they’re earning a bare minimum of $11,483 for their efforts. And keep that number in mind when you see pictures of empty seats. You’re paying for them to not be sitting there.

Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”

After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!

In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”

Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!

Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.

To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used … If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.

The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:

Ten Things More Reckless than Funding Gonski:

1. Not Giving a Gonski

Education changes people’s lives.  The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education.  It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.

The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.

2. The Job Seekers can Starve for Six Months Policy

This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.) 

3. Trashing Labor’s FTTP NBN 

I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwatQqj3Hvs&w=560&h=315]

4. The Trade Union Royal Commission

Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of  very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og-GzJwprbw&w=560&h=315]

5. Attacking the Most Sick and Vulnerable in Our Society

The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die.  This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country.  No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.    

6. Being a Fake Friend

Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work.  How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it.  Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN65QxIzbtY&w=560&h=315]

7. Attacks on low paid workers and their families

The push from the Abbott-Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.

8. The Government’s policy of Secrets and Lies

The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging.  The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.

9. Income Management – Basic and Healthy Welfare Cards

The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.

10. Not allowing a free vote in Parliament on Marriage Equality

One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion.  I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday.  The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.

Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?

Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.

Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.

By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress.  As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.

It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.

Conclusion

If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months.  Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks.  To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.

 

Previously published on Polyfeministix

Heads up

image

In April 2001 the Minister for Workplace Relations, Tony Abbott, asked the Employment Advocate to provide a report “regarding behaviour in the building industry”.  This led to the Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry, costing taxpayers $60 million, making it one of the most expensive in Australia’s history.

The Commission was criticised as ‘politically biased and fanatically anti-union’.  The Victorian Council for Civil Liberties noted that the ‘perception of a political agenda was reinforced by the method in which the commission gathered evidence and conducted its investigations’. Of particular concern was the curtailment of the rights to legal representation and cross-examination.

Victorian Secretary of the Construction Division of the CFMEU, Martin Kingham, was charged with contempt after failing to produce requested documents detailing the names and personal details of trade unionists who participated in a union training school.

Mr Kingham maintained that he did not have any such documents and did not know if they even existed.  He successfully defended the charge and costs were awarded against the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions.  Outside the court, Mr Kingham said the political witch-hunt masterminded by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott had been exposed.

“Abbott and Howard cashed up the Cole Royal Commission with $60 million of your money and mine so it could hunt down legitimate unions and workers,” Mr Kingham said.

“Abbott is so obsessed with his anti-union agenda he’ll go to any lengths to stir up trouble. His agenda is to drag people through the courts, to spend taxpayers’ money to tie up the unions in costly legal actions.”

“This bloke is a joke. He ought to be sacked or at least put on a short leash so he can do as little damage as possible to Australian workers and industry until the whole anti-union mob can be tossed out at the next election,” Mr Kingham said.

Although hundreds of allegations of criminal behaviour were referred to the Cole Royal Commission, they resulted in only one conviction — and that involved an employer.

Recommendations from the Royal Commission led to the setting up of the Australian Building and Construction Commission in 2005 to be, using Tony Abbott’s oft-repeated phrase, the “tough cop on the beat”, and it was given powers that greatly exceeded those given to any police officer in the nation.

“The ABCC can force people to answer questions in secret and to reveal documents that relate to any of its investigations. This negates a person’s right to silence. It also removes their privilege against self-incrimination, a protection that has been described by the High Court as a ”cardinal principle of our system of justice” and a ”bulwark of liberty”.

There are no limits on the type of information that can be sought by the ABCC. A person can be compelled to hand over personal phone and email records, reveal memberships of a union or political party, and report on private meetings.

This can be applied to anyone. Workers can be brought in, not because they are suspected of wrongdoing, but to report on the activities of their co-workers. Family members, including young children, can be told to reveal information about a parent in the building industry.

In case there was any doubt about the scope of these powers, the law says that the ABCC can override the protections that innocent people have under privacy law. The law may well be unique in also allowing the commission to ignore the confidentiality of cabinet documents and to demand secret national security information held by agencies such as ASIO.

The problem is not just one of extraordinary power, but also that the expected safeguards have been stripped away. Unlike other bodies that question people, the ABCC does not need a warrant from a judicial officer or other independent person. The normal grounds of reviewing its decisions have also been excluded, meaning federal law cannot be used to argue that the ABCC has breached the rules of natural justice or made a decision in bad faith.”

“The ABCC constitutes a frontal attack on basic legal and democratic rights. It can demand that a worker submit to interrogation on pain of prosecution. Its inspectors can enter building sites, interview anyone without a lawyer present, demand documents and force people to provide information relating to industrial action or internal union business. The watchdog also has the power to initiate prosecutions with fines of up to $110,000 against unions or $22,000 against individuals for taking unlawful industrial action. Disclosing the contents of an ABCC interrogation can lead to six months’ imprisonment, as can refusing to attend a hearing or answer questions.”

In August 2008, Noel Washington, a CFMEU official, was summonsed to appear before Geelong Magistrates Court for refusing to comply with summons issued by the ABCC which alleged that Washington had distributed a flyer that made “derogatory” remarks about a Bovis Lend Lease site manager.  (Where was Tim Wilson when we needed him.).  Six days before his trial, the DPP dropped the charges.

In December, the Fairfax press reported on the case of a Melbourne academic — which it was prevented under the ABCC’s legislation from even naming — who witnessed a scuffle while walking past a building site and found himself under interrogation by the ABCC and under threat of imprisonment if he revealed his interrogation to anyone.

In its 2008 submission to the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations, a consortium of four unions, estimated that since 2003 more than a quarter of a billion dollars had been spent on the Cole Royal Commission and the establishment and operations of the ABCC. This is claimed to be about 10 times more than the sum received during the same period by Cancer Australia and the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The unions pointed out certain facts.

  • The number of deaths have gone up since 2005: from 3.14 per 100,000 workers in 2004 – before the ABCC started – to 4.8 per 100,000 workers in 2007 and 4.27 in 2008.
  • Threats of fines, interrogations by the ABCC and imprisonment make it harder for construction workers to take a stand over poor safety.
  • Construction workers have to be able to prove that ‘there was an imminent risk to their health and safety’ to avoid fines for stopping work over safety matters.
  • The ABCC has a track record of pursuing workers and Occupational Health and Safety Authorities for court investigations where workers take action to defend their safety.
  • The ABCC has never taken an employer to court over breaches of Occupational Health and Safety laws.
  • Research has shown that where there is a strong union presence at construction workplaces, there are fewer serious injuries and deaths.
  • Construction remains one of Australia’s top four most dangerous industries, accounting for 24% – the highest number – of work-related fatalities in 2008, according to the latest available Australian Safety & Compensation Commission report.
  • Australia’s Construction Industry Laws have been condemned six times by the International Labour Organisation.
  • The ABCC will cost Australian taxpayers $165.4 million for the period 2007-08 to 2011-12, under budget forward estimates.

Adelaide worker Ark Tribe was the first union member to be charged with failing to attend a hearing of the ABCC in 2008.  Mr Tribe had been summonsed to appear at the ABCC after he walked off a construction site at Flinders University over safety concerns and if convicted, faced a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

Mr Tribe was found not guilty of the charge in November 2010 and, in 2012, the legal saga finally concluded when Commonwealth prosecutors agreed to pay $105,000 for his legal fees.

In 2010, Julia Gillard removed John Lloyd from his position as head of the ABCC.  He moved on to become the director of the Work Reform and Productivity Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, and then, in January 2013, was appointed as Victoria’s new “red tape commissioner” charged with waging a war on red tape to boost productivity and reduce costs for Victorian businesses.

The ABCC was replaced by Fair Work Building Construction in 2012.  The Fair Work Act has delivered significant labour productivity growth and low wage growth, with industrial disputation far below the average level of the Howard years, but Tony Abbott has said “To let the militant unions of this city and state know that the rule of law must always prevail we will re-establish the ABCC and finish the job . . . The law must be supreme, no one is above the law.”

In the leaders’ debate in August 2013, Tony Abbott, when promoting his role in creating the Australian Building and Construction Commission, said:

“That led to the achievement of some $6 billion a year in productivity savings and in cost reductions to consumers in the commercial construction sector,” he told the Brisbane people’s forum.

This claim has been labelled mostly false by Politifact.

Abbott sourced the $6 billion figure from a 2010 report prepared by the Canberra consultancy Econtech for the Master Builders Association.  Justice Murray Wilcox in 2009 described an Econtech report on construction industry productivity as “deeply flawed” and that it “ought to be totally disregarded.”

Now Econtech has produced a new report that, according to Bernard Keane, “makes that effort look like the gold standard of intellectual rigour”.  He goes on to say “OK, so rubbish reports like this are common as muck, true. But this is more significant because it’s on the basis of stuff like this that the Coalition has committed to reinstitute a major attack on basic rights. And that attack will not just be on the rights of construction industry unionists, but all of us.”

Scroll Up