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Thank you, Ms. McManus, and congratulations

Dear friends of The AIMN,

On 15 March 2017 the battered Australian Broadcasting Commission went on air with a 7.30 Report interview to Ms. Sally McManus by the reporter Leigh Sales.

That part of the transcript was headed: “New ACTU secretary Sally McManus says she doesn’t see a problem with workers breaking laws when the laws are unjust.”

The exact words passing between Ms. Sales and Ms. McManus were:

“LEIGH SALES: Yet nonetheless, we live in a country where there are laws that are established by a parliament that all citizens are expected to abide by. So, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with those laws, you said that you believe in the rule of law?

SALLY MCMANUS: Yeah, I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair, when the law is right. But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

I never met Ms. McManus and I only exchanged with her an email on 15.02.2016 when I was researching a certain topic to which she had amply and quite diligently contributed. Unfortunately, Ms. McManus replied  – promptly I should add – “my website is down and I’m currently trying to get it up.” End of the contact.

When I first saw and heard Ms. McManus on the 7.30 Report I felt in complete agreement with her. I still am. So, I wrote that much at the old address the day after; there was no reply. I wrote again on 17.03.2017 at her new place of employment – but I expect no reply.

Ms. McManus and I have something in common. We both come from backgrounds which were ravaged by occupiers, albeit at very different times. My remote place of origin was almost completely destroyed by the Roman invaders (@1,000 b.c.e.). Everything standing was destroyed and what could be stolen is now kept in the largest Etruscan Museum, in the Vatican State. We are dealing with receivers of stolen goods, an event quite familiar to the original inhabitants of the place the British claimed in 1770 and occupied in 1788.

I noted in a short biography that Ms. McManus attended Carlingford High School and studied for a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Macquarie University. One guess: Carlingford was most likely named after Carlingford in Ireland. It is not sectarian – quite the contrary, but another guess is that Ms. McManus is of Irish origin. And, if that is so, she has memory of the occupation of her country of origin by more recent barbarians. Her name is also encountered in Scotland, still occupied by the same barbarians. Both McManus and MacManus derive from the Gaelic Mac Mághnais, which in turn is derived from the popular Norse name Magnus, meaning ‘great’. Incidentally, one of the leaders of the Norwegian resistance against the German invaders (1940-1945) was a McManus. The Norse introduced the name in Ireland but it took on its own separate identity and is now predominantly Irish.

And now to the point of this note: if Australia were a seriously multicultural society it would pay due homage to the substance of that – that is to say, truly to being multicultural – by appreciating the contribution that Hellenism made to it with the arrival of so many people from Greece. Many, many moons ago I used to frequent a Greek club, and I recall quite vividly one of my Greek friends reacting in an ecstatic way at my mentioning Antigone. He thought I knew about her, and that I was familiar with Sophocles – hence we were not only friends, but special friends.

Of course, I knew about Sophocles’ works because of five years of ancient Greek prior and as a condition of admission to university. That ancient I am! Briefly: Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, followed her father when he was banished from his city. When her brothers Eteocles and Polynices killed each other in the war of the Seven against Thebes. Creon, king of Thebes, forbade the burial of the rebel Polynices. Antigone disobeyed his command and performed the funeral service. The moral point of the tragedy is that one must disobey unjust laws.

The mandate is imperative; it leaves no room for the quick but sick humour of the Honourable Christopher Pyne, MP brand, who called Ms. McManus’ statement “anarcho-Marxist claptrap”, or for the delirium of the Honourable (?) Peter Dutton, MP, who called Ms. McManus “lunatic”.

When it comes to the Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull one is in the presence of a cut above the rest, not as high as he would have it, but definitively so: Sydney Grammar School, Sydney University B.A., LL.B., Rhodes Scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he attained a Bachelor of Civil Law.

What the Prime Minister said, and I am sure will repeat with greater, orotund, pompously-mannered vigor, reminded me of an interview to Ms. McManus, during the course of which she was asked: “Do you have a favourite quote? (and replied) I rather like Harry Frankfurt observation in ‘On Bullshit’ that: “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”

And, before some impolite ignoramus erupts in outrage and gets all worked-up, I should add: as I write I am looking at ‘On bullshit’ by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 2005). Harry G. Frankfurt (vintage 1929) is a renowned moral philosopher, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.

Thank you, Ms. McManus, and once again congratulations.

And thanks to the friends of The AIMN for reading this.

Warmest regards,

Outsider.

 

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23 comments

  1. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I rang ACTU to pass message onto Sally McManus that she was right to say unjust laws should be broken.

    She has shown great leadership already for taking that stand.

    Next she wants to head the People’s Movement. I’m with her all the way.

    I want the end to neoliberalism and a return to democratic socialism.

  2. Terry2

    If a law is unjust, it is a fundamental right in a democracy that the citizens can protest or campaign against that law. When the government introduces a law to make such protests unlawful then there is an absolute right for citizens to protest and if that law is breached then so be it : change the law !

    We need a Bill of Rights in this country.

  3. Keitha Granville

    Bill of Rights – now.
    Good for her, more forthright people like her in houses of Parliament would be good. Unlikely.

  4. brickbob

    I would’nt worry too much about the questions from Leigh Sales or ” Red” as the conservative pollies all know her by that nickname….. she is \ was a personal friend of Bill Leak so we all know where her political loyalites lie.
    Go Sally you good thing………..

  5. Gangey1959

    If all laws were right (and just) we wouldn’t have all of the kindergartenal carryon in parliament every time something has to be achieved. The mad monk made himself famous for (apart from knighting prince phillip) opposing EVERYTHING, with ”nope, nope, nope” as his warcry.
    As an answer to ”Do you have a brain cell in your head?” it explained a lot.
    Little johnny’s altering of the definition of marriage has left us in the situation where there is not even a bad law to cover some peoples’ marital status at a national level, so we are now in the throes of the”Marriage Equality” debate, broken promises, abuse, and no common sense whatsoever.
    In the current age where wages are seen as the only thing that stands between corporate success and failure, breaking the ”law” is becoming more and more necessary, because the law(s) as it stands is unbalanced and unfair.
    As a person who had a fairly self supporting home business for many years, and who is now on newstart until ”something better” comes along, I can honestly state that it wasn’t the cost of hiring assistance when I needed it, or the wages of outsourced services employees.
    What ”killed” me was the changes to the laws that made it possible for my clients to go to the internet and buy finished product for less than I could buy blank garments, and FTA’s that enabled suppliers from north of the equator to come in with their product, staff, sevices and machinery and just undercut everyone.
    The wage cuts at CUB are not the difference between financial success and failure for sab miller, yet the workers on strike are the ones being blamed for the disruption and falling sales. When, and I say WHEN not if, Kraft close down their plant in Port Melbourne that is where Vegemite has been made since before the Big Bang they will cite high wages as being a major factor. The fact that the plant is so outdated and in desperate need of upgrade to the point that they will just move it, probably to another country wont enter the picture.
    There is ”Rule of Law” which we hear hurled across the chamber in Canberra all to often. There are JUST laws. And there are Unjust laws.
    And WE have a duty to break them until they are made JUST.
    Sally is right.

  6. Kaye Lee

    The Protection from Protesters bill, which passed Tasmania’s lower house in June 2014, proposed fining demonstrators who “prevent, hinder, or obstruct the carrying out of a business activity” up to $10,000. Second and repeat offenders would face mandatory jail terms of up to two years.

    But after a backlash from unions, civil libertarians, the farmers’ lobby and a UN rapporteur who called the bill “shocking”, the state government is moving amendments to avoid what the state’s resources minister, Paul Harriss, has called “unintended consequences”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/28/tasmania-to-narrow-anti-protest-laws-to-target-anti-forestry-and-mining-activists

    How do you get unjust laws changed without protest?

    Aside from that, under the Fair Work Act 2009, industrial action does not include action taken by an employee if it was based on a reasonable concern about an imminent risk to their health or safety. It is not illegal to stop work on an unsafe site.

    http://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/industrial-action

  7. guest

    I am reminded of the Refugee Convention to which Oz was a signatory – and how the Right of our fair country said we do not have to follow that Convention and decided to make up their own rules. Even when the New Guinea government declared the use of Manus as illegal and unconstitutional, the Right continued to use Manus as part of its on-going detention.

    They took no notice of the UNHCR or Amnesty International or any other critics.

    More recently Murdochians have been telling CEOs of companies that they have no right to speak on ethical matters because they are not politicians and, anyway, they are too often foreign tax avoiders – our PM not one of those, apparently.

    How did we get to this? And what happens next?

  8. Roswell

    A delightful little read. Thank you.

  9. Susan

    I stumbled upon the Leigh sales interview by chance and was in awe of Sally McManus and her calm truth….such a refreshing change.

  10. Dave

    Can work with that law breaker Andy Bolt (18c)and waste millions of dollars of Parliamentary time to change it to suite instead of fixing and governing for all Australians . Didn’t Gerry Harvey break Western Australian laws to open Sundays and eventually got the Sunday trading laws changed?

  11. David1

    Sally revealed what an absolute phony Sales is. She has no idea how to conduct an unbiased, honest, professional current affairs interview. Her personal political right wing, Conservative bias is exposed time and again. Her glass jaw cannot cope with criticism and blocks her critics with liberal abandon.

    Sally McManus is a solid intelligent woman, an important addition to the Union Executive ranks and has already shown top leadership and brought home to Turnbull and his Union attack dogs. the lady is not for backing off. All Union members will welcome her warmly.

    Thanks for the article.

  12. Steve Laing

    Its not just Sales, it is the entire ABC. Whether its Fran suggesting that pumped hydro is a new technology (because Turnbull is proposing it) when it has in fact been around for 100+ years, or its the expansion of programs hosted by Switzer or Vanstone, which have simply become opportunities for them to peddle their rightwing opinions ably supported by a willing cast of similarly opinionated guests. There are a few pockets of resistance which hold to the standards of professional journalism, but they appear to be fast disappearing.

    If McManus is suggesting a People’s Movement (something that Shorten SHOULD be doing, and the very fact that he always seems to believe that change can only come via Parliament does suggest he is as much part of that “elite” as the politicians he rails against) has got to be good news. We definitely need someone that recognises the value in energising and organising the electorate to help make change happen, because our politicians of both major persuasions appear to think we’re only here to vote.

  13. Keith

    A notable feature of the Abbott/Turnbull mob is that sympathisers are placed in various Agencies, a means to incorrectly suggest that the Umpire will provide non partisan opinions. THE ABC has been infiltrated, the Climate Change Authority has been infiltrated, a number of new appointments have been made to the Fair Work Authority by Turnbull. It places doubt on the decision by the Fair Work Authority.

  14. Kyran

    Sooo, wait a minute. Is this THE Sally McManus? The one who chronicled ‘Tracking Abbott’s Wreckage’? You know, that list of the number of times he blatantly, flagrantly, ignored the rules, the promises (and his constituents), for his own aggrandisement?
    We’ve done so well. talcum. Same same, but different?
    Thank you, Ms McManus, and congratulations. More power to your arm.
    Thank you Outsider. Insiders don’t work too well. Not any more. Take care

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Didn’t Sally McManus once work for the ABC when the ABC was balanced and worthy?

    I’m wondering if she got the chop just as Quentin Dempster did coz they were the ones prepared to keep the neoliberalist duopoly flipflops to account – especially the arsenic LNPees (please don’t hit me Rusted-on Labor neoliberals for mentioning you in the same breath!)

  16. lawrencewinder

    Lovely read … pity Hissy-Fit Sales was mentioned, it did lower the tone a tad!

  17. Geoff Andrews

    ABC left wing bias is still dominant, Steve (@ 2.39pm).
    You can stack up all the light weight rights like Vanstone, Sales, Switzer, Fran Kelly and her LNP Ministers by the score (dear god, do they have to be so boring and predictible?), Cassidy and Gerald Henderson on The Drum on one side of the scales of bias but the balance still tips to to the left. Why?
    Phillip bloody Adams!!
    Get rid of him and normal, balanced service will be resumed.
    For too long this prime time chatterer(“Late Night Live” at 10pm on Radio National) has trounced all of the above.
    RESTORE THE BALANCE!!!

  18. Geoff Andrews

    …..and while I’m on the subect of 18(c), if you HAVE to change the bloody wording just insert “..with the intention of ..” (insulting, harassing,demeaning etc, etc).
    I could call our glorious leader a “parsimonious, poltroon and poofter” but I won’t because a jury may decide that I intentionally meant to draw the public’s notice to the fact that he (or she) is a cheapskate coward hiding in the closet.thus causing a cute embarrassment.
    He IS cute when he gets angry, isn’t he?

  19. David1

    Geoff what are you smoking? You should sell it make a fortune .Guthrie hasn’t got the spine to get rid of Phillip Adams, not even with the backing of Turnbull and Murdoch. Never happen and shouldn’t. Obviously you love to to listen to him and be tortured by his comments..

  20. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I shrink as I ask this pertinent question, but why target Phillip Adams?

  21. Alan Baird

    I suppose that to the non-ABC viewer/listener that organisation MUST be left wing because Rupert has moaned on for aeons and the Singo Radio does he same: ergo it must be so. These two people have been on the stellar right for about the same timespan. ROUTINELY IPA bods are included in discussion on the ABC and lefties are not so routine and the above bods’ minions will trot out anti-ABC commentary as per usual. They would still do it if Donald Trump was President of the ABC ie. it’s knee-jerk. As I sit here the ABC is examining its entrails on QA, with a diversity of views and the Right will still come out tomorrow and basically say we’ll be happy ONLY when Rupey owns it. You won’t EVER see anything APPROACHING this openness to discussion on perceived bias on ANY of Rupe’s/Singo’s distended organs. They’re blissfully happy to blatantly side with the neocons on a 24/7 basis, secure in the sure and certain knowledge that the Polly-Right will cheer them on. You will never see the miserable twerp above complaining about that, despite the ABC having an inbuilt twitch when waiting for the regular cheap shots from moronic queue-thinkers with Rupe & Singo AS their collective head. And I’m NOT a routine Labor or Green voter.
    PS. I find Phillip Adams good at times and sometimes bloody irritating when he interrupts people sometimes making a damn good point. If Phil’s swinging the ABC scrum, you’re only going on what you’ve heard ABOUT him, not the person himself. There is still this hysteria drummed up by ignorant people about the mystical HOLD certain lefties exert over the lightweights on the left. Cheeses of Nazareth, he used to write in The Oz for Rupie and still could as far as my limited sighting of the august journal! As old PHONy herself would say, “Please explain!”
    Then have a Bex and a good lay down.
    PPS. Now Barnaby Joyce is on! Another lefty. Told yous. All bloody lefties.

  22. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I don’t dispute
    the ill-repute
    of those you’ve listed …

    … except that even Phillip Adams once was more acceptable as a philosophical, artistic and alternative thinker.

    If he has succumbed to the LNP version of the neoliberalist dark side, then ok, fair point.

    The ABC needs a major purging of the forces pulling the strings.

    Guthrie first and then every other little weed after her.

    Maybe in some cases, old tried and true stalwart alternatives like Adams might be allowed to stay and not be put out to pasture.

  23. Malcolm Baxter

    Left Right, Left Right, Left Right; Slow March Satterdee!

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