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Where have all our values gone?

Within our own family units we live for each other, for our children, for the good of everyone in the family, but it seems once we step outside the front door it’s a different story. Life becomes a rat race where a dog-eat-dog mentality takes over. It’s a jungle out there and we must survive and prosper or perish. That brings about a radical, even werewolf transformation as we skip down the driveway, walk to the bus stop, or jump into the car to head off onto the freeway. Out on the street, we are different. There we cast off our benevolent, compassionate, kind-hearted, empathetic approach that defines us as caring family members in favour of full battle dress, armour and weaponry to get us through a day that will bring constant challenges; where conflict with those who would unseat us and claim the spoils is ever present. It’s a jungle out there.

To help us survive this onslaught we are always open to the advice of the three wise men of the jungle; the financial advisor, the pastoral advisor and the all-purpose guru of modern life: the talk-back radio jock. As our anxieties increase, we are all too ready to succumb to the ranting of some journalists and talk-back radio hosts who delight in scaring the crap out of us with doom and gloom stories, all of which might be good for their ratings but are bad for our sense of justice, compassion and simply being good for goodness’ sake. We don’t want to be bothered with difficult issues that call on us to take a stand. It’s easier for us to listen to anyone who presents an argument that supports the path of least resistance. I have listened some mornings and afternoons while in the car as some talk-back radio jocks have launched an almost hysterical tirade against asylum seekers, as if our country was being invaded. I can therefore understand how the easily led listener succumbs to the temptation that they might be right. It is not difficult to frighten people.

But those who give in so easily should stop and think because something is happening, as I write, that characterizes the very nature of the problem and demonstrates the extent to which this way of living our lives, is counterproductive. Presently there’s a growing population of asylum seekers stuck on Christmas Island and two other hellholes, one in New Guinea, the other Nauru, who want to come to Australia or anywhere else that will take them because they believe they are no longer safe in their own country. The legacy of Tampa, that haunted Kim Beazley, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and now plays to the delight of the Abbott regime, is redefining our national identity, i.e. what it means to be Australian. The Coalition has made great capital of the notion that if we let a few boatloads of refugees into our country we are going to be overrun by hoards of Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Sri Lankans or anyone else who tries to come here to seek a better life. Yes, we have a generous refugee policy but there are some 40 million human beings in refugee camps around the world (5 million this year alone) and some have been there for as long as ten years. It’s easy to see, therefore, why refugee camps are not all that attractive to people fleeing war-torn regions, oppressive regimes and hunger ravaged countries, opting to sell all their possessions to raise the money to pay some miserable people smugglers to bring them to Australia.

We have nearly 2000 people stuck in these concentration camps now who are wondering what will happen to them while we barely care. From a purely economic point of view it would be cheaper if we let them in. Goodness knows, they might even become productive citizens and generate more employment. At the very least, we could demonstrate some empathy by processing them onshore rather than have some cash starved Pacific country do it for us. The United States once opened out its broad arms of welcome and said, ‘give me your poor, your weak, your hungry …’ . Well, notwithstanding all their difficulties, they didn’t make too bad a fist of it over the last century. Imagine if the Aborigines had a policy in 1788 that said, ‘We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances under which they come,’ what would Captain Arthur Phillip have done? But the government won’t do that because it believes, with good reason, that maintaining a hardline on the defenceless asylum seekers is a vote winner. It is politically beneficial to keep them locked up and locked out. Good politically but morally bankrupt.

This brings me back to Australian radio shock jocks. They are the frontline of popular opinion for about 20% of the population. I’m wondering what motivates them when commenting on the issue of asylum seekers. The question I ask of those commentators who promote such pathetic objections as: we can’t afford it, they are queue jumpers, we have a proper system to handle refugees, it only encourages the people smugglers and anyway, they are wealthy people paying thousands of dollars to get here, is this: What is it that you fear? Are your efforts in trying to scare the life out of simple minded and poorly engaged Australians an accurate reflection of what you really believe or is there some deep seated more sinister reason that might better be described as bigotry, prejudice, racism or narrow-mindedness that lurks in the back closet of your mind? Or is it just ratings?

To those who harbour anxiety and fear and are influenced by these and the other two wise men of the weak and easily led, I recommend that they visit that dark corner of their psyche, confront their perceived fear and analyse whether they are applying the same consideration to the plight of a few hundred people on a leaking boat, to how they care for the needs of their own family. If they try that little exercise, they might find their fears evaporate into the nothingness. That’s right. ‘There is nothing to fear except fear itself,’ to quote Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mind you, he was the man who authorized the construction of the first Atomic bomb, so I guess he was afraid of something. But notwithstanding that error of judgement, he was right.

It’s no surprise that Tony Abbott’s obsession with stopping the boats and Scott Morrison’s action in developing new and ever more heartless methods to dissuade others from coming here is political. They have one eye on public perception and the other on history. It worked for John Howard who was facing defeat in the 2001 election. I suspect Tony and Scott both believe those observations haven’t changed. They regularly voice their concern for the safety of these poor individuals in leaking boats on the high seas but that doesn’t stack up against the callous way they treat them when they arrive. It might be a reaction to what they think Australians want, but that is weak, populist leadership. What the people want isn’t always what’s good for them. Nor is it morally right.

Each December, Christians all over the country pause from their frantic lifestyle of enrichment to acknowledge the birth of a religious cause that supposedly champions the weak, the poor and the downtrodden. In reality, it doesn’t do anything of the sort; it just pretends to do so while its leaders live in luxury and guard their wealth tenaciously. That so many politicians today publicly support the continued persecution of asylum seekers makes a mockery of their claimed allegiance to the Christian faith. That includes Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne, Kevin Andrews and most others. It makes me glad I’m not a Christian. It makes me realise, that for all my faults, I’m better than that.

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72 comments

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  1. brickbob

    Great piece of writing John and like you i am not a Christian but i think the current Pope would agree with most of what you have written.

  2. scotchmistery

    One of the saddest situations to confront Australia over the last 10 years or so is the rise of these so-called “shock jocks”, who have no skin in the process of politics per se but rather tend to ignite flames amongst the less educated, the less well off, and those without the wit to begin to understand what is being done to us as a nation by our “elected” representatives of whatever colour.

    The fact that Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and their ilk can wreak such damage on the Australian psyche should be the basis of a little bit of investigation by people who pursue scholarly work in the field of human judgement or lack of same.

    I have frequently written about the nature of government by focus group, and I have often noted that the concept of those focus groups as understood by the writers is actually quite out of kilter with the facts especially those regarding the focus groups prior to the last election at which Australia surrendered its right to take the moral high ground on any issue whatsoever.

    Over 70 focus groups were held in the Penrith/Saint Mary’s area of Western Sydney, and most of those focus groups were held on weekdays, when thinking Australians were at work and the multi-generational unemployed were keen to get their hands on the $80 for two hours “work”, paid tax-free on top of their unemployment money plus their breeding money.

    What appears to have come out of those focus groups is the view that the boat people will come to Australia and take all our jobs and leave us with nothing. That view then became the mantras that were taken to the election by both the ILT and the coalition but what nobody took into account was that the people who were interviewed in these “scientific” processes were long-term unemployed and in many cases multigenerational long-term unemployed. That is to say their grandfathers had not had a job, so one is left to wonder what job they were worried about losing.

    The fact that an essentially moronic electorate went to the polls with a completely incorrect view of the impact couple of thousand boat people/illegal immigrants/asylum seekers, call them what you will, and that that view was supported by such leading lights as Jones from Sydney and Bolt from Melbourne can be so persuasive to these mindless millions actually supports John’s view that most Australians based on the numbers at the last election are too stupid to have a vote.

    Australia has a country has always been held up as a somewhat liberal light in a relatively conservative world. We have been seen as far more caring than the Americans on many issues, but that election has changed so much. As John opined, once we walk out the front door we become defenders of our house rather than members of the community. We forget that it takes a village to raise a child. We forget the old adage “there, but for the grace of God go I”.

    I wonder when we will find ourselves again. Not the ourselves created by Murdoch, Ltd news and Fairfax media, but rather the ourselves which sent men by the hundreds of thousands to fight wars for other people, to come back as heroes and settle the land creating the Australia we have been so proud of for so long.

  3. John Fraser

    <

    When 4 thousand Aussies get down on a beach to tell the West Australian government that killing great white sharks is wrong.

    And refugees are met with detention when all they are seeking is a place to live.

    Then yes ! something is drastically wrong with our values.

    For the record : I have spent most of my life having an association with the ocean and agree with West Australians just as I agree with the protection order on Grey Nurse sharks.

  4. kathysutherland2013

    Great article, but how sad!

  5. M. R.

    Me, too – better than that. Imnsho, John Howard started all this. Before him, Australians were a different people; but after those seemingly endless years, we had changed. And Howard’s protegé has taken his instructor’s example and made of it an obscene caricature – though I wouldn’t have thought it possible.
    @John Fraser: I was totally confused by your first two sentences. Maybe it’s senility …

  6. scotchmistery

    I always thought Abbort was George Pell’s protegé.

  7. lawrencewinder

    A good article.
    “The fact that an essentially moronic electorate went to the polls with a completely incorrect view of the …….asylum seekers, …….. and that that view was supported by such….. as Jones from Sydney and Bolt from Melbourne can be so persuasive to these mindless millions actually supports John’s view that most Australians based on the numbers at the last election are too stupid to have a vote.”

    At last …some-one has said it!

    The “Aspirational Bogans” have been been led to believe that malicious anger, violence, the flouting of decency and of law is their “right”. The MSM and the Liarbrils have elevated them as being the core of this society and with that putrid Textor articulating their polled fetidness they are signified, they belong and they are the majority.
    It only remains to be seen whether the Liarbrils will reap the whirlwind when they fail to deliver.

  8. Kaye Lee

    In defence of some of those people, many of them are working long hours and they have a long commute or stuck in traffic for hours either side of it. They have the radio on in the car, might grab a newspaper at lunchtime, and flop down in front of the news at night.

    They hear politicians telling them things (phrased by the red shoe brigade) and trust them to be true. Who can forget the Egyptian- jihadist- terrorist- kept- behind- a- pool- fence who occupied two weeks of our sitting Parliament.

    These people may not have the skills, or the interest, and definitely not the time, to look beyond political spin as reported by the MSM. Jones, Bolt and Hadley portray themselves as fighters for truth who are there to stop the little guy from being fooled.

    Can we really expect these people to want to research politics, or should they be able to trust what they are being told? I would suggest the anger is better directed towards the perpetrators of the misinformation.

  9. Kaye Lee

    perpetuators?

  10. scotchmistery

    I agree up to a point Kaye-Lee.

    Perhaps if we moved to a position where they don’t have to vote would be better?

    A woman allows the local priest to take her 8,9,10 year old daughters camping. He also takes the 12 year old boy from up the road.

    25 years later we learn that the priest screwed all the kids and that is why the youngest girl is a heroin addict, the boy has been in jail since his 16th birthday, the middle girl is a well known stripper and the oldest girl killed herself at the age of 17.

    Wherein lies the original sin? Could it have been prevented? Whilst the priest accepts responsibility and tops himself to avoid jail, what responsibility should the mother accept?

  11. scotchmistery

    @Kaye Lee both perpetrators and perpetuators in fact IMHO.

  12. scotchmistery

    @Lawrencewinder

    >>>’The MSM and the Liarbrils have elevated them as being the core of this society and with that putrid Textor articulating their polled fetidness…'<<<

    I think it is only reasonable to point out that it was the christian Kevin Rudd who signed the MoU with the PM of PNG to open Manus Island to these people so "they will never be able to settle in Australia". Not George Pell's christian, girl fearing "boy". He just took it a step further with his christian immigration minister Morrison.

    While we are having a shot at the MSM typists, where are the churches standing up to be counted as not being in support of this outrage in our name? A couple of very loud ones but in the greater scheme of things, a deafening silence. In fact Gosford Anglican is regularly in the MSM but little is made of it. http://anggos.com.au/tags/church-signs

    On doing the spell-check, the first alternative to "Manus" was "anus". Considering the shit-hole nature of the place, very apt.

  13. Greg Rapmund

    Yes, what have we become? With Labor & Liberals in the race to the bottom of the sludge pond. Who can be the most vicious, heartless bastard in the treatment of asylum seeker. Well Morrison has the prize and that it is supported by a large part of the population and MSM astounds and disgusts me. All legitimised by scum like the parrot, Murdoch, etc. well sponsored by phoney Tony’s politics of hate and destruction. It is being done in our name as Australian citizens by a government hellbent on destruction.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott’s usual answer to those who ask him about how his approach to the repelling of boat people squares with his religion has been to accuse those getting in boats of being ”unchristian” – in effect for shoving towards the front of the queue.

    ”I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door,” he has said. ”I think the people we accept should be coming the right way and not the wrong way.

    ”If you pay a people smuggler, if you jump the queue, if you take yourself and your family on a leaky boat, that’s doing the wrong thing, not the right thing, and we shouldn’t encourage it.”

    Francis, the bishop of Rome, doesn’t have quite the same approach. At Lampedusa, the Pope said mass, and asked the largely Muslim boat people for forgiveness for global indifference to their plight.

    ”This morning, I want to provoke everyone’s conscience, pushing us to reflect and to change certain attitudes in concrete ways.

    ”So many of us, even including myself, are disoriented, we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live, we don’t care, we don’t protect that which God has created for all, and we are unable to care for one another.

    ”And when this disorientation assumes worldwide dimensions, we arrive at tragedies like the one we have seen. ‘Where is your brother? The voice of his blood cries even to me,’ God says.

    ”This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us.

    ”These our brothers and sisters seek to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families – but they found death.

    ”How many times do those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity. Their voices rise up even to God.

    ”I recently heard one of these brothers. Before arriving here, he had passed through the hands of traffickers, those who exploit the poverty of others; these people for whom the poverty of others is a source of income. What they have suffered! And some have been unable to arrive!

    ”’Where is your brother? Who is responsible for this blood?’

    ”In Spanish literature, there is a play by Lope de Vega that tells how the inhabitants of the city of Fuenteovejuna killed the governor because he was a tyrant, and did it in such a way that no one knew who had carried out the execution. And when the judge of the king asked ‘Who killed the governor?’ they all responded, ‘Fuenteovejuna, sir.’ All and no one!

    ”Even today this question comes with force: Who is responsible for the blood of these brothers and sisters? No one! We all respond this way: not me, it has nothing to do with me, there are others, certainly not me.

    ”But God asks each one of us: ‘Where is the blood of your brother that cries out to me?’

    ”Today no one in the world feels responsible for this; we have lost the sense of fraternal responsibility; we have fallen into the hypocritical attitude of the priest and of the servant of the altar that Jesus speaks about in the parable of the Good Samaritan: We look upon the brother half dead by the roadside, perhaps we think ‘poor guy,’ and we continue on our way, it’s none of our business; and we feel fine with this.

    ”We feel at peace with this, we feel fine! The culture of wellbeing, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalisation of indifference.

    ”In this world of globalisation we have fallen into a globalisation of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business. The figure of the Unnamed of Manzoni returns. The globalisation of indifference makes us all ‘unnamed,’ leaders without names and without faces.

    ”’Adam, where are you? Where is your brother?’ These are the two questions that God puts at the beginning of the story of humanity, and He also addresses to the men and women of our time, even to us.

    But I want to set before us a third question: Who among us has wept for these things, and things like this?

    ”Who has wept for the deaths of these brothers and sisters? Who has wept for the people who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who wanted something to support their families?

    ”We are a society that has forgotten the experience of weeping, of ‘suffering with’: the globalisation of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep.

    ”Let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty in the world, in ourselves, and even in those who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies like this.

    ”O Lord, we ask forgiveness for the indifference towards so many brothers and sisters, we ask forgiveness for those who are pleased with themselves, who are closed in on their own wellbeing in a way that leads to the anaesthesia of the heart, we ask you, Father, for forgiveness for those who with their decisions at the global level have created situations that lead to these tragedies.”

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/refugees-popes-and-politics-dont-mix-20130712-2pvsd.html#ixzz2pW5ejUBK

  15. scotchmistery

    In all honesty Greg, the invitation comes too late. Under this government, with the MSM typists in his boat already, the PM in company with his chief educator the apostle Pell have already mucked you.

  16. scotchmistery

    The message is heard and as a non-christian I agree in all things with the message of Francis of Rome. I only wish there were more to listen, and more like him to speak.

    It seems simple to turn away, but in fact, in turning away we lift a burden which we never really drop – the burden of “could I have saved that person”.

    How many times have we seen the MSM typists talking about someone doing a good turn for someone else, perhaps a young person, saving the life of a mate at the beach. Those stories are around but they are rare. In fact it is because they are not reported to the MSM, that we don’t read about them, and in the anonymity of saving a life or saving a planet, is the greatest gift to the rest of us, that can be given, the gift of carrying out a duty to our fellow man in silence, asking no thanks, expecting none.

    As a country we haven’t forgotten the duty to our fellow human beings, we have simply stopped ourselves, we refuse to carry out that duty, on the pretext that he is a threat to us as people, when in fact the threat to our humanity seems much greater, when we don’t reach out a hand in friendship.

    I recommend everyone see the movie, “The Kiterunner”. I also recommend the book. After that, justify the current policy.

    I would raise a voice however, to the Muslims who come here… we are not evil. We will not punish you for being Muslim, but please, try to adapt to our ways, and don’t bring the intra-faith violence with you. The decision to kill each other in your homeland is taken by your brothers. There is no place for it here, and if you wish to bring that violence to these shores, understand our unwillingness to accept your action.

    I recently read the second verse of our national anthem. We disgrace it.

  17. mars08

    Ah… the poison gnome….

    I don’t know if Australia was ever as righteous and “fair dinkum” as some of us like to believe. But it was Howard who finally et the genie out of the bottle. It was the poison gnome who gave us permission to silence the better angels of our nature in return for a few easy votes.

    His call for Australians to be “Relaxed and Comfortable” about their country, his persistent rejection of the “black armband view of history”. Then there was his constant banging on about “real Australians” and his “we will decide who comes to this country” dog-whistle. And let’s not forget that this was during an era of financial excess, when Australians were told that they we the chosen race and the future would be eternally golden.

    Labor didn’t help matters by becoming a pale and timid version of the Coalition… essentially validating the poison gnome’s narrative.

    Then, thanks to the fools on Wall Street, the dream vanished in a flash. The people, used to many years of living in a fantasy, became confused and angry.

    Reality came into focus. This country wasn’t as lucky as they’d been told. They had been living in a fairytale world, but they didn’t want it to disappear. They were ENTITLED to a good life. They were the chosen people!! They needed someone to blame, and the media provided them with the targets. No.. not the influential, the rich and the powerful. Instead blame the weak and powerless. After all, who could possibly object to that??!?!!??

  18. Jan

    I am so ashamed of what our government is doing. This article by John Kelly is great, but what a shame it even needed to be written.

    I am a Christian and deeply embarrassed that people who call themselves Christians can act in such a callous, disgraceful way.

    Not in my name

  19. Roswell

    Brilliantly written, John.

  20. mars08

    Kaye Lee: “In defence of some of those people, many of them are working long hours and they have a long commute or stuck in traffic for hours either side of it. They have the radio on in the car, might grab a newspaper at lunchtime…”

    Yes that could be a defence for SOME of them. But there are others who are bigots, willfully ignorant and/or just plain lazy. I know that’s the case because I know those people socially and I have worked with many over the years.

    The ones I know are not flat out earning a crust. They are not exhausted at the end of the day. They have the time, money and energy to distract themselves with sports and movies and reality TV. But they just refuse to seriously challenge their prejudice.

    Some of them will listen to other points of view. Sometimes I think I’m making headway in showing them they are being manipulated by politicians and the media but, IN EVERY CASE, they have quickly gone back to what they “know”. And they “know” that asylum seekers are a major threat to our way of life.

    They need to direct their anger and frustration at someone. After all these years of hysteria, asylum seekers are the obvious easy target. For a start, they’re different in so many ways…

  21. Pottering

    You ask ” Where Have All Our Values Gone”?, but it seems yours are also missing. You write “We have nearly 2000 people stuck in these concentration camps …”, which is a statement clearly designed to invoke images of the Holocaust. You complain about Shock Jocks, but use similar tactics to the ones you accuse them of.

  22. doctorrob54

    Pig shit,what is dangerous to our way of life and ALL way of life is the extremists.I have met and worked with all different people of all beliefs,including wonderful Muslim people.The major arseholes I have run into and runins with in a negative way were catholics and the new born agains.
    When you have extreme lunatic Jews and phony christians like Bernardi,what type of reaction do you expect.
    Most riots here were caused by drunken pretend patriots.
    What you see OS eg Palestine and Iraq,are a direct result of evil injustice with continued land grab by Israel and,well I think Iraq is self explanatry.

  23. doctorrob54

    John Kelly old mate,don’t denigrate the term christian because that’s what the scum bags and others you mention call themselves.You don’t need to believe in a God,heaven or hell to be a christian,it’s how you act and think.If you try your best to treat other people the way you’d like them to treat you and your friends and family I figure that makes one a christian.
    Not all of us leave home in the AM jump in the car and do a Jeckyll and Hyde schizo as you described in
    the first two paragraghs.Let alone waste my time ever listening to a shock jock.
    I call myself a christian,but I don’t believe in heaven and hell,but I do believe there is another side.
    Abbott and his ilk aren’t christians,including G Pell,Christians do not protect child to
    salvage the reputation of an institution.What they are,are evil manipulators who will stop at nothing to implement an end,no matter the cost or the suffering.

  24. Lyle Upson

    i have no problem with bringing the boat crowd into the country and assisting to get them all functioning well within our communities… that part is a no-brainer. What I do have a problem with is the religious issues, the global terror war and the assumption a culture can be multi-cultural. There can only be one culture within a legal jurisdiction, and of course based on historical nonsense. There is most certainly a global terror war no matter how sloppy the USA is in fighting the war. The religious issues however are very important. Islam has shown itself to be dangerous to our way of life

  25. Lyle Upson

    the shooting of a school girl and matters of like nature are what influences my thinking about Islam

  26. David Gordon Hill

    I wonder what the scenario would be if the people coming here on boats had white skin spoke english as a first language and where christian , to me its a claytons white australia policy that we have now . scratch the surface underneath you will find racism .

  27. scotchmistery

    @ David Hill. Sadly, correct.

  28. scotchmistery

    I suppose the issue is not so much the “christianity” of those we call out so much as the rank hypocrisy is saying they are good people based on their faith, then putting this bull it there. Bernardi is a good example. He is an Australian by virtue of a paper and couldn’t make it in Holland as anything so came here and became a politician.

    At the moment he is racing about selling a book based on his work for the US tea party. Also squalling about his xtian values. Too many abortions he says. Women use abortion as birth control he says, as if this was news.

    None of us are prepared to accept responsibility for our own actions and we wonder why we are governed by fwits.

  29. Greg Rapmund

    Good morning Scotchmistery, a little late back, but yes, well . No doubt about it. The catholic nuns abused my mother to her eventually topping herself. Fortunately I was brought up with no religion, unfortunately the shame and disgust I feel for what is being done in our names grows. Do we really have to wait till the next election? The damage these shits can do in that time will be enormous. We have children and grand children and would hope they would have a brighter future than what is being offered by the wrecking ball of democracy, the current lieberal party. Cheers

  30. Kaye Lee

    We have elected people who have completely lost touch with humanity. Decisions are made for political and economic reasons. They are even in the process of redefining what human rights means – Tim Wilson…seriously??

    And success has only emboldened nutters like Cory Bernardi who is perhaps the most offensive jerk I have ever seen on the floor of Parliament.

    “Why then the levels of criminality among boys and promiscuity among girls who are brought up in single-parent families, more often than not headed by a single mother?

    “It is perfectly reasonable and rational therefore for the state, if it is to have a role in social policy and the affairs of marriage, to reinforce and entrench those aspects of traditional marriage that work, not undermine them and promote ‘alternatives’ which have led to social chaos.

    “Competent social policy should be drafted by those who understand the primacy of natural law and who are able to see patterns in society.”

    Senator Bernardi told News Breakfast that the “gold standard” for children’s development comes from having a biological mother and father who are married.

    He also advocates removing Government welfare designed to assist children from families that experience a breakdown, arguing programs like the Red Cross’s Good Start Breakfast Club remove parental responsibility and create a mentality that the state will provide.

    He argues there are two great threats to faith, and specifically Christianity: the “green agenda” which he believes places plant and animal life above humanity; and Islam, which he says is fundamentally incompatible with the Western way of life.

  31. scotchmistery

    Problematically, nutters like Bernardi are far too common in the conservative mind-set. Just giving them air is too much attention really. The thing that pickles my adenoids is that people vote for these individuals, which says more about the mind-set of the electorate and their ability to actually absorb what is being done to them in the name of good governance.

    Great joy for me would be to find out in a few years that Bernardi and Pyne have a lot of chocolate cuddles in common. Maybe a bit of Jones-ian boy-abuse as well just to enliven the taste.

  32. Kaye Lee

    I would like to take a moment to thank retired Liberal backbencher Judi Moylan for being one of the few people in Parliament who had the courage to stand up for decency. She will be sorely missed.

    ”We should not talk about queue jumpers, we should certainly not talk about illegals, we should not pretend these people are idle, they want to work and be part of our society, we just seem to spin rubbish rhetoric and get people whipped up over it, it’s an appalling low level of debate,” she told the Herald.

    ”I think this overblown rhetoric has to stop and it is up to the public to say it has to stop, because this is not a political game, it’s people’s lives we are talking about.

    ”I think there is likely to be a backlash from the community, just like there was in the Howard years, when people realise what is going on, what we are doing to women and children.

    ”We can’t think this will go away just with sloganeering, there is no quick slogan that can fix this, it is not about turning back boats, it is not about punishing people.”

    ”It is a race to the bottom to see who can have the worst, most horrible policies, the leaders in a position to fix this just seem to want to play politics with it and we have seem more maladministration and muddle-headedness from the government,” she said.

  33. patsy

    good article….if only the right people read it……so sad for the people who voted abbott in….we must feel sorry for them for being so gullible by believing the liar…….even though most all of them lie…….. we expect so much more from them who declare they are good catholics…….what do they call good catholics…pell….pyne and the rest of the pretenders…….not my taking on Catholicism…

  34. jasonblog

    The shock jocks?

    They simply play their part in the manufactured sense of fear that helps maintain the present hierarchy. They are a deliberate distraction. They help facilitate a vast part of Abbott’s political agenda and help realise Dr Britt’s guide to an undemocratic yet powerfully dominant way of governing people http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm

    What are they afraid of?

    One suspects many, many, things. And they will play out those insecurities in a variety of ugly ways. Life in Australia is bound to get crueller, nastier and much more uglier. Abbott and those that support Abbott will desperately do whatever they can to maintain their “power” and dominance.

    The New Daily had a curious article on a similar topic recently http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/01/05/australias-image-problem-leading-us-oblivion-wealth/

  35. allenmcmahon

    Unfortunately there are now more than 4,000 in the offshore concentration camps not 2,000. When they arrive at Christmas Island their medication, glasses, prosthesis’s are taken away and often not even recorded in their medical records.

    This government and the previous Labor government are guilty of crimes against humanity. A man and his profoundly disabled 4 year old daughter were sent to Nauru. Of the six pregnant women who were sent to Manus Island by the Labor government in 2013 three lost the child they were carrying. There are many more instances than these.

    What disturbs me most is that prior to the election one third of Australians were strongly opposed to offshore detention yet less than 8% voted for the Greens, the only party opposed to offshore detention.

    Having been involved with refugee issues for decades one thing has remained constant, for all the fine words, in general, Australians basically don’t care about anything that does not them personally.

  36. Catriona Thoolen

    @allenmcmahn Not quite, Palmer United Party had a policy of onshore processing, which is why the Greens gave their preferences to us.

    Palmer United Party has some very good social policies -increases to Age and Disability and Defence Force Pensions. The reason few really voted for the Greens is that they have NO fiscal policies that would ever be realistic. Nobody would trust the Greens to run the country in a financially viable manner.

    You will find PUP will limit the damage of having a LNP government once our senators take their place.

    http://palmerunited.com/national-policy/

  37. bjkelly1958

    Great Post from John, great comments, particularly from Kaye-Lee and I am now exhausted having come to the end of the thread.

  38. Kaye Lee

    “The Palmer United Party will scrap the Carbon Tax, not from when we are elected but from when the tax was introduced.”

    “Clive Palmer challenges ATO, saying he won’t pay $6.2m in carbon tax”

    Catriona do you really believe that you could pay back all the carbon tax that has been collected (and already spent) just so Clive doesn’t have to pay his bill? Are you going to ask all households to return the compensation they got?

    You may want to have another look at your OWN fiscal policy.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Catriona could you point me to the PUP policy for the environment?

  40. allenmcmahon

    @Catriona Thoolen

    It remains to be seen what PUP will do but I doubt think that asylum seekers will be high on their agenda.

    As for the Greens they were never likely to govern, nor would I want them to, but voting for the Greens sends a message to the major parties. The election result proved that fear politics work, that most people don’t think beyond their own needs and that there are a lot of gullible people out there. How anyone thought that Abbott and his mates were capable of governing Australia is beyond me.

  41. kathysutherland2013

    The point is, Lyle Upson, that we DO NOT treat people this way. Whoever they are, whatever they’ve done. We treat our criminals better than this. We treat our pets better than this!

  42. scotchmistery

    @ Kathy Sutherland – except in Queensland of course, where we point to them and ridicule many by putting them in pink jump suits in an isolated, no contact jail. Then we reverse the onus of proof re: bail, and we reverse the rule of law.

  43. doctorrob54

    The shooting of a school girl and likes of that matter are actions of the most extreme maniacs that do not represent true Islam.In exactly the same way as the protection of hundreds of child rapists by Pell and his ilk,which then led directly to the suicide of many victims does not represent true Christianity.

  44. strobedriver

    But we are an island nation and therefore have developed ‘island nation’ ideals. Who is the recalcitrant child of Europe? England…which is an island nation (read about this in the book The Psychology of Nations). Australia has a lot to go through in its path to the acceptance of others (unfortunately).

  45. John.R

    The shock Jocks on radio will push any barrow that will bring in listeners and hence advertising $$$`s. They can speak from both sides of their mouths at once,whilst it is closed.If you aren`t an extremist on talk back radio nobody will listen,so those who do get to hear what they want to hear
    Politicians are cheap,in any way you wish to imagine.Their primary concerns are their financial backers because voters, like politicians can be brought too.And they are cheaper to buy then a politician as you control them with what they are fed through their media.
    So you don`t need a conscience,thats why they don`t have a conscience vote on anything.This should be obvious
    Australia has always been multicultural.The problem with it is Govt has come along and put its` useless stamp on it If you look through our history you can see that over the last 150 yrs as immigrants came here society,through its natural tendencies took the best of that which these people brought with them.We adapted it into our own culture and let them know of the parts we has a disdain for.It found its` own level. Now with multiculturalism people bring all of their habits and ways from the place they escaped from set up here and make the same mistakes again.It marginalises them and separates them from the mainstream of Australian society by leaving them exposed to people within their own community who gain power over them by the same methods of control used in the places they escaped from.
    Given the amount of people globally in refugee camps I can see the queue jumper claims along with the e-mails that float around the net about the amount welfare a refugee gets compared to a pensioner and if the comparisons are balances but having read the article by two American reporters who went along the queue jumpers path and the desperation of these people,I can understand it
    The inclusion of “religious values” as a way of gauging the behaviour of the politicians governing Australia,on behalf of less then 50% of the population,does in a way illustrate the point as religion controls people through the fear of the unknown and it is through the practice of preaching fear that both of them survive and prosper.Michael Moore did a documentary/movie on it years ago.I.E the media side of it

    P.S. Can we get a LIKE button for the comment and replies here.There is always a wide variety of views an opinions

  46. Michael Taylor

    Hi John R, we used to have a ‘Like’ button under the comments but too many people complained that it gave the place a Facebook feel so by popular demand I quietly removed it. Personally though, I didn’t mind it.

  47. Catriona Thoolen

    One of my favourite quotes comes from special episode of the “West Wing” that they raced out directly after 9/11 “Al Qaeda are to Islam as Ku Klux Klan are to Christianity”

    PS I like a “Like” or “Recommend” button too

  48. Kaye Lee

    Great quote Catriona. I have used the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition but it is far more relevant to have a contemporary comparison.

  49. John Fraser

    <

    @John R … & Catriona Thoolen

    If you want to see how the "Like" button gets abused have a look here :

    http://nofibs.com.au/2013/12/22/tim-wilson-ipa/

    Extreme right wing evangelic mischief at its finest.

  50. John.R

    Yes it is open to abuse that gives a form of misrepresentation of who is reading the articles.The article is just the result of party,party,party at our expense,politics,which shows government is no longer representative of the people.
    We need a new way to bring these Ba#&^%$ds into line.Like NO secret government business

  51. scotchmistery

    Well in fact the NSA in concert with our government has endorsed against that by the simple expedient of using the murdochracy to paint Snowden as a traitor rather than a hero.

    Earlier folks were quoting faves – mine is “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.

    The fact that ASIO accept the rulings of the less than wonderful military rulers of Sri Lanka, is a case in point. They apparently cannot find anything themselves so they call on third world countries secret police for guidance. Nonces.

  52. Crash Skeptic the Censored

    People weren’t drowning once Howard’s Pacific solution was up and running.

    The “compassionate” refugee advocates seem to ignore this.

  53. scotchmistery

    Are you sure @Crash Skeptic – or was that what you were told. Remember, most of what we see now with the usual secrecy of conservatives hiding under the rocks, was learned at the feet of little Johnnie Howard.

  54. scotchmistery

    And when it finally emerged, we got… wait for it… “CHILDREN OVERBOARD”

    Amazing how history repeats itself isn’t it? Especially in the cloying folds of the frock of John Howard “what should we tell them next, master”?

  55. allenmcmahon

    ‘In October 2001 SIEV X sunk with 353 people, men, women and children drowned.’

    The passengers were mainly woman and children trying to get to Australia because Howard denied asylum seekers in Australia the opportunity for family reunions. The LNP don’t mention that first year after Temporary Protection Visa’s were introduced led to the largest number of arrivals or that when the number of people seeking asylum reduced it happened world wide due to push factors reducing.

  56. Crash Skeptic the Censored

    What a predictable response. You missed the operative phrase “up and running”.

    Some basic chronology for you:
    – SIEV X happened before the 2001 election.
    – And the ink on the first legislation to create the Pacific Solution was (literally) a few weeks old.

    And as the number of boat arrivals was increasingly massively at the time – exposing large numbers of people to exactly the sort of tragedy as occurred with SIEV X – this is one of many reasons the government chose to act.

    And they succeeded.

    In the following 3 weeks after SIEV X, between 2 and 5 more boatpeople died and then…. Not A single Death For The Next 7+ Years.
    (it started again on 14 January, 2009 after Rudd had opened the door again)
    http://sievx.com/articles/background/DrowningsTable.pdf

    FACT: LNP saved lives.
    FACT: ALP’s irresponsible policy since has cost perhaps 1000 lives.

    “The Australian Crime Commission’s biannual report into organised crime says 964 people died, or are presumed to have died, between October 2001 and June 2012.

    The figures do not include the recent spate of asylum seeker deaths on boats that foundered in Australian waters or on their way here.

    Of the 964 deaths cited in the report, 605 died since October 2009 – more than one every two days”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/30/asylum-seeker-boat-deaths-decade

    So tell me chaps… where have all your values gone?

  57. Michael Taylor

    CS, I think I must be one of the only people of either side of politics who finds it hard to blame any of our governments for asylum seeker deaths at sea.

    But forgive me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the SIEV X turned around and the deaths occurred after this event? I’m not sure, so like I said, forgive me if I’m wrong. If it were the case, then this is the one exception where I will blame our government of the day.

    BTW, you are rather well behaved these days. :).

  58. scotchmistery

    I agree with Michael in many respects, since we have the issue of choice and a choice is to use the smugglers to escape from your children being raped by the soldiers from the side supported by Australia. Yes. That’s a choice. Well done all those born to rule.

    I don’t support Labor, I most assuredly don’t support that masquerading as “our” leader. I think Australia is at a cross roads and part of the determination with the future direction needs to relate to the need for everyone to think about what they are voting and why. For you and yours CS, I don’t think that’s an issue, but it would be good to hear some sort of justification from your political masters, about the need for Australia to turn into a self-serving miserable excuse for a country, rather than something we can all be proud of.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  59. John Kelly

    CS, do not delude yourself that the Pacific Solution was developed out of concern for the safety of those risking their lives following SIEV X. That would be incredibly flattering of the Howard government.

  60. allenmcmahon

    CS; TPV with no family reunion were introduced by Howard in 10/99 the next two years saw a large increase in asylum seeker number mainly women and children as a direct response to this policy. 146 children,142 women and 65 men died on the SIEV X. It was two years before asylum seeker numbers fell and this was reflected in a drop in asylum seeker numbers world wide because push factors eased. But I suppose LNP apologists think that Howard on his own was responsible for this world trend.

    We currently have 4,200 in offshore concentration camps. If these are economic refugees why have only 1.5% elected to go home. The International Organization for Repatriation pay the airfares and provide US$3,400 per person as an incentive to return home and the IOR are represented in all onshore and offshore camps.

    All that is needed is small amount of research to get the facts right but if you prefer your facts from a politician, remembering that politicians are considered the most untrustworthy profession together with real estate agents, more fool you.

  61. John Fraser

    <

    @Crash Skeptic the Censored

    Do you still have a problem with those who nailed the son of the mystic one in the sky to a lump of timber ?

    I think we should dig up Menzies and put him on trial for selling iron to the Japanese prior to WW2.

    Why don't you just sit down, chill out and try to think of refugees as human beings and not political propaganda.

  62. Quint

    In further defence of the “moronic electorate”, as someone who grew up in ‘The Shire’ I can safely vouch for the fact that the level of ignorance heaped upon the ‘westies’ is far from a localized problem. A Lib stronghold and haven for upper middle class arseholes notorious for their xenophobia I was more than happy to leave behind.

    Now I live in rural NSW where it’s more of the same, minus the cafes and faux affluence. I’m surrounded by a bumpkin gerontology who wouldn’t know their left from right, literally. I recently made the mistake of voicing a sensible opinion at the local pub. The looks thrown my way, well what can I say, an Oompa Loompa would’ve felt more welcome.

    Point is, as mars08 alluded to, bigotry has always lurked in the shadows of this country’s societal values.

  63. Crash Skeptic the Censored

    allenmcmahon wrote:
    CS; TPV with no family reunion were introduced by Howard in 10/99 the next two years saw a large increase in asylum seeker number mainly women and children as a direct response to this policy

    The number of boat arrivals surged from 200 in 1998 to 3721 in 1999. TPVs didn’t cause this – they were a response to this – thus you may have noticed they were introduced in October at the end of the year – ie: after the problem had begun.

    And boat arrivals actually dropped (to 2939 in the year 2000). It was obviously wasn’t enough of a deterrant though, as they then rose again to more than 5000 in 2001.

    146 children,142 women and 65 men died on the SIEV X. It was two years before asylum seeker numbers fell and this was reflected in a drop in asylum seeker numbers world wide because push factors eased.

    Actually, the Pacific Solution caused the number of boat people to drop dramatically and almost instantly – from 5516 people in 2001 to 1 (one) person in 2002.

    That’s a 99.9%+ success rate in its first year.

    But I suppose LNP apologists think that Howard on his own was responsible for this world trend.

    Perhaps you could provide some evidence that “asylum seeker numbers world wide” dropped 99.9% in 1 year…

    We currently have 4,200 in offshore concentration camps.

    Christmas Island is part of Australian territory, so you’re being a bit glib lumping this in with Manus and Nauru to inflate the numbers. Nice try.

    If these are economic refugees why have only 1.5% elected to go home. The International Organization for Repatriation pay the airfares and provide US$3,400 per person as an incentive to return home and the IOR are represented in all onshore and offshore camps.

    Strangely nobody else seem to have heard of this mysterious “International Organization for Repatriation”. It seems rather elusive. Perhaps you were thinking of the International Organization for Migration?

    All that is needed is small amount of research to get the facts right but if you prefer your facts from a politician, remembering that politicians are considered the most untrustworthy profession together with real estate agents, more fool you.

    Indeed Allen, “all that is needed is small amount of research to get the facts right”. Which makes the number of glaring errors in your post a little concerning. I would suggest being cautious of labelling others’ fools.

  64. scotchmistery

    From a humanity point of view, where do you sit on the matter, as opposed to a political view, CS?

  65. mars08

    “But don’t worry, I know asylum-seekers are human beings. But just being a human being does not give you carte blanche access to any country you feel like.”

    Weasel words!

    Very few want to grant “carte blanche access”. And while “asylum-seekers are human beings”, not all human beings are asylum-seekers. That’s why the United Nations refugee convention exists. It gives all human beings the lawful right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whether they hold valid travel or identity documents.

  66. allenmcmahon

    @CS; Morrison is the one that classified Christmas Island as an offshore processing center, to give credence to the myth that no asylum seekers are on Australian soil under his watch, and it as bad as either Manus or Nauru. Following complaints from the medical staff all pregnant women have been transferred from Christmas Island. Like the other camps there is overcrowding, water shortages, lack of medical facilities, people wait for up to 3 weeks just to see a doctor and people typically queue for 4-5 hours each day for food showers etc. I know people that have been on Manus and Christmas Island and they consider them both hell holes.

    I see you skipped over asylum seeker figures for 2000 and 2001 when Howard’s policies directly led to an increase in numbers and fail to acknowledge that world wide the number of asylum seekers fell fromm 2002 onwards.

    Abbott is merely mimicking Howard every other policy change has been risible, buy back the boats , dob in an asylum seekers, etc. and now we have free boat giveaways. Asylum seeker numbers are increasing sharply world wide. No one could accuse of having an original though Abbott as all he has to offer is a tatty out of date Howard policy.

  67. Crash Skeptic the Censored

    Michael,
    No. SIEV X had no contact with the navy and was not “turned around”. It just departed Indonesia, grossly overloaded, and then promptly sank. Howard’s Pacific Solution deterred such a disaster happening again.

    Scotchmistery,
    You have plenty of rhetoric, but avoid any mention of facts. No amount of bravado can cover the fact that the policy you support lured large numbers of people to their deaths.

    John Kelly,
    I said it was “one of many reasons”. And yes, even without SIEV X, I would support it for other reasons. But again, I note that you do not deal directly with the fact that the policy you support has had a terrible and completely avoidable cost in human lives.

    John Fraser,
    I haven’t the faintest clue what your reference to the “mystic one in the sky”, Menzies or the Japanese has to do with anything.

    But don’t worry, I know asylum-seekers are human beings. But just being a human being does not give you carte blanche access to any country you feel like.

    The only political propaganda I see is the ALP constantly flip-flopping – tough, weak, tough, weak, etc – for 20 years as they play politics with peoples’ lives to jockey for political advantage. Hell, at least the Greens have been more consistent on this.

  68. Crash Skeptic the Censored

    allenmcmahon wrote:
    I see you skipped over asylum seeker figures for 2000 and 2001 when Howard’s policies directly led to an increase in numbers and fail to acknowledge that world wide the number of asylum seekers fell fromm 2002 onwards.

    Allen, are you being dishonest or did you completely fail to read my post before responding to it?

    I specifically mentioned both figures (and more), and dealt with every point you refer to.

    But here are the Boat Arrival figures again. (NOTE – every single figure already mentioned in previous post.)
    1998 – 200
    1999 – 3721
    2000 – 2939
    2001 – 5516
    2002 – 1

    As already mentioned:
    – the TPV were introduced after the arrival numbers surged. They did not cause it.
    – Arrivals fell for a year after TPV introduction, rather than increased.
    – And after the Pacific Soution was introduced at the end of 2001, the number of boat arrivals to Australia fell 99.9% in a single year. On the other hand, the “world wide number of asylum seekers” did not fall 99.9%. There is literally no relationship that can show the ‘world wide trends’ being the cause of our local dramatic drop. (Put them on a graph next to each other and the disparity is ludicrous).

    Allen, you are a textbook example of the failings of the refugee-advocacy movement over the last 20 years – spreading myths; not checking your figures; not absorbing new info even when it is handed to you on a platter; and robotically repeating the same falsehoods despite reality.

    You will likely comfort yourself that the vast majority of Australians are ‘deluded, brainwashed rednecks’, but the truth is… your movement has simply been telling lies for too long and everybody can see it.

  69. allenmcmahon

    @CS
    Look at your own figures,TPV’s were introduced in October 1999 and numbers surged over the next two years. The majority were women and children and this was a direct response of family reunion’s be discontinued.

    Refugee rates rise and fall with push and pull factors and yes a country’s individuals policies have an effect but it takes a combination of all of these to affect an outcome. LNP supporters point at the rise in refugee numbers under Labor and put this down to the Pacific Solution being abandoned and fail to consider push factors that have led to a rise in Tamil( civil war In Sri Lanka) Iranian(the failed ‘green revolution’), Iraq( the country is now a basket case following intervention by western nations) Hazzara’s( a resurgent Taliban). Added to this we can now add Rohingya( persecution in Burma) Syrian’s (civil war).

    I do not regard the vast majority of Australians as ‘ deluded, brainwashed rednecks’ but I do think that the vast majority of ‘deluded, brainwashed rednecks’ more readily fall for the fear tactics that are concocted by the LNP to hide the fact that they have no workable policies.

  70. doctorrob54

    John,as I pointed out earlier you must learn to differentiate between a christian and one that pretends to be.
    allenmcmahon,you sir are a breath of fresh air and one to be held in the most high esteem.Why can’t others
    accept the fact of the situation and then attempt to resolve the perceived problem.That being refugees.

  71. kathysutherland2013

    Perhaps stopping the boats would prevent drownings, but the corollary of this would be that those in danger of persecution and violence would have to stay put and endure the persecution and violence.

    If I were in a situation where the lives of my kids were in danger, I’d do anything – take the nearest leaky boat, pay thousands to criminals, brave a dangerous journey.

    Stopping the boats is not a solution to anything – it’s just a “not in my backyard” reaction. Even on-shore processing has its limitations, as you’ve still got desperate people risking their lives on a dangerous sea-voyage.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that we shouldn’t be playing politics with peoples’ lives.

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