Leftist Jew-hatred virulent in Australia too
Back to the 1930s and uncle Adolf. Hitler's view of Jews would be counted as wise among today's Leftists, though not among the centre-Leftists who at present run Australia. Once again it is the conservatives who are the best friends of Israel
A bipartisan motion congratulating Israel on 60 years of statehood has provoked division in federal Labor, with one government MP threatening to boycott the vote and union heavyweights accusing the Jewish state of racism and ethnic cleansing. The parliamentary motion is due to be passed by MPs today, commemorating 60 years of friendship between Australia andIsrael.
The motion provoked a clash between Kevin Rudd and Labor MP Julia Irwin yesterday after Ms Irwin questioned why the Government was supporting the gesture, given Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. And today a group of individuals and organisations, including the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, the Maritime Union of Australia and South Australian Democrat MP Sandra Kanck, have put their names to an advertisement in The Australian condemning themotion. "We, as informed and concerned [and hate-filled] Australians, choose to disassociate ourselves from a celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians since the al-Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948," the advertisement reads.
Today's motion will commemorate Australia's role in the establishment of Israel and commend Israel's commitment to democracy, the rule of law and pluralism. It reiterates Australia's commitment to Israel's right to exist and to finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Partyroom sources told The Australian that Ms Irwin unsuccessfully attempted to table a number of Amnesty International reports during yesterday's caucus meeting, which she said detailed Israel's alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians. Ms Irwin told The Australian she had yet to decide if she would support the motion.
National secretary of the CFMEU John Sutton said the union was critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Referring to the recent violence, he condemned the "latest slaughter of Palestinians". The man who authorised the CFMEU's participation in the ad, NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson - brother of Labor MPs Laurie and Martin Ferguson - said while he objected to some of the more pungent language in the statement, he supported the basic thrust. He said the CFMEU had no problem with Israel's right to exist.
Sections of Labor's Left have long struggled to reconcile themselves to the party's support of Israel, and the problem threatened a rift between Labor and the Jewish lobby last year. In 2003, Ms Irwin called for UN intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and read an email to the parliament that described the Jewish lobby in Australia as "the most implacable, arrogant, cruel and powerful lobby in the country". The head of the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Colin Rubenstein, dismissed Ms Irwin's remarks, saying Israel's critics in the ALP were confined to the party's fringes.
More black racism in dysfunctional Aboriginal communities
Aurukun Council has moved to sack its new chief after two months amid allegations of racism against white staff in the troubled Cape York community. John Bensch, a South African national who took the job in January, said the violence in Aurukun was equal to that in any of the shantytowns in his home country and that white staff were routinely threatened and belittled by community members.
He remains in the role after the council received legal advice it could not sack him ahead of Saturday's council elections in the north Queensland community. But Aurukun Mayor Neville Pootchemunka said Mr Bensch's future would be decided at a meeting today. Mr Pootchemunka refused to elaborate on why the council had turned on its chief executive, although the fight is thought to relate to staffing disputes and concerns the council was resisting further restrictions on the community's troubled council-run hotel.
``One of the hardest challenges is keeping staff here,'' Mr Bensch said. ``They have been threatened and not made to feel welcome. They are here to do essential jobs, but get little support. ``Some of the local staff turn up to work when they feel like it, leave early. I've been trying to change that, and I think it has caused some problems.''
Mr Bensch said his relationship with the council soured after he tried to hire staff to fill vacant positions, including electricians and carpenters. ``They don't see that it is my job to hire staff,'' he said. ``Things get very messy here very quickly.''
Mr Bensch, a former chief executive of councils in South Africa and New Zealand, said he had had rocks thrown at his car and a window smashed on his second day in the job. ``We have had people walking around the council offices saying get rid of these white c..ts,'' Mr Bensch. ``It is very difficult to get key staff to stay. I would say the majority of Australia has no idea about how bad things are here."
Part of the breakdown between Mr Bensch and the councillors has been over the operation of the council-run Three Rivers Tavern canteen, long identified as a flashpoint for trouble in the community. Queensland Liquor Licensing wants the council to restrict the canteen to the sale of light beer, with food to be served, extra security staff to be put on and opening hours restricted to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. "The proposal has been to increase the price of beer to cover the extra expenses with the food and the security, but council doesn't want to do that," Mr Bensch said.
Mr Bensch said councillors yesterday had to abandon attempts to sack him over his outspoken comments after they received legal advice they had no power to dismiss him because they were in caretaker mode ahead of this Saturday's council elections. "I had a three-month probationary period, so I think they were probably trying to terminate my contract before that comes up," Mr Bensch said. "I think they would have been in trouble as I have to run the election. I'm the returning officer."
Aurukun, on the western side of Cape York, is one of the most troubled communities in north Queensland and attracted international headlines last year after The Australian revealed a judge did not jail nine men who raped a 10-year-old girl, saying she had probably agreed to have sex with the men. Since then, there have been at least two riots, and white staff, including nurses and teachers who work in the community, spend their evenings in compounds or secured housing as youths roam the community.
The work culture in Aurukun has sunk so low the community's only store failed to open one day last week because no staff turned up. Mr Bensch, who has been outspoken about some of the problems besetting the community, said he welcomed planned welfare reforms. "People only want to work certain hours because they risk losing benefits. There are just so many obstacles stopping people from becoming fully engaged," he said.
Victoria's politically correct police force
Too many useless dickless Tracys and not enough robust young men
Fit young men are being denied entry to Victoria Police while the force recruits more women and people approaching retirement age. A 142cm [4'9"!] woman, a 61-year-old man and two men in their late 50s are among the 157 recruits now in training. The recruiting policy was yesterday described by one serving policeman as "political correctness gone mad". The Opposition and the Police Association also challenged the policy.
Police command defended the system, saying the force could not legally refuse any applicant on the grounds of age, gender or height. But some qualified male applicants have waited two years after sitting the police entrance exam and still don't know if they will be accepted. One would-be recruit told the Herald Sun he had been told by police friends his position on the training academy's waiting list fluctuated each month "depending how many women have applied".
Russell Dickson, 24, is 188cm, has a university business degree, works out almost every day and passed the force's entrance exam in March 2006. He has a female friend who is 157cm, struggled to complete year 10 and applied to join the force a year later. She started training at the academy last month. "I know she didn't do as well on some of the tests as I did, but none of that seems to matter," Mr Dickson said.
More women than men graduated from the police training academy for the first time in 2007. Police figures show that 33 per cent of last year's 1098 applicants were women. Almost 52 per cent of the 316 recruits who graduated during the year were women. The number of women in the 11,250-strong police force has jumped from 15 per cent to almost 23 per cent in the seven years since Christine Nixon became the first female chief commissioner. But that number is short of Ms Nixon's aim to boost female police numbers in Victoria to 25 per cent by last June -- and well short of the national average of 31 per cent.
Deputy Commissioner Simon Overland yesterday denied female applicants were given preferential treatment. He said the reason they were being selected in large numbers was because many scored higher than men during the selection process. Mr Overland said there had been a campaign to encourage women to apply, but applicants were treated according to the score they achieved in the selection process. He said the percentage of policewomen in Victoria was still the lowest in Australia.
Assistant director Sue-ellen Zalewski, of the police human resources department, said rankings on the force's order of merit were based solely on results in the entrance exam and a selection panel interview. She said the force aimed to at least reach the national average of female police. There were 250 people on the order of merit who had qualified and were hoping to be accepted for training, and another 1000 at earlier stages of the selection process, she said. She said Victoria Police was the only force in the country with a waiting list. Ms Zalewski said of the eight squads and 157 recruits now in training, 92 were men and 65 women.
The Police Association and the Opposition yesterday questioned the fairness of the recruiting system. Opposition police spokesman Andrew McIntosh said the recruiting policy "should be about equal opportunity -- not reverse discrimination". "It's wrong if the high-jump bar is set differently for some people and not for others," he said. "Reverse discrimination is just as disingenuous as having a discriminatory policy."
Police Association secretary Paul Mullett said the association was supportive of equal opportunity principles, but not at the expense of the best possible police force. Sen-Sgt Mullett called on Ms Nixon to apply for exemptions from equal opportunity laws. "Because of the nature and type of work policing is, we believe the Chief Commissioner should be seeking an exemption to avoid these issues," he said. "She should be given an exemption so she doesn't have to employ people in their 50s or 60s -- male or female -- or people who could be physically incapable of performing all the tasks that could be required of them."
Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission chief executive Dr Helen Szoke said criticism of female police undermined the force's significant gains. Dr Szoke said an employer could seek exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act if they could demonstrate that a physical characteristic would be a "significant and genuine barrier" to employment. It was not against the law for an employer to discriminate if it was necessary to protect health or safety.
Mr Overland said the force aimed to be representative of the community. He said age, height and gender were not a reliable guide to policing ability. "I don't think it's as simple as that. You can't distinguish on that basis. "We've got some big, burly blokes who are absolutely useless and we've got some tiny policewomen who are absolute terriers."
Mr Overland agreed it had been a problem for some smaller members to manage the weight and bulk of all the items carried on a police utility belt -- such as a baton, firearm, radio, capsicum spray can and handcuffs. "We've had to modify our equipment to suit all of the workforce, and we're looking at vests as an alternative carriage system," he said.
Police figures show the oldest recruit last year was 60, the youngest 19 and the average age was 30. Twenty recruits were former police who have been re-appointed. The 61-year-old recruit in training at the academy is also a re-appointee. One sergeant said a 142cm policewoman would have "no hope of carrying everything on the utility belt". "I've worked the past six months in the CBD, and after dark it's a war zone," he said. "A copper that size -- male or female -- would be about as useful as a chocolate teapot." A female sergeant said the recruiting policy was "great in theory but useless in practice".
Aborigines spend more on food as intervention bites
That wicked paternalism actually gets kids fed!
STRICT restrictions on welfare payments in Aboriginal communities have led to a dramatic rise in the consumption of fresh food, a development that has intensified Labor support for a key aspect of the Northern Territory indigenous intervention. A survey of store managers in remote Aboriginal communities has found spending on nutritious food has increased dramatically - with six in 10 stores recording more turnover.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said she had commissioned the early survey - well before the 12-month review promised by the Government - to see if the forced quarantine of Aboriginal welfare was working. She told The Australian she was convinced that income quarantining was working to deliver fresh food to indigenous children in the Territory. "Income management is leading to increases in the purchase of food, which is what we wanted to see happen," Ms Macklin said. "What I'm very pleased about is at this early stage evidence shows that families, including children, are benefiting by more of their money being spent on food," she said. "Even though it hasn't changed for everybody, it has changed for more than the majority. I asked for this because I wanted to get evidence to see if improvements are being made. This is certainly some good early evidence."
The new figures put pressure on the Rudd Government to keep income quarantining in 73 remote Aboriginal communities, even after the review of the intervention, launched by John Howard last June, is completed in the middle of the year.
Ms Macklin said only three out of 10 stores had seen no change in spending on food, while one had seen a decrease. The figures will blunt a push by the Left in the Rudd Government, who believe there should be no forced quarantining of income in the NT. They say there should be quarantining only for those proved as irresponsible spenders.
Rodney Matuschka, manager of the Finke River Mission Store at Hermannsburg in central Australia, said food was not the only thing that indigenous people could spend their 50 per cent quarantined money on, but he was finding there was at least a 20 per cent increase in food being bought for children. Mr Matuschka said families could spend their money on DVDs and other products, but he was actively discouraging them from doing so. "Prior to the intervention, people could voluntarily quarantine their money so that they didn't spend it on grog. But it is mostly women who spend it now."