Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plan to change Punjab Place to Oak Tree Place attacked as racist

I don't suppose we are allowed to mention that some streets in Bombay which had had English names for centuries were given Hindi names instead a few decades back? OK to change English names to Indian ones but not OK to change Indian names to English ones?? OK for Indians to prefer Indian names but not OK for English-speaking people to prefer English names?

A RACE row is brewing in the quiet cul-de-sac of Punjab Place at Logan in Queensland as 32 residents petition to change the street's Indian name. The retirement village at the centre of the stoush, south of Brisbane, is now considering a withdrawal of its application to the council, The Courier-Mail reports.

But yesterday residents said they still wanted the street renamed Oak Tree Place, after the Oak Tree Lifestyle Village that dominates a quarter of the streetscape. A 32-signature petition was submitted by village manager Dawn Ludlow to Cr Lynne Clarke, stating Oak Tree Place was a more suitable name for the street than Punjab - a northwest Indian state.

Residents outside the Boronia Heights village yesterday said they signed the petition because they felt Oak Tree was "prettier". "This isn't racist," resident Ron Edmonds said. "Oak Tree is just a nicer name." Further up the cul-de-sac, resident Annie Liu said Punjab was an "Indian name". "It is not against Indians but this is a beautiful street and Oak Tree is a beautiful name," she said. "Punjab isn't as much."

But Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin president Umesh Chandra said the request to rename the street was devastating. Given the controversy over attacks on Indian students in Australia, plans to remove an Indian street name would make relations worse. "Regardless of whether this is just because one name is prettier than another, people in India would see it as a terrible slur; they are already cancelling trips to Australia over the treatment of students," Mr Chandra said. "The majority of Indian students coming to Australia come from Punjab, too, which means this would escalate tensions. "It is very disappointing. The name of the street is special."

Punjab Place was named in September 2005, after a request by a developer of Punjabi heritage who still lives in the street. It sits amid Flinders Crescent, Jacaranda Ave and Poinciana Drive.


Senate kills Australia's Warmist laws

The Senate has defeated legislation to establish an emissions trading scheme, forcing the Government to negotiate with the Opposition or persist with its bill with the threat of an early election. Just after 11am, the Opposition, Greens, and the independents, Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding, voted to defeat the package of 11 bills that sought to establish a scheme from 2011 onwards.

If the Government waits three months to reintroduce the bills, and they are defeated again, it would serve as a trigger for a double dissolution election. [An early election which dissolves both the Senate and the lower house]

Before the vote, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong called it a "day of reckoning" on climate change. "This is a reform that is long overdue, that is in the national interest, that both major political parties said they would implement when they went to the last election," she said. In summing up the Government's case before the vote, Senator Wong said: ''This bill may be going down today but this is not the end. We will press forward, we will press on with this reform for as long as we have to. ''We will bring this bill back before the end of the year."

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said he was willing to negotiate amendments to pass a scheme in the event the Government reintroduces the bills. But his party room is divided and he faces a tough test ahead, even though he has majority support to negotiate.

Senator Wong said again this morning she would consider amendments "when Mr Turnbull has serious and credible amendments that have the support of his party room". Debate on the scheme began about 10am but there were few speakers left to make a contribution. Family First Senator Steve Fielding told the Senate of his concerns that humans were not the cause of global warming.


Early election trigger won't work

KEVIN Rudd's plans for an early double dissolution election have been sunk, with the discovery of a legal defect in his Emissions Trading Scheme. The Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, is understood to have confirmed that even if Mr Rudd were to go to a double dissolution election to get his ETS through Parliament, the scheme could still be blocked by the Senate.

Mr Evans an expert on Senate practice is understood to have based his argument on the fact that most of the ETS relies not on law, but on regulation. The Standing Orders of the Parliament state those regulations could still be struck down by the Senate even if the laws establishing the ETS were passed at a joint sitting of Parliament following a double dissolution election.

Mr Evans' views are based on the 1987 precedent of the failed Australia Card. Then Prime Minister Bob Hawke went to a double dissolution election using the Senate's obstruction of the ID card as a trigger. He won the election and was preparing for a joint sitting of the Parliament when it was discovered by the Opposition that the start-up date for the card was governed by regulation and a hostile Senate would vote it down. In a humiliating backdown, Mr Hawke had to abandon the ID card.

Mr Evans believes Mr Rudd is now in the same position.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Evans declined to comment publicly. It is understood that shadow attorney-general George Brandis shares Mr Evans' opinion. It is likely Mr Evans' view will be confirmed in writing this week when Senator Brandis approaches him for confirmation of his opinion.


Australian police trying to whitewash Muslim terrorism

Comment from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

The tragic reality of modern life is that almost no day passes without a terrorist attack somewhere in the world. Recent terrorist events, particularly last month's bombings of Jakarta hotels which killed Australians as well as persons of other nationalities, and last week's allegations of a plot to attack the Holsworthy Army Base, bring danger closer to home and make the need for action even more pressing.

The JCCV is far from alone in regarding contemporary terrorism as the greatest immediate danger facing the Western world and its values today. While some are reluctant to say so - and Muslim theology and the directives of its religious leaders are sometimes contradictory - it is an inescapable fact that this terrorism is almost entirely carried out by persons purporting to act in the name of Islam.

That the Australian Government recognises this is apparent. To take one proof, as of May 2009 it had proscribed seventeen terrorist organisations. All except one are Islamist in nature (and even the secular exception, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has utilised Sunni Islamic beliefs to mobilise support).

As part of a strategy to combat extremism, Victoria Police with the support of the Federal Government, has undertaken this project looking at the ‘Lexicon of Terror'. While this project is still in progress, comments made by Assistant Commissioner Fontana and Australia's Attorney General Robert McClelland, suggest that the ‘Lexicon of Terror' project will likely recommend that the language around terror be sanitised, avoiding all possible reference to Muslims in the belief that this will reduce their alienation and hence their radicalisation.

In the JCCV's opinion - and that of many learned experts on terror - this would be an ill-considered and likely counter-productive outcome. There is widespread disagreement on what makes a terrorist. Mooted causes include indoctrination, alienation, poverty, anger at the West for its military action against Islamic countries, hatred of the West for its values, doctrinal differences, individual pathology, personal tragedy and more. For every theory there are both exceptions to the rule and countering views, hence making both proactive and reactive approaches all the more difficult.

However one fact almost always emerges from the uncertainty about what motivates terrorist behaviour. Whatever the true reason may be, it is invariably couched in theological language, at its simplest "I commit this act because it is Allah's will". Western governments and other institutions cannot counter this belief, certainly not in Islamic countries, nor in the West where faith-based schools and home teaching can facilitate hatred of the host society.

Only Muslims themselves with the requisite will and inclination can turn the tide in the war against terror. However they can not and will not do so if they do not acknowledge that they have this power. And a ‘Lexicon of Terror' that infantilises and absolves Muslims of responsibility by creating a generic, overly careful and politically correct language will doom us all to failure.

The various elements that constitute the terrorist movement proudly proclaim Islamism as their motivator. If Government, its institutions, the media and other moulders of opinion, and most importantly, the mainstream Muslim community do not take them at their word and clearly state that a particular interpretation of Islam lies at the root of terror (and that there are alternatives), then it will be impossible to move followers of Islam to a more moderate view of the world.

The Victorian Jewish community believes that the real clash in today's world is not between civilisations as some contend, but within each civilisation or religion, a clash between the forces of extremism and those of moderation and acceptance of diversity. We must give the moderates the tools to fight the former. While this means clearly recognising that moderate and mainstream Muslims are both in the majority and are allies of democrats in this war, this must be done without denying the motivation and actions of the minority who give Islam and Muslims a bad name. In short, the application of a form of censorship to the way in which terrorist acts are reported or referred, so that the underlying motivation for such acts is in effect denied, will not achieve the desired outcomes. It is far more important that we all work together to empower the moderate Muslim community to speak out against the perpetrators of these acts.


No comments: