Thursday, September 17, 2009

Useless Victoria police do nothing while "refugees" destroy Australia's Indian education industry

You are not allowed to mention it these days but in the past there was more open acknowledgement that the street thugs are mostly African refugees. That means, of course, that the police are hamstrung by political correctness

India has urged Australia to quickly put in place promised measures to protect its citizens after new assaults last weekend in Melbourne. India's foreign ministry confirmed two Indian nationals and two other persons of Indian origin were assaulted in Australia on September 12. "It would help if various measures being contemplated by the Australian side, in addition to those already announced, are put in place at the earliest, to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in the future," said a statement from the foreign ministry.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said incidents such as the weekend attack on four Indian men will make his mission to repair damaged relations between Australia and India all the more difficult. Mr Brumby leaves Australia for India next Monday for a trip designed to promote Melbourne as a safe destination for Indian students to study. [What a laugh!]

"I don't think there is any doubt at all that some of the events over the last few months have damaged our brand and the Australian brand in India," he told reporters on Wednesday. "It will make that task (promoting Melbourne as a good place to study) difficult. I think it makes the trip to India even more important."

A series of attacks on Indian students since May has strained diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Canberra and each new attack prompts wide media coverage here.

The Australian government has promised to increase police patrols and weed out suspect education and migration agents after revelations that foreign students were falling victim to sub-standard courses and visa scams. "We are concerned at the recurring attacks on Indians in Australia and we hope that the latest incident is investigated with care and the culprits are dealt with," the statement said.

The attacks have cast a shadow over the Australian education industry for foreign students which is worth $15.53 billion. About 95,000 Indians are studying in Australia after a university publicity blitz targeting the country's growing middle class. The ministry said it had taken note of assurances given by the Australian authorities but now expected some action.


Some excerpts from another report about the pathetic police handling of the most recent attack:

Police have defended a four-day delay in releasing details about a racist attack on four men in Melbourne’s north-east that has sparked outrage in India. The Times of India today reported that up to 70 people were involved in the bashing of Sukhdip Singh, 26, his brother Gurdeep Singh, uncle Mukhtair Singh and nephew Indpal Singh, 20.

But Victoria Police acting Senior Sergeant Glenn Parker said the attack had been exaggerated in Indian press reports and denied there had been a cover-up by police. Acting Senior Sergeant Parker today denied Indian media reports that up to 70 people had been involved in the assault. He said 15 to 20 people were believed to have watched the assault and were yelling racial abuse when police arrived...

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said because four men were arrested following the assault there had been no "operational reason" for police to publicise the incident. The four arrested men, aged between 20 and 30, were later released without charge. Police are now seeking witnesses.

Incredible NSW hospitals bureaucracy again

More than 130 doctors at one of the state's most dilapidated hospitals have threatened to walk off the job after being told the Health Department is impotent to change their ''slum-like conditions'' but is demanding they slash up to $9 million from their budget and cull staff.

Doctors at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital went public in the Herald last month, upset that wards were stained with possum urine, dangerous cabling snaked across floors and operating theatres were too small for modern equipment and lacked emergency arrest buttons, putting staff and patients at risk. Possums had also been found living among open boxes of medical supplies in the intensive care unit.

But, after a visit by the then health minister John Della Bosca, hospital management was this week told to slash up to $9 million from its budget, lose 23 staff and close a ward. Doctors had planned to discuss the proposed cuts with the chief of the Northern Sydney Area Health Service, Matthew Daly, yesterday but the meeting was cancelled at short notice, leaving staff fearing they have been sidelined.

''Is this punishment for bringing the Hornsby debacle to the public?'' the chairman of the medical staff council, Richard Harris, asked yesterday. ''They are all hoping this will blow over, but we are … determined to make sure it doesn't blow over,'' he said.

The hospital's clinical director of surgery and anaesthetics, Pip Middleton, said doctors would give the Government six weeks to agree to a rebuild before considering withdrawing their services. ''In less than two years this hospital will become unsafe and unworkable so it is fast getting to the point where the only thing we can do is walk out. It's not something we'd do lightly but it may be the only thing they understand.''

Dr Middleton, who has previously labelled conditions at the hospital as medieval and offensive, said a recent offer by the area health service to renovate a ward was ''Chinese finance''. ''Sticky tape and a lick of paint does nothing to improve the conditions for anyone here. If they can't rebuild completely, they are throwing good money after bad. We need some firm evidence they are doing something rather than stalling, or we're out,'' he said.

A cardiologist, Jason Sharp, said staff were tired of dealing with '' a dysfunctional bureaucracy that can't achieve anything''. He said the recent resignation of the hospital's general manager had left staff feeling more demoralised. ''Administration is in disarray at a hospital level, an area health service level and a state level. They are immobilised and it leaves us disappointed.''

The hospital's executive clinical director, Sue Kurrle, said staff were perplexed at being told to cut the budget. ''This is one of the most cost-efficient hospitals in the state. There's nothing to cut.''

Dr Harris has called for a meeting with the new Health Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, and wants representatives from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to tour the hospital.


No fond farewell for a Labor party bigot

By Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union

FEDERAL Labor backbencher Julia Irwin has announced she will not recontest the ultra-safe southwestern Sydney seat of Fowler at the next election. Let me provide the first political obituary: a negligible contribution to southwestern Sydney and a dangerous contribution to the foreign policy debate.

Irwin's most ungracious act came last year. The member for Fowler chose to boycott the Prime Minister's speech marking the anniversary of the foundation of the state of Israel. This was probably the most embarrassing intervention from a backbencher in the present parliament. She said at the time, "I cannot congratulate a country which carries out human rights abuses each day."

Yet a quick search of Hansard reveals Irwin's concerns for human rights are a little selective. It seems she believes there are two classes of human rights, for two classes of citizen.

Last year, for example, Irwin heaped praise on the Cuban government and its overseas medical assistance programs. But she made no mention of the plight of political prisoners in Cuba, or the daily repression faced by Cuban citizens struggling to live under the repressive communist regime.

Irwin's moral clarity on human rights seemed also to escape her when she travelled to China in 1999. Irwin was in Beijing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that renowned bastion of robust political debate, the National People's Congress. On her return, the member for Fowler addressed parliament about her trip, thanking the Chinese ambassador in Canberra for his assistance, then turning to the issue of Tibet.

"With regard to reconciliation with the Dalai Lama, the delegation was told that this would require the Dalai Lama to give up any claims for independence for Tibet and to stop separatist activities," Irwin declared. "As for Tibetans living abroad, the delegation was told that they were free to enter and leave Tibet and that some 10,000 had done so in recent years, with 2000 resettling in Tibet."

Human rights campaigners rejoice. Irwin's been to China and discovered everything is peachy for the Tibetans. As for political prisoners, human rights abuses and the legacy of Tiananmen Square, the keen humanitarian conscience of the member for Fowler must have been missing in action.

During 11 years in parliament, Irwin has given many private member statements on her views of the conflict in Israel and Palestinian territories. In 2005 she gave a short speech where in the space of just a few minutes she accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and setting up "a walled ghetto" and "a concentration camp".

Comparing the actions of Israel with those of Nazi Germany is the sort of low-rent tactic preferred by those who seek to perpetuate rather than resolve the impasse in the Middle East. It is divisive and intellectually lazy.

Many decent and upstanding MPs on both sides of the house are passionate about the plight of the Palestinian people. Many have delivered valuable, thoughtful speeches on the failure of Israel to secure peace. But Irwin is not one of them. In her short-sightedness, she has refused to acknowledge the important role of progressive Israelis and progressive Palestinians. In short, she is more interested in stoking the flames of division than bringing together those who want peace, irrespective of faith and nationality.

Her legacy to the parliament, her electorate and Labor is not a great one. I suspect few of her constituents could nominate any local achievements. For the Labor Party that protected her preselection, she has shown no gratitude. Her intervention in the House of Representatives this week announcing her retirement was full of vitriol and put the boot into a political party that has kept her and her family in well-paid employment for many years.

However, Irwin was right to point out many of the flaws that exist in the way the Labor Party operates. That Irwin could remain the holder of an ultra-safe seat such as Fowler for 11 years is evidence that maybe the party could do with some reform.

In our grand Labor family, we tolerate different views and vigorous debate. Her parting contribution only reinforces her utter lack of respect and grace. Hopefully in retirement she can enjoy the company of other exiles, such as Mark Latham. So goodbye, Julia, I'm sure someone will miss you, but I doubt that your party or your electorate will.


A rather stupid immigration debate

How can you talk about immigration without specifying WHICH immigrants you are talking about? Should we accept inmates from the prisons of Haiti, for instance? It is certainly true that Australia's large numbers of bright and hard-working Han Chinese (now about 10% of the population) have been very benefical to Australia and Australians but it is equally true that the intake of Lebanese and African Muslims has done little more than push up the crime rate

It was the Herald's IQ2 debate last night at City Recital Hall that got economists, scientists, public opinion leaders - and the audience - speaking on the topic that ''our current immigration rate is too high''.

Professor Tim Flannery, the scientist and 2007 Australian of the Year, kicked off proceedings by arguing that while population growth is in the interests of business and government, it is not in the long-term interests of individuals or humanity because of the strain on the environment.

''Every other species has natural factors which constrain its growth. We have removed them all except for our own volition,'' he said.

The Herald columnist Tanveer Ahmed said migrants have ''driven the economy further, enriched the culture and fabric of our nation, and their children are, by and large, even more successful.''

John Sutton, vice-president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, cited a number of labour-related reasons why migrants numbers should be reduced, including the small Australian labour market being unable to absorb supply.

An economist, Professor Helen Hughes, countered that well-managed migration raises the benefits to all involved.

But for all the talk of the economy, the author Tom Keneally concluded that migration was most importantly a moral and humanitarian concern, bringing discussion back towards the environment with a mention of climate refugees, and the social benefits migrants have brought to Australian culture.


Creepy vitriolic bigotry of the internet's fringe-dwellers

MP Michael Danby in an attack in Parliament on antisemitism in "New Matilda" and "Crikey"

THE editorial bias of the online publications for which they write clearly puts them on the fringe of Australian politics. If one compares the things that they wrote with, say, Labor Party discussions at the recent national conference, one would see that they are completely outside the mainstream of the centre-left party in this country.

The thrust of my previous speech and tonight's lies with the creepier bigotry that their articles and other articles unleashed in these two online publications (Crikey and New Matilda), which apparently had no problem with publishing them.

Our toughest critique must be of their unadulterated racism: the perverse nature of their criticisms and the vitriol that is not present in the appraisal of other conflicts; the use of terms such as ethnic cleansing and Nazi; and the dropping of all pretence of anti-Zionism by openly discussing Jews and so-called Jewish proclivities.

It is clear in my view that New Matilda and Crikey disgraced themselves and the wider circle of Australian journalism and the tolerant ethos that characterises Australia by publishing clearly bigoted comments in the comments sections of their publications in the first three months of this year.

Crikey's publisher pleads partly guilty in The Australian Jewish News on Thursday:

ERIC Beecher rejected the idea that the daily online newspaper was in any way anti-Semitic. "It's true, though, that Crikey pushes the boundaries, and in doing so sometimes pushes too far," Beecher said.


Full speech here. An excerpt:

My analysis prompted an exchange of letters between well-known civil rights organisation the Anti-Defamation Commission and Newmatilda's editor, Marni Cordell. In April of this year the Anti-Defamation Commission sent Cordell a sober, detailed and careful analysis of the magazines' contents for the first three months of 2009, highlighting ADC's concerns over not its partisan opinion but the broad slabs of hate speak published in the comments section following each article. En passant, Cordell virtually agreed that her online publication presented no semblance of fairness, asserting her publication's role was as a counterweight to the biased, pro-Israel media. One wonders what planet she lived on during the war in Gaza.

Cordell [above] fudged why Newmatilda publishes blatantly bigoted commentary, even though the magazine explicitly reserves the right to moderate that commentary if it is abusive or promotes hate. Only since being exposed has Newmatilda stopped publishing race hate in its comment columns.

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