Monday, November 16, 2009

Leftist suspicion of a constellation of stars in the night sky!

Trotskyites, Leftist labour unions and various other far-Leftist groups in Australia have often flaunted Southern Cross ("Eureka") flags but when other Australians use a representation of the same cross, it becomes "racist"! That it is essentially just a geographical identifier (it is not seen in the Northern sky) is too deep for them. A representation of it is included on the right-hand side of the Australian flag

It shines in our night sky. It is plastered across the uniforms of our elite sporting teams and inked into the skin of everyone from pro surfers to supermodels. It was made infamous during the Cronulla race riots and is being stuck to an increasing number of car rear windows. It even features on the Australian flag and the Eureka flag, the latter which first flew in 1854 during a goldminers' revolt. Whichever way we look at it, and whether we like it or not, the Southern Cross has become our de facto national symbol.

But a debate has erupted as to whether the Southern Cross has been commandeered for social and/or political agendas. Many say patriotism should be commended but others point to its complexity and argue that it is more divisive than unifying. As the Australia Day Council launched a campaign last week to ask which symbols and images best represent our country, opinion-makers and public figures were at odds on how to answer the question - variously describing the Southern Cross as everything from "beautiful" to "racist".

While Southern Cross tattoos adorn celebrities such as television tradesman Scott Cam, cricketer Peter Siddle and Bra Boy surfer Koby Abberton, there has been something of a backlash. On the internet community site Facebook, groups have started such as "The Southern Cross tattoo is bogan and racist" and "I'm sick of seeing people with Southern Cross stickers on cars and tattoos".

Australia Day Council ambassador Elka Graham said a website launched last week - - is designed to promote debate over our national identity. "You're not just having people of status and wealth talking about what it is to be Australian but you're getting the average person online," the Olympic swimmer said. "I think you're going to find a diverse range of what Australia is."

Tim Soutphommasane, a first-generation Australian and author of Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives, said symbols such as the Southern Cross came to be associated with a new wave of patriotism under the conservative Howard government. "Many Australians have been content to regard all expressions of national pride as thinly disguised racism," he said. "The result has been a surrender of all things patriotic to extreme nationalists."

Soutphommasane said Australians needed to work harder at tying national symbols to civic virtues, such as inclusion and democratic participation. "This is what's frustrating about occasions such as Australia Day," he said. "People often reduce everything that's great about our country to sport and lifestyle - that sells Australia short, it trivialises our achievement. "We have a democratic and egalitarian public culture that is worth celebrating. Symbols such as the national flag should be things that unite us rather than divide us along racial lines. Since Cronulla [in 2005], this has been a challenge."

Dr Russell McGregor, an academic at James Cook University, said if there was a rising perception of the Southern Cross as racist, it's nothing new. "The Southern Cross became famous because of its connection with the Eureka Stockade … The race element is because at one stage [it was used] by the National Front, a far-right organisation back in the 1970s, but before that it was adopted by various communist groups," he said. "It's been adopted by the left, the right and the centre of Australian politics at various stages. I don't think there's any inherent racial [meaning]."

Research shows Australians have become one of the "most patriotic" peoples in the world. International research company the Reputation Institute, last month released a report that found Australia rated highest among 33 countries in self-image. The poll found Australians score themselves 91.9 out of 100 when it comes to the esteem, respect and admiration they hold for their country - although foreigners have a rather lower opinion of Australia, giving it a score of 72.5.

Russel Howcroft, a panellist on ABC TV's The Gruen Transfer , said outside Australia, the Southern Cross was a more distinctive symbol than we have traditionally used. "I think the Southern Cross is really important to how Australians view themselves," he said. "To me, it's far more unifying than the Union Jack … And it's interesting because over time, it has become a key image."

Mr Howcroft said as an advertisement for the country, the national flag failed to promote Australia. "What it says is that we're colonial, because it's basically a colonial design, and it isn't differentiating because there are many other countries in the world … who use that basic structure," he said.

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy national convener Professor David Flint disagreed, saying critics were out of touch with the Australian people and that it was a "pity to undermine the great symbols of the nation". "The fact [the symbols] have been imported doesn't make them any less Australian."


Honest cop back at work after beating corrupt police bosses -- for now

A OFFICER who exposed cronyism and corruption in the police force has returned to duty after 18 months of being forced to see psychiatrists despite being fit. Sergeant Robbie Munn said he was greeted by "a lot of smiles, handshakes and pats on the back" by other officers at the Maroochydore police station after battling against police bureaucracy.

Sgt Munn, who rebelled against a culture he said deterred whistleblowers from reporting "dirty little secrets" in the service, credited an October story in The Courier-Mail with restoring his career. Only days before the story ran, Sgt Munn was barred from duty but within hours of the story's publication his doctor received a report clearing him for service. "The story was the only reason I was allowed back," he said. "I still think they want me out and will try to medically retire me."

Sgt Munn is working three days a week on a rehabilitation program recommended for him last year but only offered to him after the story appeared. Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said he would meet with Sgt Munn to discuss his concerns, but the meeting has yet to occur.

Sgt Munn was supported by Queensland Police Union general secretary Mick Barnes, Maroochydore's Sgt John Saez, a 37-year veteran, and dozens of Dayboro residents impressed with his services as officer-in-charge in the town.

Sgt Munn, who was in charge of 70 police officers at Maroochydore, said he was smeared in the bureaucracy after exposing that police cheated on promotion exams by plagiarising and paying others to complete their work. He also unsuccessfully tried to reform rosters at the Maroochydore watchhouse after becoming concerned at some work practices. A year later, two officers were charged and eventually jailed for taking advantage of female prisoners.

When he was overlooked for promotion in Dayboro, he appealed to the CMC and won, embarrassing his managers. After having a heart attack, Sgt Munn said he was not allowed to return to duty despite his GP and two psychiatrists saying he was fit. The police service was accused of doctor-shopping for a negative report to keep Sgt Munn from returning.

He was embarrassed to be paid more than $100,000 from a fund for ill police officers while he was on enforced leave. "At least now I have direction. For 18 months I had no direction," he said.

Police bureaucrats sat on a favourable report on his mental condition until after the newspaper article appeared.

Evie, his wife, said her husband had been "honest to his own detriment". Union secretary Mr Barnes said Sgt Munn was a victim of "bastardisation" in the force. "It highlights the mindset within many senior QPS officers who are unable to agree to disagree," he said.


Australia sends some Sri Lankans illegals home

How come these guys did not get the normal big welcome? As far as I can tell, they forgot to say the magic word "asylum" when first interviewed

THE Rudd government chartered a 100-seat jet to Sri Lanka at the weekend to forcibly remove six asylum-seekers who staged a dramatic eight-hour protest inside the Christmas Islands immigration detention centre last month.

The six Sinhalese fishermen became the first asylum-seekers to be isolated inside the centre's controversial "red block", built by the Howard government, with small metal cells to detain violent or unstable detainees.

They were among 50 Sri Lankans who had been trying to reach New Zealand when their boat hit a reef in Torres Strait on March 28. So far, only 12 have been found to be refugees and granted visas.

Another 29 have gone home voluntarily on commercial flights from Perth, one is in detention in Perth in preparation for returning voluntarily on a commercial flight and the remaining two are in detention on Christmas Island while their claims are resolved.

On October 30, the protesting six, who had been assessed and rejected, refused to board a charter plane from Christmas Island to Perth, where they were expected to join a commercial flight to Colombo as voluntary removals. Instead, one of the men stunned onlookers by swiftly climbing a pole thought to be more than 12m. He stayed there poised to jump for the most of the day while the five others refused to co-operate with people sent to the scene, including a psychologist.

The operation to return the six to Sri Lanka began on Friday when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship chartered a Fokker 100 from the mainland. It brought in guards specially trained in involuntary removals. At 6.30am on Saturday, the Sri Lankans were brought to Christmas Island's airport in two minibuses with guards. In total, 17 guards and immigration workers accompanied the men to Colombo on the airliner. The minders returned to Christmas Island alone yesterday morning.

Yesterday there were 1114 asylum-seekers on Christmas Island and 14 crew. Authorities were preparing for the delivery early this week of the 40th boatload of asylum-seekers intercepted this year. The group of 47 and three crew were spotted on Friday near Ashmore Reef.


Pettifogging bureaucracy is just creeping totalitarianism

By Miranda Devine

Two Qantas pilots have been suspended after they came close to landing a Boeing 767 at Sydney Airport without lowering its wheels, which was rather forgetful of them. But in the absent-minded department they were not alone, with reports recently of two similar incidents. Two US Airbus pilots were suspended after they did not notice they had flown past their destination in Minneapolis. Another two Delta pilots were stood down when they did not notice the runway they were landing on was blue with a yellow stripe, indicating it was not a runway but a taxiway.

Such incidents may become commonplace as aircraft become more complex and the once-very busy pilot brain becomes underutilised. Put highly trained, intelligent humans in jobs where they have to stare at computers for hours and act only if something goes wrong, and the brain will find something else to do - sleep, daydream or plunge into a fugue. Cash-strapped airlines are solving this problem by employing pilots who are less skilled and cheaper.

The effects of excessive automatism on pilots are a example of what happens to human ingenuity, resourcefulness and independent thought when it is rendered surplus to requirement in a bureaucracy.

The spread of brain-dead supplicants to the state has grown with the rise of the bureaucratic class, which reached its zenith when the former Queensland bureaucrat and chief jargon generator Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister. He may be a perfectly fine human being but he believes in one thing - that systems and processes can solve any problem, that if you have enough meetings, summits, talkfests, reviews, studies, probes, resolutions and facilitations, preferably with some connection to a United Nations body, solutions will miraculously occur without hard decisions being made.

As Rudd's disintegrating policy on asylum seekers demonstrates, this approach rarely works.

His 2020 Summit, stacked with whiteboards and McKinseyite facilitators, was a prime example of bureaucracy syndrome, with much talking and nothing happening.

Bureaucratism obfuscates with jargon that is impossible to understand, making your mind behave like a skittish colt. You finally give up and turn away with a sense of failure, suspecting that if you had tried harder you might have reached the golden truth. Only there is no golden truth. It is all dense verbiage, with no reason to exist except itself.

Bureaucratism operates by adding layers of complexity to a problem so that much time and effort can be spent on assembling the architecture of that complexity and then solving the problems created by that architecture. You become so caught up in solving the human resources issues or occupational health and safety concerns or constructing risk analysis that the original problem is rendered meaningless.

Take the consultant called in recently to define the "strategy and objectives" of a big metropolitan rail network project. He told me he was stuck with senior management who thought safety was their first priority, "ahead of moving an ever-increasing number of people across the network". He told them the only safe train network is one that has no trains.

The Institute of Public Affairs showed recently that state bureaucracies were growing at a rate of 8 per cent a year, as expressed by the cost of state public sector workers. The number of state public servants nationwide has grown from 972,000 in 2000 to 1.2 million last year. They all need something to do, and the results can be seen in the dozens of small ways our lives are burdened with bureaucratism every day.

Try getting a passport renewed at Neutral Bay post office. They will have you back and forward retaking photographs to eliminate a shadow or the hint of teeth. Any deviation and your application can be spiked. You cannot collect the application form from the post office. You must download it from the internet and print it out. But woe betide you if the margins are a millimetre too wide. You will be running back and forward to the printer for days. It is like being lost in a Kafka play. There must be people who enjoy such useless activity.

The main problem with pettifogging bureaucracy is that it puts immense power in the hands of people who are constitutionally unfit for it. It is evident from early years in the school playground that some people are destined to be paper shufflers. But give them power and they become drunk with it, wielding it not only unwisely but unjustly.

It may be tempting to think of over-bureaucratisation as a benign, though annoying, malaise that will pass quickly. But one of its strongest early opponents, the US president Ronald Reagan, argued it was as much a threat to liberty as communism. As his biographer Steven Hayward recently told ABC radio's Counterpoint, Reagan believed bureaucratic government, "undermines self-rule and consent of the governed".

Governments in Australia, the US and Europe "don't have secret police or concentration camps but they do behave arbitrarily and sometimes … even lawlessly, and are not very accountable to voters. So even in our two-party systems in Western democracies we are governed in some important respects like a one-party state."

The great shining symbol of bureaucratism's triumph over freedom is, of course, the carbon pollution reduction scheme, and its elaborate bureaucratic apparatus, which brooks no dissent.

The CSIRO economist Clive Spash, for instance, reportedly has claimed CSIRO management suppressed his research criticising emission trading schemes. Spash said he was not allowed to publish his paper, The Brave New World of Carbon Trading, because it commented on "policies", as if no CSIRO scientist had ever done such a thing.

The totalitarian threat of bureaucratism is nowhere as clear as in the climate change industry's creeping assaults on liberty.


No comments: