Sunday, September 05, 2010


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG fears that the rural independents are going to side with the Labor party

An interest in high culture is not a significant class divide in Australia

That pompous old Marxist pontificator, Theodor Adorno, would not have understood Australia at all

By German sociologist Jens Schroeder

Whereas in Europe, high culture often served as a means for social distinction and a political economy of power, Australians were happy to consume it like ‘a good meal.’ This was a country where – thanks to a high standard of living and the consequent egalitarianism of manners – tastes where traditionally shared. Borders of taste did not easily translate into borders of class.

This fact offended European sensibilities. Even in the United States, an elite managed to erect a monopoly of high culture that other groups recognised and to which they oriented themselves. The theatre and concert halls became places for the celebration of something sacred, a form of culture beyond any doubt. But they also stopped being the popular entertainment they used to be. Europeans were leased, the old order was in place again.

However, in Australia this order never managed to assert itself to a similar degree. Sure there was culture, but it faced a society of ‘common men.’

When the ABC introduced subscriptions to classical concerts, numbers rose astronomically. Yet, Australia’s egalitarian ethos made sure that these means of taste did not translate into means of power. A working man like Ben Chifley could become Prime Minister and freely admit that he could not understand or appreciate any classical music. In fact, he had a strong suspicion that a great many people who expressed their devotion to it were hardly honest!

On the other hand, a huge part of the Australia population recognised itself in mass culture. This was a form of culture that stood in homology with the country’s self-perception: It was embraced as a genuinely democratic and – thus specifically Australian – cultural practice. Little wonder, then, that Australians for decades could claim the highest cinema visits per capita.

The irony of this situation is that a leftist German thinker like Adorno, the theorist of the great divide between mass culture and art par excellence and orthodox Marxist, would have hated Australia. It was – and still is – a place that enthusiastically embraced every product the manipulative ‘culture industry’ had to offer.

At the same time, it was the most democratic nation he ever would have set foot on. It had a very different history than Germany, its ‘foundational dynamics’ were almost an inverse mirror image of the illiberal Kulturnation. This was an environment that countered political extremisms. And this was a society that did not automatically translate European cultural capital into a claim for social leadership, something that ironically would have led to Adorno’s misrecognition of its democratic traditions. In his view, capitalism’s diversions – in contrast to works like Schoenberg’s atonality – always equated to deformed personalities and complete sinfulness in which moral authority was all but impossible.

In a way, this already happened during his stay in the United States; yet, as described above, anything that he might have remotely liked about America had an even harder time to assert itself Down Under. The result would have been, again, an unfair European judgment of Australia.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Sept. 3. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Decision to kick a convicted sexual predator out of Australia is overturned by a bleeding heart tribunal

Because it might cause him "hardship"! Isn't that exactly what he has earned?

A DECISION to kick a convicted sexual predator out of Australia has been overturned because the pervert loves footy and his hero is Peter Brock.

As thousands of innocent would-be migrants are sent packing each year, the rapist and paedophile is now free to walk the streets of Melbourne despite Immigration Minister Chris Evans' decision to deport him.

The man has just been released from prison and is on the registered sex offenders' list for the rest of his life. He served a 7 1/2-year sentence for the rape of his partner and attempted incest on his step-daughter, then 12, which a judge described as "revolting".

But a tribunal decided the man was "virtually an Australian person", though he was not a citizen, and that it would be unfair to deport him to his homeland of Malta.

The decision has sparked outrage and the minister is considering his options, including an appeal to the Federal Court.

The registered sex offender, who cannot be named for legal reasons and is known as DNCW, fought the decision to deport him in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which reviews ministerial decisions.

The tribunal's senior member, John Handley, said even though the offences committed by the man were "repulsive" it would cause him "hardship" if he was deported.

He said the man had lived in Australia since he was four, with the exception of a few years when his family returned to Malta, and he had no memory of his homeland. "(He) is virtually an Australian person. He supports an Australian Rules football team. He also enjoys tennis, volleyball, badminton and soccer. He enjoys motorbike and motor car racing and his hero was Peter Brock," Mr Handley said.

Even though DNCW described the man's relationship with his partner in 2003 as "pretty good", he raped her.

He then twice tried to have incestuous sex with his 12-year-old step-daughter. Mr Handley said: "The attempted incest offences, by their description alone, are revolting. "The man described himself as a father figure (to the girl). Despite her protests, he violated her on two occasions.

"(The partner who was raped) was devastated and inconsolable whilst giving evidence. I do not know of any more disgraceful or depraved conduct by a man upon a woman."

The man also had a string of prior convictions including theft, unlawful assault, breach of an intervention order, burglary and cultivating a narcotic plant, he said.

The man had no close relatives in Malta, barely spoke the language, was not eligible for social security in Malta and would "suffer considerable hardship", he said.

An Australian resident of 14 years who was deported to Sri Lanka forcing his elderly mother, who is a citizen, to return with him, is outraged. Edward Joseph, who was caring for his 93-year-old mother, Irene, in Box Hill until his deportation in July, was refused a protection visa even though he claimed persecution as a Tamil.

"Australia is allowing a convicted rapist to remain in the country," he said. "If justice is what the Australian Government has given this rapist, please give my mother and I the same justice. "We are not rapists but, rather, ordinary people who have been made to suffer as a result of poor administrative decision-making of the Department of Immigration."

The tribunal has reviewed 270 of these cases of which it has overturned more than a third of the minister's refusals.

Justice advocate Steve Medcraft said the tribunal should "stick to backyard disputes" because, despite its senior members earning about $200,000 a year, they had no background in criminal law.


This must be the drought that the Warmists warned us about

AN emergency alert system created after the Black Saturday bushfires was used for the first time today to warn Victorians of floods. Residents in the state's northeast have been sent text and telephone messages detailing dangers presnt in the area as water continue to rise.

Victoria Police deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe says flooding so far is most widespread in the state's northeast where both the Kiewa and King rivers are on the rise.

Extra police have been deployed to support emergency services and the army is being asked to carry out flood damage assessments on Sunday.

About 100 residents in the central Victorian town of Creswick have been relocated to the Town Hall due to flash flooding, while 30 people from the Riverside Caravan Park in nearby Clunes were also moved to higher ground.

At Badger Creek, east of Melbourne, a house was unroofed and the occupants have also been relocated. Relief centres are being set up at Creswick, Euroa and Bright.

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather meteorologist Claire Yeo said the heaviest rainfall has been recorded at Mount Hotham with 152mm. Flash flood warnings remain in place for all western, central and northern districts, Ms Yeo said.

Elsewhere in the state, major roads are closed, houses and hospitals have been evacuated and emergency crews are preparing for the worst.


A health department that is impervious to evidence

But a court might force them to face the facts

A SYDNEY woman will launch a class action against NSW Health after autopsy results showed her husband had been riddled with a disease the Health Department says does not exist in Australia.

Karl McManus, 44, died in July after being bitten by a tick while filming the television show Home and Away in Sydney. The autopsy indicated he had bacteria from Lyme disease in his liver, heart, kidney and lungs.

Samples from his organs, which were tested at the Sydney laboratory Australian Biologics, will be sent to the University of Sydney and to laboratories in the United States for more testing. "If there is duplication of results, the government cannot dispute [that Lyme exists in Australia]," his wife, Mualla Akinci, said.

Mr McManus, from Turramurra, was diagnosed with multifocal neuropathy after testing negative at an Australian laboratory for Lyme disease, but tests carried out in the US and Germany returned positive results. NSW Health maintains that the organisms which cause Lyme disease - three species of the genus Borrelia - are not carried here by wildlife, livestock or their parasites.

It says that anyone suffering from the illness must have caught it overseas, but Ms Akinci is adamant Mr McManus was bitten by a Lyme-infested tick in Waratah Park, home of the TV show Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo.

Ms Akinci has the support of two sufferers, and hopes more people will join the class action.

She also plans to sue Hornsby Hospital where her husband was treated before his death, and will appeal a decision by the Health Care Complaints Commission not to investigate his treatment while at the hospital.


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