Friday, September 07, 2012

Must not say that homosexuality is a health hazard

Even though it undoubtedly is.  Almost all cases of AIDS in Australia are among the cheerful fraternity

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will boycott the annual conference of a major Christian group because of its "heartless" attitude towards homosexuals.

Ms Gillard was to have given the keynote address to the Australian Christian Lobby next month but today cancelled her appearance.

She accused ACL managing director Jim Wallace of offensive comments Wednesday when he compared gay marriage with the health risks of smoking. Mr Wallace repeated his comments in a statement today.

The Prime Minister has said she opposes gay marriage but today took the significant step of defending those who are agitating for law changes to allow it. In political terms the Prime Minister was ensuring she did not lose the influential gay vote in inner city areas.

"There is a range of deeply held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make," the Prime Minister said today in a statement.

"I believe yesterday's comments by Jim Wallace were offensive. To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.

"Although everyone is entitled to their own view, these statements reiterated again today on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable. In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate."

Mr Wallace, who is also a former head of the SAS, made his comments during a debate on gay marriage with Greens Leader Christine Milne in Hobart yesterday.

"I think we're going to owe smokers a big apology when the homosexual community's own statistics for its health - which it presents when it wants more money for health - are that is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years," Mr Wallace said.

"The life of smokers is reduced by something like seven to 10 years and yet we tell all our kids at school they shouldn't smoke.

"But what I'm saying is we need to be aware that the homosexual lifestyle carries these problems and ... normalising the lifestyle by the attribution of marriage, for instance, has to be considered in what it does encouraging people into it."


Proposals for greater government regulation of media dangerous

NEWS Limited chief executive Kim Williams has hit out at "draconian" proposals for a new media regulator that has the power to threaten journalists with jail.

Mr Williams said new technology and markets were driving media diversity and a government-funded regulator would be a "threat to press freedom".

In a speech to the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association future forum, Mr Williams said this was a turbulent time for print media publishers who were overseeing major change.

He said quality print businesses would survive by ensuring customers were "front and centre" and by adapting to different modes of delivery.

News Ltd, which publishes this website, is now looking to bundle more products together to build its business, he said.

Mr Williams said in this era, recommendations for sweeping changes to regulation by two government-instigated reviews – one by retired judge Ray Finkelstein and another looking at convergence – were dangerous.

"I find it, as I hope all of you do, deeply concerning we have reached a place where words like 'government', 'journalist' and 'jailing' can all appear in the same sentence when describing a report by a retired judge," he said.

The former head of pay-TV company Foxtel also said that proposals for new public interest tests for media ownership should be "passed into the dustbin of history".

Pointing to a growth in television channels and a "staggering array of online news and information websites", Mr Williams said Australians were able to access a large number of media outlets.

"Australians don't need dangerous new laws to give them greater media diversity, they just need a mobile device, or a television, or a laptop," he said.

"The iPad for instance is now one of the greatest generators of information diversity in human history.

"You literally have the diversity of the world in the palm of your hand."

Mr Williams said there were ways to boost accountability for journalists without the prospect of "unhealthy levels of government oversight".

"None of this is to say our collective journalists and media outlets are perfect," he said.

"I acknowledge freely that the Australian press's self-regulation could have be improved in the past and given greater resources."

But he said that the answer to "who watches the watchmen?" must be "ourselves – through a body that is independent of us".

A growing diversity of choice was causing big issues for traditional media companies and was forcing big changes, Mr Williams said.

"The pace and depth of the changes being driven by consumers and the digital economy has hit newspapers with a combination of punches," he said.

"We need to adjust to the different needs of those delivery technologies and the consumer behaviours and patterns which are abundantly evident."

Mr Williams said News Ltd was in the midst of a major restructure with a focus on customers, innovation, and quality reporting.


Virgin airlines employs bitches, it would seem

Returning from the stress of her mother's funeral and frustrated by being directed to the wrong departure gate, the pressure told and a Canberra woman was kicked off a Virgin Australia flight.

The Melba grandmother said the boarding pass issued by Virgin staff at Sydney Airport had directed her about as far away as possible from the actual departure point.  "I was quite shaken up; I could have easily missed my flight," she said.

She had raised her concern with staff at the departure gate and was asked to wait for a supervisor while other passengers boarded.

"I told the attendant not to worry about my complaint. I'll just get on board the plane and we could forget all about it," she said.  But the woman had been directed to sit and wait. Finally a supervisor had said the error with the boarding pass was not Virgin's fault as the passes were issued by a separate organisation.

It seemed other passengers had been subject to the same error.  "I did notice as I was talking to the supervisor other Virgin staff were herding other passengers onto the plane."  She had recognised them as having also been at the wrong departure gate.

"The supervisor ended the conversation by walking away. It was an incredibly frustrating situation to be in. In addition, I was exhausted; I'd travelled many kilometres in two days to bury my mother. I was distraught and tired. No allowances had been made for extenuating circumstances like this."

The upshot was that the grandmother uttered "bitch" as the supervisor walked away.  "It was speculation on her part that I was addressing her at all."

After boarding the plane she had been approached by the supervisor who had asked her to leave.  "She told me that if I wouldn't leave voluntarily the police would be called."

So the disabled pensioner, with only $10 and a hastily borrowed credit card from her daughter, had to spend a night in Sydney. "I will not be flying Virgin again – ever," she said.

An airline spokeswoman said a passenger had been offloaded from the flight in question because of disruptive behaviour.

"In the interest of the safety of our guests, Virgin Australia has strict policies related to guests causing disruption. In this case, the behaviour of the guest did not comply with our conditions of carriage and was accordingly offloaded from the flight."

She said for operational reasons, occasionally departure gates had to be changed. These changes were notified by public announcements, updates to the flight departure screens and staff were stationed at departure gates to inform passengers.

The woman insists there were no staff at the wrong gate while she was there. Since being contacted by the Canberra Times, Virgin Australia has refunded the woman the cost of the flight but no compensation has been paid for her overnight stay in Sydney. She insists she was not being disruptive and had been of no threat to anyone.

In a letter to the woman, Virgin Australia says under its conditions of carriage, it reserves the right to refuse a guest's uplift or may request a guest to leave an aircraft.  [Good of them]


Was Kokoda a sideshow?

It probably was but that does not detract from the heroism of the troops in bringing the fight to the enemy under very trying conditions

MILIARY historians have attacked the "`excessive mythology" surrounding the Kokoda campaign in New Guinea during World War II.

During a conference to mark the 70th anniversary of Kokoda at the Australian War Memorial today eminent historians, Professor David Horner and Ashley Ekins, questioned whether or not the campaign deserved such iconic status.

Mr Ekins said there was "excessive mythology about the Kokoda story" and Professor Horner questioned the significance of Kokoda in the context of the wider battle for the south-west Pacific and the war overall.

They pointed to documents from the Japanese high command that show an invasion of Australia had been ruled out in March 1942.

One man in the audience who actually fought at Kokoda, 92-year-old Bede Tongs, said he and his mates had no doubt that they were fighting to save Australia.

Mr Tongs said the admission that the Japanese had no plans to invade Australia was probably a face saving exercise. He also questioned when Australian commander Sir Thomas Blamey knew about Japanese plans.

"We were fighting for Australia. Our friends died for Australia," he said.

Mr Tongs was awarded the Military Medal for taking out a Japanese machine gun post singled handedly at Templeton's Crossing in September 1942, insists that he and his comrades were fighting to save their homeland.

"Australia was in dire straits, we knew the Japanese intended to invade Australia."

The historians said the great Kokoda myth has been promoted by two prime ministers, Paul Keating and John Howard, and by numerous documentaries and popular books including "Kokoda" by Peter Fitzsimons.

Professor Horner also questioned the withdrawal of Australian forces in September 1942, a move that prompted Blamey to label the diggers "rabbits".

"If the Australians were not outnumbered why were they forced to withdraw?" Professor Horner asked.

He said the Kokoda campaign was important but was only a small part of a much larger campaign in the south-west Pacific.

"There is no doubt that Kokoda has a significant place in Australian military history, but how significant should it be?"

World renowned best-selling author and historian, and inaugural Boeing Visiting Fellow at the War Memorial, Antony Beevor, said an invasion of Australia was never part of Japanese war plans because it would have required 10 divisions of troops and a vast fleet.

"I can understand why the Australian government felt that was the threat because they (Japanese) did appear unstoppable, but it was never part of the plan," he said.

"There would have been raiding and bombing, harassing basically, but it wasn't going to go any further than that."


1 comment:

Paul said...

There's homosexually inclined people, then there is this fiction called the "Gay" lifestyle. If you have ludicrous amounts of sex you will get diseases, No ifs or butts (sorry, buts). The disease picture balances up quite impressively though where heterosexual promiscuity is equal (Thailand, parts of Africa etc). Its a question of lifestyle and behaviour, not just identity that is the issue. A Christian will speak from the perspective of a Christian on a subject like this (as they should), so I don't hold much truck with politicians who could actually care less putting on their sanctimonious faces. Fact is lots of young Gays are not even bothering to be careful these days, and are then lining up for their subsidized drugs, and worst of all many will actually risk a case of HIV for the thrill of promiscuity. The worldwide experience is that promiscuous behaviour causes diseases whether straight or gay. Unfortunately the promotion of promiscuous behaviour, so easy to sell to young males is now being sold to both sexes and all ages (cougars, shades of grey etc). I think Churchies having a crack at homosexuals is a pinprick into a far more broad (and widening) issue. A smart politician would parlay this into a support for responsible, mature behaviour across the board, but remember what happened when Tony Abbott talked about his daughters. Maturity and responsibility are out of the equation these days.