Monday, September 08, 2014

Tony:  You got rid of the carbon & mining taxes .. so now get rid of the Halal Tax


Toasted cheese with a dollop of Vegemite was my favourite late night snack, but I leave off the Vegemite now that it’s owned by the American company Mondelez International and sports a little “Halal Certified” notice. No worries, my Aussie owned and made Bega cheese still bubbled under the griller while the jug boiled for a strong cup of tea.

That was until I noticed this funny little Arabic hieroglyph on the back of my Bega cheese packet too. Bloody hell, first my Vegemite and now my Bega cheese! No worries, I'm happy with plain toast.

I wasn't game to go through the whole fridge or I'd have starved.

Trying to find Aussie tucker on the shelves is hard enough but trying to find tucker that is not Islamically sanctioned is near impossible, and it’s meant to be.

An insidious and illegal protection racket called “Halal Certification” has worked its way through our food chains without us knowing a thing about it.

Australian manufacturers and importers of food and drink are actually paying Islamic halal certifiers up to $30,000 per month for the honour of displaying this little Arabic sign.

So, who are these Islamic bastards who are adding to my grocery bill? Well, the "Indonesian Council of Ulama", MUI, (which also orders Fatwa rulings) is the Mafia style Islamic body organising the multi-million dollar racket that forces Australian companies to pay outrageous amounts to have their food certified as halal.

One major Aussie meat processor, who refused to be identified, claimed he had been told to pay $27,000 a month for halal certification, which of course was expected to be passed on to the consumer.

Mr Stephen Kelly, an executive of the Japanese-owned Nippon Meat Packers in Queensland, said last year that MUI had banned his abattoirs from selling meat into Indonesia because he had dealt with MUI’s opposition for certification.

MUI’s opposition is the Australian certifier, "Halal Food Services" (AHFS), who had undercut MUI’s price for certification and the Indonesian company apparently calls the tune when it comes to blackmailing Australian food companies.

From what I can discover there are halal certifiers in all countries with South East Asia being regulated from Indonesia and the governing body’s world headquarters are encamped in Saudi Arabia. There are State branch halal authorities operating in Australia

    Islamic websites claim all money (estimated in the billions) goes to building Islamic schools but where it actually goes after leaving Australia I shudder to guess.

The funny thing is a couple of years ago Aussie shoppers woke up to the scam and began avoiding halal certified food, so all these little Arabic motifs started disappearing.

Thinking this might lead to some sort of Fatwa I called a few food manufacturers. None was prepared to speak to me, except Arnott’s, who said they were attempting to resist some "standover tactics".

One distributor, who asked not to be named, was prepared to offer an opinion: “They really don’t care if the halal sign is there or not, they only insist it’s on the exported product and as long as the supplier pays the monthly fee everything’s sweet. If they refuse to pay, then their exports are at risk.”

Local clerics arrange for Muslims to flood Aussie food processors with intimidating letters and phone calls threatening that unless they pay fees to become halal certified, some, “pretty bad stuff will happen”.

When contacted last year over the scam, the Federal Department of Agriculture said it had, “no power over religious certifiers”. But another spokesman said, and get this one:

"The Australian Government values our close relationship with MUI and will continue to work together with them to overcome issues that affect the mutually beneficial trade in red meat to Indonesia."

I have asked the Dept of Agriculture if they have an update on their response to halal certification, but am yet to receive a reply. I have also left phone messages with Barnaby Joyce but it seems halal certification is an uncomfortable subject.

An Islamic Council response?

"Hope this will clear the misconception of Halal issue for all intent and purpose.
"The Halal Food Authority promotes animal welfare, adherence to food safety, food hygiene and quality in compliance with the teachings of the Islamic jurisprudence and faith." Blah blah blah, as soon as got to the animal welfare bit I knew it was a load of Islamic camel droppings.

So it’s up to you Tony, no new legislation needed, no Senate shit, just an appreciation of what is already thoroughly illegal and what is hurting Australian shoppers. Of course it may also hurt relations with our lovely Islamic friends.

Or is that the real problem?


Students chronically disadvantaged by declining funding for vocational education

Australia’s public and private technical and vocational training peak bodies today called for a comprehensive assessment of funding of the vocational education and training (VET) sector, following a new study showing a ten-year erosion in student support.

The study by Professor Peter Noonan, Professorial Fellow at the Mitchell Institute of Health and Education Policy at Victoria University, found Australia’s VET system had been subject to an unprecedented level of funding disadvantage when compared to schools and universities, and is now facing a crisis.

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), which represents the public TAFE network, and the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), representing private training providers, today called on the federal government to address the research findings and initiate an independent assessment of funding trends and needs.

“This research reveals an alarming pattern of inadequate investment in the VET sector, which threatens to undermine Australia’s capacity to build the workforce of the future and poses a grave risk for individuals who need skills to share in the country’s economic prosperity,” TDA and ACPET said.

“States and territories are implementing contestable funding arrangements, and yet significant funding shortfalls place severe restrictions on the operation of competitive markets.”

Professor Noonan told the TDA conference that as a result of the funding decline, the VET sector was at a crossroads.

“The states and territories are implementing a national agreement to introduce a student entitlement model in VET, but the funding outlook in most states and territories is resulting in so many constraints and distortions of the entitlement that for many students that it will have little or no meaning,” he said.

“With the funding trend I have outlined, we are in danger of perpetuating a hoax on many students about their likely access to a reasonably funded entitlement - or indeed an entitlement at all.”

Professor Noonan’s research showed that while investment in schools and universities has risen significantly over recent years, there has been a much lower rate of growth in VET, with an even bleaker funding outlook in years to come

Also, spending per student has fallen significantly in VET in recent years while it has grown substantially in government schools and to a lesser extent in higher education

The research also reveals a growing gap in investment levels in VET between the states, with Queensland and NSW showing no growth or declines in funding and very little growth in South Australia

“Almost all of the public commentary in relation to education funding in Australia over the past year has been in relation to funding to schools and higher education.  However, the real funding crisis is in the VET sector,” Professor Noonan said.

He concluded that the funding gap would be magnified in the next few years with massive increases in funding for schools and ongoing growth in investment in higher education.

TDA and ACPET have urged the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, to list the proposal for an independent assessment of funding at the next COAG Industry Skills Council meeting, due later this month.

TDA and ACPET said VET students and providers deserve greater clarity on the sustainability of the entitlement to training, and action to address business concerns regarding the inconsistent approaches to training entitlement that have emerged across jurisdictions,” TDA and ACPET said.


Islamic bookshop run by brother of suicide bomber ‘promotes extremism’

A LOGAN man believed to be the brother of Australia’s first suicide bomber in Syria is running a bookshop south of Brisbane which is accused of promoting extremist views.

The Courier-Mail has been told that the iQraa Islamic Centre at Underwood had developed ties to firebrand Perth preacher Mohammed Junaid Thorne.

The centre this year “promoted’’ and helped raise funds for two “sermons’’ by the self-styled preacher, who is a vocal supporter of jihad and has had ties to the Australian branch of the Millatu Ibrahim group, which is banned in Germany.

It can also be revealed the centre hosted a lecture this year on what followers should do if they were contacted by national security organisation ASIO.

The lecture included being aware of the “tell-tale’’ signs of spies and examples of when a group had been infiltrated.

But a spokesman for the Logan centre said it merely engaged people to speak on a range of opinions.

A key figure in the bookshop is Omar Succarieh, who in an online promotional video is described as “one of the main brothers’’ at the centre.

Succarieh’s brother Ahmed has been investigated by Australian agencies in relation to a suicide bombing in Syria, where a truck laden with 12 tonnes of explosives was driven into an army checkpoint last September, killing 35.

The Courier-Mail tried unsuccessfully to obtain comment from Omar Succarieh but members of Brisbane’s Muslim community who know Ahmed said they had been told he was “living in Turkey’’.

A source told The Courier-Mail: “My concern is that this Islamic centre is supporting extreme views.

“I feel this bookshop needs exposing more widely so the community around it, both Muslim and non-Muslim (which is largely oblivious to the activities), can be aware of what is being promoted.

“I suspect many local Muslims may be unaware of the tone of some of its activities and believe many Brisbane people would be alarmed.’’

Omar Succarieh could not be contacted about the claims the bookshop was “linked to extremists’’.

However, a spokesman for the bookshop said: “As far as my knowledge of the centre is concerned they have invited many speakers and, according to them, they allow speakers of different views to speak without discriminating against them.’’

Muslim community leader Ali Kadri said he believed only a “handful’’ of supporters had attended the talks conducted by Mohammed Junaid Thorne.

“I can assure the wider community that the overwhelming majority of the Muslims in Australia, and across the world, do not condone any form of extremism and violence,’’ Mr Kadri said.

While the iQraa Islamic Centre does offer books promoting peaceful coexistence and respect for women, it also carries on its shelves books that call for men to restrict the movements and employment opportunities of their wives and some that even assert that “beating” can be used “as a last resort”.

One such book, Forty Solutions to your Marriage Problems, describes the “Jewish plan to emancipate women and thus corrupt them and society” and says women “should remain in (their) homes, but go out only if it is necessary”.

It discourages women working, unless “necessary”, because it may lead to mixing with the opposite sex and possibly “illegal sexual intercourse”.

Author Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid also lists as recommendation 25 “hanging a whip in a visible place”.

“Hinting at punishment in different ways is one of the elegant methods of punishment,” he writes.

He does note that it has been previously said that the whip is not explicitly “meant for beating”.

Another book, The Ingredients for a Happy Marriage, notes that “it is medically proven that when a woman who has never given birth uses contraceptive pills, she may become barren for the rest of her life”.


The battle of the Prime Ministers: The differences between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd

Miranda Devine

ONE year ago yesterday, Kevin Rudd was prime minister, talking insanely to a stuffed toy in his last video message.

That final act of eccentric narcissism summed up the farcical Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. It was never about the country. It was all about them.

From the home insulation scheme that killed four young men to the jettisoned border protection that delivered 50,000 illegal boat arrivals, no institution was unscathed.

And yet Rudd was hailed a great success in his first year, as he set in train the calamities which would saddle the nation with a $250 billion deficit.

He was the most popular prime minister in our history, so successful his party gave him two turns in the Lodge, despite his personality defects.

By contrast, Abbott in his first year is slandered daily and trounced in opinion polls by Bill Shorten.

Friend and foe denounce the Budget and declare their dissatisfaction with the government’s progress, as if he can magically fix in 12 months what Labor took six years to wreck.

The elite consensus is that our system of government is broken. But the Prime Minister disagrees.

“It’s not the system which is the problem; it is the people who, from time to time, inhabit it,” Mr Abbott said last week.

Of course it’s the people. Governments and the market are not just machines that operate themselves. They need people of good character and competence to run them.

So before we dig into the bucket of complaints about the first year of the Abbott government, consider the quality of the people on its benches.

For starters, there are three Rhodes Scholars: Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and Angus Taylor. Two more ministers have degrees from Oxford University: George Brandis QC, and Josh Frydenberg, who has the added distinction of a masters degree from Harvard. Two other MPs also have masters degrees from Harvard, among the seven MBAs, two MPAs and four PhDs on the government benches. Two more have masters of philosophy from Cambridge. Fulbright scholar Greg Hunt has an MA from Yale. Former WA treasurer Christian Porter has an impressive four degrees. And he’s a backbencher.

Three government MPs are medical doctors, including Dr David Gillespie, a gastroenterologist who won independent Rob Oakeshott’s old seat of Lyne. He is also a farmer, one of 16 in government.

There are also teachers, bankers, journalists, engineers, research scientists, economists, small business owners, a shearer, a carpenter, a wool classer, an air traffic controller and even a crocodile catcher. That real world diversity is a stark contrast to Labor benches, dominated by union officials, party administrators and political consultants.

Also on the government side are at least 30 lawyers, and five former police officers, including Jason Wood, once a detective senior sergeant in Victoria’s organised crime squad and counter-terrorism unit.

Governments and the market are not just machines that operate themselves. They need people of good character and competence to run them. So before we dig into the bucket of complaints about the first year of the Abbott government, consider the quality of the people on its benches.

Luke Simpkins was also an officer with the Australian Federal Police and an army officer for 14 years. Senator David Fawcett had 22 years as an army officer and experimental test pilot, along with a science degree and an MBA.

Another backbencher is Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, possessor of three master’s degrees, with wartime roles in Afghanistan and Iraq as chief of staff and deputy commander. Among numerous awards is the Conspicuous Service Cross.

These are just some of the high achievers representing us on the government benches. They could be earning a lot more money with a lot less scrutiny and scorn than they get in parliament.

Like all politicians, they do it for reasons both altruistic and self aggrandising, but most express the desire to serve.

Take Angus Taylor, 47, one of 2013’s record influx of MPs. The father of four is a farmer’s son from Nimmitabel, a Rhodes Scholar who travelled the world as a management consultant and started a business of his own. His role model is his grandfather, William Hudson, commissioner and chief engineer of the Snowy Mountains Scheme who, “abhorred snobbery and judged people on character and conduct, not rank. He worked prodigiously and was extra­ordinarily humble. The Snowy was never about him.”

In his maiden speech last December, Taylor said: “Some people say politics is about power. I do not agree. It should be about leadership, service and making an enduring difference to the lives of others. I hope the work I do ... makes a real difference and will one day make my children proud.”

This is the quiet truth, away from the headlines about Clive Palmer’s toilet habits or Jacqui Lambie’s predilection for well-hung young men.

Galvanised by the political farce of Labor years, the Abbott government is full of people driven to revive the nation. They are serious people who will make the machinery of government work again.

So before we bag a one-year-old administration full of new MPs, let’s give them a chance, as the Prime Minister says, to be their “best selves”

Judging by their CVs, their best is as good as it gets.


1 comment:

Paul said...

I assume that when Larry has dealt with the Halal tax he'll move on to the Kosher tax, which is of course the exact same scam.

Thought not.