Friday, September 11, 2015
Was Santamaria a Fascist?
I suppose it's all water under the bridge now but I think I should add a brief note to my previous commentary on B.A. Santamaria. He was a big influence in postwar Australia and it is only a small stretch to say that he was responsible for giving postwar Australia many years of conservative government.
My previous comments attempted to fix some lacunae in Gerard Henderson's account of Santamaria. And I see that I am not alone in seeing lacunae there. There is a long and rambling comment from the Left here. The writer, Guy Rundle, is obviously immersed in his subject and I guess the lacunae he identifies are important to the Left but, for the most part, I did not see much of conservative interest.
One thing that I did learn from Rundle, however, was that Santamaria had some kind words to say about Fascism in his early days. He was not alone in that, of course. FDR, America's great Leftist hero, did too.
But the mention of Fascism did make some things fall into place. My own diagnosis of Santa was that he was Leftishly inclined but subordinated that to his Catholicism, specifically the Catholicism of Pope Leo XIII's influential 1891 encyclical De rerum novarum. So sympathy for Fascism fits in with that. De rerum novarum was of course the Pope's response to Communism. It proposed a middle way between Communism and capitalism. And that "Third way" was very much what Mussolini adopted as his own economic program ("corporatism"). Though the Pope envisaged a bigger role for the church than Mussolini allowed.
I cannot resist mentioning parenthetically that Tony Blair's "third way" was something of a revival of those older third ways. Blair is, after all, a Catholic. De rerum novarum could well be a New Labour manifesto. So, with his electoral success, Blair showed that Fascism still has a lot of popular appeal. And stumpy little Nicola Sturgeon is a very successful exponent of it right now. Her kilt-wearing storm troops certainly evoke thoughts of the Sturmabteilung
So Santa would of course like Fascism. Fascism operationalized church teaching and that teaching did authorize a very meddlesome State (See paragraphs 32 ff of the encyclical), which is the characteristic Leftist program. So Fascism at once satisfied Santa's Leftism and his Catholicism. If I may be so bold as to summarize the encyclical in a few words, Leo XIII says that all men being equal is an absurdity so both charities and the State must step in to ensure a decent life for the poor. And Leo went into great detail about what the State should and should not do.
Something that puzzled me was Santamaria's glorification of rural life. There is no mention of that in the encyclical. But the glorification of rural life was very Fascist, particularly in the case of Nazism, so that also welds Santa to Fascism.
And is it relevant that both Santa and Mussolini were Italian?
Mussolini did however eventually choose the wrong side in WWII so Fascism came into bad repute, which is why Santa soon stopped mentioning it. Clearly, however, he was essentially a Fascist.
Cory Bernardi says not all refugees are genuine
And others are now seeing that too
Waves of people are arriving in Europe for “opportunistic” economic reasons rather than because they fear for their lives,the Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi has argued.
Speaking on Monday against a Greens motion urging Australia to resettle an extra 20,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, Bernardi said the country needed an ordered migration system and could not simply open its borders to anyone.
“At this stage, I do not believe there is any need for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people to be ditching their identification and trying to get into Europe for reasons of safety,” Bernardi told the Senate. “Many of these people have been very safely ensconced, working and housed in places like Turkey for many years.
“This seems to me to be becoming an opportunistic cycle which is masking the true humanitarian need that is the responsibility of all western nations.”
Bernardi also criticised the father of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned three-year-old boy whose photograph sparked an outpouring of public sorrow and sympathy.
“The facts remain that that terrible image was not brought about by recent events in Syria or Iraq,” Bernardi said. “That boy and his family had lived in Turkey for three years. The money for that boy’s father to pay the people smugglers was sent from Canada.
“The father sent them on that boat so the father could get dental treatment. They were in no fear, they were in no persecution and they were in no danger in Turkey.”
The Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese expressed disgust at the comments.
“Cory Bernadi is an embarrassment to this parliament,” Albanese told reporters outside parliament on Tuesday morning. “He should be treated with the contempt those comments deserve.”
Bernardi’s comments also drew a sharp rebuke from the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, and his backbench colleague Ewen Jones.
“I don’t believe he could be referring to those fleeing Syria,” Bishop told Sky News on Tuesday. “People fleeing from Syria are fleeing from the most diabolical circumstances.”
The foreign minister said Australia was working with the UN refugee agency to ascertain asylum claims.
“Those who might be opportunistic will obviously not meet the requirements of the UNHCR,” she said.
'World of difference' between Syrians to be resettled in Australia and those on Manus Island and Nauru: Tony Abbott
PORT MORESBY. Tony Abbott has declared there is a "world of difference" between refugees from Syria and Iraq who will now be resettled in Australia and those from the same countries and have been languishing in detention for more than two years in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru.
The Prime Minister said he was very encouraged by the "big-hearted, generous response" of the Australian people to the government's decision to accept 12,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict.
While these people had sought refuge near Syria's borders, Mr Abbott said those on PNG's Manus Island and in detention on Nauru had "done a deal with people smugglers to go way beyond the country of first asylum".
"We will never ever do anything that encourages the evil trade of people smuggling and all of those who have come to Australia by boat are here as a result of people smuggling," he said.
Refugee advocates argue that asylum seekers should not be treated according to the way they fled persecution and that the international protection system would break down if all countries adopted the Australian approach.
Mr Abbott was speaking after meeting with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and thanking him for hosting the detention centre on Manus Island, where nearly 1000 asylum seekers remain in detention.
He told Mr O'Neill Australia was "very grateful" for PNG's assistance in "processing illegal boat arrivals".
Federal and state officials would meet early next week to discuss the mechanics of the resettlement of the 12,000 refugees, Mr Abbott said.
The Prime Minister returns from Port Moresby to Canberra on Thursday night and will meet community leaders and service providers on Friday to discuss "exactly what we need to do to ensure that people coming to Australia from the conflict zone can swiftly and effectively integrate into our country".
Senator takes aim at public service 'laggers'
Senior leadership from Commonwealth agencies could be called before a parliamentary committee for not lodging corporate plans on time.
Fifteen per cent of agencies did not submit performance plans by the required August 31 deadline and 11 per cent have still not lodged their reports.
Liberal MP Ken Wyatt said agencies which did not lodge these plans in the next fortnight should be brought before the committee to explain themselves while ACT senator Katy Gallagher has questioned Finance Department officials why "lagging" agencies have not been punished.
A number of agencies failed despite knowing of the deadline since the start of the year and they did it in the knowledge they would be disregarding federal legislation, in the form of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act.
"The law is the law – there's still a legal obligation to observe the law," Senator Gallagher said in a hearing held by the joint public accounts and audit committee on Thursday.
"The reality is there's a law that's been passed and there's been some laggers in fulfilling these legal obligations.
"In every other area of public life we look very dimly on people who do not observe their legal obligations particularly those in senior leadership positions who should know better."
Senator Gallagher noted the Finance Department had organised workshops to educate public servants across the bureaucracy about the new requirements.
Agencies would be encouraged to disregard the legislation if there were no consequences, she said.
Finance Department representatives told the committee the introduction of the new performance-reporting requirements had been difficult for some agencies.
The department was in the process of finding out why certain agencies had not lodged their corporate plans.
In a recent speech Finance Department secretary Jane Halton said corporate plans outlined the purposes of each entity, what each agency would do to achieve those purposes, what environmental, risk and resource issues they needed to deal with, and how they would measure and report on their successes.
Corporate plans should have a "four-year time horizon".
Gold Coast police brutality: Three cases in two weeks
The Gold Coast cops have had a bad reputation for a long time. Yet nothing seems to have been done. What does it take?
A SHOCKING new video has emerged of the moments before a Brisbane Justice of the Peace was brutally assaulted by Gold Coast police.
The Courier-Mail last week revealed CCTV footage of 50-year-old grandfather Ray Currier attacked by police after his colleague was arrested outside a Surfers Paradise nightclub.
The latest video taken on a smartphone by a member of the public and obtained by The Courier-Mail, shows a new perspective that was previously hidden from the view of Gold Coast CCTV cameras.
The three-minute video shows Mr Currier attempting to draw his friends away from the scene where their colleague had just been arrested.
At no point does Mr Currier attack or provoke the group of police officers outside the Surfers Paradise nightclub yet seconds later he is approached by a police officer and punched several times in the head and stomach.
The video also appears to show the officers grab Mr Currier around the throat before pushing him head first into the ground.
Mr Currier’s colleagues made an official complaint to the police the day after the incident but were allegedly told nothing could be done.
A police spokesman told The Courier-Mail the most recent video had been reviewed by senior police from the Gold Coast district and an official complaint had been made to the Ethical Standards Command.
Kris Currier said a family who were visiting the Gold Coast witnessed the attack from their balcony and sent her the footage after reading about her husband’s story in The Courier-Mail.
“I am so grateful this family has come forward and provided us with this footage ... our solicitor now has a very clear picture of what really took place that night,” Mrs Currier said. “I started crying knowing that Ray could be so brutally bashed by a police officer.”
The disturbing footage has gone viral and the hashtag #Justiceforray has been created to support Mr Currier.
Since the attack on Australia Day, Mr Currier has suffered memory loss, headaches, neck pain and anxiety and his wife said she wants justice for her husband.
“We are hoping that the police officers and staff involved are now investigated and charged with assault,” Mrs Currier said. “For Ray, I hope he gets the justice he deserves.”
THERE are fresh claims of police brutality on the Gold Coast with shocking new video appearing to show an officer punching a handcuffed prisoner in the head.
The Courier-Mail has obtained CCTV footage of officers kneeing a 20-year-old man before one later punches him in the face in Surfers Paradise last year.
The incident is now the subject of an internal investigation and is the third caught on camera recently involving Gold Coast Police.
It is understood the officer who allegedly threw the punch has since left the Queensland Police Service.
The victim, electrical trade assistant Brayden Aaron Mechen, had been charged with serious assault over the incident and was due to face a court hearing at Southport yesterday, but all charges against him were dropped on the morning of the case.
According to court documents, Mr Mechen spat at an officer who then hit the young man in the face. However, that allegation was later withdrawn and Mr Mechen maintains he did nothing wrong.
Video shows police responding to an altercation involving one of Mr Mechen’s friends in Surfers on September 28 last year. Mr Mechen is not involved in the initial altercation, but touches an officer on the shoulder before he is set upon.
Later footage shows his head rock back after a punch before he is bundled into the back of a police wagon.
Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers said the charges were only withdrawn due to a technicality.
Mr Mechen, who described the ordeal as the most terrifying of his life, denies any wrongdoing and has not ruled out civil action against the QPS.
It is the third instance in the past fortnight of video purportedly showing violence by officers on the Gold Coast.
The first case
One video shows a prisoner being head-slammed at Surfers Paradise police station. That man, Michael Cox, is suing the QPS for more than $100,000. More on that here. Covered on this blog on August 30