Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Even an exemplary Muslim can be a wife-basher

Though some of the prior praise of him may well have been a form of "affirmative action".  The Left are all on about wife-bashing at the moment but they also heart Muslims -- so I expect great silence from them over this.  If, on the other hand,  he had been an Anglo ....

Rugby league legend Hazem El Masri has been charged over an alleged domestic violence assault on his new wife. 

A NSW police spokeswoman said the former Bulldogs winger, 39, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault on Monday evening.

The charges relate to an incident with his 25-year-old wife around 7:30pm at his south-western Sydney home, police said.

An AVO has been lodged for the protection of his wife Douah El-Cherif for the next 28 days. He must not approach or contact her by any means, the order said.

Mr El Masri, who won the premiership in 2004 with the Bulldogs, was granted conditional bail and will appear at Bankstown Local Court on Thursday.

He split from his previous wife of 14 years, Arwa, in 2014 and has since remarried. He and Arwa had three children together.

El Masri, who was sometimes known as 'El Magic', retired from rugby league in 2009 with a reputation for being one of the game's most prolific goalkickers.

He grew up in Tripoli during the Lebanese civil war and moved to Australia at age 11 and was widely regarded as a positive role model for youth in Sydney's west.

Since his retirement, he has worked in the community service sector and spent time as an ambassador for the White Ribbon Foundation, a movement to stop violence against women.

A 2006 Fairfax profile described him as 'league's pin-up boy for good behaviour' and the 'best role model the game has'.'

In an interview with Australian Story, Nine commentator Ray Warren described him as 'one of the real gentlemen of the code'. 'In 41 years of sports commentating, I've seen a lot of footballers come and go. 'But I have no doubt Hazem El Masri will leave a lasting impression on rugby league, as he will on Australia. He's the man we call 'El Magic'.'

A Bulldogs club award for Player of the Year is named in El Masri's honour. 


Turnbull government backs Murray Review, setting up major overhaul of Australia's financial system

Shops, cabs, and other merchants will be banned from imposing unfair surcharges on credit cards, and inactive bank accounts and life insurance policies will only be defined as unclaimed after seven years, rather than three, in a huge overhaul of Australia's financial system.

The Turnbull government has responded to the Murray Review of Australia's financial system, agreeing with the vast majority of the review's recommendations.

The review represents the biggest overhaul of the financial system since 1997, when the Wallis Report on the financial system led to the creation of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which helped Australia through the financial crisis.

The review touches on everything from credit card fees, superannuation, cyber security, and crowd funding regulation.

It has also set up the next three years of political fighting in Canberra at least, with the 'point' of the super system promised to be enshrined in legislation so consumers and industry have policy certainty.

The Turnbull government will ask the Productivity Commission to develop an alternative model for a 'formal competitive process' for allocating default super funds to members.

It will also ban merchants from charging surcharges on credit cards that are greater than the cost of accepting payment by card.

The Turnbull government says it accepts that Australia's banking system is uniquely run by a minority of powerful banks that source much of their funding offshore, and which provide 90 per cent of the domestic credit to local firms, and that this creates "some concentration of risk in the system."

It says that is why Australia's banks need to be "stronger than those of comparable countries," and why their mortgage risk weights need to increase - a key reason why Westpac Bank lifted rates last week.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the review's recommendations would make Australia's banking system stronger while giving retirees "choice and security" in their retirement years.

He also said it would protect consumers from being charged unfair card surcharges.

"These are some of the important outcomes from the Government's response to the Murray inquiry," he said.

The government will ask Australia's financial regulators - APRA, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Reserve Bank's Payments Systems Board - to meet regulatory performance benchmarks.

It will also review ASIC's powers, and ask industry to help develop a new ASIC product intervention power that could be used to modify products or remove harmful products from the marketplace.

Such system-wide reviews of the financial system do not come around often.

A similar report in 1981, the so-called Campbell Report, led to the historical floating of the dollar and the deregulation of Australia's financial system.

That was followed by the Wallis Report in 1997, which helped to streamline financial services regulation and led to the creation APRA and the current form of ASIC.

The current review focuses on Australia's super system, following years of scandals in the financial advice industry that have seen hundreds of Australians lose their life savings.

The Turnbull government says it will make the financial advice industry 'professional' for the first time, requiring advisers to hold a degree, pass an exam, undertake continuous professional development, and subscribe to a code of ethics.

"These higher standards will, for the first time, place financial advising on a similar footing to other professions and in doing so increase consumer trust and confidence in the sector," Mr Turnbull said.

The government's response to the review comes 11 months after it was handed down by its chair David Murray, a former chief executive of Commonwealth Bank.

The government says it has agreed to senate amendments to extend unfair contract term protections to small businesses, covering standard form contracts where at least one of the parties employs less than 20 people and where the upfront price of the contract does not exceed $300,000, or $1 million for contracts longer than 12 months.

"Australians can now be confident that our financial system remains the best in the world," Mr Turnbull said.


Senators accuse SBS of campaigning against Australian law by supporting same-sex marriage

SBS has been accused of abusing its position as a public broadcaster by joining a corporate campaign in favour of same-sex marriage.

During Senate estimates hearings on Tuesday, Liberal National Party senator Matt Canavan said SBS had taken sides on an issue of "political contention" by joining companies such as Google, Qantas, Optus and the big banks by supporting same-sex marriage.

We are an organisation that does everything we can to support equality

Fellow Coalition senator Chris Back questioned whether the broadcaster would be able to provide balanced coverage during a plebiscite on same-sex marriage given its corporate stance.

The SBS logo featured among other major brands published in full-page newspaper advertisements supporting marriage equality published earlier this year.

"Why is it appropriate for a public broadcaster to involve themselves in a political campaign on issues such as this?" Senator Canavan asked SBS managing director Michael Ebeid.

"I do feel this is a little bit of of an abuse of your position, Mr Ebeid, to have come to a corporate position based on no legal advice and little understanding of the different views in the debate other than 'it's all just about equality'."

Mr Ebeid responded by saying he did not believe same-sex marriage is a political issue. He said the broadcaster's corporate stance would not influence how it covers the issue in its news and current affairs programs.

"SBS, in its whole foundation and purpose of being, is about promoting cultural diversity and social cohesion," [That sounds rather self-contradictory] he said.  "We are an organisation that does everything we can to support equality.

"As an employer, we have joined other employers to say we support equality in all its forms and don't discriminate against our employees.

"I don't think this is an issue that's a political issue. It's a societal issue, not a political issue at all."

Senator Canavan said he "completely" disagreed that support for same-sex marriage was not a political issue.  "You're actually an employee of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia has a Marriage Act saying marriage is between a man and a woman," he said.

Senator Canavan said private organisations were free to campaign on political issues but that government agencies such as SBS should not.

Senator Canavan quoted an episode of Media Watch from earlier this year which claimed the Australian media's coverage of the same-sex marriage debate was biased against supporters of traditional marriage.

Mr Ebeid said SBS has a "long history" of airing both sides of the same-sex marriage debate. "As a public broadcaster we cover all issues in a completely balanced and objective way," he said.

Politicians, including those who support same-sex marriage, criticised SBS earlier this year for pulling an anti-same sex marriage advertisement from its telecast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.


Local ticks likely responsible for Lyme disease in Australia, breakthrough Perth research finds

A national study led by a Perth-based researcher could be one step closer to ending the Lyme disease debate in Australia for good.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium - borrelia burgdoferi - passed on by ticks.

Prevalent in the United States and parts of Europe, it causes symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain and various neurological symptoms.

The Government and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) have not recognised the existence of Lyme disease in Australia.

Key points:

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium passed on by ticks

The Government and the AMA have not recognised the existence of the disease in Australia

There are 70 species of tick in Australia

New research finds a home-grown bacterium is likely responsible for Lyme-like symptoms in Australia

But now Murdoch University Professor Peter Irwin believes a home-grown bacterium is responsible for Lyme-like symptoms in Australians.  "We have about 70 species of tick in Australia," he said

"The vast majority - well really all except three or four - have evolved here with our unique wildlife and don't occur anywhere else in the world. "So you can't draw parallels with work that's been done overseas, because nowhere overseas has the Australian ticks."

Using breakthrough technology, the team from Murdoch is examining thousands of native Australian ticks.  "We applied new molecular techniques to these ticks called next generation sequencing," Professor Irwin said. "This is a technique that allows us to look inside the tick and find the DNA, the genetic code, of organisms that live inside the tick."

In some cases, Lyme disease is identifiable by a rash called a bulls-eye rash for the way it appears.

Several medical practitioners across Australia claim to have diagnosed the illness in patients who have never travelled to areas where it is endemic.

But positive laboratory results have been disputed. WA President of the AMA Michael Gannon said there had been no evidence to prove its existence here. "The borrelium bacteria that causes Lyme disease has never been isolated from an Australian vector, like a tick," he said.  "And it's never been isolated in an Australian patient that hasn't travelled to somewhere in North America or Europe."

But for those suffering - who have had no official diagnosis for years - the controversy surrounding the issue leaves them with no answers and no treatment.

Professor Irwin said his research was ongoing. "We can find organisms in ticks, we can find DNA," he said.  "But attributing disease causation to those bacteria is really another step all together.  "Unless they're already known to cause disease how do you know they cause disease?"

He said it would require more research before any answers, or treatment, was readily available. "It might be linking the types of bacteria you find in ticks with the types of bacteria in people," he said. "Then you can start to close the circle."


Why don't Australians think they took the country away from the Aboriginals?

More Pilger fraud.  Pilger couldn't lie straight in bed

Tim O'Neill

I think the question is actually asking "Why don't the particular Australians questioned by known polemicist and controversial contrarian John Pilger and then carefully selected in the editing of his extremely slanted and simplistic documentary 'Utopia' think they took the country away from the Aboriginals?"

I'm left wing and extremely sympathetic to the plight of modern Aborigines as well as better informed than most about the tragic history of the destruction of indigenous culture and the atrocities against indigenous people since white settlement.  But Pilger's documentary was so clumsy, badly presented, biased and actively stupid that it had me shouting at the TV.  If all you knew about black/white relations in Australia was based on that documentary you would certainly come away thinking:

(i) White Australians don't think their ancestors stole the land from the original inhabitants

(ii) White politicians do pretty much nothing to try to remedy the problems of indigenous communities

(iii) The average Australian knows nothing of indigenous culture or history or the history of disenfranchisement and marginalisation

(iv) Most indigenous people live in the third world squalor like that in the community of Utopia featured in the documentary.

This is all warped and simplistic nonsense.  But that's how Pilger likes his documentaries - nothing is too complex or nuanced for him to avoid reducing it to some sweeping banalities, with plenty of shots of him looking outraged, disgusted, sanctimonious and morally superior.

The idea that all or even most Australians share the ignorant and blinkered views of the people Pilger edited into his opening sequence is just laughable.  Anyone with even the vaguest grasp of the role of indigenous affairs in the Australian political landscape knows there are a wide range of views on this subject as any other.  This means that there are far more people who fully acknowledge the displacement of indigenous people as a historical fact and as a lamentable and shameful one at that.  The Australian Government is currently working on making recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original inhabitants and custodians of the county part of our Constitution.  If the attitudes of the morons and bigots who Pilger carefully selected for his documentary were the norm, such a move would be doomed or at least highly controversial.  It isn't.  Polling on the issue shows consistently that it is extremely well supported, with one recent poll showing that 82% of Australians are supportive or strongly supportive of Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal custodianship and only 13% in any way against it.

The same goes for recognition of and sorrow for the past wrongs against indigenous people.  When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made his apology on behalf of the Australian Government to the "stolen generation" removed from their families in the early to mid twentieth century in February 2008, polls showed that 78% of voters approved strongly of the apology and only 16% didn't agree with it.  In May 2000 myself, most of my friends and about 300,0oo other people took part in the Reconciliation Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge in solidarity with our indigenous brothers and sisters - one of the largest demonstrations in Sydney's history and just one of many held around the country on the same day. 

And these are just a few examples of the awareness of Aboriginal history and issues and the massive support they have across a wide section of the community.  The people that Pilger showed are a minority on these and related issues, but you would not get the faintest hint of that from his ludicrous documentary. 

The same goes for the idea that Aboriginal history, culture and issues are not taught in schools.  Compared to the United States, these issues get vastly more time and detail in Australia, so the claim that they are ignored is absolutely ridiculous.  Robert Russell's answer to What kind of history does Aussie teach their children in school? Do they talk about the sad history of aboriginal? shows just how wrong that idea is.

Pilger is not an unbiased documentary maker, he is a propagandist.  He happens to be a propagandist with views very similar to my own, but the biased, simplistic and slanted way he presents his case is actually counter-productive.  To someone from overseas with no grasp of his simplistic approach, the stupidity of Utopia would not be apparent.  To anyone with any knowledge of the complexities and variety of views on this subject, his clumsy caricature is nothing short of pathetic.

Which is a pity, because the plight of many remote indigenous communities does need to be better addressed.  And government policies on Aboriginal matters do need further reform and refinement.  And there are many racist and ignorant people who do hold the views Pilger highlights.  But these things won't be advanced or remedied by crap like Utopia.

Before any Americans get too haughty about Australian treatment of their indigenous culture, try this - how many of your indigenous music stars could the average American name?  Because any Aussie could rattle off names of popular singers and musicians like Christine Anu, Jessica Mauboy, Archie Roach, Yothu Yindi or Gurrumul Yunupingu without blinking.  And these are people who have had mainstream charted hits and won the highest awards in the Australian music industry.  How many Native American actors and TV personalities can you name?  Because, again, any Aussie could talk about Ernie Dingo, Deborah Mailman, David Gulpilil, Aaron Pederson or Jack Charles without any prompting.  Or indigenous sports stars?  Any Aussie you meet could tell you about Cathy Freeman, Adam Goodes, Nova Peris-Kneebone, Nicky Winmar or Evonne Goolagong.  The 2000 Reconciliation March in Sydney was the equivalent of 571,000 people marching across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of Native American issues.  Has that ever happened?  Is it likely to happen any time soon?

Relations between our peoples are far from what they could or should be, but I don't think we need lectures from Americans on the subject and we certainly don't need them on the basis of a piece of biased junk like Utopia.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Some American schools teach that Africans had great technological civilizations that among other things built the Pyramids, but that's all gone now because of Whitey keepin' a brutha' down.

I wondered when they'd start to try the same thing with us.