Thursday, January 07, 2016
Exraordinary accusations from Mungo MacCallum
The current Mungo has long been a much-read Australian journalist, largely because of his jocular style. He is a past-master of maligning people with a smile on his face. He has always been a classic Leftist hater but one who is also sometimes amusing. A rare feat!
Now that he is in his '70s one might have hoped that he would have undergone the shift from Left to Right that age normally brings on. A remarkable example of that is the now almost forgotten Ned Hanlon, who went from being a union firebrand in his youth to becoming a Premier of Queensland who would sool his police onto strikers in order to break up their strikes. Better-known examples of the Rightward drift are Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, who were both on the Left in their early days.
But Mungo has resisted that trend. He has learned nothing. He is, if anything, more vitriolic than ever. The accusations he makes below are both extraordinary and devoid of evidence that would support such sweeping claims. They are so amazing that I reproduce below only the beginning of his latest article -- to focus on those accusations. The remainder of the article is in any case basically a criticism of the ineptitude of Bill Shorten, the unpopular leader of the Australian Labor Party.
Mungo's target is the recent judicial enquiry into the well-attested thuggery in Australian building-trade unions, particularly the CFMEU. The lawless behaviour of the unions concerned is too well-known for Mungo to deny it so he resorts to the classic Leftist dodge of moral equivalence. He says that other more conservative groupings are just as bad.
But in so doing he is clearly libellous. He makes statements that would be actionable in court. And since he made the statements on an ABC site, he might well be worth pursuing. The ABC has deep pockets. And the legal profession is generally very guarded of its reputation so Mungo's sweeping denunciation of them seems quite likely to get a response. At least an apology and retraction may be demanded
Mungo starts with a quote from Justice Dyson.
"In many parts of the world constituted by Australian trade union officials," declared Dyson Heydon, "there is room for louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers, those who threaten violence, errant fiduciaries and organisers of boycotts."
And no doubt there is; but with very minor changes of the last part of the statement, the same strictures apply to the business community - indeed, even to Heydon's own legal profession. In fact, it would be hard to find any group within the Australian populace free of the strictures Heydon elaborates.
Certainly he has identified a few (45, to be precise) of the alleged miscreants who warrant further investigation and may or may not face charges as a result - although it must be noted that only 27 are actually unions or their officials; the rest were companies and those associated with them and other entities.
It sounds like a reasonable bag, until you remember that the whole process took some $80 million and two full years of intensive investigation unearthing and grilling over 500 suspects. Given that level of zealotry, it is hardly surprising that Heydon gathered a few in his net."
Bazza backs Germaine
They wouldn't be Gladdies beside him, would they?
AUSTRALIAN comedian Barry Humphries has weighed into Germaine Greer’s row over Caitlyin Jenner, describing the former Olympian as “a mutilated man”.
Humphries — who is about to return to the stage as Dame Edna Everage — said he backed Australian feminist Greer, who caused an uproar with her claims last October that transgender women are “not real women”.
According to Greer, “trans” women such as Jenner are men “who believe that they are women and have themselves castrated.”
Humphries, who has made millions as arguably the world’s most famous female impersonator, told London’s Telegraph he agreed with his fellow Aussie expat.
“I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all,” he says. “Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner — what a publicity-seeking ratbag. It’s all given the stamp — not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”
Humphries, 81, is about to embark on Dame Edna’s final farewell tour in the US and Canada.
Prominent Australian conservative: I hope we don't become too politically correct
"Deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says he hopes Australian politics doesn't become "sterile" and overly politically correct following outrage over the behaviour of colleagues Jamie Briggs and Peter Dutton.
Mr Briggs resigned from the frontbench last week after being "overly affectionate" towards a public servant in a Hong Kong bar while Mr Dutton apologised for sending a female journalist a text calling her a "mad f---ing witch".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has described Mr Dutton's text message, mistakenly sent to veteran journalist Samantha Maiden, as "clearly inappropriate".
Mr Joyce, who is expected to become Nationals leader and deputy prime minister when Warren Truss resigns this year, told Fairfax Media: "I never want our country to be completely sterile. I like that Australia is to the point"
"One of the great things about Australian politics is our informality and directness and I'd hate to lose that - even if there can be faux pas."
Mr Joyce apologised to National Party colleague Bridget McKenzie in 2012 for referring to her in Parliament as a "flash bit of kit". Mr Joyce admitted to consuming alcohol beforehand but denied being drunk.
Mr Joyce said Mr Dutton had made a "stupid" mistake by sending Maiden the text but said people criticising him should not lose perspective.
It is understood Mr Dutton thought he was sending the text to Mr Briggs, but instead sent it to Maiden, who had been highly critical of the ex-minister in a column published on Sunday. "It's what one bloke thought he was saying to another bloke," Mr Joyce said.
"If I got upset about every time I have been abused on Twitter or in the newspaper or in text messages, I would be a case for an asylum. "You have to roll with the punches.
"For a robust member of the fourth estate like Samantha, she would think this was water off a duck's back and pretty funny."
Maiden has said she accepted Mr Dutton's apology and hoped he was not sacked from the frontbench for the mistake.
Mr Joyce said he hoped politicians would not become overly cautious following the Briggs incident in Hong Kong and are still willing to socialise with colleagues and journalists.
"I don't like to be in the holier than thou crowd," he said. "Jamie made a mistake and has fallen on his sword.
"If you invite me out for a drink, you want me to speak frankly and freely rather than ring up 13 media advisers and get encrypted babble."
Mr Briggs was forced to resign after a young public servant complained about his behaviour at a Hong Kong bar in November. Sources have said Mr Briggs told the woman she had "piercing eyes" and tried to kiss her on the cheek, while others said it was her neck.
Mr Briggs sent a photo of the woman to colleagues which was later leaked to the media, a move which drew an angry response from Mr Turnbull. Such behaviour could deter women from coming forward with complaints about workplace misbehaviour, he said.
Muslim terrorist sympathizer in the Australian navy
Disagrees with bombing them
A navy Twitter account has been shut down after its most senior Muslim officer retweeted a counter-terrorism expert mocking Tony Abbott following the Liberal Party leadership coup and backed the Grand Mufti’s response to the Paris terrorist attacks.
Captain Mona Shindy, the Chief of Navy’s strategic adviser on Islamic affairs, appears to have run the account @navyislamic until it was deleted last month, posting a series of tweets about attitudes towards Muslim Australians and terrorism.
The closure of the account came six months after Captain Shindy called for the word “Islam” to be removed from all reporting on Islamic State in an essay for the June edition of United Service, the journal of the Royal United Services Institute of NSW.
Arguing that there was no connection with the terror group and religion, Captain Shindy accused the media of “fear-mongering” in its portrayal of Muslims and said it made them feel alienated and vilified and provided “ammunition” to terrorist recruiters.
In the essay, Captain Shindy mirrored the disputed claims of Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed after the Paris terror attack in November, in which he said causative factors such as foreign policy, the media and lack of opportunity were fuelling Islamic extremism.
Dr Abu Mohamed’s comments were widely criticised as offering potential justification for the killings, forcing the Grand Mufti to revise his public position.
On November 18, five days after the Paris attacks, Captain Shindy used the @navyislamic account to declare Dr Abu Mohamed was a “righteous & courageous man who categorically denounces” Islamic State and terrorism, tweeting the hashtag #IStandWithTheMufti.
On the day after the leadership spill in which Malcolm Turnbull toppled Mr Abbott, Captain Shindy posted a 2011 YouTube video of Mr Turnbull on the ABC’s Q&A discussing Muslim schools and the need to promote and encourage moderate Islamic traditions.
“The idea that you demonise the faith of billions of people with 1500 years or thereabouts of history and tradition and scholarship is absurd,” Mr Turnbull said in the clip.
Captain Shindy tweeted: “Looking forward to a #PM that unites #auspol & #OZ”
There was also a retweet of counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly, who on the night of the leadership change tweeted: “Wait. Did our new PM just give a speech and not mention boats, death cult, security, death cult, terrorism, national security and death cult?”
Mr Abbott was criticised by parts of the Islamic community and MPs for his rhetoric and hardline response to terrorism that some said divided Muslim and non-Muslim Australians.
The Australian asked the Defence Department a series of questions yesterday, including why the @navyislamic Twitter account was shut down and whether Captain Shindy’s tweets were reflective of naval policy.
A Defence spokesman said: “Navy has consolidated its social media platforms to achieve a ‘single source’ so as to strengthen its messaging in synch with its support to traditional media.”
Captain Shindy, who is on leave, declined to comment.
Defence did not verify the tweets, which have been published on the blogs of conservative commentators Andrew Bolt and Bernard Gaynor, a Queensland Senate candidate for the anti-Islam party Australian Liberty Alliance.
Captain Shindy, whose role is to “help create a better understanding” within the navy of the Islamic faith and cultural sensitivities, and Chief of Navy Tim Barrett met the Grand Mufti in October 2014 at the Lakemba Mosque as part of its Islamic community awareness program.
Captain Shindy is a respected 26-year veteran of the navy and the head of its Guided Missile Frigate Program. She was appointed to her Islamic advisory role by then-chief of navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs in March 2013. She was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in last year’s Australia Day honours and in November was named Telstra NSW Businesswoman of the Year.
It is highly unusual for a serving military officer to offer public comment on such a politically contentious issue as Islamic terrorism, much less to adopt positions that appear to be at odds with government policy.
The removal of the Twitter account about December 20 came days after the Defence Force said it would appeal against a Federal Court ruling in favour of Mr Gaynor over his being discharged for making controversial comments about gay men and lesbians. It also came days after a complaint by the Australian Liberty Alliance was made to the navy about Captain Shindy’s Twitter account. The complaint warned the navy that ADF members were obliged not to make political statements in their official capacity.
Mr Gaynor said yesterday the ADF was “caught in a bind” over appealing his case but allowing Captain Shindy to make political comments in an official capacity.
In her essay, Captain Shindy called for a “frank, fearless debate” on the “root causes and triggers” of Islamic grievances, which she said included foreign policy double-standards and a belief among young Australian Muslims that they had been sidelined and marginalised. She questioned the effectiveness of bombing campaigns against extremists.
“We need to move on quickly from a single approach of talking tough and broadly bombing regions where we believe extremists operate,” she wrote. “Working on preventive strategies gives us the best likelihood of long-term success. Security, jobs, income to support families and stability to grow and educate populations are the key ingredients to preventing the explosive, desperate reaction to despair that is extremism.”
She blames the media for placing young Muslims and their families “under great strain” through negative coverage of Muslims. She also said Islam had nothing to do with terrorism.
“Constant negative media reporting on apparent Muslim behaviour provides ammunition for terrorist recruiters enabling them to convince impressionable Muslims that there is an agenda against them and their religion — again, supporting a call for armed jihad,” she said. “Indeed, the word ‘Islam’ needs to be removed from reporting on ISIS/ISIL or Daesh. The barbaric nature and ideology of these groups has nothing to do with Islam and we should work to limit their appeal to vulnerable Muslims,” she writes.
Mr Abbott last month claimed Australians were in denial about the “problems within Islam” and called for a “reformation” of the religion. ASIO chief Duncan Lewis was among those who distanced himself from the remarks.