Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Barber is taken to the Australian Human Rights Commission - for 'politely refusing to cut a young girl's hair because he didn't have the skills or experience'

A barber is being taken to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission after declining to cut a young girl's hair.

Sam Rahim, who runs the Hunters Hill Barber Shop in Sydney's North Shore, told 9 News he was devastated by the summons.

He said that in December last year a women came into the barber shop and asked him if he could cut her daughter's hair, to which he 'politely refused'.

Mr Rahim is not trained to cut girls' hair and has no experience in doing so.

'But she kept pressing me, saying I should just do it. I told her there are three women’s hair salons within a minute’s walk but she became angry and stormed out,' he said.

Mr Rahim is now being accused of breaching anti-discrimination laws and was told he had embarrassed the women's daughter.

'She might have been more embarrassed walking to school if I’d butchered her hair,' he said.

He explained that the skills of a barber are no compatible with cutting a young girls hair and reiterated that by its very definition, a barber shop was 'a place where men get their hair cut'. 

Mr Sahim can take some solace in knowing that the Australian Hairdressing Council understood his stance.

Sandy Chong, from the Australian Hairdressing Council, said there are clear differences in the skills required to cut men's and women's hair.

She said Mr Rahim was likely more experienced than many of the barber teachers.

Until two years ago barbering had no set qualifications Mrs Chong said.

'I understand why he wouldn’t be comfortable cutting women’s hair,' she said.

The case is due to appear before the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in the coming weeks.

Understandably Mr Rahim is worried about how this will impact it will have on his livelihood, especially with young family to support.


Peter Dutton tabled slashing immigration by 20,000 last YEAR - but was shut down by Malcolm Turnbull and other senior party members

A plan to cut Australia's immigration by 20,000 was scuttled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull despite likely public support.

Peter Dutton proposed reducing the cap on annual permanent immigration from its record 190,000 to 170,000 to cabinet last year.

The Immigration Minister was spurred on by widespread concern about the effects of mass new arrivals on house prices, jobs, crime, and Australian culture.

Mr Dutton had the support of then-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce but Mr Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison opposed it, according to The Australian.

The proposal was well short of the 110,000 limit former PM Tony Abbott suggested at a speech to the Sydney Institute in February.

'It's a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages, and that increasing demand for housing boosts price,' he said.

Dramatically slashing immigration also has in-principle support from The Greens, who seek to stabilise Australia's population growth.

'The notion that we need a big Australia based on economic drivers is not one we support,' Greens leader Richard Di Natale told the National Press Club last week.

'Often this is an argument that is run by the business community.'

The proposal was well short of the 110,000 limit former PM Tony Abbott suggested, and Green leader Richard Di Natale told the National Press Club he also wanted less immigration

However, he refused to explicitly support Mr Abbott's proposal as he accused the backbencher of playing politics not trying to help the environment. 'I don't buy into the debate that Tony Abbott is trying to run at the moment,' he said.

'He is not having a debate about population, he is having a debate about the leadership of the Liberal Party. It is not a sophisticated debate about immigration.'

Millionaire businessman Dick Smith, a frequent proponent of lower population, wants Australia's net annual immigration rate to return to the 20th century average of 70,000 a year.

This position is shared by Pauline Hanson's One Nation, making the various proponents of immigration reduction very strange bedfellows.

Smith launched a controversial advertising campaign last year, warning unchecked population growth would lead to famine, disaster and war.

'Our growth-addicted economic system will see our children living in a world of eleven billion people, consuming and polluting more than our finite planet can withstand,' the ad said.

Mr Smith later said Australia could support 1 billion people but the cost would be living in 'huge skyscrapers' and living like 'battery hens'.

Though he was frustrated by his policy being squashed, Mr Dutton played down speculation he could challenge Mr Turnbull for the leadership.


Aboriginal singer trolled on Instagram and called a 'TERRORIST' - for appearing at a Eurovision promotion in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv

Muslim hate never lets up

Indigenous popstar Jessica Mauboy has been trolled by anti-Israel activists on her Instagram page after announcing she will be performing in Tel Aviv.

The 28-year-old Darwin-raised singer copped a barrage of abuse on social media when she told fans she had just touched down in Israel for a Eurovision promotion.

The abuse was vile, with a Muslim man accusing her of being a 'f***ing terrorist supporter' following the shooting last week of a Palestinian cameraman by Israeli troops on the Gaza border.

Another critic targeted Mauboy over her indigenous heritage on her mother's side, accusing her of ignoring the plight of Palestinians.

'Have you forgotten the treatment of your ancestors? Because that is what you are promoting right there,' one woman wrote on Sunday night.

Mauboy, who first shot to fame as the 2006 Australian Idol runner-up, is representing Australia next month at the Eurovision Song Contest in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon with her song We Got Love.

Ahead of her second turn as Australia's Eurovision flag bearer, she will be performing at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Tuesday as part of 'Israel Calling', an annual event where Eurovision contestants gather in Israel for a promotional campaign.

Several critics said she should have followed the lead of New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, who last year cancelled a concert in Israel following a campaign by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists.

However, Mauboy's supporters urged her to 'ignore the anti-Israelis' who had been 'brainwashed' by pro-Palestinian activists. 

Anti-Israel activists have ramped up their campaigning after Israeli snipers last week gunned down protesters at the Gaza border, killing Yaser Murtaja, 30, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the journalist wearing a press vest, who died on Saturday, had been flying a drone.

'Anyone who operates drones over Israeli soldiers needs to understand he's putting himself at risk,' he told a forum in Israel covered by the Haaretz newspaper.   


RACQ slams emergency slow down laws

Queensland's peak motoring body says laws requiring drivers to slow down when passing an emergency vehicle with flashing lights are confusing and won't protect roadside workers.

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner on Tuesday urged the state government to drop the legislation, which has already been implemented in other states and will be trialled in NSW from September.

Mr Turner says the proposed legislation, which has the support of the Queensland Police Union, focused too much on speed and not enough on safety.

"The New South Wales Government's heart is in the right place, but it has got it wrong," Mr Turner said.

"The key focus has to be on getting drivers to move over when they see an incident, creating a safer space."

NSW drivers will slow to 40 km/h in 70 km/h zones when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights, and travel at 60 km/h when driving in a 100 km/h zone during the year-long trial.

"While how fast a car is travelling is important, it's about us as motorists taking care and consideration and moving out of the lane closest to an incident and then slowing down," Mr Turner said.

On Monday the Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the law had merit and should be trialled in the Sunshine State.

"We need to remember that the road is often a police officer's workplace and anything we can do to make our workplace safer should be investigated," Mr Leavers told AAP.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey on Monday said the state preferred to educate rather than regulate and there were concerns about heavy vehicles being able to safely slow down in 100km/h zones.

"At this time advice from the Department of Transport and Main Roads is to support a non-regulatory educational approach, rather than a reduced speed limit approach," he said.


Israel Folau and the right to speak freely

Who knew that Rugby Australia was a religious organisation with doctrine, dogma and decrees about the existence of hell? Folau was brought up as a Mormon.  He is of Tongan origin and the Mormons are strong on Tonga.  Mormons are very family-oriented so are traditionally hostile to homosexuality

Just days after the biggest sporting scandal in decades consumed Australian cricket’s biggest names, Steve Smith and David Warner, another sport’s marquee player created a firestorm of his own.

In response to an Instagram question last Tuesday in which he was asked what he thought was “God’s plan for gay people”, Israel Folau, Australian rugby’s highest- paid player and a devout Christian, was unequivocal: “HELL. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

What has followed has been a fevered week of urgent backroom meetings involving Folau, Rugby Australia and the sport’s two biggest sponsors, Qantas and ASICS.

Alan Jones writes: Folau is entitled to his opinion on gay people. The code has bigger concerns than keeping him silent

It was the worst possible moment for the story to break. Both sponsors had just endured a public relations “hell” of their own because of their Cricket Australia sponsorships and, in the case of ASICS, personal partnerships with two of the three disgraced cricketers, Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

It is understood both companies moved quickly to express their unhappiness about Folau’s comments directly to rugby’s most senior executives. What followed was a crisis management strategy by Rugby Australia and the sponsors that was straight out of the cricket scandal playbook, as they all tried to shield their brands from Folau’s views.

Rugby Australia stated: ‘‘Folau’s personal beliefs do not reflect the views of Rugby Australia … Rugby supports all forms of inclusion, whether it’s sexuality, race, or gender, which is set out in our Inclusion Policy (2014).”

Qantas said simply: “We’ve made it clear to Rugby Australia that we find the comments very disappointing.”

It is understood Qantas has told Rugby Australia that continued social media comments by Folau or any other players along these lines would cause it to re-evaluate its support of the sport.

But beyond the predictable backpedalling from Folau’s comments by the immediate stakeholders, opinions are much more divided in the broader community about whether Folau should be allowed to express such views.

Even the generally socially progressive readership of The Sydney Morning Herald showed some sympathy in yesterday’s letters section, which was headlined: “Folau has every right to express his opinions”. Several letters actively defended his right to express his beliefs.

Former human rights commissioner and federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson told The Australian he believes companies and individuals lashing out at Folau should “take a chill pill”.

“Respecting diversity includes diversity of opinion, including on questions of morality,” Wilson says. “Targeting Folau falsely feeds a mindset that he is persecuted for his opinions. Everyone needs to take a chill pill, respect Folau’s authority on the rugby field, and also recognise that he is employed in a profession that values brawn over brains.”

Wilson, one of the Liberal Party’s most vocal advocates in favour of same-sex marriage during the recent national debate, has also taken aim at the hand-wringing in the sponsorship arena over Folau’s comments.

“It is ridiculous for sponsors to walk away from Rugby Australia because of Folau’s opinions,” he says. “Companies have the freedom to sponsor organisations that share their values, but it would be absurd to make a collective sponsorship decision based on an individual player who isn’t hired based on his opinions. If Qantas and other sponsors punish Rugby Australia they’d be saying Australians can’t associate with them if they have religious or moral views.”

A source at one Australian rugby sponsor said it was unfair to judge sponsors simply for being cautious about brand damage from comments like those of Folau. “When you’re investing to have your brand associated with a team, and the values don’t line up repeatedly, then it begs the question: is it worth it?”

The source said that the problem was even more marked for Rugby Australia, which has had its own well-chronicled battles to attract sponsors in recent years amid the patchy performances of the Wallabies.

“The problem is really Rugby Australia’s,” the source said. “Comments like Folau’s are not aligned with their values when they’re trying to attract sponsors.”

Crisis management specialist Greg Baxter, partner of Newgate Australia, understands the point of view of Rugby Australia and the sponsors to some degree.

“I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say he can’t have an opinion, but it’s not the sort of attitude that modern rugby wants,” he says.

“Rugby is saying: ‘We’re all about inclusivity, and we want all sorts of people playing our game.’ There’s no question his views are at odds with that.

“It’s no different from any employee having to exercise care in using social media platforms. In this instance, he needed to think more carefully about how offensive his statement was: not just to people in rugby, but the consequences to a major sponsor.”

Baxter believes players need to become much more aware of the impact of their comments.

“You have to be highly sensitised to the fact your comments can be interpreted a certain way, not only on behalf of yourself but a sporting code or a political party,” he says. “It’s easy to say it’s a handbrake on free speech — I don’t personally think it is — but they have to understand there will be consequences if they upset people. To me, it’s common sense.

“In the absence of common sense, sporting codes will have to think of social media policies and training that goes with that for people. The higher your profile, the more sensitive you have to be. If you have a public profile, your so-called private capacity is diminished. The audience doesn’t differentiate between public profile and private comments.”

However, Sharon Williams, chief executive of prominent social media consultancy Taurus Marketing, believes companies need to avoid becoming hyper-sensitive to the views of individual athletes in the social media age.

She argues that corporates are “overplaying their hand”. “I think there is sometimes a juvenile approach by corporates and organisations to understanding the limitations of how much they can impose on the players,” she says.

“Everyone gets hung up about social media. But nothing has changed in how the world should operate if you have a commercial relationship that needs to be honoured with mutual integrity and respect.

“If you’ve got a commercial relationship with an organisation, you respect your differences and your likenesses. You have to be aware of people’s beliefs. If the sponsors don’t want players to put some of their beliefs on social media, they need to make sure they cover that off in their sponsorship agreements.”

On the flip side, she believes that the prevailing environment where there is an abundance of caution among corporates about causing offence requires athletes to be given more formal coaching.

“I have no doubt that Israel Folau is sincere in his religious beliefs,” she says. “Maybe there can be more education and mentoring of athletes on the consequences and implications of their actions on social media. ‘‘We’re in an environment where political correctness is going mad, and the athletes need to be aware of that on social media.”

Williams contrasts Folau’s post with Stephanie Rice’s infamous homophobic 2010 tweet “Suck on that faggots”, which also had a rugby union connection, after the Wallabies beat South Africa in a Test she was watching. Rice ended up losing personal sponsorships based on the tweet.

“Folau was answering a direct question, based on his religious beliefs, but Rice was deemed to be derogatory,” she says.

Folau’s comments have emerged at a time when protections for religious freedoms are being examined by a panel headed up by former federal immigration minister Philip Ruddock, in the wake of last year’s same-sex marriage plebiscite result.

There were suggestions at the time the process was set up by the government largely as a way of keeping conservative interests in the Coalition onside, amid their concerns about the effect legalising same-sex marriage could have on religious freedom.

Ruddock said yesterday there had been 16,500 submissions to the panel, which would commence “formal sessions” by the end of next week. “We’ve been embarking on the program to identify how we can effectively secure our international obligations on freedom of religion, with regard to broader human rights obligations.”

One key advocate of religious freedoms, in discussing Folau’s social media comments, cites the adage: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Peter Kurti, an Anglican priest who runs the religion and civil society program for the Centre for Independent Studies, says: “My own personal view is that Israel Folau is wrong. I don’t believe that being gay is incompatible with being Christian.”

Despite disagreeing with Folau’s view, Kurti says the vilification of him is “troubling”.

He is also concerned about the possibility of sponsor departures over the opinion. He believes major sponsors of rugby such as Qantas could turn the matter into a public relations win by showing tolerance on the matter.

“In a sense, if their response is heavy-handed, it ratchets the whole controversy up,” he says. “I’d like to see Qantas and Rugby Australia defuse the tension in this. If Qantas were to come back and say along the lines: ‘This is an individual’s point of view. We continue to support rugby in Australia’, it would defuse the situation.

“Tolerance means we tolerate views we don’t agree with, allowing people with whom we don’t agree to say things that may be offensive.

“We all know Qantas has a strong position on many social issues such as same-sex marriage. And it’s driven from the top by Alan Joyce. The worry is if they decide as a major sponsor they don’t like the points of view of any member of the organisation they are sponsoring.”

He believes that rather than shut Folau down, corporate organisations should simply “debate” him. “What he’s doing is embarking on a theological debate about what will happen to a certain section of community after death. What we have to do is debate him on those terms. But we don’t vilify him for holding a point of view.”

However, Baxter says the problem for Folau is that with an Instagram following of more than 338,000, he is a large-scale media outlet in his own right. “The higher the profile, the more the scrutiny,” he says.

“A comment is much less likely to be made in a private capacity and stay private — particularly if you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers. The point at which you press the button to publish those comments on any platform, you make them public and you have to be answerable.”

Baxter argues there is a critical lack of awareness among sports stars and others about their reach through social media. “There’s a naivety among a lot of people. Some people can write whatever they want on these platforms behind a cloak of anonymity, and not face any consequences. But people like him, who earn a living from sponsorship and from having a public profile, need to understand that it carries with it more responsibility than another private citizen who has no public profile.”

Kurti, on the other hand, argues the Folau affair and the pressure for him to bite his tongue show that the balance is in danger of tipping in favour of censorship.

“It shows that we are forgetting just how important freedom of speech is in our society,” he says.

“We only want people to say the things we agree with. That seems to be the prevalent mood on social media. But in a society where freedom is truly valued, people have to be free to say things with which we don’t agree.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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