Sunday, February 21, 2016

Disruptive Green/Left "protests" to be legally curbed in Western Australia

That's long overdue but far-Left "New Matilda" (below) is on its high horse condemning it. They say the word "thing" is too vague but it is not.  It is the use to which the thing is put that defines it.  If it is used to disrupt other people's lives and activities it's use becomes illegal.  It's sheer Fascist arrogance that the Green/Left think they have a right to disrupt other people's lives in pursuit of their personal demons

The mention of U.N. "rapporteurs" is amusing.  They must be the most unjudicial people on the planet.  They regularly condemn Anglosphere countries and Israel while remaining silent about real abuses in Muslim and African countries

The West Australian government has eschewed the alarm of not one, not two, but three United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and is pressing ahead with a bill that will criminalise legitimate protest activity.

As New Matilda reported in March last year, the Coalition government is moving to criminalise - quite literally - the possession of a "thing". Overnight the draconian anti-protest bill passed through the Legislative Council. It will now proceed to the Legislative Assembly.

If passed, the laws will reverse the onus of proof, giving police extraordinary powers. It carries penalties that would land peaceful protestors in prison for one year, along with a $12,000 fine, or two years and $24,000 in "circumstances of aggravation".

Collin Barnett's Coalition government controls both houses of the West Australian Parliament, leaving Labor and the Greens impotent in their virulent opposition.

Earlier this week three UN Special Rapporteurs - David Kaye, on freedom of expression; Maina Kiai, on freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and Michel Forst, on human rights defenders - slammed the bill in its entirety.

"The proposed legislation will have the chilling effect of silencing dissenters and punishing expression protected by international human rights law," Kaye warned.

"Instead of having a necessary [and]legitimate aim, the Bill's offence provisions disproportionately criminalise legitimate protest actions," he said.

The West Australian government has made clear that the law was inspired by the effectiveness of protest methods at James Price Point and in anti-logging campaigns in the state's south-west.

In their strident criticism, the three United Nations Special Rapporteurs outlined their concerns.

"If the bill passes, it would go against Australia's international obligations under international human rights law, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression as well as peaceful assembly and association," they said in a joint statement.

"The bill would criminalise a wide range of legitimate conduct by creating criminal offences for the acts of physically preventing a lawful activity and possessing an object for the purpose of preventing a lawful activity."

"For example, peaceful civil disobedience and any non-violent direct action could be characterised as `physically preventing a lawful activity.'"

The government openly admits it is trying to criminalise the use of objects - like `thumb locks', `arm-locks', `tree-sits', or chains - to prevent big developers from conducting their legally approved business.

This is not made clear in the bill, though, which refers only to a "thing" which could be used to prevent "a lawful activity". The President of the West Australian Law Society, Mathew Keogh has previously told New Matilda this "represents a breakdown of the rule of law".

Because of this broad drafting, the bill could be applied to activities other than those the government claims to be targeting, like a union picket line. According to Keogh, "the legislation is so broad it is almost impossible to say how they may be applied down the track".

In addition, anyone who falls foul of the legislation could be forced by the courts to pay police and developers' "reasonable expenses" for the removal of the physical barrier.

According to Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, "it discourages legitimate protest activity and instead, prioritises business and government resource interests over the democratic rights of individuals".


RRip! It takes a woman to rip another woman to pieces

A woman rises to prominence in Australia and feminist academic lawyer Skye Saunders sneeringly responds (below).  She is on a slow burn below about a conservative woman calling herself a girl.  Feminists hated Margaret Thatcher and Fiona Nash seems to be next in line.  If feminists were primarily interested in empowering women you would think that a woman rising to power would be celebrated.  That it is not shows that Feminists are Leftists first.  Hate is what drives them

"Fiona Nash blazes trail for Nats women," declared the headlines this week.

The embodiment of authentic practicality and fortitude, the newly appointed Nationals deputy leader addressed the media with unwavering confidence. Flanked by a border of supportive crisp shirts and ties, the first woman in Australian history to hold a leadership position in the Nationals affirmed that it was an exciting time for regional -Australia.

But there was a subtle moment during Thursday night's media conference that signified a further ripeness for change.

It happened when Nash was asked: "How will this be a different leadership?" Her response, infused with a tinkly laugh, was: "Probably one of the most obvious differences - I'm a girl."

I am a girl.

A common colloquial term for describing a female adult, playing on enchantment of youth and fresh vulnerability.

Glorious female friendships adopt the term girl to signal so many events of the heart - -indeed, doing anything "with the girls" invokes familiarity and fun. A "coffee with the girls" can be soul food.

But the context in which the term is used is so important.

"I am a girl" is a sentence that trembles under the weight of all that it signifies for women.

Anne Summers reminds that women have gradually acquired a "kind of gut knowledge" that they are outsiders.

To be a girl is not to be a man. Literally, in fact, to be a girl is not even to be a woman.

When a woman refers to herself as a girl, she paints herself as doubly vulnerable.

In some contexts - such as between friends - to give of certain vulnerability is a precious human gift. But in the public moment that the deputy leader of the nationals (elect) referred to herself as a girl, she identified as a junior form of a woman - and the subconscious shift in the conference dynamic was immediate.

Nestled between the six or seven men, there was the girl.

It has been said that women who work in male-saturated -environments are essentially "damned if they do, and damned if they don't". That is, they are damned if they don't impress as being as "good as the men", but they must not threaten the social order by becoming too far removed from the stereotypical feminine persona.

Consciously or not, Nash disarmed any threat to the traditional gender order on Thursday night by choosing a word to describe her status as a National leader that simply did not do her justice - a girl.

Inherent in her response was a familiar echo of the disarming way that women must carry themselves in traditionally male rural spaces, using gender as a tool to express suitable humility and self-deprecation.

More than 15 years ago in The Real Matilda, Miriam Dixson showed that as a dominant social group, men generally had been able to get women to conform to the most convenient definitions of their essential character.

It's time that we as women become serious about changing the dialogue. The deputy leader of the Nationals (elect) is now in a position to identify publicly as an esteemed politician and effective leader of our country.

In doing so, she will exemplify the natural confidence and dignity that we must foster in all Australian women, and particularly those in the male-dominated rural sphere. It truly is time to shine.



Compromise sought on 'backpacker tax' as working holiday-makers threaten to leave Australia

Backpackers do for Australia what Hispanic illegal immigrants do for the USA -- harvest fruit and vegetables.  Food prices would have to shoot up without them and foods that are presently grown in Australia would have to be imported from Asia.  So this tax-hungry move would be disastrous

Moves are underway within the Federal Coalition to find a compromise for the controversial 32.5 per cent backpacker tax, slated to take effect in July.

The agriculture industry is worried the tax will cause a labour shortfall and stifle the growth of the nation's $10 billion horticulture sector.

Some rural MPs are questioning whether the proposed tax will generate the full $540 million forecast by Treasury over the next three years.

The change will see foreigners on working holiday visas taxed 32.5 cents from the first dollar they earn, and a scrapping of the $18,200 tax-free threshold.

"It is the harvest-dependent international backpacker scene that we want to see continue and not suddenly disappear," Liberal Member for Murray Sharman Stone said.

Dr Stone, who also chairs the Coalition's Agriculture Policy Committee, said the tax could generate less income than expected if future working holiday-makers were deterred by the prospect of lower wages.

"We've looked at what the tax take might be as a contribution to the budget, but if we have fewer backpackers arriving that tax take is a lot less when calculated," she said.

"We have been encouraged by the [Agriculture] Minister to look at a package which might make it less a case of the backpacker seeing a third or so of their salary going."

One option being discussed, according to Dr Stone, is changes to superannuation arrangements for backpackers.

Currently working holiday makers have to pay superannuation, but can get some of it back when they leave the country.

"We also take superannuation off their pay checks which is a lot of red tape, a lot of bureaucracy, and the employer has to contribute to that," Ms Stone said.

"We are hard at it thinking of how to get around the unintended consequences of the tax take for this category of worker because when it comes to horticulture, our abattoirs our piggeries, our dairy industry, quite frankly we couldn't do without this international labour coming in."


There was a time when journalists backed free speech

By Chris Uhlmann.  The tweet he refers to is here

It was a liberating experience. In a morning moment of madness I had decided to tweet into the maelstrom of media rage created by former prime minister Tony Abbott's decision to fly to the US to address the Alliance Defending Freedom.

It had been prompted by an interview where an American tolerance commissar opined it was appalling, in a democracy, that people opposed to abortion and gay marriage were allowed to air their toxic views.

This progressive truth was so self-evident it went unremarked by the interviewer.

My clear intent was neither to defend Abbott's world view nor his decision to speak to a cabal of "reactionary" Christians on the hand-grenade topic "the importance of the family". It was simply to say: "Once upon a time journalists believed in free speech ."

It seemed an unremarkable intervention. It wasn't surprising that there was a social media storm in the Twitter teacup because its obsessives are always stewing over something. But that defending free speech could be cast as a crime against tolerance screams something very disturbing about our times.

That some who lit torches with the mob were journalists says a lot about the state of the media. These reporters have appointed themselves the prefects of progressive verities. That is disturbing because when journalists parade as pointers to moral true North then check your bearings, we have drifted badly off course. Yet I had naively hoped that free speech was one of the few things on which journalists in a democracy could agree: neutral ground in the culture wars. I had long feared this was not the case and so it proved.

And that was liberating: a Damascene moment of self-discovery. I had become a radical by standing still. For in an age where being a revolutionary is traditional, then being traditional is revolutionary.

There was another insight. We had reached a historic inflection point. Nearly 90 years after Antonio Gramsci began writing his letters from Benito Mussolini's prison, Marxism's long march through Western institutions was reaching its end.

From his cell Gramsci wrestled with why workers in the West weren't rising up to cast out the ruling class, as Marx predicted they would.  Gramsci pitied them because, he deduced, they were victims of false consciousness.  They had been brainwashed by a vast array of religious, intellectual and cultural institutions into believing their interests and the state's coalesced.

"The state is the entire complex of practical and theoretical activities with which the ruling class not only justifies and maintains its dominance but manages to win the active consent of those over whom it rules," he wrote.

It seems never to have occurred to Gramsci that the workers recognised Marxism for what it was: a prescription for a tyranny so profound it sought to colonise people's minds.

But if the people wouldn't buy a bad idea, there was one eager market: Europe's intellectuals. Gramsci proposed they begin a grinding "war of position" to take the commanding heights of the bureaucracy, universities and the media. Once there they would scrub the landscape clean of Western values.

"Cultural policy will above all be negative, a critique of the past; it will be aimed at erasing from the memory and at destroying," he wrote.

As social projects go, this wasteland was a tough sell, but neo-Marxists are nothing if not dogged. They built critical theory as a vehicle for change and began the deconstruction of the West.

Frankfurt School academics fleeing Adolf Hitler's Germany transmitted the intellectual virus to the US and set about systematically destroying the culture of the society that gave them sanctuary.

America's freedom of speech was its achilles heel. Critical theorists were given university pulpits and a constitutionally ordained right to preach, grinding its foundation stones to dust. Since 1933 they have been hellbent on destroying the village to save it.

When Herbert Marcuse wrote Repressive Tolerance 50 years ago, the hope that his ideas would become mainstream was a distant dream. But, if they did, he had developed a plan for reversing the polarity of freedom.

Marcuse cautioned his disciples not to be so foolish as to afford the courtesy of free speech to their opponents.  "Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behaviour cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude," he wrote.

Tolerance is the totem of our age, a bumper sticker of virtue. Yet hidden in its many meanings is the doublespeak of defining what will be taboo. It is now considered tolerant to demand silence from nonconformists.

When the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission says the Catholic Church has a case to answer for robustly defending its views on marriage and the family, then we have seen a glimpse of the Marcusian future. And it is just one gust of the gale buffeting a society hollowed out by its intellectuals.

I hoped to remain indifferent to the inevitable change in marriage laws. But that will be impossible if those who cast themselves as oppressed seek to become oppres-sors. If offending the new ruling hegemony is prohibited then I stand with the right of the minority to disagree.

Stripped of their fashionable clothes, what's striking about the tolerance police is how similar these new moralists are to the old. They pursue heretics with an inquisitor's zeal, blinded by the righteousness of their cause.

In A Man for All Seasons Thomas More's son-in-law William Roper declared he would knock down every law in England to get at the devil.

"Oh?" More says "And when the last law was down and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat . I'd give the Devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."


Food fanaticism getting beyond a joke

THE food police have struck again, with watermelon, bananas and strawberries off the menu in school lunch boxes.

As schools and kinders grapple with spiralling food allergies, some are advising parents that even certain fruit and vegetables should be binned.

Packing the children's lunch is becoming a headache for parents with an ever-growing list of foods to dodge, with junk food, soft drinks and birthday cakes given the thumbs down in many healthy eating policies.

Point Cook P-9 College has urged parents to avoid sending bananas, watermelon, soy, wheat, eggs, dairy, and nuts in lunches due to minor allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Principal Frank Vetere said they didn't have explicit bans on any food, but had contacted families whose children had classmates with allergies.

"There seems to be a growing number of students with allergies, and we try to manage it the best we can with proactive measures," he said.

"We have 20 students with allergies and they are all different.

"With every class that has a child with an allergy, we send out a letter to the families."

Strawberries, grapes, spinach, chocolate, lollies, chips, jelly, dried noodles, fried foods and muesli bars are other items schools and kinders are ditching due to allergy and obesity fears.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Professor Katie Allen said there were rising rates of food allergies and intolerances around the world, and fruit was one of the rarer ones.

She said allergic reactions could only develop from eating the food, and banning items was not the wisest choice, except for young children in childcare centres or kinder.

"In schools it creates a false sense of security, and you can end up with lunch box Nazis," she said.

"Instead we say not sharing food is the best public health message to send, for a range of reasons."

As schools fight the obesity epidemic, Surrey Hills Primary has told parents that lollies and chocolate won't be used as rewards in the classroom, or cakes and sweets for birthdays.

Instead, teachers use "a range of strategies" to recognise birthdays or a "job well done".

Wooragee Primary School is cracking down on sugar-laden and fatty food and even sends uneaten lunches home so families are aware of their child's food consumption.

Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh said it was getting harder for schools to deal with the explosion of food allergies.

"It's quite inhibiting for schools, feeding students on school camps can be tricky and they are having to train teachers in use of EpiPens," she said.

"But we have to make sure students are safe."

The Education Department does not advocate bans at schools but a commonsense approach to ensure students are safe.

Spokesman Simon Craig said advice was continually reviewed as research emerged.

"We have a rigorous set of policies and procedures in place to help our schools minimise the risk of anaphylaxis and food allergies and effectively manage any reactions, including individual health management plans for each child who identifies as having a serious allergy," he said.


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