Sunday, June 10, 2018

Julian Burnside QC shows the usual Leftist myopia to Australia's refugee problem

I am almost certainly wasting my time in putting up any reply to anything a Leftist says and Burnside's track record makes that particularly so in his case. But I have 15 minutes to spare so I will proceed:

Burnside criticizes the way Australia treats "boat people", people who thought that they could crash their way into Australian residence by exploiting the reluctance of Australians to treat anyone in poor circumstances harshly. And Labour party governments under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard did treat boat people considerately.

But that treatment simply meant more and more rickety boats ending up on Australian shores. And Australians didn't like that. Polls showed that a big majority wanted the flow to stop and even for existing arrivals to be sent back. Australia accepts vetted refugees and others in huge numbers every year at great stress to our infrastructure so it is hardly unreasonable to reject another big inflow of unvetted arrivals.

And Tony Abbott got a big electoral endorsement to stop the boats coming and proceeded to do so. But he achieved that in the only way that would work: By being tough on boat peole. He was assisted in that by a declaration from Leftist leader Kevin Rudd in the dying days of his regime that no boat people ever would be given Australian residence.

But what to do with the boat people already coming under Australian jurisdiction? To give them Australian residence or any comfortable life would simply restart the flow. So a residue of boat people is deliberately treated restrictively as a warning to others. It is that harshness which Burnside criticizes. And Burnside omits that Australia has an open offer to all of them to fly them back to their home country. Very few have taken that option. So they are in a limbo of their own making. They have food and accommodation at the Australian taxpayer's expense so it is not surprising that they do not want to go back

At this point Burnside will righteously explode that they risk their lives if they go back. They do not. They all had refuge the minute they crossed their country's borders -- mostly into Pakistan. And many are still in Pakistan. But a minority of rich ones decided that life in Pakistan was too harsh for them so boarded airliners to take them thousands of miles to places in Indonesia where they could hop onto the pity boats. They are simply economic migrants, not refugees. They could go back to Pakistan if they really wanted to but they prefer the "harsh" treatment that Australia offers.

So Burnside is just virtue signalling. He does not address the situation that the Australian government has been forced into.

The irony is that, being affluent citizens of their home countries, many of the boat people could probably have qualified in time to come to Australia as legitimate immigrants. They were just arrogant and impatient. We are better off without them

The top politicians in this country are guilty of major criminal offences, but they are unlikely ever to be tried for them, says lawyer Julian Burnside.

“I think it’s pretty clear that Australian prime ministers and immigration ministers are guilty of criminal offences against our own law,” says the Melbourne-based QC. “The problem is that no one can bring a prosecution for those offences without the approval of the Attorney General. Take a lucky guess what the Attorney General would say.”

In a new documentary, Australian human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines the harsh treatment of refugees around the world by western democracies.

The offences he has in mind involve the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers – deliberate and unnecessary cruelty that amounts, he argues in the documentary Border Politics, to torture.

Since 2002, Australia has been a signature member of the International Criminal Court, and as a result, he explains, “there is a series of offences [in Australian law] that mirror the offences over which the ICC has jurisdiction.”

It was compulsory for Australia to introduce those laws, and some were well overdue. “Until then, believe it or not, genocide was not an offence under Australian criminal law,” he says. “But it is now.”

In Border Politics, which is getting a limited release nationally, Burnside – who says he does not enjoy travel – roams the world to see how our treatment of asylum seekers stacks up. The short answer: terribly.

“The way we are seen overseas is really worrying,” he says. “It’s vaguely embarrassing to be in another country and disclose that you’re Australian. It’s like, I guess, being in another country and disclosing you’re American, because of Trump.”

He traces the root of this systematic abuse of people we are obliged take in (under a raft of international conventions but most crucially the UN Convention on Human Rights) to 9/11.

Genuine tragedy though it was, it has been ruthlessly exploited ever since by politicians on both sides of the divide to whip up anti-refugee hysteria, and to depict those seeking asylum as somehow inherently criminal.

Under the laws to which Australia is a signatory, they are not. But, arguably, our political leaders are.

But surely the politicians would say they are only reflecting the will of the people they serve?

“That’s right,” he says. “That’s the Jim Hacker approach to leading the country, when he said in Yes, Prime Minister, ‘I’m their leader, I must follow them’. And that is exactly what we’ve seen in recent years in Australia.

“Since the Tampa episode the Coalition has repeatedly called boat people ‘illegal’ even though they don’t commit an offence [in coming here as refugees by boat], and they call the exercise of pushing them away ‘border protection’. So I think the majority of the public think that we are being protected from criminals, which, if it was true, would make sense. But it’s false. The public has been persuaded to go along with dreadful mistreatment of people who are innocent and who are, almost all of them, genuine refugees.

“I think that’s terrible. Deceiving the country into doing very bad things to innocent people is something this country shouldn’t do. And it’s absolutely meaningless to try and find out what the public think about it because the ‘it’ is something about which they have been misled for so long.”

Border Politics debuted at last month's Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, where it preached to the converted. But, Burnside readily admits, the ideal audience as it plays more broadly is something else entirely.

“People who disagree with me,” he says. “I’ll be doing some Q&A sessions after screenings and I reckon people who disagree with me should come along and challenge my views. If they’re so confident that it’s right to mistreat innocent people, let them come along and explain why and challenge me.

“Unless you’re someone who thinks mistreatment of innocent people is OK, I think the case for proper treatment of boat people is overwhelmingly strong,” he adds. “And I’m perfectly happy to be challenged on that.”


Political correctness gone mad: Outrage as students are marked down for using 'mankind' and 'workmanship' in essays – and some universities have even banned the word 'she'

After being put under the spotlight, some university representatives are denying that this is their official policy. That may well be so but it is clearly an unofficial polcy and is no less authoritarian for that

Top universities across Australia have taken to slashing students grades for using banned 'gendered language'.

Terms such as 'man', 'she', 'wife', 'mother' and any other terminology that angers the PC brigade have been blacklisted.

Students claimed they have lost marks for referring to 'mankind' or 'workmanship' in assignments, as they are not deemed 'inclusive language.'

'People are losing marks for using everyday speech because it's not gender-neutral,' a politics student told The Courier Mail.

The student said the university can't just ban every word with 'man' in it, as more blacklisted words are uncovered, including 'sportsmanship' and man-made.'

The acting executive dean of The University of Queensland's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Julie Duck, thinks the penalties are justified. 'Students are advised to avoid gender-biased language in the same way they are advised to avoid racist language, cliches, contractions, colloquialisms, and slang in their essays.'

She said these issues should only marginally impact marks, depending on the severity of the infringement.

Queensland University of Technology students are also being impacted by the university's political correct crusade. Students are being penalised for failing to use 'inclusive language', and warned against describing women in a secondary position to something or somebody else. This includes, but is not limited to 'wife of', 'mother of' or 'daughter of'.

The suffix 'man' is deemed sexist, due to the implication that the comment is referential of a male.

Griffith University tells staff and students to 'look for non-binary pronouns so that misgendering doesn't occur'.

Universities are going so far as to reject notions of correct grammar in favour of excluding gendered language.

The University of Sydney prefers students to create sentences that are grammatically incorrect but politically correct, rather than use the words 'he' or 'she'. The example their style guide provides to exemplify this is: 'If a student wants their results early, they should go to the student centre.'

The University of Newcastle is yet another institution joining the fold, with an inclusive language guide that bans gendered language, telling students to use words such as humanity, human race or humankind instead.  

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham openly disagrees with the policies, claiming that they were enforcing 'nanny state stuff' on students. 'Our universities should be better than this rubbish,' he said.


Bill Shorten hits out at ‘whitefellas’ as he promises summit on indigenous child removal

This is just the usual Leftist reality denial.  Many Aboriginal communities are so dyfunctional that the only way to keep the child safe is to remove it from the community entirely -- and that usually means putting them with white foster families

Bill Shorten says too many indigenous children are being taken away from their families, vowing to hold a summit to tackle the issue in his first 100 days as prime minister.

Visiting Barunga, east of Katherine, on a three-day trip to the Northern Territory, the Labor leader hit out at “whitefellas” who “come in paternalistic”, saying he wanted to hold a gathering of indigenous leaders, healthcare workers and families to tackle the problem.

“Too many indigenous kids are being taken away from their families. In the last 10 years the number has doubled to about 17,000 or 18,000,” Mr Shorten said. “When you take kids away from their connection to culture and country, to language and to family, you make the chances of their success steeper and steeper. The climb is steeper and steeper.

“So we need to bring together the frontline healthcare professionals, the people who are working in communities.

“That doesn’t mean that you ignore challenges or problems in keeping families together. Raising kids is hard enough anyone.

“It takes more than parents to do it these days, but it seems to me that we’ve got to be smarter than starting a new round of taking children away from their parents.

“Personally as a parent I would be horrified at the prospect that because … that I could have my kids taken away from me, yet for too many aboriginal mums that’s the very real prospect they wake up with even now, and we can do better. “That’s why we’re going to tackle it in our first 100 days.”

Sky News Northern Australia correspondent Matt Cunningham challenged Mr Shorten over the wisdom of opposing child removals, citing the horrific rape of a Tennant Creek toddler in February who had remained with her family despite 52 notifications to child protection services.

Mr Shorten said it wasn’t an “either/or” issue. “I did say that the solution doesn’t mean you ignore the problems,” he said.

“That of course is just shocking, what you described. There’s no excuse, and the fact that the system failed to pick up the problems is a disaster, but I’m also saying to you surely the solution isn’t just the wholesale moving of kids away from their extended families and the land on which they should have a connection with.

“Surely we are smarter than: either leave a kid in vulnerable and dangerous circumstances, or totally excise their relationships from region and country.

“The status quo is not acceptable as you quite rightly say, but the solution is too blunt as well, and in too many cases it creates further problems which you were trying to solve in the first place.”

Asked what his government would do to address the problem, Mr Shorten said he would get the “smartest people in the nation together” and get indigenous Australians in the room.

“The last thing they need is some know-it-all whitefella to come in paternalistic, as has been happening for 200 years, and say, ‘listen you’re just children and we’ll just fix it all for you’,” Mr Shorten said.

“Unless you have the people about whom you’re making the decisions in a position to be part of the decision-making, I guarantee you, failure.”


Leftist hate again: Outrage as the ABC compares two respected journalists to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik

The accuser: Professor of Modern History, A. Dirk Moses.  To me he looks like something recently extruded from a farm animal's rear end.  Am I being extreme in saying that?  It's no more extreme than what he said.  It's about time Leftist haters got some of their own back

The ABC has been forced to back down after publishing an article which likened two journalists to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

The 'Western Civilization and Conservative Hysteria' article which appeared on the public broadcaster's religion and ethics website on Thursday was critical of The Australian's Greg Sheridan and Chris Kenny.   

The contributor piece, written by University of Sydney Professor of Modern History A. Dirk Moses, named the two News Corp employees after the paper published articles criticising a proposed undergraduate program.  

Those articles concerned a decision between the Australian National University and the Ramsay Centre to call off talks about a Western civilisation degree. 

'Do members of the right-wing commentariat think that Western countries are succumbing to a poisonous cocktail of multiculturalism, Muslim immigration, political correctness and cultural Marxism that dilutes the white population and brainwashes young people at school and university? It seems that, much like ­Anders Breivik and Steve Bannon, they do,' Professor Moses had initially written, The Australian reported.

Professor Moses had taken particular issue with Mr Sheridan's 'extraordinary statement that the ANU's decision "is a pivotal moment in modern Australian history"?'

The article was later amended to remove Anders Breivik's name. The reference to Mr Bannon, the former strategist to US President Donald Trump, is still listed.

The ABC was forced to make the amendment after it found the article was not in line with its own editorial guidelines. 'The ­reference was removed because it was not consistent with the ABC's editorial standards,' an ABC spokeswoman said.

Mr Moses told The Australian he 'did not intend to imply anyone was a mass murderer'. 

Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway on July 22, 2011, first setting-off a car bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, before opening fire on an annual summer camp on the island of Utoya.


Energy policy as shameful as the Soviet’s

“I told myself it was beneath my dignity to arrest a man for pilfering firewood. But nothing ordered by the party is beneath the dignity of any man, and the party was right: One man desperate for a bit of fuel is pathetic. Five million people desperate for fuel will destroy a city.’’

Communist General Yevgraf Zhivago, Dr Zhivago, (film), 1965

One of my favourite movies of all time is the classic Dr Zhivago set against the backdrop of the turmoil of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

And I’ve always been haunted by the scene where Yuri – played by Omar Sharif – returns home from work early and admonishes his wife for not keeping the heating on. His wife then breaks down in tears telling Yuri they have no fuel to keep it alight.

Later that evening Yuri sneaks out into the night scavenging for wood to take home and burn to heat his home and keep his family warm. In the darkness of night, Yuri rips off a few wooden planks from a fence which he hides under his heavy overcoat, while his half-brother, Communist General Yevgraf Zhivago watches from the shadows.

However, not being able to heat one’s home in winter, and scavenging the streets looking for a few pieces of wood to burn for a little warmth is not something restricted to chaos and confusion of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

Here in modern-day Australia, one of most energy-rich nations in the world, last financial year a total of 109,000 households had their electricity disconnected, unable to afford their electricity bills inflated by over $3 billion in subsidies for Chinese made solar panels and wind turbines.

And add to those 109,000 homes where the electricity was cut-off, a further 100,000 plus more homes are on electricity hardship programs, plus the millions of Australians that this winter won’t turn their heaters on for fear of being unable to afford what is now almost the most expensive electricity in the world — and we to have many people scavenging the streets looking for pieces of wood to burn to try and keep their homes warm.

Recently, I’ve heard stories of people stealing wooden pallets from industrial areas to take home to burn for a little warmth. I also constantly hear stories people going in bushland to fill the boot of their car with firewood because they can’t afford electricity. And we’ve even had examples of people resorting to burning barbecue heat beads indoors to try and heat their homes – only to be poisoned by noxious gasses emitted.

But to the climate change zealots, having hundreds of thousands of their fellow Australians unable to heat their homes in winter is simply a necessary sacrifice in their virtue-signalling against “global warming’’.

As Yuri Zhivago says to Bolshevik commander upon finding an old Russian peasant suffering from starvation and lack of warmth; “It would give me satisfaction for to hear them admit it”.


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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