Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Court Challenge to Australia's International Border Closures

LibertyWorks has lodged in the Federal Court of Australia seeking to invalidate Orders made by the Health Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP, that prevents prevents Australian citizens from leaving Australia.

Minister Hunt cited Section 96 of the Biosecurity Act to make such Orders however it is the contention of LibertyWorks that no such powers exists under the Act.

LibertyWorks president, Andrew Cooper, says: ”Minister Hunt has overstepped his legislative powers in preventing Australians from travelling overseas”

"It’s an illiberal and a draconian restriction on the free movement of Australian citizens many of whom want to see family and loved ones or to attend to urgent business in other countries”

”Preventing people from travelling overseas does nothing to make Australia safer. But it does create unnecessary pain for families who want to be together for Christmas or during this difficult and worrying period of global pandemic.”

Please note - invalidating the ban on overseas travel does not diminish Australia’s ability to impose quarantine restrictions on returning travellers to Australia.

Why we must push back against absurd ideas

If you think the lunatic fringe of the identity politics movement exists only on the crazier recesses of Twitter then you haven’t been paying attention.

Isn’t it comforting to learn some of the state’s well-paid public servants, whose salaries remained intact throughout Victoria’s economy-destroying lockdown, were busying themselves coming up with imaginative ways to be offended on behalf of the LGBTTQQIAAP+ community?

How helpful for the state government to revise its LGBTIQ+ Inclusive Language Guide for public servants to ensure harmful terms such as “Mr and Mrs”, “he and she’’ and — brace yourself — “husband and wife’’, are replaced with non-gendered, often grammatically incoherent but always politically correct terms such as “they/them”.

The guide advises public servants to never assume a person’s gender or pronouns, to “practise’’ their PC language and to apologise immediately if they inadvertently misgender a member of the “QTIPOC (Queer, Trans, Intersex, Persons of Colour)” communities.

There are no fewer than 17 references to “intersex” and “intersexism’’ in the 11-page document that claims this newspeak is needed to acknowledge the “diversity of bodies, genders and relationships”.

Victorian public servants are advised every job applicant should be asked what pronoun they use when invited for an interview.

But the guide also warns to “avoid asking people what terms they ‘prefer’. Having a ‘preference’ can sound as if it’s a choice and most people do not feel as if they have a choice in these matters”.

So, asking what pronouns a person uses is inclusive, asking what terms they prefer is hurtful and marginalising.

On one hand it’s tempting to dismiss this nonsense as a steaming pile of bollocks but there is an ideology behind this movement that is organised, influential and has gained a powerful foothold not only in public institutions but increasingly in the private sector.

Deakin University has a lengthy but, they stress, not exhaustive list of pronouns including ze/hir, they/them, co/cos, xe/xem/xyr, hy/hym/hys and no pronoun where you must use the individual’s name.

So, instead of saying John enjoyed his time at Deakin you would say John enjoyed John’s time at Deakin. So inclusive.

If you think the lunatic fringe of the identity politics movement exists only on university campuses and on the crazier recesses of Twitter then you haven’t been paying attention.

Ideas that start as absurd, because they plainly are absurd, are adopted in academia, normalised by popular culture and before long are in high schools and work places and those who don’t submit are rebuked as transphobes, racists, misogynists and a range of other slurs used to silence dissenting voices, even if those voices are mainstream and represent the majority view.

After singer Sam Smith announced his pronouns were no longer he/him but they/them, newspapers across the globe dutifully mangled the English language to not offend the pop star and the powerful trans lobby.

It didn’t take long for Merriam-Webster dictionary to amend the definition of “they” to include a non-binary pronoun.

Ceding linguistic territory to the radical left is not only foolish but divisive and destructive. The trans activist agenda has had enormous success in silencing critics by attacking anyone who questions or corrects falsehoods as dangerous bigots.

Prominent individuals from feminist Germaine Greer, to comedian Barry Humphries to author JK Rowling have been maligned as transphobic and unworthy of the honours and acclaim they previously enjoyed, all for commentary the overwhelming majority of the population would deem perfectly acceptable.

Every day there are absurd new terms for absurd new offences that do not exist in the minds of the sane majority.

In the name of “inclusion’’ we are asked to submit to a toxic, unforgiving woke ideology.

Even the term women has been deemed as non-inclusive thus giving birth, excuse the pun, to a slew of new terms including womxn, vulva owners, menstruators and other terms that reduce womanhood to a bodily part or function.

The trans-inclusive language used to describe women can sound decidedly misogynistic. It’s little wonder the trans lobby has caused a fracture in the feminist movement.

If you don’t push back against this madness then don’t complain when it becomes the norm and we are all expected to list our pronouns on our CVs, Twitter and workplace profiles or be deemed trans-exclusionary bigots.

And, it doesn’t stop at just pronouns and gender identity. We are seeing athletes called racist for refusing to take a knee for BLM, a group founded by Marxist feminists that is explicitly anti-capitalist, anti-nuclear family and advocates for the defunding of the police and the payment of reparations for slavery.

If you’re not on-board with all that and stand during the anthem then you’re in the firing line of the activist media class.

That’s what happens when you let the radical left set the agenda.


At the weekend The Age deleted and apologised for a column by a parent whose child was transitioning because of a backlash from trans activists. The parent had “consented to testosterone treatment” but wrote about the pressure to give consent. So a thoughtful piece written by a parent with lived experience disappeared because of the mob.

Greenie exhibitionists let off lightly

These egotists imposed huge costs and frustrations on other people. Time is money, among other things, and people who were forced to sit in their cars for extended periods were out of the productive workforce during that time. They lost various sorts of productivity for no good reason and making up for that lost productivity would often not be possible.

And that is not to take account of the stresses which were no doubt imposed on many busy people. Many drivers would have been working to tight time deadlines and being blocked from meeting those deadlines would have been very stressful.

It is surely the job of the police to remove such deliberate obstructions expeditiously and it is surely the job of the magistracy to impose on the offenders a penalty that reflects to some degree the frustrations they deliberately imposed on many innocent people. As it was, both the police and the magistracy failed to do what was their bounden duty

Two Extinction Rebellion protesters who held up inner-city Brisbane traffic for more than two hours earlier this month have been fined hundreds of dollars each.

However, serial protester Eric Serge Herbert, 21, and Wenzel Auch, 28, will not have to pay $917 restitution to the State fire service and their convictions have not been recorded.

The pair blocked traffic at the intersection of Edward and Queen Sts on December 7, from 7.15am to 9.25am, while protesting on top of a truck, Brisbane Magistrates Court heard.

Police, including the Special Emergency Response Team, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Queensland Ambulance Service, were called to the scene.

Herbert has just spent seven days in Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, after he refused to sign a bail condition agreeing not to participate in any illegal protests while on bail.

Wenzel Auch, 28, who also refused to sign the bail condition, spent four days in custody, before being released on Friday.

The court heard the protesters appeared to have their arms locked in a metal pipe “sleeping dragon’’ device, while they stood on the truck during the protest.

However, after fire officers brought them to the ground and sawed through the pipe, it was revealed the pair were only held together with bulldog clips.

Herbert pleaded guilty to obstructing the path of a driver, contravening a police direction to move off the road, obstructing a police officer and refusing to state his full and correct name.

Police prosecutors asked for each man to be ordered to pay $917 restitution to QFRS.

Herbert objected, saying it should only be ordered if there was damage to property or injury to people.

“My conscience dictates that it is my duty to follow our ancestors and do peaceful civil disobedience when our lives are threatened by the government or its laws,’’ he said.

Magistrate Mark Nolan said he took into account Herbert’s early pleas of guilty and that he had voluntarily spent several days in custody.

Mr Nolan said everyone had the right to protest and make statements about their beliefs, but the law required everyone to abide by it.

He fined Herbert $600, and did not record a conviction. Mr Nolan refused to order restitution to QFRS, saying the paperwork was insufficient.

Auch pleaded guilty to causing an obstruction to drivers, contravening a police direction and obstructing police and was fined $500, with no conviction recorded.

When Auch told Magistrate Terry Quinn that he had not enjoyed making people angry by disrupting traffic, Mr Quinn said: “I disagree.’’ Mr Quinn said he had seen Auch looking around the court, looking very happy with himself. “I have formed the opinion you are enjoying the limelight,’’ the magistrate told him.

Auch, who recently graduated with an environmental science degree, said he felt such a protest was a small impact on people’s lives compared to a catastrophic climate emergency.

Mr Quinn told Auch his protest could have prevented people, including pregnant women or doctors, from going to hospital.

While Herbert and Auch were in custody Extinction Rebellion staged a city protest on Thursday, which resulted in several arrests.

Auch said outside court he was released from prison at 1am the following day.

Chinese trade war on our coal shapes as an own goal

There are other large customers for our coal

As China continues its cat-and-mouse bullying over black-listing Australian coal, the Chinese government has not even had the courtesy to notify Australia about the apparent change of policy. As Scott Morrison said on Tuesday: “We take official information from the Chinese government … so that’s where we’re seeking clarification.”

In the face of Chinese provocation, the Prime Minister and his government are responding responsibly and calmly. Any black-listing, as Mr Morrison said, would be a breach of World Trade Organisation rules and Australia’s free-trade agreement with China.

The WTO has mechanisms, and in extreme cases penalties, for dealing with rule breaking and for settling disputes. Such procedures can be long and cumbersome. Australia’s formal action against China’s barley tariffs is “imminent”, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Tuesday: “We’re close to making a final decision in that regard,” he said. Senator Birmingham is hoping to avoid having to take legal action about coal. He and Mr Morrison stressed Australia was willing to engage in dialogue to resolve the issues at stake.

Unfortunately, so far China has been recalcitrant in ignoring all overtures to hold mature, bilateral discussions after moving against Australian beef, lobster, wood and wine as well as barley and now coal. According to reports in the South China Morning Post, wool is being considered as the next target. And Australia’s largest mining companies — BHP and Rio Tinto — have been asked to explain to Chinese steel manufacturers why their iron ore prices are so high as the surging trade undermines Beijing’s eight-month trade campaign against Australia.

The campaign is presumably a retaliation for the Morrison government’s entirely reasonable call in April for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan. But it is out of all proportion and reflects its true mindset, that of an authoritarian dictatorship.

It also comes amid rising concerns about Chinese Communist Party members embedding themselves in overseas consulates, including that of Australia in Shanghai, and in companies holding sensitive contracts with the Australian and US governments.

China has not confirmed officially it has black-listed Australian coal. But after meetings in China on Saturday of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s main economic planning agency, the CCP’s bellicose mouthpiece, the Global Times, reported approval had been given to power plants to import coal without clearance restrictions, except from Australia. Coal producers in Mongolia, Indonesia and Russia would benefit from the change in policy, it said.

That news will make for an anxious Christmas for coal workers, investors and those in the regional areas where the miners live and work in Australia. It is also bad news for the 1000 sailors stranded aboard 80 bulk carriers off China’s coast, which are not being allowed to unload.

Not surprisingly, the ship owners holding the black-listed coal are threatening legal action against Chinese buyers, as Perry Williams reports. With China buying $13.5bn in coal a year, the crisis has put Australia’s industry under pressure.

But China is not our biggest market for thermal coal, as Mr Morrison pointed out on Tuesday. Japan buys $9.6bn of thermal coal a year, followed by China ($4bn), South Korea ($3.3bn) and Taiwan ($2.8bn).

The biggest markets for Australia’s metallurgical coal are India at $10.2bn, followed by China ($9.7bn), Japan ($7.4bn), South Korea ($3.8bn) and Taiwan ($2.5bn). The Australian resources sector believes China will have no option in the foreseeable future but to continue sourcing Australian metallurgical coal for steelmaking. But, as we have argued for months, diversification of markets is critical.

In jettisoning Australia’s second-largest export, China is also setting itself up for a lose-lose situation in terms of President Xi Jinping’s target of net-zero emissions by 2060. One tonne of Australian thermal coal produces as much energy as 1.5 tonnes of local Chinese product and other imported sources. As a result, emissions would be driven high if China opted for inferior-quality coal sourced domestically or in nations other than Australia. That issue will test the depth of China’s commitment to reducing its ballooning contribution to climate change.

The Minerals Council of Australia is correct when it says the use of a rules-based system is vital to restoring stability to a trading relationship that has been beneficial for both nations, supporting years of economic growth and job creation, including in Australia’s regions. Mr Morrison and his ministers are seeking out their Chinese counterparts for bilateral talks, but to no avail so far.

The government is right in rejecting the call by former trade minister Matt Canavan on Monday for a 1 per cent levy on Australian iron ore exports to China to offset the impacts of trade bans on other industries. In a fiendishly difficult situation, Australia’s greatest strength is the quality of our exports and the fact we play fairly, by the rules.




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