Monday, November 13, 2023

Pauline Hanson calls for "Welcome to Country" to be banned: 'Australians are sick and tired of them'

I must admit that to me they seem simply absurd. Who is entitled to welcome whom? It's normally the person who owns or controls a place who has a right to welcome people to it. But these "welcomes" are never from such people. It's just some sort of virtue claim, some empty claim to being supportive of Aborigines

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has demanded a ban on Welcome to Country rituals in the wake of the referendum defeat for the Voice to Parliament.

She said she wanted to hold leading Voice architect Professor Marcia Langton to her vow made in April that a No vote would end her performances of the ceremony.

'We can only hope this promise is lived up to,' said senator Hanson in a post on X of a speech she was unable to give in Parliament because of a censure motion.

'They’re recited at the beginning of every parliamentary sitting day, every council meeting, and every zoom meeting held by public servants.

'We hear them at the conclusion of every domestic flight – you can hear the groans in the cabin every time. They have effectively lost all meaning for their constant repetition.

'Australians – including many Indigenous people – are sick and tired of them. They are sick of being told Australia is not their country.'

The Queensland senator had been silenced in Parliament after offering to drive Greens senator Mahreen Faruqi 'to the airport' if she 'didn't love Australia'. Senator Hanson later withdrew her remarks about Senator Faruqi.

Senator Hanson's planned speech was instead delivered in Parliament by One Nation colleague Malcolm Roberts and published online by senator Hanson.

'There was some controversy in the Senate that resulted in my right to speak in the chamber being temporarily revoked by the Labor Government, with the support of the Greens,' she posted on social media.

'This happened due to comments I made during a debate where I criticised the Greens for their apologist stance toward Islamic extremist terrorism.

'As a consequence, I was unable to deliver a speech I had prepared.'

In her planned speech, she railed against the Indigenous ceremonies and branded them a modern invention which had been dismissed as 'divisive' by some Aboriginal leaders.

She said the referendum result should bring an end to them all, including both Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies.

'It was more than a rejection of the voice,' she said. 'It was a rejection of the entire Uluru Statement – all 26 pages of it.

'It was a rejection of a treaty and truth-telling – or more accurately, a re-write of history with an eye on financial settlements funded by non-indigenous taxpayers.

'It was a rejection of identity politics, grievance politics and the activist cult of victimhood. And primarily, it was a rejection of racial division.

'And one of the most racially divisive features of modern discourse in Australia is welcome to country ceremonies, along with acknowledgements of country.'

Senator Hanson added that the idea of Indigenous nations pre-existing before British colonisation was a fake idea imported from overseas.

'Welcomes and acknowledgements deny the citizenship and sovereignty held equally by all Australians,' she said.

'They perpetuate the falsehood that prior to 1788, nations existed on this continent.

'They didn’t. This is a foreign notion, an activist device imported from Canada that does not reflect the reality of Australian history.

'It’s not even an genuine pre-settlement ritual for most Aborigines. It was invented in 1976 by Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley.'

She said South Australian Narungga elder and No campaigner Kerry White said the rituals should only be for Indigenous people welcoming other Indigenous people to their land.

'She said its use by non-indigenous Australians was just virtue-signalling,' said the senator. 'She wasn’t wrong about the virtue-signalling, that’s for sure.

'She even said ‘welcomes to country’ were an attack on Indigenous culture.

'Another indigenous leader of the ‘no’ campaign, Senator Naminjimpa Price, who said recently that welcomes to country were “definitely divisive”.'

Professor Langton - who helped draw up the Voice to Parliament proposal - said in April that non-Indigenous Australians would be 'unable to look her in the eye' if the Voice referendum returned a No vote.

'How are they going to ever ask an Indigenous person, a Traditional Owner, for a welcome to country?' she said.

'How are they ever going to be able to ask me to come and speak at their conference?

'If they have the temerity to do it, of course the answer is going to be no.'

Sentator Hanson said last month's vote showed it was now the moment to take Professor Langton at her word and for all arms of government to stop the ceremonies.

'It’s time to leave Indigenous rituals to Indigenous Australians,' she said. 'We call for an end to welcomes and acknowledgements of country.

'Stop signalling virtue you don’t possess and stop dividing this country by abusing these Indigenous rituals.

'We know that for many, the promise of an end to them motivated their no vote at the referendum.

'Australians don’t want them. Let’s move forward together as one people, one nation under one flag.'


New wave of anti-Semitism rolls in from the left

Nazism resurgent. The original Nazis were socialist so not much has changed

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On Friday night a pro-Palestinian mob descended on Caulfield, in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish community, and incited anti-Semitic violence on the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

In response to this grotesquerie, Foreign Minister Penny Wong released a social media post condemning “anti-Semitism and Islamophobia” in reference to the “violence in Caulfield”.

While it is reasonable to warn against both forms of prejudice in the context of community tensions, only one of them was on display in Caulfield on Friday night.

Wong’s tendency to draw moral equivalences seems to be increasingly habitual. This was again evident on Sunday morning when she revealed the government is pushing for a ceasefire in the Hamas-Israel war, noting Israel needed to be held to higher standards.

In a recent photo posted to her official social media account, Wong stands next to Nasser Mashni, the president of the Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network. Last week it was revealed Mashni has a history of demonising Jewish people and as recently as last year he called for the destruction of Israel.

“The power structures that exist in the world all focus upon Zionism,” Mashni said on his radio show. “Israel is the domino. Israel falls over, not just the Middle East – South America, the Africans, the world is a far better place once we destroy Western imperialist control of the world.”

While there is no suggestion Wong knew of such rhetoric when she posed for a photograph with Mashni, the incident highlights a major blind spot when it comes to anti-Semitism on the left.

Of course, the roots of anti-Semitism stretch deep into history, and Jew hatred has attached itself to many different ideologies. Early leaders of Christianity wrote polemics against the Jews, and derogatory references can be found within Islamic texts. But, while it’s important to acknowledge these historical forms of prejudice, contemporary variants have also become relevant today.

One of the most influential pieces of modern anti-Semitism is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged document that emerged from Imperial Russia in 1903. This document popularised the conspiracy theory that Jews were engaged in worldwide control. Hitler referred to the Protocols in Mein Kampf and this conspiracy theory became part of the broader Nazi propaganda campaign.

Yet while the Nazis were defeated in 1945, the Protocols did not die with them. The Soviets repurposed the Protocol’s conspiracy theories in their own propaganda during the Cold War, which ramped up after Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War. In order to signal support to Egypt and Syria (who had lost the war) anti-Zionist propaganda became part of the Soviet’s broader Cold War strategy. This strategy aimed to push back against the US and strengthen Soviet influence in the Middle East.

Izabella Tabarovsky, a scholar of Soviet Jewry, writes that the Soviets took Nazi propaganda and simply substituted the word “Zionist” in place of “Jew”. She explains: “Soviet ideologues relied for inspiration on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, on the ideas of classic religious anti-Semitism, and even Mein Kampf, but adapted them to the Marxist framework by substituting the idea of a global anti-Soviet Zionist conspiracy for a specifically Jewish one.”

Such propaganda spread through multiple channels. In the ’60s and ’70s, newspapers such as Pravda published cartoons that were then reprinted by communist-aligned media in the West.

Tabarovsky points out that the Soviets were well aware Europeans were particularly sensitive to accusations of racism, and of anything associated with Nazi Germany – so they cynically used this against Israel by equating Zionism with Nazism. Soviet cartoons of the ’70s depict Jews looking into mirrors only to be greeted with reflections of Hitler, and Stars of David superimposed over swastikas.

In 1975, a UN General Assembly resolution was passed that declared “Zionism is Racism”. The controversial resolution was passed only with support of the Soviet bloc, Arab states and various African nations (it was overturned in 1991). Michael Heller and Aleksandr M. Nekrich, historians of the Soviet Union, argue this resolution was one of the Soviets’ “greatest victories”.

It was a victory because it successfully decoupled the demonisation of the Jewish people from associations with the far right. As Quillette editor Jamie Palmer wrote in 2016: “The claims that Zionism is racism, the instrument or puppeteer of Jewish and American imperialists, a project of Western colonialism, or a template for Jewish world domination; that Zionists were co-conspirators and ideological ancestors of Nazi Germany who control markets, industry, and media, and; that Israel is a ‘terrorist regime’ – all such claims originated in Soviet propaganda and are widespread on today’s activist left.”

The Soviets targeted Israel with their propaganda because they saw the only parliamentary democracy in the Middle East as a proxy for the West. In a recent address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his “fists clench and eyes tear up” over Israeli military actions in Gaza drawing parallels between the Russian military and Hamas.

The scenes in Caulfield, where pro-Palestinian groups tried to intimidate local Jews, are echoed worldwide, from Ivy League campuses in the US to the streets of London during Remembrance Day.

I asked Alex Ryvchin, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, about rising anti-Semitism in Australia. He told me by email: “There is a lag in reporting and chronic underreporting due to shame and embarrassment, but the incidents we have received show an increase of at least 600 per cent from the previous month.”

But aside from the explosion in incidents, what alarms Ryvchin the most is the “mindset of the contemporary anti-Semite”. Explaining that “the expulsion or destruction of Jews was always framed as a necessary, righteous act”, he sees the attitude appearing on Australian streets today. The mindset of today’s anti-Semites, according to Ryvchin, “is what is most concerning because it means there is no shame in their deeds and instead a sense of mission and purpose that can turn an aggressive fringe movement into something truly terrifying”.

Ryvchin’s observations reveal a disturbing normalisation of anti-Semitism. And at least some of it stems from the fact that the left has never grappled with its own history of anti-Semitism. And is ill-equipped to deal with it when it arises.

If a Coalition minister posed in a photograph with a neo-Nazi who had called for Jews to be murdered on a radio show, the Australian media and public would rightly be apoplectic. But Australia’s Foreign Minister can pose with the left-wing equivalent, and it barely raises a yawn.


Coal jobs hit record levels, as China demand returns

NSW coalminers – who now employ a record 25,170 workers and are set to eclipse Queensland as Australia’s coalmining powerhouse – are cashing in on Beijing’s removal of export bans after shipping $3.3bn worth of coal to China in eight months.

After two years of zero coal exports, NSW miners sent 21 million tonnes of coal to China between January and August, and are projecting a bumper year after lifting exports to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India during the Chinese ban.

A new report released by the NSW Minerals Council on Monday reveals that at the end of July there were 25,172 coalmining workers in the state.

The workforce is more than double 1998 levels and surpasses the previous 2012 record of 24,972 jobs. Just under 8000 NSW workers are employed in the metals mining sector.

In the NSW Hunter region, coalmining jobs surged to more than 15,100, with workforces in Gunnedah and the state’s western region remaining at near record levels.

NSW miners are pushing to fast-track 15 coal projects under assessment, with the state now boasting greater job forecasts in mining and stronger investment interest than Queensland, where the Palaszczuk government has imposed crippling royalty taxes on miners.

The projects, which are mainly seeking to extend existing operations, represent almost $3.7bn in investment opportunities for the regions and would create or protect almost 10,000 jobs.

Amid calls from the Greens and climate activists to phase out coal and gas, NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said “these job numbers highlight the need to support mining communities”.

After BHP sold its coal assets in Queensland last month and lashed the state’s tax grab, Mr Galilee said “NSW coalmining is playing a critical role in the budget repair task being undertaken by the state government”.

In Chris Minns’ first budget in September, the NSW government imposed a royalty hike from July next year to raise an extra $2.7bn over four years.

“Although the increase in royalties will add to the cost burden for NSW coal producers, the NSW government at least consulted constructively with the industry prior to making a final decision,” Mr Galilee said. “By contrast, the Queensland government completely ambushed coal producers in that state with a massive royalty hike that has put jobs and investment at risk. We may now be seeing the impact.

“The record number of people working in the NSW coalmining sector shows that over the last 25 years, coalmining has become increasingly critical to regional communities and the state economy.”

The Department of Industry and Resources September quarterly report said thermal coal exports to China had returned to pre-ban levels of 2019-20. The report warned thermal coal exports were forecast to fall from $66bn in 2022-23 to $36bn in 2023-24 and $28bn the following year. Metallurgical coal exports are projected to fall from $62bn in 2022-23 to $41bn in 2024-25.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane last week released a report warning that Queensland coal producers will pay an extra $6.5bn over two years under the Palaszczuk government’s royalty regime.

“The state government’s short-term thinking for short-term gains is killing the golden goose and doing long term damage to Queensland by deterring investment in new, greenfield projects and drying up that pipeline of future projects,” he said.

“The loss of investment confidence threatens new projects across all commodities, including battery minerals and renewable energy projects, so the impact is broader than the coal sector.”


The Greens are, by sins of omission, soft apologists for Hamas

It has been a wild old time in Australian politics. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more off-piste, we find ourselves in a weird kind of parallel universe in which the Australian Greens want to help run the country. The Greens, regardless of what you thought of them back in the day, once stood for something meaningful under former leader Bob Brown. More recently, though, they have morphed into this country’s most ungrateful, juvenile, destructive and mean-spirited group of underachievers. Yet somehow they think they should be in the starting line-up.

You can argue the ALP already is dancing with this particular devil, but a couple of weeks ago news broke that the Greens want Anthony Albanese to sign a public power-sharing deal with them and offer cabinet positions in the event of a minority government at the next election. Can you imagine the likes of Lidia Thorpe (yes, she’s no longer a Green but she was) and Mehreen Faruqui in the federal cabinet? The idea should fill all sensible folk with a sense of impending doom.

ACT Greens leader and Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury is the party’s most senior MP. He argues federal Labor will do better by welcoming the Greens with open arms, formally. And while they’re at it, they may as well throw in a few lazy cabinet roles as well.

Some of you will dismiss this as a pie-in-the-sky kind of deal. I can almost hear some of you saying, “Yeah it will never happen, it’s just politics. Just part of the game.”

Maybe some of you also thought there’d never again be a time when Jewish Australians didn’t feel safe in their own neighbourhoods. Life moves pretty fast, so the saying goes.

Back to the Greens. The elite of the mediocre.

Perhaps let’s judge them for a moment on what they’ve delivered in terms of value to the Australian people. You know, those of us who pay their wages.

Nothing. Not a thing. You see, they can afford to be absolutists; they have the luxury of being able to be as hardwired and hard left as they like. They don’t have to listen to the broader community. They can say and do as they please because there is never any accountability. They don’t have to be inclusive. They don’t have to do anything other than preach to their own choir and bargain with the government for power.

This week’s walkout of the federal parliament in protest against the government’s position on Israel is a powerful validation of this view. Like a bunch of petulant four-year-olds, the Greens stormed out of the chamber, all bluster, piss and wind, because they want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and they can’t get what they want.

Apart from the fact the collective IQ of the federal parliament immediately and exponentially increased, it’s a shame we couldn’t just lock the door behind them and be done with it.

Walking out delivers nothing. Adds nothing. Brings nothing. Proves only that those who take their metaphorical toys and leave aren’t capable of the debate of ideas. Not capable of holding a mature discussion. All it proves is their disdain and disrespect for the parliament and the government.

On this issue, the Greens are, by sins of omission, soft apologists for Hamas. They have nothing meaningful to say about the confirmed testimony and evidence of the massacres. Of women being raped, mutilated and shot. Parents being mutilated while still alive, in front of their children. The absolutely unthinkable, inhuman barbarism perpetrated by Hamas.

Grudgingly, they say: “Well, look it’s wrong – but occupation!”

Spare me the hypocrisy. Did they walk out of parliament when thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered by the Syrian regime in 2020? Of course not. Because the Assad regime is not an easy target for the ideologically obsessed.

Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt said on social media platform X this week that he was proud of Faruqi for leading the walkout. Imagine being proud of someone for having a tantrum.

I tell you what, send the parliamentary Greens to Gaza and give them a real chance to live their truth.

The deeper issue here is, of course, the dilemma for the Albanese government. It is a friendly bedfellow with the Greens. Perhaps not yet sharing a marital bed, more like bunking in together. Shared room, shared bathroom, twin-share type situation. Labor can protest as much as it likes but in the pitched battled between perception and reality we know who the winner will be, and for the federal government that’s a problem.

In issues beyond Israel’s sovereignty and its right to defend itself, the problem for the federal government is closer to home. The Greens’ stated policy positions reads like a celebration of victimhood for all, wrapped in delusion fit for a university Trotsky club. I urge you to invest the 15 minutes it takes to read it all. It’s terrifying in its lack of sophistication. Everybody wins, everything, all the time!

The Greens in the ACT where Rattenbury reigns want children as young as 14 to have access to euthanasia. They boasted about “quietly” decriminalising drugs such as MDMA, cocaine and ice. They are, by every metric imaginable, out of step with sensible people of all backgrounds, creeds and colour.

They wrap themselves in words such as diversity yet tolerate no divergent view. They talk about ending violence against women but have nothing to say about the rape and mutilation of Jewish women in this pogrom. They embody ideological hypocrisy. They want to shut down our mining industry, get rid of the military and believe in some kind of universal income paid for with fairy dust.

There is nothing like the cowardice of those who never have to face accountability, and this is the party that fancies itself as the co-pilot of the good ship Australia.

The Prime Minister best be careful. As my Nonna Pina used to say: Gemma, you lie down with dogs, you start to bark.

This is the time for clear, strong and forthright leadership. Not the time for entertaining folly such as this. This government has a choice to make about who it aligns with. For a party that’s defined by the phrase “Whatever it takes” this will be a telling period indeed.




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