UK Bill: Separate entry for Australians & other Commonwealth Realms at Heathrow

Andrew Rosindell MP introduces his private members bill on 11 July 2012 in the House of Commons to cure ' a great constitutional injustice'.

The Uk Borders Bill, 2012, would create a separate queue at Heathrow and other entry points into the UK for citizens of the Realms, Commonwealth countries where The Queen reigns as Sovereign.

There are 16 Commonwealth Realms: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia, The Bahamas and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Bill will proceed to the Second Reading on 25 January, 2013.

Mr.Rosindell is to be congratulated on his initiative, and his excellent speech explaining the measure.

ACM has long supported this concept, and has so informed diplomatic and consular representatives of the UK.

It is not, after all, too much to ask.

via www.youtube.com

We All Need To Grow Up

Eric-AbetzSenator Eric Abetz, in this edited extract of a speech given at the 2012 Australian Liberal Students' Federation Federal Council, that we need a return to personal responsibility and end the culture of victimisation and the nanny state: 

It seems that we all need to grow up. As children, we often like to blame our siblings, the family pets or some other intervening person, thing or event to escape personal responsibility. Today, I want to celebrate taking personal responsibility. In celebrating personal responsibility, we actually oppose the nanny state. We oppose the stifling notion that others owe us a living or that we are never the architects of our own misfortune.

We also oppose the notion that we don’t bear responsibility for the needs of others. That is, why you will see the left-wing activist on the street corner with a placard demonstrating against world poverty, whilst the conservative quietly donates some of his income to the less fortunate.

In recent years, there has been an unhealthy trend to outsource our responsibilities to the euphemistic ‘they’, or ‘the government’. How often have we heard ‘they’ should do something about it? Or ‘the government’ should do something about it?

The journalists regrettably never stop to ask the usually emoting person who’s all care and concern what they are doing personally or where does individual responsibility cut in. Let’s take the scourge of gambling and especially poker machines, I don’t know how often I’ve seen people on the TV screen arguing against poker machines, ‘they should be banned’, ‘they should be limited’, they should be all sorts of things, but not once, not once have I heard him say people actually need to take control of their lives. The poker machine is static, it is the individual that walks up to it and decides to put money into it.

Do I like poker machines, do I like gambling? No, but there is also the individual responsibility aspect which is always airbrushed out of the arguments and never talked about.

It seems that we need to limit everything and everyone but the actual person responsible for his or her gambling habit. In the media reporting, I still await the journalist asking ‘what responsibility do you take?’, ‘why is the situation not your fault?’.

How can you blame the company which puts the poker machine there when the vast majority of people gamble responsibly or within their means. So, is it the machine’s fault? Or is it the person’s fault?

I’m just waiting for the defence lawyer to come up with the idea of blaming the TV series Top Gear for his client’s excessive speeding. Do we say that it was Top Gear’s fault because ‘I watched it too much, I tried to emulate it and therefore I got onto the road and started speeding’. Well, you are responsible when you get behind the wheel of the car. Similarly when you get behind or in front of a poker machine, you are similarly responsible.

Regrettably, we have this victim mentality becoming firmly entrenched within our community and it really does need to be debunked. My colleague, Joe Hockey recently gave a very good speech about the Age of Entitlement, and ending the age of entitlement and he was right. Because your entitlement is made available on the back of somebody else’s disentitlement and of course you would be aware of that in relation to Compulsory Student Unionism and that is a classic case in point. The compulsion for the so-called ‘common-good’, as determined by the elite is obtained by subjugating gating the individual’s right from his money and access to an education. Someone’s right to social security is also obtained by forcing someone else to give up some of their wealth that they have earned or created. That is why mutual obligation as introduced by the Howard Government is such an important concept to ensure that safety nets don’t turn into hammocks or lifestyles.

 

When the Government supplies or indeed the company supplies or guarantees something, the incentive to look after that thing supplied is seriously diminished. Take the use of company cars. If you own it, if you’re responsible, if you have to pay the excess on the insurance claims, you look after that car a bit better than if you know it’s just the boss’ or the company’s car or the government’s car.

Now in an excellent book, Dambisa Moyo’s How the West was Lost, explores how it was within the US Government guaranteeing the mortgage institutions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that meant bondholders were less robust in vetting people’s ability to absorb their mortgage payments. And of course, if you think about it, if big government guarantee’s the mortgages, then those who are doing the lending don’t feel as responsible because there’s that safety net, that soft landing in the event things go haywire. And it’s very interesting, she postulates about the possibility of  there not having been a sub-prime mortgage collapse and a GFC if there were not these government guarantees.

 

So even in the corporate world, government guarantees to relieve people of their individual responsibility creates problems and we are now seeing that with a former Geelong Grammar School student seeking damages from her former school after she failed to qualify for her preferred university course.

Of her time at Geelong Grammar, she said: ''I didn't ever feel I was getting the support I needed to really excel.''

Her mother is also suing the school for lost income and other expenses.

We can all understand disappointment in not getting into one’s chosen university or choice of course but surely this sort of court action is just ridiculous. The twist in this story is that the student could have studied her chosen degree at a range of other universities, not to mention that it appears she wasn’t the brightest student in any event.

In my own portfolio of Workplace Relations, I recently learnt courtesy of a Standards Australia report that gender bias could occur when employees described, analysed, evaluated and graded jobs. Indeed, some job titles imply a gender bias – like fireman or secretary. As a result, we have more potential victims, more potential people who have been discriminated against.

In the Government’s harmonisation of Occupational Health and Safety laws, the Government is currently developing codes of practice – one in particular, is the bullying code, and this entrenches this culture of victimisation.

The code countenances the following  scenario: where an employer unintentionally bullies me, I don't consider it to be bullying but another sensitive employee has observed this and he actually interprets this behaviour as bullying – albeit it was unintentional and it wasn't taken as bullying but the sensitive employee did see it as bullying, he would be entitled to compensation, counselling and all the rest.

If all that isn't bad enough, I trust that you may have heard of a recent Federal Court case about the public servant injured on her work trip whilst engaging in some vigorous horizontal activity. She engaged in this activity after hours in her free time and she injured herself in that vigorous activity.

The Judge said words to the effect that if she was sitting in her hotel room playing cards and got a paper cut she would have been entitled to workers compensation. As a result, premiums go up. As a result, you have another statistic for workers compensation and a workplace injury to show how bad Australian workplaces are and how unsafe they are.

It begs the question, if the employer is responsible, should the employer have a right to supervise the activities. The Judge never allowed the logic of his conclusions to go that much further.

But more seriously, what type of mentality is that encouraging? And to boot, the public servant was a human resources manager. So what a fine example she sets to all those she is seeking to manage. One would have thought that time off was your own time and if you were having time off at home, playing cards, and got a paper cut you shouldn’t get workers compensation. Similarly, if you are travelling and have time out, sitting in your hotel room playing cards and get a paper card, it should not be workers compensation nor should the other injury.

One of the other problems we have is that we do have less than objective journalists in the media claiming the government is the victim of a non-cooperative Opposition, I simply ask you who did the deal for Government? It was Ms Gillard and for those of us who remember after 2010, Ms Gillard was touted as this wonderful, skilled negotiator that outfoxed Tony Abbott. That she had undoubtedly honed those skills while an Industrial Lawyer at Slater and Gordon and she was marvellous at being able to negotiate her way through. The fact is, she sold her soul on a whole range of issues and those problems are coming back to haunt her and we as an opposition should have cooperated!? Where are all these wonderful negotiating skills that she allegedly had? Surely they could have been put to good use, yet an asylum seeker policy couldn’t get through the Parliament.

Similarly, the alleged poll deficit from which the Government is suffering is from the unrelenting negativity of Tony Abbott and the Opposition and a lot of the commentators say, ‘poor old Julia Gillard and the Labor Government, they’re suffering because…’, never do they ask ‘are they the architects of their own problem, namely did they lie to the electorate? Did they sell themselves out and as a result now no longer have the trust of the Australian people?’.

Now, before I get too melancholy about this trend, the great thing is that you are present here today because you are into the business of self-improvement, you are into the business of having values and ideals and willing to stand up for them. It is the ideals and values of Liberalism that says there is such a thing as individual responsibility. So what I would invite you as individuals to do is, don’t let victimhood seduce you if at first, you don’t succeed at whatever you try to achieve in life.

Similarly, don’t encourage the victim status in others, well-meaning though it may be. Often when people want somebody to hear them out, often they want you to say ‘you were hard done by’. Rather remind them difficulties occur in life, and if we allow everybody that has a misfortune in life be described as a victim, we will become a nation of victims as opposed to a nation of innovators, a nation of people who are self-reliant, who want to achieve and it is ultimately the sum-total of all self-reliance of all individual achievements that makes your nation self-reliant, that makes your nation an achieving nation. A nation that is not in debt, a nation that has a positive outlook in the world, a nation that can make a genuine contribution to the world. If I might say, the Western civilisations have done exactly that for humanity and victimhood has not been part of it until recent times and we need to fight against victimhood.

In short, outsourcing consequences inhibits the taking of responsibility.

So let’s celebrate that great Liberal virtue of self-reliance, take on individual responsibility and spread that message wherever you go because at the end of the day, that is what’s going to determine our individual success, our society’s success and our nation’s success. 

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at http://abetz.com.au/

Gillard’s army recruitment policy

Thursday-crocker2opinion

Some politicians inspire their nation through statesmanship. “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” That powerful phrase delivered by US President J.F. Kennedy in 1961 did inspire Americans and is immortalised in global history.
Unstatesmanlike is Julia Gillard who delivered a lie to inspire her people, “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.” That phrase is now burned into the pages of Australia’s political history but in stark contrast to JFK’s.
An eligible phrase befitting Gillard’s government should now be, “There will be no decency for our soldiers under a government I lead.” Labor’s hatred of Australian Defence Forces is a matter already scarring the pages of our national account; ask any historian or person who served in WWII. A litany of treasonous acts will stagger amateur historians.

Proof that history does repeat itself is treasurer Mr Swan’s massive cuts to the defence budget. But one cut in particular will do nothing to bring a budget surplus and can only be seen as punishment. Suzette Halliwell, whose son is serving in Afghanistan, believes the government attack on the ADF is insensitive, discriminatory and harmful.
Prior to July 1 2012, unmarried soldiers received one free flight home per year. That has been abolished, removing a vital, psychological essential for a combatant’s wellbeing. This impediment will effect 22,000 of our finest, all to save the government about $15 million. Defence force chief General David Hurley said the free airfare for older, single people was outdated.
I do not believe for one second the General believes that rubbish. Those who know the system understand that the chief of defence is largely a political appointment, a promotion that causes once good soldiers to become lickspittles to government bullies. It is a position that obliges a balancing act between political masters practicing stupidity in their luxury offices and good soldiers being blown to pieces in the field, obeying prectical orders nonetheless.
As the disappointment of flight cuts are telegraphed to the canteen noticeboards of our ADF posts, torching the morale of unmarried soldiers, Foreign Minister Bob Carr was giving Afghanistan $1 billion to promote their health and education—fair dinkum!
Meanwhile, scores of young, male Afghans flee their nation for the good times in Hotel Australia. The cost is more than $150,000 per head not counting CentreLink in perpetuity. And, Suzette Halliwell’s son and others will still be targets of roadside bombs and armour piercing bullets from Afghan snipers, not to mention rogue Afghan soldiers turning their guns on our people. Note that more than 90% of Afghans coming to Australia in the past five years remain unemployed.
Even worse are the latest military deaths figures for this year in Afghanistan confirming that no Afghan soldiers were killed—not so for Australian soldiers. How so, you ask? According to some tribal heads, or warlords, the Taliban has made a deal with sections of the Afghan army. And why not, corruption in that country goes all the way to the top. The pouring of money into Afghanistan is an unaccountable practice, as the Americans learned.
President Karzai’s half-brother was assassinated by his personal bodyguard last year. Ahmad Wali Karzai had no shortage of enemies. His detractors accused him of murdering and imprisoning his opposition, exploiting American military contracts and running drugs. It was widely reported that he was, prior to and at the time of death, being investigated by the US for syphoning off American aid money to the tune of $12 million. Included in that investigation also was his brother Mahmood Karzai although the president himself seems to be made of Teflon as his nefarious activities avoid legal attention. However, August 2009 US Embassy cables say this, according to WikiLeaks:
President Karzai pardoned five border policemen who were caught with 124 kilograms of heroin in their border police vehicle. The policemen, who have come to be known as the Zahir Five, were tried, convicted and sentenced to terms of 16 to 18 years each at the Central Narcotics Tribunal. But President Karzai pardoned all five of them on the grounds that they were distantly related to two individuals who had been martyred during the civil war.
I fear Afghanistan will be another Viet Nam. Russia’s military might failed to put down the Afghans. I believe that when the Western Coalition withdraws the Taliban will seize control before the last troop transporter clears the runway at Kabul, and I hope the Afghanistan service medal has a termination date on its clasp, unlike the Viet Nam medal that still says 1960-blank. It never included 1972 meaning the war never ended.
When Christmas passes without sons and daughters at home on leave because the Swan and his bean counters are budgeting with heartless indifference, families will remember Bob Carr’s billion-dollar gift. Perhaps they will find small comfort in knowing it was the spin-doctor Carr who stuffed NSW royally, then scarpered leaving the mess behind. Yes, the same blundering, bullshitter who promised to resign his premiership if he failed to cut hospital waiting lists. Of consolation to the affected families might be that after the next election Carr will again be booted out and returned to his pseudo-intellectual blog where no more damage can be done. This time forever, we hope.

Thought for the week: If you are going through hell, keep going.  Winston Churchill

 

 

Help Save Our Online Privacy!

Do you trust the Gillard Government to know all your internet passwords?

Do you think they should know every website you have visited?

Do you want them to read every email you send, monitor every Facebook post you have made, and record every Tweet you sent?

And do you want them to store all your private online data for two years?

This is what the Gillard government wants to do. And WILL do unless we take action NOW!

This is not a joke. This is not a paranoid conspiracy theory. It might seem like something out of 1984, but this is what is about to happen in Australia!

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence & Security is set to approve one of themost draconian and invasive online surveillance regimes anywhere in the world: these are powers dictators could only dream of! If passed, they will have access to everything you have done online. Every website you have visited, every private tweet you have made, every email you have sent. And they will keep these records for two years!

The Gillard Government says this is for “National Security”. But the wording of the proposal is clear: this doesn’t apply to just terror suspects – EVERY SINGLE AUSTRALIAN will have ALL of their online activity recorded and potentially monitored. And if you don’t give them your passwords – you will be forced to go to gaol – even if you haven’t committed any crime! 

 

Criminals will always be able to easily subvert this. It’s law-abiding Aussies who will lose out. Just last week, a Department of Communications cybersecurity contractor lost 800 highly sensitive subscriber details because they didn’t bother to send it by secure post. If we can’t trust them to keep something so basic secure, what do you think will happen when they have access to everything? Make no mistake: if this passes, our privacy is dead. I am genuinely scared as to what might happen to us if this passes. 

50 years ago the Labor Party tried to use ASIO to silence critics at the Institute of Public Affairs. Do we really want to give the government the power to do the same thing today? But it’s not too late. We can stop this from taking place.

The Committee is calling for public submissions before August 20th. If enough Australians contact them and say NO – we will stop this.

We have just created www.StopBigBrother.com.au as an online campaign portal against this outrageous proposal.

From this website, you will be able to contact your local MP, members of the Joint Committee, and send a formal submission directly. There is no need for you to lookup names or emails, it's all pre-programmed. All you need to do is input your details, change the draft text around (we can’t have everyone saying the same thing!), and hit send!

Can you please visit www.StopBigBrother.com.au and tell Canberra: NO!!! 

If thousands of freedom fighters  stand up for our rights – we will prevail. So please help send a message Canberra can not ignore – Visit www.StopBigBrother.com.au in your details, change around the words in our draft sample, hit send and make your voice heard! This is not a complex question. It is not a Liberal/Labor or right/left issue. It is simply this: do you want the government to know every single private thing you do online?

If, like me, you think this is unacceptable, then please join our campaign, because if we don't take action now, it will be too late.

Please visit our website,   join our new Facebook groupforward this email, share it on Facebook: Like The Gillard Govt Now Wants to Spy On Everything We Do Online!!! on Facebook and post it on Twitter share on Twitter.

We CAN block this proposal – but to do so EVERY Australian needs to speak up.

Please visit www.StopBigBrother.com.au and help stop the Gillard Government from spying on us online.

Would a Libertarian sleep with Tony and Julia?

Alex Photo

Alex Greenwich, the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality, argues that libertarians who oppose state-sanctioned marriage should still support same-sex marriage proposals: 

Recently the NSW Upper House passed a motion calling on the federal government to amend the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry. It passed with the support of seven Coalition MPs, who were a mix of conservatives, tradionalists, and libertarians all advocating for the reform from their individual standpoint and representing the views of their constituents.

What many found puzzling was that Liberal libertarian Peter Phelps voted against the motion on the basis that we should privatise marriage and thereby reduce government interference in personal life.

Brendan O'Neill took Phelp's case one step further in the Australian in April. He argued that legalising same-sex marriage would open the door to government interference in an area traditionally off limits to the state – interpersonal and family relationships. To him, same-sex marriage would be such a radical "re-shaping" of cultural institutions that properly exist outside state control that it would effectively be a state takeover of these institutions (an argument I find offensive because it assumes same-sex relationships are fundamentally irreconcilable with traditional ideas of family and marriage).

Their case against same-sex marriage was satirised by a Labor colleague of Mr Phelps during the NSW debate. He said, “there are those here who believe in small government, government so small it only fits into the bedrooms of same-sex couples”.

Of course there are more serious issues at stake than that. Peter Phelps and Brendan O’Neill’s vision of the state abolishing all its rules and regulations for personal relationships is a noble one. But it is so politically untenable that it's hard not to see another agenda at play here; the use of libertarian language to dodge a hard political choice.

Libertarians engaging in this debate should see same-sex marriage as a step towards removing unwanted state interference, not a step away.

Marriage equality ends a form of government regulation that infringes gay people's freedom of choice. It means the government can no longer infantalise us by telling us which kind of lifelong union is legitimate and which is not. It acknowledges not only the fact that same-sex and different-sex relationships are of the same quality and value, but that same-sex and different-sex attracted people are equally capable of the same important life choices. It gets the state out of our bedroom.

I feel this state interference very keenly. As someone who just got married in Argentina, I found that the moment my husband and I returned to Australia the government invited a third person into our marriage, itself.

Same-sex married couples in Australian, and there are lots of us, share our bed each night with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. As representatives of the Australian state they stand between us and the equal legal recognition of our commitment to a shared life.

Any person who values the reduction of government interference in daily lives and believes in freedom of conscience cannot support legislation that leaves red hair on our pillows and speedos by our bed.

But this issue is about more than the equal personal freedom of gay Australians. It is also about acknowledging that marriage is not what Phelps and others make it out to be.

Phelp’s argument essentially calls for a system whereby each couple gets to set their own rules, make their own contract, celebrate the marriage in a religious ceremony if allowed, or in a civil service of their choosing.

Such a system already exists, and it is marriage as we know it.

Despite the “white-picket-fence” ideal of Jim Wallace's ACL, no two married couples are the same and each couple is allowed to set their own rules. Some marry to have kids. Some rule it out from the beginning. Some couples stay together forever. Some divorce after a week. Some live together. Some live apart due to work commitments. In some marriages the wife is the breadwinner while in others it’s both or the husband.

This ability to frame marriage in a couple's own terms currently operates in Australian, that is, unless you want to marry someone of the same-sex.

It’s at this point that government interference kicks in and imposes restrictions on your relationship, and denies you access to the protection, recognition, and legal security of being married.

An excellent example is divorce. For gay Australians dissolution of a relationship is made more complicated by the fact that we cannot marry. Because we have no choice but to be de facto partners, we often find ourselves in a legal mess if our relationships end, inviting yet more intervention by the state to sort things out.

Phelps ends his argument for privatising marriage and before voting against marriage equality by saying “My own view is this: let us get the government out of marriage and allow individuals to make their own marriage contracts, as befits a modern, secular society that rejects statism and places the freedom of the individual as its fundamental objective.

We can achieve this now for same-sex couples by supporting, rather than opposing, legislation that kicks Julia and Tony out of beds of thousands of same-sex couples.
Alex Greenwich is the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality and one of Samesame's 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians. Alex recently married his partner Victor in Argentina, runs a banking recruitment firm, and graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of arts in 2001. He will join The Hon. Peter Phelps MLC in “A Conversation about Marriage” to be held on Tuesday the 24th of July in Sydney: Details here

Media balance, government style!

Thursday-crocker

opinion.

 It’s on again and if writers like me don’t banner the problem readers will have naught but government propaganda to contemplate.

The despisers of independent thinking, the haters of a free press and the abhorrers of truth in open opinion are wed to this blasted government with a goal to shut down anything the leftists don’t agree with.

Recent rubbish comes from the Australian Press Council (APC) that has again exposed themselves as serial pests in a world where mostly diligent writers ply their craft in good faith. The APC signals that the government and the Green’s Marxist ideology have corrupted democracy. Prima facie evidence is their recent adjudication on a complaint against The Telegraph columnist, Piers Akerman.

The shame of it all would take several columns to detail. Essentially, Sydneysider John Newton didn’t like what Akerman wrote about the idiotic Greens and climate change and so lodged a complaint with the APC. It contained all the usual crap at rabid pitch claiming; misleading the public, bias, “unbalanced” reporting, (remember unbalanced) and Akerman’s references to that august bastion of honesty, the IPCC.

Newton’s complainant was, in my opinion, overcome with psychotic rage that a vile climate denier like Akerman had dared an opinion contrary to Labor/Greens and Newton’s doctrine. Newton, however, with typical Greenie, head-in-the-sand mindlessness chose to ignore that many warmista scientists and supporters have been caught up in varying degrees of fraud. Also ignored is the scientific community now making concessions about “model error” and revised calculations as they backtrack from a dying, global hysteria sparked by two founders of the IPCC, Al Gore and his dubious associate Maurice Strong.

To its absolute disgrace the APC did not shred Newtons complaint as vexatious and factually adrift, like the many others they must ponder daily. But no, the goose-steppers at the APC inquisition agonised every which way, probably seeking new meanings to old words in desperation to nail Akerman. After all, the Council’s raison d'être seems biased to find culpability. But alas, lest they obliterate whatever vestige of partiality that may remain within that cabal, did not uphold Newton’s rant. Maybe they read of matters beyond the whining socialists and know of the nation’s growing concern, and anger, about government’s thrust to quash opinion contrary to official line.

For the Gillard/Greens marriage, now headed for divorce, transparency and freedom is a narrow, one-way street. Senate leader Eric Abetz has tried under Freedom of Information to establish who will be appointed to chair and assist the ongoing media inquiry. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s assistant secretary Glen Kierse who makes such decisions declined the Senator’s request. Kierse said it was not in the public interest and could hinder, “consultation between the department and advisers of the Prime Minister's office.”

As Australians go about their daily struggle most are unaware of the ramifications and severity that will surface in Senator Conroy’s secretive, “Media Convergence”, a sugar coated title designed to lull passing observers that all is well despite government control in all aspects of communication. 

However, the sting, felt mostly by those in the business, is at last causing reaction. Ita Buttrose, a person of enormous media experience believes the media industry should stand up for itself against government regulation. “I am tired of people telling us how to run our business,” Buttrose said recently at the National Press Club. “I think as a profession, we need to speak out more passionately about what we do and we need to tell them to get out of our turf.” Ms. Buttrose was dead right when she said, “…the public eventually has the good common sense to make up its own mind about what is being said. I find it disturbing that the knee-jerk reaction to events in the media is that it should be regulated.”

Of course the public can and will make up its own mind about what it reads or hears and how it digests that information is matter for them alone, certainly not an incompetent regime that blunders in daily fear of voters learning the truth. With Labor highly unlikely to win at the next elections, we must wait and see what the Coalition does with Conroy’s media straightjacket.

Malcolm Turnbull said, “The Coalition would oppose the public interest test and any Labor plan to implement a media council to oversee news coverage along the lines proposed by former federal judge Ray Finkelstein.” That better not be election talk.

“If the government in this unwarranted and highly political way increases the regulation of the media, and managed to get that through this parliament, then we would seek to undo it and restore things to the status quo if we get elected,” Mr Turnbull told The Australian.

Taxpayers fund the ABC, the SBS, and its many tentacles about $1.2 billion annually. All other rightist media exists via public support—after tax cash, given from their own pockets. Why is government so afraid of a free, self supporting media? The only intelligent answer can be to control society’s every thinking.

Remember “unbalanced” reporting? The ABC’s morning AM stations from May to July 10 current affairs programmes gave air to 25 ALP segments with 6 to the Coalition. That’s “balance” government style. Don’t be complacent; they’re damned serious!

 Thought for the week: The political heart of any government for freedom must have the political will to protect free speech.

It’s a good time to be a Conservative in Australia

Rath Pic

Christopher Rath celebrates the successes of conservatism in Australia – and proposes a benchmark on how a future Abbott Government could be judged: 

It’s a good time to be a Conservative in Australia…. And when I say conservative, I refer to contemporary conservatism that is still rooted in the socially conservative tradition of Edmund Burke and the economic liberalism as espoused by Adam Smith. Previously this conservatism had been the driving force behind the Thatcherites, the Reaganites and the Howardites (if such a word hasn't been used then I would be its founder and strongest adherent). 

Obviously I don't mean that Australia is more conservative today than in the 1800s, nor do I live in hope that we can return to 17th century Britain, despite my High Tory ideals at times. However, the culture war seems to have shifted in our favour compared to 2007 and certainly since the dark days of the Keating era.   

Many of my conservative friends are pessimistic about Australia’s future and people that know me would attest that I am certainly not a utopian either. However, of late I have found seven reasons to be optimistic about our great nation.

1. Support for Australia's Constitutional Monarchy is at a 25 year high according to a Roy Morgan poll in June this year. Support for a Republic is now at only 35% and I am sure that the 35% in question all have different preferred models of their République in mind.

2. Non-Government School Students as a proportion of Australian students has increased from approximately 20% in the 1970s to almost 35% today.  Around 90% of these non-Government schools are Catholic or from other Christian denominations.  There is no greater unifying issue amongst conservatives and libertarians than choice in education.     

3. Trade Union membership has collapsed. Trade union membership rates of over 50% of the workforce in the 1950s/60s/ 70s has now declined to a mere 18%. Trade unions not only create unemployment and inefficiency through unrealistic wage demands, they are also the arch nemesis of the Liberal Party and conservatism.    

4. The Catholic Church has largely improved since the 1990s, especially under the guidance of Cardinal Pell. Orthodoxy is slowly supplanting the liberal secular catholicism of the 1970s and 80s. Furthermore, Pentecostalism is on the rise with an explosion in adherents at places like Hillsong. Out of the 238,000 Pentecostals in Australia, three-quarters of them attend church every Sunday, far superseding the poor attendance of other denominations.  The first time that I went to a Pentecostal church in Wollongong they played a 5 minute video clip in defence of marriage by the Australian Christian Lobby. It was very refreshing to be amongst friends.

5. Victory on the climate change debate is now in sight. During the dark days of 2006-2009 conservatives were clearly losing the climate change debate. We were told that our damns would dry up, our crops would die and our seas would displace most of Sydney. We had a Liberal Party under Turnbull that supported an ETS, a Labor Party under a then very popular Kevin Rudd that supported an ETS, the Greens at the pinnacle of their power advocating a virtual return to the stone age with 80% reductions in emissions, 66% of Australians who supported an ETS with only 25% opposing, and if you even hinted at possible inaccuracies in climate change ‘science’ you were censored out of existence or called a ‘climate denier’ as if you were comparable to a war criminal. We can now rejoice that the carbon tax is slowly killing the Gillard Government just as the ETS killed Rudd.     

6. The rise of ANZAC Day, Australia Day and Australian patriotism. The assault on our flag, our history and our public holidays has subsided since the Keating days. 95% of Australians support the statement “The spirit of ANZAC Day (with its human qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice) continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity”.  We should give John Howard most of the credit here.

7. Tony Abbott and the Liberals have won the last 27 newspolls (2PP) and election victory seems almost imminent. Malcolm Turnbull did not win a single newspoll under his leadership; in fact he was so far behind that the Liberal Party would have been reduced to a mere rump in Parliament had he not been replaced as leader and the ETS opposed. 

The future of Australian Conservatism rests largely with Tony Abbott. The Abbott Government needs to be reformist in the tradition of the Howard years and not a squandered opportunity in the mould of the Fraser Government. The following nine indicators and policies would have to be the litmus test issues in determining whether conservatism has succeeded or failed within 5 years- we should view them as our performance indicators:

1. The protection of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. This is the single most important contemporary issue that conservatives face in Australia today. It is an institution that pre-dates the founding of Australia, the British monarchy and even Christianity itself. If marriage and the family unit are redefined, despite existing for thousands of years and responsible for so much good in society, then conservatives will never be able to credibly argue that they are winning the culture war.

2. Reduction in the size of government.  Most importantly the abolition of government debt together with the carbon tax, mining tax and the student services amenities fee. 

3. A restoration of Howard style immigration policy, similar to the ‘Pacific Solution’. Off shore processing at Nauru and Temporary Protection Visas would have to be reinstated together with a stronger citizenship test not stronger “multiculturalism” (as the left defines it).  

4. The preservation of Australia’s Constitutional Monarchy. This is the tried and tested system that has made Australian democracy the envy of the western world. It isn’t just about defending our history; it’s also about preserving a system of checks and balances that avoids both tyranny and revolution.   

5. Labour market deregulation and the abolition of Fair Work Australia. The Rudd/Gillard system is taking Australia back to a pre-1996 labour market with the sole aim of re-empowering the trade unions. 

6. Victory on the climate change debate and the reduction of the influence, power and votes of the Greens, hopefully to the point where they are as irrelevant as the Australian Democrats. Conservatives who have an environmental conscience need to remember Margaret Thatcher’s words, that global warming is a "marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism".

7. Restoring freedom of speech, which has eroded over recent years on the deplorable grounds of ‘the right not to be offended’. Andrew Bolt, Mark Steyn and the Institute of Public Affairs are doing great work on this.  

8. The abolition of the National Curriculum and tackling the Teacher’s Federation and their indoctrinating agenda head on. The cross-curriculum priorities are Indigenous Australians' histories and culture; Asia and Australia's Engagement with Asia; and Sustainability. There is severe hostility to capitalism and the western world, and such a level of bias that “schools might as well tell students who to vote for”- the title of a recent article by Chris Berg.

9. At least a second term of an Abbott Government with Senator Eric Abetz as Leader of the Government in the Senate. A single term will not be sufficient enough to fix Labor’s mistakes, contain the left and drive a conservative agenda.

It would have been ideal to write extensively on each of the nine performance indicators for success of a new Abbott Government and certainly essays could be written on any individual point mentioned above. However, I though that it was important to start the debate on what conservatives would like to see a new Abbott Government implement or preserve. Only so many articles can be written about the evils of the carbon tax; however, I think that I have been quite realistic in balancing the policies that conservatives would like to see with the pragmatism necessary for any government to stay in power.

We should never compromise our conservative principles, however, we must also not be policy purists, because as Edmund Burke realised, “all government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter”.

Christopher Rath has just completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney and has commenced a Masters of Management. He is President of the Throsby Young Liberal Branch and sits on the Federal Young Liberal Executive.   

Christopher Rath has just completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney and has commenced a Masters of Management. He is President of the Throsby Young Liberal Branch and sits on the Federal Young Liberal Executive.   

 

A roadside bomb for Libs?

Opinion:

Special.

by Geoff Crocker.

On the South Coast of New South Wales, the City of Shoalhaven may boast of wineries, but within the commercial hub of Nowra a greater fermentation bubbles among local politicos as they brace for the September elections. What was practice in the past might now become a jackpot for the beleaguered Labor Party and day-of-the-dead for the Coalition.

Some politicians in that burgh think it a “fair enough” to hold or seek two seats of official office and the spotlight is now being focused upon those believers—and they don’t like it. 

Concurrent roles as councillor, and Federal Parliament is not prohibited in Tasmania or the Northern Territory, all other States do prohibit it, recently in NSW. Many politicians in NSW still hold dual seats—serving two masters—pocketing two wages and allowances. Shoalhaven taxpayers are particularly vexed.

The responsibilities of local and state office are all encompassing, certainly not a part-time job with obligations often scheduled simultaneously in distant venues. Proponents of double dipping claim competence to do both jobs effectively—of course they would.

The federal riding of Gilmore; a seat covering the Shoalhaven and parts of the Southern Highlands sits Joanna Gash, a popular member for 16 years. Ms Gash has declared retirement at the next election—she will be missed.

Also declared is her intention to contest local council as Mayor of Shoalhaven. “So what,” some cry, “Others are double dipping.”

No, they are not, and thus, the roadside bomb is armed.

Nobody holds a seat in both local council and Federal Parliament concurrently in NSW. Ms Gash intends to retain her federal seat, even if she wins mayoralty, from September 2012 to …when? August 2013? Barring an earlier federal election—that’s flagrant double dipping and, offering one payment or another to charity is to obfuscate the point. It’s wrong, just as Slipper and Thomson are wrong even if the courts eventually say not! People are sick of this sort of arrogance toward taxpayers, they are demanding decency.

The Hon James Maloney MLC hit the double-dip obstacle 1948:

The law says this:

Section 13B of the Constitution Act 1902 of NSW provides that a person who holds an "office of profit" under the Crown is not capable of sitting and voting as a member of either House.

Also, Section 44(iv) of the Australian Constitution provides:

Any person who – (iv) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

Arising therein: does authority of the “Crown” flow through the triumvirate of federal, state, and local governments? More particularly do the “allowances” of local government constitute holding an “office of profit”? That matter may be open to legal determination, but lawyers in 1948 had no doubts and the Hon. James Maloney resigned.

This is what appears on the Federal Parliament’s web site:

Section 44(iv) of the Constitution was raised to prominence in 1992 by the decision of the High Court in Sykes v Cleary. However, the meaning of section 44(iv) is obscure and has long provoked concern among constitutional commentators. This paper examines the High Court decision as it relates to section 44(iv) and then discusses some of the relevant issues in relation to the constitutional provision.

Lurking in Section 44(iv) may be that bomb for the Coalition. My hypothesis: if Ms Gash wins a seat on council in the September local government elections and her federal term continues as expected until the government calls an election; the Labor government could have several options. 

One is to immediately take the matter to the High Court for a decision and if Ms. Gash, through her many allowances and payments, is found to be holding an office of profit under the “Crown” then she shall be incapable … of sitting as … a member of the House of Representatives. Surely that’s a temptation impossible to resist for the Labor Party, as they cannot lose no matter how the decision goes.

Ms Gash can hardly sit federally while the matter is sub-judice. Labor wins another inch of breathing space in their tenuous, hung Parliament—not to mention savagely bucketing the Coalition as often as can.

Furthermore, the Coalition would be forced to ante up cash in defence, depleting essential campaign resources on a lose/lose situation. Should Ms Gash immediately resign from local council to retain her federal seat, the City of Shoalhaven would be forced to a costly by-election. Ratepayer anger would be palpable!

Ms Gash's resignation to immediately resign from Parliament would spark a by-election only to be duplicated later when general elections are called. Ergo, huge financial headaches for the Coalition, I reckon.

I expect Ms Gash holds written, legal advice that she would win such a court challenge; it would be an act of supreme idiocy had she not. On her side, however, is the recent refugees to Malaysia decision where the government’s army of some 4,500 lawyers got it wrong when a lone lawyer from Melbourne stymied the government with a 6 to 1 High Court decision against them—a true David and Goliath triumph!

From my armchair on the bench, Labor has nothing to lose by challenging and much to gain and it won't cost them a single cent. It puzzles me why Ms Gash would subject herself to such a potential mess to achieve what? A demotion from Federal Parliament to local Mayor? Is it ego; is it money or simply the noble deed to serve? Somehow, I think there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye.

As they say, “stay tuned folks!”

 

Marriage Equality or Irrelevance?

IMAG0041

Lev Cherkasski argues that the government should remove itself from the marriage business entirely: 

With all the emotion surrounding the issue of Marriage equality, it appears that politics and censure have hijacked the substance of the debate. In the contemporary mainstream, one earns themselves the label of ‘homophobe’ or ‘bigot’ merely by questioning the merit of a same-sex union. Conversely, the religious and right-wing institutions continue their vociferous attacks on homosexuals as they continue to fight for the sanctity of marriage and the traditional concepts which they represent. Yet in a country where the overwhelming majority of legal rights have been equalised between hetero and same-sex couple, what is the actual issue being debated? When engaging with members of the marriage equality lobby, what appears to be at stake is the mere word ‘Marriage’. The very same word, which the orthodoxy is going to such extreme lengths to protect. If this word is causing so much division in our society, why not abolish it altogether?

Daily, we are bombarded with evidence of the hypocrisy of the sanctity of marriage. S.5 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. With ever increasing divorce rates and extra-marital ‘flings’ becoming the norm, any inherent ‘sanctity’ to the words ‘I do’ have, regrettably, become diminished over time. The argument so often heard from the marriage equality lobby, is that the definition of marriage is based on three pillars. Given that the Kardashians have shown us how two of those three have clearly become relics of a bygone age, why should we continue to honour the third pillar, that which confines marriage to being between man and woman?

The question shouldn’t be why does the law discriminate between homosexual marriage and heterosexual marriage, the question should be, why does the law recognise marriage at all? Western democracy distinguishes itself on having achieved a separation of Religion and State. Yet as proud as we may be of our advancements of the teachings of John Locke of the 16th century, we are constantly reminded of the religious foundations of modern society. Over time, these traditions and restrictions have given way to free choice and secularism, yet Marriage is but one institution which still finds its roots in religious institution.

Marriage laws ultimately exist to ensure the legal rights and obligations of one spouse in relation to another. These are generally concerned with asset custody, financial liabilities, estates etc. Indeed, Australia has come a long way in removing the legal discrimination which denied homo-sexual couples the same rights which are enjoyed by the hetero-sexual mainstream. A perfectly reasonable set of amendments to the law which recognizes the diversity of contemporary societal make-up. Yet we continue to be mired in the marriage equality debate to recognize all couples as equal. The truth is, they’re not. They’re no better or worse, yet different by their very nature.

There is no denial that Marriage is the initial creation of religion. As Western Civil code was created, Marriage, much like the vast majority of the Code was transferred from Judeo-Christrian scripts and has endured in our society. Marriage, by the definition of the religious order is by its very virtue between a man and a woman. Even if legislation were enacted to recognize the validity of a homo-sexual union, until religion can accept its legitimacy, there will not be true equality. But why is this so important in the first place? As already illustrated, Marriage has long lost its sanctity, yet in modern day Australia, couples are lining up in their thousands to tie the knot in a Church, under a Chuppah or via some other religious means.

It is peculiar that in Australia, a ceremony conducted by a religious institution, will not be recognized unless it fulfils a very specific checklist as mandated by the Attorney-General’s office. So if a couple were to be married in a religious Jewish ceremony for example, their Ketubah (religious marriage contract) would not be recognized by Australian courts as evidence of a marriage unless the checklist of S.46(1) of the Marriage Act 1961 were followed. How ironic, that even if a marriage is formed by the very fundamental concepts of the legal intent, it will not be legally recognized unless there is a corresponding civil procedure.

Why not scrap Marriage altogether? Why not leave religion to religion and have the legislature stick to what it knows best; Civil procedure. Under such a revision, a future Civil Union act would recognize a Civil Union between two consenting adults for the purposes of family custody, asset transfer, financial liability and estate planning. That is where legal interference would end. Should individual couples then wish to extend their commitment to one another through a traditional Marriage, they would do as they do presently, wed in a house of god in the presence of the almighty spirit to pledge devotion to one another for eternity and live happily ever after. Should a religious authority recognize the validity of a same-sex marriage, they would certainly not have a shortage of willing couples wishing to tie the knot.

The divisive nature of this issue is begging for a resolution. With public sentiment being roughly 50/50 and very strong opinions existing on either side of this divide, a consensus is required. A reform to remove marriage altogether would further secularise our society and diffuse this issue overnight.

Lev Cherkasski is a final year Arts/Commerce student at Monash University. He is the current National Treasurer for the Australasian Union of Jewish Students and has recently been elected President of the Caulfield Young Liberals.

Gillard’s trinkets to Indonesia!

Www.wireless77

 

According to Crocker

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono touched down in Darwin recently to a welcome befitting Royalty.  Pomp and pageantry aside, it might have been more like a 17th century explorer visiting a primitive, outward island with his offering of worthless beads and small mirrors, the requisite bribe to avoid an appointment with the cooking pot.

Gillard protocol, however, has reversed the ancient custom where visitors bring the gifts to the host; in her case it was no handful of beads and trinkets. Yudhoyono’s gift stood in smart fashion beside the airport tarmac.

(ANTARA News) 2/7/12- Indonesia and Australia are all set to finalize an Australian grant for five C-130 Hercules in the coming days. This evening, there will be a meeting between the Indonesian and the Australian Defense Ministers. There will be (a deal for) five C-130 Hercules from Australia, in the form of a grant, with some cost (borne by) Indonesia,said Yudhoyono in a press conference at Halim Perdanakusuma Airbase, East Jakarta.

Mr. Bambang had announced his handsome gift from the Australian taxpayers to the Indonesian media before his arrival in Darwin. As you see, beads and fake jewellery are passé and the five C-130 Hercules must have seemed an inconsequential trinket to him as there seems to be no word of gratitude—a thank you, perhaps? Bambang did offer something to Julia and it was the diplomatic, cold shoulder.

Among Bambang’s list of “give me more money” demands was his objection to Australia holding illegal boat crew minors in detention. Gillard fixed that with an offer to provide people-smugglers with faster access to Indonesian officials for consular advice and to stop future detention of minors. Furthermore, Bambang leaned harder on Gillard to take “all necessary steps” to fly underage smugglers back to Indonesia. “Yes Sir, right away sir!”

With the arrogance of a little snot, Bambang then reckoned our authorities were detaining up to 215 minors. Australian officials dispute that saying that 79 Indonesian smuggler-crew members were in Australian detention centres, some claiming to be minors even though they appeared to be in their 40s. Maybe Bambang knows more about our affairs than does Gillard, that wouldn’t be surprising.

In the Pollie Genuflection Dance of smarmy bobbing and forelock tugging, the diplomatic trademark of the Rudd/Gillard regime, on the heels of this demand a communiqué was released saying that Australia had, “improved its age-determination process and agreed to repatriate crew found to be minors back to Indonesia.” What could that process be? Something really hi-tech like, “how old are you sport?” 

Bambang had already shot through with half our Air force under his arm when it came to light that: “We also discussed opportunities to strengthen our maritime co-operation including in search and rescue,” Gillard said. Bambang, justifiably, must take Julia for a goose. It’s damned clear to all concerned what’s going on out at sea despite gagging the Navy.

In April 2009 an Australian Navy ship took in tow the smuggler boat SIEV 36. One of the smuggler’s crew gave a cheesy grin, a salute and touched off an explosion killing 5 and 40 wounded. Blown into the water and nearly killed were our Navy personnel. Bambang’s ruse for strengthened search and rescue co-operation I believe to be a farce. The scuttling of craft is now textbook practice for smugglers.

As the smuggler’s hulks now arrive on a schedule more regular than the Circular Quay to Parramatta River Cat our navy lacks the equipment to cover the load; the smugglers are two steps ahead of us. Last week a smuggler radioed a distress signal at 6:20am giving a position two miles north of Christmas Island. Our Navy deployed at flank speed but found nothing. An hour later the position was corrected to an extra 107 miles north, almost in Indonesian waters.

The new trick was this: our navy responded to the first call because the sinking (it was not sinking) boat positioned itself in Australian waters. Had the smuggler boat given the correct position first, the Indonesian Navy being closer would have been obliged to respond. That meant all on board would be arrested and returned to Indonesia and likely jail. However, as our Navy was already responding the Indonesians issued an unable to respond call and let the Australians do the work. And, the refugees are welcomed to hotel Australia—everyone is happy—and only a few died along the way. A fine result for the lucrative, smuggling profession. Next please!

While writing, another boat has called for assistance—located a few miles from the Indonesian port of departure—boat intact. This is the new Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for smugglers. They know Australian ships will respond while The Indonesians will be “unable to respond.”

This week: Indonesia, growing steadily towards top 10 economy status, confirmed a $US1 billion ($982 million) contribution to the International Monetary Fund's European bailout reserves. And we give aid to Indonesia with borrowed money.

How about returning our C-130s Mr Bambang?

Thought for the day: Some will be, some have been and some will never be. Which one are you?

Cartoonist Larry Pickering offers his personal account of Indonesia and where he found some of Australia's aid. A MUST read here.

UPDATE: Jakarta Post 10/07/12. The government has finally decided to purchase 100 refurbished main Battle Tanks (MBT) Leopard 2A6 from Germany, ending months of controversy around its initial plan to buy secondhand from the Netherlands. 

It remains debatable whether the US$280 million shopping spree is really necessary to modernize Indonesia’s primary weaponry systems and enhance the country’s defense force. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the procurement of the combat vehicles is as continuation of the country’s defense strategy. 

 As you see, they're going it tough. Are we suckers, or what?