Why free speech matters more than poor taste

By Satyajeet Marar

hklA few weeks ago, cartoonist Bill Leak published a now infamous image in The Australian. I’ll spare you the description because you’ve probably already seen it before.

Now, leaving aside the tastefulness of the concept and the message, there’s no denying one thing – this cartoon got people talking. A. Lot. And isn’t that the ultimate aim of satirical commentary? They weren’t just talking about a supposedly racist cartoon – they were talking about the real issues of indigenous kids in custody and whether cycles of family violence and neglect endemic in some indigenous communities were being ignored over concerns of political sensitivity.

Despite repeated complaints and outrage at the cartoon’s racial overtone – the Australian Press Council agreed!  “Satire and cartooning should be afforded great latitude in a free and vigorous press’’ said the council’s chairman Professor David Weisbrot. Weisbrot argued that the publication of two opinion pieces in the newspaper, offering contrasting views, had settled the matter.

I’m inclined to agree. I must admit, when I first saw the cartoon I too thought it had crossed the line of good taste. The cartoon’s timing – in the wake of a Four Corners scandal on the abuse of indigenous teenagers in custody, seemed like especially poor form. I could easily empathise with the majority of indigenous parents doing the right thing by their kids, trying to raise them in a world which is, inconvenient truth be told, still plagued by instances racism and prejudice.

But it’s also worth remembering that stories evoking strong emotion can sometimes cause us to forget sides and perspectives which are equally important. In the wake of the twin towers attack, now nearing its 5th anniversary, Oprah Winfrey was the victim of racial and sexist harassment because of her anti-war stance. Today, we have a more nuanced understanding of what happened and know that conflicts in Afghanistan and especially Iraq, could have been handled a lot better and were often conducted in a manner which has left these regions unstable to even more sinister forces in the years since.

There’s no denying the existence of inconvenient questions in the wake of the Four Corners expose – how did these kids get in custody in the first place? Was it even their first offence? Were there factors other than an allegedly oppressive police system responsible for this cycle of behaviour not seen in more stable communities – both indigenous and non-indigenous? It’s no secret that communities facing cycles of crime also often feature broken or dysfunctional family structures with one or more absent parents. This problem intensifies in poor socio-economic conditions, especially those of remote communities which are propped up on taxpayer aid despite a lack of economic opportunities for children forced to grow up there by families unwilling to relocate to where a better albeit less certain future may be.

In a very different situation, the offices of Charlie Hebdo – a magazine known for publishing ‘blasphemous’ images of the Islamic prophet as part of its edgy political and social commentary style, were shot up by terrorists more than a year ago. The incident provoked outcries of support for freedom of speech and solidary with the magazine and those writing for it.

By shutting down or trying to shut down these controversial voices and opinions – are we really any better than the terrorists – lack of firepower, aside? When free speech is held hostage by those inflamed by emotion or missing the bigger picture rather than choosing to engage in the debate – we all stand to lose. Pardon my French, but F&%k that.

Satyajeet Marar is a Macquarie Law student currently interning with the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. 

Public Sector Superannuation Rort: How the fattest fat cats stay fat – and make you pay for it.

By Satyajeet Marar

What if I were to tell you that the savings from the government’s superannuation reform which limits your own lifetime earnings is completely offset by the rise in public sector superannuation benefits? 

It’s no secret that Australian public servants, especially those in top roles, are some of the highest paid in the developed world, with the heads of several government departments earning almost double what even the US President earns.

To add insult to injury, they’ve taken things a few steps further. A recent article in The Australian has revealed how the public servants’ salaries have been manipulated through the use of remuneration tribunals and other dubious tactics,  causing astronomical increases of 70% or more since the GFC in 2006 and drastically outstripping private sector wage growth, with some fat cats now pocketing nearly $1 million a year. This really begs the question, how do people as crafty as this still manage to run technologically redundant websites which fail or crash when the public need them the most?

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Malcolm Turnbull: Lack of Leadership and Purpose

By Rowan Cravey

As someone who doesn’t mind if a Prime Minister isn’t the most charismatic tool in the shed, I expect them to have an agenda and a purpose. I think most people would probably agree with that. In the lead up to attaining the leadership of a major party, no matter the country, one should at least have a clear bedrock of purpose to their tenure.

Malcolm Turnbull lacks this.

So let’s go through the context of the now to see how Turnbull is failing to provide ample reason why he should remain the Prime Minister and lacks purpose.

Context number 1: At the beginning of 2015, the Liberal Party had a leadership spill. The only problem was that there was no candidate. Or wasn’t there? While Turnbull did not put his hand up for the challenge, the spill paved the way for him to eventually claim the leadership of the Liberal Party. Tony Abbott attempted to win back the party room’s favour over the next few months, but ultimately failed to do so.

During this time of several months, if he had not been doing so before, Turnbull should have been thinking about what he would do as Prime Minister. I find it difficult to believe that he would have had no time set aside to formulate what his leadership would be. From what can be observed over the past twelve months, it would seem that he did not do this.

Context number 2: After winning the leadership in September 2015, he continued governing for a few months. During this time, little happened. Even after providing one of the reasons for his successful challenge to Abbott as “providing the economic leadership Australia needs”, there was very little talk of taxation reform. Even when the interesting and potentially important idea of a state income tax came up, it evaporated away in less than forty-eight hours after it was raised. There wasn’t much talk of serious welfare reform during this time, and social issues like freedom of speech and the advocating of Western values took a back seat.

So from the time Turnbull became Prime Minister to May of 2016, he had not offered a bedrock of what he wanted to achieve in the long term, and only piecemeal changes to budgetary settings, none of which would have adequately dealt with the debt or deficit.

Context number 3: The election campaign to now. Over the course of the campaign from May to July, the Liberals basically boiled down to the failed ‘Innovation and Agility’ mantra, a company tax cut over the course of ten years and maybe two mentions of the ABCC and Registered Organisations legislation that the entire double dissolution was predicated upon. Again, very little talk of serious taxation reform, welfare reform or anything that would attack the debt. Not to mention the passing up of attacks against Labor when they arrived (i.e. their history on immigration for example).

So here we are. Going on a year of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership, and quite frankly, little to show for it. There has been no economic advocacy of any note, save for the lip service of needing to lower the debt, ignoring the fact that the Treasurer has taken that mantle up.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. Perhaps there have been many reasons to explain this ongoing lethargy of leadership. Let’s go back to English class and compare and contrast another new Prime Minister. Theresa May of Great Britain.

Since rising to the leadership of the Conservative Party, May has upended a ban on grammar schools, has committed to leave the EU without going to a parliamentary vote, where Labour and the House of Lords would spit in the face of the people and force Britain to remain in the EU, has ordered public servants to get on with their job for Brexit and all this in under a year of being Britain’s Prime Minister. May had and has purpose and a will to implement what she believes in.

This decisiveness and taking the reins as Prime Minister is in stark contrast to Turnbull’s time thus far.

This brings me to the final part to my opinion: what to do about it? What does the phrase ‘It’s Time’ refer to?

There are two options. The first answer is to change leaders again. Yes, this would be very risky and could send the Liberals back even further in what the stand for and the direction of which they live by, but if Turnbull is incapable of actually changing the current situation and providing a leadership of purpose, then someone else must fill those shoes more fittingly.

The second is for Turnbull to seriously re-evaluate what he must do as leader of the Liberal Party and as Prime Minister. A reawakening of both Classical Liberal/Libertarian and Conservative advocacy is a necessity. Being a Moderate only resigns one to being rudderless and without purpose. Turnbull should have a movie night and watch the Matrix series (third one isn’t so good, but one doesn’t not finish a story), and listen to Agent Smith. For as evil as he might be, he has a point. According to him, it is:

 “…purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines, purpose that binds us.”

If Turnbull takes this to heart, he should find the direction his government must take to remain in office, but more importantly, to govern Australia for its prosperity and success.

Get Up’s Real Agenda

“Look! A squirrel!”

That’s what GetUp! does every time you point out their BS. They claim on their website that they aren’t partisan, nor do they support any particular political party. This is said BS.

GetUp!’s chairwoman Sarah Maddison campaigned for the Greens in the 2016 double dissolution election, and revelations that another board member, Sara Saleh publicly supports the BDS Movement.

Getup! has always been anti-Israel, but their paranoia and hatred for it continues to rise to new heights each day. In March this year, Saleh claimed that all the Western media was indoctrinated to such a degree, that they were blind to Israeli soldiers being ordered to have no phones with them as they did unspeakable things to dead Palestinians, saying that Western media simply fabricated news to support Israel. The evidence of which would prove such damning allegations is of course nowhere to be found.

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Liberty at Risk: Book Review

By Ahmed Suliman

As the Australian public comes to terms with the results of a federal election that promises more deadlock, politicking, and media games than ever before, it is a fitting time to keep sight of the issues and solutions that truly make a difference to the lives of voting public in their millions.

Liberty at Risk: Tackling Today’s Political Problems valiantly attempts to do so in a concise and direct manner. The book is Peter Fenwick’s second foray in book writing, after The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters (2014). Fenwick is the founder and chairman of successful consulting company, Fenwick Software, and a civil engineering and philosophy graduate.

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Hugh McDermott MP Must Apologise for False Allegation

By Rowan Cravey

Bertrand Russel encapsulated precisely what the problem is with the Left with his immortal quip:

“Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”

Now we can take a look at Mr. Hugh McDermott, State Labor MP for Prospect. This is a screenshot of a Facebook post by the ‘good gentleman’.

boredI draw your attention to the lower right accusation against Premier Mike Baird. It is in relation to the recent tragedy where a baby was hooked up to what was thought to have been oxygen (O2), but was instead nitrous oxide (NO2). This was an immense mistake by the staff of the hospital, yet Mr. McDermott seems to think that Baird is guilty of one of the horrific crimes that the Nazis committed. The gassing of people.

No more needs to be said.

Hugh McDermott must apologise for such a horrific allegation, Labor leader Luke Foley must repudiate McDermott and condemn his office for such a reprehensible accusation.

The Black Vote

By Rowan Cravey

It is taken as a given that black people in the US vote Democrat. Nothing is written or demanded that they do this, but election after election, blacks almost solely vote Democrat. This is a foolish behaviour goaded on by the race politics of victimised blacks and self-flagellating white SJWs.

‘But Republicans are racists!’ You might say. ‘They only care about white people!’ You may hear.

This is untrue and reflects the stupidity and misinformed/uninformed nature of those who say such things. I am the first one to note that the Republicans have their problems. And even though I am told that as a gay man, I should despise the Republicans for people like Rick Santorum saying the wonderful things he says, I say that despite the imperfections of any one particular party, the Republican Party has far outstripped the Democrats in terms of what has been and could be delivered.

The best (or worst depending on how you see it) example is Detroit. Detroit was once a working city just like any other. Now, it is filled with poverty, huge welfare dependence and has been controlled by the Democrats for years. The party that is ostensibly the one of tolerance and love for minorities has led Detroit, through their socialist economic direction, metaphorically into the ground. The crime rate is 5 times higher than the national average of the US, the unemployment rate of Detroit is 18.6%, way above the national rate of 7.6%, and the city is $20 billion in debt.

Even though the city is majority black (78%) and has been run by their friends, the Democrats, the city is crumbling under incompetence and the inability to serve the people.

So along comes God-Emperor TrumpTM to save the day. He recently spoke to a rally that blacks should vote for him because they had nothing to lose, given the history of the Democrats and black Americans. While most of what Trump says could possibly be phrased and delivered better, he is dead right. Democrats, like the Left and SJWs more broadly, claim to be the morally righteous people or society and only they are able to give blacks a good life. There has been no talk from Clinton or other Leftists and race baiters like Al Sharpton (Black victimiser No. 1) about enabling blacks to start businesses, to remove the welfare dependency that has plagued so many for so long, to resist the entitlement mentality so many have and tell them to make their own life theirs and not rely on the magnanimous and benevolent Democrats to give them everything they want.

Now Trump may not deliver on all that he says, and only time will tell that, but one thing is clear. That Democrats are not the friend of blacks, as much as they might like to tell themselves. Republicans and Libertarians believe in leading one’s own life and getting away from the patronising and infantilising attitude of the Left and the SJWs. Blacks may not want to vote for Trump himself, given that not everyone will be able to agree with his policies, but the Democratic vote is a vote for what has happened to Detroit over the past few decades and all the disadvantage that blacks there have suffered.

Hung, Drawn and Scorched

By Manning Jeffrey 

I hate QandA, the last episode featuring the cage match between some climate do gooders and the newly elected One Nation Clown, was the first I made myself watch in years and only in order to write this article. The ABC had meticulously planned out the evening where an inarticulate and rather batty Climate Skeptic, would be cut down and torn to shreds by a line up of Celebrity Physicist, Mathematician and two smooth talking politicians. Malcolm Roberts, like many Climate Skeptics, managed to entangle himself in a net of carefully laid out traps which bound him into arguing about some irrelevant facts and small target arguments. He came out looking like nothing more than a conspiracy theorist and a nutter. It’s a misery to watch for someone like myself who understands how much the skeptical side has to offer public discourse. Where old arguments have failed to gain traction, the skeptical movement, must reinvigorate the debate and provide a sensible coherent and positive response to the theory of man made climate change.

First and foremost mans ability to raise carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will be regarded as one of our greatest achievements. The industrial revolution in the blink of an eye of human history has raised millions out of subsistence farming, increased life spans, cured many infectious diseases and most of all made us all very wealthy. The skeptical side of the debate should own the moral high ground of putting people first, particularly with regard to the untold misery that would be caused if the third world were to be subjected to measures to curb our use of cheap, reliable energy. But not only from a humanist perspective CO2 is good for the planet too. The climate alarmists will be quick to suggest we must leave carbon locked into a fossilised state, this is where the skeptical movement must begin to question how it is the carbon got there in the first place.

Life has existed on Earth for the past 600 million years and in that time the amount of carbon dioxide has varied wildly, however there has been one consistent underlying trend, a reduction in Co2. The way that oil, coal and gas come to be Fossil fuels, is through organic material becoming locked in Earths crust. Through photosynthesis, life on Earth has siphoned carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. Where as at the beginning of the Cambrian explosion (life on earth begins) the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been theorised to be upwards 4000 parts per million. If such an amount were to be programmed into the latest IPCC climate model earth would have looked far more like a fireball rather than the incubator for Darwin’s Evolution of species that we know it was. Pre industrial revolution CO2 was measured at only 280ppm. Simply put, life on earth has been sucking carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. Humans have managed to increase the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere by 120ppm, if Co2 had continued its trend down by this same amount many plant species would simply have found it too difficult to breath.

However not only have we inadvertently saved the entire eco system from a slow and crippling demise, there are still many benefits to be had by vastly increasing CO2. It should be no surprise that by increasing the amount of plant food floating around will increase the growth rates of all life on earth. A recent Study by the CSIRO mapped out vegetation across the planet and noted that over the past couple of decades not only has the amount of plant life increased, the areas of most significant growth were on the edges of deserts. With increased concentrations of Carbon dioxide not only do plants grow faster but they also need less water.

Towards the end of the program Linda Burney suggested that the fact that people were able to go and spend day on Maroubra beach in Autumn was evidence of an imminent climate catastrophe. There is something very medieval about subjecting humans to a perpetual state of fear about their existence on the planet, over the everyday pleasures of life. As an objectivist, this is the type of nihilism and degradation of man’s soul that I am so eager to fight. In our pursuit of putting food on the table, a roof over our heads, heat in our home and expanding our horizons, man is putting carbon dioxide back where it belongs. 

For further reading I would suggest anything by Alex Epstein or Patrick Moore.

Save our backpackers from the state

By Satyajeet Marar

Meet Helga

helga

“Hallo, could you point me to ze nearest discothecque, Ja? Zis jungle juice ist tooo guut”

Helga is a loo$e cannon who once dropped 2 pills in Ibiza and cried to her friends the next morning about missing her ex-boyfriend whom she lost to a tragic Hazelnut schnapps overdose.

Helga has done some things she regrets. But when it comes to Australia, Helga just wants to do one thing – pick your fruit! And she’ll do it for cheap too. Because Helga for all of her German citizenship, is a true Ozzy patriot who unlike a large proportion of Australians, doesn’t take for granted how good we have it here and the great opportunities afforded by our beloved isle girt by sea.

helga 2

“I gently massage zis grapes for ze maximum efficiency. Do not question me.”

We need people like Helga. Not only do they support our nightclubs, hostels, bars and tourist spots but they also provide some much needed labour for our regional farmers who just can’t find enough locals willing to do the grunt work needed for a bountiful harvest.

Unfortunately, our government doesn’t seem to think so.

Because the fat bastards in charge don’t think that backpackers like Helga pay their ‘fair share’ – Even though her income would put her well below the taxable threshold as a local.

They want their share. And it’s not 10% or even 20%, but a whopping 32.5% of Helga’s income!

helga 3

“ZIS IZ BULLSCHEISSE!!”

helga 4

“You lot care so much about foreigners, but what ‘bout da ridgy-didge battlas of straya? Can’t find me own chin, mate *snort* *snort*” – local tax policy advisor

In a nutshell – the government, no longer content on allowing farmers in dire need of workers and holiday makers in dire need of a means-of-support to freely contract and mutually benefit, wants to sink its grubby fingers into the pie.

Not only would this seriously harm our agricultural and tourism industries, it would also incentivise the hiring of undocumented or illegal immigrants to fill up labour shortfalls, leaving them open to exploitation and creating problems for our Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

To make matters worse, the government is taking public submissions into a review of the policy over a shockingly short, rushed timeframe – and is doing it right before the harvest season when our farmers will need to rely on seasonal foreign workers the most.

helga 5

Pictured: Undocumented foreign worker on an Australian farm

It also means that our backpackers who bring so much needed stimulus to our economy will be attracted to other, more welcoming countries. Countries which recognise their contribution and understand their need to support themselves while they explore a new land.

helga 6

Pictured: Helga with friendly, local co-workers in New Zealand

RIP Diagonal Crossing

By Satyajeet Marar 

We live in dark and scary times. Fanatics are blasting each other with bullets in the Middle East and the US presidential race is being contested by the prom king and prom queen of Douchebag High.

hillary

I for one, welcome our reptilian overlords.

It seems that every day, some new piece of sinister news reveals itself. For us Sydneysiders, today is indeed a dark day – and it’s an issue no one is yet talking about.

Diagonal crossing.

We’ve all been there – that 4-way crossing at the Woolworths intersection near Town Hall station. When the two pedestrian crossing lights turn on at the same time, you can kill two birds with one stone by crossing directly from one corner to the other – saving you the time of waiting to cross two streets and giving you that crucial extra bit of time to dip the Oporto fries you’re having for lunch in chili sauce.

Well, not any more.

diagonal

*heavy, enraged breathing intensifies*

As part of this new light-rail tram-track business, you can no longer diagonally cross to get to where you need to go. There isn’t even any trackwork taking place in that wide open space where the pedestrians would scramble – meaning that this rule makes about as much sense as this picture –

black nats

Since this is both extremely inconvenient as well as nonsensical, is it any surprise that the government is behind it?

On the other hand, I’ve just been made aware that there might be a very functional reason to the closure of the pedestrian scramble/diagonal crossing, given the associated closure of George St.

From reddit user /u/SilverStar9192:

“Not that so much as the blindingly obvious fact (if you actually have been through the city recently), that George St is closed on the north (QVB) side. So it’s already more of a T intersection and not the same situation that applied for the scatter crossing previously. (Not saying that scatter crossings aren’t possible at T intersections – it’s used at Pitt and Market I believe, but the fact is that it’s totally different now.)

The less blindingly obvious part is that the other side of George St – Town Hall side – will be closed soon as well. So as a result it makes sense to use a normal crossing pattern to allow crossing of Park/Druitt St in a standard way instead of waiting for the scatter.”

Despite the use of logic here, I do think we must note what the end of the diagonal crossing truly represents – the death of something which has grown into a pseudo-tourist attraction, reminiscent of Times Square. The death of a cultural cornerstone of our society and our way of life. Is that, friends, not still a tragedy..?

triggered