The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

We fight for Afghans, but God help them if they turn up here illegally!

Logisitical nightmare: The Navy is assisting in the transfer of casualities.

'Logisitical nightmare': The Navy is assisting in the transfer of casualities.

One of my favourite conservative bloggers is arguing that “Illegal migration demands surge with Rudd Government policy failure.” The Howardian approach to asylum seekers – ‘the boat people’ – was to subvert the claim to asylum by determining that arrival here without proper authority is a criminal act. Additional deterrence was offered through prolonged incarceration and the odd dubious repatriation. It is not illegal, however, to seek asylum.

Whether or not the Afghans are seeking permanent resident status, as Harry claims, they are first and foremost exercising their human right to seek political asylum. Are conservatives saying that breaking an immigration law cancels out any legitimate claim to asylum? That to seek asylum in Australia is illegal unless the proper paperwork is done first?

What would Harry do with these people? Suggest they form an orderly queue at the Australian Embassy in Kabul and submit paperwork seeking asylum?? Lock them up for five years once they get here for breaking our immigration laws and then pay the cost of mental illness and social dysfunction resulting therefrom?

We have a tough immigration regime, as Harry is tacitly acknowledging, so where is the evidence for a softening, such as it will encourage asylum seekers? People on whose behalf we are fighting a war risk everything – property, family, imprisonment – to get to Australia, undertaking a tortuous and clandestine journey across Asia to finally sail in a leaky boat to Ashmore reef. I’d suggest we have to seriously consider that they are in fact refugees seeking political asylum! Hell, people with such grit and determination should at least be given a chance to put their case. And if their cause is genuine, then let them add to our common wealth. I’m sure they’ll do well, just like the rest of us immigrants have.

Tell us Harry. How would you make it tougher? How would you deal with the current wave of asylum seekers? How would you turn all this around? Or how would Malcolm Turnbull, for that matter. The ‘get tough’ message might have worked a treat for Howard, but these are different times. I suspect the masses recognise the moral hypocrisy of fighting and dying in a war for Iraqis/Afghans and then branding as criminals of suspect character those Iraqi/Afghan refugees who have the temerity to risk everything, including life itself, to turn up on our doorstep seeking shelter and compassion.

Filed under: Australian values, Howardians, Iraq, Law, Politics

Ad bans won’t stop kids liking junk food but they will reduce consumption

Liberal Party propaganda columnist for The Age, Chris Berg, reckons that because a ban on junk food ads during children’s television programming will not stop them liking junk food there is no point in doing it — it’s just more oppressive nanny statism depriving us of our liberty and personal choice.

Golden ArchesBerg argues that junk food advertising is basically about providing information. Yeah, right. Try junk food advertising to kids is about increasing junk food sales to kids — otherwise why would they bother. You can’t drive more than a few urban kilometres wihout seeing the ubiquitous Golden Arches.

The only freedom being compromised here is the freedom of global food corporations to make a profit by peddling food which is dangerous to the health of the individual, creates public costs through ill-health and obesity, and environmental degradation.

The freedom of children and parents to like and comsume junk food is in no way being compromised.


Filed under: Ass Hattery, Economics, Howardians, Ideology, Law, Media, Nonsense, Politics

Speed cameras reduce speeding!

Those who believe (almost exclusively male drivers) that it is their inalienable right to break the speed limit by just a little bit will be indignant over the latest findings that only one in 10 motorists now say they speed all or most of the time, down from one in four just seven years ago.

Speed Camera

Speed cameras, long criticised as “revenue raisers”, have cut Victoria’s road toll by reducing average speeds to a record low.

Average pedestrian fatalities of 140-150 per year in the 1980s have now fallen to 40-50 fatalities a year, according to Monash University Accident Research Centre.

Who would have thought!

Filed under: Law

Keelty. Rat. Ship. Sinking.

Nicholson CartoonsAFP Commissioner Mick Keelty is obviously keen on keeping his job with his new masters after the election. After singing in unison with Kevin Andrew’s clumsy attempts to vilify Dr. Mohamed Haneef, he has said:

In an interview with The Bulletin published this week, Mr Keelty said he warned the DPP the evidence against the Indian national was thin.

“Mine was an opinion that I expressed to the DPP, but I understood all the time that the prosecutor was independent of me and independent of the investigation and needed to come up with a view for himself,” Mr Keelty told the magazine.

Dr Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo, said today he was surprised by Mr Keelty’s comments.

“I’m surprised because that is totally contrary to everything he has said up to date,” Mr Russo told ABC radio.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Law, Politics

More bastardry from Kevin (I didn’t do it) Andrews

That nice Christian man, Mr Andrews, has deported a New Zealand man on character grounds, despite an impending appeal to the Federal Court. Federal Court Justice Margaret Stone said “It is truly disgraceful for the Minister to behave in this way. I think nothing can excuse this sort of flagrant abuse of an individual’s rights.” I dare say Jesus would agree with her.

Just like the Coalition’s death penalty policy. What’s that old line from the Bible, “Thou shalt not kill, except for non-Christian terrorists?”

But a spokeswoman for Mr Andrews said: “While the …removal was done by the authority of the Immigration Department, the minister had no knowledge of, or involvement with the court hearing or the removal.”

Now what was all that fuss this week accusing Kevin Rudd of failing to take responsibility and blame-shifting?

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Law, Politics

Vic restaurant raids prove system works: Hockey

Avuncular JoeHey boss, polling is showing that people aren’t swallowing those Work Choices ads we got the business council to cough up for. They’re saying that even if half of what we’re telling them is true they’ll never be able to police it. What are we going to do?

Let’s show the people that we’re serious. Find some out of the way tourist place in a safe seat, do a sweep of the small-time cafes, take-aways and restaurants and rattle their cages. Bust a few bosses for underpaying their staff and abusing the immigrant workers. That’ll get the punters on side.

I got it, boss! Warrnambool! Lots of tourists and lots of Sudanese workers. I’ll get onto it.

Oh, before I forget, we need to up the intake of 457s with the skills shortage blowing out the way it is.

Unbelieveable. They’re virtually admitting to setting up today’s raid as Warrnambool’s hospitality industry was gearing up for a busy Friday night, doing exactly what’s going on under WorkChoices in small businesses all over the country. Make an example of them for the six o’clock TV news.

They eat their own, these people.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Economics, Federal Election 2007, Law, Politics

Howard’s final act of indigenous bastardry

ABCThe Federal government, in a farcical traversty of parliamentary process today passed a shonky piece of legislation which closes the circle on Howard’s decade long determination to legally extinguish native title. Although mentioning children but a few times, the 500 page legislation enacted in the name of saving indigenous children paves the way for one of Howard’s other long cherished dreams – an unfettered expansion of the uranium industry, from mining to waste storage.

Denounced widely by indigenous leaders (where is Noel Pearson these days) and dismissed by those who have been working in indigenous affairs as containing no provisions for actually improving the quality of life in our indigenous communities, the legislation grants the Federal government the right to determine any future usage of their land, including the granting of mining leases.

The head of Reconciliation Australia and former Fraser government Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Fred Chaney says the Commonwealth’s Emergency Response Bill for Northern Territory Aboriginal communities tramples on Indigenous property rights. He says that he is shocked by the legislation rushed through the House of Representatives in the last week – it could see successful communities and families returned to dependence.

“[It] is contemptuous of Aboriginal property rights, is contemptuous of the principle of non-discrimination,” he said.

“[It] is authorising an absurd and unattainable level of micromanagement of Aboriginal lives, which is far beyond the capacity of the federal bureaucracy to deliver.”

Mal Brough either knows he is committing the biggest scam on indigenous people since colonisation or he is just plain stupid. Both, likely.

Hopefully Rudd’s bi-partisan support for this audacious act of heartless bastardry will be his first non-core undertaking. The situation will only worsen under the new legislation and will not improve until a consultative and collaborative approach to indigenous affairs is developed.

Filed under: Australian values, Indigenous, Law, Politics

Civil vs economic libertarians

With political bloggers of all persuasions having a field day analysing the unfolding events involved in the detention, charging and release of Dr. Mohamed Haneef, it strikes me as odd that, unless I  blinked and missed it, none of the usual libertarian commentators have been inspired to post on the matter in over a month.

While having only limited appreciation of the distinctions between consequentialism and rights theory, I have always assumed that libertarianism has at its core the liberty of individuals to act free from undue force and intimidation – upheld only by minimal governmental intervention based on principles of equality under law, justice and due process without excessively interfering in the lives of its citizens.

The Howard government is intending to give unprecedented powers of police surveillance without warrant or judicial oversight more usually associated with secret stasi-style police states and authoritarian regimes. Yet, still no comment from the Oz libertarians. Unsurprising in some ways as they universally support the Coalition rather than Labor, yet these latest transgressions on individual liberty go unremarked.

Would anyone care to disabuse me of the notion that Oz libertarians are more concerned with the liberty of the wealthy to take advantage of the poor? Are they simply free market ideologues in libertarian clothing? Economic libertarians, rather than civil libertarians?

Filed under: Australian values, Economics, Ideology, Law, Media, Politics

Stasi State – Howard style

Chief Secret Squirrel RuddockHot on the heels of the Haneef kerfuffle, the Howard government seems intent on moving Australia one step closer to a Stasi-styled Police State, intending to grant police authorities unprecedented ‘sneak and peek’ powers to search people’s homes and computers without court approval for ‘serious’ crimes attracting a jail penalty of 10 years or more.

Australian Federal Police will have the right to monitor communications equipment without a warrant, assume false identities to enter premises for surreptitious searches, and the person concerned does not have to be informed for at least six months, and can remain uninformed for 18 months if the warrant is rolled over.

The warrant can be issued by the head of a police service or security agency without the approval of a judicial officer. Under the proposed legislation undercover operations by federal agents may include criminal activity to further their investigations. And should it all go pear-shaped, as in the bungled incompetence of the Haneef case, the bill also provides for immunity not only to the undercover police or security officer involved, but also civilian informants who are part of the operation. I gather there is also provision for foreign security services to operate in Australia under the same provisions with immunity.

Simply talking about investigations under the existing terror legislation can attract prison term of 10-15 years. Presumably I am liable to be subjected to the new surveillance laws just for being a blogger who writes critically about these issues. Must remember to encrypt my wireless router.

That an authoritarian centrist conservative political party can still call itself ‘Liberal’ is now officially beyond a joke. Don’t expect a peep of of Australia’s conservative Libertarians. Their concept of liberty stops extends only to the free market.

Filed under: Australian values, Law, Politics

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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