Tuesday, 31 December 2013



Complicity Bill ex THE OZ



Of Shirpas and incompetents Shorten


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  1. Our most deluded prime minister | Catallaxy Files


    Sep 7, 2013 - It was, if I can say this, a more respectable loss than it might have been..... because of Rudd's destabilisation; she was unpopular because of her policy failures, lies, .... I suspect only 33% of the population would agree .... Geoff Seidner ... on utube: ''I do not know what she said – but I am sure she is right.''

  2. Socialist Dystopia: rewritten: GRANDE DELUSIONS OF LABORED ...


    Sep 8, 2013 - It is not only that arch twirp Bruce Hawker and the leadership / acolytes of... internationally on utube: ''I do not know what she said – but I am sure she is right.''... Socialist Dystopia: PULP PARTY created by Geoff Seidner ... If julia Gillard can call on MS Buttler of the Macquarie dictionary with her plaything ...


New management - speak: Julia's shirpa!

letters today - BDS supporters should explain their selectivity

BDS supporters should explain their selectivity


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THE boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign discriminates against all Israelis, supposedly to penalise Israel for abuse of Palestinian rights ("Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews' ", 28-29/12). Not only is the claim of abuse debatable, it ignores obvious abuse by others.
Israel occupied Arab lands in response to aggression and has made repeated offers to withdraw in return for peace. At the same time, without any provocation or offer of withdrawal, China occupies Tibet, Indonesia occupies West Papua, Morocco occupies Western Sahara and Turkey occupies Cyprus, holding their populations captive and abusing their rights. Yet apparently only Israel deserves the attention of Jake Lynch and the BDS gang. They should explain.
Dov Midalia, Bondi Junction, NSW
YOU should be thanked for telling readers about the derision used by the lawyer representing the Israeli law centre Shurat HaDin in their legal action against my Sydney University colleague Jake Lynch who is supported by more than 4000 signed-up co-defendants from 60 countries.
Shurat HaDin's action is a hysterical, albeit planned, response to the increasingly successful worldwide boycott of staff from academic institutions that assist in the occupation of Palestinian lands and thereby run roughshod over international human rights laws.
Without adherence to such laws, there can be no civility, no justice for Palestinians or for their supporters within Israel.
Stuart Rees, Sydney University, NSW
Sickness in the service
FOR many years, public sector sick leave has been running above that found in the private sector ("Sickies on rise in public service", 30/12). A crackdown on this is long overdue.
However, expecting the Australian Public Service Commission to lead any initiative would be rash given the rise in leave taking that has occurred under its stewardship.
If the APSC is expected to be the government's chief human resources management adviser, it would be expected that role would be occupied by someone who has standing as a senior HR professional.
Where leave is taken for reasons other than that claimed, the employee is imposing on the commonwealth. This should be treated as an offence.
More widely, though, the solution is in building an attendance culture. A first step might be to make unplanned absence a controllable cost sheeted home to frontline managers, not carried as a corporate overhead. After all, the workplace manager is likely to know which absence is honest and which is not.
William Forgan-Smith, Norman Park, Qld
Referendum a true test
RODNEY Croome has neatly confirmed the determination of the High Court to politicise its constitutional decision on the ACT's same-sex marriage law (Letters, 30/12).
By giving his Australian Marriage Equality leave to intervene to put an extraneous and unnecessary question about the federal government's powers to legislate on same-sex marriage, the court set itself up to deliver its gratuitous redefinition of marriage.
It thus attempted to pre-empt the role of the parliament to express the people's will through their representatives. That will has never been expressed - certainly not by the surveys of AME, which it has claimed as the basis for popular support, while rejecting the true test of a referendum.
Geoffrey Luck, Killara, NSW
Ineffectual law
BILL Moyle's response (Letters, 30/12) to my questioning of the effectiveness of laws that make the mere giving of offence unlawful is couched in academic language but divorced from reality (Letters, 28-29/12), as is his apparent belief in the ability of laws that are unintelligible to most people to influence everyday attitudes and social interactions.
Do we reach for the statute books before responding to our neighbour? It is the social acceptability of particular behaviour that determines our statutes rather than the converse.
My point is that when the law seeks to go beyond protecting people from real harm in trying to forcefully impose goodness on others, it becomes ineffectual and brings itself into disrepute. The test of the effect of such laws on social cohesion is whether those who fall foul of their provisions (or even those who benefit from them) would then feel more or less kindly disposed towards the other party.
Eric Lockett, Rose Bay, Tas
Defection no surprise
THE news that Zimbabwe's ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila is seeking asylum should come as no surprise. Robert Mugabe is a dictator who thinks nothing of persecution in order to distract attention from his nepotism and corruption.
However, the enthusiasm with which refugee advocates have greeted this news raises another issue. Why have they been silent on the need to tackle Mugabe and why haven't they been vocal in calls for easing the process for persecuted minorities in southern Africa to enter Australia?
The award for hypocrisy must go to former PM Malcolm Fraser who has tweeted Zwambila must be granted asylum now - especially considering his enthusiastic support for the Marxist Mugabe.
Andrew Phillips, Glendevie, Tas
Pessimistic on Syria
TO implore the international community to prevent an unmitigated catastrophe in Lebanon as a consequence of the Syrian crisis is to be wildly optimistic ("Containing Syria's civil war", 30/12).
The international community has been powerless to curb the violence in Syria. In three years, more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed by the regime. Any overflow of violence into Lebanon will not be averted by the international community.
Joel Feren, Elwood, Vic

Sunday, 29 December 2013

PVO - 28/12 ..A lesson for Brandis on the meaning of hypocrisy

A lesson for Brandis on the meaning of hypocrisy


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Eric Lobbecke
Cartoon: Eric Lobbecke Source: TheAustralian
NEW Attorney-General George Brandis clearly doesn't like being called a hypocrite. Come to think of it, who does?
But if the cap fits, sometimes you've just got to wear it, as uncomfortable as that may be.
Last Saturday in this column I accused Brandis and former Labor attorney-general Mark Dreyfus of hypocrisy over comments that each made about one another's appointments to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Brandis recently appointed Tim Wilson - a member of the Liberal Party and well-known right-wing spruiker - despite in July having attacked Labor's appointment of Tim Soutphommasane, a member of the Labor Party and well-known left-wing spruiker. Brandis described Soutphommasane as an "overt partisan of the Labor Party", saying that commissioners must be able to "discharge their responsibilities in the human rights field in a non-partisan manner".
I would have thought it was an open-and-shut case of hypocrisy, but Brandis disagreed, writing to this paper to explain why. His letter was published on Monday.
The argument Brandis mounted to counter my claim that Wilson was a partisan appointment was that while Wilson "may have been a longstanding member of the Liberal Party", "in his contributions to public debate he has been anything but a Liberal Party partisan". The example Brandis used to highlight this point was Wilson's public criticisms of the anti-bikie laws in Queensland. "We were not looking for a partisan, and we have not appointed one," Brandis boldly declared with the final sentence of his letter.
Brandis's argument had two unintended consequences: first, it highlighted that he actually doesn't understand the definition of a partisan; second, even the incorrect definition Brandis offered up doesn't absolve him of the charge of hypocrisy. In fact, it cements it, as I'll explain.
Brandis is extremely well read. Certainly his library (exposed by this newspaper not that long ago as paid for by the taxpayer, via entitlements) is littered with political and philosophical texts. I have no problem with Brandis expensing his library, incidentally; it is nice to see a politician who surrounds himself with books, a rare sight to be sure. But Brandis, if he reads them, would know full well what being a partisan actually means.
A partisan is someone who supports one side of politics, period. It doesn't mean becoming a drone who can't think for oneself and backs every single element of a party's agenda, and that is not what I was accusing Wilson of being, incidentally (nor Soutphommasane, who is also a partisan, according to the true definition).
A person doesn't cease to be a partisan just because they occasionally (in Wilson's case, very occasionally) disagree with their party's policies. The correct term for someone who never holds views that differ from their political party of choice, no matter what, is a sycophant (although sycophant isn't a formal political-science term in the way that partisan is).
But even if we put to one side Brandis's misuse of what it means to be a partisan and accept his assertion that Wilson is not one, what about the fact Soutphommasane has bucked his party's line on numerous occasions? Why did Brandis see fit to call him an "overt partisan"?
Soutphommasane has challenged Labor over its treatment of boatpeople, its backtracking from support for a big Australia and limits on the humanitarian refugee intake. He even wrote a book titled Don't Go Back to Where You Came From, which challenges his former boss Bob Carr's thesis that immigration numbers should be reduced. He has challenged Labor many more times than Wilson has challenged the Liberals.
How can it be that Soutphommasane has done all of that, yet Brandis saw fit to accuse him of being an "overt partisan of the Labor Party", unable to "discharge (his) responsibilities in the human rights field in a non-partisan manner", given the definition of partisanship Brandis wishes to work with? All the more so given that Soutphommasane was appointed to the position of race discrimination commissioner, thereby putting him in direct conflict with Labor on the issues on which he has disagreed with it previously?
This is in contrast to Wilson, who is in lock-step with the government on the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the first significant issue Wilson as a commissioner will be asked to look into.
If Brandis believes Wilson's occasional public disagreements with Liberal Party policy absolve him of the charge of being a partisan, why not Soutphommasane for his many public disagreements with Labor?
The answer is hypocrisy.
Brandis went out of his way in July to describe Soutphommasane as - in effect - a partisan sycophant unable to live up to the needs of the AHRC. Then he invented a new meaning of the word partisan to insulate Wilson (and himself) from the same criticisms he dished out to Soutphommasane and Dreyfus less than six months ago.
As I wrote last week, by all means condemn a partisan appointment by your political opponents, but don't then make one yourself. And by all means make partisan appointments, but for God's sake shut up when your opponents do likewise.
Brandis's letter has invited me to point out a few home truths missed in last weekend's column now that I have revisited this topic. While I charged both Dreyfus and Brandis with hypocrisy last week, clearly the greater hypocrisy was on Brandis's part. His criticisms were far more over the top than Dreyfus's.
Dreyfus (unlike others on the Left) deliberately avoided attacking Wilson for his Liberal Party membership, whereas Soutphommasane's Labor membership was at the heart of Brandis's attacks.
Further, while I believe an AHRC with more balanced representation is a good thing (if it isn't abolished to the tune of a $25 million saving each year), and Wilson's appointment assists with achieving that, the process Brandis followed ahead of selecting Wilson was appalling.
Not only did he announce the appointment before it was confirmed by the Governor-General, he also chose Wilson without a selection process (which Soutphommasane went through) and without even bothering to inform the president of the AHRC, Gillian Triggs, much less consult her.
Peter van Onselen is a professor at the University of Western Australia.

Emmerson 28/12: Deep thinker says subs are the solution

Deep thinker says subs are the solution


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AS two icons of Australian manufacturing, Ford and Holden, wind up their operations, doubts inevitably will arise as to whether, with Australia's relatively high cost structure, we will be any good at making anything. Despite high costs, Australia seems to have some sort of future in manufacturing premium-quality foods and beverages such as cheese, infant formula and wine. And if one expert is right, we also may have a future in producing lots of a highly sophisticated manufactured good: submarines.
No golden rule dictates that nations must make things. Standardised manufacturing has been shifting from advanced countries to the developing world for several decades now. But sophisticated, high-value manufacturing still takes place in many advanced countries. It can be based on natural attributes such as a mineral base, though mineral processing, too, is searching for cheap energy and the lower environmental standards available in the developing world.
Yet Scandinavian countries and Germany lack natural endowments for manufacturing but have acquired attributes such as excellence in design and engineering that give them a comparative advantage in sophisticated design and manufacturing.
Australia also has enjoyed success in sophisticated manufacturing. Boeing's largest footprint outside the US is in Australia. One expert, Australian National University professor Hugh White, argues Australia should be able to go like the clappers making submarines.
In an appearance on my podcast, Emmo Forum, White claims $15 billion worth of defence spending is being wasted on buying the wrong equipment to achieve the wrong military objectives. White views the vast expanse of water around Australia as a natural barrier to sustained attack and argues that Australia's key defence capability must be to sink other people's ships. Submarines are particularly good at doing that.
If we as a country decide we are serious about being a middle power in the more demanding strategic environment of the Asian century, then submarines will be a key capability, and we would need many more of them than the 12 being planned.
White argues that 24 or even 36 submarines would be needed, and that we should start building them fast. A force of that size greatly enhances the economics of building submarines in Australia. Indeed, building and maintaining that kind of capability would require two yards operating continuously.
White contends that a program such as this, based on a big, long-term program to meet core enduring strategic priorities, would provide a much better basis for a defence industry in Australia than smaller-scale, stop-start projects driven more by short-term political imperatives with no serious strategic rationale.
White is not just any old expert; he is the principal author of Australia's 2000 defence white paper. That doesn't make White right. But it does make his views credible.
Critics will point to the Collins-class submarines, arguing their noisiness and other faults render them a failure. White acknowledges these problems but says they are being or can be fixed. Asked whether it would be better value for money to buy overseas-built submarines off the shelf, White says no, we are better off building our own capability.
He says it makes sense to develop the present Collins design rather than build to another overseas design or create a new concept from scratch. We already have a huge investment in the Collins design concept and it remains a boat whose basic characteristics - especially size and range - meet Australia's needs very well. And, of course, working with the existing design that is now well understood reduces the risks of costly stuff-ups.
The current defence white paper commits to building 12 "evolved Collins" submarines in Adelaide. White's proposal of 24 to 36 submarines is far more ambitious and, for a given level of defence spending, requires the abandonment of other equipment acquisition programs. It also would be a stretch for the navy to crew and operate large numbers of boats when it has struggled with today's fleet of six. Arguably, however, many of those problems have resulted because the fleet is too small to sustain critical skills and capabilities.
A large-scale, continuous program of submarine design and construction would enable the development and retention of a core skills base. The Coalition government has committed to spending 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence. That's about $30bn a year. If the economy were already fully employed, there might not be a great difference between buying Australia's required defence equipment from overseas or making it here. But we have acquired expertise in the design and construction of submarines, thanks to the much-criticised Collins-class design and construction program.
It may make sense for the government to review the defence equipment acquisition program with a view to ensuring the right objectives are being set and the right equipment is being procured to achieve those objectives. We should at least take seriously the possibility that White is right.
Craig Emerson was a minister in the previous government and now runs his own consultancy, craigemersoneconomics.com.

Great The OZ - 28/12 Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews' pages 1 - 2

Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews'


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SYDNEY academic Jake Lynch's promotion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign has discriminated against all Israelis in the same fashion as a pub owner hanging out a sign saying "No Jews or Blacks Allowed", the lawyer leading a lawsuit against him will argue.
Andrew Hamilton, representing the Israel-based legal action group Shurat HaDin, has submitted a sweeping statement of claim to the Federal Court alleging Professor Lynch has directly discriminated against academics, but also helped deprive all Israelis of cultural, educational, and professional opportunities.
In what is likely to be a landmark case revolving around conflicting interpretations of freedom of expression, Shurat HaDin will claim that Professor Lynch, by refusing to support a fellowship application by Israeli academic Dan Avnon, deprived him of his professional rights in an act of racial discrimination.
But Shurat HaDin's case will extend to claiming that all Israeli academics are adversely affected by the BDS policy of Professor Lynch, who is head of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.
The statement of claim also says that, by calling for boycotts of Israel, Professor Lynch also contributes to the wider international boycott campaign that disadvantages owners of Israeli-related businesses and contributes towards Israelis being deprived of cultural opportunities such as seeing big acts ranging from Santana to Pink Floyd.
Shurat HaDin alleges two academics, who have joined the case as plaintiffs, have been adversely affected by Professor Lynch's policy, even though as yet they have not been the subject of specific actions.
Dr Leonard Hammer, of the Hebrew University, a human rights lawyer, and Dr Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University, an Arabic studies specialist, have regularly lectured overseas, including in Australia, Mr Hamilton told The Australian.
"They both are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at the CPACS, where Lynch has implemented his boycott," Mr Hamilton said. "However, just as a sign on a bar saying 'No Jews or Blacks Allowed' discriminates against and disadvantages all Jews and blacks, even if they didn't even want to go into the bar, so Jake Lynch's BDS academic boycott discriminates and disadvantages all Israeli academics," he said.
In its Federal Court action, Shurat HaDin will not seek financial penalties, but orders that Professor Lynch renounce BDS and apologise for supporting it.
Professor Lynch is a vocal advocate of the international BDS campaign against Israel, which argues that Israeli government policies claimed to be illegal under international law discriminate against Palestinians.
He made headlines a year ago when Professor Avnon sought permission to use his name as a supporter for an exchange program visit under an agreement between Sydney University and the Hebrew University.
Professor Lynch turned down the request, citing his centre's support of BDS.
Professor Lynch has told The Australian he will vigorously fight the action. He will be represented by the high-profile barrister Stuart Littlemore QC. He strenuously denies he discriminated against Professor Avnon and points out he wrote him a polite letter saying that his work sounded interesting, but the centre had adopted a principled policy of boycotting Israeli academic institutions.
The Shurat HaDin's statement of claim alleges that as a result of Professor Lynch's actions "the number of suitable visiting academic placements for which Professor Dan Avnon could seek a funded academic fellowship at Sydney University has been restricted".
It claims it also had the effect of "impairing the recognition, enjoyment and exercise of Professor Dan Avnon's rights to education; freedom of association; freedom of expression; academic freedom, and work".
"The distinction, exclusion or restriction or preference was based on the fact that Professor Dan Avnon was a Jewish person of Israeli national or ethnic origin," the statement of claim alleges.
Shurat HaDin claims Professor Lynch has breached not only the Racial Discrimination Act, but also international conventions.
Professor Lynch told The Australian yesterday: "Shurat HaDin appear to forget when I was approached by Professor Dan Avnon it was to ask me for a favour. How I chose to respond to that request was a matter for my discretion. My decision to turn down his request had nothing to do with his religion or nationality. I reserve my right not to co-operate with schemes that provide for institutional links with Israeli universities, to which I object on principle."
Shurat HaDin's statement also says that in calling for a boycott of Israel Professor Lynch shares collective responsibility for the entire international BDS campaign and its consequences.
"The calls for boycott target the providers of cultural and sporting services with the effect of pressuring them to implement the boycott calls by refusing to perform in Israel and thus depriving Israeli consumers of access to their services," it says.
It says two of the applicants, David Hans Lange and Jonathan Rose, and their wives were "deprived of the opportunity to attend the local Israeli public performances of Elvis Costello" because a scheduled performance in 2010 for which they had tickets was cancelled "due to implementation of boycott calls".

28/12 lightweight letter from Herzog

Henry Herzog, St Kilda, Vic
In part answer to Peter Waterhouse (Letters, 27/12), Britain has indeed had a prime minister assassinated. He was Spencer Perceval, shot dead on May 11, 1812, by an aggrieved merchant, John Bellingham, in the lobby of the House of Commons.

28/12 - The ultimate cant letter.. great

The ultimate cant


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MANY thanks to Jennifer Oriel for the link to Immanuel Kant's trenchant views on those who would circumscribe our liberty. ("Left fights a rearguard action against liberty", 26/12).
To do so in the name of equality and prevention of hurt is the ultimate cant.
The appointment of Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner was always going to bring the usual suspects out of the woodwork, all wearing different hats, but not one of which you'd trust in a fowl yard.
Thanks also to Wilson for his part in shooting down the proposed legislation of the Nicola Roxon cabal which would have made it an offence for me to utter and The Australian to publish these comments. Sapere aude, indeed.
Kay Coltman, Geelong, Vic