Archive | February, 2014

Liz Thompson explains why she is not speaking at the Close Manus rally on Saturday

28 Feb

Thoughtful advice, with the wisdom of inside experience. It is true. It does become about the same ‘white’ or ‘mainstream’ people but every movement requires a face, a voice, a unification. That is where rallies do come in, or groups such as RAC and ASRC, and people as courageous as Liz Thompson who can bring insight, knowledge, truth and motivation. There is far more that can and needs to be done than a rally, but we also need consciousness raising; the charging of hearts; the cohesion of community; the guidance and direction, the information, of where and how to take action which will bring change. There is, always, strength in numbers. Those numbers are being used politically against the people seeking refuge, and it is incarcerating them in conditions we wouldn’t accept for animals. Without rallies, without dedicated groups such as RAC and ASRC, people flounder, knowing they want and need to do something, but without direction. It becomes too hard and they withdraw, turn away. That’s what the purveyors of this inhumanity, the politicians of both major parties but none so cruelly as the Abbott led government, rely on; it’s what they work towards; it’s where they push us. That’s why we need a groundswell of resistance and that only comes from numbers, from groups. Yes, this must be about the people incarcerated by our government for nothing more than seeking asylum; but it is also about us, because what the government does to them, we do to them. Not in my name is not wrong, not misguided. It is hollow only if we do not follow through to ensure it is not done in anyone’s name and, unfortunately, when it comes to politics, if it’s not done, or in this not undone in our name, it is not done.
Liz Thompson is an intelligent and articulate woman. The light she shed on exactly what is happening inside the Manus Island Detention Centre, is vital and needs to be widely disseminated. Personally, I would like her to speak at the rally. The fact is this, those already aware, interested, concerned were most likely, almost exclusively, to have watched Dateline. What she has to say needs also to be revealed to everyone else as well. Perhaps, we cannot speak or act in their name, only our own but on their behalf. Liz, however, is more able to speak in their name because she has heard and seen their plight. I hope she changes her mind.


I am not speaking at the Close Manus rally on Saturday, organised by RAC [Refugee Action Collective]. Without thinking, I agreed to do it, thinking there could be no harm. But in fact the reaction to me speaking on Dateline has made me reconsider. 

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If G4S is to blame for Manus violence, the government has blood on its hands

28 Feb

Comment is free If G4S is to blame for Manus violence, the government has blood on its hands

It’s up to every day Australians to demand better. Regardless of whether or not you think asylum seekers should be stopped or held in detention until processed, abuse and abandonment is hardly the ground for a proud and free democratic nation to stand on, or just step away from. If we are truly a mature(ing) nation, we must insist this is not done in our name nor allow it to happen to any person. We would react strongly if it happened to animals (and quite rightly). But, to do nothing when it is happening to people ostensibly, and mostly found to be, seeking help, it is not only complicit, it is anathema to a nation’s very heart. Australia abusing, or being complicit in abuse, is not a way to hold our head high to ourselves, let alone to the world. We are losing our way by choosing the dark path. Don’t look externally for the lit path, it lies within. It’s what gives and makes character, pride, and strength. Come on, Australia. Are you up to it?


Court gets tough on Manus rights case

27 Feb

Court gets tough on Manus rights case

The PNG National Court is prepared to do what the Australian Government has a responsibility to do but refuses. It’s an extremely dangerous time when the government keeps secrets even when such a dreadful incidence as what happened on Manus Island in an Australian detention centre results in over 70 injuries and one murder. This is being done in our name. And it’s being done in secret. Hard to not think gulag, concentration camps, torture chambers; all done to people who are found guilty of no crime, are given no hope, and if/when processed are found to be over 90% genuine in refugee status. This is not good enough, Australia. What are you going to do about it? To be ‘helpless’ is to be complicit.

Pollie Watch: Nationals MP’s bizarre claim of wind turbine fires

27 Feb

Right wing politicians open their mouths and words fall out. Then, when called, they do one of three things: some dig deeper; some claim that’s not what they said or it was taken out of context; some disappear for as long as possible. Wonder which one Darren Chester will do.

Member for Gippsland Darren Chester (Nationals) has made a clumsy entry into the wind energy debate by claiming wind turbines are a fire risk.

Mr Chester Tweeted the bizarre claims in response to a question posed by veteran political journalist Paul Bongiorno (who was recenty awarded an Order of Australia medal):

Darren Chester 1Here’s a sample of the responses Darren Chester received:

Darren Chester 2

So, what is known about wind turbines and fire?

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A waste of time

26 Feb

They won’t answer any question in Question Time, instead blaming Labor for whatever they, themselves, should now be doing as government. They insult, ridicule, obfuscate and outright lie. Their arrogance is only made worse by the Speaker running interference, denying questions altogether because she personally objects to some part of it, or rephrasing it to what she prefers it to be. The farce that is now Parliamentary Question Time is beyond disgraceful, and it is aided and abetted by a failing mainstream media who still interrogate Labor, who are in opposition, are lamely question without persistence the Liberal National Coalition which is government. It is up to Labor to move to different ground altogether and to take Australia’s heart with it, because currently we are losing more and more of what was once a large and vibrant sense of self. Pedagogy is diminishing us into fearful, angry, extremely intolerant reactionaries. It’s time, Australia. Stand tall, take back what has been, and is being stolen by self-serving, vote chasing politicians beholden to corporations over the people they are supposed to represent and plan, long term, to work to ever raise up. Australia, it’s time.

The Australian Independent Media Network

question time

Watching question time has become a total waste of time.  The questions are so banal, the repetition mind-numbing, the rudeness unbecoming, the procedure unwieldy, and the partisanship of the Speaker a joke.

So I thought we should give the Opposition a few ideas of questions we would like asked.  Here are a few that come to mind.  Feel free to add to them.

Mr Abbott,

You say your Paid Parental Leave scheme is fully funded by a 1.5% levy on big business but as you are reducing company tax by 1.5% that, in effect, means that these businesses will not pay any more and all other businesses will pay less.  How do you propose to come up with $5.5 billion a year from less revenue?

Mr Hunt,

Your party has a policy of not providing assistance to business for factory refurbishment.  How then can you justify gifting the biggest polluting…

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Where is the Outrage?

26 Feb

As they did in opposition, the government ‘distracted’ everyone by hysterical faux outrage over an ‘insult’ to Lieutenant General Angus Campbell. Apparently, according to the prime minister, Morrison is not a wimp, said in his ‘defence’ over the ‘incident’ inside Manus Island detention and which resulted in a murder, but his right hand man, an experienced soldier, requires defending over an insult. Come on, Australia, we’re better than this. Don’t be distracted by the shiny whilst in the dark the horror increases exponentially.

The Australian Independent Media Network

beratiE ver since that day back in 2001 when the Norwegian freighter Tampa rescued asylum seekers from drowning and John Howard refused permission for them to disembark at an Australian port, the political landscape for our country changed. Because we the people endorsed that decision, we must accept responsibility for everything that has happened since. That John Howard’s legacy will be tainted forever by this one opportunistic decision and be the defining measure of his time as prime minister is something for him to contemplate. That we the people have, subsequent to that decision, forced both the major political parties to quiver in their shoes every time the media highlights the issue is something for us to contemplate.

On Q&A last Monday night, Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development argued against his government’s culpability in the Manus Island murder of Reza Berati by reminding Labor Transport spokesperson…

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A letter to Bill Shorten

26 Feb

It’s time. Australia has landed, hard, at the bottom of the dark pit. Let’s rise and return to who we really are as a nation.
It’s time we appeal to our best selves, not our worst.
It’s time.

The Australian Independent Media Network

Image courtesy of the Image courtesy of the

This letter by one of our readers, James Horton was sent not just to Bill Shorten but to The Age, The Australian, the Herald Sun and a copy to The AIMN. I publish it here as most of our readers, as well as myself, support onshore processing of asylum seekers.

Dear Bill,

I am writing to you as leader of the Opposition to ask you take a lead in undoing the harm being caused by our current asylum seeker policy, by rejecting off-shore processing and indefinite detention.

There is a human tragedy currently unfolding before us and you have an opportunity to re-embrace the values your party once stood for, by helping bring to a more timely end to a dark chapter in our country’s history. With each passing day, we are all the more diminished as a people and as a nation.

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