Australian Politics 2015-10-14 15:54:00


Nightmare behind the diversity dream revealed

Quite aside from their hostility to Western ways, Muslim refugees in Australia and elsewhere are non-contributors to the economy, with up to 9 out of 10 on welfare.  So much for the theorists' dream that they will pay the taxes needed to support increasing numbers of the dependent elderly

Europe was once the exemplar of the good society when seen through the dreamy eyes of Australian sophisticates.

Now, like the images of disease and deformity on cigarette packets, Europe serves as a graphic warning. We must quit our addiction to social engineering before it's too late.

The European financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated the limits to government spending. This year's chaos at the borders shows the limits of mass migration. Europe has been eroded of social as well as financial capital.

Anxiety surfaces in many different ways. In Sweden, a woman emailed her prime minister to tell him she had moved out from the suburb in which she was born because it was impossible to walk her dogs "due to the non-Europeans driving on the sidewalks".

"If you didn't move out of the way, they would jump out of the car and hit you," she complained.

In Pocking in Lower Bavaria, the local school recently advised children to wear "restrained everyday clothes" after 200 male asylum-seekers were billeted in the German village. "Transparent tops or blouses, short shorts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings," it said.

A local politician told Die Welt advice of this kind was "absolutely necessary".

"If underage Muslim boys go to the swimming pool, they are completely overwhelmed to see girls in bikinis," he told the newspaper. "In the boy's culture, the bare skin of women is totally frowned upon. They run after the girls harassing them, without intending to, but of course it triggers fears."

In developed Western societies the social fabric is being stretched to the limit by the audacious post-war diversity project. The ease of modern travel and the UN's outdated refugee charter have supercharged this social experiment.

The utopian dreamers who see virtue in diversity seem oblivious to the damage they have done. If only we were nicer to our guests, they insist, then everything would be fine.

The severity of the social fracturing is seldom reflected in the mainstream media. Well-intended journalists and editors are uncomfortable about giving oxygen to the ugly side of multiculturalism. Strict social sanctions have been imposed on anybody breaking the code of niceness.

Now, thanks in part to the internet, the thought police are losing control. On social media, ordinary citizens share information - some of it correct, some little more than rumour - in a space where they no longer feel ashamed to speak their minds.

It is there, and almost nowhere else, that you will read about the 16-year-old girl who was raped last month in Mering in Bavaria by a suspect with brown skin speaking in broken German. Such a crime was unheard of until now in the quiet market town. Understandably, the finger of suspicion points to a nearby camp for mostly male asylum-seekers.

The internet also reveals that the proportion of crimes committed by asylum-seekers in Germany has doubled in three years from 3.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent. There has been a sharp rise in personal injury, from 3863 to 9655. Shoplifting cases have risen from 4974 to 13,894. Reports of this nature, buried in the back pages of the German-language press, are amplified by social media. Some may call it fearmongering; others may say it gives people the confidence to say what they actually think.

Scarily, Germany's Angela Merkel has responded by preparing to send the thought police into Facebook. "Are you working on this?" she was overheard asking Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg last month. "Yeah," replied Zuckerberg.

The idea that private thoughts could be expunged on the orders of a German chancellor is too horrible to contemplate. Yet Merkel nurses the delusion that a quick word with Zuckerberg will silence discontent.

Merkel has become a deeply polarising figure, splitting Europeans into opposite camps. There are those who think she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and those who think she has completely lost the plot.

Where on earth did she think 800,000 migrants (a figure that could blow out to 1.5 million, according to some estimates) might live? There's a chronic housing shortage in German cities in the west where the jobs are, but a glut of accommodation in the country and the east.

A 2010 study by the Institute for the German Economy found the unemployment rate for those without a German passport is 14 per cent. Among those from Islamic countries it was even higher: 55 per cent for Lebanese migrants, 46 per cent for Iraqis and 28 per cent for Afghans.

Elsewhere in Europe, the picture is much the same; asylum-seekers are far likelier to live off welfare than locals or migrants who arrive by other means.

The same picture - mercifully on a smaller scale - is emerging in Australia.

A study of 8500 entrants under the humanitarian resettlement program conducted by the Gillard government in 2011 found that more than six out of 10 refugees had failed to get a job after five years. Eighty-three per cent received Centrelink payments. As in Europe, those from Islamic countries fared worse. Fewer than one in 10 Iraqi and Afghan refugees had found work; 94 in every 100 were receiving welfare.

At a time when the federal government is devoting considerable resources to helping people escape the welfare trap, a new cohort of hand-out dependency is an alarming development.

Hard data on how asylum-seekers fare is difficult to come by, not least one suspects because of the squeamishness of those who compile the statistics.

Economically inactive migrants are a new phenomena in Australia, one that the present asylum system appears to foster.

Until now this has never been a country that merely offered shelter; it offered the chance to build a better life. Without work, the chances of that are vanishingly small.


Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

More parasites for the taxpayer to support

Australia has begun the task of selecting for resettlement 12,000 refugees from the crisis in Syria, with the first group expected to arrive before late December.

Sydney’s Lakemba district is one of Australia’s most multicultural areas. It has become a haven for a family from the Syrian city Homs, which fled to Lebanon before arriving as refugees in Australia at the start of the year. 

Youssef al-Kasseh lives with his wife, Hala, and their three children, along with his mother in a small rented house. 

Speaking through a translator, he said the horrors of what they left behind are always in their thoughts.

“Life in Homs is very, very bad and no matter how hard I try to explain, it is very hard," said Youssef. "There is killing all the time, people getting taken away, while they have been taken away, they have been killed.”

Detention, torture, death

Youssef said he was detained and tortured by government officials.

“I was taken away and suffered a lot, hit a lot, and suffered not only physically, but also the mental trauma. I have a lot of family and friends that have died,” he said.

His wife Hala is happy to be in Australia, but she also worries about those left behind.

“I have a lot of friends and family in Syria, and I am very, very afraid of how they are living. They have no food, no electricity. Life is very, very hard and I am constantly worried,” she said.

Rallies urging Australia to take in more of those fleeing the conflict in Syria have been held across the country.

New South Wales

More than half of the 12,000 refugees will be resettled in New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state. Displaced women, children and families living in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will be given priority.

Coordinating plans for their arrival is Professor Peter Shergold, an academic and businessman.

“It's possible that, compared to many refugee groups accepted in the past, these newcomers may have spent less time in refugee camps," said Shergold.

"They may be more likely, I think, to be educated, have trade and professional skills, have had experience in small business, be more likely to have at least rudimentary English," he said. "And of course, therefore, the challenge. And the vital challenge is how can we harness that education, those skills, so that they can contribute back to Australian society.”

They hope that more of their countrymen and women will follow them to safety in Australia, which will give preference to refugees from persecuted minorities.

Samar Almajzoub, a Syrian community activist, believes Australia should do more and open its doors to members of the Sunni majority.

“We need more refugees here. I think this is [a] small number," said Almajzoub. "The people [who] are suffering there — very, very big number. The minority people, they [are] not suffering as much as the Sunni people and the larger group of people there.”

Australian resettlement officials are now in Jordan to begin assessing Syrian refugees who have been living in camps.


Shorten connected to ‘fake invoices’, royal commission hears

LABOR leader Bill Shorten has been connected to the paying of false invoices to funnel $100,000 a year in payments to the Australian Workers’ Union, a royal commission has heard.

A fake bill for $30,000 worth of advertising is said to be among the bogus invoices paid out by a construction firm.

Julian Rzesniowiecki, the former head of industrial relations on the Thiess-John Holland joint venture that built Melbourne’s EastLink freeway, has told the trade unions royal commission he approved invoices sent in by the AWU in 2005 and 2006 for services that were not delivered or disguised their true purpose.

That purpose, the court heard, was to pay $100,000 a year to the AWU for the three years of the EastLink project, under the terms of an arrangement that would help Thiess-John Holland deliver the freeway project on favourable industrial terms.

Mr Rzesniowiecki said the agreement was established in-principle by his predecessor and Bill Shorten, the then-AWU state secretary, in 2004.

It was then finalised by Mr Rzesniowiecki and Mr Shorten’s successor, Cesar Melhem.

“Mr Melhem and I had a discussion at some point where we settled on the deal,” Mr Rzesniowiecki told the commission.

Mr Rzesniowiecki said the understanding was for Thiess-John Holland to cover the cost of an AWU organiser working on the EastLink project.

However, he said, he and Mr Melhem agreed that the funding of the organiser should “remain a private matter between ourselves and the AWU”.


Australian government writes to Morrissey and Brigitte Bardot to defend plan to kill cats

Outsiders who think they know best but in fact know very little

The Australian government has written to Morrissey and Brigitte Bardot to defend its decision to kill 2 million cats.

The planned cull is aimed at protecting Australian wildlife decimated by feral cats. But last month the singer called the cull “idiocy” and said the cats were “smaller versions of Cecil the Lion”.

Morrissey said the Australian government was a “committee of sheep-farmers who have zero concerns about animal welfare or animal respect”.

The former Smiths frontman is not the only famous figure to be miserable about the death of 2 million cats. Bardot, a long-standing animal welfare advocate, has written an open letter to Greg Hunt, the federal environment minister, decrying the cull.

“This animal genocide is inhumane and ridiculous,” the French actor wrote. “In addition to being cruel, killing these cats is absolutely useless since the rest of them will keep breeding.

“Your country is sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals so please, don’t add cats to this morbid record.”

The Australian government has now formally responded to Morrissey and Bardot through its threatened species commissioner, Gregory Andrews.

In letters seen by Guardian Australia, Andrews tells both: “I would like to commend you for your commitment to, and advocacy for, animals and their welfare.”

Andrews adds, however, that feral cats are an invasive species responsible for the extinction of at least 27 Australian mammals, such as the lesser bilby, desert bandicoot and large-eared hopping-mouse.

“We don’t want to lose any more species like these,” he wrote. “It is with this sentiment in mind that the Australian government has taken a stance on feral cats; for the protection of our native species that belong here.”

The government considers feral cats to be the greatest threat to Australia’s small mammals, birds and lizards, with 124 endangered species at risk from predation. There is a rough estimate of 20 million feral cats in Australia. Each kills at least five animals a day. The government plans to reduce this number by 2 million by 2020 through trapping, shooting and a new poison bait.

Andrews told Guardian Australia: “I never thought I’d write to Brigitte Bardot. It’s an unusual situation. I’m glad people like them care about animal welfare and I care deeply about animal welfare too.

“The threat to our wildlife are clear and feral cats are top of the list. We don’t hate cats but we don’t have a choice. We will do this as humanely as possible and we will reduce the net suffering of animals in Australia.”

Andrews said the RSPCA was involved in the process of the cull to ensure it was done humanely. He rejected Bardot’s argument that the feral cats could be desexed.

“Trapping, neutering and releasing 20 million cats would not be justifiable in terms of cost,” he said. “Also, we’d be releasing a predator that will kill five animals a day for the rest of its life. It’s not justifiable. We can’t accept feral cats as part of the Australian ecology because if we do then we accept the extinction of bilbies, bandicoots and numbats.

“I sleep very well at night knowing what we are doing. Australians support this. Brigitte Bardot and Morrissey have a lack of understanding of Australia and what we are losing. They aren’t Australians, they aren’t experiencing the extinction crisis we have here.”


Fair Work Bill Fails On Union Right Of Entry Abuse

Master Builders Australia, in welcoming the Senate’s passing of some parts of the Government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill, is concerned and disappointed that that reforms to stop building unions abusing right of entry provisions were not similarly supported.

“The Royal Commission has exposed compelling evidence of how building unions abuse right of entry privileges as party of their bullying of builders to sign EBAs that increase the cost of construction that ultimately is paid for by the community,”  Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Master Builders is calling for reforms to curb building union abuse of right of entry to be re-examined by the Parliament following the Government’s receipt of Commissioner Heydon’s Final Report,” he said.

“In the meantime despite Master Builders’ disappointment, the community will benefit from the legislation preventing unions indefinitely delaying construction of community facilities in pursuit of their industrial agendas,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“Master Builders acknowledges the pragmatic and reasoned approach taken by the cross bench Senators in supporting the Bill and looks forward to the Senators re-examining their support for the rejected right of entry provisions following the receipt of the Heydon Royal Commission’s Final Report and also their support for the restoration of the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC),” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

Press release