Australian Politics 2015-05-30 15:51:00

Action on damage to the GBR

I love reading the far-Left “New Matilda”.  They are such crooks.  The article below is critical of the Abbott government in being slow to prosecute an erring Chinese shipping company.  It TOTALLY omits to mention that the accident happened during the Leftist Rudd regime and that the Leftists had 3 YEARS to do something but did nothing.  If they had a shred of decency the Matildas would be CONGRATULATING Abbott.  But there’s no decency in Leftism — only rage, hate anger and lies

The Abbott government is finally moving to sue a Chinese shipping company that destroyed a section of the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. But Greens Environment spokesperson, Larissa Waters wants action on repair. Thom Mitchell reports.

The federal government is suing a Chinese company which caused “the largest known direct impact on a coral reef” when one of its ships ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef off Rockhampton in 2010.

The Chinese-registered Shen Neng 1 ran aground on April 3 in 2010, and “despite ongoing attempts to have the ship’s owner pay for damages, the Commonwealth was unsuccessful in securing funds from the ship owner or its insurer to clean-up and remediate the site”.

Yesterday, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) announced that the government has been left with “no alternative but to take legal action in the Federal Court”.

“This has been a great disappointment, particularly given the nature and scale of the incident, and GBRMPA remains concerned about the long-term health of the shoal,” said Dr Russell Reichelt, the Authority’s Chairman.

“The Commonwealth is seeking damages from the ship’s owner for the cost of remediation of the shoal or, as an alternative, orders requiring remediation of the shoal by the ship’s owner.”

A government report into the incident, handed down in June 2011, examined the affect the ship’s grounding had on the reef.

“The vessel grounding caused significant impacts to the habitats of Douglas Shoal, with extensive areas of severe physical damage to, and destruction of, the shoal habitats and considerable contamination by toxic chemicals,” the report found.

Around 115,000 square metres of the shoal were “severely damaged or destroyed” as the ship remained grounded for nine days, and 400,000 more square metres suffered “patchy or moderate” damage.

In a statement yesterday, Dr Reichelt said contamination from toxic chemicals was of ongoing concern.

“Contamination of sediments by tributyltin, a highly toxic component of anti-foulant paint now banned in Australia for current use, was severe, although highly patchy,” according to the GBRMPA report.

“Strong mixing of the waters over the shoal will mean that the effects of this contamination may be spread very widely, well beyond the area of direct contact with the ship’s hull.

“There was also significant pollution by oil, and by oil dispersants, at the time of the grounding,” with oil found on islands up to 25 kilometres from the grounding site.

The government’s announcement that it will go to the courts to try to seek funding for rehabilitation comes off the back of allegations on Tuesday that it has so far failed in that task.


Must not show ferals as feral

Mt. Druitt is a Sydney suburb with a very low rating on socio-economic status:  Much welfare dependency and crime

The bosses behind the controversial program, Struggle Street, will be asked to defend the show at federal parliament on Wednesday.  SBS CEO Michael Ebeid will be questioned about how the show was funded in a Senate Estimates hearing.

Mr Ebeid’s parliamentary appearance comes after Labor MP Ed Husic said the show treated people in Mt Druitt, a suburb in Sydney’s west, as ‘comedic fodder’. 

Mr Husic, whose electorate includes where the show was filmed, used debate in parliament about increasing SBS advertising to blast the public broadcaster.

SBS used questionable methods and ethics while filming and then put together promotions that ridiculed his constituents, he told parliament on Tuesday.

‘They were treated as simple comedic fodder by SBS, there to be denigrated and demeaned and all for one purpose and one purpose only: to boost ratings,’ Mr Husic said, according to the AAP.

‘If SBS wants more advertising to promote this type of rubbish TV that has gone on and demeaned the people of the area that I represent, then quite frankly … they should not have the opportunity.’

Mr Husic’s comments were backed up by Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, who will be one of the people to question Mr Ebeid, according to News Corp Australia.

‘What the officials from SBS need to do is explain how that was a good use of taxpayer dollars and how that meets their greater charter,’ Mr Dastyari said.

The documentary was heavily criticised when it aired, however it also proved a ratings winner for the network with almost 2 million people tuning in to watch it over the two weeks it aired.

Some families who appear in the series believe were been unfairly depicted.  Ashley and Peta Kennedy decided to take part in the SBS three-part series because they wanted to show viewers how they ended up doing it tough – instead they feel they have been portrayed as ‘bogans’.

Their Willmot street is made up of a mix of housing commission and privately owned properties, which they say is ‘free from drug dealers and hoons’.

‘I’m not out there robbing people. I don’t drink or smoke. We’re everyday battlers keeping our family together,’ Grandfather Ashley Kennedy told Daily Mail Australia.  ‘We like living here, this area is nice. Of course there’s riffraff but not everyone is off the rails or on drugs.’

The couple are unemployed and have 10 kids and 18 grandchildren between them.


ABC radio host describes Osama Bin Laden as an ‘honoured and respected sheikh’ who was a victim of a ‘smear campaign’

An Australian radio host has claimed that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was an ‘honoured and respected sheik’ and has slamming the U.S. for releasing details of his porn collection – bizarrely labelling it a ‘smear campaign’.

Steven Austin, morning radio host for the ABC in Queensland, shared his controversial opinion on a Tuesday morning during a segment on advertising called ‘The Hidden Persuaders’.

The topic of the conversation was ‘the branding of al Queda’, which prompted Mr Austin to defend the militant Islamist organisation’s founder from accusations of having a porn collection.

‘It’s fascinating to me that Osama bin Laden, the leader of this jihad, this honoured and respected sheik, was very aware of his media image of al-Quaeda,’ Mr Austin said.

The reference to Bin Laden as an ‘honoured and respected sheik’ has been questioned given the devastation he wrought as a terrorist.

The jihad leader declared war on the U.S. and was responsible for ordering terror attacks, including the September 11 attacks which killed 2996 innocent civilians.

However, the ABC presenter chose to lambast the U.S. for informing the public about Mr bin Laden’s porn collection, which Mr Austin suggested never existed.  ‘When (the United States) dealt with Mr bin Laden, the sheik, they captured a range of documents and book and more – they said he had a collection of porn,’ said Mr Austin during the ABC program.  ‘That looked like a public relations smear to me.’

‘You often find that stuff comes out of the US that’s about controversial figures, where they always insert that line. So I’d treat that with a certain level of dubiousness,’ Mr Austin said during the segment.

The U.S. claimed they discovered the terrorist’s extensive porn collection at his hideout, a Pakistani residential compound where he was shot and killed on May 2, 2011.

Mr Austin says it is fascinating to consider bin Laden’s fascination with al Quada’s media image throughout his time in hiding.

The ABC have defended Mr Austin’s comments, insisting his comments do not reflect the presenter’s own personal opinion, but rather a description of how bin Laden was seen by his supporters.  ‘It was not a personal judgment,’ an ABC spokesperson told The Courier Mail.

‘With respect to the pornography stash and the ‘publish relations smear’ reference – this is exactly what the segment is about, discussing advertising and how it shapes our lives.’


Ireland abandons its children

Ireland has written a social suicide note and we grieve for her. But we will not follow her.  More than half the Irish have voted for homosexual marriage, seduced by celebrities to violate something they once held sacred: the life between mother, father and child.

From today, the Irish Constitution assumes a mother does not matter to a baby, and a father is irrelevant to his son. That is madness.

A constitutional right to same-sex marriage means a constitutional right to same-sex adoption and surrogacy, and that means motherless and fatherless families are now enshrined as an ideal in the Irish Constitution.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the vote was “Yes to love” — but there are children who will never know the love of their mother because of  Friday’s  constitutional amendment. He said it was “Yes to inclusion” — but it deliberately excludes children of same-sex couples from “the natural and fundamental group unit of society”, which is how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes the trinity of mother, father and child. 

If equality for gay adults means inequality for kids, where is the justice in that?

If removing spurious discrimination against gay adults means imposing genuine discrimination on children who are deliberately deprived of a mother or a father, what is the reason to celebrate?

Gay Irish celebrity blogger Paddy Manning  rejected claims  of discrimination against gay couples, saying, “Marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents. Recognising difference is not discrimination.”

Here in Australia, there is no unjust discrimination against same-sex couples in any way, be it taxation, superannuation, Medicare, next of kin status or any other matter, since Federal Parliament amended eighty-five laws in 2008. Same sex couples have full relationship equality and are free to live as they choose; they do not have the right to choose a motherless or fatherless existence for a little child.

Here in Australia, we will resist the dementia that is afflicting the decadent West. If we are the last country standing, we will still not abolish a child’s birthright to the love of her mum or her dad just to gratify the demands of homosexual adults.

Nor will we let our children be taught in school, by force of gay marriage law, that the sexual relationship of two men is no different, legally or morally, to a child’s mother and father in marriage.

For serious gay activists the greatest cultural gain of this referendum will be that all Irish children must now be instructed in the constitutional normality, indeed desirability, of homosexual behaviour, and conscientious objectors will be silenced by the big stick of anti-discrimination law.

We have observed many instances of homosexual enforcement in jurisdictions that have legalised gay marriage: parents in Massachusetts have been denied the right to withdraw their child from lessons by gay activists and church adoption agencies in England have had to close rather than adopt babies to homosexual households. A teacher in London was demoted for refusing to read a storybook to her class promoting same-sex marriage, and the former Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, was reported to police by a Greens Party MP for teaching Christian doctrine on marriage during a sermon. 

This is the uncivil future under a gay marriage regime, and yet the good-natured Irish succumbed to the stupidity of nice. They were trying to be kind to the two percent of their neighbours who identify as same-sex attracted, without understanding that gay strategists have despised marriage for decades as a patriarchal repressive institution and only want it now because it brings with it the power to compel social attitudes.

In Australia we will not be that stupid. There are ways of being kind to our gay neighbours that do not involve violating the foundational relationship of human society: mother, father, child.


Reflections of an Australian diplomat

Dealing with dictators:  Matthew Neuhaus’s career as a diplomat has taken him face‑to-face with some of the world’s most intimidating leaders

It was 1997, and Matthew Neuhaus had just been appointed Australia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria. His first challenge was to present his credentials to General Sani Abacha, military ruler of the African nation and one of the modern era’s most ruthless dictators.

“This was a seriously scary thing to do,” relates Neuhaus (BA ’80, LLB ’82). “Abacha had just [in November 1995] executed political activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Australia had been involved in suspending Nigeria from the Commonwealth.

“I went to present my credentials, and he was sitting there in dark glasses with a pistol beside him, and you felt he might just pick it up and shoot you.”

That meeting set the tone for Neuhaus’s diplomatic career. After Nigeria, he ran the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Political Affairs Division, locking horns with an array of despots, including Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama. He was then posted to Zimbabwe, where the ageing President Robert Mugabe, he observes, is “probably now regarded as the dictator from Central Casting”.

“I often say that if I ever write an autobiography, I’ll call it Dealing with dictators,” the 55-year-old chuckles.

The son of Australian missionaries, Neuhaus grew up in Tanzania, speaking Swahili. He was 16 when the family returned to Australia. In 1976, with just a year or so of formal schooling, he enrolled at the University of Sydney, his father’s alma mater.

The University “opened the door to a wider world”, recalls Neuhaus. Lecturers such as Professor Neville Meaney, who taught his history honours year, and the late Professor David Johnson, an international law expert, were particularly inspirational. He became involved in student politics, encountering, among others, Tony Abbott, who was already earning a reputation as a political bruiser.

Sydney also gave him “a sense of place”. Over a coffee at the Law School café during a quick visit home, he recounts: “I always used to love walking across to the Quadrangle, where I did most of my work … Coming out of the suburbs every day to somewhere like this … you could see there was a goal to work towards and a place for you in the world.”

That place, he decided – guided by Meaney, an Australian foreign policy doyen, and Johnson, who had close links with the United Nations – was the diplomatic service.

And so, after graduating he found himself back in Africa: first Kenya, then Nigeria, and now Zimbabwe, as Ambassador. In between came postings to Port Moresby and the UN, as well as London.

Ask Neuhaus about the diplomat’s role and he quotes two common myths: “that you’re sent abroad to lie for your country and you’re saying nice things all the time.”

What guides him, in reality, is “what we like to call Australian values, many of which are now international values: good governance, democracy, a free society and people’s right to have a say in their lives”.

Just as important as furthering your country’s interests, he says, is standing up for those values, and supporting those standing up for them.

When he first met Mugabe, for example, the Zimbabwean President declared that violence was an inevitable part of the electoral process. Neuhaus politely differed. “I said, ‘No, Your Excellency, I really cannot agree with that. We always manage to have peaceful elections in Australia – quite contentious sometimes, but always very peaceful – and I can’t see why that can’t happen here’.”

Perhaps he made an impression. The country’s next elections, in 2013, were peaceful. But they were not, as Mugabe claimed, “free, fair and credible”. Neuhaus, who had witnessed blatant poll rigging, was outspoken in his criticism, calling the process “fatally flawed”.

Is there an idealistic side to the job? “You know, as a student you’re quite idealistic and looking for opportunities to make a difference. A career in diplomacy does enable you to keep some of that idealism and work for a better world, particularly in a place like Africa.”

At university, Neuhaus says, through his classes in history, philosophy and law, and his involvement in student politics, he imbibed the values that underpin his professional life.

It was an era in which the ideological battles of the Cold War were playing out across Australian campuses, and he found Sydney “in foment”.

Tony Abbott was waging war on compulsory student union fees and a Students’ Representative Council (SRC) dominated by militant left-wingers. Neuhaus remembers the young Abbott, later to become a good friend, as a “natural scrapper” who “had strong beliefs and was already pretty conservative and controversial … [with] a certain charm and charisma in rallying people around him”.

Other contemporaries included Tanya Coleman, who went on to marry future federal treasurer Peter Costello, and Lucy Hughes, who later became Sydney’s first female Lord Mayor (and married Liberal politician Malcolm Turnbull). Neuhaus – who also fondly recalls his time in the Sydney University Regiment – was eventually elected to the SRC himself.

He reveals that he always expected to enter politics after a spell as a diplomat. However, when the opportunity arose for him to make the transition, he was appointed to the Commonwealth Secretariat role and chose that career path instead.

Lately he has felt perturbed by the “increasing negative discourse” in Australian politics, which shocked a visiting delegation of Zimbabwean women politicians last year, he says. “They said to me: ‘We thought we were bad in the Zimbabwean Parliament, the way we shout at each other and carry on, but then we saw the Australian Parliament and realised maybe we aren’t so bad.’

“That’s unfortunate, because we want them to learn to be more understanding of one another, particularly because in Africa that can become a matter of life and death.”