I had the great privilege to be present in the Legislative Council chamber during the opening of the NSW Parliament today. The highlight for me was the Presentation of the Message Stick by representatives of the Aboriginal Languages community, who spoke eloquently and movingly in their language and in English. The lowlight was the Governor’s Opening Speech, which was nothing more than a prolonged and tedious political party broadcast. Why this is … Read more
The actions of the 17-year-old youth in hitting Senator Anning with an egg amounted to assault and he could find himself in court as a result, unless the police caution him instead. The senator’s response, by punching the teenager, was something else. Provoked it may have been, but it was grossly disproportionate. Far too aggressive in the circumstances. When Julia Gillard was our prime minister, she was also on the receiving end … Read more
Scott Morrison in February 2011 tried to persuade Cabinet to capitalise on fear of Muslim immigration as an election-winning strategy. To his credit, Phillip Ruddock persuaded the meeting that it was against the Liberal’s policy. The Murdoch media in 2017 published well over 2000 articles vilifying Muslims. Trump calls innocent South American asylum seekers murderers, rapists, and drug dealers and declares it a national emergency. With all this hate-filled rhetoric circulating, is … Read more
Little by little the creeping hand of authoritarianism reduces us to sheep-like cyphers, and as usual the vastly overstated threat of terrorism is used to justify it. The innocuously named Assistance and Access Bill 2018 is intended to force companies to provide information about how their systems work, thus compromising their cybersecurity. It’s an extraordinary overreach by officialdom in the name of fighting terrorism, which is nowhere near the level of threat suggested by the … Read more
Hypocrisy. It can be deliberate or — I hate to use the word ‘innocent’ — unknowing. If deliberate, it smacks of deceit and ruthlessness. If the perpetrator is unaware of their hypocrisy, it is symptomatic of a mindset that is incapable of impartiality, an inability to self-examine, a static belief in their, or their party’s, absolute rightness. What brought this to mind recently was the LNP’s claims that Bill Shorten is a … Read more
If you believe the mainstream media you could be forgiven for thinking that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez’s victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional district against the 10-term incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley was merely reactionary, a need for change. In fact, it was more reflective of her constituency and its rejection of the status quo. Ms Ocasia-Cortez is a young socialist activist. She’s a third-generation New Yorker whose family has roots in Puerto … Read more
One more thing about the creeping erosion of liberty in the name of security: underlying public acceptance of these measures is the assumption that we will continue to live under a benign government. History gives the lie to that. Look at Turkey, for example. Or Italy and Germany in the thirties, where the expectation that embracing authoritarianism would make everyone much safer. Except it didn’t.
Yesterday I was concerned about a federal bill to limit the right to protest freely. Today I discover that the New South Wales Parliament has just issued a regulation that provides public officials with broad power to “direct a person” to stop “taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly” that takes place on public land, e,g. roads, squares, parks. The only exception is “in the case of a cemetery, for the … Read more