Tyrannical citizenship bill an attack on our liberties – Written by JONATHAN HOLMES

August 26, 2015
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Jonathan Holmes
Attorney-General George Brandis ordered a review of laws that encroach on our traditional rights and freedoms – then introduced an even more egregious piece of legislation.

Attorney-General Senator George Brandis says he is a champion of our traditional rights and freedoms, then leads the charge right over the top of them. Photo: Andrew Meares

As he has told us many a time, the federal Attorney-General, George Brandis​, is a champion of our traditional rights and freedoms.

Of course, there’s a regrettable necessity, owing to the fearful threats to public safety posed by the Islamic State “death cult”, to strengthen our national security legislation. But as the good senator, with typical smugness, told the National Press Club in October 2014: “The side of politics which has in its DNA to keep governments small and to keep freedom large, can be better trusted to handle these matters without overreaching than the side of politics which believes that expansion of the power of the state is the solution to every problem.”

The commission didn’t quite give Brandis what he was hoping for.

Shortly after the Abbott government’s election, true to his concern for our liberties, Brandis asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to identify Commonwealth laws that encroach on “the rights, freedoms and privileges recognised by the common law”, and to determine whether such encroachment “is appropriately justified”.

As a helpful hint to the commission, its terms of reference specifically pointed it in the direction of laws that dealt with commercial and corporate regulation; environmental regulation; and workplace relations. You could see the sort of thing the government had in mind: red tape; green tape; the encroachment of busy-body regulators on our liberty to buy and sell, mine and farm, hire and fire.

(That doesn’t, of course, include the unwarranted liberty, given to environmental groups in a Howard government law, to challenge the federal Environment Minister’s decisions in the Federal Court. That is vigilantism, “lawfare”, an outrageous and illegitimate check on the power of executive government to do precisely what it wants with our air, and land, and water.)

But the commission didn’t quite give Brandis what he was hoping for. Three weeks ago, the commission published an interim report. It identifies hundreds of laws that encroach on our traditional freedoms. And in chapter after chapter – on freedom of speech, on freedom of association, on freedom of movement, on the right to a fair trial, on the reversal of the burden of proof, and on procedural fairness, to name just a few – it found that the most serious encroachments could be found in Australia’s draconian official secrecy, anti-terrorism and migration laws.

Time and again, the commission details objections and questions raised by various watchdogs when the bills came before Parliament – the Joint Parliamentary Committees on Intelligence and Security, and on Human Rights, for example – or later, by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. Almost all have been blithely ignored.

Meanwhile, the latest addition to the government’s anti-terrorism arsenal – the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 – is being considered by the Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the legislation that divided the cabinet so publicly in May. Even Brandis opposed it in its original form. The bill now proposes that any dual national who engages in various types of conduct in support of terrorist groups has thereby renounced his or her Australian citizenship. No need for a trial, or conviction. When the minister becomes “aware” of the (alleged) action, he or she simply “declares” the (alleged) perpetrator is no longer an Australian citizen.

Six weeks ago, I raised questions about this extraordinary piece of legislation. But they were mild compared with the excoriation heaped on it by some of our finest legal minds in submissions to the joint parliamentary committee.

Anne Twomey, professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney, thinks the bill is “a consequence of making policy on the run and pursuing thought bubbles and sound bites … a textbook example of the sort of fiasco that occurs when [proper cabinet and governmental] processes are not followed.”

The Law Society of NSW says the bill is “inconsistent with the presumption of innocence”.

The Australian Bar Association says the bill seeks “to avoid the prohibition on the executive exercise of judicial power by means of a legal fiction”.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman points out that someone declared a non-citizen “is highly likely [to] spend an extended [and possibly indefinite] period in immigration detention in Australia”. No trial, no conviction, indefinite incarceration.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is surprised “the minister is not required to afford natural justice to an affected person. That means that he or she is not required to give that person a hearing, inform them of evidence the minister has relied on, or give them the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against them.”

Not to worry, we were assured by the likes of Brandis and Malcolm Turnbull – the bill specifically allows for judicial review. But the Human Rights Commission submits that “any judicial review will be extremely limited as a result of the particular powers given to the minister”. The Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at the University of Melbourne agrees: “Judicial review is likely to have minimal effect on stemming [the bill’s] arbitrary operation.”

Most scathing of all is the submission by Ben Saul, professor of international law at the University of Sydney: “For a democracy ostensibly committed to liberal values, basic rights and the rule of law, this bill is particularly bad, even by the low standards of some other Australian counter-terrorism laws. It should not be passed … Exiling or banishing Australian wrongdoers is primitive, medieval, simplistic and dangerous.”

Well, you say, there must be another side to this. And maybe there is, spelt out in the submission to the committee from the Australian Federal Police, or in three substantial attachments to the submission from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. But if so, you and I can’t read them. As is all too typical of this increasingly Orwellian state, they are “confidential to the committee”.

This bill, even more than its dozens of predecessors, severely encroaches on our traditional rights and freedoms, Senator Brandis. And we, the citizens of Australia, are not even allowed to know why.

Jonathan Holmes is an Age columnist and a former presenter of the ABC’s Media Watch program.

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The Border Force Hits Town: Operation Fortitude – Written by JULIAN BURNSIDE


Breaking news: the operation has now been cancelled: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2015/aug/28/protest-against-border-force-visa-crackdown-shuts-melbourne-streets-live  The comments below still applyP perhaps with more force, given the strength of public reaction.

On the weekend of 29-31 August, 2015, the newly-minted Australian Border Force was to take part in a massive operation in Melbourne’s CBD.  On Friday afternoon, it was called off.

The border Force PR department had put a press release about this on its website:http://newsroom.border.gov.au/releases/abf-joining-inter-agency-outfit-to-target-crime-in-melbourne-cbd

It included juicy snippets like this:

“This weekend Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will for the first time join forces with a diverse team of transport and enforcement agencies to target crime in the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) as part of Operation Fortitude.

With a particular focus on people travelling to, from and around the CBD, the group of agencies will work together to support the best interests of Melbournians, targeting everything from anti-social behaviour to outstanding warrants. …

ABF Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, is proud the ABF will be participating in the operation. “ …ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said.

“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.” …

The inter-agency outfit will continue to work together on an ongoing basis to target crime in and around the Melbourne CBD to make the city a safer place for everyone.”

The recently-created Border Force is kitted out in uniforms which bear an unfortunate resemblance to SS uniforms. No doubt, the purpose is to instil fear in the heart of anyone who sees them approach.

This operation involving Border Force officers would have struck fear in the heart of many people. It was bound to involve racial profiling in nearly every instance: Australian citizens do not have to carry identity papers. Presumably the only people who would have been  asked for their visas were people who look like “foreigners”: racial profiling of the crudest sort.

Here is Victoria Police statement concerning the cancellation of Operation Fortitude:

Victoria Police has made a decision not to go ahead with this weekend’s Operation Fortitude.
We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.
Victoria Police’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of the whole community and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to achieve this.

On recent figures, the number of people in the community who are non-citizens and who do not have a visa represents less than one tenth of one percent of the population. To catch the out a few people who are not causing any harm, we would have had a quasi-military operation in the CBD: an operation which was bound to cause alarm in many people. All Australians should ask themselves: is this sort of thing really worth it, for the sake of getting rid of a few people who are not entitled to be here?

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Bill Shorten Backs Melbourne’s ‘Border Farce’, Then Condemns It When It All Goes To Custard – Written by MICHAEL BRULL

30 Aug 2015

By Michael Brull

What to know what Bill Shorten thinks? Find out what Tony Abbott thinks. That’s what Bill Shorten thinks. Michael Brull explains.

You would think that the Australian Border Force affair would have been the kind of gift any opposition would pray for. Instead, it’s turned out to be a grimly funny illustration of the ideals – or rather the lack of them – that animate Bill Shorten.

It’s been well reviewed across the media, so let’s recall it briefly. The Australian Border Force announced on Friday that it would “target crime” in the Melbourne Central Business District. The media release infamously included the following:

“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said. “You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”

How would the Australian Border Force know if an individual was committing visa fraud? Would they question every individual? Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside observed that “Australian citizens do not have to carry identity papers. Presumably the only people who would have been asked for their visas were people who look like “foreigners”: racial profiling of the crudest sort.”

High-profile racial profiling, of the crudest sort, in the heart of Australia’s second biggest city. Targeting foreigners, demonstrating border control in a crude display of force, humiliating people publicly.

Australians have shown a high level of tolerance for cruelty to foreigners – above all the asylum seekers subjected to unspeakable barbarism on Nauru. Yet heavy handed policing in the heart of Melbourne was clearly a step too far, and Melbourne, like much of the rest of the country revolted.

The whole thing was a shambles from start to finish. Aside from street protests which quickly assembled in opposition to “Operation Fortitude”, major media outlets like the ABC, Fairfax and the Guardian were clearly appalled by this development.

Even the die-hard loyalists of the Abbott government and its constant dog-whistling and worse found it hard to defend this one. Andrew Bolt, a useful barometer of Abbott’s supporters in the Murdoch press, didn’t blog in defence of the operation as it happened, and only commented the next day – seemingly with his heart not in it. Bolt didn’t support the operation, calling it “overreach by the state”. Yet he complained that the ALP joined the “hysterical abuse” of it, concluding that they don’t “take our border laws seriously”. Because they opposed a policy that Bolt also opposes.

You can get a sense of how disastrous it was by the fact that the Abbott government is desperately distancing itself from Operation Fortitude. Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared that “I want to make it absolutely crystal clear, as far as this Government is concerned, people will never be stopped in the street randomly and asked for their visa details… That’s the sort of thing that would never, ever happen in this country.”

Abbott claimed that he and his office had never received any notice of the operation.

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, unable to distance himself from his actual ministerial title, distanced himself from the operation instead.

Dutton claimed that, “There was never any intent for the ABF to conduct random visa checks during this operation. It is unfortunate that a poorly written Media Release indicated otherwise”.

So it’s all a misunderstanding, resulting from someone else’s error. However, his office was sent a copy of this media release.

When the Federal Government moves with such haste not only to distance itself from its own operation, but also to condemn it, saying it would “never, ever happen in this country”, you know that it has blundered catastrophically. Yet as noted in the Australian Financial Review, Shorten “fluffed his opportunity by essentially backing the crackdown”.

The exchange, according to the Australian, went as follows:

“Journalist: Australian Border Force officers are joining other agencies to target crime in Melbourne. Does Labor agree with this use of the Border Force?

Shorten: Labor obviously believes in targeting crime. I do hope that any of these actions are done to try and protect Australian laws, to make sure that people are not overstaying their visas, to make sure that temporary guest workers are not being exploited.

Labor’s said for a while we’re concerned that under this government our employment visas of temporary workers are becoming too slackly regulated.

To that extent we’re interested in what’s happening. If you’re going to do a blitz I don’t know why you’d necessarily telegraph it to the media first. We’ll wait to see if the government is fair dinkum or if this is just a press release to try to draw some positive attention to themselves.” [emphasis added].

Let us review the timeline, as shown by ABC journo Will Ockenden. At 10:14 am, the operation was announced. By 2:40 pm, the operation was cancelled. Bill Shorten only had a window of about four and a half hours to support Operation Fortitude before it was cancelled, under the crushing weight of its enormous unpopularity, and intrinsic awfulness.

However, once it was cancelled, Bill Shorten quickly tapped into public opinion with the trademark honesty and integrity we’ve come to expect from him:

“One of the most catastrophically silly ideas I’ve seen this government do… To be honest, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… I’m sure, by the way, that regardless of one’s politics, when you first heard about this, you would have gone ‘what?… As more facts came to light yesterday, I don’t think there’s a single Victorian and indeed a single Australian whose jaw just didn’t hit the ground… Truly, how dumb is this government some days?

I fly out of Melbourne early yesterday morning and Mr Abbott goes and wrecks confidence in my home town as soon as I leave the state…”

It’s hard to believe that Shorten is actually cynical enough to think that he can sell this confected outrage to the Australian public. The kind of contempt for Australian intelligence these comments display is staggering.

Another point is also worth making. Given Tony Abbott’s forthright condemnation of Operation Fortitude, I suspect that he was genuinely out of the loop on this announcement. Once it was announced, the government seems to have frantically tried to figure out how to perform damage control, and limit political exposure to the extent they could, whilst also preventing it from being carried out.

None of this applies to Bill Shorten, who is supposedly the Leader of the Opposition. Shorten’s previous fame came from betraying Rudd in 2010 and backing the Gillard coup, and then betraying Gillard and backing Rudd in 2013. The road to the top in the ALP is one where apparently ideals, integrity and principles are luxuries that intolerably weigh one down.

As repulsive as the Abbott government has been, with its race-baiting, cruelty to asylum seekers and so on, the ALP has marched in lock-step almost every step of the way. Even Operation Fortitude wasn’t awful enough for Bill Shorten to oppose it – until it had already been scrapped, and Tony Abbott had opposed it too.

Like many others on the left end of the political spectrum, the years of Abbott have been a grim horror, with occasional relief in the form of incompetent hilarity.

It looks like the Abbott government has probably been awful enough to ensure its own defeat at the next election, if Abbott makes it that far.

But this affair, and Bill Shorten’s role in it raises a troubling question.

What kind of respite from crude racism and illiberal policies will we see if Bill Shorten does become the next Prime Minister?

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Border Farce! Austasi police gangs rumble into Melbourne – Written by TESS LAWRENCE

(Art by @JohnGrahamArt)

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrencehas been imported into Australia on a 457 visa by Abbott and Dutton’s crack(ed) Border Farce to advise on the Operation Fortitude.

‘ELLO, ‘ELLO, ‘ELLO fellow Australians, you ‘orrible scruffy excuses for human low life.

My Austasi ID number and Gold Myki Mouse Card are one and the same and stamped with an infra-red, invisible inked hologram citing ‘007’, an imprimatur that will be known to you all. 

Thus, by the powers invested upon me by the Christian God, the Commonwealth, Her Majesty and Emperor Napolitony Abbott, I am entitled to question, apprehend indefinitely and kill at whim with complete impunity.

It also means my family and I can travel free on public transport in Victoria. Which we intend to visit once their fast-tracked visas come through and they arrive from the UK, where they’ve enjoyed watching the poms thrash the aussies in the last test series. [Cue laugh, hah, hah, minder plant in audience to trigger.]

Yes, I’ve been well briefed by Minister Peter Dutton’s crack PR people, the same ones who brief off shore call centre personnel about Aussie Rules.

Now, these powers apply to anyone who looks a bit suss, a tad shonky, a bit foreign, isn’t white, doesn’t have a decent surname that doesn’t involve Xhosa tongue clicking, is a bit tinted, and who hasn’t killed a roo or bitten off a chook’s head in the last fortnight and doesn’t have the proper paperwork on demand, vis-à-vis a visa entitling them to work for Gina the Rinehart and 007-Eleven for $2 a day, before tax and loaned FIFO airfares. 

Contrary to information  distributed by subversives we are not singling out people on 457 visas. I’m on one myself and, while I’m on the subject, I don’t want anyone to think I am taking a job away from an Australian.

There is no-one in Australia who has better qualifications to handle “Operation Fortitude” given my background in the UK suppressing riots and dispelling unfounded rumours of parliamentary expenses rorts, paedophile rings and murders involving politicians and the British establishment.

Her Majesty has seen fit to award me a knighthood but please, I was just doing what my job and country expected of me, so just call me “Sir”.

Maybe, when my work here is done, your Emperor will see fit to give me an extra gong, as he did to the Duke of Edinburgh, also reknowned for spotting foreigners in a crowd.

For the record and you skanky journos, my collective rank, titles and honorifics in this joint endeavour between the ABF and Victoria Police is Chief Commissioner, Admiral, Generalissimo, Detective Senior Constable Sergeant Inspector and sous chef that I’m assured by our accredited translators, means special adjutant in Spanish. [Cue laugh, hah, hah.]

Other paramilitary groups conscripted to Operation Fortitude and conferred with once only in perpetuity special powers include Yarra Trams and hetero Metrosexual Trains, the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Office, Taxi Services Commission, Commandant of the Lollipop Ladies Battalion, pizza deliverers from evil, hotel concierges, 7-Eleven stores that also stock Myki cards, and so have expert knowledge and dustbin truck drivers and vans because of their potential to act as mobile prison vans for captured illegals. They make great people movers.

We have assembled an inter-intra-agency para-military multi-tiered borderless militia based on the highly successful business model of Da’ash and Mad Man Haron Monis, under the watchful guidance of the office of the Attorney-General George Brandis.

We are delighted to welcome onboard the Austasi Border Force Team Australia today, Kim Yong Un’s little sister, Kim Yo Jong who has been seconded from North Korea to replicate in Australia, her outstanding world’s best practice Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Assisting her in this will be Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Ibn Speare, in charge of half-time entertainment at the popular and crowd friendly Friday beheadings, stonings and whippings in that country and one of our staunchest allies and reknowned human rites activists.

The good news is, that despite the fact that “Operation Fortitude” has been temporarily postponed due to illegal spontaneous protests and outbursts of illegalfree speech, we have already identified a traitor in our midst; someone who has infiltrated the ranks; someone who is a dead set illegal refugee type; a poseur git with a dodgy name that is not representative of mainstream Australia.

Nor is it manly.

Anyone calling themselves “Roman Quaedvlieg” has got to be a wanker and it’s unAustralian not to have vowels separating consonants in your surname. Even I know that.

However, the one SAS codebreaker not standing as a candidate in Canning has cannily cracked the code embedded in this obviously contrived surname. For security purposes, we cannot reveal further details.

Up until now, no-one had heard of this Roman fellow.

When the insurgent rabble who protested is placated and sedated, we will revert to our original plan to arrest every man, woman and child walking to or from the CBD, and/or cycling the streets of Melbourne.

We let the general public know because to be forewarned is to be forearmed.  We will speak with anyone we come across, have no fear. So if you’re up for it, why not leave your visas at home and let us have a bit of contact sport. Bring it on.

All operatives will receive a bounty bar for each illegal apprehended. A further bonus applies to arrests of family groups. We are negotiating with possible sponsors now and online betting syndicates have positively responded to our outreach.

We are particularly interested in arresting children of foreign illegals, because they are the insurgents of the future.

If not de-programmed and/or deported, Australia will wreak their bloody harvest on another day.

As this is the largest operation of its kind to confer military and police powers to unskilled and untrained members of the community, for future operations, we will skill up these citizens with a 15 minute intensive gun training course on the Adler 7 plus lever action shotgun, a nice litle mother made by the Turks, so there’s that Gallipoli connection.

For anyone who has a problem with what we’re doing, I say, go back to where you came from.

Allegations of racial profiling will not be tolerated.

Some of you in the media seem to be working for the enemy. You can take political correctness too far. Really, what is wrong with beer stubby holders that acknowledge our diverse community?

The only reason we are targetting foreign-looking people is because they are the ones who have 457 visas.

I won’t be taking any questions today, because I’ve given you all the answers.

God bless Emperor Napolitony Abbott and God bless Australia.

The original John Graham artwork featured in this piece may be purchased from the IA store.

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It’s official. The people have spoken. Christopher Pyne has won the inaugural People’s Choice Snoutie.

Voting for the People’s Choice Snoutie Award kicked off last weekend, and closed yesterday. For a while Senate Leader Eric Abetz was a serious contender for the title – but Pyne, like the poodle with a bone that he is, took the lead fairly early on and eventually streaked ahead to claim victory by a significant margin.

The Inaugural ‘On the Snout’ Awards

OnTheSnoutDefinitionIn case you didn’t catch last week’s ‘unbiasedly’ prestigious and soon-to-be coveted ‘On the Snout’ awards – here’s a quick run-down on what you missed.

The On the Snout awards – or ‘Snouties’ – are named after recently retired U.S. political satirist Jon Stewart, who in his last show exhorted his viewers to be vigilant in watching out for bullshit, saying “if you smell something, say something”.

There was plenty to smell in Canberra in the last parliamentary sitting fortnight – and so the ‘On the Snout’ awards were created. The inaugural awards went to four worthy winners:

  • The David Copperfield Magic with Numbers Award – went to Joe ‘Eleventy’ Hockey
  • The George Orwell 1984 Award – went to Peter ‘PDuddy’ Dutton
  • The Dragon Slayer Award – went to Chief of Lawfare, George Brandis
  • The Golden Snoutie Award – the most coveted award of all – went to Snout in Chief, Tony Abbott

(Read more about how each of the above award winners won their awards here.)

The People’s Choice Snoutie

While the winners of these four key awards were announced last week, there was still one award for the last parliamentary sitting fortnight left to be decided – the People’s Choice Snoutie.

PeoplesChoiceSnoutieTranswithSAs its name suggests, the winner of this award is chosen by the people of Australia who were asked to vote for “the member of the LNP cabinet (other than Tony Abbott) who has been the most ‘on the snout’ over the last fortnight“.

And like the well-informed electors that we are, the people of Australia voted. With well over a thousand votes cast, we can be fairly certain that the people have picked the LNP cabinet member most worthy of this award.

And the winner is……..(drum roll please)….

Christopher Pyne. [Sound of applause]

Christopher Pyne’s win is particularly impressive since he was not actually present in the second week of the last parliamentary sitting. And in week one, other than some press around his expense claims – particularly around spending $5,000 to fly three members of his family to Sydney for New Year’s Eve in 2010 – he was on the periphery of key events rather than being at the centre of them.

So how did Christopher Pyne win the much coveted People’s Snoutie award?

The answer is fairly simple – Pyne started the fortnight with such a high level of snoutiness, that even a fairly low profile over that two week period was unable to dull exactly how ‘on the snout’ he is. This is perhaps best expressed by an insightful quote from The Shovel a few months back:

Being massively annoying and effectively wearing people down until they agree with him is Christopher’s strong suit.

In Christopher Pyne’s own words:

You couldn’t kill me with an axe. I’m going to keep coming back.

It’s this level of commitment to snoutiness that was a key part of why Christopher Pyne won the inaugural People’s Choice Snoutie this week.

So let’s revisit some of Christopher Pyne’s greatest hits this year, which led to him winning this award.

Christopher Pyne’s Greatest Hits for 2015 (the story so far….)

Education reform – it’s all about the money

Pyne’s so-called ‘Education Reform’ legislation is undoubtedly his number one hit for the year – and a continuing chart-topper from 2014. Its title suggests that he is doing something to improve the way we educate. But not so much. In fact the only thing the Bill is seeking to reform is the way that higher education and research are funded – he’s effectively doing Joe Hockey’s work for him. But reform is a much nicer word than ‘taxation’ – making it easier to package up this pile of snoutiness for an attempted sale.

But unfortunately for Pyne and his LNP colleagues – nobody is buying it. The draft Bill has been knocked back by the Senate twice already. Further, both Australia’s top universities and one of the experts who provided input to the design of the original Education Reform Bill say the proposed Bill is fixing a problem that doesn’t exist while leaving the real issues unresolved – suggesting even more that the Bill is primarily a revenue-raising exercise by the government rather than actual reform – and definitely on the snout.

The Black Knight of Snoutiness

It was Nick Xenophon who first pointed out our People’s Choice Snoutie winner’s similarities to the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail:

Just like the Black Knight, Pyne keeps on keeping on with his much-on-the-snout Bill, despite the disdain almost everyone else has for it. Which brings us to…..

Taking Research Scientist Jobs Hostage. 

No-one could forget Pyne’s attempt at a ScoMo tactic back in March this year, when he took 1700 Research Scientists’ jobs hostage. His initial ransom demand was that the Senate must pass his Education ‘Reform’ Bill.

In doing this, he was following Scott ‘ScoMo’ Morrison’s tactic from the end of the previous year, when he managed to get changes to the Migration Act passed by the Senate. ScoMo did this by telling the crossbenchers in the Senate that if they didn’t pass the changes, 150 children would not be released from detention before Christmas. As you may recall, apparently ScoMo even had some of the actual children – who could have been released at any point without the Bill being passed – call Ricky Muir, pleading to get him to pass the bill.

It’s difficult to get snoutier than that.

But Christopher Pyne is always up for a challenge it seems. And so, our first People’s Choice Snoutie winner decided to emulate ScoMo – this time holding Scientists’ jobs hostage, saying:

There are consequences for not voting for this reform and that’s very important for the crossbenchers to understand. The consequences are that potentially 1700 researchers will lose their jobs.

Luckily, after significant outrage from pretty much everyone, Pyne magically found the money needed to fund these jobs, and he released his hostages without harm, declaring himself to be ‘the fixer’.

Taking from the Poor to give to the Rich (the Anti-Robin-Hood)

In 2014, Pyne has cut funding to certain state schools and increased funding to a significant number of private schools. Apparently he feels a “‘particular responsibility for non-government schooling’ that [he] doesn’t feel for government schools“.

Magically finding funding for one of Abbott’s Pet Projects

Despite the emergency in university funding, it turns out that there is still money available for one of Abbott’s favourite climate-contrarians – Bjorn Lomborg.

As you may recall, four million dollars was offered to any university who would allow Lomborg to establish a ‘consensus centre’ on climate change – of which up to 70% was to have been spent on promotion, marketing and events. The University of Western Australia was originally going to give Lomborg a home, but withdrew due to strong opposition to the centre. Apparently Flinders University is currently considering whether they will take him and his four million dollars worth of funding on.


Any single one of these entries would have been enough to win Pyne a Snoutie award in the normal run of events. Combined, they paint a picture of a worthy winner of the inaugural People’s Choice Snoutie award.

Take a bow Christopher Pyne – you are most definitely on the snout.

Thanks to all for voting. If you’ve got further examples of Pyne’s Greatest Hits this year that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear your comments below.

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Plan to resettle refugees in Cambodia collapses – Written by LINDSAY MURDOCH

August 30, 2015 – 12:28PM

Lindsay Murdoch
South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media
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Refugees at Kuala Lumpur airport on their way to Cambodia from Nauru.
Refugees at Kuala Lumpur airport on their way to Cambodia from Nauru. Photo: Kevin Ponniah
Australia’s $55 million operation to resettle hundreds of refugees from the tiny Pacific island of Nauru to Cambodia appears to have collapsed in a diplomatic embarrassment for the Abbott Government.

A senior Cambodian official says the impoverished nation has no plans to receive any more than four refugees who arrived in Phnom Penh in June, and indicated it did not want any.

“We don’t have any plans to import more refugees from Nauru to Cambodia,” Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told the Cambodia Daily.

“I think the less we receive the better,” he said.

Under a controversial agreement with Australia the Cambodian regime has the right to decide how many refugees are resettled from Nauru.

The regime will pocket an additional $40 million in development aid from Australian taxpayers, no matter how many arrive in the country.

Additional operational costs, including providing health and education training for the first arrivals, has already topped a staggering $15 million, a Senate committee in Canberra has been told.

The Abbott government has a policy not to comment publicly on the Cambodian operation that has been condemned by Cambodian opposition parties, human rights and refugee advocate groups.

The first group of an Iranian couple, Iranian man and Rohingya man from Myanmar have been living in an Australian-funded luxury villa in a Phnom Penh suburb since they were on June 4 whisked through Phnom Penh airport to one of the world’s poorest nations, where about 18 percent of the country’s 15 million people survive on less than $1.22 a day.

Mr Khieu Sopheak told the Cambodia Daily the four were “enjoying their life” in Cambodia.

But they have not spoken publicly since their arrival, shielded by officials from the International Organisation for Migration which received an undisclosed amount of money from Australia for taking care of the group.

The four are receiving benefits that millions of Cambodians can only dream about, including their own “case manager”, accommodation, training, help finding work, language tuition and health insurance.

Some had their applications for refugee status fast-tracked when they agreed to take a one-way flight to Cambodia.

However, refugee advocates say attempts to convince hundreds more refugees on Nauru to take-up the offer in June, July and August failed to obtain any more applicants.

A shipping container on the island was set-up as a “Cambodian Information Hub” and refugees and asylum seekers were told they should take-up the offer because they would not be allowed to live in Australia.

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said in Malaysia earlier in August that Australia expected more refugees to resettle in Cambodia under the agreement.

Since Australia’s then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signed the deal with Cambodia in a champagne-sipping ceremony in September last year the Abbott government has moved closer to the regime of strongman prime minister Hun Sen, despite his crackdown on opposition figures, dissidents and non-government-organisations in the country.

Cambodia’s foreign minister Hor Namhong is scheduled to be welcomed in Canberra in September ahead of a scheduled visit by Mr Hun Sen in December.

For more than 30 years Mr Hun Sen, a former commander of the murderous Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, has used persecution, violence, repression and corruption to remain in power, human rights groups say.

Mr Hun Sen and about 20 of his closest associates have amassed billions of dollars in personal wealth, prompting Cambodia to be ranked near the bottom of Transparency International’s index of 175 nations.

Billions of dollars in foreign development has rarely trickled down poor Cambodians, observers in the country say.

Groups including the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights and Cambodian League for Promotion of Defence and Human Rights have told the United Nations they are “deeply concerned” about systematic human rights violations in Cambodia as the regime in Phnom Penh has restricted freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and limited the political opposition’s ability to meaningful engage in policy making.

“There has been an increase in the use of lethal and other excessive force against peaceful protests and occasionally violent social unrest, as well as instances of judicial harassment and unwarranted legal attacks against human rights defenders, community activists, trade unionist and political opposition members and their supporters,” the groups told the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on August 20.

The UN refugee agency has refused to play any role in the resettlement scheme, saying it was “deeply concerned” at the precedent set by Cambodia’s agreement with Australia.

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Abbott says we should be ashamed and he should know. – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP


In his reaction to ribald public outrage against the Australian Border Farce yesterday, The Huffington Post today reports Prime Minister Tony Abbott as saying that mockers of all kinds should be ashamed of ourselves, and those Melbourne people who were actually there are especially culpable in contributing to the ruination of Operation Fortitude.

Abbott in Mankini

Meanwhile, back in the bunker, Hitler learns of the failure of Operation Fortitude:

TO read more articles by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP click on this link =  http://noplaceforsheep.com/



Introducing finger number 3, community safety – Written by KAYE LEE

Jobs, growth and…what was the other one….oh yeah, community safety.  Has anyone got anything?

The government’s backpedalling explanation of Friday’s Border Farce debacle raises more questions than it answers.

The press release was sent to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office but nobody bothered to read the document.

Last year it was revealed in Senate estimates that the Immigration and Border Protection department employs more than 95 communications staff and spin doctors, costing taxpayers at least $8 million a year.

Morrison defended this saying ”These are large organisations which require a significant amount of internal and corporate communication work on behalf of these agencies.”

And none of them thought they should read a press release before it was issued? Are they using the Heydon defence – I didn’t open that attachment?

In typical fashion, a spokesman for Mr Dutton said “The nature of the operation was the same as activity and operations conducted when Labor was in Government.”

Are they ever going to be able to own any action without reference to Labor?

As PDuddy ducked for cover we were told “the Minister was not made aware of the Media Release. The Minister does not direct ABF operational matters.’’

The Prime Minister emphatically denied knowing anything about the operation.

So who does direct ABF matters?

Has Abbott created a rogue secret service that is answerable to no-one, that is deciding for themselves what to do with no direction from government?

“I think there’s a bit of hyperventilating going on here,’’ Abbott said. “All sorts of press releases go out all the time but they go out under the authority of the relevant officials … and that all happens at arm’s length from ministers.’’

“Obviously it was a mistake. The press release was clumsy. It was over the top and wrong.”

The Prime Minister warned those who sought to demean the role of Australia Border Force on the basis of a “badly-worded press release” should be “a little ashamed of themselves”.

What about the Department who failed to read it? Shouldn’t they be just a little ashamed? And I do not think it hyperventilating to be concerned that unapproved statements of this nature are put into the public arena.

The press release still appears on the official government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

“While the ABF regularly conducts a range of compliance field-work, this is the first time we’ve been involved in an inter-agency operation of this nature and we’re very proud be able to support each of our organisations to achieve our common mission of promoting a secure and cohesive society here in Melbourne.”

“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said.

“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”

The inter-agency outfit will continue to work together on an ongoing basis to target crime in and around the Melbourne CBD to make the city a safer place for everyone.

Is Abbott suggesting that Don Smith has been misquoted?

There seems little doubt that this was a very deliberate action to fit in with Tony’s “community safety” slogan.

TO read more articles from AIMN Click on this link    =  http://theaimn.com/



Hurry, Hurry, Last Days – Written by BOB ELLIS



It’s getting worse and and worse for the Liberals, and more and more likely they’ll be extinguished as a party by 2020. They’re cactus already in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland, and the ACT, and they’ll be cactus in the Northern Territory and New South Wales in six years’ time.

The Border Force fiasco yesterday lost them half the ‘undecided’ ethnic vote in Victoria. The Duke of Edinburgh appointment lost them three quarters of the undecided vote in Australia. Abbott’s speech to the world leaders lost a quarter of a million votes, irretrievably, on its own.

In Canning, they’re running a man suspected of war crimes against a lifelong , beloved local. In South Australia, they’ve ended all car manufacturing and will soon abolish submarines. In Western Australia, they’re abolishing a hundred and fifty remote communities. All over Australia, they’ll abolish state schooling if they get the chance. They’ve defunded the entity that builds wind farms, demanded prime agricultural land surrender its lush territories to coal mines, cried ‘coal is the future’ and are letting Chinese cheap labour on half our wages thieve our jobs. Brandis has declared that he, not others, will decide what art is. Abbott believes his sister will burn in hell. No-one can name a worse government in our history.

It may be worth listing the ‘crazy moments’ that showed the voters this bunch were really, truly barking mad. There was Abbott’s ‘shirtfront’ threat and his boast to the world leaders that he had stopped the carbon tax’. There was the Duke of Edinburgh appointment. There was his defence, for seventeen days, of Bronwyn Bishop; and, for twelve days thus far, of Dyson Heydon. And there was the Border Force farce yesterday.

If I’ve got the numbers right, 480 million is to be spent on Border Force, and loads of money filched from remote communities, accommodation for the disabled, comfort for suicidal teenage Aborigines, endangered wives and kids like Rosie and Luke Batty, and so on, and twenty-four billion, at the last count, on a plane that won’t fly. Eighty million was to bye spent harassing the unions and enriching Dyson Heydon. A hundred and twenty million has been spent, and fifty more million will be spent, looking for MH 370, although it has already been found.

This, apart from the useless fighter-bomber, is two thirds of a billion dollars, money not spent on things we need. Add the twenty billion that goes to the Japanese to build our submarines no penny of which will come back to Australia ever, and we’re looking at two thousand dollars per taxpayer that might be better invested, on the common good.

Abbott’s response to the Border Force foolery this afternoon, that things like this will never, never happen in a democracy I run, and they didn’t this time, and that Border Force are ‘doing a fine job’, whatever that is, in our seas and airports, followed Shorten’s best speech thus far in Western Australia, and a very, very good press conference in Canning, in which his vivid amusement came close to schadenfreude. For another day, the campaign biography of Hastie has not appeared. There seems little chance, as of today, of the Liberals retaining Canning, and, after that, of Abbott surviving.

And after that, what? Who? Robb? Smith? Frydenberg? Briggs? A Turnbull sworn to traditional marriage? It’s hard to imagine any of it.

and we will see what we shall see.

Omens, Portents, Predictions


Abbott’s Border Force will be on Swanston Street this weekend, asking dark-skinned tourists to prove they’re not in Australia illegally. He tries on something new every couple of days. The polls get worse, and each of his brash new ideas — Heydon, Hastie — blows up in his face.

It’s likely, not certain, that if he goes anywhere near Canning he’ll lose it and be overthrown. It’s likely, not certain, that something ghastly is going on there. Did the mutilated Taliban have their hands cut off while they were still alive? Were their hands sent, as a warning, to their families? Why else is the inquiry ‘ongoing’? Why is Has tie demanding it be ended? Is he still a suspect of something? Why then has his campaign biography not appeared?

Even without this war-crimes factor, however, it’s possible, not certain, Canning can be lost.. The union ads about the Chinese taking our jobs are lethal. The end of the School kids’ Money is fast approaching. The betrayal of NDIS and Gonski is vivid. Payne’s two hundred thousand dollar degrees scare the hell out of everyone. The unemployment, the highest in twenty years, scares the Christ out of everyone. Ice is a plague in the West and only Labor is promising an all-night police station in Armadale.

And Abbott is really, really disliked in the West. His cancellation of money to the remote communities — 150 of them — means exiled Indigenous people begging, now, in the suburbs and larger towns. His refusal to fund any trains means traffic jams all the way to central Perth. His refusal to give WA a disproportionate share of the GST has eroded their schools and hospitals. His promise to cut all money to all state schools scares the hell out of them. His arrogation to himself and the Canberra bureaucracy of the Anzac legend, largely a West Australian expeditionary force, has thieved their glory. And his idiotic new title for the Duke of Edinburgh and his cancellation, today, of any hope of a Republic offends a people who, in 1927, voted to go independent and leave Australia.

On top of this, he has imposed a blow-in with a record, perhaps, of war crime on Canning, a ‘captain’s pick of a New South Welshman nobody knows.

It’s hard to see that Canning will not go.

It will be like Queensland in January.

Or am I wrong?

TO read more articles by BOB ELLIS  click on this link =   http://www.ellistabletalk.com/



Australian Border Force: first they came for Mojgan – Written by JOHN PASSANT

Mojgan Shamsalipoor had 3 months to go to finish her Year 12 education at Yeronga High School when she was transferred from a Brisbane to a Darwin detention centre. She was put in the Brisbane detention centre after she spoke to the ABC.

This is the real face of Australian Border Force and their accomplices, Serco.

As I have constantly and consistently argued on this blog, the authorities persecute the other – the vulnerable, the weak, the outsider – before they turn their guns on the rest of us.

First it was Mojgan, then it was Melbourne.

There have been good protests for Mojgan by fellow students and teachers at Yeronga High School, plus socialists, other lefties and refugee activists.  As one of those at the protest for Mojgan told me:

‘It was a good rally. There were speeches from Mojgan’s husband, teachers and school friends followed by a lively march. It was great to see the teachers union getting behind this.’

As the Melbourne protest against Border Force randomly checking visas shows, the way forward is to draw in more people and close down the centre of town. Border Force’s repressive reality, highlighted by their attempted but failed actions in Melbourne on Friday, might give us that opportunity. Civil disobedience is the way to win.

To read Mojgan’s story of escaping rape and being told to marry a 60 year old, click ABC News here.

TO read more articles from JOHN PASSANT click on this link = http://enpassant.com.au/