Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dissent as far as the eye can see

In Perth, over twelve thousand people gathered to protest the Howard government's proposed industrial relations reforms.

In addressing the rally Premier Geoff Gallop said that his government would always stand against the arrogance of power and that there were two factors essential in Australian governmental policy, to keep balance in the community, and fairness for all.

'You can't have fairness and balance if all the power goes to the employer.' Mr Gallop said the reforms flew in the face of the ANZAC tradition of a 'fair go for all' which has made Australia what it is today.

'Australia changed the day that John Howard got the numbers in the senate,' the Premier said.

In Melbourne 100,000 people protested the proposed reforms in the city centre.

Industrial Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has dismissed the nationwide protests as a waste of money.

Rights at work - worth fighting for


Red Rag reports that there were over 20,000 people at the protest on Thursday, and I have had that 2nd-ed by a reliable source.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Who's spinning who?

Top contender for the Whacko Jacko award for 2005, Tom Cruise, is being slowly but surely barbequed in both the blogosphere, and the mainstream media.

An anti-drug stance has not been well received after his attack on Brooke Shields reputation for her advocating the use of anti-depressants to deal with post partum depression.

In his appearance on the Today Show, Lauer debated with Cruise on his views about the lack of benefit in prescription drugs, Lauer apparently going as far as to allege Cruise was calling him a liar, for airing a view different to his.

Supported by a column masquerading as news in Fox News, the recent push in the media to demonize Cruise for speaking publicly about [non-new age]religion and his opposition to quick-fix remedies, will go a long way to preventing any losses by the powerful pharmaceuticals companies in the U.S.

In what appears to be a move by media conglomerates to stifle any negative comment about powerful U.S companies or the Bush administration, Cruise has been marked for career suicide as was also suggested for George Lucas, following the recent release of Star Wars:Revenge of the Sith when he mentioned he explored anti-war themes in his movies and was opposed to the Iraq War.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Basic freedoms

Chen Yonglin's appearance on Lateline the other night didn't appear to do too much for his case, with the guest not feeling at ease to answer many questions pivotal to the credibility of his earlier claims.

Fairly frightening are the prospects that even within our own country, Australians are not free to practise/enjoy whatever the religious faith of their choosing, with claims Australian Falun Dafa followers are receiving death threats, allegedly and rather astoundingly, going uninvestigated.

If this incident merely serves to draw attention to Australia's need to protect our own basic freedoms within our country, then it has been absolutely invaluable, regardless of the voracity or otherwise, of any claims being made.

If the claims are true[it would help if they were effectively investigated by the authorities], then it highlights the need for the Australian government to be extremely watchful in the preservation of the quality of life and basic freedoms we enjoy here, in the Lucky Country.

Monday, June 20, 2005

World Refugee Day: a safe refuge hard to find

Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski has called on all Australians to once again treat all refugees and asylum seekers with the dignity and respect they deserve.

"We must all bear the responsibility for ensuring that all those genuinely in need of international protection receive it," said Dr Ozdowski.

The Commissioner said that Australia generally has a reputation of being a tolerant, multicultural society, which has an excellent refugee and humanitarian program and has historically welcomed large groups of refugees facing persecution.

Commissioner Ozdowski said that finding safe refuge in today's world is becoming increasingly difficult, with many industrialised nations, including Australia, adopting a ‘culture’ of distrust and contempt and continuing to impose stricter controls on those seeking asylum.

In a world where family violence is steadily destroying the family unit, and we are constantly bombarded by images of war in our everyday lives and the generations with a knowing of its evils are being silenced by age, it's probably about time to start opening our minds to community cohesion and our community's well-being.

The refugees to Australia from previous wars have built our communities to the thriving success we see in our cities today, and are generous and compassionate members of our society.

So frequently shunned and defiled as the vile and repressive 'political correctness' that is just another excuse for censorship, tolerance and social responsibility, begins with each of us as individuals, and as individuals we have a power to effect significant change in our society, one person at a time.

Indianapolis Grand Prix 2005

'It's the strangest race, ever!' British commentator.

The Indianapolis GP looked set to finally give Jordan a chance at a podium, with the withdrawal of the 7 teams using Michelin tyres, leaving it a 6 car race.

The potential dangers associated with using the tyres on the newly modified track, caused a number of accidents in the pre-qualifying & qualifying rounds and notably, for Ralf Schumacher whose car hit the wall and Zonta, who suffered similar problems.

US crowds jeered as the six remaining cars started the race.

Initially it had looked like the race would go on as per usual, with all teams completing the first lap before being called in.

Michelin advised they couldn't assure the safety of the drivers using those tyres if they went on with the race. This was attributable to the recent diamond-cut resurfacing of the track, which Bridgestone were able to plan ahead for, due to the use of their tyres on the Indianapolis track in nascar racing during the last month.

Nonetheless 'the show must go on,' and Schumacher clocked up the 84th win of his career, followed by Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello and Jordan's Tiago Monteiro, who was clearly delighted to gain p3, despite the controversy.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

No free speech for Australians of any origin

There is, of course, no constitutional right to free speech in Australia, with an implied right only being interpreted from the nature of the Australian Constitution, by three esteemed members of the judiciary.

With our country's origins as a convict settlement, carved from the toil of the working class and the hardships of petty criminals who suffered brutal human rights violations while doing hard labour in Australian colonies, our distinct lack of a right to have a say, should really come as no surprise.

With Australia's pivotal contribution to drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is a reasonable assumption which leads Australians of many backgrounds to think there is a right for protest, or a right to free speech.

There would appear to be discrepancies between those drafted human rights and our guaranteed constitutional rights, but it is unlikely, with the resurgence of conservative right-wing religion and politics which work so agreeably with corporate globalization, that human rights concerns banished as the bastion of the left-wing, will be considered anything more than dissidence.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Canadian Grand Prix: the Iceman cometh

As most of you would already know Kimi Raikkonen took out P1 for McLaren at the Grand Prix at Montreal on the weekend, closely followed by the two ferraris driven by Schumacher and Barrichello respectively.

As per usual F1's coverage included photos and quotes from the beautiful people in attendence highlighting once again the slightly surreal nature of f1 racing.

The results also featured a role-reversal from the Nurburgring for Alonso and Raikkonen, with Alonso having to retire for the first time this season.

Williams struggled as Heidfeld failed to get a third podium when he was also forcced to retire after his engine blew up, and Mark Webber was unwilling to repeat the risky errors of his last race, to draw a fifth place.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hacker in deep snooker

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia says they have charged someone for the "biggest military computer hack of all time".

An unemployed computer systems administrator from London is alleged to have hacked into computer networks operated by NASA, the US Army, US Navy, Department of Defence and the US Air Force and the Pentagon.

He was indicted by supreme court in 2002 on eight counts of computer-related crimes in 14 different states occurring in 2001 and 2002, but has only just been arrested.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Buck passing or lid lifting on airport security lunchbox?

News Limited's The Sunday Telegraph ran a story today claiming to be lifting the lid on a crime spree at Sydney airport lasting over thirty years, interviewing former police who had investigated and reported the crimes to their superiors.

John Anderson, Transport Minister, was reported as saying Sydney airport will be appointed a new security chief to oversee law enforcement to overcome what he sees as "turf wars" between Customs, ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and State police.

The story details evidence of theft and drug trafficking by Qantas since 1977, names names and is generally most impressive, with a dead, corrupt former Sydney alderman taking the wrap for one baggage-handling heroin-trafficking syndicate, and a Qantas security chief footing the bill for other corruption, they just about have it all sewn up in an all-too-neat pile.
One of the sources, which the story implies are police, said, "Qantas wouldn't do anything about it because it would create industrial tensions."

It would have been a very interesting story if Qantas, or the former policemen's superiors had been given room to comment, but without a right of reply, it reads like pr dressed up as a story.

students turn to sex trade

A senate inquiry into student poverty, this week heard reports that students are turning to the prostitution and becoming guinea pigs for medical experiments, in order to survive on low incomes.

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said, "it is totally unacceptable for any young Australian to be forced to resort to these desperate measures in order to secure a tertiary education."

"It is absurd that the Government continues to refuse to pay Rent Assistance to students on Austudy driving them further into poverty and forcing many to give up study altogether.

"The Australian Council of Social Services' submission to the Senate inquiry stated that in 1998, over 60 percent of income support recipients were in poverty compared to only 20 percent in 1972-3.

The Inquiry heard from the National Welfare Rights Centre that as a result of the Budget, parents and people with disabilities will find it even more difficult to study from July 2006 because they will no longer be eligible for the $62.40 a fortnight Pensioner Education Scheme, and will receive a lower rate of payment.

$140 less per fortnight would be closer to the mark, disability pensioners could be losing as much as $155 per fortnight if they wish to study, after July 2006.

The inquiry is due to report on June 16.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

PM says no latch-key kids

The Prime Minister has released a statement that parents would not be penalised for being unable to undertake work where there was no suitable child care.

The Australian Democrats are hailing it as a victory for their campaigning,"we are pleased to see that the Government has listened to our protests,' said Senator Lyn Allison Leader of the Australian Democrats.

The definition of 'no suitable child care' is yet to be spelled out by the government.

Under the 2005 budget welfare reforms, parents unwilling to meet the Government's demands to leave their children home alone, they would lose their total centrelink payment for long periods. This would have had a devastating impact on children's welfare.

Senator Allison also said,
"the Prime Minister should be ashamed that his Government was initially willing to risk the welfare and safety of young children, as young as 6, by forcing their parents to work jobs out of school hours."

"A child of 6 cannot safely walk to and from school alone, administer medication or safely remain in the house at night."

"Children of widowed, separated and single low income parents deserve quality parenting and support in the same way as well-off families. The Budget policies fail to recognise the health, educational and behavioural needs of children, as well as the urgent need for affordable and available child care in all areas."

Voice of reason

As a part of Griffith University's Innocence Project, Chris Nyst spoke out today about the events unfolding in Australia. Corruption and accountability issues which have been left so long unattended, despite warnings and revelations from former AFP officer, Ray Cooper on Channel Nine's Sunday program that he had informed his superiors of drug trafficking problems in the airports as much as ten years ago, that the situation has not only affected Australia and the morale of Australians, but are jeopardizing Australia's international relations.

Accomplished paramedic and former Australian Protective Services Officer, Gary Lee-Rogers, had also made allegations about discovering drug trafficking within Sydney Airport system, which could not be investigated before he died.

Mr Nyst said, "the substantive issues the Corby defence team raised, relate primarily to shortcomings with Australian airline security, not with the Indonesian courts, and that is a proper matter for inquiry and resolution in Australia and Australian authorities."

Mr Nyst said the Government should investigate airport drug trafficking allegations made by prison inmate John Ford, the response of the Australian Federal Police to the Corby case, and investigations and damning Customs reports into corrupt " [The Australian, Academics seek airport inquiry, June 02, 2005]

Innocence Project director Lynne Weathered said that the Australian government has a responsibility to investigate whether a citizen had been 'unjustly accused as a result of happenings here in Australia.'

It is the aptly described 'media frenzy' surrounding Corby's case which is being blamed for inciting extreme and unlawful actions.

Whilst it is more than apparent much of the media coverage during the case was emotionally exploitive, it is also important for the frustrated and disillusioned general public to have a voice, such as is made available through the independent media and the blogosphere in general, and through learned authorities such as the experts who work so diligently for Griffith University's Innocence Project.

Perhaps the general public's frustration lies in the inaction of the public sector authorities who are responsible for the maintaining of justice and safety for the Australian public.

A report about airport security which was leaked this week, revealed of the 500 private security guards at Sydney airport, 39 had serious criminal convictions, 39 had minor convictions, while 16 had immigration issues.

Sydney airport chief Max Moore-Wilton, said rapid action was needed to restore public faith.

The AFP this week confirmed one of their senior investigators had been suspended for misconduct and was investigating further allegations he leaked information to two key suspects of the smuggling racket.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

It's all about meme

Courtesy of Saint, I am temporarily coming out of exam-related semi-retirement.

I have been tagged with the dreaded meme, and I am unsure of my success in keeping it going, as almost everyone I know has already done one - a bit like a tupperware party.

Music has been my refuge and my sanity for a lot of years, so I have collected a fair bit, I guess, and I have fairly diverse tastes which probably aren't very well reflected by my Top 5 all-time faves in no.4.

1.Total amount of music on computer?
I am a little embarrassed to admit to this but... tch tch tch - 60 hours 37 minutes and 27 seconds - 3.2 gigs on my desktop - ooowahh - is that bad?

2. CD you last bought?
Putamayo Asian Groove - kind of trancy, world music , good for de-stressing and practising the Xing Quan.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Snake Apologia by the Gadflys

4. 5 songs you often listen to, or which mean a lot to you?

*Kiss and say goodbye by The Manhattans because the rhythm section just sits in the groove and they really had this great feel - classics of the motown era

*Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan brings back memories of an old friend, and the cystalline clarity of Bob's lyrics sends a shiver through me everytime I hear it

*Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones because the imagery and atmosphere that it builds with its chord structure and lyrics is really unique in its simplicity and power

* Beast of Burdon by the Rolling Stones because I love its sexy lilting feel and those guys really knew how to sit in the groove with their r&b tracks

*Feuer Frei! by Rammstein - set to ear bleed, or exorcise, is purging for my terribly angry inner child, it's just a ferocious track.

* Don't be afraid by Leonardo's Bride, because I like the raspy quality and the childlike tone to the vocalist's voice[whose name escapes me at the moment]

* Think by Aretha Franklin and Sam n Dave, because it saved my bacon once, and even though it has suffered a death of over-exposure - I owe it a debt of great gratitude and simply have to mention it on the list.

Similarly to Saint, I have a love of blues and latin, and also reggae, dub, and drum and bass and real old-school are favourites, but I try to always keep an open mind so that I don't miss out on anything.

Now here's the rub, who's left to tag...

Hmmn, well hopefully Guru Ann would momentarily contemplate it even though she caught a book meme a couple of weeks ago. I am hoping Scribe might just think about it, and maybe the anonymous Mr Lefty and Leif might think about revealing their innermost secrets and its a bit far out in left field but... maybe cfsmtb could share some bicycle riding favourites if riding by The Daily Magnet in the near future...