Tag Archives: John Howard

Politically Incorrect? Say ‘Yay’ or ‘Nea’!

I have been watching from the sides for a while. Australia is all in the hold of the ‘the postal survey on same-sex marriage‘. I understand that it was done; I believe that there are people on both sides of the isle; I have no issue with either side. From my point of view, I voted ‘Yes’. It is my personal believe that I have no business being against it. As a hetero sexual I believe that anyone needs to have the option of happiness wherever they find it. It gets to be a lot more clear when we look at the divorce statistics as presented by CM Lawyers (at https://www.cmlaw.com.au/blog/post/australian-statistics-divorce/). So when we see that in some groups the divorce gets to be as high as 40%, whist we see that the median time from marriage until separation is 8.4 years. It is the realisation that couples seems to not make it is as high as one in three. So at that point what right do I have to oppose two people trying to find happiness?

I do still have an issue with those loudly opposing others who have a vote. Those against attacking those who state ‘yes’ and those stating ‘yes’ attacking those opposing it all. So it was when I saw the setting of John Howard (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/01/labor-labels-john-howard-yesterdays-man-after-marriage-ads) that made me realise that I had to say a few words too. The first that stood out was ‘Labor and the Greens have refused to accept a no vote and would move to introduce same-sex marriage even if the majority of people vote no‘, so not only do they not accept the majority of votes; they will proceed no matter what. Now on the side of reality, I believe that they have all the rights to set it through, even if they are a minority. The vote is impacting a growing part of the Australian constituency, so representing them until the end is the proper thing to do, yet at what expense? That question comes to the surface when we see “Howard was “yesterday’s man” and, while entitled to his opinion, it was “unfortunate” he had used his standing as a former prime minister to advocate for the no campaign“. Is that not his right? Why is it unfortunate? We can push towards the 2005 work by Marion Maddox as we see the issue given that from 1993 onwards, John Howard’s Liberal Party moved and instigated moves by importing Christian right values that might be regarded as US tainted values and that the Australian media reported far too little about such moves in social and public policy. Is that not interesting, on how something that might have been regarded as ‘unwanted’ was not set into the limelight more often with clarity? Now, it is a debatable side if that is truly what happened, especially as it should be seen in the light of how it was at that point, yet when we realise that the media has always given preference to the needs of their advertisers and stakeholders when placed against informing the public, it is at that point we see that the work of Marion Maddox should not be disregarded. It is actually not the centre piece here. It is the Daily Examiner (at https://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/news/morgan-freeman-surprised-marriage-equality-stoush/3229833/) that gives a little more light for a change. With “OSCAR-WINNING actor Morgan Freeman has weighed in on Australia’s marriage equality debate, saying once people start understanding that being gay isn’t a choice then equal rights will follow” that makes the candle shine a little more brightly. Yet in my opposition I state ‘If it does not affect you, do you have a valid case opposing it?‘ Should you oppose it being a catholic, how did you proceed to convict your local priest for fondling little boys? Did you stay quiet, or were you suddenly a little more forgiving? So when you see these levels of hypocrisy happening all around you, does that not give light to the need for us all to become champions of happiness for all? I believe that the wisdom of Morgan Freeman is best seen in: ““Life is like the ocean. It is never quite the same; it is never still. The concept of world peace is never going to be a reality because we are like water – we need balance,” he said. “You can’t have too much good because there is no way to measure it without the bad.”“, our lives should be set into a balance and as such we should not deprive others to have their own balance. Yet there is also a consideration to see in the ‘No’ field. We get part of this in the Star Observer (at http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/gay-men-speak-marriage-equality/162409). We can start with ““Arguing for the traditional view of marriage… is not bigotry,” says the first man“, is that truly fair? If we separate state and church, we need to realise that marriage is a legal or formal setting, the dictionary tells us: “the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship“, so if that is the case, why is the church even part of that equation? Being married is a legal setting, whether this is followed by a religious ceremony is beside the point. It might remain the case that John Howard makes one clear case when he states ‘John Howard says the current parliament must ensure religious freedoms are protected if the yes vote wins the marriage equality postal survey‘, is that so wrong? We might want to oppose it all citing reasons of discrimination, yet in all this the separation of state and church must remain. We need to ensure that there is no ‘greying’ of the area. In this we might want to consider that this will be a much longer war, the marriage equality act will be one with several stages. Anyone opposing that reality is merely delusional. If not, then merely publish the names of the 3,000 priests accused of sexual abuse. How many of those cases made it too court, how many were convicted and how many ended up in jail. That statistic alone gives rise to question clear separation of church and state in a whole league of nations. In that side I would like to submit the evidence that ABC gave us in February (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-06/child-sex-abuse-royal-commission:-data-reveals-catholic-abuse/8243890). Here we see “the Maitland-Newcastle diocese is not on the commission’s top list of offenders, however Bishop Bill Wright says the region had three or four very prolific offenders“, so as we realise the danger to children we see that there is a side all ignore, if those who said ‘No’, which is their right are equally not speaking out against these catholic transgressors, what values do these people have? Do they have values? This is exactly why I want church and state truly separated, now I will not oppose whatever objection they have to marry in church two man or two women, yet when that happens, they must in equal measure sign the petition of prosecuting several priests who did the deed with non-consenting children. Will they be willing to take it to that degree?

It is my personal view, but I believe that people cannot object to same sex marriage and in equal measure feel slightly too forgiving for certain priests, or better stated remains indifferent to their non-prosecutional plight. One view, mine is that as we allow for all to find their own happiness, we see a change to family value, not for the worse but for the better. That view was handed to the people in 2014 (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-05/children-raised-by-same-sex-couples-healthier-study-finds/5574168). Here we see “University of Melbourne researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children about their physical health and social wellbeing”, which gives us the results “children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6 per cent higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion“. Now I have not looked at the full research and data collection part, yet when we see the impact that divorce has been having on children and that one in three marriages tend to result in divorce, can there be any validity in opposing same sex marriages? I do not claim to have the wisdom, but the data is quite outspoken in favour of same sex marriages and in equal measure gives light to the healthier generation that follows. In this in support I hand you “Lack of gender stereotyping in parenting roles promotes harmony” and “it teaches the child that everyone contributes in an equal way and you all have to contribute to the family“. Is that not what has shown to be important for the overall happiness to all?

In all this in opposition is that for now that “Stigmatisation is still a problem for same-sex-parent families“. When we realise that this is the only remaining issue and in this until the church does it part to stop stigmatisation, it does not really get a voice in any of this which supports a stronger need to separation of church and state as well as it gives rise to oppose any spokesperson who acts on behalf of the church. I need to be careful to not bash those who vote ‘No’ as it is their right to do so, yet this is the danger we ace when we get overly ‘enthusiastic’ for one of the two sides. I do not feel like that, as I stated in the beginning, my point of view is that I have no business opposing the right they desire in equality to the right I have. The divorce statistics alone should grant them that right. Should our heavenly father (or mother) oppose my point of view, then he can strike me down whenever it pleases him (or her).

So it might not be my way of life, but when it comes to happiness, we should never be allowed to deny others the option to forge their own happiness. When it comes to religion, one book 1500 years old does not hold the wisdom to obstruct, in equal measure it can hold certain clarities for some to follow, the part that people forget is that the bible is a book with 788 thousand words and not all are set to the wisdoms we accept today, if you think that I am wrong then try to pass laws based on Leviticus 25:44 and see how far you get. That alone is one of many that show the essential need and wisdom to separate church and state in this day and age, which is the largest setting for those who vote ‘No’. In its anti-gay part we have Leviticus 18:22. Yet when we realise that Leviticus was not a person, but it reflects the conversations between God and Moses (read: God’s speeches to Moses), at that point, should we alter the value that this book has? As such what value can we give a monologue, one that was collected by hearsay and third party recollection over the ages?

I am not judging, I merely ask for us to keep a clear mind to what we agree and disagree on. I have enough to oppose a ‘No’ vote, which is why I voted ‘Yes’, that is the danger of having 2 options, we can argue in favour, or we can oppose the ‘against’, either way we end up in one camp, the same can be stated for the other side. From that, in academic view ‘Yes’ is the only vote that remains for a large group, so at that point I wonder how the data gets filtered and weighted, because that is the only option that the ‘No’ team is left with, which is why the entire situation is a lot more volatile than many realise.

And this is merely my point of view on the matter.

 

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Costing in the key of life

Over the last decade, political parties have squandered the needs of their constituents. Liberals, conservatives and Labour alike in both the UK and Australia. I have seen the pressure as housing is no longer an options for many. It is a skewed approach to a solution that fit only the truly wealthy. It is a system that has been ignored, shovelled all over the place and no one has done anything serious to address it. How much longer can this go on?

Yesterday’s article in the Guardian by Robert Booth is only the tip of the iceberg that sank the good ship lollipop (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jan/01/london-flats-costing-up-to-1m-outsell-more-affordable-homes). The title ‘London flats costing up to £1m outsell more affordable homes‘ is on one side deceptive on the other side it is illustrative of several administrations that have not considered any solution, just a propagation of the Status Quo. The quote ‘sold more than twice as many two-bedroom apartments costing between £650,000 and £1m as cheaper homes priced at about £300,000‘ is partially deceptive. You see when you see the data ‘Sales of London homes banded by asking price per square foot’, we see the numbers, but what is missing is not ‘what is sold‘ but the metric ‘available places that people can afford‘, Even higher educated barristers admitted to the bar will not be able to show an annual income of £200,000, which means that even the highest educated are not in line for anything decent any day soon. In Australia the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is now marketing the alternative in the trend of ‘Use your spare room to help pay off your mortgage!‘, they voice it like ‘my new business‘, but in the end, it is a risky approach to either a mortgage that is higher than you bargained for or one that was outside your reach an they are voicing the ‘entrepreneurial’ edge to hide the risk. What if that person suddenly gets into a financial wash? What if the Granny involved dies? All elements that take weeks if not months to resolve and the mortgage is still due. In addition permits might be needed. Nothing of that is clearly shown. The entire housing market is in a dangerous place because the political parties have ‘conveniently’ ignored the lower branches of income and in all that the rent is also still rising whilst incomes are not moving forward. So we are in a place where London, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are pricing their cities into non-sustainable situations and it has been going on for the better part of two decades. All these places have been trailing demand for over a decade by a decadent amount, whilst they should have been ahead of the curve for at least a decade.

When we look at the following quote in the Guardian “Campbell Robb, the chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter. “It is promising to see the government finally focusing on building more homes. But the only way to truly solve this housing crisis is for both the mayor and central government to finally prioritise building homes that Londoners on ordinary incomes can afford to rent or buy, instead of just higher earners.”“, question marks should be clearly placed, because ‘finally focusing on building more homes’ should have started in 2003 in both London and Sydney. Now, we have to accept that the city is no longer an option for many, yet when we look 4 minutes away from there we see the same trend of shortage. We are face with either not enough, or not affordable. A increasingly larger population in Sydney is now confronted that their income will at best support the rent of a mere studio apartment, meaning that the bulk must rely on 2 incomes to get anything above a one bedroom apartment, more than that, the current growth of rent means that any year that an annual increase of 3% is not met or exceeded, the living standard goes down on a quarterly base. These numbers might sound scary, but compared to London it is nowhere near as bad as it gets. The political parties have abandoned its population all for the need and premise of inviting wealth into the UK and Australia, whilst there is no evidence that these people are spending a great deal in those places, other than supporting and funding new unaffordable buildings. This goes far beyond these mere borders, we see a similar evolution in the Netherlands, where the issue is even more interesting as larger proportions of the Netherlands are facing a similar issue we see in London and Sydney. There is no ignoring the act that the Netherlands is only a fraction of the size of the UK (and an even more diminishable part of Australia), which of course drives prices up even faster. The Guardian article shows the most dangerous part at the very end with the quote “Since 2009, the fastest growing locations for new housing have been Barnet, Brent, Croydon, Newham and Wandsworth. In Croydon, the price of dozens of flats in the Coombe Cross development have increased by around a quarter, with one-bedroom flats rising £63,000 to £287,950“, now implying that the outer doughnut is no longer affordable, moreover, the fact that not more alerts are ringing all over Whitehall with an increase of 25% is even more unsettling. The average UK salary might be set at £26,500, but that implies that well over 50% of the UK is faced with a house price well over 1,000% of their income, making it never an option. That same trend is seen in Australia, where the median house price is now set at one million, setting the house price on average between 1,500% and 2,000% of their income, an issue that could have been avoided if the parties a decade ago had set clear paths in motion to battle this dangerous trend. Whilst both places are steering towards the New York unaffordability we are also faced with a situation that our values of life are in equal decrease, because as we move from nations that are no longer ‘working to live’, but nations that moved to ‘live to work’, our values will diminish faster and faster and it is all due to a path of greed and a path of flaccid and unreliable politicians. Labour UK 1997 – 2010, Labour AUS 2007 – 2013, in Australia partial fault is also with the Liberals as John Howard was sailing the good Ship Wallaby from 1996 – 2007. All parties that seemed to forget that not everyone can afford to live on a $100K+ income and we will be paying for their shortcomings for a long time to come.

I wonder if it ever gets properly solved without having to resort to ‘culling’ the population at large.

 

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Humanitarian Law…..the End!

We have seen a few spectacles lately that give rise to acts of a questionable nature. The Netherlands had the death of a refused refugee who after some basic checks should have passed the test of being allowed to stay with the greatest of ease. It was a black moment in Dutch affairs. Yet, this is only one case and it dwarves by a landslide when we look at the issues that Australia is facing.

In 2011 the Labour government under Julia Gillard decided that it would be a great idea to ship refugees to Malaysia, to process them there. This idea was stopped by Chief Justice Robert French right and proper. The issue is seen in ‘convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees‘ (at http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html).

Article 33(1). No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

It was stated in the Sydney Morning Herald (21st August 2011) “The court’s full bench agreed 6-1 that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s declaration that Malaysia was an appropriate place to send asylum seekers was wrong“. I reckon that Mr Bowen might have forgotten about the convention Australia agreed with.

Even though I was never that active in Humanitarian Law or Refugee and Immigration laws, this event opened my eyes and I learned that the refugee issue is one that had been in long standing. Even though we can see that the Labour party bungled this play, they were not the only ones playing the game. If we step back to 2001, we see that it was former Prime Minister John Howard who stated On 28 October 2001, at his 2001 election campaign policy launch “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

So this is an issue that affects the political field on both sides of the isle. I reckon if we had an Australian version of UKIP, it would be a three sided spectacle. Is there an issue? Well, in all fairness I reckon there is one. As these refugees end up, or quickly move to a large city (yes, we have 5 large cities in Australia) then the infrastructure could collapse as these refugees who have limits on work skills and language skills would not be able to get ahead (a realistic view, not a demeaning one). This does not mean that I am against refugees; I am only stating that a solution should be found, preferably an urban/rural one. Let us not forget that Australia has 21,000 Km of beachfront space. There should be an option on the creation of villages where they can become farmers and build a life. Some will consider other options, which is fair enough. I believe that such villages would enable these people to take some time as they get used to life in Australia. If we consider the option of growing food for export, then I see some future in several Wasabi farms. The Japanese will eat all the Wasabi they can get their grips on and as Sashimi gains popularity all over the world, the need for Soy sauce and Wasabi only grows. If we need to look for other ways to grow the Australian economy, then what about a solution using Dutch greenhouses? Their innovation of a solution that allows the growth of all kinds of fruits and vegetables that normally will not survive the harsh Dutch autumn and winter is almost legend. So there are several options. In other directions we see how refugees could start building a future for themselves as they work and get schooled into the Australian way of life (one does not learn Cricket overnight).

Yet these ideas are all nice do face another onslaught of ‘limitations’. This was shown yesterday in the Australian Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/25/abbott-png-operation-sovereign-borders. Here we see the mention of Operation Sovereign Border. Yes, this time it is the Liberal side that comes with the ‘new’ ideas. There is the mention of “a military-led response” to combat people smuggling. The policy is published at http://lpaweb-static.s3.amazonaws.com/Policies/OperationSovereignBorders_Policy.pdf

They do waste a little space to illustrate the plans from Labour that failed, yet I am more interested in the idea that works. You see, people smuggling will ALWAYS work. People smuggling is all about paying it forward. The refugee pays upfront, and then they might make it (however usually they never do). The issue is that these events need to be stopped at the start. How can they do that? Advertising on TV in the nations of departure? Most of those will never be seen. Leaflets get thrown out and so forth. So this is about stopping people with NO options left. So however these plans are presented by Tony Abbott, there is a chance that they will fail almost completely. I especially liked the idea to turn back boats if it is safe to do so (slight voice of sarcasm). How long until less secure ships will ‘accidently’ start to sink when the ADF gets too close? Then what? Let us not forget that the refugees have paid up front, so sinking a $5000 junk dinghy whilst $50,000 has been collected is an excellent ROI for smugglers. This is why people smuggle ALWAYS works. The idea to push these responsibilities towards the ADF is equally less desired. Yes, the ADF (Navy) will patrol the shores of Australia to keep us safe, yet they are people and as such they will not (and should not) act hostile against unarmed refugees. Yes, the Navy has a job to do, there is however the danger that comes with the mission when it becomes about blocking boats. It is not unlikely that any escalation will result in the world press slamming Australia for armed intervention against non-combatants, a story, which at that point could turn nasty quite quickly. The navy is likely to end up looking bad no matter what, and the refugees, who are already victims, would just end up in the middle, a place they were already in. How is this any kind of solution?

Mr Abbott quite correctly countered labours next idea on off shore processing using Papua New Guinea. It is indeed an Australian issue to solve. There are also issues with the same charter former PM Gillard overlooked. PNG currently has 7 reservations on issues that are stated to be a clear right to a refugee. It does not matter whether PNG will remove these reservations, as these reservations are presently in effect; PNG remains an unlikely solution until these reservations have been removed. So the issues should be solved within the Australian territory. The added message is that the PNG solution will cost! At http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54587 we read:
The government is yet to release the cost of the PNG plan, but using the Immigration Department’s own contracts, estimates of operating processing centres suggest the expansion of Manus Island from 600 detainees to 3000 would incur an initial cost of $600 million.
Are we not better off spending that money on locations here in Australia? If we want to start new communities, creating a small town might even be cheaper and it will grow local economy, housing and solve part of the refugee issues. I agree that my view might be lightly unrealistically skewed, yet I cannot stop wondering how deep the experts actually investigated possible local solutions.
We should all consider that as we see ‘blown-out’ spending running into the billions.

So what to do?

First there is the claim that the report Operation Sovereign Borders Policy held. “The total cost to Australian taxpayers for managing illegal boat arrivals has increased from $85 million in 2007-08 to $3 billion in 2013-14. Between 2007-08 and 2013-14, the budget for managing illegal boat arrivals has blown-out by $10.3 billion.

I agree that this is a massive cost. I would like to see a run-down of these costs. Not generic, but specific. I believe that we should find a solution to the issues, I am however not certain that the blockade approach will work to any degree, so why press for such levels of spending? Let’s also realise that unless the navy gets a fleet twice the current size, our seafront is just too large to patrol for boat refugees. It amounts to a solution no less expensive than a very high fence over the total stretch of Texas bordering Mexico. Thoughts that were matched by former chief of the defence force Admiral Chris Barrie who said in the Canberra Times: “I can’t see this making more than an incremental difference at best.

 

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