Thursday, July 26, 2007

The reality of Australia's "noble savages"

Note first the Rousseauian description of Aboriginal life by pathetic Australian Leftist Robert Manne:

"not an Edenic but an enchanted world, in the technical sense of the sociologist Max Weber. They discovered an intricate social order in which, through the kinship structure, every human being had a precise and acknowledged place. They discovered a world that was filled with economic purpose; leavened by playfulness, joy and humour; soaked in magic, sorcery, mystery and ritual; pregnant at every moment with deep and unquestioned meaning."

That wet dream was a fantasy about Aboriginal life before the white man came. Compare it with the reality today described below. Note that the description below is of the situation in Aboriginal settlements where Aborigines are again free to run their own lives in their own way -- in the "playful" way described by Manne if they so choose

Cockroaches and dead flies are being syringed out of the ears of Aboriginal children in remote Western Australia and their hearing is so poor that some are being educated by loudspeakers. At Balgo, in the northeastern reaches of the Great Sandy Desert and 100 km from the Northern Territory border, 85 per cent of school-age children cannot hear properly, leading to learning difficulties and social disadvantage.

Backing up a Productivity Commission report showing that hearing problems among indigenous children are three times as high as those of white kids, local doctor Nicolette deZoete said the problem was often detected when an infant was four to six weeks old. Like trachoma - the eye disease that plagues many Aboriginal communities - chronic hearing disorders were preventable, she said. "Because these kids don't have a strong immune system when they're born, combined with the health environment in which they find themselves from day one, the problem keeps on recurring, even after we clean it up," she said. "The ears of kids around here are chronically full of pus. It may be fixed in two weeks, but then they go back to their houses, where 12 or 16 people may live, they sleep on the same blanket that the dog does, and - what a surprise - they're having the same problems all over again."

These problems manifest themselves in the child's development from toddler to adolescent, as they try to learn English as their second or third language. "Quite often they can't even hear what's being taught," Dr deZoete said. Teachers at Balgo's Catholic school use loudspeakers to get their messages across to the 110 school-age children in the community.

Child health nurse Robyn Smythe, who has been running infant health programs at the outpost for three years, said locals' immune systems were low because underweight babies were born to smoking, drinking mothers, a significant proportion of them under 16. Some mothers had arrived at the community clinic the day they gave birth so their understanding of pre- and post-natal care was almost non-existent, she said. "By the time the child is 18 months, it's often up to them to find their own food," Ms Smythe said. "Quite often it's survival of the fittest."

Dr deZoete said the problem was environmental health. "Wouldn't it be smarter, simpler and cheaper to sort out the environmental health issues so they didn't get sick in the first place?" she said.

The above article by Tony Barrass appeared in "The Australian" on July 21, 2007

Muslim rapists must get special protection from capture

A police force withdrew plans for a televised appeal to help catch an Afghan suspected of sexually assaulting women after a race watchdog warned that it might spark a violent backlash.

The decision to cancel the appeal was criticised by victim support organisations. Yvonne Traynor, of the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, said the case set a dangerous precedent. "I think that everybody is so afraid of being labelled a racist that no one's taking into consideration the crimes that have allegedly been committed here," she said. "The fact that this man was originally from Afghanistan is beside the point. The police obviously need to be sensitive to issues of race, but they also need to be able to get on with their jobs."

Sonia Francis-Mills, the director of the Devon Racial Equality Council, said police officers had been angered when she asked them to withdraw from Manhunt, which profiled 10 of the country's most wanted criminals. "I don't think they were happy," she said. "In the end it had to go to the Chief Constable to make the decision. I think the police often just want to feel collars. "If they had contacted us earlier we may have been able to help track him down through people within the community." She said previous public appeals for information on the case had led to ethnic minority taxi drivers in Exeter, where Seddiqi was suspected of committing the crimes, being subjected to verbal and physical abuse.

Mr Otter, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police, is known to be sensitive to issues of race since the publication of a book, Not One of Us, documented his falling out with the Iranian officer Ali Dizaei.

A CRE spokesman said it was not policy to stop the police from televising appeals for information and the racial equality council had acted independently. "If it is relevant to the investigation, we don't have a problem with the police describing people's skin colour and or ethnicity," she said.

Seddiqi went on the run in January. His alleged victims got into taxis in Exeter between October 2005 and October 2006. Formerly a resident of Wonford, Exeter, he was arrested on Nov 12 last year over the alleged offences. The four alleged victims were all in their 20s and 30s. They had been drinking when they got lifts in a taxi. Devon and Cornwall police confirmed that they were still searching for Seddiqi but declined to comment further. Police say that Seddiqi may go by other names. He is 5ft 10in tall and slim


Arrogant Australian lawyers show their contempt for democracy

THE political war between much of the legal profession and the Howard Government is now open and unconcealed as barristers and the bench resort to leaking, lecturing and campaigning against the executive and the parliament. This is a deadly contest, fuelled over many years but growing more bitter over the anti-terrorist security laws. It is a war the legal profession is destined to lose because of its flawed intellectual position, its engulfing hubris and the ultimate reluctance of the Australian people to accept the legal polemic about the threat to our democracy.

The bedrock view of the lawyers' rebellion is their refusal to accept the legitimacy of executive action based on statute and invoking the national interest. Insisting they know better, the lawyers offer themselves as saviours of civil liberties (but not necessarily saviours of the best interests of their clients).

The case involving Mohamed Haneef has exposed the fracture in dramatic terms. His barrister, Stephen Keim, has become a part-time political operative, defiant in going to the media, seeking to sway public opinion and casting himself in an epic encounter "that could affect the lives of our grandchildren". Yes, that's what the barrister told the ABC's Lateline before taunting the Prime Minister and the federal police to "come and grab me" if they dare, revealing he was "very passionate" about the issue and dismissing any need to consult either his client or solicitors before providing the media with the 142-page transcript of Haneef's interview with the Australian Federal Police. Verily, any defendant would beg for the services of such an advocate.

This is a guise all too tedious: the lawyer as political hero. What good it will do his client Haneef (or how much it damages the defence case) is not clear. It is, however, a reminder of the David Hicks saga. As explained by journalist Leigh Sales in her recent book, while John Howard could have brought Hicks's suffering to an end, so could his own lawyers by striking a plea bargain three years earlier. They didn't. Their aim was to wage a political campaign to break Howard's will and force his complete backdown over Hicks. It failed.

This week Melbourne barrister Robert Richter QC identified the Howard Government as being guilty of terrorist-type tactics. "This is a terrorist threat to our legal system," he told the ABC of ministerial actions. "Not by the terrorists, but by (Philip) Ruddock and his cohorts." Assume this is a considered view. Lest anybody suspect Richter was in a minority, Australian Bar Association president Stephen Estcourt branded the cancellation of Haneef's visa "a cynical exercise" that "constitutes an assault on the rule of law". That's all.

This paper quoted Estcourt as saying that "disquiet is pretty universal" among lawyers. He was reported saying that thousands of lawyers were deeply concerned about the Howard Government's actions. There is no reason to doubt such extraordinary claims. The lawyers are mobilising against executive tyranny. Observe that only a fortnight ago former chief justice Gerard Brennan critiqued the Government's anti-terror laws at a Sydney conference. Brennan complained that the definition of a terrorist act related to the motive of advancing "a political, religious or ideological cause". This seems, at face value, an accurate portrait of the threat. But Brennan argued that motive added nothing to the criminality of the act and might "easily be misunderstood as targeting the entire group who wish to advance the religious cause of Islam".

Brennan slammed the detention powers as a "remarkable infringement on a person's common-law rights". Such an expansion of executive power was undertaken without sufficient safeguards, the defect being "to transfer the protection of individual liberty from the judicial to the executive branch of government".

Brennan's remarks are illuminating. They make the pivotal issue one of power between executive and judiciary. His clear implication is that public acceptance of the laws cannot validate this defect nor make it acceptable. Such laws were passed on the votes of the Coalition and Labor. It is noteworthy that Labor has supported the Howard Government's action over Haneef. Labor's shadow immigration minister Tony Burke has been supportive but silent.

The message is that the executive-judiciary struggle is entrenched beyond party politics. It will endure under a Labor government but without the special venom that marks the profession's attitude towards Howard and Attorney-General Ruddock. Indeed, it may be some time before the legal lions liken Kevin Rudd's government to terrorists. But it will happen.

A comic footnote in this 11-year contest was provided by Melbourne barrister Julian Burnside, who told the Future Summit in May that Australia should introduce a law making it an offence for politicians to lie. Burnside's idea won rapturous applause. He said it could be modelled on the misleading and deceptive conduct provision of the Trade Practices Act. Yes, he conceded it would mean more by-elections, but the public was sick of politicians lying. "If there were the possibility of going to jail" then the politicians might change their ways, he suggested.

This is the ultimate lawyer fantasy: being able to put politicians in jail for dishonesty in the conduct of their duties. Imagine the trials, fit only for barristers as heroes. One example Burnside gave was Howard's previous global warming policy. He said the big turnaround "in the past six months is just the best demonstration that they have been lying up to now". Howard, for better or worse, might have thought his climate change stance was about advancing Australia's interest. Poor fool. Burnside knows the truth: Howard was lying all the time. Don't worry about children overboard if you can jail him for global warming.

Such hyperbole has value. It reveals the depth of delusion and mad hubris beating at the heart of this legal culture. The lawyers are weak on political science. Influenced by the feeble and defective analysis of Australian governance, they actually believe the Howard Government has suppressed dissent, corrupted the political system and destroyed accountability, and they see themselves as the last line of defence.

The Government's main problem has been incompetence feeding declining public trust. This goes to the real issue involved in Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews's decision this week to revoke Haneef's visa. This is a ministerial power created by the parliament that vests obligations on the minister. The power is used frequently in the public interest to remove from the nation visa holders who have had associations with criminal conduct. It is usually invoked for resident non-citizens who have served jail time for an offence. It is a necessary executive power made more necessary by the terrorist threat. What is different this time is the situation in which Andrews used the power.

The legal establishment says that because a court process was under way, Andrews should not have acted and that he has prejudiced a fair trial. This is by no means clear since different criteria are involved. The test Andrews had to apply was only that of reasonable suspicion. The test for conviction at a trial is guilt beyond reasonable doubt. They are, of course, quite different tests.

The lawyers, it seems, will say almost anything to tear down executive action. Witness the claim that Andrews is really trying to get a conviction in court and the claim that Andrews is motivated merely by politics and not genuine concerns. (It is by no means obvious that Andrews's action helps the Government win votes.) Andrews's decision is reviewable at both administrative and judicial levels. He can revise his decision if the evidence changes, and the courts can also review his decision.

Nobody would argue the Government has not made a mess of the situation. The problem with Andrews's decision is that he cancelled a visa but cannot immediately deport Haneef. The deeper problem will come if Andrews and the AFP are found to have relied on false information. Haneef's has become a case study in the collapse of trust between lawyers and the executive. Australia's anti-terror laws are now hostage to both executive incompetence and the political campaign against them waged by much of the legal profession.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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