Saturday, 30 June 2007

Howard's "land grab" of Aboriginal settlements. Is it wrong?

I know what I believe. I believe that John Howard is taking control of land in Aboriginal Settlements for reasons other than the stated reason - of preventing child abuse. It is all too far-fetched to be true.

John Howard does not agree with me. Well, of course he doesn't. But at least he has been forced now to come out and deny the story - for what a Prime Ministerial denial is worth, from John Howard.

The SMH said (30 June 2007) : "The Prime Minister, John Howard, has dismissed as "ludicrous" allegations his plan to tackle child abuse in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory was a cover-up for winding back land rights.
"Earlier this week Pat Turner, a former head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, accused the Federal Government of using child abuse as "the Trojan Horse to resume total control of our land".
"Mr Howard said he was not "trying to take anything from anybody". "This idea that we're stealing a generation - we're protecting a generation; this idea we're grabbing land - we're trying to secure the future for these people."
- end of quote.

OK, why is John Howard resuming control of Aboriginal Leases? What has this process got to do with stopping child abuse? It is far from clear what the rationale is.

It is not just the "prattling classes" of the "Blogosphere" who think there is a problem with the Howard plan. Even nice, conservative, reasonable Michael Duffy thinks there is.

He writes (SMH 30 June 2007) "For 11 years this Government largely ignored the horrific plight of so many Aboriginal Australians. (It says it's acting now because of a recent report on child sex abuse. Many reports have said the same things over the past decade.)"
Good point, Michael.

His article is entitled: "Lessons from Iraq absent in (sic) PM's solution" (Michael is not a good grammarian - absent from would be better, Michael.). He starts off:

"The invasion of the Northern Territory proceeds well. Convoys have been dispatched, beachheads secured, and our television screens again show armed Australians in uniform being nice to shoeless children of colour.

"On the home front, the white feather is being used to ridicule dissenters. The modern version of the white feather is the claim, as put by the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, on The 7.30 Report on Wednesday, that those who question any aspect of what the Government is doing are really saying "let's do nothing".

"So all in all, John Howard's military solution to the problem of Aboriginal disadvantage is going well. But then, wars do tend to go well in their early stages."

And what do I think is behind it? Mining interests, and a deep-seated desire to destabilise the Northern Territory Government, and a desire to make himself look "decisive" in the lead-up to the forthcoming election. Why do I mention mining interests? Well, one of the key ingredients in the plan is this:

"Introduce legislation to acquire a five year lease over prescribed Indigenous communities, with just terms compensation with this to include, but not be limited to, communities of 100 people or more located on:
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) land;
located on a form of freehold title issued by the NT Government to Aboriginal corporations and known as Community Living Areas.
Other communities
may also be prescribed by the Minister on the basis of advice from the Taskforce."

Source: Mal Brough's Press Statement of 21 June 2007.

This constitutes a key part of the Federal Government's on-going war against Native Title. They are desperate to disrupt Native Title, and replace it with 99 year leases. Why? Because it makes it easier for Mining interests to negotiate mining activities.

Why else?

This has little if anything to do with abuse of Aboriginal children. In fact, the removal of the permit system, if anything, facilitates abuse - at least the prostitution of children by outsiders, (e.g., mine workers and taxi-drivers) in return for drugs, and sniffable petrol, which was clearly identified in the "Little Children are Sacred" report. Be prepared - it is a huge file. But this website seems to work. The NT Government website which is the official host site appears to have crashed.

Finally, I note that the authors of this report (Pat Anderson and Rex Wild QC) state:
"It is critical that both Governments (NT and Federal) commit to genuine consultation with Aboriginal people in designing initiatives for Aboriginal communities" P7.

That sentence is in the Foreword of the Report, Mr Brough, in case you have not read that far into it.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

"Pell-ter Skelter"

The Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell has failed in his lobbying this week against the Stem Cell research bill. In so doing he has damaged his own public standing.

THE SMH reports today:

"The Catholic Church supports adult stem cell research, especially for health cures, and remains opposed to the destruction of human life," Cardinal Pell said in a statement.

"In our democracy, parliament legislates. I regret the vote of the NSW Legislative Assembly on cloning and hope that the Legislative Council will be better informed."

"The cardinal said the Sydney Catholic Life Office was prepared to offer information to "any person who wishes to understand the pro-life position better". Cardinal Pell has come under attack by MPs after he said Catholic politicians who voted in favour of the bill could expect consequences for their place in the life of the church."

The failure of Cardinal Pell to bring with him the openly Catholic members of the NSW Legislative Assembly has raised the public profile of Pell's lack of "authority" - and believe me, Cardinal Pell is an "authoritarian."

His public hectoring of elected members of Parliament has also allowed avidly anti-Papist commentators of the Far Right to link Pell's rantings with an unlikely bedfellow, Sheik Taj Aldin al-hilali. The question is too easily asked: What would people think if Sheik Hilali tried to exercise the same "authority" over elected Members of Parliament? There would be screams of outrage, and threats of investigations of breach of Parliamentary Privilege. Why would the same issues not be raised against Cardinal Pell?

The Cardinal needs to realise that he is not Archbishop Danny Mannix, and it is not Australia during the 1950s.

While on the subject of Cardinal Pell, I wonder quite what he was doing visiting the ANSTO's Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor on 23 November 2006. See the Bragg Institute's website. Scroll down for the photo of 23 November. Even the Bragg Institute's website makes no comment on what George was doing there. I wonder if they invited him, or if he asked for permission to visit?
*Photo of Cardinal Pell (top) "courtesy of" Larvatus Prodeo, although I note that it was taken in Germany, but they did not give a photo credit.
** Photo of Danny Mannix courtesy of the amazing website of the "Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military" (I kid you not - there is such a "diocese").

I note with fascination that by the end of WW1, Daniel Mannix, who had (in 1914) publicly condemned Australia's participation in the War, and actively opposed Billy Hughes's referendum on Conscription (in 1917), was appointed - in that same year - by the Department of Defence to be Army Chaplain-General (Catholic). This ironic situation arose following the death of the previous incumbent, Archbishop Carr. Archbishop Mannix succeeded Carr in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and the was then nominated by the Catholic Bishops to take over Carr's former responsibilities. The Department of Defence must have been grinding their teeth when they made that appointment, for at the start of the war, many people regarded Mannix as a traitor. Here he was being appointed as Army Chaplain-General, less than four years later!

As Wikipedia says:
"By the end of the war Mannix was the recognised leader of the Irish community in Australia, idolised by Catholics but detested by many Anglo-Australian Protestants, including those in power federally and in Victoria - for many years he was ostracised and not invited to the official functions his position would have entitled him to attend."

My, my, t
he irony of politics of Church and State in Australia.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Global Warming and carbon trading

John Howard, poor guy has been a denier of global warming all along through his 11 year reign in Australia.
Last week he suddenly announced that he was a "believer". and that a policy would be introduced (after the next election) to introduce a form of Carbon Trading, sometime after 2012. Well why would that be?
Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that George W. Bush was scheduled to make a remarkably similar announcement, from Washington, just a few hours later. And, remarkably, that statement was intended to be a policy to bind China, India and Australia - the other high rating countries on the Carbon emitting scale, which had not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
So, Howard simply had no choice. He had to act, or get steam-rollered by his mate, George Dubya.
At least Dubya tipped off his little mate, or the latter would have looked even more stupid than he currently does.
By the way, the 2012 date comes from George's policy, and it is related to the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, to which neither Australia, nor the USA are fully ratified participants. Where it the logic in that?
Ring,,,,, Ring.......
Hello? It's the middle of the night.
Who is it?


G.W.B: "I'm going to announce that we
will have a Carbon Trading Scheme, next week".

J.W.H.: Next week?

G.W.B.: Next week?
Not next week, 2012 - pay attention!

J.W.H.: Sorry, Mr President. What that about 2012?

G.W.B.: "O
h, we will wait until this Kyoto Protocol thing,
which we do not follow,
before our new policy becomes effective."

Get it?

J.W.H.: Nope!
I've always said Global Warming was rubbish, and
Carbon Trading was bad for the economy.

G.W.B: It doesn't matter if you don't get it.
I need to do something,
to distract the detractors.

J.W.H.: Whaaa?

G.W.B.: I need something to take to the
G8 in Germany next week,
to look like I'm doing something.
Don't worry.
2012 is a long time away,

and we will all be out of office by then anyway.

J.W.H.: If you say so, George. Then that's all right then."