The Elephant in the Room

Try as I might to steel myself against dismay at the encouragement that prejudice, and xenophobia receives at a government level I find I do slip into temporary malaise more frequently these days.

I’m advanced enough in years to remember venturing out with my friends with buckets of soapy water to scrub Jack van Tongeren’s racist ‘Asians Out’ posters off bus stop shelters, and walls and the enormous community support that was given the Vietnamese ‘boat people’. Television stations, and newspapers (even the West Australian!) were keen to publish our efforts, and most of the so called ‘bleeding hearts’ I knew were Christians. How drastically things can change in 25 years.

Now refugees are burdened with a double dose of suspicion built on secrecy and disinformation, and the pre-existing bias and fear of association with mental illness. It’s no mistake hard right-wing proponents label anyone with compassionate leanings ‘the loony left’. Dismissing the ideas, needs, and desires of an individual or group by inferring mental ill health, or moral depravity where the code is defined by them alone has been a stock in trade tool used by manipulators of public opinion to declare compassionate action, and disregard for oppressive rules that make no sense for years.

Kings have been dethroned for it such as Ludwig II of Bavaria. The psychiatrist employed by his power hungry family, Bernhard von Gudden, declared him to be mad because, amongst other things, he preferred to dine outside in all manner of weather. He did not meet with King Ludwig during the evaluation, nor did he attempt to interview impartial sources. Such is the power of using even the suggestion of mental ill health as an instrument of fear and exclusion.

Educating the public that mental ill health can be instigated by traumatic experience, and that this trauma can be visited on anyone in small but significant increments of progressive disempowerment and hopelessness is a tall order. The average Australian who has no experience of the loss of liberty, and the shame visited on these people through unreasonably harsh conditions, and control overreach of the lives of incarcerated refugees can have little hope of seeing it as a big deal or understanding the consequences.

I implore all those who know differently to let your voice be heard.

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3000 ways to end Homelessness in Australia!

Francis Lynch is the CEO at Ruah, which is a community services group delivering effective, compassionate, and informed services to the vulnerable people of Perth Western Australia.  I’ve personally visited many of their core service delivery groups and I guarantee they know their stuff.

Reading his blog articles gives you the knowledge of the people working on the front line, in the trenches of the rising social problems being exacerbated by ever tightening budgets due to government cuts to funding and social security payments, and ever expanding costs.

Homelessness, and lack of affordable housing in WA are two of the biggest issues we have, that can be solved with strategic policy, and government and private sector funding.

Click on the link below to have a read.

3000 ways to end Homelessness in Australia!.

Useful Links

Parliamentary Library – Elections and electoral systems: a quick guide to key internet links.

ComLaw – Commonwealth Law, Australia

Download ‘Fracking the Future’ from the Australia Institute website. The purpose of this paper is to bust the gas industry’s myths about coal seam gas (CSG)

Guardian article from 2011 on The Goldman Report, which was a document produced from the UN inquiry into alleged war crimes during the 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone.

 Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (The Goldman Report)

Unfinished business

Dear Mr Abbott,

On this day in particular, when more than 85,000 Australians took to the streets to protest your government’s lack of fair representation and appropriate action on what matters to them, and which you appear to wish to ignore, I dream a dream that you will have an awakening of conscience, and think on it again.  When your government ministers come from such a narrow demographic, and field of experiences it’s impossible for them to be representative of, and take into consideration the interests of an entire nation.  Failure to have a representative body means the processes that beget our laws, and social programs are completely uninformed by the reality of a vast number of people’s lives.  Don’t tell me that a bunch of middle aged, elitist white guys hell bent on destroying vulnerable people’s mental health, sense of security, and the environment for profit represents the interests of the entire nation.

If you’ve never felt the anxiety of fearing for the financial, psychological, or physical security of your family it’s perfectly acceptable that you don’t ‘get it’.  It doesn’t excuse you from informing yourself on who these people are that do, how they got there, and what to do about it however.  You have a duty to do so if you wish to preserve even a pretence of continuing the work of building an Australia for all Australians.

The disinformation fed to us by the power brokers of Australia, mostly older white men that the loss of absolute power is falsely attributed as being akin to persecution, or ‘interference’ as the recent Liberal Party rhetoric presents it, has been the same attitude that has held back progress on issues of race, gender, social status, and sexual orientation based equality issues all over the world since time immemorial.  It’s not a hinderance to your freedom to have discrimination, and prejudice based demonisation and actions legislated against, and vulnerable people cared for.  It’s a reflection of a fair society where everyone has the right to the freedoms, education, access to wealth, employment, healthcare, and safety you take for granted every day.  It’s a reflection of a society where you don’t get to feel superior as your birthright, and you are forced to rely on the content of your character in order to feel secure, and worthy.

It would appear that you have missed the memo on equality, or need it re-explained to you. It is not, to paraphrase George Orwell, ‘all people are equal, but some people are more equal than others’.  The true purpose of subjugation lies in promoting unequal access to the benefits of civilised society in your favour, and is rooted in the belief that there isn’t enough to share.  It’s the big kid that divides the biscuit in two for himself and his little brother and takes ‘the big half’ because he feels a) entitled to more, and b) the innate security and narcissistic supply to his ego he garners from the inequality of strength means his brother isn’t big enough to fight him for a fair deal. c) the combination of a and b makes him feel powerful and secure.

That is why securing the rights, and freedoms of marginalised, and persecuted groups in our culture is so low on your list of priorities.  It’s an exercise in assuaging your fears by feeding your own power agenda. An agenda made necessary only because of your own insecure self image, and that is neither our problem, nor should it be our focus in creating, nurturing positive change in, and maintaining a society we can all be proud of.

It is maddening to hear you and your cronies bang on with unfounded, aggrandising references to your supposed ‘mandate’, or the completely misleading misinformation about achieving a sizable majority vote.  In fact the Liberal Party achieved victory through deliberate manipulation of preferences, and a coalition with other parties.  The Liberal Party actually received LESS votes than Labor when you look at the raw data.  The only mandate you have is to govern the nation in such a way that takes into account not just the fiscal bottom line, but the checks, balances, and vast ethical and spiritual debt incurred by this government with it’s policies designed to motivate by cruelty.  Our ethical account is in default, but not beyond redemption, and you’d better be prepared for any Australian with a heart, and a conscience to fight you for it.  We will not be ignored.

An Unbiased Source – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

page 1 copy

The United Nations can hardly be accused of partisanship or of “bleeding heart” “commy” politics, just two of the inflammatory, emotive terms I’ve seen levelled at the left in Australia in recent days.

It’s time to consider this issue from an outside perspective that doesn’t involve taking sides, or scoring points politically either left or right.

The following are direct quotes from THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES – Detention Guidelines – 2012

“AS SEEKING ASYLUM IS NOT AN UNLAWFUL ACT, any restrictions on liberty imposed on persons exercising this right need to be provided for in law, carefully circumscribed and subject to prompt review…”

“…Regardless of any such effect, DETENTION POLICIES AIMED AT DETERRENCE ARE GENERALLY UNLAWFUL UNDER INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW as they are not based on an individual assessment as to the necessity to detain. Apart from ensuring compliance with human rights standards, governments are encouraged to review their detention policies and practices in light of the latest research in relation to alternatives to detention (some of which is documented in these Guidelines). UNHCR stands ready to assist governments in devising alternative to detention programmes.”

Our government is acting cruelly, and illegally in aid of political point scoring. If the public were educated in the finer points of the economics of treating asylum seekers with dignity, and decency vs cruelty and abuse I wonder if they would reconsider their support of the latter? If welcoming refugees got the Liberals, or the ALP more votes they would make sure the Murdoch media gave these progressive ideas a vast amount of press time with positive spin, but the fact remains that demonisation, and oppositional policies differentiates them from the Greens, who they BOTH now view as a legitimate threat to their political domination.

And so, instead of creating a media sh*t storm opposing cruel practices condemned by the UN, they create one demonising theThe Australian Greens, and levelling hypocritical claims of fiscal ineptitude, and mental deficiency. All for the sake of cheap political ground at the expense of fostering the society of the ‘fair go’ we are rapidly losing in favour of a society where bigotry, and xenophobia are nurtured by our mainstream press.

We want our country back.

Few readers for the extreme right-wing’s disinformation.

devine clap trap

Miranda Devine’s hate speech, and obfuscation against Scott Ludlam signal the moment the extreme right-wing has finally lost it’s credibility for all time – Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (11:57pm).

We can see slithering greasily, and maliciously the reliance on the rules of disinformation is, as always, a malevolent journalistic force on par with the most distasteful in living memory; Miranda Devine.  An ironic force of fate begot her a surname reminiscent of the universal forces of good.  There is nothing that would suggest it in her venomous bile of an article that somehow passes for credible journalistic commentary for page 13 of The Daily Telegraph.

Her style mirrors the ham-fisted comments made by the right-winged trolls lurking in the comments beneath the video of Mr Ludlam’s speech on YouTube, whereby they attempt to shame the average observer, uneducated in the facts into compliance with their views via ridicule, personal attack, and negative spin against Mr Ludlam, and implying mental deficiency in those who disagree with them.  Not one shred of credible, verifiable evidence is offered in support.

A common tactic used by perpetrators of institutional, and domestic abuse is abuse by proxy.  The subject of the abuse (in this case Scott Ludlam) is excluded from utilising popular mediums of distribution of the facts (mainstream Murdoch media), and discredited with a deluge of half-truths, outright lies, and emotive associative arguments with no substance in that same medium by the person who has selected them as a target.  The audience for this discreditation is then unwittingly engaged as a force of proxy abuse when they repeat the misinformation ad nauseum, propelling it into popular sentiment.

Another common feature of abuse in the discreditation phase is using the ‘crazy’ label in a lame, lazy attempt to dismiss someone’s ideas without actually examining the facts, or their logic. It’s a common tactic of abusive people as it plays on peoples fears, and prejudices. Quite frankly it’s beneath contempt.

It is blatantly obvious to me, and to most people with an IQ over 100 that the strategic placement of Ms. Devine’s article adjacent to one regarding the abuse of an adopted child by his gay parents on page 13 of The Telegraph is meant to infer that homosexuals are predisposed to pedophilia, and that by association Scott Ludlam’s remarks regarding Mr Abbott’s homophobia are in fact an endorsement of a system that supposedly supports this.  It is a shameless attempt to manipulate the public perception of homosexuals, and this man alike, in the most degrading, disgusting way possible.

How this filth passes for journalism I cannot countenance.  How it passes for propaganda I most definitely can.

The fact remains, that although the bellowing cacophony of discreditation of the Greens is seemingly ceaselessly, and monotonously spewed forth in mainstream media Scott’s final speech to the federal Senate before the historic by-election bestowed upon Western Australians by misadventure and happenstance has hit a rich vein of public sentiment and support.  The fear of the right-wing made self evident by such hypocritical ventings has been noted.