The seeds of benevolent autocracy in Australia

The state versus the citizen
Another public interest information web site on the

Mosaic Portal Network

Created by

Kevin Beck


Some history writers and large segments of the Australian media laud John Howard for his Lazarus like rise in politics. They use a set of criteria that is not focused on humanity, or social successes, to measure political success in Australia in the new millennium, it a measure focused on a narrow frame, management of the economy.

The political duopoly (labor and Liberal) has entrenched control. Voters are wooed only in election campiagn periods and then autocratic style of management is imposed. The masses are coerced through middle class welfare. These cost imposts have to be paid by taxes and revenues.

To this extent economy of Australia is shaped, and managed, by people who create wealth and make products, who import and export. It is shaped by market forces not by Reserve Banks and not necessarily by governments. Whilst they have extraordinary influence and permeate the every day existence of life in Australia they are in some respects peripheral players pulling levers. Legislation is the most powerful tool of government. But even that can be struck down by our High Court or by public opinion and activism.

The executive of the Australian government assisted by sycophantic, and often inept, bureaucracies have wrought a terrible price on Australia. Not least among the bureaucrats who are culpable in this endeavour, during the Howard years, are Dr. Peter Shergold, within Prime Minister and Cabinet and Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty. The latter may be viewed as a danger to democracy. He is captive to the shady world of espionage, and intelligence. He has presided over several inept investigations and exercised poor judgement resulting in harm to people in Australia. Through his poor administration, and complicity, with the disgraced Department of Immigration and former Ministers for Immigration, Ruddock, Vanstone and Andrews, innocent people have been deported and others have been mentally and physically tortured, in the name of the War Against Terror.

The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has been given unprecedented powers, more applicable to dictatorships in Burma, China and African states than a free democratic nation.

The Australian parliament during these years has failed to protect the Australian citizen's rights. We can be incarcerated without legal representation and questioned by agents, who are not police and who have more power than the police. We can be held incommunicado and are denied access to the material or reasons for our detainment. The seeds were sown in an international alliance, many years ago. Refugees who receive adverse ASIO reports can be locked up in limbo.

"This is what John Howard, George Bush and Tony Blair have wrought. It is the possible - no, the likely - result of their ill-advised Iraq adventure. We don't need Kim Beazley or the Democrats in the US or the Tories in Britain to spell it out. Howard and the president's own mouthpiece have done it more vividly than they ever could. If these catastrophic consequences come to pass, the architects of the Iraq war, not its opponents, will be to blame. Blair, given the bum's rush by Britain's Labour Party, has already been brought to book to some extent. If the opinion polls are right, Republicans are about to reap the whirlwind of Bush's actions in the mid-term congressional elections. So far, Howard has avoided any political fall-out, but there are signs in 2007 that he, too, sees it coming." (Source: Laurie Oakes, writing in the Bulletin Magazine, "Know Surrender", Thursday October 26, 2006)

In the federal parliament, the leader of the Labor Opposition, Kevin Rudd, stands across from the dispatch box to eye with the Prime Minister John Howard. They are engaged in an unedifying verbal argument about who has more courage to stay in Iraq or go. The sheer ignominy is appalling. They can never understand the mind of an Arab. They will never comprehend
centuries of war and hate.

The Middle east is a harsh world in both environment, belief and culture. It cannot convert to a western style democracy. The Prime Minister equates his support for the US putting more troops in, and staying the course, with possessing strength and courage. Neither Mr. Rudd nor Mr. Howard are going don battle gear to fight in the theatres of war, they are jousting theory and fantasy. They exhibit less than statesman traits. It is a disgusting display of hubris and poor judgement on the part of both. What is the real cost of a gallon of oil in lives and sorrow? After all is done Iraq will be lost.

Australia has no freedom of speech enshrined in law. We have a narrow allowance defined by the High Court under the Constitution. "Extract from a member of Australia's parliament: "that you are trying to gag debate on a bill that is trying. to take away people's freedom of speech ... label that as a sell-out of democracy defies belief. ..." The Senate controlled by the Howard government gags debate that it deems unsuitable.

How is it that we can be picked up by Australia's secret police (ASIO) and held in communicado outside the normal rule of traditional law? Why is it that a person can be freed by a court of appeal and then be restricted in freedom by a member of the Executive government? Does Philip Ruddock a lawyer not know the doctrine of the separation of powers? If he does why does he corrupt it to the point of making the doctrine worthless? Why does the Attorney General, an elected politician, take unto himself exclusive powers? Why, when he refers to our robust democracy does he refer to political institutions as the foundation and not the people? As for claiming that Australia's parliament is a foundation of robust democracy only the foolish believe this. We are a cynical nation on mass. We all believe that our politicians lie, except the politicians and their employees and supporters. The parliaments of the nation are managed political duopolies where the greater number of citizens are excluded from participation. This control starts from the very base of the community electorate.

John Howard and Philip Ruddock are leaving us the legacy of a divided nation. Much as the despots in France in 1894 began when they jailed Alfred Dreyfus. The difference s that Mr. Howard and Mr. Ruddock have more sophisticated methods of interrogation and investigation, distortion and control - they have a mass media, money, control and a politically disengaged and highly uneducated citizenry. When John Howard and his Ministers do not like something they either legislate it away or denigrate it using the resources at their disposal. In this fashion they do not reinforce our democracy they
degrade and corrode it. People are not valued in Australia. We are chattels to the political parties, to be patronised and kept in our place. The politicians, and their well constructed machines, value their ideological beliefs, policies and political self indulgence cloaking it behind the veil of democracy and the public good. This is evident when the Australian government cowtows to Indonesian politicians

The rise of social activism.

Australia's federal Labor party spokesperson on the environment, Peter Garrett. He was, in another life, one of the world's stage performers on anti-USA rhetoric. He wrote a book in the eighties vehemently opposing US listening bases in Australia. He was one of the founders of the nuclear disarmament party. He is now resiling from an inconvenient truth.

"Garrett ditches anti-US stance on 'spy' base

LABOR frontbencher Peter Garrett today backed plans for a new US military communications base in Western Australia after being targeted over his silence on the issue yesterday. The Opposition spokesman for Climate Change, environment and the arts had refused to answer journalists' questions about the unmanned base, approved after three years of secret negotiations between the US and Australian Governments. In his previous life as a rock star, Mr Garrett and his band Midnight Oil railed against US military might with songs such as US Forces, Hercules and When the Generals Talk". (Source:, February 16, 2007).

"Summing up his own outlook, Garrett told a 1984 press conference: I'm not a radical and I am not an anarchist. I believe I am more of a patriot and more jingoistic than these people who see me as a radical.¯ (Source:
World Socialist Web Site - Peter Garrett Peter Garrett decided a few years ago that the Labor Party was the natural party of reform in Australia. He accepted nomination to a safe labor seat. Thus he did not struggle to win the seat and he did not earn it. He was given it. The price was his repudiation of everything that has shaped Peter Garrett. Glibly he replies that people can change their beliefs.

During his limited period in Australia's federal parliament he has demonstrated that he is a natural politician. A natural politician disconnects ethics and morality, truth and integrity in order to gain personally through participation in the political party system. He is slated for a Ministerial role under a labor government. Thus another "emperor without clothes" struts the hall of the peoples' house, treating it like their own possession. I have an expectation that if he dose become a Minister he will preside over debacle after debacle and massive waste and incompetence.

Kevin Rudd, the federal leader of the Labor Party, also appears to be a similar "natural" political talent. He seems to have a divisive nature and is likely to massively splinter the labor party.

What is the value we place on our democracy? Disinterest, and disengagement, because Australia is an under educated and uninformed populace? Why do we rant about the cost of the most precious thing we have - democracy and government? Is that value, determined by politicians and ignored by citizens, to be a budget value defined by narrow, mediocre and unimaginative minds?

Really we should wonder about how people get into senior positions in parliaments when the best that Australia has to offer is the likes of
Paul Lennon and Morris Iemma as State Premiers and Ted Baillieu and Peter Debnam as State opposition leaders. The state liberal party needs to recruit its leaders from the federal parliament. Labor simply needs to get rid of the state factions and seed their senior ranks with quality and not dross.

Does Australian democracy mean that we, as a nation, must always have the down market, cheap version of everything? Mediocrity reflecting mediocrity? We are in a "Jetstar Democracy" cheap, budget and no frills. Why not have a Qantas democracy and travel first class? Like Qantas our democracy is always under threat. Like Jetstar it is a subsidiary of a parent. Like competition policy, and the market, it is getting cheaper and going more "down market", every day. It is not cheap in terms of cost, it is cheap in terms of value and outputs - at state, territory and federal levels. Though to be fair I should rank the jurisdictions in ascending order, from the lowest common denominator and measures of quality and return for money to a higher level of value and quality. This would be territories (NT, ACT), states (Tas, SA, WA, NSW, Vic) and federal.

Australia is mired in a war in Iraq and one against militant terrorists globally. The Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, talk, like George Bush, about US and Australian (western) concepts of democracy being transferable to the Arab world. They talk of winning the war as if that is a reality within their limited capacities. Iraq has shown the many blemishes and flaws of our democracy.

The Australian government lead by Prime Minister John Howard may have (inadvertently) damaged the nation's democratic freedoms and implanted a cancer, brought about, more the action of despots in the public service, than by design of the government. The public service, particularly the Department of Immigration, have used their regulatory powers to deny the individual citizen the right to confront their accusers and to know what is that they are accused of.

On the face of it, it would seem that the Attorney General of Australia, Philip Ruddock, has taken unto his office the role of accuser and inquisitor removing the fundamental rights bestowed upon the citizen by a civilised society. Some legal minds are convinced that the government has acted illegally in relation to the plight of David Hicks allowing the US to incarcerate and try him before what they conceive to be an illegal tribunal.

Under the immigration department's unfettered operation, a person may be detained for questioning, on the grounds of being associated with some form of terrorism. They may be held without the right of legal counsel, and are denied the right to remain silent. They may be detained in their house under a control order or be put to trial without the right to test the evidence which is not disclosed to them or their lawyer. If a third party, for example a journalist, reports that a person is detained or held under these laws they are guilty of an offence. The law is the offence here. The Immigration Department has stumbled from disaster to disaster. There are claims that the SIEV X boat people were allowed to drown. Now there are allegations that an immigration official dined whilst people on an immigration provided unseaworthy boat drowned. This allegation of arriving too late at the scene has arisen now in February 2007 when the event was some time ago. The immigration official has been relocated for his protection to Cairns. The department on the face of it engaged in a cover up of its full actions. This is despite a major"cultural restructuring, costing millions of dollars, having been undertaken in the Department.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, PM - Friday, 19 May , 2006 18:29:00

There's a new problem tonight for the Immigration Department and its Minister Amanda Vanstone and this time it involves the pointless deaths of five people. It's the case of a department boat that sank in the Torres Strait last year, and the five drowned in the accident. Now a report by the Transport Safety Bureau says the five never stood a chance because the boat should never have put to sea in the first place. The bureau says the boat, the Malu Sara, was unseaworthy and badly designed and the captain hadn't been properly trained. The sinking came just six weeks after the Minister, Amanda Vanstone, launched the Malu Sara, with much fanfare, on Thursday Island. Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR: On a hazy afternoon in mid October last year the Malu Sara, an aluminium boat owned by the Immigration Department, set off in the Torres Strait. Onboard, two Immigration officers, two women and a four-year old girl. They were travelling 100 kilometres from the island of Saibai to Badu, but they never made it."

The first seed of this cancer was planted by Philip Ruddock, and the government when he, and they, abandoned David Hicks, to a despotic US administration. One found by its own superior courts to have acted illegally too many times. "There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution", Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, US Federal Court, 2006. The government of Australia, 1985 - 2006, should take serious note of this for it has similarly corrupted this democracy. There are no great leaders in Australia today. The greater number of Australian have allowed these things to happen without comment. They demand very little of their politicians, and governments, beyond shallow ideals and maintenance of self interest.

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

The calibre of John Howard can be viewed through the prism of his life in politics and time as leader of the nation. It is, to my mind, on balance, sometimes not a flattering picture.

The attack on the twin towers, and the White House and averted attack on the Pentagon, on September 11, was a terrible thing. The American people were stunned and angered. Yet not every American wanted their government to tear up the rule book and create the law of the jungle. The abrogation of the Geneva Convention and the sanctioned torture, and brutalising, of people, the incarceration of people without trial and the degradation of their proud military by a small few has lessened the moral integrity of the United States of America. An eye for an eye, an vengeance is mine, is the millstone of an administration that has made America a small place hardly worth caring about.

The support of the United States people, in their time of need, by Australians has always been our way and our code. The Americans have a history of not reciprocating as much as they demand of us as allies. True friends tell it as it is. We Australians do not know what goes on behind closed doors when our Prime Minister meets with the President. It would be an honourable thing if Mr, Howard told Mr. Bush that he and his most senior administrators have demeaned their nation and sanctioned grievous crimes which taint them and make them culpable. The underlying doubt for many in Australia is that this is not what is said. In remaining silent and leaving us to wonder, and in allowing David Hicks to be held at the pleasure of a corrosive American administration, our Prime Minister does us no favours and makes Australia culpable and as decrepit as the United States of America is become. The most senior in our government do as much do demean our nation, and our stature, as those in the cabinet of the United States. When terrorists are tried in our courts and the prosecutors question their motives I sometimes wonder how many good people, throughout the world, might think well we are now inured to caring about 911 because the government of the United States, and its military and a vast number of citizens, have demonstrated how low they too can steep. Then in concert with the Australian, and British Governments, government they can lie, bomb, invade, torture, jail, destroy and kill thousands, upon thousands, of other people in the name of "freedom, democracy and the American way". This democracy Howard, Bush and Blair style and it is nothing to be proud of. (Kevin R Beck, June 2006)


Extract From The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, Monday August 9, 2004

Extract: "We believe that a re-elected Howard Government, or an elected Latham Government, must give priority to truth in Government. This is fundamental to effective parliamentary democracy. Australians must be able to believe they are being told the truth by our leaders, especially in situations as grave as committing our forces to war. We are concerned that Australia was committed to join the invasion of Iraq on the basis of false assumptions and the deception of the Australian people. Above all, it is wrong and dangerous for our elected representatives to mislead the Australian people. If we cannot trust the word of our Government, Australia cannot expect it to be trusted by others. Without that trust, the democratic structure of our society will be undermined and with it our standing and influence in the world." Signed by:


Admiral Alan Beaumont AC, former Chief of Defence Force
General Peter Gration AC, former Chief of Defence Force
Admiral Mike Hudson AC, former Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peek, former Chief of the Navy
Air Marshal Ray Funnell AC, former Chief of the Airforce
Air Vice Marshal Brendan Oā€™Loughlin AO, former head of Australian Defence Staff, Washington
Major General Alan Stretton AO, former Director General National Disaster Organisation

Departmental Heads and Diplomatic Representatives

Paul Barratt, AO, former Secretary Dept of Defence and Deputy Secretary Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Dr John Burton, former Secretary of Dept of External Affairs and High Commissioner to Ceylon
Dr Stuart Harris AO, former Secretary of DFAT. John Menadue AO, former Secretary of the Prime Ministers Department and former Ambassador to Japan
Alan Renouf, former Secretary of DFAT, Ambassador to France, Ambassador to US
Richard Woolcott, AC, former Secretary of DFAT, Ambassador to the United Nations, Indonesia and The Philippines
Dennis Argall, former Ambassador to China
Robin Ashwin, former Ambassador to Egypt, the Soviet Union and Germany
Jeff Benson, former Ambassador to Denmark and Iceland
Geoff Bentley, former Ambassador to Russia and Consul General in Hong Kong
John Bowan, former Ambassador to Germany
Alison Broinowski, former Charge dā€™Affaires to Jordan
Richard Broinowski, former Ambassador to Mexico, Korea and Vietnam
John Brook, former Ambassador to Vietnam and Algiers
Ross Cottrill, Executive Director Australian Institute of International Affairs
Peter Curtis, former Ambassador to France, Consul General to New York and High Commmissioner in India
Rawdon Dalrymple, AO, former Ambassador to the United States, Japan, Indonesia and Israel
Malcolm Dan, former Ambassador to Argentina and Chile
Stephen Fitzgerald AO, former Ambassador to China
Geoff Forrester, former Deputy Secretary of DFAT
Robert Furlonger, former Director General of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) and Head of JIO and Ambassador to Indonesia
Ross Garnaut AO, former Ambassador to China
Ian Haig AM, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE. Robert Hamilton, former Ambassador to Mexico, El Salvador and Cuba
Cavan Hogue, former High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ambassador to Thailand, and United Nations (Security Council)
Roger Holdich, former Director General of Intelligence and Ambassador to Korea
Gordon Jockel, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Committee and Ambassador to Thailand and Indonesia
Tony Kevin, former Ambassador to Cambodia and Poland
Peter Lloyd AM, former Ambassador to Iraq
Alf Parsons AO former High Commissioner to United Kingdom, High Commissioner to Singapore, Malaysia
Ted Pocock AM, former High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ambassador to France and Morocco, the Soviet Union, Korea and the European Union
Peter Rogers, former Ambassador to Israel Rory Steele, former Ambassador to Iraq
H. Neil Truscott AM, former Ambassador to Iraq Ron Walker, former Special Disarmament Adviser, Ambassador to the UN, Geneva, Ambassador to Austria and Chairman of the Board of Governors IAEA
Garry Woodard, former High Commissioner to Malaysia and Ambassador to China

Read the above eminent Australians' full statement

Secrets and Lies

An Australian intelligence insider reveals how key dossiers on Iraqā€™s weapons of mass destruction were censored, and how his early reports to Canberra about prisoner abuse were ignored. Date: 15/02/2005, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Pertinent extracts From 4 Corners reproduced in the public interest for education and information, Read the full transcript on the ABC web site

"LIZ JACKSON (ABC Journalist/Interviewer): Tonight on 'Four Corners' Rod Barton let's us into his world, a world of secrets and lies.

Rod Barton was in the first team of weapons inspectors that went into Iraq back in 1991. The fires from Gulf War I were still burning. This old footage, shot by Iraqi intelligence, shows him at work four years later. Trained as a microbiologist, Rod was seconded from Australia's Defence Intelligence Organisation to work with UNSCOM, the United Nations team sent to verify that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. Here he's cross-examining Iraqi officials about 20 tonnes of missing bacterial growth medium, on the verge of one of UNSCOM's triumphs, forcing the Iraqis to concede they had, indeed, embarked on a biological weapons program. This discovery put him on the front page of 'The New York Times'."

"ROD BARTON: My belief was that they had a few weapons retained from 1991, which will be ageing weapons of limited use. Were they a threat? Well, they may have been of minor threat to their neighbours, because don't forget they didn't really have the delivery systems then, they didn't have an air force. They may have been a minor threat to their neighbours, but a threat to the United States or the UK or Australia? No."

ON THE PUBLIC RECORD: "JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER, (ARCHIVE) 3 OCTOBER 2003: We had clear intelligence assessments that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction capability. That was unambiguous. ....TONY BLAIR, (ARCHIVE) 24 SEPTEMBER 2002: He has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population."

ROBERT HILL, DEFENCE MINISTER, 16 JUNE 2004 (Australian parliament): Mr President, Defence has thoroughly reviewed the information available to it, and has confirmed the key facts in this issue; Australia did not interrogate prisoners, Australia was not involved in guarding prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, or any other Iraqi prison.

LIZ JACKSON: What did you think when the Defence Minister Robert Hill said that no Australians were involved in interrogations?
ROD BARTON: Well, I was quite annoyed about this. I immediately phoned up the Department and reported that I was annoyed, that I'd provided testimony and that the Department's response was "Well, we regard that you did interviews and not interrogations."

LIZ JACKSON: The most disturbing entry in Rod Barton's Baghdad diary is from 2 February 2004. It simply reports.(Read) "Azmirli dies at weekend."Mohammed Hamdi Azmirli was a senior Iraqi scientist held at Camp Cropper.

ROD BARTON: I was told, I recall, that this was due to a brain tumor. At the time I sort of accepted that, but later on when I returned to Australia I read a report in the press about an autopsy had been done on this very prisoner, and this autopsy had shown that the prisoner had died of a brain damage due to a beating; that he had a fractured skull, broken jaw and so on. Now, I had suspicions that this person had actually been beaten to death in the prison."

Another example, from many, demonstrates the paucity of character and integrity that is the hallmark of Australia's Prime Minister in government. Following the Madrid bombing in March 2004, the Chief of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty, said that Australia's participation in the Iraq war had made us a more prominent terrorist target. Logical and true. However this was in direct contradiction to the spin being put out by Australia's leading politicians particularly Prime Minister, John Howard. Mr. Keelty was rebuked by the Prime Minister, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer. Mr. Keelty had to endure the humiliation of being phoned by the Prime Minister's political chief of staff. These people should be highlighted for what they are, parasites on the public purse, whose function is not to add value to our democracy, but to protect their political bosses.

Mr. Keelty has done more in his public service role, for the nation, than the collective of the Howard government ministries and their advisers put together. He spoke honestly, a quality that eludes most, if not all, of Howard's government. Mr. Keelty had to endure the insults of people who, all too often, seem to place ego, and personal political interest, above integrity and honesty. However the greater number of Australian voters do not take much interest in their democracy and in the people who enhance it. The disengaged decide who will govern Australia. They are the people who devote a bare minimum to learning about and understanding the issues, policies and nature of democracy. Mick Keelty should be applauded. Sadly he will not speak out again for political thugs, have shit on him from a great height.

Politics has taken over from decency in and integrity in government. There is no decency in Australia's federal, state or territory, governments bar what is politically expedient, and beneficial, to those in power. People, livelihoods and values are expendable, as Mr. Keelty has learnt.
Below in the web site, and in the linked sites, we can read and see some of the fruits of our government's policies, thinking and actions. We can see their lack of decency captured for generations to read and learn. Who in Australia's media, print or television, can emulate
this journalist and challenge the indecency, and corrosive, impacts of our politicians and governments? There appear to be none. Even if there were, would the greater number of Australians care?

The government of John Howard has preyed upon the fears and xenophobia of the Australian people, when it comes to asylum seekers. From the time that he denied the Tampa entry to an Australian port, carrying hundreds of people rescued at sea, to when he implemented Australia's political solution, existing parts of Australia from the mainland to defeat the principles of Australia's human rights agreement with the United Nations, to interring and torturing men, women and children in Australia's detention centres the government of Australia has visited an evil upon our society. Refugees (asylum seekers) on temporary visas are denied any government assistance. It falls upon the humanity of a few hundred citizens and volunteer aid organisations to assist people fleeing civil war, rape, crime and poverty. Under the Howard government policy women here on these visas must ask strangers for sanitary products.

It is the Howard philosophy that people who defy his will must be deterred from thinking that Australia is a nice place to come. They must beg, grovel, be humiliated and degraded to reinforce this message to the world. "Do not come here for help". It is a further window into the heart of the Prime Minister of Australia and his cabinet colleagues. This policy is enacted through the federal Department of Immigration. This says something about the nature, and moral compass, of people who could stand to work in such an agency. The public servants of the calibre of our past senior mandarins are long gone.

Today the senior personnel in our public sector entities have learnt to emulate their political masters. The Immigration Department's culture is a direct reflection of its previous ministers and leaders of the day. Like the picture of Damien Gray it decays over time. So too the Defence leaders. It has long been known that bullying and criminal behaviour have mired the reputation of Australia's defence hierarchy. A number of young, and vulnerable, seeking a career have either resigned or committed suicide. The most recent case has exposed the cancer that is allowed to grow through the Navy. Not that it has a high reputation for world class officer leadership. A female Lieutenant Commander's experience has shone yet another light on the rats that infest the military. She has been bullied, declared medically unfit and mentally ill by incompetent doctors. One in particular, found to be negligent in twenty two incidents, by a tribunal of his peers, remains in the Navy and has been promoted. The officer has been assaulted, humiliated and degraded all under the gaze of senior officers to the very top, past and present. These are not senior people to be rewarded, honoured and respected. However in an environment such as that created, and nurtured, by Australia's government, the politicians remain silent and turn a blind eye.

The past Minister, Senator Robert Ray, was rewarded for loyal service to his Prime Minister, not for public service or performance. His ministry of the defence forces was at best mediocre, at worst derelict. Under his ministerial leadership cases such as this woman's situation have flourished unabated and unchecked. The current minister, Dr. Brendan Nelson is a physician. Can he cure the cancer that seems to afflict the defence force leadership and treat its psychological problems? Can he show strength, in the face of strong resistance and even bold disdain, identify and cast the thugs adrift? Including the ones who fail to do their duty, including the heads of the services? To do so would require courage and perseverance. He must lift the veil on the characters within. Australia is at war in so many places. One wonders how his medical oath, to heal and help the afflicted, will sit against his political instinct. The Howard ministers tend to demonstrate that their oath of public office is of little consequence. Perhaps his medical oath goes deeper. The Lieutenant commander waits to find out. Brendan Nelson may surprise people such as myself who believe that the corrupt regime, system and the incumbents will win out.
Australia Monitor

Smokey Mirrors the Guru

It was not until Dr. Geoff Gallop had gone from politics that we could the see real man, see and hear his compassion and disillusionment with Australian political life. He resigned as Premier of Western Australia when depression overcame him. These words sum up the quality of the man and the broken state of our democracy. "Yes we do have to eat to live, but we also need to breathe and to feel. Nor is it just a matter of soul. Life needs to be meaningful as well as practical and relational," Gallop, June 2006.

"The world keeps getting more complicated and we keep having to explain it to you in simpler terms, so we can get our little oversimplified explanations on the evening news. Eventually, instead of even trying to explain it, we just give up and sling mud at each other." (Primary Colours, USA, 1985). So who is to blame for this situation? People who cannot be bothered to educate themselves? The political and media advisers, who give politicians trite, and uninspiring, speeches and material, thinking that the average person cannot understand complex issues? Whoever writes the Prime Minister's speeches needs to take lessons in literacy and articulation. Is it the journalists who are incapable of writing eloquently and succinctly with the art of language? The television, radio producers and the press editors who demand the thirty second voice grab, and produce the news by rote? Perhaps it is the editor who wants articles that are either eight hundred or one thousand five hundred words? Perhaps it is all of them in unison dumbing down the nation. Whatever it is a manipulation using multiple techniques and it is dangerous to the long term democracy of Australia and its governance.

A true democracy will allow its citizens to have their opinions, views and to state them openly. Truly democratic governments do not use their power against the citizen to victimise them, to alter their views or to demand, acquiescence to majority opinion. Democratic governments do not engage in fraud and manipulation..

These traits described above for real democratic governments are not the hallmark of Australia's democracy under its current political leaders (governing or in opposition) in any jurisdiction of the nation, federal state or territory. They deal in the currencies of retribution, lies and power. Every day across the nation, one or more of our governments, are embroiled in sleazy exposes and demeaning incidences. Our governments continually demonstrate poor judgement and maladministration. They have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to act with honesty and integrity and to govern fairly, and without favour, in the public interest. They are corroding, and corrupting,our public services and are ably assisted, and abetted, by other unscrupulous people.

The public service that once protected the institution of government and democracy shielding us from excess of the Executive is no more. The great public servants are long gone. Australians have long turned to their governments, local, state and federal to fix all of their problems. This has resulted in limited challenge to executive authority and a rise in apathy, and disengagement. It is the disengaged who decide who will govern in this nation. They devote a few cursory minutes to their vote and move on. They are not interested in finding out and informing their views based on real facts and research. They are manipulated by a shallow media.

The style of the government is paternalism. They buy votes with blatant self interest and short term pork barrel hand outs. The objective is to retain government, and power, minimising risk and exposure. We are lectured that our elected representatives know best. A dangerous fantasy - that we have a
trustworthy government of unblemished record is being constantly promoted. Now through fear and child like ignorance we cede our most precious thing, our democracy and freedom to the power collective.

This is John Howard's Australia

We have allowed laws to pass the Australian parliament that should never be allowed and which have attacked the foundation of democracy, increasing the power of Australia's governments to interfere in our lives. Australia has laws that make defiance of the government, and one's employer, a crime. Government agencies have the right to hold people under house arrest or in detention without legal interference. For a journalist or anyone to tell that a person is being so held is a crime. The second set of laws gives the employer
unfettered power over the worker.

The mechanisms for independent arbitration of disputes, for challenging detention and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty are being eroded. Australians have limited means to protest and stop their governments. There are no parliamentary processes, legislative rights or bills of rights that empower citizens. We can march, call talk back radio and write letters to our newspapers and politicians. That is the extent. We cannot vote these people out of public office for the system is rigged in favour of the political duopoly. political duopoly.

Breeding and feeding a festering ignorance in Australia's gut

On the weekend of December 10 and 11th, 2005, a group numbering about 1,000 people gathered at Cronulla beach in Sydney's south. They had carved "100% Aussie pride" into the sand and were singing Waltzing Matilda. They had used modern text technology to call disaffected youth to confront the "lebs and wogs" who came from their suburbs to cause trouble. The mob mentality is bred in people who lives are vacuous and whose contribution to society is negligible. They cannot fill their days with anything but festering ignorance and dumb pursuits.

Helicopters flew overhead; police in riot patrolled the streets. The liquour flowed freely and then the riot and affray began. The Premier spoke tough about law and order, the Police Commissioner was ashamed of what these Australians had done. It was described as un-Australian. A nebulous word which has little meaning once politicians, like the Prime Minister and other leaders sprout it.

There are some home truths that Australian governments, politicians, corporate leaders, institutions such as school and the community at large need to confront.

  • A large number of Australians are ignorant, racist, under educated socially and intellectually

  • The children of these socially deprived and ignorant group reflect their parents' and mentors values, bigotry and perceptions.

  • Older conservative "white" Australians bemoan the fact that migrants come here and will not assimilate. Whilst many people in other countries can converse in multiple languages these Australians can barely speak English. They could never be bothered learning another language. This applies to our senior Ministers, particularly federal Ministers Ruddock, Downer, Vanstone and the bulk of the front bench and influential politicians. The make up of our parliaments reflect bigotry, and laziness, not multiculturalism. In comparison labor's federal foreign affairs spokesperson speaks six languages. He is derided and belittled.

  • Australia's governments and the make up of Australia's parliaments reflect this demographic and its values. They just dress it up and hide it

  • The language, signs, symbols, behaviour, policies and role model of the Prime Minister John Howard and his Minister Philip Ruddock, promote hatred, racism and ignorance. They are ably supported by a number of liberal politicians but not all

  • The Premiers of Australia's labor governments are themselves lack lustre leaders unable to articulate a vision beyond John Howard's perceptions of what laws are required to keep Australia safe

  • The most prominent media personalities, radio shock jocks and schlock journalists, across the nation reinforce the ignorance of their audience and the stupidity and dangerous incompetence of Australia's leading politicians at state and federal level. They are assisted ably by the Prime Minister and fawning senior politicians who are afraid of their vitriol. These clowns produce opinion, shallow, boring, rants that demonstrate that they have rarely experienced life beyond the rarefied atmosphere of their sycophantic worlds. They are merely wealthy versions of Australia's, ignorant and uneducated, mass.

  • The mainstream media tells the story of the riots, and gives ignorance its 15 minutes of fame both rioters and politicians. The politicians particularly the dull ones get much more time. The media (particularly the ABC) will draw on the old sources, the spokes people, academics and others, who represent a minority of views. They will call upon the rioters to consider their actions, to look at themselves. The Premier will demand arrests and retribution. The majority of Australians, set in their opinions, will nod and click their tongues. The words of "middle astern appearance" will be repeated over and over as indicated by the State Member for Maroubra, who used the term three times in his interview on the ABC. He is as articulate, and thoughtful, as a cicada. The liberal leader of the NSW State Opposition said it was because the labor party had not appointed enough police. Depth is not one of his strengths and he is as he appears in appearance, an Anglo Saxon, well off, pompous ass. None of these people will reach the sensibilities of the young and the bigoted. That will be left for someone else beyond the horizon of the limited vision, and awareness of the power collective. Perhaps it will be the teachers?

  • There are thoughtful journalists who examine and ponder these issues. They are predominantly in the ABC, SBS, Fairfax press, Channel Nine's Sunday programme, community broadcasting and independent publications.

  • However the majority of journalists, particularly the newer recruits and aspirants appear to have suffered a faulty standard of education, and infotainment current affairs presenters on sludge broadcasters, Channel Ten and Channel 7 lack the ability to synthesis and distil complex issues. They are spoon fed.

  • Corporate leaders, if that is the correct term, have divested themselves of "community responsibility" with the exception of a few. They employ the bigots described above and give them space to spew their bile. Australia's largest corporate board members and CEOs, stand mute and grubbily support the fools who inhabit the higher echelons of Australia's governments. They too reflect the priorities of greed and shallow goals set by the Prime Minister and others in Australian society as the benchmark of a healthy society.
  • In a society where law and order rules, where hierarchy is important, it all stems from the top.

  • Australia can expect "terror" from within and its not from the nebulous lot Howard, Bush and Blair are pointing at. It is festering and growing within our Australian gut.

  • It is not so much what Australian governments propose, and do, as much as how they go about it. In many respects they are sneaky, dishonest, prone to manipulation and lying. They develop and use sophisticated techniques, and mechanisms, designed to defraud Australians of full, and open participation, in their democracy. The tactics are control, marginalisation and demoralisation.

    John Howard, and the leaders of other Australian governments, are now
    framing laws that will shatter the fundamental premise of the system of justice in Australia and some of the fundamental doctrines of democracies. Following Labor state premiers rushing to run at his side, the Labor opposition leader Kim Beazley panted that the laws were not strong enough. He wants to add racial and religious vilification. The vestiges of free speech are to be trampled beneath the cloven hoof of labor leaders who individually cannot hold a candle to the great lights of the party.

    It is the intention of the proposed Australian laws that the right of police, and agents, to use force to coerce, and detain, a citizen or anyone else without knowledge or any proof of a crime having been committed, will be beyond the examination of the courts. John Howard is a lawyer? He is supported in this objective by Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, a lawyer? He is supported in this objective by a great many Australians? Obviously these craven lot have little regard for principles that have underpinned the principles of government, parliament, executive and judiciary. Australia has no bill of rights and Australian citizens largely appear disinterested in this. They prefer to be patronised and told what to do, what to speak, ultimately what to think. They are about delegate their democracy in totality, between elections at every level across the nation.

    The apathy and tacit acceptance of the modus operandi of Australia's democracy and governance defies logic. Consistent with the traditional behaviour they rush forward without careful thought as to consequence and legality. They may suddenly find that they are up against the "Constitution" and the foundations of common law and that ultimately they will be limited in what they can do. They may pass a law but that does not necessarily mean that it can withstand tradition.

    The following speech has been taken, in part, from the Law Council of Australia web site and this extract is presented in the public interests of information, education and debate on this important public issue. Copyright ownership is acknowledged. The 13th Commonwealth Law Conference
    Melbourne April 13-17, 2003
    Terrorism: Meeting the Challenges/Finding the Balance
    Address of Datoā€™ Param Cumaraswamy
    Devastating terrorist attacks, like that which occurred on 11 September 2001 or in Bali in October last year, have an incredible impact, not only for the country concerned but for the whole world. I remember where I was when I first heard about the attacks on September 11, and I am sure you do too. They cause a range of emotions but above all, they make you angry. I frequently heard it said in the aftermath of September 11, that after the initial shock and sadness people felt a strong desire to seek revenge on those that committed this atrocity. The significance and the impact of this event, I suspect, will not leave us for some time. Even smaller scale terrorist attacks, undermine peopleā€™s sense of security and generate a substantial amount of fear among a population. For this is what terrorist attacks are meant to do. Their purpose is to generate fear, and to use this as a means of achieving their political objectives. It is only natural, in this context, for Governments to feel that they must do everything they can to protect the lives of their citizens and to prevent future terrorist attacks from happening. In fact, states have an obligation to protect their citizens. The protection of fundamental rights, particularly the right to life, is one of the primary duties that states have with respect to all individuals within their territory.....

    What standards, if any, are to be applied in the fight against international terrorism? Are human rights norms relevant, or is the threat posed by these activities so serious as to justify what in an ordinary context would be classified as repressive action, not consistent with the principles of a democratic society based on the rule of law. It is my contention, you will not be surprised to hear, and in this I donā€™t think there can be any debate, that the rule of law must be a fundamental benchmark, against which all actions in the fight against terrorism are measured against. In that respect, the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld....

    To those who emphasise the crisis nature or the uniqueness of our current situation, I would like to point out that international law does not operate in a vacuum. It recognises that in the circumstance of a state of emergency certain rights may be derogated from, or where there are competing interests between the protection of individual rights and the safeguarding of national security and public order, that specific restrictions may placed upon certain rights. However this does not permit a Government to undertake any activity it deems appropriate, nor is it the granting of unlimited power to a Government to find whatever balance it desires between the competing interests.

    If we sacrifice basic freedoms in our quest for security, we undermine that very security and achieve, in the long run, the agenda of the terrorists.

    Terrorism often thrives in environments where human rights are violated. This process is not an attempt to justify the acts done in its name, no matter how legitimate the grievance may appear to be, but is simply a recognition of the fact that injustice exists in the world and that it must be eliminated, that human rights and the rule of law must be upheld and democracy fostered.

    ........ the Security Council on January 20, 2003 adopted resolution 1456 on the issue of combating terrorism. This resolution, inter alia, reiterates that States must ensure that any measure to combat terrorism must be in accordance with international law including international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law. Similarly, the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights have consistently adopted a strong and steady opinion on this issue, urging states that all measures taken to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism must be carried out in strict conformity with international law, including human rights standards. This is consistent with the obligation contained in the UN Charter for all states, individually and in cooperation with others, to achieve universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms....

    The independence of the judiciary and the existence of legal remedies are essential elements for the protection of fundamental human rights in all situations involving counter terrorism measures....What are the legitimate actions that Governments can take in these times of crisis? And how do you maintain a balance between these competing interests? Firstly, it is to be remembered that norms established under human rights treaties specify the minimum to be applied in accordance with the circumstances. States are free to impose stricter safeguards for the protection of human rights....

    Certain rights contained in the ICCPR can never be derogated from. Article 4(2) lists several explicitly, for example the right to life, the prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, the freedom of thought, conscience or religion and the principles of precision and non-retroactivity of criminal law. ... In this respect, the Human Rights Committee considers the following, inter alia, to be also non-derogable: the right of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person; the prohibition of the taking of hostages, abductions or unacknowledged detentions and the deportation of forcible transfer of population without grounds. Even in circumstances where there is not a state of emergency, the ICCPR permits the imposition of certain restrictions on basic human rights. For example Article 14 permits the exclusion of the press and the public from a trial for reasons of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

    Many countries have taken what could be described as oppressive measures in order to protect their citizens from real or apparent terrorist threats. ... One specific problem has been the enacting of broad legislation to deal with terrorist activities. Many states have adopted broad definitions of terrorist activity that, if abused, enable them to suppress a wide variety of activities within their country.... Another area that has suffered quite dramatically in the context of anti-terrorism measures is the independence of the court system and the provision of guarantees inherent in the notion of due process.... the right to a fair trial are explicitly guaranteed under international humanitarian law during armed conflict, ...

    Only a court of law may try and convict a person for a criminal offence. The presumption of innocence must be respected. In order to protect non-derogable rights, the right to take proceedings before a court to enable the court to decide without delay on the lawfulness of detention, must not be diminished by a State partyā€™s decision to derogate from the Covenant.... a detained suspect awaiting trial, is entitled to regular supervision of the lawfulness of their detention.

    A person accused of terrorist activities has the right to a fair hearing, within a reasonable time, by an independent, impartial tribunal established by law....there has been a distinct trend to shelter government action from the purview of the court system, resulting in many individuals being detained for long periods without trial and with little or no judicial review. In the United States of America this has been the most pronounced.

    In circumstances where individuals have been given the right to review by a court, some countries have taken steps to eliminate their right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal. In this respect, the Military Commission Order No.1 issued by the United States on 13 November 2001, represents the most fundamental threat to this right.

    Difficult times such as these have always tested our fidelity to the core democratic values of openness, government accountability, and the rule of law. The Court fully understands and appreciates that the first priority of the executive branch in a time of crisis is to ensure the physical security of its citizens. By the same token, the first priority of the judicial branch must be to ensure that our Government always operates within the statutory and constitutional constraints which distinguish a democracy from a dictatorship.(end of extract) Ā© Datoā€™ Param Cumaraswamy 2003. These materials are subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced, adapted or communicated without the written consent of the copyright owner except as permitted under applicable copyright law.

    "Freedom and equality were the ideals of the French Revolution, the Enlightenment and bourgeois liberalism. They have influenced the development of the concept of the constitutional state since the nineteenth century, and they are now part of the underlying substance of the basic law's free, democratic and constitutional state. In the twenty-first century security and diversity have emerged as elementary needs, political demands and normative guiding principles alongside these "traditional" ideals; to some extent they modify and weaken their mode of operation and legal institutions". (Goethe Institute)

    The evolution of legislation in Australia, is a manipulative process with political undertones. We see examples every day not just in major legislative bills such as anti-terror laws, industrial relations and employment but in almost every piece of new or edited legislation coming out of parliaments particularly the federal. The quality of thought, drafting and knowledge of impinging factors (within Australia and externally) has fallen dramatically. This is largely to do with the quality of Ministers and senior public servants. It is a charade of democracy employing obsfucation, smoke and mirrors.

    Political tactics and strategy go well beyond parliaments and political parties into the wider community. Governments employ "spin specialists" to misrepresent and manipulate fact and to engineer response. The Australian government is trying to get the states, and territories, to act in concert on a set of laws dealing with acts of, and suspicion of, acts of terror or planned acts. In pursuit of its objectives a number of fundamental doctrines are threatened. This has the effect of undermining the foundation of common law and independence of the judiciary. It seems that Philip Ruddock and his legal staff are either oblivious, or dismissive, of the doctrines of proportionality and equality. The doctrine of
    "proportionality" where a test of proportionality/"appropriate and adaptedness" is adopted in determining whether a Commonwealth, or State law, which is otherwise within power, infringes Federal constitutional limitations to an impermissible extent.

    and the doctrine of "equality", are propositions lost in the single minded pursuit of the political objective.

    The cornerstone of a democratic society is equality. Without equality, there can be no justice, just as without justice there can be no equality. True justice cannot be based on unjust laws, though it is possible to have a law-abiding society with the most unjust laws in place. Just laws are a pre-requisite for a democratic society and, therefore a just and orderly society. The concept of justice also changes with the dynamics of the times. Laws evolved and deemed sacred in more primitive times cannot continue to be considered so, if they do not satisfy the conditionalities of the doctrine of equality.

    On this, the recently deceased John Rawls wrote: 'Laws and Institutions on matter, however, efficient and well arranged must be reformed, or, abolished if they are unjust.' In his celebrated work "A Theory of Justice", Rawls propounded that every person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. As such, justice denies that this loss of freedom for a few is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifice imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore, it follows that in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled, the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interest".
    Mohan Guruswamy, July 31, 2003

    It is a fundamental doctrine of a democracy that a person has the right of protection against arbitrary detention by the authorities. It is a fundamental doctrine that the final arbiter of a citizen's rights is the court. The leaders of Australia's governments now tell us that circumstances are so grave, that the world is so different, that these rights are no longer sustainable for our society.

    The Australian government of John Howard is particularly ignorant in this respect and much of its legislation dealing with people, immigration, employment, threat assessment and assembly, freedom of speech and opinion and movement are incompatible with Australia's human rights obligations under various treaties. The federal government executive, a few career politicians and party machine people, and hand picked public servants, with the right attitude, continually seek to over ride the doctrine of separation, belittling and neutering parliament and the courts. It is the clear intention of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the cabinet of the Australian government to marginalise the courts breaking down the doctrine of the separation of powers. The Attorney General Philip Ruddock, demonstrates yet again that he is Australia's prominent under performing Minister of the Crown. The former Minister for Immigration, through his particular talents imbued within the Department of Immigration, a reckless abandonment of ethical and moral behaviour, not to mention major injustice and administrative breakdowns. Part of this corrosive effect were the laws that governed the Department's operation. Now Minister Ruddock has supervised the drafting of laws which have questionable constitutional validity and which contain significant denigration of international conventions on human rights and freedom (similar to the immigration laws). They seek to employ the judiciary in the passive function of legitimising whatever the agencies deem to be appropriate such as detention on speculation. Philip Ruddock has had a corrosive, and degrading, influence on Australia's quality of government raising questions of competency in public office.

    John Howard's style, and that of his colleagues, is a paternalistic, and often arrogant, approach to governing which has as its primary objective maintenance of the political function at the expense of democracy, public good and welfare.

    The state, and territory governments, are similarly focused on the maintenance of political power and control over public interest. All governments in Australia, as well as political parties, dictate who may participate in the democratic processes, and to what extent, and who may sit in the parliaments of the nation.

    The Australian government enjoys a large amount of support for its proposed laws to deal with people who are believed, or known to be associated with terrorists. They take a one dimensional view that some freedoms have to be traded in return for being more secure. This is a reasonable view. However when governments seek to place people under authoritative rule of agents, without no right of legal representation or appeal to a court, it is not a reasonable proposition. The implication in the governments of Australia approach (state and federal) is that the courts cannot be trusted and that legal rights are an interference with the front line process. The second implication is that the "intelligence" upon which the decision to act is made by an authority is not robust and cannot stand up to rigorous legal tests. This has been shown to be the case for many "intelligence assessments" to date.

    In the absence of solid systems, facts, and experience, Australia's political leaders may find it difficult to come to grips with the issues they are now confronting in the so called "war on terror". As a
    federation, there are multiple jurisdictions. This lack of experience, and the authoritarian style of government and limited participation allowed for citizens to participate in government decision making processes, makes it difficult for citizens to make judgements as to the validity of the politicians' claims and their capacity. It is their intention that the freedom of people in Australia to associate, and engage in certain activities, be curtailed and that their rights to movement be curtailed, without the necessity of criminal charge and conviction. Do they have the background, experience, skill and knowledge to govern us in these times or should we look elsewhere?

    "The functional logic of the security-oriented preventive state is different. It does not limit itself to reacting in a way that is defined and limited by specific circumstances, but demands that moves be taken "operatively" and "proactively" - action. It aims to prevent risks which are (as yet) quite unspecific, where no specific contours at all can be discerned, either with regard to the "perpetrator" or "disturber", or with regard to the offences committed, the probability of damage being caused, or the extent of damage. Consequently, interventions that limit freedom may be carried out against people at random, "anyone";" (Goethe Institute)

    Moving from the federal scene, we look at the state of New South Wales and its leader, Premier Morris Iemma. What are the measures of his capacity? Not much is known about his ability since he has been a nondescript member of parliament under the all encompassing Premiership of Robert Carr, with portfolios in Public Works and Services, Sport and Recreation, and a short time as Health Minister. Infrastructure in Sydney is in dismal shape and it might therefore be implied that Mr. Iemma was not exemplary in that performance. He was catapulted unexpectedly into the role of Premier in 2005. He has no demonstrable profile in managing complex public administrations and economies and very little profile in demonstrable capacities of leadership. It is a pointer to his capacities as a leader, that he would describe the federal government's proposed terror laws as "Draconian" and yet state that they are necessary. Like John Howard he talks in generalities and is unable to articulate why these Draconian laws are necessary.

    The second largest state is Victoria, with Premier Steve Bracks. Some commentators muse that Treasurer John Brumby is the real Premier. Steve Bracks has not demonstrated a capacity of protecting civil liberties and the rights of the individual exemplified in his cowardly political decision, opportunistic and self serving, regarding a
    teacher's career at Orbost and other failures since taking over as Premier. He has condemned the leader of the Australian Capital Territory , Jon Stanhope, for publishing the first draft of the proposed laws. Steve Bracks might not think of putting a citizen's right to know above questionable politics and is unlikely to take an exceptional stand.

    Of the others, the only leader of stature likely to have a cogent thought is
    Premier Peter Beattie. However, of late, he disappoints. His administration, supported by incompetent and dishonest public servants, has degraded Queensland to "not so smart state" status. The other Premiers, and the Chief Minister, of the Northern Territory are somewhat irrelevant. Ultimately all of the Premiers, and Chief Ministers, of Australia are expected to fall in line, but they will have a bit of public huffing and puffing about technicalities such as "shoot to kill" and they can be counted on to enunciate very little as to the justification, which is all hush hush. They have had secret and in camera briefings by the intelligence agencies. There is at (October 2005) one exception the Chief Minister, of the Australian Capital Territory, Jon Stanhope. who had the moral strength, and conviction, to post the draft laws onto the web. To the horror of politicians he sought to involve his citizens in the debate. He stood his ground when criticised by people who have no demonstrable moral compass.

    The Prime Minister John Howard described Mr. Stanhope's action as "discourteous" to his fellow colleagues. What bunkum. This is puerile rhetoric from a man who treats people with contempt in the very essence by which he has managed government. The record of Australia's immigration department is testimony to this assertion. The Australian Parliamentary Counsel wrote to Mr. Stanhope indicating that he was to be excluded from future negotiations. Was this an attempt to muzzle an Australian politician? Does it have "contempt" and other legal ramifications? It is typical of the authoritarian, and arrogant manner, in which many senior public servants of the federal government approach their duties. There are an inordinate number of people with questionable expertise in public office in Canberra. The Prime Minister immediately retracted the communication realising the implications.

    John Howard's comments regarding Mr.Stanhope's actions, along with those of Premier Steve Bracks, indicate a view about what the citizens of Australia are permitted to know regarding intended laws and what level of knowledge, participation, and debate, is allowed or tolerated by Australia's political leaders at any stage in the process. Mr. Howard always seeks to control, to minimise interference and reduce the opportunities for critique and examination.

    Australian politicians, in government today (2005) seem to threaten the nation and the citizens' rights. Incompetency and substandard performance in many respects threaten our wellbeing. Governments threaten the media, and the right of the citizen to know.

    If people have no knowledge, or understanding of the nature, and value of democracy and freedom, in its pure sense, and they are focused on material wealth and position and day to day living it is unlikely that they will even notice or care. Fear is a sedative. Things like terrorism laws, being detained and being shot, relate to someone else, not me. Perhaps the young South American executed, on the station, in London during the terror attacks in mid 2005 had a similar belief? What happens when you kill someone based on incorrect intelligence and assumptions? They cannot be brought back.

    "Shoot to kill' is the term being used by the media to describe a section of the laws being debated by the leaders of the states and territories and the Prime Minister and Attorney General. How we have become inured to the horror of such concepts, and the use of glib descriptions by a media that is losing its investigative skill.

    The fundamental basis of Australia's society, and legal system, is threatened. Australia's senior legal officer, the Attorney General Philip Ruddock appears to hold Australia's judiciary up to ridicule by
    continually placing judges in untenable positions. The world beyond our borders sees, and reports, how the Australian government acts.

    "Professor McKinnon, President of the Australian Press Council, said the court tactics of Mr Ruddock's legal representatives had left the judge with no alternative. The charging of these journalists is just another example of steps being taken by the governments to restrict the ability of the press to report on matters of public interest and concern," he said in a statement. The Commonwealth Government, by targeting the journalists who wrote the story, is making them the meat in the sandwich of attempts to intimidate public officials."
    Source: Asia Media

    The politics of terror and crime
    Terror Intelligence Watch


    Terrorism has fraught upon nations a horror different to conventional warfare. Countries and now Australia, have or will legislate, terrorism laws (October 2005) heralding a new style of government and a politically inspired demand that government take all measures, regardless of unforeseen consequences and extensive evaluation, to protect the citizens of a nation from those who have, according to the wisdom of the political coalition of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, no idea as to what "being civilised implies and requires".

    The Australian state and territory governments, and the opposition parties, at state and federal level, fail to deliver the model of federation intended by the founders.

    It is simplistic to assume that
    laws will stop or inhibit terrorists. It is also not so smart to take a one eyed view and simply attack the Australian governments from the sidelines and criticise without considering alternative views

    perspectives and arguments.

    This is new territory and the politicians are scared. Scared for their own political future and scared that if they do not appear to be doing something then we will point at them for being indecisive. The only thing that they an come up with is to legislate.

    The fact that people such as federal labor are ineffectual in offering choices, and decisive leadership against the domination of the Howard government, complicates our life and makes our choices non existent. Standing apart from these people is the labor leader of the Australian Capital Territory who at least puts in place
    mechanisms to involve people in the debate and to consult with them to inform of his deliberations.

    If the proposed terrorism laws, and other measures including immigration and detention, is not the actions of a civilised government then what is it that defines the tenets, behaviour and governance, of a civilised nation? Is it the United States model of policy and action?

    What are the best forms of government in times such as these? Are the old concepts of civilised democracy and the inalienable rights of citizens no longer relevant and viable? The greatest support to autocratic control is apathy. Australians do not generally engage in deep debate and many are not sufficiently aware, nor educated, to engage in complex issues. Polarised members of Australia's communities are drawn to the newspaper opinion columnists, radio and television (infotainment) journalists, and presenters, who provide shallow, biased and inflammatory comments to fill their defined spaces.

    Critics, and academics, are ridiculed, attacked and marginalised. Politicians of the day have invented a label, "un-Australian", to defame or degrade anybody who may express a contrary opinion that inflames others to think alternatively, that promotes violence or hatred. It is a trite label bestowed by people, prone to copycat and mimicking, whose language skills, and ability to express themselves eloquently and with conviction, may be limited.

    So why do politicians not call the Australian media personalities described above, "un-Australian"? These well known media people deal in sensation, racism and hate peddling. Why are the politicians, of all major parties, at federal and state level, silent about the rantings and writings of these members of the media? The answer might be that these particular media people can sway public opinion, voting and affect political careers. There is systemic pay back and vengeance within the adversarial models of our society. It is far easier for politicians and others, to attack minorities and individuals, than to take on a biased and entrenched sector of the establishment, that is in itself a power collective.

    "There is no difficulty in showing that the ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general".

    "each person is the only safe guardian of his own rights and interests".

    "a certain vaguely defined complex of particular characteristics which we call the "national character." (Source www.utexas)

    I ponder Australia's foreign policy, the Australian government's behaviour towards other nations, and its attitudes and behaviour towards refugees, in Australia, and even to its own citizens. What are the qualities, and character traits, of a federal Minister that inculcates a culture of disregard for human dignity, and rights, within a whole Australian government Department of Immigration? Here we observe the creation and maintenance of a culture of stupidity, disregard, incompetence, lying, deceit and ignorance of Australian public service standards A cowboy culture operating under the Ministry and guidance of the Honourable Philip Ruddock and chosen senior bureaucrats. A man who refuses to accept any culpability or accountability for the culture, poor administration, illegal activities and the shame.

    Hand in hand with Immigration are
    extensive examples of (unelected) people exceeding their authority, a Defence force hierarchy mired in bullying, breach of codes of conduct and victimisation including assault on minors and cadets. Events leading to resignations and suicide, pork barrelling in elections and extensive mismanagement of public funds. The tacit acceptance of the US policy regarding the right to jail and torture people, including Australians, in the name of a civilised coalition. Can Australia claim to be a civilised nation, and a standard bearer, of democracy or is it a manipulated democracy where participation by citizens, except those anointed by the political parties, is largely limited to the ballot box?

    The Howard governments style of leadership and government is well described by these two quotes. "The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside". (Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind) and "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." (Voltaire).

    Kevin R Beck Owner of the Mosaic Portal on the web.

    In June 2005, as a result of the work of a number of liberal party members of the Australian government, the Prime Minister, the Honourable John Howard amended Australia's immigration, and detention systems, pending parliamentary approval to "soften" the impact. He still claims that the fundamental border protection and excision of Australia's islands from the migration zone are intact.

    This softening does not alter the policy, and support, of a large number of Australians who send a message. If you come to our shores uninvited we will punish you. The Prime Minister acted out of political pragmatism because his leadership control was threatened, not out of any heartfelt obligation to revisit his mean spirited and aggressive approach to government and the world. This pragmatism does not alter the fact that Australia is an island, where many are insular, insecure and immature in their values and opinions, exhibiting a streak of meanness towards the less fortunate seeking a better life in a better place. Yet we are happy to provide billions for the tsunami victims in Indonesia and Asia. This is a contradiction.

    We can only judge our leaders on their record

    Within satire there are invariably elements of truth and critical observation.

    This is an Executive Order made without reference to the totality of the federal parliament or the people of Australia under any referendum by authority, of John Winston Howard, Prime Minister, an authority having been conferred upon the Australian Liberal and National parties (being the whole and sole government of the nation) by the Queen of England, and the Constitution of Australia, with the acquiescence and agreement of quite a large number of the Australian population including Australia's state and territory government leaders.

    Former Minister for Immigration and in 2006, Attorney Geneal, Phillip Ruddock

    Architect through influence and direction as Minister, of the corrosive and corrupt culture of the federal Department of Immigration

    The Order Is As Follows:

    Any person in Australia, being citizen or not, may be placed under contribution, and the Department of Immigration, the Australian federal police, Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Security Intelligence Service, Australian military and/or our agents, that we may appoint by contract.

    They may be agents of the United States of America, in whom we trust.
    A person placed under contribution is required to prove, firstly, their right to exist as a human being and secondly, the right to enjoy freedom and thirdly, that they a citizen of a specific place on earth. The fact that they are legally in Australia, or elsewhere, are citizens or residents is irrelevant. They shall be judged according to the processes and mechanisms within the definition of act or acts of parliaments, as arranged by the Minister, the
    Honourable Philip Ruddock. in concert with the leaders of the Australian parliaments, in federation.

    As an added benefit to the legitimacy of this order, the High Court of Australia has ruled that we, the federal government of Australia, according to our right of being born to rule, are in charge of peoples' lives and can detain anyone at our pleasure, for as long as we desire, and we do often. We may incarcerate people for the term of their natural lives, or sooner, which ever is the longer, despite them having committed no crime other than merely existing within the parameters of our steely gaze.

    We, the government of the people of Australia want everyone to be fully aware of our rights, over anyone else's as specified under the unilateral provisions for the War on Diversity and Culture (also known as the War on Terror, the War on Citizens, the War on People of Different Beliefs and of other things), adopted by Australia, in complementary and unquestioning acceptance that we are at war, as declared by the supreme nation and its political leader of the planet earth, George Bush, President, of the United States, in whom we trust. Such war is justified by the world's worst incident in living and past memory, the bombing of two buildings in New York and part of another in Washington and of other places that are important to the United States and Australia. The bombings in the past history of the world in all other nations do not count.

    As an incarcerated citizen (or non citizen), here in Australia, in Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Cuba or anywhere else we, and our American military and business associates may choose, individuals may be subject to being watched, inspected, and spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, and controlled. Anyone of our choosing can be checked, estimated, valued, censured, and commanded.

    This is a public pretext of general interest and we do this, on behalf of the superior people of the great nations of Australia and the United States in whom we trust, hallelujah.

    We may require, and we do, that a person be drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolised, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed and be robbed of liberty, dignity, livelihood and sanity without any recourse against the governments of Australia and the United States during the glorious reign of the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff. If anyone shows the slightest resistance, the private police, military and media advisers, psychiatrists, and others on our payroll, and people authorised to administer torture and any others we deem qualified, regardless of mental agility and intelligence quotient may interview and interrogate a person. In doing so they may carry guns, work with dogs and other unspecified animals, feel a person up, pull down their panties, snigger and take lewd pictures, demean and degrade on the proviso that they are not caught doing this by anyone not associated or authorised to watch and giggle.

    Person or persons may be subject to harassment, be hunted,
    be abused through torture or other device, without recourse to any rule of law or justice in the pursuit of the guilty identified as "faces on playing cards". This deck of cards is held by the Pentagon of the glorious nation of the United States of America, under God and in his name.
    Such persons represented by a playing card are deemed non-citizen, persona non gratis and a low life by comparison to us.

    If we choose, and we do, a subject, object or whole lot of subjects whether they be playing cards or not, may be vilified and condemned, without proof, for anything including
    throwing children over board for surviving the sinking of Siev - X or for being deemed to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction and for consorting with known or suspected terrorists at school or a barbeque anywhere on earth. We may lock them up here, there or anywhere.
    We in the government, in the ministries, in the office of the Prime Minister or any secretly authorised Australian public service department, or special task force, may manufacture evidence, pictures, crop the ones we have, make up intelligence and documents, lie to anyone anywhere. Under this order we own the federal courts of Australia by virtue of the fact that we are the parliament that makes laws.

    A subject may be held on suspicion of being person of a particular unacceptable descent, or belief, who has no regard for God's chosen nation, the United States of America, and the President, in whom we trust. They, their family, families' family and
    children, friends and associates may be imprisoned at the pleasure of the Australian or United States government.

    Anyone, anywhere, night or day, without warning, may be bombed by the "coalition of the willing" as defined in the special regulations of privilege for superior nations, and there is no requirement upon us, or those with whom we travel, to count the numbers of how many are killed.

    Alternatively persons of interest may be clubbed, disarmed, shot at and killed, stripped naked, be made to simulate sex or any other activity that we of the `coalition of the willing' and the divine of right may decide provided as above those doing such things are not caught out. If they are we will be most displeased but will not be too harsh. These objects of interest may be bound, checked, imprisoned (in their own or another country), judged, condemned, deported, sacrificed, sold, and betrayed.

    That is the system of government here in Australia, in the United States and in places where the United States has neat technology, lots of hardly educated soldiers and likely commercial interests. That is justice that is morality, for we are together engaged in a holy war.
    We demonstrate no bias in carrying out this order. Officers from the department of Immigration
    lock up Australians, French visitors on holidays and passing Koreans and anyone else we find wandering, that do not know their own name, speak or look "Orstralian".
    We have little regard for disability and people with mental health problems who are a drain on the government's finances and the funds we like to allocate to winning votes in marginal electorates.
    We don't have to tell anyone, including and most of all the Australian Senate and the Australian people, what we are doing and we won't because no one cares much anyway because the voters gave us control of both Australia and the United States. Britain is a different story and a bit suspect in its commitment. As a general policy under this order we will have no regard for international treaties, human rights, the United Nations or bleeding hearts.

    Bleeding Hearts More Bleeding Hearts Still More Bleeding Hearts

    We are right and everyone else who says we are exhibiting departures from traditional standards of moral and accountable behaviour in public office are wrong, along with thousands of others who aren't game to say so. We are euphoric with the power of our office. We are in search of the elusive Bin 29, and other people of playing card identity and due to this our authorised special people may come and search any place in Australia without the need for a warrant, and they may hold anyone incommunicado and may send people, their children and relatives for mental reclamation and restructure, where those authorised may secretly, without telling us, put electric wires on genitals to persuade people to say things. If we find out we will say that such people are naughty and not nice but we will not be harsh. Those afflicted cannot appeal to anyone and they cannot get help from the parliament because in July 2005 we will control the Australian Senate and we intend to sell it on ebay.

    Everyone is required to believe what we in the liberal and national parties, and our supporters believe, and they are not entitled to criticise or condemn us or there will be trouble and we will be harsh. By Order of The Honourable John Winston Howard, Prime Minister of Australia and Deputy Sheriff of this state of Australia, a part of the United States of America in whom we trust, ceded by another order not proclamated. This order, like that one referred, is made for, with and on behalf of the President and the Congress of the People of the United States of America, who rule Australia militarily, economically and socially, through the Australian Liberal and National Parties, the government of Australia.

    The above order is a satirical fiction based on a modicum of facts. There are elements of the content of this satire that the Australian Labor Party appears to condone, such as incarceration of people in detention centres, search and arrest without warrant, secret processes of government and the Executive imposing limitations on accountability. When in government Labor, like the liberal party, engage in limiting the power of the Senate to require anyone to appear and answer.

    The above article is authored by KEVIN R BECK, the owner of the Mosaic Portal.


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