Monthly Archives: July 2009

The most important civil rights fight of our generation – SATURDAY 1PM FEDERATION SQUARE

National Day Of Action For Marriage Equality Saturday 1 August 2009

A clear majority of Australians support equal rights for our gay and lesbian brethren and, uh, sisthren.

And yet only one party in parliament, the Greens, is willing to stand up and demand that full equality in law.

It’s about time that changed.

And tomorrow, while the supposedly progressive party in government that insists on maintaining the discrimination holds its national conference and tries very hard to ignore the issue, you, and I, and every other fair-minded Australian, can make a stand.

This is our generation’s most important civil rights fight. This isn’t just discrimination that continues in spite of the government’s efforts – this is discrimination that still stands in Federal legislation. The only way for it to be changed is for the politicians to realise that the noisy fundamentalists who flood their offices every time they even sneeze the word “equality” do not represent us. That it’s time they voted for full marriage equality. The bill is already proposed. All they have to do is do the right thing and support it.

Make your voice heard by coming out tomorrow and being counted.

I’ll be there. I hope you will be too.

ELSEWHERE:
More coverage from Keri, Blogocrats, Gutter Trash, and Rodney Croome.

Croome has a list of National Conference delegates’ email addresses and suggested points to make – if you can take ten minutes to send a group email letting them know that you’re one of the majority of Australians who think it’s time we had full marriage equality, it would seriously help undermine the claim of the bigots to represent “the silent majority”.

Meeting to fine beggars opened by prayer and reading from Bible

The inhuman proposed Alice Springs Town Council bylaws are now online (bylaws 57 and 71 are the critical ones).

Ironically, they opened the meeting that pushed them through to the next stage with A PRAYER, quoting from the New Testament, and a reading from the Book of Matthew. Sadly they appear to have completely missed Matthew 25:31-46

The email address to let them know what Australians think of laws to punish the most disadvantaged in the community – Aldermen@astc.nt.gov.au. Title your email an official response to the proposed Public Places By-Laws and request a receipt from Council, and they won’t be able to just ignore it.

2DayFM sponsors encourage on-air child abuse; think you don’t care

Surely this can’t be the last word:

THE top-rating radio station 2Day FM and its owner, Austereo, are standing behind breakfast shock jock Kyle Sandilands after this week’s controversial lie detector stunt, as advertising executives said the incident was unlikely to cost the station sponsorships over the longer term…

Greg Fraser, an analyst with Fat Prophets, said Kyle and Jackie O were known for political incorrectness. ‘‘Advertisers may chose to temporarily remove their support but they would have a reasonable idea that this is what the show is about. And if they want that audience, the show is still delivering what they want, as abhorrent as it is.’’

From the website, these advertisers would appear to be Optus, Citibank and Aussie Home Loans. They’re the ones putting in the dollars behind this week’s child abuse and next week’s, well, who knows? Setting fire to a homeless man so the listeners can enjoy his agonised screams? What?

Seems like the only way to change this situation is for the COST side of the analysis these businesses have done to increase. Obviously the benefit for the advertisers is the custom of the dribbling morons who lap up 2DayFM’s cruel and vacuous garbage, and the cost, they figure, is at worst a minor reduction in sales from concerned Australians who’ll forget about it by next week.

Let’s hope they’re wrong.

UPDATE 2/8: Suspended indefinitely! Except for the fact that Sandilands’ management is claimed to have made the call, great news. Let’s hope there’s a real consequence and the next group of braindead DJs who think it’d be fun to interrogate teenagers live on air think twice.

UPDATE 4/8: And he’s lost his Channel 10 gig, too. And check out, via Darryl Mason, Kyle’s company logo:

KingKyleProductions

Seriously.

You called me an idiot!

John Laws must be deeply regretting having decided to take on Neil Mitchell today. Opining on the Sandilands teenage girl interrogation scandal, Mitchell had broadened his critique of Sydney radio hosts in general and referred to Laws and Alan Jones as “idiots” with “grubby ways”. Sadly the “Golden Tonsils” could not resist calling up and objecting. The exchange that resulted is both embarrassing and hilarious.

Enjoy.

laws_wideweb__470x320,0
I shall tell him that I am not an “idiot”, and that cash for comment was not “grubby”, and I’m sure he’ll apologise. Particularly if I mention lawyers.

We were watching one of the earlier Frasiers last night, in which some newspaper critic publishes a nasty review of Frasier’s show, and he simply cannot restrain himself from blasting back on the air at the bloke with his own stream of insults. The scribe follows up in print with a more detailed and nastier critique, and Frasier responds with a diatribe which is only interrupted when the man (a giant physical specimen, it turns out) rings up and taunts him into agreeing to a fist-fight.

As one who has frequently failed to let things go in the past, and only succeeded in being drawn further into the quagmire, it hit more than a little close to home.

And Laws’ experience today really does demonstrate the folly of responding publicly to a critic while your blood is still hot. He had no plan. He was just angry. He wanted to hurt the man who insulted him. And all he achieved was sounding like a petulant child, while his critic got to repeat the criticism over and over and back it up in better detail. He was made to look a complete fool, and in the very medium in which he’d hope to be remembered as a leading light of his time.

If only he’d counted to ten first.

NOTE: Another lesson from this: if you’re a news media figure who has a prominent platform in the national debate, and you start threatening people with defamation, you look like a complete and utter hypocrite and buffoon. You become an object of mockery and derision. You lose professional credibility.

Look at how idiotic Laws sounded when he tried the stunt. A fearless crusader for truth, threatening to UNLEASH THE LAWYERS because someone called him a mean name?

Seriously, you don’t want to make that much of a fool of yourself.

Australians want asylum seekers treated equally; they’re just poorly informed about “boat people”

Amnesty International reveals the results of a formal poll of 1,000 Australians across the country:

A new opinion poll conducted for Amnesty International has found that a clear majority of Australians believe all asylum seekers should be treated equally under Australian law. The survey also found that a majority of Australians mistakenly believe that most asylum seekers arrive in Australia by boat.

Good news, that most oppose the present much harsher treatment applied to refugees who’ve arrived by boat:

The results of the Nielsen poll commissioned by Amnesty International Australia show that 69 percent of Australians believe that asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat should have access to the same legal protections as those who arrive by plane.

And a sad indictment on media reporting of the issue:

The opinion poll also showed that a large majority of Australians have major misconceptions regarding the percentage of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat. On average, Australians believe that about 60 per cent of asylum seekers come to Australia by boat. More than a third of Australians believe that over 80 per cent of asylum seekers arrive by boat. In fact, only 3.4 per cent of people who sought asylum in Australia in 2008 arrived by boat – the other 96.6 per cent arrived by plane.

Won’t stop the polemicists ranting misleadingly and unfairly about “boat people” and “people smugglers” and “queue jumpers”, though.

They’re probably thrilled to see how effective their misinformation has been.

Some hope for Alice Springs?

I have edited this post because I got it completely wrong. In the context of sheer bastardry this week by the Alice Springs Town Council, the news that the Federal Government was going to spend money on building housing and transient accommodation in the town seemed like a glimmer of rare, precious hope. Sadly my optimism was a little naive…

This looks like good news for the people of Alice Springs:

A BITTER dispute between the Federal Government and the indigenous Tangentyere Council over management of the squalid Alice Springs town camps has finally been settled.

The council has agreed to a $100 million houses-for-leases deal.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin announced the breakthrough yesterday, saying that under the deal some 16 town camps would receive new and refurbished houses, sealed roads, power and sewerage.

In exchange, the Tangentyere Council will sign 40-year leases handing the Government effective day-to-day control of the camps.

“We can now provide a safe and healthy environment for kids to live and grow up in,’’ Ms Macklin said. ‘‘The new houses will be effectively managed and maintained to a standard that the majority of Australians enjoy.”

Particularly for the poor, as the Town Council plans to make their lives even more miserable:

In addition to the $100 million, the Federal Government will spend a further $38 million to provide hostel accommodation for the transient population, drug and alcohol programs and improved security. Ms Macklin said alcohol bans would be enforced and police would be quickly alerted to problems.

That’s how you deal with the problem of begging. Not by criminalising it.

So, what’s the problem? Well, the price they’re going to be made to pay for this long-overdue infrastructure is high:

The council had accused successive governments of ignoring the rights of Aboriginal people by stripping the council of day-to-day responsibility. It claimed it would do a better job of managing the camps than the new management authority, NT Housing.

Pat Dodson, Ian Thorpe and other prominent Australians urge the government to reconsider:

“We, concerned citizens, call on the federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, to immediately end moves to compulsorily acquire the Alice Springs town camps, represented by Tangentyere Council,” it states.

“Tangentyere Council is a democratic organisation that has been the only service provider to the town camps since their inception.”

And Chris Graham points out:

Another day, another deal done with Aboriginal people while a gun is held to their head. I am, of course, referring to the news overnight that Jenny Macklin has signed a deal with the Alice Springs town camps which is supposed to deliver $138 million in housing and infrastructure upgrades in exchange for a 40-year lease over the land.

Except, of course, no deal has actually been done. All that’s really happened is a letter has been sent to Macklin from some of the town camp housing associations indicating they’ll accept a deal. So they’ve agreed to agree.

Call me pedantic, but when a $100 million or so and a pile of Aboriginal land is at stake, I prefer to see some names on dotted lines. The truth is, the battle for the Alice Springs town camps is just beginning.

He then gives six very good reasons why, most damningly noting that they’ve “had almost two years to build homes under the Northern Territory “national emergency” housing program (SIHIP)” and managed to build precisely NONE.

Not much hope of improvement there, after all. Not much hope at all.

UPDATE: It’s gotten a lot worse for the Minister.

Kyle’s the real victim here

Why won’t anyone think of Kyle’s suffering?

I’m sorry for her that it turned out like that. I’ve certainly pissed off a lot of journos over the years but I’m sad that they’re using the rape of a 12-year-old girl to have a go at me.

Damned journos! Where’s their decency?

Imagine – using Sandilands’ interrogating a 14 year old girl about her sex life live on air to attack him? Have they no shame? What else could he have done? NOT interrogate a 14 year old girl live on air about her sex life?

The lack of concern for Kyle Sandilands’ feelings disgusts me.

UPDATE: Here’s the ACMA complaints form.

Alice Springs is a brutal backwater

Following news of Alice Springs Town Council’s appalling inhumanity this week, putting up bylaws to fine beggars and take the blankets of the homeless, there are some further disturbing revelations by Chris Graham in today’s Crikey email:

  • The council is giving itself powers far exceeding those of NT police, including demanding date of birth (which is problematic for many indigenous citizens) and refusing to accept certain types of identification.

  • They are seeking to make it illegal to stage a protest without council permission. The laws go so far as to make it illegal for “a group or even [an] individual” to behave in a way “apparently intended to publicise that person’s view about anything”.
  • Under the heading, “Other Activities”, the Council is seeking to empower itself to “declare that any activity whatsoever ‘within, on, under or over a public place’ requires a Council permit”.
  • They’re duplicating laws against public urination or defectation – something which has become a problem since the town’s two shopping centres made all their toilets PAY FOR USE (to stop poor people using them).

And if you’re wondering how the Alice Springs community could have elected such a monstrous council, Graham reports:

And where is all this heading, you might ask? Well, over the weekend, a four-wheel drive containing a group of about four or five white males drove through two of the itinerant camps on the dry Todd River bed which the council is seeking to close down.

Later that morning, the body of a black male was discovered. He had reportedly been walking alone on a nearby street. Police are seeking any information on the occupants of the vehicle, but are remaining tight-lipped about the motive, fearing an escalation of violence.

The place is a disgrace. How long are they going to get away with this?

alice

The councilors’ email again – Aldermen@astc.nt.gov.au. (It’s important to title your email as an official response to the proposed Public Places By-Laws and request a receipt from Council.)

Rape, you say? Where’s my hilarious clown horn sound effect?

Quick quiz: You are a radio host. A 14 year old girl has just told you live on air she was raped when she was 12. What is your response?

  • “Did I hear you correctly – did you say you were raped? I’m sorry, this is a very serious matter, we’re going to play a song while we look into this off-air. Obviously an allegation of rape is a serious one that should be investigated by police”; or

  • “Right … is that the only experience you’ve had?”

If you selected the second option, then congratulations! You could be a host on 2Day FM!

Special bonus round: if someone suggests a segment in which mothers can drag their teenage daughters on the air and interrogate them about their private lives, how would you respond?

  • “Are you kidding? I’m not a monster! Let’s do something that’s not insanely cruel!” – or

  • “Great! Sounds like fun – for us! Ha ha!”

If you selected the second option, then your future in radio is assured.

UPDATE: The recording (helpfully archived by News Ltd here) gives a taste of the awfulness and sheer lack of human compassion (for a child, no less) at the beginning of the incident, long before the rape allegation “surprised” the hosts:

Jackie O: Alright, we have her hooked up (laughs) to the lie detector…
Kyle Sandilands: awww.
Jackie O: She’s not happy! (laughs)
Kyle Sandilands: How are you, Rachel?
Child: I’m scared! It’s not fair!
Jackie O: It wouldn’t be fair on any kid, I tell you, I sympathise with you
Kyle Sandilands: Is that true, Charles?
Lie detector bloke: That is true.
Kyle Sandilands: She is scared everyone, yeah.
Jackie O: Yeah. Mum, you have a series of questions you’re going to ask your daughter…

Unbelievable.

Victoria’s Judges Overpaid

If only I were a shameless polemicist who spends a great deal of time trying to make the public think EVIL ELITIST JUDGES are SCREWING THEM OVER.

Oh, the joy I would have with this story. The headlines alone! And for quite some time to come, I could baldly and misleadingly refer to any judge or magistrate as “overpaid” and simply link back to this story. It wouldn’t matter that they’re actually the victims in this stuff-up – because paying money back which you’d factored into your budget is usually worse than having never received the overpayment in the first place – it’d just be a fantastic stick with which to rhetorically beat them.

Well, I’m not one of those hacks, but I’m sure several will pick up the slack. If by this time next month you can hear the word “judges” and not have the word “overpaid” immediately jump into your brain, then I suspect they would be somewhat embarrassed.