Tag Archives: Australia

Gays Gaily Serve In Foreign Armies, But Not In US Army!

President Barack Obama promised if elected to change the law which forbids gays and lesbians to serve in their nation’s armed forces. Since the notorious, “don’t ask, don’t tell” law passed under the Clinton administration, over 12,000 gays and lesbians have been forced to resign from the armed forces including dozens of trained linguists in Arabic, a skill desperately needed in wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel lifted restrictions on gays and lesbians in 1992, and a recent cover of an Army magazine portrayed two gay soldiers kissing. Australia has lifted restrictions and the United Kingdom was compelled in 1999 by the European Court of Human Rights to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces.

Representative Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress expressed his anger at the current restrictions against gays and lesbians. “I take it as a personal affront to our warriors. To say that other countries’ soldiers are professional enough to handle this and Americans are not, is really a slap in the face.”

Of course, there is no evidence that those fighting in actual battle object to having gays and lesbians in their ranks.

Aussie Police Deny Racism In Their Country

Until the 1960s, the only non-whites in Australia were the original inhabitants who constantly endured discrimination. Since that time period hundreds of thousands of immigrants have come from all parts of Asia and the Middle East to create a multi-ethnic society. During recent months in Sydney there have been continual attacks on students of Indian background, but the police insist there is nothing racial linked to the crimes. As police Superintendent Robert Refren noted: “they are young people, often students o ten working the jobs young students work… and they are therefore at risk opportunistically of being assaulted in the early hours of the morning or very late at night.” I guess we are to assume that only Indian students work late at night or early in the morning, are any white Aussies working at those times?

Petrol bombs have been thrown through the window of an Indian student, and numerous Indian and Sinhalese men have been attacked, but the police can only report there is nothing ethnic entailed in the assaults. I guess those attacked decided to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and therefore that explains away the incidents. It is nothing more than criminals selecting people with dark skin for a robbery or to be beaten up. It has nothing to do with ethnicity, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Chinese Students In Australia Harassed

Australia currently has a student export industry that brings in over fifteen billion dollars a year, but it being threatened by racists in their nation who believe they have to attack Chinese students attending local universities. There are over 130,000 Chinese students now at Australian universities, but their government is concerned over recent attacks by racist groups. Parents of students from India have also expressed their concern and are making known to authorities they will withdraw their children from Australia unless steps are taken to end the persecution of foreign students.

Ironically, as Australia experiences a severe economic turndown, local racists are attacking the source of income for their nation. This is an example of how racism can backfire and hurt those who are hurting other humans.

Australian Police Assault Indian Protestors

In the current world of fear of terrorism, many police see terrorists where none exist. A group of 200 students representing the Federation of Indian Students of Australia, a most obvious terrorist group, came out to protest against a recent series of attacks on students by Australian racists. Ordinarily, authorities might be sympathetic to efforts by a group of students to address issues, but this is modern Australia and the sight of 200 college students undoubtedly frightened police in Victoria. Yogesh Malhotram claims about 200 police surrounded the students and came charging in to the crowd of peacefully assembled students. He said police punched and dragged students who were, for the most part, sitting down.

However, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland, defended actions of his police. “If someone inadvertently got hit in the mouth, I regret that, but that came about from actions of the demonstrators after they had been given every opportunity to leave the area.” If your mouth got in the way of a police punch, it is all your fault.

They are a bunch of kids upset about being beaten by racist thugs. Surely, some government official could have talked with them.

A Healing Ceremony At Auschwitz

It was not a major event in world news, just a brief note buried in press releases, but the story of Noel Butler is important since it offers a road that few seek to follow. Noel Butler is an Aboriginal elder who made a sixteen thousand mile trip to Auschwitz in Poland in an effort to share his culture’s healing ideas to a region which still suffers from the wounds and anguish of World War II. Organized by An Tairseach, a UK culture and media group, Butler performed the first Aboriginal healing ceremony ever held at a Nazi death camp.

The purpose of the healing ceremony is to bind up wounds of pain for those who suffered and for those who committed the atrocities. He is traveling from New South Wales in Australia to Krakow and Belfast in order to connect the world’s oldest culture with memories of sad events in the modern world in hope that his healing ceremony can offer some solace and hope to those who have experienced hate and violence. “I have come from my people to your people,” he told a representative of the Auschwitz museum. “And, I hope I can help and together we can move on with the memory of those who died.”

Perhaps, his next stop could be Jerusalem where he could bind wounds of pain for Jews and Muslims.

Is Strip Searching Children Ever OK?

In the aftermath of 9/11 the world entered on its great fear campaign about the evil of terrorism and the need for everyone to be careful and watch out for men who lean down to touch their shoes because you will never know if they are about to explode a bomb. In New South Wales in Australia, there have been 840 cases of when children were strip searched by authorities and in only six percent of the occasions was any adult being present to protect their rights. The NSW Ombudsman made clear, “in our view, a support person should be present for all but exceptional circumstances in which it is not possible to do so. The low level of compliance with this safeguard is of concern.”

I really don’t understand why the Ombudsman did not recognize the serious nature of the situation. There were children aged 10 to 17 who were strip searched and who knows what explosives or tiny a-bombs were in the possession of such criminals? Just think, exactly what form of criminal action could a ten year old take who is semi-naked and surrounded by heavily built policemen?

Zero tolerance too frequently leads to zero common sense.

Joint Custody Under Attack In Australia

During the past decade the Australian court system has supported the concept of joint custody as important in maintaining family life even after divorce. Mothers and their supporters hung the names of 22 children who were killed by their fathers during a visit to his home.A mother named Carolyn showed a photo of her two sons who were killed by their father on a visit. “When the police came to the door, I was the one who told them my boys were dead” since it was just a matter of time before her ex-husband resorted to violence. The rally was part of a national campaign to change the Family Law Act which critics believe places some children at risk due to its requirements that make easy a divorced father’s access to his children.

The issue of father or mother as being the violent one in a marriage is open to debate. Obviously, there are violent fathers but to conclude reducing their opportunities to remain part of their children’s lives is a mistake. As the parent who retained primary care of two children, it is clear there are times when circumstances require children to be in contact with both parents. Twenty-two deaths are terrible, but how many millions of children did not get killed is also the question.

If You’re Muslim, You’re A Terrorist Says Aussie

A group of Muslims in the city of Camden in Australia wanted to build a school for their children just as Christians or Jews have religious centered schools for their youngsters. Several residents testified allowing an Islamic school in their quaint Christian community would led to a generation of young people schooled in the art of war. According to Judith Bond, “values of violence will be emphasized. It will be a breeding ground for terrorists.” Other residents feared allowing a Muslim school would lead to ending Christmas decorations of nativity scenes at Christmas. Kate McCullogh summed up the feelings of some residents by making clear, “let’s start making people understand that the Western way of life is the best way of life.”

This is a minor episode in the war to demonize Muslims, but it raises several ironic issues. Australia was founded by convicts from England which suggests that crime and criminals predate the appearance of any Muslims. The Australian Christians who oppose violence and war somehow found a way to wipe out large numbers of the aborigine population which got in their way. Sorry, Aussies, you will always come out ahead of Muslims in the race as to who is the most violent group in Australia.

Holocaust Denier Found Guilty Of Contempt

A Holocaust denier has been found guilty in an Australian court of contempt and faces a possible prison term after he flouted court orders not to publish information which vilified the Jewish race on his website. It was the first time the Australian justice system has found somebody guilty for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act in relation to Holocaust denial. Frederick Toben, director of the Adelaide Institute published material on his website referring to Anne Frank as one of those “self serving Holocaust frauds.” He referred to the “Holohoax” and claimed Holocaust Museums were simply a gimmick to collect money.

The emotional way of dealing with such individuals is to find them guilty and send them to jail. This only reinforces their conviction of being a martyr in the fight against Judaism. The essence of what anyone learns from the Holocaust is the right of individuals to express their ideas free of punishment. If there is any punishment for this man, wouldn’t it be preferable to have him work in a Holocaust Museum or have discussions with Holocaust survivors? Most probably he will never change, but at least society has not denied him the right to be an idiot.

Do Posts On Facebook Constitute Free Speech?

It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to post comments on their Facebook sites, but as of this point, it has never been clear if those postings are protected under the right of free speech. In Australia, the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services is threatening to fire prison officers who posted remarks on Facebook that were critical of plans by the state government to privatize certain prisons. The emerging issue is how relevant are employment laws in an Internet age in which people constantly speak online and frequently makes outrageous comments just for the heck of it. The private chatter in which people once engaged at a diner are now online and it is unclear whether employers can act against conversations they deem to be antagonistic to their business interests.

Several prison officers in NSW are being told they violated department policies of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act by making critical remarks in public about officials. They are being threatened with anything from a reprimand to being fired. The issue is whether speaking publicly on one’s Facebook site is protected or is it a public comment or am I forbidden to make public comments about my employers?