Monthly Archives: August 2011
Saturday 10th September 2011
“LET THERE BE HIP-HOP” feat. Jae Druitt, 6PounD, Mirrah Reflects, Izzy N The Profit, Swarmy, DJ Kinetic, MC: L-FRESH The LION
8PM $10 – Empire Hotel Annandale | 103A Parramatta Rd, Annandale NSW
For many years the Mainstream media hadn’t given much attention to the annual commemoration of the Wave Hill Walk Off and the years of strike that followed led by Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people. This year the efforts of those who organise the anniversary activities and the elders of the Gurindji who made all this possible are receiving the coverage they and this great part of Australian history deserve. Many radio stations and local newspapers carried stories of the strike, ABC’s The Drum published 1DEADLYNation.com’s piece (http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2855942.html) and SBS television news ran a story from the anniversary ceremony (see below)
In coming years we sincerely hope that more mainstream media is dedicated to this remarkable piece of Australian history and the lessons we can all learn from those events. With the 50th anniversary only five years away Government, media and education bodies have a responsibility to ensure the date is marked by the sort of national celebration the strikers deserve in recognition of their struggle, their commitment to justice and the sacrifices they made for all of us.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this website contains images of deceased people.
Gather round people let me tell you a story
An eight year long story of power and pride
British Lord Vestey and Vincent Lingiari
Were opposite men on opposite sides
You probably know these as the opening lyrics to the 1991 Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song, From little things big things grow. It is one of Australia’s most important songs and most Aussies will know it if not from its radio play or performances from Paul and Kev around the nation, but also from its use by grass-roots movements around Australia and in advertising campaigns.
Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.
Now please take a few minutes to listen to the song and ponder the lessons we can learn from this tale of the Gurindji, from all Aboriginal people and from the legacy of one of our true Nation hero’s to both Black and White, Vincent Lingiari.
This year celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Walk Off. For more information please visit:- http://www.gurindjifreedomday.com
And for an interview with Brenda Croft – a Gurindji woman and one of the organisers of the event http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/08/24/3300918.htm?site=darwin
It is claimed in leaked documents not yet seen by the public that John Howard in a meeting with then VP Dick Cheney asked for David Hicks to be charged with War Crimes.
It was February 24, 2007 and the majority of the Australian public was demanding David Hicks be brought home from Guantanamo Bay. What started out as a small group of family supporters, lawyers and activists had grown to be one of the largest human rights campaigns for an individual in Australian history. For years the Howard Government had tried everything to make it go away, but on the issue of him coming home a free man they would not budge.
With an election certain for some time late in the year and new Opposition ALP leader Kevin Rudd surging in the polls Howard would look to his friends in high places. He couldn’t go to another election with the Hicks issue still unresolved and with Hicks in US hands, he would need their help. So in a meeting at his Sydney office on that February day John Howard told Dick Cheney Hicks, or more accurately his cause, had become a ”political threat” to his re-election.
As then Vice President of the United States Cheney was a man known to get things done. He had been seen the entire time of George W. Bush’s presidency as the man who pulled the strings. But more importantly he had been Secretary of Defense under Bush Snr and knew the right people to call at the pentagon. Howard was seen as a key ally for the Bush administration, he’d sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and followed the entire War on Terror in step with the US. This was a favour Cheney could do and wanted to do for a friend.
A week later on 1 March 2007, David Hicks was formally charged with material support for terrorism, and referred to trial by the special military commission.
He would be prosecuted by Chief Prosecutor, Guantanamo Military commissions, Colonel Morris D. Davis. With his high rank, four medals, a Juris doctorate, two Masters of law degrees and distinguished career in military law he was seen by the Bush administration as the right man to prosecute the “worst of the worst” in Gitmo. But in a recent interview with an Australian newspaper Colonel Davis has maintained there was political interference in the charge against Hicks, which he says any reasonable person would see as a ”favour for an ally”.
“Colonel Davis said Hicks had been a good candidate to be transferred back to his home country – without charge – like dozens of others held in Cuba. He came to the conclusion that there was political interference in the case soon after he received an urgent phone call from the Pentagon General Counsel, William ‘Jim’ Haynes, who had asked him: ”How quickly can you charge David Hicks?”
”I knew for John Howard it was becoming a political liability with an election coming up,” Colonel Davis said. That was the first and only time Mr Haynes had ever called him about a specific case and he found it to be ”odd”. The eventual plea bargain was negotiated behind his back, Colonel Davis said.”
With internet publication Truthout claiming to hold the official documents that would back up these claims it is time John Howard answered some very serious questions. Did he ask the US Administration to charge Hicks to help his own re-election bid and why, when it is stated Australian Government policy not to interfere in legal cases involving Australian’s did he do exactly that?
Political trials, under laws that no International or US legal body, including the Supreme Court accepted are not how Australia or any other democracy should conduct itself on the International stage. To ask for a political favour for re-election at the expense of your own national interest and the interest of your citizen is disgraceful. Many prominent International law experts have stated clearly it is worse than that. And with the UN set to investigate and proceedings to determine if Hicks can keep his books profits, Howard may find his friend’s in high places are no more.
For many the Tampa is not a boat, it is not a place their lives changed or even a policy that took Australia outside of International legal norms. It was a defining moment for then PM John Howard in ensuring he would win the coming election. But what about the people? The Sydney Morning Herald’s Ben Doherty examines.
A decade after their disastrous voyage, the Tampa asylum seekers sent back to Afghanistan are still on the run.
Sarwar had been home a week when they came for him. After more than two years away from Afghanistan – on leaky boats and in refugee camps, seeking a new country to call home – he returned to his village in Ghazni province.
“He was at his home for one week when some men, some Taliban, came on motorbikes. They took him from his house and they killed him. They dragged him outside and choked him to death with barbed wire.
“His wife and children saw him killed. They fled. I don’t know where they are now,” Mohammad Akbar Sohrabi says.
Sohrabi carries a photo of Sarwar. It’s mixed up among the meagre possessions he has from his time overseas, alongside a flimsy passport with an incorrect birth date and a Nauru stamp in it.
The shopkeeper and the metalworker were firm friends at Topside, the Australian-run refugee camp on Nauru. The photograph shows them in happy times, seated, making preparations for one of the occasional parties the detainees held. Then, they believed they would be resettled in Australia.
Eventually though, pressured to return to Afghanistan, they flew home together, “but we faced the same problems, the same people, waiting for us”.
For the complete story visit:- http://www.smh.com.au/national/bonds-of-hope-and-hardship-20110819-1j2ct.html
“Well known radical feminist” was the description delivered at a rally against Same Sex Marriage in Canberra this week.
But who was this radical feminist they were speaking of, Germaine Greer? Maybe Eva Cox, although personally I don’t find her that radical. No the target of the comment was Finance Minister Penny Wong; Che Guevera in a Pant-Suit she is not! A more bland centrist you could not find, she is common sense with a clever hair cut. But Senator Wong is exactly the kind of “evil” this crowd was rallying against. The hatred is also directed at people like Dr Kerryn Phelps, former head of the AMA and recipient of the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine. Also a Member of the Order of Australia, a mum of two children and her partner is woman. Would the world really end if they were allowed to tie the knot under Australian law? I think not!
Keynote speaker, Rebecca Hagelin from the conservative US Heritage Foundation told the audience, if you allowed gay marriage, “anything” such as polygamy and marriage between paedophiles and children ”could be called marriage”. I have many problems with this statement, it is simply false to begin with, it equates the union between two adults with that of sex crimes and in doing so undermines the suffering of all those, including LGBT people, who have been the victims of paedophiles and it comes from an American, whose organisation lobbied for the war in Iraq, calls Maggie Thatcher a hero and has links to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The think tank was also responsible for the “Contract with America” taken on board by US republicans in the 1990’s that resulted in much of the deregulation that caused the Global Financial Crisis.
Of course it wasn’t just an “intellectual” rally, others like Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, were eager to point out it isn’t just Gay marriage he has a problem with. “If someone wanted to introduce legislation calling ‘camels’ ‘horses’” that would be equally as ridiculous.” Never to be out done when it comes to statements of brilliance MP Bob Katter offered up. “Gay is one of the most beautiful words…no-one should have the right to take that word off us.” Bob, nobody is trying to take gay away from you, in fact they want you to be able to express “gay” in a way you feel comfortable and that is recognised by the law. In the past you have also expressed alarm at having laws taking away your right to “go horse riding”, “catch a fish for dinner”, “light a campfire” and “boil a billy”. Change boil to another word Bob and your lifestyle starts to sound a little Brokeback Mountain. Which is fine Bob, as I said, nobody is trying to take “gay” away from you, whatever boils your billy!
Meanwhile outside on the lawns of our Parliament House, the temperature was rising faster than Bob’s campfire. Well in actual fact the people at this particular rally contest that any temperature rise is caused by them or any humans, but something was making them awful hot under the collar. Angry Anderson took to the stage telling the Anti Carbon Tax rally to “maintain the rage” and muttered something about a higher power, while fresh from their gay ole time inside the building Katter and Joyce raged against “socialism” and got all Advance Australia Fair to the great joy of the audience. Much like inside it was left to others to offer up the intellectual side to the debate. “I can see a lot of people that I agree a very great deal with. I can see some people that I probably don’t agree with on everything,” opened Tony Abbott. Not quite JFK or FDR, but I think there is a real gem in there somewhere Tony. And of course the banners and placards were back, “JU-Liar” “Bob Brown’s Bitch” and what’s a patriotic rally without fitting out a picture of your Prime Minister in a Nazi uniform.
What was clear from both rallies was that older people will get out and have their say. And what are 60 somethings worried about in Australia, pension rates, hospital beds, golf course accessability? No, what gets these folks off the lazy boy recliner, throwing the Women’s Weekly at the floor in disgust and raising a “Ditch and Witch” banner, are a few Gay folks wanting to walk down the aisle and a policy designed to protect the environment.
Conservatives find the whole idea of conservation nearly as disgusting as they do two adults just asking for a “fair go”. Of course by the time we have actually crawelled our way into the 21st century and legalised Gay marriage for their Lesbian grand daughter and face the real impact of climate change these folk will be sleeping the eternal sleep and their only legacy will be a shift in the Australian political debate.
A shift that takes us closer to the US style “tea party” movement and the grubby politics it leaves behind. Where calling your Prime Minister Hitler, a bitch and a witch is how you get your view across and vilifying people you do not know nor understand is accepted, even inside the walls of the peoples Parliament. The attendees of both rallies will neither pay the carbon tax (I didn’t see Twiggy Forrest in attendance) nor be compelled to marry anyone Gay. But they attack both as if their very life depended on it and one can only think the media has very badly informed these people, some politicians have lied and our ability to communicate intelligently lost to an angry mob.
If you are a wedding crasher or a carbon kook it’s time to put country first, do a little reading and leave the Nazi accusations for the only people who deserve them…, Nazi’s!
Mining mogul Twiggy Forrest and the Fortescue Metals Group are no strangers to issues Indigenous. Whether fighting native title battles to build mines in the nation’s west, to promoting the employment of Indigenous people Twiggy has always had a lot to say.
“I know that Aboriginal people have every bit the ability any of us in this room have, and I know for sure they work as hard and when they come on board and join your company they will add value to your business,” Mr Forrest said in 2010
With companies who deal in Billions of dollars adding value is both in finding cheap resources that can be sold at inflated prices in the International market and by finding bargain basement labour that can dig it out of the ground for you. In the Indigenous community FMG has now found both. Buying resources from traditional land owners for peanuts (because any more would be welfare) and then selling them on for billions. Now today the ABC reports that FMG have found the answer to the labour side of the equation. Why pay people a few hundred thousand a year to fly in and fly out of your mine site when you can pay Indigenous “trainees” 50 bux and a day, not provide them accommodation or the ability to fly home.
Maybe the ABC has it wrong, maybe the workers denied a chance to speak on camera by their supervisor would give a glowing report of FMG, working in the mines on the cheap and sleeping rough. Or maybe they weren’t allowed to speak because their answers would be something we don’t want to hear? That there are Aboriginal men, working hard in the mines, trying to further their education and in return being paid much much less than their white counter parts.
Whatever the case, the WA and Federal Government must get to the bottom of it. And in the context of great pushes by mining companies such as FMG to grab traditional lands for their own benefit this must be done now!
Yesterday thousands of people rallied around Australia in support of equality. Not asking for anything others don’t have, not asking for special privileges, just the right to be treated like everyone else. Our politician’s still say no!
For some reason the debate in Australia over Gay marriage still rages. I say for some reason because there seems to be no logical political or social reason as to why two adult Australian’s cannot get married if that is their wish. Who is adversely impacted by Gay and Lesbian couples being allowed to marry? An answer is rarely offered up and usually advocates for the status quo simply state they don’t see the need for change. Which if we followed to its logical conclusion means they also didn’t see the need to change civil rights that discriminated against people based on race, gender or disability. Should slavery have remained the status quo because no politicians were Black? Should Aboriginal people still not be given the vote or counted in the census because at the time no politicians were Aboriginal and therefore they personally were not impacted? Of course not, but then following her logic Prime Minister Gillard would support women not having the vote or be eligible for elected office, because that too was once the status quo.
When an answer to the original question does come there are usually two lines.
1. “Think of the children”. Well yes, let us think of the children! Shouldn’t children know from an early age that they live in a nation that treats all its citizens equally? And let us be honest, a very large number of Australian children are raised in less that ideal circumstances. But what is wrong with two people in a committed relationship who want to care for a child and raise them the best they can? Isn’t that what we need as a society, more people so committed to parenting that they will jump through hoops to get the chance to do it?! Children respond to love, care, affection, education and a safe environment. We help protect their rights when we protect the rights of their parents no matter who they are.
2. Many politicians and public figures will claim Gay and Lesbian marriage is against their religion. Well maybe it is or maybe it isn’t. But their religion is not what they were elected to parliament to represent. They were elected to represent their electorate and their isn’t one in Australia that doesn’t have a large LGBT community. Polls also show that the majority of Australian’s support same sex marriage, international law makes the equal treatment of all a requirement and common sense tells us it just makes sense. Your religion is your own personal right, just as it is the right of all Australian’s to express their love for their partner in a union of marriage.
Sarah Palin is against Gay Marriage, so to is Fred Nile, Bin Laden was against Gay Marriage and George W. Bush too. Is that really the sort of ideological company you want to keep? Your marriage or your relationship with god is not altered in any way by two adults of the same sex getting married. Given how we view past generations that refused to grant rights to women, people of colour, the disabled and the lower classes. How will our children view us in the future if we maintain the status quo of denying a fundamental right?
Marriage has evolved for centuries, the idea that it’s an unchanged institution is simply the view of rose coloured glasses of a few that are entirely blacked out. In ancient times marriage was a union simply of two people with no formal ceremony or approval of the state required. There were great periods of time when marriage was between one man and many women, a time where marriage was between a man and a female child and a time when a white man could not marry anyone but a white women. All these things have changed, with the exception of some countries whose human rights record with rightly slam. Now is the time to remove the final obstacle that simply allows two adults to be given the same legal rights as the rest of us.
The short version – Don’t like Gay Marriage? Then don’t marry a Gay man!
Aboriginal families are strongest when they can stay connected to their homelands – but right now the government is stripping funds for essential services from traditional Aboriginal homelands.
Homelands are communities established so that Aboriginal people can maintain connection with their traditional, ancestral land. These communities have lower levels of social problems and significantly better health outcomes, and are home to around a third of the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory.
Sign the visual petition and tell the government: respect Aboriginal country and culture!
Each name is represented as an individual tile. The picture will be complete once Amnesty reach 10,000 names. Add yours now and ask the government not to abandon homelands. Amnesty will deliver your message directly to the Utopia community to show Australia’s support for homelands.
Part’s of London and across the UK are burning and the threat of rioting continuing has not let up. But there are two aspects to all of this and only one part is the rioting.
Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in circumstances that are still unknown, but it is now believed he did not fire a shot himself. What are now nationwide riots started as a protest outside the police station in Tottenham near to where Duggan had been killed. “Mark’s parents and family went to stand outside Tottenham Police Station,” Frank Crowe friend of Duggan says. “It seemed to be a major cover-up.” “It started off with just the peaceful protest,” he says. Frank says he can’t really explain how the peaceful protest turned into days of violence.
So what seemingly started out as a protest against a police shooting has denegrated into full scale rioting and criminal behaviour. And with it any chance of a non political examination of the shooting death of a man by police is gone and the socio-economic reasons that sparked it too are largely to be set aside in what will become an issue of law and order. Criminals are not revolutionaries, they don’t prove a point by their actions and Mandela in an Adidas Hoodie they are not! But as those who would seek to find the truth in amongst the chaos we must not simply see this as a riot, it isn’t! Riots don’t start for no reason at all, they require a level of anger amongst a large group of people. They require that said group of people feel so removed from society that they are literally willing to burn it to the ground and that they feel, rightly or wrongly, that where they direct their anger is the appropriate target.
There can be no doubt that certain minorities have faced undeserved scurtiny by the police in areas of London. This is not anything new and riots of previous decades in the same areas are testament to this. But what rioters fail to recognise, that protesters do, is that causing destruction and behaving criminally will win you zero supporters and set you back in any cause you might have. The aftermath of all this will not be as much about disadvantage and the underclass but about law and order. Never again will come the cry, zero tolerance, tough sentences and fight back will all be the buzz phrases as London cleans up. But if some of the roots causes are not addressed then another riot, as in the past, is only a matter of time.
By all means those who act in a criminal manner must face the full force of the law. In fact sometimes heavier sentences are warranted given the fear, anxiety and financial loss that the English community has suffered as a result of a few. But there are always lessons to be learned and they aren’t about how to crack down on criminals. They are about building a society and a community that is inclusive, that provides an opportunity for all and that addresses the underlining issues before they reach a point where a percentage of that society turns on itself.
There are those who say there isn’t racial profiling or a gap between the rich and the poor. But this footage that has gone around the world shows exactly that and it is deeply ingrained, even on the BBC.