Category Archives: News

Fear, Refugees and Ranjini – Please Explain

How is it that in Australia 2013 a pregnant woman who has committed no crime finds herself in detention?

If you are reading this the chances are you know her name is Ranjini, you know she is pregnant and due to give birth any moment, you know that in detention with her are her two young sons, you know that she has been found to be a refugee (yes, a “genuine” one), you know that she is married to Ganesh and you know that one day they picked up the boys from Mill Park Primary School for a meeting that resulted in Ranjini and the Boys being taken to Villawood Detention Centre where they remain. Ganesh was given just five minutes to say goodbye – “We were happy and the kids were even happier … we wanted to start new life with hope. But now we are shocked…We are separated. There has been too much pain before. Are we going to be put through the same pain in Australia as well?”

And today at this very moment a woman 9 months pregnant and her two little boys are kept out of our community because despite her being found to be a refugee, ASIO says she is a threat to our National Security. We do not know why, we can only guess that it is because her now deceased first husband MAY have been a driver for a Tamil separatist. Guilt by association with no right to appeal, no innocence before guilt and no way of knowing the evidence used.

Ranjini

I want you to look at the picture above you, imagine Ranjini 9 months pregnant, expecting to go into labour at any moment. Imagine her two young son both under the age of 10, imagine them behind the wire separated from Ganesh, who cannot comfort his pregnant wife as she is about to give birth. Now ask yourself this, Do I fear Ranjini? Because ASIO says you should, they say she is a threat to our National Security and nobody, not even Ranjini herself can know why! How is it that a nation like ours, with the decades of peace and prosperity we have enjoyed, an economy the envy of the world and a society the melting pot of so many cultures can be afraid of one woman and her little kids?

The common wisdom goes that the most recent history of fear of refugees goes back to the 2001 election and the cynical manipulation of the Tampa and Children Overboard affairs by the then Government of John Howard. But for the fear of refugees to bite hard enough just weeks out from an election John Howard needed people already afraid that could be tipped over the edge into a state of panic that saw facts lost along with lives. Australian federal elections are generally decided by just a few percentage points nationwide and while appealing to the worst aspects of the swing voter may or may not work a group of people already living in irrational fear were a much surer bet.

To find this group of people we only need to go back to 1996 when newly elected MP Pauline Hanson used her maiden speech to state “I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians”. Race politics and the fear of the refugees was ignited again in Australian politics and the easily afraid, particularly on the conservative side of politics, found a new home in Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. Hanson of course was so short of knowledge on the issue that when asked on 60 Minutes if she was xenophobic, she famously replied, “please explain?” Here was an individual elected to the Federal Parliament with no understanding of the issue other than she felt afraid, for no good reason, and she was laying the blame at the feet of immigration. It seems she wasn’t the only one afraid, fear of Asian immigration and other ludicrous and ill-informed views gained Hanson and her party 1 million votes in the House of Reps. and Senate at the 1998 election.

The Howard Government had seen it coming and then Minister and now Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott set out to destroy Hanson. Not for any love of those Hanson vilified, but to destroy a political opponent who had taken away the base of fearful voters so important at tight elections. Abbott set up a slush fund ironically called “Australians for Honest Politics Trust” and set about ripping One Nation apart from the inside. He says it was intended to expose the misuse of election funds but would later concede the political threat of One Nation was “a very big factor”. It worked, One Nation started to unravel and leading into the 2001 election One Nation voters (1 Million strong) were looking for a new home. Full of fear, mistrust of boat people and those who supported their rights, like a bucket set to overflow the fear spilled over with the arrival of MV Tampa and the Children who were not in fact thrown overboard. But fear needs no facts and in an election Howard was set to lose half of One Nation’s million strong voters joined Howard to narrowly defeat the Beazley led ALP. The One Nation voters had been more than enough to make the difference, Tony Abbott’s efforts had been rewarded and a decade later a nation still so ill-informed, with racism at the edges and cowardly politics still at play a woman named Ranjini will give birth to a baby in detention because our nation is still afraid.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

In 1933 with the depression ravaging America, a quarter of the population unemployed, confidence stripped from the economy and Hitler recently appointed Chancellor of Germany, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his inauguration speech to tell a frightened nation “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The very next day he called a bank holiday and allowed the nation to exhale, he summoned an emergency sitting of Congress and set about reshaping the American economy and dragging them out of the depression. He would hold “fireside chats” communicating directly to the American people in a calm manner via the radio his message of just how he was going to rescue the country. He came to office with 25% unemployment, a devastated economy, a Germany led by Hitler and the campaign song Happy Days Are Here Again. He died in office having served his nation for 12 years as President, the economy was booming, unemployment was below 2% and Hitler’s Nazi Germany was finished!

When a crisis arrives, even a perceived, one a leader has a choice to make. Exploit it for political gain as Australian political leaders have come to do on the Refugee issue or sit their people down, calm the flames and set about guiding their nation back to Happy Days.  From his first day in office FDR chose to be a real leader, for Ranjini to live free with her husband and children we need the same in Australia. We will protest, we will write letters, make telephone calls and we will organise. But whether Ranjini’s baby is born free or destined to a life of uncertainty behind bars requires simply that ours leaders lead. Otherwise they too can only answer are you Xenophobic and we can only answer why an innocent pregnant woman is detained, with please explain!

*edit* Ranjini has now given birth to a baby boy Paartheepan (16/01/2013)

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/birth-behind-bars-for-asio-risk-20130115-2crww.html

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World Day Against The Death Penalty

Studies have shown over the years that half of the Australian population continue to support the death penalty, but how many have really thought about the consequences. 

Tomorrow, 10th October, is the 10th Annual World Day Against the Death Penalty an important day to take stock of the progress that has been made in the quest for abolition and the work still to be done. As an Anti-death penalty coordinator my views against the death penalty would not surprise anyone. But I did not come to this conclusion from nowhere, it is based on a decade of case work that has involved working on the death penalty in countries across the world. Before that I spent 3 years in study both formal and of my own to come to the conclusion that the death penalty is an injustice in all cases.

Yet polls in Australia, a country that has abolished the death penalty, show that roughly half the population still support the process of death. So it is important that Australian’s take the time to think about this important domestic and international issue. Most who call for the death penalty tend to do so for cases of mass murder, but around the world these worst of offenders tend never to be executed. Take the United States, the only Western nation that still executes its civilians for non-military crimes. Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer are two of the most well-known and well-studied serial killers of the last 100 years, neither was executed and Manson is eligible to apply for parole in 2 years time. Dahmer was convicted of killing 15 men and boys, raping them both before and after their death and consuming the flesh of others. If anyone was to be sentenced to death one would safely assume Dahmer would be the poster child. He wasn’t.

Instead people like Troy Davis, Tookie Williams, Angel Diaz and Todd Willingham have all been executed in that time. They are just four whose guilt, fairness of trial and legality of arrest are all in serious question. Willingham was almost certainly innocent when he was put to death, while serious doubt remains about that of Davis. Mean while in states like Illinois they have abolished the death penalty after studies found those waiting for execution were not only NOT the worst of the worst, but innocent and must be released. The US imprisons more than 2 million people, the largest number and per capita figure in the world, they have shocking levels of recidivism and a death penalty machine that executes the Black, poor and mentally ill at a rate that outweighs their counterparts in the rest of the community by more than 10 times.

This therefore is not capital punishment that is set out to remove the worst of the worst from society but a system that executes those with poor legal representation, no money, a minority or with a serious mental illness. As the saying goes, don’t have the capital and you get the punishment. This is backed up by every major study conducted into the death penalty system that has shown it does not act as a deterrent. Rather states that impose the death penalty tend to have higher rates of murder and violent crime and as a result larger prison populations. It becomes a vicious cycle that results in more and more innocent victims of crime and loss of life. While studies in a number of states, including the study ordered by then Governor George Ryan in Illinois showed the death penalty system was broken at every turn.

Outside of the US the majority of executions take place in Pakistan, China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These are often not against those who have committed violent crimes, but political dissidents, those whom have been convicted of blasphemy, crimes against the king or ruler and adultery/homosexuality. Pakistan and Iran have this year carried out the execution of those whose only crime was to promote their religion other than the state accepted religion of Islam. While Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed women who have been raped, for the crime of adultery. Saudi Arabia still conducts its execution by sword and beheading is a gruesome and rarely swift method for murder by the state of a human being. China’s figures for execution are so large they refuse to publish them, they are often those who dare question the totalitarian regime or who are from ethnic groups in the outer reaches of the nation.

This is NOT justice!

Each year more than 10,000 people are officially executed by nations around the world. Virtually none have been convicted of mass killing or large-scale sexual abuse of children. The death penalty is simply an act of revenge against a small percentage of the criminal population and a larger percentage of women, minority groups and those whose actions would be deemed simply free expression in the majority of the world.

Supporting the death penalty is not the support for being hard on crime, it is the support for an unjust gruesome system of vengeance that rarely gets the right man and promotes a cycle of violent crime, mistrust and fear in the nations that carry it out most often. There are no safe guards, there can be no over turning of the act when an execution has taken place and Australia is better for no longer partaking in the practice. But we also must do our part to end this most barbaric of acts around the world. And if we value our friendship with the United States we must encourage them to catch up with the rest of the world and end this dark ages horror. Only then will the last remaining nations begin to follow and the world can be free of one of the crimes against humanity we can stop forever!

Martin Hodgson

Anti Death Penalty Coordinator – Foreign Prisoner Support Service.

http://www.foreignprisoners.com

Letters For Ranjini

A pregnant mother of 2, imprisoned indefinitely in Australia’s immigration detention system.

www.lettersforranjini.com

“Ranjini was found to be a genuine refugee before ASIO decided last week she is a security risk for Australia. But the government won’t tell her why, and now she’s facing a life in detention.”

Ranjini

As a result, she has been separated from her husband and locked up in the Villawood detention centre with her children. Current law says that she has no right to be told why she is considered a threat, making it nearly impossible for her lawyers to mount a defence.  Ranjini faces indefinite detention at the hands of the Australian government.

This page was built to send letters of support to Ranjini, and to demonstrate that Australian citizens do not support anyone being locked up indefinitely without ever having committed a crime.

Please visit – www.lettersforranjini.com for more information and www.julianburnside.com.au/detained.htm for a legal explanation.

Follow – @Ranjiniletters

#FreeRanjini

She Can’t Help Being Deadly…

… She was born that way!

It comes as no surprise that Andrew Bolt has found himself involved in yet another controversy surrounding race.  We all know Bolt lost a high profile case and like the guy who doesn’t accept the umpires decision in a game of street cricket he’s taking his bat and ball and going home. But first he is going to throw around a few names and smash some bins as he marches off down the street.

But Bolt doesn’t simply play with a bat and ball, he plays with peoples lives, with the identity of an entire race and as the most read journalist in Australia, with how we shape public discussion on such issues for generations to come. Bolt and his supporters would have you believe that he lost a free speech case and that he has been silenced. This is a lie!

He breached the Racial Discrimination Act and returned to work as Australia’s most read columnist & blogger who also has a TV show and a radio program. Silenced? And how much did the applicants ask for in damages, landmark case like that would have to get you a few million each surely? Not a cent! No victims here, just folk wanting the record set straight and for Bolt to tell the truth and not abuse them racially. This does not seem like too much to ask, In fact as someone who knows a thing or two about handling high profile court cases I would say the nine individuals who took the case against Bolt are brave for what they did. Brave because going through any legal battle is awful, especially one where you have been wronged and it is played out in the media.

Six months later and we arrive back at the present time and Bolt having come to terms with his error has had the chance to meet with Indigenous leaders, think about the importance of his own Dutch culture to him and apologise to each and all…

Or that is what would have happened if he was indeed sorry, a decent individual or employed by a media company that respected the law. One of the applicants to the case, Dr Anita Heiss, has written a new booked entitled Am I Black Enough For You? and Bolt & co. are fuming. From reading his column and their ranting it seems they don’t believe Dr Heiss should have written the book, it shouldn’t have been published and she shouldn’t be speaking about the case or her identity.

In short, they want Dr Heiss silenced, they don’t believe in free speech and so they’ve taken to Amazon to ridicule a book they haven’t read. All at the direction of Bolt, who in his Column (most read in Australia) spoke about the book and Dr Heiss.

Hold on a moment, who’s free speech is being attacked here?

Let’s get some fact straight. Dr Anita Heiss is an author of considerable standing in Australia. She has been a prolific writer for two decades with successful works across a wide range of genres. A director of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and an author who gives back to the entire community through her promotion of literature and the craft, literacy for all Australian’s and encouraging and assisting up and coming writers with their work. Having been seriously misrepresented by Bolt, something a judge found also breached the Racial Discrimination Act it is only a very nasty individual who would seek to deny her the right of reply.

But to suggest that this is all her new book is about is an insult to Dr Heiss and an insult to anyone who cares about true harmony and understanding in the Australian community. The book is about a woman who comes from the oldest living culture in the world but lives in one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet. The story of a woman of colour who has become a leader in her field when very few existed and what it is like to be a high profile Aboriginal Woman in a ground breaking legal case.

What Heiss shows us with her book is that your identity is not one that can be written on an ID card, it is not something determined by where you live and despite any obstacles laid in her way she is not a victim but a success and an example to all of us.

Make no mistake, history will judge this period of time in our Nation. It will judge the fact that Indigenous Australian’s still face a 20 year gap in life expectancy compared to their non-Indigenous brothers and sisters. It will judge how a Government sent the army into communities that needed nurses and teachers and it will judge how a few white men in the media tried to tell the oldest living culture on earth how they should determine their identity.

And then History will turn the page on Am I Black Enough For You? And see Dr Anita Heiss, a writer, an activist, a teacher and a leader who stood up so that future generations can live out their identity as they see fit, not have it questioned or belittled.

Dr Anita Heiss is a proud woman of the Wiradjuri nation, an incredible writer and she is more than Black enough! Andrew Bolt is a convicted racist, one found to be a terrible journalist who relies heavily on google for his research and a man who has contributed nothing to the positive  growth of our country. It is only because Bolt lost in court to Heiss that their names ever need be mentioned in the same breath. And with her new book and dignified response to Bolt’s continued attacks she is winning again!

Buy the book here:- http://www.amazon.com/Black-Enough-For-You-ebook/dp/B007C6VAK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334049266&sr=8-1

Greens Select Indigenous Candidate for Inala – #QldPol

Michael Quall is the 2012 Queensland Greens Candidate for the Queensland Electoral District of Inala

Born in the Queensland regional centre of Toowoomba, Michael has lived in the western Brisbane Suburb of Forest Lake since 2005.

Married 15 years, with 8 children, Michael is a family oriented man, and a former bureaucrat turned community sector manager with an extensive background in social policy and community management. He has worked for the federal, ACT & Queensland public sectors, after commencing a distinguished career at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra in 1993.

Greens Candidate for Inala - Michael Quall

Michael has lived in the ACT, Western Australia’s magnificent East Kimberley region, the Northern Territory and is now back home in Queensland where his eldest son has this year commenced studies at the University of Southern Queensland in Springfield.

Michael has served as the CEO of Aboriginal corporations in Western Australia and Queensland, and has sat on the boards of several NGOs in both Canberra and Brisbane, including Volunteering Queensland and the Youth Coalition of the ACT which he chaired. Michael has also chaired two Ministerial Councils reporting to the ACT Government.

With a career-long passion for politics and a long history of activism in areas as diverse as multiculturalism, Indigenous affairs, disability reform, mental health welfare, employment and community development, and volunteerism, Michael has a wealth of experience to offer the District of Inala.

As well as his work domestically, Michael’s career has also seen him travel overseas – to Canada, where he addressed school groups and other young people on his experiences as an Aboriginal young person growing up in Australia; Germany, where he contributed important debate to a delegation of young people attending the World Conference Against Racism in 2000; and Japan, where he gave a keynote address to the World Youth Volunteering Summit during the International Year of Volunteers. Michael is also a former Young Canberra Citizen of the Year, ACT NAIDOC Young Aboriginal Person of the Year, and a recipient of the Centenary Medal.

Michael’s lifelong passion has always been, and remains, social justice and human rights.

A man dedicated to family, community and social justice.

At the forefront of Australia’s Reconciliation and anti-racism movements for many years, Michael knows it is time to step up and make a significant contribution to politics in his home state of Queensland. A former ALP member, he now passionately believes in the message of the Australian Greens, and strives in his own life, and to encourage others around him, to live the ideals of a compassionate, caring, and sustainable existence.

On his father’s side, Michael is a descendant of the Larrakia people, traditional owners of the region around Darwin, in the Northern Territory. His mother’s family are several generations of regional Queenslanders – former naval sea men and women; pig, cattle and cotton farmers; publicans; mining and transport workers; sunshine coast retirees.

For more information:- https://www.facebook.com/inala.greens.2012?sk=info

And follow him on Twitter:- @InalaGreens2012 or email:- inala@qld.greens.org.au


Fraser govt tried to get rid of Perkins (Ninemsn)

Aboriginal public servant Charles Perkins so annoyed the government of Malcolm Fraser that they set about getting rid of him.

Among Perkins’ numerous transgressions, according to a submission to cabinet in October 1982, were a series of media interviews including one in which he referred to farmers as “blood sucking bludgers”.

Then there was his commentary on the Commonwealth Games to be held in Brisbane in September-October 1982, in which he frequently referred to the prospect of violence, declaring that the Brisbane games would be Australia’s “Battle of Wounded Knee”.

He seemed to have gone out of his way to offend great sections of conservative Australia. He proposed petitioning the Queen to intercede on land rights issues and referred to the Northern Territory House of Assembly speaker Les MacFarlane as “this redneck rightwing radical”.

And he even wrote to the RSL demanding an explanation for the attendance of the organisation’s president and executive at receptions given by the South African embassy.

In the cabinet submission – released by the National Archives of Australia – Fraser’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ian Wilson said Perkins, the chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC), had “frequently involved himself in controversial public statements or actions which brought much public criticism and claims that he ought to be removed from office or otherwise disciplined”.

Wilson said that continued even after the Commonwealth Games with Perkins routinely and directly contradicting government policy and statements.

“Mr Perkins through his public statements has openly challenged government policy on Aboriginal land in Queensland and the the Northern Territory. There are growing indications that he could weaken public support for our Aboriginal policies in general,” he said.

As tempting as it may have been, the government couldn’t just sack him as his statutory office protected him from summary dismissal.

That view was confirmed by advice from the Commonwealth solicitor-general who said there was no grounds for suspension on the basis of misbehaviour.

And even if there were, natural justice would require that he be allowed to put his case.

Wilson outlined a series of options to rein in this turbulent public servant, recommending that the government inform him that it had lost confidence and he should resign forthwith. As well he would be publicly rebuked.

But the government hedged and had taken no action by election time in March 1983 when Perkins became a problem for the new Hawke Labor government.

Bob Hawke, it seems, was much more forgiving, observing that Perkins sometimes found it difficult to observe the constraints usually imposed on permanent heads of departments because of his burning passion for advancing the interests of his people.

He remained in the Commonwealth public service until 1988 and died in 2000.

Amos Frank, Remember the Name! #AFL

In the far North West of South Australia, bordering both WA & the NT is 105,000 square kilometres of stunning arid lanscape. This is Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, home to 2500 people the vast majority being the Aboriginal peoples who have called this home for thousands of years. And now the local Australian Rules Football superstar is coming to the big smoke to challenge the best in the AFL.

With the 34th pick in the 2012 AFL Rookie Draft the Hawthorn Hawks selected Amos Frank. A two time Far North West Sports League best-and-fairest, the record holder in the SANFL for the 20m sprint and with skills giving him the ability to do anything on the field the drafting of Frank should come as no surprise. Yet today he is grabbing headlines as only the first man from the APY lands to have ever been listed with an Australian club. Like most Aboriginal peoples from his lands he speaks English as a second language and has only travelled to Melbourne three times. But the Hawks, SANFL and AFL are all confident they have the appropriate support networks in place to help him transition to a huge life change.

Frank will move to Melbourne with his partner and two young children and is proud to represent his home country and act as a role model for the young people of his community. He will follow in the footsteps of Warlpiri man Liam Jurrah, from Yuendumu who has successfully transitioned from remote central Australian to superstar AFL player and 2010 NT Young Australian of the Year.

“The community as a whole, they will all be in brown and gold as Hawthorn supporters now,” SANFL Aboriginal participation manager James Moore said. “They will follow Amos, everything he does in Melbourne, he will be followed. So, he’s become a leader and a role model for all the kids up there and he knows that. He’s got the pressure of performing well and I think he will do that as he is a very level-headed young man who represents the APY Lands very well.”

For many young men the promotion to the AFL is tough as they overcome home sickness, the pressure to perform well and the daily grind of playing with and battling the best.  For Amos Frank there is the extra pressure of a new language, fast paced city and the expectation that only a trailblazer for his people can understand. But mark my words, this is a superstar in the making. He has Ferrari like speed, the ability to kick beyond 50 with both feet, tackling ability to rival new team mate Cyril Rioli and a feeling for the game to do things we haven’t even dreamed.

This too is a test for the AFL and Hawthorn, while their efforts to assist Aboriginal players has come ahead hugely in the last 20 years there is always more work to be done and each and every individual must be given full support from the right people as well as cultural understanding to know how best to handle any issues that may arise. But as generations of Indigenous superstars have shown, their excellence on and off the field is a great uniting force both in football and in the broader community.

When Amos Frank has you out of your seat with highlight real action just remember, Indigenous Excellence is in every child in these lands.

 

Climate Change – Is there two sides to the story?

Bill Maher lays waste to Climate Change Deniers and questions the need for two sides to every story.

For Aboriginal Elder Dr Berryl Carmichael the Darling River is her Livelihood.

For Dr Berryl Carmichael, the Darling River is her livelihood.

Berryl remembers a time when the river water was as clear as the ocean, a place where she played and learned the traditions of her people.

“We used to have great fun going down and pumping the yabbies out,” she said.

“We used to put our foot in the hole instead of setting traps and the yabbies would back out the other hole.

“We grabbed the yabbies and put them in the bucket so we had a feed.”

Over the years, Berryl has noticed different species come and go from the system, like the catfish.

“We used to always catch catfish and they were a beautiful food,” she said.

“Especially if it was your totem, you needed that catfish, a bit of your spirit food to feed your spiritual self.

“Now today you can hardly get a catfish in the river.

“Things like that connected the people to the water.

“It is fast disappearing, it’s very sad.”

On the longer term health of the Murray-Darling Basin, Beryl says he is concerned for the next generation.

“What about the fish dreaming?” she asked.

“This is when the Aboriginal people need to come together again and let our voices be heard loud and clear.

“It’s the life vein of our people.”

Sublime? No, Slime! #ACA (Matthew Newton)

UPDATE 2 – This piece was first published on 22nd Nov. Today (14/12) we learn something that gives it renewed importance.

“Actor Matthew Newton is accused of punching  a taxi driver in the head on Sydney’s north shore.

Police arrested the 35-year-old after an incident about 10.20am  (AEDT) on December 4.”

The commentary today following the Matthew Newton interview with Tracy Grimshaw has been all negative and quite rightly given his refusal to apologise to his victims.

But that is an issue for Mr Newton, his victims and their families and friends. A more important issue is why one of the highest rating programs in Australia would air such disregard for Domestic violence and the damage it does to individuals and our community? The answer of course is in the question, ratings is seemingly all that drives programs such as ACA and Today Tonight. But what really got on my nerves was the promotion and production of this sordid tale as if the people making money off it actually give a shit.

Tracy Grimshaw on her twitter account. “Huge response to Matthew Newton #aca. We endeavored to be fair to him, to the women he has hurt, and the mentally ill. Polarising, for sure.” Right, you know what would be fair to the victims Tracy, giving the same amount of time on your show to experts on both Domestic Violence and Mental Illness! But hey, where is the ratings and financial reward in that. This should come as no surprise given only a show earlier they ran the story on Warwick Capper asking “so could the loveable larrikin be the next big thing in Aussie television?” Right, you mean the guy who had a failed porno career? Classy stuff! But of course it doesn’t stop there, ACA has form and you only need to look at what is being talked about on their website to find the story “Asylum Seeker Heaven” – A Current Affair investigated just why the system is costing us so much. In the process we discovered not only huge medical and security costs, but also luxuries like plasma TVs and internet cafes. Detention centres, known breeding grounds for mental illness, condemned by Psych workers the country over are heavens are they?

So we should not at all be surprised that this program and presenter who peddles Racism, demonises Asylum Seekers, profits from Mental Illness and delivers startling investigations on “Migraine botox” might be less than responsible when it comes Domestic Violence. Tracy obviously defended this today by saying “We gave white ribbon number“. Only for that organisation themselves to criticise the interview today “Australia’s primary organisation against violence towards women, the White Ribbon organisation, has criticised Matthew Newton for copping out in a TV interview last night.”

Given all of this, the pre show predictions, the interview itself and the following criticism was expected. Another opportunity missed to really give the public the facts on Domestic Violence and Mental Illness (two of the biggest issues we face as a society). But I was further miffed (understatement) when I saw Mia Freedman take to her account to promote the interview. “Set your iq for @tracygrimshaw‘s Matt Newton exclusive on #ACA tomorrow night. Can think of nobody better to do it. Sublime.” Talk about a good helping of pre tabloid porn promotion! Mia is actually someone I respect and wrote a piece defending after her remarks on the Today Show about Cadel Evans. But “Sublime” about an interview with an unapologetic perpetrator of Domestic Violence and a tabloid treatment of mental illness? Before I played the John MacEnroe “You cannot be serious” line in my head I thought I better ask for clarification. The response,  “I meant that tracey is a sublime interviewer. One of the best. Not a statement about content particularly.”

No, obviously the content is complete shit, BUT… You cannot be fucking serious (throw racquet), Tracy Grimshaw…, one of the best? By what standard do we lower ourselves to that someone who sits in the chair of a program that does NOTHING for the national debate on any serious issue is one of the best. That anyone who makes a huge amount of money peddling fear, making people feel bad about their body appearance and generally making crap about the least fortunate amongst us is one of the best. Can you imagine Kerry O’Brien ever asking if Warrick Capper was the next big thing? Speaking of Kerry, he is one of the best! So is Tony Jones, Leigh Sales, Jenny Brockie, etc Speaking of which, can you imagine Brockie introducing a show entitled “Centrelink scammer justice”?

You know who does “sublime” interviews? Andrew Denton! You know who doesn’t? Tracy Grimshaw!

Maybe Mia Freedman is simply towing the party line, she too is employed by Channel Nine.

But make no mistake these shows support the 1% while claiming to be for the 99!. These are the people who just like bankers and traders make their money by selling things that don’t exist or are simply made up. Things like Warwick Capper being the next big thing, Asylum Seekers having their own little slice of Heaven and Domestic Violence and Mental Illness issues to simply pull ratings. Why report on the alarming rate of homelessness, the fact that the majority of low income Australian’s can’t afford the dentist or the suicides in detention when you can make a hell of a lot more from Matthew Newton. And with the spring collection on the shelves, a Range Rover to refuel and that delightful $100 Chardonnay just chilling in the fridge they’ll ask… What are you complaining about?!?!

UPDATE:- It’s still unclear if Newton was paid for the interview but with Ch9 only saying they don’t disclose such information it is fair to assume he was. Prompt Hughesy on radio.

“If he hadn’t have been violent against women that interview wouldn’t have happened…. that’s why it was a news story and he got paid for it,” Dave Hughes said.

“So he got paid because he was violent against women. That’s interesting.”
Interesting might be another way of saying “disgraceful tabloid rot” dressed up as journalism, something Nine, ACA and Grimshaw should all be ashamed of!
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