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Of cabbages, kings and a meeting of Blog war protagonists
Terry Pratchett dies and so does Clive Palmer’s time in the political sun
This is a post about loss, on one had we have the very sad news that Terry Pratchett has died after a very public fight with a form of dementia :
‘The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds’: Tributes pour in to fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett who has died at 66 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s
And then there is the news that , the brick with eyes and senator for my home state of Queensland has pulled the pin on Clive Palmer deciding that he will no longer sit as a PUP member in our upper house. Now I draw theses two seemingly disparate events together because Clive Palmer is just the sort of crazy bizarre political animals that Pratchett was so frond of creating in his disc world novels but sadly for Queensland he is real.
On the upside though I am really enjoying the political emasculation of Clive Palmer far more than I really should be. As a conservative I find this a big improvement for the prospects of government being able to get legislation through the senate.
Thus we can all see that every day can show is both sadness at the passing of one of the best fantasists of our age and joy of something he could have created passing into the political irrelevance it so richly deserves. In some ways the departure of the brick from the PUP may make it harder to pass particular bills but not having Palmer’s expansive ego and endless vendetta against the coalition in play will more than compensate in the humble opinion of this scribe.
Definitely a day of light and shade Comrades
National Security Statement 2015
Very good speech form Tony Abbott
recommended viewing Comrades
Helen Dale posted in Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) ” Why Australians can’t be Charlie”
I was quite taken by Helen Dale’s argument here:
Helen Dale 23 January 11:08
“I hate to break it to you, but we are not all Charlie.
The reason is simple: Charlie Hebdo was consistent in its support for freedom of speech. Its editors were not just targeted by Islamists: they’d been hauled through the French courts (where they won) and were figures of hate to both the French extreme right and conservative Catholics.
Charlie Hebdo had been out on a limb for years, true to the freewheeling anti-clericalism that owes its origins to the protests of 1968. Charb, its editor, refused to buckle.
The rest of us – with the partial exception of the United States – have buckled. There are widespread restrictions on speech, in France and elsewhere. Australia has 18C, among many others.
“Hate speech” laws are frequently based on the supposition that hate speech has the same effect as the common law offence of incitement. Incitement requires a demonstrable effect on the intended audience. Burning a cross on a black family’s front lawn, for example, amounts to incitement to commit acts of violence against that family.
It’s also important to remember hate speech laws are akin to the definition of “advocating terrorism” in the national security legislation. Because – as George Brandis told me last year – incitement is difficult to prove, governments look for other ways to restrict speech. “Advocating terrorism” in the Foreign Fighters legislation removes the requirement for demonstrable impact.
At the heart of criminalising “hate speech” is an empirical claim: that what an individual consumes in the media has a direct effect on his or her subsequent behaviour. That is, words will lead directly to deeds.
But because this is untrue – playing Grand Theft Auto and watching porn hasn’t led to an epidemic of car thefts and sexual assault – justifications for laws such as 18C and hate speech laws now turn on the notion that offence harms “dignity” and “inclusion”. Obviously, dignity and inclusion can’t be measured, while crime rates can.
Support for dignity and inclusion produces weird arguments – white people are not supposed to satirise minorities, for example. Sometimes, legislation is used – bluntly – to define what is funny.
Allowing what is “hateful” or “offensive” to be defined subjectively, as 18C does – and not according to the law’s usual objective standard (the reasonable person) – means “offence” is in the eye of the beholder. It enables people who are vexatious litigants and professional victims to complain about comments the rest of us would laugh off.
Tim Wilson, Australia’s Freedom Commissioner, has already argued18C ensures an Australian Charlie Hebdo would be litigated to death. Despite the fact 18C refers only to race, Tony Abbott’s justification for backing down on repeal was to preserve “national unity” with Australia’s Muslim community. This conflates religion with race in the crudest possible way.
This conflation is what leads to the coining of nonsense terms such as “Islamophobia”. “Homophobia” actually means something, because being homosexual is an inherent characteristic, not a choice. Islam is an idea, and it is perfectly reasonable to be afraid of an idea.
18C is far from the only potential constraint. The equivalent Victorian legislation explicitly takes in religion as well as race. A smart lawyer would bring suit in Victoria, because Charlie Hebdo would probably be caught there.
The confusion of religion for race is so pervasive – even in the US, where people ought to know better – that French people across the political spectrum have been forced to point out – while France does indeed have “hate speech” laws – they are used to protect characteristics that people cannot change, such as being black or gay.
“We do not conflate religion and race. We are the country of Voltaire and Diderot: religion is fair game” French left radical Olivier Tonneau wrote in response to repeated claims that attacking Muhammad or Islam was racist.
Apart from being unsupported by anything approaching evidence, hate speech laws have serious unintended consequences. Recently, British polling firm YouGov surveyed British attitudes to Muslims and discovered Britons see Islam negatively, but are unwilling to say so.
In other words, governments and law enforcement have to rely on anonymised polls conducted by private firms to find out what people really think.
It’s not maintainable to have partial freedom of speech. The fact that most Western countries now do makes what little freedom we still have harder to defend. Muslims who respect arguments for free speech can’t help but notice our inconsistencies. Anyone who thinks they don’t notice is guilty of treating people who profess a certain faith like children.
We won’t be Charlie until we have purged 18C, its state-based equivalents and the illiberal national security legislation from the nation’s statute books.”
So what do my readers think about this?
Queensland Election, a prediction of sorts
I have been rather underwhelmed by the current state election campaign up here which I put down to my having read too much of the left wing wishful thinking that imagines there being a return to government of the ALP but just this morning while I was listening the radio I got the strongest feeling “in my water” that the Newman government will indeed be returned and that the ALP’s very negative campaigning will not see them in office. On the other hand the LNP has run a positive and far more professional campaign which is far more inspiring than the negativity and fear mongering from the left and the minor parties.
One factor that always needs to be remembered about Queensland elections is that we have optional preferential voting up here and that requires a conscious decision to locate a second preference to avoid a vote being quickly made irrelevant when you are voting for a minor player, this innovation was introduced by the too clever by half Peter Beattie because he thought that it would give him an advantage against the then separate Liberal and National parties. Now that its the Left that is more fractured the irony that this piece of political gamesmanship is coming back to bite them should amuse my fellow conservatives a fair bit come election night.
Gearboxes and Pizza boxes that do not face Mecca
I have been rather slack about posting to this blog of late, for a couple a reasons, firstly its the season for spending more time with the family , secondly I have been far more focused on my car projects , in particular getting my sports car sorted and fitted with a new manual transmission because the auto I had in it was sounding like a bag of nails and running very badly. having to make a clutch peddle and ensure it works properly took longer than I expected and then I also had to alter the gearshift so that I falls conveniently to hand. The wrenching gods even made the speedo cable a problem as the corolla cable had an incomparable fitting for my Smiths speedo. I solved that one with a short length of fuel line and some hose claps to splice the last inches of my existing cable outer to the end of the Corolla cable.
Any way its time to get back too it but I just feel compelled to share this picture that was posted to my face book time line:
Its nice to see that companies are waking up the the “halal” scam and not letting the politically correct ninnies extort them into endorsing the pernicious ideology of Islam.
Sydney Siege, why was there no use of a sniper?
I don’t sleep very well at the bets of times but I have spent most of last night listening to the rolling coverage of the siege in Sydney and I am both desperately saddened by the death of two hostages and annoyed that a sniper did not take the scumbag out before any hostages could be killed. Further I can not comprehend why he was out on bail after being changed with murdering his wife and how he was able to get hold of a hand gun.
Finally I have been utterly sickened by all of the obsequious excuse making for Islam We, as a society well understand that the the majority of this in this country who follow that religion are decent people who mean their fellow Australians no harm so we do not need the sort of endless excuse making for the religion that has been so evident in the Media coverage for this atrocity done in the name of Allah. Simply put, if this was not an act based upon an “Islamic” motivation then why was it clothed in Islamist vestments?
Sadly nothing to cheer about on this one Comrades
At last after seven years of madness the country can draw a line under the Asylum seeker disarray created by Kevin Rudd
I must say that waking up to the news that the government has finally manged to secure the passage of a bill to reintroduce TPVs has really brightened my day.
“The crossbench shouldn’t have been put in this position, but we have,” the Motoring Enthusiast party senator said.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon also wrestled with the decision, but like Muir believed the amendments would give hope to thousands of refugees stuck in detention.
In return for their support – and that of the Palmer United party – the government agreed to quickly process the claims of 30,000 asylum seekers languishing in detention centres across Australia.
PUP leader Clive Palmer said that backing the legislation meant 1,500 asylum seekers – including 468 children – would soon be leaving Christmas Island.
But Labor and the Greens accused the government of using those children as a bargaining chip, arguing that the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, could release them at any time, if he wished.
Independent senator Jacqui Lambie – who opposed the legislation – attacked the government for keeping children detained for so long.
“These kids have been sitting there for 15 months, and you want a pat on the back? You’ve got to be kidding yourselves,” she said.
Particular concerns were raised about the return of TPVs, a Howard-era policy condemned by refugee advocates and repealed by the previous Labor government.
The government also agreed to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake of refugees and to give those on bridging visas the right to work.
Now the government can virtually clear the legacy backlog of mendicants that we can thank the Labor party for creating way back at the beginning of the Rudd regime. Long time readers may remember when I correctly predicted the subsequent flood of boats Further despite voting against the bill in the Senate I very much doubt that any future Labor government will be rushing to repeal the legislation because they will not want to endure being thrashed for their stupid position of the issue for another seven years. Any one who looks back on the this part of our political history must surely recognize that the whole problem is a consequence of the Labor party making a bad call and then being political cowards unwilling to undo their mistake or even admit that it was a mistake. All because the Labor party have been trying to court the very loopy left who support the Greens position on the Asylum seeker issues. That sort of thinking from the ALP is of course rather mad because there is no way that a sensible ALP person can possibly sink deep enough into the slime of Green political idea without alienating their center.
The thing that we should always remember is that the measure of the ALP’s position on any issue where it is at odds with the current government is not the posturings of Electricity Bill Shorten and his motley crew but their answer to being asked “will you repeal it if you win office?” and my guess is that The ALP answer will almost without exception fudge it and make excuses and prevaricate because the last thing that they want to do is commit themselves to giving the public a very spiky stick to beat them with for the next seven years.