Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Labor has officially lost my vote.

Let me explain this properly. As previously mentioned, I have been a Labor voter ever since I could vote. My Grandparents, and all relatives back to Federation have been Labor voters, due in part to their employment at the local Rail Yards, Dock Yards and other trade industries. My family have always been working class, hardworking union members throughout their years, finding comfort in the knowledge that the trade unions were there, fighting for their rights, conditions and safety.

In the past two years, however, Labor has seemed to have lost its way. Labor have been leaning further and further to the right, following the poll trends and the ‘easier options’, and not following their own principles. More and more often, Labor has been conceding to the Liberal view, either siding with the LNP’s decision to introduce mandatory Metadata collection and monitoring (even though the evidence shows that every country that has introduced these regulations are now either seeing their errors, or now having these regulations removed due to their inefficiency and exorbitant costs) Lowering their visionary standards (agreeing to a lower RET, meaning our Renewable Energy Target will be at an all-time, uninspiring level of around 5% by 2020 – Compared to China and America at 80% by 2050, and Denmark’s achievement of 140% a few months ago).

With all of this, I have been fooling myself, in the thoughts that “At least the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is not and “extreme” or “cruel” as the Liberal National Party (LNP) – at least I agree with many of ALP’s policies, compared to none of the LNP policies. This has now changed completely

Tonight, I have reached the decision to vote Greens for the first time at the next Federal election. I base this decision SOLELY on ALP’s decision to now adopt, or consider to adopt, the LNP policy of “Turning Back the Boats”. This decision is not a light decision, or even a decision that people may think ‘does not affect them’. This decision will affect every Australian at some point in their lives.

Allow me to clarify.

Using the field of music, I want to list some artists who were refugees. Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Gene Simmons, Angus & Malcolm Young, Bon Scott and Jimmy Barnes. Using these few names as an example, I want you to think of this.
Without Freddie Mercury, Queen may well have remained a garage band. All of the music that they created and inspired in others would be silent. Freddie’s roles as an ambassador for AIDS Awareness has potentially saved MILLIONS of lives.
Without Bob Marley, we would have missed out on the introduction to Reggae music into the mainstream. This would’ve stopped the progression to early forms of Punk & Ska. Marley also gave rise to other artists, such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Eric Clapton – not just covering his music, but embracing the soul of his music, and taking it to a different audience. Bob Marley also highlighted the dangers of smoking, dying of lung cancer at such a young age.
Without Gene Simmons, KISS would not have introduced us to GlamRock. A rock show would almost certainly be void of pyrotechnics and extravagant costumes.

Angus & Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, although not refugees, were migrants to Australia as part of the migrant wave of the 1950s. Jimmy Barnes was also a part of this wave. Without Australia’s acceptance of these kids, Australia would not have nurtured, and ultimately delivered these talents to the world.

I want you to imagine a world without the music of Queen, without mainstream Reggae or the larger-than-life presence of KISS. Imagine modern rock music without the influence of AC/DC. Music would be rather boring. Now think of everyone that relates to this music. The people that use a particular song to remember something good in their life. A song that perhaps has helped them get through a difficult time in their lives, marked a special occasion, a first kiss, the grieving of a loved one, or even an escape from the world and its nasty abuses. Without this music, where would these people be now?

Now I want you to think about the following names. Sigmund Freud, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Ben Elton, Victor Hugo, Lord Maurice Saatchi, These names have all shaped the world for generations. Modern Psychology, Religious ideologies, Modern Theology, Quantum Physics, Atomic Energy, Relativity, Space Travel, Comedy, Musicals, TV Classics (The Young Ones, Bottom, etc) Classic Literature, and lastly on this list, Advertising.

All of these massive names were refugees.

Now, imagine what Australia is essentially turning around and punting back into the open seas. All of these modern discoveries. Talents that have essentially changed our lives in every sense, overlooked. Potentially being sent back to their deaths. This list does not include the many, many unsung heroes in our society. Surgeons, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Business owners / employers, Athletes, Musicians, Artists, Actors, Activists and even the guy who makes your morning coffee. Every single one of these people could essentially change your day, or your life.

Now imagine that we are now essentially telling the world that, although we are a wealthy country, and managed to avoid the GFC, putting us in a position that was envied by every other OECD country around the world, although we have more than enough room for more people to live in this vast land, we are not only not accepting them, but we are stopping their boats in international waters and turning them back to face persecution, torture, rape and murder.

These human beings do not get on a boat for fun. They do not get on a boat to ‘jump the queue’. Many of them (98% at last estimate) choose this method of entry because they are fleeing in the dark of night. They are unable to get a visa or leave their country as they are fleeing the persecution of their government. They are fleeing imminent danger at the hands of political forces, police, military. Many of these people that I have personally met have left family – wives, children, babies, parents, siblings – because they simply could not bring them, risking their lives to get here and hopefully send for them when it was safe to do so. People have left infants, only to miss out on their formative years – having no contact apart from occasional phone-calls, never holding their children in their arms. This is not a decision that any parent would choose lightly.

Make no mistake, these policies are not “Turn Back the Boats”, rather, they are “Turn back the terrified, scared, inconsolable, injured, damaged, broken, depressed and desperate human beings.” It could also be said that we are turning away unknown prosperity, knowledge, wealth, intellect, skill, artistic talent and life-changing personalities that are the very wealth that Australia was built upon. Without immigration, Australia would be a very bland place (Imagine if since 1788, Australia remained a land of Irish and English convicts. We would have no Italian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Jewish, Nordic, or even Russian people living here. Imagine how boring and plain our choices of restaurants would be? Without Immigration, Australia loses its very identity. Australia would cease to be the vibrant, interesting, amazing, diverse country that has made it the envy of the rest of the world. We would lose our identity as an accepting nation.

“Turning Back the Boats” will have disastrous effects for Australia, and more importantly, it will put the human beings that are on these boats into potential harm.

I will not vote for a party that supports this view, and therefore, I will no longer vote for Labor, and I am aware of several hundred people who have these same views, and will no longer be voting for Labor. I suspect that there will be many tens of thousands of voters who would share these same views, measured against only a handful that will decide to vote ALP over LNP based on this single policy. If this policy is changed to be more accepting and humane, perhaps I will reconsider, however I could not sleep soundly at night, knowing that a vote from me assisted in allowing a party into power who knowingly sends innocent men, women and children back to a country that could essentially rape, torture or murder them, simply for being who they are.

My name is Patrick, and I am not a Liberal voter and never will be.
I have been known to have many a heated argument, defending policies with friends, family and strangers.
I wanted to raise with you some issues which have recently become apparent within MITA, the Melbourne detention facility, at the hands of Serco.
As a regular visitor to the Broadmeadows Detention facility, I find it heartbreaking to hear of the constant denial of the basic human rights and common dignities afforded to the detainees.
This nation has been built on the blood sweat and hardworking backs of immigrants. We have all grown up with people from other countries surrounding us, either in our schools or our communities.
It is what makes Australia such an amazing and unique place to live. Until recently, we have been an envy of other countries all around the world. When travelling, I have always been proud to tell strangers that I was Australian.
This has ended now. I am now vocally ashamed to be Australian. When did our values as a country change so drastically?
We have essentially turned our back on the very piece of international law that has built our country into the great power it is, the UN Convention of Refugees, 1952. The piece of legislation that saw so many of our Italian, Greek, Maltese, German, Polish and many other nationalities settle here after World War 2, and has assisted so many other people to settle here when their countries were being ravaged by wars, famine, terror and disaster.
Friends of mine who travel now tell people they are from New Zealand, as it has become too shameful to admit that they are from a land who does not respect people from other lands or with other beliefs.
I currently visit the Broadmeadows Detention Facility (MITA) specifically to spend time with the ASIO negatively assessed Tamil men. These men have been held in detention without charge (at least, none they have been informed of) for five or six years, and in some cases, longer than six years. This is at the same time as we have Domestic Violence Perpetrators serving 3 month suspended sentences. Drink Drivers serving 2 years but being released on good behaviour, and rapists being released on parole, often reoffending, as seen in the Jill Meagher case.
In recent months I have been listening to many in the media and even politics complaining that Indonesia has breached International Law by executing the two men, but there has not been any mention that our current government do the same every single day, leaving people in detention for over six years without charge.
In recent months, at the hands of Serco, I have heard of basic rights being stripped from these people, with the worst being the right to religious freedoms, and being denied weekly visits to temple. Originally this was due to be completely removed, however after many visitors voiced our disgust at these plans, it has now been offered fortnightly instead of weekly. Even this is a rather low ‘kick in the guts’, as many of these people are already broken and hurting, and now have their only avenue to be heard by their maker denied to them.
Other restrictions that have been put in place over the past few months are to have journeys to the market to purchase ingredients to cook meals with reduced, home visits to friends and family in the community restricted and reduced (all people must be vetoed by Serco, or the visit is cancelled), and most recently, restrictions on visits from members of the community. These visit restrictions are the harshest yet, and I believe are even stricter than a maximum security prison. These include calling between 9am and 1pm the day before and booking a place (which is often already ‘booked out’ – yet upon arrival, we have noted only 8-10 people in a 60 person room), paperwork must be filled out each and every visit, we cannot mix with others in the visitors room and must remain seated. all visits are limited to 2 hours, as all visits are given a time-slot. if you are late, or the paperwork delays your entry, your visit will be shorter.
Previously, we could arrive within visiting hours, produce ID, and enter the room. All detainees were welcome to enter, and did not need to be requested. For many, it was the highlight of their day to be able to mix with the community and to forget about their hardships for a few hours over a cup of tea as we chatted. This also allowed new arrivals from Nauru or other mainland centres to mingle, meet and socialise, giving them some much-needed human contact, friendly smiles and a hug when required. I have seen many people progress from a tightened ball of no-confidence into a happy, outgoing and smiling individual in a matter of months. It gave them hope to keep going, the strength to push forward, integrate into the visitors centre and even meet other detainees from different cultures and form friendships.
This new system has effectively ended this small glimmer of joy in their lives, and for no benefit to anyone, including Serco. The mental health ramifications will soon begin to show, and I have grave concerns for many people there. New arrivals from Nauru are now reportedly kept under guard, not even allowed to mingle with other detainees, let alone visitors. We cannot visit them, as no one can get their names to nominate them.
This effectively makes Nauru into a sick version of a Big Brother house. They are totally isolated from the outside world, monitored in every way, and if removed from the BigBrother house for medical reasons, are kept guarded, so as not to ‘ruin the game’.
further to the dehumanisation of these innocent persons, Serco have now, on top of monthly room searches, in which all of their belongings are inspected, upturned, mattress flipped etc (much like a prison cell inspection), they have now added full body pat-downs to each detainee.
This includes all Men, Women and Children (I have yet to hear of how young is too young, but I have heard of 6-8 year olds being subjected to this)
I have just been informed that one single woman had her room upturned by three male guards, then was given a pat-down by a male guard. She was extremely uncomfortable, but could not decline.
 
These searches are not due to information that these people have drugs, weapons or even a mobile phone, rather, they are routine and expected at least monthly.
 
As a trained and licensed security guard, I have always been told that ALL pat-downs need to be same-gender, which is mainly for comfort reasons, religious reasons and of course the protection from potential lawsuits, should someone claim they were inappropriately being touched.
This was basic training, given on day one of all training, and yet Serco seem to be overlooking this. I can only imagine what other regulations they are skirting around…
 
I ask you this. Would you be comfortable hearing of your wife or children being subjected to a physical pat-down by a n overbearing male guard, with no charge or guilt, but merely because they could?
Of course, I mean no disrespect with the previous question, only to highlight my point that this practice should not be condoned, regardless of your views on asylum seekers arriving by boat or by plane etc.
This needs to stop.
A group of us have already met with management of MITA, and have been told of the ‘wonderful things that are being done for detainees’ etc. I see these responses now to be total lies and fabrications.
further communications with the management team to clarify some of these allegations have gone unanswered.
Could you please pass this on to anyone who is asking the questions in the Senates Estimates committee?
I would like to know, how all of these restrictions are meant to be ‘saving money’, when in actual fact, it will cost us much more in regards to the mental health, wellbeing and dignity of these people.
the effects of our inhumane treatment of these wonderful, amazing people will be felt for generations.
thank you

Hello

My name is Patrick, and I have always been a Labor voter and supporter since I was first allowed to vote.
I have been known to have many a heated argument, defending policies with friends, family and strangers.
I have recently read that Labor, if they win at the next election, will take an even tougher stance to asylum seeker arrivals.
As a new visitor to the Broadmeadows Detention facility, I find this news to be disappointing.
This nation has been built on the blood sweat and hardworking backs of immigrants. We have all grown up with people from other countries surrounding us, either in our schools or our communities.
It is what makes Australia such an amazing and unique place to live. Until recently, we have been an envy of other countries all around the world. When travelling, I have always been proud to tell strangers that I was Australian.
This has ended now. I am now vocally ashamed to be Australian. When did our values as a country change so drastically?
We have essentially turned our back on the very piece of international law that has built our country into the great power it is, the UN Convention of Refugees, 1952. The piece of legislation that saw so many of our Italian, Greek, Maltese, German, Polish and many other nationalities settle here after World War 2, and has assisted so many other people to settle here when their countries were being ravaged by wars, famine, terror and disaster.
Friends of mine who travel now tell people they are from New Zealand, as it has become too shameful to admit that they are from a land who does not respect people from other lands or with other beliefs.
I currently visit the Broadmeadows Detention Facility (MITA) specifically to spend time with the ASIO negatively assessed Tamil men. These men have been held in detention without charge (at least, none they have been informed of) for five or six years, and in some cases, longer than six years. This is at the same time as we have Domestic Violence Perpetrators serving 3 month suspended sentences. Drink Drivers serving 2 years but being released on good behaviour, and rapists being released on parole, often reoffending, as seen in the Jill Meagher case.
In recent days I have been listening to many in the media and even politics complaining that Indonesia has breached International Law by executing the two men, but there has not been any mention that our current government do the same every single day, leaving people in detention for over six years without charge.
I ask, with the LNP practically handing you the leadership of this country on a platter with their disgusting abuse of human rights, their ignorance for international treaties and recommendations by the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission, not to mention a common disregard for human decency, with Tony Abbott and his imbeciles constantly opening their mouths to the sound of completely farcical and moronic statements, press releases and god-forbid their foreign speech bluffs… with all of this, how can you now say that you will not only side with the LNP policies, but take them further?
This not only relates to the Asylum Seeker policies, of course. This also includes Metadata, Equal Rights for Same Sex Marriage, the Maintaining Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities, as well as a spate of smaller policies that the ALP have somehow not blocked, or even raised concerns.
Not so many years ago Labor held a convincing lead in the polls over John Howard. Although he was unpopular at the time, he was nowhere near the level of incompetence or danger of the current ‘leader’ of the LNP. How is it that Labor can now only manage a very slim margin of preference over this bumbling fool?
This is the least successful government of our great country that I have known. Please ask yourself why it is that Labor cannot have a convincing lead in the Two Party Preferred polls?
I fear that the Labor party has lost its way. It has lost its vision of a better Australia for all, and is now only trying to win votes in the polls. It is a dirty race to the bottom.
I do not want to vote for the Greens, however their humanitarian policies leave both major parties far behind. This is where your voting constituents are headed, and in droves. I feel my arm is being twisted and I am being forced to leave this once great party, and all in the name of common decency to innocent people who are only wanting to be treated with the dignity that they deserve.
Please try and remember your way, remember that without freedoms, justice and decency, we are no better than many of the countries we are currently at war with.
I look forward to your reply, and even the ability to discuss my concerns further, but as I have seen with past emails to members of Parliament, i expect a templated reply that does not answer any questions but “values my input into important matters.”

I’d be happy to tell you why I choose to visit the detention centre in Broadmeadows.

I began visiting after hearing Julian Burnside QC speaking of the atrocious and sub-sub-standard conditions within the offshore centres. I simply couldn’t believe the media were not reporting on it! After all, we hear of every Kardashian update, or The Block eviction, why do we not hear about our own government’s treatment of these people in need?

We asked Mr. Burnside afterward if there was anything we could do, as only a few members of the public, with no means to change laws or make any noticeable difference. He replied simply “Yes, visit them, let them know they are not in it alone and that people in Australia care for their wellbeing and futures”.

We arranged to visit in the following weeks, and since then, I have always done my best to leave my everyday baggage outside, listen to their troubles, help them when I can and always offer them a hug.

So in answer to the original question, I visit the people at Broadmeadows because they have become my friends, and a part of my family. I have since taken my mother to visit them, and now she is always asking how they are, as they ask about her. She cares for them as she would care for her own children, even knitting them winter clothing. They all ask “How is mum?”.

The Negatively assessed Tamil guys at Broadmeadows, as well as all other people I have met there, are some of the nicest, most sincere, caring and kind-hearted people I have ever met. This country would benefit from their compassion, humour and many talents, if only they would stop hearing the word “Illegal” and actually spent the time to meet with the real people in these situations.

These innocent people have been detained for six years without charge, without sentencing, and with no end in sight. ASIO have vowed to keep them detained until circumstances change. They will not disclose their reasons for incarcerating these people, making it virtually impossible for them to defend themselves in a court of law. In another cruel twist, the asylum seekers cannot return home, as they have been granted Refugee status here in Australia. They are permitted to stay, but only as prisoners in the care of Immigration, never being charged with any crime.

Today I woke up to find my Twitter, Facebook and most other social networks filled with KONY2012 references.

After checking the local news sites, they too are full of the KONY2012 stuff. But what is it?

Joseph Kony is a rebel leader in Uganda, who orders the systematic kidnapping of children to be used in his rebel army. The boys are taught to shoot, often with their first kill to be that of their own parents; whilst the girls are raised and sold as sex slaves to help raise money for guns and ammunition.

These children are robbed of a childhood, some as young as 5 or 6 years old, their parents lose their children, and all so this pathetic excuse for a human being can have an army that robs, kills and makes him rich.

The person who has created this viral video has embarked on a monumental task, but so far he has Barack Obama on board, and has managed to get the US Government to send 100 US Troops to Uganda to assist local authorities in tracking Kony down in the dense jungle.

Whilst their funding methods are questionable (explained here) their cause is not. Support the cause, even if you don’t support KONY2012, and get the word out there!

This has been going on for over 20 years now, and is only just making it into the public eye. The more popular and visible this topic remains, the harder it will be for it to be ignored.

Please, watch this video. Share it, reblog it, post it to other social media outlets. Join their Facebook page here. Get friends to join. Write a letter to your local representative in Government or Senate. The more voters that get on board with as many of the world Governments as possible, the more likely it is to remain an issue, be addressed in the UN, and for something major to happen. The video’s main link was recently blocked on Facebook, so the more people to share a link to it from their own blogs, the more widespread it can become, and the more people can get on board.

People often complain and whinge that “The world has gone to shit…” …well, now is your chance to try to make a difference.

Crimes against children are never okay, but crimes against children on such a large-scale should be sanctioned and eradicated by world leaders.

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.