Tuesday, June 2, 2015

‘Team Australia’ ‘Captain’ wants your passport – has the wrong one himself

Like the Prime Minister, I was born in England. I don’t hold that against him. Perhaps it would be better if we discarded all this tribalism, dispense with nationality, flags, passports – but wait! Tony Abbott is wedded to flags, four, six, eight – I lose count. He bangs on about ‘our people’ and ‘enemies’ all the time. It is called chauvinism and xenophobia (which Pauline Hanson couldn’t pronounce). Oh, and he’s made a career of it, hasn’t he!

I read David Donovan's article and thought he has a point. Tony Abbott has a case to answer regarding his alleged dual nationality and has shown no publicly acceptable reason for his continued avoidance of the question. Basically, if you are in the right, give the truthful, straightforward explanation and move on. He won't! It is costing him credibility. Tony's Tradies will evaporate!

Not only was Tony Abbott required to "take steps" to "relinquish" his British Citizenship to become PM, he was required to do this to become a candidate for the House of Representatives, in 1994, (twenty-one years back) when filling out the Declaration 44 on the AEC form. If he was not telling the truth, there will be multiple charges to answer. The steps actually taken could have been to request the appropriate form from the British Embassy and then to pay their punitively exorbitant fee, which has grown out of proportion to its implementation costs since 1994 (even Australia's Big Four banks would blush): 

At this point, it becomes typically opaque as to whether something actually happens and who is responsible for checking that it was done. Well, the candidate is personally responsible for this, in any case. The party Agent won't be going to prison. But there are precedents where elected MPs have been challenged in court, have been declared ineligible to take their seat and have been charged with serious offences against the Australian Electoral Act, which carries a custodial punishment. Terry Sharples of One Nation was charged in the Queensland Supreme Court in 1999. Margo Kinston reminded me how this happened. Tony Abbott was one of those who plotted the funding of Sharples’ downfall. “Tony grins his trademark grin. You're gunna love this, fellahs: let's call it Australians for Honest Politicians.” I would never have picked Tony for dreaming that up, but the Prince Phillip gong was awesome wasn’t it.!

So, what is wrong with having two or more passports? Ben Zygier had four, three of which were Australian but in different names, all of which ASIO would have known, since he was a MOSSAD employee. They did nothing.

David Hicks was carrying an Australian passport when he decided to join the Taliban's military training school. After his many years of torture in Guantanamo at the hands of our compulsory ally, his conviction was overturned. He is a free man living in Australia. What an error in law it would have been if the Gillard government had cancelled his passport as they threatened.

Now we have over 100 Australian passport holders allegedly joining ISIS, but we don't know if they are tending the wounded, feeding refugees or actually engaged in fighting. It is unlikely they would be fighting regular Australian troops, though they could be fighting our SAS, who might be dressed as Shi-ite militias. The Abbott government, famous for vacuous stunts, will not be concerning themselves with nuanced questions like that, will they. 

We also have hundreds of Australian dual Israeli passport holders visiting Israel each year to perform Aliyah, so many that DFAT don't bother to collect data on this flow of young people. Why not? An accountable government needs this information and should be able to answer the question. Joining the IDF means being deployed to tasks in the military occupation of Palestinians and possibly carrying out those tasks in ways that violate the Geneva Conventions, as Peter Slezak explained to the ABC’s Presenter, Kirsti Melville.

We learn from reading Antony Loewenstein’s article that there are indeed “…shocking new allegations by IDF personnel and their behaviour against Palestinian children. [Remarkably even] Murdoch’s Australian also covered the revelations.” Australians, quite frankly, including our political class, need to stay up to date, not rely on shibboleths of the past. Check Breaking the Silence – straight from IDF whistle-blowers. We should know this to be the case. The recruitment propaganda for the IDF is shamelessly crude, complete with childish ‘scary’ pictures, but the IDF shares some ‘clever’ touches with certain other armed forces in the Middle East. Max Chalmers wrote about this aspect in New Matilda

Former senior public servant, John Menadue, had this to say on Australians joining the IDF: “Australians have fought in all of Israel’s wars since 1948…The Muslim community in Australia has been very critical of Australians who go and fight under the IS flag but rightly asks why Australian citizens are able to fight with the IDF but not with IS.” We should stop and think about this.

Recently I watched a young Muslim woman in Glasgow in Scotland explain on TV that she and her family sat around their TV each night fuming with anger at the disastrous outcome of George W. Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard’s wars against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and Israel's war crimes in Gaza. She also mentioned the deafening silence of our politicians – and it is that. People like Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten should know what conscience means. The young woman in a Hijab could have been speaking from Mt Druitt – or anywhere. So, our Australian IDF recruits are contributing to a generalised sense of injustice which is perfectly understandable and making an IS-inspired terror attack on Australia more likely, not less likely.

So, how many passports do you have, Tony? Tell us do!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Invasion Day Shame - Peter Costello honoured

"Mr Costello has been recognised for his service to the country through his policy reforms and representative roles with global financial organisations.

He thanked Australians for giving him the opportunity to serve as treasurer for 12 years.

"I've tried to make our country a better place and make a contribution to it," he told ABC News 24.

"We all do that in our own little ways, and to - along with other Australians - be recognised for that, is a deeply humbling experience."

"I think anyone who's recognised in the Order of Australia feels immensely privileged and honoured by it," he added."


I was appalled that the smirking fascist, Peter Costello; whose alleged economic reforms were designed to shift the tax burden away from corporate mates and onto the shoulders of the most vulnerable low income people; whose manipulation of the housing market (kept secret from journalists) helped to create an unsustainable housing bubble; and whose exhortations to have another baby for the country was one of the most irresponsible political ploys in history.

It must not be forgotten that Peter Costello stood by John Howard throughout the implementation of 98% of Pauline Hanson's racist agenda, the vilification of Muslims (Costello joined in), the Anti Terrorism legislation, the making of aggressive war and the intentional psychiatric harm of asylum seekers locked away in the desert behind razor wire, a collective punishment that should be named as a crime against humanity.

Watch out! This attempt to honour Peter Costello, HR Nicholls Society extremist, is the thin end of the wedge for the rehabilitation of the discredited Howard Ministry. Next you will see Phillip Ruddock given something or other and finally a knighthood for the villain himself. Don't let them!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

NO JUNK MAIL means local governments must prosecute business litterers

Junk mail - no one reads it, no one wants it - lets put a stop to it!

Dear Councillors

I am very upset when I see that there is practically no visible progress in ending the unsustainable practice of allowing deliveries of huge volumes of junk mail to our homes.

I live in a block of flats on Montague Road, West End. Every mailbox has a sign saying "NO JUNK MAIL", yet the periodicals space next to our mailboxes receives enough for a small army. Furthermore, it blows all over the garden and down the street. I am fed up with having to pick it up. Everywhere I look I see this stuff littering the streets. Montague Road sometimes looks like somewhere in the Third World.

In some streets there is so much junk in the actual mailbox Australia Post cannot deliver the mail the box was designed for, unless they throw the soggy mess onto the ground. Some unoccupied houses have a decade of advertising material scattered in the garden.

Advertisers need to realise that very little of this material is being read and that they are contributing to a socially inequitable situation where the whole community is paying for someone to remove this rubbish that is foisted upon us. Many Body Corporates could decide to form a class action and sue the deliverers of junk mail to stop them from littering the properties they represent. But why should we have to do this when we elect a local authority to do things like this for us?

If you are a business that advertises this way, the name of your company on a piece of paper that litters the street could be working against you. The message to the public will be that you don't care about the trashing of our environment, the obscene waste of paper or the resultant wastes. We could decide to organise boycotts against your company if you persist.

I rang Brisbane City Council. They were not sure whether litter was really their legal responsibility (who else?). The Council does employ some litter inspectors, I am waiting with baited breath to know how many, what their powers are and how many major prosecutions they have launched. Obviously, if they need to actually see someone dropping the paper on the street (our private properties do not count), then they will never prosecute anyone.

It is time for an improvement in the way we do things. We are way past the time when this type of practice should end. There must be some really effective legislation in The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark - or, if you don't like public servants going on junkets - try Singapore. Business as usual is simply unacceptable.

This is a problem in all parts of Australia. There were 8.2 billion articles of advertising material delivered in 2005. This will have grown to over 9 billion in 2007. In 2005 the Sydney Morning Herald bemoaned the lack of action by government in this country. It is so obvious that this needs to be dealt with, one can only ask why there is no political will. Two years later we are running the same arguments:


Of course, the ideologues say we should have small (ineffectual) governance and industry self-regulation. This is not working and was never intended to work. The people running that argument have had their chance and shown what a hollow promise that is. There is an industry-based ‘opt-out’ scheme, which does nothing and is ignored by its own industry members. If you ring the Distribution Standards Board you will find no one at the office till after 28 January 2008:


What to do about junk mail? There are some tips for householders:


The Mayor of Mossman, NSW, says she is "over it" with junk mail. Where are Campbell Newman and Greg Rowell, Labor Candidate for Brisbane Lord Mayor on this issue?


There is just enough time before the Brisbane City Council elections for the BCC to announce their really effective legislation has been passed and here are the key performance indicators (KPI’s) and the whopping fines for non-compliance, and the complaints hot line for the public to express their views.

Every single Alderman and candidate will be asked to give a public undertaking to end this 'free-ride' that the junk mail industry has enjoyed for far too long. We can stop wasting water. Brisbane is getting there. We can stop wasting electricity. We still have to educate a large number of people. We can stop wasting fuel, ride bicycles and use public transport, likewise. We can stop wasting paper. I will store this electronically and email it to hundreds of people.

Legitimate free newspapers and periodicals need to review their delivery regimes too.


Willy Bach

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Queensland Transport sending advertising material for Citibank

Dear Anna Bligh

You may recall that early in 2007 I delivered to your electorate office some advertising material from Citibank that had been sent to me by Queensland Transport together with my Vehicle Registration Renewal. I understood from your electorate office staff that some inquiries were made to Queensland Transport at that time and that I was informed that the practise was to be discontinued.

This week I received another Renewal Notice and discovered that the practise of sending out Citibank advertising material continues till the present time. Now that you are the Premier of Queensland you will be in a position to end this practise.

I will set out for you what I find objectionable about the practise:

1. It is not the business of government to be selling products or services for the profit of private corporations. Government services should remain discreet from the profit imperative of private business. Similarly, government should not be favouring one business over any other.

2. This current practise implies that the Queensland government is accepting payment from Citibank for delivery of their advertising material, privileging Citibank over other business corporations, which compromises the integrity of government and could lead to perceptions of conflicts of interest.

3. Many members of the electorate have signs on our letterboxes saying "No Junk Mail" - so we should not expect private corporations to sneak their sales material into our homes on the back of government renewal notices or information.

4. The inclusion of advertising material with government renewal notices implies that Citibank has some kind of endorsement from government that would be quite improper and inappropriate and could provide considerable embarrassment for government.

5. Household indebtedness is a major problem in Australia which could drive the economy into recession. At this time it is particularly inappropriate for the government to be associated with any attempts to lure members of the public into credit deals that are beyond their means to repay. Quoting from the Citibank material: "Save money now by paying only 4.9% pa on outstanding credit card balances you transfer". By any interpretation this is an invitation to easier finance and higher indebtedness.

6. The US Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis has already led to thousands of American low-income earners to lose their homes. The crisis in the finance sector makes the association or perceived endorsement of the Queensland government with any bank or finance companies not just improper but also unsafe and a threat to the integrity of democratic and accountable governance.

I hope you will now act to cease this practise.

Yours faithfully

Willy Bach

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A 'Compassionate' Kevin Rudd will turn boats around ... and worse

Digital portraits by Michael Agzarian show the Prime Minister and senior ministers with their lips sewn together.

Dear Kevin Rudd

I was not surprised but nevertheless disgusted by the Liberal Party’s clumsy attempt to steal Saturday’s election with their divisive and insulting bogus flyers in the NSW seat of Lindsay. Many of us will suspect that the plan was hatched in a higher office with the device of ‘plausible deniability’ to cover him in righteous indignation. We will expect the inquiry to have suitably wide terms of reference.

My attention was recently drawn to your article in the Monthly, entitled ‘Howard’s Brutopia, The battle of ideas in Australian politics’. http://www.themonthly.com.au/tm/?q=node/312

I thought your description of what John Howard’s government has made of Australia was correct and welcome this analysis. I note with some satisfaction that you intend to use the word ‘compassion’ to describe the direction of your government, if elected tomorrow.

Yet, even in your announcement yesterday on Higher Education you did not promise to undo the dismantling of the School of Humanities at QUT, and several other similar cases of rampant managerialism at its ideological worst. Rudd focuses on higher education costs http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/22/2098499.htm

I was even more dismayed to find that you have deceived the refugee advocacy lobby into an expectation that ‘compassion’ will apply to asylum seekers too. One day out from the election you reveal that ‘Brutopia’ continues to rule: Rudd takes tough stance on boat people, November 23, 2007,

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22807653-29277,00.html and, Rudd to turn back boatpeople, Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan | November 23, 2007,


I hope you understand the outcomes we can expect from this policy.

One day out from the election - I don't think this will please anyone who was hoping for more enlightened policies, though you concealed these till now.

I hope you will succeed in winning this election, but with much of your support in the form of preferences from the Greens. Is there no other way to get Australia to become a good global citizen that practices the generosity of spirit we claim as our birthright?

Willy Bach

Greens candidate for Griffith

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We really must have people in public life who meet higher standards of conduct than this

Senior Libs involved in flyer scandal: Albanese http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/22/2097666.htm

This is not a "prank", it is not like anything that The Chaser would do as a joke. It is an attempt to steal the federal election and it is entirely appropriate that the Australian Electoral Commission investigates the matter rigorously.

I will be wearing my 'dog whistle' for the remainder of the election campaign in case I see any Liberals trying to sow division and exploit race, ethnicity or fear to their advantage.

Willy Bach
Greens candidate for Griffith

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NO to attacks on Iran - only one response so far: from the Greens

The Australian Greens have a strong Human Rights policy that emphasises

our commitment to ensuring that universal human rights must be respected and protected in all countries. If you wish to refer to the policy in full, you can do so at http://greens.org.au/election/policy.php?policy=39

Greens' Senator for NSW Kerry Nettle has addressed the issue of Iran in

the Senate (on the 27 Feb 2007), by asking the Senate to note the



the growing tension between the United States of America (US) and Iran,

including the military build-up in the Persian Gulf,


the indication by US Vice President Dick Cheney, while in Sydney from 22

February to 25 February 2007, that a military strike on Iran is an

option, and


that US intelligence bases in Australia are likely to be used in any

military strike on Iran; and


calls on the Government to:


support a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and


rule out Australian support for a military strike on Iran. Question put.

Bob and the Australian Greens are working tirelessly for a fairer,

positive and environmentally sustainable future for Australia. This

election represents an opportunity to achieve a progressive and

independent Senate; for campaign updates, go to


You can keep up to date with Bob's latest campaigning work by visiting

his website at www.bobbrown.org.au

I have not yet heard from the major parties. They owe it to us to tell the truth.