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’.

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

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,,23599,22807653-29277,00.html and, Rudd to turn back boatpeople, Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan | November 23, 2007,,25197,22806913-11949,00.html

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2007

Only the Labor Party has so far replied to the letter regarding the blockade of Gaza

This is a photo of an (illegal) Israeli settlement that was built on confiscated (stolen) land
More photos of encroachment of Palestinian land by illegal Israeli settlements:

Dear Margot et al,

Thank you for your letter concerning Labor’s policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Fundamentally, Labor supports a two-state solution which recognises the historic connection of both Jews and Palestinians to the area, and their right to live within secure borders in a homeland that allows them to express their own national identity.

Labor also fully supports the efforts of the Quartet (United States, EU, Russia and UN) to resolve the ongoing conflict, based on the conditions set out in the Road Map to Peace. It includes important measures such as mutual recognition, security measures, the vital capacity-building of Palestinian government institutions, better humanitarian relief and the dismantling of the most disruptive settlements.

We welcome the most recent gestures by the Israeli government to re-start the negotiation of a peace settlement with the Palestinian Authority. Labor also strongly supports the planned US sponsored Middle East peace conference, scheduled to be held in November. This conference represents an important effort on behalf of the US and the international community to resolve regional conflict and tensions.

We condemn the attempts of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, along with their government backers in Syria and Iran, to derail the peace process. The continued rocket-fire into Israel, abduction of Israeli soldiers on Israeli territory and in-fighting between Palestinian factions is preventing a return to the negotiating table. Labor believes that negotiations will only be possible when all offensive attacks are ceased and all negotiating partners recognise the rights of other partners to exist.

As such, Labor is prepared to offer Australia’s diplomatic resources to assist in creating the conditions that would allow for dialogue. We believe that many positive compromises have already been made on the path to a permanent status agreement, and are confident that solutions to complex problems such as borders and refugees can be reached if a secure environment is established in which to discuss them.

Thank you once again for taking the time to let me know your views. It is genuinely appreciated.

ALP Campaign Information Services

There will be a reply from this group of concerned Australians.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Julian Burnside explains Labor's silence on human rights

Melbourne film maker Jessie Taylor

Today at 1:42pm, published on facebook

Hi there everyone,
This morning I recorded an interview with JBQC, addressing his concerns in the lead up to the election. You can find it on YouTube, at
Tell your friends, and encourage them to consider that this nation is, indeed, more than *just* an economy!
Also there have been a couple of blog posts recently, if you're keen.

May I suggest Julian Burnside's latest book 'Watching Brief, reflections on human rights, law and justice'.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Australia must oppose collective punishment in Gaza

This letter has been sent to the Australian politicians listed. These leaders cannot act with impunity when their actions or ommissions are likely to lead to the deaths of non combatants. The Westminster system of Ministerial Responsibility must be rigorously enforced, as recommended by former Australian Prime Ministers, Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam in their letter.

To: Prime Minister, John Howard

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer


Leader of the Opposition, Kevin Rudd

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Robert



Australia’s role in the blockade of Gaza

16 November 2007

Dear Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

We are a group of concerned Australians acting now because the blockade of Gaza is escalating to a new and concerning level that will profoundly affect the lives and welfare of over 1 and half million people (women and children included). This has followed upon an almost complete paralysis of economic, social and administrative activity. This siege has included a prohibition of infant milk powder and denial of crucial medical supplies for patients who are largely disallowed from leaving the Gaza Strip.

Australia has enabled the Israeli Government to carry out acts which the United Nations have declared to contravene the Geneva Conventions (Article 33 of the Fourth Convention). The prohibition on collective punishment, does not just refer to criminal penalties, “but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity for acts that these persons have not committed” (ICRC).

Australia has repeatedly and consistently voted in the United Nations to give approval to actions of the Israeli government that violate the Geneva Conventions. The voting patterns of the majority of nations in response to numerous UN Resolutions demonstrate that Australia approves these acts by the Israeli government. According to Geoffrey Robertson QC Ministers of the Australian government have individual responsibility for the consequences of their acts or omissions. Similarly the Australian people have a collective responsibility to correct their government’s errors when these are brought to their attention.

The inevitable consequences of the Israeli military blockade include the infliction of severe malnutrition and ill-health, suffering and the premature death of Palestinian infants and children. The United Nations have not approved this blockade. The blockade of Iraq from 1991-2003 caused the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqi children and has been acknowledged that United Nations committed an error of judgment in pursuing this course of action.

We believe that the Australian people would wish to instruct their government to abide by the 1949 Declaration of Human Rights and its successor Protocols and Covenants which Australia has ratified enabling this country to take an honourable place within the community of Nations.

We call upon Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, and Shadow Foreign Minister Robert McClelland to respect the wishes of the Australian people not to be implicated in any acts or omissions which would result in collective punishment to non-combatant civilians and particularly the most vulnerable members of the Gaza community.

We are yours faithfully

Here is the link to Antony Loewenstein's blog:

send your own copy of this letter

Malcolm Fraser, Gough Whitlam attack political integrity

Malcolm Fraser, Gough Whitlam attack political integrity

Article from: Herald Sun,21985,22741420-662,00.html

Politics of fear damaging traditional values: Fraser

Posted Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:42pm AEST
Updated Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:29pm AEST

Rudd backs Fraser, Whitlam on minister responsibility inquiry

Quote from Herald Sun 12 November 2007

“But he said there were other problems, including the politicisation of the public service.

"The fate of heads of department are in the hands of the PM's Department and they can be dismissed in the flick of an eye," he said.

There had been a "destruction" of ministerial standards and there were no longer guidelines for ministers, their staff or department heads.

Mr Fraser and Mr Whitlam also warned about the erosion of the Freedom of Information Act, which was introduced by the Fraser government in 1982”.

The letter

This is a letter we must read and apply. Our next government must not emulate the previous worst ever one of John Winston Howard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Get the Laborials to tell the truth

My name is Willy Bach. I decided to set up this blog because I can see that whichever major party wins the Australian federal election on 24 November 2007 there will still be a lot of unresolved issues - and I don't want them to sneak into power without telling us what they are going to do about a lot of issues.

This blogger is concerned with the disgracefully low standards of Ministerial Responsibility of the Howard government over the past twelve dreadful years.

We want to see the new government of Kevin Rudd, if elected on 24 November 2007, rigorously implement the Westminster system of Ministerial Responsibility for all Ministers and at all times. Furthermore, their consciences must take priority over the needs of the party that is in power.

We saw that after Phillip Ruddock intentionally harmed the psychiatric health of detained asylum seekers, kept people indefinitely in detention in appalling conditions, including children, he was rewarded with the job of Attorney General.

Phillip Ruddock, Amanda Vanstone and Kevin Andrews all bear a share of the responsibility for the continued stress, suffering and lack of compensation for aggrieved victims of DIMIA's 'toxic culture', including Cornelia Rau, Vivian Alvarez Solon and several hundred others.

As Attorney General, Phillip Ruddock has been instrumental in extending the illegal detention of Australian citizens Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks in the notorious torture experimentation centre at Guantanamo Bay, tacitly approving of their suffering.

Phillip Ruddock tried very hard to introduce archaic Sedition legislation which threatened to shut-down satire, stand-up comedy and all critical writing in Australia.

Furthermore, Phillip Ruddock recklessly and maliciously detained and deported the American nonviolent peace activist, Scott Parkin, destroyed his reputation and travel rights for zero gain in security for Australia. Scott Parkin is a free man in the USA - so why not here?

We saw how Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile recklessly funded the regime of Saddam Hussein to the tune of A$300 million, they kept their jobs as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade.

We saw Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, abuse the power of his office to deny a visa to Dr Mohammed Haneef and use the media to drip-feed 'evidence' against the doctor, who had been cleared of wrongdoing. We also witnessed the Minister mount a totally bogus campaign of vilification against the Sudanese and African community. Police Commissioners countered his allegations in several states.

We saw that after his tricky concealment of the 'children overboard' media stunt John Howard kept his job as Prime Minister.

We saw that John Howard persistently lied to the Parliament and the Australian people about the WMD’s and the real reasons for Australian troops being sent to participate in the illegal aggressive invasion of Iraq.

We will run out of space, but you could go on forever. They have been the worst government that Australia has ever had. We are deeply shamed by their conduct. They are unfit to ever hold any position public life

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