Saturday, June 25, 2011

a new "wave" of Greek migration to Australia?

I notice from this article today in The Age read it here that from third hand evidence that I've been hearing about huge Visa enquiries about migration from Greece is finally making it into the mainstream press.
While migration is always a hot button issue to joe public, this push for streamlining of the migration process by the Greek-Australian community is a potential win-win for anglo Australia.
I mean think about it, the average Australian can usually be seen complaining about there being too many Asians or Indians etc in the country, so what better way to appease the racist beast than to accept more young white Christian educated Greeks who are almost always fluent in English?
While Australia's immigration policy is (theoretically) non discriminatory, I can see a great opportunity here for the Greek community to be able to sell this notion to the Government. If worded correctly, the message will get through to the Government that you've got a potential migrant pool at your disposal which already has close cultural ties to Australia, and would seamlessly integrate very quickly into Australian society.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Greek language controversy in South Australia

I thought the purported comments by the South Australian Opposition Leader see here were very curious indeed. By supposedly taking offence that an ethnic Greek SA Government Minister spoke in Greek to the visiting President of Cyprus, I don't know whether this reflects her inexperience in matters of diplomacy or just an ignorant mono cultural view of the world (which would be my guess)?
If Madam Opposition Leader cared to ever step out of her South Australian backwater, she'd see that in most countries of the world guests are often addressed in their own language when a member of the host Government is a fluent speaker - it is purely a courtesy extended to a guest.
But it would seem that the Howard era Anglo supremacy mentality remains?

Melbourne's grumpy train commuters

I couldn't help but chuckle after reading about this survey of Australian train commuters see here . It would seem that Melbourne has the grumpiest commuters in the country? But perhaps it's not that surprising, as Melbourne's train operator - Metro Trains - appears to be completely out of its depth when it comes to running this State's complex and antiquated rail system.
As I've mentioned previously, their management style has not endeared them to their workforce, and while you can push around a hapless customer service attendant, try that with the train driver's union (perhaps the last dinosaur on earth?) and you'll soon realise what you're up against.
In order to play hardball you need to have leverage, and Metro management are quickly finding out that when the system is run entirely on goodwill, perhaps the carrot is a better tactic than the stick? Metro have met their monthly performance target three times since taking over in November appalling statistic! But what's so curious about all this is that the Government AND Opposition have had virtually nothing to say about it. The reason being that the previous Government recruited Metro, an embarrassing blight on their CV, while the new Government is stuck with them and probably just praying that everything will magically get day?
But with each passing month the pressure just keeps building on the operator, and each new excuse starts to look tiresome. At some point that pressure will explode when least expected and the Government will go into panic mode and start to make rash decisions.
The State really is in a bind at the moment, while their natural conservative leanings may have them cheering on the union busting tactics of the Operator, they also well and truly know that at the end of the day, the public will always blame the Government for inaction and poor performance. Just ask John Brumby, the Frankston corridor of seats cost him Government.
But there is one ray of sunshine for the Government, their new State transport planning authority is in the works, which will (hopefully?) be modeled on its world's best practice equivalents in Zurich and Perth. And considering that Perth had the best commuter satisfaction rating in the country, this new body can't come soon enough!

Monday, June 6, 2011

stay away from the UAE

I have previously written about the Australian woman who was allegedly drugged and raped in Dubai, and was sent to prison for her troubles see here . Well as reported in the media today read here she is planning to sue the Australian Government over inadequate consular advice. But while that action is a matter for the courts, I think she's misdirecting her anger, it should all well and truly be on the God awful country of the UAE.
A nation of corrupt sheiks and fast money, where the ruling elite pretend to be Muslims, yet live debaucherous secular lifestyles, while demanding that the populous live under archaic medieval style laws.
The victim made a very good point about the UAE when she said; "the UAE is being promoted hugely here as a tourism destination. They are not complying with human rights, women's rights and migrant workers' rights".
So my advice to everyone is avoid the UAE like the plague, they may have a nice airport and pretty buildings, but like their "ski resort", they're a totally artificial country that should be avoided at all costs!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Simon Overland should go immediately

It looks as if even more evidence has emerged read it here of the slimy Victoria Police Chief Simon Overland being involved in even more intrigue. As can clearly be surmised from the news article, Overland is more a professional political operative than a law enforcement officer, and to allegedly arrange to have a respected figure like Sir Ken and his family bugged (on the way out mind you) for something as trivial as suspected leaking to the media is just an appalling abuse of power (in the ethical, not legal sense).
The Baillieu Government which clearly wants the tainted Overland gone, is now trapped like a dear in the headlights, because it didn't have the guts to just sack Overland when it had the chance, instead setting up the Rush Inquiry to slowly kill off Overland via a thousand cuts. So now it looks like they'll have to wait for the Inquiry to run its course, which means political paralysis for the next few months.
But if we can look to the bright side, at least the awful Brumby creation - the OPI - is set to go the way of the dodo, to shortly be replaced by a REAL anti corruption commission. Every major expert and commentator said at the time that the cardigan cops OPI creation was a bad idea, but the previous Government just wouldn't listen, they just wanted to sell that they were doing SOMETHING about police corruption, as they very well knew that a real anti corruption body would create non stop bad publicity for the Government, as they haul in bent coppers  before the star chamber.
But it would be ironic in the extreme if the new anti corruption body's first victim was the Chief Commissioner? Ironic indeed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

playing politics with "law and order"

A good piece of writing in The Age today from Josh Gordon putting the law and order hoopla into some sort of perspective read it here .
It's good to see some sense in the broadsheet media after hearing of Baillieu's silly plans to;
  • lock up minors
  • anti swearing laws
  • community survey on sentencing (online mind you)
Let's just hope that this newly elected Government is merely running interference to disguise its modest achievements elsewhere, and once it settles properly into power some sense and proportion will prevail? Indeed lets hope!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Michael Pascoe's views on the current state of Australian politics

I recommend anyone who's interested (or disgusted?) by the current state of Australian politik, to have a read of business commentator Michael Pascoe's latest article on the topic. I was struggling to find anything in it that I didn't agree with.
Have a read of it here .

Friday, May 27, 2011

Israel-Palestine, Obama....and The Australian newspaper

Following President Obama's speech suggesting that Israel-Palestine peace talks should be convened on the premise of a return to the 1967 borders sparked the expected horror in Israeli circles as if this was some sort of ground breaking game changer. And it even led to the remarkable spectacle of the Israeli Prime Minister giving his host (the US President) a public dressing down in the Oval Office see here .
But why should this be at all remarkable to anyone outside the deluded prism of the Israel lobby and its supporters? It's recognised by everyone that it is occupied land and Israeli settlements are clearly illegal by any one's definition.
But as I've argued elsewhere, America has always had within its power the ability to end the Israel-Palestine dispute, just not the political will to do it. Any type of staged withdrawal of their diplomatic (and financial)support will very quickly bring Israel to the table, as Israel is completely friendless without American backing (as the UK, Australia etc would very quickly follow suit). But what would be the political cost to any sitting US President? Can an American President who criticises Israel survive ?....probably not in normal circumstances, and especially not a Democrat. But this is a rare occasion where there is no credible alternative for 2012 so Obama is virtually guaranteed victory.
Despite everything that has been said about Obama, he is still very much an establishment figure who has not deviated greatly from the script of his predecessors, a little more nuanced perhaps, but I don't expect him to push Israel too far on settlements. And really, Obama has not gone that much further than Bush's proposal when he was President, but he should be congratulated nonetheless for at least stating the obvious (which Bush couldn't bring himself to actually say).
So all this now brings us to the pro Israel (and anti Muslim generally) The Australian newspaper, and today's ridiculous editorial read it here which parrots the usual tired rhetoric against the Palestinians (while ironically using the phrase "rhetoric" against them).
Netanyahu (and The Australian) demand that the Palestinians recognise a "Jewish State". Putting aside the blatant racism of endorsing a State based on religion and what that means for it's minorities within its borders, this argument has no legitimate basis when you analyse it more closely.
Does Israel "recognise" a real Palestine as a State? A State with real sovereignty, with legitimate borders, with a military, with its own air space, and the right to defend itself like every other sovereign country? The answer to those questions up to this point from Netanyahu are a resounding NO. So really his challenge to the Palestinians on recognition are nothing more than weasel words. "Recognition" on mutual borders and sovereignty are something to be negotiated between the protagonists, they're not going to the negotiating table as friends, but as mutually suspicious enemies. And it's at this table where these issues have to be decided, not BEFORE negotiations begin.


Monday, May 23, 2011

who's the best ever Opposition Leader?

I noticed this quirky article by Barrie Cassidy today which lamented the lack of great Opposition Leaders in recent memory see it here .
Well apart from the nature of the job which makes is hard enough to produce "great" leaders, it got me thinking that there's really only been one of note. That surely would have to be Kevin Rudd?
He came to the job in late 2006 with the next election less than a year away, and while he had a public profile as a quirky policy wonk nerd who appeared on morning television to discuss the politics of the day, this alone was surely not enough of a CV to wrestle the levers from a political animal like PM Howard?
So over the following six months he built his reputation up as a serious policy driven politician who was going to do something about climate change (an issue that Howard eventually faced up to kicking and screaming all the way), reduce cost of living pressures, get out of Iraq, yet keep the American alliance strong.....and of course rip up Workchoices.
So looking back over that time, he never really put a foot wrong, he often led the political agenda, addressed the Chinese Premier while on a State visit in Mandarin while Howard churlishly looked on, and much to Howard's frustration, offered bipartisan support every time he tried to wedge Labor.
So I would disagree with Cassidy, we HAVE had at least one great Opposition Leader in our time.

Dennis Richardson must resign

A few weeks ago a story surfaced that added further weight to the seemingly now undeniable claim that the Howard Government turned a blind eye to an Australian citizen being tortured in Egypt see the story here .
But while Mamdouh Habib has (rightfully) received plenty of air play for his ill treatment at the hands of the State since, it appears that one person has suffered no sanction for his sorry role in this sordid little affair, that person being none other Dennis Richardson.
On February 15 2005 Richardson (the then head of ASIO) told a Senate Committee that ''we have no information as of fact about that,'' in relation to whether he knew if US terrorism suspects were sent to Egypt for interrogation. However his successor Paul O'Sullivan admitted that the Americans had indeed told Richardson about the rendition to Egypt.
Richardson is now the head of DFAT, and it seems has suffered no sanction for apparently lying under oath. Not only should he be terminated from his position, but the AFP should seriously consider charging him with perjury.
A despicable and sordid period in Australian political history in my view.