Sarah Palin on Qanda. Hazaras in boats. End live exports of all sentient beings. Now.

31 May

At the beginning of Q&A last night a startled tweet manifested on screen. “Eeeek!” the tweeter wrote. “Is that Sarah Palin?”

Kate Lundy (???)

The tweet referred to Kate Lundy, Parliamentary Secretary for  Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, and I had the same sense of dislocation when I saw her. Having just returned from the US where Palin was pretty much unavoidable if you ever turned on the television, I thought I was still in that country, and hadn’t  endured that fourteen hour flight home after all. A quick self-inflicted slap to the upside of my head brought me back to the present.  It wasn’t Sarah Palin on Q&A but dear God, it was too close for comfort.

I have no idea if Ms Lundy is deliberately cultivating the Palin look, and to some degree, the Palin style. She might want to think about what she’s doing or else like Tony Abbott‘s anti carbon tax rally, she might attract groups she’d rather not be associated with. We all know how shallow the punters can be, and appearance can count for much more than it should.

Over at the Drum yesterday I discovered an excellent piece by Deakin University researcher Vince Scappatura,in which he analyses the mainstream media interpretation of a report commissioned by the Gillard government on the push and pull factors thought to influence the decision of Afghanistan’s Hazara population to attempt to seek asylum in Australia.

The report reveals that dire economic circumstances, ethno-political disturbances, mistreatment and discrimination by the Taliban, killings, kidnappings, arrests and subsequent disappearances, and the complete inability of the government to protect Hazaras in remote villages are all compelling push factors in decisions to flee. The research concludes that these factors are of more significance than any pull factors endemic to Australia.

However. Andrew Probyn and Nick Butterfly in the West Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, claimed the report showed that the main reason Hazaras flee in boats to Australia is for a better life. Their actions are a livelihood strategy, they aren’t fleeing bullets, says Andrew Bolt. It’s a lifestyle choice, dammit!

No mention at all of the multitude of factors in play, including persecution and death, that provoke Hazara people to sell up everything, pay people smugglers, and embark on a journey that 80% of them fear they may not survive, but even so, it’s a better bet than staying where they are. They are also aware that they might spend years in vile detention centres being sent mad with grief and uncertainty. Even this, they consider, is better than staying where they are.

Now the Gillard government intends to export Hazaras to Malaysian refugee camps, where they will be further mistreated, badly fed and physically abused. Mother of God, what kind of people are we?

by Jeff Cavins

Over at On Line Opinion today you’ll find an article by me on pornography, the media and Gail Dines. Dines received wide coverage during her anti pornography campaign here , especially from the ABC. However, there has been comparatively little researched response  published on the ABC to the claims Dines makes about the effects of porn, it’s availability, and the media’s responsibility for the ruination of the sexual lives of men. I have no idea why this is so. Thank you OLO for picking up the slack and widening a very necessary debate.

Finally , I cannot bring myself to speak much of the hideous treatment of cattle exported live to Indonesia, as revealed on Four Corners last night. There is no need for a lengthy inquiry into this trade, an inquiry that will only  delay its termination, and prolong the unspeakable suffering of these animals. Alternatives must be found and found immediately.

This is just one more example of a government that lacks any real connection with human beings and other species, not to mention the planet, who are in dire and extreme situations. A government that lacks imagination, and is bereft of decency, morality and ethics. Unfortunately, the opposition is no better.

22 Responses to “Sarah Palin on Qanda. Hazaras in boats. End live exports of all sentient beings. Now.”

  1. Vadim May 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I also lack connection with ‘other species’. I can talk and they don’t. It’s a real problem.


    • Jennifer Wilson May 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      Welcome to the blog, Vadim. It’s not such a problem that imagination can’t cross the divide. The dog manages to let me know what he wants without spelling it out. Fear and pain are recognizable without words. Last time I was in fear and pain I just yowled.


  2. Peter May 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi Jennifer

    Watching Q&A last night I too was amused by Lundy’s Palin drag. These show ponies of dorky “good” looks representing a backward step for woman in politics!?

    Probably the only predictable thing about Palin is that if she gets in she’ll do a Bush and rely on the Cheneys and Rumsfeld of her party to run the country and inflict the US on … I think its Iran’s turn now.

    I’ve put you on my blogroll.



    • Jennifer Wilson May 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

      Hi, Pete, thanks for that and welcome!
      I can’t bring myself to seriously believe that Palin could be elected President! But it is America.
      She’ll have to rely on somebody because I don’t think she knows where Iran is.
      One of her daughters has just scored her own reality TV show in LA –
      I really enjoyed watching comedian Tina Fey do her Palin impressions –


  3. Catching up May 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Our lady does have a brain, unlike Me. Palin.

    I was concerned last night when I seen Ms. Palin and her young daughter at a bikie turnout. Such a anhappy looking child. She should leave her children at home.


  4. Steve at the Pub May 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Sarah Palin couldn’t be elected President? They elected Barack Obama, anything is possible.

    Ending the live export trade to Indonesia. Thus ends the beef cattle industry in the north. Right now the banks with extensive (& not so extensive) exposure to the northern beef cattle industry will each have a team putting together a fresh set of inputs & applying them to (a) their exposure to the industry as a whole, and (b) each client individually, especially the more heavily indebted clients.

    Good luck getting Indonesia to alter their slaughtering practices, one only has to see how they treat people to gather some idea of how much chance there is of animals being treated any better.
    Indonesia is also VERY short of beef, they are even slaughtering their own breeding herd. With this in mind, they may be able to be pressured into altering their practices. However there may be a difficulty convincing them to believe we mean it, as their government isn’t necessarily the most sophisticated & worldly aware. They may believe shutting off the live export trade is merely a ploy, not a fair dinkum concern about animal rights.

    Apparently this expose is correct, unlike the one a few years ago on the Egypt slaughtering of “Australian” cattle, where one look at the screen showed the cattle being maltreated weren’t Australian in origin. (Not that journalists would have known the difference, cattle = cattle, right?)

    This episode will be particularly painful for the northern cattlemen, and contractors to the northern beef industry. Their livelihood is about to disappear in a puff of smoke, many are now facing utter financial ruin, on the other hand they’d be experiencing indescribable emotions (chiefly disgust & horror) to see just how their cattle are being treated by the Indonesians.


    • Jennifer Wilson May 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      I’m not familiar with Halal requirements, but does anybody know if it’s acceptable to properly slaughter the animals in Australia and export the meat?
      Or is there some time limit imposed between when the animals are killed and the meat consumed?


  5. PAUL WALTER May 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Lundy as Palin?
    Nah. Lundy has been around for as long as Palin.
    You could as well say Palin plagiarised Lundy’s mode of presentation as much as vice versa, given the unoriginal content of her public comments over time.
    Since Hazara are Shia, it seems not certain they would receive the friendliest welcome in Malaysia and a Four Corners doco I saw some time ago indicated that Malaysia can be a tough place for refugees.
    Watching SBS on Sunday night for a while, I note the immigration folk are still using severe criteria in deciding on eligibility, with even the more obvious cases of persecution not allowed.
    I find it sad.
    So much for our much cherished notion of the “fair go” as the epitome of “aussie values” and welcome back to the era of Nancy Prasad and Dictation tests. Like so much else that changed at the time of Gorton, Whitlam Dunstan and the like,, the old guard has worked assiduously for the succeeding forty years to return the country to the vision put forward by Howard, of a pre sixties, Aristotelian sort of pre Lapsarian


    • Jennifer Wilson May 31, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      SBS Dateline showed Malaysian refugee camps last week, not good at all.
      Sending asylum seekers to Malaysia isn’t refoulement, but it does seem an oversight on the part of the Convention that signatory countries are permitted to send them to non signatory states where they’ll never be resettled as refugees, are treated as illegal immigrants, and where neither the UN nor the dispatching country has any control over how they’re treated. It makes no sense.


  6. Steve at the Pub May 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Jennifer: For meat to be Halal it merely has to be killed by bleeding to death (throat cut), killed by someone who believes in God, a (short) prayer said for it, and (rather optional) have it facing Mecca when despatched.
    It can be packaged & transported. The beast can be stunned unconscious before being killed. The slaughterman can be Jewish or Christian.


    • Jennifer Wilson May 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

      Thanks Steve. So in theory the cattle could be slaughtered here and shipped, saving the cattlemen from financial ruin, and creating jobs in the top end?


      • Steve at the Pub June 1, 2011 at 2:29 am #

        Ummm, In practice, no.

        To simplify it: You’d have to give Indonesia chiller facilities, without which packed meat imported from Australia would just be plonked on the Indonesian docks in the blazing sun. Then buy every Indonesian housewife a refrigerator. Before each meal they buy meat fresh from wet markets.
        Then there is the matter of freight cost. What was previously a boat ride of a few hundred km north becomes a road train journey thousands of km south-east, slaughter by (comparitively) overpaid Australian meatworkers, and a boat journey of thousands of km north-west.
        Then there is the fact that cattle live exported to Indonesia aren’t suitable for slaughter. Indonesia accepts only skinny stock destined for feedlots. The Indonesian government would not stand for what would be more or less the elimination of jobs & entrepreneurs in their lot-feeding and slaughter industries in favour of giving jobs to Australians.
        Indonesia is striving for self-sufficiency in beef supply, which could not be achieved by accepting packaged meat instead of breeding females and skinny stock for fattening.


  7. Sam Jandwich June 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I watched the Eid al-Adha festivities in Bangladesh one year, in which animals are bought and ritually slaughtered in the street by wealthy families and the meat is distributed to relatives and the poor (hmmm, nobody gave me any!!). The slaughtering was done in the way Steve describes, and while it was pretty gory it was by no means unnecessarily cruel. There were even ads on tv in the preceeding days instructing people on how to do the slaughtering properly, how to tie the animals’ legs together and lower them onto their sides, and how and where to cut their throats. I hopped on a bike and toured around the local area to take a look at what was going on, and I didn’t see any panicked cattle (though the goats were none-too-pleased – but they’re pretty neurotic anyway!), and there was definitely no cruel or degrading treatment going on.

    So essentially the footage from Indonesia is certainly not a typical example of Halal butchery practices. It can be done sensitively – and so hopefully Australia and Indonesia will be able to work together to make sure that kind of thing never happens again.


  8. Arved June 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    As someone who lives in the ACT and has met Senator Lundy a couple of times, I can say that’s her ‘normal’ style and she’s had it for years. She’s a good quality politician, and highly regarded here. Actually, I’m rather annoyed about how Lundy has been treated by the ALP. Immigration isn’t her strong suit. She’s much better at technology, but was demoted out of that shadow portfolio back around 2004. She was on the wrong side of a war within the ALP, and needed to be ‘punished’. For a long time she wasn’t given anything useful to do, but when Bob McMullan retired, she became the highest ranking ACT Labor politician, and then she had to be given something. Immigration secretary is such a waste of her potential.


    • Jennifer Wilson June 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      I’m glad to hear Lundy’s always had her style, and resemblances to Palin are co incidental, if distracting!

      It doesn’t seem to me that either of the major parties are primarily concerned with giving the job to the best person for it – and the waste of potential is infuriating.


  9. gerard oosterman June 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Australia has signed Halal killing agreed methods and are already exporting meat killed by the agreed Halal methods. The contentious issue is the stunning of the animal beforehand.
    The slaughter in Indonesia as shown on ABC has been condemned by Indonesian clerics as NOT being Halal at all.
    All export of life animals could be stopped and be replaced by having the meat exported killed In Australia by the Halal method.
    Let’s not throw too many stones though. We have been condemned world -wide by mulesing sheep. This entails the cutting away of skin the size of a dinner plate around the sheep’s bum to prevent fly-strike. ” Peeta “has been successful in exposing this extremely cruel way of dealing with sheep. No-where in the world does this practise exist making it very difficult for farmers to defend the practise. It was only when the international fashion houses were successful in banning Australian wool products that the Government and the farmers decided to start banning the practise. As a result, mulesing is supposed to be banned and phased out over the next few years.


  10. Steve at the Pub June 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Gerard, all due respect, but no, live exporting could not be replaced by exporting chilled meat that is slaughtered in Australia.
    It would be replaced by live exporting from other countries, countries which are unlikely to share our commitment to animal welfare. As happened when Australia was unable to meet live export demand in 2007.
    Indonesia does not have the refrigeration infrastructure to import such quantities of chilled meat. Most buy their meat hot, partly a cultural reason, but also because many are unable to afford refrigeration.
    Live export cattle come from the north, in the north there are no slaughtering or processing facilities. It is export or go out of business.
    It is not only an Australian industry that will be bankrupted, but the Indonesian fattening & slaughtering industries would face hardship.
    Australia has been working with Indonesia to improve animal welfare. This has been happening for as long as the live export trade has existed. Improvements are slight, the task is difficult, however this would cease & possibly slide backward were Australia to stop live export.
    It isn’t as simple as it may seem to some urban based theorists.


  11. Steve at the Pub June 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Mulesing. Unpleasant task.
    Alternative to mulesing: Fly strike in your sheep.
    That is, maggotts burrow in & start eating the sheep alive.
    Peta not only is wrong on this, they are lying. It is difficult to think up fate that these people deserve. They are not ingenuous, naive, or stupid. They are callously lying, knowing the consequence of their actions will be sheep sentenced to death by fly-strike.
    More reprehensible & unpleasant people it would be difficult to find.
    Every time they hoodwink some dull witted celebrity into making public statements about the evils of mulesing, that celebrity shuts up fast when Australian woolgrowers show them the reality.
    Fly strike is very confronting, especially for those who live their life removed from many of the harsher physical realities.

    Nowhere else has the same breed of sheep in the same climate. Woolgrowers have been bullied into a timetable to phase out mulesing, but have had to ignore the phase-out, as there is not a workable alternative.


  12. gerard oosterman June 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Fly strike is terrible but can be prevented by better breeding practises. The merino in Australia has been bred to produce the maximum surface area to increase yield. This results in areas of the sheep now carrying wool where they did not before. Clean breech sheep are not susceptible to fly-strike. The Merino is bred all over the world but Australia is the only country that practise mulesing and docking of tails. The tail used to chase flies away but without a tail, well…?
    In the Netherlands the docking has been banned after a trial whereby sheep without tails did not suffer any more from flies as those with tails.
    The cost of mulesing and docking outweigh the slight decrease in wool yield when breeding sheep with less folds in their skin. Those farmers that have changed their breeding programs into sheep that have no need for cutting tails or mulesing are now running to the bank.
    Your assertion is plain wrong. Of course the Merino is bred in many countries but they don’t practise mulesing.


  13. Steve at the Pub June 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I respectfully suggest my assertation is not plain wrong. I have some experience in this area, it is not something I have read in a book/magazine, seen on a TV current affairs show, & then began theorising about.

    How much success have you had with breeding the folds out of Merinos?


  14. gerard oosterman June 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Gerard Oosterman:”author Gerard Oosterman, artist, farmer and blogger.”

    Merino sheep are ONLY mulesed in Australia. Surely, that says something.
    Why do you think that all sheep breeders are now moving aways from that practice?


  15. gerard oosterman June 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Steve at the pub:
    “No place for sheep”.
    Doesn’t that tell you something?


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