Let your heart bleed: compassion is not weakness

4 Feb



Yesterday in Australia the High Court upheld the legality of off-shore detention of refugees, a decision that should come as a surprise to no one given legislation passed by both major parties in June 2015 that virtually obliges the Court to arrive at this decision. The June legislation was rushed through by the LNP and the ALP, in the knowledge of the imminent Court challenge which was resolved yesterday.

Some 267 refugees temporarily in Australia, mostly for medical treatment, can now be returned to Nauru, as well as some 33 babies. Whether they will be returned or not is up to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who yesterday in Parliament gave a thundering declaration reinforcing our right to sovereignty, and his determination to maintain the status quo, signalling his intention.

My question is, if the much vaunted Border Force is even mildly competent, why do we need to use the morally bereft indefinite imprisonment of refugees on a stinking guano gulag, to dissuade future asylum seekers from attempting to journey here by boat?

My observation is, if we have to treat refugees in this despicable manner, we have forfeited our sovereignty and there is nothing left to protect. Sovereignty is not merely a matter of a nation’s borders.

Robert Manne has written an excellent blog in The Monthly on what he describes as the “rigid, irrational mind-set” that has led us to this situation.

There is little point in engaging in yet another outburst decrying the lack of morality of a government that believes in order to protect the sovereignty of the nation it must destroy the lives of others, and an opposition that supports this view.

The very concept of morality has been so eroded by successive governments that it has come to mean little more than “getting emotional,” in other words, exhibiting a contemptible demonstration of weakness. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, interviewed on the 7.30 Report last night, said he would be guided by medical advice as to who to return to Nauru and when, and in the next breath said he wouldn’t be taking that advice from anyone who was “emotional.”

This conflation of morality and compassion with the pejorative “emotional” is part of what Manne describes as a rigid, irrational mindset that takes the view that any disagreement is a sign of inferior thinking, dominated by emotion.

Labor’s spokesperson on Immigration, Richard Marles, yesterday conceded that sending children back to Nauru would be “disruptive” but said: we are talking about people whose lives were disrupted long before Australia came on the scene. In other words, when people have been traumatised before we encounter them it hardly matters if we traumatise them further because they’re used to it. What harm can a bit more do?

Mr Marles demonstrates a despicable lack of regard for suffering. His attitude is also part of a rigid and utterly irrational mindset: anyone at all damaged is rendered less human by virtue of that damage, and so our obligations to them are correspondingly minimal.

As some 70 per cent of Australians are apparently supportive of how we treat asylum seekers, there’s not much chance of immediate change. All we can do is keep on keeping on. There are no doubt politicians in both major parties who are appalled at their colleagues’ attitudes and policies but unless they take a stand, nothing can begin to change. In the meantime, let our hearts bleed over everything, especially the ballot boxes, and let us wear compassion as the badge of courage it is.







92 Responses to “Let your heart bleed: compassion is not weakness”

  1. Galavanting Gran February 4, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. townsvilleblog February 4, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    I assume the reason behind this is to prevent terrorist attacks in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FA February 4, 2016 at 10:31 am #

      No, it’s the fundamental (correct) principle eloquently put by John Howard:

      “We will decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 10:49 am #

        In that case we have no business being signatory to any Refugee Convention and are complete hypocrites as long as we remain signatories.

        Liked by 1 person

        • FA February 4, 2016 at 11:05 am #

          I agree with this, actually. I don’t think World War II era conventions are capable handling people movement of today.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn February 4, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

        That is not a principle or law it’s was a fucking slogan by a racist little man without morals. Justice Michelle Gordon demolished the lies and bullshit underpinning the entire façade rather brutally – it has not been legal to traffick humans by force for over 150 years, I think the high court judges were drunk over Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:18 am #

          Yes, I have to agree with Marilyn, it was a slogan and nothing to do with law.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 10:49 am #

      Yes! I must get an irony font on this blog lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter February 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

      Puhleese!! Not so naive.

      It is presented as that as a simulacra, but it is actually about politics, ideology and a desperate scramble to not be left holding a political baby, to avoid responsibility.

      It bears no relation to reality. Terrorists could just fly in, with suitable finance.

      Sorry, It is exclusively a political football.


      The complex, dark and almost Jesuitical Machiavellianism involved on so many levels and the sly, furtive and illogically stupid responses from politicians, with the ignorance of a misinformed public, even has my temper up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 4, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

        “… almost Jesuitical …”

        I have a great weakness for understatement, PW.

        You have no idea how much I liked the (Scottish?) Portuguese mercenary officer in that scene from ‘The Mission’: ” I’m not interested!”, as he oversaw the fire-arrow archers burn the place to the ground.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:20 am #

        Jesuitical, yes, PW, that’s a good point and another lens through which to view this shameful debacle.


    • paul walter February 10, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      You’ve said this elsewhere, also..You need to get past the night-terrors stuff the media has filled you with.

      The sky is not, repeat NOT falling down!!


  3. davechaffeyhippie February 4, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    Thanks for posting. It’s one of the issues I have trouble writing about, but you’ve motivated me to try. Most Australians appear to be extremists on this issue: harm is justified in order to defend a fear-based ideology. The media and politicians have exploited and manipulated our innate tribalism. Why on this particular issue and not others?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      I think it happens with other issues as well, especially Indigenous, but this one taps right into fear of the other, in the form of asylum seekers swarming us and taking away our life style…

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 5, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

        Yes, it is a bit like Rome. The Aborigines are the despised vanquished fed to the lions, but the asylum seekers represent th e thin end of the wedge as to a definitive assault by the feared barbarians, who are “legion”, like the uncountable armies of the devil.

        Only redoubtable warriors like Morrison and Dutton wil turn back this overarching threat, but only if we submit to the conditions set by our protectors.


    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 4, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      “Why on this particular issue and not others?”

      Very good question. There are too few questions.

      This is a link to Jennifer’s article (the one I think she was referring to on Twitter yesterday) from 2011:


      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

        Oh, you found it! I must have a read when I’ve got a minute to spare which I don’t seem to have lately


        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

          You’ll need more than a minute! Then there’s the comments. Good posts improve with the passage of time, like good wine.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:17 am #

            That’s an interesting perspective, Forrest, given the fleeting nature of stuff on the internet & the concept of posts as something to be wolfed down before you move on. There’s a post in here somewhere.


  4. myzania February 4, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Thanks Jennifer, very eloquent as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 4, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    “…, let our hearts bleed over everything, especially the ballot boxes, …”

    This is an ‘hypothetical’. Let us accept the 70% figure as to acceptance of the current policy by Australians to be broadly correct. Let us also accept that very near to 100% of persons qualified for electoral enrolment are reflected in the number of names carried on the rolls, and that this has been the case for quite some time.

    Against this background consider the apparent conundrum implicit in a submission by former Australian Electoral Commissioner Professor Emeritus Colin Hughes to an inquiry into the integrity of the electoral rolls in 2000, that was the electoral roll for the Division of Herbert to have been discarded and compiled again from scratch, around 30-40% of names previously on it would not have attracted applications for re-enrolment.

    The conundrum resides in the expectation that Herbert would not have been all that different from many other electoral Divisions around Australia, and that in circumstances of apparent 100% enrolment, similar percentages of enrolments are likely to have been ‘out of place’ in many other Divisions.

    What if almost all of those opposing the current asylum seeker detention policy were to be correctly enrolled and voting, and most of the ‘out of place’ names were being used to claim what could euphemistically be called ‘proxy’ votes? Might that not mean that only around half of the 70% who support current policy actually vote? In other words, that the real split of genuine electors’ support for the currrent policy might be closer to 46-54%?

    And if also there was some way of identifying and/or removing ‘proxy’ votes, then ….?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Jandwich February 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

      I hope you’re right Forrest. The official reality is hard to contemplate.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn February 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

      I don’t believe the lie of the 70% constantly peddled as an excuse to brutalise people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:21 am #

        I think it’s an issue that comes very low down on voters’ lists of concerns at election time. Which makes the whole miserable exercise even more baffling and despicable.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 7, 2016 at 10:54 am #

        I wasn’t trying to vouche for the accuracy of the 70% figure claimed to be supportive of the current asylum seeker policy. I used it simply as a starting point in an ‘hypothetical’ because Jennifer used it in her blog post. I am confident that she digests a much wider range of sources for such statistics than most. Certainly it is a figure I have little difficulty believing applies as to the views of the people with whom I come in contact.

        One point in the hypothetical was, even accepting 70% supportive to be the true figure, that there could be reasons to believe the translation of that supportive position among VOTING electors could be expected to be a very much closer contest than might conventionally be thought. In effect, I was putting up a worst case scenario that I hoped might intensify the spotlight upon why this policy is so bi-partisanly supported.

        I was trying to get BEYOND the typical generally unsupported assertions as to ‘inconvenient’ statistics being lies into a theory supported by, or consistent with, other hard statistics that might explain that which otherwise is baffling.

        Of the figures I used in the ‘hypothetical’, that 70% is the only really rubbery one.

        Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter February 4, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

      John Passant’s thesis, that the public will reach breaking point as to conscience and the thirty percent willing to shout about it can alter the political balance…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:22 am #

        Hmmmm….Seems to be an inordinate amount of tolerance of abuse.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      I’ve often wondered about that 70% figure – it’s used constantly in msm. I hope you’re theory is right, Forrest


  6. samjandwich February 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Well my computer is being compassionate with me and letting me into the paddock for a change!

    It seems extraordinary to me that the Parliament would be permitted to legislate on a matter directly impacting a case that’s already before the High Court (though perhaps it wasn’t technically “before” it at the time). Either way though the intention of doing so speaks volumes.

    If there are any compassionate MPs out there then they must be having trouble sleeping at night these days. Look for dark circles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

      It wasn’t a case in progress, I think it had been listed or whatever the legal terminology is.


    • hey look what I found February 10, 2016 at 12:31 am #

      They’ve got the perfect excuse now. The whole “no more deaths at sea” story gives them an out if they can keep telling themselves and us “we smote the evil people smugglers”. I watch their faces when they recite it like a mantra and it looksto me like most have convinced themselves. Sometimes they’re smug about it and I just want to scream and scream!

      Liked by 1 person

      • hey look what I found February 10, 2016 at 12:35 am #

        Being a fledgling in blogland I don’t yet know how to edit my comment once I’ve hit the button so pls excuse wordsalljoinedtogether etc

        Liked by 1 person

  7. samjandwich February 4, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    BTW I was impressed by the continued optimism of the lawyer Daniel Webb who brought the case on behalf of the conspicuously-unnamed “Bangladeshi woman”. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/high-court-upholds-offshore-processing-on-nauru/7137688 He talks about seeing hints of a change in Australians’ attitudes and expresses optimism that a regional approach is still not inconceivable. I do wonder whether this might be a catalyst – of the worst kind admittedly…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

      Yes, Daniel Webb doesn’t give up & it’s just as well someone doesn’t.


  8. doug quixote February 4, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    Brilliant, Guinevere. I especially congratulate you on not attacking the Court. As you say, the legislation forced through in 2015 left them obliged to reach this decision.

    We need to change the government; Labor with a majority may be more amenable to easing the appalling situation we have now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn February 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

      You are fucking irredeemably fucking stupid Doug, if the fucking ALP wanted change they would not have rushed through the new human trading laws in the fucking first place.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:15 am #

      Thank you DQ


      • Marilyn February 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

        Why are you thanking Doug, with his delusions about the ALP and over all ignorance?


        Here is another reminder of the racists in the ALP”’ being better than the other mob”, excuse me while I puke.

        And they did it again when they made retrospective laws going back to 1999 to make everyone who ever helped a refugee a criminal, the courts refused to co-operate.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

          I’m not getting involved in the ongoing animosity between you & DQ


  9. paul walter February 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    DQ and Marilyn, both. Have been in touch with both of you and you both remain poles apart and mutually uncomprehending.

    In this case I lean toward Marilyn’s view. It should be no problem to just get off the backs of less than 300 nor so very unfortunate people, as Richard Ackland and many others have pointed out, as to Gordon J and the judgement in general.

    They have to stop fucking with the lives of children and traumatised women in particular and I invoke Kant’s Imperative as this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter February 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      sorry, not “as” , but “on”, last sentence.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 7:23 am #

      I found that Ackland piece enlightening, PW, and am rethinking in light of his exposition.


    • doug quixote February 5, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      I understand Marilyn perfectly. She sits on the high ground and imagines that no-one knows better than her. It’s a wonder she tolerates you, PW.


      • paul walter February 5, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        She doesn’t a lot of the time. It’s ok, though. You need point and counterpoint for any meaningful dialectic, nothing is ever worked out in a vaccuum.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn February 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

        So the high ground on human rights is a bad thing is it Doug, what an irredeemably stupid arsehole you are.


        • doug quixote February 6, 2016 at 12:01 am #

          Sanctimonious, self-satisfied and self-righteous.

          Frustrated and totally impotent.

          That is your high ground.


          • Marilyn February 7, 2016 at 1:11 am #

            Well it’s better than the sludge pile you exist in.


  10. Mish Singh February 4, 2016 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m sure everyone has already seen this, but First Dog on the Moon has an excellent as usual cartoon on yesterday’s High Court decision:

    Liked by 2 people

  11. paul walter February 5, 2016 at 7:38 am #

    Given the substance of the debates here, I must truly hope DQ’s idea that Labor is lying low for necessary strategic reasons is correct:


    My head reels, as with the breaking Assange story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2016 at 9:25 am #

      Oh gawd that makes me feel ill. That bloody smarmy-mouthed Turnbull the smug self satisfied arrogance of him bloody hell it renders me inarticulate

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn February 5, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

      How many times do you have to be told the ALP started all these evil laws and will not back down now. Look what they did to Rudd when he did so, they crucified him out of sheer racism


      • paul walter February 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

        And how many times do I have to tell you, the earlier Labor rules were designed on a different rationale to deal in a softer way with a developing rather than a mature problem.

        John Howard, with the help of Murdoch and Alan Jones, was the one who turned the issue into a monster fear camapign depending on fear and overt cruelty, as you would recall from the time asylum seekers were deported back to their doom by Ruddock and Vanstone.

        Labor inherited the problem with Rudd, but Abbott and Murdoch ensured that Labor was baulked at every turn, for going “soft on terrorism” and “border protection”

        Once Abbott was in, he let his rich supporters off with tax cuts and the like, as the scare campaign had done its work and we copped a government fundamentally worse in every way than Labor ever was.

        Having said that, I’d be dishonest if I haven’t found the timidity of the ALP since Beazley and Tampa on many critical issues demoralising.

        As you say, the key question is whether Labor is merely stupid an d conservative, or actively malicious, or playing some desperate game to regain government for a nation at a crossroads from which there is no turning back.

        I think they have actually just re-Tampa-d themselves comprehensively, by being so petrified of taking on government and media memes on key issues during the Abbott era, typified with the retrospective legislation they joined with the government to OK on asylum seekers, now back to haunt them as to a perception as untrustworthy, closed minded and unwilling to stand for some thing on sense, sensibility and ethics.

        If they can’t raise a voice for babies and women, what hope of them protecting our rights either and so Turnbull, like Fraser in the seventies will have another term to implement Cameronite austerity and offer more tax cuts to corporations from money saved by social spending cuts here, as well as finishing the job with public broadcasting so tht no new truths will escape to trouble the complacent public.

        Yes, I think it has been an appalling and conservative opposition, but I understand that there must remain some sort of reaiistic chance to keep Turnbull at least a little bit honest. They can’t enjoy being made fools of, surely?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marilyn February 7, 2016 at 1:13 am #

          There was no thought in 1992 of the ALP being softer, they were harsh as could be. They made retrospective laws to make the prisons legal, to stop compensation being paid for that illegality, forced people to pay for their own illegal prison and all sort of other brutality.


          • paul walter February 7, 2016 at 7:47 am #

            We are talking about twenty five years back down the line.

            Nonetheless, I now cede the point that Labor is now beyond retreival. Civil liberties issues, happy with Islamophobia, glad to see whistle blowers and dissidents persecuted, shuns raped woman and traumatised kids, is a shambles as to edological issues and accepts the criminal destruction of Habeas Corpus in favour of surveilance/arbitrary detention and censorship as well as fervently embracing the Looter FTA/ privatisation of the Commons ideology.

            Twenty five tears go, you would have said there was hope for Labor, especialy after the ruinous Fraser years.

            These day it is just a senescent, myopic and denialist social conservative reincarnation of the DLP.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Marilyn February 9, 2016 at 12:30 am #

              Well finally, it’s only taken you a decade to wake up to what a waste of time and space the ALP are.


    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 6, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      Re the breaking Assange story, here is a direct link to a comment relating to how Assange took apart The Guardian’s 2012 Person of the Year poll result reporting in December 2012:


      It is posted here, in lieu of in a Twitter conversation yesterday in which Jennifer (@noplaceforsheep) was involved, because some sort of disruption is preventing my posting of links in tweets. The background to the conversation was one as to wonderment as to why The Guardian had come down so heavily against Assange upon receipt of the UN finding as to the arbitrariness of his effective detention.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 6, 2016 at 7:40 am #

        That was a disgraceful effort from the Grauniad a day or two ago.

        It has travelled further to the right since Rusbridger left and Brandis-level political censorship drove it into the lifestyle crap form of journalism. The comments sections have been gelded and it seems in seige mode.

        I also recall reading that a rightwing faction is influential as to the Board, so it looks like it is in the same predicament as our own ABC.

        It would be a shame for the journos there committed to broadsheet, but it is evidence of the general and reactive terror within the Establishment that Assange and other whistleblowers have engendered.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 6, 2016 at 11:55 am #

          The light of hindsight reveals another layer to the Grauniad’s possible perception as to the embarrassment posed by Assange having revealed it’s attempt at pre-determining the outcome of an online popularity poll. It resides in the fact that that poll, in which Pfc Manning was a candidate, was scheduled to be held over the weekend of 7, 8, and 9 December 2012.

          This is a direct link to a comment in ‘The Hospital and the Radio Station’ thread:


          The comment canvasses the prospect that the Royal Prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital that was to be followed by the discovery of the apparent suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha on Friday 7 December 2012 was part of a planned cross-media diversion designed to distract people from voting in The Guardian’s Person of the Year poll.

          The unmasking by Assange of The Guardian’s attempts to pre-determine the outcome of that poll in what can now be perceived as a context of planned diversion of public attention at the cost of a life is a particularly bad look for The Guardian, even if it was unknowing as to the planned distraction at the time.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 7, 2016 at 7:13 am #

          Some context to that article and others like it:

          Is the fact that this finding by UNGWAD did not leak into the MSM during those two weeks of lead time until Wikileaks publicised it evidence of the extent of cross-media planning and control?

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter February 7, 2016 at 7:49 am #

            Having just been to sites where the usual deranged anti Assange slanders proliferate, I can only say I am releived that you posted that relevant peice of information.


            • paul walter February 7, 2016 at 7:50 am #

              sorry, piece.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 7, 2016 at 9:26 am #

                I, too, am now somewhat relieved. I greatly fear irrelevance, almost as much as being considered guilty of thread hijacking!


          • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2016 at 8:33 am #

            I’m not at all surprised that Assange was the last to know. This is interesting background and as msm are no friend of Assange, seems a plausible explanation.


          • doug quixote February 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

            Forrest, most judicial or quasi-judicial bodies will give indications during the Hearing just how the members are inclined to decide.

            This was not a jury trial, where the judges try not to influence the verdict. From the questions the judges ask and the hard time they may give the lawyers, their likely decision will not be a secret.

            Assange was so confident of their decision he offered to surrender if it went against him! As if.


            • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 8, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

              I consider it very believable that Assange knew the decision of the UNWGAD pretty much as soon as did the UK and Swedish governments. Why do you begrudge him this little foray into benign pretense when he is up against the most resourced opposition in the world?

              It may well have been a pretense necessary to protect a source of the information.

              The real point is that he said NOTHING to publicise the decision before it became knowable to the general public. He thereby paid out enough rope to let the protagonists hang themselves! Which they effectively have with the revelation of the evident orchestration of that which is represented as ‘public reaction’ to the UNWGAD finding.

              Until HE announced it, there wasn’t even the hint of it having been a finding in the MSM. The instant he did, out came the orchestrated decrying. Assange smoked them out!

              What I find particularly interesting is the extent to which defeat or circumvention of due process is not recognised as being at the core of US government reaction to revelations of the like of Wikileaks, and the extent to which those whom one would presume to be in touch with the fundamentals of our legal system fail to recognise that this is happening.


  12. paul walter February 5, 2016 at 7:42 am #

    Here is an even more robust effort from a couple of days ago that set off some lively debates esewhere.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-03/bradley-a-tragic-day-for-both-asylum-seekers-and-the-law/7136812

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote February 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      Hi Paul.

      Sorry if it got a little heated over at TT. But I have been a critic of Assange for many years, and I doubt his bona fides.

      That I think him no hero does not mean that I didn’t like his revelations about US misbehaviour over decades; the Wikileaks material was good when it had been redacted as it was early on. But the mass release of unredacted material endangered many lives, some of them innocent.

      I defend the process of the High Court. It is the government and its enforcement of horrid legislation (bad law morally, but within Constitutional power) which is to blame.

      The children interned in Nauru ought to be released, along with the traumatised parents and others interned. It has gone on too long. One could not fail to be confronted and affronted by the reports made by the doctors who broke ranks and the bad laws to tell their stories.

      Please accept that I have a legitimate stance on these matters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 8, 2016 at 12:57 am #

        I think you FEEL you have a legitimate stance. I absolutely believe you when you say you “hurt” over refugee and why would I not when I “hurt” over them too. I understand you are cautious because like myself you feel an obligation to protect your own..even we blokes can be capable of empathy, dear readers.

        I am releived Vic Premier Andrews has offered to take the 270 (mainly) women and kids and doubt whether Turnbull wlll have the integrity to agree 1, because only through getting tough on refugees can he then set a precedent for getting tough on Australians. 2 It woud mean the beginning of the return to Australianism and the end of the night terrors stuff the public has been brainwashed as the positive side of the Australian character is instead reasserted….the end of a tool prized by both parties but perhaps more so the Coalition, who are closer to a REAL terrorist, Rupert Murdoch, whose stock in trade is fear and loathing that distracts from the looting done by him and his fellows.

        As for Julian Assange, you must remember the cause celebre is the helicopter gunship massacre in Baghdad, a mini My Lai. The problem developed because the US government refused accountability for its troops and a war crime (tip of an iceberg?)and instead tried to shift blame onto people like Assange and Manning and eventually Snowdenthus endangering their own operatives possiblly, when the truth outed as it surely had to.

        In short, if intelligence operatives faced some sort of threat, the final responsibility surely came back to the US and its allies themselves rather than those who pointed out bona fide war crimes and the cynical and greedy mentality driving them, through documented real time examples involving politics and big business, that gave the lie (once again) to the “saving the world from some (insert your own culprit) plot”.

        I don’t doubt Assange is not a perfect person, among us who is?

        I did take offence at what I felt was a personalised attack on Assange too common amongst his enemies, rather than an examination of what really happened in Sweden and the origins of an abnormal response toward Assange himself from various authorities. They would NOT have been concerned about any alleged assaults and known full-well nothing resembling rape remotely took place. But they were keen to shut down dissent, even to the foul levels employed against Julian Assange, lest revelations like the Helicopter gunship incident mired the spin justification for another disastrous and costly intervention in West Asia by the US Oligarchy, with costs personal and economic borne by the victims.

        Let the politicians and big business be a bit honest about what they are up to instead of destroying ethical people like Aaron Schwarz, Dr David Kelly, Manning and Assange himself, lest we remain in a world where someone like Madelaine Albright can claim better half a million Iraqis dead than one American, in the cause of a resources conquest.

        I don’t doubt you have reasons for your stance, you are a lawyer and must be blessed with more brains than me, after all.

        But the case doesn’t stick with me and many others- the West has to start looking at ITSELF, not squawk when caught out and its motives questioned, instead furtively libelling the whistleblowers to avoid transperancy and allow for a motivation to a more apt approach to


        You have come half way in the cause of a fair and reasoned conversation in the hope of discovering some obscured truths and for my part, feeling a bit off the last couple of weeks, a bit irritable perhaps, some of what I have said has not been helpful either.

        I suppose it will all come out in the wash eventually..I hope the result is going to be something we can live with.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) February 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

        “…; the Wikileaks material was good when it had been redacted as it was early on.”

        It seems you may have missed the significance of the fact that the New York Times was responsible for publishing the access code it had been given in confidence that enabled the unredacted mass release of records. That was not down to Assange.

        Indeed, I suspect that the publishing by the NYT of the access codes may have been covertly ENCOURAGED by the US intelligence community, as part of a process of making the embarrassing disclosures all about Assange and Wikileaks.

        If it was not so, one would have to ask why no charges have been sustained under legislation of the like of the US Espionage Act against the NYT.

        “But the mass release of unredacted material endangered many lives, some of them innocent.”

        We now have the admissions, post the Manning court-martial, that no lives have been endangered by the information uploaded by Manning to the Wikileaks site. That, in hindsight, adds credence to the NYT having been encouraged to publish the access codes they had received in confidence from Assange: the US government would have already known for a fact that no lives would be endangered thereby.

        Perhaps that accounts for the arrogant disrespect shown in the refusal of the US government to publish an official transcript of the Manning court-martial proceedings. An arrogance diametrically opposed to the opening words of the Declaration of Independence.


        • paul walter February 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

          FG to the rescue. Have a mighty night, fellow.


      • Marilyn February 9, 2016 at 12:33 am #

        Why? It takes a man with a log in both eyes to be so unquestioning. The High court are not gods, they got this case dead wrong and I don’t believe for a minute that you give a damn about refugees.


        • paul walter February 9, 2016 at 1:35 am #

          He won’t say it, which is surprising, but I think his idea is that in signing a number of obscure treaties we have become enmeshed in an international system that has had us surrender self determination… think about what that means in light of Shorten vetoing a couple of Labor states who wanted to take the 270- simple solution to this issue at least- and the need for the system to avoid mercy for refugees since it would mean avoiding mercy for Australians when the next tranch of Austerity, social infrastructure cuts and oligarchic tax dodging is implemented.

          if you can’t give women and kids a break who WILL you give one to?

          This had to be the turning point and they have ALL ran away from doing right and beginning the job of repair on this and other issues.

          The ABC was disastrous tonight with the exception of MW and two sharp pieces, one on the new censorship laws, the other involving the naked brazeness of the Murdoch press now that much real news information and debate is stifled.

          Now, as to your other point above concerning my alleged feeble perceptions of Labor, I ve know theyve been deteriorating since the right faction gained control a decade or two ago- since the forest coupes laws of 1994 ,actually- and have said so long and hard but as the only realistic alternative to Abbottism, I felt I had to see if Labor could repair itself before it became too late.

          I really expected them to learn some lessons after Tampa, Iraq and the privatisation fiascos and scandals, but the dislocated from reality upper echelons refused reform even after the Abbott election and travelled in the opposite direction in ways I honestly couldn’t have imagined, over the last couple of years.

          It’s fair to say that from this point democracy here is a dead person walking, which is why I mentioned MW and some real sources of damage.


          • doug quixote February 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

            If your opening sentence refers to me, you are wrong.

            I’d be pleased to take Daniel Andrews’ position on this issue. It is a political decision, not one for the Court.

            As regards Federal Labor, I think they have lacked leadership, ever since Paul Keating’s defeat at the hands of the bean counters and the mean-spirited in 1996.

            Can anyone see a Gough on the rise?

            Liked by 1 person

            • paul walter February 9, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

              That is precisely what bothers me also. Wayne Swann reckoned we killed two prime ministers in one hit with the faction-fighting and a raft of other promising people left or were booted out after the Abbott election.

              What was so sad about 96 was that it was such a contrast to the fire in the belly 93 election..I just wish they had gone for a DD at about the time Howard succeeded Downer.

              That situation repeated itself at the time when Turnbull was ousted by Abbott, I honestly beleive they would have beaten them easily in early 2010.

              Rudd “lost it” after it, but never did I beleive Gillard would do a leadership challenge so close before an election.. by staying the loyal deputy leader she would have had such legitimacy as to be unstoppable if Labor put in a poor performance at the up coming elections under Rudd.

              Yes. it is frustrating to see Labor straight jacketed and this a source for contention amongst demoralised non Looter voters.


            • Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2016 at 7:11 am #

              No, but that bad moon just keeps on keeping on


  13. paul walter February 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Good to see the debate has continued in such a lively fashion today. Am having difficulty wading through all the fresh dot points and thought-provoking new ideas, but will soldier on…


  14. paul walter February 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    Since the debate re Julian Assange is not resolved yet, I offer up this from Professor of Politics at Sydney University, John Keane:https://theconversation.com/the-arbitrary-detention-of-julian-assange-54342

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      Thanks, PW.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      Hey, that’s a good piece on Assange, PW. I’m sick of people referring to him having been “charged” & omitting to note the fact that Swedish authorities have refused to travel to London to conduct preliminary interviews.


      • paul walter February 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

        I understand why some feminists are against him and why they employ certain tactics.

        Less forgiveable are the attacks fed out by the powerful.

        I find a personification for these in Michael Peluzzo, the immigration official who put on such an anal performance before the Senate a couple of days on the Nauru 270, a different but similar sort of issue.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

          In my view, if the Swefish government gave a damn about those women they would have settled this matter with Assange years ago by interviewing him London & laying charges or not, giving the women some ending to the situation. It’s acceptable in Swedish law to travel to other countries to interview suspects, so why haven’t they done that? We know the answer to that don’t we…


    • doug quixote February 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

      Keane should stick to politics and not try his hand at law.

      I think I’ll tell him so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 11, 2016 at 6:51 am #



        • paul walter February 11, 2016 at 7:28 am #

          I hope he is not so dense as to actually beleive it.


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