Politics at its Best

Some really good things happen in the Australian Parliament at times.  But sadly they receive little media coverage, because the stories aren’t as immediately exciting as some of the more tawdry events.

For example, how many column-inches, how much air-time has been wasted on the “Ute-Gate” saga about fake emails, and prime-ministerial favours to political donors?

One story worthy of far more attention than it received was the Migration Amendment (Abolishing Detention Debt) Bill.

In 1992, the then Labor Government, with the support of the Liberal / National opposition, introduced a law which placed Assylum Seekers (men, women and children) in Mandatory Detention, and made them liable for the cost of that detention.  This meant when a detainee was eventually deported, or released, he or she was presented with an invoice for the cost of that detention.  An amount which could easily run into tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes even exceeding one hundred thousand dollars.  This, in a country where we don’t charge rapists, murderers and other criminals the cost of their detention – regardless of their nationality.

These people came to our shores for help, and we were treating them worse than criminals.

The mandatory detention policy continued under Coalition Governments througout the Howard Years.  It wasn’t until 2009 that the Migration Amendment (Abolishing Detention Debt) Bill 2009 was introduced by the current Labor government.  Sadly, the bill wasn’t supported on a bi-partisan basis, and the Liberals and Nationals did not support it.

But to their credit, four Liberal members voted against their party, and supported the bill: Petro Georgiou, Russell Broadbent, Judi Moylan and Danna Vale.  Although you might not often do it, I’d recommend you read their speeches.  It’s good stuff, and helps underline the fact that we do have decent human beings in the parliament, who care about justice, and doing the right thing:

Melbourne City Council Censors Painting the Criticizes China

Melbourne City Council Censors Painting the Criticizes China
Ronald McDonald carries the Olympic Torch past a burning Monk, by Van Thanh Rudd.

The Melbourne City Council says it rejected this painting from an art exhibition because it “does not fit the brief”. The painting is by Van Thanh Rudd, nephew of PM Kevin Rudd.

I reckon the real reason is that the Melbournce Council is scared of offending China, McDonalds and the PM.

Absolutely gutless.

China’s “One Child” Policy

China's "One Child" Policy

According to the Wall Street Journal The Chinese Government will keep its “One Child Policy” for at least another decade.

As a result, a generation of children is China is growing up with no brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles.

Anyone found breaking this law faces huge fines. Government workers can lose their jobs, and pregnant women may face forced abortions.


Ironically, those chinese who are rich enough, pay the fine, and are able to have more kids.

For the rest, it’s a choice between hiding from the government to have a child without a permit, having an abortion, or selling your baby on the burgeoning Child Trading market.

One sad consequence of this situation is a large increase in the number of child abductions.

Labor Activists Still Facing Harsh Treatment

Labor Activists Still Facing Harsh Treatment
http://www.ir2008.org/

Yao Fuxin, 57, was involved in organizing workers in Liaoning to address corruption and other issues facing the local factories. A former employee at the Liaoyang Steel Rolling Factory, he is married with one daughter. In late March 2002, Yao Fuxin was secretly detained and formally charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” after leading tens of thousands of workers from Liaoyang factories in a peaceful demonstration protesting against corruption and demanding the payment of back wages and pensions. He was later charged with the far more serious charge of subversion due to alleged involvement in the banned China Democracy Party.

During his trial, Yao insisted on his innocence, saying he believed in the government and wanted to see the plight of the workers resolved. He was sentenced to seven years, which he is now serving at Lingyuan No. 2 Prison in Liaoning. His family fought for a retrial with the assistance of his defense lawyer Mo Shaoping, but it was announced at a secret hearing on June 27, 2003, that the appeal was rejected and the original sentence upheld. Since his imprisonment, Yao has been plagued by serious health problems. Family members, who visit him regularly, say he is in very poor health. Yao’s family and Liaoyang workers have repeatedly appealed to authorities as high as the National People’s Congress and the Supreme People’s Court to release Yao on medical parole, but without success.

China is Getting Ready

” In the name of ensuring stability and harmony in the country during the 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese governement continues to detain and harass political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers.”
China is Getting Ready
“China is Getting Ready” by “Amnesty International

Google – Friend of Chinese Opression

Google is complicit with the Chinese Government’s censorship of it’s citizens.
Google - Friend of Chinese Opression

China and Google” by “Oyster

McDonald’s – Beijing Olympic partners

If you’re wondering why most companie$ and countrie$ aren’t officially prote$ting the thuggery of the Chine$e Government, here’$ a $ubtle hint:
McDonald's - Beijing Olympic partners
“McDonald’s – Beijing Olympic partners” by “shalvas”

Beijing Olympics 2008

In the run up to the Beijing Olympics I’ll be posting some photos I’ve found around the net by other people which express my sentiments.

The Chinese Government’s treatment of dissidents is appalling.

They tolerate no disagreement.

They’ve erected a huge firewall to prevent their citizens from reading anything online that criticizes their government.

Chinese people are beautiful, intelligent and gracious.

But the Chinese Government… they’re nothing but amoral thugs.

Beijing Olympics 2008

“Beijing Olympics 2008” by http://www.flickr.com/photos/kongharald/

At Home At Last

Full marks to new Labor Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, for granting permanent residency to Robert Jovcic

Jovcic was a victim of the previous goverments heartless immigration policy, which left him homeless and sleeping on the steps of the Australian Embassy in Belgrade.

Minister Evans says that this was “one of a number of regrettable immigration matters the new Government is rectifying”.

It’s great news.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/23/2170552.htm