Sunday, September 10, 2006

Queensland loses election Weekend Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Much of the credit the states claim for sound fiscal management is illusory. I understand that when the GST was put in place, it was thought the states would face a shortfall for the first few years, as certain taxes were removed while GST came into effect. However, I understand that revenues exceeded expectation by $80 billion. The states have had an $80 billion windfall and have porkbarrelled it, leaving no new infrastructure.

In NSW, the ALP have stripped services, like education, health, policing and transport. They have spent the money badly, and now have no extra income and are even willing to ask the federal government for campaign funding from selling the Snowy.

In NSW, new legislation means that a public servant can be procedurally dismissed for no reason. A code of discipline may be deemed to have been breached in the past.

Instead of learning from the failures of Queensland health, NSW has apparent licence to attack whistleblowers who raise community awareness of wrongful death or pedophilia.
I won't dispute your Victorian insight to Liberal failings. I note in NSW, in the past, there has been jockeying for position, rather than working for power. The Queensland experience with attempted unification of the coalition partners made sence under a future view, but nonsence in current terms.

With so few sitting members, Liberals may look like their talent cabinet is bare. However, ALP have many more members and yet less talent.

Had the coalition won in Queensland, Queensland would have been in better hands. The major failing of Queensland coalition is that they failed to sieze initiative in the short campaign. Bailleau should note, the electorate don't need ALP policy, but a confident conservative agenda will provide a compelling case for change.


Weasel said...

This landslide in Queensland makes 20 straight wins for Labor in state and territory elections:

The all-conquering Mr Beattie becomes the first Labor premier in 65 years to win four elections in a row…

With almost 80 per cent of the vote counted last night, Labor had retained 60 seats in the 89-seat Parliament. The Nationals had 16, Liberals seven, Independents four, One Nation one, with Clayfield undecided.

Of course, you might well think that’s just what comes when the Liberals’ campaign looks like a script from Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Let’s see: first sack your tested leader on election eve and replace him with a novice who then tells everyone he’s not sure he wants to be premier even if he wins. Then have him crack a blonde joke after being thrown out of a shopping centre. Then… Well, the crowd had aready gone home.

But the Bruce Flegg disaster shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow these following lessons from this result:

# Peter Beattie has the magic, and knows the value of saying sorry and repenting with a flurry of action. He makes the voters feel in charge.

# Beattie also helps demonstrate that today’s state Labor governments have all learned from past failures, especially in Victoria. Get the money right and much will be forgiven.

# The Liberals therefore can no longer rely on sitting back, waiting for the public to call them in to fix the books when Labor inevitably hits the wall. They actually must stand for something - usually the social issues they barely understand - and have creative ideas on how to build a better future. Sadly, the Liberals at a state level (and not just there) have been intellectually lazy and philosophically confused. What sign of thinking have you seen?

# The Liberals have let themselves be seen as the party that will hurt you to help you - by slashing spending, shutting schools and the like. The hurt is guaranteed, but the hep is uncertain. This is a big and bad change from the message Menzies sold and Howard often tries to - the Liberals are about helping people, and protecting them. Labor was then the threat. Today the Liberals often seem so, at least on a state level.

# The Liberals cannot - in any state - attract many new MPs that have have that leadership magic, too. Their recruiting is clearly hopeless, but parliamentary life has also been made too unattractive for proven leaders in other fields to contemplate, and the Liberals have been made too unattractive to be worth trying to lead anyway.

# The Liberals are bound to lose more before they win any - there will be a loss in Victoria in November, and probably one in NSW next March. If they lose in Canberra as well… Let’s just say that right now is when their reinvention must begin. Later will be even harder.

# Not directly related, but consider the federal Liberals once Howard is gone. Which of the wannabe-nexts have big ideas for the future?

Weasel said...

’m a fan of James Bond, and rather like Daniel Craig, but these photos don’t yet convince me that marrying the two in Casino Royale will give us the 007 we need. But let’s see.

From the Herald Sun, 9 December, 2002


In Die Another Day, the new Bond movie that opens on Thursday, 007 still drinks like a fish with a death wish.
In a film lasting just two hours, he manages to bottoms-up at least two glasses of champagne, a Mojito, two rums and two vodka martinis. Cheers!
No wonder the baddies get to beat him up. He’s too sloshed to fight.
And Bond also sets fire to a Cuban (the cigar, I mean) after 13 years as a non-smoker—which is the one scene in the film that’s got our health fascists in a tizz.
Outrageous, coughs the Non-Smokers Rights Association. ``We are particularly concerned,’’ splutters the American Lung Association.
Strange, how Bond can be belted, shot at and nearly impaled—while he’s not killing crooks, blowing up buildings, boozing hard and driving far too fast—yet these folk choose to nag him just for having a quick puff to steady his nerves.
IT seems our moral police are again losing sight of the Big Picture. And the Big Picture here is that Bond, the thirsty little tobacco fiend, has undergone such savage re-education that he’s now a New Age hero. It’s Bland, James Bland.
And after re-reading the books to discover the ``real’’ Bond under the thick movie makeup, I must, to my surprise, say . . . good. Better bland than a boor.
It’s hard to believe, I know, that Bond is now a Sensitive New Age Killer, but two scenes in Die Another Day clinch the case.
First, we see Madonna appear as Verity, the fencing master, without Bond betraying the least concern that she’s a lesbian.
And then we see Bond bedding Halle Berry as Jinx, the spy, while showing not the slightest awareness of her being, well, black.
These days, it’s bad manners to even notice if one is a lesbian and the other black. But when the world first got to know Bond, through the novels of the 1950s, those were the kind of things 007 not only noticed, but took obnoxious exception to.
In fact, Bond, the creation of minor aristocrat and former spy Ian Fleming, was not just an appalling racist and sexist, but a homophobe with a strong streak of sado-masochism.
Or something even freakier. Given all that, it’s almost endearing that he was also an alcoholic with a smoking habit that makes Sydney’s fires look like a pilot light.
The very first Bond book, the 1953 Casino Royale, introduces Bond as his slurping, sucking worst. In the first chapter, he lights up his 70th cigarette of the day. By Chapter Five, he’s in France and on a bender—in one evening, he gulps an Americano, a whisky, a huge martini, some vodka, a glass of Cliquot and a half-share of three bottles of champagne.
How he could sit upright, let alone beat the villain Le Chiffre at baccarat that same night stumps me.
With Bond’s diet, it’s no wonder that by From Russia With Love (1957), this superfit spy is ``panting with exertion’’ after doing his morning exercises, which turn out to be a feeble 20 push-ups, ``touching his toes 20 times’’, a few leg-lifts and some unspecified ``arm and chest exercises combined with deep breathing’’. But all that’s small beer—or a modest vodka martini—for old Bond worshippers.
What’s harder for us to confront now is what an insufferable turkey the man is—or was before film producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli decided a little bit of the Bond of the books was enough already.
Here, for instance, is what Bond thinks of gays in Goldfinger (1959):
As a result of 50 years of emancipation, feminine qualities were dying out or being transferred to the males. Pansies of both sexes were everywhere, not yet completely homosexual, but confused . . . The result was a herd of unhappy misfits . . . He was sorry for them, but had no time for them.
THAT’S not completely true. Bond later ``cures’’ Pussy Galore of her lesbianism by having sex with her.
Here, now, is what Bond thinks of Koreans, in the same book: Bond intended to put (the Korean killer) Oddjob and any other Korean firmly in his place which, in Bond’s estimation, was rather lower than apes in the mammalian
As for the vertically challenged: Bond always mistrusted short men . . . Napoleon had been short, and Hitler. It was the short men that caused all the trouble in the world. Bond also
believes women must know their place—which is firmly under him.
In From Russia With Love (1957), he listens in rapt silence as a Turkish-English agent, Darko Kerim, a ``rare type of man that Bond loved’’, tells him of the ``Bessarabian wildcat’’ he kept as a mistress when young:
(I) kept her chained naked under the table (and) I used to throw scraps to her under the table, like a dog. She had to learn who was master. You can see why James bonded with this cretin. Tatiana Romanova later appeals to this same yen Bond has for a spanking good time, simpering: ``You will beat me if I eat too much?’’
``Certainly I will beat you,’’ the hero murmurs.
I’D bet Fleming loved writing these scenes, because, as we now know, he and his third wife were into spanking, too. How they’d have giggled over Casino Royale, in which Bond is sat in a chair with a hole in the seat so his testicles can be flogged with a carpet beater.
Who knows how much further the sexual tastes of the jaded Fleming stretched? Certainly, Noel Coward, a friend of Fleming, thought his description of Honeychile Rider’s bottom in Dr No (1958) as ``almost as firm and rounded as a boy’s’’ was a bit too broad-minded.
``Really, old chap, what could you have been thinking of?’’ Coward demanded.
I suspect few of Fleming’s millions of readers in those more innocent days had any idea of what he was really thinking of, either.
And it’s extraordinary that so few of them were fussed by the attitudes Fleming had Bond take—attitudes that today strike us as not just bizarre, but perhaps even wicked.
But see Bond now, up on the big screen as the world’s most loved spy. You’d never recognise him from the man he was nearly 50 years ago. And you wouldn’t want to, either.

Character development was never a bond long suit. Character would kill the franchise, even though the best bond film was the one with that ‘avenger’ girl.

Actual secret agents need to straddle a strange world. Lawrence Van Der Post, so brilliantly portrayed by OToole, endured much that others wouldn’t. Even enjoyed it. Bond isn’t a real person, but a fleshy cartoon. More grit is ok, but not true grit. He kisses a man ??!!

Weasel said...

Paris Hilton’s excuse for speeding and being caught drink driving in Hollywood yesterday was that she was “just really hungry “and rushing to get a ‘burger. The explanation will no doubt be added to the long list of imaginative (and not so imaginative) excuses given to police by people when they’re caught. Gotcha has put together some of the better ones from here and abroad. Here they are:

• A woman stopped after running a red light in Naperville, Illinois, told the officer that she had just had her brakes repaired and “I didn’t want to wear them down”. Sergeant Dave Hoffman’s response? “Usually I give people a pass if I haven’t heard their excuse before, but in this case she got the ticket.”

• After being stopped for speeding in South Gate, California, the female driver told Sgt Keith Underwood she was in a rush to get home to go to the toilet because she had a bladder problem. As she was close to home, the doubting officer said he would follow her there rather than make wait while he wrote out the ticket. When they arrived at her house the woman stayed in her car rather than rushing for the bathroom and the officer smugly thought he had been right in doubting her. “As I walked up to her car again I said, ‘I thought you had to go to the bathroom’. She threw open the door and yelled at me, ‘I did!’ It was then I noticed the large wet spot in her jeans,” said Sgt Underwood. “She still got the ticket though.”

• When Officer Brent Clark from New Tazewell in Tennessee pulled over a car doing 130kph in a 70kph zone, the male driver admitted he had been speeding and agreed he deserved a ticket. But he explained he had just eaten at McDonalds and was suffering “a severe case of diarrhoea”. “Having been sick myself, I had to let that one go,” said Officer Clark.

• Officer James Mathias from Elnora in Indiana chased a speeding pick-up truck for six kilmoters befor it finally pulled over. The driver apologised for going so fast and for not stopped because he didn’t notice the pursuing police car. His excuse? “I’ve had a lot to drink.” Says Officer Mathias: “He went to jail.”

• The driver stopped doing 130kph in a 90 zone explained to Officer Gary Lenon of the Mecosta County Sheriff Department in Michigan that he had a bee flying around in his car. “He sped up hoping that the bee couldn’t fly that fast and would not be able to fly out of the back seat area to get at him.”

Gotcha’s grateful to the Funny Excuses website for the above examples.

And here’s some excuses reportedly given to Northern Territory police by drivers:

• For not wearing a seat belt: I can’t as I have sore breasts; I wasn’t wearing my seat belt because I was getting changed; and I keep getting in and out of the car and it’s a nuisance.

• For running red lights: I couldn’t stop because I was going too fast; I couldn’t stop because it’s a heavy vehicle and I normally have a wood chipper on the back; and it’s a V8, you try stopping it.

• And for speeding: I had to speed to get in front of you; I’m hurrying to the service station because I am running out of fuel; and I’m running late for a funeral.

And from Victoria comes the woman who, when caught speeding, explained to police that she couldn’t brake to slow down because she had her cat sitting on her lap.

So what excuses have you tried and, more importantly, did they work?

I once had a long beard. I’m fat and drove a small car (’77 honda civic, circa ‘91). A traffic cop spotted me and pulled me over. Well, he flashed me, and I pulled to the side so he could get past. Then I realised he wanted ME to pull over, so I did.

Maybe it was my low speed getaway attempt. Maybe it was my biker beard. “What’s the problem officer? Can I help?” I kept my hands on the steering wheel, rememberin a story my dad told me about a guy shot in the head by a policeman who misinterpreted a reach into a glovebox for documents.

“I noticed you weren’t wearing your safety belt.” In fact I was, but as the seat had penetrated the floor, the seat belt had risen to my neck, so I had it fitted beneath my arm pit. I explained this.

He looked a little set back, then he explained to me that being fat was no excuse. He inspected my vehicle, came back to my window and said he’d noticed I had not removed my last years rego sticker and he’d fine me for it. “Don’t worry” He assured me. “It isn’t a moving violation, so it won’t cost you any points.”

Weasel said...

Any lingering doubts about the link between violent crime and illegal drugs or alcohol have been dispelled by new research linking substance abuse to homicides. The UK study found that two-fifths of those who committed homicides had a history of misusing alcohol and two-fifths were misusing drugs. More than half were misusing either alcohol or drugs, Alcohol played a direct role in 45 per cent of the killings and drugs in 15 per cent.

The study published in the medical journal Addiction looked at 1168 homicides in England and Wales over a three year period.

The most common illegal drug found to have been used by offenders was cannabis (almost 250 of the 1168 homicides), followed by heroin and amphetamines. Seventeen per cent of homicides were committed by patients with severe mental illness and a history of substance misuse.

The University of Manchester study said that alcohol and drugs contributed to violent crime in two ways. Either the offenders were committing crimes to obtain money to fund their substance use, or people were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of carrying out the crime.

“Limiting the availability of alcohol and drugs would help reduce the number of violent incidents, as would controlling the environment in which these fatalities
Occur,” the study said. “There are numerous education programmes in schools on the dangers of substance abuse; however, little is provided on alcohol misuse.”

The study also contained some interesting statistics about the relationship between killers and their victims.

Thirty two per cent of perpetrators killed a family member or a current or former spouse/partner and 33% killed an acquaintance. Only 22% killed a stranger. The most common method of killing was stabbing (37%).

Weasel said...

Relations between the WA Police and the state’s anti-corruption watchdog body appear to be heading to a new low following some odd goings on yesterday. The WA Chief Commissioner jumped the gun and reinstated five suspended officers who were involved in the Andrew Mallard wrongful conviction case on the grounds that the force had virtually completed an internal review. But the decision came before the police had even shown the Crime and Corruption Commission the results of the review, let alone allowed it to conducted its own planned independent investigation into the case. The move forced the CCC to ask the Chief Commissioner not to release the review and not to allow any of the five officers access to it because it could “prejudice the effectiveness of the Commission’s investigation”. And the CCC said that although any decision about reinstating the officers was up to the Chief Commissioner, it reserved the right to review the move.

The CCC said in a statement late in the day that it had been told by police it would not get a copy of the cold case review of the murder that led to Mallard’s wrongful conviction until it had been officially completed on September 19.

The CCC has been awaiting the completion of the review before scheduling public hearings as part of its own investigation.

“The Commission asked (Chief Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan) to restrict all members of the Western Australian Police, especially police who might be suspected of misconduct in the Mallard matter, from accessing details of the report,” the CCC said.

Andrew Mallard served 12 years in jail for the brutal 1994 murder of Pamela Lawrence. His conviction was quashed and he was released in February after the High Court found evidence that might have acquitted him had been withheld at his trial.

Assistant commissioners Dave Caporn and Malcolm Shervill, Superintendent John Brandham, Senior Sergeant Alan Carter and Sergeant Mark Emmett were stood down in April after a new suspect in the Lawrence murder was identified using a handprint found at the murder scene and a cold case review ordered. But that suspect, already in prison for a similar murder, was found dead in his cell shortly after.

You can read more about that on the blog posting Gotcha did at the time.

The CCC’s public hearings were due to start in July, but were delayed because the cold case review wasn’t finished. The CCC is bringing in an east coast senior barrister to be counsel assisting at the hearing and examine witnesses to avoid any suggestions of bias or favoritism.

The CCC said yesterday its investigation would cover “the public officers involved in the investigation and arrest of Andrew Mallard, the charging, the trial, the appeals, the imprisonment and the subsequent actions leading up to the overturning of his conviction by the High Court”.

The decision to publicly reinstate the officers without waiting for the outcome of the CCC investigation seems a little premature, especially given that Chief Commissioner O’Callaghan himself conceded there was still a question mark over the five officers.

“I have brought them back to work but they will still have to go through a public hearing in due course,” he said. “Whether there has been any corruption, criminal conduct, or misconduct, still remains for the CCC to (determine) and that will occur in time.”

Weasel said...

Over at The Age, former ABC bigwig Peter Manning sighs on video that we are becoming racist and this is “unAustralian“.

I’m not sure that this was what he had in mind, however exactly it fits his words:

A group of Preston Lions fans is being blamed for inciting most of the spectator violence dogging the (soccer) Premier League.
Up to 200 supporters brawled after the club lost to Oakleigh last month. ...

One man alleged to be a key agitator in the chaos said he was proud of his Macedonian heritage and denied he had caused the problems.

“I fight for what I believe in and my nationality, but I try to do it the right way,” he said.

UnAustralian, Mr Manning?

I understood racist to be anyone who votes for a conservative.

Weasel said...

Reader Tony Thomas has very kindly provided a transcript of my debate with Robert Manne on the Stolen Generations (click on the title above) which he swears is 95 per cent accurate. It seems a little less than that, and cannot be taken as gospel, but from memory it’s a pretty fair account.

Excerpt from our discussion of Manne’s list of 12 most truly stolen children (and for my earlier discussion of those names click here):

Bolt: These are the names?

Manne: Every child in that list was in my view unjustly removed; “stolen” means two things: first it means taken unjustly by the state. The word “Stolen” was not even mentioned in the Bringing Them Home report; the “stolen” word was adopted by the Aboriginal people because their lives were stolen from them.

I have chosen to represent a great variety of cases. Walter Roth was in 1902 but recent cases also and there are official books. I can’t now tell you the stories of the 13-14 people but they were people whose lives were stolen from them and taken and removed by the state for reasons unjustly. Many families after the war had problems, no doubt. The state firstly didn’t try to help offenders, they were put in prison for failing to pay maintenance. They were often sent to Cumeragunga (NSW)...

Bolt: a condition of me talking to you was to name 10, now you say, “oh well, I can’t actually tell you about cases”. Why do you think Trish Hill-Keddie and Sandra Hill, were taken? You originally defined it as they were forcibly taken to make Australia white.

Manne: I will send you more, read more to you. There is an extremely complex account of their removal. There were two girls, and the family had certain difficulty. The authorities moved in to take them because the authorities were not making the slightest effort to help the family get over this difficulty. ..

Bolt: What family difficulties led to the removal of Rosalie? What was that?

Manne: I am trying to remember.

Bolt: ... (Your) original definition was not people who had their lives taken away and whom the State should have helped. Your 1998 essay was different. Do you deny your own words now?

Manne: You are taking them out of context. It was not from harm that mixed descent children were rescued but through their aboriginality. That was true entirely up to WW2. One motive after WW2 was there were more cases in which children’s welfare was considered at risk. I will talk about those two children living with their mother and poverty-stricken. They say they were happy living with their mother. The Welfare decided she was not a fit person because of her poverty. That was what happened.

Bolt: You are saying the Welfare Authorities/Dept were (concerned about) poverty not because of their aboriginality.

Manne: I said there were many motives for taking the children, and one was welfare. I am not saying there are no cases where Welfare didn’t think there were serious risks; there were some (of those)...

There is no doubt welfare considerations after WW2 played some part ; however, often because an aboriginal family was very poor and had difficulties, the standards applying to aboriginal families were of the sort that many children turned from their lives and their lives were ruined.

The Age Melbourne Writers Festival
Sunday Sept 3. Storey Hall RMIT
Stolen generations or hijacked history? – a debate
Transcript by Tony Thomas, from shorthand. Note: it is considerably less than Hansard quality.

Chairman/moderator, historian John Hirst : Melbourne is ‘debate city’ (relative to Sydney). Manne and Bolt* are both firm patriots and passionate arguers for their cause. Manne stresses the terrible removals of aboriginal children and wants the nation to acknowledge its errors and make amends. Bolt’s view is that if any were taken it was not for racist reasons, and gross falsehoods have arisen from those who seem to take pleasure in denigrating the nation. The issues include how many children were taken, for what purpose and what should we now think of the policy.
Manne has written on the subject, “In Denial” and in his “Left Right Left” essays last year and has written on Aboriginal child removal and genocide essays, aided by Dirk Moses. Next year Manne intends to issue a full length study.
Bolt publishes his views in The Best of Bolt collection of essays published last year. Manne is a professor of politics and commentator; Bolt has a column in the Herald Sun. I don’t see it regularly but have a friend who does and he comes around with 2 or 3 Bolt columns and usually annotated with ‘rubbish! non-sequitur! etc’. Despite these bromides I have been on some subjects in agreement with Bolt.
The debaters will have 20mins each, a short questioning of each other, and limited time for audience questions, and 2-3 minutes for each to sum up. Bolt, by toss of coin, is first speaker.
Speech By Andrew Bolt (text supplied on-line by Bolt)

Tonight we debate the stolen generations - the claim that between 1910 and 1970 as many as 100,000 aboriginal children were stolen from caring parents for racist reasons.

Robert says the figure is actually lower. He suggests one in 10 Aboriginal children were stolen from 1910, and estimates the total number at up to 25,000.

But what do we mean by “stolen”. Let me tell how Robert has defined it.

Says he: “It was not from harm that the mixed-descent children were rescued but from their Aboriginality.” (1)

And, he said in one essay, this was overseen by authorities who “wished, in part through the child removal policy, to help keep White Australia pure”.

So, he adds: The “stolen generations is for Aboriginal Australians what the term Holocaust was for the Jews’’. (2)

Now I do not deny some children – and not just Aboriginal - were removed from their families for reasons that weren’t good enough, or sent to some homes that weren’t good enough, either. And I have heard many – Lowitja O’Donoghue, for one - tell of the pain of growing up without the love and attention of parents, for whatever reason, and I find them heartbreaking.
So what am I saying? I am saying that Robert, who for perhaps eight years has been the leading advocate of the “stolen generations” theory, has never given the proof that we had here a Holocaust or genocide.
He has never proved that anything like 25,000 children were stolen – and were stolen because they were Aboriginal, rather than because they simply needed help.
In fact the reason I am here is that I challenged Robert in a radio debate - and in writing – to name just some of these 25,000 children he claims were stolen from 1910 to save them from their Aboriginality. To name not, say, 2000 of them, or even just 200 or a mere 20.
No, I asked him to name just 10. Just 10 children truly stolen just to save them from being Aboriginal.
Only 10, Robert.
(Click on title for the full speech.)
It is not a pedantic request. If we could see the real children we could then check the real reasons for their separation to see if the reality matched Robert’s theory. We are entitled to ask for those names, and the evidence, and no one should be too proud or delicate to answer.
Yet Robert – and not only him – has found this job of producing names extremely hard. Over the years he has several times named several people, famous cases, who’d been stolen, only to find they had in fact not been stolen at all.

Then, after my radio challenge, he tried again – searching for those 10 names I wanted. But he had to go back to well before 1910, and when I checked his list I found it in fact comprised names such as that of Topsy, who turned out – the poor girl - to be" title="a fatherless 12-year-old with syphilis">a fatherless 12-year-old with syphilis. Dolly, I discovered, was actually a 13-year-old who was seven months pregnant and working for no wages on a station when she was rescued and sent to missionaries for the care she needed.

These were" title="children saved from sexual abuse and desperate need">children saved from sexual abuse and desperate need, Robert. Why did you tell me they were stolen – as in saved from their Aboriginality? Or do you think it’s more authentically Aboriginal to be sick and pregnant and poor and abused?

Robert has tried again and now given me another list of 10 names – actually 12 names, as it happens - which I have in my hand. (3)

But I am here tonight not because he at last could name 10 – or 12 - truly stolen children, but because he could not. He has failed again.

Robert may try again in a few minutes and try to surprise me with yet more names. Or some of you may even stand up and say “I’m stolen” and demand I take your story on trust.
But as of right now this list is Robert’s best attempt in eight years of research to name the most undeniable examples of children who were stolen.

Having checked it, I now ask you this:

When the leading advocate of the “stolen generations” still can not - after eight years of looking – name even 10 children stolen for racist reasons, is it because there isn’t actually a “stolen generation” to find? Where are the children?

But before I discuss Robert’s list, I must ask you: How important to you is the truth?

You see, I suspect that no matter what proofs I might present tonight, some of you will refuse to even consider them.

You may think it cruel to even ask for evidence of the “stolen generations”. Or you may just be too frightened for your good name to dare doubt.

I sure understand that, because when I’ve questioned the evidence of the “stolen generations”, I’ve been accused not of being wrong but of being bad.

Robert, for instance, has accused me directly, or implicitly, of playing the race card, of being part of a conspiracy, of being “simplistic, sensationalist, misleading and mischievous”, of being a “terrible simplifier”, of having “little capacity for empathy”, of wanting Aborigines to hold gratitude days for being conquered and so on.

It’s not true and it’s not pleasant. So I need to do one thing before I discuss the evidence – I need to give you permission to believe it.
Here, then, is why it’s right and good and decent and kind to believe that, no, the “stolen generations” are in fact, just as the evidence suggest, a myth. It’s moral not to believe this myth, this theory, because it is now causing such terrible harm.
It’s not just that the “stolen generations” theory has robbed children of pride in their country; that this myth has given newcomers less reason to embrace us, that it has made villains of heroes who once saved children abandoned by everyone else, and that it tells Aboriginal children that this is such a genocidal society that they should not even want to join it, even if they dared.
Worst that even all that is that Robert’s theory of the “stolen generations” is actually killing children.
Of course, I need to explain.
By now you must all know there has been an epidemic of child abuse in Aboriginal settlements.
Professor Bonnie Robertson, for instance, warned in a 1999 study of Queensland’s communities that the violence – including against children - was out of control and gave many horrific examples, such as the girl one witness saw being checked for sexual diseases after her arrest for shoplifting.
Just 14, she was, but the witness said: “I have never seen a girl so red raw inside...Turns out she had been sexually assaulted since the age of three. (She) was the first person I have seen that I have thought, ‘There is no hope for you.’”
It’s shocking. We’ve loved arguing about what was allegedly done to Aboriginal children half a century ago, yet we avoid discussing how Aboriginal children are being hurt right now.
In May, a Crown prosecutor in Alice Springs, Nanette Rogers, also tried to warn of the horrific crimes she saw being committed against children in Aboriginal camps.
There was the seven-month old who was raped so badly she needed surgery. There was the 10 year old who was tied to a tree for weeks by a tribal “husband” who raped her repeatedly. There was the six year old who drowned when a petrol sniffer raped her anally as he held her down in a lake.
So what has been our response those few times we’ve been forced to take notice?
Here is one example. Five years ago the Victorian government was told that child abuse involving Aboriginal children had soared, and the then Community Services Minister responded: “The solution is not to continue to take disproportionately high numbers of Koori children into care...” (4) That’s right: Don’t remove them so much.
As the then family services coordinator of the Mildura Aboriginal Co-operative angrily noted: “Things have to be a hundred times worse for Kooris before the department will become involved.” (5)
She is right. We consciously leave Aboriginal children in dangers we would never tolerate if these children were of any other race.
Just ask the New South Wales Child Death Review Team, which investigated why Aboriginal children of drug addicts were 10 times more likely to die under the noses of welfare officers than were children of white addicts.
It blamed a fear of the “stolen generations”, pleading: “A history of inappropriate intervention with Aboriginal families should not lead now to an equally inappropriate lack of intervention for Aboriginal children at serious risk.’’ (6)
In 2001, Western Australia’s deputy coroner tried again to warn us after investigating the death of a three-year-old Aboriginal boy from malnutrition and pneumonia.
She found the boy had been admitted to hospital three times before for pneumonia, and suffered many other infections as well as scabies, anaemia and impetigo. His mother wouldn’t give him prescribed medicines or feed him properly.
A doctor testified that she’d begged the Aboriginal case worker to at least remove the boy’s even more sickly twin sister, but had been told she didn’t understand Aboriginal ways of child-rearing.
The coroner concluded: “Experience has shown that in the long term taking Aboriginal children from their communities is not an effective solution socially, although in this case it may have been medically advisable. We have a dead child . . . ‘’ (7)
We have a dead child, she said. How many others must die in our homage to the “stolen generations’’?
Aboriginal leaders are now asking that very question, even those who believe , more or less, Robert’s theory.
Listen to Warren Mundine, Labor’s past president, who said: “I understand why some governments and also the white Australian community ... like to back off, because they don’t want to be accused of being racist or creating a stolen generation.”
But, said Mundine: “I’m saying to them, ‘No, you need to get your hands dirty if you’re going to fix this.’”
Or listen to the National Indigenous Council’s chairwoman, Sue Gordon, who tells us that Aboriginal leaders in Halls Creek, and elsewhere, are demanding we again build hostels to save children there.
But, she says: “The same old argument arises in so-called progressive circles: we will somehow be creating another stolen generation.’’
Listen to other Aboriginal leaders such as Wesley Aird, Mick Gooda and New South Wales MP Linda Burney (8), who all have said a fear of the “stolen generations” has made us too scared to save Aboriginal children right now.
And why? Because, I believe, we don’t want to admit that Aboriginal children were once rescued not from their Aboriginality, but from harm just like this.
We refuse to remove them from harm today, to avoid admitting this may be why we removed them yesterday.
I repeat: Robert, your “stolen generation” theory is killing Aboriginal children – and there is only one excuse for you to still push it. That it is true, and you can prove it. That you can produce the names and say - see, these children were stolen and this is why.
But here is Robert’s problem.
It’s often forgotten that anthropologists and historians from both the Left and the so-called Right – Bain Attwood (9) and Ken Maddock, for instance – noted that even in Aboriginal communities before, say, 1980, there was very little talk, or awareness, of children being stolen.
So I wasn’t surprised that Robert had enormous trouble once he tried to identify these stolen children he claimed were rescued just from their Aboriginality.
Look at the names of the children he once claimed were stolen, but which fail to make his latest list.
There was Lowitja O’Donoghue, a co-patron of the national Sorry Day Committtee, who in fact turned out to have been sent with four of her five siblings by her white father - with her mother’s consent, she says - to South Australia’s Colebrook Home because he no longer wanted to be saddled with his Aboriginal family. (11)
Colebrook, incidentally, also took in a sick young girl from the same station as O’Donoghue. That girl, Nancy Barnes, later became an admired educator and activist, and her autobiography starts: “We are referred to as the ‘Stolen Generation’. I consider myself saved.” (12)
Also named as stolen by Robert was Malcolm Smith, one of the only four cases – just four - he discusses in his book In Denial.
In fact, Malcolm in 1965 was an 11 year old son of a drunk widower who’d let his six sons run wild, wagging school, going hungry and stealing. His dad agreed in a court hearing that he’d could not look after Malcolm , and Malcolm was sent to a boys home. Are these really examples of what you mean by “stolen” for racist reasons, Robert?
Then there was Lorna Cubillo, another of those four cases in In Denial.
Cubillo - and Peter Gunner, another “stolen child”, said Robert – later had compensation claims heard by the Federal Court in the most famous test case of the “stolen generations”, one which investigated the history of child removals in the Northern Territory.
Robert - before the verdict – said this: “Nowhere was child removal conducted more systematically and tenaciously than in the Northern Territory” (13), and “we are never likely to have a more probing investigation”.
So what did this probing investigation into the worst area of child removals find? That, said the judge, the “evidence does not support a finding that there was any policy of removal of part-Aboriginal children”. Or, to use Robert’s phrase, there was no policy of stealing children just to rescue them from their Aboriginality.
Nor were Gunner and Cubillo found to be stolen.
Lorna Cubillo, it turned out, had been taken from a remote mission and ration depot in 1947 when she was just eight, with her father gone, mother dead, grandmother dead and a debate over whether her auntie was around much to look after her. Would you have left a little girl out there?
As for Peter Gunner, he’d been sent to Alice Springs to get an education with the express agreement of his mother.
That’s not the first time a hunt for victims came up empty for Robert.
He’s also been on the board of Victoria’s Aboriginal-led Stolen Generations Taskforce, which even hired consultants to find stolen children in this state. It could find no Victorian Aboriginal who had been truly stolen, and concluded that in Victoria “there was no formal policy for removing children”.
Even Western Australia produces no real names for him, even though he’s accused the former Protector of Aborigines there, AO Neville, of having had “genocidal thoughts”. On ABC Radio National in 2002, Robert conceded: “I think that kind of thinking didn’t have much effect on the victims of the policy.”
So to his latest list, which I hope to talk about more fully in our discussion if I run out of time.
Robert includes Molly Craig, 14, and her cousins Daisy and Gracie, apparently because he saw the film Rabbit Proof Fence. But when Molly as an adult saw the film she declared “That’s not my story”, and if Robert had checked the book on which it is based he’d know why.
The girls were not stolen by racists, but were taken with the consent at least of the tribe’s head man, Molly’s so-called step-father, and only after warnings to AO Neville that the fatherless girls at that harsh Depression-era camp were running wild with whites (men, presumably) and were badly treated by full-bloods. What’s more, the eight-year-old Daisy was now promised in marriage to a tribal man.
Are you really saying, Robert, that these children should NOT have been sent to safety and school? Did you see what became of Molly after she ran back to the camp, and was allowed to stay?
Robert also lists as stolen the late Robert Riley, citing as his source the biography by Quentin Beresford.
Did you actually read that book, Robert? Beresford says he in fact doesn’t know why Riley went to Sister Kate’s home as a two year old, although a file letter to the Minister of Child Welfare at the time records he was simply “left at this home, by his mother”. A later report from a welfare officer notes that his mother “showed no interest at all in her son”. (14) And some of those who knew Riley later said his mother actually sent him to Sister Kate’s because her then boyfriend said he’d kill him if she didn’t. (15)
Is this really what you mean by stolen, Robert?
Then you list Rosalie Fraser, who writes that she was made a ward of the state at two in 1961 – but why, Robert? What’s your evidence she was in fact just saved from her Aboriginality? She was in fact removed by child welfare officers (16), not Aboriginal welfare, and sent with one of her sisters to live with her father’s relatives.
Margaret Tucker, now, was 13 in 1917, when she was sent to a girls’ home. If this was to save her from Aboriginality, why was it done so late? Could it be that the authorities were worried that Tucker’s father had in fact left, her mother had gone to Sydney and some auntie was looking after her - or kind of? (17)
Then Robert lists John Moriarty, a successful designer whose single mother one day brought him to Roper River, from where he was sent south to go to a boarding school with, he says, aunties and uncles. Stolen? Or sent away?
I could go on. Bob Randall, for instance, is another interesting case on your list.
But Robert, you don’t have here 10 names of truly stolen children. Not even close.
Yes, you have stories of great loss, stories of betrayal and pain, and also stories of lives saved – of children rescued from great need to become artists, businessmen and writers.
But what you don’t have are stories of children stolen by racists from caring families simply because they were Aboriginal.
And while you can’t put faces to your theory of this “stolen generations”, I think we’re entitled to doubt its truth.
In fact, given the devastation your theory is causing to real children right now, we have a moral obligation not to believe in your “stolen generations”. Not, at least, until you can show us those victims, and prove their stories.
Start with just 10.
1. The Age, 27 February, 1999
2. In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right, by Robert Manne. Page 82.
3. Robert Manne’s latest list of 12 truly stolen children, as sent by him to the Melbourne Writers’ Festival as, he wrote, a “condition” of this debate, is:
(1) ‘Walter’ see Robert Manne In Denial and Anna Haebich Broken Circles
(2) Margaret Tucker see Margaret Tucker If Everyone Cared
(3) John Moriarty see John Moriarty Salwater Fella
(4)and (5) Trish Hill-Keddie and Sandra Hill see Quentin Beresford and Paul Omaji Our State of Mind
(6) Bob Randall see Songman: The story of an Aboriginal Elder
(7)(8) and (9) Molly Craig, Gracey [actually Gracie - and Manne meant also to include Daisy] Fields see Doris Pilkington Rabbit-Proof Fence
(10) Donna Meehan see Donna Meehan It’s no Secret
(11) Rosalie Fraser and her 4 brothers and sisters see Rosalie Fraser Shadow Child
(12) Rob Riley see Quentin Beresford Rob Riley
(4) The Age, 9 May, 2001
(5) Herald Sun, 14 May, 2001
(6) Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March, 2000
(7) Herald Sun, 14 May, 2001
(8) The Australian, 21 Semptember, 2005
(9) ‘Learning about the truth’, The stolen generations narrative, by Bain Attwood, included in In Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand. Edited by Bain Attwood & Fiona Magowan, Allen & Unwin, 2001
Except: In the telling of such stories over several decades some of the factual content has remained constant but the forms in which they have been told and their relative importance have varied enormously. Between the late 1930s and the late 1970s, the removal of children was, as far as we know, neither the subject of many stories told in Aboriginal communities nor central to their historical consciousness7 —for example, in an Aboriginal history of Cummeragunja published in the 1950s there was no reference to the removal of children8 —and it was certainly seldom a part of narratives heard by non-Aboriginal people
(10) Genocide and the Silence of the Anthropologists, by Kenneth Maddock, in Quadrant, November 2000
Excerpt: What I find fascinating, given the passions aroused, is that the contemporaneous anthropological record contains nothing about genocide and little about removals. Did anthropologists doing fieldwork in various parts of Australia between, say, 1925 and 1975 miss what went on, or did they take the practice so much for granted that it aroused neither curiosity nor condemnation, or did it occur mainly in their absence?
That anthropologists would have ignored genocide by child removal, assuming it was happening, seems unlikely, since it was commonly held during those years that the future of Aborigines posed a problem for well-meaning Australians, that contact with other races could cause harm to full-blood Aborigines, and that the offspring of mixed unions were unenviably placed. A number of anthropologists shared these views. Some, who worked in regions where fullbloods predominated, put forward policies which would have nipped the “half-caste problem” in the bud had they been successfully implemented. Others, who did their fieldwork in communities consisting mainly of people of mixed descent where such proposals could have had no application, took an interest in how these communities had come into being, what their characteristics were and what the future might hold for their members.
If removals took place on a genocidal scale, why did anthropologists say nothing?
(11) “I wasn’t stolen”, Herald Sun, 23 February, 2001
(12) Munyi’s Daughter: A spirited brumby, by Nancy Barnes. Seaview Press, Henley Beach, SA.
(13) The Age, 27 February, 1999
(14) , by Quentin Beresford. Aboriginal Studies Press. Pages 37-38
(15) Hansard, 2 June, 1997
(16) Fraser later told a Senate committee that child welfare officials were in fact responding to concerns that she and her siblings had been neglected. Her parents broke up and her father was jailed, not seeing his daughter again. See Hansard of Legal and Constitutional References committee, 9 August, 2000.
(17) As recounted by Tucker’s mother, Theresa Clements, in From Old Maloga: (The Memoirs of an Aboriginal Woman)
(For Robert Manne’s speech: go to
Manne’s speech follows – text supplied on-line by Manne:

Manne* finished by handing Bolt a bound series of historical documents which Bolt took very off-handedly. Manne got loud applause.
Bolt to Manne: Name 10 (stolen children)
Manne: I named 200. (some by-play about one or other interrupting)
B: Name 10.
Not just what someone said at a conference or someone’s correspondence. That 1937 conference you referred to as terrible because it decided to breed out the color, in fact decreed, its actual decision was to ‘preserve as far as possible the uncivilized native in his normal tribal state by establishing viable reserves.’ Its concern was to protect… (ironic laughter from floor).
Of the 200 names you gave, they included a child of 12 with VD, a child of 13 pregnant, a boy of 12 found chained in the backyard of a station manager…these are children rescued from something very oppressive. When you sent the list you said these are children found guilty of neglect on a perfunctory court hearing. Theory is one thing, The ultimate test is to show the victim. The NT Federal Court said you are wrong. In Victoria your own task force said there was no policy (of racial removal). Show their names.
Manne: I know it is difficult for Bolt to listen. The 1865 Act said that being the child of an Aboriginal mother was legal proof of ‘neglect’. Of the ones picked up, just prove the mother was Aboriginal! Bolt, do the work and find out yourself.
I won’t go into particular cases. Every case, he has distorted. He has written extensively about ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’. I have not only written a book on the people involved, but others have sent me documentary evidence. The truth is a mindset. In the book Rabbit Proof Fence, by the time they were picked up after early ostracism, it was all over. The book said the adults were beating their heads with stones in their grief. I was involved in the report of the Victorian Task Force, I was on the committee actually. It was very interesting but Bolt knows nothing about it. In the interwar period, there were very few cases of removal in Victoria but very large numbers in the 1950s and 60s. 13% of Aboriginal people in the survey by ABS said they had been removed in that period after WW11.
There are oral histories, interviews.. from my own head of department in late 1960s, Reg Worthy??? who says that something fishy was there– he wanted start to get people to go through files , put out a succession of aboriginal children to let him remove any doubt whether children… the list of 200 children placed unofficially away from their mother, was discovered in view of this work. They tried to find out and make amends in the late 60s in Victoria. There was no policy, nevertheless 3% of Aboriginals state they were separated, unlike the 10% in other states, another 45-50% should be historically investigated. Removals were all unofficial and a checking count took place. Again Bolt, why don’t you try to find out something.
Bolt: Name 10.
Manne: I sent 200 names, he can listen to the oral tapes. In four years, I found about 300, but cases I mention to Bolt were public accounts, they began with (Qld Protector) Walter Roth.
Bolt: These are the names?
Manne: Every child in that list was in my view unjustly removed; ‘stolen’ means two things: first it means taken unjustly by the state. The word ‘Stolen’ was not even mentioned in the Bringing Them Home report; the ‘ stolen’ word was adopted by the Aboriginal people because their lives were stolen from them.
I have chosen to represent a great variety of cases. Walter Roth was in 1902 but recent cases also and there are official books. I can’t now tell you the stories of the 13-14 people but they were people whose lives were stolen from them and taken and removed by the state for reasons unjustly. Many families after the war had problems, no doubt. The state firstly didn’t try to help offenders, they were put in prison for failing to pay maintenance. They were often sent to Cumeragunga (NSW).
Rosalie Fraser plus three sisters were sent to an abusive foster mother and suffered hell for years. The authorities knew and did nothing. Rosalie Fraser’s memoir “Shadow Child” showed in the real world what those policies were like.
Bolt: a condition of me talking to you was to name 10, now you say, ‘oh well, I can’t actually tell you about cases’. Why do you think Trish Hill-Keddie and Sandra Hill, were taken? You originally defined it as they were forcibly taken to make Australia white.
Manne: I will send you more, read more to you.
There is an extremely complex account of their removal. There were two girls, and the family had certain difficulty. The authorities moved in to take them because the authorities were not making the slightest effort to help the family get over this difficulty. They were sent to Sister Kate’s, separated from each other. Efforts were made by the parents to get them back. The efforts failed. The father was a navy war hero and was sent to prison for not paying maintenance.. Letters were sent and failed to reach the girls.
The girls were devastated; they were taught to walk away from Aborigines on the street; their lives were ruined by a policy of racism and neglect. I will make it all available on my website. What Bolt doesn’t understand is there are many complex cases which fit my definition of unjust removal and blighting of lives because of the way children were treated after removal.
Bolt: What family difficulties led to the removal of Rosalie? What was that?
Manne: I am trying to remember.
Bolt: You put those names on the list and you don’t know why.
Let me see whether that account about Rosalie Fraser (is valid). Manne is now saying the State should have helped more.(to Manne - Let me have half of the go you have had). The original definition was not people who had their lives taken away and whom the State should have helped. Your 1998 essay was different. Do you deny your own words now?
Manne: You are taking them out of context. It was not from harm that mixed descent children were rescued but through their aboriginality. That was true entirely up to WW2. One motive after WW2 was there were more cases in which children’s welfare was considered at risk. I will talk about those two children living with their mother and poverty-stricken. They say they were happy living with their mother. The Welfare decided she was not a fit person because of her poverty. That was what happened.
Bolt: You are saying the Welfare Authorities/Dept were (concerned about) poverty not because of their aboriginality.
Manne: I said there were many motives for taking the children, and one was welfare. I am not saying there are no cases where Welfare didn’t think there were serious risks; there were some (of those).
Bolt: I think you must let us share (the mike). You are going on.
Hirst: The speakers are addressing each other.
Manne: There is no doubt welfare considerations after WW2 played some part ; however, often because an aboriginal family was very poor and had difficulties, the standards applying to aboriginal families were of the sort that many children turned from their lives and their lives were ruined. There was every chance if authorities had understood it was their life that mattered, not lack of furniture or poverty…. It was blindness and lack of humanity. I still think it was racist but not as blatantly racist as in the interwar period.
The welfare files are not open and many aboriginal people who have seen the files say the files don’t reflect reality.
People of good heart, on the balance between racism and welfare considerations, (will be with me).
Hirst: Two questions – where you criticized the Report of the Human Rights Commission, ‘Bringing Them Home’. It is hard to face up to. Yet you say that report exaggerated the numbers, on the views and definitions you made here tonight. Do you think on balance the report has not served Australia well because those official pronouncements ‘were such a flawed document’?.
Manne: The report has many flaws, part of that is that the historical work was not done and they didn’t have the capacity or resources to do it. What is disturbing in the national debate has been that, led by Quadrant, Bolt and others got a smooth campaign under way. Rather than saying ‘let’s improve on things’, the campaign said nothing at all, ‘the report is a myth or hoax’. That did so much damage to this nation… I take some blame on Bringing Them Home, but the campaign which muddied the waters and didn’t admit this, one of the most fundamental questions and greatest crimes this country has perpetrated in the 20th century.
Hirst, to Bolt: Such distortions of the truth (on Stolen Generation) and for what? There are enough cruelties in the past, theft of black lands, half castes abandoned by white fathers, and years of neglect of people whose culture and communities are now shattered.
I was impressed because Bolt’s position in attacking Manne and others seems to have been that they are attacking the nation’s record, I was prepared to find in your essays any recognition of any fault. Now I have read out some, do you think those who take the opposite view to yours, who add to the list are setting out to denigrate the nation just for the hell of it?
Bolt: The various motives – I can’t psychoanalyse each one. Your mention harm, one is to truth. The second is because of this myth – Robert can’t name 10 – harm being done over this theory to children right now is devastating. We are consciously leaving black children in situations of mortal danger and some have died because of this theory. People are applauding the idea of the theory but you can’t find victims. Your applause for your good feelings is going strongly out there to wreck lives. What are you applauding in God’s name, look at the children, look at the facts! Don’t steel your heart to the evidence, this is causing so much devastation if you only looked.
Q: It seems to me clear that Manne outlined the way in 19-20th century there were many failures of institutional care. Is it possible that what we are seeing here is mixing of the race, coloration of the stolen children, vs failures of institutional management of children, generally black, in all parts of Australia. Can we unpack and separate pure administration from racist administration.
Manne: There is something in that. I would assume 50 times the number of (black) children were removed compared with white children removed. Institutional failure was also a fact with white children. Even at the time, people were still outraged. White children were not kept in “The Bungalow” at Alice Springs in the 20s. People who visited said it was a disgrace, there is a special kind of neglect and institutional failure which affected half-castes. I don’t think you will find anything as bad as that with whites.
Question – To Manne: Are you saying if I don’t agree with you I have not got a kind heart?
Manne: I beg you to read the collection of documents, I urge you to read it and you will see the injustices..
Bolt: What are you doing to address this issue with aboriginal children now?
Q (woman to Bolt): I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which this building was built. I am a member of the stolen generation. I find your writing very offensive, to myself and family and many others across this state and nation who have been removed. By your racist comments, what you claim as myth, you tell us what are your thoughts, you say everything is myth and there was no children removed..
Bolt: I don’t say no child was removed, I said there was no policy. Manne has not proved 25,000 children were stolen, or that racist reasons… and in Victoria

Q (woman): I am from Victoria.
Bolt: Manne’s own committee has been unable to find stolen aboriginals and concluded there was no policy of removal in this State.
Woman: Obey the truth!
Question, to Bolt: If land legislation were passed, that all white children were potentially in danger of neglect and can be removed from their parent, the dragnet would capture some kids genuinely neglected; abandoned , but surely we would say this was a vile Act.
Bolt: In my speech one of the first things I said was some children were removed from families for reasons that were not good enough. I have heard many cases where that is not true, there was legislation there and additional power to remove children deemed at risk. The question, when you ask for cases and examine them, you can test how far that policy was implemented and for what over-riding reasons.
When it has been tested as in the Federal Court, in NT, which Manne said was the worst area, it could not identify any children and said there was no such policy.
When I asked you to name victims, you can’t.. No matter how much you want to believe, or how oppressive – it is like the lady at the back (of the hall) .you must ask, in the absence of evidence, how can we go on believing something that is actually killing aboriginal children right now.
Q: How do you say about the evidence, what role racism did have.
Bolt: When you look at the children and identify stories of racism that devastates their lives, most often is when you have a father who is white, goes to the bush and has sex and leaves kids, like Lorna, Michael Long’s mother. There were white men having children and because the children are half caste , the fathers think they can leave them in the bush, they don’t need to look after them so they dump them on someone’s doorstep. There is also racism from the other side, some tribes like in the case of the three children in Rabbit Proof Fence, where the tribe thinks that because the children are of mixed parentage, they can give them a hard time. That is a direct form of racism that has blighted lives, as has removal.
Q: If the policy was based on welfare policy, why not remove the children under welfare provisions? They were in four states removed under aboriginal legislation.
Q: Do you think in hindsight one should not use the word ‘stolen’?
Bolt: The policy was generally a catch-all to match conditions in the field, where there were no social workers on the job. Lorna was taken from a settlement so poor it was staffed by volunteers who lived in huts made of branches.
In Victoria there was no such policy. Racist considerations did reflect some of that legislation.
Probably there was a feeling they could get away with removals from aboriginal parents without the processes you would have for whites.
Manne: On the word ‘stolen’, the word ‘stolen generations’, it was not used in Bringing Them Home. That was the beginning of the campaign. It is nothing to do with the (mean-spirited) antagonism the right wing had against the report. With aborigines, because they know they were stolen from mothers and culture and lives were stolen, if one were not so bloody mean spirited we would accept this as their word. When I used the word ‘holocaust’ I never meant moral equivalence, but if people said 1m jews were shot and you said not so many, it would be …
Unjust removal for racist reasons took place over 2/3 of the 20th century, if no longer.
Q to Bolt: Are you honestly suggesting that the attempt to recognize and right injustices of the past has led to modern-day maltreatment of aboriginal people?
Bolt: No, my argument was that it was an attempt, not to acknowledge things done in the past, but an attempt to re-write the past and I am saying that as a result, we are taking our eye off children now at risk. How dare you say I am heartless, children are dying right now while we are sitting in comfortable Melbourne.

Summing Up
Manne: I sent Bolt a list of 200 names, he parrots about naming 10. I want to say you have had a demonstration tonight of Bolt’s incapacity even to listen or think. For example, about the 1865 Act defining aboriginal children as neglected per se, and he says ‘court controls’. I have spent the last month compiling a document that no-one could read and not believe that shocking injustices were done in the first 2/3 of the 20th century. Print out those documents. I implore Bolt to read the documents and if he writes further columns not taking account of the documents, he is doing a shocking thing no journalist or human being should do (loud applause).
Bolt: The issue is not me.--- or whether I am a heartless man, nasty , terrible journalist, vile, all these things you have called me. The issue is whether there is evidence of stolen children. I asked you to provide a list (groans from audience)
It is absolutely fundamental. If you can’t try but can’t produce ten names , put names to the policy, why do you still believe it? Why do you still believe it in the overwhelming evidence of the damage to children now? It is easy to construct some vague idea of stolen generations through paperwork etc but look at the facts of the case on the ground. When you mention as stolen a girl who had VD at 12, you sent me that name and said she was stolen. How can you possibly say that removing that child was an act of racism?

Hirst: I will not pronounce a winner, only ask you to thank our two speakers.

· (Names used by me are surnames whether or not people actually used given names).
· ####

Weasel said...

Not nice if even your friends hold you up as a yardstick of failure:

THE British Labour Party could end up in as sorry a state as the Australian Labor Party, a former Blair minister has warned as the squabble over the Prime Minister’s departure plans reached new depths of rancour.

“This week we have seen the resurfacing of traditional Labour politics,” wrote former foreign minister Denis MacShane. “If this takes root, Labour may — like its Australian counterpart — face years in the wilderness."

Weasel said...

This time it’s the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Alan Ramsay, endorsing Greer’s gloating reception of Irwin’s death:

Germaine Greer was, if anything, gentle. The pity is she didn’t get the opportunity to include Howard and Beazley in her critique.
Can the usual suspects please write in how it’s unfair to generalise just from Ramsay, Germaine Greer, Tracee Hutchison, Clive Hamilton and the various callers and writers to the ABC, Age and Sydney Morning Herald that I’ve quoted so far?

Weasel said...

"Artists are the most important people in any society,” declares artist Stephen Sewell.

Who else but an artist such as Sewell, author of the play Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America and recent winner of a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, would detect in the pleasant hum of our suburbs and towns such monstrously critical truths such as these:

As is apparent from the fate of the ABC, we are entering the world of the whispered conversation…

Climate change and ecological catastrophe are upon us…

If the end result of all our dreamings is a world where our dead children will be heaped in piles, what point all our beautiful thoughts and words, music and paintings?...

Australian audiences started being deprived of the opportunity to see theatre about refugees…

We lurch from one disaster to the next, forever ascending a tower of ever increasing mastery and technique, making each new disaster more horrible than the last…

When we look at the pictures of torture and degradation from Abu Ghraib, is our shock because it seems so alien to our nature, or rather that it seems so familiar, a commonplace of human life, from the Nazi death camps to ancient Roman games and amusements...? least now we can be honest with one another, and honest with the children we have so disastrously betrayed. And if that is possible, then perhaps we’ll go to our deaths with something like dignity…

A war spreading like an all-conquering monster across the dimming globe where our species is reduced to a hideous gibbering mass of barbarous cannibals the likes of which have never before been seen…

Weasel said...

Tracee Hutchison defends Germaine Greer’s sneering over the death of Steve Irwin, and says the bloke was an oick who “who had no place being canonised in life or in death” anyway. She adds:

I can’t help thinking that if Clive James, a fellow traveller with Germaine Greer in the great exodus of Australian intellectuals to London in the 1950s and 60s, had made the same observations as Greer did this week about the outpouring of Australian grief over Steve Irwin’s death it would have been viewed very differently.
But James didn’t say those things, did he Tracee? Greer did - and I rather think that is the point. It has in fact tended to be the Left that has been so determined to bury Irwin with damnation, as you yourself do here.

James has far more class.

Weasel said...

"To hell with the panic merchants,’’ sneers Phillip Adams. This war on terror is just a Bush hoax.

Many of us begin to suspect terror alerts, suspicious of how they seem to occur at times of political convenience, when a president might need a boost in the polls or a prime minister a distraction from a political embarrassment.
But why should you believe Adams on this when he and his don’t believe him either?

THREE weeks ago, under family pressure, I cancelled a flight to Britain because it was scheduled to land at Heathrow on September 11. Cowardy, cowardy custard.
A perfect metaphor of the Left, who, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, are “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep’’.

I think the point of guarding against terrorism is to defend against the off chance the victim won't be Adams.
How come you let the shotgun sprays on the insiders go past you? I understand you are sticking to points, while they can't even find facts, but Marr's oft expressed lie regarding WMD in Iraq seems to have street cred. Also the lie about Iraq being a political distraction by conservatives.

For the record, WMD were found in Iraq, but the liberal left shift goalposts and start talking about types of WMD. It may well be the case that what Powell mistook for labs may well have been merely mobile torture chambers, but that doesn't mean Hussein was covered in sweet smelling roses. Even the UN acknowledged there were WMD.

Weasel said...

Saddam's victims speak

One wonders if Riverbend can accomodate these people in her busy writing schedule. I gather from Marr's morning comments that they are of no consequence to his oil demand.

Weasel said...

The Australian reports:

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy was allegedly raped repeatedly while his hands and feet were bound as part of a series of horrific sexual assaults by 10 males at a remote Top End community.

Weasel said...

This seems bad:

HUNDREDS of Pakistani troops are reportedly withdrawing from the crucial war on terror battleground of North Waziristan - the lair of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri - amid heightening concern about the likely impact of what is described as a “Faustian agreement” reached between Islamabad and Taliban militant

Weasel said...

Professor Fred Halliday despairs:

The approaching fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States highlights an issue much in evidence in the world today, but one that receives too little historically-informed and critical analysis: the relationship between militant Islamic groups and the left.

He lists examples:

The trend is unmistakeable. Thus the Venezuelan leader Hugo Ch├ívez flies to Tehran to embrace the Iranian president. London’s mayor Ken Livingstone, and the vocal Respect party member of the British parliament George Galloway, welcome the visit to the city of the Egyptian cleric (and Muslim Brotherhood figurehead) Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Many in the sectarian leftist factions (and beyond) who marched against the impending Iraq war showed no qualms about their alignment with radical Muslim organisations, one that has since spiralled from a tactical cooperation to something far more elaborated…

The most recent manifestation of this trend arrived during the Lebanon war of July-August 2006… The London demonstrators against the war saw the flourishing of many banners announcing “we are all Hizbollah now”, and the coverage of the movement in the leftwing press was notable for its uncritical tone.

The good professor tries to explain to the Left that it’s playing footsie with its mortal enemy. But what if Islamism is just another apeal to the same totalitarian instinct that lapped up Marxism?

Weasel said...

I guess Muslims don’t believe all those naughty-us stories about an Islamophobic backlash either:

In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.
Wonder what the immigration figures for Christians moving to the Middle East are?