Friday, September 30, 2011

News Items and comments

Exploring nuts and bolts of discrimination

Piers Akerman – Thursday, September 29, 11 (07:41 pm)

IF you wish to be politically correct you might remove coconuts from your shopping list and start to roll your lamingtons in some alternative form of confectionary coating.

I always thought ‘coconut’ was slang to describe Pacific Islanders, never heard it used in relation to Aborigines. Not that many would be brave enough to say it to a 6 foot 4 Samoan mind you.

The ruling against Bolt shows that shock jocks and the far right in the print media can’t use their positions to promote intolerance, this is no bad thing. I

Also, did you know racial discrimination is bad for the economy? You seem very concerned about the economy at the moment Piers so perhaps this is a cause you could run with. Happy to send some research papers if you want to do some reading on it.

Richard of London (Reply)
Thu 29 Sep 11 (08:11pm)
DD Ball replied to Richard
Thu 29 Sep 11 (09:12pm)

The ridiculous ruling means that I might be transgressing the law in referring to my Aboriginal ancestry, because I might be wrong. My mother told me such, but it might not be true. So here I am, with my US and Australian citizenship, having been born in the US to Australian parents. I have never embraced Aboriginal heritage. I have been offered the privilege by an elder but declined as I don’t identify with it. And if someone wants to take insult I could get into trouble for that. The law is an ass.


Hypocrisy in action

Miranda Devine – Friday, September 30, 11 (01:56 pm)

High-minded human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside, let rip today on twitter with a disgusting anti-Catholic smear of Tony Abbott.

He has since apologised, saying, “I am new to twitter and thought I was replying to one person”.

Burnside, who has been applauding the Federal Court ruling against Andrew Bolt’s opinion column, clearly believes in free speech - as long as it’s for his opinions, no matter how odious and bigoted.

Here is his twitter feed, for posterity:


*** FROM THE VAULT *** Still paying for the tin ear of the Left

Miranda Devine – Friday, September 30, 11 (12:58 pm)


This is a column I wrote last August, during the election campaign. In hindsight, so much of what has transpired in politics since then was utterly predictable.

August 7, 2010: THE parlous state of the Labor party this election is a direct reflection of the tin ear of the Progressive Left.
Again and again, smugly, arrogantly, patronisingly, Progressives declare themselves to be moderates, claiming to represent a reasonable ideological middle ground, while showering the real moderates, who they dub “right-wing”, “conservative” or “extremist”, with abuse - subtle and not so subtle.


Bolt case has ominous echo

Miranda Devine – Friday, September 30, 11 (11:35 am)


ON Twitter, after the Andrew Bolt judgment was announced on Wednesday, the reaction was overwhelming glee.

The cesspool of hate that threatens to engulf most social media was at its vociferous worst when commenting on the Federal Court ruling that my colleague, Andrew Bolt, had violated Australia’s racial discrimination laws.


Porn and the damage done

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (07:40 pm)


A NURSE friend recently suggested I write about what she sees as an epidemic of “young girls having boob jobs”.

GP’s are not stupid. They know that these women need more than having their bits bobbed just to please some thoughtless,ignorant male. They would be better recommending some psychological help for them to realise that that is the way the female body is. As if there isn’t enough pressure on them from clothing designers, magazines etc to give them poor self image, their erstwhile sexual partners are in on the act too.

Apart from the stupidity of these women in allowing themselves to be conned like this I’m also perturbed about the Medicare angle. When you have people waiting months and even years for needed surgeries which are not always covered by Medicare, when people have dental problems and can’t afford to see a dentist because it’s not covered by Medicare, you have to wonder where the priorities are here.

mags of Queensland (Reply)
Wed 28 Sep 11 (08:22pm)
DD Ball replied to mags
Thu 29 Sep 11 (12:28pm)

While I broadly agree I think it is a mistake to dismiss these girls as stupid. Anorexia is not a result of stupidity, although sufferers feel very low self esteem and may label it that way. There is a disconnect between image and reality and advertising fuels it, exploiting porn. It sounds funny to say porn is being exploited. It is true that girls need to snap out of this victim reverie if they are to deal with it better than many are today.

Pornography is so pervasive. It is a sad fact of life. Society has not worked out how to deal with it. It is as old as time, with fertility figures being found thousands of years old. Like prostitution, it has always been there. But it is not necessarily good, just because it is so pervasive.

As a child, and the youngest of a family of four children (two half sisters came much later) my parents had firmly established ideas of how things should be. My mother thought the human body is beautiful and porn degraded it. My dad delegated responsibility to my mother for such education. The local elementary school I went to decided it was such an issue that they needed to be involved. The school plan was that the nurse would have a collection of pictures not deemed to be derogatory which students could examine.

Once I went to the nurses office with a black eye. My father had given it to me as I was leaving the car because he thought I was too prone to telling embarrassing stories. He apologised for hitting my face, saying he thought to keep it lower, but I ducked. I assured him I wouldn’t tell how it happened. When the nurse asked I said I had been playing ball. She had been tending another student, and my eyes drifted to her open display porn stash. She cheerfully invited me to look at the pictures, so long as she could watch me looking. I was very curious, but did not want to be watched satisfying my curiosity. I would have been 6 or 7 years old,

Later that year my mother took me and the next youngest, a sister who was two years older, with her on a road trip. We stayed in a motel. The previous occupant had left behind a copy of Hustler magazine, and my mother let my sister look through it. She invited me too, with the warning about how porn was bad and how I must be watched if I chose to look at it. I declined. But I was curious.

My mum went on her task, and I waited for my sister to be distracted so I could look through the magazine. But my sister was alert to that and wouldn’t give me the time. So the next morning I let my mum think the magazine was thrown out, and I hid it among my bags. Of course when I got home I saw some of the obscenities .. who was interested in an asshole of the month? I remember one of the girls liked wearing cowboy boots and little else, as it was more natural .. but I wasn’t satisfied as things weren’t explicit, things were obscured and some things just looked wrong.

I didn’t want to get into trouble for having the magazine, so I hid it in my sister’s room. My mother wasn’t forgiving of my sister when she found it there. I didn’t think there would be a cost for me.

The idea of judging someone by how they look seems very wrong to me. I like pretty things, but I prefer the company of good people. A beautiful but amoral women is like a pig with a gold ring in it’s nose, according to Solomon. He would know, with 300 wives and 600 concubines.

I am an older person now. I want family and simple things. Pornography is not something I want to be part of my life. I disagree with my parents beliefs. I no longer think the body is beautiful, but I have met many people that are .. and I didn’t need to see their vagina to know.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Wed 28 Sep 11 (09:22pm)
Fabulist replied to DD Ball
Fri 30 Sep 11 (12:18am)

Either you had an exceedingly strange childhood, or you’re fantasizing. The school nurse wanted to co-opt you into looking at porn with her, when you were 6 years old? And your mother, too, wanted to look at porn with you? And your sister? And all three times you gallantly and bravely resisted? LOL. Sounds like something you might have read in the Playboy or Hustler “Letters"/"Fantasy" section…

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Fri 30 Sep 11 (10:49am)

Not a fantasy, Fabulist, but a nightmare. I have since learned that while my childhood was strange by Christian community standards, it was par for the course for those raised in atheist families. Everyone that is normal is normal the same way. But each person raised in abuse and neglect is unique.

Also, you mischaracterise the supervision as being participation. The adults apparently felt they needed to be present to make sure things did not get out of hand. The two years older sibling probably wanted to exercise responsibility.

This kind of surgery under the back drop pornography is just another aspect of Western Societies demise.

Rabbi Jonathon Sacks in Britain users a term so well, in a similar context, being “Unsustainable self Indulgence.”

Bruce Smith of Blacktown (Reply)
Wed 28 Sep 11 (11:04pm)
DD Ball replied to Bruce Smith
Thu 29 Sep 11 (12:41pm)

Yes, I think you labeled the issue right. But the majority are guilty of unsustainable self indulgence a lot. There needs to be a way forward. Cosmetic surgery has a valuable place in the community. It shouldn’t be outlawed. Why shouldn’t those who can afford it pay for it? It allows those who need it to have it available. But it is such a tragedy that our young view themselves in such a low light.

The issue is not unrelated to drug abuse. Or youth crime or vandalism or any of many other things. Positive community values through sport, leisure, arts can combat this issue but aren’t. Instead the facile rules and those who should stand up against the exploitation which results in this feeling of loss among our youth, like religious institutions and community leaders, have also taken their eyes off the ball.

How are the young to know that the facile isn’t important when an Uniting Church leader can label global warming as a moral challenge. Or an Anglican leader can claim that a tax is what is needed to heal the sick and help the poor.


Sarbi’s saga is a barking good read

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (07:13 pm)


THERE are some stories out of war that are so life-affirming and heart warming that they serve to expunge the horrors for a time.

The picture looks similar to the dog I had as a child. Called Kiddles. Kiddles had white markings on his snout. and White ‘socks.’ Kiddles saved the lives of my family when he alerted us to a fire one evening. It claimed the house but allowed us all to escape.
He died about a year later when no one would walk him and my dad let him outside to walk himself. I wrote the Ballad of Mitzy the Puppy in memory of Kiddles.
I thank you for sharing this story, Miranda. It reminded me of Kiddles.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Thu 29 Sep 11 (12:48pm)

Drug-drivers on the road to perdition

Miranda Devine – Saturday, September 24, 11 (10:21 pm)

DRUG-DRIVERS are wreaking hell on our highways so why is the law so soft?

Harm minimisation fails and Libertarians are wrong to claim a moral issue with blocking drug use. Libertarians claim that legal restriction is wrong. That it encourages use, as prohibition of alcohol did.

I am teetotal by choice. It is related to my discovery that small amounts of alcohol gives me gout. Many people I know aren’t teetotal. Not all of them are drunks. But some are. Likewise some people I know use drugs. It ruins them mentally. It also leaves an awful smell in the toilet.

Is there a worse tragedy than the senseless loss of a loved one? Maybe a government sanctioned killing of a loved one. That is the moral issue.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sun 25 Sep 11 (06:43am)
Head Turner replied to DD Ball
Mon 26 Sep 11 (09:58am)

Actually DD,

The Police Command and Health experts don’t agree with you....

As they know that all the efforts in riding drug use in society is akin to counting how many grains of sand there are on a beach… impossible.

As such, the WAR on drugs was a good conservative slogan for the bogans.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Mon 26 Sep 11 (04:52pm)

Which police commander, Head turner? Which health experts? Which police commander feels that the life of Amy Winehouse was worthless? Which health expert has forgotten their oath to do no harm? The New York experience vindicates Zero Tolerance While this article shows a failure of harm minimization.

Jeremy Heyes replied to DD Ball
Mon 26 Sep 11 (05:34pm)

Thats one thing you can’t stop simply because it always depends upon the individual how strong he is mentally. If his will is strong than he can sober once again but his choice not governments.

Head Turner replied to DD Ball
Thu 29 Sep 11 (03:33pm)

The head of the Drug and Alcohol Dept. at St. Vincents Hospital would be one I can identify… You know the doctor who has to deal with drug and alcohol victims in Kings Cross and the inner city.

The expert at the coalface .... I don’t know him personally though as I don’t know many of the experts I have heard speaking on that subject as well as many other renown experts on many subjects. I can’t seem to remember all their names.... How remiss of me.

And if I did would that make any difference whatsoever to you… ?? I don’t thik so. You would then just go into character assassination mode, the usual deinal mode of conservatives.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Fri 30 Sep 11 (11:03am)

I live and work around Cabramatta Head Turner, and no that you are wrong. Some of those drug users who died were my students, some were my friends. Some, I just never liked.

Compassion is a verb, and Zero Tolerance is the best policy based on the compassionate response of those dealing with the issue.


Not such a happy Vegemite

Miranda Devine – Saturday, September 24, 11 (08:49 am)


IF the ALP really does take leave of its senses and reinstall Kevin Rudd as prime minister, you’d have to think the days of the faceless folk would be numbered.

Yet more conservative fantasies....

The destablisation of the Labor Party, by Abott and his the conservative media cheerleaders, is pathetic cluthcing at straws. It wouldn’t matter how many times Rudd attempted to refute this beat up story by the Abbott and his supporters.. The mud throwing will still continue with every word and situation twisted to undermine confidence in Labor, while the rest of the world scratches their collective head wondering what on earth the Australian people are on about..... and are so “grumpy”. The words of the presenter while handing Swan his award in Washington DC. Australians are a bunch of sheep.

Swan receives the Worlds Best Treasurer of the Year for producing the best economy in the world through the worst Global Financial Crisis in living memory, brought to us by the deregulated market ideology of conservatives. The rest of the world has been applauding Labors preformance for years… All the major economic reporting organisations, The Economist, Euro Mag, World Bank, IMF ComSec, WesPac obviously NO NOTHING…

Conservative media opinionist think they have the expertise… on economics and the science of climate change. And we can always trust rusted on conservative journos to tell the truth.... Can’t we. Especially if they are associated with News of The World.

The world has noted just how out of touch conservatives in Australia are with the rest of the world...except for the redneck Tea Party types. You people bring shame to our country. They are laughing at us because of YOU.

Head Turner (Reply)
Thu 29 Sep 11 (11:47am)
DD Ball replied to Head Turner
Fri 30 Sep 11 (10:57am)

The award to Swan of the World’s Best Treasurer highlights something important that I don’t think has been picked up. Swan has taken a prosperous economy which rewarded people for having families and buying homes and turned it around in four years to a struggling nation with 20% of GDP debt and enormous spending initiatives which achieve little worthwhile. The award shows Swan is the equal of Paul Keating. They might quibble over who is better, but there is much evidence suggesting no one was worse.

I am not an ALP supporter. I didn’t want Rudd in office and didn’t want Gillard in office. Both have been party to my betrayal by the Department of Education in NSW. I was able to tell the coroner of my concerns related to the death of Hamidur Rahman last Tuesday, but I was not able to speak of Gillard’s role, or Rudd’s.

I have promised my self that when I am finally vindicated I will forgive my abusers. But my God asked me why I was waiting.

So I have.

I don’t hate them. But I don’t feel either of them should be in office either. I see no evidence that either is competent.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Thu 29 Sep 11 (12:55pm)

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

C. Fred Bergsten claims that eliminating America’s trade deficit is a costless way to boost employment in America (“An Overlooked Way to Create Jobs,” Sept. 29). He’s mistaken. Among his several errors is his illegitimate assumption that all dollars that foreigners don’t spend on American exports remain idle, effectively withdrawn from circulation.

Consider two cases. First, Americans buy $1 million worth of textile imports from the Chinese who then buy $1 million worth of pharmaceutical exports from Americans. The result: balanced trade.

Second case: Americans buy $1 million worth of textile imports from the Chinese who then buy $1 million worth of land in Texas. The American seller of the land immediately spends this $1 million on American-made pharmaceuticals. (Perhaps the Texan is opening a pharmacy.) The result: a $1 million U.S. trade deficit.

In both cases, Americans producers sell an additional $1 million worth of output as a consequence of Americans importing $1 million worth of goods. So – although America runs a trade deficit only in the second case – the employment effects in both cases are identical.

Such an example, being entirely plausible, is sufficient to prove the absence of any necessary negative connection between trade deficits and employment.

Donald J. Boudreaux


Here’s a letter sent yesterday to the Boston Globe:

Jeff Jacoby exposes the flawed presumptions and conclusions in Elizabeth Warren’s insistence that wealthy Americans are morally obliged to pay more taxes because each individual’s success in the market requires the efforts and cooperation of millions of other people (“Professor Warren’s ire,” Sept. 28).

Pop quiz: Who described the term “self-made man” as “an incredibly naive and arrogant expression”?* Is it someone who, apparently like Prof. Warren, assumes that proponents of limited government fail to understand that each individual in modern society critically and ceaselessly depends upon countless numbers of his or her fellow human beings?

No. These are the words of economist Thomas Sowell, here referring to the fact that modern prosperity requires a vast system of social cooperation that is, and can only be, coordinated chiefly by market prices. Insofar as taxes distort these prices and thwart incentives, social cooperation is diminished.

So Prof. Warren’s pointing out correctly that each person (I put it here in the words of Adam Smith) “has constant occasion for the help of his brethren”** is an insufficient justification for raising taxes.

Donald J. Boudreaux

* Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), p. 110.

** Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Bk. 1, Chapter 2, para. 2.


Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:

You report that “A federal judge on Wednesday said Alabama law enforcement officers can try to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally” (“Federal judge upholds key parts of Alabama immigration law,” Sept. 29).

So it has finally come to pass that in America agents of the state go about demanding from peaceful people “Your papers, please.”

The fact that the armed officials speak, not ominously accented German, but familiar American English when demanding to see documentation that someone has government approval simply to be in a certain jurisdiction – the fact that the words spoken literally are “Your papers, please” rather than “Ihre papiere, bitte” – does nothing to make this spectacle any less heinous an affront to freedom and to civilization than it was in Nazi Germany.

Donald J. Boudreaux


Quotation of the Day…



… is from today’s column by George Will:

Fond of diversity in everything but thought, a certain kind of liberal favors mandatory harmony (e.g., campus speech codes). Such liberals, being realists at least about the strength of their arguments, discourage “too much” debate about them (e.g., restrictions on campaign spending to disseminate political advocacy).

(My only dissent is that I refuse to call such closed-minded believers in their own capacity to order other people about “liberals.”)


The curse of Twitter

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (12:31 pm)

A tip: Julian Burnside refused to defend my own free speech, but may have to now apologise for his own - at least to Tony Abbott if not also to me.

Gone now, but not forgotten.


He endorses an abusive book, tweets offensive tweets but refuses to defend my own right to free speech about how people of mixed ancestry identify themselves - a right removed in part on the grounds that I was rude:

HUMAN rights lawyer Julian Burnside has apologised to Tony Abbott after branding him a “Paedos in speedos” on Twitter.

The prominent QC said the tweet, which was seen by users of the social media service as a reference to pedophilia, was a mistake for which he unreservedly apologised.

He said he thought he was sending the message to just one person, not his more than 5000 followers.

“I don’t think this is true of Tony Abbott and I apologise,” Mr Burnside told The Australian Online.

“I don’t understand the way it works. It came through as a text on my phone. It was a pun.

“I’ve always thought texts go to just one person. I replied with a similar pun that I had heard on Matt and George, a BBC comedy program.”

Mr Burnside said the comment was supposed to be a one-to-one reply to someone in a conversation about pedophile priests.

I am left with the strong suspicion that Burnside tends to defend sides, rather than principles.


Gawenda thinks of a reason he didn’t hire me - or any other conservative

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (09:56 am)

Michael Gawenda, the former Age editor, once wrote about how very, very hard he tried - honest - to find a conservative opinion writer for a newspaper that now has not a single one on its staff:

[Most Age journalists were] on the left: pro-environmentalist, pro-feminist (and) anti-American, especially when it came to American popular culture and American patriotism…

It was perhaps my greatest failure that in seven years as editor I had not discovered enough fresh talent for the op-ed pages... Finding conservative columnists was particularly hard.

Really? Most other editors have managed to find one, but Gawenda ... well, maybe, he could not find one that would quite suit his own tribal preferences:

I voted Labor. I could not imagine voting any other way. To do so would be a betrayal of my past. I had never voted for the Coalition.

Gawenda now admits he once toyed with the idea of hiring me:

When I was editor of The Age, I thought about hiring Andrew Bolt as a columnist. Indeed, I think I even met with him to see whether he had any interest in coming back to the Age. (Bolt was on the Age staff when I joined the paper in the early 80s.) I thought Bolt might add … how should put it ... a certainly unpredictability to The Age oped page. As it was, I don’t think Bolt had any interest in joining the red rag I edited and looking back, I’m glad it never happened. That’s because inevitably, sooner or later, Bolt would write a column that I would refuse to publish. And then I’d have a martyr to free speech on my hands.

I’m not sure Gawenda realises how weak this makes him sound on the one hand, and how censorious on the other.

Oddly enough, he never had a problem with keeping on staff the cartoonist Michael Leunig, whose offensiveness so far surpasses mine, in my opinion, that Gawenda felt obliged to make him “a martyr to free speech” by refusing to publish this cartoon:


Leunig remains to this very day an Age staffer - and, not co-incidentally, a patron saint of the Left. It appears to me that Age editors are quite prepared to have someone of the Left be a martyr to free speech - and to defend that person - but do not wish to go to quite that same effort for a conservative, even when it’s a conservative whose argument is that we should look beyond racial divisions and not seek to institutionalise them. Radical stuff like that.

Gawenda’s apparently fussier attitude to conservatives may help to explain why The Age has lost every single on-staff conservative columnist it ever had in the last generation.

Gawenda goes on:

I would not have published the two columns for which Bolt was found to have contravened the Racial Discrimination Act. I would not have published them firstly because (I hope) in the editing process, there would have been questions raised – by me, by the oped page editor, by our lawyers perhaps — about the “facts” on which Bolt built his pieces which basically argued that some people had chosen to identify themselves as Aborigines to reap material rewards of one kind or another. I would not have published them even if the columns were factually accurate because I thought the tone of the columns was nasty and demeaned the people he was writing about.

I am unable to defend myself on the charge that the arguments in my columns rested on “facts” that were false - a meme that many in the Left have seized upon to justify their refusal to defend my free speech.. The judge has ruled that some opinions and statements I’d advanced were advanced as facts and were false, and while I have said that none of my errors seemed to me of much consequence, it would be most unwise of me to argue any more than that. I believe I have a case to make beyond what I have suggested, but the judge has found as he’s found and so I must stay silent on this matter.

But it’s very telling that Gawenda concedes that he would not have published my columns even had they been in every single detail correct. Not only does this suggest that the real offence I’ve cause to so many of my critics is not my “sloppy journalism” and other such slurs, against which I do not dare defend myself, but my opinion and the manner I expressed it. And Gawenda now confirms that it could have not expressed that opinion as I wished to in any paper he edited.

This is a rather curious edict, given what The Age did feel free to publish in the period in which Gawenda was the editor. Take this nasty and demeaning charge against a conservative Catholic leader - a slur published on the front page of The Age:

Australia’s most powerful religious leader, George Pell, yesterday stood aside as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney to allow an investigation into claims that he sexually abused an altar boy more than 40 years ago.

Dr Pell has been accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy at a church camp at Phillip Island during his time as a trainee priest.... Dr Pell, 61, stood aside a day after he received inquiries from The Age about allegations made by a Melbourne man to the church’s National Committee for Professional Standards. The committee examines abuse claims under the church’s “Towards Healing” process.

Hrere’s what The Age failed to note:

But after reading key bits of the evidence, I’m not surprised X refused to go to the police about Pell, as church officials had urged. I can’t imagine them thinking the case, on this material, was worth prosecuting.

Yet we’ve now had Pell’s name dragged though the garbage tip, thanks to claims dragged out of an apparently reluctant ``victim’’ in part by an outfit he claims tempted him with huge dollars, and then helped to arrange publicity that could only hurt Pell.

Any apology for the damage done to Pell’s name when the inquiry found no proof of any abuse?

In the end, and notwithstanding that impression of the complainant, bearing in mind the forensic difficulties of the defence occasioned by the very long delay, some valid criticism of the complainant’s credibility, the lack of corroborative evidence and the sworn denial of the respondent, I find I am not “satisfied that the complaint has been established”, to quote the words of the principal term of reference.

Here’s is another nasty and demeaning slur against an individual that The Age published on its front page under Gawenda’s leadership - this time against a conservative historian who’d challenged the group-think on our ‘genocidal” past:

Controversial Australian historian Keith Windschuttle has been accused of plagiarism by one of his critics, La Trobe University professor Robert Manne.

Professor Manne said the plagiarism was contained in the Sydney historian’s new book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, which aims to debunk the idea that Tasmanian Aborigines and European settlers were engaged in a violent struggle.

Professor Manne said plagiarism had been committed in an “extraordinarily cold” passage which argued that Tasmanian Aborigines were a maladapted people who treated women badly and were ill-equipped to cope with the impact of European civilisation.

He said that when he followed a footnote in Mr Windschuttle’s book to a work by American anthropologist Robert Edgerton, he discovered that several pages presented Mr Edgerton’s work without proper acknowledgement.

Here’s what The Age then had to publish, after discovering the smear was baseless:

But yesterday, after reading Windschuttle’s book, Alexandra recanted with a letter to The Age: “I have now looked over Windschuttle’s book, where extensive referencing to the sources for the relevant factual claims is to be found. Therefore, I apologise unreservedly to Keith Windschuttle for making the incorrect claim that he had not provided adequate referencing for such factual claims, and for any adverse inferences concerning his professional integrity that might have been made on the basis of that claim.”

It strikes me that one side of the ideological debate is held to far more punitive standards than the other, and is far less likely to find an editor willing to publish them. It also strikes me that some classes of people are able to be abused with far greater impunity than others, and have far fewer laws to protect them.

Hypocrisy abounds.


The Age editor refuses to defend my right to speak as I did on racial identity on the grounds that I am guilty of “sloppy journalism” in describing the background of people who identified as Aboriginal even though, I argued, they had other ancestry and influences they could have identified with (an opinion the Federal Court has found to be wrong).The Age gives only a single example of this sloppy journalism of mine:

The European ancestry he supplied for them was sometimes wildly off the mark: for example, he wrote that Aboriginal lawyer and academic Larissa Behrendt looked as German as her father - yet her father was Aboriginal and dark-skinned.

It would be very unwise of me to comment on The Age’s assertion. All I would do is urge you to read and view the obituary that the Sydney Morning Herald, the sister publication of this same newspaper, published on Paul Behrendt’s death.

Much more on Paul Behrendt from Professor Bunyip.

(Thanks to reader Gab.)


Idiotic overreaction

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (07:13 am)

Thank heavens he’s not a (SNIPPED FOR LEGAL REASONS) or people would be even more precious about this robust debate than they are:

The BBC has apologised to the EU after a Brussels official was repeatedly called an “idiot” when taking part in a flagship news broadcast on the eurozone debt crisis.

TV bosses said they contacted European Commission economic affairs spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio to apologise for “discourtesy” that led him to walk off the Newsnight show during a video-link appearance from Brussels on Wednesday night.


Galaxy: only Rudd can save Labor

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (07:09 am)

It’s a pretty easy argument to make to the two or three dozen backbenchers likely to lose their seats under Julia Gillard:

(A) Galaxy Poll for The Daily Telegraph revealed 60 per cent of voters would prefer Mr Rudd to lead Labor, compared to 26 per cent support for Ms Gillard.

And in terms of winning an election, 68 per cent claimed he was Labor’s best chance, with only 22 per cent backing Ms Gillard. The poll comes ahead of the expected announcement today by Treasurer Wayne Swan of a $2 billion revenue hit to the budget bottom line, putting the promise to return to surplus further in doubt.


More reaction

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (06:09 am)

Mark Steyn

The key passage in Bromberg’s decision is:

I am satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles.

“Fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them)”? Any idea of the percentages? What proportion were offended and what weren’t? This is a case without victims, in which the judge has ruled that it is “reasonably likely” there are some victims out there somewhere or other. As to it being “reasonably likely” that they were offended, is it “reasonably likely” beyond a reasonable doubt? Or does every bedrock principles of English law have to subordinate itself to the human right not to be offended?

Miranda Devine:

ON Twitter, after the Andrew Bolt judgment was announced on Wednesday, the reaction was overwhelming glee.

The cesspool of hate that threatens to engulf most social media was at its vociferous worst when commenting on the Federal Court ruling that my colleague, Andrew Bolt, had violated Australia’s racial discrimination laws.

Violent, obscene language that cannot be printed in a family newspaper was employed against Bolt by people who hide behind anonymous avatars.

Serial Twitter offender and former Age columnist Catherine Deveny wrote: “The boys in the big house are going to love #Bolt. He has such a pretty mouth.”

The Twitterati voiced delight as well: “Great victory against Andrew Bolt, hope one day he will be removed from radio and TV”.

One tweet said: “now for Alan Jones”.

The irony, of course, is that the chortlers are so stupid that they don’t realise they are next.

George Brandis, the Opposition’s shadow attorney general:

WHEN, in 1995, the Keating government amended the Racial Discrimination Act to outlaw “racial vilification”, the opposition warned that the prohibition went too far. Then Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill said the language of the amendment, “by making it unlawful for a person to do an act in public that is reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people if that act is done because of the race of the offended person or persons . . . presents an unacceptable threat to civil liberties in Australia”.

The government dismissed with contempt the Liberal Party’s concerns about the effect of the new provisions on freedom of expression. Then minister for immigration and ethnic affairs Nick Bolkus, apparently oblivious to the Orwellian resonances of his rhetoric, described the conduct that the bill sought to outlaw as “speech crimes”. He said: “They are crimes which society and government have recognised need a legislative response because the behaviour that attaches to them is such that we can do without it and it has a deleterious effect on our community.”

Last Wednesday, when the Federal Court gave its judgment against Andrew Bolt in a case brought against him by a group of “fair-skinned Aborigines” relying on the 1995 amendments (in particular section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act), the prescience of Hill’s warning became apparent for all to see. The opposition does not criticise judge Mordecai Bromberg for reading the act in this way. Whether he was right or wrong in law is a matter on which, should there be an appeal, a higher court will have the final say. What his judgment reveals is just how far-reaching the effect of those amendments is.


Why Clark wanted to gag me

Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (05:35 am)


Geoff Clark reveals why he wanted to limit my freedom to speak:

GEOFF Clark has admitted that he took part in a class action against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt over the general “tone” of his opinion pieces.

Mr Clark said in an interview with the Herald Sun yesterday that Bolt’s writing on a range of racial issues, not just the two articles reviewed in the court case, prompted him to take legal action.

“He’s got a wide audience and, subject to what he says, that audience is swayed and he has a lot of influence,” he said.

Mr Clark was part of a class action involving nine “fair-skinned Aboriginals”, who were the subject of two articles written by Bolt in 2009.

He said the “tone” of Bolt’s writing was part of the reason he sued.

“Certainly the tone, but the frequency - it wasn’t just one article, it was a number of articles. At the end of the day it became unbearable,” he said.

“It was based on the articles (but) there was certainly other ranges of views too numerous to comment."…

Mr Clark was charged in 2000 with two counts of raping a 16-year-old girl in January 1981 - but those charges were later dismissed....

A County Court jury in a civil case in 2007 found Mr Clark had twice raped Carol Stingel and ordered him to pay her $20,000 compensation.

Mr Clark confirmed to the Herald Sun last night that he had not sued for defamation over any articles previously published about him, including those that reference the rape allegations.

Mr Clark said his action against Bolt was not an attempt to curtail free speech in Australia.

When asked if the ruling would make Bolt think twice about writing articles in the future, he replied: “Not necessarily think twice, the fact is he has to consider what he says is not hurtful or harmful in how he expresses things - he certainly has to think about that if he is going to write articles.”

In republishing the Herald Sun article, I am aware that references within it to Clark’s past would be hurtful to him. That already puts me at risk, at leat by Clark’s rules limiting free speech.

I would also note that that Clark outside the court called me a ”serpent”. That, too, breaches the rules Clark sets on free speech.

(No comments for legal reasons. I apologise for our inability to allow you to express your own views,)

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