Thursday, July 21, 2005

The AmishThrasher Wrap, July 21st

Posted by AmishThrasher at 10:44 am
AmishThrasher Wrap:
Mmmm... souvlaki
Today on the AmishThrasher Wrap: Remember Senator Ian Campbell? He's back, and he's just shocked that anyone would lie to him, telling ABC's 4 Corners that "You know, when a guy looks you in the eye and says he's going to either abstain or walk out of the room and shakes your hand, I come from a tradition of respecting that until proved otherwise... all I know is what's happened is they promised to do one thing, and did the other, and the result is foul." Not that he'd ever do anything like that! Plus a flashback to a Ruddock quote which, in the light of Vivian Solon's deportation, is worth remembering: "And the alternative course that is offered -- and when you recognise that at the moment in detention we have something like 1,600 people and 800 of those people, almost 800 of those people, are being held for removal -- in other words, they're not refugees." All that, and more, today in the AmishThrasher Wrap!Hi, and welcome to the AmishThrasher Wrap. Like I said, I'm looking at different ways of delivering content, especially once I get back to Uni, when the time I have to put this together will be a lot more limited. Anyway, here's a quick round-up of a number of recent issues in one post:

Whale Watching
I'll start the Wrap off by talking about the ABC's Four Corners Program this week, which dealt with the recent Whaling Summit. And while I have recently criticised the Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, for his lies in the lead-up to the last Federal election (which you can read here), he does deserve to be commended for the work he put in in opposition to Japans move to re-legalise commercial whaling, and his opposition to the "Scientific Research" loophole which Japan has used to slaughter whales. During the Program, Japan's Representative to the IWC comes off as particularly loathsome.

That said, keeping in mind the porkies he told before the last Federal Election about Australia's nuclear waste dump being on an off-shore island and that the Northern Territory was not being investigated, take a look at some of his comments during the program. For example when the Solomon Island's Prime Minister lied about abstaining from the vote, Campbell said "You know, when a guy looks you in the eye and says he's going to either abstain or walk out of the room and shakes your hand, I come from a tradition of respecting that until proved otherwise." And I agree, politicians looking you in the eye and telling lies is disgusting. But apparently, in Campbells tradition, politicians telling porkies before an election to thousands over the radio is A-okay. Another quote from the Senator was "...all I know is, what's happened is they promised to do one thing, and did the other, and the result is foul." It's funny, the people in the Northern Territory who heard you tell them there would be no radioactive waste dump in the Territory feel the same way.

The transcript is online here.

The Ruddock Quotes
Moving on, from time to time I like to post past comments from pollies when their comments get exposed for lies. Well, given the recent crisis in the Detention Centre system, it is worth going back to see what, soon after the 2001 Federal Election, former Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock was saying about the detention centre system, in the wake of the illegal and immoral detention of Australian Citizens like Cornelia Rau, and the deportation of Australian citizen Vivian Alvarez-Solon. Here's a transcript of Ruddock on Lateline, broadcast on the 19/3/2002:

Ruddock defends detention of children
...And the alternative course that is offered -- and when you recognise that at the moment in detention we have something like 1,600 people and 800 of those people, almost 800 of those people, are being held for removal -- in other words, they're not refugees.

They have no lawful basis to be in Australia.

They could be removed tomorrow if they were prepared to cooperate with us...

One of those people 'held for removal' - that is, waiting to be deported - would be Vivian Alvarez - Solon.

But if Ruddock was wrong that people slated for deportation had no legal basis to be in Australia, the question arises of how many of those 800 people that Ruddock had deported really were refugees? And just think, if even one of those 800 really was a legitimate refugee, we sent them back to a war-torn country where they would face persecution, and that they had risked everything to leave.

Meanwhile, given that Cornelia Rau, who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, was neither diagnosed correctly by Detention Centre officials, nor given adequate care for her condition, questions have been raised about the quality of health care (especially mental health care) in our detention centres. So what did Ruddock have to say about the state of these health services?

In relation to the others we have a duty of care which we accept and which we honour and we provide a very full and comprehensive set of medical services as well as other related services to ensure that they suffer as least as possible.

But we're not going to unwind the detention arrangements merely because people bring families and then demand with the support of well-meaning groups that they should be free in the Australian community because of potential harm that they may suffer.

This is a situation in which they have placed themselves.
SOURCE: ibid.

As the Rau case shows, the mental health services available to detainees is, at the very least, thoroughly incompetant. Did they suddenly deteriorate between this interview and when Rau was incarcerated? Or was Ruddock lied to by his own department and, for whatever reason, didn't find out for himself? Or was Ruddock simply lying through his teeth when he was saying this? Whatever the truth is, it doesn't look good for Ruddock.

And, as the interview notes, there were clear warnings by experts, as early as 2002, that things were deffinately awry in the system, especially in regard to mental health care. What did Ruddock do? Deny it, of course:

TONY JONES: These doctors are saying, Minister, there is cancer in the system.

You are not taking their advice, you will not allow them to make an independent assessment of what's happening inside these detention centres -- the state, the mental state of not only men and women but their small children.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: What we have is a number of doctors, and you've dealt with this earlier in the program, who made it their business to go and offer advice and consult with people without them very often knowing that's what was happening and who were under the professional care of other practitioners.

I don't think that's an appropriate or ethical way in which to undertake inquiries or to come to an informed view.

But we did set up an independent evaluation of all the medical service that we are operating to ensure that they are appropriate.

I'll have a report available fairly shortly which details the result of that.

I mean, I do take advice in these matters.

I take it seriously.

Detention is not intended to be punitive.
SOURCE: ibid.

I wonder what happend to Ruddock's personal inquiry? Regardless, since then, we have gotten the Palmer Report. And it's a shame that things have deteriorated - either during, or since - Ruddock's watch to the point where an official inquiry was necessary. Speaking of which, Crikey have a story about it here, where they highlight where Palmer identifies the immigration system as being “‘Process rich' and ‘outcomes poor'.” And Ruddock undeniably deserves a lot of the blame.

Port Phillip Bay and Coode Island Update
Recently, I ran a story at the AmishThrasher recommending the redevelopment of Coode Island - you can read it here (it's in the July Archives). Well, for those of you who are interested, the Victoria Greens and the Blue Wedge Coallition have a protest coming up over the issue. From the Green's website:
Despite very big questions hanging over the economics of channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay and growing community concern, the Port of Melbourne Corporation and the state government seem determined to push ahead with a nine week, $30 million plus, 'dredging trial' in the north and south of the Bay.

"Trial dredging" - due to commence as early [as the 2nd of August -] is simply the thin edge of the massive dredging operation (four times as big as has been done any where else in the world) which the Independent Panel Report stated in March this year, threatens serious and irreversible environmental damage to the Bay.

There should be a moratorium on any further dredging in Port Phillip Bay until an independent analysis is conducted of all the direct and indirect impacts and costs of channel deepening (not just the cost of the dredging operation).

WEAR RED, CARRY RED, SEE RED and join the Blue Wedges STOP THE DREDGE Protest rally,
1pm, Sunday July 31,
Greenwich Reserve, The Strand, Williamstown
(Melways 56C5)

The Racist Professor
Finally, I'll wrap this up (no pun intended) with another follow-up to a story I did on Eric Rudolph, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Terrorist who was recently thrown in jail. Senator Nettle has put up a press release about Andrew Fraser; the racist accademic who has recently been featured on programs like A Current Affair, and in various newspapers for his hateful views on people from Africa and Asia. It's worth checking out.

If there were a Professor in Australia who actively supported Islamic Extremism, they would rightfully be condemned. Well, Fraser's comments actively support the positions of the Christian Identity movement; an American Neo-nazi Terrorist movement of which Eric Rudolph was a member. He deserves the same sort of condemnation.

And that's a Wrap!
And that's all from the AmishThrasher Wrap for now, though there is heaps more on the website. Thankyou for reading it!

If you think that this is a worthwhile feature, please let me know, either by leaving a comment, e-mail, or on the Message Board. Also,I'm thinking about doing something like the AmishThrasher Wrap as an e-mail newsletter - would you be interested in it? or would I be better seved in posting a number of short, paragraph longstories on the front page? Any feedback would be hugely appreciated!

Andrew S.