Only a few months ago, federal Attorney-General “Gorgeous” George Brandis, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton, plus a swirl of judges, lawyers and academics, were celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
This month the same bristling crew are extending detention without charge to 28 days for “terrorism” suspects as young as 14.
The proposed measure is, of course, a total breach of Magna Carta which guaranteed an immediate free and fair trial to the accused. Holding offenders and denying their right to be heard in court was forbidden. “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice,” the 1215 charter said.
Over the years the politicians, the police and the judiciary have sabotaged the rights enshrined in Magna Carta and increased the arbitrary use of state power under the guise of “protecting democracy” i.e. private property and themselves.
The Liberal Party governments of Malcolm Turnbull and Mike Baird have trashed still further the principles of Magna Carta. With some footling objections, Federal and State Labor are going along with it.
It is a misconception to believe that basic human rights and civil rights were “granted by parliament”. They were conferred by parliament but only after they had been won through struggle and sacrifice against parliament and the ruling order of the day.
Rights which we all enjoy today were won in the course of the class struggle (yes, folks, the class struggle is still going on although never mentioned in the media or polite circles) and they will only be restored to us through extra-parliamentary mass pressure.
We live in troubled times. One half of Australians fear a land, resources and market-grabbing invasion by China, while the other half believe Muslims will take over and subject us all to Sharia law and a strict diet of halal meat.
Both sides are completely nutty and we have so-called “social media” to thank for popularising their nuttiness. According to wild-eyed pilots of the internet, there is a conspiracy to hide the truth about the imminent Chinese/Muslim invasion. “They” are “hiding it” so – ipso facto – it must all be true.
While most Australians are trying to shelter from the imminence of the Chinese or Moslem takeovers (take your pick), there are other things to contend with. In the past week there have newspaper, TV and radio headlines raising alarming fears about the surge in domestic violence, heroin and ice epidemic, animal cruelty, child sex crimes, internet bullying, increasing gun violence, mental-as-anything illnesses, ballooning levels of obesity, nursing home brutality and teenage terrorism.
Where to turn? What to do?
In NSW, Mike Baird’s government is spending $60 million on “specialist police squads” to target domestic violence offenders. Just imagine armed cops intervening in domestic disputes after triple zero calls from panicky neighbours – now there’s a recipe for neighbourhood peace, marital calm and child safety!
Since the NSW Coalition was elected in March 2011, gun club membership, gun possession and gun crime have exploded. Cops have more guns than ever before and Police Minister Troy Grant wants to give them rifles and shotguns as well.
Armed cops now sit in the state’s courtrooms and Ms Upton is recruiting 50 new court sheriffs.
She has also established a “task force” to examine “anti-libidinal treatment or chemical castration” to protect children from sex offenders.
Six victims’ support groups are represented, all pushing the same law and order plus compensation barrow – Victims of Crime Assistance League (VOCAL), Bravehearts, Homicide Victims’ Support Group, Enough is Enough, Adults Surviving Child Abuse and the Survivors and Mates Support Network.
This exciting announcement was made by Kara Lawrence, former Daily Telegraph crime reporter, but now running Police Minister Troy Grant’s Robocop agenda.
Grant, a former police inspector, hasn’t grasped the fact that he is no longer a police officer responsible to his trade union, the NSW Police Federation, but the deputy premier and a Cabinet minister responsible to the citizens of NSW.
Remember Alan Turing?
Have Troy Grant and Ms Upton never read the mountain of worldwide evidence showing the nightmarish flaws in the policy of chemical castration?
Take a night off, go to the cinema and see The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing who helped break Nazi war codes during World War Two.
In 1952 Turing was convicted of homosexual acts, and treated with barbarous psychological and drug procedures resulting in his suicide.
In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown publicly apologised for the “appalling” way he was treated and the ghastly Mrs Windsor granted him a posthumous pardon when the influential gay lobby at the palace rebelled.
In spite of all this, the NSW Coalition is proposing to let loose Hetty Johnson of Brave Hearts and her narrow-minded crowd to consider inflicting chemical torture on people convicted for sex offences.
No wonder the NSW right and the backward Nationals are celebrating: every pro-police, pro-gun and pro-prison measure is strengthening their influence and dragging the centrist Baird government further to the right. Just watch them do the same to Malcolm Turnbull as well.
It’s Kevin again
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his partner Therese Rein are sparing no effort (nor dollars) campaigning to install “Kevin from Queensland” as the next secretary-general of the United Nations.
Most Australians have seen it all before: it’s ugly, vicious and remorseless.
In 2006 Rudd stormed the Opposition leadership to overwhelm Kim Beazley. Later he maliciously white-anted Julia Gillard to reclaim the prime ministership that he had ignominiously lost in 2010 by virtue of a Caucus revolt.
Rudd is now positioning himself to lead the world body and become its ninth leader when Ban Ki-moon quits at the end of next year.
In pursuit of his Global Holy Grail, Rudd is displaying all the scheming tactics for which he is notorious. He is obsessively courting the media and flying first class around the world to give lectures and make TV appearances. There isn’t a breakfast, lunch or dinner he won’t attend to glad-hand the guests and leave his calling card.
He spent a week as guest host on CBS while the UN General Assembly was gathering in New York and The Economist has booked him as a guest speaker at its World in 2016 Gala Dinners in Singapore and then Hong Kong in November.
I only hope that world governments, foreign ministers and UN delegates consult Rudd’s public record before casting their votes.
Labor MPs and ex-Cabinet colleagues are virtually unanimous in criticising Rudd as a dysfunctional sociopath, hardly a character reference for selection as the world’s peacemaker.
Wayne Swan, his schoolmate and loyal treasurer, wrote in his memoir that that Rudd was “unstable” and “vengeful”, adding: “From 2010-2013, he resembled a grand chess master using people as his pieces, playing with the fate of the great Labor Party and the labour movement, sitting above it all, orchestrating strategies that put the personal before the politics.
“His legacy from this is the eternal enmity of many Labor supporters.” (The Good Fight: Six years, Two Prime Ministers and Staring Down the Great Recession by Wayne Swan).
Former Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said Rudd had “contempt for the cabinet, contempt for cabinet members, contempt for caucus, contempt for the parliament”.
Tony Burke, the former immigration minister, condemned Rudd’s year-long campaign to overthrow Ms Gillard: “It became chaotic, the chaos, the undermining, the temperament that started to develop, the micro-management where no one other than the prime minister could make a decision.”
After leaving politics in 2013, former attorney-general Nicola Roxon described Rudd as a rude and dysfunctional leader.
“Removing Kevin [as prime minister] was an act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people already,” she said.
Even mild-mannered environment minister Peter Garrett was stirred to describe Rudd as a “megalomaniac” whose failed prime ministership put the safety of Australia in jeopardy.
“He was a megalomaniac,” said the former Midnight Oil front man. “I am not the only one to think it either.”
He said he supported Rudd’s overthrow because “The business of government had become impossible with him”, adding: “His career is a series of passionate embraces of issues that he then walks away from.”
What about Helen?
You’d have to conclude that Rudd is a rank outsider for the UN position. He is distrusted in Washington, London, Paris and Beijing and loathed in Moscow.
For my money, the best candidate is Helen Clark, the former New Zealand prime minister, currently doing a terrific job as administrator of the UN development program.
But the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop can’t bring herself to support Clark because she is Labor while the ALP’s Tanya Plibersek isn’t prepared to publicly support her either. So much for honour among the sisterhood.