….Academics have warned of the emerging threat from right-wing extremism at the Conference on Community Cohesion held by University of Western Sydney this past week.
….According to a report by The Age’s Rachel Olding, attendees framed right-wing extremism as a threat on par with Muslim radicalization in Australia, while a police spokesman admitted racial tension was having a direct impact on policework.
….At the conference, counterterrorism expert Anne Aly from Curtin University argued that violent extremism in Australia was starting to mirror that of the United States. Aly presented a recent New America Foundation study which found twice as many people had been killed by right-wing extremists than jihadists since 9/11.
….But what is driving increasing numbers of Australians to far-right views and organizations? Chairman of the Islamic Friendship Association Keysar Trad noted the influence of right wing pundits, suggesting they “take no responsibility for the hostile environment they have created.”
….In the age of the soundbite and 24 hour news cycle, are incautious comments and Islamic terrorism’s presence as the dominant security narrative actually making us less safe? And do we need to reflect on the role of our political leaders and media outlets in amplifying the perceived magnitude of these threats?
….Speaking to the conference, Deputy Commissioner and police force spokesman on cultural diversity Nick Kaldas said that increased perceived discrimination and racial tensions were having a “direct impact on policing and require us to continue to tailor [our] strategies and workforce.”
….A 2014 Ipsos Mori poll found that Australians wildly overestimated the number of Muslims in Australia. Respondents estimated that an average of 18% of the Australian population were Muslim, a full 16% higher than Australia’s actual Muslim population of 2%.
….Could certain views expressed by public figures and the media have enticed Australian citizens to more radical thinking? Furthermore, is it appropriate for members of parliament and the media to broach these issues in arguably indelicate ways, given the tensions that already exist?
….In September of last year, ABC Radio listeners heard Attorney General George Brandis’ contention that Daesh “represents or seeks to be an existential threat to us.”
….South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi recently won a six-month inquiry into food certification after expressing concern about where money for halal certification “ends up.” Some anti-halal campaigners have expressed concern that the money “funds terrorism” while others have ironically boycotted iconic Australian products like Vegemite in response to its halal certification.
….Even our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made controversial remarks, stating most notably last year that he found the burqa “a fairly confronting form of attire” and “wish[es] it weren’t worn”.
….It seems possible for a person to contrive, from these and other statements, an extremely negative view of Islam and Muslim people. One that does not contextualize the insignificant number of extreme voices against the whole, the complexity and achievements of the Islamic world, nor the myriad positive contributions of Islamic Australians.
….At the Conference on Community Cohesion, Mr Kaldas labelled far-right extremism and protests which “encourage divisive notions of us and them” as some of the largest challenges facing Australian police. The Deputy Commissioner’s comments follow on the heels of Nationals MP George Christensen who, at time of writing, plans to attend a Reclaim Australia rally in his electorate this coming weekend citing his support for people defending the Australian way of life, culture, and freedom from radical Islam.
….For anyone whose political views stop short of “send them back where they came from,” social cohesion and a respectful multicultural society seem necessary for a prosperous Australia. Not just in these fraught young years of nationhood, but into the future as our country continues to grow.
….It’s imperative that our leaders and media outlets be mindful of their influence, and feel accountable for the extreme worldviews they might inadvertently promote. Australia, we need to talk about extremism, but our own extremist tendencies, and the way we shape debate, shouldn’t escape criticism.
In just a few short years, the Whitlam government: created Australia’s national health insurance scheme, Medibank; abolished university fees; introduced state aid to independent schools and needs-based school funding; returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people; drafted the first commonwealth lands right act; established diplomatic relations with China; withdrew the remaining Australian troops from Vietnam; introduced no-fault divorce laws; passed the Racial Discrimination Act; blocked moves to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef; introduced environmental protection legislation; and removed God Save the Queen as the national anthem.
“Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.”
-Gough Whitlam’s 1969 election pitch for equal access to education.
….Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out raising taxes to fund Australia’s participation in the coalition against IS militants in Iraq and Syria.
….The clarification comes after comments made by Treasurer Joe Hockey last week suggesting new budget cuts would have to be made to pay for Australia’s annual $500 million AUD military involvement and $630 million AUD expansion of Australian security agencies.
….Despite the PM’s assurances, concern is still bubbling in the community. Head of the Australian Thesaurus Association (ATA) Verr Bosse told Robolenin.com that the PM had his work ahead of him in ruling out synonyms for the word tax.
….“The PM said that there won’t be a tax hike,” Bosse said, in an exclusive interview. “But he didn’t rule out many of the wonderful synonyms for tax such as, contribution, cost, duty, expense, levy, price, rate, tariff, dues, excise, imposition, impost, obligation, tithe, toll, or tribute.”
….“This is a government which believes in lower taxes, not higher taxes,” the Prime Minister said, referring to his government’s policy of cutting public services instead of marginally increasing tax rates for high income earners.
….The government has belayed concerns about a possible rising cost in Iraq by unveiling its new military carpooling system.
….“The new military carpooling system will ensure that even if our involvement in the region escalates, we will never ever exceed annual expenditure of $500 million AUD,” a military spokesperson said.
….Meanwhile, Robolenin.com correspondents entrenched in Bill Shorten’s house have reported that the opposition leader has been losing sleep of late.
….Seemingly regretful of the opposition’s complete compliance with government policy, Shorten now wakes several times a night.
….“This death and deficit government,” Shorten reportedly mumbles, shackled within the cold prison of his own making.
….“Fuck that would poll well… ‘Death and deficit,’ shit.”
Australian Foreign Minister to visit Lao PDR
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP, will seek to add
further depth to Australia’s already close relationship with the Lao PDR on her
first official visit to the country later this week.
On her 4-5 July visit, Foreign Minister Bishop will seek to continue the
momentum of growing regional and global cooperation and high-level
exchanges between the Lao PDR and Australia over recent years.
Ms Bishop will also underline Australia’s commitment to continue to support
the Lao PDR’s economic development.
Australia remains one of the Lao PDR’s major development partners, with an annual program of over
AUD $60 million (LAK440 billion) in education, human resource development, rural development,
UXO clearance and victim support, trade and business reform, natural resource management and
market-focused agricultural research.
The Foreign Minister will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues with Prime Minister, H.E. Mr
Thongsing Thammavong, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr Thongloun
She will discuss parliamentary cooperation and exchanges with National Assembly President, H.E.
Mrs Pany Yathortou, and launch a major new A$86 million (LAK 631 billion) Australian initiative in
basic education together with Minister of Education and Sports, H.E. Dr Phankham Viphavanh.
Foreign Minister Bishop will discuss opportunities to strengthen two-way trade and investment in
meetings with Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E. Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, and with
Australian business representatives.
Ms Bishop will also meet senior Lao women leaders to discuss Australian support to promote
women’s economic empowerment and leadership, including the status of gender parity as a national
development priority in the next National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).
Australia and the Lao PDR celebrated the 60th
anniversary of bilateral relations in 2012 – the Lao
PDR’s longest unbroken diplomatic relationship at Ambassador level.
More than 1,000 Lao graduates have studied in Australia under Australian Government scholarships.
Over 200 Lao students from disadvantaged backgrounds have received Australian scholarships to
obtain professional qualifications from the National University of Laos.
….Controversy has erupted over documents which appear to have been leaked from the upcoming Australian Federal Budget.
The documents purportedly detail the federal government’s new approach to aged care, disability support and health services among other areas.
….If the leak is to be believed, the budget will ignore many of the recommendations presented in the government’s commission of audit in favor of more decisive measures.
….One area of the budget describes the new government policy of setting the elderly, disabled and chronically ill adrift on Antarctic ice floes.
….“The policy addresses the fact that some people are unable to contribute to society in a time of heavy lifting and should therefore be given a gracious way out,” the document reads. “First there is a cold, a terrible, bitter cold. But after a while there’s just sleepiness. Aren’t you tired after your lifetime of contributions to Australia? Just shut your eyes, it’s really that easy.”
….The documents have provoked dissent from within the Coalition with some individuals revealing to Robolenin.com that the budgetary decision caused a schism within the party room.
….“We were divided pretty much 50/50,” the informant said. “Many of us believed that putting people onto the ice flows was ridiculous. Australia has some of the best desert wasteland in the world and it is absurd that the taxpayer would pay the cost to have these people transported to a barren freezing hellscape.”
….Robolenin.com reached out to the government for comment but were told that the Australia does not comment on frozen water operations.
….The disquiet comes at a difficult time for a government faced with crumbling approval ratings and a rapidly diminishing supply of nonreplenishable synonyms for the word ‘tax’.
….Other major shakeups in the documents include a re-imagined social security system. The Coal for the Dole program will see Centerlink applicants sent to open cut mines across the country. Payments will be issued to customers as a percentage of coal mined.
….The budget also includes provision for a HECS Heavy Lifting pilot program which will explore the ability for arts and climate science students to pay off their university debts via coal enterprise.
….Finally, the documents have revealed details regarding the government’s immigration and direct action climate policy. The Rickshaws for Citizenship initiative aims to provide a cheap, infinitely replenishable workforce to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
….“We examined many models for direct action on climate change,” the documents read. “But the one that really struck a chord with us was indentured servitude. While some might think that forcing immigrants to pull rickshaws for a decade after coming to Australia is extreme, we think that it’s a natural next step in Australia’s immigration policy and a pivotal point in the country’s attitude towards carbon emissions,” the document concluded.