After WW2 the world said never again and enacted the UN Human Rights Charter detailing 30 articles protecting a wide range of inalienable human rights. Here in the West we easily get complacent about infringements and violation of these rights, and often they do pale in comparison to the gross violations that happen in places like North Korea.
This does not mean we shouldn’t fight tooth and nail to uphold these rights to the fullest. We should be angry that our rights are being eroded in the name of security. We should be angry that our Indigenous population is denied access to basic healthcare and education. We should be angry that Indigenous kids are being taken away at alarming rates and imprisoned at rates that are worse than that of apartheid South Africa. We should be angry at the rate of domestic violence and rape in this country. We should be angry at the closure of Women’s shelter. We should be angry that we lock up persecuted people that come to our shores in multibillion dollar prisons. We should be really freaking outraged at what’s happening in this country and working hard to see the end of the system and culture that facilitates this.
The new terrorism bill is far reaching. Under section 35, Immunity from Liability it states:
”A participant in a special intelligence operation is not subject to any civil or criminal liability for or in relation to conduct if … the conduct does not involve the participant engaging in any conduct that: (i) causes the death of, or serious injury to, any person; or (ii) involves the commission of a sexual offence against any person; or (iii) causes significant loss of, or serious damage to, property.”
It basically means that ASIO agents have the right to torture as long as it does not result in death or serious injury. This is not acceptable. We should not be doling away our inalienable rights to address some intangible shapeless threat.
Whats happening in Australia right now, with the heightening of terrorist attack level (which has absolutely no purpose but to create fear) , pushes to pass legislation that would essentially give certain officials immunity for committing torture, another move to involve us into another deeply complicated conflict and holding farcical terrorism raids with the media in tow, you think would remind us of the mistakes we made only a decade ago. But no, the general public are being duped again. It is post 9/11 again. It is the Iraq War again. The same fear mongering. The same dumb political decisions.
After 226 years, we as a distinct people, with a recognised culture that is over 60 000 years old are still being judged as lacking in the ability to nurture our children. We are being judged as failing to live in a nuclear family concept when we have an innate culture of communalism.
Our houses are not overcrowded. We live the vibrant value of togetherness as a living breathing example whereby our children have many generations to live and share with on a daily basis. We are judged on the ‘cleanliness’ of our houses, a hangover of the mission days when the white-gloved hand ruled. We are judged on what is in the cupboard or the fridge without recognising that our children go to nan’s, aunt’s, cousins for food. We have community.
Yes, there are situations where some aboriginal children are traumatised by physical, sexual or mental abuse but it is not the pandemic that is daily screamed from the verbal vomit arena. These children, as a matter of course, must be taken from their non-carers but they must not be removed from their wider extended family just to be adopted out to non-aboriginal families. Why is this being done? The collective blame placed upon our extended families is totally unjust.
After the success of the ‘stop the boats’ slogan, Scott Morrisson and Tony Abbott have revealed their new catchphrase, ‘if they’re brown let them drown’. At a press conference this morning Abbott stated the new catchphrase was more in tune with their promise last election for a more transparent and honest government.
The death of another Indigenous man in custody, Stanley Lord, highlights a judicial culture which disproportionately and unfairly imprisons our Indigenous population. As a point of comparison Stanley lord received 18 months jail for driving while disqualified. Jodhi Meares, a rich white woman, was three times over the legal limit, smashed four parked cars and was on her sixth driving suspension. She only received a $1100 fine and a one year driving ban.
This is a system that continues to see Aboriginal deaths in custody rise by 50% since 1991. This is a system that has still failed to implement a number of common sense recommendations from a 1991 commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. This is a system where our First Nation people make up 25% of the prison population but only 2.5% of the general population. In our juvenile system they make up 48% of our prison population. Overall Indigenous people are 14.8 x more likely to be imprisoned and 20x more likely in WA. The relegation of Indigenous issues to the ignore basket and the systemic oppression of our First Nation people must end.
White invaders v White settlers. Refugees v Illegals. Immigration v Border Security. Settlers is used to sanitise the horrors of white colonisation. Illegals dehumanises real people, making it easier to be cruel. Border Security frames the issue of boat arrivals as a threat and not as a humanitarian crisis. Loaded language is intentionally used by politicians and the establishment to manipulate the way we think about issues.
The death of another asylum seeker is no accident. The premise of our country’s asylum seeker policy is to deter arrivals by treating them worse than the countries they are fleeing from.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer spent an estimated $6 million at the last election on advertising. Holding the balance of power he has not only repealed the carbon tax which cost him $6 million a year but saw him repeal the mining tax today, saving him millions. Palmer has bought our political system and is making a great return.