Saturday, 5 November 2005
That's how Dr David Wright-Neville, a former senior analyst for the Office of National Assessments who now lectures on terrorism, violence and identity at Monash University, assessed John Howard's announcement yesterday that Australia was going to be attacked by un-named terrorists at an un-named destination at an un-named time in an un-named manner.
Thursday, 3 November 2005
History Repeating Itself
Throughout the Cold War, the United States government reached out to Arab leaders in an effort to combat the Soviet threat and increase goodwill in the Middle East towards capitalism and the West. State Department documents show the US government had a fairly astute grasp of the psychological state of the Arab world, a fact that makes our current fumbling even more disheartening. The paragraphs below refer to American actions in WWII, but could apply equally to the insurgency in Iraq.
These events gave the spur of bitterness and the enticement of prospective success to an intensely nationalistic, indeed a fanatical, drive to be free of Western control, a drive to which patriotic, racial, religious, and economic motives alike impelled nearly all classes. Final intensity was given [to] this drive by the explosive Arab reaction against Western and particularly American support for the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel.
The primarily negative reaction against the West with which we need to deal therefore revolves around the belief that the West has over a long period sought to exploit the people and the resources of the Arab world for its own purposes, that this exploitation has involved the deliberate continuation of a quasi-colonial political status, and that it has produced or at least perpetuated and aggravated the poverty of the area. Envy has reinforced suspicion, and helplessness and frustration have made it irrational. To this set of attitudes has been added a hostility arising from religious sources-perhaps no longer primarily a zealous detestation of the infidel but rather a resentment of the contempt or indifference with which the West is thought to view Islam and Islamic civilization; coupled with a conservative aversion to what are thought to be the materialism, godlessness, and immorality of Western and particularly American life.
Tuesday, 1 November 2005
The second link is a continuation of the story
13 October 2005
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said today the Liberal Party, and not the Australian taxpayer, must pay for the Federal Government?s multi-million dollar industrial relations advertising blitz after senior Government Minister Tony Abbott admitted yesterday that the advertisements may be in breach of the Electoral Act.
"We already knew these 'WorkChoice' advertisements were misleading and deceptive about the true facts of the Federal Government's radical industrial relations plans, what Tony Abbott has admitted yesterday is that they may also be illegal.
"These advertisements should not be paid for by Australian workers and taxpayers - the very people they are designed to mislead - they should be paid for by the Liberal Party," said Mr Combet.
In Federal Parliament yesterday Minister Tony Abbott admitted that millions of dollars worth of Government advertisements already run in newspapers around the country yesterday may have been illegal because they were not properly authorised as required by the Electoral Act.
The Howard Government, which has spent almost a billion dollars on advertising since coming to office in 1996, is expected to spend up to $100 million on advertising to promote its radical industrial relations plans.
"Under the Government's new workplace laws AWA individual contracts will be able to be used to cut people's take home pay and strip workers of basic conditions like public holidays, meal breaks, overtime, penalty rates and redundancy payments. Those are the facts.
"The Federal Government's advertisements are nothing but deception and spin and now we know they have not even been legally authorised.
"Millions of dollars of misleading Government advertising can not change the truth about these laws. They have been designed by big business for big business and are all about pushing Australian workers onto AWA individual contracts and giving all the power to employers. These laws will make it legal for employers to put workers onto AWAs that strip away basic conditions like public holidays, overtime, penalty rates and meal breaks.
"The Government's industrial relations advertisements are nothing more than political propaganda. They are in breach of the Electoral Act and must now be paid for by the Liberal party," said Mr Combet.
The federal government is spending up to $40 million advertising its planned workplace changes
The federal government is spending up to $40 million advertising its planned workplace changes, which the opposition has labelled shameless.
And the High Court has explained why it could not find the spending illegal, saying persuading the public of the merits of government policy might be as important to its success as the actual drafting of advice and legislation.
Prime Minister John Howard said while he could not be sure of the exact amount being spent on the television, radio and newspaper ads he believed it was around $40 million.
"(But) our budget would be - the upper limit of it would be somewhere - in the 30s or 40s (of millions of dollars)," he said.
An ACNielsen survey this week revealed the government spent $15 million in the first fortnight of its ad campaign.
Labor had been claiming the overall spend could be as high as $100 million.
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said the money could be better spent on tax cuts or providing incentives to motorists to switch their cars to natural gas.
"This is a shameless misuse of public funds to support a shameless purpose - that's what the prime minister's industrial relations (IR) advertising amounts to," Mr Beazley said.
"The Australian government should be handing back to the Australian people resources to enable them to withstand the economic circumstances which they now face.".
"Instead it is cynically using their money to benefit the Liberal Party. This has got to stop."
Labor's public accountability spokesman Kelvin Thomson said the spending could be greater than revealed.
"The $15 million revealed to date accounts only for advertising placement costs, not the costs of printing booklets, production, creative, running large call centres or media commissions," he said.
The High Court handed down its reasons for deciding earlier this month to reject an ACTU and Labor challenge to the constitutional fitness of the advertising spending.
The court's full bench had ruled it was not appropriate for it to judge whether taxpayers should fund the campaign.
It also ruled that costs of the legal challenge should be paid by the plaintiffs, ACTU secretary Greg Combet and Labor's legal affairs spokeswoman Nicola Roxon.
Ms Roxon said she had seen nothing in the 125 page ruling to justify the government's expenditure of the money.
The court's 5-2 majority found Mr Combet and Ms Roxon had not made a case that the government had acted unlawfully by using taxpayers' money to pay for the ads.
"In a representative democracy, governments, oppositions, politicians of all persuasions, and interest groups are constantly engaged in political struggle," Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said in his judgment.
"Persuading the public, or a sufficient number of members of the public, of the merits of government policy may be as important to successful formulation and implementation of policy as the drafting of advice and legislation.
"Persuading the public of the merits of policy and legislation may be vital to the achievement of the desired policy objective."
Outgoing judge Michael McHugh and Justice Michael Kirby handed down dissenting judgments.
Justice McHugh said the government's claim was that the relevant act authorised expenditure on the ads by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations on advertising that could reasonably result in higher productivity or higher pay in Australian workplaces.
"However, the defendants tendered no expert evidence that these advertisements might achieve either result and, after examining them, I can see no rational connection between the advertisements and higher productivity or higher pay," he said.
"The advertisements provide no information, instruction, encouragement or exhortation that could lead to higher productivity or higher pay."