Daily Archives: March 18, 2010

September 22 deserves to be celebrated along with the centenary of Federation

September 22 deserves to be celebrated along with the centenary of Federation. On that day in 1951, defeat of the referendum to ban the Australian Communist Party confirmed that Australias temper would remain democratic. Had the vote gone the other way, the presumption of innocence would have been impaired and a star chamber installed.

Labor leader Ben Chifley said the Communist Party Dissolution bill opens the door to the liar, the perjurer and the pimp to make charges and damn mens reputations and to do so in secret without having either to substantiate or prove any charges they might make.

Robert Gordon Menzies had resisted a ban until disclosure of a Soviet espionage ring in wartime Canberra caused the United States in mid-1948 to cease sharing classified documents with Australia. This embargo struck at Britains nuclear program which needed both US secrets and Australian test sites. Communism, Menzies declared, was high treason.

After taking office in December 1949, the Liberal-Country Party coalition set out to dissolve the Party and its affiliated organisations, confiscate its properties and deny communistsCommonwealth employment or office in most unions.

The Act had first to identify communists. Documented membership would not catch the most wanted. Hence, the government proposed to declare people to be communists on the basis of evidence provided by its security service.

After Menzies made his Second Reading Speech on 27 April 1950, he had to amend accusations about five of the fifty-three union officials he had named as Reds.

The Act defined a communist as anyone who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teaching, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx or Lenin. Menzies reiteration that No Parliament can convert a power over Communists into a power over non-Communists would have been more convincing had the Act been confined to membership. Instead, declaration based on beliefs seemed to open windows onto mens souls.

The slipperiest slide was in the industrial arena. The publics prime objection to Communists was their causing strikes. Thus, every industrial action was labeled Communist.

Menzies had to break the Communist power in trade unions without provoking the labour movement into fearing that banning the Communists would also ban the right to strike. In a gesture to moderates, the Act outlawed communist control of employer bodies..

After the Labor-controlled Senate finally allowed the bill to pass on 17 October 1950, two Communist-led unions briefed deputy Labor leader Dr H. V. Evatt for a challenge in the High Court.

On 9 March 1951, the judges four of whom were Menzies appointees ruled six to one that, although the regulations sought may be valid under the Defence Power, the Cold War did not meet that criterion. In peace time, laws could prohibit only specific acts.

When Menzies sought to amend the Constitution by referendum, his lawyers warned against the dangers of being simple. It was not enough to ask: Are you in favour of banning the Commos?. The government also needed the constitutional authority to amend its invalidated Act. The arcaneness of the 300-word amendment fed suspicions that a Yes vote would let the a cabal declare anyone it did not like.

Menzies gave credence to that concern by allowing himself to be goaded, while the worse for drink, into hinting that two Labor parliamentarians could easily become declared persons.

Newly elected as Federal Labor Leader, Evatt raised the spectre of Belsen-style camps across Australia, an accusation which Menzies characterised as wicked. The Commonwealth War Book, meanwhile, prepared to concentrate over 1000 communist leaders in camps on the outbreak of the world war that Menzies warned was less than three years away. The Solicitor-General expected a round-up as soon as the High Court validated the Dissolution Act.

Evatt buttressed his legal and liberal arguments with attacks on the governments failure to put value back into the pound. On September 22, the No case attracted 50.48 percent, up from 20 percent seven weeks earlier. The press rekindled speculation that Menzies would resign to lick his wounds on the High Court.

As a poll of the whole people, the 1951 vote was more democratic than those leading to Federation, and the decision more democratic than our monarchical Constitution.

Aside

Little sense on the Middle East
[This is a response to some of the arguments put on Lavartus Prodeo where most of the articles and most of the comments assume that a two state solution is more probable in the Palestine/Israel conflict. The following response was posted there but parts of it have been censored.]

It makes little sense to propose a two-state or a one-state solution without considering the dominant Arab culture of the people who live there. It is Arab culture, not Islamic culture, that influences the people in the middle east.

One important question that no one on Lavartus Prodeo has considered is the political and cultural origins of Arab people in the West part of Syria, Lebanon, the West part of Jordan, Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Israel, Sinai (Egypt) — the Levant (Al-Shaam). Continue reading

Anti-Discrimination Act: administration of justice?

[Aboriginal News]

It is imprudent to assess the workings of the legal system from the news stories alone, and without due regard for the merits of the case from both sides. However the following news story seems to a bit of a clanger. This is the gist of the case:

The taxi driver called the man a ‘black bastard’. The man complained to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and the Tribunal found that discrimination occurred and the taxi driver must pay $2,000 in compensation.

The Court of Appeal has now overturned the Tribunal decision on a technicality – remember, the racism remains proven – because the racism by the taxi driver was not directed against a customer.

Now the ‘black bastard’ is required not only to repay the $2,000 but also to pay the court costs of the taxi driver.

The Court of Appeal sees reason to make the ‘black bastard’ pay for using the justice system to complain against racism by awarding costs against him. (Perhaps this is a legal technicality of the Court of Appeal’s operations were costs must be awarded to the successful party.)

If the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal had not found that racism exists – and it is most likely that the Tribunal is the one that made the decision to use that particular part of the law – the ‘black bastard’ would now be better off.

So ultimately ‘black bastards’ are at risk of being heavily penalised if making a complaint of racism, even is the racism is proven.

Is there any other way to see this exercise in justice?

No wonder we always feel like ‘black bastards’ in this country!!! Perhaps we deserve to be locked up and be treated like outlaws in our own country.

Justice, Queensland style? No so hard to believe if you live in this State. So if you really want justice, next time a taxi driver in Queensland calls you a black bastard…jump in the car and ask him to drive you somewhere, perhaps to the Court of Appeal.

les

(Another black bastard who doesn’t know when he is well-off)

Cabbie cleared over ‘black bastard’ slur

AMELIA BENTLEY
March 18, 2010 – 2:31PM

A Cairns taxi driver will no longer have to pay compensation to a man he labelled a “black bastard” because he was not his customer.

The Queensland Court of Appeal today overturned a ruling made by the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to award Torres Strait Islander man James Sailor $2000, to be paid to him by Nelson Hubbucks, an employee of Black and White Quick Service Taxis. The Court of Appeal heard taxi driver arrived at a Cairns unit complex in March 2005 after being dispatched to collect a customer at the address.

…Read More at http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/cabbie-cleared-over-black-bastard-slur-20100318-qhkt.html