Monthly Archives: May 2015

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National #BoycottWoolworths Day of Action

11th Floor, Braamfontein Centre 23 Jorissen Street Braamfontein, 2017 Johannesburg South Africa29 May 2015 Dear Friends and Comrades, SUNDAY TIMES: BOYCOTT WOOLWORTHS “MOST DAMAGING” ON WW IMAGE According to a recent Sunday Times Bussiness article, various consumer groups are accusing … Continue reading




To be held at JAGERA HALL MUSGRAVE PARK… — with Rickey Kanji Lingwoodock, Alex Bond, MrandDr Bond and 27


48 hours for FIFA to ban Israel

We, citizens from around the world, believe that discrimination and violence must not be condoned by FIFA, especially when football players are the victims. Palestinian athletes are not allowed to fully practice their right to freedom of movement, some have … Continue reading


Did Cambodia Just Scam Australia?

Last September, Cambodian Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison clinked their champagne glasses after a meeting in Phnom Penh. The toast was to an pact between the two countries in which Cambodia agreed to shelter … Continue reading


Cloudland Collective: a discussion with John Quiggin about the situation in Greece

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The Cloudland Collective is hosting a discussion on the current situation in Greece featuring well known Queensland economist John Quiggin. The Cloudland Collective presents: A discussion about Greece today with economist John Quiggin 7pm Tuesday June 9th upstairs @ the … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo in June

 Friday, June 5 at 8:00pm Next Week Paul Bonetti / Luna Junction / Jumping Fences $10 / $7 | Cakes, tea and coffee available | BYO Thanks to our very loyal following who made our celebration of May 1st an … Continue reading

May 27 – International ‘Tell The Truth’ Day


Missy Higgins once sang that “lies will lock you up, with truth the only key.” She’s not often given credit as a wise sage, but anybody who has ever been stuck trying to cover the tracks of lies they have told can tell you the relevance of this line.

Someone with slightly different viewpoint, but who I’m sure also appreciates the lyric, is Chelsea Manning. Five years ago today, the Private First Class in the US Army then known as Bradley Manning was arrested after leaking to the public thousands of classified documents. It would be several years, including nine months of harrowing solitary confinement, before Chelsea was eventually charged and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Chelsea had found herself trapped in a web of lies. Stationed in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, it was her job to collect information but she found that the army wasn’t interested in…

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17 Group: “Cracks in the Fortress? Project Europe and Prospects for the Left”

“The thing is, you know nothing about the 60s.”     – Organiser, Students for Democratic Action(SDA)       University of Qld The next meeting of the 17 Group will take place on Wednesday the 3rd of June at 7 pm in … Continue reading


State of Origin: Die-hard Blues fans go Maroon over race row

Greg Inglis smiles during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre this week. Getty Images Greg Inglis smiles during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre … Continue reading


Special Screening: Ivory Tower

Brought to you by UQU and National Tertiary Education Union – Qld Division is a once-off screening of IVORY TOWER. Your donation* entry will include free pizza following the film and a brief discussion. *All donations will go toward the … Continue reading


Be part of making Australia a peaceful independent nation

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Registrations are now open for the 2nd Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Conference to be held in Brisbane on the 8th and 9th July. Come to hear Senator Scott Ludlam, Professor Richard Tanter and Professor Kozue Akibayashi address why our … Continue reading

The Vanguard: The ‘have a go budget’ – Coalitions second attempt to savage welfare spending

After massive community opposition to Coalition’s 2014 budget the Senate majority wisely decided to oppose the $24 billion spending cuts to social welfare. The two stand out measures that the Government couldn’t implement last year were reductions to the age pension and introduction of the GP co-payments.

Unable to force through the savage budget cutbacks that the Business Council wanted, Treasurer Hockey has now changed tack with his language from the aggressive “budget emergencies” and “ending the age of entitlement” to the more reassuring tones of “fairness” and “jobs for families”.

Some ‘choice bits’ under assault from the 2015 Budget

However this new rhetoric attempts to camouflage their spurious claims of assisting families but which are in actual fact another round of attacking the poor, workers and their families. The Government asserts that their proposed changes to childcare rebates will see families  who earn between $65,000 and $170,000 a year, $30 per week better off.

However this is a sleight of hand. The rebate will cost around $3.5 billion but will be paid for by cuts to the family tax benefits which amounts to $5 billion.

The Coalition has stated that this new rebate is on the proviso that the Senate accept their cuts to the family tax benefits. This will see payments to families stopped once a child reaches age 6 instead of the previous cut out age of 16; a reduction by as much as $6000 per year for lower-income earners.

To rub a bit more salt into the wounds of hurting families parents will have to undergo a workforce activity test to be eligible for the full rebate. A definite attack on single parents, who in the main are women.

Women who secured paid parental leave in their workplace agreements will now loose access to the existing Government paid parental scheme from July, 2016. The Coalition ferociously demonises this once legal entitlement to access both private and government parental leave with the blame speech of “rorting” and “double-dipping”; a measure that will save the budget over the next 4 years $968 million.

The unemployed is another section of the community that the Government still wishes to victimise. It is an indictment of the capitalist system that unemployment exists at all.

In fact capitalism always operates on basis of having a reserve army of unemployed, it cannot guarantee nor does it want to achieve full employment. This keep labour costs down and curbs militancy on the job.

Even though the Government has backed off from last year’s scheme for a 6-month wait before school leavers can receive unemployment benefits, they still propose a waiting time of one month. Job seekers under the age of 30 will be required by the new “Work for the Dole” scheme to complete 25 hours per week of work for the dole or another “approved activity” for six months each year.

The age pension will not suffer the original plan to cut indexation rates, but the government will now impose assets tests (set previously at $1.15 million to a $823,000 limit) to refuse pensions to greater numbers of retired people. This will see 91,000 lose the age pension and 235,000 suffer a pension reduction, a saving to the budget over the next 4 years of $2.4 billion.

Abbott and Hockey parrot the Business Council’s ideology that the pension should not be seen as a retirement entitlement but only as a protective measure.

As much as the government boasts about cutting taxes it is relying on bracket creep, where PAYE tax payers are pushed into higher income brackets as a result of wage increases and inflation, to supply 80 percent of their increased revenue over the next four years. This will see the average income tax rise from 21.7% to 27.4% over the next ten years and is the main method of eradicating the $35 billion budget deficit within four years.

Buying off Small Business with “Get out there and have a go!” tax bribe

With ironic opportunism the government in this year’s budget has presented small business and contractors with $5.5 billion worth of tax concessions, after previously overturning Labor’s small business instant asset write off tax deductions.

This small business package is Hockey’s showpiece to achieve ‘economic growth and job creation’, and to buy votes at the next Federal election. On offer is tax write-offs up to $20,000 for equipment purchases to the 780,000 businesses who have turnovers of less than $2 million a year and a tax rate reduced from 30% to 28.5%.

Small businesses who spend up to the $20,000 limit will be able to claim an unlimited number of tax deductions over the next two years. However ‘tradies’ who rush out to spend may inadvertently lift their output and push themselves over the $2 million a year threshold and automatically lose the $20,000 write-off.

Interesting figures from The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute (TAI) argues in a document entitled It’s the revenue stupid: Ideas for a brighter budget , “… that 70 per cent of the budget deficit is caused by a fall in revenue and 30 per cent by an increase in spending. In other words the budget it is not collecting enough tax while increased spending is only impacting on the budget in a relatively minor way.”

In order for the government to: firstly, “reduce the budget deficit by billions”; secondly, “make savings progressively with those with the most ability to pay paying the most”; and thirdly “make savings efficiently, minimising market distortions and in some cases correcting distortions already in the market” TAI recommends eight policy solutions.

TAI has put forward two different types of revenue proposals. The first are fully modelled and costed policy changes. They include;
– Changes to super tax concessions
– Restrictions on negative gearing
– Scrapping the capital gains tax discount
– Introducing a Buffet rule (minimum average tax rate on high income earners)

The monies raised by this policy approach:
Revenue measures                                         Estimate of revenue raised ($m)
Super tax concessions                                                      $9,616
Restrictions on negative gearing                                        $3,491
Scrapping the capital gains tax discount                             $4,039
Introducing a Buffet rule                                                   $2,492

“If these four policies were introduced they could raise up to $19.5 billion dollars a year, the majority of which would come from high income households.”

The second are revenue measures that have not been modelled. They include;
– Banking super profits tax
– Financial transactions tax
– Estate tax
– Restricting fossil fuel subsidies

The monies raised by this policy approach:
Revenue measures                                         Estimate of revenue raised ($m)
Bank Super Profits Tax                                                    $5,700
Financial transaction Tax                                          $1,000 to $1,400
Estate Tax                                                                      $5,000
Restricting fossil fuel subsidies                                         $11,517

“These options have not been modelled to the same degree of detail as policy options such as negative gearing and capital gains tax, superannuation tax concessions, and the Buffett rule. As such, these are offered not as fully-costed policies but as an illustration of the wide range of options available to Treasury, each of which must be preferred to spending cuts on services disproportionately relied-upon by low-income households.”

The case for a super profits bank tax and ending tax concessions

Recent profit figures for each of “..the big four banks in table below have seen these banks earn pre-tax profits of $41 billion or an average return on equity of well over 20 per cent. Super profits worth some $18 billion are generated by the big four banks.”

Profit of the big four banks in Australia
Bank                                             After tax ($m)     Before tax ($m)
ANZ                                                 $7,283                $10,308
Commonwealth Bank                         $8,650                $11,997
National Australia Bank                      $6,802                $7,955
Westpac                                           $7,625                $10,740
Total                                                $30,360              $41,000
“Tax concessions are worth $11.5 billion to the firms who claim them. Business lobby groups generally try to down play the importance of tax concessions. It is not hard to see why given the size of some of these tax concessions.”

Selected tax concessions
Subsidy                                                                   Year     Subsidy amount ($m)
Fuel tax credits                                                          2015-16             $6,822
Concessional rate of excise levied on aviation
gasoline and aviation turbine fuel                                2015-16             $1,310
Excise concession on ‘alternative fuels’                        2015-16             $450
Statutory effective life caps                                        2015-16             $1,930
Capital works expenditure deductions                          2015-16             $1,005
Total                          $11,517

The above figures and information gathered by TAI powerfully argues the case that the rich and corporate world could quite easily and should be made to pay down the Federal Government budget deficit.

Banksters are the predators and winners of government debt crisis

Government budget deficits are the consequence of permitting large corporations tax minimisations scams, low company tax rates and a plethora of government subsidies. PAYE taxpayers, who are considered responsible for the social welfare component of the budget, are then automatically blamed for causing government debt.

The cheaper option of taxing the corporations and banks rather than borrowing from them, with the accompanying interest, is never considered! Lenders demand that capitalist governments cut social spending, sell off state assets or tax workers to service their public debts.

Banks being the biggest lenders to governments are the major beneficiaries from government debts. It is a bonanza for them.

This credit/debt crisis encouraged by the banks induces governments to temporarily borrow their way out of their debt problems. When the government net debt-to-revenue ratio is seen as getting too big and becoming a risk, at the instigation of the IMF and credit ratings agencies, lenders demand higher interest payments or refuse to lend more.

Their panacea of cut backs on social spending, sell off/privatisation of state assets and finally raising taxes on the working class only exacerbates the economic crisis they brought about in the first place.

Links to articles posted on the  website for week ending 24 May 2015

Social Impact Bonds – private capital moving in on social service                   

The ‘have a go’ budget – Coalition’s second attempt to savage welfare funding

Contributed articles, comments and enquiries are welcome.

Comradely regards,



Open Letter to the Socialist Alternative

Dear Socialist Alternative members I can’t tell you how my heart sank as I watched this banner being erected at the Brisbane Marriage Equality Rally. I don’t have a great shot. On the right it says “Dear Tone, Stahp ur … Continue reading

Appeal to union delegates to defend the ‘block’

Ken Canning addresses construction worker delegates from the CFMEU. Campaigning to support the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the demand for Aboriginal housing on the Block.


True confessions of a double-dipper

Meet the latest addition to the government’s imagined cast of taxpayer-dollar-spending villains: the new mother. Who knew that underneath all the vomit-stained active wear was a greedy fraudster claiming more than four months off work to spend with her newborn … Continue reading

Carmody’s curse

There is nothing more evil than a prison posing as freedom. – Anon

Warning: This report contains facts that are correct

In an exclusive interview with Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ Fridays at Noon), Chief Justice Carmody yesterday revealed that his mates on the bench had knifed him in the back. He demanded that the ALP government declare a People’s Court in Queensland and that he get a $50k raise in salary from his current $500k per annum to sort it all out. Otherwise he would fall on his sword.

Yvette D’Arth (Attorney General) was too busy stopping council de-amalgamation in Redcliffe to talk with P Shift about this new development. Last night Hetty Johnson was backing ‘Big’ Tim’s stand and wants to see Archbishop George Pell in the dock for child abuse.

Carmody wants the four-month-old Labor government led by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ‘to wake up and set up a judicial commission’.

There are rumours that the ALP will back an outsider for Carmody’s job as Chief Justice. Paradigm Shift has been talking odds that Father Frank Brennan has been offered the post.

While still at long odds ‘Saint’ Frank LLB (UQ) claimed that he had given up a seat on Court of Appeal to former UQ sweetheart Margaret McMurdo in order to help aboriginal people and refugees. Not Guilty.jpg

During his ten-months in the state’s top judicial job, the court system has seen fierce in-fighting and controversy including judges publicly challenging and condemning Justice Carmody and the Court of Appeal President Margaret McMurdo refusing to work with him due to his handling of the appeal case of Daniel Morcombe’s killer.

Frank Brennan says he does not care less about Archbishop George Pell and feels that the catholic church is ‘on the rocks’ as a viable religious institution”. He has penned a book called “Too much Latin and not enough Morals” in a savage critique of Tim Carmody’s prior appointment to the Supreme Court by Campbell Newmam who is walking around Ashgrove with a big “L” pasted to his forehead.

Father Frank said: “My dad and chief justice Jed Brennan (who ruled in favour of Eddie Mabo’s land rights claim) would turn in his grave to see such dysfunction on the bench in Queensland. “

“It is a sad day for the court and for the catholic church’s grip of top jobs in the law” Saint Frank said as he disappeared into his grate for evening prayers.

Should he fail in his attempt to set up a People’s Court, Tim Carmody said that he would retire on his $400K per annum pension and write a memoir called ‘Guilty’ in reply to Terry O’Gorman’s wonderful guide to Civil Liberties in Queensland called “Not Guilty” (pictured).

The former President of the Council for Civil Liberties was briefly interviewed coming out of the YMCA gym saying “No, No, No to Tim!”

O’Gorman said that Frank Brennan was ‘born with a silver spoon in his mouth’ and that the ALP should look elsewhere for Chief Justice, ‘preferably a St James College oldboy‘ but if that is not possible “to recall the former Qld Solicitor General and now High Court judge Pat Keane  who went to St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace.”

Pat Keane is best known for a remark made at the Gabba nets one day while facing up to a leftie and tearaway fast bowler. “Hey Ian, will you tell that fella on your team to give us a break … we wish to return home to our  wives and children.

Neither Anastasia nor Tony Abbott had anything to offer on the subject both claiming that the principle of ‘separation of powers‘ prevents political interference in the judiciary. However the Prime Minister did say that he would not recall George Pell from the Vatican, mumbling a quote from Jesus: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

By the way, Frank Brennan and Tim Carmody both went to the same school in Brisbane: St Jospeh’s College, Nudgee. Terry O’Gorman went to the working class St James and former chief Justice of the High Court, Jed Brennan went to the toffy nosed school in Toowoomba, Downlands College, Prime Minister Tony Abbott went to St Ignatius College Riverview — all catholic boys schools.

Ian Curr

May 2015

RAC: World Refugee Day

Third planning meeting for World Refugee Day Rally, 2015

When & where:
6.30pm, Wednesday 27th May at 2nd floor, TLC Building, 16 Peel St, South Brisbane.

Getting there:
Parking on site. Close to Cultural Centre bus station, South Brisbane railway station, South Bank City Cat.

Meeting agenda:
As in previous years, the Refugee Action Collective wants the World Refugee Day rally to be NOT a RAC event, but rather a collaborative event planned jointly by many organisations and individuals representing a broad representation of refugee advocacy stake-holders.

So far we have had input from Amnesty International, The Greens and RAC, as well as some freelance refugee supporters. 11am, Saturday 20th June is the time and date of the rally, with King George Square as the preferred venue. (The time was changed from 1pm to 11am because of availability of the Square). The main theme of the rally is “Welcome refugees”, but further elaboration of the theme will be discussed at future meetings. We are still working on speakers and other aspects of the rally.

We ask all interested parties to consider joining in the planning of the year’s biggest and most important refugee rights protest. This would mean initially sending along a representative to the meeting to express your group’s view. Later we will be asking that you help to publicise the event and mobilise your own members, clients, contacts, etc.

Interested individuals are also most welcome to participate.

Further info:
Paul, 3392 3843,


Community Listening post in small Musgrave

Let’s talk! Community Listening Post Sunday May 24, 2-4pm Small Park aka the People’s Park – Boundary Street, West End (across from the lizard!) Let’s talk about your vision for the future — or changes that you would like to … Continue reading

Dave Eden on Karl Marx

Dave Eden is an original thinker and analyses our unknown unknowns concerning Marx. It is a critique of Left thinking on Neo-Liberalism (‘bad people do bad things’). Ian Curr, May 2015


Gambia opens arms to Rohingya’s Muslims

Rohingya migrants, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, queue up as they wait to have their identification recorded inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia’s Aceh Province May 21, 2015 (Reuters Photo) Gambian government has … Continue reading

Public Guardian: bread and circuses

"Officers will apply the principles of natural justice
 and good administrative decision-making processes.
 As far as is possible in the circumstances, officers will
 consult with family members and other relevant
 people or organisations and gather relevant documentary
 evidence pertaining to the allegation." -- Public Guardian

On Thursday 16 October 2104 at 10 am I arrived at the Sunnybank home of my friend, Mr Ross Xxxx, an elderly gentleman. I had told Mr Xxxx through other friends (Bernie and Rosslyn) to expect me. The front gate was not properly locked; I found his two dogs (Harry and Phoebe) waiting behind the glass doors. I could see Mr Xxxx’s hat hanging up on the hat stand. Mr Xxxx never leaves home without his hat. I went to the nearby Sunnybank plaza looking for Ross Xxxx.

I asked people at the shopping centre who knew him if they had seen him. I returned to the house and rang Bernie.

I checked the doors to the house. They were locked as were the windows. Mr Neville and I discussed where Ross could be. Later that night I received a call from Bernie saying that Ross had still not returned home.

He told me that Rosslyn, his carer, had come home from work and Ross was not there. This concerned me because of the way Ross had been treated by the public trustee acting against his own clients interests in matters of fraudsters, Brian Laver and Will Marcus who had taken advantage of Ross. Whoever took Ross had left his two dogs at the glass front door. They had not locked the front gate properly.

CONDUCT OF Office of Public Guardian
Below are contemporaneous notes of my visit to the OPG on Friday 17 October 2014:

At 3pm on Friday 17 October 2014 I made a visit to the Office of the Public Guardian at Brisbane magistrates court (level 3 ) 363 George St Brisbane. On arrival at the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) I signed the register and spoke to the receptionist and asked to speak to the public guardian about Ross Xxxx’s whereabouts.

After several minutes wait, the receptionist returned saying that I should go to OPG’s South Brisbane office and gave me an address on a post-it note. I said I wish to make a complaint, that all I wanted to find out is where Ross Xxxx is.

After another delay I spoke with the complaints officer (Megan) who told me that the regional manager was dealing with the matter and was with the public trustee and could not be contacted.

I said I was not leaving without finding out where Ross Xxxx is and to make sure he is alright. I gave Complaints officer, Megan, my details and told her that I had tried to contact Kevin Martin (OPG) and Kelly (OPG) earlier in the day but had received no response, only voice messages. I told Megan I had made a written request to find out where Ross Xxxx is. Megan asked me if a person was living in Ross’s house.

I said that I was not going to be cross-examined. Megan told me that she would not help me unless I answered her questions. I told her my contact details. The complaints officer left.

At 3.20 I rang the Public Trustee, Mark Crofton, and left a message. The Public Trustee is responsible for Ross Xxxx’s financial affairs. I then rang a solicitor to ask for his advice. He said that I should try to persuade them to tell me where Ross is and failing that to make an urgent application to QCAT.

At about 3.40pm a man came to the counter and said that the regional manager Therese Craig would ring me on Monday. He did not identify himself so I asked his name. He said that he was Brian Norman, the office manager, and that he could make no further comment.

I said that I did not understand – all I wanted to know was where Ross is and if he was all right. Brian Norman told me that Ross is alive and well. I said that I am Ross’s friend and wished to find out for myself; that I had visited Ross on Thursday and found that he was not at home.

I told him that Ross was expecting me and I was concerned that he might be upset. Brian Norman said that he could not help me. I said that I did not understand and left. At 4pm I received a call from the Public Trustee’s office (Clinton Myles) who told me that he had been instructed by Mark Crofton to give me a call and let me know who was dealing with the matter. He told me that Ian Spalding (OPG) was handling Ross’s case and gave me his phone number. At 4:16pm I rang Ian Spalding and received a voice message.

I left a message. Soon after I rang Tim Brown (OPG) and received a voice message. I left another message. None of the OPG staff ever responded to my messages of concern either by phone or in writing. On Monday 20 October 2014 at about 10 am, I attended the Office of Public Guardian with another of Ross’s friends, Bernie. I asked to speak with Ms Therese Craig. I waited for some time. While waiting I attempted to ring Ms Craig without any luck. Finally I received a call from Ms Craig and placed the call on speakerphone so that Ms Craig could converse with Bernie who is Ross’s main point of contact. Ms Craig told me Ross’s whereabouts and that he was permitted visitors but was not permitted to leave the facility.

After a long period I was informed Mr Xxxx was being held at the RSL Care facility. Reasons were not given. Later I received an email from Lisa Pool OPG which said that Ross had been taken to RSL Care to better look after his needs. The email said that Ross was high care and that is why he was transferred to the dementia facility at Alexandra Headlands. So I made complaints in person and in writing to the Public Guardian Officers, Tim Brown and Therese Craig.

Tim Brown refused to give reasons for their actions and refused to tell me when I could expect a written response to my complaint and my concerns. Therese Craig said that they would respond to my concerns by 31 October 2014. Ms Craig did not honour her promise.

It is now seven months on and Ross is still locked up in the RSL facility over 100 kilometres from his friends and support.

Justice denied a second time
On 19 May 2015 I rang Patrick Gonzalves, Deputy Registrar QCAT and raised yet again objection to the forced removal of Carl Ross Xxxx by the Public Guardian from his home at 433 Mains Road Sunnybank on 24 October 2014. I had repeated my objections before 3 hearings of the tribunal, the last being on 30 January 2015. This is what I have to say to the deputy registrar of QCAT, Patrick Gonzalves:

Patrick Gonsalves advised me on the evening of 19 May 2015 at 5pm that the Public Guardian provided a report dated 27 April 2015 to the tribunal. He said that he did not have the report in his possession and could not tell me of its contents because it was being considered by the tribunal. He informed me that the tribunal had no obligation to give me notice of it or that the tribunal was considering it.

I have received no information from the Public Guardian regarding the report dated 27 April 2015.

Why has the tribunal failed to advise me that it is considering a report?

Rules of natural justice demand that a party to an action be informed of decisions by the tribunal.

I have not been consulted as to the content of any report nor as to any actions taken by them to review the Ross Xxxx’s abduction from his house.

The Public Guardian has failed to consult with me or any other friends of Carl Ross Xxxx in this matter as to the nature or content of their report.

Neither the Public Guardian nor QCAT have learnt anything about rules of natural justice, they ignore them.

I complained to the Queensland Ombudsman about the conduct of the Public Guardian. The Ombudsman’s reply: APPEAL to the Office of Public Guardian (sic). THERE is no justice in an Appeal from Caesar to CaesarMay 2015

Please Note: Publishing the name of ‘an adult’ under a QCAT order may be a contempt of court. Clare Endicott (QCAT) threatened Friends of Ross with contempt. Ms Endicott does not make such threats to Premiers, Attorney Generals, Ombudsmen, Public Trustees or Guardians who have stripped Ross of freedom and dignity. The Guardianship Act says ‘An adult’s right to confidentiality of information about the adult must be recognised and taken into account.’  Fair enough, but when injustice is done, Ross and his friends have a right to resist!

Tambourine Mountain’s Judith Wright Festival Takes Off!

This month is the centenary of Judith Wrights birth – if you are in Brisbane, think about hoing up to Mt Tamborine for one of the many events they are holding there – If not, or as well, have a read of a short piece penned by Humphrey McQueen, reminding us about the real things we should be celebrating in Australia, rather than the jingoistic drums of war that Brendon Nelson would have us listen to …


Tamborine Mountain is keen to celebrate the work and life of one of its most renowned residents.

Many local groups are having events in May to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Judith, which is on 31st May.

Judith lived on the Mountain from the late 40s to the early 70s. This period covered her happy partnership with Jack McKinney (author, philosopher and gardener), and the birth, childhood and early teen years of their daughter Meredith.

Judith was both a poet and a social activist. Some of her memorable poems are ‘South of My Days’, ‘Lyrebirds’, ‘Brush Turkey’, ‘The Flood’ and many poems inspired by her personal life, like ‘Woman to Man’ and ‘Woman to Child’.   The natural world was a huge inspiration. Her various flame tree and forest poems, and many others, were directly inspired by her Tamborine Mountain years. You’ll get a shock of recognition if you read them.

Judith Wright’s Tamborine years were also the start of her social activism. She campaigned for the Barrier Reef and Fraser Island, and later went on to be active in Indigenous rights issues, marching in a Reconciliation event in Canberra in 2000, just a few weeks before her death. She wrote (with H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs) We Call for a Treaty, a key document in the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Australia. The extent of her public activities is huge.   All her life, she was an anti-war campaigner, partly sparked by Jack’s experiences in World War I.

Events include:

1 May Judith Juke box (Library): 10.30am-4.30pm. Local actor and musician margy Rose performs an all-day recitation of Judith’s poetry.

4 and 11 May U3A short course: Judith Wright and her poetry (Masonic Lodge): 2.30 pm. Lots of time to enjoy your favourite poems. Book via

7 May Talented Women and other poets (regular Library poetry group): 2 pm.Discusses her poetry.

14 May Good Afternoon (regular library event): 2 pm.Panel discussion: is JW’s writing and poetry still relevant in 2015?

21 May Knoll Stroll with Judith (commencing at the library):  10 am.Join us for a leisurely walk in the steps of JW.

22 May The Burning Glass: Friday Night Philosophers Club (Zamia Theatre): 7.30 pm.A panel of speakers from near and far discusses Judith’s activism and her poetry, with lots of audience input.

23-30 May Tamborine Mountain Little Theatre (Zamia Theatre): Hearts Ablaze, a locally-written play commemorating Judith and Jack’s life on Tamborine Mountain. Starring Margy Rose, Linda Simister, Will Bligh. Four performances over two weekends. Book at

27 May Jane Austen book group (regular library event): 2 pm. Discusses JW autobiography Half a Lifetime.

31 May Community Centenary Birthday Picnic: time and venue TBA.

Somalian refugee Abdi Aden tells his story of survival

When I think back to my year in Bucharest I realise that I was learning to be a refugee.

I arrived in the city — the capital of Romania, in Eastern Europe — in 1991. I was 16. With my parents and sister gone, I’d raided the cache of money in our house in ­Mogadishu and bought a ticket to Cairo then Bucharest, where I moved from house to house. You are not a refugee ­simply because you have no home and no country. No, you become a refugee little by little.

It’s not that things become more hopeless with each passing day, it is that you adapt to the hardship and, in a way — this will sound mad — you become an expert in hardship. You learn to sniff out relief, a free meal, a place of shelter that is available only for a day, and from kilometres away you seem almost to pick up the scent of kind people, perhaps of your faith, perhaps not, who are prepared to provide you with a coat and a big furry hat.

You accept the status of a beggar. You search out other beggars from your homeland, and comfort each other, listen to stories of escape. “Did you ever meet Mahdi (or Farxaan, Fowli, Habane, Guhaad)? He made it to Vienna. It cost him 500 Romanian leu [$160]. He went in a truck with a compartment underneath.” And stories of people who went even further, to Anchorage, Alaska, after travelling across Russia to Vladivostok — amazing!

And of people who one day gave up and jumped off a bridge into the Danube. You become ready to do things so dangerous that you wonder if you have gone mad and don’t yet understand that you’re mad. Some Somalis hide underneath trains and hang on for 10 hours as the train speeds towards Germany, and if they happen to fall asleep or lose their strength they are found the next day on the railway lines, so much as is left of them.

I am sorry to say that you learn to tell lies, too, when it is unavoidable, just as I did in Somalia, where my education as a refugee began. Back there, people might ask me if I was from the Rahanweyn clan, intending to kill me if I said yes. So I would say that I was not Rahanweyn, except for one time, when my pride refused to let me lie and I was taken ­prisoner. Do you see the lesson? Your pride can kill you. In your education as a refugee, telling the truth on every occasion is not only unwise, it is suicide. But I ask you to believe that such lies do not make an untrustworthy person of me. The number one rule is this: Stay alive. Things might get better one day.

That day came when I persuaded a man who owed my father a favour to agree to let me fly as his son to Melbourne, promising him money I did not have. After takeoff I confessed and on our arrival he walked away. I rang a contact I had been given in the refugee community. Once again, I moved from house to house. I became a nomad of the city.

After almost three months in Melbourne, I had a lot of experience of the refugee scene. It was really three communities: those who ­desperately wanted to remain in Australia and spent every day worrying themselves half to death; those who expected to be thrown out of Australia and had given up worrying about it; and those who were very confident that they would be given permanent residency in time and didn’t worry at all. Each of these communities was made up of a number of nationalities: Somalis; Kurds from Turkey, Kurds from Iraq, Kurds from Iran, Kurds from nowhere; Iraqis; Iranians; Sudanese; Ethiopians; Eritreans; ­Burmese; Cambodians; Chinese; Vietnamese; Afghanis. And more.

The members of each nationality believed that they had suffered more than the members of every other nationality. The Iraqis would think: This woman from Sudan, some bad guys set fire to her village and shot a few people. So what? In my village they killed everyone except me. Each group of refugees kept count of the visas that had been given out to other groups. Often ­people got jealous if one group was getting more visas than another. They’d say: “The ­Australian government loves the Iranians. You’re from Iran, they give you a visa if you feel a little bit depressed. We Ethiopians, we just about have to hang ourselves before they pay any attention. The Iranians can go to hell.”

All this jealousy and anger — I didn’t want anything to do with it. Nothing. I hated the tribal and clan rivalries in Somalia, and I hated what went on here. I can truthfully say that I gave every Somali my support in his or her struggle for a new life. I was happy, very happy, when someone succeeded in getting a temporary protection visa or permanency. Many of the Somalis were big-hearted, generous people, and I tried to hang around them more than those who had hours and hours of complaints. I thought: I was spared death, I was saved, I should be dead. Have I come all this way to ­Melbourne, Australia, to argue and complain? Is that why I was spared?

If you were a refugee and you were waiting to learn from the Immigration people if you could stay, you had all sorts of ideas. You’d say to ­yourself: “OK, probably they will kick me out, too bad, I’ll just go back to Somalia.” Or you might say: “OK, if they don’t want me, who cares? I’ll go to New Zealand somehow. Maybe they want me there.” Or you might have this idea: “OK, I’ll hide in the desert and live with the Aboriginal people.” But there was really only one thing you wanted, and one thing you were hoping for,

and that was a letter from the ­Australian government that said: “Sure, you can stay. You can get a job. This country can be your country, so relax.” That was your prayer.

And you hid that hope deep, deep in your heart. Even when refugees were waiting for a visa and they saw things about Australia that drove them crazy, like the stupid game of cricket, or if the refugees came from a very traditional country, very strict, and were always making a tut-tut sound with their tongues when they saw girls and women wearing hardly any clothes out in the street, what those refugees wanted more than anything was that letter from the ­Australian government that said: “Sure, you can stay.”

Once you’ve been a refugee, once you’ve been homeless and hunted, far from the care of anyone who loves you, then you are a refugee for life. You might become a very comfortable refugee — you might have your own house in a lovely suburb, money in your pocket, your mother just down the road — but you will still be a refugee.

Mohammad, a Somali guy I know, said: “Australians are like children. They have never seen anything bad.” It’s not true that Australians are like children exactly, but Mohammad was right in a way. In this country, apart from the people who came here as refugees, the only ­people who have ever known what it is to be hunted, made homeless, murdered in a casual way, are the Australian black people, the ­Aborigines. And I can guarantee you they have never forgotten what it is to be a refugee.

It took me years to understand even a small part of what an Australian who is born here knows in his bones, deep in his heart. It would be the same if a native Australian came to ­Somalia. He might live in Somalia for decades and carefully study everything in Somali culture — he might learn 20 dialects of Somali — and still he would be a stranger. Even today, ­Australians will say to me: “You must have been so happy to get out of that hellhole and find safety in ­Australia.” “Sure!” I say. But let me tell you the truth. I still love Somalia. The bloodshed, the violence, the drug-maddened soldiers with their guns, the poverty — all of that is horrible, but I love Somalia all the same.

I got permanent residency and became a community worker, but these days most of my work is as an inspirational speaker. I talk to audiences of all sorts, including lots of school kids. They ask: “Abdi, does it make you cry to see refugees packed into detention centres?” And “Abdi, what do you feel when refugees are treated like criminals?” I try to explain that refugees have been with us for thousands of years. Even in primitive times, tribes were forced to make journeys when drought and natural disasters drove them from their traditional homes.

Since nation states came into being, wars have ­created great crowds of refugees. They pack their belongings and take to the road, ­hoping for a new life in a new land. Often they’re not welcome. Think of the Jewish ­people, and their long, long struggle for acceptance. The thing is, you can’t expect a person who is hunted in his own land, or starved, or unable to make a living, to simply say: “OK, time for me to die.” We have refugees because human beings want to remain alive. That’s not unreasonable.

War is an industry, and it’s easy to run. Young men will always be attracted to AK-47 rifles. Young men, some of them, many of them, will always feel empowered when they know that they have been given the right to murder. Of course they will. They grow up without jobs, without a future, then suddenly they have more power than they ever imagined. They have a gun. But the industry of war doesn’t produce anything except corpses. Families yearn to escape. They don’t want to live in a country where murder goes on all day every day. Or if not murder then it is poverty that drives people onto the road.

And they think of the countries where ­people live in freedom, where people earn a good wage; countries where children can go to school for 12 years, then maybe to university. They think of Big Europe, of America, of ­Canada, of Australia. The Dream Lands. For most of these people, their journey will end in a camp, in worse poverty than they fled. Some, including me, against all odds, will reach Big Europe, Australia, Canada, America.

I’m still talking. The audience is still listening. I say: “There are millions of refugees in the world today, and millions more people still living in their own ravaged lands who wish to take to the road, and will, one day. Australia cannot take in hundreds of thousands of refugees each year — millions over a decade. I understand that. But nor can we say to the refugees on the road, on the seas: ‘You have no right even to try to reach Australia.’ These people do have a right to try. They have a right to their dreams. And I think we can find more imaginative things to say to them than: ‘Don’t even try. We will punish you if you do. We will keep you in camps that will cripple your brain. We will make you sorry you ever dreamt of Australia.’”

I want to say to the government: “Stopping the boats is no great feat. Think harder. This problem will be with us for decades to come. It will get bigger and bigger. Please, some imagination.” And I would say: “Maybe it’s better to be more generous than you have to be rather than less generous than you could be.”

And I tell the audiences about when I appeared on series two of Go Back to Where You Came From. This TV show on SBS takes a small group of Australian citizens — some very critical of asylum seekers — and flies them to places in the world where refugees come from. They learn first-hand about the conditions that drive people to seek a new life in another country.

People who have seen me on the show ask me: “Abdi, when people tell you to go back home, what do you say?” And this is my answer. I say: “No, thanks. Madmen with AKs will kill me.” And then I say: “Don’t you want me here? Really? With these good looks?”

Edited extract from Shining: The Story of a Lucky Man by Abdi Aden and Robert Hillman (HarperCollins ­Australia, $29.99), out May 25


BFU presents Feminism, Art, Philosophy, Memory

When? Tuesday 26th May, 6.30pm Where? Carpark under Westpac Bank, 89-91 Boundary Street, West End. What? This Tuesday night, join local art thinkers Nicola Scott, Aleea Monsour and Tara Heffernan in a discussion on feminism in art and theatre, and … Continue reading

Jagera hall ‘handover’

What the quest newspapers fail to report in this article was that the land that Jagera Community Arts Hall stands on was never ceded.

Ian Curr
Nov 2018

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Lease for Jagera Hall at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane signed over to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

THE management rights of Jagera Hall at Musgrave Park are now back in the hands of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities after a lease agreement was signed with Brisbane City Council.

Jagera Community Hall management committee co-chair Aunty Christine ­Barney said the agreement followed six months of negotiations with council.

“We wanted to start things happening with our people coming back into Jagera again because that sort of ­depleted. And because it’s a sacred, traditional place for us to meet and it’s right ­beside Musgrave Park, ­people love coming there,” Ms Barney said.

“This is a sacred place for us.”

Aboriginal elder Sam Watson said community members were in the final stage of agreements.

“Brisbane has the largest and most diverse indigenous community in Australia, yet we’re the only one that doesn’t have our own community or cultural centre,” he said.

“We look at Jagera as being the first step in ­establishing a credible arts precinct for our local community.”

Lifestyle chairwoman Cr Krista Adams said the initial lease was for one year, with the intention to issue a longer term lease later.

Leah Kidd, Quest Newspapers
February 18, 2016

Book Launch: ‘The Drownings Argument’

Avid Reader Bookshop , 193 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane
Date: Thursday, 21, May, 2015
Time: 6:00:pm – 8:00:pm

Labor for Refugees invites you to join their guest speakers discussing The Drownings’ Argument – Australia’s Inhumanity: Offshore Processing of Asylum Seekers.

Edited by Robin Rothfield, The Drownings’ Argument is a collection of essays outlining the human rights abuses of current ALP and Coalition policies on refugees arriving by boat in Australia.

Let’s be very clear about this: every death at sea is a tragedy. No-one wants to see refugees die in their attempt to escape persecution, but the often-recited concern about refugees drowning is just hypocritical propaganda. People like Abbott and Morrison express their concern about refugees who drown. They are not sincere, but it provides a vaguely respectable excuse for harsh policies. I will say this plainly: when Abbott and Morrison say they are worried about refugees drowning on their way to Australia, they are lying: they are deceiving the public. It opens the way to mistreat asylum seekers who have not drowned, and helps them pursue the darker purpose of keeping refugees out.  Julian Burnside, QC


 Murray Watt is a senior Associate and solicitor at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers whose pro bono work includes fighting for Baby Ferouz’s right to recognition as an Australian citizen. He has been selected as the lead Queensland senate candidate for Federal Parliament.

Pamela Curr is campaign director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, who writes articles for the ABC Drum, the Sydney Morning Herald,and Crikey.

Tony Kevin is an emeritus fellow of ANU and former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia who has written extensively on asylum seekers and their rescue at sea.

Misha Coleman is the executive officer of the inaugural Australian Churches Refugee Task Force (ACRT) who co-authored the ACRT response to government policy on asylum seeker issues with Brisbane’s Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt. Formerly CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, she is now a councillor and Greens representative who has served on the Yarra City Council since 2012.

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Avid Reader Bookshop , 193 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, Queensland 4101 (AU).


Nauruan police admit asylum seeker attacked

Confirmation is small consolation as yet another woman on Nauru is forced to accept that assaults will go uncharged. Nauru not safe – a place of persecution not protection paid for by Australia Pamela Curr ASRC Refugee Rights Advocate Let’s … Continue reading


STAY AWAY from the Public Trustee

Having looked after my widowed and elderly mum for nearly 20 years and providing her with financial, physical and emotional support, my mum chose to leave most of estate, that I helped her to build, to overseas family. Without my … Continue reading


Discussion drowning refugees

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Parliament is a sideshow, any government that will call mothers ‘rorters’ and promote drowning at sea is discredited. Barnaby Joyce created a diversion to avoid any serious debate on the human crisis at our doorstep.
Aboriginal people made refugees in their own land. Continue reading