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Issue #1701      September 9, 2015

Culture & Life

Gangster arrogance

The arrogance of the right-wing gang of thugs that make up Australia’s federal government at present is really appalling. Isn’t it? As The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month, “Environment groups will be forbidden from challenging large developments in court as the Abbott government responds to the controversial decision that stopped Australia’s largest coal project – Adani’s Carmichael coal mine – in its tracks.

Attorney-General George Brandis
Our frankly evil Attorney General is calling it a “crackdown on vigilante green groups”. Bullshit, Mr Brandis.

“Attorney-General George Brandis will move to repeal a section of Australia’s environment laws that allows conservationists to challenge environment approvals for mining projects and other large developments.”

Our frankly evil Attorney General is calling it a “crackdown on vigilante green groups”. Bullshit, Mr Brandis. The law came down against your coal-mine, so you decided to abolish the law! Mr Brandis has proposed simply deleting the clause which allows “anyone affected” to mount their own legal challenge to a development project.

Mr Brandis says the present law is an open invitation to “vigilantes” to sabotage Australia. He wants the opening closed. How? He declares we should ban “anyone who has acted for the protection, conservation or research of our environment within the last two years” from being allowed to challenge a project in court. (love the way he throws “research” into the list of sins! He’s never going to forgive those damned scientists for being aware of that endangered snake).

Now the only people who can mount a challenge are “affected landholders”. You have to own a piece of it, or you have no right to challenge. Well, that narrows the field just a bit, doesn’t it! The coal industry must be busting open the champagne about now. They’ll still have to deal with landholding neighbours, concerned about projects doing damage to their farms, vineyards, drinking water, etcetera – but they’ll never again have to deal with the educated general public, the working scientist or environmental officer, or even with the political will of the general public. ‘Cause they’ve all just been blackballed. Openly banned from the right to challenge a thing they know is wrong.

And who stripped our right of involvement from us? Our own attorney general did this to us. If this man were my attorney, I’d have him sacked. I’d also have him investigated on suspicion of colluding with that notorious local hoodlum, “Big Coal”.

Also in August, the Prime Minister appeared on ABC TV one morning, flanked by the Immigration Minister and the head of the Australian Crime Commission. He announced that $18 million, entirely derived from the proceeds of crime, would be used to fund three new “border protection” programs. He went on to say: “Australian taxpayers should be pleased that the proceeds of crime will now be used to fight crime, unlike under the previous government, in which …”

Here the screen went black for several seconds, and the news director could be heard saying “Where are we going? What do we do?” More black screen, then back to the ABC studio for an apology about the loss of the feed. Did anybody see the PM’s statement covered on any other channel? I want to know the rest of that sentence! How exactly was he going to criticise the previous government for not funding themselves with the proceeds of crime?

Border protection of a sea-locked nation is one of the most expensive, least productive programs this country has ever had. Tony’s keen for us to assume that his program means the taxpayer won’t have to pay for all of it. Of course, if the Immigration Department depends upon the seizure of criminal assets to fund its new programs, then the agency gains a need for criminal activity to continue, not stop.

It must continue and it must be substantial enough to withstand a certain level of its product being seized by the agency without the criminal network being seriously harmed by those losses. Wouldn’t want to kill the cow, would we? Not now we’ve joined the ranks of those who actually suckle from its teat.

This isn’t crime-fighting. It’s insurance for the cross-border criminal trade. A certain amount of harassment from the authorities, a certain number of unwanted patsies sacrificed annually by their syndicates, everybody looks good and everybody gets a cut. It’s the same deal the Americans have with the Mexican syndicates. Hence the growing number of ex-FBI people appearing on TV to complain that they quit the agency when they found out it was no longer fighting the cross-border criminal trade, simply running it.

My mind flashed back to Tony’s policy of paying people smugglers to turn their boats around, a tier of income the smugglers have never previously received.

While pondering this, I switched over to another channel, and discovered that the supposedly impartial judge who’s running the “anti-corruption” enquiry into the Australian union movement had just been exposed as a Liberal party booster, forced by this revelation to cancel his plans to speak at a party fundraiser.

Well, surprise, surprise.

Of course, that didn’t stop him, after due and serious consideration (and probably consultation with the leader of his favourite party, Tony Abbott) from disregarding demands that he step down in view of his obvious bias.

Did I say something earlier about this mob’s arrogance? Al Capone had a similar attitude. (And similar politics.)

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