25 April 2011



Rally for
Stop the massacre!
End the siege now!
No to Israel’s war crimes!

Rally Sunday Jan 4
State Library of Victoria
cnr Swanston St and La Trobe St, Melbourne

Over 300 people have been killed and more than 1600 wounded since Saturday 27 December, when Israel launched air strikes against the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip. 

The air strikes come on top of the Israeli imposed blockade which has stopped adequate fuel, food, and medical supplies from reaching the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza.

Rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza, who are standing steadfast in the face of these atrocities.
Please bring placards and banners
For more info call 0439 454 375 or 0418 819 548

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)


28 November 2008

Name: Mr Mannie (Emanuel) De Saxe

Email Address: josken1_at_pacific_net_au

Postal Address: 2/12 Murphy Grove Preston Vic 3072 Australia

To Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Subject: Roxon's health ambassadors

Comment: Health Minister Roxon appointed six men as health ambassadors, showing yet again her misjudgement in her portfolio. Two of the men are known notorious homophobes, one of whom has used an expression used by anti-semites who pretend to like Jews by saying "some of my best friends are Jews". He has said "some of my best friends are gays".
Homophobia is rampant in our communities leading to abuse, violence and murder of gays, lesbians,transgenders and people living with HIV/AIDS (GLTH communities).
Two of these six men belong to a group called the Fatherhood Foundation who published a paper entitled "21 Reasons Why Gender Matters."
While the ALP works on futile attempts at net censorship, this sort of hate preaching on the web will continue unabated.
The ALP is not known for its friendship with the GLTH communities and the support it showed for the Howard Marriage bill in 2004 is an indication of its approach. Discrimination against these communities is writ large and continues unabated.
Not only should Roxon be removed from the ministry, but the second of the homophobes whom she has left as one of her ambassadors must be removed immediately.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

7 December 2008

To Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon

It seems that although you have got rid of one of the homophobic appointees as health ambassadors, the other, Barry Williams, is still there.

As far as members of the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS communities are concerned, this situation is very unsatisfactory, and we will pursue the matter until homophobia is rooted out of those of us who are affected by this ongoing campaign of hatred waged by so many in the community.

We have also contacted the Prime Minister about the issue, and we are still waiting for a response from him.

Barry Williams is a homophobe and if he says he didn't read the "Gender Matters" document when he signed it, he should have, or else he is just trying to hide his homophobia in order to retain this appointment. What did he think a document containing 21 hate clauses consisted of?

We trust we will be informed as soon as possible that Barry Williams is no longer a men's health ambassador.

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

This is an automatically generated response.

Thank you for your email to Nicola Roxon MP, Federal Member for Gellibrand and Minister for Health and Ageing.

Due to the large volume of emails received, we are unable to acknowledge each email personally. However, we will reply to each email. Response times depend on the complexity of the issues raised.

If you live in the electorate of Gellibrand and have not included your name, address and any other relevant contact details in your email, please provide them.

Your email is important to us and will be dealt with in due course. However if you require any further information, please contact us on (02) 6277 7220. For electorate and local constituent matters, please telephone the Gellibrand electorate office on (03) 9687 7355.

If your email relates to an invitation or media enquiry for the Federal Member for Gellibrand and Minister for Health and Ageing it will be forwarded to the relevant staff member.

The Department of Health and Ageing have a number of National Information Lines for further information on a range of topics. They are available here - http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-infoline.htm

Thank you again for taking the time to email Nicola Roxon MP, Federal Member for Gellibrand and Minister for Health and Ageing.

(Posted in Homophobia)

1 Comments | Post Comment | Permanent Link


John Vorster, P.W.Botha and F.W.de Klerk would have been very proud of the Howard/Rudd governments' legislation to control the trade unions and to impose draconian restrictions on them and turn them into criminals.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has powers that the controllers of the anti-terror legislation can only look upon with envy and wish they had the same dictatorial control.
Below is the flyer for a protest rally to be held outside the Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Tuesday 2 December, and a draft letter for people to copy and send to the Alternative Liberal Party government in Canberra, protesting at the ABCC's methods of operation.
Star chamber operations should have no place in a country such as Australia, but the sorts of legislation which saw the birth of the ABCC as one of the outcomes of the Cole Royal Commission into the building industry is just one of a long line of punitive pieces of legislation aimed at destroying the trade union movement in Australia since Malcolm Fraser became Prime minister in 1975.
The trend has been followed by every succeeding government from that time to this.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

0 Comments | Post Comment | Permanent Link


11 November 2008
Censorship has failed in the past, is failing now, and will fail in the future. When people want material that governments decide is not in the communities’ interest for them to have, people will work out methods to circumvent the laws which stop them having that material.
In the interests of pointing out to you the futility of attempts to censor the Internet, you should know that the South African apartheid censors, in their ignorance and stupidity, censored a book called ‘Black Beauty”. After the outcry at their crass stupidity, the book was ultimately unbanned.
Political and fiction and non-fiction books and similar material in the form of magazines and journals were taken into South Africa from Mozambique and Swaziland, where such material, particularly in the English language, were not banned.
Australia has a long history of censorship, and most of the attempts of censors here have failed because people are able to obtain items which governments are determined to prevent them from having.
There are so many loopholes in all attempts at censorship that one wonders why governments persist in behaving like big brother and/or nanny.
If you want to control what is available in Australia on the Internet you will have to ultimately close down people’s ability to have the Internet, whether it is broadband or any other way of receiving what is out there.
It may be a good idea for would-be censors to read Antony Loewenstein’s recently published book, “The Blogging Revolution” and see what happens in totalitarian states around the world. Loewenstein’s latest article in The Age online (10 November 2008) included below gives a very good illustration of the hypocrisy of politicians in the realm of censorship. In fact, Kevin Rudd outdid himself yet again today, 11 November 2008, when he spoke about remembering those who have died defending their countries, and that the 21st century should be one of peace and not war. This is the same politician who is sending more troops to Afghanistan to fight in what has been labelled by those who are involved in fighting there as unwinnable.
The same may be said of your attempts at filtering what may or may not be available on the Internet – you are fighting an unwinnable war, and the sensible approach would be to quit while you are still ahead – if ahead you actually are!
And most interesting of all is the fact that violence is censored in Australia far, far less than anything with the word “sex” in it or relating to it. What are you going to do about web sites which discuss sexual matters in all their shapes and forms – ban them all from the Internet??
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072

Government uploads hypocrisy with internet censorship
• Antony Loewenstein
• November 10, 2008
BEFORE this year's Beijing Olympic Games, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd chastised the Chinese authorities for blocking full access to the internet for the assembled world media: "My attitude to our friends in China is very simple", he said. "They should have nothing to fear by open digital links with the rest of the world during this important international celebration of sport."
Although Rudd expressed no concern for the average Chinese web user being unable to view tens of thousands of banned websites, his intervention was nevertheless a welcome call for transparency and greater democracy.
But now the Rudd government is working towards implementing an unworkable filtering process in Australia that suggests a misguided understanding of the internet and worrying tendency to censor an inherently anarchic system.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told Radio National's Media Report recently that the aim of the project is to "protect Australian families and kids from some material that is currently on the net . . . such as child pornography and ultra-violent sites".
Conroy tried to assure a sceptical interviewer that although the idea had been ALP policy for years, "we are committed to work with the industry to see if it is technically feasible".
He further claimed that similar kinds of filtering already exist in UK, Sweden, Norway, France and New Zealand and "there has been no detrimental effect on internet speed or performance".
But Conroy is and ignoring the wider social, moral and political implications of the issue. A number of politicians, including Family First Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon, have advocated blocking online gaming sites and general pornography sites. What next?
It is not hard to imagine a push to block sites that allegedly "support" terrorism. Take Hamas, the democratically elected party in Palestine and yet regarded as a terrorist group by much of the West. For many individuals around the world, myself included, Hamas is not a terrorist entity and should be engaged. But will over-zealous politicians make it illegal to view the organisation's websites?
This is a feasible scenario, as US Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman this year successfully pressured YouTube owners Google to remove videos from "Islamist terrorist organisations".
Many in the Australian gay community are equally concerned about the current proposals. The Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE), which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has called on the Rudd government to guarantee "websites will not be accidentally filtered out purely because they contain the words poof, fag or dyke".
Technologically, the ability for internet service providers to successfully censor banned websites is arguably impossible. Three of the country's leading players, Telstra Media's Justin Milne, iiNet's Michael Malone and Internode's Simon Hackett, have all spoken on the record about the difficulties of implementing ISP-level filtering.
Hackett imagines a future where the government mandates a blacklist of IP addresses that by law an ISP is not permitted to serve to a customer. "Two problems with that", he argues. "One is collateral damage. What if that IP address is a virtual host with 2000 web sites on it and only one of them doesn't follow the government's morality? The other (problem) is, what if it's done by mistake? (What) if the IP address is just straight out wrong? Another obvious (problem) is that the internet is full of anonymous proxies. None of this stuff actually works."
Numerous programs such as TOR are used by users in repressive nations to communicate anonymously and without detection and are likely to be used by people in Australia.
Perhaps most worryingly, should we feel comfortable with the idea of privately owned ISPs being the gatekeeper of administering the law of permissible and blocked websites? Telstra's Milne rightly believes it should be the police implementing the rules of the land.
Furthermore, has the government even considered the massive financial burden on ISPs, especially the smaller ones, forced to play the role of Big Brother for Rudd's obsession with "protecting the children"? It seems clear that the will of small, unrepresentative Christian groups, including the Australian Family Association and the Australian Christian Lobby, are increasingly able to dictate social policy to Rudd ministers with little transparency as to their real role and influence.
The government completed a closed trial of web filtering products at a Telstra laboratory in Tasmania in June. The results were largely negative and found that most filters could not identify illegal or inappropriate content. It is not surprising that many industry insiders fear the government's moves are little more than populism dressed up as courageous social policy.
Colin Jacobs, chair of the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said recently that Rudd's "model involves more technical interference in the internet infrastructure than what is attempted in Iran, one of the most repressive and regressive censorship regimes in the world."
This is certainly unnecessary rhetoric - I examine a host of authoritarian regimes in my book The Blogging Revolution, including Iran, and the Islamic Republic's censorship is far more extreme and life threatening than anything proposed by Rudd. But Jacobs is right to raise the alarm about the path Australia appears to be embracing.
Free speech is never absolute in any Western country but vigorous public debate should be the pre-cursor to any profound shift in freedom of the internet. History teaches us that governments have an unhealthy tendency to ban material deemed inappropriate for groups allegedly exposed. In this day and age, young children are seen as the most vulnerable. Cynicism is the only healthy response.
Antony Loewenstein is the author of The Blogging Revo-lution, published by Melbourne University Press.

(Posted in Censorship)


The following report from MCV - Issue 407 dated 23 October 2008 should be a wake-up call to the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS communities in Australia.
For too long the complacency of members of these communities is evidence of how they have taken for granted the rights which they now have accorded to them in legislation in federal, state and territory jurisdictions. Activism is a thing of the past, "passe" to so many. "We don't do activism any more, we don't need to".
Not only is there still a long way to go to achieve equal rights, but it is very easy for those rights which we have achieved after years of struggle to be overturned at the stroke of a pen.
Here is the report:

Anti-gay threat emerges

Written by Peter Hackney
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
A coalition of organisations espousing the interests of ‘natural biological families’ has released a list of anti-gay policy proposals and represents a new threat to GBLTI communities, say gay activists.
Gender Matters, a coalition of 17 groups and organisations, has released a list of demands on its website, www.gendermatters.org.au. They include:
• That marriage be “forever preserved as the voluntary exclusive union of one man and one woman”;
• That adoption be restricted to heterosexual couples;
• That IVF and other reproductive technologies are reserved exclusively for heterosexuals;
• A ban on same-sex civil unions and registers.
The group wants homosexuality registered as a medical condition and public funds committed to “curing” homosexuality, which they term “gender disorientation pathology”.
Last Thursday, it flexed its political clout with a submission to the Senate hearing on the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill.

Australian Coalition for Equality spokesperson Rodney Croome said Gender Matters is couching its homophobia in a new way, in terms of gender differentiation.
“Ordinarily, I would dismiss this kind of material as anti-gay hatred at the margins of the political debate,” Croome said.
“But by framing their rhetoric in terms of gender differentiation, they will strike a chord with more people.”
Australian Marriage Equality also expressed concern, but said it showed anti-gay groups were feeling threatened.
Warwick Marsh, the Wollongong-based founder of Gender Matters, refused to answer questions when contacted by MCV.
The 17 groups involved in this nefarious coalition must get as much public exposure as possible and they must be vigorously opposed by as many groups and individuals as possible.
Blog about them, put them on your web pages, expose their murderous intent at every opportunity, and ensure you work to see them closed down, if necessary by federal, state and territory attorneys- general under anti-discriminatory legislation. It is long past time that exemptions continue to be granted to these groups with their murderous statements which lead inevitably to bashings, assaults, bullyings and ultimately murder by the thugs influenced by their wicked teachings! Time for governments to act and act NOW!!!!!
It should be noted that this homophobic group has taken the name of a gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV-AIDS help group in the UK and used it with the deliberate intent of confusing people who may already be confused about sexuality and its problems and difficulties. This group is setting out to subvert any and every body who is supportive of these communities. Their religion-based mumbo jumbo must be exposed and stamped on before its viciousness takes hold of people who are already prejudiced before even understanding the basics of sexuality.

(Posted in Homophobia)


Filtering out the fury: how government tried to gag web censor critics
Asher Moses
October 24, 2008 - 7:00AM
The Federal Government is attempting to silence critics of its
controversial plan to censor the internet, which experts say will break
the internet while doing little to stop people from accessing illegal
material such as child pornography.
Internet providers and the government's own tests have found that
presently available filters are not capable of adequately distinguishing
between legal and illegal content and can degrade internet speeds by up
to 86 per cent.
Documents obtained by the Herald show the office of the Communications
Minister, Stephen Conroy, tried to bully ISP staff into suppressing
their criticisms of the plan.
Senator Conroy has since last year's election victory remained
tight-lipped on the specifics of his $44.2 million policy but, grilled
by a Senate Estimates committee this week, he said the Government was
looking at forcing ISPs to implement a two-tiered filtering system.
The first tier, which internet users would not be able to opt out of,
would block all "illegal material". Senator Conroy has previously said
Australians would be able to opt out of any filters to obtain
"uncensored access to the internet".
The second tier, which is optional, would filter out content deemed
inappropriate for children, such as pornography.
But neither filter tier will be capable of censoring content obtained
over peer-to-peer file sharing networks, which account for an estimated
60 per cent of internet traffic.
Senator Conroy said Britain, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand had all
implemented similar filtering systems. However, in all cases,
participation by ISPs was optional and the filtering was limited in
scope to predominantly child pornography.
Colin Jacobs, chair of the online users' lobby group Electronic
Frontiers Australia said: "I'm not exaggerating when I say that this
model involves more technical interference in the internet
infrastructure than what is attempted in Iran, one of the most
repressive and regressive censorship regimes in the world."
Critics of the ISP-level filtering plan say software filters installed
by the user on their PC, which are already provided by the government
for free at netalert.gov.au, are more than adequate.
Mark Newton, an engineer at Internode, has heavily criticised the
Government and its filtering policy on the Whirlpool broadband community
forum, going as far as saying it would enable child abuse.
He said the plan would inevitably result in significant false positives
and degrade internet speeds tremendously. Those views were subsequently
widely reported by technology media and blogs.
Although Newton identified himself as an employee of Internode - as
Whirlpool's rules stipulate - he always maintained his views were
personal opinions and not necessarily shared by the company.
On Tuesday, a policy advisor for Senator Conroy, Belinda Dennett, wrote
an email to Internet Industry Association (IIA) board member Carolyn
Dalton in an attempt to pressure Newton into reining in his dissent.
"In your capacity as a board member of the IIA I would like to express
my serious concern that a IIA member would be sending out this sort of
message. I have also advised [IIA chief executive] Peter Coroneos of my
disappointment in this sort of irresponsible behaviour ," the email,
seen by the Herald, read.
It is understood the email was accompanied by a phone call demanding
that the message be passed on to senior Internode management.
Newton said he found the bullying "outrageous" and Senator Conroy was
"misusing his influence as a Commonwealth Minister to intimidate a
private dissenting citizen into silencing his political views".
A spokesman for Senator Conroy said Newton's accusation that the
Government was promoting child abuse was "disappointing and
irresponsible". He said the purpose of the email was "to establish
whether Mr Newton's views were consistent with the IIA position".
Ironically, Senator Conroy has himself accused critics of his filtering
policy of supporting child pornography - including Greens Senator Scott
Ludlam in Senate Estimates this week.
ACMA released a report in July detailing the results of laboratory tests
of six unnamed ISP-level filters.
Only one of the filters tested resulted in an acceptable speed reduction
of 2 per cent or less. The others caused drops in speed between 21 per
cent and 86 per cent.
The tests showed the more accurate the filtering, the bigger the impact
on network performance.
However, none of the filters were completely accurate. They allowed
access to between 2 per cent and 13 per cent of material that should
have been blocked, and wrongly blocked between 1.3 per cent and 7.8 per
cent of websites that should have been allowed.
"Why would you want to damage the performance and utility of the
internet and not actually keep the bad stuff out anyway," said John
Lindsay, carrier relations manager at Internode.
In Senate Estimates, Senator Ludlam expressed concern that all sorts of
politically-sensitive material could be added to the block list and
otherwise legitimate sites - for example, YouTube - could be rendered
inaccessible based on content published by users.
"The black list ... can become very grey depending on how expansive the
list becomes - euthanasia material, politically related material,
material about anorexia. There is a lot of distasteful stuff on the
internet," he said.
Despite this, the Government - which distanced itself from the tests by
saying they were initiated by the previous government - is pressing
ahead with live trials of the filtering system and will shortly seek
expressions of interest from ISPs keen to participate.
and this item comes from the ABC:
The high price of internet filtering
By Michael Meloni
Posted 1 hour 18 minutes ago
Labor's high-speed National Broadband Network is a step in the right
direction, but their plan to block inappropriate websites by forcing
ISPs to install content filtering systems will slow down internet access
and raise the cost of service.
Unlike website filters installed on your personal computer, filters
installed at your ISP need to check hundreds of thousands of websites
and then decide whether they're pornographic or inappropriate. As it
stands, no technology capable of doing this accurately exists. Current
filters are of varying accuracy and severely affect internet performance
- and the Government knows it.
A recent ACMA report on ISP filtering products showed that all of the
products tested degraded Internet performance, with two of them reducing
speed by more than 75 per cent. One filter reduced network speed by only
2 per cent, but it was one of the least accurate at identifying
inappropriate and illegal websites. It also mistakenly blocked many
innocent sites. The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the
Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, seemed oblivious to this and
hailed the trial a success.
Senator Conroy insists mandatory filtering will protect children from
violent and pornographic content online, but that's simply untrue. It's
rare that surfing the web will unwillingly land you head first in
illicit pictures and movies. On most occasions you need to be searching
for risqué material to find it and that won't change with a filter in
place. Nor will access to it as circumvention can be easily achieved
within minutes. For those occasions when you do accidently stumble
across pornography, there's no guarantee a filter would block it anyway.
As for banning websites that are 'inappropriate', is the Government
really in the best position to decide what that is? Does inappropriate
include information on sexual health, breast-feeding, drugs and
abortion? The one size fits all approach of filtering at ISP level
causes problems because young children, teenagers and adults often use
the same family computer. Material inappropriate in one household might
be appropriate in another, but the Government's scheme doesn't allow for
any fine-tuning. It's a poor substitute for the discretion and attention
of parents.
A combination of supervision, education and empowerment is the only way
we can be sure children are equipped to navigate the web responsibly.
Arguments that filtering is worth trying, even if it doesn't work, show
complete disregard for the well being of young Australians and their
future standing as technology leaders.
Meanwhile, extra ISP infrastructure needed to meet the burden of
filtering will drive up the cost of your internet service bill. Network
engineer Mark Newton says ISPs will also require more call centre staff
to deal with angry customers who can't access websites.
Large operators may be able to absorb these costs, but small ISPs risk
going under and consumer choice becoming limited. As a matter of fact,
all businesses risk losing out under the Government's plan. Given the
rate the tested filters block innocent websites, a whopping 10,000 out
of every one million at best, it won't take long for sites belonging to
the local plumber or GP to be mistaken and banned. Any loss of income
due to website downtime is inexcusable and it's still not clear if or
how we'll be able to appeal a decision.
There's also the issue of filtering HTTPS web traffic - the protocol
used for online banking transactions. Five of the filters tested for
ACMA could intercept HTTPS traffic, a worrying prospect if the
Government intends to use one for blocking secure websites that are
inappropriate or illegal. A filter inspecting secure banking data and
online purchases for unsavory content effectively opens the door to
fraudsters and undermines the entire e-commerce process.
To provide a safer environment for children online we need to focus on
areas posing a real threat to young Australians like cyber-bullying,
identity theft and online predators. Filtering does nothing to reduce
these risks. Just like we educate children about staying safe outside,
we need to educate them about staying safe online. Walk them through it
just like we'd walk them to the park. If that means educating parents
unfamiliar with the Internet as well, then let's do it.
Despite all the shortcomings in the ACMA report, the Government is
progressing to live ISPs trials using real customers. Senator Conroy and
his department are unwilling to acknowledge that ISP filtering is
unworkable and find themselves in a position where it seems hard to turn
back, though not impossible. Instead his office prefers to brand those
who object as presenting extreme views or equating freedom of speech
with watching child pornography. I'm sure Labor's time would be better
spent implementing their other cyber-safety promises aimed at actually
benefiting children.
To make matters worse, Senator Conroy's office now says filters will be
mandatory for all internet users.
Australians will pay for ISP filtering with decreased performance and
higher charges, but to limit the free flow of information that makes the
Internet the most valuable communication and education tool of our time,
means we'll pay a much larger price in the long term.

(Posted in Censorship)


At the height of the South African apartheid regime's censorship efforts, those enlightened political guardians of the morals of us degenerates censored Black Beauty, because, without ever having heard of the book, let alone read it! - they concluded the story would have to have been about a black woman who was a beauty, and therefore the book would have to be off limits to white people (read men!!) and must also be pornographic!!
Now we have a bunch of Australian politicians who are doing the same with photographic art and they are endeavouring to create a climate of fear and extreme censorship as they decide that Bill Henson's photographic art is pedophilia disguised as art - and what do we as lay people know about art???
Only politicians know and they must safeguard our morals - where have we heard all this cristian morality crap before??

(Posted in Censorship)

BRAD COHEN mcenroebecker@hotmail.com Subject: palestine 5.10.2008

On Sunday 5 October 2008 this email was sent to me.
The pathetic sender remains anonymous because of course he/she is too afraid to enter into any meaningful discourse on any of the items with which this coward has abused me.
He/she is typical of those who hide behind their anonymity because thay havn't got the courage of their convictions. It is easier to be abusive, and think they are great heroes of the zionist state by counter-arguing about arabs and Iranians.
It is really quite tragic when one views the situation in the middle east and this is what one gets!

de saxe, you have had too many stiff arab cocks up your herpes backside.

why dont you write about how iran has murdered over 5000 homosexuals since 79, and how many mardi gras are held in the middle east outside israel.

you are a whigeing self hating brain damaged queer.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)



(Posted in Homophobia)


Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne,
2/12 Murphy Grove,
Vic 3072,
Phone: 03 9471 4878
Peter Stokes (the Salt Shakers man, 21/09/08) makes the astonishingly unsubstantiated statement "Even homosexual activists are now admitting that homosexuality is not genetic or innate but a preference."
Gay and lesbian activists with which we have associated over the last 30 years certainly do not "admit" to such views. Rather, we have long been arguing for equality after all these years of sexual apartheid to which we have been subjected, and the Philip Island Adventure Resort is another such organisation guilty of this "sin".
The Sunday Age letter-writers have not mentioned that religious organisations are exempt from anti-discrimination laws, and exempt from paying taxes on the properties they own throughout Australia.
If such was not the case, this resort would be forced to accept those it deems "untermenschen" and gays, lesbians and transgender (GLT) people would no longer feel excluded and unwelcome.
Your letter-writers (21/09/2008) who are so offended at what some activists have said that they have lost sight of the fact that it is the religious organisations who are offensive in their open homophobia, are probably unaware of the fact that many young GLT people are often driven to commit suicide, particularly in regional and rural areas, too intimidated to confess their sexuality, and having nowhere to turn.
Gays are not currently a "fashionable group", are not able to "persecute" the well-funded, tax-exempted, anti-discrimination- exempted religious groups and only want what the heterosexual community takes for granted - equality under the law, denied them by most governments throughout Australia.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Phone: 03 9471 4878
Peter Stokes writes about tolerance (MCV 18/09/2008), but religious
organisations have generally shown ongoing homophobic
intolerance to the gay, lesbian and transgender (GLT) communities.
Religious organisations throughout Australia are tax-exempt, and
exempt from anti-discrimination legislation.
GLT communities demand equality and not a continuation of the
ongoing sexual apartheid which condemns us to be 2nd or 3rd class
citizens because of the discrimination meted out to us because of
people's religious beliefs.
The bigotry practised by religious communities drives many young
GLT people to suicide, particularly in regional and rural areas,
because they are intimidated into silence about their sexuality for
fear of persecution and discrimination, to say nothing of bashings,
verbal abuse and worse.
On the 10th anniversary of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in
the USA we should not forget the homophobia propagated by
religions in our communities which culminate in this sort of outcome.
Philip Island Adventure Resort is discriminating, is tax-exempt and
anti-discrimination-legislation-exempt and should be forced to
reverse its decision.
We demand equality, not differentiation, and we demand it of
governments NOW!
And, Stokes, homosexuality is not a "personal preference". It really is
time you educated yourself to the realities of the world, not to your
outmoded ideas of "personal preferences". Peter Tatchell is not the
spokesperson for the GLT communities and his views are HIS views.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

(Posted in Homophobia)


Michael Burd of Toorak railing against those involved in the Australian terrorist trial need look no further than his beloved Israel for the solution! His letter to The Age on 19 September 2008 is below, but it really is time Burd of Toorak remembered that terrorism saw its origins in 1948 with the birth of Israel in Palestine and apartheid in South Africa, the infamous system now used in everyday practice by the Israelis who worked so closely with the apartheid regime in security matters and who developed nuclear bombs together!

It is difficult to comprehend, even if those on trial are or were guilty or otherwise, why allegations of mistreatment of the defendants should not be investigated. The 12 men were, by all accounts, treated in the same way as American prisoners in their "justice" system - abuse, maltreatment, chained, incarcerated like animals.

And Burd of Toorak talks of human rights!!!!!!! - and who, exactly, are the innocent men and women he talks about?
The price of security
NOW that the terror trial is over we are going to be inundated with the alleged allegations of mistreatment of the terror defendants (The Age, 18/9).
Unfortunately we are fighting a war that was forced upon us. There is no precedent for such a war against people who wear no uniforms, hide among us, target civilians; against an enemy that has no specific grievance or outcome that can be ever satisfied. Even the outdated Geneva Convention does not allow for this new style of warfare against civilians.
So there will be innocent casualties whose human rights may be affected along the way. Fortunately the men who have been found not guilty will live to talk about it and may even be financially compensated for their inconvenience. However, the innocent men, woman and children killed by terrorist attacks worldwide will not.
Michael Burd, Toorak

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)


Peter McGregor died in January 2008. The University of New South Wales was approached to make a posthumous apology for their behaviour in relation to the treatment of Peter at the Gilbert and Tobin forum (note the word forum) where he was not only ejected by the organisers, but had charges laid against him.
Peter never recovered from the blow at a time when his health was failing and he knew the inevitable consequences of his illness.

His family and friends were entitled to some recognition from the university of its failure to deal with the issue and a resolution to put the matter to rest. The university has failed as it has failed so many times over the last few years on other issues.

This does not mean that the matter has been forgotten about, it means it will be dragged into the open again and again until the university responds satisfactorily.

What is below here is what correspondence took place earlier in the year.

18 APRIL 2008:
No response yet from the University of New South Wales who regard this matter as closed, but Peter McGregor's friends and supporters don't quite see it that way. The disgusting behaviour of that university and its Gilbert and Tobin Law centre are as reprehensible as ever and have made no move to make amends to Peter's partner and everybody else involved.
17 MARCH 2008
Mannie De Saxe,

I am acknowledging receipt of your emails of 18 January and 11 March 2008. The University regards this matter as closed and will not respond to any further correspondence.
Yours sincerely,
Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor
Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Level 1, Chancellery
The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney
NSW 2052
Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949

11/03/2008 11:22 PM
To V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
cc Subject (Fwd) (Fwd) Peter McGregor
Please acknowledge receipt of this email and advise when a response may be expected.
Mannie De Saxe
----------------------------------------------------------- ------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: (Fwd) Peter McGregor
Date sent: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 00:16:08 +1100
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: Peter McGregor
Date sent: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 00:08:09 +1100
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
The fact that Peter McGregor died on 11 January 2008 does not mean that the matter between him and the University is now closed.
More than ever, it is necessary for the University to demonstrate that it is not a university in name only, but that the meaning of the word university is still understood to be that of an institution which upholds the traditions of a seat of learning.
The University, the Gilbert and Tobin Centre, the Law Faculty and the people involved in the events leading to the arrest of Peter McGregor need to make public apologies which are placed in the media in prominent positions so that the community is made aware of of the injustices of the actions taken to have Peter McGregor arrested and ignominiously thrown out of the University.
Until such time as this is done, the matter will not be laid to rest.
Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne.
Subject: Your email to the Vice-Chancellor
From: "Victoria Finlay" Add to Address B
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 10:59:16 +1100
Dear Mr McGregor,
I am responding to your email to the Vice-Chancellor. I understand that the police prosecution has been withdrawn. The University regards the matter as closed and will not respond to any further correspondence regarding the matter.
Yours sincerely,
Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Level 1, Chancellery The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949
(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Anti-censorship, anti-homophobia, anti-religious right fanaticism, anti-zionism, pro-human rights for ALL!


I really should know better, but I suppose it is the habit of a lifetime and one not easily broken. My latest letter to The Age concerned two taboo topics for the Victorian government, abortion and euthanasia - look how quickly they killed off the proposed bill recently on euthanasia - althought the abortion bill may actually get through! Here is my latest letter:
My father died at the age of 31 in excrutiating agony from
Myasthenia Gravis. When he died in 1930 there was nothing
available to treat this disease. His mother died at the age of 25 from a
botched abortion. She virtually bled to death. This happened in 1902 in
Melbourne. These events are of course not un-linked as they had
consequences for all concerned.
At 82 I am fortunate not to have had any life-threatening diseases or
illnesses. The same can not be said for countless friends and relatives
over the years.
Should my circumstances change I will do everything in my power to
ensure that I am not dictated to by any religious right or government
organisation as to how I am to die. It is my choice and I will choose.
If euthanasia is required, so shall it be.
As to abortion, women have suffered, and continue to suffer, at the
hands of those moralists who would have a say in their situations.
Women alone shall decide their fates and it is time the legality of
these issues be put to rest by legislative decisions now!
Mannie De Saxe

(Posted in Abortion and Euthanasia)


Morris Iemma and some of the worst members of his government have departed, and New South Wales should be able to heave a collective sigh of relief.
Unfortunately not enough of them have gone, and there are still some of the old guard who are in the new cabinet of a new and unknown premier, ostensibly of the ALP "Left", if anyone can envisage such an animal. The trouble is already apparent by the choice of the deputy premier in the person of Carmel Tebbutt, who is still part of the old school, and has not been seen as one in the NSW government to inspire confidence.
Hopefully the Victorian premier might learn a little about the arrogance of the people who were in the NSW government and also those in the WA government, but the ALP never learns and goes from weakness to weakness in its endeavours to govern for big business but never for the people who elected them.
Both New South Wales and Victoria have governments which have not learnt that their states need public transport urgently, better health and education systems, and all the surpluses accumulated by all the governments around the country because of the goods and services taxes imposed on us by the Coalition and the non-lamented departed Democrats.
We deserve better, but most voters haven't woken up to the fact that these governments can be challenged by making sure that there are not just two main political parties in Australia.
The Greens may not be the best answer, but they would at least provide a challenge.
Roll on the Council elections in Victoria in November 2008 where the gerrymander has been ended for most councils and we may see the ALP no longer dominating much of local government politics.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)


Majority view no yardstick on rights
I HAVE no idea where Jennifer Tuke (Letters, 3/9) got her "80% of Australians" support access to abortion figure from. Not any study I've heard of. But really, even a higher figure would prompt me to say "So what?" I submit that abortion would not be wrong because of any opinion poll — it is objectively wrong because it ignores physical facts. You may as well draft legislation that denies gravity.
Every argument from the pro-choice, pro-death lobby, including the obfuscation from Dr Chris Bayly and colleagues ("Abortion law reform promises better health care, theage.com.au, 3/9) ignores the absolute reality of a unique and vulnerable human life growing inside the mother's womb — worthy of equal protection by the law. Size is irrelevant, as is development stage.
"Community standards" are too often extremely poor judges on matters of human rights, as has been shown throughout history. Why are we making the same mistake again?
Mark Rabich, Heathmont
Listen to the experts
JENNIFER Tuke is right (Letters, 3/9). Most Victorians do support the decriminalisation of abortion. The Abortion Law Reform Bill was drafted to reflect current clinical practice in Victoria. The Royal Women's Hospital, a great maternity hospital with long-established unplanned-pregnancy and abortion services, supports the bill without the proposed amendments (The Age, 3/9).
Every amendment to the bill that has been proposed limits women's right to exercise their choice; the amendments have been considered and rejected by the Victorian Law Reform Commission. I hope the members of Parliament are listening to both the medical profession, who provide high quality health services, and the community, who need them.
Stephanie Chen, Brighton East

(Posted in Abortion)


Michelle Grattan pointed out in The Age newspaper on 5 September 2008 that the Alternative Liberal Party in Victoria had made the preference deal which saw Family First get the last senate seat in the 2004 federal election.
"As you make your bed so shall you lie in it", and how apt it is for the ALP government which is now unable to get its legislation through federal parliament because it has created the millstone round its neck in the form of Steve Fielding who, if anything, is certainly NOT family first when it comes to big business.
The ALP has been in government since November 2007, but the numbers in the senate for the new parliament only took effect from 1 July 2008, and the numbers are so tight that there is little room for negotiations with the minor parties for legislation which the Coalition has no intention of supporting.
The article below shows in detail how the ALP manoeuvred the preferences to eliminate the Greens - they preferred Family First and they got shot in the feet which will lead to future frustrations as they try to get legislation passed which Steve Fielding doesn't like!
The longer the ALP is in government in Canberra the more it is looking like the Coalition of the Howard era.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)


After the following article appeared in the Sunday Age on 3 August 2008, a flurry of letters followed in the next few weeks, some from the usual suspects. These are the ones who have yet to learn the lessons of history, and it seems they are intent on learning them the hard way.
These people - zionist true believers - live in Australia where they decry the ever-growing voices of those who understand the need for change. Israel will ultimately have to become a secular state together with Palestine in a one-state solution to stop the 60-year war which will otherwise continue indefinitely with death and horror in a continuous violent confrontation.
The letters follow the article, and appeared in the Sunday Age on 10 and 17 August 2008:
Straddling the divide
• Paul Daley
• August 3, 2008
A CHARACTERISTIC of Kevin Rudd's brief but eventful political life had been his remarkable, irrepressible capacity to promote his views - regardless of where they fitted in with party orthodoxy.
As a mere slip of a backbencher Rudd decided that foreign affairs was his forte; he was, after all, a former diplomat. And he was not going to be deterred from speaking out on almost any diplomatic issue by the fact Labor had a foreign affairs spokesman in Laurie Brereton.
Rudd used to drive Brereton and his staff mad. He'd pop up in all sorts of foreign, weird, dysfunctional places - not least the press gallery - to enunciate his views and critique both Labor and government diplomatic and defence policy.
Those of us who occasionally dealt with him back then admired his energy and chutzpah, while observing his tensions with Brereton with a sense of squeamish hilarity. By and large he was given pretty short shrift (there's a lesson in that for sure!) until Simon Crean actually awarded him the shadow foreign affairs job after Labor's 2001 election loss.
Rudd continued to work the press gallery tirelessly.
On one occasion, in July 2004, Rudd was on the phone constantly and walking in and out of the various bureaus incessantly. He was in a complete lather and the issue was Israel.
That was when Australia was one of just six countries to vote against a United Nations resolution demanding Israel dismantle its notorious security barrier - the wall around the West Bank that, while making life a misery for Palestinians, has done much to thwart suicide bombings.
The UN held the non-binding vote after the International Court of Justice ruled a section of the structure had been built on Palestinian land.
The five other "no" votes came from Israel, America, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau - 150 other countries voted "yes".
Rudd was telling anyone who'd listen that Australia's position was shameful. The government, aware of this, did some rear-guard briefing of its own, telling journalists that not only could Labor not be trusted to manage the precious bi-lateral relationship with America, but it would also mishandle Australia's "special friendship" with Israel.
Certainly Australian and Israeli Jews regarded John Howard as a great friend. When I visited Israel with Alexander Downer about this time last year, the foreign minister was feted like a rock star. Even Downer seemed to blush at the incredible platitudes awarded to him during dinner at Jerusalem's King David Hotel. Back then some Israeli officials and some prominent Australian friends of Israel viewed the prospect of a Rudd Government with measured caution.
A few months ago, when I was back in Israel, one of Tony Blair's advisers approached me. Blair, the former British prime minister, is now a special envoy to the Middle East on behalf of the so-called quartet of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union. "Did you know," the adviser asked me, "that your government has increased aid to the Palestinian Authority?" This was seen as a big deal by the quartet - something John Howard would not have done and a sign, perhaps, of a different approach by Kevin Rudd on Israel.
A week before Christmas the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, announced Australia had indeed doubled its 2008 aid package to the Palestinian Territories to $45 million.
A senior Australian diplomatic source told me the aid increase "succinctly reflected a subtle repositioning and a new approach" in the Middle East.
Earlier this year Downer's replacement, Stephen Smith, gave an interview in Washington in which he said Australia was committed to an "even-handed" approach on Middle East policy.
Smith told Tony Walker, of The Australian Financial Review, that Labor would adhere to a longstanding policy acknowledging Israel's right to exist and the rights of a Palestinian nation state.
"That's an even-handed approach which Labor has had as its policy for a long period of time. It's a two-nation solution. That's even-handed," Smith said.
Walker, a veteran Middle East watcher, observed that that position "contrasts with the previous government, which tilted Australia's Middle East policy towards Israel and made little pretence of adhering to an 'even-handed' approach".
Perhaps he was right. On February 8, Michael Burd, in a letter to the Australian Jewish News, wrote: "It wasn't so long ago Jewish Labor supporters were arguing there was no difference between Liberal and Labor policy towards Israel, and Jews who attended private dinners with Kevin Rudd … were led to believe Labor would continue to support Israel.
"This letter writer will be watching for the next Arab/Muslim-backed UN anti-Israel resolution to see if Rudd stands by his commitment to the Jewish community."
Around this time, Rudd seemed to allay some fears when he introduced a motion into Federal Parliament honouring the state of Israel, which turned 60 this year. One of his MPs, Julia Irwin - a long-time critic of Israel's conduct - boycotted the motion.
Australia, meanwhile, is watching Israel closely as its prime minister, Ehud Olmert, prepares to stand down amid myriad corruption allegations. Despite his domestic problems, Olmert has done much to advance the peace process.
Australia also watches carefully as Middle East tensions rise over Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons capable of striking at the heart of the Jewish state. Senior figures in the Rudd Government will not, based on intelligence briefings, privately rule out a pre-emptive, unilateral strike against Iran by Israel.
There is no doubt that, while the Australia-Israel relationship remains close, there is significant new uncertainty about it.
Rudd, who has yet to visit Israel as prime minister, does little by accident.
Paul Daley is The Sunday Age's national political columnist.

Who's extreme?
Larry Stillman (Letters, 10/8), a member of both the left-wing socialist organisation Australian Jewish Democratic Society and Independent Australian Jewish Voices — groups considered extremist by the Jewish community — claims my views on Israel are extreme.
I support a two-state solution with issues of shared status to be part of any final negotiations.
The only issues I would imagine Stillman may consider extreme are that I would expect reciprocity from the Palestinians before any facts agreed by both sides change.
I would also expect acceptance from all Palestinian factions of a Jewish state as their neighbour, just as Israel would have to accept an Islamic state of Palestine; zero tolerance on all forms of violence against Israeli civilians and, unless provoked, against the Israel Defence Forces; and, finally, zero tolerance of incitement of hatred towards Jews and Israelis in Palestinian Schools, universities and media.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm