25 April 2011


Dear friends,

For four and a half years, Australian citizen David Hicks has been locked up - allegedly tortured - without trial. Now, the US Supreme Court has confirmed what the world already knew: that David Hicks never had a hope for a fair trial because the system set up to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was fatally flawed from the start.

Enough is enough! No more waiting for a decision to be made somewhere else. No more excuses for supporting a system found to be unlawful. With our government facing unprecedented pressure to find a real solution now, tell them it's time for David Hicks to come home and let justice run its course.


As leaders from around the world had their citizens removed from Guantanamo Bay, and even America's staunchest allies called for this 'symbol of injustice' to be closed down, the Australian Government continued its support.

Their excuse has been that David Hicks cannot be tried in Australia - but eminent legal authorities have refuted this claim.*
The only path to justice now, without months or even years more of unwarranted delays, is for the Australian Government to step up and finally do its job. Demand Alexander Downer and John Howard take action to bring David Hicks home immediately - and let the evidence be heard.

When GetUp first began this campaign last year, media from around the world, starting with The New York Times, reported our willingness to defend the rights of a citizen our government had abandoned.

This week, one of Australia's leading prosecutors, NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nick Cowdery, QC, called Hicks' case "an unprincipled disgrace" and said the Government now had "no excuse" for not seeking his return.

Each of us has the right to a fair trial, and David Hicks' rights must no longer be forsaken for political convenience. If you haven't already, please join us now in taking a stand.
Thanks for being part of this,
The GetUp team

*including Professor George Williams and Devika Hovell, directors of the public and international law units respectively at the University of NSW
If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au.

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Another chapter in a shameful story of justice denied
WHEN a man's plea for help is rejected by both of the countries that legally owe him a duty of care, it is clear that political expediency has triumphed over justice. David Hicks, the only Westerner still incarcerated in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was born in Adelaide of an English mother. This entitles him to dual citizenship. Since January 2002, Hicks has languished in detention while the Australian Government has denied any obligation for his welfare, preferring to support clear breaches of international law by its American allies. Now, the British Foreign Office has decided not to make representations for his release because he was an Australian citizen when captured and handed to US forces.

Asked about the British decision on ABC radio yesterday, Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, was dismissive. "It's really nothing to do with us," he said. Given this nation's shameful complicity in Hicks's continued imprisonment, his response was entirely predictable.

Mr Downer's words sum up 4½ years of denial of responsibility by the Australian Government. In putting its relationship with the US ahead of both its duty to its citizens and its international obligations, the Government has been acquiescent in eroding human rights and allowing diplomacy to obfuscate democratic values. In so doing it has set a dangerous precedent.

It was Australia's compliance with US demands that prompted Hicks' legal team to pursue his right to British citizenship. Had he obtained this citizenship before leaving for Afghanistan, he would almost certainly now be a free man, as are the nine other British citizens originally detained by the Americans but released without charge from Guantanamo Bay following representations by the Blair Government. Their release was consistent with Britain's repeated condemnation of the system of detention in Guantanamo as an abuse of legal process. The decision not to act on Hicks' behalf is inconsistent with this, but it does not absolve Australia of its responsibilities. Hicks was born in this country, he has not broken any Australian laws and he was detained as an "enemy combatant" in circumstances where no war had been declared.

That the outcome of this latest attempt to gain a fair trial, if not freedom, depended on nothing more substantial than the timing of his application for British citizenship is the latest example of the capriciousness that has been a hallmark of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay from the start.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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the Ugly American
Pejorative term for Americans traveling or living abroad who remain ignorant of local culture and judge everything by American standards. The term is taken from the title of a book by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer.

This is a work in progress and will be added to on a regular basis - from 2 July 2006 onwards.
John Howard

"Caring, compassionate, humble, -------- for all Australians"

How about HOMOPHOBIC, HYPOCRITICAL, HATEFUL, ----for a few Australians, for the AWB, NOT for Hicks, Habib, Solon, others too numerous to mention!

And what about industrial relations, voter registration, senate committees, indigenous affairs - did you ever here such patronising, condescending hypocritical utterances than those out of Mal Brough and others as they "address" the issues confronting Aborigines on a day-to-day basis. Talk about apartheid South Africa and thrid world conditions - just visit Australia's outback areas!

Then there is stem cell research, euthanasia, RU486 just for starters!

The following letter appeared in The Age on 29 June 2006:

"Abandoning an Australian citizen" by Barry Everingham, Malvern:

"Your editorial page yesterday (28/6) kicked two brilliant goals: the David Hicks editorial ("Another chapter in a shameful story of justice denied") and the brilliant Leunig cartoon. Congratulations!

The continual Howard subservience to America's most ridiculous president beggars belief, but the Howard/Downer abandonment of fellow citizen Hicks is disgusting and un-Australian. Hicks' treatment at Guantanamo Bay has been of Kafka-like proportions, and Canberra continues with the charade that the US military can dispense justice.

Equally disturbing is the silence of the Opposition on this disgraceful episode."

The above letter was followed by an equally important one:

"Rule Brittania" by Ann Young, Camberwell:

"Am I the only British citizen living in this country who gives a wry smile when the Australian Government advertisement "There has never been a better time to become an Australian citizen" is shown?

The truth is there has never been a better time for us Brits to pass on our citizenship to our Australian-born children. The abandonment of David Hicks by this Australian Government proves that they are incapable of looking after their own."

Philip Ruddock

Alexander Downer

Peter Costello

Tony Abbott

Mal Brough

Brendan Nelson

Kevin Andrews

Amanda Vanstone

This letter in The Age on 29 June 2006 is relevant to another Ugly Australian:

"In limbo for 4 1/2 years" by Melanie Mumford, Glen Forbes:

"Four-and-a-half years is a long time to live in limbo. This is the life of many Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers waiting in Indonesia. Their plight was described so eloquently by Arnold Zable (Opinion, 27/6).

They have spent the past four years in camps in Lombok, Jakarta and other places, without the right to work, study, travel or be reunited with family. They do not know what will become of their futures. Australia pays the International Organisation for Migration to care for them.

The following was written by a man in the Lombok camp: "It has been four years that we live in the world of ambiguity. We cannot go back to our country because of the very problems (racial, political and religious discrimination by specific groups), which we had and still have. The disappointing prospect and endless obscurity in our life also caused tension in every individual's mind that are on the threshold of erosion physically and psychologically."

This young man was just 17 years old when he arrived, unaccompanied by any family members, in the Lombok camp. Four-and-a-half years is long enough. It is time these people were brought to Australia and given back their lives and their futures."

Bill Heffernan

Steve Fielding

Kim Beazley

Nicola Roxon

Alternative Liberal Party aka Australian Labor Party

Victorian Branch of the ALP


" -------a particular animus towards AIJAC, perhaps because of resentment that the majority of the Jewish community agrees with our views on Israel rather than his own."

On what basis the AIJAC is able to make a statement that "the majority of the Jewish community agrees with our views on Israel -----" is unclear. No vote has been taken on the issue and the AIJAC is in no position to make such unsubstantiated claims.

Colin Rubenstein AIJAC

Ted Lapkin AIJAC

Jamie Hyams AIJAC

Geoffrey Zygier ECAJ

Israeli Zionist Times aka Australian Jewish News

Dan Goldberg



"Viva Peace"

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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"The horseless carriage is here to stay" (attrib.)

"--- the pace of Asian immigration has probably been a little too great ----- and should be slowed down a little --- in the interests of social cohesion" (actual)

"Any sovereign country has the right to determine how it will exercise its compassion and how it will increase its population" (actual)

"----truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life" (actual)

"Quite frankly, Alan, I don't want in this country people who are prepared, if those reports are true, to throw their own children overboard. And that kind of emotional blackmail is very distressing" (actual)

"We will decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come here" (actual)

"I was never informed by my department that the original advice was wrong" (actual)

"What are we to do? We are a humanitarian country. We don't turn people back into the sea----" (actual)

"---a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage - and we dont agree with that." (actual)

Same-sex civil unions are "a cop-out" (actual)

"The common law of this country is that marriage is a voluntary union for life for a man and a woman, to the excusion of all others" (actual)

"The fundamental difficulty I have with the ACT legislation is the clause which says that a civil union is different from marriage but has the same entitlements. That is the equivalent of saying to somebody who's passed the HSC and wants to get into a particular course, saying to them, well, you haven't got the requisite tertiary score but we are going to let you into the course. It's a little bit hypocritical." (actual)

Same sex marriage push is "minority fundamentalism" (actual)

"----not discrimination to deny same-sex couples the right to marry" (actual)

"I think it is a form of minority fundamentalism to say that you have to, in every aspect of one's institutions and one's arrangements in society, have technical equivalence" (actual)

"My government has removed most of the financial discrimination against gay men and lesbians, but the majority of Australians do not want gay marriage to be legalised" (actual)


"I think it is discrimination against homosexuals to deny them employment opportunities because the're homosexual" (actual)

"I think it's discrimination to deny them property rights and we have sought to, as we see the need, we have sought to remove that" (actual)

"But to carry it to the lengths of saying, well you've got to give an equivalence in relation to marriage - I don't support that view and I have absolutely no unease of any kind in supporting the decision that's been taken" (actual)

To 410 tired and disorientated Kosovar refugees in 1999: "We will do everything we can to make your stay very happy and memorable" (actual)

"----the black armband" view of history (actual)

"Lazarus with a triple bypass" (actual, but pinched from Bill Hayden)

'They shall not land" (actual)

"The law is often an unpredictable thing. It is in the national interest that the courts of Australia do not have the right to overturn something that rightly belongs to the determination of the Australian people as expressed through their representatives in parliament" (actual)

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Mark Rabich, a creationist - need one say more?? - wrote the following letter to The Age on 13 June 2006. I replied, but my letter was not printed - and my bet is because I revealed the item about Rabich being a rabid god-lover.

Here is the Rabid Rabich letter:

A failed experiment

"Those who continue to bleat about same-sex marriage with cries of "homophobia" and discrimination" could do a lot worse than read Nicholas Tonti-Filippini's article.

Furthermore, I applaud a government that is resistant to endorsing individual rights for purely emotional reasons, notwithstanding a lot of political blustering and obfuscating from a vocal minority.

This particular type of social experiment is already beginning to fail in places such as Scandinavia, so Australians can be pleased that we're not making the same mistake. It's time for this issue to die."

Mark Rabich, Mount Evelyn

One of the problems about Rabich's insulting, patronising and offensive letter is the language he uses and words such as "bleating" are particularly offensive. The religious right specialise in "bleating", and have been doing it for years. Oh, and not to forget about "vocal minority" - just who else is part of this ridiculous set of groups of "vocal minority"?

Rabich is being homophobic, and the government does discriminate as well as also being homophobic, and Tonti-Filippini is a catholic, again rabid religious right.

People like Rabich applaud governments like Howard's which stress individual rights, particularly when it comes to the bosses of small businesses, but they use the expression selectively when convenient.

One thing Rabich can be assured of - IT IS NOT TIME FOR THE ISSUE TO DIE, AND IT WON'T!!!

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne,
2/12 Murphy Grove,
Vic 3072
Phone:(03)9471 4878
email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au

Mark Rabich (letters 13 June 2006) states, without proof that "this particular type of social experiment is already beginning to fail in places such as Scandinavia, so Australians can be pleased that we’re not making the same mistake."

Rabich is referring to same-sex marriage and the related article by Nicholas Tonti-Fillipini in The Age the previous day.

What Rabich fails to tell us in his own bleatings is that he is a creationist and therefore all of his views are coloured by his religious beliefs, as of course are Tonti-Fillipini's.

It seems necessary to state, yet again, that what members of the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) communities want is equality under the law, no more, no less. We do not accept Howard turning us into second-class citizens. We supposedly still live in a secular state, although at times this looks a little doubtful!

Registration of same-sex unions would confer the same legal rights as heterosexuals have, either as married, de facto, or partnership, and would end discrimination and go a long way to ending homophobia.

Mannie De Saxe, for Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

(Posted in Homophobia)

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Marriage is a collapsing institution world-wide. Statistics in some countries put failed marriages at about 30 per cent of legalised unions - and therein lies the rub.

Marriage is actually a civil ceremony demanded by a state for various reasons relating to partner benefits of various sorts, legal entitlements such as hospital visiting rights, death entitlements such as who controls the assets, the will and other related issues.

Now let's see - a few dozen couples in Australia who happen to be same-sex couples want to get married so that they can share the benefits that heterosexuals take for granted. And this is going to destroy marriage????

This letter in The Age of 15 June 2006 probably says it all:

The civil roots of marriage

"Religious and political leaders who oppose gay marriage on the grounds that marriage is somehow sacred and relates to the union of a male and a female are either being disingenuous or are simply wilfully ignorant.

Marriage was only ever conceived of as a civil union. The legal joining of a couple came about so that powerful families could consolidate and increase their power through property and wealth. The fact that marriages took place in a religious setting reflects the place of the church in the state at the time that marriage became common among the upper classes.

Marriage only became more widespread after the Industrial Revolution, with the rise of the middle class. Even a cursory reading of popular texts such as Dickens and Hardy will reveal that few working-class people married, although it was common for de facto couples to call themselves married.

In Australia today, you are not married unless the state marries you. You can have the most beautiful, devout, expensive religious ceremony you like. Unless you are married by a state-sanctioned celebrant and sign that piece of paper, you are not married. Marriage in the eyes of Australian law is exclusively a civil union.

These are the only facts about the supposed "blessed" state of marriage that matter. Everything else is just smokescreen, hypocrisy, hysteria and bigotry."

Vanda Hamilton, East Melbourne

And, what Vanda should have included in her last sentence was HOMOPHOBIA!

(Posted in Homophobia)

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There are 150 members of the house of representatives in the federal parliament. There are also 76 senators.

In a total of 226 members in the parliament, some are married, some are divorced, some are living in de facto relationships, some are cheating on their partners, some are gays or lesbians who are living in their closets, some are gays and lesbians, some are single.

Some profess religious affiliations but secretly behave against the religions they profess to belong to, others do not have religious affiliations, so are not being hypocrites, and hypocrites are all the others behaving dishonestly in the way they voted on the same-sex relationships issue.

Ruddock is the biggest hypocrite of all. His dictatorial actions in relation to the ACT's legislation, carried out on the instructions of the prime minister, show to what lengths this parliament will go to hide its true nature. This is a parlaiment trying to trun a secular democracy into a christian-run fascist state. The longer they remain in power, the longer their control of both houses of parliament is turning this democracy into history.

There is a light at the end of this very long tunnel. It seems -at last - as if voter sentiment is becoming tired of the lies and disgusting behaviour of so many of the elected members of the current parliament that they may vote them out at the next election, unless John Howard and his crew can manufacture some sort of crisis to sway the herd yet again.

We have to live in hope! There is nothing else otherwise!

(Posted in Homophobia)

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ACTIVIST KICKS BACKS - AKB Home | Profile | Archives | Friends

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


Date sent: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 00:35:15 +1000
Subject: John Howard's Homophobia
Priority: normal

Prime Minister John Howard 2/12 Murphy Grove
Parliament House Preston
Canberra Vic 3072
ACT 2600 Phone(03)9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
10 June
Your attitude to same-sex unions would be more understandable,
even if still unacceptable, if you were consistent in your
We are denied equal rights with other members of the community
in relation to issues such as superannuation and other connected
financial and legal matters, but when it comes to taxation, you are
quite happy to tax us on the same basis as the rest of the
community, and use those taxes against us by having the
Attorney-General waste tax-payers’ money to overturn the
legitimate laws of the ACT.
Gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) members of the
community don’t want special rights, they want equal rights,
human rights which are supposedly legally available to all citizens
of Australia.
We know from you that there are first-class citizens such as
heterosexuals, then second-class citizens such as gays, lesbians et
al., and then third-or lower-class citizens such as Aborigines,
Muslims and others who are treated by your government
Our campaigning has already started to take up the challenge, and
we will fight for equal rights for all.
Divide and rule can take you just so far, but in the end the policy
will just collapse.
How many same-sex couples, let alone GLTH citizens have you
ever met? Have you ever made any attempt to find out what
differences there are between heteros and homos? Of course not!
You are simply not sufficiently interested to ensure that human
rights are provided to all citizens of this country. Why don’t you
publicly debate the issues with members of our communities?
You wouldn’t have the courage!
* Time to check out your parliamentary colleagues to
find out how successful their marriages have been,
how many of them have been "a marriage between a
man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, and
for life"!
* Time to find out how many closet homosexuals sit in
federal parliament.
* Time to give answers to the statistics showing at least
one in three marriages in Australia end in divorce.
* Time to explain why so many couples remain
unmarried in de facto or equivalent relationships and
either have, or don’t have children.
I was married for 31 years, have three children and three
grandchildren, have been in a same-sex relationship for over 13
years and defy you to explain what is unacceptable to you.
What we want is equal rights and we want them NOW!
Mannie De Saxe

Copies to: SBS, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney
Star Observer, MCV, Melbourne Star/BNews, Victorian Gay and
Lesbian Rights Lobby, New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights
Lobby, Pink Broad, Ozhomohist, The Sunday Age, GLBTI
Ageing, Matrix Guild, Vintage Men, Mature Age Gays, Victorian
Premier Steve Bracks, NSW Premier Morris Iemma, ALSO,
Rebellion, CAAH

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Phone:(03)9471 4878
email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
It is time to stop the homophobia ever present in your parliament and from
you as Premier.
The latest incident involving the Tillman Park Children's Centre in the
Marrickville Coucil area would be laughable if episodes like these didn't
have disastrous consequences.
The homophobes roaming the streets of Sydney see that the politicans give
them carte blanche to attack gays, lesbians and transgender people, either
verbally or physically or both, and end up committing heinous crimes
because of the irresponsibility of your attacks.
Do you really think it is going to affect the population at large because
a few young children have Brenna and Vicki Harding's books read to them?
Morris Iemma
Tony Abbott
Julie Bishop
Mal Brough
Peter Debnam
Andrew Stoner
What do all of the above have in common?
They are all homophobes!
What do they want?
To get rid of us all!
When do they want it?
What are they about to get?
An intensive campaign to stop the national sport of homophobia becoming a
Minister for citizenship? An oxymoron if ever there was one! To make
second-class citizens of so many of his constituents in the electorate of
Lakemba who are gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV/AIDS voters in the
electoral district of Lakemba!
And what about the other polticians mentioned above. What is their role in
propagating hate speech and discrimination leading to all the abuses known
to members of the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and HIV/AIDS ( GLTH)
Added to all of this is the action of the Prime Minister and the Attorney
General to stop the legitimate passing of legislation in support of
same-sex relationships in the ACT. Taxpayers' money - we are all taxpayers
and I find it totally hypocritical of governments to take our money
without question and then use it to make us second-class citizens!
Time to stop the rot, stop the homophobia, publicise the hypocrisies of
governments, turn all GLTH communities into activists!
Mannie De Saxe
Copies to: SBS, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney
Star Observer, MCV, Melbourne Star/BNews, Victorian Gay and
Lesbian Rights Lobby, New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights
Lobby, Pink Broad, Ozhomohist, The Sunday Age, GLBTI
Ageing, Matrix Guild, Vintage Men, Mature Age Gays, Victorian
Premier Steve Bracks, NSW Premier Morris Iemma, ALSO,
Rebellion, CAAH

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Australia has one of the highest divorce statistics in the world. "Marriage is a voluntary agreement, entered into between a man and a woman, for life". So one in three marriages ends in divorce.

Men and women are living together, as partners, de factos, call them what you will, but not in marriage.

However, they are entitled to all the benefits which the law bestows on heterosexual couples.

Homosexual couples demand the same human rights and benefits that other citizens of Australia have, and resent the federal and state governments treating them as second-class citizens.

The government of the ACT has endeavoursed to introduce legislation in the Territory giving equal weight under the law to people whether they are homosexual or heterosexual.

The Howard government intends to override the ACT legislation so that same-sex unions will be illegal.

Howard and his Coalition members need to get around their electorates a bit, where they will find same-sex people living in relationships, accepted by all who know them, and not affecting the traditions of marriage one little bit.

It is necessary for gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV/AIDS (GLTH) community members to pool their differences and mount an activist campaign to stop the rot this government is responsible for.

There is only one reason glth people are demanding marriage - and that is to obtain the same legal and human rights as those members of the Australian community who call themselves heterosexuals.

It would be interesting to do an investigation into the private lives of all current members of federal parliament. How many have intact marriages? How many are "faithful" to their partners (spouses)? How many are in a closet???

The ones in the closet are the worst ones, because they are the hypocrites who vote with this ghastly government on its vicious legislation to turn GLTH people into second-class citizens of Australia.

This story is not yet over - WATCH THIS SPACE!

(Posted in Homophobia)

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Some letters in The Age newspaper in Melbourne point out that the Australian government's involvement in the recent unrest in East Timor is prbably not at all co-incidental.

There is certainly something happening which is not immediately obvious. The efforts to smear and remove the East Timorese Prime Minister Alkateri are such that one has to conclude that the Australian government's reasons for wanting him out of the way are because it was due to his firm resolve to obtain a greater share of the Timor oil revenues for his impoverished country that the unrest was stoked.

The first letter is from long-time activist and someone who knows how criminally governments act when they want to ensure public opinion is swayed in their direction - Tim Anderson:

Timor: We're acting like colonialists
MUCH of Australian published opinion over the past week has shown contempt for representative democracy in East Timor. The people there elected a Fretilin Government, yet with a violent attempt to overthrow that Government, most Australians — media, Government, other commentators — seem to have joined in, backing the overthrow calls and "understanding" the ex-army killers.
Australia is full of opinions about the non-Fretilin individuals they say should govern East Timor. So much for supporting independence. If I were a citizen of Timor, I would be wary of Australian "support". It is fast becoming another form of colonisation.
Tim Anderson, Sydney

Below is the second letter from The Age of 2 June 2006:

IF THE East Timorese Government bows to pressure from rebel Major Alfredo Alves Reinado and removes Prime Minister Alkatiri, the Australian soldiers should buy a block of land and set up permanent residence in Dili. That is not how democracy works and for a young nation it would be a recipe for a recurring disaster.
Ian Hetherington, Moama, NSW

(Posted in International Politics)

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The Daily Telegraph in Sydney posted an editorial on 29 May 2006 under the heading: More nightmare than mayor

The pun headlines being perpetrated by all the daily newspapers are reaching new levels of absurdity, but this one just about takes the prize for crass stupidity!

And this is the opening paragraph:

"It can already be stated with confidence that Marrickville Mayor Sam Byrne is an unusual man. Anyone who thinks children aged six weeks to six years must be taught about gay, lesbian, transgender and 'intersex' parenting is way out of step with mainstream values.
It appears now that Mr Byrne is also a coward."

Now let's see what Mayor Byrne's "crime" was:

Last week (between 22 and 26 May) Mayor Byrne was "loudly trumpeting his achievements in turning Tillman Park Children's Centre into a social laboratory."

"He wouldn't shut up about his success in 'challenging children's perception of what is normal gender and sexual identity."

"As we stated on Saturday - what perverted rot. Children do not have a perception of sexual identity, and anyone who sets out to create one is, put simply, a creep."

Note the criticisms - "He wouldn't shut up---." "-----loudly trumpeting----." ---what perverted rot." "----a creep."

Now nobody could accuse the Daily Terror of homophobia - oh no! they just hate gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV/AIDS people with a deep and deadly loathing without rime or reason, and who are convenient scapegoats in John Howard's Australia, where the hate and loathing is coming from the top and pervades every level of his government. Just remember the Heffernan/Kirby affair - undoubtedly stoked initially by the Prime Minister who hoped to create a public scandal so that he could get rid of an openly gay judge from the High Court benches.

The outcome of that event was that it discredited Heffernan and Howard, and no doubt helped the closet homsexuals in the ranks of the Coalition in Federal Parliament to stay even more closeted than they already were.

But one of the more bizarre statements in the introductory paragraph of this editorial is "---out of step with mainstream values."

As a consequence of the editorial and an article in the same issue of the paper which has a heading (which should be taken up by the Anti-Discrimination Board) "Revolt over 'transgender' teaching" , people who were very angry with both sent letters to the paper which, to its credit or shame, published several which heavily criticised the comments in the editorial and article.

The programme at the Tillman Park Childcare Centre is not about 'transgender' teaching at all, and the writer of the article, Sue Dunleavy is guilty of sensationalising what was basically a more comprehensive inclusion than the heading would infer.

Also, the editorial called the Centre a Children's Centre, and the article called it a Childcare centre, which is no doubt the correct title.

National Nine News reported during the day that Marrickville Mayor Sam Byrne had defended the use of gay-friendly books and said there was a definite need for the centre in his area.

Mal Brough, as could be expected, expressed the federal government's view on the issue: "let kids be kids. Read them fairytales and don't make their life more complicated."

No doubt, by fairytales he meant the bible and other fictions.

(Posted in Homophobia)

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(Picture - Reuters)
First picture - Tony Blair and George W Bush on their way to the shrine to take their marriage vows

(Picture - AP)
Second Picture - John Howard and George W Bush on their way from the shrine after bigamously taking their marriage vows

Third Picture - Black clouds on the horizon! (Thanks and apologies to Tandberg)

(With apologies and thanks to Tandberg)
Fourth Picture - George W Bush and John Howard celebrating their bigamous marriage with their two bridesmaids before departing for their idyllic honeymoon in Iraq

Fifth Picture - The Aftermath of the Washington Trip, courtesy Tandberg (with apologies)

Sixth picture in the series: and thanks to Golding in the Sunday Age of 17 September 2006 for adding yet another bigamous dimension to the same-sex partnership debate - albeit unwittingly, we presume!

Seventh Image - and still they come rolling in! Andrew Taylor's photo in The Age of 16 September 2006 illustrates the fickleness of the members of this quartet - have they no shame??
Now fast forward to November 2007 for Part 2 in the thrilling saga of John Howard and his gay relationships!: The Ultimate Gay Marriage - The Shape of Things to Come!

(Posted in International Politics)

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An update on the nuclear debate, courtesy Matt Davidson's cartoon in The Age of 17 September 2006 - thanks and apologies - Bomber Beazley is also all for uranium mining and the next stage, which is nuclear power for Australia - but not the next stage of nuclear waste disposal!

Now is the time to introduce readers to Helen Caldicott's new book called - what else?? - Nuclear Power, published by Melbourne University Press in 2006.

(With Apologies - and profound thanks - to Stanley Kubrick! who showed the absurdity of the cold war nuclear arms race in 1963 and it continues in 2006!)

The nuclear debate we have to have when we are not having a nuclear debate - energy or bombs or both?

Uranium mined in Australia and Canada and exported all over the world - to make bombs and nuclear power plants.

Processed uranium has a shelf life of something like 500,000 years.

George W Bush wants nuclear power stations in the USA - he has forgotten 3-mile Island and Chernobyl, and so have John W Howard and Martin Ferguson and a whole host of their cronies who should know better.

Good for families, good for you and me, good for everyone in this energy-starved world, where the profligacy of the USA and other industrialising countries like China and India are looking for sources of energy to power their burgeoning industrial and military might.

Do you want nuclear power stations in your back yard?

John Howard and Martin Ferguson do, and after all, this is a nanny state and if nanny says we need nuclear power, we must have nuclear power!

1,2,3,4, we don't want no nuclear war!
5,6,7,8, we don't want to radiate!

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Are these two men a threat to the very fabric of Australia's society?

Mannie (on the left) is 79, and Kendall (on the right) is 83. They have been partners for 13 years, and have known each other for 18 years.

The sky has not fallen down, lightning has not struck the parliament in Canberra, the religious right, both inside and outside parliament, are still pushing their lost causes about marriage and same-sex relationships, and David Hicks is still incarcerated in the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a country which is still subject to the sanctions of the government of the USA. Iraq is still occupied by the coalition of the killing, and the killings are being assisted by hidden forces of darkness, aided and abetted by "you know who" as Tom Lehrer would say.

So, a few gay and lesbian relationships around the world will change the face of issues such as Darfur and Afghanistan? Not really a likely scenario!

(Posted in Homophobia)

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One of the difficulties in writing to John Howard and sending it by email is that, unlike the vast majority of the current members of the federal parliament, Howard does NOT have an email address. Any emails to him go through his web site without an email address being given. Yet another method by which this man, so full of his own pomp and importance - note how he behaved in the USA on his latest tour - distances himself from the community! Even his mentor, George W Bush, appears to have an email address to which correspondence can be sent!

Mannie De Saxe and Kendall Lovett, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
2/12 Murphy Grove,
Vic 3072
Phone(03)9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au

John Howard,
Prime Minister,
Parliament House,
ACT 2600


Prime Minister,

One of the fundamentals of the English language is the understanding of the meaning of words.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th edition, 1990, defines:

Fundamentalism: 1) strict maintenance of traditional Protestant beliefs such as the inerrancy of Scripture and literal acceptance of the creeds as fundamentals of Christianity;
2) strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion, esp. Islam

You were quoted as saying that people campaigning for gay marriage were fundamentalists, it was not discrimination to deny gay men and lesbians equal marriage status with heterosexual couples, and you were challenged to defend what one student at a Dublin university called your efforts to entrench homophobia in Australia.

You were quoted as having replied that your government had remedied much of the financial discrimination, but that most Australians did not want gay couples to have equivalent status.

“I think it is a form of minority fundamentalism to say that you have to, in every aspect of one’s institutions and one’s arrangements in society, to have technical equivalence.”

Discrimination is very large on your agenda for a section of the population who are actually demanding the same human rights as the majority of Australians already have.

What gays, lesbians, transgenders, people living with HIV/AIDS are demanding, are not special rights, but equal rights.

Just as many heterosexual couples choose not to marry, so too, do same-sex couples choose not to marry.

However, same-sex marriage, or its legal equivalent as would remove discrimination and provide all citizens with equal rights in their relationships. Are there other citizens of this country who are also accorded second-class citizenship status, or is this status reserved for same-sex relationships only?

When you have conducted a referendum on same-sex unions in Australia, and have the results available as numbers of the population who support, or do not support, same-sex marriages, or unions, then, and then only, will you be in a position to state categorically whether most Australians do or do not want gay couples to have equivalent status.

Much of your agenda in relation to this issue seems to be driven by fundamentalists on all sides of the political spectrum in the current parliament.

All you have succeeded in doing, while remaining out of touch with such issues, is entrenching discrimination and homophobia, entrenching majority fundamentalism, and ensuring human rights abuses to many citizens of Australia.

When it comes to taxation, there is no discrimination, so our taxes go towards ensuring human rights abuses by entrenching unequal rights for some in our communities!

Signed: Mannie De Saxe and Kendall Lovett,
Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

Copies to: SBS, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Star Observer, MCV, Melbourne Star/BNews, Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, PinkBroad, Ozhomohist, The Sunday Age

(Posted in Homophobia)

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A world of believers?

World population figures as at 19 May 2006 were given as 6.515 billion. The chart below, when all the figures are added up, gives a total of 7.0179 billion. Give or take a few hundred thousand here and there, the number of atheists/secular/non-religious/agnostic is given as 1.1 billion.

During the 1930s, when the USSR was again becoming a major player in the world field, the USSR was called The Socialist Sixth of the World.

The chart below would indicate that the number of atheists (and related thinkers) around the world is about 1/7 of the world in the context of religion.

This means that, over time, religion is at last losing the stranglehold it has had over the minds of populations, and more and more people are realising the fallacy of believing in "something" with unrealistic expectations that that "something" is capable of solving the wrongs visited upon the earth by all those nasty people who get into positions of power and control.

The religious right are actually fighting a losing battle, but are so desperate to hold on that they will stoop to any of the lowest levels possible to ensure that they go down screaming. Those who scream loudest are not always the most successful, and ultimately all religions will die as more and more people come to realise the error of the ways of belief that have been pressed down on them from those in control.

So, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the light is getting brighter day by day. Just look at what is happening in the USA where the brightest of lights are those that show that support for George W Bush is sinking and sinking. John W Howard not yet, but his days of lying and chicanery can't go on for ever either, and as the sun sets on the Bush horizon, it will also set on the Howard and Blair horizons. The Blair sun is also now setting quite rapidly, so hope springs eternal---------!

(Posted in Atheists and religions)

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Guantanamo Bay - the concentration camp maintained by that great democracy, the United States of America, on Cuban soil, a country - CUBA - with which the USA has no dealings and does its best to crush, has now been roundly condemned by a member of the cabinet of that other great democracy, the United Kingdom, with its so-called Labour government.

In a most astonishing move, the UK Attorney-General, Lord Peter Goldsmith called the US-run detention centre, where Australian David Hicks is detained, a symbol of injustice. He said its existence "remains unacceptable".

The Age newspaper report of 12 May 2006 continues the story - by Sarah Miles and Mark Coultan:

""It is time, in my view, that it should close," he said. "Not only would it, in my personal opinion, be right to close Guantanamo as a matter of principle, I believe it would also help to remove what has become a symbol to many - right or wrong - of injustice."

"The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol."

But Mr Howard (who dismissed the call yesterday, as did the US government) told ABC radio: "Irrespective of what Lord Goldsmith, or indeed anybody else, may say, we make up our own mind about these things and that's our position. We listen to what others say on these matters. We don't necessarily agree with them on everything."

-----Lord Goldsmith's remarks will raise hopes that he will vigorously pursue the case of Hicks, who was caught in Afghanistan in 2001 where he was allegedly a combatant with the Taliban, and faces trial by a military commission.

Lord Goldsmith noted that he had obtained releases for nine British nationals held at Guantanamo Bay because of concerns about receiving a fair trial.

Mr Howard yesterday conceded that Hicks "should have been brought to trial before the military commission a long time ago", yet he has blamed the delay on Hicks' legal team."

John Howard has shown he is not in the least interested in getting Hicks released into the custody of the Australian legal system, because he knows there is no case to answer for Hicks in Australia. But Howard and Ruddock (and Ruddock's predecessor) have continued to show their contempt for an Australian citizen by ignoring him and forgetting about his existence as much as possible, despite intermittent outbreaks of conscience from Australian citizens (and occasionally parts of the Australian media) concerned that justice is not being done, and not being seen to be done.

The following letter appeared in The Age today, Friday 12 May 2006, and puts the point very well:

Beaconsfield and David Hicks

While Australians are rightly euphoric about the triumphant release of the Beaconsfield miners, it may be important to pause and reflect at why such events penetrate our collective psyche so emphatically. Is it just the media circus that attends it?

We immediately empathise with the plight of anyone trapped in a dark, cold and inhospitable place. Our own claustrophobic fears are activated by images of entrapment, and our sympathy immediately extends to our feloow Australians caught in such situations.

Yet only a modicum of our collective sympathy seems to extend to David Hicks - imprisoned, not for two weeks, but for four long years in Guantanamo Bay. Whatever his mistakes, surely the same physical conditions of solitary confinement, the deprivation of family, and unjust imprisonment should ring bells in our collective consciousness. Add torture to that and we all should be instantly alarmed.

Alas, we're not; it hardly registers in our collective psyche. This is a national disgrace of which we all must be ashamed.

David Eric Spratt, Burwood

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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