28 August 2011


I would hate to make you read this, because it will be sure to offend many of you who do, but it is so appallingly intolerant, ignorant, distorted and homophobic that it simply must not be ignored.

Ted Lapkin is a zionist who comes from the American continent. He was a reactionary conservative there, but seems to have grown even more so in Australia - if that was indeed possible.

He is still quoting the bible and other mythical issues to make points about gay marriage - if we allow such things we are opening the door to incest and worse!!! and polygamy - well, there's an idea whose time has come! Many males - and females - already live lives of polygamy - they are just called other things because it is more polite - you know - de facto for example!!

As for being an Ashkenazi Jew - what on earth has that got to do with it - he was born that way and can't change - what is he talking about??? My mother was born an Ashkenazi Jew and my father was born a Sephardic Jew and I am an atheist - so where does that get us with this homophobic nonsense?

Selectively quoting, as Lapkin does, does not an answer give!! He quotes - out of context - the feedback from a few parliamentarians about what their constituents said about the issue of same-sex marriage, but does not bother with the others who report different findings. Does Lapkin think everyone is born as stupid as he is??

He says, "In fact..........." when in fact the facts contradict the very points he thinks he is making - how pathetic!

If all Australians are entitled to the same rights, then that is exactly what it means - equality for all - not all animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others. Does that sound like Dr Verwoerd at his worst? Lapkin can go the whole round with him - blow for blow!!

The only people who move the goal posts in this country are the politicians at all levels of government and it ain't a pretty picture! For marriage issues see John Howard and Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd. Gillard's hypocrisy over this issue is sickening, only more sickening than her atheist embrace of all "God's chosen people" whther they be zionists, cristians, muslims or other religions - Gillard is with them all the way.

Read the whole thing if you dare, but it is not very pretty and all it does is condemn Ted Lapkin out of his own mouth!

Too much to bear
Ted Lapkin
August 28, 2011

GREENS MP Adam Bandt bit off a bit more than he could chew with his parliamentary motion calling on fellow MPs to canvas public opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage. The measure passed through the House of Representatives last November with a one-vote majority and the numbers are now in.

And while you have to give Bandt full thespian credit for putting a brave face on disappointment, the results are lopsidedly in his disfavour. Only a handful out of the 30 MPs who reported back to Parliament were prepared to state that a majority of their constituents supported gay marriage.

In fact, the tide is running strongly against the idea of amending the Commonwealth Marriage Act even in Labor-held electorates. In the suburban Melbourne seat of Deakin, the ALP's Mike Symon indicated that more than 93 per cent of the 1015 people he surveyed were opposed to same-sex nuptials. These electorate surveys were hardly scientific, and published opinion polls are more evenly divided, but even when religious faith is excised from the equation, there are valid reasons to take a jaundiced view of the push for gay marriage.

All Australians are entitled to the same rights and privileges as citizens of our democracy. Each and every one of us - gay or straight, black or white, believer or non-believer - is entitled to identical protections of law in our individual persons and property.

But despite the impassioned arguments of Adam Bandt and others, the debate over same-sex marriage does not pertain to individual rights. It instead revolves around the demand that collective privileges be conferred upon a group whose self-definition relates to what its members do in the bedroom.

Gay rights activists hasten to assure us that any redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions will end right there. We're promised there'll be no flow-on effects and that the door to further changes won't be left ajar.

But I've been around politics long enough to know that once the goal posts begin to shift, the precedent for further change has already been established. You can rest assured there'll be other aggrieved groups waiting in the wings, eager to push the envelope further.

Case in point: American polygamist Kody Brown. He is a fundamentalist Mormon from the state of Utah whose family unit includes four wives and 16 children. And he's so proud of his lifestyle that his clan was featured on a TV show entitled Sister Wives. But Brown is more than a television reality star. He's also the plaintiff in a lawsuit intended to strike down America's bigamy statutes. The lynchpin of his legal pleading is premised upon the 2003 US Supreme Court Lawrence v Texas ruling that overturned America's sodomy laws.

And truth be told, there's something to be said for the logic of Brown's argument. If restriction of marriage to male-female couples is the indefensible fruit of prejudice, isn't it equally bigoted to impose arbitrary limits on the number of spouses one can take?

So if Adam Bandt is pushing for same-sex marriage to be legitimised by law, shouldn't he be cheerleading for polygamy as well?

And then the next cab off the rank will surely be consensual sex between adult brothers and sisters, adult fathers and daughters or adult mothers and sons. After all, we're told individual choice is Holy Writ in such matters. And if people over the age of 18 years freely want to indulge in incestuous pursuits, who are we to tell them they can't do whomever they want to do?

So we should bear in mind that those guarantees about the buck stopping at same-sex marriage will, in reality, guarantee nothing. The floodgates will inevitably open to a further slide down the slippery slope of social disintegration.

Advocates of same-sex marriage also like to liken their situation to that of interracial couples living in the pre-civil rights-era American South. But sexual activity is volitional. As a heterosexual man committed to monogamy, I restrain my natural libidinous impulses. And I have friends who ignore their sexual attraction to persons of the same gender for the sake of their commitment to celibacy.
By contrast, I can't simply decide one day to abandon my Ashkenazi Jewish ethnic origins. I'm stuck with them. And it's this crucial distinction between who you are and what you do that nullifies the gay rights pseudo-equation between sexual preference and race/ethnicity.

The ''sexuality-equals-race'' argument falls short on other grounds, as well. People of different racial and ethnic categories have been falling in love since time immemorial. In the Hebrew Bible we read how Moses took an ''Isha Kushit'' - a black woman - as his wife. Inter-group romance is the historical norm while those obnoxious Jim Crow anti-miscegenation laws were an ephemeral aberration from it.
Yet it's notable that the annals of humanity are devoid of any similar precedent that would legitimate same-sex nuptials. Across continents and centuries, the institution of marriage has invariably involved the male-female family model.

And that's because of the kids. The universality of the traditional father-mother family unit stems from the superior child-rearing environment it provides. And the promotion of children's best interests makes it entirely appropriate for the state to preference heterosexual marriage in law and practice.

Of course, it's true that traditional marriages don't always succeed, and that there are far too many single-parent households. And I'll concede that many gay families provide loving environments to the child of whichever partner was involved in the gestational process.

But exceptions don't invalidate the state's legitimate interest in retaining limitations on marriage that exclude a family model where the father-mother unit is impossible by definition.

Nothing in any of my arguments would preclude the ability of same-sex couples to come together, live together and love together as they have been doing for time immemorial.

But the institution of marriage should remain as it's always been - the union of a single man and single woman who come together for the primary purpose of rearing the healthiest children possible.

Ted Lapkin was a ministerial adviser to the federal Coalition, and was communications director to a senior member of the Republican leadership in the US Congress

25 August 2011



From Mannie De Saxe, (Member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne)
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Email: red-jos@red-jos.net
29 August 2011

This submission is divided into specific sections to address particular issues, but the main purpose is to show how homophobic many in the Australian Jewish communities are and to show that discrimination continues unabated while many people and groups in Australia and around the world are busy learning that homosexuality and heterosexuality are as related to each other as left-handed and right-handed are, as well as blue-eyed and brown-eyed.

1) Kitty Fischer
2) Parents of Jewish Lesbians and Gays UK
3) Jewish, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV
4) Jewish leaders and homophobia
5) Lists of Australian and International people who are known to be Jewish and Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV
6) Australian Jewish academics and homophobia
7) The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand

The word homophobia is recent although its actions are centuries old. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1990) defines homophobia as a hatred or fear of homosexuals. The most common term of abuse in Australia and used universally for any number of reasons but mostly to abuse homosexuals is the word “poofter”. This is vilification writ large and for those trying to come to terms with their sexuality it is so hurtful that many particularly young people find they cannot cope and commit or try to commit suicide.

This part of the tragedy of gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV (GLTH) members of our communities is one that is not sufficiently recorded because very often the causes of the suicide can not be pinned down to specific reasons.

Religious communities selectively quote sections of a book written by old men some thousands of years ago as having meaning in 2011 and as being their reasons for their hatred of homosexuals. However homosexuals are usually born to heterosexual people, so the words in that old book are totally irrelevant.

1) Kitty Fischer

The following item refers to a person who was Jewish but not lesbian. Her story is told by Konrad Kwiet in an interesting essay published in a book from Melbourne University Press some 10 or so years ago.

Kitty Fischer who died in 2001 was an Auschwitz child Holocaust survivor. Kitty arrived in Auschwitz with her parents and younger sister in 1944. They had been transported from their home in Czechoslovakia and on arrival at Auschwitz the parents were separated from their two daughters who never saw their parents again.

Kitty was in her early teens and her sister a few years younger and she told the story of their survival as being achieved by a man with a pink triangle which Kitty thought was another religion because the Jews wore their yellow stars. This man brought food to the two girls which helped them survive and when a working group was being put together to go to a clothing factory outside Auschwitz he persuaded them to say they were seamstresses and they were selected.

Kitty and her sister survived those last few months before they were liberated but she never found out what happened to the man with the pink triangle. They eventually managed to get to Australia where they lived until their deaths in the latter part of the last century and the beginning of this century.

When Kitty was living in Sydney during her last 15 or so years of life she remembered the man with the pink triangle by becoming involved with the care of gay men who were dying of AIDS. She also became a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial Project, and when it was completed and its dedication took place in Green Park in Sydney’s Darlinghurst in 2001, Kitty was there in her wheelchair. This was the last event in which she was involved and she died of leukemia a few months later.

As someone who had suffered so terribly in her lifetime from discrimination, and hatred, Kitty understood that the GLTH communities were suffering from much the same prejudices and abuse that she had suffered as a young Jew living in German-occupied Europe during the Second World War. She did her best to reduce that discrimination as much as she was able within her limited resources. She will be long remembered.



2) Parents of Jewish Lesbians and Gays UK

The stories below are from the United Kingdom but apply equally to Australia where many young people experienced similar horrors from their “loving” Jewish parents:
A Mother’s story (about 1998)

My daughter left home at 19 to (as I found out later) find herself! Some time later she came home for a weekend and asked if she could speak to me without her father being present. I guessed something was wrong and immediately asked if she was on drugs or was she pregnant? She denied both of these and I then asked her if she was gay.
By this time she was crying her eyes out and could only nod and asked how I had guessed. We fell into each others arms and both of us cried buckets. I told her that nothing had changed and that she was still our daughter and that we loved her very much.

After about 20 minutes, during which we just hugged and cried, she said she was so happy as I hadn't pushed her away or disowned her as many of her friends' parents had with their children. She then went out for a cigarette and to calm herself down and I went to tell her Dad! He just cried and asked me two questions:-
"Does that mean I won't be able to cuddle her anymore?" and "Does that mean I will never walk her down the aisle?"

From London Jewish News 19 June 1998

"The love learning to speak its name"

Katrin Levy hears of a group of parents trying to come to terms with the homosexuality of their children

What would you do if one of your children looked you in the face and told you he/she was gay? Some parents react with anger and throw their children out of the house. Others fight to come to terms with their feelings of embarrassment. "A gay child is the same person they were yesterday," says Myrna Julius, one of organisers behind a support group of Jewish Parents of Gays and Lesbians (JPGL). "The only difference is their sexual preference.

And this from a Melbourne Jew about the same issue:

Henry Herzog says in Galus Australis:
November 6, 2009
I really feel for those Jewish homosexuals who were brought up in orthodox homes but once they became aware of their sexuality, they were rejected by the parents and community. That is truly heartbreaking.

3) Jewish, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV

Many Australians who are Jewish and gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV are on public record as a combination of these descriptors and their life stories are as interesting as their careers:
The following article was published in The Age newspaper on 8 January 2003:

Gay, Jewish and itinerant, an artist reflects

The Jewish Museum aims to represent diversity in a new exhibition, writes Suzanne Carbone.
He is a Jewish man without a home and knows isolation and loneliness. The fact that he is gay adds another element, but because he is an artist he can depict such feelings.

The Jewish Museum of Australia intends to share his experiences and will hold, for the first time, an exhibition to coincide with Midsumma - Melbourne's gay and lesbian festival.

The works by gay Jewish artist Sam Schoenbaum, 55, reflect his peripatetic life and pay tribute to gay Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

The St Kilda museum's director, Helen Light, is nervous about how the exhibition will be accepted and does not want to offend Orthodox Jews, but is adamant that the museum has to reflect community diversity.

"Homosexuality is not acceptable within Orthodox Judaism and yet there are a lot of Jews in our community who are gay," Dr Light said. "Our museum is about representing the community, not saying how people should live but how people do live."

The exhibition, Strangers & Sojourners, runs from January 21 to February 9.
The museum has held exhibitions by gay artists, but Schoenbaum's is the first dealing with homosexuality.
Schoenbaum, an internationally renowned abstract and conceptual artist, is based in Melbourne but has no fixed address or phone. He was born in a displaced person's camp in Austria in 1947 and moved to Melbourne in 1951. His art career took off when he was 27 and his works are now in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Jewish Museum of Australia.

Exhibition coordinator Eugene Barilo von Reisberg said both he and Schoenbaum were amazed and jubilant that the Jewish Museum agreed to present an exhibition in conjunction with Midsumma.

"I wanted to have the best gay Jewish artist that there is in Australia and Sam is the one because he is a respected and professional artist," said Mr von Reisberg, manager of the Charles Nodrum Gallery, which is supporting the exhibition.
Schoenbaum's work has imagery of pink triangles, suggesting persecution of gays.
The exhibition was not welcomed yesterday by Rabbi Yitzhak Groner of the Yeshivah Centre, who said: "I am totally against it."

But Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn, of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, said the museum was an independent organisation and ran exhibitions as it saw fit. "The Torah, the basis of Jewish law and life, clearly speaks against homosexuality," he said. "Therefore, from where we sit, we wouldn't be involving ourself in the exhibition."

In Carlisle Street, St Kilda, yesterday Yoram Raz, 24, from South Caulfield, said: "It's OK for him to be who he is as an artist, but I don't understand what drives people to have gay relationships."

Student Netz Goren, 28, from Israel, said Jewish law was outdated and he supported the exhibition. A woman who described herself as deeply religious said the museum's stance would cause a stir "not just among the Orthodox community but among some of the elderly ladies who work at the museum as volunteers".

Michael Barnett, convenor of Aleph Melbourne, a support group for gay and bisexual Jewish men, believes the wider Jewish community will support the exhibition. "Unless the art is controversial I don't see what the issue is," he said.

I am making this submission because if those of us who believe the JCCV is irrelevant don’t make some publicity about the issues then indeed nothing in the Jewish communities will ever change.

4) Jewish leaders and homophobia

Items like the following story reported on the ABC do not show organizations such as JCCV in a very favourable light and their attempt to create a secret Reference Group to address homophobia and its related ills and which has had no publicity and whose members remain a closely guarded secret do not inspire confidence that anything dramatic will come from people making submissions at this stage.

Jewish leaders accused of ignoring homophobia

Alison Caldwell reported this story on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 18:34:00 ABC programme PM on Radio National

MARK COLVIN (Presenter of Radio National’s PM) A rift is developing in Australia’s Jewish community over the treatment of homosexuals.

A major gay and lesbian support group claims Jewish community leaders are ignoring discrimination and hate language aimed at homosexuals. It wants Jewish representative bodies to come up with a clear policy upholding gay rights.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: When two young people were shot dead in Tel Aviv last month at a gay and lesbian youth centre, Melbourne-based Michael Barnett wanted nothing more than for the leaders of the Australian Jewish community to take a stand against violence towards homosexuals. But he says his calls for action fell on deaf ears.

MICHAEL BARNETT: The Israeli leadership, the Prime Minister, the President of Israel, they spoke out against intolerance and hatred and said you know, everyone deserves respect.

Yet in Melbourne where there is the family of one of the two people killed, there wasn't even a single statement from the community leaders.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says the silence from the Jewish leadership was symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

MICHAEL BARNETT: There's a lot of intolerance of gay people in the Jewish people. Calling gay people perverted and disgusting, comparing gay people to people who commit incest or bestiality, there's all this language that gets used from people like some rabbis in the orthodox world who speak out against gay people.

ALISON CALDWELL: Michael Barnett is the coordinator of Aleph Melbourne, a support group for homosexual people in the Jewish community. He believes representative groups are afraid to express their support for homosexuals for fear of offending ultra-orthodox groups in the community.

MICHAEL BARNETT: I want every state and national Jewish peak body in Australia to have a specific, unambiguous policy addressing the persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews in regard to homophobic hate and intolerance, irrespective of whether it originates from outside or inside the Jewish community.

The policies must be enforced with the same zero tolerance afforded to anti-Semitism and holocaust rhetoric and other hate crimes.

ALISON CALDWELL: Much of his anger is levelled at a Jewish blog which recently described homosexuality as "depravity and debasement" and extolled the virtues of reprogramming homosexuals.

In July, a Sydney rabbi wrote to the Australian Jewish News, comparing homosexual intercourse with adultery, bestiality and incest.

JOHN SEARLE: If it's a matter that's guided by religious laws, then those laws will presumably be applied. Now I can't say very much about those because I'm not an expert in those areas.

ALISON CALDWELL: John Searle is the president of the Jewish Community Council in Victoria. It describes itself as the roof body of Victorian Jewry. On its website, it says it shows zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism and racism but it has nothing to say about supporting or protecting gay or lesbian people within the Jewish community.

JOHN SEARLE: If we need to rewrite a policy that was written some time ago, we can certainly look at that and if it needs to be adjusted in any way, we can adjust that.

ALISON CALDWELL: John Searle says he's against vilification of any sort.

JOHN SEARLE: The JCCV has issued statements condemning vilification of all minority groups, including vilification based on grounds of sexual orientation, sexual preference.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says the council has sought advice from numerous sources on how to be more inclusive and will invite gay and lesbian support groups to events in the future.

Michael Barnett says it's not enough.

MICHAEL BARNETT: Lip service, motherhood statements, platitudes, rhetoric, anything but "yes, we're going to do this and take it seriously".

JOHN SEARLE: I reject the allegation or assertion that inviting people to participate in community events is simply lip service.

ALEX FEIN: My blog is called The Sensible Jew.

ALISON CALDWELL: Jewish blogger Alex Fein has written about the issue in recent weeks. She says the vast majority of Jews support homosexuals and describes those who don't as minority extremists. But she says groups like the Jewish Community Council of Victoria need to be more proactive.

ALEX FEIN: It's not enough to say that homophobia is problematic. I think all people of good faith would like to see concrete action.

MARK COLVIN: Alex Fein the author of the blog known as the sensiblejew.wordpress.com, ending Alison Caldwell's report.

5) Lists of Australian and International people who are known to be Jewish and Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV

Lists below show many people who are well known locally and overseas and whose activities identify them publicly as Jewish as well as gay, lesbian, transgender, or people living with HIV.


Sam Schoenbaum

Laurie Collinson

Dennis Altman

Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker

Joan Nestle and Di Otto

Esther Singer

Rebecca Cox and Fiona Doherty

Janey Stone

Dawn Cohen

to mention a token few!


Marcel Proust

Wittgenstein brothers

Leonard Bernstein

Magnus Hirshfeld

Moises Kaufman

Allen Ginsberg

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Gertrude Stein

Harvey Milk

Phyllis Lyon

Pieter-Dirk Uys

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson

Tony Kushner

David Leavitt

David Halperin

Larry Kramer
Roger Horwitz

Mark Feldman

Aaron Copland

to mention a small number for this submission.

6) Australian Jewish academics and homophobia

In his book, “Defying Gravity – A Political Life”, published by Allen and Unwin in 1997, Dennis Altman wrote (pages 186 and 187):

“AIDS has brought me close to the workings of government – but also to the vagaries of power. Between 1990 and 1992 I was a member of the Australian National Council on AIDS (ANCA), then chaired by Peter Karmel, a distinguished economist and emeritus vice-chancellor of two universities, was another in the string of secular Jews, like Peter Wilenski, Hannah Arendt and Henry Mayer, with whom I have felt particular affinities. I remember him describing the reaction of some of his professorial colleagues when he accepted the role of chief spokesman for the government’s AIDS policies, and his surprise and shock at the depth of homophobia they revealed..”

7) The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand

Finally I think it would be a good idea if members of the JCCV read the book by Shlomo Sand called “The Invention of the Jewish People”. It would be revealing to discover the origins of those Jews who are affiliated with this group.

You don’t need to be Jewish to be homophobic, but it helps!

Mannie De Saxe (Member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne) 29 August 2011

24 August 2011


zionists who are so afraid to publicly identify themselves - what are they afraid of???

I was led to a blog because I did a search for a letter-writer to The Age who DOES have the courage of his convictions by signing his name at the bottom of his letter. It seems that this particular zionist, whose blog is called THE BLANK PAGES OF THE AGE was making an attack on this particular letter-writer over his anti-zionist letter in The Age which so outraged the anonymous blogger.

How pathetic is this person!!

Also how pathetic that this rabid zionist not only hides behind his anonymity but also lives in Australia and does not call Ashkelon home!!

23 August 2011


It was known before Israel became a state in 1948 and it has been known ever since - Israel was NEVER going to permit a Palestinian state next to it.

Everything that the state of Israel has done since 1948, despite its mealy-mouthed statements about a two-state solution, this was never going to happen and now, in 2011, the reality on the ground is that a two-state solution is impossible.

It is amazing that people as diverse in their zionist politics as Colin Rubenstein (The Age 22 August 2011)and Larry Stillman and Harold Zwier(The Age 15 August 2011) still talk as if the creation of a Palestinian state (or not) was a feasible option.

The only possible solution to the Israel-made intractable solution to the Palestine situation is for there to be ultimately one secular state of Israel/Palestine in which the two populations will live as one people as is slowly happening in the racially divided South Africa of the apartheid years and beyond.

Israel has allowed itself to become a theocracy - it was never a true democracy in any sense because the religious groups always have held sway in the Knesset, no matter which side of politics was the major party - the religious parties were always needed in coalition to achieve government.

Now in 2011, despite the huffing and puffing by Abbas and the Palestinians for a Palestinian state, should such an entity come into existence, an independent Palestine would be that in name only, still entirely controlled by Israel. The Palestinian people would still be denied the human rights supposedly guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights soon after that "august" body was established.

Until the United States of America ceases to support unreservedly, the existence of the state of Israel, and to support it with billions of dollars of aid every year, the middle east wars will continue and the peace which so many in the world desire will not occur.

Meanwhile back in Australia the zionists hold sway because the zionist Age supports Israel and never queries the rights of the Palestinian people who are demonised endlessly and never given the same rights of responses in the paper that the zionist are given.

More shame to a once great newspaper that it should travel down the road of lies and prevarication which is so prevalent in the Australian zionist communities.


We've had views on Palestinian statehood from the Jewish left and now the Jewish right. Is it asking too much for The Age to publish a Palestinian perspective, or doesn't it count?

Shane McCartin, North Fitzroy

15 August 2011


The following item was sent to us by email and I made a comment on it which is still awaiting moderation. The blog is by Peter Boyle, who writes regularly for "Green Left Weekly".

Productivity Commission releases “Throw The Oldies To The Wolves” report

August 13, 2011

peterb1953 Uncategorized Leave a comment

The Productivity Report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care... just take out loans. Who are they fooling?

As the cost of aged care in Australia rises $11 billion a year to $69.4 billion in 2050, the report says there is no option but to make aged care more “user pays”, privatised and deregulated. It calculates on us being terrified by the big numbers. But think about a few other big numbers: the Commonwealth Bank’s recently announced 12% rise in cash profit to $6.84 billion, the $255 billion in pre-tax profits made by the mining companies in Australia since 2004-5, the $2.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) that has been shifted from wages to profits across Australia since 1974-75. The report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care… just take out loans. But who are they fooling?

The “free market” fanatics at the Productivity Commission have done their dirty job once again in their newly released Caring For Older Australian report. It would be more honestly titled Throw The Oldies To The Wolves report and it follows vicious cuts to disabilities pensions.

The outraged response of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association summed up the report’s main agenda:

“This report abandons aged care as a community service and replaces it with a user pays system funded by flogging the family home.

“Whether, as an older Australian, you will need aged care and how much comes down to luck of the draw and it should not cost the family home to pay for it.”

Given the corporate profits first politics of the Labor federal government and the Liberal-National opposition, barring the strongest community opposition, aged care will soon cease to be a community service. It will die the death of a thousand cuts just like public education, public health, public transport and other critical public services that underpin a good society.

But what else can we expect from the “Productivity Commission”? It is a government-funded neoliberal institution dedicated to depriving the majority from enjoying the tremendous social gains that should flow from the many advances in science and technology – just as as the “Ministry for Truth” in George Orwell’s 1984 was dedicated to lying to the public.

They have seasoned con artists at the Productivity Commission. Their job is to set the corporate profits first agenda of governments, Labor or Liberal-National, and sell it with loads of lies. Basically, in every report they produce they argue that the introduction of more “user pays”, deregulation and privatisation is the only option. They pretend that their arguments are not political or ideological but they are.

The Productivity Commission report argues that over one million older Australians receive aged care services today but by 2050, this number is expected to rise to 3.5 million. The cost of this care to the government, it says, will rise from $11 billion a year to $69.4 billion. They argue that there is no option but to make aged care more “user pays”, privatised and deregulated. The report says the aged will not be forced to sell their homes to pay for care… just take out loans. Who are they fooling?

The report calculates on us being terrified by the big numbers. But think about a few other big numbers. Think about the Commonwealth Bank’s recently announced 12% rise in cash profit to $6.84 billion. And this is just the first of the four big banks that dominate Australia to announce their whole year profit figures. Think about the $255 billion in pre-tax profits made by the mining companies in Australia since 2004-5. Think about the $2.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) that, we can calculate from Australian Bureau of Statistics data, has been shifted from wages to profits across Australia since 1974-75.

The money is there but the Productivity Commission is out to make sure that more of it it goes to making the filthy richer even richer – whatever the human cost.

The Productivity Commission core ethos is the idea at the heart of former British PM Margaret Thatcher’s infamous 1987 statement in an interview with Woman’s Own magazine that “no such thing as society”.

“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’… and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women…”

The images of London burning that have flooded the news are a stark reminder of the impact of this “no such thing as society” mentality.

Out there in the so-called “mainstream media” this rampant this corporate profit-first ideology is identified for what it really is. A generation of shackled or brainwashed journalists are naively helping spread the destruction of society and environment. But not here in Green Left Weekly.

However we can only keep telling the truth with your help.

Please make a contribution this week to the Green Left Fighting Fund. Donate online today. Or direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).
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Mannie De Saxe
Aug 14, 2011 @ 00:00:23

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

A very interesting response to the Productivity Commission report on ageing, with an intriguing item at the beginning in a quote paragraph about the obscene profits of the Commonwealth Bank.
Accepted some very good points made in the article until I came to the last paragraph asking for donations to Green Left to be made through – yes, you guessed correctly – the Commonwealth Bank!!!
What on earth is Green Left doing supporting the Commonwealth Bank when there are several alternatives?
Is this a case of one capitalist organisation supporting another?? One that doesn’t need support from Green Left!

12 August 2011


This article was sent to us by email and was published in the Electronic Intifada
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Activism News
Australia’s repression of BDS movement coordinated with Israel
Kim Bullimore
The Electronic Intifada
9 August 2011

Australian solidarity activists are facing intense police repression.
Erik Anderson

In the largest show of support for the Palestinian-initiated boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign so far in Australia, more than 350 persons marched on 29 July in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle — and in opposition to an attempt by Victorian Police to criminalize Palestine solidarity activism in Melbourne.

A month earlier, on 1 July, a similar, peaceful BDS action involving 120 persons was brutally attacked by the Victorian Police. Nineteen individuals were arrested.

Charged with “trespassing” and “besetting,” those arrested are now facing fines of up to AUD $30,000 (approximately US $32,300). The 1 July action, organized by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, had sought to highlight the complicity of two Israeli companies, Jericho and Max Brenner Chocolate, with Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies. The action was the fourth protest against both companies since December 2010.

Jericho, located in Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and other shopping centers around the city, produces cosmetics made from minerals exploited from the Dead Sea. While Jericho and other Israeli companies — such as Ahava, also a target of BDS campaigns — profit from the Dead Sea, Palestinians are regularly denied access by Israel’s military checkpoints, exclusion zones and Israeli-only roads.

Max Brenner Chocolate, the other Israeli company subject to BDS protests in Melbourne, is owned by the Strauss Group — one of Israel’s largest food and beverage companies. On its website, the Strauss Group emphasizes its support for the Israeli military, providing care packages, sports and recreational equipment, books and games for soldiers.

Strauss boasts support for the Golani and Givati Brigades, which were heavily involved in Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip in the Winter of 2008-09, which resulted in the killing of approximately 1,400 Palestinians, the majority civilians, including approximately 350 children. While Strauss has removed information about their support for the Golani and Givati brigades from their English language website, information about the company’s support for both brigades remains on their Hebrew language site.

BDS repression coordinated with Israeli government

Trade union and community representatives spoke at the rally on 29 July before the crowd marched through the city. In spite of repeated threats of mass arrests by Victoria Police — and the deployment of police horses in one of the shopping centers — the protest marched into both the Melbourne Central and Queen Victoria centers, staging peaceful sit-ins in front of the Max Brenner stores located within.

Two day earlier, on 27 July, the Victorian police confirmed during a bail variation hearing at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (local District Court) for some of the activists arrested on 1 July that a decision had been made to arrest the protesters before the demonstration. This decision was made after discussions with Zionist organizations, the Victorian government, shopping center managements and state and national management of Max Brenner.

In April, the Australian Jewish News (AJN) reported that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) had made representations to the Victorian police. According to the AJN, JCCV president John Searle had “called on the police to stamp down harder on aggressive protesters” (“Police questioned as protests turn violent,” 15 April 2011). Similar calls for a government and police crackdown on BDS protests against Max Brenner in Sydney were made in June by former AJN journalist Walt Secord, who is now a member of the NSW State Parliament (“Police called to action on BDS,” 24 June 2011).

On July 29, the same day as the BDS action against Max Brenner in Melbourne the Australian Jewish News carried a “debate” piece between Vic Alhadeff, the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and Ted Lapkin, a former staffer with the key pro-Israeli lobby group in Australia, the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. The piece reveals that the various calls for police and government crackdown on BDS activism was part of a “nationally coordinated strategy” developed with and backed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry (“BDS: To protest or not to protest?”).

Arguing against any Zionist-organized BDS “counter” protest, Alhadeff writes: “It is important for the community to be aware that our response to BDS forms part of [a] coordinated national strategy. Furthermore, this strategy is endorsed by counterparts abroad and Israel’s Foreign Ministry.”

Alhadeff outlined this coordinated national strategy in response to BDS, stating that it “included, but is not limited to, engagement with civil society and politicians, patronage of boycotted outlets, cooperation with police, shop owners and center managers and exposure of the motives behind the BDS movement.” According to Alhadeff, Zionist policy in response to BDS should be one which seeks to “speak softly” but to also carry “a suggestion of a big stick.”

Activism leadership targeted

During cross-examination by Robert Stary, the lawyer representing the activists, Michael Beattie, an operational support inspector with the the Victorian Police, conceded that both Melbourne Central and Queen Victoria shopping centers were “public places” and that neither center prior to 1 July had sought any civil injunctions to prevent entry to the public places inside.

The cross-examination by Stary also revealed that the main reason that police had decided to criminalize the actions against the Israeli companies was because they had been well-organized, coordinated and effective.

Victorian Police acknowledged that the demonstrations had been peaceful, that solidarity activists hadn’t damaged property and there was no record of police or any member of the public being injured.

According to the testimony given by Inspector Beattie, the police had specifically sought to target the leadership of the protests, in particular those activists the police perceived as “operating a command and control function,” in order to diminish the possibility of well-coordinated demonstrations — and to ensure “no protesters go to property and disrupt targeted business or additional businesses.”

According to Inspector Beattie, “the protesters had their own way” for too long and a “decision [was] made to draw a line in the sand and make arrests.” Another police officer, Senior Sargent Andrew Falconer, also gave testimony at the court hearing and acknowledged that police infiltrators had been sent to pro-Palestine solidarity meetings in order to monitor the activity of BDS activists.

In a statement issued after their arrests, the nineteen activists noted that “the attack on the peaceful BDS action in Melbourne highlights increasing attempts to criminalize BDS and Palestine solidarity activism internationally. Currently in the US, France and Greece, hundreds of pro-Palestine activists are facing criminal charges for nonviolently standing up for Palestinian human rights” (“Support the Boycott Israel 19 Defence Campaign”).

James Crafti, one of the activists arrested, told The Electronic Intifada that “the attempt by Israel and governments around the world to criminalize pro-Palestinian and BDS activism ignores the fact that the real criminal activity is being carried out by the Israeli state.”

“Since its founding in 1948, Israel has sought to ethnically cleanse the indigenous Palestinian people through war, occupation and apartheid practices. Israel regularly engages in collective punishment, arbitrary arrests, extra-judicial assassinations and the demolition of Palestinian homes and civil infrastructure, all of which are illegal under international law,” he added.

Crafti noted that while the Victorian and Australian governments sought to criminalize support for Palestine self-determination, they refused to hold Israel accountable for its human rights abuses, war crimes and apartheid policies.

All of the arrested activists who spoke to The Electronic Intifada said the police attack on the protest also highlighted the increasing repression of civil liberties and freedom of speech by the Victorian (conservative) Baillieu government.

One Palestine solidarity activist, Sue Bolton, who has been charged with “besetting” (obstructing or hindering the right to enter, use or leave a premise), asserted that the police reaction to the action on 1 July was “over the top.”

“There were massive numbers of police, well over a hundred, not counting those behind the scenes in the loading docks,” she said.

According to Bolton, the Queen Victoria Centre loading docks had been cleared of delivery trucks, allowing the police to set up a processing unit and bring in prison transport trucks to be used as holding cells for those arrested.

Bolton described how police had sought to “kettle” the demonstration by corralling protesters and physically pushing them into a smaller and smaller area. According to Bolton, this resulted in a number of protesters being injured and crushed when the police had surrounded and violently pushed protesters from all sides.

Similar tactics have been used by police forces in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Finland and Denmark. The use of kettling by police in the UK against student protesters in November 2010 has led to legal challenges and the calling for a ban on the use of the tactic in the British High Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

Damian Ridgwell, another Palestine solidarity protester arrested on 1 July, told The Electronic Intifada that he had been standing away from the peaceful picket, speaking on a megaphone when three policemen grabbed him.

“I was dragged behind police lines,” Ridgwell said. “Once they grabbed me and started dragging me, I went limp and dropped to the ground … As I was being carried through the corridors of the loading dock, I lost consciousness because one of the police had me in a choke hold. I am not sure how long I was out, probably a few minutes. I woke up on the loading dock floor and heard the police saying I was ‘out.’”

Ridgwell, who was charged with trespassing, said “while it is outrageous we were arrested for peacefully demonstrating, our arrests have to be seen in the context of the Australia government’s support for Israel and its continued theft of Palestinian land … it’s important we don’t let the police intimidate protests like this. It is important to keep going with the protests and to keep supporting BDS.”

Australian government’s support of Israeli apartheid

Successive Australian governments, including the current Gillard government, have long supported Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies.

Current Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard signaled her uncritical support for Israel when she was still deputy Prime Minster of Australia. During the early days of Israel’s bombing of Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, she blamed Palestinians for Israel’s all-out assault, saying that Hamas must “renounce violence” and that Israel had the “right to defend itself.”

During a visit to Israel In 2009, Gillard was thanked by Israeli government minister Isaac Herzog for standing “almost alone on the world stage in support of Israel’s right to defend itself” (“Israel to Gillard: thanks for standing by us,” The Age, 24 June 2009).

The arrested activists noted that in June, the Baillieu government had established a new 42-member riot squad — and the attack on the 1 July protest was the first time it had been used in any significant way.

According to James Crafti, “the Victorian government thinks it can easily get away with attacking a pro-Palestine action because they think they can label us anti-Semitic.” Crafti, who is Jewish, said that the police and those opposed to the BDS actions, however, “underestimate the sympathy towards both Palestine and the [Palestine solidarity] movement in the broader community.”

“The amount of force used by the police and the response of the political elite to our protests, particularly the fact that the Australian Foreign Minister [and former Australian Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd felt the need to go a few days after our protest to Max Brenner as a public relations stunt is a sign of the pro-Israeli forces’ desperation,” he added.

The eleven activists succeeded in changing the original bail conditions preventing them from entering either shopping center (which also host medical clinics and a major train station) until the end of their case, to a lesser restriction of being prohibited from being within fifty meters of Max Brenner in both centers. However, Stary said he was still “anxious about the criminalization of dissent.”

“The police should not be used to protect the interests of an international commercial company,” he said.

Building on the success of 29 July, Melbourne activists will continue to campaign in support of Palestinian rights and oppose the criminalization of Palestine solidarity activism. The next Melbourne BDS action is scheduled for 9 September, the same week those arrested will plead not guilty to the charges against them. The defense campaign in support of the arrested activists has gained wide attention, with well-known public figures such as filmmaker John Pilger, author Norman Finkelstein and radical thinker Noam Chomsky supporting the campaign.

In a media release issued immediately following the success of the 29 July BDS action, Melbourne activists said the Victorian Police “thought that by attacking the BDS demonstration they would put an end to our movement. They were wrong … [we will] not be silenced” (“BDS returns to Max Brenner in spite of police intimidation,” 5 August 2011).

Kim Bullimore has lived and worked in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She is a member of the Melbourne Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and a co-organizer of the first national Australian BDS conference, which took place in Melbourne in October 2010. Kim writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict for the Australian newspaper, Direct Action. She has a blog at livefromoccupiedpalestine.blogspot.com.


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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