September 22, 2016 | Graham

This is why Sonia Kruger still has a job

Sonia Kruger was the first significant celebrity (unless you put Pauline Hanson in this category) to suggest that perhaps we should stop Islamic immigration, at least temporarily, until the terrorism issue is settled.

Now an Essential Poll says 49% of Australians agree. The proportions between the parties are 60% amongst coalition voters, 40% amongst Labor voters, and what the Australian calls a “surprising” 34% amongst Greens voters.

So Sonia was being everywoman, and was excoriated for it by many of her peers, with only a handful standing-up for her right to hold that opinion.

I wondered if she would survive, and thought she was actually pretty brave to put such a point of view.

It seems now that Sonia was more in tune with the nation than all the highly paid commentators interpreting the world to us.

No one should have been surprised at this poll result. In landmark research in this area our think tank, the Australian Institute for Progress, found large proportions of the population who said Islamic immigration was a bad thing. Here is the relevant table:


The only surprise in the Essential poll really is that the ALP and Greens voters are now more concerned than they were, but concern was always there.

No doubt this poll will be met by condemnation of Australia  and we will be told that not all Muslims are terrorists.

But none of this 49% thinks they are. They just think that if even if a couple of percent of them might become radicalised, it is not a smart idea to be allowing any of them into the country.

We apply the same types of policies to our borders when it comes to quarantine, so it oughtn’t to be too difficult an idea for the mass of self-selecting public intellectuals to get their head around.

If people are looking for other reasons why so many are concerned about Islamic immigration then they might read our report.

We look at motivations and find a variety, including the idea that Islam is at war with the west, its treatment of gays and women (particularly motivating for Greens voters), failure to assimilate in Australia, their religion, and the culture in  some Islamic countries (as distinct from Islam itself).

Australia has been sleep walking into a crisis with too many putting their fingers in their ears and saying “lalala” while refusing to listen to many of their countrymen and women, or give them any credence for having a defensible point of view.

Sonia Kruger may mark the inflexion point when this became no longer possible, and if not her statement, then perhaps the inflexion point will be this  Essential poll.


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September 09, 2016 | Graham

Is Sam Dastyari eligible to be a senator?

Under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution there is every chance that Sam Dastyari is inelegible to sit as a senator.

Section 44 says:

44. Any person who –

(i) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

(ii) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or

(iii) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or

(iv) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or

(v) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

The key provision is 44 (i).

It has been held under this provision (see Sue v Hill) that someone who is a dual national, even though one of the nationalities is Australian, and the other is that of our closest foreign relative, the UK, is ineligible to be a senator. In that case One Nation senator Heather Hill was forced out by the High Court because she was both a UK and Australian citizen.

It did not matter that the relationship between Australia and the UK is as tight as it is.

The three key words with respect to Datyari are “allegiance”, “obedience” and “adherence”. He is obviously not a Chinese citizen, but the taking of money from the Chinese government, combined with his position on Chinese affairs, and the expectations of his donor that gifts will procure policy favours, gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that he is in either “obedience” or “adherence”.

A line like this was run in Nile v Wood in which the plaintiff was unsuccessful. However, analysis by John Kalakerinos, and published by the Department of the Senate, suggests that this would not necessarily mean a case against Dastyari would fail.

Nile v Wood18 (an action arising out of the 1987 election) was another attempt to rely on s 44(i). Elaine Nile brought a wide-ranging petition objecting to the declaration of Robert Wood of the Nuclear Disarmament Party as a senator for NSW, alleging breaches of paragraphs (i), (ii), and (iii) of s 44.19 On the ground relating to s 44(i), the petitioner alleged that Wood’s actions against the naval vessels of a friendly nation indicated allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power.20
Sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, Brennan, Deane and Toohey JJ held that the petition had set out insufficient facts to establish any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power, failing even to identify the relevant foreign power. Speaking obiter, their Honours made the following comment about the first limb:

It would seem that s 44(i) relates only to a person who has formally or informally acknowledged allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power and who has not withdrawn or revoked that acknowledgment.21

From Nile, then, certain requirements are necessary to enliven the first limb of s 44(i). First, a relevant foreign power must be identified. Secondly, there must be a formal or informal acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence by the individual in question. Thirdly, the acknowledgment must not have been withdrawn or revoked.

Although the question of the application of the first limb did not arise for consideration before the full bench in Cleary,22 in his dissenting judgment, Deane J nevertheless commented that it ‘involves an element of acceptance or at least acquiescence on the part of the relevant person’.23

Although subsequent cases have not overturned the Nile test, linguistic and conceptual ambiguities make its application uncertain in the contemporary Australian context. What of the many Australians who possess strong links to former homelands or to the homelands of their ancestors? Does s 44(i) apply to Australian citizens who take an active interest in the affairs of foreign nations? In both of these situations the affections—although informal—may be strong, regardless of the possession of foreign citizenship, and may or may not be covered by s 44(i).

The ambiguities surrounding the first limb of s 44(i) have led to differing opinions as to the types of situations and conduct that would fall within it. Lumb and Moens, and Burmester,24 are of the opinion that the acceptance of a foreign award or honour would be insufficient to establish allegiance to a foreign power.25 Lumb and Moens assert that acting as honorary consul for a foreign power would also not be a ground for disqualification under s 44(i).26 Formal acknowledgment of allegiance is probably established by the acceptance of a foreign passport.27 Acts contrary to Australia’s national security interests, for example providing comfort to, raising funds for, or assisting with the military operations of countries or causes unfriendly to Australia, would be likely to constitute an acknowledgment of adherence, and thus contravene s 44(i). Serving in foreign armed forces has been cited as conduct that would constitute formal allegiance.28 However, where military service is imposed compulsorily upon individuals, without any formal or informal acknowledgment, I submit that it would not necessarily constitute an acknowledgment of allegiance, but such a situation has yet to arise in court.29

Further, s 44(i) provides ineffective protection from contemporary forms of foreign influence. For example, it probably does not shield the Parliament from insidious ‘foreign commercial interests’, such as donations to political parties from foreign corporations or individuals.30

The critical part of Kalakerinos’ analysis is “providing comfort to, raising funds for, or assisting with the military operations of countries or causes unfriendly to Australia, would be likely to constitute an acknowledgment of adherence, and thus contravene s 44(i)”.

It is beyond belief that the ALP is so corrupt that partisans like Graham Richardson are already looking towards the re-elevation of Dastyari. What he has done disqualifies him from representing Australia and ought to see him resigning himself from the Senate to avoid any further embarrassment.

This is a matter that the Senate itself should resolve to litigate. If it doesn’t, then a civic-minded citizen should take it on themselves.

At this serious juncture in our national history where south Asia is rearming there should be no tolerance of behaviour which betrays the national interest, certainly not from our elected representatives.

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September 07, 2016 | Graham

Why Sam Dastyari must resign from parliament

There is no universe in which China’s attempted annexation of the South China Sea can be morally justified. Everyone knows that. Malcolm Turnbull  knows it. Bill Shorten knows it. Hillary Clinton knows it. Donald Trump knows it. Xi Jinping knows it. And Sam Dastyari knows it.

That is why Sam Dastyari needs to resign from the parliament of Australia.

By supporting China in the South China Sea he did the insupportable, which gives rise to the unrebuttable conclusion that in return for Chinese money he was bought.

Sam Dastyari is the first of this generation’s Quislings. We can’t afford more of them, and both sides of politics need to send a clear message to potential Quislings, and to their overlords, that retribution will be swift, and ruthless.

China’s attempted annexure of the South China Sea is analogous to Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland. They have excuses, but not reasons, and it is a test by them of how much other countries will tolerate.

Tolerate too much and the aggressive push continues. The aggressor thinks they are getting away with it, but all they are really doing is ratcheting up the pressure.

Then war becomes inevitable, but at a larger and more horrific scale than if it is opposed earlier.

That is the lesson of history.

This is serious business. US think tanks are already gaming a potential war between China and the USA and the costs.

Undoubtedly this is a jawing tactic to convince the Chinese to pull back.

The great foreign policy challenge for this government, along with other governments in the world, is how to manage to convince the Chinese to retreat in the South China Sea.

We do a lot of trade with the Chinese. That makes us trading partners, not allies.

We did a lot of trade with Japan before WWII. That did not make us allies, even though in WWI we had been.

China is an adversary, unlike the US, which is a competitor.

The Australian security establishment regards China as an adversary, and stopped the Chinese from buying New South Wales power assets  because it was a security risk.

Australian Labor has a bad track record on national security, and is regarded as worse than the coalition in this area.

Ben Chifley was a great wartime leader, but that was then.

Doc Evatt’s staff was riddled with Communist sympathisers, and the Communist domination of sectors of the ALP led to the DLP split which kept them out of power for a couple of decades.

If Bill Shorten does not insist that Dastyari be expelled from the ALP, rather than just resigning from the frontbench, he will add to this reputation. In effect he will be saying to foreign governments that it is OK to buy backbenchers, you just must leave frontbenchers alone.

Australia has to be united to send a message to China. Soft power is one thing, but no matter how much money you donate, we can’t be bought. We do not accept your annexation of the South China Sea, and you need to prepare to retreat and find some way to save face.

Some people will say resignation from parliament is a high price for Dastyari to pay.

Should there be a full-blown war with China, then young Australian men will lay their lives on the line. If you could save one life by sacrificing his career, what would you do?

Monday’s Q&A heard questions about Shakespeare’s attitude to minorities and refugees. In truth he had little to say about either of those things. They weren’t issues in his day, and there’s no evidence, even were he alive today, he would see them as issues now.

He was more interested in treachery – think Macbeth or Iago; Goneril and Regan; Brutus; Hamlet’s uncle Claudius.

Dastyari cast himself as a refugee on Q&A when he asked Pauline Hanson whether he should have been allowed to emigrate.

His behaviour now demeans the status of all immigrants, and exacerbates tensions in the community.

As our research shows, the big question for most Australians is “Do they come to join us or to change us?”

Sam hasn’t chosen Jihad, but he hasn’t chosen Australia either.

Shakespeare knew what to do with the Dastyaris of the world – make an example of them. So did Dante Allegheri, who reserved the deepest reaches of Hell for traitors.

Bill Shorten doesn’t need to be a classical scholar to know what to do, but in the interests of all Australians he has to ensure that Dastyari’s career is dead, buried and cremated.

The situation with China is serious. We can’t afford Quislings. China will see the “For Sale” sign up on the country. There are worse things for us than farmland that they can buy.



Posted by Graham at 9:27 pm | Comments (8) |

September 06, 2016 | Graham

Q&A’s most left wing panel on UK’s most famous monarchist

Q&A last night was a panel discussion on Shakespeare featuring Germaine Greer, Anthony Grayling, some minor colonial celebs and John Bell.

While the politics of the Australians was not announced, I suspect that they all hail hard from the left.

This is odd, as from what we know of Shakespeare he was the son of a local politician who became a theatrical entrepreneur and apologist for the Tudor monarchy, amassing a fortune along the way.

So, if you attack Shakespeare from the left you miss a lot of what he is talking about – issues like the legitimacy of state power and what makes a nation.

Pity Dame Leonie Kramer is not still with us to enliven and enlighten a panel such as this.

The questions were mostly a succession of trivialities, showing just how far post-modernism has undermined any wide understanding of the literary classics.

The one which amused me most was:

ALANA VALENTINE asked: I am a working playwright. Could the box office royalties that Shakespeare would be entitled to as the author of each of his produced plays be paid into a fund to be used to commission and produce new Australian work?

I’ve never heard of her, but according to Wikipedia

Alana Valentine is “a critically successful Australian playwright.” [1][2][3] She holds a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney (2000).[4]

Not sure what “critically successful” means, and hope it is nothing like “critically ill”, but it appears she’s not making a lot of money.

Wikipedia lists her plays which include Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah: Soft Revolution (2010), which “is about ‘how Islamic women think and feel about’ wearing the hijab.[Wikipedia again]. The others appear to be in the same sort of boringly sociological vein.

So here we have a writer of not very remunerative plays proposing to tax the intellectual estate of a 400 year old playwright so she can continue to write poor literature which will be viewed mainly by forced audiences of school children (some of her plays are on the NSW syllabus).

Did any of the panel point out that the best way to support yourself as a playwright is to follow Shakespeare and write plays that people will want to pay money to watch?

You know the answer.

No, instead we got some defensive drivel from John Bell defending the lack of post mortem socialism by describing his practice when at the Nimrod Theatre.

So we’d put on a Shakespeare to fill the house, and then the commission we would have paid to Shakespeare’s agent we paid into commissioning a new Australian work.

That is of course how capitalism works, and Shakespeare would have approved. The playwrights John was reinvesting the money into were people like David Williamson.

Alana obviously doesn’t see any of that money. But could that be because she’ll never be another Williamson, let alone a Shakespeare.

But how many playwrights are we holding back from actually reaching the heights because they’re being trained by their elders to suck on the public teat so they can write plays no one wants to read, rather than learning the lessons of Shakespeare and writing plays in which people will want to invest because others want to pay good money to watch them?

Doubt we’ll be reading Alana in 40 years time, but Shakespeare, and David Williamson, are still likely to be going strong.

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