April 28th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor election: what's cooking?

EDITORIAL: Implications of East Timor's election

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd's character under scrutiny

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat-growers back single-desk selling

MANUFACTURING: Japan still shows the way

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Easter and the media / Literacy, and all that / Anzac Day / Jews and Muslims / Pre-Budget ruminations

DAVID HICKS AFFAIR: Media's blind eye to Hicks treason

THE COLD WAR: How Moscow framed Pope Pius XII as pro-Nazi

GREAT BRITAIN: Why Britain is no longer great

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Lottery players fleeced for $100 million

ETHICS: New safeguard for vulnerable patients

HEALTH: Married gays die 24 years younger

OBITUARY: Dr John Billings (1918-2007) and the Culture of Life

AS THE WORLD TURNS: The unmarriage revolution / Unexpected outbreak of morality / Mediocrity on the march / Children recruited to spy for Big Brother

Antidotes to narcissism (letter)

Problems with surrogacy (letter)

Politicised public service (letter)

Bell tolls for national icon (letter)

CINEMA: Spartan sacrifice that saved Greece


BOOKS: BACKS TO THE WALL: A larrikin on the Western Front, by G.D. Mitchell with Robert Macklin

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Easter and the media / Literacy, and all that / Anzac Day / Jews and Muslims / Pre-Budget ruminations

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, April 28, 2007
Easter and the media

Easter has come, and gone, and it went very much as I had feared - the media going to remarkable lengths to exclude any significant evidence of religious feelings. The only Easter film I could pick up was Mel Gibson's, at midnight. Even then, one paper couldn't bring itself to say that it was by Mel Gibson - only providing the names of actors who are generally unknown. Another managed to say it was “by Gibson”. Incidentally, “Gibson's” film of the Crucifixion, The Passion of the Christ, is the 10th-highest-grossing film in the history of cinema.

I, alas, didn't get to Tenebrae - indisposition. From my spies, churches, certainly Catholic churches, were chock-a-block, with many extra Masses, and people standing, as you'd have to in many Greek Orthodox services. (Those Slavs are tough!)

Even the Anglicans, and some of the Uniting Churches (!), benefited from the return of religious feelings to our community. But theirs, I'm afraid, is a false dawn.

If one remembers the leftist strategy of the “long march through the institutions” - as, with regret, the next best thing to the myth of the revolution - one should ask, why should a most important and philosophically established social institution as the church be immune from, or be spared, by the same infiltrators, with a view to takeover by the same kind of people who have taken over education, universities, immigration, indigenous affairs, the national broadcasters, publishing, the arts, and chunks of the judiciary and legal professions?

And this nihilist counter-culture has been targeting, via Labor governments, our police forces, and is awaiting a Federal Labor government to do it in earnest to our defence forces. So why should not the churches be targeted, and anti-religious pressures be exerted, as they have been in communist countries?

The low churches have suffered greatly from this infiltration by non-religious elements, such that some are now little more than hysterical extensions of a political party or cause. So after Easter, they will probably return to arguing with one another, or talking to themselves, or to lost souls from the media.

I'll just say that overseas news programs, beamed in, which I saw gave proper recognition to the many branches of the faith, including Pope Benedict XVI's walk over Easter. Yet we are told that Europe is now godless. Well ... at least they are respectful.

Literacy, and all that

The author of an Adelaide University study of the English skills of young doctors thinks that international medical students have been unfairly blamed for literacy problems, whereas in fact their Australian counterparts - young doctors - do no better.

Only five of 18 registrars were found to have high-level English skills, although 11 had been born in Australia. Three had substantial difficulties with written and spoken English, while five had poor spelling and used words that patients would not be able to understand. Five more displayed poor handwriting skills. Registrars have to do a lot of communicating.

What are we to conclude? That we should stop complaining about international doctors whose English is bad, in a profession often involving matters of life and death? Of course not. We should be demanding changes in medical education, for them, and for ours.

As to foreign students educated here, Bob Birrell of Monash University and many others have been worrying about the teaching of English to such students, by our universities, in Australia and in the campuses which they installed overseas.

Students are, in many cases, given an incredibly easy ride, being passed for proficiency in English when they are not proficient. Asian students are graduating with diplomas, bachelors' degrees, and masters' degrees, and still with extremely poor English.

It has been a most disgraceful example of empire-building by Australian academia and, as Birrell points out, many of the foreign graduates will find it quite difficult to get jobs in their chosen profession with their poor, sometimes very poor, communication skills.

Anzac Day

Anzac Day is approaching and, barring vile weather, it will parallel the rise of publicly-demonstrated religious beliefs, in its affirmation of core Australian patriotism and our communal values. The massive presence of youth, whose indifference to Anzac Day was once assumed, is the most striking feature of this general revival.

The fact is, many of our youth support their grandparents' values, not those of their parents or teachers. And this is a neglected feature of the culture wars. Hollywood is still in denial - as are its lifeless clones out here.

I have, at least once, observed that most of our contemporary media are like blowflies: if they see something fresh and wholesome turning up, they land, and blow it. Their eggs hatch, and the offspring join the long march through the institutions.

In this case, it is Anzac Day - an occasion which the Left long derided, indeed, wrote basically puerile, lightweight plays about, and in which the media took less and less interest. But now, Anzac Day has made a remarkable comeback.

Children and grandchildren, identifying with their soldier-relatives, are marching too. Like the Germans at the time of Tacitus, when the whole family went to war.

The Dawn Services here and at Gallipoli have been transformed. This being so, the media are seeking to take Anzac Day over, as they have our holy days, and as they have our Sundays.

Kerry Stokes' Channel Seven had planned a 4:00am Dawn Service in Kokoda, televised, to steal a march on the latest service and the official march. It appears to have sounded out the Government to send a representative, first Joe Hockey, then that tireless publicity-seeker, Bronwyn Bishop. Apparently nothing happened.

Kevin Rudd's office was also approached, for the Leader of the Opposition to appear. I can't imagine Kim Beazley ever falling for that.

The Australian's leader-writer - surely tongue-in-cheek? - has said that Rudd had inadvertently compromised (my italics) his independence. I can hear Brian Burke chuckling.

First, Rudd denied all knowledge of the Channel Seven plan - one long worked on, at its final stage (like Iran's bomb) - and the same went for his staff.

Then of course it came out. Members of his staff did have cognisance, and negotiations had been going on. Kevin was shocked: they hadn't told him. Vintage Bronwyn Pike.

The Australian believes him and, in the interests of decorum, I believe him. But would anyone else? Would you buy a second-hand Anzac Day ceremony from that man, did I hear you say?

But for Veterans' Affairs Repatriation Commissioner Brigadier Bill Rolfe, he being a Vietnam veteran, and his sending a memo of complaint to Rudd's office, the whole sordid coup de théâtre would have taken place.

Stokes apparently had become unhappy with Rudd's connection with Channel Seven's Sunrise program. Now he is vindicated by this disaster. Were he a Murdoch, or a Kerry Packer, he would proceed to unload these damaged journalistic goods. But will he?

To return to the blowflies. Believing that World War I and Gallipoli had been drained of all monetary substance, in other words, rating and advertising, the news media have now settled upon Kokoda.

Not only they. A legion of lame-brained, grant-supported films about Kokoda are in gestation - doomed to financial extinction. These are to be produced by largely hypocritical Leftists.

The Age and SBS will give them awards. The public? The usual raspberry, as it did the “say sorry” Aboriginal film industry. The plot sickens.

Jews and Muslims

British writer David Pryce-Jones has a blog entitled David Calling, and it carries some very interesting material, from all over the world, with much of it destined not to be taken up by the media, or the New Class establishment, here.

On March 16, he had some items concerning the denial of free speech to nonconformist academics in Britain - the threats coming from their administrators and/or colleagues.
Dr Matthias Kuntzel.

Thus, German political scientist Dr Matthias Kuntzel, who comes from Hamburg and has an additional research fellowship at an institution in Jerusalem, was to deliver a lecture, and conduct workshops, at the invitation of the German Department of the University of Leeds.

The subject of the lecture was to be “Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Anti-Semitism in the Middle East”.*

An eminent authority on Iran, Kuntzel has written much on the “Messianic fervour of that country's leadership”.

And he has shown elsewhere how Nazi propaganda and subsidies in the Hitler period laid the ground for modern Muslim anti-Semitism. There had been no Protocols, no killing of babies (Christian babies), no international financial conspiracy, before this period. The new anti-Semitism came via the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was financed by, and in close cahoots with, the Nazis. This stuff has now been taken up by Islamic extremists, and is being fed to other Muslims.

When Kuntzel arrived in Leeds to give his lecture and to conduct the workshops, sponsored by the German Department, he was told that they were cancelled. A security problem.

Two Muslims, one claiming to speak for the Islamic Students' Federation, had complained about his website, without specification. The vice-chancellor then called in the German Department head, and told him he was cancelling the events, “for security reasons”.

Kuntzel's lecture had been delivered earlier, at Yale, and then in many other venues. I have read it, and it is excellent, most informative; I hope we can publish an abridged version later. And it is anything but anti-Muslim.

Pryce-Jones was wondering when Oxford, which has made itself a platform for many hard-line Muslim speakers, will invite Kuntzel to give a lecture or two. I am waiting for one of our many universities to invite this distinguished scholar.

Do you think I might have to wait for a long time?

[* A copy of Dr Matthias Küntzel's lecture, “Hitler's legacy: Islamic anti-Semitism in the Middle East” can be downloaded from: www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/hitlers-legacy-islamic-antisemitism-in-the-middle-east].

Pre-Budget ruminations

This is Peter Costello's 12th budget, a quite remarkable effort. No-one can say that we have suffered any serious economic setbacks during that long period.

Even Robert Menzies had short sharp recessions, in 1951 and in 1961, which threatened his hegemony. Costello has had no such experience.

His serious economic critics have landed few effective punches - partly because many secretly agree with him. I think Rudd does.

And, the motley crowd of “economists” and “financial experts” whom the telly and the radio have wheeled in for over a decade, cannot help talking about interest rates, the rise of which would “hurt John Howard”.

That it would also hurt the economy is not important. But like addicted two-up players, with an inexhaustible supply of counterfeit coins, they have lost just about every bet. Most people now see them as noises off.

Not that the Howard-Costello policies don't have many faults - just that their critics have been ungifted amateurs. Failed tossers.

We all have our pet suggestions as to how this federal tax money should be spent. I'll give mine.

The GST - which the States treat as a magic pudding - should be cut back. A couple of points generally (if feasible) or strategically, by exempting a number of economic activities from tax.

As our economy advances, the GST returns rise and rise. The States think that this must be Argentina, before the fall. Waste, and corruption, and log-rolling have become accepted modes of government in the States.

This would still leave room for other areas of taxation to have their rates reduced. Any supporters?

- Max Teichmann

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