July 21st 2007


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The fifth battle domain - cyberspace

EDITORIAL: Democracy triumphs in East Timor

NATIONAL SECURITY: Terrorist risk is fast approaching critical

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Security nightmare for Australian authorities

HOUSING: Home ownership: the unattainable dream?

NATIONAL CENSUS: Making sense of the Census

MEDICAL SCIENCE: Cloning - dead as the Dodo?

VICTORIA: Medical suicide campaign gets underway

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The gangs of Melbourne / Global yawning / Still looking for Dreyfus / Victimhood / A ship without a rudder

TAIWAN: Divisive politics alienate Taiwanese

OPINION: Left-wing bid to discredit our Anzac tradition

POPULAR CULTURE: Video games overtaking movies and music

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Why do we dress children like miniature adults?

Science and the academic left (letter)

The Net and I (letter)

Swedish film defended (letter)

Terrorist doctor-killers? (letter)

CINEMA: Triumphing against all the odds - Amazing Grace

BOOKS: WHEN ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY MEET, by Jocelyne Cesari

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STRAWS IN THE WIND:
The gangs of Melbourne / Global yawning / Still looking for Dreyfus / Victimhood / A ship without a rudder


by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, July 21, 2007
The gangs of Melbourne

Law and order are steadily breaking down in Melbourne with a rising tide of stabbings and brutal attacks with weapons: a tide which is being described by the Victorian Government and associated experts as now epidemic - epidemic in frequency and scale.

Last weekend (July 7-8), 30 gatecrashers with knives and machetes invaded the birthday party of a young local, trashed the house and left eight young people with stab wounds. The police arrived 45 minutes after the attack started, having been rung three times.

No explanation for this tardiness has come to hand as I write. In any case, by that time, the gatecrashers had done their work and dispersed.

For years, armed gangs of 40 and 50 youths have ruled the roost on weekends in various depressed or anomic suburbs of outer Melbourne. The media have kept quiet, and the politicians have kept quiet, because many of these groups have been ethnically based. And so the authorities, by protecting their own ridiculous version of multiculturalism and a deliberately polemical and misleading description of what constitutes racism, have left the people in those unfashionable suburbs to fend for themselves, as though there were no law.

One of the most important reasons that police are loath to handle these groups is the forest of laws and interdictions which limit their freedom of action, to the point of making them a laughing-stock and prey for sleazy libertarian lawyers. So they stay away, and we all suffer.

In the 1920s and '30s, I grew up in a part of Carlton which had been violent, with many "pushes". Much of the violence had been ended by police being able to disperse these pushes and maintain a kind of informal curfew, all by patrolling the streets.

A single policeman on his beat would tell a gang of youths on a street corner to be gone and to go home by the time he returned, or else he'd teach them how. Next time around, if still there, he'd hoe into them.

These police, often big country boys, were very brave. So I grew up in a Rathdowne Street that was then quiet, although there were still drunken brawls in the back lanes. But the main street was peaceful, as earlier on it had not been. And this applied to many poor suburbs.

If we want to protect citizens and make our streets safe, we have to empower our police. Rudy Giuliani showed how to do it in New York, a far more dangerous venue. The Victorian State Government is perfectly capable of doing the same, but it almost entirely lacks the will.

;

Global yawning

There are many ludicrous activities going on under the rubric of discussing climate change. Overseas, the campaign - if you can call it that - appears to be a never-ending series of rock concerts aimed at youth, and very little else.

Looking at the English audiences, I wondered how many knew that the Battle of Britain was in World War II, or had much geography or chemistry or biology in order to judge these complex matters.

Many of them would have been here before, for concerts to save British troops in Iraq (who don't want to be saved, but just allowed to get on with their job), concerts for the many faces of Africa - AIDS, poverty, Mandela's birthday (but not Zimbabwe), and so on. The same rock stars - perhaps even the same stage equipment. "When's the next caring rock concert?", we hear these compassion-junkies complaining.

This series of eight concerts worldwide seems to have been for the greater glory of Al Gore (flying by Qantas?), who obviously sees himself as leader of a World Movement - a bit like Moral Rearmament?

One interesting coincidence in London, which has an unquenchable appetite for street theatre (just remember the Gordon Riots), was the almost simultaneous staging of the Princess Diana Memorial Concert with the young princes, the Al Gore global warming broken-record fiesta, and Wimbledon.

The poor princes' shindig is already a thing of the past. But, Wimbledon beat Gore's exercise in demagogic nothingness hands-down. Roger Federer came out as deserving respect, and admiration, but Gore had his raucous troubadours ... ? Really!

In Australia, it is unlikely we will get any sense or worthwhile discussion on climate change until after the federal election, if then. This subject has already been politicised and colonised, by the same gang which previously made a mockery of immigration, multiculturalism, aboriginal reform, education and, if they could, foreign policy. They are again trying to crowd out all alternative views and stigmatise critics, as they have always done.

It will be interesting to see the sole dissenting documentary on this subject, The Great Global Warming Swindle, that the ABC has now decided to screen, under protest - and the steps to negate its influence and ambush the critics.

As with that dreadful concoction on the wharf strike, Bastard Boys, we may have an interesting future analysis coming up on our ABC, and its latest performance.

 

Still looking for Dreyfus

With all the new activity underway, in tracking down the perpetrators of the latest terror attacks in Britain, and detecting and rounding up those suspected of planning such attacks, and trying to penetrate those parts of our society sympathetic to terrorism, or which help to produce people here who will have a terrorist mentality and aspirations ... suddenly nothing is being said about David Hicks!

And yet ... there was a very important industry until a short time ago, and an issue on which the Labor Party, our Yellow Press, a legion of rights lawyers and peripatetic parsons were expecting to make a killing and great reputations as freedom-fighters. A veritable phalanx of admittedly fly-blown Emile Zolas lurked in the wings.

But the young man shot the fox and ended the gold-plated hunt by confessing to one of the charges against him, and receiving a surprisingly light sentence, plus a return to his native land - Australia. The carnival was over.

What I suspect was intended by those who devoted an enormous amount of media attention and government resources to this affair ... goes as follows.

Australians, considering a terrorist career with a group or country waging war on this country and its allies, would take comfort if they could be assured that they couldn't be tried or executed or imprisoned for long in a foreign jail, but would be returned here in a blaze of publicity, masses of supporters who also hate their country - and legal/libertarian shonks who have gone forth and multiplied ever since the golden days of Gough and Lionel Murphy. Our terrorist gets a show trial and, with luck, will be described as another Dreyfus.

When acquitted - for the juries wouldn't agree - he could sue for enormous damages, or run for parliament. Which is perhaps why the concerted attack on the legal systems of Indonesia and, where necessary or possible, her neighbours, by supporters of drug-pushers and drug-couriers from Australia, might be seen as a dry run for other, even more exciting, misdemeanours.

Terrorism is costing too much blood and money worldwide.

However, more and more Australians are starting to become very impatient with others defending, let alone trying to justify, terrorism - just as Australians have gone off illegal immigrants, people-smuggling and their protective cover, our travesty of multiculturalism.

 

Victimhood

Have you noticed the strange procedure when terrorist suspects are arrested or taken into custody? Our journalists immediately start interviewing their parents, relatives or friends, asking: "Did he do it? Do you think he was guilty?"

Of course, they say he is innocent, a good man, a loving son, etc. What if one said, "No, he's a scoundrel", or "I'm not really surprised!"? Our journalists would start asking what's he got against this poor chap. Is this a private feud, a payback? Then they ask his lawyer: "Is your client innocent?"

Could this be covert sympathy for the terror suspects? Or just sympathy for all God's creatures great and small?

Let's spare the odd thought for the terrorists' victims - and I don't mean Hamas leaders - but for their human shields, the obligatory children in the killer's car. That's all right, but the proper implications are never drawn, are they, comrades?

 

A ship without a rudder

Kevin Rudd is drifting into deep water at the moment, and it's not all that easy to say what he should be doing. Whereas earlier it seemed that he might be the problem, now it's his party, or part thereof, and the unions, or parts thereof.

A number of big unions, or rather their leaders, are virtually challenging Rudd's authority - the authority to determine policy. Industrial policy, energy policy, the environment, even trade. And this at a time - and possibly in response to - Rudd's attempts to say that Labor is not just a tool of the unions. Labor does count in the interests of business, and the farmers.

But Rudd is being attacked, quite crudely, by powerful union leaders pointing out, in one case, that he "owes" his very election to the leadership to him. Or else Rudd is told that he and his colleagues are dependent on union contributions, and so therefore the piper should play the requested tune.

The fact is, the cats are away. ... Greg Combet and Bill Shorten have left the industrial scene for Canberra, and are keeping quiet. They are little help to Rudd.

Maybe they too want his job. Indeed, there was talk earlier of Shorten being pushed to replace Rudd should Labor continue in opposition after this election. Shorten wouldn't want to make any enemies, nor would his friend Richard Pratt.

Both Shorten and Combet have to reassure their new electorates that they are going to be real representatives of their electors' interests and won't treat their seats as rotten boroughs.

And in the House of Representatives, Labor are fighting openly over Tasmanian logging policies, with Midnight Oil, yet again, looking flat-footed. So ... he tries another rock concert, with music from the Jurassic era.

This is a party approaching an election, with each man and each faction looking out for themselves, as Mark Latham described.

Finally there is another velvet shadow over Mr Rudd - Julia Gillard, a born-again Mata Hari. Have you seen the latest photographs in the Weekend Australian colour magazine (July 7-8, 2007)? Eat your heart out, Bill Heffernan. But make sure you don't break your teeth.

I keep hearing that Julia's friends will move for a spill if Rudd loses this one - even a spill this side of the election if Rudd is travelling badly or judged to be selling the Left down the river.

I think that, at this point, we are facing a rebellion by the Left and its unions - to force Rudd to back off from his placatory policies. One can already see the effects in his chopping and changing on foreign policy.

Well ... he could always go into dentistry.

- Max Teichmann
 




























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