Topic: News

‘Top gun’ barristers do not own judicial appointments

WHO would make the best chief justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland? Judging from the unseemly row over the appointment of Tim Carmody, not a knockabout barrister appointed by a boy Attorney-General.

Tim “I don’t claim to be the smartest lawyer in the room” Carmody is presently the Chief Magistrate of Queensland. Thick as a brick? Hardly. Carmody was appointed Senior Counsel in 1999, served as the Queensland crime commissioner from 1998 to 2002, as a judge of the Family Court of Australia from 2003 to 2008, and as commissioner for the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, which reported last year.

There is no rule book to determine the criteria for choosing a judge, only a process. The responsibility for the appointment rests with the Queensland cabinet, on the recommendation of the Attorney-General.


Pilger’s Utopia feeds an industry going in circles

NATIONAL Reconciliation Week finishes today. The Aboriginal industry can put away its ideological bunting for another year. Only those paid to do so, and the ideologically committed, will continue the dreary business of, among other things, reading out a welcome to country message.

‘’I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting and pay my respects to their elders past and present.’’

Why do otherwise intelligent people do this? No one believes it, it does no good, and it perpetuates the myth that land is everything. Land is a platform for the brilliance of humans to perform upon. Without skills and willpower, it comes to nought. Unless, and until, the Aboriginal industry learns this, the blighted lives of the smallest part of Aboriginal Australia, those sitting in the dumps of Aboriginal settlements such as, Utopia, in the Northern Territory, will never change.


Fund, fund, fund — ’til somebody takes it away

THE establishment of the (projected) $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund poses two big questions for public policy: Why have a future fund in anything, and why medical research in ­particular?

Government future funds come and government future funds go.

Who is to say the Medical Research Future Fund won’t go the way of others?


Memos to PM: for god’s sake, don’t levy the levy

Memo from Treasury to the Prime Minister, re: levy.

The temporary deficit reduction levy will not raise as much money as the government hopes. The impact of extra tax on higher earners will change their behaviour. Less exertion pro­duces less tax. In addition, it may well lower economic output in second and subsequent years, thus harming everyone.


Ham-fisted, but live export crisis has turned the tide

WE export animal welfare. Of the 109 countries exporting livestock globally, Australia is the only one that invests in animal welfare beyond its borders.

Doubtless, Joe Ludwig of the Gillard government, who for a time banned the live cattle trade, and various NGOs would claim ownership. Methinks exporters did the hard work. There are three distinct public policy issues at play. How many animals die during export? How many are killed inhumanely in the destination country? The best response to failure in either or both. On one side are exporters, governments and some animal welfare types, on the other are radical animal welfare types.


Ignore inner-city prattle, islander work scheme is a win-win

BLACKBIRDING is back in Bundaberg and elsewhere in regional Australia. Where Australians do not want to work in “menial” jobs in horticulture, rural producers have had to look elsewhere for a workforce.

Backpackers have been a standby, but producers wanted a more reliable source of labour. That source is Pacific Islanders, just as it was 150 years ago in the infamous blackbirding era.


Equality at risk as consequences of recognition are unclear

INDIGENOUS leader Mick Dodson reckons that if the Australian Constitution is to have any relevance to Aborigines, it has to “affirm our basic identity as human beings”.

So, Aborigines are not human beings unless they are recognised in the Constitution. No one else is mentioned in the Constitution, so presumably all Australians are not human beings. Such is the mind-numbing nonsense of Aboriginal recognition.


Race-hate war is already won

TONY Abbott promised to repeal the “racial hatred” section (18c) of the Racial Discrimination Act “in its current form”. George Brandis promised to repeal those provisions that enabled Andrew Bolt “to be successfully pursued through the courts for expressing an opinion on a matter of public policy’’, a commitment he reaffirmed on ABC1’s Q&A on Monday night.

These statements are not inconsistent and the electorate awaits final words before passing judgment on any breach of an election promise.

Meanwhile, Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane fears the abolition of 18c. He says that abolition “can licence racial hatred (and) may unleash a darker, even violent, side of our humanity, which revels in the humiliation of the vulnerable’’.

Was Australia a darker place before the insertion of 18c in 1995? I do not think so.


Whistleblower Jackson’s wisdom that sparked war

KATHY Jackson is this column’s Australian of the year.

Jackson, nee Koukouvaos, is the Greek goddess Athena – goddess of wisdom and of war.

She withstood the pressure of a culture of corruption in the Health Services Union. She deserves the respect and support of the entire labour movement. Instead, many revile her.

No matter what the Abbott government’s royal commission into the administration of various trade unions reveals, she will be the one who, at great personal sacrifice, started the ouster of Craig Thomson and Michael Williamson.