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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Priests, the abuse of kids and state intervention

The Irish report into the Catholic Church’s abuse of kids, and the state’s complicity, is damning.

The inquiry found the abuse – physical, mental, emotional and sexual –  was endemic in boys only institutions and widespread more generally. It also found the Church hierarchy protected its paedophiles, (including moving them from parishes where they had abused kids to new parishes. sometimes in other countries).

It showed that State investigators did not follow through on the abuse allegations. They bowed to the authority of the Church, an authority the unelected rulers of the Church wielded mercilessly and cruelly.

There is something deeper in this than just bad apples. 

It may be celibacy partly explains the reason for abuse at the hand of Catholic orders being endemic, but I suspect too it has something to do with the oppressive nature of Irish society, its domination by the British, the backwardness of its economic arrangements (at least until 20 years ago), and the dominance of the Church in all aspects of life.

I suspect that there is something in there too about the family being the  ‘natural unit of society’ and the role of women as brood mares for capital.

And maybe, if you couple these with a set of beliefs in an all powerful and forgiving  god, you create the conditions in Ireland for this systemic abuse at the hands of religious orders.

 I suspect the abuse was (and perhaps still is) systemic to (but not limited to) Catholic religious groups around the world.

Certainly that appears to be the case in Australia, according to various child supporter and abuse survivor groups.

So what should the response of the State, as the representative and supposed protector of the community, be?

When unproved sex abuse allegations against Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory cropped up, the Howard Government sent in the troops. Rudd Labor continues the invasion.

This intervention was really about stealing Aboriginal land and making the original inhabitants third class citizens, losing all control over their lives.

The Rudd Government won’t do that with the Catholic Church.  It doesn’t attack the powerful in society, only the poor and dispossessed.  So the Catholic Church is safe from any federal intervention.

What about New South Wales?  Why not use the bikie laws against the Church or one of its factions? 

Let’s be clear.  The bikie laws are so wide they can be used against any group in society. 

The criteria for declaration as a prohibited organisation are fairly wide.  As I wrote in Jackboot junkies and bikie gangs:

The basic scheme is simple. The Police Commissioner can apply to a judge of the Supreme Court for an order that an organisation (defined widely to include basically any group of people, not just bikie gangs) be a declared organisation. 

The Commissioner can present any rumour, piece of hearsay or down right lie parading as intelligence to convince the judge that the organization should be declared.

The rules of evidence don’t apply, the determination is made on the balance of probabilities, (the civil standard), not beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal standard) and the organisation or its members may not get to see the information to rebut it.

The judge does not even have to give reasons for his or her decision.

 The Court order would make membership of a declared organisation illegal. 

Declared members associating together would be committing an offence, punishable on first offence by 2 years in jail and on second and later offences 5 years jail.

The Court has to be satisfied that members of the organisation associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity, and the organisation represents a risk to public safety and order in this State.

This seems to apply to the Catholic Church just as much as it does to the bikies.  If bikies, then why not the Church?

Of course it won’t happen because although the Church does appear to have its share of criminals and those who might have protected them, they represent the powerful in society, not the powerless or their expression in bikie gangs, attempting to claw back some power.

Powerlessness is the issue.  We live in a society which denies all working people and others power in all realms of our lives. 

One reaction to this powerlessness is to create an all powerful entity to bow before, and a concomitant approach is to abuse those who are even less powerful than the powerless.  Kids, women, aborigines and refugees are all potential victims.

The task must be to empower ourselves by overthrowing the source of our powerlessness – the wage slave system.



Comment from Divine_msn
Time May 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

“When unproved sex abuse allegations against Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory cropped up, the Howard Government sent in the troops. Rudd Labor continues the invasion.”
I beg to differ. Abuse was proven, widespread and at the higher end of the scale. There were dominant males who preyed on whoever they fancied and due to the ‘culture’ and/or general fear, basically got away with murder. Political correctness allowed the situation to grow completely out of control. Power to the Howard Govt for taking a stand and the Rudd Govt for continuing the work of protecting the most vunerable members of those communities

Comment from leonie
Time May 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Divine_msn, the Little Children are sacred report suggested co-operation with communities, not invasion. And I wonder if this sex abuse is so rife, and with all the agencies of the state crawling throughout the NT, why have there been so few successful prosecutions?

Even if your argument were correct, why not extend it to protecting kids in the care of the Catholic Church from evident abuse? Perhaps because the Church is powerful, doesn’t have land the Sate wants to free up, and its adherents are mainly white. That would suggest, if true, that the NT invasion is not about saving kids at all.

Comment from PETER PIPER
Time May 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm

paeditric syphillis is rife in remote aborigine camps ( I have worked there and thoiught I had gone back in time 10,000 years). The intervention had stopped kids being raped by their ‘uncles’ – why are you so against this??

Comment from Tom
Time May 23, 2009 at 7:23 pm

As a young child I was sexually abused by an officer of the salvation army boys home at the Basin Victoria. I am now aged 59 and still suffer the trauma from those early years.

Comment from Pol Pak
Time May 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Recent Commonwealth intervention was NOT about Aboriginal land.

It was about the abuse of people in the communities – women, children, even males, by others many of whom are related.

Principle cause of this is isolation of our communities and families living there from the protections available to mainstream Australia.

This isolation mostly helps government hide its mismanagement of child protection, family protection, improving education and improving general qualities of life in these communities.

This isolation mostly helps racists to maintain their arguments for segregation, for treating people different on basis of deemed racial identifications… rather than as equal humans.

The isolation from abuse of the permits system by those in authority makes inhabitants third class citizens, losing control over their lives, their futures…

Totalitarian desire to do this is common in extremes of the left and the right. Indeed those extremes go so far to left and right they join up down in the pits.

Lefties desire control of all the resources by the learned few…

You suggest Alison Anderson talking rubbish ?
[Try seach ]

So you support the segregation of families by racial testing, as is applied to families in their “Traditional Homelands” ?

So you support denial to families their rights to have their visitors, visit them in their homes, when they chose, as applied to families in their “Traditional Homelands” ?

Cease being part of the problem, become part of the solution .

Comment from Leonie
Time May 27, 2009 at 6:26 am

Thanks Tom. Do you have support to help you? I think that is important.

Comment from Leonie
Time May 27, 2009 at 6:34 am

Thanks Pol Pak. I think the situation is incredibly complex, but many aboriginal people are opposed to the Intervention for many of the reasons outlined in this piece. The Little Children are Sacred report made the point that it needed to be a cooperative approach with communities, yet Howard, and now Rudd, just imposed racially discriminatory ‘solutions’ on aboriginal people. And I can’t for the life of me see what 5 year leases have to do with helping communities, in particular kids.

I don’t see my position as being part of the problem. Recognising that the establishment of Australia disempowered and dispossessed the original settlers in no way does that, in my opinion. It is a vital issue which needs to be addressed.

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