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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

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



Ministers, Spies and Bikies: the new McCarthyism

If they spy on the Defence Minister, how do they treat the rest of us?

According to Fairfax newspapers, the Department of Defence has been investigating its Minister. 

They trawled through his Ministerial computer and found bank account details of – shock, horror, alarm bells – a Chinese born woman who lives in Australia. And racism is dead in Australia?

What must these mental giants make of our Chinese speaking Prime Minister – the Manchurian candidate perhaps? Is he too under investigation?

The Minister rents property from the woman. He is also a friend of hers.

I wonder what else they found on his computer. Emails to his kids?

[Update: The Minister has linked the investigation and leak of that information to his Defence ‘reform’ proposals and has also amended the member’s register of interests to acknowledge Ms Liu paid for two trips he undertook to China in 2002 and 2005. My guess is that a group in Defence has been undertaking covert investigations and they will be isolated and wear the blame. A friend who is a former press gallery journalist says Fitzgibbon is gone.]

On first reading about this I felt some Schadenfreude. It was the Labor Party which promised to increase Defence spending by 3 percent in real terms until 2013. 

(As an aside hopefully Fitzgibbon cuts the Defence and Intelligence budget markedly in May. Save $20 billion. Show some guts Joel.)

It was the ALP who supported Howard in the creation of a climate of fear and legislating away some of our rights and freedoms. In power it has continued the Howard approach – fear followed by laws attacking freedom. 

As I wrote in Morality under imperialism in Online Opinion:

A new McCarthyism stalks Australia. Its first element is the gradual strangulation of democratic rights in the name of the war on terror. Under the guise of fighting – and presumably, in some far off future, defeating the Islamists – Christian fundamentalists and their fellow travellers around the world have restricted the rights of us all.

From Guantanamo Bay and water boarding, to rendition, to scare campaigns about security, and then to restrictions on rights of assembly, the destruction of habeas corpus and curtailing the right to free speech, the new McCarthyism has already achieved some of its anti-rights and anti-freedom agenda.

The Frankenstein the ALP helped create is now attacking it. Destroy the monster of the Secret State before it is too late, Labor.

This spying on the Minister highlights how narrow our freedoms are. Unelected public servants and Defence personnel yield enormous power. 

Who voted for any of the leaders of the public service, judges, generals, or CEOs of our major companies? Our society is essentially undemocratic.

Spying on the Minister highlights something else too – the paranoia that is an inherent part of these secret ‘intelligence’ and defence organisations. 

Workplaces (like Defence, the spy agency ASIO, et al) are built on myths about Australia, its defence and threats. 

They attract the paranoid, reactionary and deeply suspicious. And during the Great Recession, the young unemployed.

In the name of defending freedom, the reactionaries undermine it.  That is because they and the values inculcated into them are profoundly anti-democratic.

They come to see themselves as defenders of the very society which they are supposed to serve. They know better than us the values that underpin our society. 

So they crush a few cockroaches to make their democratic paté.

They are the Watchmen of our ‘rights and freedoms’, and if that means trampling on us for the greater good then they will do it.


There is a pattern of shadowy activity among these organisations. 

In South Australia for example the police Special Branch kept files on 100,000 people, including all the members of that radical organisation, the Australian Labor Party. 

It is at least possible ASIO bombed the Hilton to gain more resources and support for its activities.  

The frame-up of some Amanda Marga members for another crime (but really for the Hilton bombing) only shows how low they will go in defence of ‘freedoms’.

The war on terror means that the Australian equivalent of the Stasi and other Defence of the Realm paranoiacs are now well resourced.

And what do they do with our money, and extra powers (like the ability to lock people up without charge for weeks)? 

Stuff up with cases like Haneef.  This is not an accident. 

Putting Key Stone Cops, full of rabid nationalism, in charge of anything, is an assault on our freedoms.

But it is not a mistake for our rulers – it is deliberate. Having these people investigating citizens helps create the very climate the spy and defence groups are meant to protect against.  They are the flash lights of fear.

And then the State moves from fear to frightening legislation, legislation aimed at further restricting the already narrow range of rights we enjoy.

The Australian State has been attacking and trying to criminalise dissent since its inception. Its White Australia fear campaign was the glue the bourgeoisie used to tie workers to Australian capitalism.

That glue of fear they use today is terrorists, muslims, refugees and now bikie gags.

A little potted history.

In 1917 the Commonwealth banned the Industrial Workers of the World, made membership of it illegal and physically closed down its printing press.  It built this on the back of framing 12 members for fires in Sydney.

Why?  The IWW argued for direct action -, industrial action – to improve wages and defend jobs. They were leading opponents of conscription in Australia  and had begun to gain a hearing among workers. 

In the early 1950s Menzies tried to ban the Communist Party. Why?  The CPA had control of some unions and led soem strikes in defence of workers and their conditions.

The High Court ruled it was unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to criminalise the Communist Party. But the  States can.

In Melbourne right now a number of Muslims are in jail for thought crimes.  

And now New South Wales is going to mirror South Australia in criminalising bikie gangs and membership.

Essentially in South Australia the Attorney General can declare an organisation an outlaw group and ban it and membership of it, using ‘criminal activity’ as a ground.  

One person, without any public justification and on the flimsiest of evidence, can declare illegal any organisation (not just bikie gangs).

Why not ban the ALP for its criminal participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? 

The law is supposedly aimed at bikie gangs and crime but these gangs account for less than one percent of all crimes. 

Most violent crimes occur within the family.  Why not ban the family and anyone from being a member of one?

It gets worse. Police have various powers, including the power to ban events to protect public safety.  Think strikes, political demonstrations and bikie meetings.

So our climate of fear over the years has encompassed non-whites, commies and Muslims. Now it is bikies.  Who is next?

I have a radical set of suggestions for dealing with some of these non-issues.

Abolish our Stasi Mr Rudd. De-fund defence and intelligence agencies and spend the money on socially useful activities like health and education.

Repeal all the anti-democratic laws in Australia.