Race Around the Blogosphere (with comments)

Gummo Trotsky has a truly inspired post on why libertarians dislike yum cha!

Scott Wickstein spares no sympathy for OzTaliban David Hicks. I agree, but I certainly don’t agree that the Americans are justified in depriving him of basic civil rights (like legal representation of choice and a fair trial). Sure as eggs, the new US standard will be cited as a precedent for mistreating American and Australian POWs in years to come. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

If you had a low opinion of Media Watch’s David Marr (as I did), it will probably be lowered still further by this post from Professor Bunyip (as mine was).

Tim Dunlop blogs a story I’d missed completely. It seems US forces in Iraq have begun taking women and children hostage in order to “persuade” their (senior military figure) husbands to surrender. Again, as ye sow …

Finally, Tim also mentions this morning’s Australian editorial decrying the Coalition government’s asylum seeker policies. Here I agree with the Oz only partially.

I certainly agree that prolonged detention of children is inhumane and utterly unacceptable, and that treating asylum seekers as second class residents once they’re granted protection visas (albeit short-term ones) is both inhumane and short-sighted. The reality is that many of these people won’t be able to go home when their 3 year visas expire, because they’ll still have a well-founded fear of persecution. Demonising them merely makes it harder to become productive long-term residents, and potentially creates a needlessly embittered underclass within the Australian community. It’s just plain dumb policy.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue on the evidence that the so-called “Pacific solution” has been anything other than a great success. The policy has almost wholly stemmed the flow of boat people, by giving them exactly the same priority as they would have enjoyed had they waited patiently in refugee camps adjacent to their homelands instead of paying a fortune to people smugglers to “jump the queue”. The fact that some Tampa asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus Islands have now been granted Australian visas in no sense invalidates this policy. Just as some asylum seekers who apply from offshore are eventually granted visas, so it is with boat people applicants.

The Howard government’s electoral use of Tampa and “children overboard” was certainly divisive and appalling (albeit politically very effective), but the “Pacific solution” (i.e. offshore processing) policy itself has proven in practice to be a successful and sensible policy. We really need to differentiate between policy and rhetoric, a point underlined by the fact that Labor’s asylum seeker policy devised by the Left’s Julia Gillard in consultation with Simon the Unlikeable actually pledges to continue the offshore processing elements of the current government’s policies. That is, however much they obfuscate to soothe the left, Labor has embraced the “Pacific solution”. It’s one of the few sensible moves Crean has made as Labor leader.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Ken,

Professor Bunyipzinsky’s gripe against Marr is that he tried to nail Barwick for his role in geeing Kerr to sack Whitlam.

Well, more power to Marr, if that’s what he did. As one of the Labor Party MPs said at the opening of Parliament in February 1976,

“Here comes that conniving cunt Barwick”.

Barwick was one of the most malign and pernicious men of power in Australian history. Not just because of 1975, but because he superglued the door open for the tax avoidance industry. That judgment did more to enfeeble the economy than any action by government, business or union before or since. It not only permanently weakened the Federal budget, but created the mindset that entrpreneurial activity is most profitably directed to avoiding taxes rather than creating wealth.

You just don’t like David Marr because he’s gay. Go on, admit it!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dave,

I won’t rise to the bait of your silly gay jibe (hang on, I just did). However, accepting (as I do) that Barwick’s role in the Kerr dismissal was a shabby one, that still doesn’t justify David Marr in simply inventing malicious details about Barwick’s family in a “quickie” autobiography. It simply confirms that Marr is a malevolent ideologically-driven hatchet man and not a journalist.

To avoid having my words further twisted by Dave for idle sport, I should also record that I deplore Barwick’s leading part in promoting the Australian tax avoidance industry through abuse of his judicial position (in my view). However again, that doesn’t justify Marr’s blatantly dishonest and patently malicious journalism.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Ken,

Must raise an objection, or at least a query, about the continual presumption that David Marr is of the ‘Left’ and can have things stuck on him like ‘ideologically-driven hatchet man’. I’ve never seen Marr as anything more than a small ‘l’ liberal … OK, that may be enough for you to describe him as ‘left’ and ‘ideologically driven’, particularly in these reactionary days, but it’s also enough to confuse me. His writing never seems to me to be readily identifiably belonging to any other left tradition but assertive individual moral-based liberalism. In particular, I always remember him as one of the clutch of journos from the National Times who did all the damage to Lionel Murphy, and he is obviously just as hard or even harder on Labor than he is on the Coalition. Again, all this is consistent with the liberal journo. I feel sure that if you ever got to ask hm about the so-called Australian left, you would get an equivalent diatribe from him as you would if you asked him about the Australian right. Like a typical assertive small ‘l’ liberal, it’s his own individual moral view that is always privileged, not a broader ideological stance. I think his work is sometimes good, sometimes very good, and sometimes off the planet … but I never see him as embodying any more representative view than his own.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Chris,

I didn’t attach the tag “left” to David Marr, either in this post, my previous comment, or my previous post “Snowing the Critics”. I might have used it carelessly in a comment at some point or another, though I don’t recall it. I agree Marr doesn’t exhibit a consistent identifiable left line: he seems to be driven by somewhat idiosyncratic personal malice. Nevertheless, I think it’s justified to describe both his hatchet job on Barwick’s family and last week’s attack on (another hatchet-man) Bolt as “ideologically-driven”.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Agree with guitar lover CS on Marr. He was at the front of the crowd trying to get at the records of Murphy to knock off his stature because he knew Murphy didn’t deserve it.

Re Tampa. The afghanis had no queue Ken. They either had to pay corrupt pakistanis to get onto the queue. They had to pay more as they were shiites not sunnis or go the leaky boat way.
This was chosen as it was cheaper and remarkably people smugglers stick to their word more than pakistanis deciding who is in the queue!

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Chris is right. Marr is a crusader. His crusades are largely for good causes (putting shit on Garfield Barwick, anti-censorship, recording Howard’s malevolance on Tampa) but the only consistent ideological thread is championing the rights of individuals over powerful authority. If anything, that is the opposite of a left wing view of the world.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Homer,

You’re wrong. Almost without exception, the Afghans who have arrived here in boats spent considerable amounts of time in UNHCR refugee camps in Pakistan or Iran before deciding to gamble their fates with the people smugglers. Now, those refugee camps admittedly aren’t much like Club Med resorts, but they’re competently run by UNHCR and people have enough to eat and reasonable basic health care.

Thus, there WAS a queue and the boat people (in nearly every case) WERE jumping it, in the sense that they were taking a place that might otherwise have gone to an offshore asylum seeker still waiting patiently back in a UNHCR camp. The “there isn’t any queue” propaganda line run by refugee advocates is every bit as misleading as much of Ruddock’s justificatory propaganda. Like most situations, this one isn’t black and white; neither side has a monopoly on truth.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

…”last week’s attack on (another hatchet-man) Bolt”

Well exactly. It was a battle of the hatchet men, though one (Bolt) seems to to want to be able dish it out without ever having to cop it.

Why David Marr has to be the villain in all this with poor little Andrew Bolt the innocent victim is a mystery to me. They are both as bad as each other, and they both know it.

Let them battle it out, but please, no more winges about hurt feelings.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Ken

So when you describe Marr as ‘ideologicaly-driven’ you mean he is driven by the fact that he hates Bolt’s ideology, rather than being driven by any particular (organised) ideology of his own (which, as I say, I don’t think you pick, beyond his often overflowing and overeaching liberal philosophy … certainly I would never feel sure how he would come up on many of the issues I hold dear). Bolt, on the other hand, certainly is representative of the broader neo-con ideological bloc. If this is what you mean, I suggest that Marr’s experience is pretty much inevitable and pretty much the same as Krugman’s. Any extended study of this bloc by any liberally minded person is eventually going to move them to do a hatchet job … the only difference being how long it takes them to pick up the axe.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Your characterisation of Marr contains some elements of truth, but I think he’s far too idiosyncratic (and malicious) to be labelled confidently as a “liberal” (in the Australian/British sense, not the American one). However, I don’t think opposition to “neocons” (even if it is principled) justifies dishonest, malicious hatchet jobs. Moreover, Barwick wasn’t a neocon, he was an old fashioned con, and a dodgy one at that. But that also doesn’t justify inventing malicious lies about his family. I’m astounded that you should even try to justify such behaviour. It’s essentially saying that no tactic, however dishonest or malicious, is too low for use on someone whose ideology one opposes. Does that really characterise your value system? Honesty and fair treatment are surely not things we extend only to our friends, at least not if we hope to be treated fairly ourselves.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

“no tactic, however dishonest or malicious, is too low for use on someone whose ideology one opposes”

Ken, you have just described the modus operandi of every right wing commentator in the country.

Why should they be allowed to get away with it, and their opponents get a bucket dropped on them when they do it?

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Why should they be allowed to get away with it, and their opponents get a bucket dropped on them when they do it?

What a depressing post.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dave,

Although I know I don’t always succeed, I try to analyse and criticise without fear or favour. I’m in no sense suggesting Bolt is a paragon of virtue. In fact, I agree with the point you made previously: Marr and Bolt are both malicious bovver boys.

However, Marr is running a taxpayer-funded program that purports to sit in judgment on the ethics and professional standards of the rest of the media. As such, he’s inevitably and rightly a legitimate focus for blog criticism where be abuses that position by attacking enemies unfairly while ignoring much more serious journalistic sins by people like Phillip Adams. I frankly don’t care who it is he’s attacking; I expect him to do so fairly and honestly.

Finally, I should say that, although I haven’t used the label “left” for Marr, I DO think he can be reasonably typecast as soft left in a similar sense to Phillip Adams, Hugh Mackay etc. They’re not necessarily partisan Labor supporters, but their political instincts and orientation are certainly in that direction.

I don’t think the fact Marr was one of the journos who pursued Lionel Murphy negates that proposition in any sense. To suggest it somehow does is to exhibit precisely the kneejerk ideological tunnel vision to which I’m objecting. Might Marr not have pursued Murphy because, despite all the fine things Murphy did as a political law reformer, and despite some far-sighted (if poorly legally reasoned) judgments as a High Court judge, his behaviour over the Morgan Ryan affair was both appalling and corrupt? It DID merit his removal as a judge, and I thought that at the time, despite being the Convenor of the Centre-left faction in the NT through much of the 1980s. The point is, pursuing Lionel Murphy says nothing at all about Marr’s ideological orientation.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Ken,

I wasn’t talking about Barwick, even though you were, so sorry for the astoundment. I also think his pursuit of Murphy tells you a great deal about Marr’s values (I think ‘ideology’ is wrong in this case, in the sense of having a more or less formal system of values. meanings and beliefs .. he has, I think, a liberal philosophy) … but we will have to argue this another time.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Ken,
Let me disagree.
I implied they were in the camps. The problem is since they are shiites ( and by the way the warlord under the Taliban is still the warlord there now he has merely shifted sides) they have three choices.
1) pay bribe to pakistani officials and see IF they get onto the queue
2) go back to Afghanistan because they wish to or have to (re pakistani officials again)
3) pay people smugglers and ensure you get out of the hellhole.

Only three is guaranted. I happen to know how corrupt the situation is in Pakistan hence there is no queue only what you pay for!

I also would await David Marr’s reply before I made judgement as I have yet to find the bunyip a reliable centre of information. I might add I should be the LAST blogger trying to defend David Marr.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Ken

I didn’t say anything about Marr and Murphy. Although, I thought it was Brian Toohey and Wendy Bacon who went after Murphy, but I couldn’t care one way or the other.

Don’t get too high and mighty about Marr having his platform paid for by the tax payer. Bolt makes regular appearances on the ABC’s
Insiders program, and also on ABC radio. And I don’t accept that Marr’s criticisms of Bolt were off the mark. I’ve read the transcripts of their exchanges and it’s clear that Bolt went after Alison Bronowski like a junk yard dog after a bone.

As for why Marr doesn’t attack Phillip Adams, you’ll have to ask him. But here is one explanation. Notwithstanding the obsession that the the entire Australian right wing has with Adams, he has very little influence – unlike Andrew Bolt, who has a whole page at the front of Australia’s biggest circulation newspaper.

By the way, and this is a subtlely that seems that pass Adams’ critics completely by, Philip Adams on ABC radio is very tame. Where he can be really bad is in his newspaper columns in The Australian. So if you don’t like Phillip Adams, complain to Rupert Murdoch.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Dave,

It was Toohey, Bacon, Wilkonson and Marr … all obsessesed in my view with bringing down the high and mighty on their own personally privileged moral grounds, and even more so because he was on the left.

Tysen
Tysen
2022 years ago

Homer I’m not sure that they are the only options. I suspect, though, that there are other UNHCR camps where they won’t face such discrimination and that are geographically far closer to them than Australia.

As far as TPV holders go, I have no problem with the current situation. If you are a refugee then we will comply with the ’51 convention and protect you for as long as necessary. You will have access to world class medical care and income support. When the threat subsides, you will return.

If we are to have any effect on the decisions that asylum seekers make then there has to be something extra to gain by following the official processes. Currently, that incentive is permanent residency. The reward of bypassing our normal migration criteria and gaining permanent residency in a country like Australia (something the ’51 convention doesn’t require) makes following the rules more advantagous than avoiding them.

bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

I quite like Yum Cha.

John Humphreys
2022 years ago

So to I bailz – and pointed out the fallacy of the libertarian anti-yum cha line on gummo’s blog. Obvious misrepresentation is forgiven on the grounds of the amusement factor. :)

Robcorr
2022 years ago

If a queue doesn’t move, is it really a queue?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Yes Robert. I always join the one that doesn’t move and watch the rapidly moving queue I didn’t join, prove the rule.

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