bigotry and government

June 25th, 2015

We’ve had legislation that equates to the racist bogan bumper sticker, “Fuck off, we’re full,” for some years now.

It occurs to me that the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act equate roughly to that other favourite for the back of V8 Holden utilities (generally found on those with Chevrolet badges replacing the Holden insignia): “Love it or leave.”

law of unintended consequences

June 24th, 2015

More bad law amendments.

This one — without recourse to natural justice or judicial oversight — strips dual citizens of their Australian nationality, for the simple act of vandalism of Commonwealth owned assets.

Or, for possessing a ‘thing’ connected to terrorism. No definition of ‘thing’ in this context, exists in the amendment.

Any revocation can only be appealed after the fact; a fact that the affected person may not even be aware of.

Given that this Government includes people who would strip citizenship from someone acquitted by the courts, now does not seem to be a good time to be a dual national.

on content blocking

June 24th, 2015

Australia now has an Internet filter.

Moreover, it’s one which gives the courts the right to determine the method of and scope of a block, and deny anyone other than an ISP the right or ability to challenge this.

The net effect of this: if the court orders a block based on, say, IP address, then any innocent websites that happen to be collocated with the target become collateral damage; a fact that these impacted websites have no recourse to. Only an ISP can do so.

We’ve been here before, and apparently learned nothing from it.

Remember this when it comes time to vote again. Remember, too, that both the Labor opposition and Coalition government waved it through in this form.

unhinging

June 22nd, 2015

Something has to give.

We have governments throughout the western world busily invoking austerity, and specifically austerity in ways that uniquely disadvantage the already disadvantaged.

We have more surveillance than ever before. We have Internet censorship and monitoring, courtesy of Western governments who routinely criticise other nations for the same — and from governments whose political leanings should suggest less, rather than more, government oversight.

We have governments selling our future down the river: proposing in a Green Paper various ways to charge for public schooling (while, it needs to be said, managing to find money for well-to-do private schools); destroying renewable energy programmes — using questionable logic, at that — in favour of non-renewable energy; spending millions of dollars of time and effort — possibly illegally — on pet programmes while simultaneously claiming that there’s no money available for more essential public services; increasing the basic service charges on essentials while simultaneously claiming a lowering of costs (something that is true for above-average power consumers; people who tend to be better off).

Equality be damned. The trend is well away from anything of the sort, which in the longer term is anything but good for any of us.

energy

April 2nd, 2014

With the news that BP is shutting its Brisbane refinery, it’s worth pointing to this article by Neerav Bhatt:

What would happen if the Australian national electricity grid collapsed or a war broke out in the Asia-Pacific, blocking cargo ships carrying liquid fuel from reaching us?

A new NRMA commissioned report about Australia’s Liquid Fuel Security reveals that we face the real risk of not having any domestic oil refineries by 2030, which would leave us wholly dependent on foreign liquid fuel supplies.

This is, as it happens, as good as any reason to look to diversifying our sources of fuel.

internet censorship

February 2nd, 2014

The Australian Government is once again pushing legislation to censor the internet. And the sky is up, the grass is green and there’s nothing new under the sun.

This time, Canberra is angling to appoint a new e-safety commissioner and create new legislation in a supposed crusade against online bullying. To that end, the Government is proposing new powers for the rapid takedown of offensive material published on social media networks.

It should barely need to be said again: you can assume that you’ll be as successful in censoring the Internet reliably, as you can be in censoring individuals’ thoughts reliably.

This ain’t 1984.

threatening behaviour

January 28th, 2014

Much has been said about Queensland’s VLAD laws, much of it from far better writers than I. Examples:

But still the Government and Police tell the good people of Queensland that they have nothing to worry about and the laws are necessary to get the baddies. David Crisafulli, in his capacity as Acting Attorney-General assured the people that only the criminals will be targeted. Yet he refused to confirm that three or more bikies and associates who have not committed any actual crime, could attend a birthday bash, or be employed together, despite the legislation clearly stating this is so.

And the rising hysteria of the Newman government as it seeks to defend its indefensible attack on Queenslanders’ rights is very telling.

There will be more of that from Newman as hopefully, more and more Queenslanders come to understand that the VLAD Act is not about outlaw motorcycle clubs. And it never was.

It is about them. All of them. And their inalienable human right to associate with who they want, work where they want, and go where they want – free from the constant supervision of a crazed police state and a power-mad populist Premier, bungling Attorney-General, and sycophantic Police Commissioner, who feed them a constant diet of lies and mis-truths about ‘bikies’, while tarring every rider with the same misinformed brush.

I have another, deeper, problem with the manner in which the legislation is being sold. That problem is thus:

I ride a motorcycle.

As a result of this legislation, I now am on the receiving end of more — ignorant — behaviour from other road users, who assume that, as a motorcyclist, I must be up to no good simply by virtue of being on a motorcycle. Some of these people clearly believe in vigilantism, undertaking abusive — and in some cases, downright dangerous — acts to “prove their point.”

Never you mind that I am not, and will very likely never be, a member of any of the existing declared organisations. Never you mind that don’t ride a bike more commonly associated with such clubs. Never you mind that I barely fit the stereotype for a member of a motorcycle club. In the minds of more than a few road users, the simple act of being on a motorcycle is sufficient reason to vilify me. On average, this is now occurring twice on any ride near to major centres; I hear similar stories from my fellow riders.

I no longer have to worry about SMIDSY alone. I now have to be equally aware that people may, in fact, have noticed me.