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Monday message board

September 26th, 2005

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. McD
    September 26th, 2005 at 08:50 | #1


    Will you be supporting the Cowboys this weekend?

    I heard this morning that David Hicks might be receiving British citizenship soonish. If he does, and if the Brits push for his immediate release (as would seem likely) I wonder if the Au govt will try to prevent him returning to this country.

  2. wilful
    September 26th, 2005 at 10:10 | #2

    And why on earth would the UK give David Hicks citizenship? Unless it’s some automatic right that they cannot stop… As a ‘character question’ they’d have to knock him back.

  3. Terje Petersen
    September 26th, 2005 at 10:32 | #3

    Ross Gittens on this occasion makes a useful contribution to the debate about industrial relations reform.


    Ross is at his best when he educates his readers about the basics of economics.


    When you see newspaper letter-writers concluding that the plan to have the proposed Fair Pay Commission set minimum wage rates for apprentices and trainees will allow bosses to exploit young workers, it makes you despair of the public’s understanding of market forces.

    It seems people can live all their lives in a market economy without gaining any understanding of how demand and supply work. These simple souls seem to believe that, if some tribunal were to cut the minimum wage for apprentices, employers would cry “You beaut!” and slash wages accordingly.

    The implication being that employers will always pay the lowest wage the government permits them to. Really? It’s news to me.

    We even had someone arguing that if employers cut apprentices’ wages to the extent it’s presumed the pay commission will make possible, they won’t have many takers among young people.

    D’oh! Of course. That’s why it won’t happen. The only circumstances where employers might seize the opportunity to cut apprentices’ wages would be where they already had more tradespeople and apprentices than they needed, and far more applicants for apprenticeships than they could accommodate.

  4. Mike Pepperday
    September 26th, 2005 at 13:05 | #4

    Terje, that lesson for the allegedly simple minded would be fairly easily tested.

    In the great days of apprenticeships a generation or two ago, there was also a free market.

    Did employers pay above award through those high-demand post WW2 decades?

    If they didn’t, how would you explain it?

  5. McD
    September 26th, 2005 at 13:05 | #5


    I understand that David Hicks’s mother was born in the UK, providing for automatic granting of UK citizenship to him. There’s a report in the SMH about it, and possibly the other papers too.

    Not sure that he’d necessarily fail a ‘character question’ anyway. Not yet, at least.

  6. September 26th, 2005 at 13:24 | #6

    Glenn Milne’s continues his propaganda exercise in today’s Oz re Israel and the ALP. To seriously suggest that the ALP is anti-Israel is about as logical as suggesting Howard is violently anti-Bush.

    Read on:


  7. Terje Petersen
    September 26th, 2005 at 15:46 | #7

    Tony Blair does a U-turn on the Kyoto protocol. He no longer support it:-


  8. Terje Petersen
    September 26th, 2005 at 15:49 | #8

    Mike: Did employers pay above award through those high-demand post WW2 decades?

    If they didn’t, how would you explain it?

    Response: If they didn’t then the award was evidently equal to or above the free market rate. In other words the minimum was pushing up wage prices.

  9. Katz
    September 26th, 2005 at 16:44 | #9

    David Hicks’s US Military Attorney, Major Michael Mori, discovered Hicks’s British claims to citizenship in the context of discussing the English Ashes win over Australia.

    It seems that Maj. Mori is a cricket fan!

    How many US Military attorneys have any knowledge at all of cricket?

    Does this huge coincidence have the status of a “force majeur” in this bizarre and dishonourable story?

    If Hicks had replied that he was barracking for Australia, what chance that a text message from Warney to Howard might get Little Johnny to come across for David Hicks?

  10. wilful
    September 26th, 2005 at 17:02 | #10

    There are many astounding things about Major Mori. And somehow, I don’t think he’s going to spend a lot more time in the USMC at the end of this mock trial.

  11. September 26th, 2005 at 17:56 | #11

    Major Mori is indeed interesting.

    But couldn’t the argument be put that it bodes rather well for a much maligned system, that an advocate such as Maj. Mori is prepared to be so forthwright in defending his client. Last time I lloked he was still employed by the Marine Corp.

  12. Ian Gould
    September 26th, 2005 at 18:27 | #12


    go to wikipedia and look up the articles on “monopsomy” and “consumer surplus”.

  13. Geoff Honnor
    September 26th, 2005 at 18:38 | #13

    “I understand that David Hicks’s mother was born in the UK, providing for automatic granting of UK citizenship to him.”

    It’s not at all “automatic.’ He’s able to apply because of his birthdate in relation to his mother’s citizenship, but he’s by no means guaranteed approval. The process – as the Brits advised today – takes 6 to 12 months.

  14. September 26th, 2005 at 21:21 | #14

    ” A Fair Pay Commision” for all ,says John Howard.

    When he is prepared to bring in the C.E.O’s ,into the fold,he might have more respect.

  15. SJ
    September 26th, 2005 at 21:37 | #15

    The Gittins story was a load of crap. Sometimes he writes interesting stuff, but mostly he’s embarrassing.

    I’m not sure what his underlying beef is, here, but his arguments are just silly. He’s mixed in a bunch of stuff:

    a) lowering the minimum wage won’t affect things, because demand exceeds supply.

    b) unions set apprentice wages artificially high to protect the jobs of existing tradespeople.

    c) unions won’t allow mature age apprenticeships, again, to protect the jobs of existing tradespeople.

    He offers no evidence in support of this crap. The facts are that apprentice wages are pretty freakin’ low already. A first year apprentice in the building trades in NSW can expect a minimum of about $231 per week, as opposed to a tradesman’s minimum of about $660 per week (from the same link).

    The link also shows that there is specific provision for adult entrants, indeed with a higher rate (about $100 more per week).

    A pox on both Howard and Gittins.

  16. Terje Petersen
    September 26th, 2005 at 21:57 | #16

    Ian I could not find “monopsomy” at Wikipedia. However I found it elsewhere.

    Are you suggesting that there is only one employer in the labour market?

  17. SJ
    September 26th, 2005 at 22:15 | #17

    Ian I could not find “monopsomy� at Wikipedia.

    It’s spelled “monopsony”.

    Are you suggesting that there is only one employer in the labour market?

    The related relevant term is oligopsony.

  18. September 26th, 2005 at 22:23 | #18

    Here’s a hypothetical for you. Hicks has difficulty getting UK citizenship as he has to apply in person. Then he forfeits Australian citizenship as he is deemed to have relinquished it merely by applying for another citizenship. Finally, he becomes stateless (and yes, I know there are rules against that being thrust upon anyone).

    By the way, recent ISP upgrades are preventing me downloading all of certain pages, and this affects my accessing the ends of some JQ pages. I may not be able to interact properly hereabouts until the ISP comes through with configuration options to make their upgrade work effectively.

  19. Andrew Reynolds
    September 27th, 2005 at 00:52 | #19

    The requirement to drop your Aus citizenship when you apply for others was dropped in 2001. Personally, I think this is a good move for him. I think the government’s attitude on this is woeful. Maybe the UK will do a better job. BTW, I do not think he is entitled to UK nationality – if your mother was born before 1980 descent is only through the father unless you were born there. Worth a try, though.

  20. dannyhill
    September 27th, 2005 at 08:45 | #20

    BTW, reports now coming out in the US indicate that the violence and death in the New Orleans Superdome reported were mostly rumour and overheated supposition.

    The 200 bodies? The roaming packs of rapists? the murders? the raped babies? the victims tossed from the top of Superdome? the “five nights of terrifying violence and depravity” that the Aussie tourists suffered through? “Ninety-nine percent bullshit” says one soldier on the spot. Too late too make any difference to people’s perceptions though-I’m sure that for most the story they take away will be “aren’t those people horrible.”That is sad.

  21. September 27th, 2005 at 08:57 | #21

    The government’s attitude on Hicks has been woeful? Absolutely, he should have been shot years ago.

  22. Ian Gould
    September 27th, 2005 at 09:19 | #22

    SJ is correct on the spelling.

    Oligopolies and oligopsonies tend to act to act similarly to monopolies.

    There’s a whole branch of economic theory that deals with oligopolistic competition.

    another perspective on the same issue: An employer knows that if he pays salary A he will attract X number of apprentices who in turn will provide him with .9x tradespeople 2-3 years down the track. He also knows that if he pays .9A he will only attract .9X apprentices leading to only .8X tradespeople.

    Assuming he needs .9X tradespeople, he should pay salary A right?

    Maybe. On the other hand he could hire no apprentices and pay a marginal above-market rate for tradespeople, effectively capturing the return from the investment other employers make in training apprentices.

    Assuming a sufficient number of employers adopt the second strategy, the supply of apprentices will declien and wages for tradesmen will rise – but individual employers will be reluctant to increase their apprentice salaries because they need to remain competitive with the employers who aren’t hiring apprentices.

  23. wilful
    September 27th, 2005 at 09:28 | #23

    But that assumes that all employers are beggar thy neighbours ‘rational’ economic actors, with perfect knowledge, and that apprentices are totally useless.

  24. Roberto
    September 27th, 2005 at 09:58 | #24

    Another view on the hurricanes in the US.

    So now, after Rita, four out of the five worst hurricanes in U.S. history–in terms of insured losses–have occurred in the past 13 months: Katrina, Charley, Ivan, and Rita. What does that tell you? “Hey, like wow, man, we’ve had some really bad weather lately.” Well, yes, that’s true. “There’s global warming?” Possibly.

    But how about this? More and more party people are choosing to live on the southeastern coasts. That means more homes, more stores, more electric lines, more cars, and more ice cream trucks. More everything! Also, the oil and gas business, never mind chemicals, too, has expanded greatly in the gulf over the past 20 years

  25. Ian Gould
    September 27th, 2005 at 10:48 | #25


    No, it assumes that enough of them might be rational “defectors” to make “defection’ the rational procedure for all participants.

    Similarly, in the absence of pollution laws it only takes a handful of firms skimping on pollution control measures to threaten the economic viability of any firms acting responsibly.

  26. Terje
    September 27th, 2005 at 12:42 | #26

    WORD OF THE DAY: oligopsony

    Ian, are you suggesting that there are only a few employers in the Australian labour market. As I understand it over 50% of people work for a small business, implying that there are many, many employers.

  27. Andrew Reynolds
    September 27th, 2005 at 13:17 | #27

    It many also be halpful to point out that, in the heavily unionised industries like construction, the union effectively acts as a monopolistic supplier of labour. The same could also be considered true where the award conditions are above the going rate and are rigidly enforced – a fairly frequent occurence (IMHO).

  28. Ian Gould
    September 27th, 2005 at 13:23 | #28

    Terje – the majority of “small businesses” are self-employed individuals who never have and never will employ anyone else.

    The labour market is actually a series of loosely connected markets with limited flows of resources between them. If one wants an apprenticeship in, say, bricklaying the number of employers offering apprenticeships in plumbing is likely to be of secondary importance. (This is especially true if one has already completed part of an apprenticeship in a particular field – some component of the training is likely to be a sunk investment not transferable to other ifleds.)

    Andrew – technically unions in that situation act as rentiers rather than monopolists. They don’t actually supply the labor they just extract an economic rent from suppliers and purchasers.

  29. ab
    September 27th, 2005 at 14:06 | #29


    OK, so technically the workers themselves are the monopolists. They have constructed a cartel of labour by collectively bargaining through a union.

  30. Andrew Reynolds
    September 27th, 2005 at 15:08 | #30

    I agree that this is the situation technically – but on a practical level if you are able to allow or disallow anyone from working in the industry (by giving or withdrawing a union card) and can effectively set the wages and conditions under which they work you have moved beyond being a rentier.

  31. Ian Gould
    September 27th, 2005 at 15:16 | #31


    Yes – but given that the employers did the same thing and did it first, you can hardly fault the workers for trying to get soem degree of parity back into the situation.

  32. September 27th, 2005 at 15:50 | #32

    regarding hicks’s citizenship bid: the UK has some very odd laws on citizenship. a friend of mine has a British father, but since she is illegitimate (her parents were married when she was born – just not to each other) she isn’t allowed to become a citizen on merit of her father’s blood.

  33. wilful
    September 27th, 2005 at 16:17 | #33

    This is a day late, unfortunately, but I was just reminded that yesterday is the 22nd anniversary of the non-destruction of the world.

    Three cheers for Stanislav Petrov!

  34. lurch
    September 27th, 2005 at 19:44 | #34

    “if you are able to allow or disallow anyone from working in the industry” – can you please point out the industry? No ticket no start disappeared many moons ago comrade.
    Also can you point me in the direction of one of the heavily unionised industries where the union supplies the labour? I would love to get in on that racket – union organised labour-hire!
    I would also suggest that “going rates” are above the (minimum) award rates and that rigidly enforcing what a worker is entitled to and has bargained for is what a union is a formed for, and why a worker chooses to join one.

  35. Terje Petersen
    September 27th, 2005 at 20:59 | #35

    The major buyers of labour that have a near industry wide monopoly position would be in the government sector. ie teachers, police, nursing. However even these have many dispersed private sector alternatives.

    When Optus first started a number of Telstra employees suddenly found they had an alternative buyer for their skills. Many traded in their old job for better conditions. I think if we had more of a market in teaching and nursing that those within these professions would be generally better rewarded.

    It is true that there is some sunk cost associated with an apprenticeship half way through. However at the entry point to the profession there are many alternatives and people will no doubt choose with an eye on what those already within the industry are earning.

    The closest I can see to a private sector monopoly buyer situation is a coal mine in a remote community. And even that assumes that people are unwilling to move. And the reality is that people in these industries are incredibly well paid.

    I suspect that the issue is more a theoretical problem than a real one. If a profession really offers crap pay then people will retrain and move professions.

    It may be worth exploring the conflict of interest that those within a profession have in determining the length of apprenticeships.

  36. SJ
    September 27th, 2005 at 23:17 | #36

    The major buyers of labour that have a near industry wide monopoly position would be in the government sector. ie teachers, police, nursing.

    And would anyone like to take a guess at which groups of employees are most heavily unionised in Australia? Teachers, Police, Nurses. Coincidence maybe? Don’t think so.

    I think if we had more of a market in teaching and nursing that those within these professions would be generally better rewarded.

    There already is a market. Teaching and nursing are both high mobility professions. Where do you get the idea that “if only we could bust the unions, pay would be higher“? It makes no sense at all.

  37. Terje Petersen
    September 28th, 2005 at 00:57 | #37

    QUOTE SJ: Where do you get the idea that “if only we could bust the unions, pay would be higher�? It makes no sense at all.

    RESPONSE: You have put a comment in quotations as if it is something that I have said. I never said that unions need busting. Where did you get the idea that I think unions need busting?

    For the record I don’t generally think unions need busting.

    What I was infering was that if schooling was for instance provided by a multitude of competing private sector buyers of teaching labour, rather than dominated by the state sector, then maybe individual teachers would have more pricing power. Dito for hospitals and nurses.

    If there are any monopoly buyers in the labour market they are mostly governments.

  38. Andrew Reynolds
    September 28th, 2005 at 00:58 | #38

    If you think ‘no ticket no start’ disappeared many moons ago, try looking at most Perth building sites.
    In teaching, at least, there are many purchasers of teaching services – the private schools compete for teachers with the government schools. Guess who pays more? The (non-union) private schools. It is probably because they pay more to get better staff. This is not proof of the point either way, but may be taken to indicate that, if freed from government control, there may be an improvement in both the pay and quality of teachers.

  39. September 28th, 2005 at 01:48 | #39


    First point on teachers is that private schools do have a union, albiet a weak one. Also their salaries don’t happen in a vacuum, they may be over and above what is the determined union rate, they may then be getting a free ride. Finally the increased salary is seen as a way of compensating for higher demands on teachers for extra curricular activities like coaching and clubs.

    Not to say that a pay increase under a union or non-union circumstances would be unwelcome.

  40. September 28th, 2005 at 02:53 | #40

    Er.. Elizabeth: Maj Mori is a serving officer in the US Marine Corps, he is not “employed” by the Corps. (Pedantic outburst for the day) 🙂

  41. September 28th, 2005 at 03:05 | #41

    McD: Even if Hicksy is declared a pom & released to Australia, his reception may not be all that warm. Mamdou Habib is clearly a man with much to hide, & when exposed to the public as a free man (press, TV etc), it may transpire that David Hicks inadvertently reveals himself as a far from innocent party. As one who carried arms (irregularly) against his country, the mere fact that return to his country does not mean manacles & a swift trip to the gallows makes him an extremely fortunate young man.

    Whilst in US custody he is at least physically safe, except perhaps from the occassional lost sleep during questioning & maybe some low IQ sniggering at his genatalia. As a man walking the streets of Australia he may find there are some in the Australian population with a very fixed view about those who carried arms against us, & he may wish he was back safely in custody at camp X-ray.

  42. wilful
    September 28th, 2005 at 08:52 | #42

    “Carried arms against us”?? Listening to too much propaganda I think.

  43. econwit
    September 28th, 2005 at 22:09 | #43


  44. September 28th, 2005 at 23:54 | #44

    Wilful, hicksy was not taken into custody wearing a slouch hat or any other aussie uniform, he certainly wasn’t one of ours. He made his bed, he can lie in it.

  45. SJ
    September 29th, 2005 at 00:07 | #45

    I think what most of us want to see, Steve at the pub, is an actual trial with actual evidence. You’re just having a wank.

  46. September 29th, 2005 at 03:29 | #46

    Fantastic idea SJ, lets send him to Afghanistan to be tried under the reign of the recently legitimately elected Afghan government. After all, THAT is where his alleged crimes were committed.

    As for wanking, do I detect some jealousy from you that I am able to get my hands on something longer than a smartie?

  47. September 29th, 2005 at 03:37 | #47

    Count me in with Steve as one of those who’d like to see Hicks shot like a dog.

    When you say “most of us” you really mean “people who think like me”. Recent election results would suggest that most people who comment here hold views that are in the minority in Australia.

    I think Hick’s chances of living a long life in Australia are very slim indeed. But then, I haven’t lived all my life in a sheltered latte oasis.

  48. dannyhill
    September 29th, 2005 at 07:54 | #48

    Here is the immediate future of Australia. Steve at the Pub and Yobbo with their sweaty Turner Diaries fantasies. Fake tough adolescents and yes Steve wankers.Little boys pretending to be grown ups.

  49. Ian Gould
    September 29th, 2005 at 09:11 | #49

    >When you say “most of us� you really mean “people who think like me�. Recent election results would suggest that most people who comment here hold views that are in the minority in Australia.

    So the 51% of the population who voted for the Coalition are automatically assumed to support summary execution without trial?

  50. what the
    September 29th, 2005 at 10:35 | #50

    “So the 51% of the population who voted for the Coalition are automatically assumed to support summary execution without trial?”

    Given the reported public reaction to the ‘bali nine’ case obviously not….

    Which of this idiot’s fellow prisoners has been summarily executed? I obviously missed that news item.

  51. jquiggin
    September 29th, 2005 at 11:13 | #51

    Could we drop the offensive language, please. I haven’t got time to edit right now.

  52. Katz
    September 29th, 2005 at 13:22 | #52

    Can’t help wondering why the COAG summit on security hasn’t excited more comment here.

    In broad terms, I believe that the authority arrogated by the executive branches of our governments, federal and state, are disproportionate and clumsy. Moreover, serious questions can be asked about the bona fides of the motivations for these intrusions into civil rights.

    Terrorism may be unleashed in Australia by two broad means:

    1. By ship or plane originating out of the country. This may be of the WTC variety, spectacular but highly localised. It may be nuclear, chemical or biological. These are by far the most dangerous forms of terrorism. It is unlikely that any Australian resident will have any forewarning of these events. To do so would be stupid on the part of the terrorists. Therefore, powers of detention and interrogation are irrelevant.

    2. Domestic, as in the case of the London bombings. Often these plots may be inspired or organised by people beyond domestic jurisdiction. Again, a WTC-style attack could emanate within Australia. But it is nigh on impossible that a nuclear, and it is exceedingly unlikely that chemical or biological attack of any consequence could originate in Australia. Increased surveillance of potential sources of trouble is justified. However, the effectiveness of surveillance authorities like ASIO may in fact be undermined by giving them the quasi-judicial function of detention. The nature of plots like the London bombings is that the small fish are usually detected first (and in the case of suicide bombers, usually too late). Intelligence agencies are faced with the problem of choosing whether to allow the plot to run until they are confident that they have identified the principles, or to tip their hand by detaining the small fish. Police and policy functions are therefore often at cross-purposes.

    To turn to the bona fides of Executive Government.

    As the “Age” opined in its editorial today, we witness an Iraq-sized credibility gap opening up in the Federal Government’s case:

    “Just two years ago ASIO’s annual report revealed that a small number of people – probably between eight and 10 – had trained overseas with terrorist groups. These people cannot be charged retrospectively under current legislation. Australians are now being asked to accept that hundreds of residents are potential terrorists.”

    1. Why were none of these several hundred potential traitors not detected two years ago? Have they recently decided to consider taking up arms againat their country? If their decision is recent, why did they decide on this course of action?

    2. If they had previously been detected, why were the citizens not informed of their existence at the time in the mandatory way, by means of the Annual Report of ASIO? Are we to believe that these previously unidentified potential terrorists are more dangerous than those acknowledged to have trained in camps overseas?

    3. Has ASIO changed its benchmarks for deciding that an individual represents a security threat? If so, how have these benchmarks been changed? When were these benchmarks changed? Who decided that these benchmarks ought to be changed?

    Executive governments in this country have arrogated judicial functions. These functions have been stripped from judges, whose only function is to administer justice. These functions are now exercised by members of the Executive Government, who have several functions, including getting re-elected and destroying their political enemies. The potential for conflict of priorities is therefore very present. The traditional division of powers is as old as the Magna Carta. It has served us well. Why change it now?

  53. Roberto
    September 29th, 2005 at 13:40 | #53

    Katz – well argued post.

    However, the mitigating factors (in a nutshell) are that ASIO didn’t have the surveillance powers as established yesterday. Therefore, it’s questionable whether it was ever going to capably monitor the circa 800. In addition, the Fed Gov’t worked with all the states and territories (all ALP govt’s) so in itself there was a political (and policing) priority that this sort of issue-based coalition suggests. Finally, the police (as argued by the Trade Union) require that the rules of operation be clear and precise to protect their members. It would also suggest that under the previous provisions the police did not feel sufficiently confident (in operational terms) to track and ‘hunt down and kill’ potential terrorists.

    At the end of the day, people have more chance of being hit by a bus than being injured or dieing by a terrorist action.

    However, without the Gov’t (fed and state) taking pre-emptive legislative action, could you imagine the typical scapegoat and blaming that would occur after the event – with the usual culprits jumping up and down about Iraq and Australia’s involvement yada yada. Even worse the conspiratorial rubbish that is still mooted re: 9/11 but certain Australian miscreants.

  54. Katz
    September 29th, 2005 at 14:50 | #54

    “However, without the Gov’t (fed and state) taking pre-emptive legislative action, could you imagine the typical scapegoat and blaming that would occur after the event”

    Point well-taken. However, from a posterior covering perspective, the necessity to get a judge to issue a warrant constitutes another way to spread the blame.

    If the judge proves to be unco-operative and refuses to issue a warrant, and the worst happens, then the Attorney-General can point to judicial obstruction.

    I blame the fact that white settlement in Australia began with martial law for our infatuation with the power of the executive arm of government. In a profound way, we’ve never got over being a gaol.

  55. Ian Gould
    September 29th, 2005 at 15:19 | #55

    What the…:

    Yobbo wrote: “Count me in with Steve as one of those who’d like to see Hicks shot like a dog.”


    “I think Hick’s chances of living a long life in Australia are very slim indeed.”

    If that isn’t a statement that’d he’d like to take the law into his own hands and kill Hicks what was his meaning?

    These comments were sandwiched either side of his assertion that he and Steve were part of “the majority”.

  56. Terje Petersen
    September 29th, 2005 at 17:53 | #56

    Still waiting for SJ to respond. I think he needs to clarify or retract his remarks.

  57. September 29th, 2005 at 19:05 | #57

    Yes, Ian, you should probably report me to ASIO. I’m sitting at home as we speak stroking my gun and waiting for Hicks to come back.

    Wanting to see something happen and taking the law in your own hands are two different things, but it’s safe to say that if Hicks is the target of some vigilante justice I won’t be shedding any tears for him, and neither will many others.

    And I never said I was part of the majority, SJ was the one who claimed that: “I think what most of us want to see, Steve at the pub, is an actual trial with actual evidence.”

    I was simply pointing out that the people on this site, by and large, are not part of any majority in Australia as can be deduced by the results of the last two elections. It’s safe to say there aren’t many Howard voters here.

  58. September 29th, 2005 at 19:07 | #58

    And yes I think that conservative voters are far less likely to support a criminal trial for Hicks. The right to criminal trial has not historically been extended to traitors who fought against their countrymen, and conservatives are usually in favour of the status quo, am I right?

  59. jquiggin
    September 29th, 2005 at 19:20 | #59

    “The right to criminal trial has not historically been extended to traitors who fought against their countrymen”

    This is so obviously false, I think you must mean something else. Why do we have a crime of treason if not so that people can be (and have been) tried for it?

    The Eureka trials in which all defendants were acquitted, though they had indeed fought against their countrymen, are the most important Australian example.

    Are you suggesting that execution without trial would have been appropriate?

    Would you like to try again on this one?

  60. September 29th, 2005 at 20:43 | #60

    Yobbo: You are too much of a freelance vigilantist, Hicks should first face a trial, THEN hang.

  61. September 29th, 2005 at 21:52 | #61

    Can i just say that “yobbo” and “Steve at the Pub” are people, who i would prefer, not to be my neighbours.

  62. Terje Petersen
    September 29th, 2005 at 23:39 | #62

    With names like “Yobbo” and “Steve at the Pub” they are possibly already your neighbours.

  63. September 29th, 2005 at 23:58 | #63

    No need to worry Joe2, as a hothouse flower you can just sit at home & enjoy modern life while those of your neighbors with a bit more fortitude and who are prepared to roll up their sleeves & have a go, are out building or defending society so you can enjoy it.

  64. Andrew Reynolds
    September 30th, 2005 at 00:02 | #64

    I think the trolls are on the march.

  65. September 30th, 2005 at 02:57 | #65

    Hehe, Terje, Yobbo & I live either side of Joe2. We all have adjoining “garden sheds” which are really one big den inside. We have the greatest of times playing darts, pool, phoning up risque 1900 numbers, telling jokes, drinking etc. Although we do have some real ding dong arguments over the relative merits of XXXX, Tooheys or Resch’s.

  66. September 30th, 2005 at 03:09 | #66

    I’m quite happy not to be your neighbor, Joe. Where I come from, my neighbours would be quite happy to defend themselves and their friends from people who are obviously trying to kill them without asking the United Nations or Greenpeace for permission first.

    You’d be the kind of person who’d stand by quietly whining, waiting for the police to arrive while home invaders raped and murdered your family. I’d rather not live alongside such pathetic people.

    The sympathy for David Hicks amongst the Australian left is just a case of collective Stockholm syndrome. Can’t you find some other cause that doesn’t involve prostrating yourself before those who’d like to see you dead?

    It’s kind of pathetic that you’d sell out your own civilisation to score points against a political opponent.

  67. jquiggin
    September 30th, 2005 at 07:01 | #67

    I haven’t been following the Hicks case as closely as I should have, but Yobbo and Steve are obviously on top of the whole thing, so maybe they could advise what the charges are against Hicks, and what is the evidence that he’s guilty as charged.

    All I know with any reasonable certainty is that he has been photographed holding a weapon (apparently when fighting for the ‘good guys” in Bosnia) and that he went to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban against their domestic opponents.

    I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts on the Habib case. The government made a lot of noise about taking him to court to stop him being paid for TV interviews, but did nothing. On the face of it, that suggests that they don’t have a case against him, even on the balance of probabilities. Yet Yobbo presumably thinks vigilante justice would be appropriate here.

  68. Hal9000
    September 30th, 2005 at 09:26 | #68

    “sell out your own civilisation”

    Now, let’s just work out what bits of our civilisation we’re prepared to sell out. Surely not the rule of law, magna carta rights of habeas corpus, procedural fairness, prohibition on torture… oh, apparently they’re non-core elements of our civilisation, although come to think of it they were the main issue in the manifesto of the founding fathers of the United States as set out in the Declaration of Independence.

    It doesn’t matter who Hicks is, what he thinks or what Yobbo imagines he’s done. The point about the rights that are indeed central to our civilisation is that they have to be applied to unpopular people who are accused of heinous acts, not just to law-abiding members of John Howard’s mainstream. The principle is we don’t lock people up for years on end without ever testing the evidence in public and hearing the accused’s defence. This was also, it might be recalled, a central issue in the British Civil War and the framing of the 1689 Bill of Rights – the abolition of the King’s Court of Star Chamber.

    So what is ‘our civilisation’? Principles for which our ancestors have fought and died, or being relaxed and comfortable consumers? We know where Yobbo stands – with Charles I and George III, I’m afraid. Me, I’m with the American revolutionaries and the Roundheads, and against arbitrary tyranny. That’s the civilisation I’d be prepared to fight for.

  69. what the
    September 30th, 2005 at 12:32 | #69

    I apologise if my use of the word ‘idiot’ was the offending word.


    Of course no one on this blog really knows anything material about the hicks case. And if they do, they will not be permitted to prove it.

    It’s like debating the new anti-terrorism legislation by arguing the principles but not the actual provisions which none of us have seen. That’s a fine debate to have and should always be had but it cannot say anything directly about the new laws themselves.

    So we are just talking about our personal impressions and our conclusions based on those impressions.

    For my part, I found it impossible to believe that a normal aussie would think of travelling overseas to join a violent foreign activity that had absolutely nothing to do with him

    – If it did have something to do with him, then presumbly he is no normal aussie

    Then i found it impossible to believe he was apprehended without trial

    – Just because he might not be a normal aussie doesn’t mean he’s not a person deserving mercy and equality before the law, particularly in the land of the free and the brave

    Then I found it impossible to believe that after all this time Hick’s counsel was unaware his mother was British.

    – how competent is his poor counsel in establishing material facts surrounding the case?

    Then i found it impossible to believe that he would be a la carte (/ir) about his nationality, is he an aussie or not?

    – Since when was a healthy dislike of our government anything but a normal aussie attitude? and if he wasnt abandoning his nationality for that reason what had the rest of us done to him? And if it wasnt them and it wasnt us what was it? How could being trapped in a foreign jail for years make you want to emigrate FROM australia? Wouldnt it make you come screaming back?

    Which took me back to my first point of disbelief.

  70. stoptherubbish
    September 30th, 2005 at 13:51 | #70

    What the says
    ‘found it impossible to believe that a normal aussie would think of travelling overseas to join a violent foreign activity that had absolutely nothing to do with him ‘

    You know I agree with you mate. Which makes me wonder how come good old Oz has been sending young men and women to travel overseas to join violent foreign activities that have had absolutley nothing to do with them since, oh about the 1850s. And I guess those Aussie adventurers working for security firms in Iraq are different because, well because we are the good guys and the Iraqis who don’t like us are the bad guys I guess.

    And I suppose next time some little old aussie battler employee of a mining company for example, is accused of some rather exuberant approaches to law and order in some hapless third world hell hole, we will just have to conclude that the hell hole government is perfectly justifcied in treating said aussie battler in exactly the same way. What do you reckon?

  71. what the
    September 30th, 2005 at 15:10 | #71

    “stopthe” I didn’t understand your 3rd para, perhaps i haven’t heard about the example you allude to. If you travel OS without diplomatic intervention you largely have to take what comes from foreign laws and penalties even if you dont like it.

    Civilian Australians in Iraq are in a different situation to Hicks in Afghanistan because Australia has a direct association right now with Iraq -we sadly helped invade it. it is not a violent foreign activity which we have nothing to do with. Its a violent foreign activity Australia is involved in.

    But its not ‘you’ or ‘me’ or ‘adventurers’ that are involved in Iraq, its us, Australia, the nation. Unlike Hicks who shot off as a private individual to an obscure part of the world to involve himself in his private war in which Australia had no involvement. I think there is a distinction.

    as you know there was no commonwealth of australia in the 1850s we were part of England and thus involved in England’s wars so i am not sure what you meant there.

  72. Ian Gould
    September 30th, 2005 at 16:25 | #72

    “Wanting to see something happen and taking the law in your own hands are two different things,”

    Yes and being a patrhetic internet poseur shooting one’s mouth off in an attempt to sound tough is another thing again.

  73. Ian Gould
    September 30th, 2005 at 16:27 | #73

    What the: there are a decent number of Australians working around the wrold as mercenaries. Most of waht I’ve reade about Hicks suggests he was probably one of them.

  74. September 30th, 2005 at 17:18 | #74

    Have been sitting in the backyard reading D.H. Lawrence’ book “Kangaroo”. Doesn’t history repeat itself?

    Heard yobbo and steve at the pub arking up the barbie near the big shed. Doubt it will be a quiet night.

    Wish i had not been so personal, in a small comment on the web. Still cannot understand why patriots like that would not be drinking Coopers. The only locally owned brew.

  75. what the
    September 30th, 2005 at 17:18 | #75

    Ian G, I think you’re right about that, and that quite a few belonged to sandline and have now dispersed since it closed its operations. S’s own website still argues the case today for private militias, but I dont just like private armies much like I don’t want private police forces. [before others buy in here – obviously I dont want any armies at all but here we are discussing the world as it is]

    Who would you speculate was paying hicks for his services at the time?

  76. what the
    September 30th, 2005 at 17:23 | #76

    hey joe2, I for one am enjoying a Hoegaarden Witbier right this sec, it is friday after all

  77. September 30th, 2005 at 18:36 | #77

    Enjoy, what the says.
    Why are we posting on monday message bored?
    All beer in moderation.

  78. September 30th, 2005 at 19:20 | #78

    Joe2: Yobbo & I are arc-ing up (welding term I always believed) over his support for *ugh* Wests Tigers. Coopers may not be locally owned much longer. The directors have not been entirely straight with the shareholders (to put it mildly). This will have implications. However the litigation which is commencing now over the whole shebang should drag on for a minimum of 2 years & cost a good $20 million or so.

    Nobody here is actually drinking it, due to the high cost compared to XXXX, AND it being “southern-(insert urine related word here for accuracy of vernacular)”

  79. Ian Gould
    September 30th, 2005 at 19:27 | #79

    What the – as near as I can work out he was working for the Taliban as a drill instructor.

    Pretty reprehensible behaviour but considering that at the time the Taliban were the government of Afghanistan and were not at war with the US or Australia I don’t see how it qualifies as treason.

  80. September 30th, 2005 at 19:58 | #80

    “Yes and being a patrhetic internet poseur shooting one’s mouth off in an attempt to sound tough is another thing again.”

    Who’s trying to sound tough? I’m entitled to my opinion, just as you are entitled to yours. Again, I never said I was planning on taking the law into my own hands, merely that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone did.

  81. September 30th, 2005 at 20:20 | #81

    Let’s all hold hands ol’ cobber yobbo.
    Neva tort ya’s was athreat to natnal security,mate.
    Can you turn the vol down.

    Steve just fell over fence.

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