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Monday message board

December 12th, 2005

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

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  1. December 12th, 2005 at 07:55 | #1

    We expect that the event in Sydney (Cronulla) yesterday will garner a lot of attention. It was simply disgusting, and should be utterly condemed. We have said so on our blog.

  2. Katz
    December 12th, 2005 at 10:18 | #2

    All right-thinking people ought to deplore Sunday’s riots and also those no doubt myriad of acts that contributed to the bad blood that seems to exist between ethno/religious/social groups.

    Understanding the causes is also important.

    I wonder how important the “Sydney effect” is.

    Diverse groups of Sydneysiders have shown a distinct propensity for riot in the last year or so.

    Is this accidental, or is there something about Sydney and/or its inhabitants that predisposes them to riot?

    Some possibilities:

    Geographical layout
    Socio-ethinic demography
    Socio-ethnic geography
    Mass media peculiarities (The Daily Telegraph effect, the shock-jock effect.)

  3. Bill Posters
    December 12th, 2005 at 10:39 | #3

    Mass media peculiarities (The Daily Telegraph effect, the shock-jock effect.)

    Definitely a factor.

  4. December 12th, 2005 at 12:31 | #4

    Don’t forget the lovable Patriotic Yoof League and Jim Saleam. Those people have been very active in fomenting just this kind of stoush in Sydney. they don’t seem to have such a strong foothold in Melbourne.

  5. Crispin Bennett
    December 12th, 2005 at 12:53 | #5

    I wouldn’t place set much store by any speculations on causes, but one look at some of the far right blogs (TimBlair et al) quickly makes clear which Australian thighs are being slapped in delight over what’s happened.

  6. Will De Vere
    December 12th, 2005 at 13:47 | #6

    The Australian beach culture is supposedly utopian, hedonistic and happy-go-lucky; in reality, zones like the Sutherland Shire and the Northern beaches are repellently parochial, white, racist, drug-addled and thuggish. The Master Race of ‘The Shire’ live in the most Anglo-Celtic part of Australia and believe that they’re the Chosen. Sydney society generally is far too fragmented and ghettoised ethnically.

    Having lived in Sydney for six years (1998-2004), I utterly despise the place and will never live there again. Its dominant ethos is thuggery and resentment. To borrow a metaphor from H.G.Wells’ ‘Time Machine’, the children of suburbs like Manly and Cronulla look like the Eloi, but behave like Morlocks.

  7. Crispin Bennett
    December 12th, 2005 at 14:23 | #7

    Unfortunately, Will, what you say seems to be true of Australia beyond Sydney. The sole point I agree with the incumbent far right commentariat on is that the apparent social liberalism of Australia really was a top-down imposition, without roots in the population at large. Social progressives are generally in denial about this. By and large, Australians are uninterested in anything other than ownership of ‘stuff’, and to the extent that they have any opinions, they are (very) right wing on many points. Certainly a deep racism still goes essentially unchallenged outside of a subset of the university educated classes.

    That has been my experience, anyway. I don’t know what social attitude surveys have been saying.

  8. Katz
    December 12th, 2005 at 14:44 | #8

    While Sydney and Melbourne certainly aren’t chalk and cheese, nevertheless there do seem to be some nuances that may serve to make Melbourne somewhat less congenial as a host to mob violence than Sydney.

    I desire neither to be over-confident nor (as a Melburnian) triumphalist about this. I wouldn’t be enormously surprised, given the similarities between popular cultures Australia-wide, were similar riots to break out in Melbourne in the near future. But so far, they haven’t.

    And it is worth noting two interesting coincidences:

    1. Hansonism never generated a wide following in Melbourne, despite One Nation’s efforts and a quiteaccurate targetting of potential followers in the areas of Dandenong and Geelong.

    2. Shock-Jock radio has never drawn a commercially viable audience in Melbourne. It has been tried, and it failed. Alan Jones was ridiculed off the screen when some years ago Channel 10 decided that it was time for Melbourne to find out what they were missing and Sydney was getting.

    As CB observes, maybe liberalism is a top-down imposition in most of Australia. Maybe that is slightly less true in Melbourne.

    Whatever, I believe that the whole of Australia became aware of a threshold to a very different place from that mythical land of tolerance.

  9. Will De Vere
    December 12th, 2005 at 14:57 | #9

    My impressions of Sydney society (‘Sketches From Suburban Life’) are very subjective but based on my time there and my time in Canberra and Melbourne. To me, there is a nasty and paranoid atmosphere in Sydney that isn’t found anywhere else. I also believe that a sense of social liberalism is quite deeply rooted in the Australian psyche – including anti-racism – but it’s in desperately short supply in our largest city. Most Australians would be offended to be accused of racism.

  10. Crispin Bennett
    December 12th, 2005 at 15:15 | #10

    My impressions are as subjective as yours, Will, but based on different places (Sydney, Brisbane, and quite a few rural places). I certainly haven’t come across any resembling deep-rooted liberalism except amongst Latham’s ‘tourists’, who are essentially the same all over the world. Perhaps it depends on the circles you move in. My experience of the non-office dwellers in Australia is that daily racism is endemic. It doesn’t break out into violence as often as it might, I suspect, because Australian workers have been quite well off, with fewer of the cheek-by-jowl discomfort and tensions that tend to exist in societies with large populations of ‘working poor’. The plan is for all that to change, of course, and I certainly fear for the future.

    I accept that most Australians are offended to be labelled racist, but anyone who’s spent time outside of uni-educated Australia will be entirely familiar with comments like “I’m not racist, but I hate [insert nationality]‘s”.

  11. wilful
    December 12th, 2005 at 16:10 | #11

    Where’s Jack Strocchi?

  12. Matt
    December 12th, 2005 at 17:34 | #12

    If you want to relive some fine Jack comments about a similar situation visit http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2005/11/12/weekend-reflections/#comment-36879
    It’s a little disappointing though. Jack does his best work when he can work in the phrase “multi-culti pee-cee identity politics”

  13. Terje Petersen
    December 12th, 2005 at 21:13 | #13

    There have been several high profile court cases (at least in the Sydney Media) over the last year in which Lebanese youths have been found guilty of multiple repeat pack rapes across Sydney. I am not sure how well publicised these have been in the rest of the country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_gang_rapes

    Coupled with other incidence (the lifeguard assault last weekend) and the Muslim factor the cocktail obviously got volatile.

    Looking at the footage and photos from Cronulla it seems to me that some of the police officers involved were truely heroic. They put themselves at grave risk to rescue and protect individuals that the crowd had singled out for attack.

    I have family that live in the street where the “Lebanese” reprisals later took place. They locked themselves inside their house as a mob destroyed cars and property outside.

    I new the world was mad but this is way too close to home.

  14. Terje Petersen
    December 12th, 2005 at 21:14 | #14

    new = knew

  15. Ian Gould
    December 12th, 2005 at 21:24 | #15

    “I am not sure how well publicised these have been in the rest of the country.”

    They were endlessly and massively reported in the media.

  16. Terje Petersen
    December 12th, 2005 at 21:38 | #16

    On Wikipedia I recently created an article about the “Bancor”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bancor

    To any economic historians that may know a bit about this topic I would be keen to have the article improved.

  17. orang
    December 12th, 2005 at 22:31 | #17

    now I’m only a dumb commenter on a blog – but to me if the police came down hard on the ratbags from the beginning we may not have the problem escalate to a “race” issue.

  18. SJ
    December 12th, 2005 at 23:08 | #18

    I tend to agree with orang.

    The NSW DPP tried to downplay the racist element of the gang rapes in 2000, only to have it blow up in their faces when Miranda Devine published this column.

    It’s sort of like if US officials in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas said something like “There’s no such thing as the mafia, go about your business, don’t be racist”.

    Of course, the gangs on the beaches aren’t anything like the real mafia, they’re just a bunch of wannabees. But to deny their existence just doesn’t wash. And a lot of people can see and don’t like the dishonesty of the NSW government in denying the existence of a problem.

  19. SJ
    December 12th, 2005 at 23:11 | #19

    Let’s re-work that last sentence.

    A lot of people can see, and don’t like, the dishonesty of the NSW government’s denial of the existence of a problem.

  20. Steve Munn
    December 12th, 2005 at 23:23 | #20

    Orang says: “now I’m only a dumb commenter on a blog – but to me if the police came down hard on the ratbags from the beginning we may not have the problem escalate to a “raceâ€? issue.”

    If the (vastly outnumbered) police had cracked down early on the ratbags, as you suggest, they would have been accused by the “Monday morning experts” as being heavy handed and provocative.

    Also, I don’t buy Crispin’s argument about less educated Australians, and I assume he means white Australians, being significantly racist. Australia’s relatively trouble free multicultural experiment does not suport the claim.

    We need to know more about just how bad the alleged Middle Eastern gang situation is in Sydney before casting judgement. For example, how many people are involved? Are the reports of regular intimidation of Western women well founded or exaggerated? Are these gangs themselves racist? Are they genuinely and openly hostile towards all non-Muslims?

    It will be interesting to see how Islamic community leaders react this week. To date I think they have, by and large, served their communities rather poorly.

  21. Ian Gould
    December 12th, 2005 at 23:26 | #21

    “now I’m only a dumb commenter on a blog – but to me if the police came down hard on the ratbags from the beginning we may not have the problem escalate to a “raceâ€? issue.”

    When looking at the riots in Paris and the riots in Redfern and Macquarie Fields, I formed a theory regarding what I think of as soft/hard policing.

    “Soft” policing is the period in the lead up to the riots when the police essentially tolerate the creation of no-go zones and fail to act against anti-social behaviour.

    “Hard policing” comes when there’s spme key events – such as the deaths in Redfern, Macquarie Fields and Paris of people being pursued by the police – where the police attempt to reassert their authority in areas which they’ve previously effecitvely ceded to the criminals.

    These key events can’t be said to “cause” the riots but they are the proximate trigger which crystallises the underlying resentments and conflicts into acts of violence and property crimes.

    Given the rather wreched record of “zero tolereance” policies I’m not sure what the alternative is – there has to be some way to avoid conflict with local communities which leads to escalation without creating the preconditions for more serious violence later.

  22. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 06:37 | #22

    I appreciate Crispin’s thoughtful comments on the prevalence of racism in Australian society and I’ve worked with some intensely racist people (white and blue collar) who would never incite or consider violence. As others have pointed out, Sydney’s toxic brew might have a long list of ingredients.

    On the question of the culture of different cities; for a few years now I’ve wondered whether cities have a ‘dominant ethos’. Melbourne’s ethos (if such exists) is conservative, but communitarian and humane, Sydney’s seems to me to be that of the ‘head kicker’, from the ruling class down.
    Archetypical Sydney politicians are Keating and Latham, angry and vituperative. For Melbourne, it’s lofty Mal Fraser, who looks better and better as each year passes.

  23. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 07:06 | #23

    And perhaps the current Anglo-Arabic war started with a single incident on the beach X years ago involving only a couple of kids. Word got around.

  24. morganzola
    December 13th, 2005 at 07:19 | #24

    Having spent my youth in a beachside Sydney suburb, followed by several years driving a taxi around Sydney’s streets, I can confirm the long-term existence of a parochial thuggish element in the underbelly of Sydney’s beach culture. Add to that the intrinsic Anglo-Australian racism that has characterised Australia since colonisation, combined with the steadily increasing anti-Islamic sentiment that the Howard government has manipulated to remain in power, and it’s hardly surprising that these disgraceful events have occurred.

    When Howard claims that Australian society isn’t essentially racist, he is about as credible as when he has been in the past on subjects as varied as the GST, IR, Children Overboard etc etc. The reason Australians continue to return the disingenuous little creep is that they recognise in Howard and his cronies the embodiment of their own white bourgeois hypocrisy.

    We are reaping what we’ve allowed to be sown.

  25. wilful
    December 13th, 2005 at 08:36 | #25

    It seems simple to me: Alan Jones needs to go to jail under the new anti-terrorism laws.
    This is outrageous.

  26. December 13th, 2005 at 08:41 | #26

    Whenever, something like Cronulla happens, the looney left have to find a range of mitigating factors to explain why the events occured. Katz writes about

    -Geographical layout
    -Socio-ethinic demography
    -Socio-ethnic geography
    -Mass media peculiarities (The Daily Telegraph effect, the shock-jock effect.)

    What utter nonsense. It’s a turf war. (old fashioned as it sounds)

    These skirmishes are NOT an argument about multiculturalism, or about the clash of civilisations, nor is it (with lashings of Marxist interpretations) about social depravation.

    The Dumber vs Dumber battle that is occurring on Sydney streets is being fuelled by testosterone, the bravado of youth, ‘dumb’ politics, and a siege mentality.

    Let the Police do their business – crush the thugs hard.

  27. James Farrell
    December 13th, 2005 at 08:42 | #27

    All of three of the following statements are true, and it shouldn’t be necessary to choose between them:

    1. Australians are on average relatively tolerant of other cultures.
    2. The majority of Australians are not racist.
    3. There are many Australians who are deeply racist.

    Racism is a big problem, but we should maintain a sense of proportion about it. A few riots, organised by hard core thugs in the football hooligan mould, do not indicate to me that the social fabric is unravelling.

    I’m curious to know what Crispin means by ‘subset of the university educated classes.’ Literally that? I’m struggling to think of any tertiary-educated person of my acquaintance who is overtly racist. Or did you actually mean ‘the subset which is university educated’. I doubt that’s true either, but even if it is, the number of university educated is fortunately large and growing.

  28. Terje Petersen
    December 13th, 2005 at 08:43 | #28

    Gerard Henderson has written what I think is a good article on the Cronulla riots. In particular he explains why this does not show Australia to be a racist society.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/a-no-mans-land-in-our-ethnic-mix/2005/12/12/1134235999884.html

    EXTRACT:-

    Mix Lebanese Australian youth with drunken Australian beach-goers and an occasion for serious violence soon exists. As Bruce Baird (the federal MP for Cook, which includes Cronulla) pointed out on ABC Radio 702 yesterday, more than 90 per cent of the Sutherland shire consists of Australians of Anglo-Celtic background. That is, from Monday to Friday. On weekends, however, many Lebanese Australians travel to the area from south-western Sydney.

    Australia is essentially a tolerant and accepting society. It is consistent with the essential Australian empiricism that individuals of ethnic background meet their most sustained opposition in the areas where few of them live. This is in stark contrast to genuinely racist societies where ethnic groups are opposed because they are known.

  29. Bill Posters
    December 13th, 2005 at 08:57 | #29

    Poor Gerry. He so desperately wants it to be true. Clap harder, Gerry!

  30. Katz
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:04 | #30

    Morganzola is correct. As a trained lawyer, Howard could not have missed learning about Australia’s institutional racism in his Constitutional Law class.

    Of course, true to form, Howard hedges his comments by talking about Australian “society” as if Australian “society” can be considered without reference to its history and the institutional structures that maintain it.

    Australia was founded on official racism:

    The “Race Powers” provision of Section S.51 of the Constitution excluded Aborigines from commonwealth citizenship and consigned them to the status of mere residents in the various states.

    Under the same “Race Powers” provisions the following racist legislation was passed:

    Australia’s first enacted legislation enabled the forced deportation of Pacific Islanders.

    White Australia.

    Motherhood bonuses to be paid only to bona fide whites. Any dispute as to the racial identity of a mother was to be settled by a medical practitioner who judged on the basis of “appearance”.

    Under the Defence Act, non-white boys were prohibited from learning the arts of war. Again, any dispute as to racial identity was to be settled by a medical practitioner and his colour swatches.

    Senator John Herron, Howard’s own Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, opined that the 1967 Referendum which excised mention of Aborigines from the Constitution did not preclude continued exercise of the “Race Powers” provision of the Constitution.

    The various states of Australia, especially WA and QLD, have their own, post-federation, record of official racism.

    With the single exception of the 1967 referendum, all of these provisions have been removed by executive fiat, or have fallen into disuse. This happened when the political classes of Australia shared a consensus about the intolerability of these provisions.

    Perhaps these elites (both Tory and Labor) were being prudent. Perhaps they understood that a public campaign to strike down official racism would be unpopular.

    Instead of confronting unpalatable realities head-on, the elites constructed Potempkin Villages of happy, tolerant, multicultural Australia. Meanwhile, longstanding grievances went unacknowledged and unaddressed.

    So long as a consensus persisted between the political elites of Australia promoting the myth of tolerance, racist sentiment remained ghettoised.

    But Howard is well known for tearing up that consensus and cleverly playing the race card when it suited him.

    Howard has breeched that conspiracy of silence about the persistence of racialism in Australia.

    And now, true to form, he has lied about the existence of his most potent political tool, which he has used repeatedly and relentlessly to garner the marginal vote in successive elections.

  31. MB
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:05 | #31

    I fear the police’s failure to address the problem of gangs in Sydney is about to blow up in their faces. By allowing this problem to fester, they are playing right into the hands of the extremists and drunken idiots. What is just as worrying is that 90% of the people involved in the riot were under the age of 25. We risk creating a generation of racists if we fail to address the underlying problems and write off what happened as the work of racists and crack-pots. I fear we are reaching a crisis point.

  32. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:09 | #32

    James Farrell is quite right to say that this a ‘turf war’, but that answer is hardly exhaustive. I had a turf war with my next door neighbours when they used my wheelie bin without permission. Cronulla is on a different scale and a little more complicated, with many more ‘stakeholders’.

    It’s SOME turf war.

  33. Crispin Bennett
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:22 | #33

    Weekly: I’m probably one of your ‘looney left’ who thinks it is worthwhile to seek explanations for human behaviour, if perhaps not on blogs (quick responses, any bugger can contribute, etc). It doesn’t seem that odd a thing to do to me. If it does to you, I wonder why you bother contributing to any form of conversation on the subject at all? As you don’t believe there’s any knowledge to be gained or communicated, then your comment must have illocutionary intent. Rhetoric, perhaps? If so, addressing your interlocuters derisively as ‘looney left’ is an utterly hopeless tactic!

    James Farrell: Yes, I did mean ‘subset’ literally. Again, maybe this is a clash of subjectivities which might show how valueless they are, but, for example, I’ve met few non-racist engineers, whereas I don’t think I’ve ever met a racist linguist. I agree that tertiary education strongly correlates with less racist attitudes, but it seems patchy to me across disciplines. I don’t know how much value to place on such indisciplined reflections on one personal history, but I’m not sure what gets at the truth any better.

    Terje Petersen: I would hardly know where to start with Gerard Henderson’s typically shallow piece. He believes that ‘inter-marriage’ is an indicator of tolerance! I’ve no idea how you’d do a study to measure this, but I’d be willing to place a very large bet that if you could measure both an individual’s propensity to consider mating outside their own ethnicity, and their level of racism, you’d end up with no correlation.

  34. what the
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:27 | #34

    As usual the bleeding hearts have co-opted the argument and forced it into a debate on racism only. It is about chauvinism through and through. Stop putting the cart before the horse and admit that some idiots do not like the way we do things in this country.

    This morning in the SMH: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/12/12/1134236005902.html

    “In Bay Street, Brighton-le-Sands, a young woman was sitting in a car when men approached and opened the door to her vehicle and put a hand up her dress, saying: “We are going to rape you, you Aussie sluts.” A witness, Linda El-Hassan, 19, said a shot was fired at the woman’s car but she was unhurt. Miss El-Hassan said she was Lebanese and opposed the violence. “We all came to this country and we are all one in this country.”

    Women in Australia do not need idiots and wankers like the rioters in Cronulla to defend them but they do need everyone to admit the startling fact that Australian women are MORE IMPORTANT than muslims, people of arab background or rioters and that our freedom today to do as we like in our lives without harrassment is paramount.

    To dress up this issue as all about Cronulla or all about racism is to be gutless and a hypocrite but that approach also denies us the basic support that some members of our society need. We know it is abnormal for Australians to roam across the sand in twenties and thirties without a football between them. It is abnormal to gang up and bash a lifesaver. It is abnormal to abuse pregant women for showing their pregancy or crowd around teenagers asking them if they’re virgins and threatening to rape them because they are not ‘covered’. The locals are sick to death of these weirdoes.

    It is a tacit implication that our immigration department lets in people to roam freely whose culture is antithetical to ours, who raise their children to be hostile to females and that the sum total of our society’s frontline defence against their dangerous imported chauvinism is a fifteen year old or a single female on a beach who is targeted like a sitting duck.

    If over the years, these had been anglo-saxons we’d have called the police (as we did in cronulla) not the bloody anglican archbishop or a cardinal or two, so the media should leave islam, the “lebanese” and any self-elected ‘community leaders’ (who clearly can’t manage their community to save themselves) out of it and address the specific behaviour of some men and some boys that threaten women and make us scared.

  35. Katz
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:31 | #35

    Thanks for the benefit of wour wisdom Weekly:

    “The Dumber vs Dumber battle that is occurring on Sydney streets is being fuelled by testosterone, the bravado of youth, ‘dumb’ politics, and a siege mentality.

    Let the Police do their business – crush the thugs hard.”

    I guess everything that has happened in Sydney can be explained by reference to the incontrovertible fact that there is far more testosterone in Sydney than anywhere else in Australia.

    This logical fallacy of yours is called monocausalism.

    I never mentioned “depravations”, by which I imagine Weekly means “deprivations”. (You’ve struck lexical gold there Weekly.)

    This rhetorical trick of yours is called “constructing a Straw man”.

  36. Crispin Bennett
    December 13th, 2005 at 09:53 | #36

    what the: hundreds of young European (mostly English) and Australian men thieve, brawl and whore their way across the tourist traps of SE Asia every year. Is this a problem of us exporting our ‘culture’ over there? Does the fact that this happens make those youth representative of Australia and Europe?

    “Australian women are MORE IMPORTANT than muslims, people of arab background or rioters” is the least meaningful comment I’ve yet seen in the comments on this blog. But I’m fairly new here.

  37. December 13th, 2005 at 10:07 | #37

    Katz, as always you remain remarkably pedantic.

    The point about the issue of identifying social DEPRIVATION as a non-issue, is that it is a natural flow-on from your original argument.

    However, we feel that the Cronulla issue suits your purpose – i.e a convenient event to blame Howard, yada yada, (why not mention George Bush, the war in Iraq, greenhouse! for good measure)

    You may well respond by saying that they don’t have any impact? Well you earlier wrote:

    -Geographical layout
    -Socio-ethinic demography
    -Socio-ethnic geography
    -Mass media peculiarities (The Daily Telegraph effect, the shock-jock effect.)

    You have raised the issue of ethnicity as a primary cause.

  38. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 10:15 | #38

    Oops…I’m sorry. It wasn’t J.Farrell who made the ‘turf war’ comment, but ‘weekly’. I’ll try to be more careful.

    Yes, indeed, Katz, Sydney is dense with testosterone. Also Ecstasy, GBH and growth hormone: witness the primate pack behaviour on TV. I’ve always been disturbed by the shooting of the near-blind French photographer on Bondi Beach. The two coppers responsible, Podesta and Di Lorenza (spelling?) were real party boys and might have been whooping it up on the pills the night before.

    Remember the Good Old Days when pharmaceuticals were meant to make us more gentle and caring?

    The easiest option is to always say ‘A plague on both your houses’, ie that it’s all about blond hoons versus non-blond hoons, but I refuse to concede that all the fighting was caused by the presence of Arabic Australian men. There is such a thing as ‘the ugly Aussie’.

  39. Ian Gould
    December 13th, 2005 at 11:02 | #39

    “Australian women are MORE IMPORTANT than muslims,”

    Yes because “Australian” and “muslim’ amd “muslim” and “woman” are antithetical and exclusive classes.

    Presumably the dozen or so “Australian” woman who attacked a woman in the streets of Cronulla for daring to wear muslim dress and beat and kicked her were just defending themselves.

    “It is a tacit implication that our immigration department lets in people to roam freely whose culture is antithetical to ours, who raise their children to be hostile to females…”

    Yes, because there are no elements in traditional anglo-celtic culture that are chauvinistic or hostile to women. I’m sure Anita Cobby’s parents will be glad to hear that.

  40. stoptherubbish
    December 13th, 2005 at 11:07 | #40

    The fighting wasn’t ’caused’ by arabic Australian men, because the hoons and hooligans of both groups are soley repsonsible for their own behaviour. Period. That being the case, there is a clear need to ensure that:-
    gangs of young men and women for that matter, (whatever their ethnicity) are ‘moved on’ when they attempt to ‘gang up’ on others, by the police and no-one else; and
    there is a need to calm people down and stop describing various beaches as ‘our beach’. They do not belong to the locals, they belong as a matter of fact to ‘all of us’.

    Loutish behavoiur on beaches has been around as long as I can remember – if ethnicity wasn’t a factor, it would be something else (length of hair, style of clothes suburb etc;) It is important to be firm with louts, and not go overboard about the supposed ethnic origins of hoons and goons. It is also a fact that various shock jocks love this stuff because it gives them an audience, and because social tensions are being used by a section of the liberal party right in this country as cover for the ongoing kulturkampf against Australian liberalism. The shock jocks in Sydney are in a league of their own for irresponsible clap trap, partly because at least two of them have links with the unattractive and very unappealling liberal party right in this state. There is nothing that can of should be done about this, other than note it, and take it into account when you listen to their rantings. They are a disgrace of course, but I think they are valuable as a way of tracking the latest preoccupations of the right wing nuts who pass as the activist base of the liberal party and all points right in NSW.

    Jones is a skilful and absolutely shameless self promoter whose basic interests start and finish with himself and his own supposed power.

  41. what the
    December 13th, 2005 at 11:44 | #41

    anglo-saxon australia has elements of chauvinism obviously and i wrote that the rioters are wankers. Arrest them for they are idiots, it would be sophistry to argue otherwise. The chauvinist pigs on the beaches who started to raise the temperature years ago bring any foreign background they might claim to have into disrepute.

    On the final point, half our population is female and i think gender is entirely antecedent in importance to religion and ethnicity.

  42. Ian Gould
    December 13th, 2005 at 11:54 | #42

    Can anyone tell me what proportion of the Lebanese-Australian community is Christian?

    I’m guessing over 50% but it is entirely a guess.

  43. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 12:16 | #43

    Here’s a small point that no-one has mentioned: many of the Master Race thugs in Cronulla were wrapped in the Australian flag (because they’d forgotten how to wear shirts?) and as every patriotic conservative knows, this demonstrates disrespect for our national symbol, even more so if you’re covered in sweat and beer.

    The last Australian politician to wrap our flag around her shoulders was Pauline Hanson and she strongly criticised for it.

    Not a good look, fellas.

  44. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 12:17 | #44

    Here’s a small point that no-one has mentioned: many of the Master Race thugs in Cronulla were wrapped in the Australian flag (because they’d forgotten how to wear shirts?) and as every patriotic conservative knows, this demonstrates disrespect for our national symbol, even more so if you’re covered in sweat and beer.

    The last Australian politician to wrap our flag around her shoulders was Pauline Hanson and she was strongly criticised for it.

    Not a good look, fellas.

  45. Katz
    December 13th, 2005 at 12:44 | #45

    “You have raised the issue of ethnicity as a primary cause.”

    I plead guilty to that one Weekly. A mob of baying Anglos shouting “Lebs Out! Lebs Out!” and a flying squad of Lebanese thugs congregating to wreak vandalism and serious assault on innocent bystanders both look like an expression of ethnic consciousness and solidarity to me.

    If these thugs had organised this mayhem around their Star Signs, I may have come to a slightly different conclusion. Or again, if the two mobs had been composed of men with high sperm counts fighting men with low sperm counts, I may have given some weight to your very interesting testosterone explanation.

    But alas, these fascinating counterfactuals seem to have been boringly stymied by some quite readliy ascertainable facts.

    Pity about that.

  46. SJ
    December 13th, 2005 at 13:22 | #46

    Can anyone tell me what proportion of the Lebanese-Australian community is Christian?

    1991 data

    Overseas born: 40.2% Catholic, 37.0% Islam
    Second generation: 42.4% Catholic, 39% Islam.

  47. quitter
    December 13th, 2005 at 13:35 | #47

    Peter Ruehl sums up the situation nicely in today’s Financial Revue. Go and read it. All this pontificating isn’t worth a pinch of poo.

  48. Crispin Bennett
    December 13th, 2005 at 13:55 | #48

    Quitter: I hadn’t read Ruehl before, and I doubt I’ll ever bother again. A useful general rule: never read anyone who uses the American term ‘loser’.

  49. what the
    December 13th, 2005 at 13:57 | #49

    Tim Priest’s article from last year is interesting.
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/article_view.php?article_i

  50. what the
  51. what the
    December 13th, 2005 at 14:21 | #51

    http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,20281,17512923-5001035,00.html

    December 10, 2005
    A young woman this week told a TV camera crew of the intimidation she has experienced on Cronulla beach.

    “They’ll stand over you while you’re sunbaking, block your sun so they get your attention, then say, ‘She’s not worth doing 55 years for’,” she told them.

    For those unsure of what these lowlifes are referring to, it’s the length of the prison sentence which was given to Sydney’s infamous gang rapist, Bilal Skaf.

    http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17513853%255E1702,00.html

  52. Pinguthepenguin
    December 13th, 2005 at 14:28 | #52

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=581

    An interesting read from a police perspective on the issue of middle-eastern gangs in Sydney. I amnot sure if these sort of organised crime gangs are drectly related to what is happenning in Cronulla, but the behaviour certainly seems to fit.

  53. Pinguthepenguin
    December 13th, 2005 at 14:30 | #53

    Oh crap…what the got in just before me with the same article. I didn’t notice.

    My humble applogies for repeating the same information.

    *squak*

  54. what the
    December 13th, 2005 at 15:12 | #54

    not at all pingu, an interesting article is worth repeating. May I also compliment you on your cool name at the same time.

  55. Terje Petersen
    December 13th, 2005 at 15:52 | #55

    IAN SAID:-

    Given the rather wreched record of “zero tolereanceâ€? policies I’m not sure what the alternative is – there has to be some way to avoid conflict with local communities which leads to escalation without creating the preconditions for more serious violence later.

    I think the answer has to be a marriage between “zero tolerance” and “community based policing”. Whilst at first glance these might seem like non-complementary styles they are in fact very compatible and very necessary to successful policing.

    > Zero tolerance means every transgression consistently has a consequence. It does not mean bashing up the bad guys.

    > Community based means that every consequence is delivered with regard to the fact that the individual is a member of the community and needs to be treated with respect. It does not mean let the bad guys get away with things.

    So your a police women and you pick some guy up for drink driving. Zero Tolerance might mean you confiscate their car and cancel their licence. Community based might mean you don’t leave them standing on the side of the road, you listen to their point of view, and after taking their car you drive them home and make sure they get inside their house without falling on their face. You remember that they may have a wife and kids who need to know that their husband/father is okay.

    Some might call it “tough love” policing.

    I am not suggesting that it will cure every social ill, or stop every crime. However I don’t really see any meaningful alternative.

    How should a responsible adult respond if their child hits another kid at school. Should they stop loving their child?

  56. Ian Gould
    December 13th, 2005 at 17:05 | #56

    Terje, I’m no expert in the area but what you suggest makes sense to me.

  57. Steve Munn
    December 13th, 2005 at 17:19 | #57

    It was interesting to see a Lebanese social worker on Seven News, who was among the Muslim thugs who loitered around the Lakemba mosque last night, say what too many “latte liberals” refuse to believe. He unequivocally said that some young Muslims hate Westerners and hate the West.

    Australian citizenship is a privilege not a right. Those who display such hostility should be stripped of their citizenship if they were born overseas.

  58. lurch
    December 13th, 2005 at 18:50 | #58

    Steve Munn – what do you do with those displaying hostility if they are born in Australia?

  59. Andrew Reynolds
    December 13th, 2005 at 18:57 | #59

    Terje,
    I did a bit of rough work on the Bancor page – but some more could be done. You need to do some work on your user page, though. No details apart from one link, and that does not work.

  60. Steve Munn
    December 13th, 2005 at 19:09 | #60

    Lurch says: “Steve Munn – what do you do with those displaying hostility if they are born in Australia?”

    Make them wear pink overalls and clean the Cronulla Beach toilets with a toothbrush.

  61. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 20:35 | #61

    I believe that citizenship is so important that it is a right. It is not a ‘privilege’ to be doled out by whomever decides today’s privileges. Privilege is a revolting term that suggests a stream of favours from above, the essence of corruption: little bon-bons from the cousin.

    The global problem of rights, the importance of citizenship and residency, the endless flow of tourists and the question of dual loyalty – you’re also a Tralfamadorian citizen? – suggest to me that we should should have a two-tier system of Australian citizenship to replace the current system: probationary citizenship (PC) based on the period of residency. Anyone who signs on to citizenship might undergoe a lenghty trial period. If there’s violence, you’re out.

  62. SJ
    December 13th, 2005 at 20:53 | #62

    Anyone who signs on to citizenship might undergoe a lenghty trial period. If there’s violence, you’re out.

    Waste of time, De Vere. The current problems involve the second generation. They were born here and no-one else will want them or take them. There’s no “send them back to where they came from” option, they came from here.

    Jail is where they should be, and where some of them already are. It’s not really that difficult. Find them, arrest them, convict them. John Howard’s ridiculous position be damned.

  63. December 13th, 2005 at 21:38 | #63

    Hello from Prince,

    I am now using my wings with the intention to fly soon. My human mother is still feeding me yummy things and I am growing faster now, my wing measurement is 10.5cm (from elbow to first joint).

    By February I will be ready for release and I will be joining the other flying foxes as they forage in the gum blossoms and mango trees at night. You may even hear me screech near your house

  64. Will De Vere
    December 13th, 2005 at 21:59 | #64

    SJ- Point taken. I wasn’t suggesting that anyone get sent back anywhere, only proposing a future framework for citizenship. My notion was to create a system in which the legal satus of everyone, including you or me, was better defined.

    I’m worried that you seem so certain about who ‘they’ are. By describing ‘them’ all as second generation you pretend to know who’s who. Are you Arabic, Lebanese, Slovenian?

    Here’s a modest proposal to sort the sheep from the goats. Order DMIA inspectors to sweep everyone in Australia. Watch how many dodgy Brit illegals fall out of the trees. Poms are notoriously violent.

  65. SJ
    December 13th, 2005 at 22:11 | #65

    I’m worried that you seem so certain about who ‘they’ are. By describing ‘them’ all as second generation you pretend to know who’s who. Are you Arabic, Lebanese, Slovenian?

    Here’s a modest proposal to sort the sheep from the goats. Order DMIA inspectors to sweep everyone in Australia. Watch how many dodgy Brit illegals fall out of the trees. Poms are notoriously violent.

    Um, wouldn’t it make more sense to just use the existing public surveillance footage, and arrest the people who’ve been filmed committing criminal acts?

  66. Terje Petersen
    December 13th, 2005 at 22:12 | #66

    I did a bit of rough work on the Bancor page – but some more could be done. You need to do some work on your user page, though. No details apart from one link, and that does not work.

    Thanks Andrew.

  67. Steve Munn
    December 13th, 2005 at 22:51 | #67

    Will De Vere- Your proposal for probationary citizenship sounds sensible. I guess it would be unfair to repatriate someone who has lived here for lets say 20 years or more.

    I disagree with you to some extent though on the issue of rights. I believe rights must be balanced by responsibilities. No society can function successfully if we all demand rights but are unwilling to expect concomitant responsibilities.

    SJ- some of these Arab thugs will be Australian born but surely not all.

    I think it would be wise government policy to cease accepting immigrants from those ethnicities that are currently not integrating successfully. Immigration could resume once it is apparent that successful integration is occurring. Violent crime figures could be used as the benchmark for successful integration.

    Some of the above may sound harsh to the “latte liberals” on this forum. However, I spoken about it at length with my OS born partner and various OS born friends and they mostly feel the same way.

  68. Ian Gould
    December 13th, 2005 at 23:20 | #68

    “Lurch says: “Steve Munn – what do you do with those displaying hostility if they are born in Australia?â€?

    Make them wear pink overalls and clean the Cronulla Beach toilets with a toothbrush. ”

    Does that apply to this authors of this charming missive: “”F***ing Aussie in the Shire get down the north Cronulla to help support Leb and wog bashing-day. Bring your mates down and let’s show them that this is our beach and they’re never welcome back. F***ing Lebs/wogs. Let’s kill the c**ts. Tell everybody, spread the word. Fire up Aussies. Sunday midday, don’t forget. Forward this to all you know and help us…”?

  69. Ian Gould
    December 13th, 2005 at 23:46 | #69

    >Violent crime figures could be used as the benchmark for successful integration.

    Media beat-ups to the contrary I’ve always understood that the only migrant groups with a statistically signifcant higher crime rate than the native-born are the English and the New Zealanders (largely because both groups are disproportionately much more likely to be young and male than either other migrants or the native-born.)

  70. Steve Munn
    December 14th, 2005 at 00:03 | #70

    Ian Gould- Yes it does. Justice must be blind. Moreover, I would like to see fascist shit-stirrers like Jim Salaem locked up for long time. I’m not racist Ian, but I am sick of so many of my fellow Lefties focussing solely on Anglo racism. I personally find that offensive.

    We have a genuine problem in this country with a significant number of Islamic people who hate Westerners and are prepared to maim, rape and kill. We need to face up to that and stop making glib excuses on their behalf.

    By the way, does anyone know anything about the http://www.jihadwatch.org/ website? Is it a reliable source of information? I ask because the site contains quotes from the supposedly moderate Grand Mufti Al-Hilali in which he says that Australia was originally an Islamic country!

    I can only repeat my earlier comment, the Islamic community is poorly served by its leadership.

  71. morganzola
    December 14th, 2005 at 00:07 | #71

    Yes, let’s deport all the non-citizen Poms and Kiwis. That’ll solve all our problems.

    Everybody else seems to assimilate pretty well after a generation or two – I mean, just give the “Lebs” 20 years or so and they’ll be joining the mob that wants to beat the crap out of the latest crop of invaders.

    But the Poms will still be whingeing and the Kiwis will still be selling drugs in the Eastern Suburbs.

    The more things change the more they stay the same, I reckon.

  72. Ian Gould
    December 14th, 2005 at 00:19 | #72

    “By the way, does anyone know anything about the http://www.jihadwatch.org/ website? Is it a reliable source of information?”

    http://jihadwatch.org/spencer/

    “ROBERT SPENCER, the director of Jihad Watch, is a writer and researcher who has written five books, seven monographs, and numerous articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism. His latest book is the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery).”

    Regnery Press is an extreme right-wing American publishing house with links to white supremacist groups. It is perhaps best-known for publishing a book by the leader of “Swift Boat Veterans for The Truth”.

    It’s past midngiht so I’m not going to look furhter at the site at this time but the Regnery connection is sufficient to make deeply skeptical.

  73. Ian Gould
    December 14th, 2005 at 00:26 | #73

    From Jihadwatch:

    “Australia: shots fired at church

    This could have something to do with those “race riots.” “Church shots fired,” from SkyNews, with thanks to Terminator:

    Police are investigating the firing of shots overnight at a Catholic school and church in Sydney’s west.

    People attending a Christmas carols event at St Joseph the Worker Primary School in South Auburn heard what sounded like gunshots.

    Two of the school’s staff members later discovered bullet holes in their cars and more than 20 shells were recovered from the scene.

    The Catholic Church says it is especially concerned at the targetting of Christmas celebrations at a school attended by children as young as five.

    The carols service at Holy Spirit Primary School in Lakemba, which was scheduled for tonight, has now been cancelled. ”

    Lakemba is, as most Aussies know, a suburb with a very large Lebanese population. Considering that 40%+ of Lebanese Australians are Catholics, what are the chances that the perpetrators of this attack were non-lebanese Australians targeting the school because its students were alrgely of Lebanese descent?

  74. Ian Gould
    December 14th, 2005 at 00:32 | #74

    While it may be unfair to judge a site by it’s commentators, I found this gem on Jihadwatch:

    “We need to call in the army as these animals are well armed.

    Every mosque must be bulldozed and all Muslims deported to wherever will take them.

    Islam must be outlawed.
    It is beyond words how execrable is the cult of Islam.”

  75. Crispin Bennett
    December 14th, 2005 at 09:22 | #75

    Steve Munn: I’m a bit worried about your frequent references to ‘latte liberals’. Progressives & social liberals drink black coffee. Lattes are for pussies.

  76. Katz
    December 14th, 2005 at 12:08 | #76

    This little snippet from the BradBlog, taken from a Right Wing website, provides an interestin insight into how Murdoch shapes his media:

    http://www.bradblog.com/default.htm

    ‘Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal boasted in Dubai earlier this week about his ability to change the news content that viewers around the world see on television.

    ‘In early September 2005, Bin Talal bought 5.46% of voting shares in News Corp. This made the Fifth richest man on the Forbes World’s Richest People, the fourth largest voting shareholder in News Corp., the parent of Fox News. News Corp. is the world’s leading newspaper publisher in English.

    ‘Covering the riots in Paris last November, Fox ran a banner saying: “Muslim riots.” Bin Talal was not happy. “I picked up the phone and called Murdoch… (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty,” he said. “Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots.”‘

    It is notorious that Murdoch is a serial meddler, and FOX has been a blatant pedlar of lies, especially since 9/11.

    But it’s interesting to witness:

    1. How quickly money talks.
    2. How the Right sound just like those hated Left-Liberal Elites when their heads are getting kicked.

    I find this story grimly satisfying.

  77. Steve Munn
    December 14th, 2005 at 14:51 | #77

    Ian Gould says: “While it may be unfair to judge a site by it’s commentators, I found this gem on Jihadwatch … ”

    Yes Ian. What you have done is very unfair. I mean would it be fair to trash Professor Quiggin’s fine website by quoting some “Steve At The Pub” rant? You have let yourself down this time Mr Gould.

  78. Andrew Reynolds
    December 14th, 2005 at 18:19 | #78

    The Iranian President has just joined the list of public holocaust deniers. Anyone care to guess what he would do with nuclear weapons?
    Maybe Bush missed the target by one country.

  79. Steve Munn
    December 14th, 2005 at 19:31 | #79

    Good point Andrew Reynolds. I would not blame Israel for launching a strike on Iran. I shudder to think what would happen if Iran had nuclear weapons.

  80. SJ
    December 14th, 2005 at 19:44 | #80

    Andrew Reynolds Says: “Anyone care to guess what he would do with nuclear weapons?”

    Probably exactly the same thing everyone else does with them. I.e., nothing.

    Where’s Osama these days? Pakistan. How many right wing wankers are complaining about this, and demanding strikes against or invasion of Pakistan? Pretty close to none. Figure there’s any connection with Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons?

  81. December 14th, 2005 at 20:26 | #81

    Steve Munn: Since when has common sense been termed “ranting”?

  82. Terje Petersen
    December 15th, 2005 at 05:45 | #82

    QUOTE: Maybe Bush missed the target by one country.

    RESPONSE: Iran was/is definitely a bigger US threat than Iraq.

  83. Ian Gould
    December 15th, 2005 at 08:16 | #83

    Every other Iranian President sicne the revolution has been either a powerless figure heard or a stooge for the Supreme Leader.

    Ahmedinajad is unlikely to prove any different.

    Terje, Iran is also a much, much more difficult military target than Iraq.

    A ground invasion of Iran would be a much more difficult task than the invasion of Iraq.

  84. what the
    December 15th, 2005 at 09:28 | #84

    Katz when you wrote 1-2 you forgot to add

    It is notorious that Murdoch is a serial meddler, and FOX has been a blatant pedlar of lies, especially since 9/11.

    But it’s interesting to witness:

    1. How quickly money talks.
    2. How the Right sound just like those hated Left-Liberal Elites when their heads are getting kicked.

    AND

    3. The shadowy propoganda tactics and cronyism of a powerful Saudi unwilling to allow a free press to operate without adding his manipulative 5c.

  85. Katz
    December 15th, 2005 at 09:56 | #85

    “3. The shadowy propoganda tactics and cronyism of a powerful Saudi unwilling to allow a free press to operate without adding his manipulative 5c.’

    What The,

    The grim satisfaction I took in this story was the fact that money, whether Saudi-dynastic, or international-corporate-capitalist, talks.

    1. Neither the Saudi Prince nor Murdoch had any regard for the truth.

    2. It was Murdoch, not the Saudi Prince, who called FOX News. Murdoch could have refused, but didn’t. Money talks.

    3. After the call was made, the editor at FOX News could have refused to change the story. S/he could have resigned in protest at propagandistic manipulation, but didn’t. S/he could have blown a whistle that would have been heard b the entire media world, but s/he didn’t. Money talks.

    So the next time you watch FOX News remind yourself about how little respect the owners and executives of FOX News have for the truth. Money talks.

  86. Terje Petersen
    December 15th, 2005 at 10:19 | #86

    QUOTE: A ground invasion of Iran would be a much more difficult task than the invasion of Iraq.

    RESPONSE: Please explain?

  87. Ros
    December 15th, 2005 at 10:52 | #87

    SJ’s view that Ahmadinezhad is probably likely to do nothing with nuclear weapons is not one held by Mullah Mohammad Ali Abtahi, ex Vice President Iran.
    His comments following the election of Ahmadinezhad

    “I did everything; I fought desperately. It was all for nothing. We all failed. Our country will be lost.”
    There is reason for his despair, because with the election of Ahmadinezhad the radical Islamist hardliners have now recaptured all the control centers of power in Iran. “Ahmadinezhad,” Abtahi writes, “is a visionary. He dreams of a second, revolution in Iran, the Islamist one. He is the representative of the rightist extremists that I warned you about. I was always against Ahmadinezhad,” he writes further. “We have always fought against him and against those who back him. Now, however, we have experienced a crushing defeat. What lies ahead for us and for you is the long night of darkness that I spoke about at the time.” Behind Abtahi’s words is the fear that now, since all power centers are united in the hands of radical Islamist power groups around supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, “these people will play the nuclear card just the same as the card of global terror.”

  88. Ros
    December 15th, 2005 at 10:54 | #88

    Apologies, source http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007690.php providing English translation of article in Cicero

  89. Ian Gould
    December 21st, 2005 at 16:39 | #89

    Terje:

    QUOTE: A ground invasion of Iran would be a much more difficult task than the invasion of Iraq.

    RESPONSE: Please explain?

    1. Iran’s military hasn’t been crippled by defeat in an earlier war and a decade of sanctions.

    2. Iran’s population is roughly 2.5 times that of Iraq.

    3. 90% of the population are Shia muslims. There’s been surprisingly little friction between the two main ethnic groups (the Persians and the Azeris). The only group likely to support an invasion are the Kurds who make up less than 10% of the population. There won’t be any Iranian equivalent of the Iraqi Kurds or Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance. Mujahadeen-i-Khalq, the only significant armed resistance group from the Persian majority has onyl a few thousand supporters.

    4. The transportation system is fairly underdeveloped and several of the major population centres (such as Tehran, Isfahn and Mashhad) would need to be supplied by road over a very long distance. It’d be a much harder task than supplying Baghdad.

    The US woudl also have to cope with a likely uprising amongst the Iraqi shia.

    I expect any military action against Iran for the next few years at least to be restricted to airstrikes.

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