74 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Collin Street @50.

    But it was designed so that if those assumptions turned out to be false the cost would fall on the state, not the students. The students were insulated from any downside risk except lost time in the workforce.

    Yes. However my point is that one founding assumption when HECS was introduced would have been that the proportion of graduates for which those assumptions turned out to be false would be quite small and that most graduates would soon find continuous and well-paid full-time employment sufficient to clear their debt and relieve the cost to the state relatively quickly.

    [My perspective is that any retrospective fee increase on graduates would be a “taking”, and that if it applied differently to people who went to uni when there were no fees and those who went when there was HECS it would be very very difficult to describe it as being on “just terms”.]

    I agree.

  2. @Troy Prideaux

    Whats the case for prosecution?

    As I said, I am not sure there is one. I more or less agree with most of your points/rhetorical questions. My annoyance is over what they based their decision on. It is not about believing the issue should have been pursued further. IMO, Fortescues arguments* that it was

    1. hypothetical
    2. off-the-cuff
    3. intended to encourage a policy debate

    are very weak and should not have been taken into consideration in making a decision. Reminds me of the Abbott defence.

    I cannot see how one can say “let’s cap our production right here” is “hypothetical”.

    Same goes for “off-the-cuff”. Who decides whether it was “off-the-cuff”. He did give numbers (cap at 180mn tonnes “and we’ll find the iron ore price goes straight back up to $US70, $US80, $US90”). Only Forrest knows whether it was hypothetical or off-the-cuff.

    3 is immaterial.

    *These were comments made by Fortescue and were taken into consideration by the ACCC in their decision to not pursue further (and the only reasons given in the articles I read). The actual defence given by Fortescue…

    “The Fortescue chairman said at the time he could use an exemption in Australian competition law – section 51(2)(g) in the National Consumer Credit Protection Act – to suggest the nation’s big producers work together to cap production and improve market conditions.”

    The ACCC rejected this.

  3. Perhaps I’m being harsh in my characterisation of what the Australian Federal Police had to say today about the Bali 9, but it seems to me that:
    i) The AFP are claiming there was a rumour that Mr Rush tipped off the police about the drug smuggling, and that this rumour is false as the AFP were already aware of the operation;
    ii) The AFP did not have sufficient evidence of a crime being committed, or about to be committed, to arrest any of the Bali 9 before they left Australia;
    iii) Indonesian authorities were not given the complete list of suspects, for Myuran Sukumaran wasn’t on the list, even though he was one of the two senior criminals among the Bali 9.

    On point i), until the AFP raised this in today’s statement, I’d never ever heard of people thinking that Mr Rush’s attempt to protect his son was in some way a new tip-off to the police: every major news article I’ve read on the matter makes clear that the AFP were already aware and actively tracking the would-be drug smugglers. To me, this feels like the AFP is deliberately muddying the waters.

    On point ii), if the AFP had insufficient grounds to arrest any of the Bali 9 on any criminal charge at all, while they were still in Australia, then I fail to see how the AFP had any business passing on “suspicions” about some Australians travelling to Bali, especially when those suspicions, if eventually proven true, would put those Australians at risk of the death penalty. I would hate to think that just because our police thought I might be going to commit a crime in Indonesia, they would actually convey that to Indonesian authorities, or any other foreign state. Especially so for states with known corruption problems.

    On point iii), if this is proven correct (the Indonesians claim it to be the case), then this really does give the appearance of the drug mules being offered up to Indonesian authorities, but that the existence of the “boss” of the Bali 9 was being protected, in the hope that he would escape Indonesia back to Australia, and lead the AFP to the higher-ups when he tried to explain to them what went wrong. Perhaps I’m being too cynical here, but I need to see more detail from our side of the fence, and from the Indonesians, before dialling the cynicism down a notch.

    Clearly it is very challenging work which the AFP do at the international level. They presumably operate under ministerial direction, within the rules laid out, and from what has come out about the Bali 9, those rules are very elastic with respect to placing Australian citizens, who have committed no crime on Australian soil, under suspicion in a foreign country for crimes punishable by execution. Back in 2005 when this all unfolded, the then prime minister PM John Howard was quite explicit in his desire for the Bali bombers to receive the death penalty under Indonesian law; while Howard was walking a political high wire on that, it also sent a signal to the AFP about what the government would tolerate with respect to Indonesia and Indonesian judicial process, and the application of the death penalty. The cynic in me says that this wasn’t an oversight by the government, far from it.

    I feel very strongly that no state should impose a death penalty on any person, for any reason at all, even for terrorism atrocities. Executing people is revenge and retribution of the Old Testament variety, not that I’m religious. I see no place for it, irrespective of whether the convicted person can be rehabilitated or not. Meting out an atrocity, because of an atrocity, should have no place in civilised society.

  4. @Donald Oats

    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution of the Old Testament variety’

    I’m curious about why you chose to write precisely that instead of any of the many different things you could have written, such as one of the following (just to illustrate the possibilities):
    ‘Executing people is nothing but revenge and retribution’
    ‘Executing people is completely inhumane, nothing but revenge and retribution’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution of the archaic variety’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution of the medieval variety’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution, Mafia-style’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution of the Biblical variety’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution of the Quranic variety’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution in the style of the Book of Revelation’
    ‘Executing people is revenge and retribution in the style of Romans 13:4’

    There must be some reason why you chose specifically to insert a reference to the Old Testament, and I do wonder what it was.

  5. @J-D

    He is making a specific point.

    “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” – Romans 13:4 – New International Version.

    He is pointing out that those who think they are God’s servants and our masters also think they have a right to take our lives.

  6. I should have added Romans 13:4 is in the spirit of the Old Testament so Donald is pretty much making that point. You seem to not be able to understand metapohors and allusive language. Unless a point is totally literal you dont get it.

  7. @J-D
    Why not the obvious fact, executions are mainly carried out for political motives/reasons.

  8. Did anyone ask the AFP about their duty of care wrt australian citizens accused of crimes?

    Also. When australia carried out death-penalty executions, there was — obviously — a common-law provision meaning that the killings were not a crime, same as working as a prison guard doesn’t make you a part of conspiracy to engage in false imprisonment.

    The mechanism for execution doesn’t operate in australia any more, but “it was an execution of sentence under applicable law” remains a defence for homicides where the actual killing was carried out overseas.

    I think that that recognition should cease, and state killings judged by the same standards — necessity, self-defence, etc — as private ones.

  9. Florence nee Fed up :

    Why not the obvious fact, executions are mainly carried out for political motives/reasons.

    Such as to set up a Caliphate or to exterminate those of a different faith.

  10. Yes. I was talking in a universal sense. Not tied to any religion, culture or race.

    One has only to go back and look at the last hanging in this country. Pure politics was at play. I would be surprised if many disagreed.

  11. zoot :

    In Texas?

    yes – 76 of one religion were wiped out in Texas.

    They were possibly trying to set up a Caliphate-type enclave.

  12. @Ivor

    yes – 76 of one religion were wiped out in Texas.

    76 executions – that’s a long queue for the lethal injection room. Do you have a link?

  13. @Ivor

    I don’t think it was executions.

    But @61, you quoted Florence nee Fedup writing specifically about executions.

  14. @Ikonoclast

    Romans 13:4 (which I mentioned myself) is not part of the Old Testament. It is part of the New Testament. Your statement that it is ‘in the spirit of the Old Testament’ is patently false, since there is no such thing as ‘the spirit of the Old Testament’. Different parts of the Old Testament are plainly written in radically different and even opposing spirits. However, nowhere in the Old Testament does it say anything in the same spirit as ‘governments do God’s work when they punish people’, which is essentially what Romans 13:4 is saying. The impression I get (perhaps incorrectly) is that you (and perhaps also likewise Donald Oats) are thinking of an attitude or spirit that you don’t like and then erroneously attributing it to the Old Testament, possibly as a result of inadequate familiarity with the enormous diversity of the Old Testament.

    And what makes me curious about this is that evil attitudes can be decried just as effectively without associating them with the Old Testament. Why bring the Old Testament into it at all? What value does it have as an indicator or reference point (for any kind of attitude or ethos)? Where do people get that idea from?

  15. Did anyone see the 4 Corners program last night on farm and factory foreign labour?

    The underpayment and non-payment of foreign workers;
    sexual assault;
    sexual favours and payment demanded in exchsange for work and visas;
    people forced to work 7 days a week for up to 22 hours a day;
    foreman and business owners calling workers “retards” etc;
    workers peeing their pants because toilet and drink breaks are rarely permitted;
    bosses demanding Asian only (Europeans are apparently less likely to tiolerate subhuman treatment);
    workers crying in pain because their hands are numb but being forced to keep working;
    workers sacked for complaining of sexual harassment.

    I remember Senator Abetz complaining that young dole recipients should be doing these jobs. Yeah right.

  16. @zoot

    There are various senses to ‘executions”.

    I was only responding to the wacko claim about some queue to “the lethal injection room”.

    You are playing noxious word games.

    You are a troll.


  17. @J-D

    In addition, it is well understood in Christian theology that the Old Testament represents the spirit of judgement and punishment and the New Testament represents the spirit of grace and forgiveness. For those of us from a Christian or lapsed Christian background these concepts are perfectly clear. We know exactly what Donald Oats means. He makes perfect sense. You on the other hand manage to be both pedantic and incorrect.

  18. @jt

    Yes, it was a very weak program.

    It did not follow-up on what the police did when a complaint was made to them.

    It did not seek out what action various State and federal governments were doing or knew.

    It did not pursue the grocery industry rep. who seem to know all about these issues – but did nothing.

    It only grabbed the sensational aspects, created a bit of drama for TV, for their own career journalistic purposes.

    The right-wing union reps. were just as weak.

  19. @Ikonoclast

    The idea that the Old Testament represents the spirit of judgement and punishment and the New Testament represents the spirit of grace and forgiveness is familiar even to some people (like me) who are neither Christians nor lapsed Christians. But the idea is false, and should be challenged, not promoted.

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