Our values or go home: Costello


Peter Costello has upset the Islamic community in a hard-hitting speech given to the Sydney Institute.

And, I have to say, I agree completely with what he says. Some commentators are being critical, however the point is that this is notr an attack on Muslims or Islam, it is an attck on the concpt of Sharia law, that is a secular state, where the country is run under religous law rather than democratic law. Iran is an example of that kind of regime.

In a speech last night to the Sydney Institute, the treasurer said people who wanted to live under Islamic sharia law should move to a country where they would feel “more at ease”.

He said Australia was a wonderful country, able to absorb people from all over the world – as long as there was agreement on certain rules.

New citizens must agree to abide by Australian laws, and not seek to live under non-Australian value systems such as sharia law, and have a love for and loyalty to the country.

“We have got to a stage where we have allowed Australian citizenship to become undemanding,” he told Channel 9.

“New arrivals are told you don’t have to give up anything, you don’t have to give up love of other countries, we don’t ask anything of you. We will confer Australian citizenship on you. And I say `No, that is not right actually’.

“Australian citizenship is a great privilege and to take it out we do demand things, we demand a love of this country and a loyalty to it.

“We demand a respect for its values and I think by emphasising the obligations of citizenship, making it a more demanding thing, then we will develop more respect for it.”

Mr Costello said the citizenship pledge should be “a big flashing warning sign” to Muslims wanting to live under sharia law.

“Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes. This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don’t enter the mosque. Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values don’t come to Australia.”

His comments follow those of Liberal backbencher Danna Vale who last week said that Australia could become a Muslim nation within 50 years because ‘we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence’. Her anti-abortion argument is that Muslims have a higher birth rate, and therefore Australia is going to be over run by Muslims. Fellow politicians distanced themselves from the looney.

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John Howard: epitomy of what it means to be Australian

The man who created an admirable set of standards
of ministerial propriety and then revised them downwards
rather than sack a mate.

“Some leaders inspire us with the noble idea that we might create a better society; Howard sets our sights on a lower, lesser target. Far from inspiring nobility of purpose, he encourages us to be comfortable with some of the baser aspects of our own ordinariness.

He reinforces our materialism. By conflating politics with economics and by placing emphasis on material prosperity, Howard has encouraged the idea that money is the key to happiness, that share-ownership is a symbol of success and that the rich should be praised and rewarded for being rich.

That, in turn, reinforces our moral laxity, partly because that’s the usual result of an over-emphasis on material values. Howard’s unwavering commitment to the strategy of “toughing it out” also encourages, by example, our thoroughly human tendency to be self-serving and, when it suits our purposes, dishonest.

He reinforces our prejudices. From the moment he appeared to align himself with Pauline Hanson’s sympathisers, Howard has been the master of so-called “dog-whistle” politics – giving people permission to indulge their prejudices without ever quite saying so. Under Howard, we have become less compassionate, less tolerant and more uninhibited in the expression of ethnic and religious prejudice. “Terrorist” has become a convenient new cloak for some very old prejudices.”

This is just an excerpt from an excellent article printed in The Age opinion section today.
Read the full text here

Lets us worship what is so lovable about honest Johnny. The Australian we all respect, the man who invented the terms core and non-core promises.

Australian Government Gags Public Servants on AWB. Defence Department investigates Australian Armies crap equipment rort.

The un-Australian government is ducking for serious cover as the fallout from the AWB “wheat for weapons” Sadaam kick-back scandal keeps going higher and higher into government. They have put a gag order on all public servants that might be called before Senate legislation committees .

From the Australian:

… Government had directed public servants not to answer questions in relation to any matters before the Cole Commission of Inquiry, which is investigating $300 million in kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein’s regime by the wheat distributor under the United Nation’s disgraced oil-for-food scheme.

‘I should inform the committee that the Government has directed that officials appearing before Senate legislation committees should not answer questions directed to them on matters before the commission of inquiry being conducted by the honourable Terence Cole into certain Australian companies in relation to the oil-for-food programs,’ Senator Minchin told the finance and public administration committee.

‘While examination of officials by the committee might be appropriate in the future, the Government considers that Mr Cole should be able to proceed with his inquiry and present his findings without parallel public questioning that would not assist consideration of complex issues.’

Opposition senators were outraged, saying the Government had overturned 30 years of precedent by directing officials not to answer particular questions.

‘This is just a despicable cover-up and you know it,’ Labor senator Robert Ray said.

‘There has never been an inhibition on questions … going to matters other than those that are sub judice before the courts.’

But Senator Minchin said the committee could ask any questions it liked it just might not get any answers.”

The other story in the headlines is that Aussie soldiers, including the SAS, find their equipment so crappy and useless, they have had to resort to buying their own.

Again, from the Australian (gee they are doing some good Investigative work these days):

An investigation has been launched into the Defence Department unit charged with equipping Australian soldiers amid allegations of defective equipment and conflicts of interest.

The Weekend Australian revealed the safety of Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the elite SAS, had been compromised by poor equipment.

Faults included jackets that glow in the dark, as well as body armour that cracks easily and is subject to “premature failure”.

(Uber Kiwi: Another article adds that blood-filled boots and sodden jackets infested with maggots also force thousands of Australian soldiers a year to buy their own military equipment.)

Internal Defence documents, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, also revealed problems with helmets and body armour were affecting soldiers including the SAS in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The documents show a former employee who worked on a tender for combat jackets subsequently left Defence to work for the winning contractor.

They also show an ABC radio journalist asked Defence about the former employee and any “conflict of interest”.

The journalist was told the employee had no “part in the process to award the combat jacket contract”.

However, Defence Department documents show the employee was not only involved in the design of the jacket but also provided “technical support during the tender process”.

The initial contract for jackets was awarded on March 7, 2003, and the employee started work with the winning contractor on July 1, 2003.

I love this government. The new would be boring without it.