Today in Australia, the profound global threat posed by climate change could not be clearer. Yet none of the major parties are proposing any action to curb our coal export trade.
When legislation fails to protect us from such a serious and immediate threat, civil disobedience is bound to step in, writes David Ritter.
"I support the peaceful actions of those who have boarded the vessel taking our coal to South Korea. And I salute their civic courage" - Robert Manne
"Is it enough, for a person of conscience, to sit back and wait for the harms to become intolerable?" - Clive Hamilton
Last week, six Greenpeace activists from the Rainbow Warrior engaged in an act of civil disobedience when they peacefully boarded and occupied a Korean coal carrier off the coast of far north Queensland.
Civil disobedience refers to public, non-violent, conscientious, unlawful conduct which is undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in government law or policy in the absence of any other effective remedy.
There is a long and rich tradition of civil disobedience in Australian history, occasions when brave men and women have taken a stand against things that they knew in their heads and their guts were just plain wrong.
Would U.S. intervention--no-fly zones, arms, aid to the opposition forces--make things better? It depends on what one means by better. It would certainly intensify the civil war. It would also make the regime of Bashar Assad more desperate. Perhaps Assad has already used chemical weapons; with his back against the wall, he might use them on a larger scale. As for external instability, Landis points out that if U.S. intervention tipped the balance against the Alawites, they might flee Syria into Lebanon, destabilizing that country for decades. Again, this pattern is not unprecedented. Large numbers on the losing side have fled wars in the Middle East, from Palestinians in 1948 to Iraq's Sunnis in the past decade.If the objective is actually to reduce the atrocities and minimize potential instability, the key will be a political settlement that gives each side an assurance that it has a place in the new Syria. That was never achieved in Iraq, which is why, despite U.S. troops and arms and influence, the situation turned into a violent free-for-all. If some kind of political pact can be reached, there's hope for Syria. If it cannot, U.S. assistance to the rebels or even direct military intervention won't change much: Syria will follow the pattern of Lebanon and Iraq--a long, bloody civil war. And America will be in the middle of it.Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2142505,00.html#ixzz2S8RjSda2
Would U.S. intervention--no-fly zones, arms, aid to the opposition forces--make things better? It depends on what one means by better. It would certainly intensify the civil war. It would also make the regime of Bashar Assad more desperate. Perhaps Assad has already used chemical weapons; with his back against the wall, he might use them on a larger scale. As for external instability, Landis points out that if U.S. intervention tipped the balance against the Alawites, they might flee Syria into Lebanon, destabilizing that country for decades. Again, this pattern is not unprecedented. Large numbers on the losing side have fled wars in the Middle East, from Palestinians in 1948 to Iraq's Sunnis in the past decade.
If the objective is actually to reduce the atrocities and minimize potential instability, the key will be a political settlement that gives each side an assurance that it has a place in the new Syria. That was never achieved in Iraq, which is why, despite U.S. troops and arms and influence, the situation turned into a violent free-for-all. If some kind of political pact can be reached, there's hope for Syria. If it cannot, U.S. assistance to the rebels or even direct military intervention won't change much: Syria will follow the pattern of Lebanon and Iraq--a long, bloody civil war. And America will be in the middle of it.
Former Labor MP Maxine McKew says the federal government's funding cuts to universities and recent campaigning on 457 visa rorts are undermining its efforts to embrace the Asian Century.
We pay lip service to the idea of an integrated knowledge economy, but we want it on the cheap.
Queensland has updated its royal succession laws, making sure they do not disrupt similar amendments around the Commonwealth.
The State Government has passed laws allowing a first-born female child to become heir and to allow royals to marry Roman Catholics.
British prime minister David Cameron asked all Commonwealth countries to update their laws, and the Australian Government wanted the states to refer to its amendments rather than passing their own.
The Federal Government wanted all states to refer their powers to a central piece of legislation, but Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says Queensland preferred to make the change itself.
"The people of Queensland, indeed the people of all Her Majesty's dominions, await the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child, a child that will eventually take its place in the history of the English-speaking peoples," he said.
"And we are delighted that no matter whether this child is a boy or a girl, the child will be our future sovereign."
Roman Catholic? You mean all these religious wars were in vain? Time to have a republic....
On the same page, in banana bender country...:
TONY EASTLEY: Some Queensland public housing tenants are worried the cash-strapped State Government is considering selling their valuable inner city properties.The Government has confirmed to AM it commissioned Ernst and Young to investigate options including selling public housing land for private development.It says proceeds would go towards new public housing, but residents worry they'll be removed from their communities and medical services and sent to the city's outskirts.Annie Guest reports from Brisbane.
A five-year-old boy who was playing with a .22 calibre rifle he'd been given as a gift accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister in their Kentucky home, officials say.
It's a little rifle for a kid. ...The little boy's used to shooting the little gun.
As for Russia, ruler Vladimir Putin has offered no public hint that he has any inclination to reverse his support for Mr. Assad. It’s not just that the Kremlin has interests to protect in Syria; Mr. Putin’s priority is to prevent what he views as another U.S.-sponsored regime change. Even were he to decide to cooperate with Mr. Obama, it’s doubtful that Mr. Putin could induce the Assad clique and its principal backer, Iran, to give up what the dictator himself has called a fight to the death.
A slim chance for a political settlement may still exist but only if the United States and its allies take measures that decisively, and relatively quickly, shift the momentum of the war. Only when the Assad army is defeated and the regime crumbles will a deal be possible. Supplying arms to the rebels, as Mr. Obama is said to be considering, would be a step in that direction but probably not a big enough one. Without stronger U.S. measures, the most likely outcome is the fragmentation of Syria into warring fiefdoms, with some turf controlled by Iran and some by al-Qaeda.
What’s needed is what the opposition has repeatedly requested: a no-fly zone in parts of Syria, or other measures — such as attacks with missiles and stealth bombers — to ground the Syrian air force. Yes, such measures would have to be taken without a United Nations resolution, and they would upset Mr. Putin. But if Mr. Obama continues to pursue a policy of awaiting U.N. consensus and deferring to Russia, the result will be more crossings of his red line — and grave damage to U.S. interests.
Grave damage to the US interests?...
At this stage, it's a battle of will between Iran "that we don't like" supported by Russia (which annoys us senseless) and Al Qaeda that "we hate so much we killed its leader Bin laden" but who is supported by our friends the Saudis "that we like"(because they have oil we want)... Decision, decision... Meanwhile, the innocent blood is spilled by the gallons...
So Far, one has to say that Assad and his despotic regime is the legitimate government of Syria, recognised by the United Nations, whether we like it or not... And up to about three years ago, we ingratiated ourselves to... and with...
See toon at top...
No, Julia Gillard never claims she is on the nose because she is a woman... The only time she mentioned gender and misogyny was when Tony Abbott accused her of being misogynist herself by letting Petter Slipper off the hook, which she did not as she was waiting for the result of a court case or such. That is when her famous speech was delivered. She was applying the "innocent until proven guilty" concept in law that we all should be judged under... The only black mark against Slipper at that stage were judiciously leaked reports of him referring to female genitalia as whatever... And between you and me if you don't have (male) friends who have mentioned or used similar "observation" to you, you are a better man (person) that I am...
Meanwhile I still defend what I am talking about. There is a glass ceiling in all walks of life including religion. And religion my friend is one of the major source of misogyny including in business. I am not attacking your good record as a CEO... But I have known many (male) CEOs whose antics were very misogynic... and at best making sure women were always kept below "the level"... if you see see what I mean...
I accept your point of view though We will carry on disagreeing on this issue... Including the issue on the performance of Julia Gillard which so far is better than any other Prime Ministers since Chifley... My view that I share with myself and a candle...
I simply can't & won't accept your arguments without some factual basis to support them.
For my part, I've been in business for 45 years. I've worked for major multinationals & have held numerous directorships. I have had direct & indirect responsibility for influencing the careers of thousands of people: men & women both. In my entire career, I have never been accused of making a selection decision that wasn't based entirely on merit. I have been responsible for the recruitment & appointment of numerous senior executives; again with both men & women being successful. I have served CEOs/MDs of bothe genders & never once did I feel that gender was an issue in our business deliberations.
I have ocasionally had to deal with complaints regarding selection decisions made by others but cannot recall a single occasion where gender was a factor.
I'm not suggesting that the world is perfect but in the world of business, where directors & senior management have a legal & financial duty to their shareholders to make the best possible decisions in the running of the business, how can an appointment of a person (woman) be justified simply by an artificial quota, if there is clearly a better candidate (male) available. If people believe that the selection process is tainted, it is open to them to appeal against the result.
As for the women that you refer to, I'm sure that they are capable, but not because they're women. Just because they are capable & women doesn't mean that there aren't other more capable people out there, including men.
As for Julia Gillard, the primary reason that her prime ministership is so much "on the nose", including with a majority of women, is that every time she comes under criticism, she claims that it's because she is a woman. Not once have I heard Gillard argue for or defend a position without her introducing the gender card. All the women I know detest this sel-righteous, sacrosanct & dishonest behaviour; they are embarrassed by it Gus. They want a Prime Minister that they can respect; look up to - not one that is an embarrassment to both our Nation, our Parliament & our people, including women.
That Gillard's poor performance is not a function of her gender, even though she wants to use her gender as an excuse, is the real issue & if she were a man, she would have been consigned to history's garbage heap long ago. Instead, our Nation is obliged to tolerate 2nd rate leadership, consistemnty delivering 2nd rate outcomes, simply because we are too cowardly to act on the evidence & cut-down a phoney.
In my view, the Prime Minister must surely be the single most compelling reason against the introduction of quotas for women in the workplace.
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