Write On: Letters to the Editor
It's all about choice, the multi-million dollar advertising tells us. Bargain with your employer, he will give you an interview and listen sympathetically to your pleas. You and the other several hundred of your comrades individually. He has all the time in the world for this and a deeply compassionate interest in every case.
In the first half of the 19th century, a period which saw, among other things, the completion of the enclosure movement in England, convict transportation to Australia's penal colonies and the infamous decision of the justices to lower the subsistence wage, rural labourers who attempted to negotiate a living wage with the landlords were forbade by a law defined as "seditious confederacy". Many starved and were found dead like their Irish comrades with the green stain of their last meal still on their lips.
As defined by Chambers 20th Century Dictionary:
Sedition: insurrection; public tumult; vaguely any offence against the state short of treason.
Confederacy: a league or mutual engagement; persons or states united by a league; a conspiracy.
On October 16, 1975, five Australian-based journalists were murdered in the small East Timorese town of Balibo by the Indonesian National Army (TNI) during an incursion prior to its illegal invasion later in the same year.
These courageous men gave their lives to ensure that the world knew what crime the Indonesian dictatorship was about to commit against the tiny nation of East Timor. They were attempting to expose a terrorist crime.
We all know what happened in East Timor following that event in Balibo. The TNI murdered about 300,000 East Timorese and it committed sickening crimes against humanity in what only can be described as genocide.
The TNI had already murdered 3 million Indonesians when it seized power in 1965 and had begun its genocide in West Papua. Since leaving East Timor, the TNI has carried out similar crimes in Aceh and Maluku (the Moluccas).
The 30th anniversary of the TNI crime in Balibo rated hardly a mention in the Australian media and politicians of the major parties said nothing about the courage of these men.
Throughout the past 30 years, Australian political leaders supported the Indonesian dictatorship as it carried out its bloody policies in our region. Since East Timor's independence, the Australian and US governments have shamefully resumed military cooperation with the TNI even though very few of the war criminals in its ranks have ever been brought to justice.
We must never forget the names of those journalists. RIP Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart — and 300,000 East Timorese
Information officer, Australia East Timor Friendship Association (SA)
Many people are starting to ask the question "Is the Liberal Party liberal?" The most accurate answer to this question was given by one of its former leaders, Sir Billy Snedden, in his autobiography An Unlikely Liberal. He stated "the Liberal Party is not a liberal party in the philosophical sense. The Liberal Party is a conservative party and a reactionary party."
The draconian industrial relations legislation that Howard government intends to introduce provides ample evidence to prove the correctness of this statement.
The science educators who have recently declared the theory of intelligent design unscientific are correct. Furthermore, even if the world had been intelligently designed by a god, this would have no implications for morality. It would provide no support for the conservative social values advocated by most people lobbying to have intelligent design taught in schools.
To credibly espouse a religious ethic you need to show that God wants us to behave in a certain way, and explain why we should do what God wishes — even if doing so clashes with the recommendations of the best secular ethic.
Simply demonstrating that the world had been intelligently designed would do nothing to establish that God had moral opinions, let alone that we should follow his wishes when this would result in unhappy consequences for sentient earthly creatures.
Intelligent design is both scientifically unsound and ethically irrelevant.
Brent Howard From Green Left Weekly, November 23, 2005.
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From Green Left Weekly, November 23, 2005.