Monday, 14 August 2017

Jewish group slams Kirby....august 11



Jewish group slams Kirby for Holocaust comparison in gay marriage issue



Michael Kirby said he had meant no offence but stood by his comments.
Michael Kirby said he had meant no offence but stood by his comments.
The Anti-Defamation Commission has urged Michael Kirby to withdraw contentious comments after the former High Court chief justice linked Jewish people who co-operated with the Nazi regime to gay Australians who want to boycott the same-sex marriage postal vote.
Mr Kirby, a prominent same-sex marriage advocate whose preference is for a free vote in parliament, initially declared he would have no part in the postal ballot but told The Weekend Australian he had always intended on voting Yes if it survived various legal challenges.
He drew fierce criticism from the Anti-Defamation Commission, a Jewish community group, after referring to the Holocaust while expressing his empathy for LGBTI Australians, such as his long-term partner, Johan van Vloten, who will not participate in the postal vote.
Mr Kirby said it made them feel like “second-class citizens”.
“During the run-up to the Second World War some Jewish ­people, though the situation was much more desperate and fraught, took part with the Nazis in the regulation of the Jewish community. Looking back on it, we can now see that that is something when you are being denigrated and treated unfairly and as a second-class citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily go along with,” Mr Kirby told ABC radio on Thursday.
“This postal vote isn’t in that order but it’s the same principle, so I can sort of understand my partner who gave away his perfectly good Netherlands citizenship, under which he could marry, for Australian citizenship, and feels he’s being humiliated and treated in a hostile way by members of parliament who shouldn’t be acting in this way.”
Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich seized on the ­remarks, declaring there was no comparison between contemporary political circumstances and the “incomprehensible conditions” endured by Jews under Adolf Hitler’s regime.
Dr Abramovich said he recognised how “irresistible” the Holocaust reference had become in generating headlines, but it could not be justified, “no matter how strong one’s objection may be to the postal vote”.
“The Turnbull government is certainly not the Third Reich and no one is being herded onto trains and sent to the death camps,” he said. “Invoking such inappropriate and offensive analogies to advance any agenda undermines the historical truth and the meaning of the Holocaust, and only serves to trivialise the extermination of six million Jews and millions of ­others, which, as we know, ­included gay people.”
Mr Kirby said he had meant no offence but stood by his comments, explaining his partner lived through World War II in The Netherlands as a small boy and strongly believed “no minority should ever co-operate with those who seek to oppress its members”.
“In our most respectful view, the Holocaust should not be consigned to books of history; nor ­restricted to the lessons it teaches for anti-Semitism,’’ Mr Kirby said.
“It should be available so all of us can learn from the wrongs that are done to minorities by reason of indelible features of their nature. This includes race and ethnicity. But, in our view, it also includes sexual orientation. Many of the leaders of LGBTIQ liberation have been Jewish.’’
Mr Kirby said the foundation of the gay marriage survey was unscientific. and its “hairbrained” predecessor, a mandatory plebiscite, would have been better.
WHAT THEY SAID
Michael Kirby on ABC radio, August 10:
I do understand the view of those who say ‘I am not going to participate in something that is my own humiliation. I am not going to participate is something that reinforces that I’m a second class citizen and damages especially young people in the community by making them see very clearly that they are second class citizens subjected to an impediment to the matter being determined in parliament in the normal way in a case of this kind on a conscience vote’. I do understand that.
During the run up to the Second World War some Jewish people, though the situation was much more desperate and fraught, took part with the Nazis in the regulation of the Jewish community. Looking back on it, we can now see that that is something when you are being denigrated and treated unfairly and as a second class citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily go along with.
This postal vote isn’t in that order but it’s the same principle, so I can sort of understand my partner who gave away his perfectly good Netherlands citizenship under which he could marry, for Australian citizenship, and feels he’s being humiliated and treated in a hostile way by members of parliament who shouldn’t be acting in this way.
Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, August 11:
I recognise how irresistible the Holocaust reference has become in today’s society in generating headlines. However, no matter how strong one’s objection may be to the postal vote on same-sex marriage, there is no comparison between contemporary political circumstances and the incomprehensible conditions that the Jewish community faced under Hitler’s evil regime.
The Turnbull government is certainly not the Third Reich and no one is being herded onto trains and sent to the death camps.
Invoking such inappropriate and offensive analogies to advance any agenda undermines the historical truth and the meaning of the Holocaust, and only serves to trivialize the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others, which, as we know, included gay people. The Holocaust was a singular event in human history and we urge all public leaders in this debate to refrain from using any Holocaust comparisons that are deeply hurtful to the survivors and which coarsen civil discourse. We hope that Justice Kirby reconsiders his words and retracts his remarks.”
Michael Kirby’s letter to the Anti-Defamation Commission, via The Australian, August 11:
The last thing I would wish to do would be to cause offence to members of the Jewish community, in Australia or anywhere else.
My nephew and niece, being born of a Jewish mother, are Jewish by ethnicity and upbringing. In our family, we are proud of our connection with the Jewish community and with our family’s Jewish members. On 27 August 2017, I will be speaking at the dinner for Hadassah Australia in support of that good cause of the Australian Jewish community. Every year, I am invited to, and do, address the Australian Jewish students Association to emphasise the importance of remembering and respecting the lessons of the Holocaust. And the need to combat anti-Semitism. And learn contemporary lessons about it. On 25 August 2017, I will be interviewed by the Australian Jewish News on the subjects of my forthcoming talk.
My partner Johan and I regularly visit the Joodsemuseum and Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam. We have studied the terrible sufferings of the Jewish people in the Netherlands during the war. My partner lived through that time in the Netherlands and although then a small boy he was profoundly affected by the experience. We have talked about it often. I am sure you know that there are books written on the topic of cooperation with the occupying and local powers which was, and is a source of great pain in the Netherlands. It affected my partner’s strong belief (which I can entirely understand) that no minority should ever cooperate with those who seek to oppress its members. In our most respectful view, the Holocaust should not be consigned to books of history; nor restricted to the lessons it teaches for anti-Semitism. It should be available so all of us can learn from the wrongs that are done to minorities by reason of indelible features of their nature. This includes race and ethnicity. But, in our view, it also includes sexual orientation. Many of the leaders of LGBTIQ liberation have been Jewish.
I do assure you that no offence was meant and I was simply trying, in ex tempore unscripted answers to questions, to explain why my partner’s experience, which I have come to share over 48 years, brings about a strong feeling of non-cooperation with the imposition on minorities (in this case LGBTIQ people in Australia) of completely unprecedented, discriminatory, unfavourable and objectionable governmental actions that single them out for disadvantage and hostility. It would be my hope that the Anti-Defamation Commission would see similarities or analogies and insist that no such discriminatory laws or procedures should be adopted by our parliament and our government. I invite you to inform me of any statements by the Anti Defamation Commission making this point and rendering relevant to contemporary Australian society one of the main lessons to be learned from the oppression of the Jewish people.
In the end, I did not feel that LGBTIQ people in Australia should boycott the participation in the discriminatory postal sampling proposed by the government. But nothing will convince my partner Johan to participate. In this, he is a product of the history of his childhood. No one is more respectful of the Jewish people and their sufferings than Johan and me. If my language was considered infelicitous, I regret it. But my motives were truthful and based upon a profound appreciation of the terrible wrongs of the Holocaust. We honour the Jewish people and especially those of the Netherlands.
I hope that you will reconsider your decision to write a critical opinion. We should not allow others to divide those who resist serious discrimination.
Sincerely,
Michael Kirby

Thursday, 23 March 2017

FRONT PAGE ARTICLE: THE OZ TODAY




Labor eyes extending 18C complaints

to gender, disability and age


Mark Dreyfus delivers a speech on Labor’s 18C plan.
Labor is considering a secret plan to extend the reach of litigation based on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to include people claiming they have been ­offended or insulted because of their sexual orientation, disabil­ities or age.
A video, obtained by The Australian, shows Labor legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus last week explaining the proposal, which would lead to the Australian Human Rights Commission and the courts facing a new wave of complaints.
Because Bill Shorten has ­rejected changes to 18C, there is a risk that Labor’s plan to consolidate all federal anti-discrimination laws will lead to litigation by the disabled and the LGBTI community that would be determined using the same procedures that apply under section 18C.
The Australian can reveal that the amount of compensation paid as a result of race discrimination complaints to the Human Rights Commission has soared, with companies and governments handing over almost $1 million since 2010 to avoid going to court.
Mr Dreyfus has confirmed that if Labor is elected to government he will be considering imposing a general standard for speech that infringes anti-discrimination law.
Under Labor’s proposal, advocates of same-sex marriage would be empowered, for example, to take legal action under 18C-style laws if they felt offended or ­insulted by those who publicly ­defended the traditional definition of marriage. Those at risk would include priests, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders who publicly oppose same-sex marriage.
Labor’s proposal also opens the prospect that debate over the cost of the National Disability ­Insurance Scheme could be truncated because of the risk of litigation by those who might feel offended or insulted.
Mr Dreyfus outlined Labor’s thinking during a panel discussion on Wednesday last week with Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson, hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.
In the video of the event, Mr Dreyfus said a Labor gov­ernment hoped to consolidate all federal anti-discrimination legislation and would consider whether there should be a general standard for the type of speech that would ­attract liability under that law. At the moment, separate federal laws make it unlawful to discriminate against people because of their race, age, sex and sexual orientation, disability and indigeneity.
When Mr Dreyfus was asked by an audience member if section 18C should be extended to cover gender and disability, he said Mr Wilson had reminded him of the “failed project which I hope to ­return to of consolidating the five anti-discrimination statutes when we are next in government”.
“One of the things we’ll be looking at is this very point of whether or not we should set a standard about speech generally,” Mr Dreyfus said.
“I want to have standards set in a community which respect the dignity of every Australian. I think it’s very important and something to be fought for.”
When asked yesterday about his remarks, Mr Dreyfus said Labor would never support changes to section 18C of the ­Racial Discrimination Act.
“The consolidation of discrimination law was a policy of the Gillard Labor government,” he said. “My discussion of this issue last week was clearly hypothetical, and is not relevant to the current proposed changes to section 18C which will do nothing but weaken protections against racial hate speech in this country.”
Labor’s proposal has come to light at a time when the Australian Human Rights Commission is dealing with a surge in complaints by those claiming to have been ­offended and insulted under section 18C. Section 18C makes it unlawful to do anything that causes people to feel offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated because of their race, colour or national or ethnic background.
Under a plan unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis this would be changed to eliminate what they have described as an unnecessary restriction on freedom of speech.
The proposed changes would impose liability only on those who intimidated or harassed others ­because of their race, colour or ­national or ethnic background. The government’s plan would also abandon the test for liability and require all disputes to be decided based on the standards of reasonable members of the community.
This would overturn the current arrangement in which judges are required to adopt the perspective of reasonable representatives of those who complain.
Reader comments on this site are moderated before publication to promote lively and civil debate. We encourage your comments but submitting one does not guarantee publication. We publish hundreds of comments daily, and if a comment is rejected it is likely because it does not meet with our comment guidelines, which you can read here. No correspondence will be entered into if a comment is declined.
411 COMMENTS
330 people listening


Peter

Peter
Let us not forget that the last Labor government sought to introduce press censorship. Mr Dreyfus and Mr Shorten have reminded us that this is still their objective.
Nick

Nick
I don’t seem to have Lambie’s phone number anymore. But if anyone does, could they please call her and bring this matter to her attention. She could perhaps be invited to have a look at the comments being posted here to get an idea of peoples’ feelings and views of issues such as freedom of speech.
ADN
Davydd

Davydd
This, of course, is classical fascism. Not satisfied with directing what citizens do, fascism seeks to direct and control what they say and think. It is not surprising that the ALP is seeking to introduce such controls. It has been moving in this direction since Whitlam. This latest move  is just part of that  continuing eradication of Australian cultural and  political heritage.
Fortunately, we can all follow the policy of ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, and disregard laws that we don't agree with.
That's what I'll be doing. 
Ken

Ken
When any vote is taken in the Federal Parliament that relates to freedom of speech, I ask that the "Australian" publish a list of those MPs and Senators that vote against our right to free speech. In that way, the electorate can get a clear understanding as to which politicians are trying to gag us.
Phil

Phil
Surely that would make a case for those who support leaving marriage as it is to bringing an action under 18C to stop being offended, insulted, humiliated, harassed and intimidated by SSM activists.

Stephen

Stephen
Age and disability are red herrings here.Labor desperately wants to go down in history as the father of SSM.The LNP’s promised plebiscite would pre-empt Labor, whichever way the vote went.Making open public debate about SSM illegal would sink the plebiscite, thereby promoting Labor’s demand for a parliamentary vote as the only option.
  
Ianx

Ianx
Being run like a Union because that's what pays best for those in power, be they government or opposition. Regretfully I believe we need Shorten as PM before those "in the Pub and round the Barbie" say enough is enough and take to the streets, recent events show that is the only way to get what "you want" in this country.
citizen44

citizen44
Do we have to wait for Sen. Jackie Lambie to tell us whether anyone in Tasmania has complained to her about Mark Dreyfus' proposal to end free speech? It seems the future of western civilisation in Australia is dependent on the constituents of a single cross bench senator. High risk, no chance of reward.
John

John
And rather than being sued for breaches we will be sent to re-education camps.
Michael Hamilton

Michael Hamilton
Basically, Labor want to close down ALL debate on SSM and ALL debate on the cost of the National Disability Scheme however, Labor does not seem to have made it any easier for a white-middle-aged-man to have his complaint accepted by the HRC.  


David

David
@Michael Hamilton over qualified.  They want to shut down all debate.  Wait for Conroy's internet filter with the secret blacklist and his and Gillard's Media censorship laws to come back.
Ultimately they will make it impossible to discuss or hold and opinion they do not agree with.  
Max

Max
More adventurism? More speech control by enemies of the Open Society? Give us a break- and let's get right the central issue of the moment... the anti- race vilification law. First, let's say unambiguously that to vilify fellow-citizens for no good reason is, well, base, wicked and ... vile. It should not be countenanced. At an individual level, there are good anti-defamation laws which deal with exactly this in Australia.
The real problem with the anti-race vilification law [at a societal level] is that it is too subjective and does not cope with what to 'vilify' means. The Macquarie dictionary defines it as to slander, calumniate and malign, to speak evil or falsely of. The application of the law is not so much whether some objective red lines have been crossed, but whether putative 'recipients' feel insulted, humiliated and offended.This is where the cancer lies.
It is not inconceivable that even someone like Ivan Milat may, subjectively, feel offended or humiliated by this or that description of him. The bar is set too low. The temptation to play the victim card is even more alluring if pecuniary, power or political advantage are at play, as seems to have been, in the Leak and QUT cases.
Apart from the concept of objective red lines being crossed, the ones regarding whether remarks are simply malicious or not, intellectually defensible or not, gratuitous or well-grounded are crucial- and these are seemingly wilfully neglected concepts in the present debate. These criteria must be central to the debate but are mysteriously absent.
No, a free society is not content to have its bigots, but seeks to educate its bigots out of their entrenched positions. For this, it needs the free flow of information, not what information various commissars deem to be safe or appropriate. It needs to be compassionate and embracing, but it must be able to speak freely against its enemies, whether corporatised, unionised, radicalised or of any illiberal hue. In this day and age of radical claims from disparate groups, often pushed through force and violence, our society cannot simply drift into being muzzled and stunned into submission, disempowered and ultimately enslaved. It must see a more enlightened and brave attitude from its parliamentary representatives- and one more in tune with World War sacrifices and the battle against communism in the ongoing war for freedom. Let us also remember that the enemies of the Open Society are many and cunning and often more dedicated than its defenders.
Monty

Monty
And a majority of One Nation supporters prefer to preference Labor ahead of the LNP. A curious mob!
Cherry

Cherry
Politicians no longer have credibility. It's time for a new voter participation system. Signing over your rights at election time under the duress  of a fine or imprisonment is archaic. 
David

David
Labor, rushing left very quickly.  Rudd would be proud. No lurching to the right in today's world.
happyj

happyj
this means that the AHRC is heading to be a mega department to handle all the complaints.
Deborah

Deborah
Well if anyone needs another reason not to vote Labor/Green there it is. I was truly astounded, talk about the thought police.

Anthony & Joan

Anthony & Joan
@Deborah Fully agree Deborah. We will have to educate our fellow citizens on the imminent dangers to any form of free speech and conscience if Labor is voted in.
Brasso

Brasso
Why not include facial expressions, just in case someone gets "offended" by a dirty look. Looks can be so upsetting and a clear violation of human rights!

Brasso's mate

Jamie

Jamie
@Brasso Remember the outrage when Tony Abbott looked at his watch in Parliament and then had the temerity to wink in a Radio interview.
Christopher

Christopher
And this is the biggest issue for dear old Labor and their watermelon mates?! More on how to disempower the people by restricting what they can say. This thought control at its worst. Let's just call it for what it is. This is a step (another) towards communism.
David

David
Once again labours shows it bigotry against main stream Australia.  WE are not bigots, not raciest, and generally give everyone a fair go.  The only way to fix this is not to vote labour , Greens Lambie, nxn etc
Clive

Clive
If the APL/Greens get their way, saying most common swearwords will get you hauled before the HRC!  ( even "old fart" and "moron" will be banned!)
I cannot think of a building site, mine, sawmill or powerhouse where all these derogatory words are not used in casual conversation? I wonder what the CFMEU will think of their new thought and speech masters?
( and Kevin Bloody Wilson will need to find a new career!) 


Nick

Nick
To be fair, we need to see the details of Dreyfus’ proposed amendments to 18c. I don’t believe that all freedom of expression will be removed. Instead, I think that Dreyfus will legislate for a compulsory Orwellian “Two minutes of Hate” where, each day we can express our outrage loathing, revulsion, loathing, etc at the likes of middle-aged heterosexual married white men and Christians of any kind. By then, these groups will not exist. However, they will be depicted as an ever-present enemy of the peoples’ paradise that Dreyfus and his fellow travellers are laying the groundwork for today. There is no need go to North Korea when we can create it right here under a Labor / Greens government with the very valuable assistance of Xenephon and Lambie.
Andrew

Andrew
So this would mean you could bring a 18C case against eg Donald Trump for mocking Serge Kovaleski the reporter with arthrogryposis - a conjenital joint condition that limits his arm movements (if he did that in Australia):
You know that time when Trump stated thousands of people celebrated 9/11 in New Jersey and referred to a story written by Kovaleski in the Washington Post as proof of his claims.  On 9/11 Kovaleski wrote that some "people were arrested"  for appearing to celebrate the attack, but also stated in 2016 that he "not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating [9/11 in New Jersey]".  No one saw thousands of people celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey.  It turns out to be just another Trump lie.
So the day after Kovaleski denied stating he said thousands of people celebrated 9/11 in New Jersey, Trump goes on stage stating:  "Now, the poor guy — you ought to see the guy: 'Uh, I don't know what I said. I don't remember,'" As Trump was speaking those words he was waving his arms about in a way similar to the movements Kovaleski's disability produces.  The video of this is still online. 
If Trump did that in Australia under the proposed changes then he rightfully should be done for 18C.
Ray

Ray
Why stop there? Why not go all the way and ban any discussion which disagrees with the Labor Party, Dreyfus and their mates in the unions. And while we are at it, why not rid ourselves of this inconvenient notion of democracy and then Labor can adopt their new name, the Australian Fascist Party. 
john

john
1984. 

Jamie

Jamie
@David @john It's the old Frog in a frying pan analogy.  It's been coming for a long while in small increments.  Now that people are waking up to what's been going on - it's too late. 
Davydd

Davydd
@David @john It's called Fabianism. The gradual approach, always moving by  small steps in the same direction. Like putting a frog in cold water on a warm stove.
Australia's on the stove now and the water has been getting warmer for the last fifty years. 
Hanne

Hanne
I feel we are just going to go around in circles until someone takes 18C to the High Court. I live in hope that this will happen at some point and put my faith in the legal and constitutional law experts who question the Constitutional validity of 18C.
Labor aiming to put further restrictions on 18C might just be the trigger to take this farce of a law to the High Court.
linda

linda
I don't know what is worse the party that is determined to destroy Australia or those that support and vote for them.
Linda's husband
Martin

Martin
Dreyfus is trying to turn Australia into a marxist state, he is a dangerous man.
Paul

Paul
Love or loathe Turnbull or Abbott, you cannot deny they are fundamentally good men and want to do good for the country. The other side couldn't give a damn what their position does to society at large.

David

David
@Paul On the contrary, Labor care very deeply how much they affect society.  They want to know they have us in tow.
Kent

Kent
This PC extremist, who would be a minister in a Labor government, wants to legislate for 'niceness' and punish anyone who by his standards is not nice. Labor is beyond parody.

David

David
@Kent That's it. Off to the HRC for you Kent.  We shan't have that kind of hate speech around thanks very much.
Peter

Peter
Australians have always been exceedingly kind and helpful to minority groups, migrants, people with disabilities, etc.  You only need to look at the amount of volunteer work and giving to charities which occurs in our society. Many people from minority groups are given great assistance and encouragement in fitting into the community.  They are invited to events and to participate in sports and other activities.  Members of minority groups are not discriminated against and occupy some of the highest positions in our land. 

I find it offensive the way people in politics and high profile positions, slur the common people as being offensive, rascist, mysogenistic, etc, in order to selfishly advance themselves and their interests. 
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