Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for July 2013


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Laws  won’t solve the refugee or same sex marriage issues


Today, refugees and same sex marriage are two issues occupying the minds of politicians across the world (although the latter has more prominence in the west than the east) that have never been resolved and I doubt will ever be resolved by law. However, both issues are likely to keep lawyers in a style of living to which they have become accustomed.

However, there is a difference: marital disputes can lead to small domestic wars but the issue of refugees can, does, and has, led to full blown wars between countries. Indeed one need only be interested in politics to know the latter is true.

In Australia, unfortunately, refugees have become a major issue in the coming election as Labor and the Liberal/National Coalition battle it out in the media while the Greens and minor parties sit on the sidelines cheering them on to destruction. Not that this will happen of course but, “We live in Hope” is the latter’s standby campaign slogan.

Refugees should not be an issue on which voters stand aloof because Australia has always been a land of refugees even if not all came for the same reason. Some came because officers of Australia’s Immigration Department assured them it was a land of opportunity; others came because they had nowhere else to go; some came for the better weather; and some came for economic reasons.

Some of today’s refugees, fleeing from home if fear of their lives and the lives of their children, think of Australia as a haven of safety where their fear of death will grow to a love of life. One hopes that if they get a chance to settle down, their hopes might be realised

Sadly and unfortunately, however, they are being treated as pawns in a political battle between two men each of whom wants to be Australia’s principal wielder of power the like of whom the refugees thought they had escaped. The situation is not without irony because in no small measure, Australia, albeit by participating in wars that made it necessary for the refugees to flee their homeland, is keeping them penned up in conditions as bad as those from which they fled.

Reading between the lines I cannot see Prime Minister Rudd changing his mind on the issue. On the other hand if Mr Abbott decided to look at the matter again and change his mind he could well benefit at the ballot box. After all he his opponent his opponent has changed his mind regularly.

Same sex marriage

Neither a member nor a follower of any religion, I hope, nevertheless, that a relationship between same sex couples is never described in the same way as the relationship I enjoy with my wife. Using ‘love’ as the basis for the rightness of same sex marriage clearly shows its proponents do not understand the complexity of heterosexual marriage.

That same sex marriage seems likely to be legalised in mainly western society it is unlikely to be recognised as acceptable by many nor recognised as such in other societies. Indeed, as has happened in Western Society’s other social engineering experiments unwanted and unintended consequences could be many.

I believe also that the process of procreation is a gift from Mother Nature to man to ensure continuance of her creation – humanity. Indeed, in all civil societies since the dawn of history, heterosexual coupling even if no children were born, was recognised as marriage.

Sad as it is, while endowing all men and women with the capacity to procreate, Mother Nature was discriminatory by not endowing different couplings with the capacity to enjoy it to the full. However no amount of legislation can change the situation and I doubt Mother Nature will change it either.

That said, perhaps proponents of same sex marriage would like to take Mother Nature to the Human Rights Commission. Indeed they would be better off using common sense to solve a confected problem that almost certainly will continue in every millennium to come.

Let me also remind them of the adage: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.



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OZ voters drowning in Asylum politics

I have decided to give the watery space between Indonesia and Christmas Island a new name:  ‘Asylum Strait` if only because it describes where much of Australia’s current political discussion is centred. Perhaps too, because many people are of the view that even if possible refugees survive the Asylum Straits the next part of their journey could be through Dire Straits on the way to Papua New Guinea to be incarcerated on Manus Island, which many of them might well come to remember as Detention Island, an island on which they would like to settle some Australian politicians for three years or more.

That the discussion is centred on the Asylum Straits comes as no surprise because day after day, the subject seems to be at the forefront of political commentators’ minds in the press, radio and TV, as we read, hear or see them voicing their opinions which, by their content, show almost total disregard for the policies of every party but the one they support, so in the hope that this will prevent them being accused of bias.

As a strong believer in free speech, I think it reprehensible that media organisations – particularly if publicly funded – which pride themselves on informing the community do not ensure their political commentators declare where their political support lies before commenting. Questioned on this, their explanation that everyone knows which party the commentator supports is not good enough.

A political agnostic and believer in free speech I have no problem with people who support a particular party. Sadly, and unfortunately, too many people support political parties without knowing what the party stands for but support it because their parents did/do, or because the party leader has a nice smile, or supports the same football team, or likes classical music, or art, or whatever.

Indeed some people don’t actually vote because they know the local candidate but for the leader as if all candidates have the same talent as the leader. They don’t! That being the case voters often get a government they don’t want.

Today, unfortunately, politics is a battle of popularity; policy plays second fiddle. Indeed people often vote for the party if the synopsis of the policy sounds good and that party’s proposed PM looks good when presenting it on TV.

Although many parties are likely to contest the nest federal election, it is extremely unlikely the next PM will be other than a Labor or Liberal MP. Indeed many of the candidates from the other parties are likely to lose their deposit. However, The Greens, The Bob Katter Party, Palmer United Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party among others, are all likely to affect the outcome of the election; whether for good or bad is hard to say.

But what is not in doubt are the issues that will probably decide the election such as, which of the  two men Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd do voters trust more and to some extent  which of the two men are strongly trusted by their own party.

While the Asylum Seekers will play its part, the issue it will not be the issue that will decide the next election but will only be one of many issues: Climate Change; Carbon Tax; Mining Tax; Education Reform; Renewable Energy; Health Services; Superannuation; Welfare Services; Disability Care and Economic Policy, the policy that must be successful to ensure that every other policy is successful.

Although the election campaign has not yet started officially, voters already have a wealth of policy to think about. That being the case I urge you not to be distracted by superficial and glib responses from the Prime Ministerial candidates that fail to answer questions. And forget about accusations of negativity; any accusation about someone else’s negativity is, in itself, negativity in action.

Finally, voters should understand that what people in Canberra might think important issues might not be of the same importance to voters in every other state or Territory. So make sure you only cast your vote for local candidates.

Comment welcome.

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A blog on babies and family history

If you think I’m going to talk about George Alexander Louis the baby recently born in London you’re mistaken though perhaps the heading of the blog is slightly misleading. It’s misleading because this blog is about more than one baby.

In fact the blog starts with twins Rohan & Audrey, 6th&7th most recent additions to the Larson family, of my nephew Wayne and his wife Lynda King – Larson from the U.S. members of the extended Scottish Allan and King American families. However if the birth George did nothing else it stirred my mind into thinking how many branches of different families have joined with the Allans to create a world of new family trees.    

I don’t know if there are there are any famous people on the new family trees; perhaps like most families in the world they’re famous for not being famous. Mind you that’s not to say none will ever achieve fame. Perhaps some will become infamous a status I confess to finding attractive.

Let me confess to one of my greatest disappointments: I haven’t met all of them and what I know of them is less than extensive. Indeed I know more about departed ancestors such as great grandad William Allan, a former military bandsman, who in 1896 as a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company was, I am given to understand, the first man to play the slide trombone in a public orchestra. Apparently slide trombones weren’t used because it was thought they would knock the hats of the heads of lady orchestra players. True or false I don’t know but from time to time it has made for interesting conversations.

And from around the same time there’s my Great Aunt, (Saucy) Sal – McCusker who trod the stage in Glasgow Vaudeville of the early nineteen hundreds before moving to Manchester where she disappeared into history as one of the Vaudeville’s great unknowns. I rather think I would have liked her.

Apart from grandparents Bob and Rose Morris and Donald and Elizabeth Allan More recently were my parents Rose Morris and Donald Allan who had eight children split evenly between the sexes in order of seniority: Catherine (Katie)-dec; Elizabeth – (Betty); Donald (Junior)-me; Rose-dec; Robert; William – dec; Patricia; and Gerald. Of the many great memories of my mother and father, my favourite is the picture of grace and elegance they presented as they danced together in the local community hall to the music of a piano-accordion. For me they will always.

Of their children none has become famous although one of Katie’s sons has made a name for himself as a sculptor nor have any of Betty’s children. Robert, long retired, was moderately successful in business while Rose who had had a touch of the Aunt Sal about her was at the same time a lady of compassion was much loved in the community where she was born and lived out her life.

William apparently had talent but why it didn’t blossom I don’t know as I had left the family behind while he was still a schoolboy and saw little of him afterwards. He was father of three boys I didn’t know as children although I have since met two of them (each married a very charming Japanese lady) briefly when they visited and stayed with Valerie and me in Canberra, Sadly, the youngest of his sons, whom I never met, also married with children, died early too early though I like what I read of his wife.

Patricia overcame many difficulties her in life and has a fine family of four she can be proud in the same way as I am proud of my family. Gerald has never married and has no children. I don’t care either that if any of their children – if fortunate to have them –  make headlines in the same way as the Royal George but whether they do or not I hope they will grow up not only to be healthy but love and be as proud of their parents as I am of mine.

As It now unlikely I will ever meet them I‘d like to send them a message. A fortunate life will be a good life and an even better life if you love your neighbours and help others without thought of reward.

Comment welcome.

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Q&A: a political TV snack

Although it took a long time, friends (yes I still have some) persuaded me to watch Q&A a panel show on ABC Television., which is chaired by prominent political commentator Tony Jones. They assured me this was a must watch programme for people, like me, who are interested in politics. Taking them at their word I sat down today, Tuesday, 23rd July, to watch the repeat of the show of the previous evening.

Question master Tony Jones chaired a panel of prominent people: Associate Professor Dr Michelle Foster, Director of the International Refugee Law Research Programme in the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School; Bill Shorten, Labor MP and Minister in the Rudd Government; Arthur Sinodinos, Liberal Senator; Louise Adler, prominent publisher; and The Hon Tim Fischer former National Party MP and Deputy Prime Minister and former Australian Ambassador to the Holy See.

Because the audience seemed mostly young people, and with the Government mired in controversy over the Prime Minister Rudd’s latest display of his own genius on how he  guaranteed stopping people smugglers from selling passages on decidedly on savoury boats to asylum seekers that would give them unauthorised access to Australia, I expected the panel to face passionate and fiery questions.

I was disappointed. The audience questioned the panellists with less passion than the panellists answered, particularly Foster and Adler, while Mr Shorten and Mr Sinodinos carried on their own battle based on the political positions of their respective parties with regard to stopping the boats.

At the end of the programme when I totted up my score of the battle between politicians Shorten and Sinodinos, I had the latter ahead on points on the basis of his responses to questions. On the other hand I had Foster and Adler ahead of them by a mile.

That said it seems to me the panel was missing an important ingredient: why no Greens panellist? Had there been a Greens panellist not only do I think the session would have been feistier and more interesting it also mitigated Mr Jones’ many irritating interruptions.

At the end of the program the suggestion was made that Q&A could be seen as being in the mould of a town hall debate. When I heard that suggestion my immediate reaction was that to think that with programs like Q&A, little wonder people are apathetic about politics.

I have since spoken to some of the friends who persuaded me to watch the show: some agreed with my views, some didn’t.  No doubt some readers will have the same views.

Comment welcome.

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Boat people: saleable commodities to an ambitious politician

There is nothing more admirable than to serve one’s fellow man without any thought of personal reward and nothing more despicable than to use one’s fellow man merely to satisfy your ambition.  Despite Kevin Rudd’s rhetoric suggesting the former, an examination of his deal with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea about the boat people suggests the latter.

After observing and being involved in politics for most of my life it saddens me to see Australia a country that boasts of its commitment to social freedom treating the boat people as slaves were treated in centuries past, a commodity to be traded. Yet this is what Mr Rudd is doing, trading them to PNG to avoid settling them in Australia.

Without disrespect to PNG let me ask a few questions. How will PNG settle the asylum seekers many of whom, but not all, will be Sunni Muslims from Iran? Will they have a mosque? Will the detention camps become religious battlegrounds where missionaries of various Christian sects will fight each other to convert them?

More important, because they are being incarcerated on Manus Island at the behest of Australia will they develop a slow, festering hate of Australia? If so it could create difficulties in the future between PNG and Australia.

At the same time will PNG be able to offer them the same job opportunities they could expect in Australia? Will children also enjoy the same educational opportunities? What kind of health service will they get? Will it be free, if not how will they pay for it? Other questions also spring to mind: will they ever be entitled to vote? And, apart from language difficulties how will they cope with an environment of which they have no experience?

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The difficulties they will face crossing cultural bridges in PNG will be greater than the difficulties they would ever face in Australia. I also think many Papua New Guineans will think the deal another form of Australian colonialism.

On the other hand, what will be of great interest to Australian voters is the as yet un-known cost to Australia of settling the asylum seekers in PNG. At the moment, Australian voters are being deluded by PM Rudd into thinking the deal with PNG is good for them. But how can they know when no details of the deal have been published?

Clearly Mr Rudd sees the deal as a political life saver that will assuage the unwarranted fears many voters have of boat people but also boost his chances of continuing as Prime Minister after the coming election.

However, if the cost of the deal is high to start with and clouds of uncertainty start to gather around it and if costs increase later, Mr Rudd will need a better excuse than the increased costs are the result of unintended consequences.

As I think about the deal it seems to me that New Guinea Prime Minister, Mr O’Neill, was the smarter of the two Prime Ministers. It will make no difference to him if Mr Rudd loses the election; PNG will be better off economically. And nor is it any concern to Mr O’Neill that the deal was the product of the policy promoting fear of Mr Abbott and the Liberal/National Coalition by Mr Rudd and the Labor Party.

Indeed once the initial euphoria wears off, if voters then cast aside their apathy about politics and examine the deal, perhaps they might take a different view when next they hear Mr Rudd saying they should fear Tony Abbot becoming Prime Minister. It might also help Mr Abbott if he cast negativity aside and campaign using the words Franklin D. Roosevelt used in 1932 as he campaigned against Herbert Hoover in the US presidential election: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

If voters hear these words often enough perhaps they would become more fearful of Mr Rudd who makes extravagant promises without detailing, except minimally, how his promises will be achieved.

Australia, unfortunately, has a reputation for producing successful con men many of whom have been messianic in nature. While many of them have defrauded individuals of their wealth it has never produced one like Mr Rudd who is trying to persuade people of two countries about his messianic talent. That said it seems to me also that if we believe his messianic messages we will deserve everything we get.


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Pragmatic or Principled?  Australia’s next PM

 Now you might think that picturing Australia’s next PM would be easy. No doubt the zealots in every party contesting the election and a number of people with limited knowledge of what each party represents will do so with ease. The former will find it easy because in a sense whether right or wrong like sheep they will follow the party’s bellwether.

The latter are more problematic. Real bellwethers among them will be few and far between because their flocks are rarely to be found on what is now recognised as politics main paddock, Radio, TV and Newspapers.

In Australia the bellwethers are: Kevin Rudd, Labor leader and PM; Tony Abbott, Liberal/ National Coalition’s Leader; and Christine Milne, Greens Leader. The latter is an exception to the rule of bellwethers being castrated rams. But bellwether or not is there a real leader among them?

Indeed if voters are relying on television to help them decide they could end up even more undecided. At the same time although the official election campaign hasn’t started it is clear that Kevin Rudd is already campaigning. Is this just politics or is it cheating?

In his TV ad he says, among other things, that he will give Australians first class health and education services something he says Tony Abbott won’t. He describes Tony Abbott as the Mr Negative of Australian politics because he opposes everything he (Mr Rudd) proposes.

It is said the age of miracles has not yet passed. That having been said, it would be nothing short of a miracle for a political leader to congratulate their opponent on matters he/she proposed. Indeed, why a new leader if everything they proposed was thought OK?

As to Mr Rudd’s advert, his performance seems less than impressive. While Mr Rudd might see himself as a great performer, the advert lacks sincerity. He also looks like a Billy Bunter with mannerisms that put me in mind of old time advance men in the entertainment field who spruiked a coming show as the greatest show in the world.

I have seen Mr Abbott on TV many times, but not in an election advert. While no Billy Bunter, unfortunately for him, the aggressive image he tends to present, his accusations of Mr Rudd as a politician without principal and his continual rejection of proposals put forward by Mr Rudd, tends, subconsciously, to make some voters endorse the latter’s opinion of him as Mr Negative.  Are they right?

All I will say is that I have always understood that principle underlies policy in a democracy be it in Australia, Britain, U.S., Canada, France, or wherever else democracy is said to exist. Sadly, and too often in politics, pragmatism displaces principle, a situation to which Australia is no exception.

To explain what I mean, let me use same sex marriage as an example of political pragmatism displacing principle.

Until recently Kevin Rudd has been an opponent of same sex marriage as was Prime Minister Julia Gillard. However in the tortuous world of Labor Politics, Julia Gillard had deposed Rudd as Prime Minster although Rudd claimed Julia had his full support as PM.

Suddenly he changed tack on same sex marriage action many people think an attempt to gain support for him to again become Prime Minister action many people think an attempt to gain support for him to again become Prime Minister (or was this an attempt to put himself in the same class as President Obama?).

Ultimately his attempt proved successful although many are of the view that Rudd’s support of same sex marriage was based more on pragmatism than belief.

Abbott, however, despite poor poll ratings, has declared that his opposition to same sex marriage remains though if he changed his mind no doubt some of the antipathy towards him would disappear. However, it has to be said that, I can only add that if you were in an army and had the choice of appointing a leader, out of Abbott and Rudd, who would you pick: Abbott the principled leader or Rudd the pragmatist?

But Christine Milne, Leader of the Greens Party also has a role to play in Government until election time after which her reduced role might be further reduced or disappear altogether. Whether or not you like her policies Mrs Milne displays a very steely determination to stick to them. For her, principle also seems to win over pragmatism. I should add that the Greens are supporters of same sex marriage.

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This article has been written in response to a request from a Florida reader who, unlike me, believes Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is the driver of climate change.

Man’s  innovation will save the world, not a carbon tax

The International Panel on Climate Change heads in the clouds, say a carbon tax would not be necessary if countries stopped using fossil fuels to produce, energy, heat, food and many other things considered essential for life. To achieve their ends they would stop the use of fossil fuels because they cause CO2, a greenhouse gas that they say contributes to global warming and cause cataclysmic and catastrophic events that will make much of the world uninhabitable. Speaking plainly, they are prophets of doom.

As prophets of doom they scorn the views of people who don’t agree with them cast them as deniers of climate science. Like zealots they would deny to others the right to express their opinions while saying anything they liked, true and false, about those opinions.

This is the tactic religious zealots used against two famous sceptics, Copernicus and Galileo, whose scepticism was later shown to be right.  In the process of not even considering their ideas the zealots of the purported correct science caused harm to a great many people and also held back the cause of science and reason.

In my view the fears generated by the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) zealots are similar to the fears generated in the public by the advice dished out by unscrupulous religious at the time of Copernicus and Galileo. If you don’t follow our advice you will be doomed to a fate worse than death. The AGW movement make the same predictions.

Indeed AGW has become religion with a hierarchy of climate scientist who pay obeisance to The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This organisation, which is part of the International Church of Bureaucracy known as the United Nations, headed by international bureaucrat, Rajendra K. Pachauri, has a carbon tax as one of its commandments.

Unfortunately, the IPCC, despite it being a UN subsidiary, seems to have little control over the various plans of members for a carbon tax. It also seems to have little control over its published material so much so that it has had to admit that some recent reports it published on Global Warming were inaccurate.

That apart the reader’s request came at an opportune time as Australia is in the middle of a pre-election campaign much of which much is centred round a carbon tax which, in a sense, puts Climate Change into its proper place. Carbon taxes are also in the political spectrum of other countries which should be a warning to voters everywhere that they should examine very carefully any policy relating to carbon tax. Indeed before the last Australian election the Prime Minister at the time said there would be no such thing as a carbon tax then went on to impose what would be the highest carbon tax in the world.

With an election already scheduled following the PM’s deposing as leader by the former PM whom she deposed, the rebadged PM announced, in a statement that can only be described as a political damascene conversion on the way to polls, a reduction would be made in the carbon tax. The reason: to reduce the burden on families.

Speaking personally, I think these statements were made in an effort to keep his personal high popularity rating in the opinion polls as he strives to remain PM.

Shortly after the announcement of the carbon tax reduction the PM then announced a series of ‘efficiency’ measures, a kind of what I’ve lost on the roundabout I’ll gain on the swings action, to recover budget money lost by the carbon tax reduction. Not that the carbon tax will disappear altogether. A carbon tax in another style, an emissions trading scheme, is to be introduced in 2014.

Finally, let me disabuse everybody of the idea that I don’t believe in global warming: I do! What I don’t believe in, are the predictions of global warming alarmists. I subscribe to the view that fear is a poor system of getting people to believe in anything apart from which I believe that if there is to be such an event as doomsday I think it will arrive without warning.

I also think it likely that our descendants, if we are lucky enough to have any will be living elsewhere in the universe on another planet far from earth.

Comment welcome.

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