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Mar 15, 2011

Liberal candidate backs Greens push-poll claims

A Greens candidate expected to win a lower house seat at the NSW election claims she's the victim of a deceptive and potentially illegal push-polling campaign aimed at smearing her reputation.


The Liberal candidate for Marrickville has backed Greens’ claims that they have been the victim of a manipulative and potentially illegal push-polling campaign in the marginal seat.

As Crikey first revealed online yesterday, voters in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west say they were tricked into participating in a phone poll quizzing them about Marrickville Council’s controversial decision to boycott Israeli goods and services. Market researchers claimed they were ringing on behalf of Marrickville Council, but the council hasn’t commissioned any such survey.

Council is conducting its own investigation into the origins of the survey, but may also ask Federal Police to examine whether the pollsters breached the federal Telecommunications Act.

The Greens candidate for Marrickville is the local mayor and bookies’ favourite Fiona Byrne. Last December, the Greens and Labor-dominated council voted 10-2 to cut links with organisations that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt, the current MP for Marrickville, opposes the boycott — as does her husband Anthony Albanese, who represents the area at a federal level.

Byrne said: “This is absolutely and obviously push polling, but misrepresenting itself. I think that misrepresentation is quite insidious. It’s old-style political tactics and I think people are tired of it.”

Byrne says she first heard about the survey on Friday.

“What I heard was that somebody was doing a survey on behalf of Marrickville City Council. That’s how they were representing themselves. Once they started asking questions, they started talking about me,  not about council. That’s where people started getting quite concerned and confused and started asking ‘where are you from?’; ‘who are you representing?'”

Liberal candidate Rosana Tyler, who opposes Marrickville Council’s boycott, says members of her campaign team had received the call.

“The caller gave their name but not the organisation. They just said they were ringing from a Melbourne-based company. They did say they were ringing on behalf of Marrickville Council. The questions did seem to be manipulative.”

Tyler says the boycott issue is turning “ordinary” voters against the Greens: “There is consternation in Marrickville that this council has just lost the plot.”

Greens spokesman Mark Riboldi says he believes two “push polls” canvassing the boycott issue have been running in the area. In the first, callers identify themselves as employees of polling firm Australian Fieldwork Solutions. He says this poll is “not illegal, but definitely dirty”. In the second, callers claim to be ringing on behalf of Marrickville Council.

St Peters resident Mel McCabe told Crikey she participated in the fake Marrickville Council survey last Friday evening.

“It’s made me angry,” she said. “I’m not aligned with anyone, but I’m really angry that I gave personal insights about my views to give fodder for someone to throw at Fiona. It didn’t sit well.”

She says she was asked whether she would be more or less likely to vote for Byrne given the mayor’s support for the boycott. McCabe, who describes herself as “apolitical”, knows Byrne personally as their children both attend the same school.

“As far as any leanings towards Fiona’s politics, it’s not about that,” she said. “It’s that my personal time and information were used to slur her and that’s not correct.”

Petersham retiree Gavin Smith, a well-known local environmentalist, told Crikey he received a call last Tuesday purportedly on behalf of Marrickville City Council. He said the caller asked whether councils should be involved in foreign affairs.

Byrne says she’s concerned the council’s database of Marrickville residents willing to provide feedback on local issues has been breached.

Tebbutt says she is unaware who was behind the survey.

A Galaxy poll released last week had Byrne winning 44% of the Marrickville primary vote against Tebbutt’s 33%.

This is not the first allegation of push polling to emerge in the campaign. Last month the Liberal Party accused the ALP of dirty tricks for asking Blacktown voters how they would feel about the Liberals cutting 25,000 public sector jobs, outsourcing call centre services to India and being “anti-teachers”.


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35 thoughts on “Liberal candidate backs Greens push-poll claims

  1. Astro

    Guess who the Greens are preferencing in NSW Upper House

    1. Labor

    2. Fred Nile / Christian Democrats

    3. Socialist Alliance

    Answer: Socialist Alliance – scary.

  2. AR

    When Tebbutt loses, let’s hope that hubbie decides that it’s time to spend more time with his wallet.
    His sinecure Grayndler, previously held by Leaping Leo, Macleay, has gone to preferences for the last three Federal elections.
    A seat that has been Labor since Federation.
    Astro – distribute your own preferences, only need to be able to accurately count to fifteen.

  3. Joanna

    Not quite accurate AR. The boundaries have shifted. Much of the current Grayndler lies in the old seat of Sydney which Peter Baldwin wrestled from the ossified right.

    Neither Tebbut nor Albanese were involved in the long hard slog that saw these branches move from ALP machine right (supported by Tom Domican) to activist left. However once they took control, the Tebbutt/Albanese double act happily presided over the rapid decline of ALP membership in their area. Neither could be described as an involved local member.

    Curiously enough some of those people who have joined/supported the Greens are former ALP members/supporters who have felt disenfranchised by the fiefdom.

    I think Tebbutt(and Albanese) are about to discover the true meaning of “you reap what you sow”.

  4. Liz45

    I support what Marrickville Council has done – taken a stand against the Israel’s invasion, occupation and terrorising of the Palestinian people. If I knew what I could boycott, I’d do it too!

    I also support Socialist Alliance! I believe that another way is possible and preferable to what empire building, capitalism regardless of who suffers and dies is offering now – all acclaimed as our ‘way of life’? Not mine!

    Japan is just another manifestation of it – they’ve suffered twice over now!

    The ALP lost my primary vote in 1984 when Bob Hawke gave us the ‘middle finger’ over the third uranium mine – against ALP policy! So, I gave him one back and said, ‘you’ve lost me’? OK to work your butt off prior to and on polling day, but the rest of the time they ?????

    Now our uranium is going to kill innocent Japanese people! Good one! Not to mention the other stuff we sold them that contains plutonium – special reactor – forget the name!
    I’d never vote for the Libs either! Or Fred Nile or the shooters party or Pauline whatshername!

  5. Mark Riboldi

    @Astro – that’s completely untrue. Where are your facts for such a statement?

    The Greens in Marrickville are recommending people vote 1 the Greens, and then make up their own minds if people want to allocate further preferences.

  6. Carlos

    Tyler is correct in saying many “ordinary voters” in Marrickville have been turned off the Greens due to their actions at council, Ive voted green at the last few elections, at all levels of govt including my local council in Marrickville. Now the ultimate in irony in the context of this election is that Ill be voting for Labor and preferencing liberal as a protest vote against the Greens.
    Any one who attended the Marrickville Council meeting held on Tuesday night would have witnessed what a farce this Council led by Mayor Fiona Byrne has been reduced too, where not for the first time a local council meeting can be hijacked for over an hour by discussion of Israel is an embarrassment. We had jeering idealoges applauding a nutty Catholic priest lecturing the local Jewish population about how their current lack of support for the BDS was comparable to the lack of international action which lead to the Holocaust!! Councillors attacking each others credibility, Two local Israeli women got up and told of there own sense of alienation within their community. Supporters of the BDS including a Palestinian man spoke of the atrocities committed by Israel and it status as a rouge Nation that one imagines must make China or North Korea seem like Switzerland. They also spoke of how the BDS movement somehow aims to economically attack and discredit Israel but is not out to harm Israel. The whacky Catholic priest even dramatically pronounced that the world will remember that the road to Justice and Peace began here in Marrickville!!??!!. Missing in all discussion was any mention of Hamas or suicide bombings in nightclubs and buses or rocket and sniper attacks on Israeli residential areas, also no mention of Hezbollah’s recent call for martyrs to hurl themselves at Israel to bring about its total demise, I suppose that just complicates the BDS narrative.
    The meeting was a disgrace with the council unable and unwilling to even enforce its own boycott of sporting exchange, allowing an Israeli AFL team to use Marrickville Town Hall.
    Bored with local issues the Greens have decided to use their position on council to introduce a divisive nasty policy that has nothing to do with building peace , understanding or diversity and everything to do with promoting mistrust and the demonisation of Israel and Jews.
    read the attached green left weekly article documenting the first Australian BDS conference. http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/45978

    I don’t care about the state election I just want this hateful policy out of my neighbourhood and am shocked that it was introduced by the Greens.

  7. Astro

    @ Mark Riboldi

    Mark, you are completely incorrect.

    The Greens are preferecing Socialist Party in Legislative Assembly.

    Take a look at Australian Electoral Website (second preferences). I have cut and pasted it for your ease of reference. Apologise for the formatting, the column 1 is the part and next to that who they preference.


  8. Astro

    Australian Electoral Commission Weblink proving Greens are preferncing Socialist party


  9. Mark Riboldi

    @Astro. You don’t seem to understand how the electoral system works.

    The Legislative Assembly is the Lower House. All of those parties you list are not even running in every seat. There are 7 candidates in Marrickville besides the Greens. The Greens are not recommending preferencing any of them.

  10. Astro

    @ Mark Riboldi

    I said the GREENS are preferencing the SOCIALIST PARTY in the UPPER house.

    Should have said legislative council not assembly

  11. Mark Riboldi


    No offence, but I’m on the Marrickville Greens campaign team and I know what our preference recommendation is in both the Legislative Council and Assembly. And I’ve seen our how-to-vote card.

    You claim you’re quoting from a website, but you haven’t provided a link.

    Are you sure you’re not looking at the wrong electorate, or even the wrong year?

    Please get your facts straight before you keep flaming.

  12. Astro

    @ Mark Riboldi

    I have sent the AEC webslink to Crikey for moderation.

    I am talking upper house, not Marrickville seat or any other lower house seat.

    If you vote 1 GREENS above line in upper house and leave rest of above the lines boxes blank, the preferences go to the the SOCIALIST party.

    Antony Green ABC Election Analyst also has it on his website. as lead story


  13. Astro

    I have sent the AEC webslink to Crikey for moderation.

    I am talking upper house, not Marrickville seat or any other lower house seat.

    If you vote 1 GREENS above line in upper house and leave rest of above the lines boxes blank, the preferences go to the the SOCIALIST party.

    Antony Green ABC Election Analyst also has it on his website. as lead story

  14. Mark Riboldi

    @Astro. Thanks finally for some concrete information. I’ve quoted what you seem to have read.

    “In the Legislative Council, a single ‘1’ will only count for the selected party and there are no between-party preferences.

    If a voter wants to in the NSW Legislative Council, they may number the boxes above the line in order of preferred party, and these will be implied as being preferences for individual candidates. About one in five voters use this method of voting, and parties try to influence above the line preferences with how to vote material.

    Yet all parties have to lodge what is called a ‘second preference group’ vote. Details of these have now been released and they indicate where a party’s preferences should flow in the unlikely situation where a candidate dies or otherwise become ineligible for election.

    Some of the second preference group choices of the parties are interesting, though completely ineffective unless there is serious candidate misadventure.

    Unsurprisingly the Coalition put the Christian Democrats second, Family First put the Coalition second, and in a surprising rapprochement, the Christian Democrats put Family First second. Labor puts the Greens second, but the Greens do not reciprocate, instead putting the Socialist Alliance second.

    None of this will matter and these preferences are extremely unlikely to be used. Of more interest will be what parties eventually put on their how-to-vote cards, but let me explain what these confusing second preference groups are….”

    Read carefully, the truth spelled out here is quite different from what you’ve been saying.

    It’s for if a candidate “dies” or “otherwise becomes inelligible”. It’s not who anyone is “preferencing in the Upper House” as you first started off with.

    Antony Green is an excellent source of information, but I suggest in future you read it a bit more carefully.

  15. Mark Riboldi

    @astro oh. I’ve you’ve read that article and actually understood it, you’ll understand that what you said before:

    “If you vote 1 GREENS above line in upper house and leave rest of above the lines boxes blank, the preferences go to the the SOCIALIST party.”

    is not true at all.

    It’s an interesting electoral system in NSW. Check it out a bit more before jumping to (the wrong) conclusions.

  16. Astro

    From Antony Green – ABC Election analyst website

    Unsurprisingly the Coalition put the Christian Democrats second, Family First put the Coalition second, and in a surprising rapprochement, the Christian Democrats put Family First second. Labor puts the Greens second, but the Greens do not reciprocate, instead putting the Socialist Alliance second.

    The NSW Legislative Council ballot paper has the same layout as the Senate ballot paper, but there is a substantial difference in the way that party preferences are dealt with in the count.

    Like the Senate, the Legislative Council ballot paper is divided by a thick horizontal line. Voters may choose to vote using the group voting squares ‘above the line’ on the ballot paper, or for individual candidates ‘below the line’.

    Where the two systems differ is in how ‘above the line’ votes are treated. In the Senate, all that is counted is the ‘1’ above the line, with the vote being allocated to the ticket of preferences lodged by the party. Preference are effectively put into the hands of the voter’s first choice political party.

    In the Legislative Council, a single ‘1’ will only count for the selected party and there are no between-party preferences.

    If a voter wants to in the NSW Legislative Council, they may number the boxes above the line in order of preferred party, and these will be implied as being preferences for individual candidates. About one in five voters use this method of voting, and parties try to influence above the line preferences with how to vote material.

    Yet all parties have to lodge what is called a ‘second preference group’ vote. Details of these have now been released and they indicate where a party’s preferences should flow in the unlikely situation where a candidate dies or otherwise become ineligible for election.

    Some of the second preference group choices of the parties are interesting, though completely ineffective unless there is serious candidate misadventure.

    Unsurprisingly the Coalition put the Christian Democrats second, Family First put the Coalition second, and in a surprising rapprochement, the Christian Democrats put Family First second. Labor puts the Greens second, but the Greens do not reciprocate, instead putting the Socialist Alliance second.

  17. Astro

    The parties in the close seats like Marrickville may not be preferencing other candidates, as they want their preferences to exhaust.

    Yes the NSW election system is different, but I made the point it was interesting The Greens chose to preference the Socialist Party in the Upper House

  18. Astro

    When push coves to shove Mark, the Greens support the Socialist Alliance.

    Thats the system in NSW and they what they have selected

  19. Liz45

    @ASTRO – What a load of nonsense. Years ago, a Federal Liberal politician called, Jim Killen got into Parliament via the preferences of the Communist Party! I’m sure you won’t complain if Pauline whatshername helps a coalition person to be elected. What do you know about Socialist Alliance anyway! You may be interested to know, that in a survey last year? well over 60% of people stated that they thought there’s probably a better way than capitalism!

    Australia is still a democracy, isn’t it? We’re supposed to allow all political views? Or is that just another example of ‘smoke and mirrors’ like we support a ‘free press’ but don’t like any media that seriously questions politicians – particularly their bulls**t about climate change and many other areas – such as Abbott’s two different stances on climate change in less than 24 hrs – or was it three stances? How Allan Jones is allowed to get away with absolute rubbish, but is never challenged! Where’s his scientific expertise?

    All part of their nonsense re Julian Assange – he’s providing what they were elected to do – tell the people the truth, and stop making horrific decisions without consulting the parliament, let alone the people!

  20. andrew11121

    The whole argument here seems a little strange. Israel likes to claim that it is democratic, but it is Israelis in the area who want to overturn the democratic council’s decision to impose a BDS.

    Why shouldn’t council be free to impose a boycott against Israel until it abides by international law?

    Why must we just accept that if Israel wants to occupy Palestinian land in the West Bank, they will?

    Israel doesn’t have a PR problem, it has a legal problem.

  21. Liz45

    @ANDREW – I agree! If what Israel is doing to the Palestinians was the other way round, or some Muslim country was doing it to another religious group, there’d be an outcry and rightly so. Israel states that it’s a democracy – it isn’t. The only people in Israel who enjoy full rights as a citizen are those who are Jews – Arabs and others in Israel do not enjoy the same living standards for example. There’s a marked difference in the areas where they reside. Israel’s great ‘wall’ deprives Palestinians access to school and jobs. Palestinians in Gaza are being ‘starved out’ or almost. Only sufficient goods(read food, medical supplies etc) that only mean an existence short of death by starvation are allowed in. The world looks on and enables such atrocities to occur. Kids are threatened with guns, ridicule and abuse while they go to school. Pregnant women are denied access to hospitals on many occasions, which frequently result in the death of both mothers and babies. How anyone can remain silent while these horrors take place is beyond me.

    As to the ‘weapons’ Palestinians use? When you look at the billions of dollars of weapons supplied/purchased from the United States etc, the patheticly weak ‘rockets’ that Palestinians use are pretty pathetic really. They cannot impose the same damage to people that phosphorus bombs and other horrific weapons injure when used by Israel. An inquiry by the UN into the invasion/occupation by Israel into Gaza pointed to an overuse of violence against innocent civilians.

    I’d suggest to those who decry this boycott on Israel to investigate the truth of the horrors being experienced by the people of Palestine, particularly in Gaza!

    I hasten to add, that there are many Israelis both inside Israel and around the world, who disagree with the stance of the Israeli Govt. These people need our support!
    If anyone can tell me what products I can boycott, I’d be most grateful. Again I say, good on Marrickville Council for their attention to crimes against humanity that Israel is getting away with. Any other country would be severely ‘chastised’ for their criminal activity. Anyone who criticises Israel is denigrated to cries of ‘anti semitism’? I say, they deserve all the criticism they get! Murder, torture and oppression is the same, regardless of what govt commits those crimes!
    No doubt ASIO has my ‘number’! I don’t care!

  22. Carlos

    And why shouldn’t council boycott the West Bank and Gaza in supposed support of Israel and the war that is being waged against them by Hamas? Why isn’t council boycotting China? etc Fact is Council had no mandate, engaged in no community consultation and as far as anyone can tell have done this at the request of one person.
    Your comments regarding it being Israelis in the area opposing Council only highlight how nasty and divisive this BDS has been, the sooner council recognises this and rescinds it the better. I’m neither Israeli or Jewish (nor a Labor stooge as has been suggested on this site previously) and I am staunchly against this Israel Boycott policy and will remain so.

  23. Astro

    @ Liz45

    The trouble for Gillard is that Ross Garnaut is a professor of economics and not science or climate science.. I have no idea what Alan Jones is saying, so can’t comment. I vaguely recall Jim Killen, Defence Minister from 30 years ago. I know his son and daughter, who are keen supporters of Gillard’s and Brown’s and Wong’s way. Their Dad would be turning in his grave.

    @ Carlos

    I think the Greens have lost a bit of control with these well known radical members. I went past a truck in Western Sydney yesterday with a sticker with the Greens logo crossed off and promoting the Fishing Party or something to that effect.

  24. Liz45

    @CARLOS – Hamas is the elected govt in Gaza. As soon as it was elected Bush & Co. plotted to overthrow it – so much for their belief in democracy and the peoples’ right to choose! It’s not freedom to elect, or freedom of speech etc, it’s free if you agree speech. They’ve done the same with Venezuela and many other leaders democratically elected. The US has either interfered with or invaded over 40 countries since the end of WW2. They’ve propped up dictators in Latin America and only support leaders who allow them a free reign over their countries. The US is not respected for their hypocrisy and ‘thuggish’ behaviour/s.

    I’m not Israeli or Palestinian either, but I support the fact, that oppressive countries like Israel need to be condemned for their murderous activities by oppressing others. They respond to young people throwing stones by shooting them or throwing them in jail, while they use their guns and heavy military machinery to kill and maim unarmed protestors. I don’t support any violence, but I’m sick of the support of Israel while allowing Palestinians to be butchered. Many Israelis feel as I do!

    @ASTRO – What rubbish you talk. Garnaut was on Lateline tonight, and in his own words after a similar statement from Tony Jones his response was, “But, I can read.”. I put the same response to you. If you support the Coalition’s stance on climate change, it can be assumed, that they don’t bother to read the views of the overwhelming number of climate scientists. Nor does Alan Jones or any other shock jocks. If you haven’t heard his rant or interviews with Gillard or Jones, then you must’ve been out of the country? Perhaps you have selective hearing!

    Their “Dad” may also acknowledge their right to freedom of political thoughts and actions? I was on the opposite side to my parents too, that was my right!

    The Green’s “radical members”? Funny how you only pin that label on those on the left? I think what Abbott, Minchin and others allowed happen under Howard’s WorstChoices was pretty “radical” also!

  25. Astro

    @ Liz45

    See it all before my dear, with the Y2K panic. Its was a bonanza for IT companies, consultants, airlines, hotels, Indian outsourcing companies, you name it.

    These scientists have made an industry for themselves.

    We need to tackle the issue, but with a tax? we need incentives to move to cleaner methods, not a tax.

    A mate installed 24 solar panels on his roof and he earns more than his power bill. Those incentives change behaviour, not another tax that is passed on to consumers in everything we buy and consume, including the transport of the computer you are using now, the coffee you are about to have and everything or just about everything you touch and do today.

    We need a moderate Green party in Australia. Maybe I should start one. The Sensible Greens, The Wise Greens, Sustainable Greens!!

  26. AR

    ASTRO – thanks for confirming your idiocy with the Y2K allusion. Not that your intenttions, to obfuscate, mislead, derail and batter into insensibility wasn’t apparent but Y2K was emblematic – no need to read anything else that you post.

  27. Carlos

    @ Liz45

    I don’t know why your yelling at me about the US, maybe Marrickville council should boycott them, and Venuzela while were at it for the human rights abuses and restriction of free media and political censorship there.
    Read the excerpt below from the Hamas Charter it gives chilling insight into the complexities that exist in this conflict that are continually glossed over by local supporters of the BDS

    From Article 7
    “the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).”

    The whole document is online and continues along these lines for its entirety. You should see their education policy.

    Anyone claiming to be interested in a just and fair resolution to the Palestine Israel conflict should be looking towards mechanisms and projects that are actually about peace and promote productive cultural and economic engagement. The BDS simply doesn’t and no matter how its dressed up its simply a devise designed to de-legitimize Israel, its got nothing to do with peace and should not be local govt policy in this country.

    Separately in multicultural Australia, Government bodies should not be able to get away with making public policy that directly affects an ethnic group (ANY ethnic group) without involving that group in the decision making process. This is exactly what Marrickville Council have done its wrong and indefensible. People who agree with this should email the Mayor and let her know

  28. Liz45

    @ASTRO – “my dear”? Patronising little s**t! I have a name, use it! You too might live as long as I have, unless someone takes you out due to your patronising, paternalistic attitudes!

    @CARLOS – The “Hamas Charter”? Who posted it and where? Do you think I’m as gullible as you? Also, Venezuela! President Chavez has been democratically elected as President since his first victory in 1998? It was the US who put on the Coup in 2002, and sections of the media supported it both verbally and actually. After the people demanded that their President be restored to his Govt, the media outlets that committed treason were allowed to continue. In fact, there are many civilian media outlets that are hostile to him but they remain. I put it to you, that under the US PATRIOT Act, and Australia’s Anti-Terrorisim Act, if you or I advocated rising up against them, we’d be thrown in jail quicker than you could say, Dr Haneef! Or David Hicks!

    Hugo Chavez has turned things around in his country. Those people who were too poor to be able to see a doctor can do so now; have for several years. The same applies to education. Women in their senior years are going to Uni. Pregnant women are receiving medical care(where they didn’t before) and the infant mortality rate is now better than in the US, only 3 blocks from the White House. The literacy and numeracy levels have been improved to such an extent, that a few years ago it had reached that set out by the United Nations.

    The people have participated in and voted on a new Constitution, that positively singles out the indigenous, women and people whose sexual orientation led to their experiences of discrimination and violence. Women have control over their own bodies, and the land lying idle that ‘belongs’ to the rich is being used for either agriculture or housing.

    Recently, there was an earthquake in Venezuela. Pres. Chavez allowed homeless families to live in the presidential residence while he took up residence in a large marquee? There’s also special supermarkets for those people who are on low incomes – they pay less for basic food essentials?

    I don’t know where you get your crap from, but it’s obviously via the Pentagon or the State Dept of the US, who’ve been spreading lies for years. The first election was scrutinized by Jimmy Carter and others. Each election is supervised by international representatives.

    You need to read more!

  29. Carlos

    Of course Hamas have a charter, Hamas published their charter in 1988 it remains their charter don’t take it from me as I’m clearly a CIA operative part of the Zionist conspiracy to bring down the democratically elected free peoples republic of Marrickville…you should look it up, you know do a bit of reading… as for Venezuela I think you’ve been watching too much of the Presidents television show.
    Anyway the good news is that at Marrickville Council it only takes one person to wander in and request a boycott for it to be enacted, so come on everyone form an orderly queue.

  30. Liz45

    @CARLOS – No, you’ve been watching too much s**t on the Pentagon website. Don’t take my word for it! Put Jimmy Carter/Venezuela elections into your search engine! Show me what areas that Chavez does not allow free speech. Tell me what media outlets Chavez dominates, who owns and runs them. Show me where those who orchestrated the 2002 coup, (apart from the US) have been charged and/or imprisoned etc. They’re still roaming free, allowed to print whatever they like against him. If they did the same in the US or here, they’d have got the Dr Haneef treatment – they didn’t! It’s because Chavez won’t cow-tow to the ‘old regime’ attitude of allowing US corporations screw his people while they remained poverty stricken, that the US and others are out to get him. The same applies to Evo Morales. They’ve both told the US to get stuffed! And good for them! Their people are enjoying a quality of life that was denied them for years. Chavez doesn’t have any rights than Howard did – he could’ve been elected ad infinitum – nothing in our Constitution says he couldn’t, but when Venezuela did the same thing, he was called a dictator. A case of the pot etc. He’s increased his vote and so has his party at every election since 1998! Howard would’ve ‘killed’ for such support, as would Bush/Obama etc!

    The US role in Central/Latin America has been appalling! It’s now beginning to turn around. Good on him!

    You’re talking garbage about Marrickville Council and you know it. I’ve been involved in politics for enough time to know that it’s not as you say, so stop talking bs!

  31. Carlos

    @LIZ45 – Maybe after you’ve finished reading the Hamas Charter you could have a look at the amnesty 2010 Venezuelan report Vehttp://www.amnesty.org/en/region/venezuela/report-2010 I thought this was interesting
    “Attacks, harassment and intimidation of those critical of government policies, including journalists and human rights defenders, were widespread. Unfounded charges were brought against those who opposed government policies”
    I think theres more than enough there to justify a Marrickville council Boycott!
    The BS is the way the Greens have cynically used their position on council to help further Mayor Fiona Byrnes state political ambition introducing an Hansonite type policy in order to win over a small amount of local hard left votes in the lead up to the State election. Thats the BS.

  32. Liz45

    @CARLOS – I still don’t believe it. It doesn’t make any sense. All that I’ve read over the past 13 yrs is the opposite to what you state. You still haven’t answered my question. How many media outlets have been taken over by the Chavez Govt? In what manner has he stifled dissent? If Amnesty hasn’t named names, organisations and charges, then they shouldn’t go printing such stuff. I support a lot that Amnesty do, but for example, they’ve never said a word about the human rights abuses of the catholic church, nor the role he played for 25 yrs re ‘hiding’ and moving priests around this country and many others. Nor do they report, that the cc still has its policy of silence re sexual abusers. Moreover, there’s the threat of excommunication of anyone who’s a whistle blower – that includes the VICTIM, the perpetrator and the bishop or??who the complaint is given. Not only that, the last pope also praised priests who protected pedophile priests, as this one has!
    I’ll take notice of Amnesty and Human Rights Watch when they use the same principles for every abuse. Australia probably has more victims than any other country, regardless of population numbers? Appalling!

    Incidently, Amnesty hasn’t had anything to say re the cc appalling attitude to condoms and HIV/AIDS plus the cc vile attitude to gays and women!
    Quote them to me when they speak out against that lot! When the ordination of women is lumped together with the “vile” acts of homosexuals! Charming!

    There’s an article in GreenLeft written by Antony Lew??who is Jewish and a Palestinian. They’re united re support for the actions of Marrickville Council. I’d take more notice of them than what you assert. The action taken by the Greens was agreed to by Labor Councillors and the (one?) Independent. I call that a democratic decision!

  33. andrew11121

    As long as individuals and groups can continue to think up reasons why Israel doesn’t deserve scorn for its atrocious treatment of the Palestinian civilians, the longer the dreadful situation in the Middle East will go on.

    If Israel is so sure of its high moral ground, it would have no reason to build separation barriers, impose blockades, attack humanitarian flotillas, and keep building illegal settlements deep inside Palestinian land.

    Having seen what Israel is doing in Palestine has convinced me that it is perhaps one of the worst crimes against humanity in modern times, and on the whole western powers remain silent.

    Good on Marrickville for at least having the courage to say that enough is enough. We should expect better from the Israelis.

  34. Carlos

    @LIZ45 – I didn’t state anything, Amnesty did, and they name names its all there, part of how they protect people from repressive regimes, if you cant believe Amnesty well…
    In answering your question a quick Google search provided an abundance of evidence of media manipulation in Venuzela including the closure of major network “Radio Caracas Televisión”last year apparently El Presidente doesn’t like criticism.
    Anyway at least the people can watch his Sunday television talk show “Alo Presidente” which is what I was referring to in my previous post, Imagine living in a country where a despotic Rove is president.
    Im Sorry Liz but the fact is there are many Palestinian and Israelis humbly getting on with projects that are promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and they arn’t the people calling for a BDS. There are quiet literally hundreds of collaborative peace building projects happening in Israel, Marrickville council didn’t look at one. Unfortunately the people that are working hardest for peace are being ignored in this “debate” which is being dominated by chest beating idealoges from western countries who claim to know better than everyone else and that all opposition is part of some ridiculous Zionist conspiracy. Most like @Andrew11121 above don’t even have the faintest clue of what their talking about. You yourself lept to the defense of Hamas an organization dedicated to violence and the establishment of an extreme theocracy.
    True Labor councilors voted on this as well, and I hope they feel deeply ashamed of themselves for the lack of respect with which they have shown their constituents. I can tell you as a resident of Marrickville with strong connections in the community most people (didn’t know as council have tried to keep this quiet) I speak to have a reaction that ranges from bemusement at the stupidity of it to anger at the nastiness of it.

  35. Liz45

    @CARLOS – I put it to you, that you’re just as bad as you assert they are. The fact is, that many Israelis in Israel are appalled by what the Israeli govt has been doing for decades. Many of them have lost loved ones via violence themselves, but still are appalled by the plight of the Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza.

    There were four Labor Councillors and at least one Independent who voted in favour. I find it amazing, that you are appalled by this stance, but I don’t recall your outrage over the phosphorus bombs, cluster bombs and probably depleted uranium bombs used by Israel via the US ‘generous’ contributions.

    There are in excess of 70 media outlets in Venezuela. A couple of yrs ago Chavez was lambasted for taking back the govt satellite from a corporate media outlet – they’d had this facility for years, it belonged to the people, and they were invited to do what corporate outlets did – pay for their own satellite access – they’d refused to pay. This was privately owned TV station owned by a billionaire who used his position to lie about the coup and who was responsible for the shootings. Film later proved that it was the coup leaders and their supporters who were killing the pro Chavez protesters, who massed in their millions until Chavez was returned. You can watch it on “The Revolution will not be televised”. It’s been on SBS and you can watch it online.

    I think Amnesty does good work, but they pick and choose their causes. Why don’t they take action or publicize the human rights abuses of the catholic church? Why don’t they publicize the fact, that the pope, claiming to be a state leader(not true) is the only religious organisation that gets away with using their own pro-pedophile ‘legal system’ to deal with these horrendous crimes against children.

    You still have not given me any basis for holding the views against Chavez except for Amnesty Int., who incidently allowed Phillip Ruddock to wear his badge for too many years, even though he referred to a very sick little boy as “it’ on four occasions on live TV.
    There are many media outlets in Venezuela, all of them against the peoples’ revolution. The govt has one perhaps two TV stations, but provides lots of community radio for the people. Prior to his democratic election(four times) the people had no ‘voice’ unless you were the rich oppressors. Read some history about what life was like prior to 1998, then compare it to the changes made. Don’t just use Pentagon and Amnesty views to mould yours.
    What was the numeracy/literacy like prior to 1998?
    What about education and health?
    The fact that those on low incomes purchase their groceries in govt run supermarkets, run by the people for the people’
    The tax that corporate america refused to pay; they’d got away with it for years(similar to the mining companies here) and Chavez said ‘pay up or ship out’? Some of them left, some of the factories were taken over by the workers, who now run some of them and also have ‘shares’ in the company.
    Land belonging to the rich, that was not being used has been taken back by the govt for growing food and/or housing. Venezuela prior to Chavez had to import the overwhelming amount of their food. Much of it with an inflated price that the poor could not afford. This led to malnutrition and the malnourishment of pregnant women, who had no access to health care unless they were wealthy, and the infant mortality rate was very high. These situations have been turned around, and the infant mortality rate is extremely improved and growing. Incidently, the infant mortality rate of Cuba is much better than that of people only a few blocks from the White House.

    I think you should read some more about Venezuela. Read the accounts of young Australian journalists who’ve lived there for a couple of years, or others who’ve visited this country over the last years. I don’t believe the crap out of the White House or by US media, that is owned, controlled by wealthy corporations such as Murdoch via FOX and his other media outlets, or indeed the NYT or the Wash.Post. All go along with the Pentagon’s views and aspirations. Ask some like some of my extended family their experiences at the hands of US administrations in their country. Countries like Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, or more recently Haiti and Honduras! Then take another look at what Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela with the agreeance/support of most of his people. The wealthy in Venezuela don’t want him to share what they consider to be theirs, and are committing violence against workers and the ordinary people living in the barrios!

    Those spewing out vitriole re Venezuela and Bolivia and other Latin American countries who don’t want to comply with the US are the same media who gave us WMD’s and the bs over Osama bin Laden who has miraculously disappeared. He’s not even on the WANTED list for 9/11 on the FBI’s own list. Take a look!

    If I was younger and had money, I’d learn Spanish and go to Venezuela myself. I’ll listen instead to those who’ve given personal accounts of their experiences. I’ve also heard the older women’s excitement at going to Uni – something they were deprived of for decades. Or the pregnant women who’ve been able to see a doctor for their 4th or? pregnancy – never happened before.

    When this is taken in the context, that a woman dies in the world every 10 minutes or so from complications etc from pregnancy and/or other gynaecological problems, these improvements for women in Venezuela have been amazing. Much of the changes was brought about by Cuban doctors; in a similar manner to other countries where they work. There are more doctors and teachers working for wages outside Cuba than within the country. Cuba, unlike Australia has been training medical students from Venezuela and East Timor. Some are almost due to be able to go back to their countries – in the hundreds!

    So, the real truth is more than a couple of paragraphs via Amnesty or persistent lies from US media, championed by msm in this country. Not one of them even goes there to take a look themselves, they just repeat AAP or whoever!

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