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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: Labor’s actions in Nauru a disgrace

Out of sight but not out of mind. Don't worry about the impact of those Julia Gillard dealings with AWU officials back in the 1990s. They are not the reason she will en

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

Out of sight but not out of mind. Don’t worry about the impact of those Julia Gillard dealings with AWU officials back in the 1990s. They are not the reason she will end up in the Labor history books as the party’s most disgraceful leader ever. She is earning that distinction with the appalling cruelty in the way her government is dealing with boat people on Nauru.

Banning the press from reporting directly on what is happening in that tent camp will not halt forever the Australian people discovering the horrors being done in their name.

When the parliament votes next week to excise the Australian mainland from the nation’s migration zone the party she has led down the slope into amorality will resemble no more the one that was once the great supporter of social justice.

That WA boom. A measure from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning of just how much better the economy is doing in Western Australia than the rest of the country. The Bureau’s volume measure of gross state product increased in all states in 2011-12 with WA experiencing the strongest growth (6.7%) It was one of four states to exceed the national Gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 3.4%. The others were Queensland (QLD) (4.0%), Northern Territory (NT) (4.4%) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) (3.5%). Tasmania (TAS) experienced the lowest growth rate of 0.5% for 2011-12.

Get rid of those donkeys. He’s a bit of a spoilsport this Pope Benedict fellow. In the third and last volume of his biography of Jesus Christ going on sale this week, the pontiff declares that contrary to popular belief, Jesus’s birth was not presided over by oxen, asses, camels or indeed any other beasts. 

“There is no mention of animals in the Gospels,” he writes. He puts the inclusion of  domestic animals in the Nativity scene down to pre-Christian traditions, for instance in the Book of Habakkuk, a part of the Hebrew Bible which was probably written by an early prophet in the seventh century BC. Not that Pope Benedict is a total killjoy. He concedes that the tradition of donkeys or oxen beside the manger was so deeply entrenched that it would doubtless survive his scepticism.

Not so over in Santa Monica, California where there will be no debate this year as to what should be in nativity scenes. There will not be any. A federal court judge this week rejected the notion that the City Council — which voted in June to shut down a nearly 60-year-old tradition of putting nativity scenes in Palisades Park — had violated the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee’s rights by rejecting the displays based on their message.

Protected by alcohol. Now this is the kind of headline a regular imbiber likes to read: Alcohol provides protective effect, reduces mortality. In the journal Alcohol (behind a paywall so this iS written from a press release) a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health declares injured patients were less likely to die in the hospital if they had alcohol in their blood and the more alcohol, the more likely they were to survive.

So much for the good news.

“This study is not encouraging people to drink,” cautions UIC injury epidemiologist Lee Friedman, author of the study. That’s because alcohol intoxication — even minor inebriation — is associated with an increased risk of being injured, he says. ”

However, after an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a pretty substantial protective effect,” said Friedman, who is assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at UIC who reached his findings after analysing Illinois Trauma Registry data for 190,612 patients treated at trauma centers between 1995 and 2009 who were tested for blood alcohol content.

News and views noted along the way. 

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4 thoughts on “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: Labor’s actions in Nauru a disgrace

  1. kebab shop pizza

    “Alcohol provides protective effect, reduces mortality”

    Press release indeed. Nothing “reduces mortality”. Not even the “water of life”.

  2. michael crook

    Why would be surprised at our treatment of refugees on Nauru. Brutality is a central part of our culture. Look at our national domestic violence statistics and child abuse notifications (340,000 in 2009). Brutality and the abuse of power are what we do. It is an essential part of our culture, and goes hand in hand with our form of capitalism.

  3. CML

    After your rant about the government’s poor treatment of refugees, I suggest you watch Lateline tonight (ABC Tuesday) and then make the same comment!
    The story was about a mother with two disabled children in the Darwin detention centre, who was demanding she be given an “aide” to help care for them???? (No doubt there are a few thousand Australian mothers who would like the same thing). But the amazing statement she made was that she got more help, and the children better treatment, in Iraq!!! Which begs the question, what kind of mother drags two disabled children half way around the world, to say nothing of subjecting them to a very dangerous sea crossing, when their treatment/care in their country of origin was more than adequate? And perhaps you could explain to me how this family was being “tortured/persecuted” in Iraq, while receiving “better care/treatment” for their disabled children than they are receiving in this country? None of this story makes any sense at all – except if it is coming from economic migrants. It just made me angry.
    It is very easy to denigrate the government, but what are they supposed to do with 2,000+ asylum seekers arriving every month. And if we accept all-comers then it will very rapidly become 5,000. Who the hell is going to pay for all this? I just think people like you live in cloud cuckoo land!

  4. Christopher Nagle

    Respectfully Richard, I think your comments on the current asylum imbroglio are unhelpful. See my article ‘Commercial
    Asylum Seekers’ as to why that might be the case at: