Donkeys’ years

Helen Robertson writes: Re. “By ignoring Muslim voices, Australia is losing the war on terror” (yesterday). Irfan Yusuf’s article is excellent, thank you. I note the author refers to “Australian Teamsters” near the end of the article, presumably alluding to Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia”. You may be interested to know that “Australian Teamster” is the name of the donkey breed developed from the donkeys brought to Australia a century or so ago, and then running wild in the outback. They are nice, intelligent, active donkeys, but perhaps not what the author had in mind. If you google “Australian Teamster” you’ll find the term has been used for years for the breed of donkeys.

Dying for no cause at all

Phil Gray writes: Re. “Rundle: the Rodent’s back, and he’s still lying” (Monday). I have just heard this morning’s radio news, and almost choked on my Ryvita when I heard that John Howard was “embarrassed” when he found out that the Yanks had lied over Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I suppose that’s how the families of the Aussies who were killed over there — and the families of the innocent Iraqis who were killed by the Aussies — also felt “embarrassed”.

Why is it that if I do not demonstrate due diligence and duty of care, I can be held liable in a court of law, while our politicians can spill the blood of innocent people with absolutely no personal comeback on them or individual liability?

This time around, Abbott will commit our people to do his bidding in Iraq and get them killed and maimed for no tangible benefit to anyone apart from Abbott’s own political ends. Of course his out will always be that shit happens.

To quote an old Aussie bush saying, “If they were as small in stature as they are in principle, then they could kiss a midget’s arse without bending their knees”. Bugger ‘em.

A pox on all of their houses. I’m bloody furious.

Australian Muslims and sharia law

John Richardson writes: Re. “Lambie was right” (yesterday). I’m inclined to agree with Les Heimann’s conclusions regarding Jacqui Lambie’s statements on sharia law; all the more so after witnessing ABC Insiders host Barrie Cassidy ridiculing her position by erroneously suggesting that sharia law is simply about religious faith.

As I suspect Lambie understands, but struggled to explain in the face of Cassidy’s ignorant scepticism, sharia can mean a lot more than religious faith and can seek to prescribe laws and standards dealing with crime, politics, economics & the whole panoply of issues falling within the context of Islamic culture. In other words, supporting sharia for some can mean supporting a system of government, as opposed to just subscribing to a religious faith.

As Heimann argues, Lambie is right to argue that most Australians would be opposed to a form of government being established in Australia based on sharia law, but that’s not the same thing as arguing that there’s something inherently wrong with the Islamic faith or people who subscribe to that faith.

Where I think that Lambie let herself down, notwithstanding Cassidy’s unhelpful effort, is that she hasn’t demonstrated that the majority of Muslims in Australia are actually advocating for Australia to become an Islamic state based on the broadest reaches of sharia law. And in the absence of any such call from Australian Muslims, her comments are simply unjustified and unacceptable, if not outright dangerous, irresponsible and even slanderous.

Sadly Lambie’s comments highlight one of the biggest challenges facing our multicultural society, which is our stubborn determination to remain ignorant about each other (in particular the rapidly declining majority of Anglo-Celts who believe they have been here the longest and should therefore be more privileged), whilst allowing tired, often old and dishonest politicians and media hacks to feed on our fear and stupidity.


Crikey writes: Re. “Howard and Keating” (yesterday). Crikey confused the national and metro figures for the Howard interview in an earlier version of this media brief. On national terms, the Howard interview got 1.679 million views, beating The Code. Which makes Crikey’s earlier quip about The Code beating the Howard interviews inaccurate.