Immigration or fear of Immigrants

To the Editor SMH

Peter Dutton simplistically blames the Fraser Government’s immigration policies of the 1970’s and 1980’s by stating; “over 60% of the people charged with terrorism offences in Australia today, are from second or third generation, Lebanese Muslim backgrounds” (Dutton risks creating terrorists of the future; SMH 25 November 2016)

Let me make an equally simplistic assertion; 1996 saw the election of the Howard Government and the first rise of Hansonism.

Many of these “terrorists” would have been very young children or, were being born; at a time when John Howard and Hanson were uncorking the racism genie and, loosening the bi partisan strings that bound the Australian ideal of multiculturalism.

Suddenly, it was OK to emphasise differences and fear people who were not same as the rest of us.

These kids grew up in an Australia where they were increasingly marginalised and did not feel welcome. Is it any great wonder some of them were tempted towards extremism?

Both Dutton’s and my assertions are equally simplistic, the rise of Islamic terror has many fathers.

I simply point out, that one assertion has as much validity as the other.

Bruce Ingrey


Who is Elitist?

Russell Broadbent, a moderate Liberal member of the Coalition made a magnificent speech in the House of Reps on Monday, arguing for fairness and humanity. Along the way, he made it very clear what he thought of the Member for Dawson (a coalition colleague of his) for his recent speech on the perils of Islam.

The right wing George Christensen fired back, attacking Broadbent as elitist.

Joint party meetings should be interesting in the next few weeks!

This was my letter to the SMH

To the Editor   

George Christensen criticizes Russell Broadbent as being elitist because Broadbent suggested members should lead discussion, rather than being slaves to the views of their electorate. (George Christensen hits back at elitist coalition colleague Russell Broadbent over Islam speech SMH 8 November)  

To Christensen, this was anathema, but I wonder what part of his electorate, George Christensen represents?

Christensen won the seat of Dawson at the last election by a narrow margin, does he represent the views of those who voted against him?

There were probably, a sizable percentage of people, who; whilst voting for Christensen, did so along party lines. Many of these people may not agree with Christensen’s more extreme views, does George Christensen represent these people?

It is highly possible, most people in Dawson do not agree with Christensen’s rants against Islam, gay marriage etc.

The fact that for the past two elections, Christensen has lost ground in his own electorate, lends weight to this argument.

I wonder who is being most “elitist” George?


Hypocrisy and dirty dealings

The Opinions Editor SMH

Is there no end to the level of hypocrisy within the Turnbull Government?

Malcolm Turnbull horse traded his way to the leadership of the Coalition by doing a deal with the Nationals and the right wing of the Liberal Party. This involved him backing away from the values many of us hoped, he would espouse as Prime Minister.

His original distaste for the same sex marriage plebiscite was discarded in his frenzied grab for power.

There was an expectation, he would take a more humane line on the incarceration of refugees on Mannus and Nauru, but instead; we saw him lauding the virtues of Peter Dutton as Minister for Immigration.

Dutton, emboldened by his reinforced status; continues to defend the indefensible, mental cruelty of these institutions.

The oft quoted boast of the Government that we now have no refugee children behind bars, rings hollow; we have simply traded the cells of a detention centre for miles of forbidding ocean as a means of keeping these kids out of sight.

In the meantime, these children are forced to live amongst people who simply don’t want them and are subject to violence and intimidation on a daily basis.

One thing we had some reason to be proud of, were our laws against the importation and sale of rapid fire guns, but it seems now even this; is subject to horse-trading in order to get a totally unrelated piece of legislation through Parliament.

Then, we have Trent Zimmerman; a gay member of the coalition who fell into line with the coalition policy on the same sex marriage plebiscite; arguing against a plebiscite for the election of Liberal Party members in NSW.

Zimmerman’s argument; “At face value the proposition seems an appealing one, yet like many things in political life, solutions that can be reduced to slogans are not so simple” could have just as easily been used to condemn the SSM plebiscite.

Zimmerman refers to “ethnic and faith based groups” and, goes on to say ““the mobilisation of people to support extremes can bring catastrophic results”

That is precisely what the opponents of the SSM plebiscite were saying.

Yet Zimmerman, a man who obviously knows the dangers better than most; stayed eerily silent over the rush to the SSM plebiscite.

The great and sensible centre of Australian politics is being tilted to appease the Nationals and the far right of the Liberal Party.

The saddest part of this, is that it is being facilitated by the weakness and ineptitude of the very people we hoped would steer the Coalition back to a more central and moderate path.

The Right Wing of the Liberal Party and the National Party could not wish for more than they currently have:

Cosmopolitan, latte sipping, inner city types; doing their bidding.

I, and I am sure many others, cynically yearn for the good old days.

At least the Wolf wore his Wolf’s clothing with pride. The budgie smugglers were there for everyone to see.

Not, clothed in pure, fine wool Merino and smiling insincerity.


I am fed up with not being equal

To the Opinion Page SMH

On Monday night, I watched the “Four Corners” episode dealing with same sex marriage and the proposed plebiscite.

On Tuesday came confirmation Labor will vote against this piece of hypocritical opportunism, I applaud their courage

The Four Corners piece was an unedifying spectacle of prejudice and bigotry on full display.

The plebiscite was a political construct dreamt up by Tony Abbott to appease the Right Wing of the Liberal Party; it was maintained by Malcolm Turnbull as he threw principled belief overboard, in his grasp for Leadership of the Party

The debate about the process by which we can achieve same sex marriage has angered, frustrated and humiliated me and many of the people I know and care about, I am pleased this has now been ended.

There will now be the predictable outcry about the loss of the plebiscite; the hypocrisy of those who held up the democratic right of the public to decide this question, knows no bounds.

This is a matter which could have and would have been decided by the individual States well before now, but in 2004; John Howard changed the definition of marriage by an Act of Parliament.

Where was the clamor for the “public to decide” when Parliament acted with haste and without any great fanfare at that time?

If it was good enough for Parliament to outlaw same sex marriage in 2004, it is certainly good enough for Parliament to revisit this question now?

I listened on Monday as the preachers of hate spelt out their opposition to same sex marriage and I know it was but a mild foretaste of what will happen whenever and however this issue is raised again. At least now, they will not have $7.5 Million of public money to fuel their hatred.

I am reminded of something Linda Burney said on Q and A, some time ago;

“If you are going to change the law, then the first people to be consulted, should be the people who will be most affected”

The changing of this law will have no deleterious effect on the opponents to same sex marriage, they will still have their religion, their bigotry and their homophobia to console them in their anger and self-righteousness.

What this change of law will do, is give legitimacy and fulfillment to a section of the community who have suffered as much as anybody from those same religions and from bigotry and hatred.

Senator Abetz has a gay staffer who does not want to get married and this is taken by Senator Abetz as another reason why this change of the law should be opposed. I have no doubt there are many straight people who for various reasons do not want to get married, but they would rise up in anger if this right was taken away.

The mere fact that Senator Abetz’s staffer had to “confess” his homosexuality, is what this fight is all about.

When was the last time, somebody “fessed up” to being straight for fear of this becoming public knowledge?

All the gay community wants is for their sexuality and their love to be treated equally under the law.

We don’t want to convert the world to our cause and I, certainly; would not want my wedding cake to be made by somebody who did not share my joy.

We don’t want every gay to be married; we simply want for them to have the right to be married if they so choose.

As someone who lived with the lie of being gay for far too long and had to endure the school yard, workplace and boardroom taunts about my sexuality, I am fed up with not being equal.

Having experienced all of the above and, then; having watched the joy and love with which my three daughters have embraced their gay friends, I am fearfully well aware of the effect this fight for equality will have on the hard won tolerance and freedom, many in the gay community have done so much to achieve over the past fifty years.

As a crusty, old man who in all probability, is more likely to need a celebrant for my funeral rather than my wedding, I have nothing personal to gain from this change of law.

As the grandfather of three, great young children, though; I would hope and pray they will inherit a world where tolerance and love has triumphed over bigotry and hatred.

A world; where attending a wedding of their gay friends is no more exceptional than attending a wedding for people of different faiths or of a different color.

That in essence; is all we are asking.


Bruce Ingrey


Surprise – What Surprise?

The Editor Sydney Morning Herald

The only surprise about the latest Trump revelations (Meltdown SMH October 10) is that anybody is surprised.

This man has been a buffoon and ego driven narcissist for the last forty years.

He has ruthlessly exploited the Bankruptcy laws of his Country to salvage his businesses and, in doing so; has literally defrauded thousands of his countrymen and women.

He has exploited women incessantly through his Miss Universe farce.

He has built a reputation as an insensitive bully through his role on “The Apprentice”

He has blustered his way to the Republican nomination with half-truths and downright lies.

The only question that remains is; how could he have ever got this far?


The ugliness of Ignorance

Pauline Hanson made her “maiden” speech in the Senate yesterday, it was a truly horrendous diatribe; full of ignorance and empty of fact.

This followed the Maiden Speech on Tuesday of her compatriot; Malcolm Roberts, who spent most of his allocated time, denying Climate Change and alleging a conspiracy between most of the world’s leading scientific bodies.

There was no point writing anything on the Roberts rubbish; he is the man who blithely challenged Professor Brian Cox on Q and A several weeks ago.

Eventually, Roberts reduced this intelligent and erudite man to a stuttering wreck as he tried to comprehend the depth of Roberts ignorance.

None are so stupid, as those who do not know they are stupid and Roberts is the man who got 71 Votes in his own name at the recent election!

Hanson is a different matter, she knows full well what she is doing and the capacity for racial hatred she is capable of unleashing.

Her comments must be challenged by any decent person and I could not resist sending this letter to the Herald.

Dear Sir

I applaud Tony Wrights Comment piece (SMH 15 September 2016 “By walking out, Greens gave her just what she craves”) but I do disagree with his assertion the Greens should not have walked out.

Hanson’s speech was so sickening, there was a very real risk the pews may have been awash with puke if the tender Greens had stayed put.

It was not comfortable, to realise One Nation achieved 25% more votes than the entire Muslim population of Australia.

If you take out the Muslims under voting age, that probably means at least twice as many Australians, voted for Hanson as there are eligible Muslim voters.    

Who should we fear, Indeed!