I don't think anyone ever had a better interviewee than Sally Struthers.
Pleased to see that 3 young teens who have been kept in maximum security adult jails are finally free to go home to Indonesia. They have been in custody since October last year on charges of people smuggling.
This whole episode is shameful.
Our system of justice is built on the presumption of innocence. Why are people being locked up with convicted criminals when they should only be kept on remand?
In so many other areas of law, such as drug abuse, we actively look for the people who sell the product rather than the victims. The people who profit from people smuggling - which group includes some Australian citizens - are the ones we should be locking up.
We are talking about 3 young men whose families and neighbours live in 3rd world poverty. If someone offered them a year's income - i.e. about $20 - to work on a boat, of course they are going to get sucked in.
When this story first emerged a few weeks ago, someone wrote a letter to the editor more or less saying of course they knew something was wrong and should have been suspicious etcetera, but I beg to differ. It's not like they had a high school education or sit down every morning at breakfast to read the newspaper, or watched the nightly news and made an informed decision to risk getting caught.
And it ignores the contemptible, parallel industry in which desperate third world people unwittingly sell young girls to sick westerners. Do we lock up the parents who believe the middleman promising the girl a nice factory job so she can send money home to her family? No.
When Julia or Tony carry on about stopping the boats, the argument they give is always based on simple supply and demand theory: If we remove the possibility of people delivering a product, they will go out of business. Well, if supply and demand theory is valid - and I believe it is - then by punishing these kids we are sending a message, to those who sell the boat trips, that it's the unwitting kids involved who will be in trouble and no one else. What we are saying is it will cost the smugglers nothing to stay in business. We are promoting the exploitation of vulnerable people who are just trying to help their families.
Earlier this year, the Herald Sun published an array of photos of young male asylum seekers held in detention, all of whom claimed to be minors. One of them was obviously old enough to be a grandfather, some looked like borderline cases.
[I presume if the photos were not real The Age would have jumped up and down with excitement at a chance to prove them wrong.]
Since then, we have been told the method used to 'age' those who arrive without papers but claim to be minors is based on an American method which measures their wrists. Since then, we have been told that this method was discredited in the U.S. in the 1930s.
What is truly astounding is that the AFP had uncovered the identity of these boys months ago, and therefore knew their age months ago, and still kept them locked up. The law does not even allow for people under 18 to be charged with people smuggling.
We expect inconsistent and opportunistic rot from Tony Abbott, but Julia Gillard, more than any other leader in this country's history, has betrayed voters of conscience by ignoring everything the Labor Party stands for.
The greatest crime is not having a dubious policy, but being a hypocrite.
It is the abandonment of all she once professed to hold sacred that rankles the most, because she has left voters without a chance to choose right over wrong. [Unless they want to buy the entire package the Greens are selling - a party that has no prospect of ever gaining a majority.]
Who would you have to dinner if you could invite any 5 people you'd like [alive or from the past]?
This is one of those hypotheticals that makes for a great dinner discussion in itself but after years of trying I still can't decide. This might be because I dropped a plate last week and I no longer have a dinner setting for 6. It might be because I can't boil water let alone cook. But it's probably because the idea of being a host is terrifying.
Getting a bunch of different people together can be a recipe for disaster. What if they all hate each other?
One person on my dinner list would be Voltaire. I admire him for his genius as much as his wit, but I suspect he was really an arrogant shit. Maybe I admire him for caring about making the world a better place while not giving a damn what people thought. Oh well, my schoolgirl French only runs to reciting the rosary with a Warrnamboolian accent anyway.
Spike Milligan was a genius and a wit [while I'm only a half wit]. From what I've read he didn't give a damn what other people thought, though he did care about making the world a better place.
Neil Simon's recipe for script writing success was to put a whole bunch of people together who were completely unalike, and he wrote some hilarious masterpieces. But when I imagine Voltaire and Spike together all I can come up with is this:
SPIKE: Eff off, frog
VOLTAIRE: Non, vous vous efferez