11 December, 2008

Art imitating life?

11th December 2008

There appears to be much concern regarding increased incidents of violence in our society coupled with senseless acts of cruelty against animals for apparent cheap thrills.

There could be a myriad of reasons for the prevalence of such anti social behaviour, however the glorification of violence in the rubbish peddled by movie studios must surely bear some blame.

DVD rental stores such as VideoEzy stock films such as Uwe Boll's "Seed" which depicts scenes such as smashing an infant against a bus-pole, bludgeoning a policewoman's head until nothing is left, along with footage provided by PETA (for 2% of the movie's profits) depicting animals being skinned alive, dogs being starved and their heads crushed....

Human values are lowered in an unending quest for titillation, cheap thrills and entertainment that debases-all for a quick buck to be made by film studios and video outlets.

Such movies desensitise people against violence and cruelty- the presence of such behaviour in our society raises the question whether art is imitating life or dictating what is acceptable behaviour?

It would appear we are merely reaping what we sow in this regard.

10 November, 2008

Bali bomber hypocrisy

10th November 2008

The recent approach by the Rudd government towards the punishment of the Bali Bombers is nothing more than blatant double standards based on appealing to popular sentiment.

The government has been quite correct in supporting the execution of these murderers. However, in the wake of justice being done, Rudd now says his government will push for an international moratorium on capital punishment.

So, we got what we wanted, now the practice must stop?

Throughout the world, including our own country, there are thousands of people who brutally murder the old, the innocent and the defenceless. There are those who prey upon the weak - raping, molesting and defiling.

Are these any less deserving of the ultimate punishment?

Rather than push for a moratorium, Rudd should be opening the debate of capital punishment for those committing such heinous acts against the most vulnerable in society.

18 October, 2008

Nationals' education policy

18th October 2008

I refer to the recent letter by SA Nationals' President Wilbur Klein regarding education options for regional Australians.

Of course Mr.Klein is correct in pointing out the added financial burden that is carried by regional families should they look elsewhere for the education of their children and the policy of financial support is positive.

However, it must surely require more than access to high speed internet to attract quality teachers possessing an empathy for regional areas to our schools.

Australian governments should be offering highly subsidised training for those wishing to enter the teaching profession in return for a legally binding agreement to serve a minimum of 5 years in regional schools. Such a policy would encourage regional students to further their education and remain in country areas.

There is certainly no reason why this form of assistance could not be extended to other professions such as doctors and other health sector related positions, negating the need to rely on quick fix solutions such as importing foreign professionals, many of whom possess qualifications not recognised in our country and who do not understand the needs of regional Australians.

29 July, 2008

Detention centres

29th July 2008

The twisted logic displayed by the Rudd government over the last 8 months of "policy on the run" is little short of mindboggling.

The latest stunning piece of policy involves the declaration that illegal immigrants will now be "fast tracked" in processing.

No reasonable person would deny this is an improvement, however it would appear that the government now intends to get these applicants out into the community as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, in yet another display of superficial altruistic nonsense, the Rudd regime has also declared that taxpayer funds will be supplied to those whose applications have failed so they are able to contest the decisions of the government!

Why bother? Why not just open the borders and be done with it?

Clearly the whole concept of even initially refusing permanent residency to illegal entrants is little more than a superficial act to placate those concerned with the issues of environmental impact, national sovereignty and national interest.

06 January, 2008

G.M. Moratorium - Too soon and at what cost?

6th January 2008

The debate over the lifting of the moratorium on genetically modified crops has worn on for many years and caused bitter division amongst Australian growers, the scientists, lobby groups, potential and current clients and the wider community.

This is of little surprise considering the level of emotion that has entered into the debate, with many Australian producers shaking their heads in disbelief and stopping just short of begging for some real scientific proof in order to make a sensible educated decision on the whole issue.

Fair call- this is after all the future of their livelihood. The very viability and survival of their business rests upon this one decision. Once having committed to sowing a G.M crop the die is cast and there is no return to their former situation. Few could blame Aussie farmers for being tempted by the claims made by GM suppliers that their seeds require less chemicals or, even more appealing, less water.

In the wake of both the NSW and Victorian governments agreeing to lift the moratorium on GM Canola by February this year, one cannot help to wonder at the motivation behind those who have pushed to have the ban lifted.

Of particular concern is the behaviour of one "Gustav Nossal" who led the scientific panel pushing for the NSW govt. to lift the ban. I certainly have no problem with those wishing to entertain various options on a whole range of issues- without discussion there can be no progress or understanding. What is of concern however is the fact that Nossal would not make the report public until the government had lifted the bans on GM which his panel apparently found so obnoxious......

Why is this? Were the findings of the panel incomplete? Weighted in favour of the multinational GM suppliers? Why would Nossal not wish the Australian people to engage in open debate over what they would be feeding their families?

If GM products really are 100% safe or desirable, why won't either Canada or the U.S allow the release and commercialisation of GM wheat?

Nossal has made the claim that he has "confidence that GM and non GM produce can be kept separate from the farmgate through to the supermarket shelves". Yes- at what cost?

Perhaps this is the true motivation behind Nossal's push for the lift (despite the pleas by Tasmania and WA to reverse the decision) of the moratorium- the opportunity to make more money. Think about what is required for the produce to be kept separate from the farmgate to the supermarket. Does Nossal envisage a dual transport system for produce in order to avoid cross contamination? The nightmare of charges and levies placed upon the farmer in order to have his produce tested and certified so he can back up his claim his produce really is "GM Free".

NSW Primary Industry Minister Ian MacDonald has made very reassuring noises that there will be "strict labelling laws" so Australian consumers can make an informed choice about GM food and the content of their purchases.

Great to know- something like the labelling regulations that help Aussies ascertain whether their purchases really are Australian made? The level of imported ingredients in their food? Country of origin of the product's manufacturer, level of Australian ownership or employment? Let's face it- Australian "labelling laws" are a sick joke and Australians can have little faith in the claims made by politicians that they will protect our right to make an informed choice about anything.

In a world where 70% of canola produced is GM, surely Australian producers should be permitted to err on the side of caution and protect their status as non GM producers? Clearly our customers believe so with groups such as the Consumers Union of Japan calling upon our governments to re-impose the moratorium as the Japanese marketplace just will not entertain the idea of consuming GM food.

Canada once received a premium for the GM free produce which was lost once they accepted GM Canola. This premium which amounts to $70/ tonne over Canadian produce was transferred to Australian producers thanks to our GM Free status.

The National Network of Concerned Farmers has claimed the lifting of the moratorium will cost non GM farmers over $65million per year and together both GM and non GM farmers will face losses of up to $82 million per year.

Non GM farmers will be expected to carry the costs of separation, a dubious exercise in itself considering Canada was unable to guarantee segregation and has suffered price penalties and market rejection.

Few could blame local farmers for considering the idea of GM seeds for their crops, particularly in times of drought. However, considering the seeds on offer have been produced for Northern Hemisphere clients, there is strong doubt they would perform well in our situation. Likewise, claims made that GM crops have a higher yield are also dubious and considered by many to be inflated. The income from higher yields (around 2%) would be insignificant when compared to the loss of premiums and income loss as clients such as Japan (who purchase up to 80% of some state's produce, as in WA) seek suppliers elsewhere.

It would be fair to assume the whole affair is nothing more than the continued campaign by economic rationalists and Global Village Idiots in their quest for a fictitious "level playing field".

As always, the level playing field requires us to lower our standards, give up self determination and sovereignty and costs our nation dearly in the end.

Reports indicate that South Australia is reconsidering it's own moratorium on GM foods. Considering Premier Rann's penchant for pandering to Global Village Idiot ideology and past displays of unbelievable arrogance- perhaps now is the time for local producers to seriously consider if the time is right to head down this path and whether the long term cost involved is a price they really are willing to pay.