I call myself an Australian

Reblogged from gimpled -a thirty day project connecting life with thoughts with words (with insomnia)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Image description - a map of Australia has a series of primary coloured pins placed upon it to symbolise diversity.

My parents arrived in this country on a boat, and yet I call myself an Australian.

As a disabled woman, I am in a minority group, yet I call myself an Australian.

But according to racist pages promoting a new rally – the ‘Reclaim Australia Rally’ – ‘patriotic Australians’ need to stand together and stop the minorities from changing our country. They’re marching in April to tell the rest of Australia that they don’t want halal certification, burqas and the teaching of Islam in government schools. In short, they don’t want Muslims in our country, and they don’t want our country to change to suit them.

3,306 likes in Perth, and another 500 or so in Bunbury. One in almost every state. It saddens me, because this is the message to anyone who is different – ‘we will not tolerate diversity’.

My parents arrived on the ‘right kind of boat’. They were ten pound Poms, and my father was skilled and the right shade of white. He was Dutch, and his peers were self described ‘wogs’ and ‘dings’ – people from Italy or Greece or Malta, paid to come to this country under the Skilled Migrant program. Nowadays, being of Italian or Greek descent is unremarkable – but all the kids with salami sandwiches, back in the day, were teased relentlessly. I’m a first generation migrant, but nobody ever told me to go away because my very British mother bought Polo mints and held tea parties. No Aboriginal person ever told me that I should leave their country because I was white. Nobody ever told me what I ate or wore or did was wrong, or bad.

We will not tolerate diversity.

‘We don’t want to change the country to accommodate their needs’, they say, and I feel uneasy. Because there is no reason that ‘they’ need halal – but there is also no reason that ‘they’ need steps, no reason they need to adjust their teaching in schools to accommodate differences. There is no reason ‘they’ should make things accessible and available to others, because we are a minority. Yet we disabled people lobby for change – change for a minority group. We will only ever be 20 percent of the population. Why should ‘they’ tolerate us and not them? Why should ‘they’ change? Why should ‘they’ tolerate difference, let alone embrace and welcome it?

‘They’ – the intolerant – are not just the rednecks from down the street. Facebook has a neat way of throwing up an algorithm that allows you to see the comments from your friends first. From the ‘Reclaim Australia – Perth’ page, a comment by one of our former Scout parents, a staunch Christian woman –

‘Putting one or two or fifty in prison doesn’t prevent their being replaced. They have to be removed from the country, every Islamic man, woman and child. As long as one Muslim remains there will be someone with intent on seeking the Islamic state agenda.’


And these views, from others –

‘Islam is islam, the quran is the quran. No such thing as moderate Muslim.’

‘That is true, and only because the tenets of islam teach them to do these very things! The fact that the majority of muslims choose not to openly engage in jihad against non-believers, simply means they are not good muslims. Those who do engage in jihad are the ones who follow the qur’an and hadiths very closely.’

And I think about my yesterday afternoon, which was spent with my friend and her mother. She always feeds me too much and I regard her as my own mother. We talked about each having six children (she with four girls, me with four boys) and breastfeeding and how wonderfully hot the weather was. I told her that I couldn’t wear a hijab and long sleeves, I would roast, and she unbuttoned her dress to show me the light cotton wear underneath. I would still roast, I told her, and she smiled. Family talk, more offers of baklava, and I went home, and slept, and woke to these posts.

I spent my yesterday morning talking to people, including an Aboriginal artist who chatted easily with me about country, and his mob and mine, and painting styles and cultural traditions in Aboriginal art. I’m as white as the driven snow, but I’m still accepted as Australian by our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, the original owners of this land. We invaded this country, and brought our culture with us – my culture included, there is a fish and chip shop on every corner, teapots in every store. I went to my friend’s house, then home to sleep, and woke to these posts.

I am almost in tears.

They horrify me, those posts, the idea of a rally against difference. This is not the Australia I was born into. This is not the Australia I signed up for. I believe in an Australia where you can embrace diversity and still be a patriot. An Australia where it does not matter what other people wear and what they eat.

A few months ago, there was a campaign to boycott Vegemite on the premise that it has halal certification. I forwarded the comments to Vegemite, including the accusations that they were ‘funding terrorism’. They emailed me back. So the last word on this, for me, goes to Vegemite, who state that they are against racism and bigotry and disrespect. For me, THAT is Australian.

Vegemite’s response re halal certification, 2014:

The AFIC symbol has been present on some of our products, including Vegemite, for some time now and we are proud to make products that can be enjoyed by people of different backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicity. We are also proud of locally manufacturing our products, many of which are exported to markets throughout South East Asia. Our export sales are an essential part of business, and crucial to preserving investment and employment at our manufacturing sites in Australia.

One of the main reasons for the AFIC Halal symbol on our packaging is to assist people of Muslim faith, both here in Australia and across our export markets, to identify our products as including ingredients that meet their consumption requirements.
Further, we wish to advise the Vegemite formulation has not altered nor does the product contain any ingredients from animals. Halal certification warrants that, in accordance with Islamic law, the yeast has been processed to ensure the product is alcohol free.

The inclusion of the AFIC Halal symbol is not intended to offend any member of the public of any cultural or religious belief. We do not believe that it promotes one religion over another rather it simply provides people of Muslim faith with information about the food choices they make. Following other consumer inquiries, we have written formally to the AFIC in order to seek clarification on its business activities. In response, the AFIC provided us with verbal and written assurances that it is not engaged in unlawful activities. As such, we have confidence in AFIC as a reputable organisation. We pay a blanket administration fee that covers the certification of a number of our products. This cost is not a tax and is not attributed to a particular product or brand, therefore consumers don’t pay more for a Halal certified product versus a non-certified product.

As a business, we are founded upon values of integrity and respect and take a strong stance against any individual or campaign promoting racism, bigotry and disrespect.

We hope this addresses your questions and any concerns you might have. We produce products that bring joy and pleasure to millions of people across the world every day, and we look forward to continuing this tradition.

Posted by Sam Connor at 4:02 PM

Reconciliation and decolonisation in suicide prevention

#BlkRnBow        #db_1974

Guest post from Dameyon Bonson

The founder of LGBTI Indigenous Australian social network Black Rainbow, Dameyon Bonson, pens his thoughts on the lack of solid mental health data available among LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

QUITE tragically, as you are reading these first few words there is a high probability somebody will attempt to end their life by suicide. There is even a higher probability that that somebody is part of the LGBTI community, particularly if they are at the point of self-realisation and disclosure. If that person is an Indigenous Australian, the probability amplifies yet again.

How do I know this? Because that’s what the evidence suggests. LGBTI people are said to have the highest rates of self-harm and suicide of any population in Australia. Same-sex attracted Australians are said to exhibit up to 14-times-higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers. Yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 996 suicides reported across Australia between 2001 and 2010 among Indigenous peoples. We are told that 1.6 per cent of all Australians die by suicide but for Indigenous peoples, this rate is more than 4.2 per cent, or one in every 24.

As mentioned, the evidence only suggests this because we are coalescing the data from two different groups and hypothesising the maths. In other words we aren’t really sure.

However, when we aggregate the data for the Kimberley region and take one particular town during 2012, there were 40 young people who died by suicide. That’s nearly 100 times the national average. Now, I’m not suggesting that these young people were members of the LGBTI community. However, when the social determinants affecting Aboriginal people are seen as a causation of suicidality, the question does have to be asked, what is the amplified risk if they are LGBTI?

To explore what happens when the Indigenous and LGBTI world comes together, intersectionality theory is a way of understanding and uncovering any potential health inequalities. It is also a great way to highlight those previously unknown, caused by a kaleidoscope of social inequalities, whether it be race, gender, class, and/or sexuality.

For the LGBTI community, homophobia, either perceived or actual, is a precursor to one’s level of psychological distress. And if, as suggested, same-sex attracted Australians are up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, then homophobia, transphobia, cisgenderism, biphobia, sexism, and hetereosexist behaviours play a big part in how well someone lives, and someone dying.

For Indigenous Australians, other factors are at play and overlaid. These include racism, social location, socioeconomic disparities and intergenerational trauma. The psychological distress caused by these determinants can lead to complex mental health and drug and alcohol issues, such as manifestations of violence toward oneself (self-harm) or others: domestic, family and lateral violence.

So I have raised and discussed the issues and attempted to converse about the tragedy of suicide in the least sensational or emotive way. So where to from here? I’d like to know, because I don’t have the answers. However, I do have some starting points. First, I’m going go start by sharing with you a quote. A quote that is often referred to as the Lila Watson quote: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Participating with the view of being part of the liberation of Indigenous people is the single most overlooked and fundamental principle of genuinely inclusive work. Being part of the liberation is also knowing when you are required and a good indication of that is when you have been asked. Don’t let an over-zealous sense of entitlement to charity or benevolence be your motivation. Also pay attention to the research. Cultural continuity is a protective factor to suicide.

The great Writing Themselves In series, Growing Up Queer report and the current research by Dr Delaney Skerritt provides opportunity for us, as Indigenous researchers and members of the Indigenous LGBTI community, to come up with strengthening solutions. The time is ripe for those who are willing to come on this journey with us, to support us and share your resources with us. I personally believe that the issues facing the Indigenous LGBTI community, once identified and workshopped to discover actions to respond, can be added as an amendment or appendant to national strategies and health plans. Structures already exist for us to coexist within. And if the collaborative work is underpinned by liberation, an enhanced sense of reconciliation can truly happen within the LGBTI community.

Dameyon Bonson is an Indigenous researcher and consultant, mental health researcher and convenor of Black Rainbow Australia. Follow him on Twitter: @db_1974

You can also follow Black Rainbow on Twitter or like their Facebook page.

Support is available for anyone who may need it. Phone Qlife 1800 184 527, Lifeline 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

**This article first appeared in the August issue of the Star Observer.

Narcissistic nobody – the Jason Gibson files

Jason checks his eyelashes and nose hairs before taking a selfie

Self-absorbed self-referencing troll addicted to selfies and as racist as fuck.

The use-by date on his condoms has expired.

Congratulations pin-head you’ve been NOTICED – but not in a good way.


Don’t leave lip marks on the iPhone

You can find the pale race warrior here


We even found a theme song for you dating from the era of the White Australia Policy.

Commonwealth Bank Employee’s Views on Aborigines

#auspol #ausnews

Remember the vandalism of Captain Cook Cottage prior to Australia Day?


Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.57.14 pm


Here’s what Christopher Zachary Tyler had to say about it:

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.56.39 pm





The irony of a marginalised citizen perpetuating negative stereotypes about other marginalised citizens..

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.56.24 pm


Murphy’s Lore

Every now and again we get unwanted correspondence from enemy sources. Some are just trolls cutting and pasting whatever rubbish they have gleaned from US or UK hate sites.

They go straight to the special disposal facility we have.

But this one was particularly amusing because it is always funny to see cretinous bigots assuming a lofty posture of supposed knowledge and posing as people who actually think.

In fact these idiots can sometimes fool the unwary because they have basic knowledge of spelling and grammar, which if it in fact denotes a semblance of normal intelligence. It makes you wonder how they get sucked into the black hole of hate politics.

Such was this missive:


Now the first bit that produced giggles was this one

You may want to reexamine history, rethink and rewrite you (sic) “blog” as you are factually incorrect.

Oh really

Murphy then expands

Neither the Maori’s (sic) or white New Zealanders are the original inhabitants. The Maori’s (sic) had already publicly stated that they invaded New Zealand and killed, and ate, the original inhabitants of the land.

Let’s examine this spurious and ungrammatical statement.

Firstly the plural of Maori  is Maori. Not “Maoris”. Not “Maori’s” either.

Secondly the first humans to reach Te Ateoroa were the Maori in about the 12th Century CE.

There is no credible evidence of any human presence before the arrival of the Maori

Unless of course he thinks the giant Moas (extinct flightless birds indigenous to New Zealand) were in fact humans. Nothing would suprise us on looking at his timeline, where one finds a mish-mash of anti-Muslim cut-and-pastes, Holocaust denial and pseudo-history.

“Evidence” consists of artifacts, remains, records and other evidence accepted by legitimate researchers. The only evidence found so far is that which indicates humans have lived in Te Ateoroa since about the 12th Century – as we (and the link) have stated.

Murphy’s next explosion:

You like to take the high horse pointing out that others are wrong, when in your argument you are using wrong information.

Err no


I will not call it facts, because as a rule, facts are correct.

Facts are always correct. That is why we call them facts. Facts are not conjecture, opinions, feelpinions or theories. They are not sudden brain-farts from the uninformed.

Also in the blog you call a “tattoo covered trogdolyte” racist from(sic) telling his girlfriend ‘You’re in Australia: Speak English’ when I have heard this same statement said as a matter of courtesy, and intergration (sic).

Sadly Murphy does not get that Australia has always been a country of many cultures and many tongues, even before white settlers arrived. It is important that people who do not speak English have the opportunity and resources to learn to do so but we wonder how many languages Philip Murphy speaks. Some Indigenous people speak four or five languages as well as English.

So will Murphy be demanding that all Indigenous people speak English at all times?

To me, reading your ‘blog’ you show your own racism towards people who either take pride in this country, or extend a simple courtesy they would expect from others if the situation was reversed.

We do not confuse mindless $2 yobbo “patriotism” with pride in one’s country. Pride in one’s country does not include racism and bigotry.

And here’s Philip. Or his avatar. Complete with misappropriated Eureka flag and hate group membership.



Andrew Bolt spits the dummy, takes his toys and goes home



But the accusation bruised Bolt so badly he stayed at home the following day, presumably clutching a security blanket.

In her comments Marcia Langton actually referred to Justice Bromberg’s judgement delivered in September 2011.

[The plaintiffs] Were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles

— JUDGMENT, Bromberg J, Federal Court of Australia, Eatock v Bolt , 28th September, 2011

i.e. the conditions necessary for a finding that a racist act had been committed had been proven.

We are still waiting two years later for the eminent judge to be the subject of a dummy spit.

And Mike Carlton expressed it beautifully

Now let’s see what Bolt wrote in his very own column.


andrewbolt4Now after Price and Bolt had finished bullying Marcia Langton on air along came listener “Warren”.


Remember Bolt likes to portray himself as a champion of “free speech”. Guess that means free speech only for him and his kind.

For instance he had this to say about Indigenous academic Dr Misty Jenkins (as quoted by Paul Barry)

She (Professor Langton) then talked about her colleague Dr Misty Jenkins, whom Bolt had described in a previous column as “a blonde and pale science PhD who calls herself Aboriginal”

Errr…Misty Jenkins is Aboriginal

Now Bolt might be interested to know that it is not just Indigenous people who are offended by his words and their implications about Misty Jenkins.

And full marks to “Warren” for expressing our thoughts.


Andrew Bolt: his rights our freedom

Swinburne Uni racist dropkick attacks Aussie star

#Swinburne   #GuardianAus   #Utopiana   #markdreyfus

Jessica Mauboy courtesy ABC

Singer, actor and songwriter Jessica Mauboy is one of Australia’s most popular, recognisable and well-loved stars. She is a multiple award winner and a great role-model for young women, particularly young Indigenous women. Only 24 years old, she has crammed more achievement into her short life than most people three times her age.

However there are always failures who are so inadequate and talent-less themselves they are only too willing to attack  those who have succeeded. And if they can set up a racist page on Facebook to do so under the cover of anonymity then they will.


This moron not only set up a Facebook page (to which we won’t link) but edited Jessica Mauboy’s Wikipedia page.


However this was to be its downfall because from the edits we were able to track it to Swinburne University of Technology.

And an alert moderator at Wikipedia has removed the edits.

But it gets worse. When the page was reported to Facebook, this was the reply.


So as you can see despite the previous Labor Government and its Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus having put Facebook under notice, Facebook is still obtusely lazy, thoughtless and unethical as it continues to accept racism of the worst sort on its site.

We are hoping that Dropkick will be asked to remove itself from Swinburne after having dragged its good name through the mud. Perhaps that will enable a more deserving student to take its place.

Racists do not belong anywhere

What you can do

1. Contact the Vice-Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology Professor Anthony Cahalan


2. Report the offending group and any other pages which attack Indigenous Australians

Tony Abbott and George Brandis – champions of “freedom of speech” hate speech

Flushed with the recent victory of its owner Rupert Murdoch in the Federal elections, The Australian decided to highlight what it obviously considers as a triumph for the new regime and a number one priority.

Budget cuts announced? Talks with regional partners? Business taxes? Education?

No folks, it was this (paywall).

NB If you type the article title into the Google search box you will be able to read the whole article


Some highlights (or lowlights) of the article

TONY Abbott plans to roll back Labor’s laws that limit free speech on the basis of not “giving offence”, defend religious freedom and reform the Australian Human Rights Commission.

When conservatives use the word “reform” it inevitably means a backward step. So until we hear otherwise it no doubt means that that the AHRC is going to be stifled, its powers reduced and its individual commissioners cut in number.

This would involve amending the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits remarks that offend others on grounds of race or ethnicity. This was the provision used to prosecute newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt.

So rabble-rousing second-rate hacks and aggro shock jocks, along with the bogotariat in the ‘burbs we deal with here will be given open slather to hate and vilify.

The text of the Act is here

Quote from Abbott:

” ….then we’ve got to allow people to say things that are unsayable in polite company

So Abbott is not only sanctioning the race to the bottom, he is happy to stand there with the starter pistol.

Tony Abbott explores the bottom

Mr Abbott’s stance on championing the right of free speech also involves support for the position of Senator Brandis that the Human Rights Commission Act may need to be amended to guarantee reform in its outlook and its promotion of traditional democratic freedoms.

In other words the AHRC, the main national safeguard against defamation and vilification of minorities, a body whose reach retired MP and former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was hoping to strengthen and extend, is to be totally gutted – all in the name of protecting and nurturing those shonks who do not need protection.


Senator Brandis has attacked the Human Rights Commission as “an anti-discrimination commission” with little attachment to classical human rights.

Well hey George, how do you intend to go about protecting the rights of the vulnerable and the powerless….oh wait…?

Back in March we foreshadowed such changes to the Racial Discrimination Act on this blog. We can probably say that vilified minorities will have no choice in seeking remedies but to submit to the expensive and long process of civil court litigation.

Or, as is no doubt hoped by Brandis, they will silently endure defamation, harassment and vilification to keep happy all of those pure-at-heart libertarians, including members of his own party.

So is Brandis going to abolish the protected status MPs and Senators enjoy under parliamentary privilege? Like Liberals Corey Bernardi and Luke Simpkins for instance?

In fact the appalling far right stink think tank Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a frat boy grooming club and finishing school for future Coalition pollies, has suggested that “market forces” will punish discrimination.

Yeah right…

Courts are generally rightly concerned about the impacts of racism and bigotry and sympathetic towards its unfortunate victims. However successful litigation costs money. Minorities do not have the money, sometimes do not have the language skills to easily describe their distress and sometimes do not have the experience to successfully navigate the system.

The landmark findings against anti-Semitic vilification Gutnick v Dow Jones & Company Inc, upheld later on appeal, came firstly from a case mounted by an individual with considerable personal resources and secondly from an aggrieved Jewish organisation.

The second matter resulted in contempt charges against the defendant who refused to remove anti-Semitic material from a website.

More recently a case was brought against Andrew Bolt by nine prominent Indigenous people disgusted by Bolt’s references to their ancestry and skin colour.  Mike Carlton outlines its results here. The point of the case was not so much that these prominent people necessarily felt personally humiliated by the sneeringly patronising venal remarks made by Bolt. They would not have been surprised because like us they know full well that Bolt is an ignorant boofhead kept on a chain in Murdoch’s stable specifically to stir up those stupid enough to read his drivel.

The point was that not only were they appearing in court for themselves but they represented people who would have been aggrieved and hurt but who would not necessarily have had the wherewithal or the power to pursue such a case.

It would be desirable that all those demeaned and vilified by racists and bigots could easily and affordably access legal remedies, and that the law was enabling such access.

However it looks like the Coalition is keen to close off one of these avenues, so keen that it was one of its first announcements after what has been a puzzling policy vacuum.

The Coalition and those it protects will find out that letting the dogs loose works both ways

Read more

Senator George Brandis wants you offended and insulted

Andrew Bolt: his rights, our freedom reblogged by us here

Nuts come out after the truth has bolted

Election special No 10 – Muslims paying Aborigines to convert to Islam, Rise Up candidate claims


August 30, 2013 – 12:01AM

Amy Remeikis
State political reporter

A federal election candidate in western Queensland has accused Muslims of paying Aborigines to convert to Islam.

Rise Up Australia candidate Pam Hecht says Muslims are paying Aborigines to convert to Islam.
Photo: riseupaustraliaparty.com

Speaking to ABC Western Queensland, Rise Up Australia candidate Pam Hecht said the biggest issue facing people in the electorate of Kennedy, which Bob Katter holds by 18.3 per cent, was the conversion of Indigenous people to Islam.

“I don’t know whether people are aware, but many of the Aboriginal people in northern Australia are being targeted by Muslims and in some cases are being paid to convert to Islam,” she said, describing herself and the electorate as “farmers … just ordinary everyday people”, who “want to be free to go about our business”.

“Our concern with that is, the Muslim belief, that converting the first peoples of the land to Islam means that the land belongs to Allah, and Islam should be the only religion.

“There is an Aboriginal lady who works with the people up in northern Australia and she has spoken directly with the leader of our party, Daniel Nalliah [and told him about the practice].”

Of the 340,393 Australians who identified as Muslims in the 2006 Census, just 1011 were Indigenous.

Comparatively, 290,630 Indigenous people identified as Christian.

Academics believe Aborigines came into contact with those who practised the Islamic faith even before they came into contact with Christianity, first through trade links with Indonesia and later through cameleers.

Mr Nalliah, the leader of Rise Up Australia, states in his Catch the Fire Ministries biography, that he first knew “the Lord had called him” after an Australian missionary visited his Sri Lankan town in 1976.

He made national headlines in 2002 when anti-Muslim comments he made became the subject of the first case heard under Victoria’s newly-created Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. Mediation ended the case five years later.

Ms Hecht, who says she is a “fifth generation Australian on her mother’s side” in her biography, said the growth of Islam was “an important issue for the whole of Australia and definitely Kennedy”. She denied the party wanted to restrict religionist choice and said the core issue was a matter of law.

“What we don’t support is their hijacking of our laws and our system,” she said.

“It really is many races, but one law and that’s Australian law.”

Earlier this month, the One Nation Party dropped their candidate for the seat of Rankin, Stephanie Banister, after a gaffe-filled interview with the 27-year-old aired on Channel Seven, showed Ms Banister mistaking Islam for a country.

Ms Banister said she had been misrepresented.

Fairfax Media attempted to contact both Ms Hecht and Mr Nalliah for comment.