Australia

Happy Straya Day

It was my birthday yesterday, more on that another time. For now, please enjoy this link to a Rap News video. The Juice Media team have become close to my heart over the last few years. If you enjoy political humour, and don’t mind hip hop, check it out. Happy Straya’ Day.

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Halal Meat in Australia – What’s the big deal?

There has been a lot of talk in Australia for a while now about Halal Certified meat. I for one have paid little to no attention to it. I was at the pub last Sunday afternoon and some hick was in there wearing a blatantly racist shirt, something something, Muslim, Halal… So, i decided that i would take a look into the ‘issue’ of Halal Certification in Australia.

To be honest, i didn’t really know what Halal was/is. So i decided to start with a definition. What makes meat Halal meat?

Halal
Every religion has its own characteristics and rules. Many faiths also have their own dietary or consumables restrictions. The word Halal is derived from the Arabic language and means ‘acceptable’ or ‘permissible’, relating to the source of the produce or ingredients, the cleanliness of premises, preparation methods and the final product. Conversely, non-Halal (Haram) means non-permissible or unacceptable. “Halal” is similar to the concept of “kosher” food requirements under Jewish dietary law, and refers to food, drink and other consumables that Muslims consume as part of Islamic dietary requirements.This does not affect the quality, nature, or taste of the product. Moreover, the Halal products must meet the relevant standards for food safety, quality, and nutrition.

To that end, my understanding is the meat is prepared in a particular way to suit the religious requirements of those who choose to follow that faith. So, what is the problem with that?

Idiots (Straya Maaatttteeeeeee)
This post was prompted by these idiots, the bogans that for some reason now think Halal Certified meat in Australia is funding ‘terror’ organisations. Yeh, right….. Because that would make total sense. Some people have even been calling for supermarket chains to remove Halal meat from their product lines.

Here are a couple of quotes from some cranky consumers:

“I do not wish to support any brand that pays an Islamic religious tax to have their product halal certified. Less than 2% of this population is Muslim and I do not want to fund special religious rituals or political campaigns to increase the presence of Sharia Law in Australia.”

“I also appreciate that Woolworths Homebrand and Select labels are NOT halal certified. Since Muslims represent less than 2% of the Australian population it would be unreasonable to expect consumers to fund unnecessary and sometimes cruel religious rituals for certain products.”

There are a few things i see wrong with these statements, other than the blatantly obvious.

1. If you don’t want to ‘support’ Halal, then simply, don’t buy it. In case you forgot, you have freedom in Australia to make that choice…..
2. Islamic religious tax…? Umm ok, i fail to see how there is an additional ‘tax’ for these products. Did these people forget that most, if not all supermarkets charge extra for things like ‘organic’, ‘vegan’, ‘free range’ products, just to name a few. Are these products subject to a ‘hipster tax’, if so, i refuse to pay it. I hate hipsters.
3. Halal supports Sharia Law. This i totally don’t get. It is meat, it supports nothing more than iron and protein in your diet. Nothing more, nothing less. What are these people scared of, considering Islamic peoples’ apparently make up 2% of the Australian population. I would say it is a safe bet that Sharia Law is not going to be on the top of the list for the next few federal elections guys….

Animal Cruelty
Ok, this is a little close to my heart, i love animals. I was not actually sure how the killing process differed from normal practice. Here is what i have found.

The main concern with halal slaughter is whether or not pre-slaughter stunning is used. In Australia, the national standard for meat production requires that all animals must be effectively stunned (unconscious) prior to slaughter. The vast majority of halal slaughter in Australia complies with this standard, that is, all animals are stunned prior to slaughter. The only difference is that a reversible stunning method is used, while conventional humane slaughter may use an irreversible stunning method. The time to regain consciousness following a reversible stun may vary depending on the intensity of the stun. At Australian abattoirs, the aim is to ensure that reversible stunning is done in a way that depth of unconsciousness is sufficient to allow for the animal to bleed out and die before there is a chance of regaining consciousness.

Halal slaughter in overseas abattoirs often does not include stunning – this is the key difference between halal slaughter in Australia and many other countries. Although reversible stunning is far better from an animal welfare perspective than no stunning at all, irreversible stunning is more effective in inducing unconsciousness than reversible stunning and is therefore the preferred method.

Not so bad.

Numbers
Here are some numbers surrounding production and export growth for the Halal market in Australia.

Airfreight

I am no economist, but it would appear to be a booming industry. Why stop it? It is giving people jobs, and it is putting money in the pockets of the farmers in our country. All good with me.

Here are the census details surrounding religious persuasion in Australia.

religion

Roy Morgan Research show that the number of Aussies aged 14+ who agree with the statement, ‘The food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian’ has grown from 1,608,000 in 2009 to 1,935,000 (or 10% of the population) as of June 2013.

My Conclusion
Stop being a bunch of racist jerks. Being an accepting, multicultural society is what makes Australia a great country. I have no problem with Halal, i probably won’t be spending the extra $3 a week to eat it, but that is my choice. I also won’t be turning vegetarian anytime soon. But i will say, Halal should stay, if it goes, so should all of the other choices we have grown accustomed to. It is people’s right to choose freely, not your right to choose for them.

Guess what, you may have forgotten, the biggest Islamic State by population is our closest neighbour. Indonesia, a great country. I have been many times, I am not worried about terrorists there. The only worry i have with the meat there is how long it has been left in the sun prior to being put on my plate.

Get over it.

Martin Place – Country held to ransom, no one bats an eye

For those that didn’t know there were two major incidents in Australia yesterday. One involving a crazed gunman in a chocolate shop. The other, a fat, Tony Soprano looking fucker holding the country to ransom.

That is right, i must say i think it is very poor taste, given the state of affairs yesterday for Joe Hockey to move ahead with the December budget update. Poor taste, but perhaps clever politics. While the rest of the country watched and listened in to the drama unfolding on Martin Place, the government announced possibly the worst news it has announced since its inception. We are in very bad shape.

Albeit, not entirely the governments fault, with commodities prices falling to unforeseen lows. Namely coal and wheat. But, indeed, we (the 98%) will be ‘asked’ once again to do the ‘heavy lifting’.

That aside, it was a pretty horrid day in Australia. The grim reality of the Martin Place incident has left a bitter taste in many people’s mouths. I have already been forced to cull ten or so people from my Facebook friends list due to racial slander and bigotry the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Cronulla Riots. Disgusting, lets set something straight here, that crazy guy in the chocolate shop does NOT speak for the Islamic/Muslim citizens of Australia, or of any other country. He speaks for no one but himself, and perhaps a few others crazy’s around the world.

To be honest, the kind of hate i have seen in my news feed is exactly what this asshole was trying to achieve. Congratulations morons, racial, religious and political segregation was the goal, and you all just jumped on board. With that said, i commend all the people posting on social media with the hashtag #iwillridewithyou, that is what human decency is all about, and it is great to see that the majority of people understand what is going on here.

Anyway, back to other important news.

Hockey has blamed the senate for blocking policy (bad policy) for passing into law. Thank you senate, please continue to do so. Free health and the right for anyone to seek an education is what makes this country great. Don’t let these ‘cunts’ (sorry about the language) take that away.

Also, and this may just be my opinion. I give it a week, maybe two, and i bet Brandis and Abbott will be up in arms once again. Using the Martin Place incident as a catalyst to turn Australia into some kind of Orwellian Dictatorship. “If we had data retention laws etc, this would not have happened”. Well lets face it, i predict that on that note, Labor and the PUP will bend over and take it from there on in. Sentor Scott Ludlam, please help us!

Lets get some facts straight about yesterday too, while we are at it.

1. On the Martin Place Crazy
– The hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013. The man’s current partner was charged with murder but they both received bail as the case was deemed too weak.
– He was arrested in April this year for the sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman in 2002 after luring her to his clinic following claims he was as an expert in astrology, meditation and black magic.
– Monis was slapped with an additional 40 charges in October after more victims came forward alleging incidents took place in his spiritual healing clinic in Station Street in Wentworthville, western Sydney.

Now, you may be starting to ask yourself, ‘the fuck is this guy freely roaming the streets for in the first place?’. Indeed, what the fuck. Now, lets be clear here, this was NOT because the police and/or ASIO need more power, and need to troll our browsing history. THEY LET HIM WALK.

2. On Joe Hockey
– Hockey, forget about a budget surplus, and start focusing on making the country a better place.
– Last week, the Westpac-MI consumer sentiment index fell 5.7 per cent to 91.1 points for December which Westpac chief economist Bill Evans dubbed “a very disturbing result”. In other words, whatever you are doing, STOP IT NOW!
– Treasury now expects the unemployment rate to rise to 6.5 per cent in 2014/15 and 2015/16, which is up by 0.25 percentage points from their last prediction six months ago.

Joe, forget about this stupid surplus dream. Inject some money into the economy with a big public infrastructure project to boost jobs and raise consumer confidence and business confidence.

Thought’s on the world right now

So i have been thinking alot lately about the current political climate in Australia, and where we stand in a global sense. I have reached a few conclusions i thought i’d share with you all. Be aware, this is purely an opinion, you are all welcome to contribute your own.

Tony Abbott, the guy has become a national joke. It has simply become too easy to criticise this guy, and his dim-witted cabinet. I have been guilty of it myself too. However, and lets face it, there must be a brain in his head or he wouldn’t be where he is today. There are also some pretty scary ideas and policies being thrown around in Australia, and the Pacific region at the moment. Namely, the TPP. I will go into that further soon.

I stopped and thought, ok, the media, the left, the right, the youth, the old, the middle aged, the men, the women and whoever else i forgot to mention, has all but jumped on the ‘Abbott is a dickhead’ band wagon. Although this is more than deserved, i got to thinking. Could this be a carefully thought out tactic to draw attention away from the real issues at hand? Could Abbott be a media scapegoat, misdirecting public attention in hopes that we would forget about our freedoms quietly being aroded in the background? Is there a more sinister picture being painted here?

I think the Snowden saga is another good working example of this. Sure, i totally commend the guy for speaking out. However, his message has been somewhat bastardised by mass media and political lobbyists. We now see people up in Snowden’s defence, and rightly so. But if you stop for a second and come back to the initial issues he raised regarding our civil liberties and right to privacy, it remains unresolved. People have almost lost sight of the fact. Everyone now knows what is occuring, and it is STILL occuring. Did Snowden ‘leak’ information to simply get it out into the public forum for a future society to accept the grim truth that they are being watched? Is there, or will there be, an acceptance of this truth? Probably. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Abbott and his lackey’s are silently signing away Australia’s freedoms in the form of the TPP. A large scale free trade agreement written by bankers and multi-national corporates. Why has so little of the TPP been spoken about with the wider audience? Data retention laws, extended powers to ASIO, additional powers to Scott Morrison are only the beginning.

The next time you have a quiet laugh at Abbott’s expense, remember, there is a serious side to it.

A call to ban the bible

Don’t you just love the power of the interwebz?

The call for a Bible ban, shared by Australian user Sharky Sharktech, has been followed by a series of other mock-petitions.

They all satirise a petition posted by a group of female survivors of violence that persuaded Australian retailers to remove GTA 5 from their shelves.

All of this ill informed, politically correct garbage came from a kid who posted a clip on YouTube. Im mean sure, i don’t condone burning a prostitute after paying for her services only to get my money back, that is a little Jewish for my tastes.

But seriously, calling to ban a video game, or any form of media to be honest, is ridiculous. Australia, like most other countries, already have censorship laws in place for this kind of thing. I think the real issue here is a question to the parents of said child. ‘Why are you letting your pre-pubescent child play R rated games?’

I for one have signed the ‘Ban the Bible’ petition out of pure spite. Honestly, there are bigger issues in the world than GTA5.

It’s official, we are the racist country – Senate backs reintroduction of temporary protection visas

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has suggested the Coalition’s border protection policies are leading to a decreased number of asylum seekers arriving in Indonesia.

Mr Morrison says the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia has fallen 80 per cent since Operation Sovereign Borders began four months ago.

He said trend is supported by a decrease in the arrival of asylum seekers in Indonesia as well.

“The number of persons newly presenting to the UNHCR in Jakarta for registration per month has fallen from 1,608 in September to just 296 in December,” he said.

The head of the Government’s border protection operation, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, says it is too early to declare the policies a success.

“While I’m encouraged by this, I’m not complacent, there’s more to be done,” he said.

“It will only be after the monsoon season ends in late March that I’ll be able to be in a position to confidently offer an assessment of how the operation’s going.”

Mr Morrison also defended a change in the way information is provided to the public.

He yesterday revealed he will no longer hold weekly media conferences about the operation, saying it has moved into a new phase.

Instead, a weekly statement on the number of arrivals will be released and media conferences and interviews will be held “as needed”.

Lieutenant General Campbell says the public will be notified immediately in the event of a serious incident, such as the loss of life.

But he says real-time information on operational strategies will not be released.

“This approach has been developed so as to not give tactical advantage to people smugglers, avoid providing official material that may be used to manipulate or confuse illegal immigrants, protect our people in the conduct of their duties,” he said.

“The approach provides for the operational integrity necessary to underpin success.

“I appreciate this approach is not well received by some and there are many different audiences with different expectations of what information should be made available to the public.”

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the Government has broken an election promise by putting an end to the briefings.

He says the Prime Minister promised greater transparency before the election.

“Tony Abbott said – in fact a direct quote before the election – they said ‘I absolutely accept you need to know how we’re going and if we have a good week, a bad week or an in-between week, we’ll let you know all about it,'” Mr Shorten said.

“Now what they’ve done is cancelled briefings and they’ve now decided they’ll tell Australians when the Government thinks Australians need to know.”

Campbell confirms Customs bought lifeboats

Lieutenant General Campbell also confirmed Customs has bought large lifeboats to deploy as part of Operation Sovereign Borders.

But he would not comment on how or when those lifeboats would be used.

Earlier this month, media reports suggested the Government was considering using lifeboats to send asylum seekers rescued from unseaworthy vessels back to Indonesia.

At the time, the Government refused to comment on the reports.

“We’ve acquired them to be part of the range of measures that we have at play,” Lieutenant General Campbell said.

“Clearly a lifeboat is involved, potentially, in those on-water activities that we don’t discuss, and so I’m not going to go further in that space.”

Mr Morrison also defended exempting Defence personnel on border protection operations from parts of Australia’s workplace health and safety laws.

The change, made last month, means personnel intercepting asylum seeker boats are now exempt from their obligation to take reasonable care to ensure their own safety and that of others.

Mr Morrison says the measure simply shifts legal liability from the individual to the Government.

“The Government takes responsibility for the policies it’s enacting and that’s what these measures reflect,” he said.

“We ask much of the people who go out there and protect our borders, and these measures are put in place to support and protect them.”

Reports of restricted access to sanitary products rejected

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has rejected claims that female asylum seekers are being denied access to sanitary products in detention.

Feminist group Destroy the Joint is urging supporters to send unused pads and tampons to Mr Morrison’s office after reports that the Government had restricted access to the products.

Mr Morrison says the reports are false and has labelled the protest juvenile and disappointing.

“All that does is frankly undermine the credibility when other claims are made,” he said.

“That was a ridiculous protest. The policy hasn’t changed. It’s been the same for years.

“There’s open and continued access, on demand [and] female welfare officers, all those sorts of things.”

Christmas Island hunger strike under control, says Morrison

Mr Morrison also says the hunger strike among asylum seekers on Christmas Island is “under control”.

The ABC has been told tensions are rising inside the detention centre and that some asylum seekers have been harming themselves.

There have been reports of six asylum seekers sewing their lips together.

Mr Morrison says there are often incidents across the detention network.

“This particular incident is under control, it’s being managed by the service provider at the time,” he said.

“I get regular updates about what’s happening there. It’s a difficult environment when you’ve had… some people on Christmas Island now for some time.”

By Julie Doyle, staff

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-15/morrison-says-asylum-seeker-boat-arrivals-dropping/5201116

Five GOOD things about Joe Hockey

It appears a few people enjoyed yesterdays list of things i like about Tony Abbott. In light of that, and the challenge it was to write, here is another edition for Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Once again i challenge you to come up with five things you like about Joe Hockey.

1. He rehashed my love affair with The Sopranos
Im sure i am not the only one who thinks Joe somewhat resembles Tony Soprano. The guy totally looks like a caricature of a Chicago mob boss, i hope one day he embraces it and starts wearing pin stripe suits and a fedore. We can only hope the Liberal parties end is as anti-climactic as the TV series.

2. He has fixed the budget with minimal effort
Well, maybe that is an exaggeration. But, the budget for 2014 / 2015 was released in May. The carbon tax aside, any major reforms have been blocked (thanks god) by the senate. My only question to our Treasurer is, what exactly have you been doing all year mate? Other than smoking cigar’s?

3. He supports from education
At least he did, when he was at university. In his old angst filled uni days, Joe rallied against paid university degrees. These days, he no longer looks like Jonah Hill and thinks that although he didn’t pay a cent, we all should. All of us, Tony Abbott’s daughters excluded, of course.

4. He isn’t Prime Minister
People may be soon to forget, but we could have been worse off had Hockey won his parties favour against Tony Abbott. Which in fact was a really close run thing. Be thankful we don’t have a Silvio Berlusconi ‘leading’ us.

5. He smokes cigar’s
All things considered, that is kind of badass.

Five GOOD things about Tony Abbott

With so much media bagging out our Prime Minister Tony Abbott, i thought i would I set myself a challenge. This was, to come up with a list of five things i actually like about Tony Abbott.

It was a surprisingly difficult task. I challenge you all to come up with five of your own! 🙂

1. He has managed to unite the country
That’s right, for the first time in a long time, Tony has managed to unite the nation. Sure, we all agree the guy is a total dickhead, but aside from that i think that it is quite an achievement for a Prime Minister. It is not often in Australia that +90% of the population agree with something.

2. He has got young people engaged in politics
Prehaps ‘engaged’ is not the right word. Enraged maybe? Either way, the enigma that is Tony Abbott has pre-pubesint teens all the way up to angst filled university students engaged with the national debate. Something Rudd could have only dreamed of, and probably tweeted about numerous times.

3. He made the Today Show mildly entertaining
You know that god aweful tabloid ‘news’ show in the morning? Yeh, that one. What a grand moment it was when old mate Karl Stefanovic roasted Abbott in front of a live, albiet semi-sleeping Australian audience.

4. He made American politics look good
I can’t remember a time when America has made anyone look bad but themselves. But along came Tony preaching his non-sensical climate malarky during Brisbane’s heatwave…. Even mother nature hates this guy! Obama turns around and ‘shirt fronts’ Abbott the day before the G20. Wow, Ameria made Australia look bad.. World first?

5. He owns 1 tie
I could be wrong, but im pretty sure he owns only the one blue tie. In hindsight, vibrant coloured tie sales have sky rocketed in the Australian retail sector. (figures yet to be confirmed)

Casualties of “Border Protection”

Casualties of “Border Protection”.

Letter i wrote to my local MP regarding proposed data retension laws – No response after a month, no surprise

Free to distribute the below letter, send one to your local MP if you like. Just dont expect a response it would seem….

Dear [Insert MP],

I value my digital privacy. When I use the Internet, I want secure and private communication and I do NOT want to be surveilled and spied on when I am not suspected of a crime.

I would like some information on who will be paying the overhead incurred by ISP’s as a result of the laws.
I refer to the following link: http://blog.iinet.net.au/…/Mandatory-Data-Retention… , quoted at $130 per user. If a smaller business would need to pay these costs, I find it hard for them to compete with the larger businesses in the industry, and if the cost is past on to the consumer, I feel that it is also unfair. If the government intends to supplement the payments via tax, this again is unfair, as tax money should be going toward public services we actually require.

I also refer to the following links:
http://www.smh.com.au/…/spies-can-access-my-metadata-so…
and https://twitter.com/bengrubb/status/504169261879681024
If Mr. Grubb looses the case against Telstra on the premise that the meta-data is not considered “personal” then does this not set a precedence for Brandis to release his own meta-data, as it is not then considered of a personal nature, and by right can be released under the freedom of information act?

It has also been found that Metadata may reveal quite a lot more of a persons private and personal lives than thought before:http://www.stanforddaily.com/…/researchers-find…/

Courts around the world are finding data retention mandates unconstitutional because they violate individual privacy rights.

Let’s do the right thing in Australia and stop these proposals before they become the law.

I ask that you take a stand against Data Retention as it is not in the best interest of the public.