Government v. Triggs

Today we have seen – to this regime’s eternal shame – the bastardisation of the separation of powers, with cane toad’s ouster of a most honourable person, Justin Gleeson SG, QC etc. It becomes even more imperative to watch their every move on the Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Gillian Triggs. Thanks as always to Dr Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep for her take on this appalling situation.

David Rowe; Fairfax

It’s hardly President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs’ fault when the Australian government is the worst human rights offender that Commission has to deal with.

When a government acts criminally, one hope for recourse is that statutory bodies will refuse to collude with or enable that government’s criminal behaviour, and indeed, that such bodies will name and shame the errant government.

The Turnbull government’s accusation that Professor Triggs is “politicising” her role is, like much of this government’s spin, farcical. For a start human rights are inherently political, and secondly all actions by governments are also inherently political. If the Turnbull government is determined to transgress the human rights of refugees currently abandoned to a highly uncertain future on Manus Island and Nauru, Professor Triggs has no option but to hold it accountable, otherwise she isn’t doing her job.

Of course any commentary Triggs runs on the government of the day is necessarily political, favourable or otherwise. There are instances in which even the silence of someone in her position is political.

Is it the government’s expectation that Triggs will ignore human rights abuses because they are perpetrated by the government? In what country are we living?

Triggs isn’t acting in isolation. Amnesty, the UNHCR, professionals who’ve worked on Manus and Nauru, refugee advocates, some thirty nation states, and this editorial in the New York Times speak with one voice to Australia’s refugee detention policies, and that one voice is damning.

There’s no doubt that in some instances, including the New York Times editorial, there’s blatant examples of the pot/kettle affliction, however, that does not invalidate the truth of the protests against Australia’s policies.

In a classic abuser pattern of behaviour, the Turnbull government continues its efforts to destroy the messenger, in this case Professor Triggs, though the government isn’t fussy, the tactic is transferable. The first concern of abusers is to silence accusers, and the government has displayed this pathology innumerable times, not only in relation to the secrecy with which it surrounds Manus and Nauru and threats of retribution, including imprisonment, against anyone who might transgress those secrecy demands.

Last week, the Border Force Act was amended to remove a comprehensive list of health professionals from the threat of two years jail for speaking publicly about conditions they encountered whilst working in the detention camps. The Turnbull government was forced to make this particular backflip because health professionals have spoken out regardless of the intimidation, and even this collection of political grotesques can see the folly of prosecuting them. However, they can still go after Gillian Triggs and deprived of other targets, they’ll no doubt double their efforts.

(Note to Turnbull government: never wise to make threats you can’t carry out. Makes you look wussy.)

Obviously, the solution for the government is to cease persecuting refugees. The pursuit of Professor Triggs is a distraction: don’t look at the refugees, look at this woman who is (allegedly) overstepping her role. It’s a greater offence to (allegedly) overstep a role than it is to torture refugees. Again, we see the classic abuser spin: it is a far worse crime to speak out about abuse than it is to perpetrate it.

It’s been messenger season as long as I can remember, in private and in public life. The paradigm is deeply entrenched in our society. It starts at the top and it doesn’t trickle down, it roars like a river in flood. It’s time to turn it around and put the focus where it belongs: on the perpetrator. In this case, the Turnbull government.

Stand with the messengers. Stand with Gillian Triggs.

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354 thoughts on “Government v. Triggs

  1. Was anyone listening to Neil Mitchell this morning..? The answer is obvious to most of us, but I’d love to know how Mal answered the Q!

  2. Leone,

    too busy building an empire to worry about the people they are supposed to be looking after

    Because to them, and all the other spivs and shonks, people are just units of production. Commodities from which money can be made.

    I had noted MA’s government funding . . .

  3. Paul

    I saw an excellent piece of old fashioned ABC journalism the other rnight on Landline, I think, about the Queensland sugar industry.

    Done by Alysse Morgan from ‘The Business’ rather than ‘Landline’.

    And yep, a decent bit of reporting.

    • Yês, carrt2016.

      Glad you forwarded a proper attribution, this reporter deserved it. I have noticed her on 24 doing business and finance.

      Have a good weekend.

  4. Loved this lecture by Richard Feynmann.

    It’s about nanotechnology. Feynmann is recognized as one of the pioneers of nanotechnology. It’s not the science that’s so wonderful. It’s the man himself.

    He basically invents DLP technology in theory. It wouldn’t be built for another 30 years after this lecture. But one of the main points of the lecture is that if the laws of physics are not violated then anything can be built.

    What’s DLP technology? “DLP” means “Digital Light Processing”. It is the basis of most modern projectors, from classroom data projectors to the amazing Ultra High Definition machines of today. DLP technology involves an array of millions of tiny, hinged nano-mirrors that either reflect or divert light. Depending on the combination of mirrors that is switched “on” (reflective) and the speed at which they are switched, you can achieve a graduated (gray scale) image digitally, hundreds of times per second. This speed of switching is behind modern “3D”cinema, visualization and experimentation.

    DLP technology is now also being used to form the “light engine” for high-speed 3D printers, generating hundreds of layers per minute. Rapid 3D printing will be one of the key technologies for space exploration, terrestrial maintenance, and spare parts. At the moment 3D printing is too slow, but if its made a lot faster, the sky’s the limit.

    And Feynmann invents here in this lecture (although he probably didn’t realize it at the time, but I don’t think it would have taken him too much time to make the connection).

    If you have an hour to spare, you’ll find the discussion at 31.20 into the lecture for the nano technology, and earlier at about 21 minutes for the mirror array.

    His idea is not quite the same as hinged mirrors. He talks about an array of nano-shutters that’s backlit, allowing light to pass when a in individual shutter is open.

    Here’s the spooky bit…

    Earlier on in the lecture, in contrasting the smallest artwork (then) in history – a drawing of an eye inscribed onto a silicon substrate a few nanometers wide – he also talks about the largest artwork (then) in history, a couple of kilometres in size, an identical (but larger) “eye” … by the same artist.

    OK, so the artistic inspiration was that as the silicon “nano-eye” was 1/200,000th the size of a human eye, the giant 2 kilometer eye was 200,000 time larger than a human eye. As the nano-eye was to the human eye, the human eye was to the “mega-eye”.

    He explains that the mega-eye was constructed of small clumps of mirrors that were angled to perfectly reflect the sun when the Landsat satellite passed over at a certain time of day. they overloaded the CCD array inthe satellite and appeared not only brighter than a piece of plain white card (for example), but much larger than they actually were, due to a flaring effect. Feynmann thought this was amusing, just for its own sake.

    Feynmann then draws particular attention to a single pixel in the “mega-eye” that is dimmer compared to the others. He explains that when the site was inspected after the satellite had passed over, a jackrabbit had knocked the mirror over, causing it to malfunction as a reflector.

    What’s spooky about this is that this “jackrabbit accident” is exactly how DLP chips work: hinged mirrors that either totally reflect light, or totally do NOT reflect it through the optics. Two minutes later in the lecture Feynmann goes on to describe the “nano-shutter” idea I referred to above.

    Put the two concepts together: the extra brightness and precision of a nano-shuttered system, putting into effect the principle of allowing a powerful light source to be switched instantly on or off, and mirrors tilted either towards or away from the optical path… and you have the DLP system.

    Feynmann was always keen to impress upon his students the idea of fun, and of observation, and of the fun of putting the two together. I am sure that if he had been given more time to think about and solve the problem, he would have combined the serendipity of the “failed” mirror/satellite artwork and the idea of nano-machines. Feynmann is famous for saying that science only made art more beautiful. The combination of the two was EXACTLY what Feynmann was always looking for.

    In this lecture, which was a reprise of one he had been giving for years, he also invents the Mexican Wave, and discusses Artificial Intelligence in an utterly engaging way.

    An amazing man.

    • Richard Feynmann was a great physicist and a great man. I never had the good fortune of meeting him but know quite a few who did. Theyall speak wellof him. He wrote a set of three books, The Feynmann Lectures on Physics, which emerged from his lectures to undergraduates at Caltech. In fact it’s worth Googling “Feynmann and Caltech” to get heaps of interesting leads.

      One of the many stories about Feynmann was that when he was a young physicist working on the development of the atom bomb at Los Alamos he used to amuse himself by exiting the compound unnoticed “through” the fence and then returned through the main gate. (See, we physicists are always well-behaved.)

  5. That song by Blondie : “In The Flesh”…threw me back many years…way before that song was written..back to my apprenticeship years as a young blade on the building site. In the smoko room of a multi-story building site…

    Back in those days..mid-sixties or so, we had a loquat tree in our yard at home and this year it was most proficient with fruit, so I used to take a small bag of them with me to work to eat at smoko and lunch…but in those days, I, and anyone I knew , used to not peel the fruit, but just eat them skin and all..till one day on the site, at smoko..this Slavic chap at the table watched me eat the whole fruit and then addressed me so;
    (I won’t try to do his accent)

    “Why, my young friend, do you eat the loquat, skin and all?”

    “I don’t know”..I shrugged” I just do..how else would you eat it?”…He put his apple down into his lunch-box and said..

    “Here..give me one..I see you have many..that big fat one there..they are the best to show you…” I gave it to him “ Yes..very juicy”..

    He wiped the surface with his rough hand and then held it up in front of us both as in display.

    ‘This fruit is not just a lump of food..(pause)..this is a sensuous delight..not just to chomp down like the glutton you are , my young friend!”..and he lay it clutched in one palm and proceeded to peel it with his other hand…a strip at a time ..all the while giving me..and those other bemused older men at the table, a running commentary…I have to admit I felt a tad blushing in those innocent days..

    His eyes concentrated and his voice softened..

    “This fruit is like a woman..you have to be very gentle..for she will bruise so if you handle her roughly..you like this fruit?..so..you must never be rough with that you love..you must gently peel away the outer layers of “garment” (he paused in his action to give me a querying stare) you understand?” (several other men stifled a guffaw) and when you have it down to the flesh…you gently , with both thumbs..so..spread the flesh wide so you can see the seeds..which you ease out with the index-finger..” He performed the whole procedure with all the care and sensuality of a lover..”And there”..he displayed the bare fruit in his open hand..and after a suitable pause for me to absorb the result, he raised the dripping delight to his lips and voluptuously pressed them down on the flesh so the juice oozed over his lips, which he dabbled with his napkin…His eyes rolled back in his head….he then spoke in a almost voiceless whisper..

    “And then…my so young and innocent friend..when you bring your lips to touch on that forbidden flesh , you can feel both the fruit and your mouth yield to a higher pleasure than you will ever experience in your otherwise worthless life…” There was a long pause while he held his pointed to the ceiling hand for a moment of appreciation..
    “Pitchken dim..” he sighed.

    There was a sudden outburst of laughter in the smoko room from the other men and I felt more than a little uncomfortable.

    But now..at the other end of my life, I can reflect back on the incident with a somewhat sentimental smile at the Slav’s performance….and I recollect a poem (I have it somewhere around here) of Penelope (of Ulysses myth) saying goodbye to her secret lover as it was rumoured Ulysses was returning to the island. Her lover, a rugged but handsome young fisherman who traveled with the seasonal schools of fish for his livelihood and was then moored at the wharf in Ithaca, asked Penelope for a token to take with him when he sailed that day as a keep sake, and (if I clumsily recall.from memory ) she spoke from her balcony to him below..:

    “There sir, by your hand..a white Athens rose,
    Throw it to me that I may grant your desire.”
    Tomas plucked the flower and did as she sought.
    Penelope pressed the stem to her bared breast,

    So a thorn pricked her milk-white flesh.
    A noiseless cry shaped her red lips and,
    A drop of her blood rose upon the place,
    As she pressed the white blossom upon it,
    So a single petal held her token there.

    She cast her loving eyes to Tomas,
    And returned the flower which he cupped
    In his hand ..then raising it to his lips,
    He plucked out that single petal upon his tongue,

    And took it into his body as a sign
    Of his endearing affection for Penelope..
    “Addio..( he softly whispered)…addio my lady..”

    I have that whole poem around ere somewhere..I’ll have to search it out one of these days..

  6. This is an absolute hoot.

    I showed it to Her Indoors, but she didn’t think it was all that funny.

    Then later on she suggested I should join a party (“any party at all” were her exact words) and go for preselection. As soon as possible. Like, this afternoon.

    Don’t quite know how to take that.

  7. I came up with a theory the other day as to why the Liberals can’t replace Turnbull as leader, but I can’t recall exactly what it is now. It was something along the lines of: Turnbull was chosen to replace Abbott because the party was tanking in the polls under the naked Right ideology of Abbott, and his faux progressivism gave voters hope that the party would shift away from the hard Right as a result. Now that that hasn’t happened and Turnbull has failed to sell that crock, the only options left are (perceptually) further to the Right than he is. They can’t go any further Left, and in fact have demonstrated that as a party they have no desire to move toward the Left at all.

    It is in fact the party that has dragged the polling back down, and they’ve taken Turnbull with them. Whether he went along with it willingly or not is beside the point; the point is that it makes no difference who leads them, they’re going to sell us the same hideous ideology and now we all know it. But removing Turnbull would be an admission of that fact, and they can’t let themselves acknowledge it openly so they can’t remove Turnbull. If they did it would be the same as saying, “Yes, we’re horrible and we’re no longer bothering to hide it.”

    What it means, if I’m right, is that this shitshow will go the full term, no matter how moribund it becomes, and Turnbull will still be there at the next election. He’s barely even operating as a facade now, but he’s all they’ve got to hide behind and they’ll continue to do that. They’ll take their three years and do what they can with it.

    I think that’s what I came up with, anyway.

    • Just a thought –

      A lot of people polled on ‘preferred PM’ were Labor voters who had no intention of ever voting for the Coalition, but had been sucked in by the media-promoted image of Turnbull. A rabid rattlesnake would have been better than Abbott, so it’s no wonder so many were taken in by the advertising. They bought the image, the Turnbull who was ‘cool’, wore a leather jacket with the collar turned up (such a wank, but the journalists didn’t see it that way), wanted renewable energy, thought marriage equality was a good idea and was generally portrayed as something he most definitely was not.

      As soon as he became PM we got to see The Real Malcolm, the spineless, gormless, lazy, ageing toff. The man who had finally achieved his boyhood ambition to be PM but didn’t seem all that interesting in actually doing the job now he had it. The Labor voters who had once thought Turnbull PM was a brilliant idea came to their senses, that polling went through the floor and is still sinking. Making things worse is the crash in Liberal voters who now think ‘Don’t Know’ would be a better PM than they one they recently voted for.

    • I’m still seeing tweets and social media comment from people who are disappointed with Fizza. It’s amazing how many seemingly intelligent people were completely taken in by the media hype.

  8. I spent a little bit of time this morning with an older lady whi migrated here (with hubby) when Georgia kicked out people of Russian background after breakup of the USSR.

    Her description of her elderly sister’s living conditions back in Georgia in a winter of -22c and the poverty of the nation are very sad. Her sister is very lucky to have an expat rellie who can send support to her.

    Aussies should stop whinging about ‘boat people’ and thank their lucky stars. They could stop their ridiculous flag waving and start volunteering that time to help others.

  9. Will any of the other department heads grow a pair?

    It’s on: Government says ABC offered staff a soft pay deal

    A new front has opened up in the Coalition’s war on the ABC, with government ministers accusing the broadcaster of going soft on its staff in a new pay deal.

    The government says the ABC has agreed a workplace deal with its staff, snubbing the Coalition’s hardline public sector bargaining policy being pushed by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/its-on-government-says-abc-offered-staff-a-soft-pay-deal-20161027-gscpso.html

  10. Told rugger buggers were smart. check out this effort by an old Irish lock.

    BBC Sport ‏@BBCSport 49m
    Paul O’Connell 👏👏👏

    Is this the best @QuestionofSport answer ever?

    Watch: http://bbc.in/2eULYwL

  11. Can feel a XXXX coming on. OK if I lived in Upper Buhkit Tiimah,Red Hill or North Balwyn, I might be ready for a gin and tonic. Look lah! Friday night, chance of new thread?

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