An Exemplary Judgement

R v TARRANT [2020] NZHC 2192 [27 August 2020]
IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND
CHRISTCHURCH REGISTRY
I TE KŌTI MATUA O AOTEAROA
ŌTAUTAHI ROHE

THE QUEEN v BRENTON HARRISON TARRANT
Hearing: 24-27 August 2020
Appearances: M N Zarifeh, B Hawes and P Norman (K Grau and H Lafraie on behalf of the victims) for Crown

Defendant in Person
PHB Hall QC and C J Lange as Standby Counsel
K H Cook as Amicus Curiae

Judgment: 27 August 2020

SENTENCING REMARKS OF MANDER J

[1] Brenton Harrison Tarrant, you are for sentence this morning for the murder of 51 people and for your attempt to murder 40 other individuals. You are also to be sentenced for engaging in a terrorist act on 15 March last year.

The facts:

[2] On that Friday morning you travelled from Dunedin to this city to attack two Christchurch mosques with the purpose of killing as many of the attending worshippers as you could.

[3] You had with you some six firearms, including semi-automatic shotguns and two military style semi-automatic rifles, and a large amount of ammunition. You carried four incendiary devices that you intended to use to burn down the mosques. You wore military style clothing and a bulletproof vest that contained at least seven magazines and a knife. On your helmet you mounted a strobe light to confuse your victims and a camera to provide a livestream to an online audience.

[4] After arriving in Christchurch and while in the vicinity of the Al Noor Mosque you sent a document, described as your “manifesto”, to an extremist website. You sent emails containing threats to attack the Christchurch mosques to the government and to various national and international media organisations, to which you also attached your manifesto. These messages were sent only minutes before your attack and
provided no opportunity to the authorities to intervene.

[5] The ideological motivation for your attack is readily apparent from the people you sought to target and the document you distributed. On your weapons you wrote references to the Crusades and recent terror attacks, and marked them with various symbols, including those of the Nazi SS. Your extremist views and motivation were plain.

[6] You parked your vehicle in a driveway next to the Al Noor Mosque and made your final preparations. It is estimated that some 190 worshippers had gathered at the Mosque for prayers. Predominantly men of various ages, the congregation also included women and children. You chose Friday prayers because you knew a large number of people would be assembling at the Mosque on that day at that particular time.

[7] You took with you two semi-automatic firearms and multiple magazines and made your way along the footpath to the Mosque. At that time four worshippers, Mounir Soliman, Syed Ali, Amjad Hamid and Hussein Moustafa, were at the Mosque’s front entrance. Without warning you discharged the shotgun multiple times in quick succession, killing each of them. A wounded Mr Moustafa was despatched by you at point-blank range with shots to his back and head.

[8] As you made your way down the hallway of the Mosque to the main prayer area you shot Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan and Ali Elmadani, murdering both men. You then entered the main prayer room at the rear of the building. There were over 120 worshippers present. They had heard the gunfire. Appreciating that something was very wrong, they moved to each side of the large open prayer area to where there were single exits in each corner.

[9] When you entered the main prayer room you initially fired at worshippers who were lying on the ground. You shot Ziyaad Shah. You then turned to the two large groups gathered on each side of the prayer area. There was little chance of escape. You fired your semi-automatic firearm into the mass of people on one side of the room. The rate of fire was extremely rapid. You repeatedly moved your weapon across that side of the room before turning to the other group of trapped people on the opposite side.

[10] As you turned your semi-automatic weapon on these worshippers, Naeem Rashid ran at you. Despite being shot, he crashed into you, forcing you down on one knee and dislodging a magazine from your vest. Mr Rashid had been hit in the shoulder and, as he lay on his back, you fired further shots at him. Mr Rashid died but his bravery allowed a number of his fellow worshippers to escape.

[11] By this stage you had emptied a 60-round magazine. You replaced that with another. Standing in the middle of the room, you fired rapid bursts towards each side of the prayer room where people were trying to hide or were attempting to escape. After reloading yet again, you continued to shoot at persons lying prone or trying to escape. You discharged rapid bursts across both sides of the room before approaching
individual victims and shooting them. As Ashraf Ragheb sought to escape from a side room down the hallway to the main entrance, you shot and killed him. Already there were many dead.

[12] You moved closer to each now piled group of people lying deceased, wounded or feigning death on each side of the main prayer room. Worshippers, who were either crying out for help or who appeared to be alive, were systematically shot in the head. One of those was a three-year-old child, Mucaad Ibrahim. He was clinging to his father’s leg and you murdered him with two aimed shots.

[13] At this point you made your way out of the Mosque, checking prone victims as you went to ensure they were dead. Outside you shot at people attempting to flee. You shot Mohammad Faruk in the back, killing him. Wasseim Daragmih and his four year-old daughter received life-threatening wounds. You fired in the opposite direction, hitting Sazada Akhter in the spine. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

[14] Having run out of ammunition, you discarded your weapon and returned to your vehicle where you armed yourself with another military style semi-automatic firearm fitted with two 40-round magazines. You fired this weapon down a side driveway towards the back of the Mosque, murdering Muse Awale and Hamza Alhaj Mustafa, a 16-year-old boy who had escaped from the main prayer room and was sheltering behind
vehicles. Another man, Mohammad Shamim Siddiqui, was critically wounded.

[15] You then returned to the main prayer room. As you entered you saw Md Hoq, who was wounded,sitting up against a window. You aimed one shot at Mr Hoq, killing him instantly, before firing further shots at a group of people lying in one corner. There were some 30 deceased or critically wounded worshippers in this mass of people. You delivered fatal shots to those who were still alive.

[16] You then reloaded your weapon and walked over to the group of people lying in the opposite corner and fired into them. You noticed Haji Nabi attempting to shelter behind a small wall. With two carefully aimed shots you murdered Mr Nabi before walking to within a metre of the piled group and firing further shots into those who were either deceased or mortally wounded. Any persons who showed signs of life were shot.

[17] After exiting the Mosque for the second time you saw two women attempting to escape. You shot Ansi Karippakulam Alibava and Husna Ahmed. Ms Ahmed was killed. Ms Karippakulam Alibava was wounded. While she lay on the street, pleading for help, you murdered this defenceless young woman, firing two shots at her from point-blank range. You then returned to your vehicle and inflicted the indignity of driving over her body as she lay in front of the driveway from which you exited.

[18] As you drove away from the Al Noor Mosque you continued to shoot at anyone who you considered should be the target of your hate. You discharged a shotgun at two men who appeared to be of African descent. A short distance on you saw Muhammad Nasir and his son walking towards the Mosque dressed in traditional clothing. You again discharged the shotgun, seriously wounding Mr Nasir, before actioning the weapon again and pointing it directly at the boy who was trying to hide behind a wall. You pulled the trigger but it failed to fire.

[19] You then sped away, driving directly to the Linwood Islamic Centre. On the way you came abreast of another vehicle being driven by a Fijian man. You pointed your shotgun at him. Despite repeated attempts to discharge the shotgun it failed to fire.

[20] When you got to Linwood you approached the Mosque on foot down a long driveway, armed with yet another firearm. You saw three people in and around a car. You shot Ghulam Hussain in the head, killing him, before firing at and wounding Muhammad Raza who had got out of the other side of the vehicle. You shot another occupant of the car, Karam Bibi, before advancing up the driveway, where you saw Mr Raza attempting to find cover behind a fence. He attempted to retreat from you. Despite his pleas to spare him, you murdered him. A wounded Ms Bibi sought to hide
in front of the vehicle. You walked to within metres of her as she lay prone with her head buried in her hands, stood over her, and killed her.

[21] You then advanced towards the Mosque. As you passed a window you saw the silhouette of Mohammed Khan. You murdered him with a single shot to the head. With your weapon now empty, you ran down the driveway back to your vehicle. As you reached the car, Abdul Aziz Wahabazadah, who had courageously followed you down the driveway, challenged you. You retrieved another semi-automatic rifle from your vehicle and fired at him. He dived between some parked cars, before you walked back up the driveway to the main entrance to the Mosque.

[22] There were several people standing inside the entranceway and further into the building at whom you repeatedly fired. You killed Musa Patel. Walking further into the Mosque, you shot and killed Linda Armstrong. People were huddled in corners of the room or trying to escape as you fired your weapon, killing Mohamad Mohamedhosen. You continued to fire the semi-automatic rifle until it ran out of ammunition, at which point you dropped it and ran back to your vehicle.

[23] Mr Wahabazadah chased you down the driveway, yelling at you. You removed the bayonet from your vest but retreated in the face of his advance. As you began driving away, Mr Wahabazadah got close enough to throw one of your discarded weapons at your vehicle.

[24] After leaving the Linwood Mosque, your intention was to drive to Ashburton to attack another mosque, but your vehicle was rammed off the road by a police car and you were apprehended by two armed police officers. You were anxious not to be shot and offered no resistance.

[25] When interviewed by police, you told them that you had gone to both mosques with the intention of killing as many people as you could. You regretted not having the opportunity to burn the mosques down by using the incendiary devices, and that you had not been able to shoot more people.

[26] You confirmed to police the ideological motivation for your self-described “terror attacks”, which was reflected in the document you distributed immediately before committing mass murder.

Victim impact statements
[27] I have read all the victim impact statements from well over 200 victims and listened with much sadness to those who have presented their statements in court. In addition, I have received statements from the Muslim Association of Canterbury, the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, Cashmere High School and the Canterbury Interfaith Society, for which I am grateful. Mr Lafraie has presented a statement in court that reflects the impact of your dreadful offending on the Muslim community.

Murder victims
[28] Forty-four unarmed and defenceless people were murdered by you at the Al Noor Mosque.

[29] Among them were Khaled Alhaj-Mustafa and his 16-year-old son, Hamza. You grievously wounded another son, who was just 13 years old. He has been left with wounds and a bullet in his leg that will always remind him of the terrible day you killed his father and brother. His mother has been left to look after him and a younger child. She tells me that she often cries alone at night. Mr Alhaj-Mustafa’s widow is scared thinking of her children’s future and how she will be able to take care of them. This shattered family must somehow cope with life without their loved ones.

[30] Syed Jahandad Ali was a software engineer and the father of three children, all under five years of age. His wife is fearful for their children and for their future without him. She must now raise and support her family by herself.

[31] Amjad Kasem Hamid was a respected and skilled physician. An expert in cardiac care, he was a dedicated doctor and a compassionate man. He was a husband and a father. His wife of 24 years and their two sons are deeply affected by his murder. Their loss is unbearable — the circumstances of his death unbelievable.

[32] Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan was a caring son and a devoted husband and father. He loved his family, neighbours and colleagues. He loved all people, and was loved by them. He represented New Zealand in his chosen sport of futsal and was a leader in his field of information technology. He was a gifted man. His family must now somehow go on and live without him. His wife, who came to this country to share her life with him, must now live with the indescribable pain of his loss and raise their young daughter without him. She described him as a “good New Zealander”
whose “legacy will live forever”

[33] Ali Mah’d Abdullah Elmadani owned his own taxi after retiring as an engineer. He and his wife and children moved to this country more than 20 years ago. Mr Elmadani was “the pillar” of the family. His death has left his wife and his teenage son distraught. The family is broken and they are left struggling with daily life without him.

[34] Naeem Rashid was undertaking postgraduate study at Lincoln University and teaching at various business colleges after a career in international banking. Mr Rashid died defending his fellow worshippers and his 21-year-old son, Talha, who was also murdered that day. Mr Rashid was an honourable man. As his wife has told me, the brave way he and his son died was are a reflection of his life. Talha had recently started his career as a civil engineer. He was, in his mother’s words, an amazing son and older brother to his younger siblings. Both were fine men — their loss will hurt forever.

[35] Ashraf El-Moursy Ragheb’s widow was also at the Mosque that day. She was able to get to a place of relative safety, but she experienced the terror of the attack, as so many other survivors did, and lived through the dread at the hospital of hearing that her beloved husband was dead — she has not felt safe since. Mr Ragheb was a kind and forgiving man who, I am told, always had a big smile on his face. He was deeply loved by his wife and two children.

[36] Mohammad Omar Faruk was a welder. He died before he could see his unborn daughter, and his widow is alone and shaken. Their child will never know her father, and Mr Faruk’s mother has lost her only son. She is heartbroken.

[37] Muse Nur Awale was such a big part of his family’s lives. They are at a loss without him. He taught them about the Quran, and his teaching and friendship is greatly missed. His wife has lost her lifelong companion. They will never again be able to share their love and happiness together.

[38] Md Mojammel Hoq was a trained dentist. He was a very gentle man — softly spoken — he worked hard to support his family. They have been left bereft by his murder.

[39] Haji Mohemmed Daoud Nabi was a 71-year-old who had been married to his wife for 46 years. He was a role model and leader to his family; a best friend to his children and to his wife. For them the pain and anguish never goes away. Mrs Nabi describes herself as “alive, but not living”. You effectively took her life as you took Mr Nabi’s. She and her children suffer every day. As Mr Nabi’s daughter said to me in her statement, they are living their own sentence.

[40] Ansi Karippakulam Alibava’s husband found her lying on the road. He sat down beside her until police told him it was not safe. He knew when ambulance staff were not treating her that she had died. He is devastated. He finds himself constantly reminded of the events of that day and the loss of his dear wife. He can find no solace.

[41] Abukadir Elmi was at the Mosque that day with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. The family have lost their mentor — the person they relied on for advice and support. Mr Elmi did everything for his wife. His son must now assume that responsibility.

[42] Abdelfattah Qasem was a kind-hearted, selfless and hardworking husband and father who helped his neighbours and friends. For 32 years he and his wife used to hold hands. She no longer has him to hold hands with — instead she faces retirement alone. Mr Qasem will never meet his grandson, who was born two months after he died. The family has lost their pillar and is forever traumatised by his death.

[43] Zakaria Bhuiya’s widow has told me that he was her whole life. She has been left alone in this country and her life is difficult. Mr Bhuiya was a caring person who looked after his family. He would send money to his parents in Bangladesh to help support them, but their lives and those of their family have now changed forever.

[44] Kamal Darwish had a wife and three young children. He worked on a farm in Ashburton and was soon to be joined by his family. They miss him so much. The children continue to ask for their father. Your actions have destroyed that family, as they have so many other families. At times his widow does not know how to go on. He came to this country because he thought it was a good, safe place to live. The day after attending her son’s funeral, Mr Darwish’s mother died — the family believe it was from a broken heart.

[45] Ozair Kadir was training to be an airline pilot like his big brother. His death has left a scar on the hearts of his proud parents. His murder haunts his father.

[46] Muhammad Suhail Shahid left a wife he had known from childhood and two little daughters, aged five and four. They keep asking for their “Papa”. They cannot understand why he is not here. Mr Shahid’s widow is alone and scared. She tries to be strong but she is in despair for her lost husband.

[47] Haroon Mahmood’s wife has told me that the murder of her husband has turned her and their two children’s lives upside down. They are devastated by the loss of their extremely loving and caring dad, but their mother is determined that they will not be bowed by your crimes.

[48] Lilik Abdul Hamid’s widow wakes in the night terrified and afraid for
her future without her husband. She is alone and her loneliness makes her depressed. Mr Hamid’s daughter lives in fear of strangers and has become timid and untrusting of people.

[49] Junaid Ismail’s wife and three children must live without the love, protection and care that he should have been entitled to provide as a husband and father. His bereaved mother must summon the strength to keep going without her respected, gentle and humble son. Mr Ismail’s sister and brother are determined that his legacy will be carried on through his children and that they will become confident and proud New Zealanders, like their father.

[50] Ashraf Ali (Razak) was a forgiving man — a generous and caring person who loved to visit New Zealand to see his daughter, and his brother and sisters. His daughter has told me that he treated her like a princess. She may never come to terms with his passing.

[51] Osama Adnan Abukwaik’s brother has told me of how he shared a room with Mr Abukwaik as they grew up together and watched him become a man and a father. He does not want to speak of him in the past tense and wonders if that will ever seem right.

[52] Tariq Rashid Omar was a fine young man — a geologist and a footballer. His family spoke of him with eloquence and grace — a fitting reflection of their love for him. So much of what they said applies to all who fell. The loss of their special son, brother and grandson is intolerable. I cannot do justice to their words.

[53] Sayyad Ahmad Milne was a precious 14-year-old boy with his whole life
before him. His murder has left a huge hole in his parents’ hearts. Despite his father’s resilience and forgiveness, they grieve for him deeply.

[54] Mucaad Aden Ibrahim was younger still — a three-year-old infant. His father described him as “the happiness of the household” — a vibrant young boy who made friends with everyone he met. No family can recover from the murder of such a small child.

[55] Farhaj Ahsan was an engineer by profession. He was described to me as an honest, sincere and noble son; a caring husband and devoted father; a gentleman, humble and much loved. His murder has caused enormous emotional damage to the health and wellbeing of his family.

[56] Ahmed Gamal Abdel Ghany’s widow has told me that he was a kind and decent man who was much loved by his family. He had a sense of humour that I am told “makes you laugh from the bottom of your heart”. His wife has been left lonely and hopeless. His son’s life has changed completely.

[57] Hussein Al-Umari’s proud father has told me of his son’s love for his mother and his sister and of how Mr Al-Umari came to this country as a nine-year-old boy — their pain will never go away. I have seen a photo of Mr Al-Umari and his family enjoying a backyard picnic — it is such a Kiwi scene. His sister has described her brother and best friend as the backbone of their family — a person that would not hesitate to help someone in trouble. His mother weeps every day for her special young man, yet, in an extraordinary act of humanity, she offered you her forgiveness.

[58] Syed Areeb Ahmed was a chartered accountant. His family was very proud of him. He was a good son; kind, intelligent and handsome. He had a strong bond with his little sister. He cared and looked after them. Their small family has been broken by his loss.

[59] Maheboob Allarakha Khokhar was visiting family in New Zealand with his wife. They were an older couple — his widow cannot accept he is no more. His grandchildren still ask “where is Dada” and his son and daughter find the pain of his loss hard to live with.

[60] Matiullah Safi’s death has left his wife, his children and his mother distraught. He was a loving and caring man who was a strong role model for his sons. He was much respected by them, and by the rest of his family and friends.

[61] Ramiz Arifbhai Vora spent the morning of 15 March with his parents visiting his wife in Christchurch hospital. She had recently given birth to their daughter. He never got to hold his baby. He and his father, Arif Mohamedali Vohra went to the Mosque where both were murdered. Ramiz had a dream for his family to have a life in New Zealand. Despite all the adversity, his wife is determined to honour her husband’s wishes and make a life here for herself and their young daughter who will never have the opportunity to meet her father.

[62] Ashraf Ali would have celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife this year. They were both so happy. She cannot believe he is gone — she still waits for him to come home. Mr Ali was a well-respected man in the Muslim community who helped many people. He was calm, generous and kind. His loving family still cannot understand how he could be taken from them in such circumstances. They are heartbroken. Their family no longer feels whole.

[63] Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi was a caring person, described by a friend as like a father to him. He loved New Zealand and believed that its people were kind and decent. He is greatly missed.

[64] Zekeriya Tuyan was an electronics engineer. Honest and hardworking, he was respected by all. He succumbed to his wounds in Christchurch Hospital and became the 51st martyr. He left two young boys who no longer have their beloved “Baba” to cuddle and jump over, as they did when they greeted him each day. He will not be there to lead and guide them. His wife has told me that he was the love of her life.

[65] Also murdered at the Al Noor Mosque and taken from their families and loved ones were Mounir Soliman, Hussein Mohamed Khalil Moustafa, Muhammad Abdus Samad, Husna Ahmed and Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi.

[66] You murdered another seven people at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

[67] Ghulam Hussain and Karam Bibi were the parents of Muhammad Zeshan Raza — three members of the same family brutally murdered. Their daughter – Mr Raza’s sister — is the only one left. Their deaths have left a gaping emotional void that cannot be filled.

[68] Mohammed Imran Khan left a wife and a 14-year-old son. The impact of his death has been devastating on Mrs Khan. She now faces life with many fears, mostly for her son who needs his father. They will never be the same people again.

[69] Musa Vali Suleman Patel was a revered Iman, who has been described to me by his family as a wonderful man who provided an example to them of faith, strength and love; a man dedicated to supporting others. I am told he died in the embrace of his wife and the embrace of his faith, but that cannot ease the grief and shock of his wife and children who are trying to make sense of the killing of this warm and loving man who welcomed all people of all races and cultures.

[70] Mohamad Moosid Mohamedhosen was described by his sister as an
adventurous man who came to New Zealand to enjoy this “serene place”. I am told he was a man who was full of life, peaceful and generous. His family rallied from all over the world to be with their lost loved one upon hearing the terrible news.

[71] Linda Armstrong was described by her daughter as vivacious and colourful. Greatly loved by her family, she moved to Christchurch to be close to her two grandchildren and to their mother with whom she had such a strong bond. Describing her as “a vibrant force for goodness”, her daughter struggles to cope with her murder and, as with all the families of those murdered that day, with not being able to say goodbye.

Attempted murder victims
[72] You inflicted gunshot wounds to 40 other people who you attempted to murder that day. Many of them suffered grievous and lifelong injuries.

[73] Mostafa Abdelmonem is a dairy farmer who was shot in the arm. He has had two surgeries and has suffered lead poisoning from the bullet fragments. Despite the hurt and the pain, he is now back at work. He has told me that he will not allow one person’s actions to stop him from praying to his God.

[74] Rahimi Ahmad was shot through his side and stomach. A bullet travelled to his spinal cord. Through three months in hospital, four surgeries, and many more months of rehabilitation, Mr Ahmad has fought to walk again but he remains in great pain. He agonises for his 11-year-old son who witnessed the terror of that day and who must carry those memories for the rest of his life.

[75] Osman Aweys Ahmed was shot in the back and, like so many others, will always have bullet fragments in his body. He remains in pain which at times is unbearable. He is haunted by the images he saw that day.

[76] Sazada Akhter was found lying on the road. She received a gunshot wound to her chest and her spine was fractured. This young woman is now confined to a wheelchair and will need special care for the rest of her life. She is only 26 years old. Both her and her husband’s lives have changed profoundly. The couple do not know if they can ever have children and they are distressed and fearful for their futures.

[77] Hisham Khalifa Al Zarzour was hit by two bullets. Complications from those wounds resulted in him suffering a heart attack and he has nerve damage to his leg. His recovery has been slow and he will likely have some degree of pain for the rest of his life. He has not been able to work and that has put financial stress on his family. He finds himself unable to put the horror of the terrorist attack behind him or to be able to plan for the future.

[78] Mohammad Atta Alayan was shot in the shoulder and head. Despite the
seriousness of his injuries, the pain pales compared to losing his beloved son, Ata: his “angel with a beautiful smile”.

[79] Basil Arsan Mustafa Ass’ad was shot four times and received wounds to his thigh, shoulder blade, arm and mouth. He has had multiple surgeries and will have to undergo further operations to remove shotgun fragments. He has been unable to work, and this has caused considerable financial difficulties for his family. His inability to care for his young child has caused further stress, and he finds himself emotionally fragile. His wife feels vulnerable and continues to fear for her safety.

[80] Six bullets were removed from Temel Atacocugu’s body, three remain. He has required multiple long surgeries and, again like so many others, must bear the pain and mental anguish, not just from the permanent injuries with which he must now cope but from the horrific experience he lived through.

[81] Mustafa Boztas was shot in the thigh and shrapnel entered his liver. The nightmare of what he lived though and his leg injuries have prevented him from completing his welding training, and he has not been able to work.

[82] Wasseim Sati Ali Daragmih was shot three times as he sought to protect his little girl. He has undergone seven surgeries with the possibility of more to remove the bullet fragments.

[83] His daughter, a four-year-old girl at the time, received a gunshot wound that resulted in a massive haemorrhage, cardiac arrest and other critical complications. She was in a coma and had to be flown to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. There she remained in intensive care for a month. The little girl has had 14 surgeries for her injuries. No child should be subjected to such pain and such violence. She and her family have suffered terribly from what they have been through.

[84] Feroz Mohammed Ditta was shot three times. He has lost most of his calf muscle. Despite four surgeries there still remains shrapnel in his leg and Mr Ditta has had to sell his freight business.

[85] Ahmad Shah Feroz was shot three times in the back. He has more than 200 pieces of shrapnel remaining in his body which need to be removed by more surgery. His injuries and the process of recovery have been very painful. He has difficulty walking and sleeping, and now requires the assistance of a walking stick. His family are very worried for his health.

[86] Taj Mohammad Kamran was shot three times in the same leg — shrapnel will remain in his body and he has nerve damage that causes pain in his leg and back that cannot be eased. He too can only walk with the aid of a stick. The trauma and stress make him feel hopeless.

[87] Hazem Mohammed is a 65-year-old man who was trapped in the Al Noor Mosque when the shooting began. He was shot at point-blank range while lying on the ground, attempting to feign death. The bullet narrowly missed his head, going into his shoulder which is now damaged and painful. There is nothing more that the surgeons can do. Mr Mohammed struggled to sleep for months after the attack and his family has been under great stress. Like so many, he cannot get the images and sounds of what he experienced that day out of his head. He carries great sadness for those who died.

[88] A 13-year-old boy was shot by you in the thigh and spine, but the greatest loss for this teenage boy was the death of his father and his older brother. It is hard for his bereaved mother to watch him and his sister trying to cope without their father and brother. No one can replace them.

[89] Shah Nawaz has lost the full function of his leg and hip. He was shot three times. Mr Nawaz was initially confined to a wheelchair and has now slowly moved to crutches. He is still undertaking therapy and fears he will not be able to walk the same way he used to. He, like many of those present at the mosques, cannot sleep because of the nightmares. His injuries and psychological scars have changed his life forever. He finds this difficult to accept and his family has gone though much trauma.

[90] Mohd Nazril Bin Hisham Omar was shot in both feet and in his back. He was unable to walk for three months and must still carry a walking stick with him. He finds it difficult to sleep because of the pain and the terrible memories. He must take pain medication and finds the physical parts of his job difficult. He is always worried that someone else will commit another attack and fears for his children’s safety. The simplest tasks, such as dressing, are a struggle, and the nerve damage has left him shaking. At times he has become depressed and felt like giving up.

[91] Mark Anthony Rangi was visiting from Australia. He did not initially think he was wounded after running from the Al Noor Mosque, but he had been shot. He had bullet fragments in his leg and has suffered nerve damage. Mr Rangi struggled to walk for a long time and this resulted in him losing his job. Despite the damage to his leg he is no longer in pain, but at times he becomes very upset. He finds himself looking at people differently and not trusting people as he once did.

[92] Sheikh Rubel is married with a young daughter and newborn baby. He was shot three times. He suffered a broken pelvis, damage to his lower intestine and broken toes. He spent two months in hospital, and has been absent from his work for a long time. He may now have a permanent disability. He, too, has sleepless nights and bad dreams. He cannot lift his daughters or go out for a walk, and no longer has a normal life. When he watches his mates playing cricket and football he realises his life has
changed maybe forever. He fears that because of the pain and the mental anguish, he may not be able to return to his accounting job which he enjoyed so much and he is worried for the future of his young family and their financial situation.

[93] Adeeb Ahmad Sami Adeeb received multiple gunshot wounds and required multiple surgeries to remove bullet fragments from his kidney, spleen and shoulders. He struggles with day-to-day tasks and knows there is a long way ahead to recovery, both physically and mentally. He will likely have to curb the travel he undertakes as part of his job as an engineer. He hopes that as the years pass you will reflect on your actions, see past the hate that is in you and find peace and love.

[94] Al Seenawi is a 63-year-old grandfather who spent six weeks in hospital and can no longer walk without the aid of crutches. It will take at least three years for the nerve damage in his leg to repair to allow him to walk again properly. If it does not heal he will be on crutches for the rest of his life. Mr Seenawi can no longer play with his granddaughters. His life and that of his family has changed forever.

[95] Ziyaad Shah was shot three times. He too finds it difficult to sleep because of the pain and the horrific memories. Only a few months ago he underwent yet more surgery. Mr Shah came to New Zealand to raise his children in a safer country. He refuses to be intimidated by your hatred.

[96] Fawad Sharifzai sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He still has bullet
fragments in his lungs, liver and shoulder. The fragments in his lung cause him difficulty breathing and toxic elements from those fragments further endanger his health. Mr Sharifzai has been left depressed and psychologically scarred by the attack. He is haunted by the memories of those who were killed in front of him and seeing his best friend die. He finds himself at times very confused and disillusioned.
Mr Sharifzai is heavily reliant on his family. He is deeply worried for their future and fears not being able to take care of them.

[97] Mohammad Shamim Siddiqui has told me how he and his family’s happy life in Christchurch has been shattered. Mr Siddiqui was shot in the arm. He has not been able to go back to work and his family have suffered financially, but it is the emotional trauma that has affected him and his family most deeply.

[98] Abbas Ashenafi Tahir was shot in the back. He remembers blood coming out of his mouth that day and handing his phone to a woman holding his wound to tell his pregnant wife what had happened to him as he could not talk. He woke up three days later in hospital. Days of intensive care and weeks in hospital led Mr Tahir to finally being discharged, but he must now live with the pain of his wound. He has trouble sleeping. He thinks of the people who died in front of him and he often feels scared
and worried for his family.

[99] Motasim Uddin was shot in the leg. He underwent four surgeries, including a bone graft, and spent three and a half months recovering at Burwood Hospital. He still needs help to shower, toilet and dress himself. He must use crutches and has not been able to return to his job as a welder. He fears not being able to support his family. He, too, cannot sleep well, both because of the pain and the vivid memories of witnessing people dying, and running and not being able to get out. He remembers all the blood.

[100] Mirwais Waziri was shot in the head. A piece of shrapnel remains there. Mr Waziri has experienced war in Afghanistan but, as he has said to me, this was different. This was not fighting — this was murder. Mr Waziri has felt a dreadful sense of loss and remains anxious and fearful. At night when he tries to sleep he hears the cries of the injured and dying.

[101] Shahzad Ali Zamurrad is grateful that his injuries were relatively minor. He received a bullet injury to his ribs and bruises and cuts to his legs. He has, however, been deeply affected and struggles to deal with what happened to him. He is taking the small steps necessary to deal with his feelings and restore his health.

[102] Those also wounded at the Al Noor Mosque were: Azmat Hussain, who
suffered multiple lacerations to his arm and a gunshot wound to his lower back; Muhammad Amin Nasir, who received a gunshot wound to his chest; Mohd Tarmizi Bin Shuib, who was shot in his lower back, as was Ahmede Yesuf; Aseel Sulaiman Alansari, who was shot in the leg; and MD Omar Jahid, who received a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

[103] At the Linwood Islamic Centre five people who you attempted to murder were left seriously wounded.

[104] Salwa Hossien El Shazly is a 68-year-old married woman with three adult children and five grandchildren. Since arriving in this country in 1996, she has been heavily involved in the Christchurch community. She was present at the Mosque with her husband, Ibrahim, and their youngest son, Mostafa. Mrs El Shazly was shot in the arm. She has physically recovered but, like all those present at the two mosques, she is deeply affected by having witnessed the murder of her friends and fellow worshippers. She is not the same person she once was, and because of the memories of what happened she is unable to return to the Linwood Mosque.

[105] Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir is still receiving ongoing treatment to repair nerve damage to his arm and will require further surgery. He has had to sell his restaurant and is unsure when he can return to work and to a normal life. He will likely have to take pain medication for the rest of his life, and remains deeply disturbed by what he experienced.

[106] Sahadat Mohammad was at the Mosque when he was shot in the shoulder. He has required four operations, including a bone graft. The injury is extremely painful and his shoulder will never be the same. Some pieces of the bullets are near his heart and some pieces in his lungs, which sometimes affects his breathing. They cannot be removed because the surgeons fear more damage will be caused by attempting to do so. Mr Mohammad is unsure whether he will be able to work as a chef again.

[107] Zulfirman Syah and his two-year-old son were shot. Mr Syah suffered a fractured back and ribs, injuries to his forearm and thigh and other life-changing critical injuries. The child was also hit by bullets and sustained internal injuries. Both carry fragments of those bullets in their bodies. Mr Syah lost consciousness while speaking to his wife on the phone from the floor of the Mosque as his little son lay with him for comfort on top of his seemingly lifeless body. The child is deeply traumatised from his experience. It is difficult to grasp the terrible physical and psychological impact on this family, and the resulting financial and emotional strain that has been inflicted upon them.

Terrorism victims
[108] The people who you killed and wounded were not the only victims. All those who were present or in the immediate vicinity of the two mosques have suffered deeply from their experience, as has the wider Muslim community.

[109] People witnessed scenes that no one should have to experience. They must live with those memories and the terrible fear they suffered that day. The severe debilitating effects of this lasting trauma and post-traumatic stress have been profound – anxiety, survivor guilt, fear, grief and anger are common. Many must also endure insomnia and nightmares and a continual deep sense of sadness. Some have been devastated from what they went through, and their lives forever altered.

[110] The mosques were places of sanctuary. This country too, considered
internationally to be one of the safest and most secure in the world, was also seen as a place of refuge and safety by many who you targeted. I have little doubt that you chose to come to this country to target New Zealand’s Muslim community for that very reason. As a result of your terrorism you have caused people to question their safety in their own community.

[111] The violation of houses of worship — places of peace reserved for prayer, family and community — has caused worshippers to doubt their safety at those places and people have lost confidence. Those intended effects of your crime must not be allowed to stand. Your victims have shown extraordinary resilience, but I cannot ignore the damage you have done to the sense of security and wellbeing of members of the Muslim community, both in Christchurch and more widely throughout New Zealand as a whole.

Personal background
[112] Mr Tarrant, you are a 29-year-old Australian man who travelled to live in Dunedin in 2017. You had no family or other apparent connections with New Zealand and have never sought employment here. Before or shortly after your arrival you began to plan a terrorist attack on people of this country.

[113] Your upbringing in a small New South Wales town was unremarkable. You have no criminal history. It appears that while travelling in Europe you developed deep-seated radical views regarding the migrant population of some Western countries and beliefs about the so-called “cultural displacement” of Europeans in those countries. You began formulating ideas of taking violent action against people — people you described as “the invaders”, and in particular those of the Muslim faith. You were attracted to and adopted the views of far right white supremacists.

[114] Having resolved to take violent action in furtherance of your extreme
ideological beliefs, you used your time here to plan and prepare. Members of your family with whom you maintained some contact became increasingly concerned about your radical outlook and racist views. You adopted an isolated lifestyle, living alone in rented accommodation. Your focus appears to have been on following far right websites, acquiring high powered firearms — some of military specification, large amounts of ammunition of various calibres, and other military paraphernalia and equipment. You obtained a New Zealand firearms licence and practised the use of your guns at various rifle clubs. Apart from some further travel in December 2018, your sole objective was the planning and execution of your long-conceived plan to attack the Muslim community.

[115] You have no apparent mental disorders or psychiatric conditions, nor do you present with any clinically significant cognitive impairments. One of the psychiatrists who assessed you last year described you as proudly seeing yourself as a “white European ethno-nationalist” who has an “air of superiority and grandiosity which may reflect narcissistic traits”. However, there was insufficient information to make a formal diagnosis of any personality disorder. You are described as having held unusually racist beliefs since your late teens that have developed and intensified through your adult life.

[116] A clinical psychologist considered you displayed a range of traits akin to personality dysfunction but that they did not reach the level of severity to constitute a full-blown personality disorder or clinical syndrome. Your choice of violence as a solution to your anger at perceived so-called “population and cultural displacement” in Western countries was assessed as being an expression of distorted attitudes and impaired judgement that align with your maladapted personality traits and extreme overvalued beliefs.

[117] More recently you purport to have disavowed the political and ideological views that you sought to use to justify your crimes. You now claim to have abandoned these ideas completely and that you no longer believe in the things that led you to commit these terrible crimes. You have described those beliefs to the pre-sentence report writer as “not real”, that you were at the time in a “poisoned emotional state” and “terribly unhappy”. You said you felt ostracised by society and that you wanted to damage society as an act of revenge.

[118] In the weeks preceding your sentencing you told a psychiatrist that you were not thinking logically or rationally at the time of your offending and that you were acting on “delusional beliefs” that you referred to as “romantic or idealistic notions” that your death would be in the name of a cause. You suggested that as you descended into a more depressed state your thoughts became more extreme. You claimed, in going through with your plans, to have been seeking a violent end and this was the means to achieve it.

[119] This attempt by you to rationalise your actions is at odds with the account you willingly gave in the wake of your killings to police and health assessors, that your crimes were committed in the context of war against “invading” populations, and to whom you described yourself as a “partisan”. A psychiatrist who has recently interviewed you does not believe that depression was your dominant mood in the period leading up to the attacks. Far from the usually diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities typically seen during a major depressive episode, in your case, you engaged in extensive research and planning during this time and wrote your manifesto. That exercise required you to concentrate for long periods and is inconsistent with someone suffering from a major depressive episode. Whatever symptoms of a persistent depressive disorder you may have had, if any, they were not debilitating.

[120] While you may have contemplated the risk of your death in carrying out your crimes, it is striking that you were at pains to avoid being shot at the time of your apprehension and that you were determined to survive. Your plan was to be captured alive and to use your subsequent interactions with the police and the court process to advance your ideological cause. I accept that insofar as you may have thought to use your trial as a platform, you discarded that opportunity when you pleaded guilty and have taken no steps in the course of this hearing to advance the ideology that motivated you.

[121] You have also claimed that you are not racist or xenophobic and that you did not target your victims because of their ethnicity or religion. The facts show otherwise. You have held longstanding discriminatory views against ethnic minorities that clearly evolved from your own experience, research and interaction with likeminded individuals over a relatively long period, and developed to become violently focussed on a hatred towards Muslim people. Your misconduct while on remand, at least during the early period of your incarceration, has been described as involving offence-paralleling behaviour and is said to mirror the objectives of your offending.

[122] The reliability of your changing views is described by the health assessors as questionable and is viewed as evidence of the labile nature of your personality and related mood swings. Your recent self-generated denunciation of your extreme ideology requires circumspection. It is uncorroborated, self-serving and a relatively recent phenomenon. The Court must exercise caution in assessing the genuineness of your claims that a holder of such extremist views, who is capable of manifesting those beliefs with such homicidal violence, is prepared to abandon them so easily.

[123] You have acknowledged that “nothing good” came from your crimes. While you accept what you did was — to use your words — “abhorrent and irrational”, it is not apparent, despite your claims, that you are genuinely remorseful beyond being regretful for the situation that now faces you. As far as I am able to gauge, you are empty of any empathy for your victims. You remain detached and appear entirely selfcentred. You have not displayed any discernible distress at your offending, which you recollected to the health assessors in an abstract and unemotive fashion. Stripped of your warped ideological and political trappings, you present as a deeply impaired person motivated by a base hatred for people who you perceive to be different from yourself.

Sentencing purposes
[124] Mr Tarrant, in sentencing you my prime objectives are threefold. First and foremost, to condemn your crimes and to denounce your actions. Second, to hold you accountable for the terrible harm you have caused — in plain terms, to attempt to impose some commensurate punishment. I do that on behalf of the whole community, which in particular includes the victims of your crimes and their families, all of whom are a part of New Zealand’s multicultural society. Third, there is the need to protect the community from a person capable of committing cold-blooded murder on such a scale and who presents such a grave risk to public safety.

[125] A predominant feature of your offending is that your homicidal actions constituted an act of terrorism and that your victims were targeted predominantly because of their religion but also their ethnicity, their race and their colour. I am required to impose a sentence that appropriately takes into account and reflects those particular aggravating features of your crimes and the distorted motivations that lay behind them.

[126] On the 51 charges of murder the sentences can only be one of life
imprisonment.

[127] Attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment. You have been convicted of attempting to murder 40 people. It is plain you tried to kill many more on 15 March. After your arrest you told police that you regretted not doing so. Of the 40 survivors who were shot by you and in respect of whom you were charged with attempting to murder, almost all suffered very serious life-threatening wounds. Many would have died but for the actions of fellow worshippers, passing civilians, police and paramedics, and the doctors and nurses of Christchurch Hospital.

[128] Many of the surviving victims have suffered major and permanent life-altering physical injuries and deep disabling mental trauma. Their lives have fundamentally changed. The Sentencing Act (the Act) directs that the maximum penalty prescribed for an offence must be imposed for offending that is within the most serious of cases for which that penalty is prescribed. These are such offences.

[129] Similarly, because your act of terrorism comprised the deliberate taking of so many innocent lives and the wounding and maiming of so many people, I consider the maximum sentence of life imprisonment can be the only commensurate starting point for the commission of such a crime.

Sentencing for murder and terrorism
[130] Where an offender is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder the Court must order the offender to serve a minimum period of imprisonment. That term must not be less than 10 years and must be the minimum term the Court considers necessary to hold you accountable for the harm you have done, to denounce your conduct, to meet the needs of deterrence and to protect the community. If no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy any one of those sentencing purposes, the Act provides that I may order that you serve your sentence without parole.

[131] Accountability, denouncement, deterrence and protection of the community must be the Court’s focus. Those considerations are not to the exclusion of other purposes and principles of sentencing. However, the length of a minimum period of imprisonment for murder and the assessment of the adequacy of any such term is to be measured against those sentencing objectives. Aggravating and mitigating factors are applicable to the extent they are relevant to those specified purposes.

[132] Those sentencing objectives also reflect the primary sentencing considerations that have been taken into account for terrorism offending in Australia and the United Kingdom. Personal mitigating factors, including rehabilitation, are to be given less weight. Because of the ideological motivations of terrorism offenders, community protection and general deterrence are to be afforded greater importance notwithstanding that the force of such motivations may mean that such deterrence may not be effective. However, an order to serve a sentence of life imprisonment without parole can only attach, in this country, to a sentence imposed for murder.

Sentence of life imprisonment without parole
[133] An order that a murderer serve their sentence of life imprisonment without parole has not previously been made in this country. This Court has taken the view in the particular circumstances of other cases that the requisite objectives of sentencing could be achieved by the imposition of a finite minimum term. That approach has been taken in the knowledge that the sentence of life imprisonment means just that. Unless after the elapse of the minimum period of imprisonment the Parole Board can be satisfied that an offender can be safely released into the community, a person sentenced to life imprisonment will spend the rest of their life in prison.

[134] The longest minimum non-parole period imposed in this country was 30 years for the murder of three people and the attempted murder of another during the course of an aggravated robbery. A sentence of life imprisonment without parole was not available at the time. The ability to order that a murderer serve their sentence without parole was introduced in 2010 in response to a perceived societal concern regarding repeat violent offenders and the worst murder cases. An identified need was to relieve victims of the stress of having to attend parole hearings in the knowledge of the offender’s potential release.

[135] At the time of its introduction the Government acknowledged that the
imposition of life imprisonment without parole would be infrequent. However, unlike other jurisdictions, little statutory criteria or guidance was prescribed for when such an order would be appropriate. In the few New Zealand cases where the issue has been considered, this Court has observed that the grounds for making such an order need to be clear and obvious, and the objectives of sentencing not otherwise achievable by imposing a minimum period of imprisonment.

[136] In the United Kingdom a sentencing court when imposing a life sentence for murder may have regard to whether the seriousness of the offence or combination of offences is exceptionally high. Cases that would normally fall within such a category include the murder of two or more persons where each murder involves a substantial degree of premeditation or planning, and a murder that is done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial or ideological cause — criteria that apply to your crimes.

[137] If the “exceptionally high” test is met, then the appropriate starting point is, as it is termed in the United Kingdom, a whole life order, being a life sentence served without parole. After considering any mitigating or other aggravating factors not already taken into account, should the sentencing court consider a whole-of-life sentence to be appropriate it may make such an order.

[138] In this country, Parliament has provided that a life sentence without parole can be imposed in the case of the worst murders if the Court is satisfied that no minimum term would be sufficient to satisfy the prescribed purposes of sentencing an offender for such a crime. When that statutory criteria is met, the Court has a discretion to impose a whole-of-life sentence. However, the Court must not impose a punishment that is disproportionately severe — that is a sentence that is “grossly disproportionate” to the circumstances of the offending and the offender.

[139] There is European jurisprudence that indicates the imposition of a whole-of-life sentence in the absence of any effective review mechanism is incompatible with international human rights instruments. The limited grounds afforded under our legislation for release on compassionate grounds may not be considered as providing a meaningful process of review of a life sentence without parole, but it remains unclear whether such a sentence without the possibility of review would in all circumstances breach the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

[140] The Court of Appeal has examined the interpretation and application of the law, collectively referred to as the “three-strikes legislation”, that provides the Court with the power to impose a whole-of-life sentence for murder notwithstanding there having been no previous offending. The Court of Appeal’s focus was on offenders convicted of murder who have received a first or final warning and who this Court must sentence to life imprisonment without parole unless satisfied it would be manifestly unjust to do so.

[141] In examining how that exception should be approached in the face of the statutory presumption of a whole-of-life sentence, the Court of Appeal emphasised the essential need to comply with the constitutional requirement that the sentence must not be grossly disproportionate. By this Court approaching its task in that way, the tension between the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, as mandated by Parliament, and the need to avoid a disproportionately severe punishment can be reconciled.

[142] There is no express presumption in favour of the imposition of a whole-of-life sentence once the Court is satisfied that no minimum term of imprisonment can satisfy one or more of the listed purposes to which it must have regard. However, while the discretion, once engaged, does not on its face appear to be constrained, the construction of the relevant section of the Act is such that once the Court has reached that position, the legislative intent that a whole-of-life sentence will be imposed appears plain. Arguably, the language of the Act admits of no other interpretation, in which case, if the Court is satisfied the statutory threshold is met, a whole-of-life sentence must be imposed despite the constitutional implications.

[143] I have chosen for the purpose of sentencing you to proceed on the basis that the Court retains its residual discretion. The overarching question therefore remains whether it would be grossly disproportionate to impose a life sentence without parole in the extraordinarily exceptional circumstances of this case where one or more of the requisite purposes of sentencing for murder cannot otherwise be achieved.

[144] In that regard, I note the Court of Appeal has recognised, although it did not decide the point, that a life sentence without parole (and implicitly without meaningful review) might be necessary to satisfy the societal requirements of accountability, denunciation, or deterrence. In making that observation it cited the examples of murders involving terrorism, or extraordinary sadism or cruelty, and the murder of multiple victims. The Court observed that the statutory power provided by the Act “provides an appropriate mechanism to achieve these purposes through open judicial assessment unaffected by a presumption”.

The offending
[145] In order to assess the length of the minimum period of imprisonment required to meet the applicable purposes of sentencing and to determine whether any minimum period would be sufficient to satisfy one or more of those purposes, the aggravating features of your crimes must be assessed. There are no mitigating features. In making that assessment, the Court is entitled to take into account all the circumstances of your conduct and the totality of your offending, including the fact that, in addition to killing so many people, you attempted to murder very many others and left scores wounded and maimed.

[146] There can be no question that the statutory criteria mandating the imposition of a minimum period of imprisonment of at least 17 years has been met. Each murder was the product of calculated and lengthy planning and was committed with a high level of cruelty and callousness. Some of your victims were children, others were murdered by you as they lay wounded and incapacitated. If a minimum period of imprisonment was to be imposed, that bare summary of aggravating features would indicate a starting point considerably higher than 17 years. A single murder committed in such circumstances would warrant such a minimum term. Your act of terrorism resulted in the murder of 51 people and the serious wounding of 40 more. That is perhaps the most salient feature of your offending, but there are other particular aspects of your crime that require further articulation.

Premeditation
[147] As I have previously observed, you undertook long and extensive planning. In addition to acquiring high-powered firearms, you purchased in excess of 7,000 rounds of ammunition and bought equipment solely for the purpose of carrying out your attacks. You modified the military style semi-automatic rifles in order to improve their rate of fire, and practiced their use. You obtained information about mosques located in this country, including plans and photographs of their interiors, and the details of Muslim holy days and the times when the most people would be gathering for prayer.

[148] In January 2019, you travelled to Christchurch to carry out reconnaissance of the Al Noor Mosque. You flew a drone over the building, recording an aerial view of the Mosque’s grounds, including the points of entry and egress. After settling on the targeted mosques, you analysed their layouts and the likely exit routes worshippers may take to escape. The sole purpose of this preparation was to kill as many people at each mosque as efficiently and as systematically as you could.

The use of high-powered firearms
[149] In order to kill as many people as you could, you obtained and used a number of powerful firearms that were able to deliver high rates of fire. These included two AR-15 .223 calibre military style semi-automatic rifles.

Mass killing
[150] You committed mass murder. You slaughtered unarmed and defenceless people. You maimed, wounded and crippled many others. Your victims include the young and the old, men, women and children. At one stage during your online commentary you referred to what was happening as a “firefight” — the absurdity of that lie reflected your need to mask the truth of your cowardly massacre of people who had no chance to protect themselves.

Brutal, cruel and callous violence
[151] It is self-evident that your offending constituted extreme violence. It was brutal and beyond callous — your actions were inhuman. You deliberately killed a three-year-old infant by shooting him in the head as he clung to the leg of his father. The terror you inflicted in the last few minutes of that small child’s life is but one instance of the pitiless cruelty that you exhibited throughout. There are countless more examples. You showed no mercy.

The vulnerability of victims at a place of worship
[152] Other children were present — a two-year-old boy was shot and a four-year-old girl was another of your victims — as were the elderly. Wounded people who were incapacitated and unable to escape were despatched by you in cold blood, often at point-blank range. You shot people in the back and ignored the pleas of the wounded to be spared. You advanced on them, stood over them, and viciously took their lives.

[153] Most of your victims were at prayer. You violated places of worship where people came together for peace and fellowship. Like the rest of the country, the worshippers had no inkling of the terror and carnage that was about to be perpetrated.

A terrorist act
[154] It is difficult to look beyond the wicked nature of each murder and the pain and suffering you have caused to individual victims, to their families and loved ones. However, you are not only a murderer but a terrorist.

[155] Your actions go further than demonstrating contempt for the sanctity of life. In the name of a political or ideological cause, you sought to violently intimidate the community, and coerce the country’s peaceable form of government and social order — essentially to attack New Zealand’s way of life. The beliefs upon which you rely to justify your crimes are rooted in religious and ethnic antipathy and intolerance. The hatred that lies at the heart of your hostility to particular members of the community that you came to this country to murder has no place here. It has no place anywhere.

A hate crime
[156] New Zealand rightly places great value on its diverse and culturally rich community. It recognises the contributions made by people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds and of varied faiths and cultures. Extremist beliefs and ideologies that seek to promote violence and hate are anathema to the values of acceptance, tolerance and mutual respect upon which our inclusive society is based and which this country strives to maintain. Where warped and malignant ideology manifests itself in such violence and causes such appalling harm, it is incumbent on the Court to respond in a way that decisively rejects such vicious malevolence.

[157] Your crimes were met by an unprecedented public outpouring of love and support for the people you targeted and the wider Muslim community. Your design was to divide, but the public’s response was to stand with the people of their community — with their fellow New Zealanders — to demonstrate their unqualified repudiation of your hateful agenda. You failed, but the individual and personal cost of the lives lost and the grievous wounds inflicted are immense.

Harm
[158] You have caused enormous loss and hurt. The taking of one life and the suffering of one family is an unbearable tragedy in its own right, but the widespread distress and despair you have inflicted by your offending is without precedent. You have caused terrible grief and lasting pain to so many people. Bereaved families have been left desolate and bereft. The human cost of the extraordinary harm you have done to your victims, to their families, and to the whole community is beyond measure.

Factors personal to the offender
Guilty pleas
[159] In sentencing you, I am obliged to take into account the entry of your guilty pleas. However, any credit that is to be given for pleading guilty must reflect all the circumstances in which the plea is entered, including whether it is to be regarded as an early or late plea, and the strength of the prosecution case. All relevant circumstances must be evaluated in order to truly gauge the mitigating effect of having pleaded guilty.

[160] The core justification for providing credit to an offender for pleading guilty is said to be the benefits that accrue to the criminal justice system and to its participants — what is referred to as the utilitarian value of an offender’s plea. However, your guilty pleas were not entered until over a year after the events of 15 March and in the face of overwhelming evidence, including a full confession. This considerable delay was a source of further distress to victims and victims’ families.

[161] You have recently claimed to have abandoned the ideology that motivated you and that your initial pleas of not guilty were based on a false premise of what you earlier thought you were “fighting for”. Your current stance is contrary to the reasons for your admissions to police that were essentially made in furtherance of your cause. They were a manifestation of the twisted pride you took in what you had done and were made with the same objectives that you sought to achieve from the livestreaming of your crimes.

[162] The entry of your pleas may indicate some level of insight. You have chosen not to oppose the Crown’s application that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment without parole and you gave instructions to standby counsel to that effect. You told one of the health assessors that you considered the best course for yourself and your victims was to remain silent and say nothing, and that you did not wish to come across as showing remorse in order to obtain mitigation for what you did. To my observation, however, you remain entirely self-absorbed. You have offered no apology or public acknowledgement of the harm you have caused. There is little to indicate that your pleas denote any deeply-held sense of remorse for your
victims or that you are particularly distressed at having caused such terrible grief.

[163] Your focus appears to be on yourself and the position you find yourself in. While I accept you have forsaken the opportunity to use this proceeding as a platform and appear now to accept that what you did was wrong, you appear neither contrite nor ashamed. Your regret appears centred on the waste of your own life in the realisation that your crimes were irrational and unjustifiable, rather than for the innocent lives that you have taken.

[164] The recognition that is to be afforded to guilty pleas is not limited to the motivation of the offender for their entry. The Crown has properly acknowledged that, even if not a marker of true remorse, there remains a benefit to the justice system from an offender pleading guilty, and merit in having saved victims the trauma of reliving events through a trial which I am required to take into account in sentencing you.

[165] For murder there is a statutory presumption that a life sentence will be imposed. The isolated fact that a murderer has pleaded guilty will not by itself be sufficient to disturb the imposition of that indeterminate sentence. It has been submitted that the only meaningful way of recognising your guilty pleas is for the Court to step back from the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. However, I do not consider the entry of your guilty pleas in relation to such a binary issue has that effect.

[166] As with the aggravating features of your offending, all mitigating factors are required to be taken into account when assessing whether the prescribed purposes of sentencing in respect of the charges of murder can be satisfied. Having weighed all the relevant circumstances, I do not consider your guilty pleas, either alone or in combination with any other matters personal to you, would be capable of displacing a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, should that be the conclusion I reach. I do not consider that mitigating aspect is sufficiently strong to have such a profound influence on the final effective sentence. Should a minimum term of imprisonment be adequate, an appropriate adjustment can be made.

[167] For the same reasons, I consider a sentence of life imprisonment for a terrorist act that involves the massacre of so many people and that was undertaken in an attempt to kill so many more, cannot be moderated to any lesser finite sentence because the offender has finally faced the inevitability of his conviction and pleaded guilty. I reach that conclusion despite there being no statutory presumption that such an indeterminate sentence is to be imposed for that crime.

[168] If necessary, the benefit of the entry of your pleas can be marked by making an appropriate adjustment to the sentence that would otherwise be imposed on the 40 charges of attempted murder. That outcome may ultimately only be of symbolic effect, but I consider in the extraordinary circumstances of this case that such a result may be unavoidable.

Absence of prior offending
[169] When you committed these crimes you had no prior history of criminal offending. Whether an offender’s otherwise clean record or good character can mitigate a sentence is heavily dependent on the offender’s background and the circumstances of the offending. In your case, I consider any credit for prior good conduct would be entirely incongruous with the enormity of your crimes and the long period of their gestation, during which you took a series of careful preparatory steps in full knowledge of the harm you were seeking to achieve.

Prospects of rehabilitation
[170] It has been argued that your lack of prior offending, together with your guilty pleas and the claimed motivation for their entry, are relevant to your prospects of rehabilitation and to the core issue of whether life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is necessary in your case. It was submitted that your abandonment of your cause and change of plea is an indicator of a level of insight, and it is argued there is some hope of rehabilitation which of itself is an important purpose of sentencing.

[171] The objective of rehabilitation is to secure the eventual successful
reintroduction of an offender back into society. Such an outcome will ordinarily provide a tangible benefit to the community and is one of the essential aims of an enlightened system of criminal justice. I accept that no matter how appalling the crime, the potential for rehabilitation must always give a sentencing court cause to pause. It is a further aspect that I have taken into account in making my overall evaluation of the appropriate effective sentence, but I remain unmoved.

[172] The distribution of your manifesto, the livestreaming of your crimes, during which you addressed your online audience and provided a running commentary; and the affectation of decorating your weapons and playing music, were all undertaken to obtain maximum attention and notoriety both to yourself and your cause. You saw your interview with police as an opportunity to boast about what you had done and to rationalise your actions. If anything more is required beyond your murder of innocent lives, these features point to the depth of your motivation, as does the long period of time over which you planned this terrorism and the lengths you went to execute your ideologically-driven crimes.

[173] I am sceptical of your recent representations of having abandoned the ideology that motivated you. You have admitted having lied in the course of earlier assessments and both health assessors express reservations regarding the extent to which your most recent statements and changing motives can be relied upon. Your admission that you were aware that what you intended to do was wrong, and yet, that you went ahead despite such knowledge, points both to the hold your extremism had over you and its potential to continue to influence you in the most catastrophic of ways.

[174] While you have expressed a willingness to engage in some form of restorative justice process in the future, it is not apparent from the reports I have read that you have shown much interest in your victims, let alone any remorse or empathy for the people you have killed and wounded, or for the wider harm you have caused. You have to date been dismissive of any potential rehabilitative interventions. While perhaps reflective of your fluctuating moods, your past responses have been that you do not want help; that professionals do not have the training or expertise to deal with your issues. More recently you have indicated an unwillingness to engage with the Department of Corrections.

Strict custodial conditions
[175] In sentencing you, I have also taken into account the undoubtedly stricter conditions of custody to which you will be subject. I accept that at least for the initial period of your sentence those custodial conditions will be onerous. They are of course to a large extent the product of the enormity of your crime but, in assessing the punitive effect of your incarceration, I am cognisant of their particularly restrictive nature.

Sentencing decision
[176] In assessing the question of sentence, I am mindful that a prime function of the criminal law is to protect the community from crime. Whether in seeking to punish an offender, or in trying to deter or reform, the purpose of imposing sentence is ultimately to protect society. The more damaging and grave the crime the greater that need becomes. That objective of the criminal law is not to be confused with protecting the community from a particular offender, although I consider you to be a highly dangerous criminal who demonstrably has no regard for human life and who represents a very high risk of harm to others.

[177] By having regard to the circumstances of the offence and the offender, the sentence should accord with the general moral sense of the community. A crime is a public wrong, and the public dimension of sentencing and the maintenance of public confidence in the criminal justice system must be kept in mind. The sentence I impose must be one that reflects the community’s repudiation of your crimes. It must represent a civilised reaction based not on emotion but justice and deliberation. The Court cannot impose significantly heavier or more severe punishment than is properly justified nor beyond that required for the protection of the public interest. However, so long as the Court’s response is proportionate, society is entitled to expect the most severe penalties to be imposed to mark its condemnation of the worst crimes.

[178] The retributive nature of the public punishment of crime represents a statement of society’s indignation and condemnation of the offending. By the imposition of sentence, the Court’s denunciation and, through the Court, society’s abhorrence of particular crimes is demonstrated. While public opinion and populist urgings cannot be allowed to steer sentencing, the consequences of the crime for the victims and their families, and for the community as a whole, can be major factors that push accountability to the fore. The seriousness of the offending and the sanctity of life may leave little room for other than a denunciatory sentence that marks society’s condemnation of the crime. This clearly is such a case.

[179] Having given the matter much consideration, I am satisfied that no minimum period of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy the legitimate need to hold you to account for the harm you have done to the community. Nor do I consider that any minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to denounce your crimes. The nature and circumstances of your offending, unprecedented in this country, are such that I consider the requirement that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment for murder without parole is a necessary sanction that provides a proportionate response.

[180] If I was to impose a minimum period of imprisonment in an endeavour to meet the purposes that I am required to achieve in sentencing you for murdering 51 people, it could not be less than your natural life. If the murders at the two mosques were approached as separate attacks, each realistically would have to attract minimum terms in the region of 40 years. In the case of the Al Noor Mosque where you murdered 44 people, a significantly higher term would have to be imposed. Even after factoring in your guilty pleas, that feature is quickly superseded by the need to reflect the associated offending that includes your convictions for attempting to murder 40 other people, all of whom suffered serious gunshot wounds and, most, lasting life-altering injuries. In committing this terrible act you of course attempted to kill many more.

[181] Various invidious approaches and calculations could be undertaken to quantify the unquantifiable in an endeavour to fix a term that meets the statutory criteria. In my view the Court must stand back and assess whether a minimum term could be arrived at that meets the required purposes of sentencing and whether that assessment would not result in the same outcome as an order that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment without parole. I have concluded there is no minimum term of imprisonment available to me that would not otherwise equate to a whole-of-life sentence.

[182] The question that has arisen for me is how can a free and democratic society adequately respond to a crime of such exceptional seriousness — that takes the lives of innocent men, women and children on such a wholesale scale with such animus, and with such malice and callous indifference? Parliament has provided a sanction for such crimes in the form of a life sentence without parole that can only be imposed in the case of the very worst murders. Its use must be taken to have been intended only when the circumstances clearly warrant its imposition. The unavoidable rhetorical question in sentencing you today is, if not here, then when?

[183] The need to make an order that you serve your sentence without parole does not primarily arise from deterrence nor from the need to protect the community from you, powerful as both considerations are when dealing with an offender capable of such terrible crimes and the necessity of delivering a cogent message that the commission of such an atrocity will be met with the most condign response. However, I am mindful that as the years pass and you become a much older man, the risk you pose could be reassessed. The need for deterrence is also clear but the deluded motivation of zealots capable of such crimes, with their overvalued beliefs that feed such extreme violence, are less likely to be tempered by the fear of penal consequences no matter how severe.

[184] Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation. Those legitimate penological grounds for continued detention will remain. At nearly 30 years of age, you are a relatively young man and the justifications for your continued detention over time may shift as the years pass. Some may change but I do not consider, however long the length of your incarceration during your lifetime, that it could, even in a modest way, atone for what you have done. Ordinarily such an approach would be a poor guarantee of just and proportionate punishment, but I consider yours is one of those exceedingly rare cases which is different.

[185] For completeness, I record that if I am wrong to sentence you on the basis that the Court retains a residual discretion to decide whether to impose a life sentence without parole, despite having concluded that no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to hold you to account for the harm you have done, or to denounce your conduct, a whole-of-life sentence would have to follow in any event. In the absence of any rights-consistent meaning being able to be given to the relevant provision of the Sentencing Act, the Court would be obliged to follow Parliament’s directive to make such an order where the statutory criteria has been met, notwithstanding any inconsistency with the Bill of Rights Act.

[186] You will now stand.

Sentence
[187] On each of the 51 charges of murder (charges 1-51) you are sentenced to life imprisonment. I order that you serve the sentences without parole.

[188] On each of the 40 charges of attempted murder (charges 52-91) you are sentenced to concurrent terms of 12 years’ imprisonment.

[189] On the charge of committing a terrorist act (charge 92) you are sentenced to life imprisonment.

Destruction of exhibits
[190] There will be an order for the destruction of exhibits listed in the schedule attached to the summary of facts save for item 50241, the disposal of which is reserved.

Health assessors’ reports
[191] I also direct that the four psychiatric and psychological reports prepared for this proceeding be made available to the Department of Corrections.

Strike warning
[192] Because you have been convicted of murder and attempted murder, the three-strikes legislation applies to you. Although it is an entirely empty exercise, I am required by the Sentencing Act to give you a formal warning about the consequences of further violent offending, though the reality of your sentence today is that it will have no practical effect. Nevertheless, the warning is this: if you commit a further serious violent offence, you will also serve the resulting sentence without parole. If ever convicted of murder again, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The full terms of this warning will be supplied to you in writing.

[193] Stand down.

Solicitors:
Crown Solicitor, Christchurch
Copies to:
Mr Tarrant
Philip Hall Queen’s Counsel, Christchurch
Kerry Cook, Barrister, Christchurch

58 Sentencing Act, s 86B.

1,023 thoughts on “An Exemplary Judgement

  1. Leonetwo, I agree with Brendan Murphy that funding shortages didn’t cause the drop in aged care service delivery standards. The problem is John Howards changes that allowed much of the funding to be skimmed off by the leaches who own these facilities,.

    • The funding cuts by the ATM government in successive budgets made those cuts to service necessary though, to preserve the dividends to shareholders and to allow private owners to buy new mansions and Ferraris..

      The government can deny those cuts as much as they like, they exist and we have the budget papers to prove it.

      Just one example –

      Howard has so much to answer for, over 20 years since he was booted out of parliament and the damage he did keeps coming at us.

  2. Why we cannot expect unbiased journalism from Murpharoo.

    The same woman who told us Malcolm Turnbull was “the best” now gushes over the worst PM this country has ever experienced.

  3. They knew, they just didn’t care. Too eager to punish people for being unemployed to care about the illegality of their nasty scheme..

    Robodebt court documents show government was warned 76 times debts were not legally enforceable
    Exclusive: statement of claim names Alan Tudge as among a handful of insiders aware program flawed

    Gordon Legal claims that the dozens of judgments– which were previously hidden from public view – show the government knew the scheme was unlawful because it declined to appeal on every occasion.

    In a fresh statement of claim filed days before a federal court trial, the firm also names government minister Alan Tudge among a handful of insiders said to be aware the program was flawed as early as January 2017.

    And it alleged several instances through 2017 and 2018 where top officials were made aware how people caught up in the program were threatening self-harm while on the phone to Centrelink staff.

    The class action is set down for trial on Thursday, despite the government’s concession it will pay back $721m to people unlawfully accused of being overpaid benefits

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/19/robodebt-court-documents-show-government-was-warned-76-times-debts-were-not-legally-enforceable

    • I’m trying to develop a scheme that would (warning, bad language ahead) screw the DELIBERATE perpetrating politicians at least as badly as they by their edicts screwed the RoboDebtors.

      Any suggestion would be gratefully received.

    • They should all be put onto JobSeeker and paid via the cashless debit card for a year, if not for the duration of their parliamentary service. Then they can experience all the hassles those on the card deal with, like:-
      Having grocery shopping refused because Indue can do that on a whim,
      Having their mortgage payments or rent on their Canberra flats refused because Indue can do that too, on a whim.
      Having people call them druggies or alcos because they are on the card.
      Having snippy little checkout chicks abuse them for using the card.
      BEing unable to takje the kids tothe school fete because they have no cash to spend, after having spent what they had on bills Indue refused to pay on time.

      And then they could experience a visit from a debt collector who tells them they owe Centrelink $10,00followed by a letter from Centrelink saying their payments have been reduced while repayments are deducted. They could even have their tax refunds plundered by Centrelink to pay off part of their alleged RoboDebt.

      They would not even last a week.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Christopher Knaus reveals that the manufacturing taskforce that recommended underwriting a huge gas expansion to help drive Australia’s Covid-19 recovery was receiving “pro bono” advice from a lobbyist firm with links to the Saudi government and gas companies. Well how would you be!
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/20/pms-taskforce-backing-gas-expansion-received-advice-from-lobbying-firm-with-saudi-links
    And Luke Henrique-Gomes tells us how Robodebt court documents show that the government was warned 76 times the debts were not legally enforceable.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/19/robodebt-court-documents-show-government-was-warned-76-times-debts-were-not-legally-enforceable
    According to Shane Wright, the Morrison government is preparing to unleash an “astounding” amount of spending in next month’s budget to drag the country out of its first recession in 29 years with the nation unable to rely on ultra-low interest rates to boost the economy.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/astounding-expenditure-looms-in-recession-busting-federal-budget-20200919-p55x6w.html
    David Rowe says that in next month’s Budget there will be something for Jobseeker and pensioners.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/budget-wait-for-jobseeker-boost-but-supplement-likely-for-new-year-20200918-p55x27.html
    Michaela Whitbourn tells us about the odious Miranda Divine’s apology after she was effectively cut loose by the equally odious News Ltd.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/miranda-devine-apologises-for-tweets-ahead-of-defamation-settlement-20200919-p55x88.html
    Dan Andrews’ request for infected travellers to quarantine in a hotel near the airport was denied by a top bureaucrat who deemed it “too risky”. Instead the passengers were sent to Rydges on Swanston.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/bureaucrat-denied-andrews-request-for-infected-travellers-to-quarantine-away-from-cbd-20200919-p55x8j.html
    Australia’s unemployment figures are surprisingly good but the recovery is slowing, explains Greg Jericho.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/commentisfree/2020/sep/20/australias-unemployment-figures-are-surprisingly-good-but-the-recovery-is-slowing
    Peter Hannam reports that the NSW Nationals Party has been accused of branch-stacking and then dissolving a rural branch after members raised questions about the preselection process of a state MP.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nationals-accused-of-stacking-then-dissolving-branch-in-preselection-stoush-20200917-p55wsc.html
    Dennis Atkins writes that Tony Abbott transformed Australian politics – entirely for the worse.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/09/19/dennis-atkins-abbott-transformed-politics/
    We need truth and facts – not lies and spin implores the AIMN’s RosemaryJ36.
    https://theaimn.com/we-need-truth-and-facts-not-lies-and-spin/
    Our coal-fondling PM switches his prop to gas but is anything really different asks Jacqui Maley.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/our-coal-fondling-pm-switches-his-prop-to-gas-but-is-anything-really-different-20200918-p55ww9.html
    The SMH editorial believes that Australia is showing the world how to manage COVID-19.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-is-showing-the-world-how-to-manage-covid-19-20200918-p55x16.html
    Jobs across the central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne could be lost for up to a decade due to the coronavirus recession, slowing the nation’s economic recovery, says Shane Wright.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/job-losses-across-inner-city-could-last-years-20200918-p55x2d.html
    Josh Taylor tells how the federal government has refused to release information on the number of Australians still using the Covidsafe contact tracing app, on the grounds it could risk public safety and harm commonwealth-state relations. How pathetic!
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/20/covidsafe-app-government-refuses-to-release-numbers-citing-public-safety
    A warning about former sports minister Bridget McKenzie’s legal authority to give out millions of dollars in grants went to a high-level official in the health department but was ignored, according to new evidence to the sports rorts inquiry. Reports Paul Karp.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/20/health-official-ignored-warning-about-bridget-mckenzies-authority-to-give-sports-grants-inquiry-told
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons reveals that British billionaire Alan Sugar has joined a growing list of the rich and famous who have been granted permission to skip the government-run hotel quarantine and wait out the 14 days of isolation privately.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/british-billionaire-and-tv-host-alan-sugar-allowed-to-quarantine-privately-20200919-p55x96.html
    Koalagate was all about the Nationals trying to revive their fading brand in the bush, opines Quentin Dempster.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/19/koalagate-was-all-about-the-nationals-trying-to-revive-their-fading-brand-in-the-bush
    The editorial in The Age warns that vigilance and caution needed to stay ahead of the global curve.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/vigilance-and-caution-needed-to-stay-ahead-of-the-global-curve-20200918-p55x3r.html
    Tony Wright has asked a number of former leaders what they think about Dan Andrews’ efforts during the pandemic.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/victoria/hard-calls-for-captains-former-leaders-run-the-rule-over-dan-andrews-20200918-p55wym.html
    As Victorians brace for their seventh month of coronavirus restrictions, heated debate has broken out about the merits of lockdown, writes Henrietta Cook.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/the-state-is-divided-how-debate-about-the-lockdown-turned-ugly-20200919-p55x70.html
    Here’s Peter FitzSimons’ weekly column.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/take-it-easy-deputy-premier-on-yourself-and-the-rest-of-us-20200918-p55wxt.html
    Britain is likely to need to reintroduce some national coronavirus lockdown measures sooner rather than later, a leading epidemiologist and former senior government health advisor said yesterday.
    https://www.theage.com.au/world/europe/new-uk-lockdown-likely-sooner-rather-than-later-ex-advisor-warns-20200920-p55xbl.html
    Matthew Knott explains how Ginsburg’s death is shaking up an already dramatic election.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/ginsburg-s-death-shakes-up-an-already-dramatic-election-20200919-p55x7g.html
    Michael Koziol explains what a former insider is saying about the Trump family. And it’s not at all complimentary!
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/masters-of-the-dark-former-friend-lifts-the-lid-on-donald-and-melania-trump-s-marriage-20200918-p55wuf.html
    In the battle over the US supreme court, Democrats can still have the last laugh says Lawrence Douglas.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/19/if-republicans-play-hardball-with-supreme-court-democrats-should-too
    According to Arwa Mahdawi, Trump is setting up a commission to teach students ‘the miracle of American history’ – which sounds like a core part of the fascist process of taking power.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/19/trump-1776-commission-proof-america-spiraling-toward-facism
    Recent actions by the Trump Administration has seen the invocation of Godwin’s law, the adage that any political discussion eventually devolves into a comparison to Hitler and the Nazis.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/trump-and-fascism-what-would-a-second-term-look-like,14325
    Another allegation against Donald Trump. Another woman of supreme courage says Barbara Ellen.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/19/can-donald-trump-shrug-off-amy-dorris-allegations-of-sexual-assault-too

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    David Pope

    Matt Davidson

    Matt Golding




    Mark Knight

    Alan Moir

    Reg Lynch

    From the US






  5. And I suspect Serkan is correct –

    • “When The Sun-Herald sought an interview with Shanks, a man identifying as his secretary and “gatekeeper” insisted on asking questions about the masthead’s political leanings first.

      When Shanks came to the phone he spoke about his involvement in an ongoing koala fundraising project before hanging up. In response to emailed questions, Shanks largely did not address the subjects, including the harassment allegation against him. On the question of why his content appeals to young people, he said “because I’m not The Sydney Morning Herald”.”

    • An article in BK’s links this morning about Trump’s new education program began with the words “Gilead here we come”. So very true, and I’ve been saying that for ages about both the US and Australia.

      The death of RBG hastens us along that path.

  6. The part-time CrimeMinister living up to his reputation for laziness with his usual weekend off work – most likely another long weekend.

    • What a shame Leslie Williams didn’t have the guts to go independent, as Rob Oakeshott did when he quit the Nats in 2002.

      She might have stolen some Labor votes if she had taken a different direction because she has improved considerably as a local member since she was first elected, I might even have considered voting for her if she had turned indie. However I will not vote for a Liberal, not ever.

      I hope she realises how filthy the Nats will be come the next NSW election – she should know, she was a part of their very dirty campaigns against Rob and Pete Besseling. The Nats will want what they see as their seat back and will stop at nothing to regain it.

  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    An emissions target without a deadline isn’t much of a target says David Crowe.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/an-emissions-target-without-a-deadline-isn-t-much-of-a-target-20200920-p55xg4.html
    In this very interesting – and sobering – article Jess Irvine explains how Treasury Secretary developed the pandemic economic response. Matt Comyn was quite helpful to Kennedy.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/more-pressure-than-in-living-memory-the-inside-story-of-our-coronavirus-response-20200918-p55wxk.html
    Phil Coorey and Matthew Cranston tell us that the states are set to receive billions extra in infrastructure funding on the proviso they use it or lose it in the October 6 budget, which will front end spending to drive the economic recovery from the coronavirus.
    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/budget-to-front-end-big-infrastructure-spend-20200920-p55xcp
    Shane Wright explains how the biggest collapse in Australia’s population growth since World War I will drive a huge fall in new home construction that could hold back the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus recession.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/housing-demand-to-collapse-as-population-growth-falters-20200918-p55x2t.html
    There is still no sign the government will lay out the detail of the structural reforms and supply-side freeing up of the economy needed to restore Australia’s lost jobs and prosperity proclaims the AFR editorial.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/genuine-reform-leadership-is-real-budget-bottom-line-20200917-p55wpy
    Katharine Murphy tells us that a television advertising campaign – endorsed by a former Reserve Bank governor, a former Liberal party leader and a Nobel laureate – opposing another round of tax cuts will be rolled out this week, as preparations are finalised for the looming October budget.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/21/coalition-tax-cuts-blasted-by-former-reserve-bank-boss-in-new-ad-campaign
    Fast-tracking tax cuts would leave Australia “a weaker state”, and “fail” the Coalition government’s goals for a post-COVID recovery, according to a blistering new campaign headlined by former Liberal leader John Hewson.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/09/21/tax-cuts-covid-john-hewson/
    Simon Benson finds something to gloat about in the latest Newspoll.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coalition-bounces-back-as-voters-desert-labor/news-story/46d58ac8c55d71317106c85a665921ab
    Businesses face a long slog in the courts and potentially years of uncertainty over whether their insurance policies will be paid out for losses caused by the pandemic, explains Adele Ferguson. Some insurance companies might get burned by their own fine print.
    https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/australia-s-insurance-sector-could-face-1b-exposure-20200920-p55xee
    Despite Christian Porter setting up a series of less formal meetings between Australia’s bickering business groups this week, hopes for a breakthrough on IR reform are receding, writes Jennifer Hewett.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/porter-tries-to-get-business-back-on-track-20200920-p55xfo
    Karen Maley says that central banks, including the RBA, are facing mounting pressure to unveil fresh monetary measures to assist the long and protracted economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
    https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/the-next-steps-the-rba-will-take-to-help-the-economy-20200920-p55xcs
    Women and young people have borne the brunt of the Covid Crisis. They are set to lose again when the Government hands down its $158 billion tax cuts package. Elizabeth Minter reports on the unfairness of the government’s plan for economic recovery.
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/advance-australia-unfair-tax-cuts-to-favour-men-over-women-old-over-young-rich-over-poor/
    Melbourne is on track for restrictions to be eased in a week, but there is no relief for businesses hoping for an early reopening in October, despite Victoria recording its lowest number of coronavirus cases in three months.
    https://www.afr.com/politics/a-cause-for-great-optimism-victoria-records-14-cases-20200920-p55xco
    Amanda Vanstone reckons Daniel Andrews’ day of reckoning is nigh.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/daniel-andrews-day-of-reckoning-is-nigh-20200920-p55xe0.html
    Why you’re 20 times more likely to catch COVID indoors.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/coronavirus/2020/09/20/indoor-coronavirus-risk-covid/
    Wayne Swan tells us why weakening superannuation is a once-in-a-100-year mistake.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2020/09/20/wayne-swan-superannuation-mistake/
    Alexandra Smith reports that NSW Nationals MP Leslie Williams has quit the party in disgust and will join the Liberals, saying she could not condone the reckless and unreasonable behaviour demonstrated over the past week.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/unhelpful-and-politically-reckless-nsw-nationals-mp-quits-to-join-liberals-20200920-p55xeg.html
    Daniel Andrews has raised hopes of easing coronavirus restrictions sooner, committing to update the state’s road map out of lockdown as the daily infection rate plummets.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/premier-raises-hopes-of-easing-restrictions-sooner-than-planned-20200920-p55xfj.html
    More revelations about the besieged icare outfit.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/icare-staff-got-tickets-to-buble-concert-flights-and-shopping-vouchers-20200918-p55ww8.html
    A national bet on hydrogen power will be central to a new federal energy road map to move away from fossil fuels, as Scott Morrison promises a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions. What is mossing though, is a commitment as to when in the second half of this century that will be achieved.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/hydrogen-to-follow-gas-expansion-in-morrison-bid-for-net-zero-emissions-20200920-p55xfu.html
    Fewer than 1% of Australian manufacturing jobs are in gas-intensive industries that would materially benefit from a massive gas industry expansion proposed by the Morrison government, according to an upcoming analysis from The Grattan Institute.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/21/coalitions-gas-plan-would-help-fewer-than-1-of-manufacturing-workers-report-finds
    Unemployment support will be slashed by $300 this week. This won’t help people find work explains The Conversation.
    https://theconversation.com/unemployment-support-will-be-slashed-by-300-this-week-this-wont-help-people-find-work-146289
    The SMH editorial demands that aged care funding must be tied to higher standards and transparency.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/aged-care-funding-must-be-tied-to-higher-standards-and-transparency-20200920-p55xfk.html
    Labor has written to the auditor general asking him to investigate how Pauline Hanson came to use a novelty cheque with her face on it to announce a $23m taxpayer-funded federal grant to build a stadium in Rockhampton.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/21/labor-wants-pauline-hanson-investigated-over-23m-rockhampton-stadium-novelty-cheque
    According to Dan McCauley, doctors have warned that infection control failings in hospital and aged care settings are putting Australia’s COVID-19 recovery at risk as a new study details healthcare workers’ struggle to access personal protective equipment.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/failure-of-leadership-health-workers-denied-proper-gear-20200918-p55x10.html
    Australia has sleepwalked into a society where profit trumps quality care says Emma Dawson.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/21/australia-has-sleepwalked-into-a-society-where-profit-trumps-quality-care
    There is a more fundamental threat to humans than the current pandemic and it encompasses much more than global warming, writes Brian Feeney.
    https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/humans-are-under-threat-from-more-than-just-the-pandemic,14317
    Jennifer Duke wonders what habits will we keep post-COVID.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/from-toilet-paper-hoarding-to-tap-and-go-what-habits-will-we-keep-post-covid-20200915-p55vq3.html
    Lucy Brogden writes that parliaments must do more to protect mental health of MPs, 20% of whom she says experience a mental health issue. Her husband Jon was one of them.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/parliaments-must-do-more-to-protect-mental-health-of-mps-20200919-p55x8p.html
    Australia should persist in republicanism because it is our best chance to improve the lives of each and every citizen, writes Dr Robert Wood.
    https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/an-australian-republic-why-it-remains-our-best-choice,14310
    Britain is at a tipping point on COVID-19, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday, warning that a second national lockdown could be imposed if people don’t follow government rules designed to stop the spread of the virus.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/britain-at-covid-19-tipping-point-second-lockdown-possible-health-minister-says-20200920-p55xhu.html
    Matthew Knott sets out to understand why so many Americans are renouncing citizenship.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/tax-and-the-trump-effect-why-so-many-americans-are-renouncing-citizenship-20200911-p55ups.html
    Jared Mondschein explains why the fight over the Supreme Court could make the US presidential election even nastier.
    https://theconversation.com/this-is-why-the-fight-over-the-supreme-court-could-make-the-us-presidential-election-even-nastier-146541
    QAnon conspiracists believe in a vast paedophile ring. The truth is sadder says Moira Donegan.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/20/qanon-conspiracy-child-abuse-truth-trump
    Robert Reich writes that rushing to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell shows power trumps principle.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/19/ruth-bader-ginsburg-mitch-mcconnell-donald-trump

    Nick Bonyhady provides today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week” in telling us that the nationwide YHA Australia chain of hostels has been accused of systematically underpaying backpackers by classifying them as volunteers but requiring them to do regular work.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/hostel-chain-accused-of-15m-underpayment-to-volunteers-20200918-p55wyl.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Jim Pavlidis

    John Shakespeare

    Michael Leunig

    Matt Golding


    Johannes Leak

    David Rowe

    From the US



  8. Behrouz Boochani in the New York Times. Includes some good reminders of just how low Labor were prepared to go to match the @#$@$@!!! Rodent.
    ……………………………………………………………………….
    Australia’s Image Is Beautiful. But Look Closer.

    Growing up in a Kurdish family in the Ilam Province of Iran, I never expected my life to be affected by Australia’s history of white supremacy and settler colonialism. I had little awareness of Australia, a faraway country founded as a penal colony, and built on the massacres of its Indigenous people and on European migration.

  9. Hi guys. It’s about time I wrote something, I guess. Apologies for being away so, so long. Last year’s federal election just floored me and I ran out of things to say for a while. I’ve had a succession of other personal and professional (and health) challenges in the interim. I probably had 4-6 months away from political thought entirely. Since then, I’ve mostly been able to make my points (such as I’ve had) succinctly enough on Twitter. But something’s come up just recently that I’d never be able to argue through in the 280 character platform; it needs a longer format. It’s not that long, to be honest. But it’s too convoluted to twitter at. Anyway, here it is:

    We’re starting to see the old Labor-bashing from the left again. And from people I’ve been admiring and respecting too. The old “Labor can’t cut through, why can’t Labor cut through?” complaints, and people saying “I won’t vote for them if they won’t…” do this or that. Albanese has released a video that’s copping a lot of flak, too. So the left wing derp has resurfaced. I can’t express strongly enough how damaging left wing derp is to progressive politics.

    It’s a very easy situation to understand. It only has two parts. We effectively have a two party system in which one party sits further to the right than the other. One of those two parties is going to lead the nation (or any one of its states) for the foreseeable future. That’s one part. The other part is this: the parties over on the right are broadly in agreement with each other, not because they’re all aligned politically, but because that know that unity is what’s required to maintain power. On the left side, the progressive side, they’re not broadly in agreement at all, not even close. It’s badly fragmented.

    Two really simple concepts. One sizeable problem with a very simple solution. Progressive parties and people can talk all they like about whether or not they vote this way or that in Parliament, or alternatively whether they’re ‘right’ in their thinking or policies or such. And I guess they can advise the ALP all they like. But unless and until they make a public show of supporting the ALP over the Coalition, they’re undermining the country. Not because it would result in their ideal policy outcomes (that almost never happens), but because it would prevent the worst outcomes, which is what we’re currently suffering right now.

    Voters note two things more than anything else: confidence and consensus. The Coalition manage to project both, and they have little to no trouble bringing RW minorities on board. It’s true that they have an easier time of it, mainly because they only need occupy themselves with what resonates, whereas the ALP are occupied not only with what resonates but also what’s right, and those two concepts are often in opposition to each other. Basically, the ALP can’t always do both at the same time, so there’s an air of compromise in all they say and do. That’s what you get for having a conscience, I suppose.

    I’m not really a fan of Albanese. But that’s not the point. Morrison is a gigantic turnip, a slothful narcissistic twerp, but the Liberals (and everyone over on the Right) will back him publicly right up until the time they knife him. You have to back the leader you have, to the hilt, and let the party decide whether or not they persist with him. If you don’t, the other guys remain in power.

    Progressives are very fond of dictating obligations to the ALP; but they’re very lax on recognising their own obligations when it comes to creating good government. If you tear your own side down, it only makes the other side stronger.

    This is all quite aside from criticisms of our media, which are many. It’s about what the Left/Progressives can do to help themselves. They need to rally behind the one major party capable of representing their ideals, because if they don’t they’re working for the guys who are actively destroying their ideals.

    **

    I have no idea if this has been said before or if it runs counter to what’s been said on this forum lately. Just my thoughts on the situation. There’s more in my mind about this, but I think writing any more would muddy the waters too much.

    • Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. Great piece and no, no one has talked about this so you are ploughing virgin ground. I have noticed a big uptick in twitter dissing Labor and Albo, I just try and let it go over my head.

    • Aguirre, it’s wonderful to see you again.

      Your excellent comment mirrors my opinion, with your usual clarity.

      Please please please write some more!

    • Welcome back.I have missed your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts.

      It seems to me the same people who dissed Shorten while he was leader because they wanted Albo are now attacking Albo because they are disappointed with his leadership too. I am not one of them. I always thought Albo was not leader material,, but if we want a Labor government then we have to get behind whoever is leader.

      I have been critical of Albo, even this morning, or more to the point whatever drongos he uses as strategists. He seems to be trying to be a small target, so small he has become almost invisible. He needs new strategists. I can remember Albo being described as a Labor attack dog, he used to boast “I fight Tories, that’s what I do”. Not any more. Where has that fighter gone? He seems to have morphed into a toothless lapdog snuggling up to the Libs. His announcement last Tuesday – “No one is opposed to new gas if the investment is made there” – was just rubbish, the most irresponsible pandering to a government I have heard from a Labor leader.

      Labor needs a strong leader, whether it’s Albo or someone else doesn’t really matter as long as they can unite party members and supporters and show a bit of opposition to the government instead of meekly offering bipartisan support. Labor needs to show how it is different to the government instead of showing they are almost exactly the same. Why vote for a change of government if you believe both major parties are the same? Until all that happens we will continue to see these stupid wars among Labor voters.

  10. A NYT doco maker reflects on his time in Australia and the US situation.
    ………………………………………………………………
    TIMES INSIDER

    What I Saw When Australia Burned

    ……………That was in January. As a producer/director for the documentary TV series “The New York Times Presents,” I spent about two weeks on the continent with my crew, recording the experiences of survivors.

  11. Hey Aguirre,

    Welcome back and thank you for your post. I think that we on the progressive side need to adopt realpolitik in moving forward in order to get rid of this most toxic and destructive government. On any metric, social, economic, environmental, this government is an absolute failure. I always said we need to have detente between the Greens and Labor in order to win Government.
    The Green / Labor flame wars that seem to be perpetual “across the road” is a micro example of what needs to change on the macro level. If the Nats & Liberals who hate each other’s guts can form a coalition why can’t Labor & the Greens at least open a dialogue to facilitate change to a progressive Government.

  12. Thanks, everyone. Have we been talking about covid19 much?

    My personal opinion on Albanese is:Labor can’t win power without a leader who captures the public’s imagination. That’s what we learnt from Shorten, as good a leader as the party could hope to have, but without the charisma required to offset the personal attacks (and make no mistake, dissing a leader simply because they are ‘boring’ – which is all the criticisms of Shorten ever amounted to – is a personal attack. Nobody is too boring to run a country, it’s a ridiculous assertion). Unless you’re a towering figure like Hawke or Whitlam, or a media-savvy terrier like Rudd, you’re not going to lead the ALP to victory, no matter how solid you are policy-wise. Being boring seems to be an advantage for the Liberals, on the other hand – Howard, Abbott and Morrison were all deathly dull. But then they didn’t need to be mentally agile – repeating party slogans and getting out of the way of business doesn’t require an intellectual giant. Morrison just loooooves slogans, so he’s well-suited.

    Albanese is an attack dog, a Parliamentary battering ram suited to picking apart Liberal assertions bit by bit. None of that translates to leadership suitability. He’s your quintessential second-in-command, the guy to do all the nitty gritty and the dirty work while the leader sits above it all, appealing to the electorate. Labor’s full of people who are more than capable of leading the party, but I’m sure if there are any who are capable of taking the public with them.

    • I did something there that may look like a contradiction; saying Shorten lacked the charisma to win an election, and then saying claims that he’s ‘boring’ constitute personal attacks. So to be clear; he’s a great leader, but the bar for public approval is set higher for the ALP as far as likeability is concerned. He proved over and over again that he was a better choice than whichever Liberal clown he was pitted against, won debates easily, and briefly won over the press gallery every time they were forced to listen to what he had to say (Budget replies, mostly). But ultimately the lazy characterisations won over any respect he commanded.

      That’s how difficult it is for an ALP leader to win an election. You have to be Winston Churchill AND Cary Grant.

    • Apparently James did so and gave him 45 minutes to reply before the deadline. Jordan replied that he wants to answer the questions over the phone.

      James then phoned, consented to the call being “on the record”, then when realized he’d been cornered, refused to even ask the questions on the record.

      Jordan said reasonably that he couldn’t access the questions since his PC was currently recording and they were also having a phone conversation.

      Now, since Jordan asked for the right of reply and James refused to give it to him, according to him at the end of the video that might put James in trouble with the Australian Press Council.

  13. The difference between having a Lib state premier and a Labor premier, clearly illustrated by the MSM –

    Also – Lord Sugar flies into Sydney on Emirates instead of his usual private jet, taking up a seat a returning expat Aussie was doubtless bumped to provide, and the MSM say nothing, just use his visit as an excuse to run puff pieces promoting a trashy reality TV show. His Lordship and wife were approved to dodge hotel quarantine for private arrangements.

  14. Man, I watched that Jordies video again, it just feels so good. Since 2010 I’ve been waiting for someone to publicly give it to the trashy Murdoch press after they formed a Coalition with Tony Abbott’s Liberals to help them gain and keep power, and he verbally destroyed him live and he couldn’t even respond.

    “Grown-up Stuart Little”, “I think your journalism’s pretty mousey.” “Your work’s pretty forgettable.” “You’re a gnat. I forgot you existed.” “I’ve seen some really dog-act journalists in my time, but you’re not even asking me questions.” “What kind of gutless wonder are you? Man up and ask me the damn questions!” “How bad are you at your job? You can’t even ask questions, your job is to ask questions! What are they?” “He can’t even answer them either it seems.” “What are the questions? And stop trembling when you’re even saying Well I asked you- how trembly could you get, you wimp!”

    Worthy of Keating, I’d say.

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Michael Pascoe warns us that the 2020 budget marketing bulldozer is about to hit us.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2020/09/21/michael-pascoe-2020-budget-marketing-bulldozer/
    A Newspoll shows that a majority of Victorians has backed Daniel Andrews’ management of the second COVID-19 outbreak, with two-thirds of voters across the country also rating the state’s lockdown as “about right” explains Simon Benson.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/locked-down-and-living-with-it-victoria-backs-dan-andrews-in-newspoll/news-story/441de159bbc2b4345c3575e15538636c
    According to the AFR, health experts have backed Gladys Berejiklian’s claim there is no legitimate health reason for state borders to remain closed, as pressure mounts on Queensland and Western Australia to reopen.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/no-reason-for-borders-to-be-closed-say-scientists-20200921-p55xru
    Katharine Murphy reports that the latest Essential poll shows that two-thirds of voters would prefer Coalition to support renewables rather than new gas plants.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/22/essential-poll-two-thirds-of-voters-would-prefer-coalition-support-renewables-rather-than-new-gas-plants
    Recent Australian unemployment rates didn’t seem to make sense. Here’s what is going on, explains Greg Jericho.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/22/recent-australian-unemployment-rates-didnt-seem-to-make-sense-heres-what-is-going-on
    Phil Coorey says that the October 6 federal budget may be about the future but its measures will be firmly rooted in the past.
    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/keating-or-morrison-the-recession-solution-is-the-same-20200921-p55xjh
    Karen Maley thinks there is a hitch in Josh Frydenberg’s grand infrastructure dream.
    https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/the-hitch-in-josh-frydenberg-s-grand-infrastructure-dream-20200921-p55xlf
    Shane Wright examines what is forecast to be a slump of Australia’s national fertility rate.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/baby-slump-australian-newborn-deficit-to-hit-budget-bottom-line-20200921-p55xqq.html
    David Crowe tells us that at the NPC today the government will reveal its emissions road map in which energy schemes using batteries, hydrogen and carbon capture will be the big winners.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/hydrogen-batteries-carbon-capture-australia-s-emissions-road-map-20200921-p55xs3.html
    Katharine Murphy and Adam Morton say that the government is continuing to resist pressure to sign up to a target of net zero emissions by 2050 – a concrete and increasingly uncontroversial abatement target that would give its roadmap a clear destination.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/22/morrisons-tech-roadmap-flags-more-investment-in-carbon-capture-and-storage
    The Morrison government has been castigated for paying a dairy farm operator 22 times more per hectare for a parcel of land abutting Western Sydney Airport than what its state counterpart did. WTF!
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/taxpayers-spent-30m-on-land-worth-only-3m-for-western-sydney-airport-s-second-runway-20200921-p55xqp.html
    Here’s Josh Butler’s take on the above ANAO report.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/09/21/western-sydney-airport-land-anao/
    Jennifer Duke tries to make sense of what Anne Rushton has been saying about Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments going into next year.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/jobs-market-key-to-extension-of-higher-jobseeker-rate-20200921-p55xm8.html
    Kate Aubusson reports that seriously ill patients have been left in isolation for up to 15-hour stretches as seclusion times blow out in NSW mental health units under immense pressure during the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/mentally-ill-confined-to-hospital-rooms-for-up-to-15-hours-during-pandemic-20200921-p55xrp.html
    Text messages at the most senior levels of the Andrews government’s COVID-19 response reveal that confusion and disorganisation over the use of defence force personnel in the ill-fated hotel quarantine program persisted until late June.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/is-that-what-we-doing-confusion-over-adf-at-top-level-of-andrews-government-20200921-p55xtv.html
    The AFR’s editorial proclaims that Christian Porter’s IR reform agenda is now caught in the policy vacuum created by the Coalition’s decade-long silence on workplace change.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/ir-vacuum-snags-porter-20200921-p55xo5
    The Morrison government has accused a left leaning think tank of wanting to take money out of people’s pockets for opposing personal income tax cuts.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6933318/think-tank-in-firing-line-over-tax-cut-ad/?cs=14350
    Julie Power writes that at yesterday’s Aged Care Royal Commission it was told that even before the pandemic, half of all nursing homes were barely afloat.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/half-of-all-nursing-home-were-barely-afloat-and-that-was-before-covid-19-20200921-p55xlu.html
    Can the Robodebt debacle get any worse for this government?
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/21/robodebt-fresh-claims-against-federal-minister-alan-tudge-delay-court-trial
    Security agencies are now accustomed to high-tech spying methods, but old-fashioned techniques required getting down and dirty, writes Bruce Haigh.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/getting-back-to-the-roots-of-spycraft,14329
    Nick Bonyhady explains how community service organisations fear they will be unable to meet unprecedented demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic due to a looming funding shortfall of up to 20 per cent.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/smell-of-an-oily-rag-social-service-sector-braces-for-funding-cliff-20200921-p55xo2.html
    The founder of a global coalition of MPs is pushing for the International Olympic Committee to reconsider Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Games as politicians around the world voice increasing concerns over China.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/global-push-to-strip-beijing-of-winter-olympics-20200920-p55xen.html
    Australia’s renewable energy endowment means that there is likely to be a boom similar to that of the mining industry in the early 2000s, writes Tim Cornwall.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-could-potentially-waste-another-industrial-boom,14330
    Mining companies have operated with a free rein and few consequences for too long writes Jamie Lowe.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/21/mining-companies-have-operated-with-a-free-rein-and-few-consequences-for-too-long
    A catastrophe is about to hit our ideas sector, but the fightback from universities has been pathetic laments Jenna Price.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-universities-cower-as-disaster-looms-20200920-p55xh6.html
    Brian Touhey says that it’s never a good idea for universities to take money from intelligence agencies to write their official histories because the agencies never really lift the veil of secrecy. Even if it means knocking back $2 million.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/why-universities-shouldn-t-write-our-spy-agencies-official-histories-not-even-for-2m-20200918-p55wuy.html
    On this subject Anthony Galloway reports that Australia’s cyber spy agency will be grilled at a parliamentary hearing over its shock decision to cancel a contract with the Australian National University to write its official history.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/shrouded-in-secrecy-asd-to-be-grilled-over-axed-official-history-20200921-p55xkb.html
    Anne Davies reveals that asbestos-contaminated waste has been dumped at one of Sydney’s newest building projects after having been passed off as safe landscaping.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/22/revealed-asbestos-contaminated-waste-found-landscaping-material-sydney-housing-estate-site
    Britain will face an exponentially growing death rate within weeks unless urgent action is taken now, experts say. They could be heading for 50000 new cases per day.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/uk-could-hit-50-000-covid-19-cases-per-day-by-mid-october-experts-warn-20200922-p55xv9.html
    The SMH editorial says that the political row over the US Supreme Court a key moment for America.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/political-row-over-us-supreme-court-a-key-moment-for-america-20200921-p55xta.html
    The US presidential campaign was already boiling over – now Republicans face a big decision says Bill Wyman.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/us-presidential-campaign-was-already-boiling-over-now-republicans-face-big-decision-20200921-p55xo3.html
    John Harris accuses the Tory government is bulldozing basic liberties under cover of the coronavirus pandemic.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/21/coronavirus-government-liberties-tories-police-powers-laws
    Accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer will be extradited to Australia, according to a final ruling judgment handed down by the Jerusalem District Court on Monday. What a disgusting creature it is!
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/accused-child-sex-abuser-malka-leifer-to-be-extradited-to-australia-20200921-p55xsx.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    David Rowe

    John Shakespeare


    Cathy Wilcox

    Matt Golding




    John Spooner

    Alan Moir

    Andrew Dyson

    Dionne Gain

    From the US









  16. The bit at the very end of the FriendlyJordies video is the kicker. O’Doherty was in clear breach of journalistic standards and was called to account for it. It’s on record, filmed with his permission. So now he either does things Jordies’ way and gets ripped apart and ridiculed throughout the process, or he gets hauled before the Press Council. Those are his choices.

    Not forgetting that the real story is the Barilaro one. There was plenty of meat in that Bruz video to chew on. But it is a nice sideline seeing a Murdoch employee reminded – brutally – of his responsibilities.

  17. The budget marketing bulldozer –

    Great article by Michael Pascoe, demolishing the marketing spin budget before it is even delivered. I think he nails it.

    I have never understood why a budget has to be “sold” but every year the media insist that is what happens. Treasurers do the rounds of TV and radio talk shows allegedly “selling” their budgets. It’s like a grim parody of Christmas – the media build up the excitement, we are conned into anticipating handouts, nothing happens, or even worse, we are robbed in some way, then treasurers deluge us with explanations about why pensioners and those on average incomes missed out again, and why once again wealthy Australians were showered with largesse while the most disadvantaged were given more nasty hoops to jump through but no extra money.

    Budgets are just a necessary function of parliament, like passing new bills. Why all the faked excitement? Even the Treasurer’s family are dragged into the chamber to watch Daddy (Santa) hand out the presents, or more likely kick the voters once again. For the last few years with the Hojo, FauxMo and Fraudenberg families the media dutifully gushed over the expensively dressed wives, allegedly “adorable” little girls and allegedly “handsome” boys presented to us. It’s all rather reminiscent of Goebbels parading his wife and army of perfect Aryan kids for Hitler. They never mention the bleeding obvious – the cost of the designer shoes worn by just one wife would support a person on Newstart for a month or two, not to mention how many Newstart recipients could be supported by the cost of the family’s outfits.

    The passage of the main appropriation bills (also called “supply”) is always assured. Labor in opposition will never block these bill so the funds needed to keep the country running are always safe.

    We have no say in what is in the budget, except for election time when we get to vote for or against policies which may well disappear without trace once a government is elected. As we have seen, most Australians don’t give a rat’s arse about policy, Most will vote the same way they have voted all their life, it’s only about 5% of voters who will bother trying to change the government

    Most voters have no interest in the budget.

    So why do we need all the media hype? To give journalists something to talk about, of course.

    It’s going to be a long, boring and tedious few weeks until the budget is done and dusted.

  18. I’m putting these up now as they will probably be taken down from youtube soon, more links to come.

    Rachel Maddow –

    Chris Hayes –

  19. This video showed up in my youtube feed and I thought it was pretty informative.

    Basically a summary of how Friendlyjordies got up to this moment and how he seems to have filled the hole left in the absence of comedy in Australia. (Fast Forward/Full Frontal in the 90’s, The Chaser in the 00’s, etc.)

  20. There is a talkback radio wayneker in NZ who keeps trying to be a bit contrary re NZ’s covid response. A hard road to hoe that’s for sure 😆 . Loved this from Ardern when she spoke to him today.
    .

    Hosking: “No you are being too linear. It’s not a matter of a perfect model or a non-perfect model, it’s about nuance and subtlety.”

    Ardern: “Mike, if you’re saying you’re now a person of nuance and subtlety, bless.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12366679

SPEAK UP FOLKS

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