Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The TMI Files. Tatts All, Folks!

For years, I've wanted a tattoo. When I was a teenager, I hungered for one. Of course, I got plenty of people try to dissuade me. This included friends with tatts from head to feet and a few places in between that make me cringe to think of.

Wanting one was fine, but I also had to decide what exactly I wanted to wear on my skin permanently. For a long time, I wanted a huge fire-breathing dragon stretching from over my shoulder and back to curl around my hips.

I got over that one. The idea of the pain, and the time, involved, put me off that one. So I let it lie.

I have tossed all sorts of designs around trying to work out whether after wanting a tattoo for over 20 years I really want to finally do so.

Yes, I really do want to have someone inject ink into my skin and permanently mark it.

It will be interesting explaining it to Magilla - she's already been at me to dye her hair blue (like mine was last year) or red (which it appeared when I put the purple/black through), and she wants holes in her ears like I have.

It's taken a long time, but I finally know what I want.

I want a redback spider.

Now, which one do I want to wear forever?

This one?

Or this one?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Rainbow Of Grey.

Hands up all those who know the story of The Rainbow Fish? If you don't, here it is in a nutshell:

Rainbow Fish has lots of lovely coloured scales, Blue Fish wants one, Rainbow says no. Rainbow is henceforth ostracized by the fishy community. Rainbow upset, goes to see the Wise Oracle Octopus(tm) to find out why. Octopus tells him not to be greedy and he'll be happier if he did give away his scales. Blue comes back, asks again, Rainbow says ok.

Rainbow feels the love, and proceeds to give away all his lovely scales. Forever more, everyone has one pretty scale each, Rainbow is rainbow no more, but lives happily ever after.

This has been sold as a christian allegory for kids for years, but I never saw it like that.

I can't remember where I saw it, but in one online discussion it was remarked upon as being more communistic than christian. I have to agree with that.

For one thing, sharing is all well and good, but to give away everything?

Anothing thing to ponder: regarding the Blue Fish, whatever happened to taking no for an answer? Disappointment is a part of life, but I guess it would have been a pretty short story, even for a kid's book.

What is wrong with being pretty?

This mob have put together some discussion suggestions to relate it back to bible studies for youngsters, and I can see where they are coming from, but I still don't agree.

It's all a bit to culty with the lovebombing and socialism.

I am so glad Magilla prefers Dr Seuss.

Ahhhhh. Propaganda for children. Get them young and you've got them for life.


Tiberius Gets Serius.

Tiberius has obviously reached the stage that most blokes get to in their life. It's time to settle down and start a family.

As a rabid rightwingdeathbeast of reknown, he has set his sights on none other than Ann Coulter herself.

Way to go, Tiberius! Let me know when it's all happening.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The TMI Files. Drugs Are Roolly Grouse.

I've been having problems with my knee for some time now, and after x-rays and testing, it appears I've got a localised form of tendonitis. This is a bloody nuisance, but the doc has put me on celebrex. That's an anti-inflammatory for those not in the know.

My problem, however, is not so much the knee anymore, as the drug. I take one pill, and I'm damn near knocked out. This is ridiculous, so I take one before bed and I'm out for the count. It's a mongrel trying to get out of bed in the morning, but I'll see how it goes for another week or so. It's only been 3 days so far.

This is better than valium. (Mainly because I have an unhealthy reaction to valium.)

The doc did suggest voltaren first, but hastily changed that after looking at my file. Heheh. I looooove voltaren. For me it's not so much an anti-inflammatory as an anti-reality. One of those and I'm stoned out of my skull for about 18 hours. It's great!

Maybe I should go with the voltaren?

Of Ethics and Executions

From the latest Australasian Bioethics newsletter comes a tale of two anaesthetists.

It seems that they are suffering a crisis of conscience in regards to the execution of a man sentenced to death, and this has postponed the carrying out of his sentence:
A Federal judge recently ruled that the State must ensure that Michael Morales is unconscious when a lethal injection is given. So the prison organised two anaesthetists in addition to the doctor who would pronounce him dead. However, the two anaesthetists realised that if something were to go wrong, they would have to intervene in the execution, not just ensure that he was asleep when prison officials injected lethal drugs.

"Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical," the two nameless doctors said in a written statement. "As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process." Morales was due to be executed on Tuesday at 12.01am, but the doctors' refusal now means that the execution will be delayed for at least a month.

This snafu has rekindled debate about the participation of American doctors in executions. Of the 38 American states which allow executions, all but one use lethal injections. The American Medical Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the California Medical Association have all condemned involvement in executions as unethical and unprofessional.

I guess there's only one solution.

Time to bring back the firing squad.

Who Wants To Live In An Alternate Universe?

From the Times Online a view from a different direction:
From a Reuters report, Rome, some time around now

The Vatican has protested in “the strongest possible terms” against the publication in paperback of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Cardinal Loopi, of the Office of the Defence of the Faith, condemned the book for defaming Catholicism and, in its suggestion that Jesus Christ was married, of heresy. “We demand that the book be destroyed and that the author be punished,” said Loopi, “otherwise we cannot be held responsible for how Catholics throughout the world may react.”

Excerpt from a speech by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor

Merkel: “The affront to the honour of the one true Church is in fact an affront to the worship of God, and to the seeking of truth and justice, and an affront to all the prophets of God. Obviously, all those who harm the honour of the one true Church . . .”

Crowd: “Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.”


Angela Merkel on German attempts to produce a nuclear weapon

“Those who oppose us should be grateful that our people has acted nobly towards you so far, and has been patient. We want to remain patient. Don’t make us lose our patience. The peoples have awakened. The world of Christendom has awakened. Do not make us reconsider our policies.”

Reuters reports from Munich

Fr Rudiger Schlitz, the assistant to the head of the Catholic Church in Germany, has said that it is doctrinally permissible for nuclear weapons to be used. “When the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-measure. According to church law, only the goal is important . . .”

Statement from Human Rights Watch . . .

Calling on the Italian authorities to order an immediate, independent investigation into the violent suppression of an apparently peaceful demonstration by Seventh Day Adventists in Naples on February 13, 2005. Hundreds of demonstrators, including women and children, were injured when police and armed militia from the Catholic Enforcement League broke up the protest, apparently using excessive force, and as many as 1,200 protesters are believed to have been arrested. A year later 200 of those detained are still being held without trial.

Report from al Quds-al-Arabi

Finland. Mr X, a local celebrity and Muslim, was exhumed after his funeral and given a Christian burial, despite his widow’s objection that he had not been to Church since he was a child, and had converted to Islam at the age of 15. A church court had considered the case following a complaint from a local Lutheran preacher, and ruled that Mr X should be treated as a Christian.

Anything's possible, but this is highly improbable. Read the whole article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh, dear, we've upset the neighbours.

Well, it depends on your neighbourhood, actually.

According to the Hun, muslims are upset at John Howard suggesting that there is a minority of extremists among them who have beliefs and cultural practices that are antithetical to Australian life and laws. Okay, so it wasn't a suggestion, more like an assertion. But still...

Considering that muslim spokesmen have been claiming for years that their religion has been hijacked, you'd think they'd be happy for this to be acknowledged so publicly.

As Ameer Ali seems to think that if we ignore the extremists they will go away or their offspring wouldn't be as 'radical'. This was not the case in London last year, so I see no reason to give that idea too much of my time.

Keysar Trad thinks that "To single out the Muslim community like this, the Prime Minister is unfortunately playing on pre-existing Islamaphobia."

Mr Trad, why is this stereotype so prevalant?

On a related note from page 13 of the HeraldSun (21/02/06) comes this piece of great interest:

Muslims Fear Backlash
Victoria's peak Islamic body has established a "post-disaster" strategy to protect Melbourne's Muslims from a backlash in the event of a London-style bombing in Australia.

The strategy, including personal protection, guarding mosques and solidarity displays with non-Muslims after an attack, may be ready by next month's Commonwealth Games.

The Islamic Council of Victoria and Victoria Police have discussed how the Muslim community should respond to a terrorist attack and how it could protect itself against vigilante reprisals. - Mark Dunn

I couldn't find this online, hence no links.

What is intriguing is the pre-emptive strategy. Why would they fear a terrorist attack and associated backlash?

There has been relatively little backlash considering the unrest over cartoons. There has been a lot of talk from muslim representatives about how maligned they are, but no move to make themselves more a part of the overall aussie culture. Just that we need to understand them more, and give them more latitude and not upset them.

But again, if Islam is so peace-loving, so warm and fuzzy, why would we and they even consider the possibility of a terrorist attack during the Commonwealth Games?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Isma? We're listening.

I've been reading the HREOC report into discrimination experienced by Australian Arabs and Muslims since September 11th, 2001. It's a challenging read.

On the one hand, there are the incidents of harrassment, particularly of women, which I find shameful.

On the other, there are the eternal calls from the Muslim communities in Australia for more respect and consideration and understanding.

I initially found the idea of this investigation repugnant and a waste of taxpayers' dollars, (why no reporting on Chinese Australians after the Tianenmen Square massacre, for example), but in the end, it is a valuable piece of reporting.

In a nutshell, both Arab and Muslim Australians have experienced an increase in discriminatory practices since 9/11.

However, a closer look at the report shows that there are gaping holes in the information it provides.

For example, 1475 questionnaires were distributed amongst individuals and communities in NSW and Victoria in 2003. 186, or 12%, were returned. This, surely, is not representative of Arabs and Muslims in our community. It is only representative of those who wish to participate. Of those 186, one third also agreed to follow-up interviews. Only 34 semi-structured interviews were conducted. Those are the numbers I would expect to use in a corporate situation when instituting new policies, not when investigating a specific segment of the community.

Of course, there were other initiatives taken by HREOC in the course of this investigation. 1426 people participated in 69 consultations in all states and territories. When we consider that according to the 2001 census, 281 278 Australians, or around 1.5% of the population designate themselves as muslim, 1426 is not a large cross-section. Mathematics was never my strong suit, but that looks to me to be around 0.5% of the Australian Muslim population.(I'm probably incorrect in my percentages, as I don't have a calculator so it's mental arithmetic, but in any case, it's still a minute percentage.)

Okay, we have a minute percentage of another small segment of the society providing us with a look at how they have coped since 9/11 pushed them and their religion/belief system into the limelight.

It has become harder for arab- and muslim-australians, the former because they can be mistakenly targetted as the latter, and the latter precisely because of their religion. Is this because of the lack of understanding in the wider community or does it come down to a basic incompatibility between the muslim way of life and the Aussie/Western way.

A brief overview of Islam is supplied in the report, but it is, indeed, brief:
1.2.2 Muslim Australians

The terms 'Muslim Australians' and 'Australian Muslims' denote Australians who identify themselves as followers of Islam. All Muslims who live in Australia, including those with temporary resident status, comprise this group. Islam is a major world religion with an estimated 1.2 billion followers worldwide. Muslims believe in one God (Allah who is the one, single god of Islam and is considered to be the same god as that worshipped by the Jews and the Christians) who has sent prophets and messengers, from Adam, the first prophet, to Muhammad, the last. Muslims also believe that God provided revelations in the written scriptures including the Torah and the Gospel, and that the Holy Qur'an is the final scripture from God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur'an, together with the stories, sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (the 'hadith'), sets out the five fundamental practices for Muslims:

* making the shahada - a declaration of belief in Allah as the one and only God and Mohammed as his final messenger
* five-times-daily prayer (salat)
* fasting during the holy month of Ramadan (sawm)
* giving charity (zakat)
* pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).[17]

This does not address in any way, shape or form, the basic premise of Islam being the total submission to Allah above all else.

Unlike the Christian and Jewish traditions, which it is supposed to complete, Islam is not about the Love that God has for his people. The recurring theme throughout the Qur'an is the submission to Allah and his Apostle, Mohammed.

But back to the Isma report.

We have a tiny minority facing discrimination due to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of their religion.

This is a tiny minority of some 1.2 billion people worldwide. One fifth or so of the population, and apparently, the world's fastest growing religion.(Of course, the pagans also think that they are the world's fastest growing, as do scientologists, christians, and buddhists. I think, therefore, that that particular claim is irrelevant.)

So how are the Arab and Muslim Australians misunderstood in their religious beliefs?

If Islam is such a peaceable way of life, why are there more rioting Muslims around the world than in Australia altogether?

Why did we have to suffer 9/11 in the first place? Or Madrid, Bali (twice), London and Beslan?

Why are people dying because of cartoons?

Where is the evidence of a peaceful religion? Where are the shouts of outrage that Islam has been hijacked?

Yes, there are moderate Muslims - just as there are Christians that do not follow their Lord's commandments. This is human nature, and true of every belief. The exceptions prove the rule, as they say.

The difference is that where aberrant Christians are not supported by their co-religionists, the same does not apply to Muslims.

When moderate Muslims keep their head down waiting for the storm to pass, they are condoning the rioting, the beheadings, the shootings, the hangings, the stonings, the rapes carried out in the name of Allah and his prophet.

None of these behaviours are addressed by the Isma report; they were not in the frame of reference, although perhaps they should have been.

Another omission regarding the misunderstanding of Islam is the practice of taqqiya:
Dissimulation; lying for the sake of ones religion; concealing ones true religious beliefs for strategic reasons. Taqiyya is a lie by commission, rather than by omission, as in kitman. The concept of al-taqiyya is one historically associated with Shia Islam. This is because Sunni Muslims, who believe that Shiites are heretics, would impel them to denounce their faith, thinking this would expose them as mushrikeen when they refused to. In response, the Shia would do so, but hold true to their faith in their hearts, thus preserving their faith and their lives. Taqiyya is now used by all Muslims as a means of deceiving infidels about Islam's aims, practices, and aspirations.

Personally I don't agree with Patrick Kafir's assertion that it is practised by all Muslims; there are many who have never studied their Qur'an critically. Indeed, they are enjoined not to, and thus blinded to its inherent violence and hypocrisy.

This is where the misunderstanding comes in.

A society with a history of open and frank debate, meeting a society that does not condone such principles.

Looking at the current state of affairs, it doesn't look like the misunderstanding will be resolved any time soon.

On a hopeful note, however, Johann Hari notes that small voices are starting to be heard:
...across Britain, Muslim women are refusing to bow to fundamentalists who believe beheading is a legitimate form of literary criticism. While criticising the cartoons of Mohammed as “distasteful”, Fareena Alam, editor of the Q News, damned the protestors, demanding to know “what the parents of the child wearing the ‘I love Al-Quaeda’ cap would say had their son been on the number 30 bus that terrible day.”

And this:
Only a fierce, fighting moderate Islam can win this struggle. In France’s Muslim ghettoes, an amazing movement of Muslim women called "Ni putes ni soumises" (neither whores nor doormats) has risen up, initially to fight against the epidemic of domestic violence in their communities but increasingly to craft a liberal – even feminist – brand of Islam.

There is hope for us all, yet.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Navid Kermani on Cartoon Controversy

Islamic culture has continually transgressed its own taboos. But sustained provocation will put off even the best of wills.

Naive? Perhaps.

At some point in the future, the current caricature controversy will provide experts in media studies with an illustration of how Western and non-Western broadcasters, acting in perfect accord, are capable in just a few days of generating the very mass hysteria about which they are reporting. Anyone who expresses an opinion becomes a part of this scenario, in which each must have his say: the critics of Islam, as well as the representatives of Muslim society, the media critics and the journalists who complain about media critics. This author keenly anticipates learning which corner this text has placed him in.

Dhimmi? Certainly.

According to his article, Mr Kermani is convinced that the rampaging muslims are the fault of the Jylland-Posten provoking them.

True. Everybody can be provoked except muslims, for if many Arabs and Muslims are behaving these days like bulls with limited intellects and powers of comprehension, allowing themselves to lose control over a handful of tasteless cartoons then those providing said provocation are obviously discriminating against them.

It doesn't seem to matter that the cartoons are relatively inoffensive compared with anti-semitic cartoons that abound in Arabic media, or that everyone else seems to be fair game. Just that the time-honoured tradition of pushing the boundaries is appropriate for everyone else.

The muslims are stereotyped and victimised throughout the world. Perhaps if they did not behave in ways that promoted the stereotyping there wouldn't be any need to worry about the picture of the enraged and aggressive muslim declaring death to infidels.

The TMI Files. Valentine's Day? What Valentine's Day?

Oh well, missed it again, apart from a couple of nice wishes (thanks, guys *kiss*).

I've never bothered much with Romance and Flowers and stuff like that. It's nice, but not necessary. If I really, really want flowers, I can go down the florist or cut some myself. I can take myself out to dinner even, and I'm always buying myself chocolate.

I tend to think of romance as more a state of mind than anything specific like cards and flowers.

Heh. Of course, this could be because I am bitter and twisted because I didn't get any flowers, but looking into history, the last bloke who bought me flowers for Valentine's Day was a psycho who abused me because I didn't say thanks for the roses that I didn't receive. He did send one, and apparently more than the first, but I didn't get them.

So I went from being wonderful and worthy of a trip down the coast on his bike to deserving to die. Go figure. I think I can live without that.

Mind you, another memorable Valentine I received was 'anonymously' sent by a fellow that I had broken off a relationship with. If he was trying to win me back, it sank without a trace along with the line "If you work at this relationship I promise we'll go to AA!" (What's this we, white man?)

In five and a half years no card for Valentine's Day, and he thinks that sending one months after I've left him is going to work? A decade down the track and that still cracks me up. I guess it takes all sorts.

In any case, I think I'd prefer a dinosaur!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Guess the dinosaurs!

The TMI Files. Don't Drink And Type.

I just bought myself a new keyboard. I found out the hard way that drink-typing is bad for your (computer's) health.

Last night I was having a glass of wine as I was catching up on the news online (Falcon Ridge 2005 semillon chardonnay), when my mobile phone buzzed. Unfortunately for me, I had the ringtone set to 'vibrate', which it did just as I was lifting the glass.

I jumped out of my skin, the wine went all over the keyboard, and it was all over bar the shouting.

I guess I should be grateful, though - it's the first time that ever happened to me!

Will it be the last?

Friday, February 10, 2006

The TMI Files. Dino-mite!

Needless to say, there's been a lot in the news about those cartoons. I'm too lazy to link at the moment as I've been busy working on a large post and I'm very tired tonight. I'm even aiming for an early one.

Anyway, what do people like to watch to cheer themselves up? Some like comedies, some like a bit of drama, or film noir.

I like dinosaurs. I consider Ben Hur is the pinnacle of filmmaking, but there is something infinitely more satisfying in a velociraptor ripping up the occasional person.

I've had Jurassic Parks 1,2 and 3 on rotation this week, and I think I've had my fill for now.

Dinosaurs rock. They always have in my world, and they always will. I've got my dinosaur books from when I was a kid, I've got my plastic dinosaur collection (passed on to Magilla), stuffed dinosaurs, and dino dvds and vids. You can't have too many dinosaurs.

Dimetrodon and ankylosaurus are probably my two favourites. I like the "sail" on the first, and the club tail on the second. Pretty cool things to have. If I remember later, I'll post some pics for those who are lazy and can't be bothered googling. :) I'm too lazy myself.

You homework.... please let me know what your favourite dinosaur is. T-rex or anything off Jurassic Park is not acceptable. There are plenty more out there awaiting a bit of attention.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Everybody loves Ramy.

This is the man who shows his support of freedom of the press, speech et al, by sacking the managing editor of France Soir.

So why is the sacking of a newspaper editor newsworthy? Well, France Soir was one of the mainstream outlets, along with Die Welt, in Germany, La Stampa in Italy and El Periodico from Spain, to finally carry the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that have been causing such a furore around the world amongst muslims. Just google Jyllands-Posten Danish cartoons and you'll find more information than you can poke a stick at.

But who is Ramy and why is he important?

Ramy (aka Raymond) Lakah is a French-Egyptian citizen with an interesting history. He owns around 70% of France Soir, and according to The Arabist
Rami Lakah was a businessman who had borrowed an enormous amount of money from Egyptian banks in the mid-1990s to expand his medical services empire and constitute a sizable private wealth. In the 2000 parliamentary elections, he ran and won in Cairo’s Ezbekiah district. Lakah flirted with several parties, including the NDP, but no one wanted him. It was clear that he had run because he was unable to repay his debts and that he was only interested in parliamentary immunity.

When politics didn't pan out the way he wanted, he ran away to France, leaving millions behind in debt, and somehow found the wherewithal to purchase the paper.

Shades of Christopher Skase. Good to see some traits are universal.

Over at Tim Blair's, the question was asked as to whether anyone thought M.Lakah was muslim or christian. I thought he was muslim, which after further investigation turned out to be wrong.

But that's okay, too, because while Nina Shea thinks he's Coptic Christian, The Arabist reckons he's catholic. I'm thinking that Mr Issandr El Amrani would know more about this than Nina.

Given Ramy's recent history, somehow I'm actually not all that surprised that he has acted the way he has.

After all
One of the surprising things about how Lakah should have known about the cartoons is that ........ France Soir made a big deal on coming out in favor of the Danish newspaper that originally published them. The headline says “Yes, we have the right to caricature God while the cartoon on the cover shows a Greek god, presumably, saying “Don’t skulk, Mohammed, we’ve all been lampooned at one time or another,” with Buddha and Jehovah (I think?) in the background.

In other words, Lakah either knew and then let his editor take the fall, or should have known.

It will be interesting to see how the management/owners of other MSM franchises handle this situation.

What's wrong with the Vic Libs?

Dear Mr. Doyle,

Being a Liberal voter from way back (although I will confess to voting against Jeff Kennet once), I am curious as to your stance on the idea of Victoria as a Police State.

The feeling amongst a lot of my friends, family and associates is that we are living in one.

Victoria may be a great state, and Melbourne my favourite city, but with the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act, the ongoing speed camera debacle and the continual breaking of election promises, it's getting more difficult by the day to justify why I remain here.

You would no doubt be aware that Victoria both here in Australia and abroad is now known as "Brackistan" and has a growing reputation for a legislated intolerance of free speech and free thought. The few cases brought to VCAT under this law ensure that this reputation never diminishes, and that shames us all.

A person should have enough maturity to distinguish when offence is intended or not. It should not be up to the law to decide on the nuances of human communications; particularly when the communications may not have been intended to be offensive, and the person so offended was someone who was unaware of the larger context of the communication.

The ultimate case in point is, of course, the Catch the Fires case, with two pastors found guilty of religious vilification by the judicious quoting of the Qur'an.

It is now considered a chargeable offence to take another religion out of context, and even amongst the youth of today, it understood that if you are 'white' or 'christian' and get harrassed by another child or teenager of a different ethnicity, don't bother telling anyone in authority. Nothing will happen, and the harrassment may even increase.

This is an appalling state of affairs, and one that concerns me greatly.

What do you think is be the likelihood of a Liberal State Government repealing the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act in the event of a successful outcome at the next election? There are many people out there who would like to see this piece of legislation ceremoniously burned - I'd pay to see it!

With our country being in the strait it is in - the so-called 'race riots' in NSW and the Labor Government's complete inaction on the perpetrators of retaliatory violence on Dec 12, 2005, for example - there is a need for our leaders to lead by example.

I can only speak for myself, but I am rapidly becoming a one-issue voter. My biggest concern is the 'War on Terror' and what our Governments will do about it. When people are too scared to speak aloud on their worries because there is a very real possibility that they can be charged for upsetting someone else, then there is no way we can effectively combat the menace associated with that.

The repealing of the aforementioned Act is one step on the road to ensuring that Victorians can feel safe to speak in their own homes or amongst themselves without fear of being branded a 'racist'.

As I re-read what I've written to you, I find it galling that even in correspondence to one who is seen as a leader in our state, I feel the need to be circumspect and not communicate directly. As an adult, responsible member of the community, it is insulting that I cannot speak plainly, but must choose my words carefully, in order to refrain from inadvertantly causing offence.

That I (and others) feel this way saddens me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

Yours sincerely,

nb.I have a policy of posting correspondence on my blog.If you prefer that this correspondence remain private, please let me know within seven days, and I will not post it. Thank you, and enjoy!

ps. I hope you don't mind that I call it the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act. Having read it, there is nothing tolerant about that piece of 'legislation'.

Apart from the fact that they can't read? I know there was at least one typo in there, which I apologise for, but the response I got is a bit lame.

Dear Ms Nilknarf

Thank you for your email of 20 January 2006 to Mr Robert Doyle MP, Leader of the Liberal Party.

Mr Doyle notes your concerns.

Australians rightly oppose intolerance and incitement to hatred based on race or religion.

The Liberal Party is monitoring the operation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act and carefully examining a range of submissions and options.

A number of questions have arisen as to whether the Act is achieving its objective of promoting tolerance. When the Act was introduced, the Liberal Party sought key amendments so that the law would reasonably and in good faith protect people who genuinely practiced their religion. The operation of this clause is presently subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Liberal Party will continue to actively consult with stakeholder groups in relation to these issues.

In relation to speed cameras, Mr Doyle and Mr Terry Mulder MP, Shadow Minister for Transport have been very critical of the way in which the Bracks Labor Government uses these as revenue raisers. A Liberal Government will use speed cameras to enhance road safety. On some roads such as the Geelong Road which has been extensively redesigned and is a safe road, it may be inappropriate for speed cameras to be located. If this is the case, a Liberal Government would redeploy them.

Edmund Carew
Office of Robert Doyle MP
Leader of the Liberal Party
(del ph numbers)

Now bear in mind that this email came with the standard disclaimer signature about not being for dissemination and all that, but since I did state my intention to blog correspondence and there was nothing in the substance of the reply requesting confidentiality, I'm happy to post it here.

Not that there is anything in this response apart from typical politispeak.

There is no way I want Labor in for a third term of bleeding the taxpayers dry. The only problem is... what sort of Opposition do we actually have? A not very effective one, that's what. One that doesn't make any serious effort to reply to the concerns of a voter and taxpayer.

One thing to remember, oh, potential Liberal State Government:

I am only one person. I am not happy. I vote, and I don't waste my vote.

When Jeff was voted out and you were thrust into the Wilderness of Opposition, it was not because people voted for Labor, but because people like me were not happy and voted against Liberal.

I had one vote, I used it.

So did many others.

I want a Liberal Party that actually says what it intends to do, and then tells us how it's going to do so. I want a State Government that governs rather than just waffling on about not much at all. I want organisation and more than bloody speed cameras that have nothing to do with the road toll. Blind Freddy can see that the most obvious deterrent to speeding is police visibility. Anything else is for the coffers.

In any case, the speed cameras are not my main issue.

Tolerance or the mandated lack thereof is.

What, apart from looking into things, is going to happen? Who are the 'stakeholders' with regards to this issue?

Not the so-called average citizens.

I would suggest that the stakeholders are those who have a vested interest in maintaining a headlock on a politically correct way of life to our own detriment.