Michael Darby

Observations on politics and poetry by Australian bush poet, Michael Darby.

Michael was born in Sydney in 1945 and is a former Australian Army Officer who has been writing and broadcasting on politics and economics since 1972.

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Saturday, February 08, 2003


(Extracts from the valedictory speech given on 21/11/2002 by Dr Liz Kernohan, Member for Camden in the New South Wales Parliament)

Almost 12 years ago I completed my maiden speech in this House with the quotation, "This above all, to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man", which I have followed throughout my political career. I can assure incoming politicians that they will sleep very well at night if they follow that quotation with words and actions. However, they will rarely climb the ladder of success as a politician. Refusing to be politically correct also does not help career progress.

"Political science" is a widely used term, recognised by all as a reality. Yet science plays little part in practical political decisions. In politics, perceptions become reality, while political game playing, polling results, emotions, and party affiliations play a real role in decision making. One of the reasons so few trained scientists are members in this place is that scientific training teaches one to look at facts, which can be either good or bad but are nevertheless facts, and one does not play games with facts. In politics it appears that one has to look at everything in shades of grey, with very few accepted facts, because every voter's opinion has to be considered in order to obtain his or her vote. Hence another reason I have not been a politician's politician, in that I have standards that decree that certain things are right or wrong and, being politically incorrect, that I state what I believe is right. What has happened to commonsense in legislation? In the debate on 17 October 1996 about the closure of the veterinary laboratories I said:

“Commonsense is rare in academia; it is rarer in politics; and it is positively endangered on the front bench of the Carr Labor Government.”

Everybody thought that a clever political jibe. However, I meant every word of it, and the lack of commonsense in legislation passed by members of the New South Wales Parliament over many years is often unbelievable. Why did it need a disastrous bankruptcy in the insurance industry for politicians to recognise that people should take some responsibility for their actions?

As a former academic, I want to talk about the role of academics and politics. More than 40 years ago "publish or perish" was a very well-known edict in academia, which nowadays can also affect actual total funding to universities. Hence academics concentrate on new ideas and lateral thinking, and work hard to discover new things. There would be little progress, particularly in our scientific and technological worlds, if that did not happen. The same requirements apply in social fields, so one must produce new concepts to gain prestige and position. The resultant theories can be absolutely correct on the basis of accurate research, with results that look great on paper, but when these theories are accepted and transformed in full into legislation, many do not work in practice.

Has the Richmond report worked in practice when one considers the number of mentally disturbed people living on our streets or in our gaols? Ask schoolteachers whether they feel they can fairly apportion their time to all members of a mainstream class that includes a disabled or behaviourally disturbed child, requiring a full-time aide. Academics and bureaucrats producing ideas for legislation are not required to look into the numerous traits of human nature, referring particularly to greed, spite, hate, and envy. We, as politicians, should look at the effects of such traits on new theories and suggestions proposed for future legislation. This we now do only occasionally, as seen when every bad trait of human nature is brought out as the reason for not legalising euthanasia despite the fact that polls show that 70 per cent of the general public are in favour of it.

Is it the "emperor has no clothes" syndrome, are politicians without academic titles and degrees overwhelmed on a personal level, or are they too politically correct to question any new theories? Why do we not query new theories more? Why is there not a Minister for Commonsense? Perhaps finding someone willing to take the job could be difficult! However, a committee made up of politicians and non-academic, ordinary citizens could play the role of devil's advocate on all new theories proposed for legislation. They could consider how the nastiest aspects of human nature could affect these theories, and suggest possible modifications. Some legislation has disastrously affected so many good-living, decent people when the intention was to deal with only the worst 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the community. Some examples are the misuse of current sexual abuse laws and apprehended violence orders, which are a perfect weapon for malicious or spiteful people.

What kind of a society have we developed when female school teachers are advised not to pick up and cuddle a five-year-old child who has fallen over in the playground and hurt herself? What happened to the time when a teacher's duty was "in loco parentis"? What kind of society do we have when a father is frightened to cuddle his toddler or baby daughter in public because of what people may say about him? There are disgusting paedophiles in our community who should be in gaol, and laws to put them there were legislated many years ago. However, we needed only to overcome the "non-dobbing" Australian tradition and to educate people to report this behaviour and other gross abuse of children. We have gone overboard with legislation, but are the children any safer?

I believe we need to review the definition of "child" in legislation because more and more major crimes are being committed by so-called children. The child of today is hardly a child when he or she can leave home, live alone and hold a permanent job, if obtainable, at 15; legally marry with a magistrate's permission at 16; and drive a potentially lethal machine “a motor car” at 17 years of age. The broad education that children get these days and the activities they learn from television or publicly witness in today's community make them grow up faster than they did even 20 years ago.

I believe that for legal purposes there should be three classifications of maturity: a "child" until the age of 12, an "adolescent" from 13 to 18, and an "adult" from 18 years of age. When such adolescents commit adult crimes they should be treated as adults, with their names not suppressed and with the courts open to the public. We have so many laws in this State and country but so little justice. I believe that everybody is entitled to a fair and just trial but when guilty people are set free because we, the legislators, have made errors or left loopholes in the law for clever lawyers to find, that is not justice.

This material extracted from the LA Hansard Extracts - 52nd Parliament of NSW database at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.


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Friday, February 07, 2003


Dear Editor,

Republic proponents are still harping on the same old and totally discredited nonsense that the Queen of Australia is also Australia's 'Head of State'. This allegation is totally false and absolute rubbish!

Republicans claim that the Monarchy must go in order for Australia to be independent. Republicans claim that the Monarchy must go in order for Australia to have an Australian as 'Head of State'. Both of these claims are false.

Australia long ago severed all legal and constitutional ties with Britain. We are, and have been for a long time, an independent and sovereign nation, as confirmed by the Hawke Government's 1985 Constitutional Commission report.

Since 1965, seven out of eight Governor-Generals, who ceremonially carry out the duties of the 'Head of State', have been born Australians.

Republicans have every right to seek constitutional change if they believe that they are able to come up with a better system of government than the one we now have. But they have no right to misrepresent the changes they wish to make, and they certainly have no right to misrepresent our present Constitution.
It is 'inevitable' that Australia will NOT become a republic.

Selwyn Johnston (Convenor: Queensland 'NO' Republic Campaign)



This was written by Mother Teresa and is engraved on the wall of her home for children in Calcutta............

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.


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Thursday, February 06, 2003

Cathy Buckle's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,

What can I tell you that is not horrific? How can I sit here and describe the death of a country that was beautiful and thriving only 3 years ago ? Some weeks the depression is so overwhelming that I just do not know where to start. Shall I write about the riot police who fired tear gas to disperse a residents' meeting called to discuss the water crisis in Harare? Maybe people would rather hear about the five international Lutheran church workers who were deported after being accused of being journalists in disguise, or the two American journalists who were detained by police for 7 hours after they took photographs of a grain marketing depot. Perhaps I should write about the announcement by the American State Department advising their nationals not to travel to Zimbabwe because of security concerns. Or shall I tell you how disgusted we are that the EU cannot reach agreement about renewing targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders? It almost seems as if now the world is just going to pump food into Zimbabwe to stop massive deaths from starvation but forgive and forget the man and his party who did this to us.

On Thursday there was a petrol delivery and the queue was probably only a 2 hour-long line. It was a little over that and gave me a chance to catch up on my reading and just sit and watch people. The things you see in petrol queues are awesome and are things that would never have been seen 3 years ago. White men and black men stand and talk together, they take turns to push each others' cars forward. Everyone looks out for line jumpers together and it's in these lines that more is being done to improve race relations in Zimbabwe than has ever been done in the past 22 years.

Petrol and food are already the two things that are uniting Zimbabweans. The shops are empty. In the main Marondera supermarket today there were 42 empty shelves.

Our President and his party have taken our country decades back in time. Tractors and combine harvesters have been replaced with ox carts and hand ploughs. Bread and maize meal have been replaced with porridge made from wild nuts and berries. Women's sanitary towels and tampons have been replaced with toilet paper by those who can afford it and with leaves by those who cannot. Toothpaste, soap and detergent are next. This government and its policies have stripped our men of jobs and resources, our women of pride and dignity and our children of education. The school fees are unaffordable, the children are fainting in the classrooms from hypoglycaemia, and the drop-out rates are escalating. We have become 21st century pioneers and scavengers, living like animals in the most modern of worlds. God help us all in Zimbabwe.
Until next week with love,

More here



By: Jeff Jacoby

IN THE BRIEFCASE I WAS CARRYING onto the plane was the Jan. 11 issue of The Economist, with its cover illustration of a bound and hooded prisoner and the stark question: "Is torture ever justified?" Inside was an article exploring the fraught and uneasy suggestion that in fighting terrorism, torture may sometimes be necessary to avert horrific bloodshed. Can a democracy ever violate the taboo against using pain as a tool of interrogation without violating its fundamental values? I was interested in The Economist's take on the issue.

The civilized world condemns torture as irredeemably barbaric; one of the strongest counts in the indictment against Saddam Hussein, for example, is the use of torture in his prisons. But what if, in an extreme case, torture is the only way to extract information that would save thousands of lives? Abhorrent as it is, if torture can prevent another 9/11 -- stop a "ticking bomb" before it goes off -- should it sometimes be allowed? We face enemies prepared not only to murder thousands of victims but to die while doing so. Don't we have to keep torture available as a last and desperate option?

No. The way to win this war is not to adopt our enemies' evil methods. Resort to torture could conceivably stave off a catastrophe. But at what price to our self-respect? "The morale of the West in what may be a long war against terrorism would be gravely set back," The Economist rightly argues. "To stay strong, the liberal democracies need to be certain that they are better than their enemies." We are in a war of the decent against the indecent. We dare not cross the line that separates the two.

More here.


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Wednesday, February 05, 2003


MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY was the opening day of the “treason trial” of three Movement for Democratic Change leaders. MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, Secretary General Welshman Ncube and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Renson Gasela are accused of allegedly plotting to kill Robert Mugabe.

Independent journalists were today barred from entering the court to cover the trial. Over a hundred MDC members, including members of parliament, were also barred from entering the court.

Daily News Chief Reporter, Pedzisai Ruhanya, was arrested by the police for asking why the independent reporters were being barred from the court while reporters from the state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, The Herald and former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Reporter and government apologist Supa Mandiwanzira, who arrived late, had been allowed in. Ruhanya was manhandled by 3 button wielding policemen and dragged into a police defender vehicle with registration number 750 037G, which drove off as soon as Ruhanya was pushed into the back of the vehicle.

Another journalists, Ish Mapfundikwa was also arrested this morning for wanting to cover the trial.

Later in the day, independent reporters were allowed into the court after the judge accepted an objection from the defence team.

Twelve months ago Reg Armstrong wrote an article (introduction reproduced below) explaining the fabricated “treason” charge.

In the run-up to the general election on March 9/10 in Zimbabwe, SBS Television and their reporter Mike Davis stand by their story of an assassination plot against Mugabe by the opposition leader Tsvangirai, putting Tsvangirai’s life at risk, and damaging the chances of a free and fair election. Why are Mike Davis & SBS sticking to their story in the face of the facts?

More here.

POSTSCRIPT from another journalist

Why does the Zimbabwe Government prefer to have this plot aired first by a foreign broadcaster? Why should they keep such evidence quiet? Why wait until 3 weeks before the Presidential elections?

I haven't met an ordinary Zimbabwean yet who believes this story. Firstly ZBC and the State media have run the story daily for the last week, relying on the credibility of SBS to try and give some substance to a story which would have been dismissed out of hand if ZBC had been 'first with the news.'

Most see it as just one more tiresome attempt in a long line of cooked up stories to discredit the MDC. In the past year the MDC has been spreading anthrax, planning war from Mozambique, robbing banks in South Africa, setting up military bases in Uganda and Zambia, training a secret army, and now plotting to kill the President. So was Joshua Nkomo in the mid 1980s, as was Ndabaningi Sithole, who stood against Mugabe in 1996.

We live daily with this propaganda, and as for the preposterous claim that the 'democratic process threatens to reinstall Mugabe". What democratic process? Do any of you living in democracies have any idea of all the obstacles put in the way of a free and fair election. Mark certainly didn't bother to find out.

Actually most of Zimbabwe really wouldn't care even if this allegation were true. We live daily with threats, murders and conspiracies. I really don't think we need SBS to tell us who is betraying the people of Zimbabwe.

See also here


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Tuesday, February 04, 2003


By: Viv Forbes

ONCE UPON A TIME, away down in Blunderland, an attractive blonde sheila with a whiteboard promised "Soon, every Australian farmer will live in a greenhouse". (I think she was a Minister of some religion that worshipped frogs.)

We all looked forward to this sublime future - warm moist air, rich in carbon dioxide, just like the conditions that produced the luxuriant forests of the Carboniferous era.

We should have known better. Instead of Greenhouse Heaven what they have delivered is Brownhouse Hell - brown hills, dead pasture, withered crops, dusty yards, hungry animals, dry dams, failing bores and empty tanks.

After years of drought we are assaulted by a winter of freezing dawns followed by cold, dry, dusty, smoke-laden plant-destroying winds. Summer is the same, except the winds are hot.

Instead of helping to restore Greenhouse heaven, as they promised, our pollies have also been doing all they can to obstruct those heroes who dig up the sterile carbon locked away in coal seams. The burning of this coal would help to re-start the starving carbon cycle by pumping it into the air so more plants can breathe. It would also add moisture, necessary for all life. Those plants would then pump out oxygen for us farmers to breathe. Win-win-win!

But this Brownhouse Hell is producing losses all round.

When I was a kid, my father talked about the great 1926 drought, and my grandfather talked about the even greater 1902 drought. This current drought started in 1993 and apart from an average year in 1999 and a freak storm in May 1996, it continues, and the effects get worse.

So, we will tell our kids and grandkids about the terrible Millennium Drought.

The result? We have 15 dams. All are bone dry except three, two gluepots and only one with a puddle of drinkable water left. Some dams built eight years ago have never been filled.

We have four bores and only one is still pumping; four wells and only three still producing. Half the rainwater tanks (for us and the chooks) are empty. (Rouseabout wanted to flush toilets only once a day, but this got overruled, as was his suggestion to shower together).

Every second vehicle on the road now is carrying water or fodder - battered old utes and trucks with bales of hay, tanks of water, copra, cotton seed, waste bread, citrus peel, molasses, silage, feed grain, urea blocks - anything our animals can eat or drink.

The cattle people on Sherana are still in good condition as we panicked early enough and sold all calves and half the breeding herd back a bit. (Record prices softened that blow). All remaining cattle now rely on the new Grasstree Bore but have to walk up the mountain for feed. If Grasstree Bore fails, the tank holds 4-5 days of cattle water. There is no feed near any other cattle water supply.

All sheep rely on Nobby's Well, plus long dead spear grass stalks plus manna from Mother of All Things. If Nobby's Well fails, the tank holds about 10 days of sheep water. And MOAT mentioned casually yesterday "Nobby's is starting to pump very slowly!" (It took about 6 weeks to locate, drill and equip Grasstree Bore when Dazzler Bore faltered.) Sheep are thriving and producing heaps of baby lambs - they think it is just like their desert homeland in Damaraland near Namibia.

So, we are not impressed as yet another High in the Bight delivers cold dry Southerly winds, grass killing frosts and cloudless skies, and some city twit in an air conditioned office with manicured lawns says "Isn't it a lovely day?"

But we have decided to curse less and dam more. A huge Leibherr Bull dozer arrived two weeks ago and has been cleaning deepening, widening and heightening every dry dam. Middle Dam has been renamed "The Hoover Dam" and Grasstree Dam has become "Aswan". Drains and contours have been lengthened and deepened - we aim to catch even a heavy dew. Never mind Cubby Station - no water will ever again leave Sherana. (I guess we will finish all this in time to catch the cycle of wet years.)

Waldo the Llama is taking his sheep guard job seriously. Last week the dozer got to the dry dam in the paddock where the sheep were (we cart water to them on a trailer). As the 20 tonne dozer approached the flock, Waldo got agitated, then placed himself between sheep and dozer, looking aggressive. Dozer kept coming. Waldo approached the dozer and decided to make his stand on the dam wall. Dozer kept coming, now pushing a big heap of grass and soil. Waldo considered making a stand like Horatius, but nerves failed and he retreated to his flock. Our Waldo has that rare and valuable combination - bravery, tempered by brains.


But despite the weather blues, we still find distractions. A recent trick was to try "One Armed Farming".

First, Mother of All Things tripped over a black feed bowl while yarding sheep in the dark and got a badly dislocated elbow. So she learnt about life with one arm. She could ride the 4 wheeler, but couldn't open a honey jar. She could open ring-pull tins, but not do up her bra. She could draft sheep, but not catch them. Could not even drive so I had to resort to hitch hiking again, and met some nice locals. But feeding three lambs with bottles at once was definitely beyond her. (They cannot be taught the socialist rationing solution - stand quietly in a queue). Soooo, one lamb had to go.

Then the Rouseabout had his try for Workers Compensation. Occasionally sheep that live on soft soil need their hooves trimmed. We decided to do drenching, bioclip and hoof trim all in one weekend. About 60 sheep X 4 legs X 2 toes needed trimming with hand secateurs - each toe needs 2-3 cuts, each equivalent to pruning a hard half inch branch. I thought that arm muscles would be a bit sore, but ended up with "tennis elbow' which has lasted for weeks. Unfortunately the right arm too. So Mother of All Things does the right handed jobs, and the Rouseabout gets the left handed jobs (not a comfortable situation for a right winger).

The Hunting Club has been busy, with dingos and politicians.

Dingos are the worst we have ever seen, maybe coming in with the drought. Howling Dale has been shooting and trapping, we laid baits, and the White Wolf and Waldo patrol the property. (MOAT says Sheba spends more time chasing quail and meadowlarks, but I don't believe that.) Granddaughter Isabelle (2yr old) must be very observant - she has only seen Sheba and Rouseabout together on one day, but remarked weeks later "Pa loves his big white dog.") Ma is still looking for Sheba's good points, but she admits Sheba is better with the sheep as she gets older (bounces around less).

Our score of dingoes is now about 17 killed, just on Sherana.

Relations between farmers, miners and government gets worse every day. Native Title red tape has almost stopped exploration on leasehold land, and environmental red tape is obstructing anything else. And as government budgets sink further into the red they try to soak more money out of every producer.

Farmers are in worse state with government upheavals every month - water, tree clearing, lease resumptions, Native Title, safety regulations, employee red tape, environmental red tape, deregulation of whatever was regulated, and re-regulation for all the rest. Luckily most of us have no idea of all the rules we are supposed to follow so we just get on with what has to be done.

Water is the grand daddy. For decades governments have seen dam building as a legitimate vote buying exercise, with "free" water there for the taking. They also insisted on land clearing as a condition on much leasehold land. Lots of enterprises were set up to clear the scrub and utilise this free water. Water licences were handed out freely. Naturally, anything with a price of zero is used up to the point of zero utility - ie it is wasted. Suddenly there is a shortage, made worse by the Millennium Drought. So governments are now saying to irrigators "This must stop. We are going to cut your water entitlement to 50% and the unit price will be trebled. Oh, and by the way, we are going to prevent you from clearing regrowth woody weeds". To the average small farmer, all this is about as disrupting as a hippopotamus jumping into your bathtub.

Salinity will be the new bogey man used to justify more power and taxes for the starving public sector. (Since the war on drugs, the war on guns, the war on poverty, the war on waste, the war on terror and the war to end all wars failed, we may as well try a war on salinity.) Naturally banks and farmers are devastated. Enterprises and investments built up on low cost water are now forced to adjust to dramatic economic disruption.

Moral: "Free Lunches always stop."

But, despite the drought, and the dingoes, and the politicians, and the taxes, life is good to us and this is a lovely place to live. When we sit on Western Ridge at dusk, work done, watching the moon rise over Mount Sleeper and the lambs gambolling on the flat, we thank our lucky stars that we can live here in peace.


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Monday, February 03, 2003


By: Sir Harry Gibbs (PC GCMG AC KBE)

Sir Harry Gibbs is a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia

To the Members of the Samuel Griffith Society, 2003

During the year the Society held another successful conference, which was notable for the fact that the opening speech was delivered by the Chief Justice of Australia, the Honourable Murray Gleeson AC. Appropriately, the vote of thanks was proposed by the Honourable Mr Justice Dyson Heydon, who, we were very pleased to learn, has been appointed to the High Court. As one expected, his appointment provoked expressions of regret that a woman was not appointed, since Mr Justice Heydon will take the place of Justice Mary Gaudron.

There are a number of reasons why appointments to judicial office, particularly to the High Court, should be made on merit - i.e., on learning and proved ability in the working of the courts - and, subject of course to character, on no other consideration. The High Court decides questions of great moment, and not infrequently does so by a majority of one, so that there is no room on the Court for any except those who are best qualified.

Further, the Court is not a representative body - its duty is to apply the law, and not to favour sectional interests - and indeed it would be impossible for the Court to represent all sections of society. It is true that there are some very able women in the legal profession, but it is no disrespect to them to say that none has the learning, ability and experience of Mr Justice Heydon.

For Australia the year ended unhappily, with the nation threatened by terrorism and by war. Those threats require difficult decisions to be made. We now know that the terrorist gangs, which exist in various parts of the world, and are united at least by a fanatical adherence to the more extreme doctrines of Muslim ideology, are capable of patient and skilful planning to achieve their murderous purposes, and are willing to include among their innocent victims Australians, or indeed any others they regard as infidels, even if their preferred targets are Americans and Israelis. What we do not know is how likely it is that these zealots will attempt to commit an atrocity on Australian soil.

Notwithstanding that uncertainty, the Government must (as it has done) take steps to avert a possible catastrophe of the terrorists' making. It is obvious that in peacetime it is impossible to guard every vital installation and every place where people congregate. Great reliance must therefore be placed on our intelligence services to discover in advance the terrorists' plans so that they may be aborted.

The intelligence bodies must accordingly be given the powers necessary to perform their vital functions. This must, however, be done with the minimum detraction from the freedoms which we value. This is particularly so since experience has shown that some members of the intelligence services (like other people) may act with excessive zeal - remember, for example, the many harmless citizens who were interned for no sufficient reason in the two World Wars.

The proper balance is not easy to achieve - among the controversial questions as to the extent of the proposed powers are three that may be mentioned. Should ASIO or the police be given the power to require persons who are suspected of having knowledge of terrorist activities to answer questions, and to detain them for questioning? It might be thought that such a power would justifiably be conferred in the interests of society as a whole, provided that the power is hedged about with safeguards sufficient to prevent its abuse.

Should a person so detained be held incommunicado? Many would think that although terrorists lurk in the shadows, the agents of government should work in the open, to make them more readily accountable.

Should children be detained for the purpose of questioning? Unfortunately it is notorious that evil persons do not scruple to use children as their agents. Questions such as these will have to be considered carefully by Parliament, and perhaps ultimately by the Courts.

The decision whether Iraq will be invaded will not be made by Australia. The only justification for an invasion, which would result in what is euphemistically called "collateral damage" to many innocent citizens as well as the inevitable military casualties, and which would be likely dangerously to inflame opinion in the Muslim world, would be that war was necessary as a reasonable measure of defence.

Since it is highly improbable that Iraq would attack any of the Western powers except in its own defence, an invasion of Iraq could be justified as a defensive measure only if Iraq has chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and is likely to provide them to terrorists. No doubt if it has weapons of this kind, it would not hesitate to allow terrorists to use them, but many remain to be convinced that Iraq has these devastating weapons. The report of the weapons inspectors is due, I think, tomorrow (27 January) and may make the position clearer.

It is to be hoped that a wish to remove Saddam Hussein from power, or a mere suspicion that he has destructive weapons, will not be regarded as a sufficient cause for war. If a war is commenced, and the Australian Government is convinced that its commencement was justified, one question will be whether the United Nations has given sanction to it, and another whether it is in Australia's interests to take part. In considering the latter question, it would be relevant to take into account the fact that there are good reasons for acting in support of so valuable an ally as the United States, and the possibility that destructive weapons if supplied to terrorists might be used against Australian interests, or even within Australia.

One wonders whether North Korea is as threatening to peace as Iraq.

Let us hope that Australia Day will be the commencement of a time which is safer and happier than the omens would at present indicate.


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Sunday, February 02, 2003


The leader of the opposition to Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, a man of peace, clearly understands how terrible is the prospect of a civil war in Zimbabwe. The illegitimate Mugabe regime has a monopoly of military and para-military power, and moreover has control of all significant weaponry.

Very likely Zanu-PF strategy is based on provoking a civil war as a pretext for supplementing the starvation weapon with bullets and bombs as a means of eliminating the opponents of Zanu-PF.

The Western World has an obligation to the people of Zimbabwe to save them from the brutality of the Zimbabwe regime before utter desperation drives them into a suicidal rebellion.

The best approach is bribery. The minimum price Mugabe will require to relinquish his undeserved power will include:

* A comfortable place of exile for Mugabe, his wife and his nominated cronies and their families.

* Guarantee of permanent access by Mugabe to the billions of dollars looted by Mugabe since 1980 from the treasury of his now-impoverished nation.

Who will pay? Let’s postulate the USA as to 50%, the UK as to 25% and other Commonwealth Governments as to 25%. Australia should set the example by offering to contribute.

How to negotiate this deal? It’s about time that Malcolm Fraser performed a useful function. As Australian Prime Minister, Fraser more than any other individual was responsible for the rejection of the legally elected Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Government led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, and its replacement by the Zanu-PF Government of Comrade R.G. Mugabe.

Yet Malcolm Fraser appears to have done nothing to deter his protégé from the worst electoral abuses of modern times, nor from effectively declaring war on his own people through a policy of deliberate economic destruction and enforced starvation.

So let Malcolm Fraser atone for past sins by persuading Robert Mugabe to quit the nation which he has been busily destroying.



In a story about new committee assignments in Congress, reporter Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post noted that Rep. Christopher Cox, a senior Republican with expertise in international affairs, will head the new Homeland Security Committee. The Post said that Cox in 1998 "headed a select committee probe into whether China stole U.S. nuclear and military technology…" But that statement leaves in doubt what the Cox Committee found on one of our worst national security scandals ever.

The committee found that China "has stolen classified design information on the United States' most advanced thermonuclear weapons. These thefts of nuclear secrets from our national weapons laboratories enabled the PRC to design, develop, and successfully test modern strategic nuclear weapons sooner than would otherwise have been possible. The stolen U.S. nuclear secrets give the PRC design information on thermonuclear weapons on a par with our own."

The Cox committee's classified report was unanimously approved by its five Republican and four Democratic members after a six-month probe. So the idea that there is some doubt about the findings of the Committee seems to rest with the Washington Post alone.

More here


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