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, May 03, 2003

Here is an extract from a publication of the Citizens Electoral Councils (CEC), the Australian agency concerned with infiltrating into Australia the views of American demagogue Lyndon LaRouche.

. . the Anglo-American establishment which runs the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, intends to usher in police-state dictatorships domestically, while unleashing an anti-Muslim "Clash of Civilisations" worldwide. Toward this end, 9/11 was organised as a new Reichstag Fire by a rogue faction of the U.S. military, not by the semi-mythical Osama bin Laden hiding in caves in Afghanistan. This analysis was first put forward by physical economist and U.S. 2004 Presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. and was subsequently echoed by many military and security specialists around the world, who have said that such an extraordinarily sophisticated operation would have taken one to two years of planning, several hundred people, and required taking down the security screen of the U.S. (www.cecaust.com.au) Using 9/11 (and upcoming "terror" attacks) as an excuse, there are very advanced plans to turn the U.S. itself into a military police-state, including the planned, unprecedented, and illegal establishment of a new U.S. military command ("USNORTHCOM") to cover the United States itself, along with Canada and Mexico

CEC is the organisation which has published a full page advertisement in The Australian expressing opposition to the Howard Government's Anti-Terrorism Bills. For the advertisement, CEC obtained the signatures of a raft of Islamic organisations, plus a slab of the "usual suspects" who hate any Liberal-National Government under all circumstances. Heading the list was discredited former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Jim Cairns -- Deputy in the former Australian Labor Party government of Edward Gough Whitlam.


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Friday, May 02, 2003


From a speech by John Brogden, Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales

In my first year in parliament a local woman rang me asking for help. She told me her son had been killed and that I was her last resort. In desperation she rang me and asked me to come to her home.

I knocked on her front door. She took me out into the back garden and we sat at a small, white wrought-iron table on which she had placed a blanketed bundle. She unwrapped the blanket. It cradled an urn containing the ashes of her son.
She introduced me to her son Michael. How her life and the life of her family had been irrevocably changed was brought home to me in that moment, and I will never forget it. I stay in touch with her to this day and her pain reminds me of my responsibilities. This mother endured the tragedy of her son's death, worked with the police, sat through the court case. I sat through part of the court case with her.
She suffered the pain of reliving the tragedy only to wear the ultimate insult of a weak jail sentence.

Since then I have met with a number of victims of violent crime. Their tales are all too horrendous to contemplate. When you look in the eyes of mothers of murdered sons, you can see that changes to the law make sense. Who can make sense of the murder of Constable Peter Forsythe, who was murdered while walking home with two mates from a hotel in Ultimo. He was stabbed in the chest by a drug dealer when he tried to stop a crime. His murderer appealed his original sentence and will be out of jail in 13 years - nine years leas than the original sentence.

Who can make sense of the murder of the disabled boy Alan Brown, from Kariong, not 10km away from here, who was killed execution style after being bashed. His killers will be out of jail in under twenty years.

And who can make sense of the eleven year non-parole sentence - reduced on appeal - for the killer of Christine Hill, from East Maitland. Christine was stabbed to death with a paring knife after an argument over a $35 debt.

Terrible crimes happen to ordinary people. And, people are outraged by the fact that the current average sentence for murder is only 14 years. They want sentencing to provide justice that reflects community expectations and values and the severity of these terrible crimes.

We already have a bill in the parliament to make plea bargaining harder and to involve victim's families in the process more. The bill attempts to cut the extent of sentence shopping where criminals drastically reduce jail time by pleading guilty to lesser crimes.

We have already announced that we will make the Director of Public Prosecutions more accountable to the community he serves, by requiring an annual appearance before a Parliamentary Oversight Committee to explain his actions, deals and the use of public funding in securing justice for the people of this State. And we will give back to the Attorney General the power to appeal weak sentences where the DPP will not.

We have outlined our plans for dealing with young offenders through our "Second Chance" programs and personal responsibility orders, designed to get families and young people back on track.

And we have announced that if elected next March we will legislate to ensure a regime of compulsory minimum sentencing that moves to address the weakness of the system under Labor. Our message today is that criminals who engage in serious violent crimes will receive a jail term that reflects the severity of their crime.
We have already announced that police murderers will be locked away for life. No parole.

We have to protect the lives our Police who put their lives on the line for us.
Today I announce that under a Coalition Government criminals convicted of the most serious assault on a Police Officer - malicious wounding - will go to jail for a minimum of 4 years. Currently those who are found guilty of these offences are sent to jail for 12 months or less and some serve no jail time at all.

We have already announced that in the case of first-degree murder,-- serial murders, terrorist murders, murders with rape, and murders with exceptional depravity -- those found guilty will be jailed for 25 years - MINIMUM - no parole.

We have also announced that a Coalition Government will create a separate category for second-degree murder and those found guilty will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. MINIMUM - no parole.

We have also declared that gang rapists will be locked away for a minimum of 15 years. It's just the right thing to do.

For the crime of aggravated sexual assault - rape with violence, rape with physical harm, rape of young people, rape imposing bodily injury, rape under threat with weapon, more than half of people convicted of this offence have received sentences of three years or less. No wonder the community is fed up. A rapist who changes a woman's life forever is back on the streets in less than three years, if they went to jail at all. That is just not good enough. The punishment must fit the crime. And the minimum sentence must act as a deterrent.


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Thursday, May 01, 2003

A letter from Peter Carswell:

Your comments about immigration make you sound like you support the White Australia Policy. Believers in individual freedom applaud the concept and practice of free movement of people worldwide. I think that perhaps "fascist" is a better description of the policies of Philip Ruddock and his supporters. I don't know how you can say that a bunch of taxpayer funded armed men that force leaky boats with unarmed civilian passengers back out to sea represent freedom! Maybe you should say you believe in freedom only when it serves your short-term self-interest!

Although I have to agree with you that Natasha is "dopey", at least she is not directly responsible for the deaths of innocent people.

I don’t agree that one must “applaud the concept and practice of free movement of people worldwide” in order to qualify as a believer in individual freedom.
Individual freedom does require free movement of goods, currency and ideas, but the movement of populations is a different matter. Each sovereign nation must have the right to protect its own borders and decide whomsoever shall cross them. Otherwise the nation fails to protect the rights of its own citizens, the task which is the principal justification for the existence of nations.
The practical situation is that if Australia opens its borders, then Australia will be a majority Islamic nation by mid century; a nation in which individual liberty will have ceased to exist.

If other nations want the prosperity of Australia, all they have to do is adopt our wise policies (and reject the unwise policies).


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Wednesday, April 30, 2003


This speech was given at Ypres in Belgium last year by the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.

It's 85 years since the terrible battles of 1917 and earlier, but it's still quite impossible to come to a place such as this as an Australian and to participate in the sort of ceremony that we did a few moments ago without literally tears coming to your eyes and a lump developing in your throat. It's important that Australians remind each other of the scale of our contribution to World War I. We were a nation in 1914 with just two and a half million men. Almost 360,000 of those volunteered for service in World War I. We suffered more than 60,000 dead, an enormous casualty rate and here, in the period of the Third Battle of Ypres, something in the order of 13,000 Australians lost their lives - 1917, we lost 20,000 men in that year and in October of 1917 has to be the most tragic month in recorded Australian history, where we lost some 6,405 men from that tiny country population-wise.

It's part of our history. The names that are recorded here are recorded on memorials all over our country. In fact, the battle of Ypres had in it people from every city and every major country town and every bush area of Australia. And it really reached every part of our country. And all 60 battalions of the first AIF marched past this building as it then was. Today therefore, I feel quite touched to be amongst you and I can say on behalf of all the Australians here that we are warmed beyond description by the generosity of your welcome, the genuine nature of your affection for our country.

The Last Post ceremony has been performed 25,000 times. It was interrupted only during the period of the German occupation - I understand that it resumed the day after the Germans left in 1944. That's a commitment to a memory that we appreciate very much and may I say, speaking on behalf of all of the Australians here, that we are touched by the very genuine character of the welcome. This wonderful surrounding, the very moving ceremony and also by the many things that you've done over the years. The contribution of the lions from the Menin Bridge to the Australian War Memorial, the inspiration that the Menin Gate provided to Longstaff's wonderful portrait of the Menin Gate and the spirits of the dead soldiers rising, which had an enormous impact on Australia when it was taken around the country in 1927.

But very importantly, tonight is an occasion to reaffirm the determination of our peoples to pursue and maintain the peace. The most awful thing about war is that it takes the young. You look around the cemeteries and you see the ages - they're 18, they're 19, they're 21. They're the ages of many of our children. And the terrible cost of that war and of course World War II, has naturally guided the political instincts and the political behaviour of the European nations and their determination to put in place mechanisms that will prevent those terrible things occurring again.
Over the years, as I mentioned, you've been very kind in marking our contribution to the defence of Belgium in World War I. And I'm very pleased to announce tonight that, as a small contribution from Australia, we're going to contribute a multi-media package to the Museum, "In Flanders Fields", which will provide in I think, a quite comprehensive way in a modern, contemporary fashion, some depictions and detailed remembrances in a personal fashion, of the contributions of Australians to the defence of your country.

What is moving also about an occasion such as this is to see so many young people feeling part of the ceremony. It is something that we Australians experience on Anzac Day and you visit Gallipoli or you visit the cemeteries of Belgium and France. You see the young, you see Australians with the Australian flag around their shoulders, you see them proud of who they are and wanting to connect with their heritage. And in talking to the Burgomaster, I find that that is a similar circumstance here in Ypres, that people are reaching back and wanting to understand.

So tonight can I say thank you for providing such a moving occasion for me and for all of my Australian colleagues. And we remember the terrible losses of our country, but we also remember the terrible losses of Belgium, and the terrible losses of the French, the terrible losses of the British and the Indians and the South Africans and the Canadians, and also the terrible losses of the Germans. They all left behind mothers and fathers, whatever side they fought on and it's just an occasion to remember all of them and to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that it doesn't happen again.

Thank you.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2003

An American assault on a compound used by the northern Iraqi terror group Ansar al-Islam "turned up a list of names of suspected militants living in the United States and what may be the strongest evidence yet linking the group to al-Qaida," the Associated Press reports from Biyare, Iraq. Although no information was found directly tying Ansar to Saddam, "there were indications that the group has been getting help from inside neighboring Iran."

The Telegraph reports that a local religious leader, Sheikh Malik Naqshbandi, has returned to the Kurdish village that was Ansar's headquarters and has now been liberated. "Sheikh Malik's house was used by Ansar and destroyed by an American missile. He said he didn't mind. 'I don't think there will be a happier day in my life.' "

And if this isn't enough to give the lie to the Iraq-has-nothing-to-do-with-terrorism myth, consider this twofer out of Jordan: Reuters reports that "Jordan has arrested an undisclosed number of Iraqis whom they suspect of plotting to contaminate a water tank that supplies U.S. troops in the desert near the Iraqi border."

And News.com.au reports "Jordanian authorities have arrested four Iraqis on suspicion of plotting to blow up a luxury Amman hotel frequented by US nationals and foreign journalists, diplomatic sources have told AFP."


Letter to the Editor of The Australian

From: Graeme Haycroft (General Secretary, The Small Business Union)

Your article ‘Being a casual works just fine’ (Wed 4th April 2003) quoting research by Professor Mark Wooden could benefit by clarification of the term ‘casual’. There is no doubt that Professor Wooden's research puts paid to the ongoing union campaign against the supposed casualisation of the workforce. Against what is now clear empirical evidence, the unions have argued that all workers would be better off if they weren’t ‘casuals’. They want them all to be permanents under an Award. The research clearly shows that on the issues of job satisfaction, pay rates and flexibility, workers would all rather be ‘casuals’. Even on the issue of job security, there was only a differential of 10% between the satisfaction levels of a permanent to a ‘casual’.

But in one vital respect Professor Wooden’s research model is flawed. You see there are very few actual ‘casuals’ in the workforce. Actual in the sense that a ‘casual’ employee is someone who is employed by the day for the day with no expectation of future regular employment. Yet about 40% of all non-government employees are called casuals. But about 99% of them are not ‘casuals’ at all. They all work regular but flexible shifts at the one place and have a very real expectation of future employment.

They are really “illegal” (because there is actually no provision in the traditional industrial relations employment award system for this) flexible permanent part timers on, in many cases, unlimited hours.

It is no surprise that workers prefer these types of arrangements to inflexible permanent employment.

The issue in question isn’t ‘casuals’ vs. permanents. It’s really about flexible permanents (albeit illegal ones) vs. inflexible permanents. Both employers and employees have voted with their feet for flexibility. How else do you explain over 40% of the workforce operating outside the law if the benefits of doing so weren’t mutual? The unions on the other hand want inflexible arrangements enforced so they can trade off the flexibility the employers want for the price of union memberships. Professor Wooden’s research exposes their real agenda.


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Monday, April 28, 2003

Zimbabwe “judge” secretly grabs commercial farm

A senior Zimbabwean judge has secretly grabbed a prize commercial farm in the heart of the nation's richest land. The discovery came as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, congratulated his people on regaining their land from white farmers in a defiant speech to mark 23 years of independence yesterday.

Judge Paddington Garwe seized Mount Lothian farm in the Enterprise area. It was owned by C G Tracey, one of the first white farmers to embrace Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980. Judge Garwe is Judge President of the High Court, the second highest judge in the country. He is presiding over the treason trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Mr Tracey arranged the key donor conference after independence. He has been chairman of several important agricultural groups, introduced some of the most innovative farming methods and was highly regarded by the government in the early days of independence. "Now he is just another white man, and they want him to go," said a former neighbour.

The seizure, believed to have happened last month, is the latest in the Enterprise farming area, about 20 miles east of Harare. The area is occupied by more members of the ruling elite - a clutch of cabinet ministers, senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the hierarchy of the Central Intelligence Organisation - than any other of the former commercial farming districts. Of the 66 white commercial farmers in the Enterprise district before Mr Mugabe ordered the land grab three years ago, fewer than a dozen are left.

Mr Tracey, in his 80s, is said to be "heartbroken and confused" about being forced from his home and life's work. Former neighbours said "CG", as he is known, had refused to discuss his eviction, fearing reprisals. He left Zimbabwe on holiday yesterday. "He thinks that if he says nothing the judge will one day allow him back into his home," said a former neighbour now living in South Africa. "He is living in a dream world where he believes that order will return to his beloved Zimbabwe. CG is an old man and confused after the turmoil. He is not thinking straight."

The former neighbour said Mr Tracey was forced off the farm by violent ruling Zanu-PF party members posing as "landless" peasants. Judge Garwe declined to comment on the claims.

(From the UK Telegraph)



By: Prof Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General

MUGABE'S MINISTER FOR ENERGY, Amos Midzi, recently announced that the retail price of petrol would go up 209.9% to Z$ 450.

This is an astronomical rise, and comes just two months after a previous hike of 95%. Given the parlous state of the economy and the spiralling rate of inflation, Zimbabweans are likely to suffer similar price increases in the not too distant future.

This increase also means that the price of every conceivable commodity in Zimbabwe will sky rocket as all producers who manufacture such essential goods as food and clothing also use fuel. Their overhead costs will also increase due to higher transport costs.

In real terms this increase means that for those vehicles which have 60litre tanks the cost of fuel rises from $8520 to $27 000. This is way above the net salary of a majority of ordinary Zimbabweans. Members of parliament earn an average net salary of $60 000 (per month). This astronomical increase means that MPs can only afford two tanks of fuel each month and nothing else. No food, no clothing and no rentals. It means that a trip to Bulawayo by car will now cost well over $60 000.

Those who travel by bus are likely to pay $15 000 one-way, well beyond the net salaries of ordinary Zimbabweans.

This increase is criminal when we consider the salary and incomes levels of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. It proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Mugabe regime does not care about the plight of the people.

The harsh reality of politically induced economic failure is becoming more and more pervasive. The latest fuel hike will mean thousands more Zimbabweans will be forced to go without food and travel by foot, adding another level of suffering to their daily grind.


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Sunday, April 27, 2003


Author, Ron Manners, says in the introduction to this book: "I hope you enjoy this quick skip through these selected events from Kalgoorlie’s formative century", but there is far more behind this modest invitation.

One suspects that the multi-faceted Manners may have initially set out to commemorate his illustrious family’s involvement on the Western Australian Goldfields, but the final result is a grand sweep of Australiana and life in Australia’s outback.

How these generations lived, worked, played and developed that persevering streak that climbs over all obstacles, is a timeless story for us today."

Never a Dull Moment is in fact three books.

Part 1 by Nancy Manners (Ron's mother) is titled "Life On The Mining Lease". Nancy (nee Stevens) spent her first 20 years living in a shack fabricated by her father, on a mining lease which is now part of Kalgoorlie's Super Pit.

Her well written narration is the stuff that would make a great movie as the hardships of those days are almost beyond belief in 2003.

Life in such close confines with the 7 children and their parents would send today's child-welfare authorities into a frenzy.

Part 2 - "Then Came The War" (WWI, 1914-18)

Anyone with any interest in the events of war and life in the battlefield will be taken right to the frontline where limbs and lives were lost on the battlefields of France.

Ron Manners, has thought long and hard for many years about publishing his father's meticulously kept war diaries and has now combined this with that of Dick Fryer-Smith's, Chas Manners' best friend right through their WWI experience. A poem by Chas Manners is reproduced above.

The result is a well-rounded narration of those war time events.

P.133 commences and outlines the shooting down of Baron Von Richthofen (the Red Baron). This first-hand account of the events on the ground that followed gives the reader a ring-side seat.

P.147 contains an interesting comment from Chas Manners indicating that right in the middle of the decisive battle of Hamel, suddenly the "Yanks" were withdrawn at the last moment (on 4th July, 1918) after receiving instructions not to fight on their Independence Day.

Part 3 - Ron Manners continues the Goldfields story through to the '50s, '60s, and '70s, with a collection of brief stories that cover both human and humorous situations that are full of surprises.

Buy a copy of "Never a Dull Moment" for each person you care about who likes history and applauds liberty. And please buy one for your local school library. For each copy, simply send $39 each (including GST, and delivery within Australia) to Mannwest, 19 Richardson Street, West Perth, Western Australia, 6005.


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