The State Government in my small Island part of the Nation is up for grabs and many a sticky hand is up and groping the citizenry. The Elections this month may well oust the current socialist, green and feminist wreckers and replace them with wishy-washy 'Liberals'. (Not the American use of the word though).
Meanwhile the Federal change of Government last year is starting to see change and that does give some hope. The socialist 'identity' politics thrust is under fire. We may be seeing a small reversal happening.
Not that it will be noticeable for a while. In its first term the only thing a Conservative Government can hope to do is slow the downhill slide and douse the flames of the pants on fire.
Reversal of direction may take more time.
Much needs to be done to restore the sort of freedoms we became familiar with 20 years ago before 'Human Rights' became the slogan.
Oz built a 'Human Rights' empire which reflected the dominant lefty memes, and the most recent appointment of a Conservative to its body of socialist and feminist lackies caused an outcry.
Of course, many would say that Oz needs a Human Rights Body. They would be the 'Progressives'. And we all like progress, don't we?
But.....Sinclair Davidson, in the bar representing the Catellaxy crowd did a fine look around and reported:...
More evidence the AHRC is of the left and for the left? Just look at how the Australian Human Rights Commission is described and defended.
Here is Richard Cooke making the concession at The Monthly:
Whatever the merits of his appointment, it’s an ace piece of industrial strength trolling by George Brandis, parachuting a culture warrior right behind enemy lines like that.
Here is Mark Fletcher at SBS:
The Australian Human Rights Commission is an ideological organisation established specifically to meet a particular policy goal. Namely, we want to ensure that minorities have the best possible chance to have their voices included in public discussion. We want to make sure that the mainstream — either willfully or (far more commonly) out of ignorance and disinterest — don’t trample on people who can’t fight back on equal terms.
The notion that all Australians should have equal human rights and equal protections under the rule of law is simply foreign to progressive thought.
But wait, there's more to consider....
The Human Rights gravy train -
A lot of highly paid women.
The Human Rights Commission annual report report for 2013 is here. On page 150 we get to see the staffing profile – 143 employees (of whom only 38 are male) – and the salary rank those individuals earn. More than half of the Commission are on salaries above $72,900.
That is well above the median income for Australia.
Over 90 per cent of the Human Rights Commission employees earn above the median wage.
So the top nine employees are the SES Band levels and the Statutory Office holders. Between them they earn $2.3 million (basic salary) out of a total salary and wages budget of $12.3 million.
So 6.3 per cent of the employees take out 18.65 per cent of the total salary budget.
And they still have the nerve to talk about the 'Pay Gap'. !!
And do not hold your breath waiting for a demand to have a 40% quota for men, either. 26% already poses an 'unsafe workplace' for high-flying wimmin.
All that Testosterone !! Heck, they may even raise 'Rights for Men' !
(That's a Tavern joke. There is NO Hope for that)
|"No 77c in the $ for meeeeee"|
What else can we say about the salary and conditions of this organisation?
Employee Benefits (salary + super + on costs and the like) came to $16,384,000. The federal government pumped in $17,979,000.
So 91 per cent of all government expenditure earmarked for the AHRC is spent on salaries and wages and super (plus odds and ends).
And predominantly FEMALE salaries, at that, and ongoing benefits, including superannuation (which will continue for the next 50 years or more).
Another $6.9 million came from the sales of services and operating a sub-lease (Really?).
So I reckon they have some $8.5 million to provide whatever it is that the AHRC actually does.
I don’t want to comment on the value of that $8.5 million (except to suggest that it is probably less than $8.5 million) but even in an accounting sense we the taxpayer are paying some $16 million in salaries to get $8.5 million of human rights programs.
Christian Kerr was in the bar and had a LOT to say though.
Culture wars flare as Brandis rewrites the rights agenda
ATTORNEY-General George Brandis is out to remake human rights by reshaping the human rights bureaucracy and by reminding us of the origins of the concept in the enlightenment and in classical liberal philosophy.
He is constructing a philosophical argument to justify his political plans. They have two prongs.
Brandis is out to lash the Left, to claim the mantle of the defenders of human rights for the Liberal Party - his own small-l liberals in particular.
|Brandis brandishes the Liberal Brand.|
Last week Brandis - above - (said that) the members of the Human Rights Commission due to retire this year may not be replaced, floating a consolidation of the current eight positions:
the President, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
the Age Discrimination Commissioner,
the Children's Commissioner,
the Disability Discrimination Commissioner,
the Race Discrimination Commissioner,
the Sex Discrimination Commissioner
and the latest commissioner, "Freedom Commissioner" Tim Wilson.
Then, he indicated that this could be dealt with by the Coalition's commission of audit of government.
Now, Brandis has gone further in fleshing out his plans, telling Inquirer he is developing a package of proposals to be released in the first half of the year.
He is coy about the detail of what they may contain - but firm and forward on the thinking behind them.
"When was the last time in this country that there's been so much constructive debate about human rights than since the announcement of Tim Wilson," Brandis tells Inquirer.
"As Tim Wilson said last week, human rights are the basis of classical liberalism and this government means to remind people that the human rights they enjoy are because of the values of classic liberalism, a political philosophy that has always been resisted by those on the left."
|Wilson to add a different thrust.|
Brandis foreshadows that the debate will "evolve and expand", a clear hint that his package will be designed to carry public opinion.
What is driving the moves?
The government is smarting at this week's announcement by the commission's president, Gillian Triggs, that she will conduct an inquiry into the state of asylum-seeker children in detention. The last of these was held during the Howard years.
|Triggs sitting pretty on her Fat salary.|
A clearly angry Brandis tells Inquirer that the Howard government had released children from detention and was "well on the way to solving the problem" of asylum-seekers now.
The number of children in detention in the Howard years peaked at 842 in September 2001. It reached a high of almost 2000 last July, two months before the federal election.
It is now estimated that there are about 1028 children in asylum detention in Australia and Nauru.
"The only government that didn't suffer a Human Rights Commission inquiry into children in detention is the government that created the problem," he says.
But the inquiry is only a mosquito bite. There are far deeper-reaching forces at work; forces that explain the mixture of politics and philosophy Brandis is putting forward.
If the government chooses to condense the commission, it can immediately point to events under the Rudd and Gillard governments.
The last full-time Human Rights Commissioner was appointed by the Howard government in 2005. After 2009, the position was occupied part-time by the then president, Catherine Branston, until the term ended.
When Wilson formally steps into the role in 10 days' time, the position will have sat vacant since August 2012, a total of nearly 20 months.
Brandis can argue that Labor neglected broad-based concepts of human rights in favour of identity politics - and this is the launching point for the philosophical attack on both the opposition and the commission and the philosophical justification for changes he aims to make.
|What the Lefties like.|
In section 5.2 of the Human Rights Commission's December 2012 submission to the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee's inquiry into the draft of the Gillard government's controversial - and ultimately scrapped - Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, the commission stated: "The commission welcomes the continuation in the bill, consistent with the commission's recommendations, of the existing specialist commissioner positions.
The commission does not oppose the removal of the Human Rights Commissioner position."
This is the clincher for the government and critics of the commission such as the Institute of Public Affairs.
They see this as proof the commission cares little for the rights of individuals but is a $25 million-plus a year taxpayer-funded tool for proponents of identity politics to advance left-leaning causes through allegations of discrimination.
Triggs tells Inquirer: "The commission did not oppose the removal of the human rights commissioner position simply because it had been performed by the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission - both by my predecessor, Catherine Branson QC, and myself. In relation to these two positions, the commission had in recent years adopted the view that there was congruence in the Australian Human Rights Commission president taking on the role of human rights commissioner.
"From a purely resourcing perspective, we had found that the president's role could effectively accommodate the functions of this position as well. Additionally, the same act of parliament, the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, provided for the creation of both positions, whereas, at the time, the creation of the other individual commissioner positions were each either provided for or relied upon by separate individual acts."
Triggs warns a consolidation of commissioners would stretch both time and resources. "It would mean that the commissioner who would now have to take on a second commissioner role would be stretched over two, or more, positions," she says.
"In their current single-commissioner areas, commissioners work hard over often very long hours. To have to perform more than one commissioner role will necessarily mean they can achieve less in each area and risks one area becoming subsidiary to the other. We know these tensions exist because the commissioner positions have been consolidated in the past."
She says her staff are already acting at "absolute capacity", adding "while we will endeavour to do as much as we possibly can with the resources we are given, less funding means less resources, which means we simply will not be able to do as much work or address as many areas as we would like." Triggs continues: "Each year the number of complaints we receive continues to increase. We fear a reduction in funding would also adversely impact on our ability to deliver this service as well as we currently do."
In other words, 'Give us More Taxpayers Money so we can employ more women to interfere with more people'.
Hugh de Krester, executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre, warns: "Any review must be genuinely focused on strengthening the commission and must be on the basis there will be no weakening of its mandate, independence and resources."
But a former commissioner, Sev Ozdowski, says there is room to consolidate positions.
He points out that he held the roles of both human rights commissioner and disability discrimination commissioner during his term at the commission last decade, while his colleague Pru Goward carried out the roles of both age and sex discrimination commissioner.
He also adds that the children's commissioner has little to do, saying most issues in that area are matters for the states.
"You don't need to have a huge number of commissioners," he says.
Ozdowski is concerned that anti-discrimination issues trump human rights matters at the commission and says he believes Brandis "really needs to put human rights on the national agenda".
"What is has happened over the years is all the equity issues and inquiries into anti-discrimination issues became the sole focus of the commission and civil liberties were totally neglected," he said.
"Partly it's a problem of the legislation. We don't have a bill of rights in Australia and if you look at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it's only appended to the Commission Act, but there is no implementing legislation."
These are matters Senate deputy leader Brandis has thought long and hard about. The right moves could reshape the human rights bureaucracy and our concepts of human rights.
Success would be a huge victory in the culture war.
And the honours would go not just to the Liberal Party, but the conquering general himself: Brandis.
As I said, we can hope. But we need to drink deep cups of Patience too. The Tavern has a good cellar. Full.