1. Survey on Muslims
Probably the biggest story of the week was the Essential survey asking people whether they would support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Overall support/oppose was 49% to 40%, with Labor voters 40-48, the LNP 60-31, the Greens 34-59 and Other 58-35. Essential were so shocked they ran the poll again, with the same result.
Just about everyone is shocked, including the higher than expected support amongst Labor and Greens voters. Peter Lewis, the Essential man, says he was floored by the result. He thought Pauline Hanson represented a rump, but not so.
Shakira Hussein at Crikey (paywalled) was completely unsurprised, and thinks Crikey readers may join in too. Anti-Muslim racism (she thinks it’s humbug not to call it racism) has long been the respectable dinner party racism, she says.
What to do?
Lewis says, listen and engage constructively. Good luck if you think facts will make a difference.
Essential polled the reasons people gave. Top with 41% was They do not integrate into Australian society, followed by 27% for Terrorist threat and 22% for They do not share our values.
BTW on voting intention Labor has been 52-48 ahead for three straight weeks now in the Essential poll.
2. Backpackers tax rebellion
One of Joe Hockey’s bright revenue measures was to make backpackers pay 32.5c in the dollar for every dollar they earn. Currently they get a $18,200 tax-free threshold, then pay 19c up to $37,000 like the rest us. The new regime was to be implemented from 1 July 2016.
The Government kicked the can down the road before the election, promising an inquiry, now underway, with the outcomes to be implemented from 1 January 2017.
Tourists of course plan well ahead, as do farmers and others relying on backpacker labour. Already there are reports that backpackers are increasingly giving Australia a miss.
Now LNP Member for Dawson, George Christensen, lovely man, has given the Government a don’t argue.
“I believe the Government is going to axe the backpacker tax and put in place arrangements that farmers can accept,” he said. Otherwise he’s off, out of the LNP.
You’ll remember he has form in forcing changes to super legislation.
3. Marriage equality plebiscite preview
It’s easy to say we are a mature people capable of civilised debate, but it doesn’t take many to spoil the whole show. It only takes one kid to disrupt a classroom.
Now we have been given a sample of what could happen:
- The group “Children’s Future”, which has firm links to the secretive Catholic religious society Opus Dei, has made the false claim in leaflets that legalising same-sex marriage would trigger the controversial Safe Schools program becoming “compulsory” in all Australian schools, even if parents objected.
Fairfax Media say the three directors of Children’s Future Ltd are members of the NSW Liberal Party in the Hills Shire. They were described by a senior Liberal as part of the “lunar right”, and the faction is known locally as “the Taliban” due to their hardline religious views. Too far right even for the Right, apparently.
However, it shows what is likely to happen outside the funded campaign, which will be supervised.
Meanwhile Bill Leak has depicted anti-plebiscite campaigners as goose-stepping Nazis. Not sure of his exact point but he explains:
- The Gay Agenda(™) has become Stasi-esque, supported by jackbooted thugs
BuzzFeed suggest that Labor may be open to a binding plebiscite with no public funding. I do hope they are wrong.
4. Saving money on access to justice
Funding of community legal centres has been in the gun for several years now, and I know that there has been recent lobbying before and after the election to stave off a 30% cut due next year. Apparently 16,000 people seeking assistance are already being turned away each year, only 64.4% are being given assistance.
George Brandis’s alleged failure to consult stakeholders is behind the legal battle to gain access to his diaries, which he has just lost in the Federal Court.
The Law Council says that lives are being destroyed, and every dollar invested in legal aid returns $6 in productive output and carnage avoided. Even the Productivity Commission says that legal aid should be boosted.
I heard on the radio this week that the lobbying had failed, the cuts will go ahead, but I can’t find a news item.
A just society requires equal access to the justice system. We are heading the other way.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.