28 November 2005

Human Rights...for whom?

| Indi
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The re-jigging of a speech into a press release (below) left me trying to work out what was the single message the Prince was trying to deliver to the media – Sir Joh’s attempts to supress protests in QLD, the life of Al Grassby, the banning of the Communists in Australia, the hanging of Van Nguyen, Mark Latham saying we should execute Osama, the PM saying we wouldn’t miss Saddam if he were sent to the firing squad.

I’m just utterly shocked he didn’t have a crack at Iron-bar Wilson Tuckey for his very ‘liberal’ views on life or launch a program that would see the ACT send an armada of gun ships to protect the gay whales in the southern ocean…Have a commemorative luncheon to celebrate the life of Al Grassby by all means, but the rest just sounded like complete dribble!


The danger of softening Australia’s national stance on human rights had been witnessed in the past and was being witnessed again now, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope told a lunch in memory of Al Grassby today.

“Under Premier Bjelke Peterson in Queensland, attempts were made to suppress protests against the apartheid regime in South Africa,” Mr Stanhope, at the first Al Grassby Memorial Lunch, at the National Press Club.

“Even further back, we had a referendum on the proposed banning of the Communist Party. In both cases, governments that tried to suppress the rights of freedom of association and the right to free speech were overruled by the good sense of the community.

“Now, we face another challenge. A week from today, an Australian man is due to be hanged in Singapore. His plight has brought forth pleas for clemency from public figures from the Prime Minister down. I cannot help feeling that our voices would have been more forceful if our opposition to the death penalty had been truly unambiguous — if we made it clear, every time we engaged in the debate, that we oppose the death penalty at all times, for all crimes, for all criminals.”

Mr Stanhope said he believed it was unhelpful to the cause that in recent times a Federal Labor Leader, Mark Latham, had supported the death penalty for the Bali bombers, that the Foreign Minister was on the public record as saying that he didn’t think too many tears would be shed if Osama bin Laden were executed, and that the Prime Minister had said he didn’t think anyone would make a fuss if Saddam Hussein were to face the gallows. Even at a recent doorstop, in defence of Van Nguyen, the Prime Minister had merely said that he didn’t think the death penalty should be imposed ‘on this occasion’.

Mr Stanhope said Al Grassby, who died in April this year, had fought for many of the rights and liberties that Australians now took for granted, and he welcomed the plan to reinstitute a regular program of lunchtime speakers, along the lines of the well-known and fondly remembered get-togethers Mr Grassby had organised over the years.

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It was. The press release just sort of collated all the examples he used without any real justification of why and where they were scattered through his chit chat.

The point being that when one reads a release like this one, you’d definitely hope that a better effort was made during the live performance!

Made perfect sense to me Ari. I think one needed to be there, rather than reading a press release.

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