Bloody teenagers, and what the hell is the world coming to ...

J managed to 'misplace' the letter with the PIN needed for him to access his UAI results online - he has to request a replacement letter, probably along with thousands of other forgetful teenage males ... GRR ARRGH!!

In other depressing news - J was pulled over by the cops today - not for any traffic offence, but because of the new 'we don't need anything concrete to suspect you of anything other than the fact that you're a young white male with long hair that may fit our surfie profile (J's hates the beach, apart from perving on sweet young thangs).  In the aftermath of the recent ' race riots' our state govt has passed laws allowing police unprecedented search and stop laws.  J was stopped in our family station wagon, only because the car was bearing 'P' plates - there is absolutely no way that BM or I would have been stopped if we were driving the car.  He may have been on the way to the beach to protect it from the 'undesirables'.  The car was searched for weapons - baseball bats, guns etc etc, never mind the steering lock or my walking stick that actually could be used as weapons.  Even the milk crate holding spare car parts was searched for 'weapons'.  I cannot verbalise (or write) how I feel about this further invasion of our civil rights.  Australia now has Federal laws even more severe than the USA concerning so-called 'terrorist' threats - now our State govts are joining in the fray. 

T'is the season to be jolly ... indeed ...

  • Current Mood: angry angry
Oh wow that sucks! I'm glad we haven't had anything like that down here... the last week and a bit has been crazy huh?

Searching your car though, that's aweful!
It's interesting -- I see you put quotes round ``race riots'', and I keep in mind that article from the SMH that you linked me to. In all the material I have been reading about the riots in British and American papers it's been all about the dark and scary racist underbelly of white Australia with none of the context of the other side that that article you sent me had. Which worries me really.

Do you not think the police should take extra measures to stop more rioting? What would it be acceptable for them to do? Strikes me that searching cars isn't such a big deal -- I would see it as the cops doing their job really, but that's just my opinion.
I could write a 10,000 word treatise on the current situation, but I won't. Yes it is about race, but it is about other things - it's hard to explain without appearing racist, but also hard to explain without being Australian. It's beyond complicated, and in many ways unexplainable.

Do you not think the police should take extra measures to stop more rioting?

In a word, NO. Searching cars is OK - if there is probable cause. Searching a car because the driver 'fits' a stereotype or a 'profile' - no fucking way. We are this close to living in a police state, that it is not funny. I suspect that this is one of those scenarios where I think one thing, and you think something else. I will always err on the side of dissent, but I am a rabble rousing, leftist, small 'l' liberal, union loving dissenter, and bloody proud of it, and doubt that that will ever change :)!!
First and foremost, racial profiling is wrong. That must have been humiliating and scary to J. I suspect he is going through what most dark-skinned people go through on a regular basis, before any special laws let police do it to 'everyone' (ie., white people too).

I didn't realize until I read the paper this morning, that 'racist' is only being applied to 'white' Anglo-Celtic society. When it is referring to the people who are commuting to the beach, it gets called something like 'there may be racism as well' or 'revenge attacks'. I find this supremely racist. Surely if you say 'Australia is a racist society' (and something like 66% of Australians agreed that Cronulla is a sign of a racist society) you are referring to everyone who lives there. It's not like Anglo-Celtic folk have a monopoly on racism. However, and I'm certain that Howard has much to do with this, it seems that Anglo-Celtic folk have a monopoly on 'Australian values', including racism. It all makes my brain boggle. But the US and Canada aren't any better in terms of a culture of racism: I've heard things in Canada about 'particular groups' (quite different from the 'particular groups' in Australia - which makes me certain that the targeting of people of Lebanese origin as particular sexist or criminogenic is that much bullshit) that made my hair stand on end. And that's in 'polite' liberal society. I doubt there is anything uniquely Australian about Cronulla, other than the tension of thinking you have some kind of 'inherited' ownership over a particular beach (I think the original inhabitants of Australia might have something to say about that).
As I said it is a very complicated matter, and I don't feel able to express my opinions here. However as you suggest, racism is a two way street, and I have read a number of intelligent articles that don't play the blame game, but rather set out the facts as they are, representing 'both' sides of the situation.

Also J is quite used to being victimised, not because of his ethnicity, but because of the P plates displayed on the car!!! No wonder young people of little respect for the police.
I just don't see how the police can do their job under the restrictions that you would put on them. How on earth can they look at cars going past and decide which one presents ``just cause'' for searching. I don't see that random searching of cars for weapons to try to put a lid on rioting so bad it made headlines all round the world is so bad. Clearly we differ on this.

I was just thinking too, if J does join the army, he may find himself doing just such an action, ie searching cars, if he is involved in, for example, peace-keeping in trouble spots round the world. He could also be involved in much more stringent measures to keep the peace, where law and order has broken down. I think it's just a fact of life that if there is rioting, or other breakdown of law and order, then law enforcement gets tougher. It's certainly happened here when things have got rough. I don't see how that makes it a police state. There seems to me to be a lot of talk by liberals in many western countries that they are living in a police state, but such people, it strikes me, have no idea what living in a REAL police state is like. Try Zimbabwe, the Middle East, Central America. Our countries are benign as pussycats by comparison.

I'm not ashamed of my views either!! : )
but I am a rabble rousing, leftist, small 'l' liberal, union loving dissenter, and bloody proud of it, and doubt that that will ever change :)!!

Just wanted to add that I've been a union lover over the years too, but have become slightly jaundiced through too close a contact. Was a member of the journalists' union for nearly 20 years, and was delegate for one of the most stroppy branches of the union for a while -- lead them out on a wild-cat strike at one point that got us in to terrible trouble but also scored us a better pay deal. It was very stressful. It also marked my card and has since made it much harder for me to get jobs because I've been tagged a rabid unionist and I don't give a stuff, even if my politics have changed a lot since then. I also marked my own card at a newspaper here in Wellington by sticking up for someone who the management didn't like, and sticking up for myself at one point too and making my life harder. I don't give a stuff about that either. To me, you stick up for what you value and believe in.

I also worked for a union -- the nurses' union -- for about five years and it was overall a very unpleasant experience. I have nothing but respect for nurses' work but they are bloody hard to deal with in many ways, and also the union staff were either incompetent, mentally unbalanced, or unabashed trotskyites with absolutely no respect for free speech -- there was suppression of dissent going on all over the place. In fact they were rabidly against free speech. They were much bigger spin doctors than politicians. It all makes me shudder.

But that being said, I generally think unions are a good thing.

Just so you don't think I'm a one-note conservative. I'm not. I have various layers and shades of experience and opinion.

If there'd been bad riots here, and I fitted the profile and was driving in the area, I would hardly be surprised if my car was searched. I'm sure I would find it disconcerting but I think I would be glad that the cops were on the ball. To me it's like random breath-testing for drink-driving.

It strikes me that, given the history of Australian police, you've got more to worry about in terms of corruption within the force, than cops being too vigilant in fighting crime.
Heh - it's ok, J can always get the results by mail too. :-)

And about the riots, I've got relatives calling from overseas asking if we're ok, if we are also under attack because we're not white. No, of course it hasn't damaged Australia's image...

I just hope this thing is over soon, and it must suck for J to have to go through that experience. :-(
Just peeved with J because it's fairly typical of him to misplace important items - it's the male gene, I guess ...

Not a good image, internationally, at all.