Talking politics

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Police should stop strip-searching juveniles

Since when does the protection of juveniles, or for that matter adults from possibly taking illicit substances justify abusing their human rights by strip searching them?  In order to fulfil their obligation of protection of society police may well use their resources to provide education on the potential consequences of dangerous drugs and not become a force to be feared by the ordinary citizen. 

Mobile phone detection to create new criminal class

While undoubtably a major safety issue the Mobile Phone Detection Scheme that was introduced on 1 December is perhaps a little extreme in penalty and has the possibility of creating a whole new class of criminals. If a driver is detected by a camera while holding or using a mobile phone that isn’t contained within an approved holding device they are liable for a fine of $344 ($457 in a school zone) and five demerit points. If the offence occurs during a double demerit period this increases to 10 demerit points. Many people will end up being disqualified from driving and to maintain their employment or family responsibilities will subsequently drive and will end up with criminal convictions. Some of these offenders will then become incarcerated at a significant cost to the community and to the individuals and their families. The financial cost will be borne by the massive amount of revenue that this measure will reap, however families will ultimately suffer greatly.

Greens historic misjudgement

One of the major reasons why the Greens will never form government in Australia is their inability to compromise. When ideology completely over rides political will and practicalities the result will be a lack of action towards what they are actually seeking to achieve (“Labor revives memory of 2009 vote to launch fresh climate scheme”, Sydney Morning Herald, December 2). The prime example is their blocking of the emissions trading scheme. It is particularly jarring to hear former Greens leader dismissing their decision to block the legislation. Pat Conroy was right to say that their decision was a complete political misjudgement. This decision has played a major part in both environmental and political turmoil in Australia for the last decade. Unless the Greens learn to implement compromise they will forever be a bit player in state and federal politics.

What has Christensen got to hide?

Considering that the matter is in the public domain and worryingly that the then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was given six briefings by the AFP regarding the movements of Nationals MP George Christensen, the police assessment should be released to the public (“MP blocks information on police probes into Asia trips”, Sydney Morning Herald, December 2). Mr Christensen has advised that he met his wife in 2017, which would account for his frequent travel to the Phillipines in the active nightlife and bar districts area, but what of all the trips from 2014-2016? What was Mr Christensen up to and what has he got to hide?

Bullying in Minister’s office

Short of any criminal offences, the fact that a federal minister has ultimate control over internal workplace grievances provides a system that may be abused as it appears to have occurred in Ken Wyatt’s office (“Minister oversaw culture of bullying, says former staffer”, Sydney Morning Herald, December 2). The public expects parliament to model behaviour, not only in the ministers of the Crown, but those who work for them. We have multiple examples of parliamentarians failing to live up to this expectation and it appears that this infection is spreading across the political body. Rogue behaviour usually eventually comes out, sometimes at a most inopportune time. The Minster, heading which is known as the poison chalice of ministries has a monumental challenge before him in the question of indigenous constitutional recognition and if he cannot handle his own office appropriately one wonders how he will solve this important question.

Seafood Labelling Bill

Compared to some federal government bills in recent times, the Food Amendment (Seafood Country of Origin Labelling) Bill 2019 appears to be clear, concise, and simple and a win for all, yet seems to have been missed by almost all.

The Entrance MP, David Mehan recently introduced the sensible seafood labelling bill to state parliament to amend the Food Act 2003. This amendment would require all restaurants and takeaway shops to label the origin of seafood sold for immediate consumption. Labelling of seafood is a legal requirement for supermarkets, fish markets and other outlets where the fish is frozen or is not immediately ready for human consumption.

As I understand it the majority of fish consumed is through restaurants and local fish and chip shops. I also understand that the majority of fish consumed in Australia is imported. If you purchase your seafood from a supermarket you are able to make an informed choice as to the origin of the product, however if you frequent your local fish shop it is in the hands of the operator to advise where your fish was caught and processed. Why is there such a disparity?

It seems unreasonable that all seafood consumers are not provided with this valuable information. We should have a right to know where the seafood we are eating comes from to make informed choices.

This bill appears to be common sense and it would provide a much needed boost to the local fishing industry as well as the economy in general by encouraging consumers to preference local seafood over imported fish from unknown regions.

The implementation of the legislation to label seafood by business operators would require very little expense and work from business and was apparently embraced by Northern Territorians when introduced there with little complaint by business. Currently the Northern Territory is the only territory/state that has enacted this requirement at this time. Territorians saw the value in the labelling. Anecdotally this has led to an increase in the consumption of Australian fished seafood there.

This amendment was promised by the state government in 2017, yet for reasons unknown has not materialised. Unfortunately the bill lapsed due to lack of interest or perhaps a lack of care by the government.

Fisheries minister, Adam Marshall should revisit this proposed legislation and ensure passage through the parliament and deliver on the promise made by The Honourable Troy Grant to deliver this common sense amendment to assist our local fishing industry andprovide informed choice to consumers.

Pauline Hanson played the government for fools

A lot of things can be said about Pauline Hanson, however it can’t be denied that she knows how to gain attention (“Senate defeat rocks Coalition”, Sydney Morning Herald, November 29). Playing the government for fools she ended up making a great decision for hardworking union members. Well played!

UTS professor charged with harassing herself

It appears that the workplace cultural at the University of Technology Sydney has been rather toxic as toxicologist Professor Dianne Jolley appears to have been harassing herself (“UTS academic charged with faking taunts”, Sydney Morning Herald, November 28). Life must be pretty tough when you resort to harassing yourself.  Perhaps she needs to undergo traditional Chinese medicine therapy to alleviate this internal conflict? 

Landcom chair should be shown the door

So the Landcom chairwoman Suzanne Jones has assaulted a colleague by kicking her in the shins, bullying claims have been substantiated against staff, fellow board members have raised issues, two-three cabinet members believe she should depart, however she retains the confidence of the Treasurer Dominic Perrottet (“Ministerial mutter over Landcom boss”, CBD, Sydney Morning Herald, November 28).  Is this an indictment on the Treasurers decision making capability?  When is assaulting and bullying of staff acceptable behaviour by senior leaders? Surely she must go. 

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