The Fitz Files
Illustration: Reg Lynch.
MORRISON'S SHORT MEMORY
In a week where Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has been accused by no less than the Australian churches of “state sanctioned child abuse . . .” for what is happening to refugee children under our care – self-harm is at epidemic levels, with 128 cases reported in the past 15 months, and that is just for starters – it is apposite to recall Minister Morrison’s maiden speech in Parliament in 2007.
“From my faith I derive the values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way . . . Desmond Tutu put it this way: ‘We expect Christians . . . to stand up for the truth, to stand up for justice, to stand on the side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked, and when that happens, then Christians will be trustworthy believable witnesses.’ These are my principles . . .”
Takes your breath away, doesn’t it? And I ask again: Is putting kids in detention what Australia really wants?
ROASTING THE TURKEY
Love this. At a speech early this week marking the end of Ramadan, Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, noted: “A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent. She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.” Turkish women were not impressed and, most wonderfully, cranked up social media to mock the comments, often accompanied with pictures of themselves laughing uproariously under the hashtags #kahkaha (#laughter) and #direnkahkaha (#resistlaughter). The whole thing has taken off. The fallout as feminism continues to meet Islam will be fascinating in coming decades.
EMAIL GAG OF THE WEEK
This bloke from up the back of Bourke, see, has just finished loading a couple of cartons of beer into the back of his ute and is just about to start the engine when he's approached by an extremely attractive young woman who asks him if he’d like to swap beer for sex. He looks at her for a few seconds and then says. “What sort of beer have you got, love?"
WOMAN IN BLACK
As you may have noted, “a mysterious woman, shrouded in flowing black robes from head to toe,” has captivated America in recent weeks. A kind of slower female version of Forrest Gump, the 50 year old has been walking from the swamplands of Alabama to high in the Appalachian mountains in West Virginia. She doesn’t wish to talk to anyone, she just wants to be left alone. Her story appears complex, but among other things she is a widow, and a veteran. Sydney had something similar, on a smaller scale nearly a century ago. She was a woman in a long white dress who ever morning would make her way down Glebe Point Road, up Broadway and down George Street as she made her way to Circular Quay to see if this time, this time, her son had returned from the Great War. And he never did. The centenary of the beginning of that terrible war, is of course tomorrow.
KEEP THE FORESHORE FREE
Back in 1998, when the then Prime Minister John Howard was asked his view of cutting off parts of the Middle Head wonderland to private development, he was frank.
“I find it very unattractive,” he said. “The Harbour foreshores of Sydney [are] a jewel in the Australian crown.” Who could argue? It is a wonder of this city that such public land has been preserved over the centuries. And yet now, there really is a move to sell off part of it to build a facility for aged care. Mosman does not turn out lightly for protests, but it did last Sunday with force, 350 strong, and rightly so. Watch this space. This is a stink the government doesn’t need.
THEY SAID IT ...
“State sanctioned child abuse . . .”
The summation of a group of Catholic and Christian church leaders, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, in a report on the Abbott government’s immigration detention system.
“Keeper has tooth puncture wound but is fine. Juma the tiger’s good too.”
Statement from Australia Zoo, on the Gold Coast, after a keeper was bitten by Juma, one of the zoo’s tigers.
“If you need to dispose of anything you shouldn’t have, we suggest you flush it now.”
Jetstar crew member advising Splendour in the Grass festivalgoers to dump their drugs before landing in Sydney, saying that there were sniffer dogs and quarantine officers waiting at the domestic terminal.
“Thank you for caring for your Splendour passengers. Very thoughtful and kind thing to do. Hope the staff member will be promoted.”
Comment posted on Jetstar’s Facebook page. In fact, Jetstar punished the staffer and publicly apologised.
“There is a small possibility that something still survived. The people of Donetsk were first at the crash site and if somebody survived maybe they have taken them.”
George Dyczynski, who believes that his daughter Fatima somehow survived the MH17 crash.
“Just for the record, I sign thousands of things every year. 99.9% of them are used for charitable purposes. I am a strong supporter of human rights and for me to be positioned as otherwise because I signed a cricket bat is totally wrong.”
Brett Lee, on Twitter, after he and fellow former cricketer Glenn McGrath came under fire this week because Immigration Minister Scott Morrison gave cricket bats they signed to two Indian ministers as part of a deal the government made concerning 157 asylum seekers.
‘‘[Businesses] will be inundated. It’s an embarrassment for everybody and it’s going to make people angry. The small business person might be having a lousy day and no customers are coming in, but she’ll be getting job seekers. In the hospitality industry most of the time you know straight away whether someone can pour a cup of coffee. You don’t want that person coming back month after month.”
Peter Strong, of the Council of Small Business of Australia, about the government’s plan to make the unemployed apply for 40 jobs a month.
“I think given the response of businesses, big and small to the proposal, it’s dead in the water.”
Senator Nick Xenophon about the plan.