Slave to the rhythm

Australia has joined the international club of countries with legislation seeking to eradicate modern slavery from the supply chain of domestic businesses, prompting much backslapping and self-congratulatory tweeting by politicians.

Obviously the spirit of the legislation is to be admired, a reduction in human misery is a goal we can all support.

However, how effective is the legislation likely to be?

Well, given that the legislation borrows heavily from the precedents set elsewhere, particularly the UK, we’re not confident it will dramatically improve any existing cases of exploitation and serfdom. As we’ve explored previously, the UK legislation is a bit rubbish.

Despite loudly proclaiming that the Australian version fixes shortcomings of the UK legislation, there’s scant evidence of this in the legislation (summary of the bill here). The main “innovation” seems to be an online register of statements made by the companies impacted by the legislation. Not exactly William Wilburforce levels of anti-slavery work there.

The main area of criticism we levelled at the UK legislation has been recreated in the Australian legislation; the companies most at risk of finding slavery in their supply chain are deemed to be those with revenue greater than $100m p.a., which makes no logical sense at all. By that logic, a domestic bank is more likely to be using child labour in Indonesia that a small scale importer of Balinese-style furniture. Does that sound right? Of course not.

In fact a skip down the list of the largest companies in Australia would easily remove plenty of the names as being highly-unlikely to find slavery issues in their supply chain.

Of course, definitions are always worth examining. One element that is included in the definition of “modern slavery” is “the worst forms of child labour“.

That seems like curious wording, suggesting we’re happy with the 2nd worst forms of child labour. This is further defined as;

The worst forms of child labour are defined in Article 3 as:
a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and
trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory
labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in
armed conflict;
b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of
pornography or for pornographic performances;
c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the
production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international
treaties; and
d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is
likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

Read that again. Does that definition prevent a 12 year old Bangladeshi child from voluntarily working in a textile factory? Not really.

There might be a reason for that ambiguity.

Bill’s Opinion

Wherever it’s been passed, modern slavery legislation seems pretty rubbish at actually driving the outcomes it claims to deliver. Generally, the legislation does little more than require very large companies to write a public statement once a year to the effect that they’ve had a look and they didn’t find any forced labour in their supply chain.

A general rule about regulation is that the largest companies are quite amenable to it as it serves to raise the barriers to entry for the smaller companies. The CBI’s anti-Brexit stance is a good case study of this. Australian companies with revenue greater than $100m will not care a jot about having to write a statement on a website once a year.

In addition, the definition of modern slavery is shockingly ambiguous on the use of children in paid labour. Why? Well, one possible reason might be that paid child labour is preferable to the alternative. In countries with extreme poverty, families have to make stark choices to make ends meet. As a matter of survival, a child may be required to bring an income into the household once they’ve reached an age where this is possible. Denying this as an option can result in an even worse alternative income stream – child prostitution.

With this terrible choice in mind, let’s take a moment to laugh loudly at the virtue signalling of this article, written by two Australian academics, equating workers in Australian retail outlets with those child workers in Bangladeshi sweatshops;

……and closer to home, the underpayment of Australian workers employed by companies like 7-Eleven, Dominos and Pizza Hut are indicative of the oppressive working conditions that may amount to modern slavery.

Good grief.

Let my people go“, but only once they’ve delivered my Hawaiian with extra jalapenos.

I’ll take, “Things that didn’t happen” for $800, Clementine

Clementine Ford has been allowed out on day release again.

My friend’s son is banned from wearing a tutu in his ballet class.

A friend of mine moved to Queensland some time ago and enrolled her two children in a small, local ballet school. They both adore dancing, and her young son especially has embraced wearing tutus and other dance paraphernalia.

I have a friend who encourages her son to wear girl’s clothes. Much hilarity ensues, as I will now explain“.

Recently, the school began preparing for its end of year concert. What followed was a disturbing insight into how deeply people still hold on to their assumptions and phobias about binary gender expression and the challenges this presents.

The rest of the world has a problem. Not my friend or me, you understand, but the rest of the world“.

My friend’s son – we’ll call him “John” – was excited to join the other little dancers, wearing his tutu and dancing along with them. But apparently this didn’t accord with the teacher’s vision.

The teacher planned a dance concert with each child playing a particular part. This involved a specific costume for each role. My friend encouraged her son to rebel and wear something else.

Because the rest of the world has a problem, not my friend and me“.

John was told that not only would he not be allowed to wear the same costume as the other dancers, he would also be performing in pants as the role of The Doctor, the character who (vomitously) gets to give all the little girls their spoonful of medicine.

Sounds like they were performing The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

Girls can be doctors and wear trousers too, by the way.

For the past few weeks, my friend had been locked in a battle with the coordinator of the school. She has always been a strong advocate for both of her children, allowing them to express themselves and their personalities through their clothing as they please.

Remember, the rest of the world has a problem, not my friend“.

She had thought the issue was resolved, telling the teacher John should be supported to wear his tutu over the pants if that’s what he chose. This is what he wanted, and so he and his entire family turned up to the concert that day wearing tutus.

Sounds like one side of the discussion agreed something the other side didn’t.

Imagine my friend’s horror when she watched as the teacher forced John to the side of the stage and began to remove his clothing to take the tutu off him.

A teacher undressed your child in public? When is the court case?

Oh.

My friend tried to intervene, repeatedly telling the teacher that she was not okay with what was happening while her son stood there crying. To make things worse, the teacher then gave John lollies to stop his tears.

The rest of the world has a problem, not my friend. This is upsetting for my friend’s child, for some reason. Also, lollies contain gelatine which isn’t vegan so is not compatible with our family diet“.

Bill’s Opinion

If you’re looking for a fight, telling a dance school owner that your child isn’t going to wear the costume for the role they have been allocated for the end of term concert is a great way to start one.

One wonders what the dance school owner’s version of this story would read like?

Organising an end of term concert is a nightmare, with 60 kids to train in specific parts and then to sort out the costumes for each. It only takes one or two awkward parents or kids and the whole event becomes a complete pain in the arse.

I should have known that the blue-haired lesbo and her misbehaved kids would cause a problem.

I tried to tell her when she ranted at me a couple of weeks ago that each kid gets a part to play and we allocate the costumes out based on size and fit.

She’s pulled her kids from the school now. Thank fuck.”

“Mr. Chesterton, tear down this wall!”

One of the constants of our age is that, no matter how obscure and bizarre the question, it can be asked by the Guardian.

Well, apart from questions like, “how many genders are there?” or, “how does the Scientific Method relate to climate science?“.

We digress.

Here’s the Grauniad’s Komment Macht Frei section asking, “why do we even need prisons anyway?“.

Amazingly, the article is longer than number of words in the sentence, “because we don’t want Jeffrey Dahmer or Myra Hindley living next door“.

As is the Grauniad’s idiom, sub-editing and logical consistency are unknown concepts. Therefore we have the usual rambling bounce around many disparate points desperately trying to find a consistent narrative.

For example, the reason Australia has jails is because it was a penal colony;

For a settler nation that began as a penal colony, it is no coincidence that we have an obsession with putting people in prisons. 

If only there was a control experiment we could use as a comparison, something like a country that wasn’t originally a penal colony. We could then check to see whether there are prisons in that country or confirm whether they’ve found a more progressive solution. Ah.

It is also no coincidence the ninth biannual Sisters Inside conference held this month, previously titled “Are Prison’s Obsolete?”……….

Probably not as obsolete as that Grocer’s Apostrophe.

…..named after the Professor Angela Davis book and work, was retitled “Imagining Abolition … A World Without Prisons”. It propelled beyond begging the question and instead imagined a future. The conference attracted more than 300 people from Australia and abroad.

That must have been a fun conference. One wonders whether the organisers bothered with hiring security or not?

Redefining language is a key part of the progressive tool kit. This, for example;

At the heart of the three days of the conference were women who have experienced criminalisation and have been imprisoned, self-determination and the role of colonisation and white supremacy in the formation of the prison industrial complex. 

Can be translated back to English as, “female criminals“, unless the authors are suggesting they were (all) victims of miscarriages of justice, in which case the conference should have been concentrating on justice reform not prison abolition.

The rambling goes on;

Despite Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people make up roughly 3% of the nation’s total population, 28% of the total prison population is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, with Indigenous women representing the fastest growing of these numbers.

There seems to be an obvious solution staring us in the face here, something along the lines of……. don’t break the damn law.

That’s not how progressive logic works though, is it? A lefty will look at those statistics or the ratios of female to male CEOs and automatically know the root cause is (pick your preferred combination) sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia.

Just to ensure we run the gamut of fallacies, there’s a strawman chucked in the mix;

Any time a black person dies in custody the public often responds with “well they are criminals they deserve it”. 

Do they? Which people say that? Got any examples?

We also rarely see or give platforms for those who have been criminalised to speak to this in their own words.

Have been criminalised is an interesting turn of phrase, almost as if they have no agency or personal responsibility for the outcome. As for not having a platform; do you mean apart from an all expenses trip to Melbourne for a three day conference?

How about this for classic cognitive dissonance;

To build a world without prisons is to disrupt a society built on inequity, patriarchal violence and colonisation.

This means addressing the roots of poverty and trauma.

Nationally, 70-90% of Aboriginal women incarcerated have experienced family violence and most Aboriginal women in prison have experienced sexual trauma. 

That sounds suspiciously like the results of a fully-cultural patriarchy…. and the culture at fault isn’t Western European post-Enlightenment, is it?

But somehow it’s the fault of that Western European post-Enlightenment culture for not fixing it, of course;

This reflects a failure of the state to protect black women….

More intersectional language is deployed but nothing tangible or actionable is actually offered as a solution.

Here’s the final paragraph in full. You may recognise the meaning of the individual words but good luck with understanding them in this combination;

Through the centring of those with lived experience and solidarity between those affected by criminalisation and allies, this conference highlights this movement is growing and strong, and has moved beyond imagining a world without prisons and is ready to build it.

Bill’s Opinion

If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

By the way, the authors of this utter guff were;

Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta freelance writer.

That’s five different “nations” they are claiming to belong to, which makes Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee claims seem quite reasonable.

Witt Church is a white social worker living in Naarm (Melbourne). Their work focuses on abolition and supporting communities impacted by criminalisation.

Why do we care about his/her/zher skin tone? Also, if you’re going to use a proper noun to describe a place, it’s probably best to use one universally recognised. To understand why, perhaps try booking a flight to Carthage for your holidays.

When did you stop beating your wife?

There’s been a campaign running since 1991 called the White Ribbon which seeks to get men to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

Very laudable, we’re sure.

Let’s consider the 27 year campaign as an experiment. Is there any evidence it has made a difference?

The Australian version of the campaign publishes selected statistics here. There are a lot of highly-cherry picked data points on that page, feel free to browse them yourself. There is no mention of how these data points have changed over time, however. Which seems an unusual omission if you are requesting generous public donations to a charity that’s had a single purpose for nearly three decades. It’s not unreasonable to ask, “….and how successful has this approach been since 1991?” before handing over a chunk of money.

Fortunately, the source data is linked here at the Government statistics department, the ABS.

Halfway down the page, this gem appears;

Changes in partner violence prevalence rates over time

The proportion of women who experienced partner violence in the previous 12 months has remained relatively stable over the last decade. In 2005, approximately 1.5% of women aged 18 years and over experienced partner violence in the previous 12 months, whilst in 2016 the figure was 1.7%.

Oh, that’s inconvenient. It’s almost as if nearly 30 years of virtue signalling and hectoring of regular law-abiding citizens has had little to no impact to problems in the real world.

Perhaps there’s a clue to be had as to why from the White Ribbon website’s data page;

Indigenous Australia
Statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience high levels of violence and abuse. Family violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people impacts on the health and social outcomes of women and children.
Indigenous women are 32x more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence than non-indigenous women.

Wait, what? 32 times more likely to be beaten so severely that hospital treatment is required? That’s a shocking data point by any reasonable measure.

Bill’s Opinion

We can argue over the causes of the incredible asymmetry of severe abuse between the indigenous population and everyone else, and perhaps that will be the subject of a further discussion here at another time.

What seems incontrovertible is that White Ribbon Australia’s resources and campaign are incompetently directed. If the charity’s organisers truly wished to reduce serious physical domestic abuse of women, instead of buying hugely expensive TV, radio and internet advertising, running poster campaigns and events in white-collar offices and similar events in major metropolitan centres, it would seem obvious that the resources should be directly-targeted at a particular and easy to identify demographic.

Of course, however noble the original aims of the charity, eventually it becomes a self-sustaining organism.

If this statement seems incorrect, try the following thought experiment; imagine White Ribbon was approached by a pharmaceutical company with a study that suggested they could produce an effective prophylactic with no side effects that could be added, like fluoride for dental health, to the water supply and would immediately prevent men from beating their partners. What would be the response of the charity, do you think?

Well, for a start there would have to be immediate job losses for the full-time staff (who currently account for $2m p.a. of the charity’s operating costs). That’s not going to be popular. Turkeys voting for Christmas, an’ all that. The army of researchers and other hangers on would need to find other sources of income too.

There would also be an end to the need for the following lucrative programme of extortion which, according to the annual accounts, brings in over $2m a year in “fees”;

The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program is our world leading violence-prevention initiative focused on providing organisations with the tools and strategies to actively prevent and effectively respond to violence against women and drive gender equality.
Organisations that demonstrate a commitment to tackling violence against women and meet and exceed 15 criteria across three standards as independently assessed, become accredited as White Ribbon Workplaces.

It’s likely a safe assumption that the current list of accredited organisations is heavily-skewed to those who can pay the fee rather than, say, a liquor store in a town with a large aboriginal population.

Oh look, our old friend Brian “virtue signalling” Hartzer is all over it like a bad case of genital warts.

Corrupt narrative as child abuse

Remember the perfectly rational and sane mother of a young boy who claimed to be transgender at the age of three?

Let’s check in with Emma Salkild, shall we?

Ok, so the young lad is still trans and now has a girl’s name.

The fact that his/her/zher details have not been amended on the healthcare system is an offensive oversight to Emma and, apparently, triggered an argument with a Doctor’s receptionist.

Perhaps we can pause for a moment and ponder whose responsibility it might be to update a minor’s changed personal details on the Medicare database?

Oh yes, the parent or guardian’s.

Just to spell it out; Emma is upset that the new doctor’s surgery didn’t know that she’d decided to rename her son, despite the fact that she’d not actually submitted the requisite request to update his details.

Does that seem like the response of a rational and functioning adult human?

Of course not.

But this is just a minor level of irrationality when compared to her acceptance of the following statements;

– Sex and gender are social constructs, disconnected from biology.

– A 3 year child is able to articulate complex statements about their gender identity.

– It is in the best interests of the child if the parent and wider society agrees to go along with their fantasy that they are the opposite sex than their biology might suggest.

Bill’s Opinion

We all carry irrational and illogical beliefs in our head. Internal consistency is an ideal to be strived for but an impossible ideal.

A surprisingly large number of our irrational beliefs have almost no impact on our or other people’s well-being, however. You can believe the world is only 3,000 years old and we are all descended from Adam and Eve but still wake up, drive to work and manage the Accounts Payable function for a company without those beliefs interfering at all.

However, if you are of the belief that sex and gender are social constructs and, if we could reverse all social conditioning, an individual born with a penis and Y chromosomes can be a woman, AND you act upon these beliefs by imposing this view on a child, we have a problem.

Specifically, this woman is guilty of abusing a 6 year old boy in Sydney, Australia.

It is not unreasonable to anticipate there will be significant legal ramifications to this case in the future.

Where is the intervention by the relevant authorities mandated to consider the child’s well-being? Who is Emma’s Case Officer and what are they doing about this?

This Be The Verse
BY PHILIP LARKIN
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn,
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf,
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

That’s a nice country you’ve got, be a shame if anything happened to it

Moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will increase the risk of Islamic terrorist attacks against Australians or people suspected of being Australian.

We’re not threatening you though, just warning you of what some people, for whom we’re not responsible, might do.

Let’s face it, who amongst us would not wish our neighbours to warn us if we were unknowingly putting ourselves in danger?

Australians must feel a huge sense of gratitude to the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia for such kindness and selflessness to warn them of an increased threat of terrorism.

After all, there’s nothing more comforting than being lectured by leaders of majority Muslim countries on what might trigger terrorism attacks….. like an arsonist giving free advice to firefighters.

For example, one can sense the concern for the safety of all Australians in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s advice;

…..in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes. Adding to the cause for terror­ism is not going to be helpful … I pointed that out.

Ah, cause and effect, eh? Very sage advice.

What might be the causes of terrorism do we think?

Here’s a multiple choice list to consider;

1. Someone with mental health issues being convinced by a religious leader of a guaranteed afterlife in paradise if they kill infidels.

2. Country A moving their embassy in Country B to the capital city, against the wishes of Country C.

Bill’s Opinion

The Association Fallacy falsely links a group of individuals to another group of individuals because they share a similar quality.

However, there seems to be an exception to this rule; when looking at the group of people who are anti-Zionist and the group of people who are anti-Semitic, there is pretty much no recorded cases where the two groups don’t match completely.

As Tim Blair points out, Dr. Mahathir’s track record on both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is hiding in plain sight. Of the list of people to be assumed to be arguing in good faith against the embassy move, Mahathir would be one or two levels from the very bottom of the list. There’s probably only some blokes from Austria and Germany in the 1930s who would be beneath him on that list.

The man, in his own words, frequently repeated, is an unreconstructed Jew-hater. We’ll take no lectures about the causes of terrorism from him, thanks very much.

Anyway, the embassy move won’t happen now as the Australian government lost the by-election it was fighting in the Jewish area and the idea will now be buried quietly as yet another cynical attempt to cling to power.

As Thomas Sowell said,

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind.

Capitalism and democratic choices are a distant memory in Australia

Remember how, back in the mists of time there used to be a clear choice for voters; a party of the free markets and less government spending versus a party representing the working class and unions?

Perhaps we’re looking back with rose tinted glasses and t’was always thus. Nonetheless, Australians were given a very clear glimpse of what lies ahead should the economy take more than a minor dip over the coming months and years; the federal government becomes lender of last resort to crap businesses.

No. Really.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash will announce the small business funding policy on Wednesday, promoting the soon-to-be-established Australian Business Securitisation Fund as a way to overcome banks typically only lending to the self-employed when they pledge their personal home as collateral.

To summarise the announcement; “if the banks looked at your business and decided it was a poor bet and you didn’t have enough skin in the game, we’ve just decided the Australian taxpayer and their superannuation funds will lend you the money anyway“.

It’s very easy to be generous with other people’s money, isn’t it?

This is bound to end well.

The irony is that this policy wasn’t announced by either of the openly Socialist parties but by one of the two parties that historically claimed to be champions of free markets and minimal government intervention.

At a state level, similar disconnects have been shown between expressed and revealed preferences. Here’s a “free markets” politician bailing out rent-seeking taxi medallion speculators.

The $2bn fund to lend money to businesses judged by commercial lenders to be poor risks is an interesting development though, coming as it does so soon in to the worst housing crash in a generation, but particularly after this little legislative gem was snuck through onto the statute books with hardly any media coverage or explanation; insolvent banks can be rescued by confiscating deposits.

Bill’s Opinion

Will a “bail-in” of superannuation funds or bank deposits ever happen in Australia?

Unlikely, but not impossible. The risk isn’t zero.

There’s a great and often quoted dialogue in Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises;

‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.

‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

Perhaps this is the “gradually” part for Australian depositors. If so, it might be an idea to know how quickly you could act to not be caught out by the “suddenly“.

Special pleading to commence in 5, 4, 3…..

Australia’s stellar run of property price inflation has come to an end.

The current decline is already the worst in modern history;

So what? Markets are cyclical, trees don’t grow to the sky, etc. The current decline comes after many years of incredible capital gains for those exposed to the asset class. These single digit percentage falls should be of no concern to anyone except those who speculatively bought in the last two or three years or who have taken on extreme levels of debt.

Everyone with a brain and access to standard economics textbooks should have been able to predict that, eventually, there would have been a correction, either minor and slow or major and quick. One way or another, the fact that the double digit percentage increases would not have continued forever should have been news to nobody, not least those paid large sums of money to navigate these markets.

Our old friend Brian “admire my signals of virtue at shareholder expense” Hartzer seems to have been slightly startled by reality, however;

Westpac’s profits flatline, which, to be fair, still means they’ve made a truckload. However, trends are important.

What’s also important is that throwaway line above; “the country’s biggest lender to landlords“.

Let’s pose a question here for Westpac shareholders –

Q. In a falling market, which categories of mortgage debt are least likely to perform well?

If you answered, “the most heavily-leveraged and properties that are not the primary residence of the mortgagee“, give yourself a pat on the back.

Elsewhere Stephen Koukoulas has smashed the glass to get at the emergency alarm button; The next rate move by the RBA should be down.

An RBA rate cut is not about housing – it’s about exports and investment

Many people misunderstand my concern about falling house prices and the coincident call for the Reserve Bank to cut official interest rates.

Well sure, but given that your call for rate cuts conveniently occurred at the point it became obvious these price falls weren’t a blip and, in fact, show many signs of being the new normal for the next year or two, allow us a few moments to consider quite how unbiased your views are.

As for this claim;

The house price declines in the current downturn are much what I was forecasting a year ago.

Are you sure about that? This interview from 14 months ago suggests otherwise;

He’s talking specifically about Sydney prices there. If by “flat” he meant negative 7.5%, then fair enough but that would seem a generous retrospective reading.

Other commentators with an even worse track record are pleading to higher authorities now too.

From the same article, our friend “Doctor” Andrew Wilson (he’s a doctor of property! No, really!) making a prediction so accurate that he got it almost exactly 100% wrong;

So much for a doctorate in property economics. Where was it from, the University of Baghdad, studying under Professor Comical Ali?

Based on that stunning example of incompetence in his core area of expertise, perhaps we might also be allowed to ponder the altruism behind his current pleading for rate cuts;

Economics-wise, that’s just all over the place. Explain please, how lowering rates improves savings rates, for example…..

Bill’s Opinion

Predictions are a fool’s errand on something as complex as an economic system.

We can, however, provide a conditional prediction here today of which we are extremely confident;

Should the decline in Australian property values continue, the current low whine of calls by vested interests to lower interest rates will become a defeating cacophony as they claim it’s in the best interests of the entire country, not just themselves as they are staring down the barrel of large paper, possibly soon to be realised, losses.

The pips will squeak.

Some competitions are not worth winning

It is unlikely Rebel Wilson has ever experienced winning anything athletic or academic during her school years.

She’s coming third in a competition nobody sane actually wants to win, however.

Bill’s Opinion

First ‘plus sized’ girl to lead a ‘Rom Com‘” isn’t exactly “first woman to sail solo around the world” or “first man on the moon”.

Let’s give her a participation award.

You may be an accessory to murder, m’lud

This makes sense at first glance, but is there a deeper truth being ignored?

An Australian Supreme Court Judge has released a violent Muslim criminal in order for him to emigrate to Lebanon.

Fair enough, eh? A nasty violent man rejects the core principles of western civilisation so requests permission to remove himself and move to a country whose values are more in line with his personal philosophy.

Justice Des Fagan further urged authorities to assist violent career criminal Mohamed Naaman to realise his dream of leaving the country to live in Lebanon as “it would appear to suit all parties”.

Quite right, Judge Des Fagan, let him go and good riddance.

But wait, what’s this?

It was claimed Naaman was preoccupied with Islamic State and once told a Queensland parole officer that he “would go to Syria and become a suicide bomber, then stated he was joking”.

Boom tish! As punchlines go, that’s better than anything in evidence on Saturday Night Live these days.

How did that go down with the esteemed judge?

“He has espoused his adherence to Islam over many years. He has shown himself to be an Islamic bigot, expressing contempt and hatred for anyone who does not accept the Koran, being the overwhelming majority of Australians,” Justice Fagan said.

And there’s this;

Forensic psychiatrist Kerri Eagle said Naaman, a long-term illicit drug user with signs of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, would be highly likely to keep committing violent crimes upon his release from custody.

Oh great. What does the judge think about that?

Justice Fagan agreed, saying: “The only mitigating consideration with respect to this bleak forecast is that the defendant’s past violence has not been of a high level and has not been premeditated.”

Oh, well that’s all right then; he’s not managed to make a bomb yet so he’s mostly harmless. Until that changes. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

The judge seems to need help with basic logic, though;

During the hearing, the court heard Naaman wanted to renounce his Australian citizenship and return to Lebanon, prompting Justice Fagan to ask why he shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

“If somebody wishes to immigrate from Australia … why wouldn’t the state wish to facilitate it if it’s possible?” he said.

Yeah, if he wants to go and we don’t want him here why can’t he be allowed to leave?

There is a reason and fortunately the prosecutor managed to articulate it;

Mr Agius said Australia had obligations to help prevent terrorist acts overseas.

“If he returns to Syria to fight the Syrian government and to kill infidels as he said he wishes to do, under Australian law that would be a serious terrorism offence,” he said.

Yeah, that.

Bill’s Opinion

Whilst no sane citizen of a western democracy would want to share a planet, let alone a country or city, with someone as mad and dangerous as Mohammed Naaman, there is a wider consideration here;

Namely, we are not the fucking recruitment department of Islamic State, shipping future terrorists over to Syria to be brutalised and trained to kill without remorse.

As Sam Harris says, we should judge these people by their words, we should listen when they tell us they want to kill us in the name of Islam and we ought to believe them.

As expensive as it will be for Mohammed to be walking around Brisbane on a curfew with a monitoring ankle bracelet or, better still, bored to tears reading the Koran cover to cover in jail, at least the police know where he is and what he’s doing.

If they wave goodbye to him at the airport, who knows what he’s going to get up to over the next few years? At best, he’ll be blown up by a drone before he’s done anything too heinous. However, other possibilities include furthering the murderous cause of Islamic State, attacking our allies or, worse, our troops or citizens in the region or coming back to a western country but now filled with significant training and even more motivation to do us harm.

Should any of those negative outcomes occur, the families of those hurt or killed would have a solid moral case to make against Judge Des Fagan.

Des Fagan, j’accuse.