The View from Here!

Updated 2 July 1999.

Dangerous Police Chases ][ The One Nation Brawl ][ The Death Penalty.. ][ The Goods and Services Tax.. ][ Peace in Kosovo, an illusion! ][ The Australian Republic ][

    Since newspaper editors do not necessarily publish letters that are submitted to them, and since I feel that my views on happenings within Australia might be of some interest to others besides myself, I thought that I might use this page as a soap box to air my views.

    Whether anyone reads it or not, is another story!

Since I don't tend to sound off until I've given the subject
considerable thought, I would be most interested in other
comments on the subject, whether you agree or not!

1. High-speed police chases...

We depend on our police to protect us from the criminals among us! If
someone commits a serious crime; bank robbery, rape or whatever, and
the police have some hope of catching the offender via a high speed
chase, I'd say that they have to attempt to catch them, however, the
more prolonged the chase becomes, the more desperate the offender
will be to escape and the more dangerous it becomes for both the
pursuing police and the unsuspecting public that are just going about
their lawful affairs! If they happen to be crossing the path of the
chase on a green light at the wrong time, they will likely be badly
injured or killed.
...Time and time again we see this sort of thing happen when the chase
was initiated by some young hoon either running a light or a stop sign
and attracting the attention of the police. The result is usually
writing off the offender's car, often with damage to one or more of the
police's publicly owned vehicles and perhaps other people's vehicles
that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!

...My point is that this activity by the police, carried over more
than a few blocks is just too dangerous to the public to continue!
If the police have followed him for several blocks with the siren
wailing, and the driver has shown no inclination to stop, it is more
than likely that he has no intention of stopping and will have to be
forced to stop one way or another! To continue to chase him until an
accident stops him is unforgivable! Someone will very likely get
killed or injured along the way!

... There are means cheaply available to stop an absconding motorist
in a very short space of time, and without undue danger to the public!
...The police in France, as far back as 1952 were using a device like
an expanding gate that people use for keeping toddlers out of dangerous
places. They had a spike at each pivot point and folded up neatly into
the boot of every police car. When they wanted to be sure that
people stopped when required to, they stretched this gadget out across
the road and attempted to wave down the offender. If he refused to
stop, the gadget blew out all his tyres! There was always another cop
down the road with a machine gun to reinforce the order, but you get
the idea!..No fifty mile pursuits and no collateral damage to innocent
bystanders! That was fifty years ago! Why in hell are our police still
chasing these blokes to the Gold Coast and back when there are simple
means available to stop them with little danger to anyone?

... Perhaps if we gave out fewer gold airline passes and chauffeur
driven government cars to retired politicians, Australia too would
be able to afford this cutting edge 1950s technology and save a few
innocent bystanders into the bargain!

....If you agree, a few words into the ear of your MP often works

2. The "One Nation Brawl"

     What follows is only my perception of primarily,
the Queensland, and to a lesser extent the federal political scene
following the resounding success of One Nation at the recent
Queensland election. Personally, after voting Labor almost exclusively
for fifty years or so, I switched to One Nation at the last election
because I was completely fed up with the lack of consideration
of the electorate's views by all the traditional parties for as
far back as I can remember! It was a protest vote!

     And the next election? I'll do it again, because at the moment, I believe
that One Nation offers a chance of a true democracy, with each
elected MP able to vote as his constituents might wish him to,
rather that having to slavishly follow the party line, even if he
might violently disagree with the topic he's voting on. Why should
my elected representative be required to follow the wishes of a few
people in the upper echelons of his party, when he knows that the
people in his electorate would vote contrary to the party leader's
wishes if they were given the opportunity?     
That makes MY supposed representative nothing but the ruling party's
representative in my electorate. His primary allegiance is not to
the people that voted for him, but rather to his party leader, who
decides who may have a voice in his cabinet, and which of our elected
members may merely observe the proceedings and vote as they are told
to when a vote is called!
   I don't consider that this is democracy in action! Ideally, I think every
elected member should be free to vote as his conscience and his
electorate dictate. THAT is democracy! What we have here is only a
modified form of dictatorship in which the premier in power does
not necessarily even follow his party's declared platform if it
happens to conflict with his personal opinion or his religious
convictions! (Hello Wayne!)

   As far as One Nation is concerned, I do think that Pauline is to
some extent a racist, but if you consider the "all members vote
as they see fit" policy of the party, that is not going to
to matter when it comes to any vote, as no one is required to
follow her lead and vote as she does! I would not vote for
Pauline Hanson herself for a number of reasons , but I feel
that, in spite of its obvious faults, One Nation is the best
option that is open to thinking Australians!

   Unfortunately, most people, both here and overseas, seem to see
the One Nation phenomenon as either black or white, when it
is much more complex than that! I have no doubt that
perceptions that the party is racist are hurting Australia's
image overseas! People presume that Pauline's anti-asian
sentiments are party policy and therefore One Nation are a
bunch of rabid racists.

   Actually I think that as far as their electoral chances are
concerned, that the party would do a lot better at the polls
if Pauline herself was not the party president. She is, to
some extent, One Nation's albatross and her ill thought-out
pronouncements will keep a lot of moderate Australians from
voting for the party!

     I don't think anyone but the military or the police need
access to automatic weapons! There are many things that I do
not like about some One Nation people, but I find the
possibility of having a truly democratic form of government in
Queensland after so many years of unresponsive autocratic
governments, that I have little option but to pursue that goal!

     I reckon that Australia should have a flag that is recognizable
as Australian. The union jack in the corner of our present flag
suggests to the world that Australia is merely a branch office
of the british empire. Why not the Eureka flag to go with our
new republic? Distinctive, and as Aussie as "Waltzing Matilda",
the song that means Australia to the whole world, and should be
our national anthem instead of the contrived anthem that was
wished on us!

3. The Death Penalty..

    This subject doesn't need a lot of space to outline the pros & cons! Like a reported 70 percent of Australians, I'm all in favour of the return of the so-called, "death penalty" for those convicted of the cold-blooded murder of complete strangers for reasons of concealing rape, for example, or just to satisfy their sick anti-social tendencies. Martin Bryant would go to the head of my queue, followed by Anita Cobby's killers and the scum that killed the two Bega schoolgirls recently. I have never heard any argument put forward that would convince me that it makes any sense at all to keep these people in comfort in prison at a cost of thousands of dollars a day when they should never be released into the community again! This policy makes the public the victim! The public does not deserve to have to support them. Where there is no possibility of returning them to society as useful citizens. They should be disposed of! They are of no use to themselves or to the society that rejects them!

4. The Goods & Services Tax

    Joe Blow is on the age pension. He does not make enough money to pay income tax. He is landed with all the new charges on everything, including his food and the clothes on his back. What does he get to compensate him for the extra money he has to pay for everything? A rebate on his income tax?

    Sure we need a new system to replace our aging and inefficient system for gathering funds to run the country, but putting the heaviest burden on those least able to pay it, would only make sense to Howard and company!

5. Peace in Kosovo, an illusion!

    Now that the war in Kosovo is officially over we have the spectacle of UN peacekeepers trying to contrive a genuine peace among two different ethnic groups that have been at each other's throats for five hundred years. The religious hatred has been passed on from parent to child for twenty-five generations! To expect them to live together in harmony now, especially after the brutality of the last ten years is naive in the extreme.     The only practical way to stop the bloodshed in Kosovo will be to assign the Russians a sector of ten percent of the province next to Serbia and allow a de facto partition to happen as the Serbs within the province migrate to the area controlled by their religious brethren, thus physically separating the two antagonists.     If this is not done, we shall have murdered Serbs, Albanians, and UN peacekeepers as far into the future as anyone can see! Financially, the province will become a bottomless sinkhole into which, billions of dollars will disappear with no positive result. Though it may be desirable, the grand vision of these two groups living side by side in peace and harmony in the near future, is an impossible dream!

6. The Proposed Australian Republic

    Toward the end of this year, Australians will be asked to vote on whether or not they want to continue appearing to the rest of the world as just another branch office of the British Empire, or whether they want Australia to become a republic, responsible for it's own destiny without reference to any foreign power's approval, even though that approval might be a mere token. Like the majority of Australians, I favour a republic, but NOT the John Howard / Malcolm Turnbull model where the electorate will have no say in who the President will be. They want a tame President who would be appointed by the politicians and would have no power except the ceremonial power bestowed on him by those that appointed him! Put simply, the Governor-General with a new title, and business as usual for the politicians! Once installed, this Clayton's republic would be almost impossible to transmute into a real republic, and the country would be stuck with it for many years!     Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Howard! Better to vote a resounding NO to the Clayton's republic, and stick with the status quo until the nationalistic fervour returns to the boil, and we can insist on a real republic, with a President who will answer directly to the Australian people!

Frank Halliwell

Return to Frank's verse index