Something that is no doubt worrying readers and many other Australians is the raft of repressive legislation being introduced, allegedly to fight terrorism. This includes what has become known as the ASIO bill, which at the time of writing was being held over until Federal Parliament sits again in February. If this bill goes through in its original form it will allow ASIO to hold people who have not committed a crime, or are even suspected, but who may have some information about or links with alleged terrorists.
The NSW Parliament has already pushed through draconian legislation known as the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act. This law can be used in a broad range of situations, widens police search powers and limits the possibility of courts reviewing decisions made under this law. Its even been claimed by one academic, Aiden Ricketts, that the decisions made by the police minister under the act cannot be challenged or questioned on any grounds in any court whatsoever. This seems a good way to turn NSW into a police state.
This tendency to hit us with layers of repressive legislation is unfortunately not new and it seems most of our politicians will revert to authoritarianism at the first excuse. Over the years we have had everything from random breath testing (RBT) and anti-vilification legislation to laws on what guns, if any we can keep. The general upshot is that we are having personal freedoms eroded more and more over the years. Some measures, like RBT seem to have some positive effect on saving lives. The gun laws and gun buy back scheme were followed briefly by a reduction in homicides but this shortly reversed and the homicide rates actually increased. Its unlikely that the banning of numerous types of handguns will have any better chance of reducing crime. Banning of handguns in the United Kingdom saw an increase in gun related crime.
It seems we are losing the fight against crime. Miranda Devine, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald (12/12/02) said "between 1993 and 2001, NSW suffered the worst increases in crime of any state, with the robbery rate more than doubling and a 30% increase in the rate of break-ins". She goes on to state that Australia suffered from the highest rise in crime rates of any Western country and the risk of becoming a victim of crime was higher here than in the US or England. While crime rates soared here they tended to drop in most other Western countries over the last decade.
While on the question of crime rates we are often told that our homicide rate is low by international standards. If we compare the rate in the US, around 5.51 homicides per 100,000 of population with the rate in Australia, around 1.8 per 100,000 if we take the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figure, we seem to be doing much better. What we are not told is that homicide rates are determined by different methods and hence give different figures according to the method used. Interpol statistics give a homicide rate for Australia (3.62) that is twice that of the ABS figure making us much closer to the US figure. In fact an American living in an all white area would probably have a lower chance of being murdered than would the average person in this country. More restrictions on our freedoms have not resulted in a safer society.
And then there is the question of how fairly and effectively the anti-terrorist laws will be used. The operation of our anti-discrimination and racial vilification laws has been a farce. Our government, which claims it is getting tough with illegal immigrants, has managed to lose 14,000 failed asylum seekers (as reported in The Australian 14/12/02). If the operation of our anti-terrorist laws is handled as efficiently the terrorists will have little to fear. What could well happen is that the laws will hardly be used at all in the near future but stay on the books as sleeper legislation to be used years from now in a way no one had intended. Hopefully the ASIO bill will have its worst features amended. It would be preferable however if this and similar legislation were not enacted.
REPRESSION OF WHITE NATIONALISTS IN AMERICA
In our last issue we looked at the problem of black violence in America. Something noticeable about many of these incidents was the incredibly light sentences given to the assailants. In contrast, Americas judiciary comes down extremely hard on any whites convicted of so-called racist crimes.
In a previous issue we mentioned the case of a white man who was jailed for 15 years just for chasing some Mexicans out of a park. Judgements that would otherwise be considered unusually harsh seem to be common in such cases and sometimes charges are laid on very slim evidence. Recently a young white woman in California, whose activism seems to have amounted to no more than distributing used clothes and toys to poor white children, has faced felony charges. Some time ago police found petrol and nails in her flat, three years later it was decided these amounted to bomb making materials (Source: American Dissident Voices).
Cases like this are not new however. Back in 1982 another activist, Tom Metzger, spent 45 days in jail for attending a cross burning. Worse was to come. In 1988 a group of skinheads attacked some Ethiopian migrants with baseball bats and one of the migrants died. Legal action for compensation was taken and a $12.5 million judgement made. Although Metzger was not involved in the attack, it was alleged he had influenced the skinheads and had to pay a substantial part of the judgement, losing his own home as a consequence.
In 1984 a Jewish radio host, Alan Berg was murdered and white activists were blamed. David Lane, a former member of the KKK and Aryan Nations, was alleged to have driven the getaway car for the person who shot Berg. It was claimed his actions also violated Berg's civil rights and he was sentenced to 150 years imprisonment. He was given an extra 40 years for racketeering to support an organisation known as The Order (www.adl.org).
In 1998 a Pennsylvania man was convicted for burning a 30 foot cross on private land in Virginia. There have been judgements however which defended cross burning as symbolic speech and hence protected under the constitution (www.washingtontimes.com 11/12/02).
Nevertheless in December 2002 three people were convicted for throwing burning crosses onto the lawn of a black family in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Michael Dodson, a leader of a local white supremacist group was sentenced to 14 years and 9 months, and his accomplices, both females, were given sentences of 22 and 33 months (UPI/www.washingtontimes.com).
Around the same a time a "white supremacist" and neo-Nazi, Leo Felton was sentenced to nearly 22 years. It was alleged he planned to bomb Jewish and African-American landmarks in Boston. It appears Felton had never got around to making a bomb let alone exploding one, but he had materials including ammonium nitrate and a timing device extracted from a coffee maker in his apartment. A curious aspect of this case was that Felton's father was a black architect and his mother a white civil rights worker (UPI/www.washingtontimes.com).
Perhaps the most notorious case of persecution was what became known as the Ruby Ridge Incident (or Massacre). This involved a violent confrontation between federal agents and the Randy Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992. Apparently Weaver had not committed any crime hence an undercover agent working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried entrapment and encouraged him to cut down and sell a shotgun. On 21 August 1992 a team of six US marshals entered Weaver's land. An altercation occurred between the marshals and Weavers 14-year-old son Sammy and Kevin Harris, a friend of Weavers. Sammy died after being shot in the back and Harris killed one of the marshals. Shortly afterwards the FBI sent in a team of snipers. Although neither Weaver nor Harris fired their weapons, Harris was shot in the chest and Weaver was shot in the back. Weaver survived but his wife Vicki was not so lucky. She died after being shot in the head while standing in the doorway of the cabin holding her baby (James Bovard, Wall Street Journal 30/6/95).
A more recent incident did not involve violence but revealed an incredible amount of hypocrisy. In November 2002 racist graffiti appeared on the walls and doors of a student dormitory where black students of the University of Mississippi resided. There was a "Say No to Racism" march and black students demanded the university establish programs to ensure racial sensitivity and prevent hate crimes. Some called for prosecuting the perpetrators under hate crime statutes. All this was soon forgotten when the perpetrators were caught and it turned out that they were all black students. If they had been white they could have faced prison but because they are black the worst they face is expulsion (Michelle Malkin, "Hate-crime Hoax" www.washtimes.com).
Its not surprising that many white Americans are losing faith in the system and their own government, and adopting what were not so long ago considered extremist ideas.
"Ours are the politics of revenge, revenge against those who have made us aliens in our own land. For them we will give no peace, for them we will show no mercy."
Karl Hand, RNPA Chairman circa 1990, quoted in White Voice October 2002
GOING BACKWARDS IN BRAZIL
A few years back when Australians were arguing about the retention of the White Australia Policy, Brazil was cited as a successful multi-racial society. Brazil is multi-racial but nowadays it is far from successful.
The official figures for Brazil's ethnic make up are 55% white (mainly Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish), 38% Mulatto (mixed white and African ancestry), 6% black and the remaining 1% a mixture of indigenous Indians and Asians. In actual fact many of those classed as white probably have some black or Indian ancestry. White people tend to make up the wealthier classes with blacks and Indians at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.
As in many Third World countries, especially those with large black populations, there is a serious problem with AIDS and in 1999 around 18,000 Brazilians died of the disease. The infant mortality rate is 36.96 per 1,000 live births, which is about six times the rate in Australia. The fertility rate is higher than ours but the population growth rate is actually lower. Brazil seems to be losing more people by emigration than it gains by immigration. In 2001 the net migration rate was estimated to be below zero.
Poverty and crime are serious problems in Brazil. A third of Brazilians earn less than $ 1 (US) a day, social institutions, including family, community associations and churches have deteriorated, and the power of drug-traffickers and arms-smugglers is increasing.
There has been an astronomical increase in the homicide rate over the last two decades. In 1980 it was 11.7 homicides per 100,000 of population but by 1999 it had risen to 26.2. This is an increase of 223%. The rate varies across the country but tends to be highest in the most densely urbanised and industrialised southeastern region. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have recorded rates of 60 while Vitoria recorded a rate of 80.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1999.
The police are often seen as part of the problem rather than the solution due to their poor training and inefficiency. A survey in Rio de Janeiro found that 60% of robbery victims did not report the crime to the police due to what was perceived as their incompetence and corruption.
The racial ancestry of Brazils' population did not portend well for her future and the impact of globalisation seems to have worsened matters.
(Main sources: www.worldpress.org/profiles/Brazil.cfm www.csis.org/americas/pubs/h020719.htm)
JAPANESE RELOCATION IN WARTIME AMERICA
During World War II thousands of Japanese-Americans were taken from the west coast and relocated in special camps in the interior. Myths grew up that they were all placed in internment camps, unlike other groups and this reflected racism against the Japanese.
In actual fact only a minority of Japanese resident in America during the war were actually put into internment camps and this included many who blatantly supported the Japanese government. Most of the Japanese however were placed in relocation centres where they were free to leave and work or study outside as they wished. There were no guards, watchtowers or barbed wire at these centres. This was despite evidence that some Japanese in America were acting as spies for the Japanese government.
To compensate for any economic losses an amount of $38 million was paid out to the evacuees after the war. Nevertheless further claims were made for compensation years afterwards and in 1988 the US government paid out $20,000 (US) to each of 60,000 surviving evacuees. These included 6,000 who were born in the centres, 4,300 who left the centres to go to American universities during the war, and 3,500 who had renounced their American citizenship and asked to be sent back to Japan.
The claims of compensation were largely based on claims of racism but the evidence does not indicate the Japanese were singled out because of their race. Almost half of those who were placed in real internment camps were Europeans, mainly Germans and Italians. This is despite the fact that these two groups were more assimilated into US society, they were more likely to enlist in the US armed services and almost none sought to renounce their American citizenship or return to Europe. Some of the Japanese who were interned were released in 1944 and the rest by June 1946. Some of the Europeans were not released until 1948.
Clearly the Japanese had won compensation, which in total came to $1.6 billion, by a misinterpretation of historical events and the reverse racism currently active in the US today.
(Source: "What Really Happened", American Renaissance January 2003)
CHANGING RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION IN AUSTRALIA
The 2001 census showed a change in religions stated which indicates a decline in the proportion of Australians that are Christian and an increase in most other religions. In 1947, 88% of the population were Christians and the number of Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims was insignificant. The last census showed that Christians had fallen to 68% but Buddhists were 1.9% (358,000), Muslims 1.5% (282,000), Hindus 0.5% (95,000) and Jews 0.45% (84,000).
Between 1996 and 2001 the population increased by 5.7% but the number of Christians only increased by 1.4%, whereas the number of Buddhists, the fastest growing religion, increased by 79.1%.
Among Christians the number of some denominations, Anglican, Brethren and Churches of Christ for instance, actually fell. The number of Oriental Christians increased by 15.9%.
(Source: "Globalization and Recent Changes in the Demography of Australian Religious Groups: 1947 to 2001" by Gary Bouma, People and Place, vol 10, no. 4, 2002).
THE FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN
While there are plenty of problems ahead the overall future for Australia's children will be bright according to an article by Bob Beale and Melissa Sweet, "The Alpha Kids", which appeared in The Bulletin (19/11/02). Girls born in this country now can expect to live an average of 82 years while boys can expect 77 years. A third of girls will live to 90 or more. They will be more affluent than their parents and if current projections are correct there will be a doubling of real per capita income every 30 years.
The proportion of young in our society is declining due to the lowering of the fertility rate, currently around 1.7 babies per woman; the lowest ever recorded in this country. In 1901, children 14 years or younger made up a third of the population, while nowadays they are just one in five of the population. In 50 years time they will be one in seven. One of the reasons for declining birth rates could the cost of raising children. It has been estimated to cost parents around $450,000 to raise two children to the age of 20.
Infant mortality rates have declined enormously over the last century, from 103 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1901 down to the present rate of 5 per 1,000 live births, a rate that is expected to fall even lower. Death rates for older children have also fallen.
In most ways our children's health has improved, they suffer less from tooth decay, birth deformities, sudden infant death syndrome and fatal injuries. On the other hand they suffer more from asthma, diabetes, motor vehicle accidents and drug abuse. While most children are not overweight the proportion who are has increased. Obesity among children tripled in the decade up to 1995 and some children have showed signs of developing heart disease. Much of the reason for this has been the increased amount of time children spend in the front of televisions, computers and electronic games. Not surprisingly there has been a lowering of physical abilities among young people. A study with primary school children found that they could not jump as far as children did 15 years ago.
A curious fact about the Australian population is that over the last century the average height has increased but only at half the rate of the average European or North American; unfortunately our average weight has increased at the same rate.
On a brighter note it appears young children are much less likely to suffer sexual abuse and there are much fewer teenage ex-nuptial births than a generation ago. Childbearing by teenagers reached its lowest rate ever in 1999. Overall Beale and Sweet are optimistic about the future of most Australian children, or at least those placed high enough up the socio-economic ladder. For those not so well placed the future might not be so rosy.