Aug 31

The 21 August, 2010 Federal election in Australia ended in a limbo with no outright winner. As a result of the unprecedented number of informal or protest vote casted by our frustrated voters, our unique Preferential Voting Systems failed to prevent the outcome of a hung parliament. The Age (23 Aug 2010) is right to title the situation as a ’sign of disillusion’ by the voters.

While the two major parties still waiting for the outcome of the few undecided seats and are in the process of a negotiation with the 4 independents and the green, let’s have an overview of the kind of candidates available to the voters.

Election without choice – Quality of Candidates need to improve

Our parliament is by right the most important and respectable institution in the country. It bears the heavy responsibility in the management of our A$1.1 trillion economy. Our elected representatives bear the responsibility in the formulation and regulation of policies in the area of health, education, environment, defence, law and order, social welfare, infrastructures, foreign relation etc.- to ensure a safe, harmonize and prosper society. The issues are complex, challenging and they required deep thinkers, great leaders and people with all kind of special knowledge and skills to brainstorm ideas in order to move thing forward.

However, let’s have a quick look at the kind of candidates Australia voters were forced to choose from:

Let put aside the reality of some ‘funny’ personalities running as candidates such as:

* Outcasts bikie who “had served time in Australia and Holland for drug, firearm and kidnapping offences, and said the experience served as an eye-opener to flaws in the system”. (News Limited, 21 July 2010)

* The stupidity of a major party (Coalition) candidate went on Facebook to describe his opponent as “a strong Muslim” and claimed that Labor would bring Australia ”closer to the hands of a Muslim country” (Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 2010). Even though he was immediately replaced by someone else from the party, the case reflected badly on the availability of quality candidates within the major parties.

* Then we have another childish candidate from the Family First Party who was forced to say: ‘I’m sorry for homophobic tweet’ (Brisbane Times, 12 Aug 2010)

* 24 candidates from the Australia Sex Party sponsored by the sex industry. Their only interest is about the interest of the sex industry.

* A candidate from the Coalition Party who have a record of anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-female views in a magazine either penned or edited by him. This is just an example of how he wrote: “the truth is that women are bloody stupid” and reproduced a joke about a gay man dying of AIDS. However, his leader, Tony Abbott dismissed the views as “colourful”. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Aug 2010 – Abbott dismisses candidate’s anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-female views as ‘colourful‘)

* Again, a 19 year old teenager without any work experience became a major party (Coalition) candidate. (Brisbane Times, 5 May 2010 – ‘Teenage candidate stands up to PM’)

* ‘Independent candidate charged over broken jaw attack’ at a night club in Gosford (Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Aug 2010)

* ‘Democrats sorry for sex offender candidate Darren Andrews’ (News Limited, 20 Aug 2010)

* Independent Candidate’s ‘Bob Katter threatened to kill me, claims Liberal MP Peter Lindsay’ (News Limited, 25 Aug 2010)

* Another Coalition Party case: ‘Logan City Council calls in Crime and Misconduct Commission to investigate how-to-vote cards on Luke Smith’ (Courier Mail, 13 Aug 2010)

* A blind candidate from another major party – the Labor Party (WA Today, 9 Aug 2010 – ‘Peacock makes ‘handicap’ gaffe in blind candidate’s electorate’)

Note: I have to confess, I do feel bad to include the blind candidate to the above list of ’funny’ personalities. It is definitely a sensational thing to have all type of people from all wards of the society to present as candidates in an election. However, given the responsibility of the parliamentarians to the well being of the nation and the people, I believe that, it is fair for one to ask, will these people have the necessary skill, knowledge and expertise to make the right decision on our behalf? Are they able to understand and comprehend the challenge we encountered in this fast moving 21st century?

The sad thing with the Australia political circle since 1996 are that, there are hardly any good and able people offering themselves as candidates. Even the credibility of the heavy weight within the major parties are often questionable. For examples:

Coalition Party – Leader, Tony Abbott

Tony is a sceptic of climate change. In a recent visit to an Adelaide school, in a question-and-answer session, he told his student audience (Year 5 and 6) that the issue relating to “human contribution to climate change” is an “open question,” he then claimed that: “it was warmer at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth than now”. (Sydney Morning herald, 10 May 2010 – ‘Climate scientists cross with Abbott for taking Christ’s name in vain’)

In another question-and-answer program on the ABC’s TV, when he was quizzed on his criticisms of the Rudd Government’s softening of Australia’s border protection policies and how that criticism squared with his own strong Catholic faith, he claimed that: “Even Jesus Christ would not accept every asylum-seeker” (detail in News Limited, 6 April 2010)

As for his personal finance, Tony “made no secret in the past that he had often found it challenging to make ends meet”. When he lost government in the 2007 election, his income was halved as he lost his ministerial salary, he then complaint in January 2008 that “politicians don’t get paid enough”. He later “took out a new A$710,000 mortgage on his family home” but failed to declare the loans to Parliament for almost two years apparently in breach of the parliamentary rules covering MPs’ pecuniary interests. (News Limited, 23 June 2010)

(Note: The income of a member of parliament including all kind of allowance is around A$160,000/year, it is a lot higher for a shadow opposition’s minister and leader. If Tony Abbott find it hard to make end meet with that kind of income, how the average Australians going to live on? For detail of politician’s income, click on ‘Politicians awarded secret pay rise’ – News Limited, 25 Aug 2010)

However, Tony Abbott is at least honest about one thing: during an interview with the 7.30 Report, he admitted that “his only utterances that should be regarded as ”gospel truth” were carefully prepared and scripted remarks such as those made during speeches or policy pronouncements”, “Otherwise, he indicated that statements he made during the ”heat of discussion” such as radio interviews or under questioning at press conferences, were not necessarily reliable” (Brisbane Times, 18 May 2010 – ‘Read my lying lips: Abbott admits you can’t believe everything he says’)

As a result of his above “gospel truth” confession, in an interview with the Radio 3AW, when Tony Abbott claimed that he will not reintroduce ’Work Choice’ if he win the election, the radio host didn’t believe him and challenge him to put his promise in writing. He then follow suit with the statement “Work Choices dead, buried, cremated”. The childish action has effectively make him a crown and has since become a laughing stock across the media industry and among his opponents. (‘Mr Squiggle: Abbott’s scrawl over the WorkChoices finish line’ – WA Today, 19 July 2010)

Tony Abbott has focused his campaign almost exclusively on stopping the boat (i.e., stopping the asylum seekers). One of the Coalition most frequently appeared political advertisement on TVs was to “STOP the Boat”. He pledged to reopen the detention facilities in Nauru and restart the Howard government’s Pacific Solution on asylum seekers. (Adelaide Now, 2 Aug 2010 – ‘Nauru and asylum seekers a first-day priority for a Tony Abbott Government if elected’). To enforce the point, few days later he travelled all the way to Brisbane to meet the Nauru President who visited Australia (WA Today, 7 Aug 2010 – ‘Abbott to meet Nauru President’); He then pledged to set up a hotline between the Navy and himself, and he will personally decide if an asylum seeker boat be turned away. (Courier Mail, 16 Aug 2010 – ‘Holy asylum seekers! Tony Abbott to take charge of boat people hotline’). On the eve of the polling day, he further set a target of limiting unauthorised boat arrivals in Australia to three a year. (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Aug 2010 – ‘Three boats a year our target, says Abbott’).

There are too many examples pointing to Tony Abbott inability to understand a broad range of issues and their implication to the country and the society in the short and long run. Below are just a few more selected links for readers to explore:

* ‘I’m no Bill Gates’: Abbott stumbles on broadband plan’ (The Age, 11 Aug 2010)

* Tony Abbott once claimed that “economic is boring” and has been exploited by the Labor Party throughout the election campaign. This is the treasurer statement on the ALP website.

* ‘Tony Abbott faces revolt from within on paid parental leave’ (News Limited, 6 Aug 2010)

As a result, we can easily understand why his own party comrades trying to stay away from him during their election campaigns by “airbrushing Tony from their election materials”. Detail in News limited, 20 July 2010 – ‘Why tense Liberals are airbrushing Tony from election material’

When Tony Abbott won the leadership in the Liberal Party few months ago after an internal coup, former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was so disgusted that, he decided to quit the party (The Age, 26 May 2010 – ‘Baillieu tells of sadness after Fraser quits Liberal Party’).

Former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating also openly added his voice by accusing the new opposition leader – Tony Abbott of being an “intellectual nobody” without policy ambition. (Brisbane Time, 16 March 2010 – ‘Abbott a poor man’s John Howard, says Keating’)

Two weeks before the polling day, Malcolm Fraser went further to warn Australian voters that the ’Coalition not ready to govern’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Aug 2010).

Labor Party – Leader, Julia Gillard:

Julia Gillard was the Deputy Prime Minister in the Rudd Government. She was one of the gang of four in the so-called ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ that take the key decisions on behalf of the 20-person cabinet. Therefore, she was unable to fully clear herself of any blunder made by the Rudd’s government such as the bungled insulation scheme, the $1 b wasted on schools building economic stimulus program, the decision to break the Rudd government key election promise on climate change by delaying carbon scheme until 2012, and a series of ruthless and racist’s poll-driven-politics on the issue of skill migration and refugees leading up to the election.

As a deputy in the Rudd government, she perform well acting on the side line. However, when she overthrown her elected master in a poll-driven coup, and became the first female (unelected) Prime Minister in Australia. Her performance on the front line was incredibly and unbelievably childish. For examples,

1) On the issue of her green policy, instead of coming out with a solution as a leader of the nation, she totally avoided her responsibility by proposing to set up a Citizens’ Assembly after the election to let the citizens decide by themselves the nation’s future climate change policy. The Galaxy poll indicated that ‘Voters reject Julia Gillard’s Citizens’ Assembly’ (News Limited, 26 July 2010).

2) On the issue of Asylum seeker, she tried to race to the bottom with the well known racist coalition party (Note: During the Howard’s era, the Coalition government was condemned by the United Nation as a racist government, this is why I term them ‘Racist party’).

To differential herself from the Coalition Party well known Pacific Solution with off shore processing center at Nauru, she proposed an alternative off shore processing center in East Timor without any prior consultation with the government there. The result was, she has to suffer a series of embarrassments through her own indecisiveness and subsequence flip-flop decision on the issue. For examples,

When her unconsulted proposal rejected by the East Timor Deputy Prime Minister, Jose Luis Guterres: ‘Timor says it’s too poor to do Australia’s dirty work’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 2010), she begin to back away from the idea: ‘Prime Minister Julia Gillard backs away from plan for East Timor processing centre for asylum seekers’ (Courier Mail, 9 July 2010).

However, within a mere 24 hours, she decided to revive the idea: ‘PM Julia Gillard revives East Timor as preferred destination for refugee centre’ (Herald Sun, 10 July 2010). Then, came a report that “EAST Timor’s parliament is planning to make its disapproval of a refugee processing centre on its soil known by sending a strongly-worded condemnation of the proposal to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.” (WA Today, 10 July 2010 – ‘Not on our soil: East Timor leaders’).

It was then reported that, beside Nauru, virtually all the ‘neighbouring countries shun Gillard boat plan’ (Adelaide Now, 13 July 2010).

The fascinating thing is, “The Gillard government will forge ahead with its proposal to establish a refugee processing centre in East Timor, despite that country’s parliament rejecting the idea yesterday” (Brisbane Times, 13 July 2010 – ‘Push for refugee centre will continue despite East Timor rejection’)

Note: Australia has a history of colonising some of the pacific island nations, bullying their leaders, interfering with their internal politics, exploiting their resources and has been exploiting the East Timor oil and gas resources since their independent from Indonesia. It puzzle me that, as the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard seems to have no knowledge of our shameful history in the pacific region, or at least a basic understanding towards the kind of resentment again Australia in the region. The notion that she can forge ahead with its proposal to establish a refugee processing centre in East Timor despite their on-going expression of refusal remind me of the existence of the colonial mentality among some of our political ‘elites’ (perhaps?).

Of course, in the face of the persistently hostile attitude toward her asylum seeker policy in the region, Julia Gillard has finally come to term with directly copying the coalition’s Pacific Solution Policy using Nauru as a processing center. As a result, “NAURU has re-emerged as a serious option for Julia Gillard’s asylum-seeker processing facility” (Courier Mail, 14 July 2010)

The down side for Julia Gillard is that, she tried to race to the bottom with an authentic racist party, and she is unable to win over the kind of voters that supported the that party. Her action has instead alienated her own traditional base supporters. This was perhaps one of the major reason behind the high volume of protest vote that resulted in the current hung parliament situation.

3) Despite the fact that Tony Abbott had in many occasions insisted that “Work Choices is dead, buried and cremated”. Labor still tried to make that an issue through their political advertisements and a series of media interviews. On the eve of the polling day, Julia has a last shot on the issue of Work Choices. (The Australian, 20 Aug 2010 – ‘Julia Gillard campaign switches to negative mode, warning of ‘risk’ of electing Tony Abbott’)

4) Facing a dramatic down fall in her popularity in a series of opinion polls, Julia Gillard suddenly came out with an idea to revive herself by telling voters that what they have seems of her so far are not her true self. She then created a term called the “Real Julia” – (WA Today, 2 Aug 2010 – ‘‘Real Julia’ vows to throw rule book out window’).

Please forgive me, I cannot thought of any nation leader as childish as this, as a result, she has effectively became a laughing stock by the media and her opponents over the next few weeks leading all the way up to the polling day.

There are other issues with Julia Gillard such as ‘Bodyguard deputised for Gillard for national security meetings’ (Perth Now, 30 July 2010) etc.

The Childish Behaviour of Post Election Blame Games

If you cannot control the behaviour of your own comrades within your own party, you are not a good leader. The logic is as simple as that. A good leader will usually undertake the responsibility of the party performance.

However, in Australia, there is a culture of blaming someone else for their failure. The cruel reality is that the very people that involved in the childish blame game are our nation most highly ranked politicians at both state and federal levels. The blame game actually reflected badly on the kind of leadership quality we rely upon to run the country.

Despite the flaws and stupidities on her own accords during the election campaign, Julia Gillard begin to blame the incompetency of the state government of Queensland and NSW for her suffered in the poll before the polling day by telling voters ‘Don’t blame me for their sins’ (Illawarra Mercury, 16 Aug 2010)

As a result, immediately after the election, a political blame game has began between the state and nation’s Labor governments. You may click on the following links to have a good laugh at the childishness of our top ‘elites’:

‘Labor members bag party’s ‘faceless men’‘ (The Australian, 23 Aug 2010)

‘Federal Labor points finger of blame at Bligh’ (Brisbane Times, 23 Aug 2010)

‘Keneally lashes out at Bligh’s ‘NSW disease’ jibe’ (Brisbane Times, 24 Aug 2010)

‘Keneally blames Rudd for state’s voter backlash’ (The Australian, 24 Aug 2010)

‘Anna Bligh puts blame on Labor machine’ (The Australian, 24 Aug 2010)

‘Labor war hurting bid for power’ (The Australian, 25 Aug 2010)

‘Keneally blames MPs for her falling popularity’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Aug 2010)

The Coalition is of no exception. They have two leadership Coups prior to the election. The following is just a sign that, if they are unable to form a minority government, there may be another leadership coup:

‘A terrible time for Liberals to go to war’ (The Daily Telegraph, 24 Aug 2010)

‘Now Coalition begins its own civil war’ (WA Today, 25 Aug 2010)

The Frustration of Australia Voters

Given the above examples of the kind of political leadership we had in this country, I believe that the following survey will not shock any body:

Two month before the election, a survey conducted in June indicated that “Australians are pretty fed up with their political leaders” (News Limited, 4 June 2010 – ‘Polls reveal public fed up with politicians’).

A month later, another survey in Queensland indicated that “majority of Australians think neither Labor nor the Coalition deserves to be elected” (Courier mail, 18 July 2010 – ‘Queensland voters facing a bruising time as fertile election ground’)

In fact, the number of people interested in our democratic process has dramatically declined. Despite the fact that voting is compulsory in Australia, according to the Australian Electoral Commission two months before the polling day: “1.4 million people are “missing” from the roll” (Herald Sun, 10 July 2010 – ‘Record number of young people have not enrolled to vote’). 20 days later, the Australian Electoral Commission issued another warning: ‘Decline in voters ‘a threat to nation’s democracy’’ – (The Age 30 July 2010).

The reality is, the number of membership within the two major political parties have drastically declined as well. Dr. Kemp, a former Howard government minister have this warning to the Liberal Party two years ago ‘Ailing Liberals need young members, says president’ (The Age, 31 March 2008). It was then revealed that “membership of the Victorian party has fallen from a post-Whitlam peak of 33,000 in the 1970s to 13,000 today. Over the past two decades, the number of Liberal branches has dropped by almost 20% to 393, and the average age of a Liberal member is 62.”

The Labor party is facing the same problem – former cabinet minister Race Mathews revealed a year ago that “the party’s national membership has plummeted to about 50,000 — down from about 370,000 immediately after World War II — and the average age is about 50.” (The Age, 26 Jan 2009 – ‘Faction-hit ALP ‘faces extinction’)

How Long can we afford to have politicians not doing anything right for us?

The list of incompetency among our political leadership that I am able to provide is by no way exhausted. I do not want to bore you with too many of such examples, but to make the point, I would like to provide another two stories:

* Our federal deputy opposition leader ‘Julie Bishop apologises after second plagiarism incident’ (ABC, 27 Oct 2008)

* Latest incident: ‘Furious independent Rob Oakeshott harassed by rogue Liberal MP’ (News Limited, 30 Aug 2010)

Like all countries, Australia is facing a series of new and accumulated problem. For examples, the currently hotly debated issue of aging population; the record level of national and individual debts; the lack of hospital funding; years of water mismanagement with dying rivers; Global warming with disastrous weather pattern such as the threat of flood, bush fire and sand storm; the threat to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef and a series of social imbalance in the form of the number of homeless population and the issue of housing affordability etc. All these required finance, technology and human resources to overcome. Can Australia cope with these challenges without reforming our current election process to ensure people with the right mindset, attitude, knowledge, skill, expertise, delegation and commitment seating in our Parliament?

This short article written by Geoff Gallop, former premier of Western Australia may worth your time to read: ‘An election is fine, but what about the future?’ (WA Today, 20 July 2010)

I know, some Westerners are sensitive with the way I brought up the name China. However, for the sake of our own humanity and long term well being, I believe that it is in our interest to put aside the prejudice we had against China. After 30 years of economic and political reform, China is no longer the country our media wanted us to believe in.

There are many advance feature in their political system that ensure democracy and consultation on a broad base such as in the form of village and county’s elections, as well as , narrower based democracy within the party, government departments and ministries.

We have witnessed the smooth transfer of their top leadership every 10 years with younger generation without drama.

There is no reason for us to ignore their records of lifting 400 million people out of poverty within the last 30 years, and the ability to become the world 2nd largest economy this year from a dire condition 60 years ago, and the fact that they have being the biggest creditor of the United State with a national reserve of USD2.4 trillion are by no way nothing got to do with the leadership their system managed to provide.

China is still not a perfect country, but it is getting better and better every year. Only if we can put aside our prejudice against China, we can then learn from their wisdom and make improvement on our own. I will write an article on democracy with China characteristic sometime in the future.

Will democracy at its current form, a formula for disaster in the 21 century?

Written on 31 Aug 2010 by www.outcastjournalist.com

To read this article with hyper-links to the Sources, please go to my personal website: http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_democracy_needs_reform_the_frustration_of_Australia_voters.htm

Aug 27

Legitimacy, Democracy and Chinese Government

Written by: whooper | Filed under:General, Opinion | 347 Comments » newest

In order to understand any system of government, we need to understand the extent to which government aligns itself with the common good. For example, Fredrick the Great, King of Prussia 1740 to 1786, was an example of a famously benevolent and progressive despot who transformed his country from a relative backwater into an intellectual and military superpower. An interesting question is what mechanisms, if any, protected the Prussians against selfish / incompetent Kings? The answer is brutal, in 18th Century Europe incompetent regimes tended to be annihilated by their neighbours, because in the long run the common good, the flourishing of society, brings economic success and military power. For example, the Ottoman Empire eventually disappeared because its failure to embrace Prussia’s progressive values left it weaker than its European neighbours.

Today Political Scientists talk about the concept of “government legitimacy”. Defining legitimacy is actually quite difficult, but some of the ideas we tend to associate with it include benevolence, competence and popular support.
Continue reading »

Aug 24




一、 藏传佛教








二、 藏民形象








三、 管治策略








都江堰工程的成功秘诀之一是“深淘滩,低做堰”。在藏区管治上,政府应当适度拓宽加深言路,使正当合理的诉求得以及时顺利上传,尽量避免“以言治罪”。如果境内言路不畅,藏人就会被迫求助于境外媒体和组织。当然,笔者只是倡导“适度”拓宽言路,而非一下完全放开。鉴于目前的藏区局势,突然完全开放言路必然会造成社会混乱。言路建设必须遵循渐进原则,力戒 “言而无信”“急功冒进”“东施效颦”。言路建设必须考虑藏区实际。

四、 分析与建议








Aug 12

China as a non-Western country demonstrated its potential to become the next super power has consistently being the target of media smear campaign in the West. The following article with a series of evidence demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a number of stories reported by an Australian Journalist about the People Liberation Army during the 2008 earthquake were based on his own imagination – they are baseless, mean, irresponsible and unethical.

However, he has been protected by the media industry in Australia. When approached to explain the inconsistency in his reports, The Age newspaper (The newspaper that published those dodgy materials) has returned my e-mail twice as “deleted without being read”. The ABC’s media watch (a TV program supposed to report about dodgy journalism) also returned by e-mail once as “deleted without being read”.

The Australia Press Council (a body that regulate the behavior of the media)is also guilty of protecting media that violated its own written principles on journalism.

I have exhausted all avenue over the last 2 months (including running 4 articles) to clear China name to no avail. Therefore, I would like to present my evidence here for the world citizens (people who care about having truthful information from the media) to suggest what we should do next to ensure that media that published dodgy materials be made accountable to their dodgy reports.

If some one could please translate this article into Chinese language and spread the message across the world through e-mails, social networking websites and whatever mean to brain storm ideas, and we can decide together on how to use people power to make those responsible for writing and publishing dodgy materials against China to say sorry to their own readers and also express sorry to the Chinese public.

For examples, each and very of us may send an e-mail or write a letter to those media involved in publishing dodgy material and refused to say “sorry” to demonstrate our protest and demand an apology. This is just a suggestion. Please post your suggestion using the comment function at the end of this article. Please limit your wording so that good suggestion will not be missed by us. We will inform you the best way of doing it so that everybody may act together and make sure that: The peace loving world citizens will no longer be silence by the mainstream Western media unethical behavior to smear against developing countries”.

Below is the content of an article I wrote recently:

How the Australia Press Council Protected Media that Violated Its Own Written Principles?

Note: You may wish to read it on my own website with links to the evidence and post your suggestion under the comment at Fools Mountain website:


The content of my article begin here:

About The Australia Press Council

Australia Press Council is the self-regulatory body of the print media: “According to its recently revised Constitution, the objects of the Australian Press Council are to promote freedom of speech through responsible and independent print media, and adherence to high journalistic and editorial standards…,” “To carry out its press responsibility role, it serves as a forum to which anyone may take a complaint concerning the press.”

The above are the written pledge by the Press Council on their website.

Here is the link to the Council Statement of Principles. (i.e., principles that ensure high journalistic and editorial standard)

How the Council Behave when a legitimate complaint is made with strong supporting evidence that a series of reports made by a newspaper have breached not only the ethic of journalism but each and every of the Council written principles?

Following is a recent letter I emailed to the Australia Press Council on 20 July 2010 outlining the seriousness of the case, and the detail of how each and every of the Council written principles have been violated. I also analysed in detail why the council should waive its 60 days time limit for complaint and consider the case under its special circumstance clause.

I have provided significant amount of evidence in an easy to understand – point by point manner proven beyond reasonable doubt that: a series of reports published by the newspaper concerned were not based on facts but the invention of their Journalist, and it is only one simple step from the Press Council by forwarding my e-mail to the respective newspaper demanding an answer to the 5 questions I raise, and the truth will be out, the Council Principles will be upheld, the right of the Australian people to know the truth will be fulfilled.

However, guest what kind of reasoning the Council used to dismiss my case?

I believe that it is fair for us to ask: “Will a self-regulatory body that served the same interest of the mainstream media be serious about maintaining the ethic of Journalism in this country? Will the Press Council genuinely believe in upholding the right of the Australian public to know the truth?

After reading my correspondence with the Council, a good friend of mine sending me the following remark as his feedback: “Australian Press Council controlling media disinformation? Would you trust John Howard to control racism?” (Author Note: The Howard’s government was regarded by the UN as a racist government in 2000)

The following is my story:

Following is the full content of my e-mail to the Australia Press Council on the 20 July 2010:


To: Jack R Herman/ Executive Secretary

Australia Press Council

Dear Mr. Jack R Herman,

Re: One more step and the truth is out: Defending Australians Right to understand other culture through accurate information

Further to my e-mail dated 15 June 2010, I would like to inform you that The Age has again returned my e-mail as “return without being read”.

The reality is, if you read the content of the latest e-mail correspondents between John Garnaut and myself as mentioned in my last e-mail to you dated 15 June 2010 under the following link: More Dodgy Materials Exposed – The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue, I believe that you will agree with me that, it is only one more step and the truth will be out. And it is only the Australia Press Council has the authority to press the Age for a reply.

Before I make a summary of issues that I hope that the Press Council will assist in securing a reply from The Age, I would like to address the reasons why The Council should regards this case as an exceptional case to Act upon even outside its 60 days complaint time frame.

Why The Press Council Should consider this case an exceptional case outside the 60 days limit?

When I wrote my first e-mail to the Council dated 2 June 2010, I understand that there is an exception to the 60 days policy, that was why I presented it as a case of national security. This is how I wrote: “I also outlined in this article (Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians) the reason why such behaviour posted a security risk to Australia and urged that we should “Lets’ the world understand each other through accurate information.”

As you have rejected my complaint under the following reason in your e-mail dated 3 June 2010:

“I have reviewed your material. It does not appear to me that you have established any case at all that there has been a breach of the Council’s principles.”

As a result, I have accessed your website again to study the handful of principles lay down by the Council , now I would like to present my complaint base on the Council principles as follows:

The very first statement spell out by the Council’s Statement of Principles is: “the freedom of the press to publish is the freedom, and right, of the people to be informed,” the second principle is the “equivalent responsibility to the public”.

Note: I can assure the Council that this case involved not only one report that is dodgy and baseless, but at least 2. They not only contradicted each other, but I have good reasons to believe that the reports were not based on fact but a baseless story based purely on the invention of The Age China Correspondent’s John Garnaut. I believe that, the Australian readers have the right to know the truth, and under the current circumstances, it is only one more step and the truth will be out. The Australia Press Council has the authority to press the Age for an answer to ratify the series of highly misleading and distorting reports published by the Age (detail at the later part of this letter).

I believe that the Press Council would like to uphold its very first principle “The right of the people to be informed” and the second principle “the equivalent responsibility to the public”.

In addition to the above 2 core principles lay down by the Council, the Council when considering complaints, will have regard for the following general principles as well:

Point 2.) “Where it is established that a serious inaccuracy has been published, a publication should promptly correct the error, giving the correction due prominence.”

Point 4.) “…..Rumour and unconfirmed reports should be identified as such.”

Point 6.) “Publications are free to advocate their own views and publish the bylined opinions of others, as long as readers can recognise what is fact and what is opinion.”

Note: The nature of my complaint is not only about “serious inaccuracy” (Point 2) and “rumour has been published” (Point 4). It is about deliberate distortion in The Age’s reports, and it is malicious in nature to demonise a country – Our biggest trading partner, China. (detail at the later part of this letter).

The impact is, the Australian public “cannot distinguish what is opinion and what is fact” (Point 6). Despite the reality that China has made dramatic achievement in its human right records by lifting 400 million people out of poverty within the last 30 years; having the highest level of citizens satisfaction with the country direction at 86% and the second highest is Australia at only 61% (PEW survey 2008); and its human right achievement in its rescue, reconstruction and compensation arrangement for the more than 5 million victims in the 2008 Earthquake (The Time Magazine: ‘Haiti and China: A Tale of Two Earthquakes’) – Australians were basically unaware of the above facts. Why?

Their perception of our biggest trading partner is getting worst. For examples (1) Lowy Institute Poll and (2) Investors wary of Chinese money. Why? Our mainstream media has definitely not having any balance in their report as far as issues relating to China is concerned. Why?

In your letter dated 3 June 2010, you stated that “He (John Garnaut) is entitled to report what he saw and heard at the time – not all journalists present will have exactly the same experience”. I fully agree with your above statement. However, not when the statements he made were baseless based purely on his imagination in violation of all the Press Council’s basic principles.

In 2008, we witnessed Chinese students living in the West, having “freedom” of information from the Western Media suddenly went on protest across the Western world by the Tens of thousands of people – protesting against media bias and distorting reports against China. This incident demonstrated that it is in the public interest that the Press Council take this opportunity to ratify the problem of selective, unbalance and distorting report by the media industry and in this particular case – The Age – as a result of John Garnaut behaviour in a series of his reports that violated all the basic principles lay down by the Press Council. The seriousness of the influence of these misleading reports are that many of these reports were republished by other newspapers and magazines within the Fairfax group.

Australia’s former ambassador to Indonesia, Japan and Thailand recently warned that “Australia risks being complacent about its reputation in Asia”, I can assure you that our mainstream media culture with selective reports have got to do with the situation.

This is perhaps the reason why Mr Joske (an economic adviser to former treasurer Peter Costello in the 1990s) spoke out late last year (2009) that: ”There’s no one in Treasury who can tell up from down on China, beyond what they read in the newspapers.” And pointed out the sad reality that “BHP bent the ears of senior ministers and exploited the Government’s ”policy dysfunction” to get its way on China.” (Brisbane Time, 15 Oct 2009)

In fact, the resentment against the mainstream media in Australia gone further than that:

Dr Anne Aly in her research into how Australian Muslims were responding to the discourse on terrorism in the Australian popular media observed that: “it was increasingly evident that Australian Muslims were turning to the internet to access information about the United States-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and engaging heavily in propaganda and conspiracy theories.” (Australia Strategic Studies Institute article: ‘Online radicalisation and the Muslim diaspora’, 13 July 2009)

Therefore, I believe that it is in both the national and public interest that the Press Council demonstrated its leadership to ensure it core and general principles being upheld at all time. That is: “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced. They should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers either by omission or commission.” (Point 1 of the Press Council’s general principle).

I hope that the Council will forward this e-mail to The Age, so that they will have to give me a reply and ratify the series of dishonest and misleading reports made by John Garnaut with detail as follows:

The Council need just to do the following to uphold the Council Principles

The Council need just to forward my e-mail to the Age and ask them to give my following questions a straight forward and unambiguous reply to uphold the Council Core and General Principles:

Over the last few weeks since I posted my first report: Can we trust our Media? The Shocking Behaviour of The Age Journalist’s John Garnaut (dated 12 May 2010), followed by Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians (dated 24 May 2010), then More Dodgy Materials Exposed – The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue (dated 14 June 2010), I received a total of 3 e-mails from John Garnaut.

If you examine the content of each of our (John Garnaut and myself) e-mail correspondents, I am confident that, you will find John Garnaut is Guilty as Charged.

Let’s put aside the 3 dodgy reports he made in regard to Chinese top leadership direct involvement in the Rio Tinto bribery case without any sources being quoted (detail in More Dodgy Materials Exposed – The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue), The mere fact that, he has great difficulty to answer the questions I posted with regards to the content of the report he attached to me in his email dated 7 June 2010 tell a lot about the credibility of his story.

This is the content of his e-mail dated 7 June 2010:


Dear Wei Ling,

Here is a May 2008 report, setting out in more detail the circumstances that you said I invented a year later:


The witness in that story was engaged by me at the time.

To dispel another of your excited allegations, I do not have two names. Jophiel Bushnell works at the news desk in Melbourne and forwarded your complaint on to me.

I trust you will find some more fruitful conspiracies to spend your time on.


My analysis:

If you read the content of John Garnaut above attached link to his (May 2008) report. The report title is (Taking a great leap for Wen, dated 17 May 2008), you will find the following key words and sentences that place the credibility of his story in doubt:


slipped past the road block;

At 10.11am he snapped a picture;

we carried; and

Until dusk on Wednesday in Beichuan, at least, they were just blocking the road.

In my e-mail reply to him dated 8 June 2010, I pointed out that the date “Wednesday” in the report (Taking a great leap for Wen) was on 14 May 2008, and it was through the eyes of an unnamed Chinese Journalist (ie, 3rd party account of the event). However, his report a year later in 9 May 2009 (‘Journey through an earthquake’) has became a First party witness statement. This is how I asked John Garnaut in my email reply:


Question 1:

In your report on the 9 May 2009 ‘Journey through an earthquake’, you mentioned that: “On May 14 and 15, The Age watched People’s Liberation Army….”, that mean, you personally witnessed People Liberation Army looting on May 14 and May 15, 2008.

But in your report (Taking a great leap for Wen) dated 17 May 2008, the description wasn’t a first person account. It was through the eyes of an unnamed Chinese Journalist. So, why are you using the statement “The Age watched…..” in your 9 May 2009 report?


Question 2:

When you mentioned “Wednesday” in your 17 May 2008 report, I have just verify that that day was 14 May 2008. You have this statement that put yourself on the scene as a first hand witness: “Later, the soldiers were still loitering and sticking out their hands for drinks “we carried” to the exhausted rescuers actually looking for survivors.”

My questions are:

a) Have you “slipped past the road block” as well like the (unnamed) Chinese Journalist on Wednesday (14 May 2008)?

b) As a professional Journalist, I believe you did carry a camera with you, have you taken any picture of those scene you witnessed on 14 May 2008?

c) Can you tell us the date of the 3 photo series produced under your name on the Age website: http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html

d) Again, why didn’t you report your story on the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15 May 2008 (‘Horror of entire towns flattened’)?

e) By the way, who is the other person who witnessed the event of “Later, the soldiers were still loitering and sticking out their hands for drinks we carried to the exhausted rescuers actually looking for survivors.” Who is the other “We” that can support your account of the event?


Question 3:

This question is posted under the subheading special note in my e-mail dated 8 June 2010. This is how I asked John Garnaut:

The questions here are, who was that Chinese Journalist named in your report? What is his name? When and where did you and him engaged in those conversation and under what circumstances did you all got to know each other? Since he told you so much of his account of what he witnessed in such great length and detail, including statement such as “At 10.11am he snapped a picture of a group of soldiers running…”, that mean you all knew each other quite well. Why don’t you buy the photos from him as it should worth owing those materials as they were the only evidence of People Liberation Army “loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops, while the cries of trapped citizens rang out from buildings nearby,”.

Given the hostile International (Western) environment against China, I believe that those evidence of “People’s Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops” should worth a lot of money. As an experience journalist, don’t you have the instinct and urged to owe those evidence and make it an exclusive report with worldwide circulation? There are going to be a lot of money $$$ to be made, don’t you think so?


I believe that the above 3 questions are reasonable and if John Garnaut story was credible, he should have no difficulty to provide an answer. However, this is how he replied on the 8 June 2010:


It really is more simple than you think.

The Herald and Age buy stories from wire agencies, like Reuters and AP. Sometimes their stories get interwoven with mine by editors in Sydney or Melbourne and I don’t even know that it has happened, so it might look like a jointly written story when it wasn’t. For example, I have never heard of Francois Bougon. I reported what I saw, he reported what he saw, it is not surprising that we did not see exactly the same thing.

Unfortunately yours is a conspiratorial mind. You are determined that journalists like myself are simply elements of the “hostile international (western) environment”, inventing stories from our imagination, to use your words. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps you believe that you know more about everything that I write about than I do, but perhaps you are not omniscient as you think. Perhaps it’s been so long since you really connected with China that you have no idea how it works. Unfortunately I cannot spend more time reasoning with a fanatical anti-western ‘patriot’ who cannot be reasoned with. I have to get on with reporting China as I see it, with all its courage, colour and sometimes tragedy.

If I sent you the Beichuan photo that you asked for, I would hope that you might then find something more useful to spend your time on. But I suspect that you will invent another conspiracy – or, more likely, continue to recycle old conspiracies from the anti-CNN website as you have been doing – to hurl at me from your own website because it makes you feel important.




As you may observe from the above e-mail statement, John Garnaut has just denied that the Joint Report he made with Francois Bougon in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15 May 2008 (‘Horror of entire towns flattened’) was not his work.

So I believe that the following questions I posted in my e-mail reply to him dated 9 June 2010 is reasonable and deserve an unambiguous reply.

I would like to put it as Question 4 in this letter as follows:


Question 4:

When you state that “I have never heard of Francois Bougon. I reported what I saw, he reported what he saw, it is not surprising that we did not see exactly the same thing,” are you trying to suggest now that the report on the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15 May 2008 (‘Horror of entire towns flattened’) with your name on it, is not your work? If that is the case, please tell us, the content of your original work? It must have been published somewhere else? Can you please show us the link?

I also would like to ask one more question: did John Garnaut received the commission from his report on the Sydney Morning Herald dated 15 May 2008?


In regard to his other statement: “If I sent you the Beichuan photo that you asked for, I would hope that you might then find something more useful to spend your time on. But I suspect that you will invent another conspiracy”

I would like to post him the 5th question as follows:


Question 5:

Since John Garnaut indicated that he has the “Beichuan photo” that I asked for, I would like him to show us the photo with images showing “People’s Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops”, and then explain to us: Why didn’t he published those photos on:

15 May 2008: (‘Horror of entire towns flattened’)

17 May 2008: (‘Taking a great leap for Wen’)

9 May 2009: (‘Journey through an earthquake’)

Why didn’t any of the 3 photo series produced in the Age website (http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html) under John Garnaut name showing “People’s Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops”?

Please bear in mind that the day John Garnaut witnessed “People’s Liberation Army soldiers….. helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops” is on the 14 and 15 May 2008. Why can’t he backed up his claim with photos he claimed to have in his e-mail dated 8 June 2010?


China through a series of political and economic reform has become our biggest trading partner with its national reserve still growing dramatically after the 2008 financial crisis (more than USD2.4 trillion to date). Our A$17 billion dollar education industry is supported by 150,000 Chinese students.

Some of these students may become the future Chinese leaders, and the way our mainstream media treating China with all kind of selective, partial, and distorting news has upset many. The 2008 Chinese student street protest across the country is just an example of resentment and anger.

Media negativity against other culture and countries also resulted in negative behaviour of some of our less inform citizens attitude towards other culture, nationals and migrants in this country. As a result, there are serious racism and racist behaviour both among our political leaderships and some session of the community.

These are the real security risk to Australia future prospect in the Asia pacific region and the world at large.

I believe that John Garnaut through the series of his ‘imaginary’ reports against China have effectively violated all the core and general principles spell out by the Press Council. The intention is Malicious and the effect is toxic. The evidence and logic I have produced so far are solid, and all the 5 questions I raised in this letter deserved an unambiguous reply from the Age. The way, The Age Foreign Editor deleted my e-mail without being read showing that: “dodgy journalism” is the darling of the media.

I hope that the Australia Press Council will take this opportunity to demonstrate to the world that, Australia is serious about:

· “The right of the people to know the truth”

· “Where it is established that a serious inaccuracy has been published, a publication should promptly correct the error, giving the correction due prominence”.

· “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced. They should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers either by omission or commission.”

As you have mentioned in your last e-mail when you rejected my complaint: “He (John Garnaut) is entitled to report what he saw and heard at the time – not all journalists present will have exactly the same experience” indicated that it is not an easy job to prove that a report or reports were dodgy. I have already done the hard work of analysing through strong logic and reasoning and proving beyond reasonable doubt that those reports were dishonest in nature, and a small step from the Press Council will allow the Australian people to know the truth.

Let’s work together to uphold the Press Council core and general principles on Journalism. Let’s defence Australians right to understand other culture through accurate information.

Thank you very much

Hope to hear from you soon with a positive response.

Yours sincerely,

Wei Ling Chua


This is How The Press Council Reply dated 21 July 2010

Mr Wei Ling Chua

Thank you for your letter of July 20.

I have read your comments but can find no reason to re-open the matter. Your complaint is based on your interpretation of the events; it is not the only interpretation. But more importantly, you seek to raise a matter that is well past the normal time and you do not press any concerns that would make that an issue the Council needs to take up at this late stage.

I can add little to what I said in my June 3 letter. The situation remains the same.

Jack R Herman



ACMA (Australia Communication and Media Authority) is a government body set up to regular the conduct of TV, Radio etc (non printed media). They also have their written code of practice and a 60 days policy.

However, unlike the Australia Press Council, the ACMA’s 60 days policy is not designed to be used to prevent the public from making a legitimate complaint. Their 60 days policy is for the offenders to response to the public complaint within 60 days.

When you go to the Australia Press Council homepage, you will find the item ‘How to make a complaint’ on the left hand side of the homepage. When you place your cursor on the item ‘How to make a complaint’, you are most likely to automatically select the very first item that drop down from the screen. That is ‘Overview’.

Click on the ‘Overview’, and you will find this statement: ‘Complaints must be lodged within sixty days of the initial publication’. Many people may decided to drop off their complaint from this point onward. However, I decided to search every pages, and found this statement: “The Council will only consider waiving this requirement in special circumstances”. It has been obvious to me that, unlike the ACMA, the Australia Press Council has not being sincere in having the public to lodge a complaint and act to upheld its so-called “high journalistic and editorial standards”.

The seriousness of this case is not only about the basic ethic of Journalism has been violated but virtually all the core and general principles of Journalism lay down by the Press Council have been breached.

In my reply to the above Press Council E-mail dated 21 July 2010, I have written the following statement:

“I am not sure how you can interpret those 5 questions I raise in any other way? At least John Garnaut, the first party in the case appear not being able to handle those questions through the content of his recent 3 e-mails to me. I believe that the most objective and impartial thing to do is to ask The Age, the party who published those materials to interpret them for us. Why speculate about the interpretation before the party in the case tell us how they will interpret the 5 questions I asked?”

“The problem with the Age’s account of the stories are that, they not only contradicted tons of other journalists reports on the same event, they even contradicted each other statements including statements made within the same report. All those stories also contradicted the photo and video images produced under the name of John Garnaut on the Age’s photo and video webpage. Therefore, I believe that in the mind of any reasonable people, it is unreasonable to limit the accountability of a series of dodgy reports with such malicious nature to strictly 60 days if the council is serious about upholding the Council core and general principles for Journalism.”

“The outcome of this case required only one simple step from the Council by simply forwarding my properly written letter with an unambiguous point by point evaluation and questions to the Age newspaper for an unambiguous reply and the truth will be out, the Council principles will be upheld and the Australian people right to know the truth will be fulfil. If the Age is not guilty of publishing “invented stories”, their name is clear as well.”

“The materials may be over the 60 days limit, but all the materials are readily in place for analysis including the content of the 3 very recent e-mail from John Garnaut.”

“Please bear in mind that we are dealing with a case of “invented stories”, it is more serious than any of the principles outlined by the Council. To get the truth, it is only one small step from the Council – a few second job. I believe that Australian people would like to know and have the right to demand for an answers from the Age.”

This is how the Council reply on 23 July 2010:

“Thank you for your letter of July 22.

I have read your comments but can still find no reason to re-open the matter. I can add little to what I said in my June 3 and July 21 letters. The situation remains the same. Your complaint is well out of time.

This correspondence is now ended.”

The issue now is: Can we trust our mainstream media? Can we trust a self-regulatory body who served the same interest of the mainstream media to regulate the conduct of the very same interest they served? Should we campaign the government to set up an independent body like the ACMA to defence Australian rights for honest journalism?

Anybody with any suggestion, please leave your comment at the end of this article at Fools Mountain website.

Written by www.outcastjournalist.com

Related Previous Articles:

– Can we trust our Media? The Shocking Behaviour of The Age Journalist’s John Garnaut (12 May 2010)

– Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians (24 May 2010)

– More Dodgy Materials Exposed – The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue (14 June 2010)

Aug 06

I wrote this article on 28 June 2010, I decided to publish with Fool’s Mountain now is because I believe that, the research will help some Chinese readers to understand the concept of democracy in theory and in practice. This article ended with a quote using a Chinese leader statement about democracy.

Just a bit of my background, I was born in Singapore, and my father was born in Indonesia, China is not my country and there is no issue of being a patriotic Chinese national. I spent 3 years in Eastern Europe (1991 – 1994)when the Communist collapsed. I witnessed first hand the kind of suffering when a system is overthrown overnight. After 20 years of having democratic government in Eastern Europe, a recent survey by the American based PEW found the following outcome:

End of Communism Cheered but Now with More Reservations: http://pewglobal.org/2009/11/02/end-of-communism-cheered-but-now-with-more-reservations/

I have been living in Australia for almost 20 years now, also witnessing first hand democracy in practice in a developed country. I decided to produce a series of articles on this issue not because I don’t like the concept of democracy but hoping that people from China should objectively assess the merit of a political system and seek to make improvement based on their current foundation. Continue reading »

Aug 03

This month mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA (29 August 2005), This remind me the 2nd anniversary of the Earthquake in Sichuan, China (12 May 2008) three month ago and the 1st anniversary of the Black Saturday (Bush fire) in Victoria, earlier this year in Australia (7 February 2009).

The similarity of these 3 events is that they are natural disasters with many deaths and many more left homeless. However, for those who lost their home in such a large scale natural disasters, which government do you think do more and care more for their citizens in need? The so-called “autocratic” regime in Beijing, China or the so-called “democratic” and “human right” governments in USA and Australia?
Continue reading »

Aug 01

Going back to 11/09 when Obama made his historical trip to Shanghai and Beijing, things seems to go pretty well for both countries. Obama said: “The United States does not seek to contain China. On the contrary, the rise of a strong and prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.” Perhaps Obama spoke too soon.

It looks like 2010 will be the worst diplomatic relations between China and the US since 1989. It started with the censorship issue with google, then trying to isolate China from Iran’s with its nuclear program, the issue with the sinking of the Cheonan resulted in war games between South Korea and US in the Yellow sea. Perhaps these issues will come and pass, but there are more distressing issues in Southeast Asia. Continue reading »