The 9pm Edict #18

Danger on the streets! Lock up your children! There’s not a moment to spare. Australians demonstrate their stupidity and complete lack of class by proposing fucked up names for satellites. And in an effort to become relevant to important media issues, a food review.

This episode’s lead topic is the report that NSW Police are lecturing parents who let their children walk to the shops or catch a bus on their own.

I counter this idiocy with the map showing how in just four generations children’s range of action has been cut from six miles to 300 metres, my own experiences as a child, and the Free Range Kids project.

We also hear the misery of entries into NBN Co’s “Name the Satellites” community involvement outreach PR project thingy, and review the wonder that is SunRice Thai Satay Chicken Sauce with Rice.

You can listen to the podcast below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733. Not that anyone ever does.

[Credits: Audio grabs from The Police’s Roxanne, SunRice Flavoured Quick Cups television commercial and the survival kit checklist Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove. The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. Special thanks to Neil Gardiner.]

R18+ computer games, finally, but little on cybercrime

Australia’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has been meeting in Adelaide these past two days. They’ve finally agreed to allow an R18+ classification for computer games. But I’m surprised to see they’ve said almost nothing about online crime.

In their Communiqué and Summary of Decisions [25kb PDF] they say:

R 18+ Classification for Computer Games

Ministers made a decision in principle, to introduce an R 18+ category for computer games. NSW abstained.

Ministers:

(a) agreed to take the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer games, as amended at the meeting, to their respective Cabinets

(b) agreed in principle, with the exception of the NSW Attorney General who abstained, that the Commonwealth introduce the proposed amendments to the National Classification Code to support the introduction of an R 18+ category

(c) agreed, with the exception of the NSW Attorney General who abstained, to commence drafting amendments to their enforcement legislation to reflect the introduction of an R 18 + category for computer games

(d) agreed that it would be desirable for classifications of existing games to be reviewed in light of the new classification Guidelines.

This leads to the interesting possibility that the federal government could legislate to create the R18+ category, but NSW could choose not to implement matching laws. The result would be that the games would be legal to sell everywhere in Australia except NSW.

A similar situation already exists for X-rated movies. The federal government passed the laws, but the states changed their minds later. So X-rated material is available in the ACT.

But as I say, there was precious little on cybercrime.

Continue reading “R18+ computer games, finally, but little on cybercrime”

Respect, please, NSW Police!

Respecting someone’s religious beliefs is something I though was basic etiquette. But apparently not so, according to NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher.

I have no idea who the women in the photo are. I cannot identify them. But I know that if I wanted to identify them, asking them to remove their burqas would cause offence.

If I needed to identify them, I know that in 2011 there are methods other than demanding they show their faces. They’re Muslim women, so I’m fairly sure that I could arrange for another Muslim woman to view their faces in private, without men present.

But this is how those aforementioned gentlemen’s views were explained in a NSW Police media release headed Police Commissioner meets Minister to close Burqa loophole earlier this evening:

Mr Scipione made the meeting a priority today, declaring the Carnita Matthews Appeal decision [my linkage] raised “real concerns” for police officers.

“The Minister and I are in total agreement that we need to take action to close this potential loophole and strengthen police powers to demand identification where necessary,” Mr Scipione said.

“We are working together to fix this issue and legislative change may be the answer,” the Commissioner added.

As I said on Twitter, I thought it might have been nice if the Commissioner and Minister had even just hinted that respect for people’s religious beliefs might enter into their thinking.

But apparently someone’s sincerely-held religious beliefs are a “real concern” and a “loophole”. We must change the laws so the police can ignore them. At least that’s what it sounds like.

I would like to think that this is simply a poorly-worded media release. After all, I respect the NSW Police for doing a difficult job that I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole and, looking at the world scale, I know they’re mostly on my side. Unlike some countries we could all name.

I would like to think that the police minister, being an experienced politician, knew how to balance the different factors at play in the community.

But this is the same police minister who reckons we shouldn’t worry that people are illegally arrested because police computer information is out of date. This doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

[Photo: Afghan women wearing their traditional burqas when going outside in northern Afghanistan, by Steve Evans. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]

Hey Barry O’Farrell, piss off out of Marrickville

Barry O’Farrell, I’ve got my eye on you. It’s one thing to start sorting out the mess left after a decade and half of NSW Labor government that was incompetent to the point of, I suspect, corruption. I’m sure we can all provide a list of folks whose bank and phone records we’d like to see pulled by ICAC. But that’s very different from threatening with sacking a local government body whose actions happen not to coincide with the interests of your mates in the pro-Israel cheer squad.

Yes, Marrickville Council decided to boycott Israel over that whole Palestine thing. So what? What business is that of yours as NSW Premier? None.

As an individual, I have the right to hold whatever political views I like. Freedom of thought and freedom of political expression are amongst the very few human rights we’ve properly protected here in Australia. Should I decide that some individual, group, business, organisation or nation holds views so repugnant that I’d rather not support them, then it’s my right not to do business with them.

As a proper, legally-constituted, legitimately-elected local government body — as a legal “person” — the Marrickville Council also has that basic legal right to choose who it does business with.

Now as it happens, I reckon Marrickville’s decision wasn’t terribly well thought through. As my colleague Josh Taylor over at ZDNet Australia points out, boycotting everything that comes out of Israel denies you access to the latest computing technology from Intel, amongst other things. The very fact that Marrickville Council didn’t respond to his questions but instead waved him off to a prepared statement at their website proves, in my opinion, that they don’t have the intellectual integrity or moral backbone to discuss and stand by their decision. By all means criticise them for that.

But until very recently I’d spent most of a decade as a citizen of Marrickville. Yes, there’s a certain idealistic leftism suffusing the place, if I may resort to that tediously tired old left-right classification. But from a resident’s perspective they got on with the job of delivering services with far fewer allegations of dodgy behaviour than certain Labor-dominated local councils I could name. Or Liberal-dominated councils, for that matter. Why isn’t your attention focussed on them?

So, Mr O’Farrell, unless you’ve got some prima facie evidence of corruption or misconduct on the part of Marrickville Council, piss off out of it. It’s up to the citizens of Marrickville to decide whether they do or don’t support their Council’s actions, no-one else’s.

You’ve got enough on your plate to be getting on with as it is, Mr O’Farrell. Get on with it.

The 9pm Edict #7

The 9pm EdictThe world’s sole remaining super power gets a healthcare system. Channel 10 pushes the heteronormative agenda. And Barry O’Farrell invents an entirely new criminal justice system based on who knows what.

Hello, possums! It’s late, but here’s an episode of The 9pm Edict.

You can listen to this episode below. But if you want them all, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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For more information on what I discussed tonight, check out The 7pm Project, Barry O’Farrell’s anti-graffiti plan, and pretty much any news outlet about Obama’s healthcare plan.

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]