Monday, March 25, 2013

Today I Got Angry

Mr John Carlile (JP)
Today, I received from an old friend an email she had forwarded, originally sent by Mr John Carlile JP, State President (Queensland Division) of the AFC and RAAF Association. The text of the email is below, complete with spelling and punctuation errors, as it was sent to me.

I took offence at this email because it is factually wrong, and while ever it is being circulated, it’s spreading emotionally charged lies about Anzac Day, about newly arrived Australians, and about our government.

It’s not the first time this has happened. A couple of years ago, a colleague sent me an email which detailed quite graphically the ”brutal nature of Muslims”. Of course, had my colleague thought to check, she would’ve learned that the email was a hoax and the pictures were staged. This email is not as bad as that, but Mr Carlile’s “facts” are rubbish, and frankly, I can’t understand why he didn’t indulge in a little fact-checking himself. It would not have been difficult: there is an entire website devoted to it.

Here's the email - on the other side, I'll check a few facts and see where we are.

Paragraph 1

I agree – questioning “why have an Anzac day” is entirely beyond the pale. How fortunate we are that no-one has asked that question. In fact, the report, prepared by consultants Colmar Brunton, makes the assumption from the beginning that the centenary of Anzac Day would be a major event. The importance of this milestone has never been questioned. Clearly Mr Carlile has not reviewed the report, or he would know that.

I can only assume that Mr Carlile’s reference to September 2013 is a reference to the Federal Election scheduled for September 14th. Sadly for Mr Carlile, if the Coalition wins government, it is unlikely to undo any of the work already gone into planning the Anzac Day Centenary.

Paragraph 2

According to the Herald-Sun newspaper, the cost of the report was not $500,000, but $370,000 dollars, and that is in line with a study of this kind. that, in turn, is acceptable prior to a project worth $83.5 million dollars, the estimated budget for the Anzac Centenary events. Now while Mr Carlile might like to think his time in the services gives him special insight into Anzac celebrations, he is incorrect. Anzac Day is for all Australians, not just him, and the general tone of his email suggests that he does not have his finger on the pulse of anything outside of the bar at the Bundy RSL.

Paragraph 2 goes on to suggest that the government spent half a millions on a report that found that “some people would be upset by celebrating Anzac day”. Again, I suggest that Mr Carlile reads the report he’s criticising. There is exactly one paragraph that deals with risks associated with multiculturalism, and it is under the heading “Risks and Issues to Consider”.

Multiculturalism: Commemorating our military history in a multi-cultural society is something of a double-edged sword. While the 100th anniversaries are thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognised as a potential area of divisiveness. There are strong views either way in terms of how to recognise any ‘non-Australian’ military service of those who now live here, and this lack of consensus is well known. It was clear that erring by making commemorations ‘overly politically correct’ would generate more negative reactions from the general public and in particular from ADF personnel and their families, but that the community does not know what recently arrived Australians think about the whole idea. This research did not explore the views of that group, and this is an area which we suggest could benefit from quite explicit further research, if not at this general stage, then certainly at the stage of any concept testing.

It is standard practise in any report prior to a major project that note is made of potential risks. That's all this is: one paragraph, making note of a risk, out of an 84 page report. You’ll see that the paragraph above states that new Australians were not consulted on this matter. Mr Carlile’s fear-mongering is completely without basis.

Paragraph 3

Yes, we do have a lot of different nationalities march on Anzac Day. No-one is suggesting that it should be otherwise.

Mr Carlile then talks about another $100,000+ dollars to investigate further. I’d like to know his source for that, because I can find no reference to it, other than Menzies House (see below). Mr Carlile then proceeds to show his class by referring to our government as a “bunch of commie bastards”. It’s lucky for Mr Carlile that he’s in Australia where he can speak like that about the Government. If we were governed by a pack of Commie Bastards, he’d probably be shot for those words.

It also occurs to me that as someone who served during the Vietnam War, I would've thought he'd know a lot more about "commie bastard" governments than to compare ours to that.

Paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7

This bullshit about toning down Anzac Day is a figment of Mr Carlile’s imagination. Furthermore, the Minister heading the Anzac Day Centenary activities, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon, and the Victorian RSL President Major General David McLachlan dismissed the claims that racial tensions could arise as a result of the Centenary.
The Victorian President of the RSL said he thought it must've been a comment raised in the Federal Government's $370,000 focus group, and it had subsequently "got some legs."

"Like all these things, you've got to be sensitive about it and do it in a proper way. But, if it's done in that way, I'm sure it will be very positive."
This is Mr Carlile, making up more stories to make us afraid. I thought that was Tony Abbott's schtick.

Even Prime Minister Gillard rejected the notion of divisiveness.

Paragraph 8

Aaahh yes, those “DAMN ILLEGAL immigrants” that our taxes support. It’s likely that Mr Carlile is referring to asylum seekers who most of us know are  not illegals. The Refugee Council of Australia explains it like this:
Asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are neither engaging in illegal activity, nor are they immigrants.

The UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory) recognises that refugees have a right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whether they hold valid travel or identity documents. The Convention stipulates that what would usually be considered as illegal actions (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

In line with our obligations under the Convention, Australian law also permits unauthorised entry into Australia for the purposes of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation.
As for new arrivals being offended by our Anzac Day traditions, I think that’s Mr Carlile’s imagination once again. I was unable to find a single instance reported, although there are always the warnings. I have, however, seen all sorts of men and women from around the world attending Anzac Day services and marches. They are honoured to be here.

I suppose this craziness has blown up again because Menzies House, a conservative “think tank” and online community, recycled the same report a few a weeks ago, and turned it into a whinge-fest. Once again, the mention of multiculturalism and potential danger is one paragraph in a risk assessment which is one page long, as part of an 84 page document.

The Menzies House article does mention that horrific sum of almost $500,000 (being the original $370,000 plus $105,000 for an additional report to fill in the gaps regarding recently arrived Muslims - or maybe to test the branding of the logo, depending on who you ask). Almost half a million dollars eh? Out of an estimated budget of $83.5 million dollars to stage the Anzac Centenary. Apparently that’s a huge amount when we’ve never had to pay anything before.

In all likelihood, we’ve never been planning the centenary of Anzac Day before either, and in case Mr Carlile or Allan of Menzies House is in any doubt, the centenary of Anzac Day will take a lot more organisation than the chook raffles they’re used to.

Now, would Mr Carlile like to send another email out to everyone on his mailing list, correcting the errors he made in his original email, and reminding them to read the source material before they make fools of themselves?


  1. Sadly, the internet is awash with rubbish e-mails like Mr Carlile's; all thoughtlessly forwarded by folks who are willing to believe anything that reinforces their fears and prejudices.

    A mate of mine had a job as electorate secretary to a federal Labor member. 90% of every day was spent responding to angry e-mails like this one forwarded from constituents to the member, demanding an explanation. He found it soul-destroying responding to the same e-mails, over and over, day after day.

    I'm pretty sure every federal member's inbox is the same. Thanks, Mr Carlile, JP (Qual).

  2. I particularly dislike the way that the authors (and "forwarders") of this kind of distasteful drivel try to make a virtue of their vicious, cowardly, racist and ignorant attitude and words by claiming to be "proud Aussies".

    I'm a proud Australian too - and this kind of filth makes me want to scratch my eyes out.

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  5. "Of course, had my colleague thought to check, she would’ve learned that the email was a hoax and the pictures were staged."

    Of course, had YOU also checked you would learn that this email is also a hoax and not written by Mr John Carlile JP.

    "The email was not written by me, I did not attach my name and details to it and I did not forward it to anyone. It is a hoax, I gather either someone dislikes me intensely or more likely someone has decided my name may give it some sort of authenticity although I don't know how. When the first person sent it to me I never read past the first few lines before I gave up in disgust. I do not send political rantings against any party or individual from my official RAAFA site.

    I would appreciate it if you did not forward the email and informed whoever sent it to you re my answer.

    John Carlile"

  6. Hey,
    I too have found that email. Surprising how many people forward it on, first because of its inflammatory nature, and secondly, without checking facts.
    I did see this on hoax slayer that Mr Carlile has said that he did not write that email

  7. Shameful and very common...