Monday, December 29, 2008

Not allowed - We control what you can view

Yesterday while in the Virgin Lounge in Brisbane waiting for my flight to Sydney I connected to Virgin's wireless network and connected to various sites.

However when I tried to connect to one of our company sites I found I was not able to as the site was classified as Adult Content.

I was not even able to continue but presented with a username and password option which of course I wasn't able to access.

As a test I thought I would check out other sites and started moving to gay personals sites which I thought might be picked up but they were okay.

I even tried a couple of lesser known gay porn sites and they were fine.

Of course I actually managed to access our site via another means - in this case the site was aliased to another web address on our server so I could access it - but the alternative of using a proxy server would have worked just as well. 

I have emailed Virgin 24 hours ago but are waiting a reply.

It is interesting this censorship, lack of ability to complain and general removal of legitimate sites from the internet without our knowledge.

As a side note both Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue are both listed on with direct weblinks to their website. 

This is not the only airline filtering the internet access for lounge members - Air New Zealand's Koru club is filtering the internet as well.

What was even more interesting looking at the filtering software it seemed to be based in the USA. 

My real question is what else is filtered and why is filtering needed at all when the terms and conditions clearly don't put any liability on Virgin Blue.

I will update when I get a response from Virgin but would be interested if anyone has any experiences like this with other airlines.

This filtering is much like the Australian government filtering it is a total waste of money and effort and ultimately causes more frustration with falsely blocked sites, slower services and some big unanswered questions about what is been blocked.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flashback: Blam Blam Blam

"There is no depression in New Zealand" was a great song from Blam Blam Blam released in July 1981. Been released on the eve of the 1981 Springbok tour it summed up the feeling of a lot of New Zealand at the time.

It brings back some great student day memories.

Hard to believe it would be 5 more years before gay sex would be legal in New Zealand.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

SMS Scammers - follow the money

As they say when an offer looks to good beware.

It would seem this is particularly true on gay personal websites with a rise of scammers trying to get your personal information. 

There appears to be an Australian company actively seeking your mobile number so they "trick" you into signing up to premium text services.

They are normally easy to spot and involve setting up fake profiles then after a few messages seeking your mobile number on the grounds they want to contact you. Will be aware they sure do but the only thing they want contact with is your wallet.

The scammers all seem to be connected to an Australian company and you can see a sample of the scam comments with a simple search of google " & scam"

I am suprised they are still in operation. They must continue making money and mobile phone companies seem to be unwilling to close them down while they make money from these premium services.

Fortunately there are a things you can do if you get one of these messages.

1) Record a complaint with your phone company. Request that your phone be blocked from all premium services and ask them why they continue to allow these companies to operate as they are clearly in breach of the premium services code of conduct.

2) Lodge a complaint with the local authority which manages communications - If you within Australia you can report it here While this authority doesn't have jurisdiction outside Australia loding a complaint with them would still be a good idea as this company is based in Australia.

3) Report the profile to the website where you think they got your mobile number from.

You can also check more details on any phone numbers by looking at:

I am still suprised there is so little publicity about this type of scam in the gay media and would be really interested in hearing about others caught out by this type of scam.

Lets expose the scum for who they are so drop me a comment below.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NZ on Screen

NZ on Air have set up NZ on Screen where you can catch and watch a lot of New Zealand content.

Some interesting items on the site with some gay and lesbian content including:

There is a lot of other interesting NZ Material on the site and it is great to be able to access someof the  NZ film and television archives on demand and free of charge.

Website: NZ on Screen

Monday, October 06, 2008

GABA Scholarship non story

Russell Brown last week discussed a recent Listener article entitled Gay Wrongs?

In this article Mary Jane Boland accused the Education Minister Chris Carter of supporting discriminationary practice in that GABA has announced a single new $2000 tertiary education scholarship offered to a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender student.

Mary Jane Boland went on to attack Chris Carter as the patron of GABA for supporting this sort of discrimanation against straight students.

Sadly Mary Jane Boland just showed the lack of research which Russell Brown highlighted the July 2008 issue of women only scholarships and was published in Salient Newspaper and said:

Section 150 of the Human Rights Act 1993 states clearly that the unlawful discrimination provisions of the act do not apply to charitable benefits.

I would have to agree with Russell's closing comments:

This crappy little story speaks of everything that's wrong with the Listener now. The next thing Mary Jane Boland writes should be an apology.

Sadly in the letter's sections Mary Jane Boland continues  to defend her lack of research and lack of incompetence when Chris Lawrence careful points out that she had her key assumption wrong in that charitable trust are perfectly entitled to discriminate. In his letter he concludes:

The article strongly implied that the trustees of a philanthropic trust, and someone holding public office, have behaved inconsistently with the Human Rights Act. On this false basis, the article then gave Rodney Hide and Anne Tolley the chance to attack Carter and, by extension, the Government.
Mary Jane Boland responds:
Lawrence is correct. None of the experts interviewed – including those at the Human Rights Commission – explained charitable trusts are exempt from the act. However, two questions remain: should charities remain exempt and should a minister of the Crown from any party - especially an Education Minister - support a scholarship that benefits some pupils over others? 
So Mary shows what a useless journalist she is. If she had actually done some simple research she would have found out the answer to the question before wasting any one's time with this pathetic piece of journalism. 

It took me less than two minutes online to find the Human Rights Commission website - type in the word Scholarship on their website and there for me to read was their July 2008 ruling on scholarships

Finally what of your other questions:

Should charities remain exempt - will this is a totally different question and not even raised in your article because you were so ignorant as not to know this fact. It would have been interesting to have an article about this but you didn't raise it so stop trying to raise it in your defense now.

Should the minister not be Patron of GABA because of this scholarship. I think not. He didn't maket this decision and if the scholarship is lawful then no reason to resign at all.

Finally I have discovered by a simple bit of online research that Mary Jane Boland is the Deputy Editor of the Listener - lets just say if this is the level of journalism by their deputy editor then The Listener is in a serious bad state. It certainly isn't the weekly magazine which was the home to good quality journalism and research that I remember when I lived in New Zealand.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I am not homophobic!

This week the Employment Relations Authority report released in which it said the following about Sean Mitchell, Action Media Publisher and Owner:

"[his] conduct was "infantile", and the resulting situation was his own fault"
Mr Mitchell then contacted where he is quoted as follows:

"I've got no problem with people reading the story, that's fine, but the whole embarrassing thing is that I'm actually not a homophobe and they make it sound like I'm being nasty."

"I am happy to talk to anyone to show that I am not homophobic in the slightest. That's the only part of the story that I find personally upsetting,"
While there is always two sides to the story I get the feeling that Mitchell is as "infantile" as the report suggests as he doesn't get it that making offensive gay jokes is not appropriate behaviour for a manager. His claim he is not homophobic also has the feeling of some of my best friends are gay but then continues to make anti gay jokes after he has been asked to stop making them.

In the story on his biggest worry is that he appears to be homophobic and not that he has been called infantile. I am happy to accept his claim he isn't homophobic as he appears to be too infantile to even understand that his actions would be percieved as homophobic.

So based on Mitchell's comments it is okay to call him "infantile"!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Condoms - Do you want Strawberry or extra large?

Pharmac this week announced that condom subsidies would now include strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and banana condoms, as well as large, extra large, ribbed and supersensitive varieties.

In defending the move Pharmac announced that the overall cost of funding the 9million presubscribed condoms would drop by 10%.

Of course the conservative Family First group was mortified by this move and demanded public executions and spouted their usual nonsense about Pharmac funding pleasure, etc.

"It is tragic and a national disgrace that at a time when Pharmac can't find funding for sufferers of breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious problems, that they can find funding to subsidise flavoured condoms," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

"This is not a health and safety issue. It's not about preventing unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. This is simply about funding sexual behaviour that shouldn't be at the cost of the taxpayer or other more life-threatening medication."

It is a typical anti sex nonsense from Family First where sex must be confined to a marriage. Bob of course lives a dream world if he thinks this ever will occur. So the reality is people have sex and will continue to have sex with different people. The more of those people who have sex with condoms the lower the risk of transmission of STDs and HIV transmission amongst the sexually active population.

And if condoms are not used because they are too expensive or not available in the right size or because guys don't like wearing them then there will be a serious increase in STDs and HIV infection which will in the long prove to cost a lot more than the $1m a year.

The other bit Bob missed was that Pharmac actually was reducing the overall spend but offering a wider variety of condoms which are already funded. Personally I thought Pharmac had achieved a miracle by doing this and should be congratulated for reducing costs and thus providing more funds for other drugs.

Monday, August 11, 2008

HIV and sex

Today a judge gave a suspended sentence to Lam Kuoth after he had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of recklessly endangering another person.

Various media have picked it up with the Geelong Advertiser headline reading "Reckless HIV lover walks free"

What I find interesting about this case is that the women he had unprotected sex with was 24 and appears to have freely consented to sex.

I find it worrying that a 24 year old women wouldn't insist on him wearing a condom and wonder why this is the case and why she appears to be willing to have unprotected sex. She should be will aware of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and I find it disturbing that she didn't take some responsibility and insist on protection.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ignorance alive and well

Two recent and unrelated outbursts connecting been gay with been a pedophile shows prejudice and ignorance is alive and well in both New Zealand and Australia.

The outburst in New Zealand was not that surprising coming from Garth Taylor - a member of a conservative Christian group in small town New Zealand.

"They are offering a gay service as well. Most paedophiles are homosexuals, and you know we don't want to bring that here. " - Residents revolt at the idea of a brothel
Mr Taylor clearly shows his ignorance and prejudices.

Even worse however was Jeff Kennett's comments supporting the sacking of a gay trainer.

Mr Kennett said it was as if the club had a pedophile trainer.

"It's the same if you have a pedophile there as a masseur, right?"

"And you might say the pedophile would do no damage, but once it was pointed out to you, you have a duty of care to those underage children not to put them in a situation of risk."

As a former Liberal premier of Victoria one wouldn't expect this sort of nonsense been spouted from his mouth equating been gay with been a pedophile.

Ken Campagnolo is has taken the Bonnie Doon Football Club to court for been sacked for been gay was appalled by Kennett's comments.

"I am not a pedophile. Does that mean every straight male doctor cannot treat any female patient?" he said.

Sadly Kennett's comments shows homophobia is alive and well in Australia.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


On the Queers United blog the Word of the Gay recently was "Buggery".

Of course in New Zealand and Australia the word Bugger is used more as a profanity rather than reference to sodomy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Walk Like A Man - SBS Tuesday.

Great to see a documentary on Tuesday night on SBS at 7:30pm about the Sydney Convict's and Bingham Cup.

Walk Like A Man is a real life drama about real men grunting it out on the sports field; blood, sweat and queers!

Great to see this documentary on at peak time on SBS.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Naked Rugby

Moved to

WYD - This isn't annoying

World Youth Day has arrived in Sydney and as an event it is a real misnomer.

Firstly is a week long event so not sure why it is called a day.

Secondly the concept of "World" is very narrow - effectively it is a Roman Catholic event - so don't bother coming if you are Muslim, Greek Orthodox, gay, feminist, believe in abortion rights, condoms and lots more.

Thirdly the church is still dealing badly with the issues of illegal activities by some of the "celibate" male clergy. It is time the church actually stopped listening to it's legal advisers and actually took some action against the priests and acted with compassion to the victims rather than trying to protect the church finances.

To make matters worse the despised NSW State government passed regulations which make it an offence to be "annoying" to a WYD Participate.

That has generated a lot of discussion and helped the various groups who will protest the Pope's visit - see the No to Pope Coalition website.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Simply Queer

I stumbled on this new blog - Simply Queer - I have really enjoyed reading it - it speaks of a positive attitude to life which touched me and reminded me of the joy of living.

It is easy at times to get worn down with day to day life but it is the little things that touch you. It was like when I was back in New Zealand for my father's funeral that the warmth of family friends who I hadn't seen for 20 plus years reminded me of the importance of community.

It is sometimes easy when you live in a large city like Sydney to feel isolated from the rest of the world. Oh you have work and friends but your social circle is tight and limited. When you go back to a small town you find people generally warm and welcoming.

I think that is why New Zealand has moved ahead of Australia in recognition of gay rights in that New Zealand is one small community - it isn't six degrees of separation but two - so everyone knows someone who knows someone who is gay. It might be their aunt or uncle, brother or sister or a close friend. That is why you can drive through small towns and find a rainbow flag and a small cafe operated by two gay guys, etc.

I just feels so reaffirming of humanity that the acceptance is there. It also means those who try to decry gays as evil have less of a hearing.

Yes small towns can be someone hard to grow up and can at times feel stiffling they do offer some opportunities if you are willing to be open about who you are.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

NZ Gay Male History

Chris Brickell was interviewed by Kim Hill this Saturday about his book - New Zealand gay male history: Mates & Lovers.

The audio will be online for a few weeks so take a listen to the interview while it is online.

It is a fascinating interview into his new book which explores gay male history.

Chris Brickell is a senior lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Otago.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

HIV is still a big deal

A good video from the US on HIV - by HIV Big Deal

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two Queer Blogs

Nothing like a wet day to find some interesting blogs. Two which caught my attention were:

Simply Queer - "Living Simply, Living Queer"

An interesting new blog which explores issues from a queer perspective. Some great posts on forgiveness, money, showing gratitude and more.. It is a new blog but on my must read list.

Queers United - The activist blog Uniting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual community & Allies in the fight for equality.

While a USA Queer perspective it has some interesting blogs and does cover international issues.

Do you have a favourite blog then just add a comment.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Queer Cents

Queercents -
We’re here, We’re queer, and
We’re not going Shopping without Coupons

This is a great site with some good financial advice.

While North American in focus makes an interesting read and has some great ideas on how to save money and some of the issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Check it out at

Monday, June 09, 2008

Police drop charges against Bill Henson

As I speculated when they seized Bill Henson's photos police have decided not proceed with prosecution.

Interesting the police finally have acknowledged they received only 3 complaints and that the case was likely to be fraught with difficulty. Basically instead of going to the censor for advice they seemed to be driven by talk back radio hysteria. Of course Hetty Johnston wasn't satisfied and the politicians didn't act much better.

In further news this week the arrest of a number of men who accessed child pornography and were been arrested in the past week. The men charged include a police man. Worse still was the disgusting outburst from the Queensland National MP, Vaughan Johnson. This MP seems to pandering to the talk back lynch mob mentality.

I have to agree with Terry O'Gorman, vice-president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties who said:

"Politicians are supposed to provide some leadership. He is happy to lead from the gutter and he should be seen in that light."
In addition a senior police official was arrested this week for conspiring to import drugs.

Hopefully the media and the politicians will let this suspect get a fair trial.

Finally lets not forget the actions of NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca and his wife, local federal MP Belinda Neal.

Oh you have to love Australia sometime!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Art Censorship

Been an interesting few days in Sydney with photos been seized by the police from the walls of an art gallery on the grounds that the art work is pornographic.

While I won't comment on the case what is disturbing is how the politicians are jumping on the bandwagon of condemning the art works - which clearly shows how morally conservative the government is in Australia.

We have the following comments from various politicians:

"Kids deserve to have the innocence of their childhood protected. Whatever the artistic view of the merits of this sort of stuff - frankly I don't thing there are any - just allow kids to be kids." - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

"These images were simply not appropriate. This exhibition not only crossed the line but jumped right over it. This is not a debate about censorship - it's about human decency and the moral codes by which we live and raise our kids" - NSW Premier Morris Iemma.
The only politicians to support he artist against the police action has been the Greens and the general art community has been supportive.

As for the complainant - Hetty Johnston - check out the following Google searches plus Braveheart - Hetty Johnston:
It will be an interesting week to see if the police actually do attempt to prosecute anyone over the pictures. To be honest I think if any charges are brought they will be dropped as were the charges against the Chaser Comedy team for their APEC stunt

Interesting today a simple browse in bookshops found images of naked children in a number of photography books - most were actually of babies or other non european children. So based on the Hetty Johnston and the NSW Police those bookshops should also be prosecuted and those books banned.

Whatever the merits or not of the photos the most disturbing aspect of this whole case is how the politicians have weighed in arguing strongly against the photos in what seems to be a talk back lead censorship campaign. Then again I really don't expect much better from Kevin Rudd when he won't even allow Civil Union celebrations and as for Morris Iemma the only reason he is the still the state premier is because the opposition Liberals have been taken over by right wing morale conservatives who no one wants.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Australian Women Bishop

The Australian Anglican church finally has consecrated a women Bishop bringing it as some commentators have said into the 20th century.

Of course Sydney’s Archbishop Peter Jensen did not attend the consecration.

Of course the usual conservative elements have warned of doom and gloom with one Bishop Harry Entwistle saying:

An Anglican splinter group has warned that the consecration of Perth Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy as Australia’s first woman bishop tonight will pave the way for the appointment of openly gay priests and further deepen the rift between Church factions.

He said openly gay clergy would follow female bishops “as night follows day”, as had been the case in some parts of the US and Canada.
What is so funny about his comments is that he uses the the words "openly gay" (or was that just a misquote.)

If it isn't then one has to assume he thinks closeted gay men are ok (or maybe if they are celibate) but certainly not if they have an actual male partner and are honest about that fact.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

International Day Against Homophobia

Today is International Day Against Homophobia and it is still sad that we still need to have a day to try to combat homophobia.

While things are a lot better in a lot of countries and California now recognises gay marriage there is still a long way to go.

In the last couple of weeks I have been travelling and was interested in a comment someone made about Fiji and homophobia. It made me stop and think should I be travelling to a country as a gay man where that country has either laws discriminating against gays or there is an undertone of homophobia.

On reflection I think it doesn't matter where you travel you will always find things which you wouldn't necessary agree with at home but by meeting with people you actually make a difference.

I think it is also true if you actually make the effort to talk to your enemy you might find at least an understanding.

Some issues that I would hope take a step forward in the World this year are:

  • Removal of the death penalty for been gay in any country
  • Lifting of the HIV+ Travel ban for visitors to the USA
  • Gay Marriage or Civil Unions for Australia
  • Removal of discrimination in law in Australia in at least 58 areas
  • And end to people's homophobia - I really can't understand what they fear from gay people.
Finally take a read of Ian comment in Gay Market News about IDAHO and a recent survey. He is right to be concerned about a survey in which one in four respondents presumably did think being gay is an illness. Read Gay Market News for more details.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Without your consent

The Australian government is drafting new legislation to allow employers to read an employee's emails without consent.

The government is saying the legislation is required to protect the internet from cyber attack.

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, said the legislation was needed because:

"It's unquestionable that it's necessary from time to time for network supervisors to open emails addressed to people to identify viruses and the like …

"There needs to be protocols and guidelines developed so companies can protect their own networks.

I have to wonder what planet Mr McClelland lives on. Any good IT department needs no legislation of this sort as they will already have in place good security protocols to isolate suspect emails and any emails with viruses. A good IT department will also have a means to identify suspicious activity on their network without reading everyone's emails.

The reality is that in fact it is home users and small businesses who are more likely to have compromised computers which are used in Cyber attacks.

Thankfully there is some sensible comments from Dale Clapperton.

Dale Clapperton, the chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia, a non-profit group concerned with the rights of individual internet users, was unimpressed.

"These new powers will facilitate fishing expeditions into employees' emails and computer use rather than being used to protect critical infrastructure," Mr Clapperton said.

"I'm talking about corporate eavesdropping and witch-hunts … If an employer wanted to bone [sack] someone, they could use these powers."
This proposed legislation follows hot on the heels of the proposed filtering of the internet.

An Island Calling

A new documentary by Annie Goldson relates the 2001 murder of John Scott and Greg Scrivener in Fiji.

The movie explores the relationship of church, the homophobic comments made by the Fijian authorities and the tragic death of two gay men.

It is a documentary well worth watching and if you are in a major centre in New Zealand you will be able to see it at the cinema or wait till later in the year when it will be on TV3.

An Island Calling

News about the murder of John Scott and Gregory Scrivener at their home in Suva, Fiji in 2001

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Internet for better or worse.

FH Out has an interest blog today:

How the internet changed gay society: for better or worse?

It links to interesting news report on the UK Channel 4 More4News.

It raises some interesting points but seems to assume that social networking sites started with Gaydar in 1999. Of course there were gay social networking sites before this on the internet with IRC and before that Gay bulletin boards. Then there were the phone chat lines during the 80s and 90s as well. Let's not forget the beats, cottages, beaches, saunas and other places to pick up guys which have existed for ever.

Whatever one has to say I would say the internet has been a huge step forward for gay and lesbian visibility and for helping people to discover their sexuality - whatever that may be - and also other people who are similar interests so you don't feel alone no matter who or where you are.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Four new kiwi blogs

Four new kiwi gay blogs have just been launched on

David Herkt - Works for Me

David is well remember from the nz.soc.queer newsgroup during the 90s writing his Regular Saturday Morning Post.

He has undertaken a number of projects - best covered by Poneke's review of David's new blog.

His first post is direct and to the point wondering what has happened to HIV campaigns and has already generated comments.

David's post as always will be interesting and often provocative.

Michael Stevens - The Gay Blade

Michael is well known in Auckland and his blog reflects this. His first two posts support NZAF against criticism from Express Newspaper. His next post is about HERO and wonders what has happened to it.

Craig Young - Proclamations of the Red Queen

Craig has written extensively online about religion and politics and the glbt communities. Already a number of posts covering a range of topics. Craig is already a major contributor on

Kitten Power - Listen Up

Here is a new voice which I haven't seen before - and good to see a 20's dyke posting - I will be watching her blog with interest.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Racist gay response

The Sydney Morning Herald picked up a disturbing undertone in the current debate about recent homophobic bashings:

The bashing of Craig Gee, of Redfern, two months ago sparked outrage in the gay community, and a boil-over of tensions between the state's peak gay organisations, local police and Aboriginal groups after police reports described Mr Gee's attackers as Aboriginal.

Anger was also fuelled by the poster used to publicise the street protest, a "Reclaim the right … to be who you are" rally to be held on Australia Day in Harmony Park, next to Surry Hills police station.

The red, militaristic posters depict a phalanx of muscle men holding red flags on steel poles.

The images have been described as racist. The event's organiser withdrew the poster from public display last night.

Chris Lawrence, an Aboriginal Redfern resident who is gay, said the posters depicted "a sea of white gay men". He said coverage of gay bashings by a local gay and lesbian newspaper, the Sydney Star Observer, risked inspiring a racist backlash.

"Our concern is that the paper is beating the story up in a racial way and it risks reprisals against Aboriginal people who are homeless and frequent Oxford Street," he said. Mr Lawrence said he had never been abused for his sexuality in 16 years in Redfern. "The only abuse I've had is [for being Aboriginal] from a few white gay guys."

Another inner-city gay resident, Andre Rispler, said the poster was over the top. "To me it reads as if it is fascist and militant … If I saw images likes this over and over again I'd be concerned."

An example is the following two letters published in Sydney Star Observer below are disturbing for the underlying racist undertones:

by Fred from Surry Hills | 16/01/2008 6:41:11 PM


I personally never felt that I had to say sorry for past generational actions against indigenous Australians.

When the gay community marched in support of various indigenous causes I was neutral.

During the last year there have been many incidents involving indigenous persons that have made me more non-committed to the push to say sorry.

After reading reports in SSO re the alleged perpetrators of the brutal bashings of Craig and Shane being of Aboriginal appearance, I have no intention in the current or near future of having any sympathy for the push to say sorry.

It appears that some of the Aboriginal community feel we can be treated like they often treat their own race. I say shame on the perpetrators of the recent bashings.

by Jon from Cremorne | 16/01/2008 6:39:51 PM


It has made me so angry to read that the suspected perpetrators of this crime are Aboriginal males.

If this is the case the Aboriginal community should be very disturbed and ashamed of what has happened.

What gives one minority group the right to attack another minority group?

Obviously there is a need for the Aboriginal leaders in the community to take a good look at what their expectations are from other non-indigenous community members and identify where they obviously fail to educate their community in mutual respect.

Shame on you. This attack has seriously eroded any respect I had for the local Aboriginal community.

While the attacker may have been an aborigine in this case, he could equally have been a "white" Australian.

If one wants to look for people to blame for the rise of homophobic violence it should be directed at the "Christian" and political leaders who deny gays equal rights and in worse cases demean gays (and normally at this stage gay men).

While the violence is often undertaken by young men it is driven by what respected leaders in their local church, politicians, etc say or don't say about gays having equal rights.

While violence is never acceptance neither is jumping to the conclusion that all aborigines are gay bashers which some gays seem to be implying in their comments.

Yes it is okay to get angry but direct the anger where it belongs:
  • at the police for their inaction
  • politicians for not supporting equal rights for gays
  • church leaders who portray gays as second class citizens.

Oxford St Woes

There have been increasing reports of homophobic bashings and incidents in what was Sydney's golden mile gay district - Oxford St.

This has been extensively discussed in the gay media but is also been picked up by the mainstream media making page one of the Sydney Morning Herald with the headline:

Unhappy days for strip where the city parties
There is currently a lot of frustration with what seems to be no effective response from the Surry Hills police who patrol this area.

Anyone who visits Oxford Street in recent times will notice the decline with the number of restaurants gone and gay venues closed - this really starting happening in 2000 and can be traced back to the financial collapse of Mardi Gras, the Gay Games in 2002 and the collapse of the Satellite Media.

While some gay venues have thrived the number has shrunk and a number of straight nightclubs have opened.

What is clear is if one is out in Surry Hills you should take a taxi home as a number of the incidents have happened within a few blocks of the main area.

What else can be done:

  • Go out with friends and make sure you all get home safely
  • If something doesn't feel right look for an exit, cross the street, etc.
  • Report all incidents no matter how minor to the police
  • Persist and follow up incidents
  • If you go home with someone text a friend to let them know where you are going.
  • Attend the "Reclaim the Right" community vigil in Harmony Park (next to Police Headquarters) in Surry Hills from 4pm 26th Jan.
There is some other worrying trends with some of the responses focused on the race of those who have been captured on video bashing gays. What should violence can come from anyone (though it is generally male) and from any age (though it is often younger men).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Gay Out 8 Years old

The press release announcing the 8th Big Gay Out makes one realise how far ahead New Zealand is in acceptance of gay rights compared to Australia.

It is hard to believe that it is almost expected that the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will attend the Big Gay OUT as she has previously. It wouldn't be surprising if the National Party leader, John Key, also attended given 2008 is an election year.

One can go back over 10 years to the Hero Parade to remember that when opposition leader Helen Clark attended the parade and when Jenny Shipley became Prime Minister she also attended in 1999.

Meanwhile in Sydney Mardi Gras enters it's 30th year. It will be interesting to see if with the change in government does the Prime Minister attend any of the functions in 2008. Hopefully unlike his predecessor there will be at least a message of support.

Let's see what happens in 2008 and if Australia is ready to enter into the debate around civil unions and equal rights that New Zealand has had in the past ten years.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

China Filtering for Australia

Australia is looking at introducing mandatory filtering of the internet in a similar method to China and Singapore.

For those wanting an unfiltered internet they will have to request their ISP to provide them an unfiltered stream.

Now this may seem ok but what isn't clear is what will actually be filtered - i.e. who decides what is on the black list - and how one objects to something been on the black list.

The only major issue is why the internet needs to be filtered for adults. Adults can easily avoid anything on the internet they do wish to see by simply not clicking on it. Issues such as the trade of child pornography can already be managed by existing controls and laws. Unless one actually goes searching for illegal adult material it is unlikely you will actually stumble on - even if you do a simple click takes you back to legal material.

The filtering system as proposed is easy to avoid as a number of news articles have demonstrated. In fact it is likely that the filter will only stop adults not their tech savy children.

What it also does is give parents a false sense of security as ultimately children are smart enough to work around the filter and the system won't be perfect. One only has to look at email spam filters to see that.

Some important questions have to be answered around the whole filtering process which include:

  • Who manages the blacklist
  • Can anyone view the blacklist to remove a site from the blacklist
  • How will sites get off the blacklist
  • Who will have access to those people who request to be removed from the filtering system.
So if you are in Australia send off emails to your MP now and make some noise.

And if it does get introduced get the filtering removed by your ISP.

US Conservative News - 2007

I am never sure whether to laugh or cry at what passes as US conservative news.

The top 10 under reported articles in 2007 according to is a very interesting list. The list is below:

  1. Developments moving U.S. and continent closer to a North American Union
  2. Bush's refusal to pardon imprisoned Border Patrol Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were prosecuted by the president's friend, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton
  3. Research refuting man-made global warming
  4. Lack of action on border fence mandated by Congress
  5. California bill introducing homosexuality to young children
  6. Hillary and her felonious fundraising
  7. Illegal aliens who rape, murder, kill driving drunk, commit voter fraud, welfare fraud and burden the system
  8. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation from the Senate Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, which she chaired, amid a conflict of interest due to her husband's ownership of two major defense contractors
  9. Progress of Law of the Sea Treaty
  10. Syria's alleged WMDs and Israel's attack
An interesting list indeed which really shows they fear anything that isn't the same as them. These poor people are going to be in for a hard 2009, if as the polls predict, the Democrats win the presidential election.