Saturday, September 22, 2012

Warren Entsch, Human Rights and the Australian Christian Lobby

The Hon. Warren Entsch MP, courtesy of
(Radio Interview attached after "The Jump")

It's not often that I'm stunned when I hear something that comes out of the mouth of a politician (or anyone for that matter), though an interview that I conducted with Warren Entsch in Parliament House about 10 days ago, most certainly knocked me for six. As a matter of fact, parts of the interview nearly brought me to tears. That says a lot, as I'm normally unflappable when it comes to controlling my emotions during various interviews.

As a lot of people have probably found out over the last few days due to the Marriage Equality debate, Warren Entsch is the Chief Opposition Whip for the Coalition in the Australian House of Representatives. He's also one of the most ardent supporters for Same-Sex and Gender Diverse rights within the Conservative movement in Australia. From raising the rights of a Gay SAS soldier with Prime Minister Howard to protecting a Transwoman who later became a Doctor in rural Australia, he's done a lot of stuff behind the scenes in order to protect minorities over the years, purely because he thinks it's the right and honourable thing to do.

As the Australian Christian Lobby's Jim Wallace found out recently, it also a role that he takes extremely seriously.

When I first walked into Warren Entsch's office on the Ground Floor of the “Reps” side of Parliament House, I honestly didn't know what to expect. While I'd met and dined with various Government and Shadow Cabinet officials in the past, I'd never actually interviewed one. From the Crocodile heads on his office Cabinet through to paintings of stockmen droving cattle on the wall though, I had a feeling that I could get some really touching, unique and honest content out of one of Australia's most respected rural politicians, if I played my cards right.  

What came next most certainly didn't disappoint.

(Audio from the interview and more after the jump!!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flags, Embassies, Ambassadors and 9/11

Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and other employees of the US State Department attached 2,996 miniature flags to the gates of the US Embassy in Canberra earlier today in order to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States of America. 

Ambassador Bleich reflecting on the victims of 9/11 at the US Embassy in Canberra (10-9-12)
The flag attachment ceremony was in preparation for the official September 11th commemoration events that will be taking place at the US Embassy tomorrow at 4-30pm. The main commemoration event will include remarks by both Ambassador Bleich and Foriegn Minister Bob Carr, followed by a presentation of flags by the U.S. Embassy’s Marine Security Guard Detachment.

Ambassador Bleich said that September 11 was a day of global signifigance, as a result of over 90 different countries losing citizens as a result of the attacks in Washington DC, Pennsylvania and New York City. The Ambassador then stated that he hopes that the world can reflect on the lessons learned from September 11 in a way that benefits humanity as a whole.

During the following press conference the Ambassador also answered questions in regards to newly proposed internet regulations that would be used to counter state-sanctioned and individual terrorist acts, as well as international criminal syndicates.

Audio -- Press Conference and flag-planting ceremony --

“We believe in an unfiltered internet, as it is the key to drawing nations together and that we do understand one another. There's an old saying that sunlight is the greatest disinfectant, and so we want an open internet.
At the same time we also understand that the internet can be used by criminal networks and by nation states in dangerous ways, so we are working to strike the right balance.”