Mindless reaction trumped by decency? And our next state member…

To take the second story first. Wollongong local member Noreen Hay is a bit of a legend around The Gong and beyond, but there is a very good chance she will be Gone Gong after March 28. The Libs are directing preferences to independent candidate Arthur Rorris, former South Coast Labour Council secretary.


Arthur Rorris and The Gong

See NSW election 2015: Wollongong candidate Arthur Rorris denies preference deal with Liberals.

“The Liberals now want another four years to hurt Wollongong even further and clearly the Liberals see the election of Mr Rorris as their best chance to keep cutting and selling,” Ms Hay said.

Mr Rorris described Ms Hay’s “shenanigans” as “too little, too late”.

“Noreen should forget about the Liberal preferences, frankly her biggest problem at the moment is the Labor Party members themselves who are sick of her and want her replaced,” Mr Rorris said.

“When members of her own party want to get rid of her, why can’t she just accept that people of other parties also want to get rid of her?

“The message Noreen Hay has had her day is what we’ve been hearing word-for-word from her own constituents.”

A sign of the times? People wearing Arthur Rorris t-shirts in the Diggers Club the other day. I’m tipping a Rorris win. Mind you, as Jim Belshaw said recently, NSW having optional preferential voting does make prediction less easy.

And now for Mindless reaction trumped by decency?

See this story in the Illawarra Mercury: Wollongong’s #illeatwithyou hashtag aims to eradicate Islamophobia.

Wollongong restaurant Samaras has hit back against calls to “boycott Islamic businesses” by launching an #illeatwithyou hashtag campaign to promote acceptance of different cultures and religions.

Restaurant owner Omar Nemer developed the idea after the Corrimal Street eatery was targeted by anti-Islamic abuse on social media, including criticisms of its halal-certified products.

Following an outpouring of support from the Illawarra community, Mr Nemer is asking diners to show solidarity by extending that same appreciation of multicultural cuisine to people of all backgrounds.

“The #illeatwithyou hashtag is about getting people to really think about and appreciate multiculturalism in the community, and sharing a love of food is a great way to do that,” he said….

He said he has been overwhelmed by the support he and his family has received since he took to Facebook to defend Samaras from racist abuse.

Among his supporters is community leader Grahame Gould, who is urging other Illawarra residents, business people and prominent figures to show zero tolerance for racism by attending an #illeatwithyou lunch at Samaras on Wednesday.

“I want to stop racist boycotts in their tracks; I want to show zero tolerance for that attitude within the community,” Mr Gould said. “It’s about fairness to individuals and giving people a fair go, which is a core Australian ideology.”…

What a crack-brained idea that was, “boycotting falafels”!  Let me mention that some of the best sausages I ever had were halal ones in Surry Hills, but further here are two takes on the current wave of hysteria around halal food.

First Peter FitzSimons: ‘Halal’ means jobs – boycott call is stupid.

The obvious point that it made perfect sense for Nestle to so mark their product when they are exporting to the likes of Indonesia seemed to escape [Alan] Jones, as he rose to new heights of fury, soon enough egged on by his listeners. To my amazement, this madness still goes on. This week I received a YouTube  clip via email that breathlessly showed how Coon cheese had the halal sign on the bottom side of the packet and, therefore, should be boycotted. When I pointed out the sheer, breathtaking stupidity of such a move to the person who sent it, I was told this was being a “leftist” Really? Is it really “leftist” to support Australia’s producers who wish to export their products, to make profits and support Australian jobs? No, I don’t believe the halal nonsense and neither should anyone, but it is an incontrovertible fact that many billions of people do, and if you want to sell food products to them you have to have it. So I’ll say it again: pull your heads from beneath the bowels of your ancient prejudices, and breathe the fresh air. It’s 2015 and the sun is shining!

Second, a debate that focuses on the animal cruelty argument against both halal and kosher slaughter methods is Should halal and kosher methods of slaughter be banned?  That really is worth reading, but the impetus behind the proposition to boycott Samaras and other “Islamic businesses” does not come, I suspect, from vegans or animal rights activists.

So full power to the #illeatwithyou hashtag campaign.

Imagine if they boycotted the falafel in Surry Hills, where I lived happily for around twenty years without ever being attacked by terrorists driven mad on halal sausages! See  my 2008 post Surry Hills 10: Little Lebanon:

There’s Abdul’s — great for takeaway…


Lebanese bread for Abdul’s…


A mosque nearby…