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Rodney Lawrence in court charged with cold case murder of Elizabeth Dixon

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Elizabeth Dixon was found slumped across the front seat of her own car in the bush. Photo: Police Media Police at the scene where Elizabeth Dixon was murdered in 1982. Photo: Allan Jolly
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Detective Sergeant Frank Tracey investigated the death of Elizabeth Dixon in 1982. Photo: Chris Cole

A man charged with the murder of Elizabeth “Betty” Dixon in Newcastle 33 years ago has appeared in Maitland Local Court.

Ms Dixon’s body was found slumped across the front seat of her car in bush near Ashtonfield in Newcastle’s north-west in 1982. An autopsy found she had suffered 27 stab wounds.

Rodney Lawrence, 64, from Stockton, made no application for bail as he was led into court in handcuffs on Thursday.

Duty solicitor Peter Cleaves told magistrate John Chicken: “I cannot be in a position today to make a substantial bail application.

“This warrants a bail application and my suggestion is that next week in Newcastle I can be in a position to make that application.”

The magistrate formally refused bail and Lawrence was remanded in custody, to appear by way of audio visual link in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday next week.

Bearded, with a moustache, Lawrence was dressed in jeans and a dark jacket.

According to police papers tendered to the court, Lawrence murdered Ms Dixon at Ashtonfield between April 3 and 4, 1982.

Ms Dixon flew from Northern Ireland in 1979 for a year in and decided to stay.

The Saturday before Easter in 1982, Ms Dixon, 31, left the Greenhills Hit-N-Dip Sports Centre, where she was a regular squash player, and vanished.

She was known to have made a quick visit to some nearby shops and possibly went back to her flat in Metford.

The following Monday, a jogger found her body.

A murder investigation continued sporadically until Lawrence was arrested on Wednesday.

The suspect, who was a well-known Maitland sportsman in 1982, was arrested at his home at Stockton and taken to Maitland police station for questioning.

The Maitland Mercury, Newcastle Herald

End of an era with Rozelle Markets takeover by Blue Sky Markets Pty Ltd

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Jeanne Albrecht (right) with her daughter Ilana Albrecht at Rozelle Public School. Photo: Kate GeraghtyAfter 25 years, Jeannie Albrecht’s project is over. The P&C mum who started the Rozelle Markets out of her own car is being edged out by the pros.
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It was announced earlier this week that the department of education will turf out Mrs Albrecht in favour of Blue Sky Markets, a company which has about 10 market businesses in Queensland and NSW.

“It’s very important not to squash someone who’s worked very, very hard, and not just for themselves, and discard them” said Mrs Albrecht. “Take away a piece of community here and a piece there and soon you have something soulless”.

Mrs Albrecht began the weekend market in 1991, after the success of a P&C car-boot sale. She shook hands with the principal on a deal to use school land on weekends in exchange for rent.

She threw in her life savings, took out a loan and hung tough through lean days with her daughter Larna who sold grassy heads made out of old stockings.

The site has since grown into Sydney’s major second-hand market and Mrs Albrecht says one-third of her stalls are set aside for casual community stalls.

But last year a Department of Education decree stated that all schools’ commercial arrangements be reviewed and opened to tender.

“It’s a hobby and my passion,” said Blue Sky owner Ross Alexander.

Rozelle will make for Blue Sky’s 10th market property, including in Bondi, Manly and (after similar tender takeovers) in Chinatown and Brisbane.

His critics argue Mr Alexander’s approach gives markets a samey feel and they fear stallholders will be squeezed.

Mr Alexander says he has not raised stallholder fees in the past and is ruling out any at Rozelle. He wants to maintain the market’s bric-a-brac feel and says he profits only by making markets better in the long-term and offering landowners a better deal.

“We got a very well known designer to come up with a brand for what Chinatown is,” he said.

Mr Alexander says that his operation will give the school a fairer share of revenue. “If it’s a commercial operation in a school then I think that’s important”.

But some stallholders are not happy.

Lesley Fairbairn, who has sold second-hand books, bric-a-brac and miscellany at Rozelle since its beginning says she will not work for new management.

A signal example of the difference in management styles, stallholders say, is Mrs Albrecht collects her rent on the morning of the markets. That means they don’t pay for rainy days, which can be the bane of a stallholder’s life.

Blue Sky collects in advance.

“The idea that someone comes round collecting cash these days…,” Mr Alexander said. “There’s a major security issue, I don’t think it’s appropriate to put staff in that position”.

Sydney man Zane Alchin likely to plead guilty to harassing slut-shame protesters

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Zane Alchin is expected to plead guilty. Photo: Nick MoirMan charged over slut shaming, harassment of Sydney woman for her Tinder profile
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A Sydney man will likely plead guilty to harassing women who defended their friend from online slut-shaming, a court has heard.

Zane Alchin​, 25, appeared before Newtown Local Court on Thursday, charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.

His lawyer indicated Mr Alchin was expected to plead guilty to the crime, which carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment.

Mr Alchin allegedly committed the offence on a Facebook thread about the online abuse of Sydney woman Olivia Melville.

A photo of Ms Melville’s profile on the dating app Tinder had been uploaded to Facebook. Her profile caption quoted a lyric by the hip-hop artist Drake: “Type of girl who will suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you.”

Ms Melville was derided online by strangers. Her friends responded by reposting the original post and criticising the commenters for their attitudes toward women.

Mr Alchin is accused of harassing these friends in ranting, obscene comments, writing at one point “[sic] your all f—ing basic sluts”.

He also allegedly referred to “the best thing about raping feminists”. Fairfax Media has chosen not to publish other, more explicit messages in the series.

The alleged targets of the abuse told media they had reported the messages to police, who initially “offered little support to our case”.

They then began a Facebook group called “Sexual Violence Won’t Be Silenced”, which gained more than 8000 followers. Their petition to the governments of NSW and  for tighter laws and more resources to tackle online harassment gathered more than 15,000 signatures.

Mr Alchin was charged on Monday. “We would like to thank the Newtown Local Police for their hard work on this case,” the group wrote on Facebook.

“Not every person who experiences online violence has the time, resources or support network to start a campaign after being harassed. That’s why, regardless of the outcome of this legal case, SVWBS will continue to fight for better laws, training and education surrounding online harassment.”

Mr Alchin’s matter will return to court on December 8.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Dressmaker

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THE DRESSMAKER (M)
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Stars: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Kerry Fox, Shane Bourne, Hugo Weaving

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Screening: general release

Rating: ★★★★

JOCELYN Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker is about the return of a prodigal daughter, and you might say it was made by one. While Moorhouse still has a high reputation as an n filmmaker, she has not shot a feature in her homeland since her debut Proof in the early ’90s. But this hectic, clattering Gothic farce, based on a novel by Rosalie Ham, finds her back with a vengeance.

In dead of night, the glamorous Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) arrives in the remote wheatbelt town of Dungatar, her Singer sewing machine by her side. As we soon discover, this is the home she was sent away from as a child, under ambiguous circumstances, which saw her implicated in the death of a schoolmate.

Even now, in 1951, the rumours haven’t subsided: Tilly herself fears she may be cursed, and Mad Molly (Judy Davis), her cranky old bag of a mother, initially refuses to recognise her. But Tilly is determined to set things right, or at least find out what really happened on that fateful day. She moves into Molly’s hilltop shack and, having learned her trade in the great fashion houses of Europe, she sets about introducing the local matrons to the joys of haute couture.

Teddy McSwiney’s (Liam Hemsworth) role as Tilly Dunnage’s (Kate Winslet) love interest isn’t conventional.

Whatever may be suggested by this synopsis, The Dressmaker is not one of those sentimental fables in which a free-spirited stranger brings new life to a repressed community. Like many outback towns in n cinema, Dungatar is something of a hellhole, its very name suggesting a smelly place where the hapless get stuck.

Its citizens also tend to be given blunt allegorical names, from the vicious schoolteacher Beulah Harridiene (Kerry Fox) to the slimy civic leader Evan Pettyman (Shane Bourne).

Those few characters worthy of sympathy tend to be outsiders of one kind or another – such as Sergeant Horatio Farrat, a friendly policeman and closet transvestite played by Hugo Weaving.

Another partial outsider is Teddy McSwiney (Liam Hemsworth), a rugged hunk from a family of rubbish collectors who serves as Tilly’s love interest, though his role isn’t quite what it would be in a conventional feelgood entertainment.

The great scene-stealer is Davis, who’s able to make Molly into an outlandish comic figure without eliminating all nuance, since the shamelessness belongs as much to the character as to the performer. Molly may be a recluse, but she relishes having an audience to play to.

Truth be told, Moorhouse has so many characters and subplots to juggle that her storytelling can feel disjointed: some weighty developments are skated over so rapidly we might wonder if they really happened at all. On the other hand, the lurches from broad comedy to grim melodrama and back are evidently intentional – part of a strategy for throwing the viewer off-balance, along with the dramatic colour contrasts and spatial distortions of Don McAlpine’s cinematography.

This cartoonish yet confrontational approach recalls the work of Moorhouse’s husband P.J. Hogan, who collaborated with her on The Dressmaker’s script. Absent, however, is Hogan’s softness of heart. By the end, it’s clear that Moorhouse wasn’t joking when she publicly compared the plot of The Dressmaker to Clint Eastwood’s great revisionist Western Unforgiven – though the film could also be seen as the long-delayed feminist answer to Wake In Fright.

Either way, it’s not for nothing that Tilly’s favourite colour, bright red, evokes both fire and blood.

All questions of taste and plausibility aside, The Dressmaker is a hoot and a healthy shock to the system. n cinema may never be quite the same again.

MOVIE REVIEW: Burnt

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BURNT (M)
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Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman

Director: John Wells

Screening: general release

Rating: ★★★

BRADLEY Cooper’s chef, Adam Jones, comes out of the Gordon Ramsay school of kitchen tantrum. At least he starts that way. Burnt is the story of his long and noisy journey towards the embrace of teamwork and a civilised demeanour.

How much you enjoy it is likely to depend on your taste for the cult of the celebrity chef. I’m resistant, so I spent much of the action wincing over the size of the seafood bill as he hurls successive plates of seared scallops and poached turbot fillets at the wall because they don’t meet his exacting standards.

Bradley Cooper’s intense, blue-eyed stare does a lot of the heavy lifting in Burnt.

The film is directed by John Wells, best known as showrunner for ER and The West Wing and, more recently, as the director of August: Osage County.

When we first meet Adam, he’s just arrived in London, having undergone a long rehabilitation after years of abusing drugs, alcohol and best friends, few of whom have any desire to see him again. Nonetheless, he perseveres – or rather, bullies them into giving him another chance. In particular, he persuades his long-suffering friend Tony (Daniel Bruhl), who happens to own the Langham Hotel, to let him take over the hotel’s restaurant.

Cooper’s intense, blue-eyed stare does a lot of the heavy lifting in these scenes. He also employs quite a bit of the fighting spirit that he sported in his last film, American Sniper. In that, his co-star was Sienna Miller, cast again here as a talented young chef.

There are many loving shots of colour co-ordinated helpings cunningly arranged on white plates. And they’re usually served up as part of a montage, a device that tends to be the first refuge of a director lumbered with a script lacking enough lines worth saying.

There is some banter, much of it wisely assigned to Emma Thompson as Adam’s therapist, and to Matthew Rhys, who does a great job as his former friend. But Adam himself is so pickled in his own ego that he wouldn’t know a witticism from a witlof.

TOPICS: Mumford & Sons give it up for Dungog heroes

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Although hardly a classic situation, recent events at Newcastle City Council remind us of a certain novel.
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Mumford & Sons have a soft spot for flood-hit Dungog, having played there in 2012. Local heroes of the town’s April floods have the opportunity to attend the band’s concert at The Domain on November 14 for free. Picture: Peter Stoop

BRITISH band Mumford & Sons have a special connection with Dungog.

The folk-rockers played there before a crowd of 10,000 people in 2012.

They didn’t forget the connection they made with the town that day.

The band has joined with Telstra to offer 400 free double passes to members of the Dungog community to attend a gig in The Domain on November 14.

The giveaway includes bus transfers from Dungog.

It’s all about recognising people who helped rebuild Dungog, following the April flood which devastated the town and took the lives of three people.

So get in there and nominate a local hero.

All you have to do is explain in 50 words or less why your nominee has shown ‘‘great community spirit’’.

Telstra area general manager Chris Cusack encouraged locals to get involved.

“We are honoured to be able to work with the band to reward some of the heroes who helped others in their time of need,’’ Mr Cusack said.

Entries can be made at telstra杭州龙凤论坛m/music.

A disgusting tale spawned from McDonald’s has been recalled.

TOPICS brought you the story yesterday about maggots found inside a bagged roast chicken bought from Waratah Coles.

This brought back a few memories for Derek Dowding, of Wallsend.

‘‘I had a similar encounter with a McOz burger from a local McDonald’s outlet in 1999,’’ Derek told Topics.

‘‘When the store manager failed to apologise for the wriggling maggot in my meal, I pursued it with head office and the health inspector.’’

Macky Dees sent him a letter, saying it did a ‘‘thorough investigation of your complaint’’.

The letter said Maccas referred the case to the University of NSW Department of Entomology for investigation.

The department ‘‘spent considerable time analysing the burger’’, the letter said.

‘‘They have been unable to identify anything that resembles insect origin.’’ Feeling a tad sceptical, Derek went back to the restaurant and confronted the manager.

‘‘He confessed the maggot was squashed and the burger was thrown in the bin,’’ Derek said.

‘‘The health inspector reported back saying he found a box of rotting tomatoes in the store and that was probably the source of my complaint.’’

Maccas said it was an isolated incident and posted Derek two vouchers for replacement McOz burgers. He didn’t take up the offer.

However, he did write a song called ‘‘The McMaggot’’, which included the line ‘‘would you like flies with that’’.

THIS brings us to Newcastle City Council. We were thinking about the Labor-Green axing of general manager Ken Gouldthorp.

We were also thinking about flies (there’s been a lot around lately, hence the maggots).

Then it hit us. This whole council business is a bit like Lord of the Flies.

You know the story – a group of children marooned on an island try to govern themselves with terrible results.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Lord of the Flies 1963​

Lord of the Flies 2013​Email [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au, tweet him @Lakemacjourno, or call on 4973-7709.

Taylor Swift files counterclaim against radio DJ who allegedly groped her

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Taylor Swift has filed a counterclaim against a radio DJ she alleges groped her at a promotional event.
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Former radio DJ David Mueller filed a lawsuit against the singer last month, claiming he was fired from his job and banned from Swift’s concerts following her allegations that he groped her at a meet and greet in Denver, Colorado.

But now Swift has responded, filing a counterclaim which, according to People, alleges Mueller “lifted her skirt and groped her” during the fan event before her concert at the Pepsi Centre in June 2013.

People reports the countersuit details that Mueller admitted an assault occurred at the event, but he blamed his “superior” David Haskell, the program director at Denver’s country radio station, KYGO FM.

“Ms Swift knows exactly who committed the assault – it was Mueller – and she is not confused in the slightest about whether her long-term business acquaintance, Mr Haskell, was the culprit,” the countersuit states.

The countersuit goes on to detail that Swift, 25, was “surprised, upset, offended, and alarmed” following the incident.

“Resolution of this counterclaim will demonstrate that Mueller alone was the perpetrator of the humiliating and wrongful conduct targeted against Ms Swift, and will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”

Swift is seeking damages and costs, and has requested a jury trial.

The countersuit specifies any surplus damages or costs awarded to Swift following the suit will be donated to “charitable organisations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard”.

David Mueller filed a lawsuit against the Wildest Dreams singer in the US District Court in Denver on September 11.

The Denver Postreports Mueller was attending a meet and greet with his girlfriend as an employee of KYGO FM.

According to Mueller’s suit, Swift was talking to the pair before she “suddenly announced it was picture time” and “quickly put her right arm” around his girlfriend.

Mueller joined the pair for the photo “at the last second”, after which he says Swift thanked the couple and left.

Mueller alleges he later spoke to an unnamed co-worker who “described and demonstrated how he had put his arms around [Swift], hands on her bottom” when it was his turn to meet the singer.

Based on Swift’s countersuit, it seems likely this unnamed co-worker is Haskell.

Mueller lost his job at the station as a result of the incident.

According to People, he had previously been dismissed twice from radio host jobs at other stations and hadn’t been employed as an on-air personality since 2006.

After news of Mueller’s legal action broke, Swift’s representatives said they had provided “evidence” to the radio station of the assault when it occurred, although the decision to fire Mueller came from his employer.

“The radio station was given evidence immediately after the incident,” her representatives told People in a statement. “They made their independent decision.”

OPINION: Safety is paramount to moving China

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THE n Bureau of Statistics says more than half a million trucks use n roads every day. They are moving goods and commodities; from livestock and grains, vegetables and milk, to online shopping and imported cars – all are essential to the way we live.
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The tyranny of distance is something that has come to define in many ways. Our geographical separation from the rest of the world, let alone ourselves, gives us our unique n culture.

It is the thousands of kilometres of road separating n cities that has given birth to a strong and vibrant trucking industry.

The Hunter Region is home to a large number of nationally recognised companies that are at the heart of the trucking and logistics industry.

With all the time we spend on the road, as an industry we have had to develop a rigorous approach to safety. In the past few weeks in our region we were reminded about the tragic effects of road accidents that involve cars and trucks.

About 21 years ago the local transport industry decided to do something about road transport safety and we held our first event at Civic Park with the objective of improving safety through education and awareness.

To do this we used our close working connections with our emergency services and it was this relationship that began a tradition that will celebrate the 22nd Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day on Sunday, November 1.

Our overall objective has not changed. We remain committed to improving road safety, but our focus has moved slightly. One accident involving a truck and car is one too many. With more and more motor vehicles on our roads we must work harder to educate people about how we can better share roads.

Each year on the first Sunday of November, the trucking industry comes together with emergency services and our wider business community in Newcastle to celebrate what we do, with a strong message of safety and awareness that is aimed at the whole community.

On Sunday, a parade of more than 50 big rigs will roll in from Sandgate to Newcastle Foreshore where a community family fun day will promote the role of the trucking industry in the community and advocate for safe road use for us all.

A big part of our day is to support the work of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. For almost 40 years the rescue helicopter has been servicing our region, and like so many people in the Hunter and beyond, the trucking industry understands the enormous value of its work within the emergency healthcare chain.

The transport and logistics industry plays a role in the community that extends well beyond travelling along highways. Whether it’s providing storage or logistics to community and sporting events or sponsoring kids’ sport, we are proud of our contribution and proud to work with our community to keep people safe.

Education is the key to ensuring safe road use for everyone. Whether that is understanding the distance it takes for a loaded B-Double to stop or how to overtake with care.

Like you, truck drivers want to get home safely to their families.

Pete Black is the chairman of the Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Group

OPINION: Women reclaim the night

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Reclaim the Night rallies are held nationwide. Picture: Craig SillitoeTHIS evening hundreds of women will take to the streets to demand an end to sexual assault and violence against women.
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Reclaim the Night (RTN) is a yearly tradition for women that takes place all over the world, and Newcastle is no exception.

This protest was born in Germany in 1977 and the same year women’s rights activists in Britain organised RTN across 11 cities. By 1978 the event reached .

Reclaim the Night is, and always has been, a protest about ending sexual assault and violence against women.

The march is exclusively for people who identify as women and asserts that every woman has a right to live their lives free from violence, rape or fear.

Whether or not people wish to acknowledge it, violence and murder committed against women is chronic, brutal and devastating, and the statistics back this.

Almost every week one woman is murdered by a current or former partner, one in five women experiences sexual violence in their lifetime and one in three has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.

Furthermore, intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to ill-health and premature death in women under 45, more so than any other risks, including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, according to Our Watch.

The impact is so devastating that we feel the need to keep count: Destroy the Joint reports that 75 women have been violently killed this year and REAL for women has counted 34 Aboriginal women killed this year alone.

It’s a crisis and an injustice, and women deserve better. Women deserve to live their lives free of fear.

Rosy Batty has done much to put violence against women on the agenda in 2015, however, more needs to be done.

Ms Batty has given us a platform not just to raise awareness but to engage the community and work towards changing the culture of violence that exists in this country.

The need for these changes is reflected in the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey, which demonstrates some disturbing attitudes about violence against women by young people in : 40per cent of young people think rape results from men ‘‘not being able to control their urges’’, 60per cent think violence is caused by men being unable to control their anger and 25per cent think partner violence can be excused if they regret it.

These attitudes reflect a culture that condones violence against women and much more needs to happen, particularly with children and young people, to educate them around gender equality and human rights.

This is beyond simply respecting women; this is about creating a culture that does not abuse women and where men no longer feel entitled to abuse women.

Local issues of concern associated with this year’s RTN include the defunding of women’s and legal services by the federal and state governments and the absence of a Federal Circuit Court judge in Newcastle.

Hunter Domestic Violence services are very aware that incidents of domestic violence increase over summer, however, most services are at capacity already.

That scenario of support services at capacity, combined with a looming increased need for services, is a lethal combination that is terrifying.

Funding to women’s and legal services needs to be increased, not decreased, and comprehensive violence prevention strategies need to be implemented, as well as an overhaul of the legal system so that it supports women who are experiencing violence.

If these measures do not take effect, women will continue to be abused, assaulted, injured and murdered.

This is why we need initiatives like Reclaim the Night, so that we can continue to fight for justice and rights for women and to create a fairer society where women are free from harm and receive the services they so desperately need.

■ Reclaim the Night will be marked in Newcastle tonight with a march in Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Women and children are invited to march. Men are invited to attend activities before and after. Marchers will meet at 5.45pm in Gregson Park, Hamilton, for a 6pm march.

■ A Lake Macquarie march tonight has been organised jointly by Eastlakes and Westlakes Domestic Violence Committees, for Warners Bay foreshore. Meet at about 6pm near the rotunda for a march around 7pm.

Nicole Molyneux is a social science student, human rights activist and member of the Reclaim the Night Organising Collective 2015

MICHAEL McGOWAN: Guilty in his innocence

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Former n Prime Minister Tony Abbott gives The Margaret Thathcher Lecture at a banquet for The Margaret Thatcher Centre held at London’s Guildhall. Picture: Julian Andrews
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‘‘GOD save us always,’’ the novelist Graham Greene once wrote, ‘‘from the innocent and the good’’.

I wonder what Greene, a Catholic, would have made of the speech given by Tony Abbott in London this week.

While he seems intent on hanging grimly to what’s left of his parliamentary career, the former prime minister is apparently unhampered by his duties as member for Warringah, and found time to pop across to the old country to deliver the second Margaret Thatcher lecture.

You might say that Mr Abbott’s argument, that the ‘‘wholesome instinct’’ to love your neighbour as yourself has led Europe to make a ‘‘catastrophic error’’ in its response to the Syrian refugee crisis, fits neatly with Greene’s point.

The 1955 novel The Quiet American, from which I pulled the line, is set during the French war in Vietnam, and follows a cynical British journalist and an idealistic American CIA agent – two frenemies, to put it in contemporary terms.

The American – inexperienced and naive – is determined to make a difference in the conflict, but in the end his interventions only cause more harm.

In the context of ’s immigration policy, it is hard not to be reminded of the Left’s determined moral righteousness.

While decrying the government’s asylum seeker policy as fundamentally wrong, there seems to be no practical humane alternative to achieve what has become, rightly or wrongly, the electorate’s main concern; thatis, ‘‘stopping the boats’’.

Faced with an electorate more concerned with stopping brown people reaching our shores than a humane resettlement policy, the government has struck a sort of Faustian Pact in the interest of holding power, while the liquid-spined Labor Party follow along at its heels.

And there is no question that they have succeeded.

But, listening to Mr Abbott speak, I was struck, not for the first time, at the narrow lens through which he seems to view the world.

At the black-tie dinner, which cost £250 a head and, if you were wondering, featured Scottish lobster and Poached Hereford Tournedos on the menu, he lectured the crowd on how the continent’s compassion towards refugees risked ‘‘a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever’’.

Plenty has been written about the stunning obtuseness of those comments.

As if ’s policy of towing refugees back to Indonesia where – although they are reduced to a status as an essentially non-person – they aren’t shot, could or should be copy and pasted onto the literally millions fleeing civil war in Syria and the threat of Islamic State.

His comments seem to me to display a different kind of naivety. That of the blinkered ideologue.

I was living in England in 2009, and remember laughing out loud when I heard that the man I had always viewed as a sort of conservative conscience for the Liberal Party had become its leader.

He represented a sliver of modern life. The arch-conservative whose views, while not part of the fringe, still seemed antiquated.

The elevation of his sort of evangelical take on life seemed entirely out of step with what is generally a fairly moderate n public.

There was no way, I thought, that he could be acceptable to the average voter.

I turned out to be wrong.

But, now, unshackled from the chains of moderation that high office required, and with the (steadily decreasing) diplomatic heft that being a former n prime minister brings, Mr Abbott has decided to take his show on the road.

Still relatively young in political terms, he now gets to turn statesman, introducing the expanded version of his famous three-word slogans to a global stage.

There is another Greene line that springs to mind: ‘‘Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell,’’ he wrote, ‘‘wandering the world, meaning no harm’’.

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