Kirralie Smith is the creator of the halal choices website, shopping guide book and phone app and an expert on halal certification of foods and supermarkets in Australia www.halalchoices.com.au
I have mentioned before that I don’t watch television. Sunrise is another vivid example of why I avoid it. The story was titled the Violent Protests over Halal Food. No, the violent protests were initiated by the lefty thugs who act like fascists trying to shut down peaceful demonstrations. By the way, no-one on that panel, including myself had anything to do with the protests.
Sunrise- it’s all about creating perceptions: https://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/31312690/violent-protest-over-halal-food/#page1
Did the researchers, hosts or anyone on the panel even read the Hansard or Senate committee report into the Third Party Certification of Food leading up to the segment?
Were they being ignorant or deliberately misleading?
Andrew O’Keefe said we have a choice when it comes to buying halal certified products and we should simply make a list. Ummm no, that’s why I created the website www.halalchoices.com and we still struggle to get accurate information out of the companies.
The majority of meat slaughtered in Australia is done so according to halal rituals and halal fees are paid. Many people have objections to this as it is against their religious beliefs or it offends their sensibilities. Most of that meat is not labelled at the point of sale (for many reasons) and the senate committee agrees that it must be clearly labelled so consumers have a choice.
Did anyone on the Channel 7 panel even read the Economics Reference Committees recommendations?
Danny Burrrows, so called business expert, made a hilarious statement about Madura Tea on Sunrise.
He did not investigate but rather he regurgitated what he saw on 4 Corners. Except he left out the clanger, Madura Tea no longer pays halal fees because there was no fiscal benefit! What an expert he turned out to be.
How does he explain the following as minimal cost?
These FEDERAL COURT DOCUMENTS were obtained in June 2014 regarding a logo infringement. In the document halal certification fees are referred to.
Note this, Quality Kebabs had to pay what was equivalent to the 2012 fee of $27,090.00 plus a 50% uplift which equates to $13,545.00. On top of that they had to pay the 2013 halal certification fee of $33,580.00 plus 50% uplift which equals $16,790.00! That makes a total of $91,015.00. That doesn’t include what Quality Kebabs would have had to pay for 2014 which would have been $34,510.
What these court documents don’t address (because they don’t need to), is the fact that for Quality Kebabs to be halal certified they would have to source their meat or chicken from a halal certified abattoir or chicken processer.
We know some abattoirs pay up to $27,000 a month to be halal certified. That is $324,000 a year.
We have also seen a receipt that one chicken processer pays $40,000 per year!
This is one example of the giant pyramid scheme going on with the Australian halal certification industry. So you can have an abattoir spending $324,000 in halal fees. Then the transport company is paying hundreds to drive the product to the supplier. In this case the supplier has to pay $34,510 in halal fees. Then the transporter may again have to pay a few hundred dollars to a halal certifier.
Finally the little retail outlet has to pay $5,000 in halal certification fees. This is in excess of $364,000!
And this is absorbed by each company and NOT passed on to the consumer? I seriously doubt that!
We also know that the top ten Australian meat processors held urgent crisis talks to discuss the prohibitive costs of halal certification. It is not minimal at all. If you read the Hansard you will see even an Islamic certifier talks about $800,000 quote for meat processing and how insane that is!
And business expert Danny Burrows said nothing!
Dr Rifi said there were ‘absolutely’ no links to terrorism. That is incorrect. In the USA, Canada and France there have been proven links between halal certification organisations, Islamic charities and terrorist organisations.
These links have never been investigated in Australia despite Dr Rifi and O’Keefe boasting otherwise.
No one disputes the fact there is no ‘direct’ link, but there are certainly links. The evidence is in the Hansard from the Senate inquiry.
Paul Zanetti and Pickeringpost.com did a lot of research into this issue around the time of the Senate inquiry. It highlights the fact that AUSTRAC doesn’t actually have the ability or authority to investigate halal certifiers and where the money goes to.
"AUSTRAC is meant to investigate bank cash transactions, of $10,000 or more, which they pass on to other government agencies. But someone has to report knowledge or evidence to AUSTRAC, and only from specific entities under the law.
The reporting entities are specified under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) and are required to report transactions to AUSTRAC.
The entities that deal in cash, bullion and financial transactions, are:
• Banks and similar financial institutions such as building societies
• Insurance companies and intermediaries
• Securities dealers, such as stock brokers
• Unit trust managers and trustees (but cash management trusts transacting only by cheque or
similar are exempt)
• Travellers cheque or money order issuers
• Cash carriers and payroll preparation businesses
• Bookmakers, including totaliser agencies
• Bullion dealers
• Solicitors, acting on their own behalf (e.g. their trust fund, or originated mortgages)
So which of the above 'entities' have been cut into the deals between halal certifiers and the Islamic charities used to shovel funds overseas to nefarious religious 'causes' via 'donations'?
Not one of these nominated 'entities' would have a clue how these two associated groups operate. It's laughable.
What this means is, AUSTRAC has no power to investigate halal certifiers, or Islamic charities, because they're not covered under the law regulating AUSTRAC.
You can read more here:
So while there are no direct links, these links certainly do exist and must surely warrant a thorough investigation.
AUSTRAC published this report, “Terror Financing Australia 2014.”
It lists ‘financial contributions through formal charitable donations’ as one of the three most common methods by which terrorism funds are raised in Australia.
It would seem the complications have increased and there is no definitive way the government can say halal certification fees are not ending up in the hands of extremists or terrorists.
When referring to Syria the report says:
"The large volume of humanitarian aid and financial assistance sent from Australia to family and community members in Syria provides opportunities for co-mingling or disguising funds for financing terrorism among the legitimate transactions.
The report goes on:
"Some Australia-based charities and NPOs have been exploited by terrorist groups to raise relatively large amounts of money over time. These organisations can be exploited in a number of ways:
"Charities and NPOs can be used to disguise international funds transfers to high-risk regions. Funds raised for overseas humanitarian aid can be co-mingled with funds raised specifically to finance terrorism.
"Funds sent overseas by charities with legitimate intentions can also be intercepted when they reach their destination country and siphoned off for use by terrorist groups.
"It seems that AUSTRAC knows for certain that charities and NPO’s have been used to fund terrorism, and yet there is no disclosure, charges have not been laid, and one could presume they are still operating?
The Australian Institute of Criminology report agrees with this conclusion."
No-one on the Channel 7 panel was prepared to look at the facts surrounding the senate inquiry.
Islamic charities do in fact fund extremist activities and halal certifiers give large amounts of money to these charities. Australian consumers have every right to be concerned about this industry as summed up by two opposing senators on this committee.
“It is an inescapable fact that halal certification is poorly understood and arguably underegulated…certainly….certainly in the domestic market.
"This compromises the integrity of the system and has allowed questionable conduct by certain certifiers with questionable expertise and questionable intent.
"There are certifiers out there, particularly in the domestic market who are nothing more than scammers, (repeats) there are certifiers who are nothing more than scammers and this has undermined public confidence and in the view of this report amplified the perceived seriousness of any shortcomings that may exist.
But, Mr Acting Deputy President, improvements can be made.”
Senator Bernardi was more direct and certainly more truthful than Dastyari.
"The second point I’d make, and this is where Senator Dastyari and I principally disagree, was in regard to what happens to the money.
"Now, yes we did have AUSTRAC there and AUSTRAC said that there is no direct link between halal certification and the financing of terrorism.
"But AUSTRAC also said they had not ever investigated whether there was a direct link or not. So they’re making a statement about something they haven’t even investigated.
"But what we do know is that international terrorism financing of proscribed organisations, by AUSTRACs own words, a major means of funnelling money out of the country is by charitable organisations and particularly Islamic charities.
"And we have a circumstance again where we have a halal certifier in Mr El Mouelhy who has admitted to funding an organisation called Human Appeal International. Human Appeal International is quite proudly sending money overseas to fund and sponsor extremist groups like Hamas.
"There are Hamas organised rallies with a Human Appeal International logo there and we’ve got an Australian certifier openly admitting to giving them large amounts of money.
"Now if I can get that through a Google search I wonder why AUSTRAC with all their concerns about international financing of terrorism can’t be bothered to put it together themselves.
"So I agree with Senator Dastyari about what AUSTRAC said but I don’t agree with the conclusion that Austrac has reached as a result of that."
I can only speculate as to whether it was sheer ignorance or a deliberate attempt to mislead the viewers but what is clear to everyone is that the facts were not given a fair hearing.
The hosts and the panel of Sunrise exposed how shallow and biased they really are. I think they should investigate rather regurgitate if they want to be taken seriously by the Australian public who are increasingly refusing to be taken as fools.
All they had to do was read the Hansard and Senate report and they could have avoided the embarrassment of a lot of negative feedback on social media.
Kirralie Smith is the Lead NSW Senate Candidate for the Australian Liberty Alliance.