Talk:Eric Abetz

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Surely, now there is a need for a section on controversies. I don't think that anyone could argue that a mention of the Ozcar affair is not-notable in an an article about one of the central figures. I will give it some thought, but in the meantime, encourage someone to get started.Methulah (talk) 10:09, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Nazi family history[edit]

I added a short, unbiased reference to Otto Abetz in the article. It certainly is notable as part of his history and biography. If I were to have even a brief biography of me written, it would be remiss of the biographer to include the easily confirmed information regarding my famous relatives. We have the information, why not add it? It's hardly considered biased to list notable relatives in a biography. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Methulah (talkcontribs) 09:55, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


Why have you mentioned this (Otto Abetz) and Not Peter Abetz???? Wouldn't Peter Abetz be MORE relevant (due to dates - 60 years vs now - and Location - Europe Vs. In Australia)? unbiased - are you sure?

I think you should re-write this to show better independence....

Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

WikiProject Biography Assessment

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Yamara 00:03, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

The statement "However he refused to discuss his feelings about his family's dark history." is defamatory to say the least so I removed it. To imply he must somehow apologise is a sly attempt to slur him as having sympathies with his uncle [redact]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

knee-jerk it-was-in-the-media reactions[edit]

As in many other articles of many other topics, can we please stop suddenly adding things to an article the moment they make a splash in the newspapers, and instead add them in on the basis that they add merit to the article. In this case, a great big "Controversy" section is absolute utter bull[expletive deleted]. When the article is large enough to justify a family history (as is the case with articles of FA-length) then it should be included. Do I have any support with regards for this? Michael talk 04:59, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest a less ascerbic, more WP:CIVIL attitude in your edit summaries. You catch more bees with honey. Timeshift (talk) 05:01, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Keep removed. Hardly notable at all. Blnguyen (vote in the photo straw poll) 05:06, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

AUS membership[edit]

He notes that his political ideology was moulded by his university experience, where he was told that his exam results would not be credited unless he joined the Australian Union of Students, saying "I found the notion of "no ticket, no start" to be repulsive and obnoxious and still do".

This makes no sense. Students did not become individual members of AUS. If their university's student union was an AUS affiliate, they were automatically members of AUS. So Abetz cannot have been told that his exam results would not be credited unless he joined AUS. He might have been told that his exam results would not be credited unless he joined his local student union, but at most campuses this was automatic on enrolment. Someone needs to clarify this, or else the section must be deleted. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 22:25, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Why is Abetz a staffer removing content that could be seen as damaging?[edit]

See this diff. It was reverted by another user. But i'm wondering, it's one thing for the Australian Parliamentary Library IP address to modify another article, it's another thing entirely to attempt to remove what's in the link... at some point is the line drawn by wikipedia, and if so, how? Timeshift (talk) 01:05, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Place of birth[edit]

I noticed in the edit history there has been some disagreement as to whether or not Abetz's place of birth should be listed as Germany, or West Germany. Typically the place of birth is listed in info boxes as what it was named at the time of birth rather then what it is presently called. Before changing it I would like to have everyone's agreement that this article like others should follow convention and be listed as West Germany. The Tepes (talk) 02:05, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm of the view that anyone's place of birth should be listed as the country it currently exists in, regardless of what it was when they were born. AlanS (talk) 02:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I can see both sides on this one, so I looked up the MoS. The closest thing I could find is WP:MODERNPLACENAME, which would suggest we stick with Germany. The parliament uses Germany. I would however be interested in seeing evidence of The Tepes's assertion that "typically" the place of birth is listed as it was at the time. Frickeg (talk) 06:12, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe the assertion. We don't for example say that people who were born before the breakup of Yugoslavia were born in that country. AlanS (talk) 07:22, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Well to provide a couple examples of high profile pages where this is done, Angela Merkel has her place of birth listed as West Germany, Mila Kunis has theUkrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union, listed as her place of birth.
This is the practice I've seen used throughout Wikipedia, if this is the standard then surely it should be applied to this article.The Tepes (talk) 03:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Did you read Frickeg's statement? If you did you'd realise your argument about those other pages being different is an argument for changing those pages. AlanS (talk) 03:55, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I sampled a couple of others, and I actually think The Tepes' assertion might be correct. I went through a random sampling of German and former Soviet politicians, and each and every one had "West/East Germany" or "USSR" or an equivalent in the infobox. We also pretty consistently do actually refer to people born before the breakup of Yugoslavia as having been born in Yugoslavia. As I said, I actually don't really care about this one, and I don't think MODERNPLACENAME is explicitly referring to this question. The general convention appears to be to use the country as it was at the time in this instance, so I have no problem with Abetz following that convention. Frickeg (talk) 04:18, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Even though parliament uses Germany? AlanS (talk) 04:42, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Why yes AlanS, I did read it, hence I went and provided examples of this convention used on high profile articles
Parliament may list members places of birth by the present name but it would appear that Wikipedia does not. This is the first article I've come across that lists the place of birth by what it's called now, rather then what it was named at the time. Given that high profile articles list the place of birth as what it was called at the time I'm inclined to accept that as the standard convention.
My stance on this is that the format should be agreed upon to avoid further disagreements in the edits, and that any format should follow accepted precedent.The Tepes (talk) 04:56, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Fine, as long as in brackets after West Germany note is made that the place now exists in Germany. AlanS (talk) 05:18, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
This is quite often done in smaller font in other articles; I think it is a good idea. Frickeg (talk) 05:30, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't know what tags to use to mess with the font size. :( AlanS (talk) 05:37, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Use " < small > "(No spaces though) before and after the text you want decreased in size, I have actually seen current names in brackets of past names for places of birth used infrequently in a select few articles. The Tepes (talk) 05:51, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Done. AlanS (talk) 05:55, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Abortion and Breast Cancer link[edit]

I would like to add this article to this wikipedia page of Eric Abtez's comments on the link between abortion and breast cancer.

--Smokeyfire (talk) 08:41, 8 September 2014 (UTC)Smokeyfire

I would like to know why my recently reverted edit is not relevant to the page?

--Smokeyfire (talk) 07:17, 3 October 2014 (UTC)Smokeyfire

Because this is a biography of Eric Abetz, not a health subject page about either abortion or cancer. It isn't the place for the subject to be either debated or covered. The notable feature for the purpose of Abetz's biography is that he said something that received extensive coverage and condemnation - the content itself, independently of that coverage, is not relevant in his biography. However, secondly, even if it was, then the notion that there is a link is a fringe view universally rejected by medical authorities. See for example this and this, or the summary in WP's article Abortion–breast cancer hypothesis. hamiltonstone (talk) 06:22, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Eric Abetz said on the Project in August of this year that some organisations have differing views regarding Mia Freedman claiming the link to be false. Here is a another source that talks about a link between abortion and breast cancer based on research in India. [[1]] --Smokeyfire (talk) 07:55, 5 October 2014 (UTC)Smokeyfire

Yes, some organisations with particular cultural and religious views seek to make an alternative argument about the subject, including the biased source you refer to (for what I mean by bias, see their explanation of their work here). Among medical authorities without such preconceived notions, the conclusion is clear: medical evidence does not support a link. But all this is in any case not relevant, because this article is a biography of Eric Abetz, and is reporting an incident in his career, not reporting on the medical facts of the subject upon which he happened to touch in that particular interview. I hope this is clear - that in a biography such as this, it actually wouldn't matter what the medical journals said, because the biography needs to be reporting how events reveal the subject's views, and how those events influenced their career, as would be the case in any political biography, and in any circumstance. In biographies of currently active figures in public life, this can be a tough line to maintain, because the debates we are reporting have an ongoing 'real world' impact on the individuals. But our goal should be to report dispassionately on the notable aspects of their lives. Cheers, hamiltonstone (talk) 12:18, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

The media were biast towards Abetz what about this artile [[2]] --Smokeyfire (talk) 08:56, 22 October 2014 (UTC)Smokeyfire

Why is he still there?[edit]

I thought I was pretty good at keeping up with these sorts of issues, but this one continues to escape me. Can someone explain to me why it's OK for him to remain a senator when he spent the first 16 years of his tenure, 1994–2010, as a dual citizen? Compare the case of Senator-elect Heather Hill in Sue v Hill. Sure, she renounced her UK citizenship before her term would have started (1 July 1999), but not before her election in 1998, so her election was declared null and void and she never made it into the Senate. Why hasn't that same rule been applied to Abetz? Is it that only the current term can be considered, and since he did renounce his German citizenship in March 2010, prior to the last time he was elected, August 2010, the current term is OK? I can accept that, but what about the invalidity of his tenure from 1994 to 2010, and all the official decisions he made as a minister during that period, when he wasn't even entitled to be a senator, let alone a minister? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:31, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I'm no constitutional lawyer, but as I understand it a result has to be challenged within forty days of its declaration, or there's nothing anyone can do. If it emerged that (to pick someone totally random) Cathy McGowan was a dual citizen today, I believe there's nothing anyone could do about the 2013 result, although if she were still a dual citizen she could be unseated. It's far from unprecedented - it's fairly likely that neither Chris Watson nor King O'Malley was ever eligible to sit in parliament, and if I remember correctly part of the ruckus around Hill was that major party politicians had been doing that sort of thing for years without anyone raising a fuss (I imagine many quietly dealt with the issue at the time). I believe Abetz claims that he had in fact relinquished his German citizenship in 1993, but did so again in 2010 to remove any doubt; I'm no fan of Abetz, but you would have to be a complete idiot to be a serving politician in 1998 when Sue v Hill was going on and do nothing about your own dual citizenship, so I'm inclined to believe him. Frickeg (talk) 00:51, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
OK, that all makes sense, thanks. It's just that our article refers only to his 2010 renunciation, not to any earlier ones. But also, if he really did renounce it in 1993, why couldn't he have just produced evidence of that when the matter was first raised in 2010? Why was it necessary to do it again, if the matter had already been attended to 17 years earlier, as he claimed? How does one renounce a citizenship that one hasn't held for 17 years? Our coverage seems a little thin about these details, leading to my questions. If I have such questions, I'm sure others would too. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:50, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Frickeg, I'm inclined to believe that to have done anything about it at that point (1998) would have risked embarrassment. Risk of a leak of the action of renunciation, I mean, and fear of that. Better to move on and hope no-one makes a fuss about it. Except that someone did. If he had renounced it in 1993, he would have kept the proof, unless he is very very stupid. There would have been a letter back from the German Embassy, he would have requested confirmation, etc etc. We have a similar situation with Abbott, except that in his case a FOI request has been denied (= something to hide). Boscaswell (talk) 08:48, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

The thing is that though the powers that be put in this 40 day rule, there's none of that in the constitution. It's not an interpretation. You and I can't go and do something illegal, lie low for 40 days and then we're in the clear, can we? Yet those who make our laws are able to do so? The constitution is fairly clear. Anyone with allegiance to a foreign power (= citizen), shall be incapable of sitting as a senator (or member of the house). Period. No ifs or buts. Boscaswell (talk) 08:47, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Jack, our article could use a little work. I'm not really knowledgeable enough about this stuff to say why he hasn't produced the 1993 renunciation - at the time it would not have been a huge deal, so it's far from impossible that it just got lost at some point. The German Embassy would surely have a record of it, though.
Boscaswell, I understand your point and suspect I generally agree with you on Abetz's worth as a politician, but I feel some of your edits are beginning to veer close to violating WP:NPOV, WP:OR and especially WP:UNDUE. In fact I've cut the first paragraph of the section entirely, because I just don't think it needed to be there.
As to the actual legality of Abetz's position, the constitution is not inconsistent with what I laid out. If Abetz were still a foreign citizen, he would be unseated. But if that is not the case, then there is no legal recourse for him to be removed from office. The 40-day challenge rule is a very sensible measure - there needs to be a cut-off point or there would be frivolous challenges going on all the time.
I suspect a more interesting point would be whether it could be proved that Abetz (or anyone else) knowingly nominated for office despite not being qualified. If that could be proven, I imagine it would constitute electoral fraud and Abetz or anyone else would be liable for criminal prosecution. But, as I said above, I am far from an expert on these matters. And for our purposes, we should definitely mention that Abetz's version of events is that he renounced his citizenship in 1993. We can't second-guess that unless we have a reliable source indicating that it is in doubt. Frickeg (talk) 09:46, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, Frickeg, but I disagree strongly with you, on various points. He is claiming that he renounced his citizenship in 1993. That is it is just a claim. For all we know, that claim may be made up, that is, his claim maybe totally false. Certainly, as you have made clear, he should have been able to back up the claim, but was unable to do so. I am about to reinstate the first para of the section. I didn't conceal my own POV in my comments in the talk section, but it is not in the article. I'll leave it up to the reader as to whether he got himself to the position of senator in breach of the constitution. But s.44 is so clear... Boscaswell (talk) 20:11, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, for all we know he might have, but it is incumbent upon us to take him at his word unless and until a reliable source does otherwise. I have not seen a reliable source disputing that fact and the matter appears to be settled. Frankly it's a travesty of undue weight that there's a whole subheading for this when it deserves at most a few sentences, but I'll await further consensus before re-reverting. We can sit here discussing the ins and outs of s.44 until the cows com home, but that doesn't mean it should be taking up that much of this article. Frickeg (talk) 01:13, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
"it is incumbent upon us to take him at his word..." Certainly not in this case. Why? Because he failed to prove his assertion. It is only an assertion. He might have made it up. This happens, and we all know that it is not a rarity for politicians to do so. Wrt. the citizenship issue generally: in the case of Abetz, this is of the greatest importance. He is the leader of the governing coalition in the Senate. The Govt is making a great many pronouncements about citizenship and legality of residence, etc. How can it not be important? The article is about the whole man, not just the press releases he puts out. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, not a PR front. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boscaswell (talkcontribs) 05:08, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
No, no, no, no, no. He doesn't have to prove it to us. We are not investigative journalists, we are encyclopedists. We go on reliable sources. At the moment, as far as I can tell (and correct me if I'm wrong), the reliable sources are reporting that Abetz claims he renounced his citizenship in 1993. So that is what our article should say (with the "claims", of course). It is not our job to give this particular issue extra prominence or anything else. Abetz has had a two-decade career in which he has been at the centre of many, many controversies and many, many significant events. The article as a whole could do with a thorough work-over, but the fact is that this is a very minor part of Abetz's biography. Of course we should mention it, but it certainly doesn't warrant two whole paragraphs and a subheading to itself. I still think the whole first paragraph under the subheading is irrelevant, not to mention the ghastly and factually inaccurate final sentence. With the second paragraph, the second sentence should be reworked and sourced to include both the 2010 renunciation and the claimed 1993 one. Frickeg (talk) 05:48, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • So here's the statement Abetz made to the Senate on 25 October 2010. There's various stuff online disputing that version of events, but I've seen nothing remotely resembling what I'd call a RS. Essentially, he's saying he lost his German citizenship automatically (through the operation of German law) when he became an Aussie citizen in 1974. In 1992 he wrote to the German authorities to obtain a document confirming that he had in fact renounced his German citizenship. This was in relation to his intending candidacy at the 1993 Senate election (did he in fact stand? was he pre-selected? we make no mention of any attempts to enter politics before 1994). What he received was a letter confirming that he is not a German citizen, but it did not go into whether he had ever been one in the first place, and renounced it. These docs were made available to the person mounting the High Court challenge, which was quickly withdrawn. That all seems clear cut. We don't usually use the subject's own version of events in our articles, but this statement is on record and has apparently been accepted by the Senate without dispute. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:23, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Jack. That does indeed seem clear-cut. Frickeg (talk) 07:54, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
I concur. I had not seen the statement before. Obviously. I hope some can understand that on the information presented and which I had found, even though you, Frickeg, consider it to be a minor thing, it would most definitely warrant the attention given to it. I'll save you the bother of re-deleting the first para. by doing it myself now. Having looked further, just now, it's strange but if he had been born in Australia to German citizen parents, he would have had to renounce. But having been born in Germany, his having acquired an Australian passport would have ended any German citizenship. I've made one change to the remaining para to eliminate mention of him providing documentation of renunciation in 2010, as that is misleading (and it is that which led me to this mess in the first place! Boscaswell (talk) 13:17, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • ″On 30 July 2010, Tasmanian resident John Hawkins lodged an objection to Abetz's nomination for re-election, alleging that Abetz still held dual citizenship of both his birthplace, Germany, and Australia.[19] Hawkins subsequently withdrew the petition to the High Court of Australia after receiving appropriate documentation, and the High Court never heard the claim.″

In the Tasmanian Times article referenced by JackofOz, John Hawkins claims that Abetz renounced his German citizenship in 2010. Hawkins goes on to say,"As one cannot renounce a citizenship one does not have, Abetz had been sitting in the Senate illegally from 1996 to 2010." While this Wikipedia article indicates that the 2010 citizenship controversy was resolved (in favour of Abetz), there is no mention of the still unresolved question of whether Abetz was legally entitled to be a senator between 1994 and 2010. Unless there is documentary evidence that Abetz was not a dual-citizen during that time, the possibility that Abetz was ineligible during sixteen years as a senator should be part of this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RussHawk (talkcontribs) 07:56, 20 July 2017 (UTC)