Words of wisdom from an old master (C. G. Jung: Man and His Symbols)

"The communist world, it may be noted, has one big myth (which we call an illusion, in the vain hope that our superior judgment will make it disappear). It is the time-hallowed archetypal dream of Golden Age (or Paradise) where everything is provided in abundance for everyone, and a great, just and wise chief rules over the human kindergarten. This powerful archetype in its infantile form has gripped them, but it will never disappear from the world at the mere sight of our superior points of view. We even support it by our own childishness, for our Western civilisation is in the grip of the same mythology. Unconsciously, we cherish the same prejudices, hopes, and expectations. We too believe in the welfare state, in universal peace, in the equality of man, in his eternal human rights, in justice, truth, and (do not say it too loudly) in the Kingdom of God on Earth.


"The sad truth is that man's real life consists of a complex and inexorable opposites - day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail against the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an end." (p.73)

Open letter to Slovenian media in relation to Balažic's revelations

Dear Slovenians,

We follow all articles and video reports in relation to the former ambassador in Australia Dr. Milan Balazic.

His statements have been changing and adjusting to fit his "stories" on a daily basis.

We, Australian Slovenians, were outraged when Nicholas Oman appeared at the opening of the consulate in Melbourne. We made written protests to the ministers and the government of the Republic of Slovenia as well as the Australian government and sent letters to Slovenian media and the Australian Slovenian radio program in the days immediately after the opening of the consulate, on 11th, 12th and 13th March 2014.

In the first week after the opening, Dr Balažic stated clearly on the SBS Radio that he met Nicholas Oman only twice at the Embassy in Canberra: when the man applied for his Slovenian passport and when he issued him with the passport. Oman's appearance at the opening was "mere coincidence", as his daughter did not respond to the invitation.

It is polite to respond to an invitation from the Embassy by confirming your arrival or by apologising. Oman's daughter did not do that; instead, her father just appeared - as he appeared on the "draft" guest list among other distinguished invitees and consular representatives. 

Ms Patricia Oman is not known among Slovenians in Australia. Many educated Slovenians of the second and third generation, however, are known (including doctors, surgeons, scientists, artists, lawyers, teachers, physicists, mathematicians, etc.) - they are distinguished and proud Slovenians who would equally deserve an invitation, but Derry Maddison as the new Honorary Consul for Victoria and Peter Mandelj who put together proposals for the guest list for Victoria decided to overlook them. They just blindly said yes please, as always. 

The former ambassador also claims that he sat at the table with Derry Maddison, the new Honorary Consul, Nicholas Oman and Peter Mandelj only for a minute. As photos show, the ambassador had lunch at their table. In his account on TVSLO Na tretjem... the former ambassador first tells us that he spent there just one short minute while waiting for his turn to make a speech (witnesses said he did not have a speech, only a short greeting) and then he says that the sausages were cold and stale! What an inconsistency! But nobody asks him how come that until now he has been telling a different story! Two conflicting statements in one breath.

In his accounts on other TVSLO channels, the former ambassador says that people in Australia became frightened as he, the ambassador, knew too much about arms dealings so they invented the story about Oman. Why would Slovenians invent a story abut Oman and his presence at the opening? Oman was there, what was there to invent!?!

The former ambassador who weeks ago publicly claimed he only met Nicholas Oman twice has now several times publicly admitted, including in his press conference, talks for the media and on TV, that they'd had contacts, talks and meetings since June 2013. They were even planning to travel to Slovenia together last Christmas!

And the oil fields! If the oil fields and Oman's participation in this affair were a diplomatic secret how could then Slovenians in Victoria know about all this and "become so frightened" to "invent" a story about him?

As to the "informal organisation of SDS party" in Australia, the former ambassador did not provide any evidence or members' names. To which part of the community in Australia does his claim refer? Who are the members? Where is any evidence of such an informal organisation?

If there are people who sympathise with this party, there is nothing wrong with this, this is democracy, right? What has sympathising individuals with any party in Slovenia to do with the former ambassador?

The Slovenian community is not divided to any parties. In this case our purpose was to react to the presence of Nicholas Oman at the opening of the consulate! We asked the former ambassador for an explanation but never received one.

Dr. Balažic now in Slovenia points out that he received honorary membership in Slovenian clubs and that there are Slovenians with spine in Australia who stood at his side. Well, yes, he did receive an honorary membership in the Slovenian Club Canberra which is one of the smaller Slovenian organisations in Australia. Regardless of its size, however, the decision to confer the honorary membership was made so much in advance that once the affair was under way the club president could no longer call it off. It was indeed given to him. In one club. At the same time, the former ambassador was no longer welcome in any club in Melbourne or in Sydney. Due to his lies and pretences the Slovenian community turned against him. Who are the former ambassador's friends in Australia now?

We are appalled by evidence provided in the last few weeks which showed that the former ambassador cooperated in the time of his service in Australia with a person who is well known in the world for his shadowy affairs. - He was offered blood money!!! The ambassador was negotiating and dealing with him. Moreover, he calls him a great patriot! If Nicholas Oman is such a generous patriot, how come that with the outbreak of this affair all his generosity fell through? Why did they have to negotiate his present to Slovenia?

The former ambassador is now blaming and shaming us, smearing our honesty and faith in justice! The community showed unity by signing the petition of non-confidence vote in the ambassador.

Do the Republic of Slovenia and its government not feel betrayed by all the accusations and hints made by the former ambassador?

The more we listen to all reports the clearer is becoming how from one lie so many new lies and false accounts have grown. Isn't it time for the Slovenian media to start checking his continuous claims rather than faithfully recording everything he says?

Yours sincerely,

Draga Gelt
With support from many Australian Slovenians



Election results and Slovenian emigration

Elections are over. Slovenian citizens elected their 88 + 2 members to the National Assembly. The clear winner is SMC (Miro Cerar's Party) with 36 seats (34.49%), followed by SDS (Slovenian Democrat Party) with 21 seats (20.71%); DeSUS (Democratic Party of Slovenian Retirees) with 10 seats (10.18%); SD (Social Democrats) with 6 seats (5.98%); United Left Coalition with 6 seats (5.97%); NSi (Christian Democrats) with 5 seats (5.59%), and Alenka Bratusek's Alliance with 4 seats (4.38%). 2 seats are taken by representatives of the Italian and the Hungarian ethnic groups respectively.

  1. SMC - 36 seats
  2. SDS - 21 seats
  3. DeSUS - 10 seats
  4. SD - 6 seats
  5. ZL - 6 seats
  6. NSi - 5 seats
  7. ZaAB - 4 seats
  8. Ethnic minorities - 2 seats
Whatever we may think about the results, they were expected and fairly accurately predicted by surveys published in Slovenian media before the elections. 

More surprising, however, is the (non)involvement of Slovenians who live outside our former homeland. As far as I can remember, it has always been claimed that the number of Slovenians living abroad is around half a million. According to Wikipedia, there are:

178 thousand Slovenians living in the USA, 
30 thousand in Argentina, 
83 thousand in Italy, 
50 thousand in Germany, 
35 thousand in Canada, 
just under 25 thousand in Austria, and 
20 thousand in Australia, to name just the main countries.

This totals 421,000 people. Together with a few thousand Slovenians living in each of other countries like Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Netherlands, France, etc., estimates go as high as 488 thousand Slovenians scattered around the world.

Half a million people living  abroad against around two million in Slovenia represent 20% of the total population. If all Slovenians living abroad decided to vote in general elections they potentially have the power to make a huge impact on the Slovenian politics. In fact, their votes could change the course of Slovenian politics altogether.

However, the State Election Committee sent out only 76 thousand voting kits. There is a huge gap between 76 and 488 thousand?!! What is happening with those other 400 thousand plus people? Are they not registered as Slovenians? Are Wikipedia estimates ridiculously high and do not reflect the real situation?

Of those 76 thousand who received the voting kit, only 8226 chose to vote. 134 ballots were invalid which leaves only 8091 valid votes. Slovenians living abroad voted as follows:

SMC - 2229 votes (27.1%)
SDS - 1589 votes (19.32%)
ZaAB - 706 votes (8.58%)
SD - 654 votes (7.95%)
NSi - 584 votes (7.1%)
ZL - 510 votes (6.2%)
DeSUS - 498 votes (6.05%)

Other - 1321 votes (16.05%)
Invalid - 134 votes (1.62%)

---------------

Comment from a reader who wishes to remain unnamed:
There are around 100,000 Slovenian citizens with permanent residence outside Slovenia. Everything else are estimates based on a combination of things: ethnic background, citizenship, parents, personal allegiance, etc. For example, there are only 3000 Slovenian citizens living in the USA, just over 2000 in Australia, etc., as opposed to estimates of 178,000 and 20,000 respectively.

Crisis of legality

By Jan Zobec, Constitutional Judge (parts of his address to ‘Mladopravniki’)

The development

The beginning was inspiring – I am referring to the birth of the Slovenian state – Slovenia as a sovereign country of free citizens, a liberal constitutional democracy based on the rule of human rights that put at their centre the free and responsible individual as the key value.
At first it all looked good: fairly quickly and without pain we moved past the critical period of independence implementation and did not, as it was threatened by some, eat grass. In comparison with others we paid a relatively low price and were able to join, it seemed, the train of European normalcy. We successfully joined the EU and for outside observers who were more interested in the image than in the internal workings of our society we were a model of a progressive post-communist state. Statistics confirmed this image. (...) We were the stars of transitional Europe, the first post-communist country to take presidency of the EU, the first to adopt the euro, a model to many others, in short, a story of success.
But only on the surface. Once the varnish dried up, cracked and fell off, the true state of Slovenian transition emerged. A rapid increase in public debt, no payment discipline, impotency of banks, falling GDP, increase in unemployment and subsequent social chaos are only external signs of misguided transition that surfaced due to the inevitable economic crisis. In 2008, Slovenia entered the period of global recession relatively well prepared. Again, this was only an image. The banking hole, internal indebtedness, state owned systemic and monopolistic corporations (state owned banks, insurance companies, energy producers and telecommunication providers are the centres of moral hazard and corruptible practices) – these are the facts of Slovenian transition and have nothing to do with the global recession. Despite it all, Slovenia was then a country with a relatively low debt – it’s public debt was 8.6 billion EUR or 23% of GDP. Less than six years later, it has increased to 28 billion or 81% of GDP. In mere five years the debt has increased threefold.  
The crisis of legality
This is the picture we have today, mercilessly complemented by other facts that confirm that the real reason for the catastrophic situation is not the global financial crisis but rather a combination of typically Slovenian factors - I dare say that the Slovenian crisis is in fact a crisis of legality. By this I am not suggesting that law as a cultural phenomenon is to blame for the crisis - on the contrary, it is the lack of legality, disrespect of law and perversion of justice that are the culprits.
Absence of constitutional culture
All this are consequences of dysfunction of the rule of law - which in turn is a consequence of the absence of legal culture that goes back to its source, i.e. the constitution. Slovenians have become insensitive to the values that are at the crux of Slovenian constitutional identity, and easily adopt intellectual values and cultural concepts (or perhaps we can't let go of them since they became ingrained in us in the 73 years of living in both Yugoslavias) that belong to another cultural tradition - let me be clear and direct: to the Balkan despotic culture that never implemented the process of state internalisation and never put at its centre the free and responsible, or if you like, constitutionally and morally-ethically integrated individual.
Hence, if in the normal Western world people rely on law, in this country we rely on our connections, influential friends and acquaintances; what is in the West arranged is here fixed through connections; what is there agreed and written down, happens, whereas here it is circumvented, outstripped, outwitted; what in normal democracies applies to all and in the same binding way, are for Slovenians rules of the game that can be bent to suit this individual or another, a group or the whole influential network; what is elsewhere considered an unacceptable lie is here a self-evident means of achieving one's goals, only a small, negligible, forgivable and repairable error, or even something that should be overlooked and pretended that it doesn't exist; what in the normal European environment works effectively, makes people's lives easier and promotes the economy is in Slovenia abused and allowed to go bad (e.g., land debt that had to be discontinued after ten years due to continuous abuse). Legal institutions that function in the West are rejected by our nation's organism, and if you'll excuse me a trivial example, if the waiting list for an MRI in Slovenia depends on corrupt connections and acquaintances, the same medical service is available for all without exception in four to five days across the border in Austria. 
Why!

Dear colleagues, I ask myself what is happening with us that we are morally so low, that we accept models from another, I dare say Eastern, Balkan tradition, a despotism-based and annihilating culture that came to existence in different historic circumstances and civilisation. We are a European nation that historically and culturally belongs to the Western world as it has developed through the European state system history - from the Renaissance, Humanism and Reformation to the period of Enlightenment.  Is this not the main reason why we found living in Yugoslavia not only suffocating but also unbearable - is this not why we set out to gain independence? We wrote this down in our constitutional documents that are saying: "Yugoslavia, your politics, your culture, your values - no thank you! And Europe, yes please (if I remember correctly, one of the pre-election slogans for one of the parties on the transitional left was "Europe now!"). We then went on our own and in our own way, as Yugoslavia did not work as a country with the rule of law, where human rights were badly disrespected; where there was no way out of the political and economic crisis due to lack of democracy  and which in the end fell apart in the same way as it was created - in bloodbath. In other words, we moved away from what we are now falling back into.


Full original text in Slovenian available on http://mladopravniki.si/noviceindogodki.html


Two responses to recalled ambassador Balažic's press conference in Slovenia

Alfred Brežnik: Answers to 'Večer' journalist Aleš Lednik in relation to the Balažic-Oman Affair (not published in Večer)  

On 9 July I received a few questions from Večer journalist Aleš Lednik relating to the Balažic-Oman affair. "Understandably, this story reverberates in Slovenia... moreover, at his press conference Balažic pointed his finger at you as an informal link between Janša's SDS in Slovenia and the Slovenian community in Australia," he wrote. And added: "Our readers and the Slovenian general public would like to know whether you can answer a few questions."

I responded the next day; however,  up till now I haven't seen the publication of my answers, even though I was told that I could expect it (and receive a copy). I suppose my answers were not controversial enough. Please find my response below.

Let me say that I first heard about Dr Milan Balažic's press conference on Tuesday at around midnight when a journalist from RTV Slovenia called me. She was interested in my comment on Balažic's revelations regarding the affair with Oman at which I had hinted in my open letter to Minister Erjavec. I said at the time that Balažic claimed it was a big issue (which I refused to discuss publicly) and if it came to his recall he was going to 'put his cards on the table'. The journalist reminded me that this actually happened with this press conference and asked for my comment. I refused to make a statement as I did not know the content of the press conference. Additionally, my/our (the Australian Slovenian community) issue with Balažic had nothing to do with Oman's oil-rich land in Republika Srpska. Our protests mainly related to Balažic's claims that he did not invite Nicholas Oman to the opening of the Consulate in Melbourne.

His insistence followed by insults aimed at individual members of our Slovenian community and the community as a whole triggered off general outrage which resulted in protests. In the Slovenian program on SBS Radio on Friday 14 March he denied, over and over again, that he invited Oman. I therefore called him the following Monday and advised that this whole affair would never have erupted had he apologized to the community, explained  that the whole issue was an error and promised that it would not happen again - and it would all be forgotten. He did not listen. PITY!  

In my letter to MinisterErjavec I described my relationship with the ambassador and will not repeat myself here - they were good, open and friendly. We worked together for the common good of our homeland and the Australian Slovenian community.  After my resignation/retirement he asked me many times to act as his advisor. Thus I was even more surprised by his attack during his press conference in Ljubljana last week,  and in a style that I would never have expected from him.

Of special interest are his claims (according to 'morel.si') that:  some individuals from the Australian-Slovenian community who are closely linked to the informal structure of Janša's SDS Party that operates in Australia started a pogrom on him. They panicked because Balažic met with Oman. They were frightened that Balažic would pass on dangerous information about Janša and his involvement in arms dealings, the clinic that Janša allegedly had in Australia, money laundering, funding of the SDS Party in Slovenia from Australia, secret Janša's visits in this country and other dirty business. This SDS structure in Australia is  led by former Honorary Consul Alfred Brežnik who continues to abuse his consular position for the benefit of Janša fans in Australia and Slovenia.

For havens sake, has this gentleman gone completely potty - has he lost all his common sense? Is he hallucinating? I can imagine that this whole affair affected him badly: the loss of a distinguished career/job of ambassador, perhaps even his job at the faculty - it's terrible! I honestly feel sorry for him! However, as Minister Erjavec said, all this is of his own making. Suddenly it is the fault of the whole  government and his friends, and SDS Jansa fans in Australia with Brežnik at the helm.

And now to your questions:

1) Have you personally or any informal SDS structure, as the media calls it here (do you mean Balažic?), had any contacts with the Slovenian Democrat Party in Slovenia, what contacts and with whom? Do you know Jože Jerovšek and are you in contact with him?

I have no idea what kind of informal SDS structure Mr Balažic has in mind. Personally I don't know or have ever heard of any formal or informal SDS structure here in Australia. I have never been a member of any political party in Slovenia, including SDS.

I do have, however, friends who are members of this party. Additionally, I have sympathised with the SDS Party from its very beginning, from the time when its predecessor party was led by my friend Dr Jože Pučnik. I don't know personally Mr Jožef Jerovšek and I have never met him. I only know that he is a SDS member in the National Assembly.

2) How do you comment never verified accusations and rumours at which Balažic is hinting between the lines that part of the Slovenian community in Australia finances SDS?

I have no knowledge of any organised part of the community funding for SDS. If there is any such individual, which is possible - I do not know of him or her.

3) How do you comment the information that part of the Slovenian community under your leadership assists Janez Janša financially and otherwise?

This is absurd! I would, however, be happy if this were the case as Janez Janša deserves and needs help!

4) Do you have any information about Janez Janša's secret private visits to Australia during which he negotiated such assistance?

Total nonsense, just like your next question (5) that Janez Janša possesses a private clinic. About  two years ago we received such questions from Slovenian journalists at the Consulate and at the Embassy and made it clear at the time that this was all made up. The Embassy in Canberra also responded negatively, calling the allegations absurd!

5) How do you comment allegations that due to the fact that Nicholas Oman knew all these things and tried to trade such information through Balažic the informal SDS structure in Australia panicked and launched the story about Oman?

I believe I answered this question in my introduction above, before my answers to the questions. I don't know what exactly would be the cause of such panicking?!! And in what way was the story about Oman 'launched'? He appeared there publicly! At the official opening of the Consulate! Any community gathered together at such a distinguished function in Australia would react the same if people knew that one of the invited guests was Nicholas Oman. 


Alfred Brežnik
Sydney, 10 July 2014



Joe Ramuta: Letter to the Editor 

Thank you for your informative post, which I read with interest. I have tried not to respond on some of them, as it would probably attract some negative responses from readers. However the latest video of Dr. Balažic’s response to the saga of his own making, I decided to make a comment. I actually liked the guy, I thought he has the personality to attract the following of the Slovenian community in Australia. I was present at the opening of the honorary consular in Melbourne and I thought it was well organized and not too formal. I have noticed the person in question with shady past standing not far from me to my right, (Oman) however I have never seen him before and never heard of him until I read of complaints from some people who knew who he was.

In my opinion, all that the ambassador had to do, was to apologize to the Slovenian community about the presence of Oman and he would probably be still an ambassador of the republic of Slovenia. Despite having a high opinion of Dr. Balažic in the past, I have now changed my mind.

I know of at least one another person, who claims, he was not invited to the opening, to be present at the opening and later at the Jadran club, which means that anyone could be there, as there was no security check. I have spoken to the Ambassador at the Jadran club and also presented him and the honorary consul with my book ''Pot v Neznano''. Knowing Derry Madison personally, I was happy for him to have the honor representing the Republic of Slovenia among us and I can appreciate his contribution to the service to the Slovenian population in Victoria (at his own expenses).

I have also been following the judicial system in Slovenia. The old Communists, who are still (trying) to run the country, are also running the courts and judges. Why does former presidents of the republic of Slovenia, Kučan, Turk and the old Communist Slovenian president Stanovnik still have so much power in pulling the strings. They should sit back and enjoy their handsome pensions, as do the presidents of other democratic countries. The old guard will never forgive Janša for his contribution to the democratic movement in the late 80s and subsequent independence from Communist Yugoslavia. They will do anything to destroy him. I just hope the European court will eventually clear him.

As one of my friends commented the other day: You can take Slovenia out of Balkan, but it is impossible to take the Balkan out of Slovenian politicians...

Joe Ramuta
Geelong, 12 July 2014

Erosion of EU Rule of Law in Member States: the Case of Slovenia

Interview with Mr Anthony Tomažin, the new Honorary Consul for NSW

You grew up in a Slovenian migrant family in Western Sydney. Were you involved with the Slovenian community as a child? In what ways?

As a teenager I enjoyed attending the two Slovenian associations and the church community in Sydney where many social and cultural events were organised.

Yes, I was active as the president of a youth organisation, for eight years.  As a young man I had lots of ideals and I believed it was very important to build a bridge between the older and the younger generation and to actively include them in the Slovenian community. Among very successful activities were regular monthly parties, picnics etc.
Some of us joined the folk dancing group which was at the time very active.

I have nice memories of this time. I had an opportunity to meet many good people with whom I still keep in touch on a regular basis.

As an adult, you built up your mortgage brokering business and were recently appointed to the position of new Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia. How do you see your new role? In what ways can the Slovenian community in NSW expect to be served by you?

I take the position of Honorary Consul very seriously and responsibly. I will try to work for the benefit of all and to assist people who will turn to me for advice in solving their problem. I will consult the community on ideas that could be realised, on what people wish and what the most pressing problems are. At the same time I will encourage young people to take their time and learn about the country of their ancestors and to think about opportunities for business connections and investments. Personal contact is very important. I will make an effort to meet them regularly in Sydney or here in Ljubljana - I regularly travel between the two destinations.    

This position was previously held by Mr Alfred Brežnik who is one of the most respected members of our community. In our interview in November 2013 he said: "To be appointed an Honorary Consular officer of a country/state is great honour indeed. It is a prestigious position. (...) the most important thing is sincerity and courtesy when dealing with people and to be a good listener. People who come to see you expect to be helped, and they can be very appreciative when granted assistance." Do you agree with his views?

I absolutely agree. I have great respect for Mr Brežnik. We often meet in the Slovenian church or at the Slovenian Association. His character, experience and his work can serve as a role model for many.

Do you feel that a Honorary Consul should position himself as a community leader? How do you see your position in relation to Slovenian organisations in Australia?

Not at all. It would not be appropriate for me to interfere in the community leadership. Each organisation has its own representatives that members select themselves.

As a Honorary Consul I am required to be neutral and to act in the best interest of the whole community. I wish to act as a bridge in cultural and linguistic information exchange and especially in promoting business activities between the two countries.  

How would you like to see the Slovenian community develop in the future?

I wish that the Slovenian community could act more unitedly and to appeal to the younger generation. I would also like to see more activity in integrating new Slovenian migrant families who chose to make Australia their new home.  

You are a distinguished businessman with business interests in both countries. What is the main difference between conducting a business in Slovenia and in Australia?

Doing business in Australia is considerably easier. Unfortunately, there are many unnecessary administrative obstacles in Slovenia, not to mention high taxes. Additionally, politics is too involved in the economy here.

It is however a fact that due to the financial crisis and banks not approving new loans there are currently many well established companies with good business results for sale in Slovenia at relatively "low" prices.   

What are your views on the trade exchange between Slovenia and Australia? Do you think it is adequate? Is there room for improvement?

The trade exchange is very positive.

For Slovenia, Australia is the fourth most important market in Asia. Looking at the trade exchange, it improved more than 100% in the last few years. Currently exports are valued at about 200 million EUR **. It is worth noting that Harvey Norman is one of the biggest Australian investors in Slovenia.

There is always a lot of room for improvements.

What would be your advice to a company in Slovenia that wishes to sell its products in Australia?

It is necessary to do a good market analysis to ascertain the need for a certain product; to take account of standards, exchange rate, shipping costs due to great distance. It is especially advisable to connect with local brokers or partners who can help distribute and market new products.

Thank you for the interview and all the best in your new role.

** Correction: According to DFAT Fact Sheet on Slovenia  total trade exchange between Slovenia and Australia in 2013 was 125 million Australian dollars (exports to Slovenia: AU$38.24 million; imports from Slovenia AU$86.49 million).

Legacy of recalled ambassador Dr Milan Balažic

Dr Balažic left Australia about a week ago. On arrival in Slovenia, he held a press conference in Nebotičnik which is owned by the newly appointed Honorary Consul for NSW Mr Anthony Tomažin.  In his long speech for Slovenian journalists, Dr Balažic finally explained his dealings with Nicholas Oman who appeared at the opening of the new Slovenian Consulate in Victoria on 7 March this year and upset with his presence the Slovenian community in Australia.

In his presentation, Dr Balažic gave journalists access to a large number of documents to support his claims that his meetings with Mr Oman were initiated by Igor Lukšič, at the time the leader of Social Democrats, who allegedly acted as a coordinator between the Cabinet of Slovenian Prime Minister Mrs Alenka Bratušek and Mr Oman. According to Dr Balažic, Mr Oman offered to the Slovenian government his oil-rich land in Republika Srpska - for which Italian oil company Agip was allegedly willing to pay 2.2 billion EUR  - in return, according to Dr Balažic, for a Slovenian passport for himself, his daughter and his son. (Mr Oman who is a Slovenian citizen by birth has the right to a Slovenian passport anyway; until recently the cost of a new passport was $136.)

Dr Balažic claims that Milan Kučan personally approved of  negotiations with Nicholas Oman and was willing to help, and that the President of the Republic of Slovenia Mr Borut Pahor was also kept informed of their progress. The only person that seems to be left in the dark until recently was his immediate superior, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Karl Erjavec.

The whole scandal, in which Dr Balažic openly admits to be involved in an offer of an award (i.e., bribe) of alleged 2.2 billion from Nicholas Oman in return for a service which is yet to be looked into but nevertheless apparently represents some kind of personal gain for Mr Oman, is calling to be investigated by the Slovenian police and judiciary. Regardless of its outcome, it seems that Oman does not own any such land and that the whole deal was a scam. 

As if these allegations are not enough, Dr Balažic felt compelled to also take another swipe at the Slovenian community in Australia in his speech. While he still insists that Mr Oman was not invited to the opening of the Consulate in Melbourne and that he never sat together with Mr Oman at the table for more than one minute, despite a number of witnesses who say otherwise, he added new accusations to the list of his complaints about the Slovenian community in Australia.

This is what he said: " After this event some individuals from the Australian-Slovenian community started a pogrom on me. Allegedly I invited (...) Oman to the opening of the Consulate which turned out to be a complete taradiddle. There was no invitation. These individuals have close political and business connections with an informal structure of SDS Party which operates in Australia. They panicked as I was allegedly in possession of  dangerous knowledge - about arms dealings, a clinic, financial transactions, financing SDS from Australia, secret Janša's visits etc. - therefore I had to be attacked and removed."

"By the way: this structure is led by former Honorary Consul General Alfred Brežnik. It is not beneath him to abuse his consular position and publicly attack his own (Slovenian) government. The Government did not respond to this which teaches us a lesson that if you attack your government as a consul, you are praised, but when you follow your government's instructions as an ambassador, you get punished."

"The head diplomatic supervisor at the Foreign Ministry Miha Vrhunec intercepted communications between some of these people and Jožef Jerovšek, an SDS Member of the Assembly. In it, he coordinates the action of attack on the ambassador."

It is sad that an individual of Dr Balažic's abilities and talents, great charisma and stature has to resort to lies and hate talk of this kind. He still does not understand that the community reacted spontaneously to the news that Mr Oman was among invited guests at the opening of the Consulate in Melbourne. Mr Oman was unknown in the community and as such he stood out in a group of forty people who all knew each other well. Once his identity and his past became known, outrage came quite naturally to many. But the situation was easy to resolve: all Dr Balažic had to do was to go on the SBS Radio and apologise. Unfortunately, he was unable to apologise. Instead, he is building conspiracy theories, making unfair and dishonest comments for which he has no evidence whatsoever and slinging mud at people who only until recently liked him and helped him in whatever way they could.

Life of course goes on, but Dr Balažic left behind quite a lot of devastation. People no longer trust the Embassy in Canberra and the new and the existing staff will have to work hard to rebuild the respect and cooperation that existed before.

His legacy also includes appointment of four new Honorary Consuls in Australia. Two have already been confirmed by the Australian Government.  

Mr Derry Maddison in Melbourne is one of them: he  is unavailable for speeches or even attendance on the Statehood Day in Slovenian clubs in Victoria and in his interview with Lenti Lenko on SBS Radio on 23 May 2014 he criticised Dr Balažic and Mr Erjavec in relation to the Oman affair.  But he seems to be particularly unhappy  with the financial side of his position:  "Lenti, I can tell you that this Slovenian Government is so stingy!"  He complains "that my work is absolutely totally unpaid. Every expense that occurs goes from my pocket. Even when, say, a member comes from Canberra, I pick them up at my expense. (...) That's why this position is called 'honorary'. I hope they will change this - not because I am doing it but because in the future there will be consuls in all Australian states and then these very people will do much more work than Canberra and they would really deserve some payment..." Apparently he is unaware that the position of Honorary Consul is unpaid by definition.

Mr Anthony Tomažin is the new Honorary Consul for New South Wales.  Until September he is unavailable while attending to his business interests in Slovenia. His absence was felt at Slovenia Statehood Day celebrations in the two Slovenian clubs in Sydney where Mr Brežnik was invited to give a speech in his place. The community needs a Consul and is used to having one in their midst. Let's hope Mr Tomažin will find more time for the community in his busy schedule in the future.

Failed Democracy: The Slovenian Patria Case - The (Non)Law in Context

by Dr Matej Avbelj

(This article is the prologue to academic paper by Dr Matej Avbelj published in Social Science Research Network.) 

This paper discusses the role the Slovenian judiciary and their legal academic counterparts have
played in the notorious Slovenian Patria affair. The affair has led to the incarceration of the
leader of the Slovenian opposition, Mr. Janez Janša, just three weeks before the parliamentary
elections. Due to the overall legal and political context in which the affair has been conducted,
there is a growing number of evidence that fuel the belief that right from the beginning the affair
has been politically motivated and has been used to instrumentalize, even abuse the institutions
of the rule of law for political purposes. First to tarnish the reputation of the leader of the
opposition and then to eliminate him from the political life.

The affair started in 2008, a few weeks before the general parliamentary elections, when the
Slovenian national TV showed a Finnish documentary claiming that the then Slovenian Prime
Minister Janez Janša was bribed by the Finnish arms-selling corporation Patria, which was
consequently and as a result awarded the contract with the Slovenian government. The
documentary identified the recipient of a bribe exclusively with the letter J, that a couple of
years later turned out to stand not for Mr. Janša, but for a Croatian businessman Mr. Jerković.
Nevertheless, a huge political controversy understandably broke loose. The political scandal
made Mr. Janša finish second in that parliamentary election and resulted in the establishment
of the government controlled by the political left. It was only two years later that a direct
indictment was brought against Mr. Janša by a state prosecutor who is a wife of an agent of the
Slovenian communist secret-service police that arrested Mr. Janša as a political dissident during
the reign of the communist regime in the late 1980s.

The indictment accused Mr. Janša and others involved in the case for having committed a crime
of accepting gifts for illegal intermediation pursuant to Art. 269 of the Slovenian Penal Code.
However, the indictment raised a lot of controversy as the criminal offence was literally alleged
to have been committed on an undetermined date, at an undetermined place and through an
undetermined method of communication. This patently constitutionally flawed indictment
nevertheless led to a trial at the local court of Ljubljana, which after a number of months (in
between local and another parliamentary election) found the defendants guilty. The case was
then appealed to the High Court of Ljubljana on all counts, but the High Court confirmed the
ruling of the local court as it stood.

Mr. Janša has thus been convicted with the force of res judicata exclusively on the basis of
circumstantial evidence for having accepted a promise of an unknown award at a vaguely
determined time, at an undetermined place and by an undetermined mode of communication to
use his influence, then as a Prime Minister, to have a military contract awarded to the Finnish
company Patria.

The decision of the High Court appeared to be vitiated by a number of patent violations of
constitutional rights and principles. The High Court openly stated that neither the time nor the
place of the alleged criminal offence are constitutive of the crime, since they merely contribute
to the individualization and concretization of the crime. The High Court went even further by
ruling that the fact that the crime was allegedly committed through an undetermined method of
communication is unproblematic, as the act of accepting the award is sufficiently defined in the
abstract provision contained in the Penal Code. Moreover, the High Court stressed a number of
times that the wording of Art. 269 of the Slovenian Penal Code was open-textured, but instead
of construing it narrowly in line with the requirements of lex certa, the Court used it as a way
of attributing the criminal act to the defendant. Finally, the High Court at times even appeared
to be shifting the burden of proof on the defendant, who has thus been forced to acquit himself
from the indictment, which has, as phrased, effectively disabled him to present any alibi or to
prepare a meaningful defense.

As a result, the defendant Mr. Janša sought a direct relief at the Constitutional Court by filing
a constitutional complaint prior exhausting the extraordinary legal remedy at the Supreme
Court. In what follows, the paper describes and critically analyzes the decision of the
Constitutional Court and the events that followed thereafter. The events that, unfortunately,
demonstrate severe rule of law problems in Slovenia and which push this country into the group
of the de facto failed constitutional democracies.

For full text go to: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462613

How to vote in early general elections on 13 July 2014

By now you probably have received your voting kit which includes: 
  • URADNA PRAZNA GLASOVNICA - this is your ballot paper;
  • Envelope marked 'ZA GLASOVNICO' - for your completed ballot paper;
  • Document with your personal details ('VOLILNA KARTA');
  • Second envelope addressed to Drzavna volilna komisija.


HOW TO VOTE

1. Fill in the ballot paper ('URADNA PRAZNA GLASOVNICA')




Enter the name of your preferred party OR, if you wish, you can enter the name of your preferred candidate from the chosen party. Please note that the candidate must be from your electorate ('volilna enota' AND 'volilni okraj'). Lists of candidates in each electorate are available from Drzavna volilna komisija website.

You can can choose among the following parties  (the list is not supplied):



2. Put your completed ballot paper in the envelope marked 'ZA GLASOVNICO'



3. Sign, fill in the place and date in the document with your personal details ('VOLILNA KARTA')


4. Put 'VOLILNA KARTA' and the sealed envelope containing your ballot paper in the big envelope addressed to Drzavna volilna komisija


5. Send

You can send the whole package either to Slovenia or to the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Canberra, 26 Akame Circuit O'Malley ACT 2606

Make sure you send the package off before 12 July!  This is the last accepted date on the postal stamp. Your ballot paper must arrive in Ljubljana by no later than 21 July 2014.


Recent imprisonment of former Prime Minister and 2008 European Council President is result of political trial

By Edward Gobetz

It is hard to believe that several western media were so completely misled by an article authored by Ali Zerdin (Aleksander Horvat), editor of Delo Saturday Supplement.  After incarceration on Friday, June 20, of Janez Jansa, twice prime minister of Slovenia and in 2008 successful president of European Council, Zerdin’s article, published by the Associated Press, appeared in many influential media, ranging from BBC News and Star-Telegram to Fox News and Shanghai Daily. Titles such as “Ex-Slovenian leader begins prison term for bribery” or “Ex-Slovenian PM Janez Jansa convicted of corruption” undoubtedly misled countless readers in many countries to believe that the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party must be guilty of serious crimes for which he was sentenced to a two-year prison term at the Dob Penitentiary and a fine of 37,000 euros ($50,332). In his first AP article of June 20 Zerdin writes that »Jansa and two others were convicted last year of accepting about 2 million euros ($2.7 million) in bribes while in office to help the Finnish firm Patria win a contract for 135 armored personnel carriers worth 278 million euros ($377 million).« On June 23rd, a limited correction was published, according to which Jansa and two others »were convicted last year of accepting promise of an award for Jansa's  SDS party.« Accepting promise of an award is, of course, essentially different from accepting an award, but the charge of corruption has remained unchanged and unchallenged.

All this,  indeed, would sound like a substantial crime, if only the charges were true. Please note that this accusation first appeared in the media at the time of Jansa's 2008 conclusion of a successful 4-year term as PM of Slovenia and six month service as  president of the European Council. Of course, this happened just before new elections in which Jansa  was likely to win a second PM term. A vicious media campaign centering on the Patria scandal  helped the candidate of Social Democrats Party, the direct successor of Milan Kucan's League of Communists and the Communist Party, to win by a very narrow margin.
The accusations were consistently  brought to a boiling point just before all subsequent elections by the media, such as Zerdin's Delo, described as a left-wing daily, established in 1959 as the successor of two earlier openly communist papers. The continuous media campaign and Zerdin's AP article are in fact part and parcel of political communist propaganda to destroy democratic political opposition led by Jansa.
Indeed, Karl Erjavec, the president of left-wing (!) Dessus Party who as the defense minister in Jansa's coalition government had signed the Patria contract has publicly stated that Jansa was not in any way involved in the Patria purchase. The sentence itself  also presented  no evidence whatsoever of Jansa's involvement. It  was  based on nothing firmer than an assumption that »the accused PM received in an unknown manner a promise of an award (not an award itself!) of unspecified value, from an unknown source, at an unknown time and place for his unknown kind of support of the  Patria purchase.« Zerdin and reporters of his ilk, of course, never bothered to clarify the above unknowns or at least mention them in their tendential articles and frequent appearances on Slovenian TV.   

Clearly, this was a mounted political trial reminiscent of those in the Soviet Union or more recently in Belarus and Ukraine. It is a legal farce in the eyes of  any objective observer, including informed newspapers,  such as Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung. Many legal experts agree that the sentence of Jansa is  unproven  and/or politically motivated, among them Klemen Jaklic, with doctorates  from Oxford and Harvard, who teaches law at Harvard; Dr. Lovro Sturm, former professor of law, minister and a member of European Council of Jurisprudence; Dr. Matevz Krivic, a former judge,  and three current judges  of the Slovenian Constitutional  Court:  Dr. Mitja Deisinger, Dr. Jan Zobec, and Dr. Ernest Petric (the first Ambassador of Slovenia to the United States of America). Thousands of others have also been shocked by this legal farce, including Drago Jancar, one of Slovenia's and Europe's foremost writers and playwrights, and Cardinal France Rode, a noted scholar and author.

While not a single Yugoslav,  Slovenian or other perpetrator of communist murders resulting in over 600 mass graves has so far been sentenced by the communist-dominated courts, Jansa and many other anticommunists have been maligned, prosecuted and sentenced in mounted Yugoslav and later Slovenian political trials. Sooner or later, Jansa's sentence will be overturned in Slovenia or by the European Supreme Court.  But at this time, the communists and their successors and supporters celebrate the incarceration of Jansa hoping that this strongest opposition party leader as a much maligned prisoner at the Dob Penitentiary could not possibly win another four-year term as PM in elections held on July 13 (or, according to Alenka Bratusek, legislation should be passed to disqualify him) —  and hoping that toxic publicity generated by the likes of Zerdin would destroy his international reputation. This is, if the democratic media of the world allow such travesty to go unchallenged.

Edward Gobetz, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Kent State University,  author of several books and Director of the Slovenian Research Center of America.