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Mao is famously quoted as insisting that “all power comes from the barrel of a gun” and while that may hold true for a country in the throes of a revolution or subject to military conquest in an established democracy like our own all power comes form the most persuasive tongues and the dialogue those tongues foster within the part of the population who are politically active or engaged. For a very long time during my lifetime those persuasive tongues were controlled by the owners of the mass media who were able to disseminate their ideas and understandings to a receptive audience who could only respond and engage with the issues via a limited facility provided by media owners in the form of “letters to the editor” they heavily controlled the choice and publication of such feed back to maintain their monopoly of political discourse. This made owners, editors and Journalists both powerful and significant in our democracy. Political parties and aspirants to office openly courted the media and media owners and editors of both political inclinations have not hesitated to promote or deride the political players of their day especially when it came to promoting their own beliefs or vested interests. Thus we have a business focused player like Rupert Murdoch considering not only the players who will serve his political ideals but also his business interests. We should never forget that the reason that anyone publishes a news paper or owns a commercial television channel is to make a quid by selling advertising on or in it so it naturally follows that a media entity has to be responsive to its audience and to some extent reflect the needs desires and aspirations of that audience as well. Thus no matter what the ideology of a media owner may be (and I’m sure that some readers are imagining Rupert Murdoch as an evil manipulative puppet master right now) he or she also has to respect and reflect the audience who buy his product.
The media landscape changed with the rise of the internet and the invention of the blog. All of a sudden political discourse was not controlled by mega rich gate keepers who shaped the discourse through their cohorts of authorized writers and speakers (journalists) Suddenly ANYONE could write anything they pleased about the issues of the day and more importantly ANYONE could comment freely on what had been written. And comment people did with spirit and gusto. In the political blogs that were the pioneers of this brave new online world it was not uncommon to have comment threads that had many hundreds of postings as commentators had lively debates in real time as they tried to “find the plan” to explore an issue with great thoroughness. The problem is that most of these blogs have become very tribal indeed. A sort of mob rule mentality and tribalism has become the norm in most of the online spaces where politics are discussed. Thus if you visit any popular political site you will find that the commentators who have views consistent with the slant of the site tend to gang up on anyone with a dissenting voice who happens to raise their heads above the parapets and offer a contrary opinion. I’ve seen this happen on both left-wing and right-wing sites and it almost always devolves into personal attacks upon the person espousing a heterodox position along with the accusation that they are “trolling”.
My question is does it have to be this way forever? Surely the better way to go would be for those who have a passion for politics to do more than just seek the affirmation of those with a like minded. Democratic politics is first and foremost about the art of persuasion. If you want change you have to persuade those who disagree with that change that they are in error and that the changes you propose have real virtue. No one is ever going to be persuaded to change their opinion if they never even encounter a rationale for a contrary opinion or if they never have their own beliefs challenged which means that even the most spirited but “within the tribe” discussion is ever going to change a single mind. To make change within a democracy you have to change the minds and vote of those who give our political candidates their jobs.
What I advocating here is that those who want to see a better standard of political debate in this country learn to respect political difference and to embrace diversity in their interlocutors and further that everyone who wants a better Australia needs to try to breakdown the tribalism in the online spaces where we discuss the issues. At the very least you could learn more about why those you disagree with think the way that they do, and you may even find that you can persuade them to a position that is closer to the way you see things.
Of course if you are going to be at all convincing you will have to interact with your interlocutors sincerely and with a generosity in debate that many culture warriors (as so many long time blog commentators become) find difficult. You see snarky comebacks and put downs become quite addictive when you are arguing with someone in an online forum (I know because I have not always been a saint on that myself) but if you can resist that temptation you will discover a couple of things pretty quickly. Firstly your “political opposites” are often not that different to yourself and that you may well have more in common than your think you do. From common ground you can find a common purpose and from a common purpose you can find a way to try to reconcile the differences in your positions. Even if you can’t reconcile those differences you can at least learn to respect each other.
As I suggested with the tittle “So you say you want a revolution ” its very easy to want change if you don’t think about how that change is to happen and what is to be built in the place of that which you want to tear down. Well I want to see a revolution in political discourse where those on the right and those on the left are willing to engage in productive online debate that does not just degenerate in to acrimony and rancor. Hopefully in time we will see roughly equal numbers of players in the modern electronic sandpits but if we can’t have equal numbers any time soon can we at least have some respect for those of one political persuasion who go and play in the sand pits of the other-side? These brave souls bring that most rare and valued thing to these debates and that is what the Catholics used to call “an advocate for the devil”. You see once you have an advocate for the devil in your debates the depth to which you can explore the issues increases as a consequence. Of course those who just go into online comment threads for a bit of venting and affirmation from the like minded will probably hate having their blinkered thinking challenged, they will also hate having to justify many of the notions that they have previously taken for granted but the totality of the debate will have benefited. In the end we all want to change the world, we all want to see the plan, but you need to do more than carry pictures of Chairman Mao if you want to make it with anyone.
With a hat-tip to John and Paul
Its sort of amazing just how nasty the latest plot to further the cause of Jihad in this country is, according to the news reports the plotters would have grapbbed a random person off the street and then brutally murdered them with a knife.
Police allege the 22-year-old, who was among 15 people arrested yesterday morning during the biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history, communicated with the Islamic State organisation while allegedly planning the attack.
Court documents allege Mr Azari had been preparing for the attack for several months, working closely with several other men including Mohammad Ali Baryalei, an Australian thought to be in Syria and working in a senior role with Islamic State.
Mr Azari “did between 8 May and 18 September 2014 conspire with Mohammad Baryalei and others to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act (or acts)”, the documents allege. He could face a life sentence if convicted.
Police moved swiftly to arrest Mr Azari after intercepting a phone call two days earlier, Mr Allnutt told the court.
“There has been an immediate reaction to a clear and imperative danger,” he said.
The alleged attack “was clearly designed to shock the community as a whole with a plan to randomly select a person to rather gruesomely execute … I don’t think I’ve seen much worse”, Mr Allnutt told the court.
Mr Boland said the allegation was “based on one phone call”.
“As I understand it, there’s a very limited compass of information that federal police intend to put forward,” he said.
Bail was refused, and Mr Azari will return to court in November.
Even worse is the left’s favorite follower of Allah, Waleed Ali who seems to be suggesting that we should not even try to smash ISIL in Iraq because some new iteration of the Jihadi scourge will inevitably spring up in its place:
And it’s that thought that perhaps has the most to teach us in Australia. ISIL is not simply a group to be vanquished. It is not a fixed, finite, collection of people we can somehow control or eradicate. For us in Australia, it’s most dangerously a symbol: a brand a young man from Sydney can claim for himself; a flag in which he can wrap himself, and his proposed victim. For all its pretensions to statehood, the key thing is that it’s anything but. It exists in the mind as much as on land.
So it’s not the kind of thing we can simply destroy with military force. Modern terrorism doesn’t work that way. We keep killing “senior figures” in terrorist groups – indeed, it’s more than three years since we killed the most senior of them all – and nothing substantive changes. We tried to smash al-Qaeda. It fragmented, then morphed into a mass movement not truly under anyone’s direct control, with Osama bin Laden mostly a symbolic figurehead. Then it begat ISIL.
This yields a devilish problem: namely, that we are trying to confront a threat that exists nowhere in particular, and anywhere in theory. We can’t destroy that. Not in the short term and not with the kind of conventional force the state has at its disposal. What we can do is manage it. Arrest, prosecute, convict. The good news is, we’re good at that. The bad news is that this isn’t a cure. It’s the (certainly necessary) treatment of symptoms.
Police are carrying out terror raids across western Sydney.
NSW Police said the operation, which was still ongoing on Thursday morning, was the result of a counter-terrorism operation also involving the Australian Federal Police.
Officers have raided properties in Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.
Hundreds of police officers are believed to be involved in the operation.
A number of arrests have been made, but police would not specify how many.
It is understood that raids are also being carried out in Brisbane.
Further updates were expected later on Thursday morning.
Those who have been following this blog for sometime must have noticed my interest in the battle that we are all involved in between modern secular society and the medieval version of Islam that sadly too many young Muslims are so keen to kill and die for. So it should surprise none of you that the government has just announced that the threat level has been increased. Who could complain? in the last few days we have had arrests made of two men who have been charged with terrorism offenses not that far from Chez Hall in Logan (speaking from a global perspective), Obama has announced that there will be no rock that the Jihadists can hide under in Iraq or Syria and no day goes by with out some new Jihadi outrage hitting the airwaves. Personally I don’t feel any more concerned before the change to the threat level but then I have been more interested in this issue than many people for some time. I do however hope that the discussion helps those who have been either in denial about the nature of Islam or the sincerity of those who would kill for it realize the error of their ways before its too late.
The mining tax has been abolished after a deal with the Palmer United party (PUP) in which the government delayed the abolition of the schoolkids bonus and other savings and deferred already-legislated increases to workers’ compulsory superannuation for seven years.
The prime minister was jubilant after the shock deal was revealed, claiming it rendered the Labor party irrelevant and proved the government – approaching the first anniversary of its election – was “getting on with the job.”
After secret negotiations with PUP, the government revealed a deal with the crossbench senators to finally abolish the mining tax – as it had so often promised – if it retained three programs until after the next election, instead of abolishing them straight away.
In changes that will cost the budget bottom line $6.5bn over the next four years but leave it no worse off in the long term, the government has agreed to keep the schoolkids bonus, the low income superannuation contribution and the income support bonus until 2016 or 2017.
But it will also freeze the amount employers are compelled to put into all workers superannuation accounts. It is currently legislated to increase to 10% in 2015-16 and then by 0.5% each year to reach 12% in 2019-20. After this deal goes through it will be frozen at 9.5% and won’t reach 10% until 2021, rising by 0.5% a year after that.
Well by my reckoning that is another victory for the Coalition government in their campaign to undo the follies of Labor, which means that we will no longer have a tax that costs more to administer than it collects which makes us a laughing stock to the world. Further the suspension of increases in superannuation will be greeted with great joy but those in our economy who provide the employment, it will mean that the cost of hiring someone will be less over time which should help business to employ more people. Personally as I have two children in school the continuation of the school kids bonus will come in handy but I very much doubt that it has ever been a game changer to parents in this age of voter cynicism. As Tony Abbott said yesterday in the Parliament this is not everything the government wanted but it will do.
What this means is that the government has actually achieved the three planks of its election campaign, the Carbon Tax has gone, the Mining Tax has gone and the Boats have been stopped, more importantly though this demonstrates that for all of his bluff and bluster in the media Palmer can be dealt with and the government can bring about the reforms that it was elected to do.
(by Ray Dixon ~ an Australian blogger who blogs for Australia, not for bloody England)
noun : a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments that the arrival of the First Fleet was the defining moment in Australian history are interesting … but wrong. And dumb. In my opinion.
Before you rusted-ons jump up and down, I’m not commenting on the reactions and rebukes from indigenous leaders, who have claimed that Abbott’s remarks were an insult “ignoring 50,000 years of (aboriginal) history” that preceded the arrival of the First Fleet on the 26th of January 1788.
No disrespect intended to our indigenous past but even the National Museum could not find much of significance from that period to add to its list of 100 ‘moments’. And I hardly think that either the first rock art, the invention of the boomerang or the arrival of the dingo revealed, shaped or identified the essential nature or character of this nation. Let’s be realistic, there was little or no change in that long 50,000 year period.
No, I actually agree with Tony Abbott that Australia (as we know it today) was more shaped by events after the arrival of ‘white man’. I just think he chose the wrong event.
So putting that aside (PLEASE put it aside because I don’t want this to be an argument over ‘the invasion’) and looking at Australia post Captain Cook claiming it for Britain in 1770, what would you call Australia’s “defining moment”, bearing in mind the definition above? At what point was the “essential nature or character” of Australia revealed or identified?
This is what Abbott said:
Mr Abbott made the remarks at the opening of a history exhibition at the National Museum in Canberra on Friday, repeatedly stating that he believed the arrival of the First Fleet “was the defining moment in the history of this continent”.
“It was the moment this continent became part of the modern world. It determined our language, our law and our fundamental values.”
And this is why I think he was wrong:
The best that could be said about the arrival of the First Fleet – which was primarily the establishment of a penal colony to relieve congestion in England’s jails – is that it marked the ‘birth’ of a nation. I’d actually call it the ‘birth’ of Great Britain’s bastard child, seeing the intent was to dispose of its unwanted dregs but, nonetheless (and regardless of how you see it), the fact is that most people wouldn’t consider childbirth to be the defining moment of their life.
What “fundamental values” were determined by that event? A “fair go”? Equality? Freedom? Hardly.
For Tony Abbott to claim the arrival of the First Fleet of convicts revealed our “essential nature” is actually to say we are still in servitude to Great Britain. We are still unwanted. We are still inferior. We are still ‘the dregs’.
And that’s a very poor choice, especially coming from a Prime Minister who was born in England himself!
The arrival of the First Fleet and subsequent settlement at Sydney Cove certainly facilitated more arrivals (of both convict and free people), but surely it was somewhere in the events that followed our ‘bastard birth’ that more defined the true character of this great country.
For example, McArthur’s arrival and introduction of Merino sheep in 1797 had far more impact on our nationhood, especially as it gave us our first significant industry – one that still survives today.
And Matthew Flinders circumnavigation of the continent in a tiny boat in 1802 after which he named the continent ‘Australia’, certainly went a long way to define the land on which we lived.
The Gold Rush of the 1850s was also a great defining moment that brought many people from many nations to try their luck, leading to the rebellion (against the British) at Eureka Stockade, an event that was wholly justified and demonstrated our stance against an oppressive authority.
I’d even rate Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan in 1880 as more “defining” than Abbott’s First Fleet moment.
But I’d say the most significant and “defining” moments in our history are these:
The Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901 when the six separate (British) colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia formed as one nation with a federal government responsible for matters concerning the whole nation. That was when the Constitution of Australia came into force and when the formerly British colonies collectively became states of the Commonwealth of Australia – i.e. it was our ‘Independence Day’, albeit still with the Queen as Head of State. That event – the marking of our independence from British rule – was surely the moment that defined Australia throughout the 20th Century.
The 1942 thwarting of the Japanese advancement on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (following the bombing of Darwin) when for nearly six months our soldiers fought bravely (with no thanks to the Brits) to prevent the Japanese establishing a stronghold at Port Moresby from where it intended to isolate (and possibly invade) Australia. That was the first (and so far only) time we have ever really had to fight for our survival and very existence. And we prevailed. It was truly an event of monumental importance in our history.
So what do you think of Abbott’s choice of the First Fleet of British dregs defining who we are?
What do you say is the most “defining moment” in our history from this list of 100 events put out by the National Museum?
(Note: I’ve bolded those I think are the most significant … and added a few of my own at the end) :
at least 52,000 years ago: Archaeological evidence of first peoples on the Australian continent
about 28,000 years ago: Earliest known Australian rock art engraved and painted
about 20,000 years ago: Earliest evidence of the boomerang in Australia
about 12,000 years ago: Sea level rises, separating Tasmania from mainland
about 5000 years ago: Arrival of the dingo, Australia’s first domesticated species
1606 Dutch explorer Willem Janssen becomes first European to map parts of the Australian coast
about 1700 Makasar from Sulawesi visit northern Australia and trade with Aboriginal people
1770 Lieutenant James Cook claims east coast of Australia for Britain
1788 Captain Arthur Phillip establishes convict settlement at Sydney Cove
1792 Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy leads resistance against Sydney colonists
1797 Introduction and improvement of merino sheep
1802–03 Matthew Flinders circumnavigates continent, which he names ‘Australia’
1813 Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth cross Blue Mountains
1830 The ‘Black Line’ — settler force attempts to corral Aboriginal people on the Tasman Peninsula
1836 Governor Richard Bourke funds Protestant and Catholic churches in New South Wales on equal basis
1838 Myall Creek massacre, New South Wales
1851 Gold rushes in New South Wales and Victoria begin
1854 Rebellion of goldminers at Eureka Stockade, Ballarat, Victoria
1854 Australia’s first railway line opens in Victoria
1856 Secret ballot introduced and all adult men given the vote, South Australia
1856 Melbourne building workers win an eight-hour day
1858 First organised game of Australian Rules football
1859 Rabbits successfully introduced into Australia
1861 First Melbourne Cup horse race
1868 Convict transportation to Australia ends
1868 Aboriginal cricket team tours England
1872 Free, compulsory and secular education introduced, Victoria
1872 Completion of the Overland Telegraph from Darwin to Port Augusta, South Australia
1879 Australia’s first national park created — (now Royal) National Park, Sydney
1880 The Bulletin established
1880 Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria
1885 Victorian Employers’ Union formed
1885 BHP begins mining silver, zinc and lead at Broken Hill, New South Wales
1887 Chaffey brothers introduce irrigation on Murray River
1889 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition shows paintings by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder, Melbourne
1890–91 Depression and strikes; formation of the Labor Party
1894 Legislation introducing women’s suffrage, South Australia
1901 Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia
1901 White Australia policy enshrined in law
1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act gives women the vote in federal elections
1903 William Farrer begins distribution of ‘Federation’ wheat
1906 Australia takes control of Papua as an ‘external territory’
1907 Justice HB Higgins hands down ‘Harvester Judgement’
1908 Legislation introducing national age and invalid pensions
1911 Douglas Mawson leads Australasian expedition to Antarctica
1912 Australian Government introduces a maternity allowance
1913 Foundation of Canberra as national capital
1915 New South Wales Government gains unfettered power to remove Aboriginal children from their families
1915 Australian troops land at Gallipoli
1916 Federal–state agreement for Soldier Settlement
1916–17 Conscription for military service overseas defeated in two referendums
1917 Completion of Trans-Australian Railway linking Western Australia and the eastern states
1920 Country Party founded at national level
1920 Qantas established
1924 Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association formed
1932 Height of the Great Depression, with 32 per cent unemployment
1932 Foundation of the Australian Broadcasting Commission
1932–33 England cricket team in Australia on ‘Bodyline’ Ashes tour
1936 Tasmania’s thylacine becomes extinct
1938 Sydney celebrates 150th anniversary of British settlement; Aboriginal leaders hold Day of Mourning
1942 Japanese bomb Darwin but are halted on Kokoda Track
1943 First women elected to Australian federal parliament
1944 Formation of Liberal Party of Australia
1945 Florey, Fleming and Chain win Nobel Prize for developing penicillin
1945 National introduction of unemployment and sickness benefits
1945 Australia plays a leading role in founding United Nations
1945 Australian Government announces post-war migration drive
1948 Australia’s first locally made car, the Holden 48-215, launched
1949 Chifley government begins Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
1949 Election of the Menzies government — the longest serving in Australian history
1951 Australia signs ANZUS treaty with New Zealand and the United States
1954 Visit of Queen Elizabeth II, the first by a reigning monarch 1955 Split within Australian Labor Party; formation of the Democratic Labor Party
1956 Television introduced in time for Australia’s first Olympic Games, Melbourne
1960 Australian Government lifts restrictions on export of iron ore
1961 Introduction of the oral contraceptive pill
1966 Holt government effectively dismantles White Australia Policy
1966 Gurindji strike (or Wave Hill walk-off) led by Vincent Lingiari
1967 Australians vote overwhelmingly to alter the Constitution allowing Aboriginal people to be counted in the Census and subject to Commonwealth laws
1970 Moratorium to protest Australian involvement in Vietnam War
1972 Aboriginal tent embassy established in front of Parliament House, Canberra
1972 Conciliation and Arbitration Commission grants equal pay for men and women
1973 Sydney Opera House opens
1974 Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin
1975 Governor-General dismisses Whitlam government
1976 Australian Government passes Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1978 First Gay Mardi Gras march, Sydney
1978 Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) established
1983 Floating of the Australian dollar
1983 Protests against Franklin Dam in Tasmania lead to formation of the Greens
1984 Australian parliament passes Sex Discrimination Act
1991 Port Hedland immigration detention centre opens
1992 High Court decision in Mabo case establishes native title
1996 Port Arthur massacre leads to tighter gun laws
2000 Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge
2001 Australian troops take control of Tampa carrying rescued asylum-seekers
2002 Bali bombing kills 88 Australians
2004 Australia signs Free Trade Agreement with the United States
2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations
2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires kill 173 people in Victoria
And they forgot about these:
1966 St Kilda wins its first (and so far only) VFL/AFL Premiership
1972 Election of Whitlam Government marks the end of conscription and our involvement in the Vietnam War
1983 Australia II wins the America Cup
2005 Makybe Diva wins an unprecedented 3rd consecutive Melbourne Cup
2010 Julia Gillard shoots the Labor Party in the foot by knifing its most popular ever Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
2014 Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott lose the plot
OPPOSITION LEADER Bill Shorten has warned against waiting “too long” to change the constitution to acknowledge indigenous Australians — and said any reform should be “substantive” and not tokenistic.
“I believe that the sooner our constitution gives just recognition to our First Australians, the better,” he told The Australian.
OK Bill but what does that mean? will such changes have any practical effects in the lives of any Australian?
“It is a historical wrong that must be made right. But it must be more than a token gesture — it must be substantive change”.
“Bipartisanship is critical for any referendum proposal to succeed. I’m prepared to work with the Prime Minister on this to make sure there is a political consensus on the timing and the content”.
If I’m not mistaken the “historical wrong” Shorten is referring to is the Establishment of the British colonies , firstly in NSW and later elsewhere, well personally I just can’t see such events in the sort of negative light that Shorten shines here.
Coalition indigenous MP, Ken Wyatt, who is leading the process, has been more cautious, saying any vote should only be held when “Australia is ready.”
Mr Wyatt, the chair of the cross party constitution committee, said: “We shouldn’t go too early but we shouldn’t go too late either and run the risk of missing the opportunity.
Err OK Ken but until we see the words no one will have the slightest notion of the virtue of what is proposed now will they?
Mr Wyatt’s committee is currently consulting on the wording to be taken to a referendum.
“The Committee is considering presenting a progress report in December and is not required to present its final report until 30 June 2015,” he said.
So does that mean that we are going to get nearly another year of these endless empty gestures trying to soften up the public for an as yet unenunciated change to the constitution?
Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda has called for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year.
Delivering the annual Nulungu Reconciliation Lecture in Broome, Mr Gooda challenged the Prime Minister to hold a referendum before the next federal election and avoid endless rounds of consultation on the issue.
How typically undemocratic a notion from a minion of the left.
Joint Campaign Director of the Recognise campaign Tim Gartrell praised Mr Gooda’s “excellent contribution to the debate”.
“We’ve always said we shouldn’t wait a day longer than is necessary to make these important changes to the constitution,” he said. “This also means all the preconditions need to be in place. The momentum needed for success is growing every day. There are now more than 215,000 supporters who have joined Recognise.
215,000 supporters is notthat significant when you consider that we are a nation of more than 20Million people, in fact I would suggest that 215,000 supporters is barely even all of the “usual suspects”
Labor’s first indigenous senator -Nova Peris does not back Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda’s call for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year, arguing it is better to take longer than get it wrong.
Senator Peris, who is the deputy chairwoman of the committee looking at options for recognition, said rushing the issue would be devastating.
“It’s imperative we do the work required to ensure this succeeds,” he said. “To risk failure in an attempt to simply rush the procedure would be devastating.”
Well for once I agree with a Labor person about something! That said unless we have a very clear enunciation of just what words are to be added to the constitution and what the possible effect of that change could be then I for one will be campaigning against there being ANY change simply because those advancing the yes case are already being deceptive. You see I am old fashioned enough to think that there should be no laws on our statute books that privileges any individual on the basis of their race or ethnicity, or what they claim is their race or ethnicity. We live in the here and now, in a contemporary Australia whose laws apply equally to all with a blindness to race gender or ethnicity. Its not a perfect blindness to those distinctions but its close enough to sing its praises and we should resist any move that makes the law notice the colour of a man’s skin, the faith in his heart or even if he is a man. So many on all sides of politics espouse notions of equality and I think that if we the public are being asked to agree with the proposition that some Australians are going to be considered “more equal” than the rest of us that we should just vote NO!
Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader
MALCOLM FARR makes an interesting observation about the plethora of books being written by Labor has beans
That will bring to nine — by one calculation — the number of books from her and former colleagues on roughly the same subject.
Plus, there are books by former cross bench MPs Tony Windsor (House of Windsor) and Rob Oakeshott (The Independent Member for Lyne).
None will have the weight or influence of journalist Paul Kelly’s epic-sized Triumph and Demise which no doubt will become the definitive account of the period.
And there is one player missing from the potential complete set of Labor records, the big K-for-Kevin kahuna.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given no indication he wants to write a book but so many people are commenting on him — and often critically — he might understandably feel he should write his own side of the story.
But that might be some time off. Like former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who this week — 15 years after he left Parliament – will launch his diary from the Hawke/Keating days, Mr Rudd might wait a while longer.
Others, however, seem to have started dictating their first chapters on Sunday September 8, 2013 … hours after the election.
The nine books by Labor figures, from 2012 to the present are:
• My Story, by Julia Gillard;
• The Good Fight, Wayne Swan;
• Power with Purpose, Lindsay Tanner (2012);
• Hearts and Minds, Chris Bowen;
• Diary of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr;
• The Fights of My Life, Greg Combet;
• A Letter to Generation Next, Kim Carr;
• Tales from the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew (updated 2013);
• Glory Daze, Jim Chalmers (former Swan adviser now an MP)
I can’t help but think that at this rate there will be as many books about this ill-fated period of Labor government as the number of bills that Gillard apologists claimed were passed during her time in the big chair. I can tell you one thing though and it is that even when they are to be found on the bookshop remainder table there will be none of them coming home with me to Chez Hall after all as someone who followed the sad and sorry tale Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader in real time as it unfolded I don’t fell at all inclined to waste my limited reading time pouring over the entrails of a government that promised so much but ended up delivering so little of value and consequence.