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What makes a good political speech? Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech

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Saturday, 21 January 2012 17:20 by Ad astra
Although it was only 278 words and took only two minutes to deliver, US President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is regarded as one of the finest in American political history. It was given on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Here it is, and here is the source.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

What is it that makes this speech so impressive? Could a latter day politician give such an address today? How would it be received? How would the media rate it? How well would it be remembered?

There is one more speech in the change-of-years series to come.

Comments (84) -

January 21. 2012 09:05 PM


Thanks AA, I've never read that speech before (thinking it was some wondrous tome that required a long lunch to hear - let alone read).  I suspect that a lot of this speech is the setting and whom it commemorates.  Regular readers may have picked up over the time I have commented here that I'm really not a fan of a lot of what goes on in the USA. One of the exceptions that I noted when there last year was that when boarding planes they call forward the "higher level" frequent flyers (whatever they are called on the particular airline), seniors, family groups, those requiring extra assistance and services personnel.  Discounts or extra "perks" for servicemen/women seems to be a regular feature of life in the USA presumably as a thank you for risking their lives for the country - even at places like Disneyland (from memory!).

Lincoln's speech reflects this attitude and therefore seems to trigger the American patriotism which is obviously still apparent.  Sure, it is well crafted and contains a real message - again shortness is usually an indication of good writing - but I feel that outside the USA the speech would be considered to be jingoistic and would be reported as such.  Sadly - despitr it's reputation - it doesn't "stir my emotions" as I don't have that particular US culture of venerating the armed forces veterans that in the case of the US, actually fought and died in the mainland USA.  For the particular audience then and now - it really hits the spot.

P.S. Really happy to see NormanK's comments at the end of the last thread - come back FS.


January 21. 2012 10:09 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your perspecatious observations. Your are right - service personnel are much-honoured in the US.  And this occasion was one that evoked poignant reflections of the terrible cost of that awful civil war.

Ad astra reply

January 21. 2012 10:52 PM

D Mick Weir

A bit like 2353 I am not overly interested in or enamoured with the good ole US of A and what goes on there.

I have never been in any way inspired by this address. It starts of with stating the bleedin' obvious:
... our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Which for mine could well have added ... and the reality is some are created more equal than others

Lincoln ends the address with a bit of jingoism:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Well we all know how that turned out 'of the people with the most money, by the people with the most money, for the people with the most money,'

As to the nation being under God, well so much for the separation of church and state, and though it may not of been Lincoln in this address that condemned the US of A to be forever in the thrall of god bothers and the like any appeal to a figment of some novelists of 2,000 years or so ago imagination has never really been inspiring for me.

PS someone slipped an extra cynicism pill into my daily dose today

D Mick Weir

January 22. 2012 01:50 AM


As I'm not quite sure which thread is still open I'll post here with regard to the electronic gaming machine debate.

Please don't refer to them as "pokies". They are highly sophisticated computers.  They are not now and never ever will be a "fair punt". They are not a ring drawn in the red outback dirt, three pennies and a kip, with a wide tie wearing flash Harry from the big smoke running the game after the annual race day. These machines are specifically designed to ensnare the player. The player is their prey. They are programmed to win and win they will. Personally I find it appalling that both Woolworths and Coles are heavily into these things and find some comfort in the fact that I have shopped at Aldi for years.

So once again the PM will be villified, abused, dissected and subjected to the vitriol we have come to expect from the usual suspects. All in the vain hope of  forcing an early election or a Gillard resignation. To be totally honest.  I really can't believe that the PM has the very good fortune to have such  intellectually bereft forces against her. You really would have thought that they, by now at least, would have come to the understanding that this PM thinks way ahead of the game.  Are they so dumb that they can't see what has happened.

Wilkie may bluff and bluster to save face, Xenophon will sell his increasing irrelavence to whatever media outlook will have him. The PM has made the electronic gaming machine debate her own. If anyone thinks this is a move forced on her had better think again. It's a fight she has chosen and it's one that she'll win. Fortunately the winning will be made a  much easier task thanks to the vast, empty expanses of intellectual barreness on the LNP and their supporters. May they never change.


January 22. 2012 07:50 AM


Ad said
your perspecatious observations
erm, that'd be um, perspicacious, then?
Dam nice try tho' Wink

And now I'm a pedant
Important it edn't.

From the Gettysburg Address, which Thank You for posting, gee I even got through it, well Abe got one bit wrong way round eh, those words got remembered forever, the terror and the trauma are forgotten, the callousness of US society is really the legacy. A mindset of Global Carpetbaggers Inc.

Then the bit about by with and for the People, well I s'pose it's at least as true as Send me your tired and your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, etc and if I've got a misquote or so in that I care not. . . .

The message I'm getting from this whole string of Great Speeches is that they are overwhelmingly about sincere good intentions . . .  

Looking to the single issue on which Australian society has most to be ashamed . . . A handful of sand must really mean more . . . And Sorry has to be more than just Oh sorry.

That wasn't down to Gough or Kevin though. That is down to us.

Fine words and apt symbols need substance to have meaning.

America is military mad to this day. So much for consecrated ground for poor war dead, um.

*Cue on Youtube "Military Madness" (Yous can find it!)*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Very well said Comrade. The outback image gels well.
I said here a few days ago wtte that these devilish machines have none of the group and/or individual conscience prevailing in the two-up schools and country race meetings of yesteryear. They are specifically designed by evil-minded cynical greedy bastards to addict fools systematically and regularly and permanently to fleecing themselves of every penny they can't afford, in an exercise apparently as perverse and irrational as self-headbanging. (That'd have a clinical name wouldn't it Ad?) Because they WILL lose, and the more they do it the more they will lose. If they keep going they will certainly lose everything. It is not gambling, that outcome is as certain as the sunrise now creeping over the Adelaide Hills.  

I only ever have been to the casino to have a cheapo meal (subsidided by the addicted fools of course!) but it really is amazing, as amazing as Happy Clappers really, both mobs deep into false consciousness, Pie in the Sky weirdness to me. At the machines all these dopey people sit, mesmerized, they don't make eye contact at all, they are utterly a subsumed slave to the demands of this alien moneyvorous Thing with which they have bonded, like those sad little birds incessantly and mindlessly feeding the voracious Cuckoo's child that has usurped their nest . . . .
Burkard Polster is a genuine POLYMATH who teaches maths at Monash but check the bottom for just some of the things he really does.

How do I know of him, well as all here know TT is an almost immodestly modest birdman with lots to be modest about [Disraeli!] but I will say he graced me much by writing an article in the Age about Tessellation, in which he bracketed my tess designs sort of co-equally with those of the late great MC Escher, who first realized the possibility of lifelike tiling designs. Which actually, is the second-highest compliment ever paid to any of the fruits of my creative existence thus far.

Burkard sent me one of his several books, fascinating to any sighted person, Eye Twisters, with all manner of optical illusions, trompe l'oeil and the like in it, wonderful stuff from questionably sane but brilliant minds, and Dam! If Burkard and I had got to know each other a few months earlier, a design or two of mine would have been in that book I'm sure, and I could have counted my mind brilliant and questionably sane too. I REEEEEELLLLLY recommend Eye Twisters for visual trips.

Why am I telling yous this, well because Burkard and his associate have put in simple terms how the bastards skew the odds in, er, those what was it Ian, er, not-Pokies!

And the ways in which those odds are skewed should be taught as a COMPULSORY course at school. So people know.

Thinking caps on! The article is well worth grokking.

BTW if you google Burkard Polster Gambling or wtte (I forget exactly) you will soon find the article below complete with pretty diagrams.  

The super-rigging of poker machines
by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross

The Age, 23 November 2009

Are poker machines rigged? Of course! Even the most optimistic gambler knows that the odds are stacked against them. But it is worse than that: poker machines are super-rigged.

Gambling is gambling. For those who engage, its unpredictability is part of the charm and the excitement. But, for any gambling game mathematics can still guide your expectations.

If a game is fair then winning or losing comes down to luck, and in the long run you expect to get back close to what you gambled. Of course, no one expects pokies to be fair. In fact, of each $100 gambled you can only expect to get back about $90. It is in this sense that the pokies are rigged. This rigging is also more costly than it may appear, because it is likely that the same money will be gambled over and over, with a fraction lost each time.

But how can poker machines be super-rigged? The trick is in the psychology, to make it appear that the chances of winning are greater than they really are. Such scams have a proud tradition in carnival games. The comparable super-rigging of some poker machines has been documented by Melbourne barrister Tim Falkiner.

To illustrate super-rigging, consider the following simple game. Throw a pair of dice. If the sum is 10 or higher then you win the Big Jackpot, with smaller prizes for other totals. This game can easily be rigged to give less than 100% money returned, simply by adjusting the sizes of the prizes.

Now consider the same game, but super-rigged with dodgy dice. Imagine we swap the 4 and the 6 on one die for the 3 and the 5 on the other: so, the sides of the dice are now 1-2-3-3-5-5 and 1-2-4-4-6-6.

The dodgy dice together have the same numbers as normal dice. This implies that the average sum of a roll of the dice has not changed, giving the psychological impression that prize-winning totals are just as likely.

But actually, the chance of winning the Big Jackpot has decreased dramatically. With normal dice there are 6 of the 36 possible rolls that will sum to 10 or higher; the rolls indicated in the left diagram below.

With the dodgy dice, there are now only 4 such rolls, as indicated on the right. So, the chances of winning the Big Jackpot have gone down from 6/36 to 4/36 - a 33% reduction. And, cunningly, the chance of "just missing" by rolling a 9 has doubled, from 4/36 to 8/36.

It is exactly this type of super-rigging that is programmed into the pokies. Think of the five poker machine wheels as 30-sided dice. Some wheels are starved of Jackpot symbols, which is then disguised by loading a few more Jackpot symbols on other reels. The consequence is that winning the Big Jackpot is much less likely than it appears. And, the chances of "just missing" - encouraging another go - is much more likely.

The use of super-rigged poker machines is incredibly sneaky. Is it also illegal? Tim Falkiner has argued that if such machines are "deceptive" then they could well be banned under the Trade Practices Act. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is apparently unconvinced that such machines are deceptive. We feel compelled to ask: what would be?

Burkard Polster teaches mathematics at Monash and is the university's resident mathemagician, mathematical juggler, origami expert, bubble-master, shoelace charmer, and Count von Count impersonator.

Marty Ross is a mathematical nomad, currently lecturing at the University of Melbourne. His hobby is smashing calculators with a hammer.


Copyright 2004-∞  All rights reserved.


January 22. 2012 07:57 AM


Ian, hi.

I hope you're right. But sometimes I wonder why anyone would even want to lead this nation.

It seems to be full to the scuppers with whingers, whiners, main-chancers and morons, the selfish and the self-righteous, the sanctimonious and the hypocritical, the arrogant and the cowardly (same coin, just flip it), enthusiasts for traducement, applauders of the 'hard line', necks-flushing, eyes-popping, spittle-flying haters and mockers.

Check a politically-oriented blog, any blog, if you doubt me.

Feral Skeleton planned to use the phrase "brutalism in the political discourse" in an unfortunately now shelved by the author's being brutalised at this very site article.

Research for such an article would have been deluged by examples. From the rants of Opposition spokes-people, to the reiterated hatespeak of their spear carriers online.

"Of the people, by the people, for the people." But what if the people are foul?


January 22. 2012 10:03 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix
The Sunday Bloody Sunday Edition

I was going to call it the Spit the Dummy Edition  in deference to Andrew Wilkie but as my computer Spat the Dummy and I lost a whole pile of links and I'm to damn lazy to go looking again herewith today's links

No Crap App  @Drag0nista
One persons assessment of this last week's best in Journalism - you're sure to find at least one interesting link

And now to a media Sunday ...  Dorothy Parker @LoonPond
It's a fire-sharing website?
Lordy lordy, the intertubes are ablaze, and people are sharing fire like the a bunch of extras in a Stanley Kubrick movie? Or perhaps as they did during the time of the great primordial sludge before the flint was discovered? No wonder they shut it down ... (and thanks SMH and Websites attacked amid piracy row, where would the intertubes be without typos?)


After reading Dorothy's article, well why would anyone bother with linking to more stuff in the meeja?

The traps are calling so off I must go

Enjoy Sunday, Bloody Sunday

D Mick Weir

January 22. 2012 11:17 AM

Ad astra

I’m about to get on the road for the south coast and will not be back at my computer until this evening.

I notice that despite a new thread being extant that some of you can’t resist bringing up recent conflicts, thereby exacerbating the angst.

Please stick to the theme of this piece – the Gettysburg speech – or any relevant contemporary political matters, and avoid any resurrection of matters past.  My patience is running very thin with the continuing sniping, which if it continues will result in my closing the site for comment.

Ad astra

January 22. 2012 04:32 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Ian said:

It seems to be full to the scuppers with whingers, whiners, main-chancers and morons, the selfish and the self-righteous, the sanctimonious and the hypocritical, the arrogant and the cowardly (same coin, just flip it), enthusiasts for traducement, applauders of the 'hard line', necks-flushing, eyes-popping, spittle-flying haters and mockers.

That takes care of the MPs but you should toss in liars, cheats, perk seekers, trough addicts and morally corrupt.

Jason, your electricity story is inspiring. My dad just got the latest bill from Integral Energy and it reads $99:58 CR no payment required. Julia did promise a bigger rebate for our house but alas you know what her promises are worth.

We can all do our little bit to reduce our demand for electricity. We have reverted to processing our wine the old fashioned way and this has allowed us to turn off the machinery which used to do the job for us. Mother is the only member of the family without a foot disease so she is the one who has to tread the grapes. Our bath is the perfect vessel for wine production and although that means showers only at the height of production no one seems to mind much.

Sir Ian Crisp

January 22. 2012 04:42 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Sorry to be off-topic, but I feel the need to reply to the people who have asked after me. Delete it if you wish, Ad Astra.

   To all the kind people who have left words of encouragement for me & to seek my return to The Political Sword, and especially to those who came out of the shadows to do so, I say, "Thank you".
   I really appreciate the warmth that you have expressed towards me. It is truly humbling, but not in the Rupert Murdoch sense of the word, where I'm just trying to be an obsequious & pusillanimous sycophant about it(in order to divert scrutiny away from my faults). I honestly had put myself in the frame others had created for me of being a no-talent bum & a 2-bit plagiarist, who is just full of the sense of worth of her own opinions, and will rant and rave her way over the top of everyone else like a non-perfumed steamroller(I'm allergic to perfume Smile ).

   However, your testimonials have truly suggested otherwise to me.   Maybe I do have something of worth to contribute to the national debate in this country, and thus, for making me reclaim that faith in myself, I am grateful. I have found my voice again, and I will therefore again begin to speak out.

   Just no longer at 'The Political Sword'. I cannot. Because I meant it when I said I had been bitten, burnt and browned-off just that one time more than a koala could bear, and so I must become a Drop(Out) Bear if I am to maintain my personal integrity and my own moral compass, both of which I had been caused to doubt and question. It leads to me feeling constrained when I want to write, like I'm writing in a straightjacket. Which, as you could imagine, does not allow me to produce my best work.

   Also, as I honestly stated, as a Single Widowed Mum trying to look after & shepherd my 2 adolescent boys through one of the periods of their lives which is crucial to their future well-being, and their future in general, but which is also one of intensely concentrated turbulence that needs that still area in the vortex of the storm, i.e. me as their anchor and port in the storm, I can have no other master, timekeeper or gatekeeper for my life. I must march to the beat of my own drum.

   So it is for this reason I have decided to start my own blog. I'm going back to my roots. To a kinder, simpler time in my blogging life when, as 'Victoria Cross of the 21st Century', I, along with a few other adventurous souls who were prepared to give this 'Blogger' thing a go, and who had opinions about this and that to express, just went through the required process to set up a blog, and away we went! In my case my confidence was aided and abetted by my computer geek husband who facilitated it all by finding the right sites and software for me to access, kept the computer and modem ticking on the phone line, and just kept encouraging me to, "Just do it!"

   I just feel comfortable with this decision because I will be back in control of my own blogging. Not in the 'Control Freak' sense, although being the blog mistress will allow me to filter out the nastiness if it comes my way. As I said, I don't cope with it very well. Some may call that 'Censorship', I'd prefer to see it as a way of maintaining my sanity and composure, so that I can continue saying the things that I want to say without getting caught up in the extraneous palaver. I mean, that's if anyone bothers to come over and comment!

   Mainly it's because I just want to be free to come and go at the blog as I please, and as circumstances in my life dictate. Also, I have decided that I want the blog to be a different format to that at 'The Political Sword'. Basically, it's going to be in the form of an open online, mainly political, diary. If an article tickles my fancy, but I have nothing more to say about it than what it, itself, says, then I'll just post it, at any time of the day or night. If it inspires you to add something to it, go right ahead. Or, if the article, or blog post, or Tweet, or comment by someone on TV, or whatever, inspires me to add my 2c-worth, I will do that. And, as I intimated, it will not solely be about politics either. It will be a 'Life, the Universe & Everything' blog, but with the emphasis on politics, because that is my passion.

   As well as music. Thus I have decided that, if I think some music is apposite, I will add it by inserting a You Tube video into the blog(I'm just figuring out how to do that now).

   So, there you have it. Posts will be irregular. Some will be in the old format of a written piece. At other times it will just be random thoughts and jottings. You will be free to comment at any time, about anything at all. There will be only one rule, 'No offence, only defence' of your point of view. No ad hominem/feminem attacks will be tolerated. All opinions will be my own and the subject for discussion and debate on the merits. Personal villification is simply not going to be tolerated. Of anyone.

   I can't tell you when it will be up & running. But I can tell you the name:

   'Vox Clamantis In Deserto'
   (Looking for the Truth in the Political Wilderness')

   I am looking forward to it. When I have my ducks lined up on my aetherial wall.

Feral Skeleton

January 22. 2012 04:53 PM


Sir Ian,
       We just got sick of paying a grand or more a quater and like your dad the money is better in our pockets than theirs.
I think by the time the next bill is due we should be in credit as well, but we've only had the import/export meter for a month.I shall keep you advised! but I think it is/was a good investment.

Is your wine just for family a friends or do you sell a few cases here and there?


January 22. 2012 05:32 PM


FS said
'Vox Clamantis In Deserto'
(Looking for the Truth in the Political Wilderness')

Well no, it means 'voice crying in the wilderness'.
Re John Baptist, who wasn't being investigative but rather didactic.
Just saying.



January 22. 2012 05:34 PM

Ad astra reply

It is pleasing to see that you will soon be starting your own blog: Vox Clamantis In Deserto.  Please let us know when it is operational so that we can visit it.

I wish you every success with this new and exciting venture.

Ad astra reply

January 22. 2012 06:21 PM


Feral Skeleton

That's wonderful news! It is especially pleasing to see you with your chin up - go get 'em girl!
I look forward to christening your colours. Smile
Keep us informed.


January 22. 2012 08:43 PM

D Mick Weir

Hi FS,
depending on the launch date you won't even have to ask me nicely to provide a link. Just let me know Smile

D Mick Weir

January 22. 2012 10:21 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

J Guy, the wine is only for ourselves. When dad performs mass he naturally needs a small amount of wine (and bread) for the service.

Sir Ian Crisp

January 22. 2012 10:41 PM


Sir Ian,
       Well the next time I'm in(I think you're in Melbourne) I want a bottle) I know you will have to meet with the great unwashed, and I can give you real money  as the printing press we use for counterfeiting is in gettting repairs done lol!


January 22. 2012 11:18 PM


On a totally different topic to what is being discussed, can i just say that it is a huge shame that Newt won in South Carolina. Romney must be nominated in order for the Republicans to have a fighting chance against Obama, and in future elections. I say this due to the fact that without Mitt being able to steer the republican party towards the centre, it may become lost out in the wilderness with the looney extreme right.

Like all political systems, extremism breeds disenchantment, which leads to a one sided and lazy political class.

Lets hope Mitt romps it home in Florida, and can win enough delegates before the super primary night not too far away.


January 23. 2012 08:37 AM


Hi FS,
Great to read your entry and that you are OK.
I join with the others to wish you well with your new venture. All the best to you and your boys for 2012.
I'll certainly drop in.


January 23. 2012 08:55 AM


Bad Abbott

Re my post in the previous thread after Tiny announced his 'turn back the boats' asylum seekers policy (sic).

"Brutal"? Tick. "Stupid"? Tick. "Unworkable"? Tick

The following article in The Australian was published with a very unflattering Cro-Magnon man photograph of Shouldabeen. I believe even the Murdoch Press has sniffed the wind and is sending subtle signals with the images they present of the man, and have been doing for the last three months or so.

A picture speaks a thousand words. Brutal. Stupid. Unworkable. 997 to go!

"Boat plan could spark navy deaths, Indonesia backlash

    * by: Brendan Nicholson and Peter Alford
    * From: The Australian
    * January 23, 2012 12:00AM

TONY Abbott's push to turn back all asylum-seeker boats to Indonesia has been greeted with dismay by the navy, which fears people smugglers could routinely set fire to their vessels to ensure they are unseaworthy.

The concerns in the military surfaced as leading political scientists in Jakarta warned such a policy could inflame tensions with Canberra. "If such policy was ever imposed, it's not only going to put the Australia-Indonesia relationship in bad condition, it will also give Australia a bad name as an international citizen," said Ikrar Nusa Bhakti of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

The Weekend Australian revealed that the Opposition Leader plans to put more pressure on Indonesia to tackle people-smugglers as part of a tougher new border protection regime that will involve ordering the navy to turn around all boats. Mr Abbott has told colleagues his first visit as prime minister would be to Indonesia to explain his new policy.
The full digital experience

Labor accused Mr Abbott of being "reckless" in turning boats around. And naval personnel said they feared their lives and those of asylum-seekers would be at even greater risk if the navy was obliged to enforce the new Coalition policy. "They'll see us and burn their boats," one officer said. "They'll do that to stop us repairing them."

But Mr Abbott said yesterday he expected military officers to "do their duty". He said the policy of turning boats around had fallen down, not because of the navy, but for a lack of strong political will.

Mr Abbott said the military was run by professionals who "do their duty". "Their duty is to carry out the orders they are given by the government of the day."

Mr Abbott will order the navy to turn boats heading for Australia back to Indonesia. "These are Indonesian-flagged boats with Indonesian crews from Indonesian ports with people who have been residents in Indonesia," Mr Abbott said. "There is no place for them in Australia, but there is a place for them in Indonesia."

Last October, new chief of the navy Admiral Ray Griggs highlighted the dangers to defence personnel and asylum-seekers of turning back boats at sea.

As a frigate captain in 2001, Admiral Griggs was one of the few Australian commanders who had been ordered to turn boats away.

He told a Senate estimates hearing Australia had not turned away boats for more than a decade and "there are risks involved in this whole endeavour".

The admiral warned of the risk of fires, sabotage and desperate passengers leaping into the ocean. Australia Defence Association executive director Neil James said the navy would obey the orders it was given but past experience proved turning boats back was a difficult operation.

"The final decision on whether it is safe to turn a boat around must be left to the commander of the Australian naval vessel involved," Mr James said. "And he must be fully supported in his decision right to the top."

Mr James said there was considerable concern in the navy about personnel becoming scapegoats if something went wrong and deaths or injuries occurring.

Indonesia specialist Greg Fealy from the Australian National University said the Coalition's hardline approach would precipitate a backlash from Jakarta.

"Indonesians have not been especially happy with how the Rudd and Gillard governments have handled the issue, more so (Kevin) Rudd," Dr Fealy said. "But if there is an Abbott government and it pursues this policy, then I think that there will be a very strong backlash in Indonesia."

Dr Fealy said the common view among Indonesian politicians was that people-smuggling was Australia's problem. "They say Australia is a wealthy, somewhat underpopulated country and it would be better if Australia took (the asylum-seekers)," he said. "They simply don't understand why it is such a sensitive issue."

Dr Ikrar said Australia was "very smart" at pushing responsibility for its refugee problems on to other countries but Indonesia should firmly resist any attempt to use aid as leverage on boatpeople.

Indonesian National Police spokesman General Saud Usman Nasution reflected widespread hostility to Australia's get-tough measures, which have resulted in the detention and imprisonment of about 500 Indonesian fishermen caught crewing the boats.

"If they are towing back our citizens, that's all right. We would be very happy if we could process them here. But as for the foreigners, they should hand them to UNHCR not Indonesia."

Dr Ikrar said it was clear in international law that Indonesia had no responsibility to take back asylum seekers who were headed for Australia.


January 23. 2012 09:05 AM


FS - hate to rain on the parade and I'd really love to see you blog become successful however 'Vox Clamantis In Deserto' is already used as a name on both Wordpress and Blogger.  Whatever it's called and whereever it is I'll also come and have a look.  

Abbott's "turn the boats around" thought bubble isn't going down well - is it?


January 23. 2012 09:32 AM


Ad astra, might I go off topic for a fleeting moment to say that in my opinion you are one of the best writers going around.  The blogosphere needs you.


January 23. 2012 09:43 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your encouraging words.  In the year ahead there will be lots to write about on TPS and Café Whispers.  Let’s hope we both have a good year.

Ad astra reply

January 23. 2012 10:34 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix

The Play's the Thing  Mr Denmore @TheFailedEstate
The fact is the Australian media - largely for economic reasons - wants you to believe that 'politics' is about what happens in Canberra. It's about the the red team vs the blue team - who's winning the battle today.

Drifting helplessly  ANdrew Elder @PolticallyHomeless
Laurie Oakes has finally tumbled to the idea that Abbott is unsuitable as Prime Minister, but not because of his sense of humour. Abbott is only propped up as a credible leader by the press gallery because it intensifies pressure on Gillard; ...

A flurry of Monday thought bubbles about Newt, Eurogeddon and localgeddon Craig Thomson ...  Dorothy Parker @LoonPond
Who could imagine that anyone could make Tony Abbott seem like a viable alternative?

Big Tobacco vs Australia: Philip Morris scores an own goal  Mark Davidson @TheConversation
You may have missed it, but the stoush between Big Tobacco and the Australian government over the plain packaging legislation took an odd turn late last year. The government’s response to Philip Morris Asia’s attempt to challenge the legislation under the bilateral investment treaty with Hong Kong revealed that Philip Morris may have acquired its Australian investments purely for the purpose of taking the action.

Social inclusion means our services work together to help vulnerable people  Kasy Chambers  @SMH
The return of the Social Inclusion portfolio to cabinet has been an opportunity for critics to attack the government's Social Inclusion Unit and its board, as well as the idea itself.   Their shared view would seem to be that social inclusion is a vague and meaningless goal, the pursuit of which directs funds away from worthwhile services such as disability care and workforce training.

The Second Rudd Government?  Robert Manne @TheMonthly
While it is logically possible that this year the Gillard government will see a revival of its fortunes, at present this seems rather unlikely unless some disaster befalls the Coalition or its leader.

It's the same the whole world over  John Tomlinson @OnlineOpinion
The accepted wisdom, at least on the left, is that when John Howard came to power in 1996 he set out with alacrity to win the culture wars in relation to winding back workers rights, ending the Black armband view of Australian history, lessening welfare generosity and stopping asylum seekers arriving by boat.

From the Papers...  Wot's in the dead tree media
Opposition to cash in on PM's golden backflip  Ross Peake @Canberra Times
JULIA Gillard's pledge on pokies was rolled gold - signed, sealed and (not) delivered.
Breaking it is gold for Tony Abbott, just days from school going back at Parliament House. The din from the Opposition benches about the Prime Minister being untrustworthy will overshadow the merits of the historic plan that Gillard unveiled yesterday.


Craig Thomson undermines Julia Gillard's reason for breaking her pokie promise, as her plan was improper policy making
Exclusive by Patrick Lion and Andrew Clennell @The Daily Telegraph
While the Prime Minister claimed she ditched preset betting limits because of a lack of crossbench support, Mr Thomson insisted her backdown was a "big win" for NSW caucus members who had lobbied for change for the past year.

Peter Slipper props up Julia Gillard Government after Andrew Wilkie withdraws support  Anna Caldwell @The Courier-Mail
Mr Slipper has twice declared he wouldn't have taken the Speaker's job if it would "guarantee the Government's endurance in office". He now finds himself in that position, keeping Prime Minister Julia Gillard off the knife's edge, despite 34,000 Sunshine Coast voters sending him to Canberra under the LNP banner.

Wilkie blow not lethal for Labor  Phillip Coorey @SMH
Given that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, is likely to test the waters with a no-confidence motion when Parliament resumes in a fortnight, Wilkie stressed he was not interested in bringing the government to an early end, a move that would also end his relevance.

Lots of tough talk, but no action by Wilkie  Andrew Bolt @HeraldSun
WHAT a farce. A Prime Minister makes a deal she won't keep with an independent MP who makes a threat he doesn't mean.

What the Front Pages are Saying

The NT News  http://twitpic.com/8ag6lo
No Crocs but Someone Held at Spearpoint -umm a speargun not a spear.

The Daily Telegraph  http://twitpic.com/8ag54z
No Crocs - SHARKS

The Courier Mail  http://twitpic.com/8ag69f
No Crocs - Puppies

The Australian  http://twitpic.com/8ag57q
She  Will pay for this

The Herald Sun  http://twitpic.com/8ag500
Apparently there is a tennis tournament on in Melbourne and there is only one Aussie 'hopeful' left.

The Advetiser  http://twitpic.com/8ag6c2
Apparently there was a bike race in Adelaide and some local 'hopeful' done good

The Age  http://twitpic.com/8ag65w
Apparently there is a tennis tournament on in Melbourne and some master taught a local 'hopeful a lesson

The Canberra Times  covers.ruralpress.com/frontpages/2/63353.pdf
ACT Clubs big winners

D Mick Weir

January 23. 2012 10:51 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix
The oops update

I forgot to credit @jamesmassola for the Front Page Pics. Apolgies James I'm off to the naughty corner

But before I go this Petty cartoon fell off the end of the Mix today:

ReCaptcha Bingo: ashamed

D Mick Weir

January 23. 2012 11:20 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

J Guy, our paths will not cross because I live vewwy vewwy close to Parramatta. Also, we don't sell our wine to the working class. The only time we have contact with the hoi polloi is when dad kicks them out of one of our rental properties. I love watching them put out on the street with their snotty nosed kids.

Sir Ian Crisp

January 23. 2012 11:22 AM


Thank you Michael.
"Australia Defence Association executive director Neil James said the navy would obey the orders"

The navy ain't the navy, it's a lot of individuals many of whom will not obey these orders.  It will take just one Spartacus!

Turn the boats around, I don't think so.
Turn Abbortt around, we will. We will sink him.
What a mug. Aussies WON'T wear this.
Dam, The World won't wear it!

Any sailor worth his salt would MUTINY!  And we can foment it before it ever doesn't happen, it is shameful and inhumane and definitively unAustralian if we want that term to mean anything at all.  (I wonder, is it antiChristian or not, it's got to be one or the other  . . . Pell?)
It isn't what decent Australian service personnel would want to have on their records not their conscience. Like Lady Macbeth's hand, all the perfumes of Arabia would never cleanse them. Lifelong opprobrium for following the orders of a deranged megalomaniac, good deal?

Surely we are better than this.


Keelhaul the People-Smuggler!

Drop the crew thrice onto the deck from the yard-arm!

Fifty lashes for all the men, twenty for the women, children to have their buttocks flayed with a rope's end . . .

Bread and water only until returned to homeland under guard . . .

See if they are wanted by military officials or political enemies and if so turn them in the way Keelty turned in the Bali Nine!

Burn the boat in their harbour

Bill the country concerned for our expenses

Welcome to Abbortia Fantasy World!

One thing about Abbortt's policy, it should make the Greens think very hard, hopefully not for too long though, about how hard to squeeze the Government's sensitive bits, because by Dog it will be down to the Greens, no ifs or buts, to beget or to Abbortt a Leftish Government in 2013.

If Nader hadn't #*cked up the Democrats' unity in 2000,

We would have had Al Gore
Instead of Bush's WAR!

Don't let that sort of thing happen here, for Dog's sake.

But Labor and the whole sensible Left is strong, DYWAT!

The Ides of September, you Abbortt, remember!


January 23. 2012 03:01 PM



That photo looks more like Brave Sir Tony running away from questions again after his latest brain-fart.  (It won't work, of course; the boats will be scuttled as soon as the navy shows up, making every attempted turn-around a rescue mission.)


January 23. 2012 03:02 PM


I just don't get it.  The MSM are screaming misinformation about the pokies thing, I get on here and thanks to Michael, I read that Abbott is going to order the Navy to 'turn the boats back'.  What a wonderful dictatorship we will live under, and we won't be able to flee on boats to Indonesia or Malaysia because we will be at war with them.  Ah bliss.


January 23. 2012 03:08 PM


So pleased that you are not giving up!
Your own blog, in a form that you are comfortable with, sounds like a great idea and I will most certainly be a regular visitor.  
As TPS is the only blog that I read regularly I hope your link will be put up here - thanks Ad and DMW.

Very pleased to see you here again. Looking forward to your take on current events.

Thank you for providing a great site. I feel that this will be a busy and eventfull year.

All others

Now back to the shadows!


January 23. 2012 03:45 PM

Feral Skeleton

     Bugger! How about simply 'Looking For the Truth In the Political Wilderness'?

Feral Skeleton

January 23. 2012 04:12 PM


Feral Skeleton

If you are looking for something with a classical flavour, you might peruse this:


Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living and when Diogenes took to "defacement of the currency", he was banished from the city. After being exiled, he moved to Athens to debunk cultural conventions. He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his lifestyle and behaviour to criticise the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt society. Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and slept in a tub in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He publicly mocked Alexander and lived. He embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures.


January 23. 2012 04:15 PM


               Diogenes' Daughter
Looking for Truth in the Political Wilderness



January 23. 2012 04:37 PM


There is a Diogenes who is a frequent poster on Poll Bludger.


January 23. 2012 04:59 PM


AA - after a fair bit of consideration, I have come to the opinion that if possible TPS should continue in it's present form.  If necessary I am sure others as well as me would be happy to assist as and where necessary as we don't want you to burn out.

FS's planned blog will also be welcome as the greater the representation of progressive blogs, the greater the chance of others finding, reading and joining the "anti no" campaign.  Pity about the name - NormanK's suggestion has merit and I'm sure there are others.  Can I suggest you Google it as well - that's where I found out the name was taken.  As I said - sorry


January 23. 2012 05:26 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your encouragement.  It is my intention to continue TPS in the way I did at the beginning when I was the sole author, with Lyn providing her links as before, and hopefully DMW complementing her links with his.

Ad astra reply

January 23. 2012 05:29 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you too for your words of support.  Let's hope [iTPS[/i] in 2012 will filled with useful discourse and excitement.

Ad astra reply

January 23. 2012 08:03 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Well, I’d be happy to balance things up here a little if needed. Here are a few current issues I’d be willing to write about-

•  Why the Prime Minister made an agreement that delivered her government, and then broke her word.
•  Why sending asylum seekers off shore used to be immoral policy, but now it is apparently entirely acceptable.
•  Why the Prime Minister is against basic human rights such as marriage equality.
•  Why the introduction of the carbon tax is yet another reason to trust the Prime Minister.

Tom of Melbourne

January 23. 2012 08:17 PM


TOM - Bwhahahahahaha.

You already have a platform for the crap you present as "balance".  What's the matter, aren't you getting any clicks over there?

How about writing about why Corporate Heads are allowed and even encouraged to change their corporate plans to achieve a better outcome and politicians aren't; or you can write about why politicians are held to a higher level of accountability as Corporate Heads who are only there due to the funding provided by the super funds (that hold millions of dollars earned by "working families") - special attention should be given to Alan Joyce and his antics at Qantas; or you could write about why the LNP has yet to present a viable alternative Prime Minister.  Just some suggestions - you might be able to think of a few more.  Give me a yell when you publish them - I might even venture to the Gutter to read them.


January 23. 2012 09:43 PM


Tom of Melbourne,
                How has this "Labor minister" from my state of SA escaped your diatribe and condemnation that you put up time after time? it seems he and his partner are quite happy to do "their own thing"!No doubt you will be there to put a stop to it!

            THE first openly gay state MP, Ian Hunter, will marry his long-term partner, Leith Semmens, in Spain at the end of the year.

It is believed Mr Hunter will be the first sitting gay politician of any Australian parliament to be married, although the ACT's Andrew Barr has entered a civil union with his partner, The Advertiser reported.

Mr Hunter and Mr Semmens, who have been together for more than 20 years, had planned to marry in New York last year but were held up because the Federal Government refused to grant the necessary paperwork that would have allowed the ceremony to be conducted in the US.

"We have had a long-term plan to go to Spain ... so we decided to get married there," Mr Hunter said in an interview for today's saweekend  magazine, which tells the story of his long climb to a position in Cabinet.

He said it would be a "very traditional" ceremony. Mr Hunter was elected to Parliament in 2006 and promoted to Cabinet last October by Premier Jay Weatherill. His portfolios include social inclusion, disabilities, social housing and communities.

Spain changed its legislation to allow gay marriage in 2005 and more than 20,000 ceremonies have been held since then.

However, the marriage will not be recognised under Australian law.

But the national convenor of lobby group Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, said the marriage of Mr Hunter and Mr Semmens would send a positive message that the law should be changed. "Things like that have a huge impact," he said yesterday.

"This is a marriage that will be recognised in something like 20 countries but not in Australia where he is a ... respected politician."

A Bill to recognise same-sex marriages is likely to be introduced in Parliament this year.

In December, the ALP altered its platform to support same-sex marriage but agreed to allow MPs a conscience vote instead of being bound by the policy to appease Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who opposes reform.

Read more: www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfkvr-1226249928088    


January 23. 2012 09:47 PM


Gravel at 3.02
Yes indeedy the prospect of soon being at war with Indonesia doesn't seem to interest the media, I was thinking this myself. The ABC in particular (why am I not surprised?) seem particularly energetic in ignoring it.


January 24. 2012 01:20 AM

Patricia WA

AA, you ask could a politician today give such as speech as the Gettysburg address today.   If Mr Denmore, writing in his Failed Estate blog, is correct then the answer to your question must be No!   He thinks that we are  "governed by a handful of extremely powerful interest groups: The miners, the bankers, the "gaming" industry, the media."   He sees the PM and LOTO as irrelevant puppets.

I usually agree with Mr. Denmore, but found his article today just too depressing and I would like to think that Ian commenting on TPS above is right about our Prime Minister being 'way ahead of the game'on the electronic gambling issue.  I found his comment encouraging,  but I'd dearly like to know more about his reasons for making it.

Patricia WA

January 24. 2012 01:30 AM

Patricia WA

PS  I left out a sentence after that "NO!" on my comment above.  Mr. Denmore obviously doesn't think Australia is a democratic government of the people, by the people, for the people

Patricia WA

January 24. 2012 09:22 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix

A thought starter or two
Sustainable  @xkcd  http://xkcd.com/1007/

It's un-Australian!
January 26 is Un-Australia Day!

Now to the blogs

Gillard’s credibility goes down the pokies…along with media integrity  James Higgins @ThePoliticsProject
Well, the fallout from the Government’s decision to reject independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s pre-committment pokies reforms in favour of a year-long trial continues. And what a shockingly sensational and hypocritical proverbial nuclear accident this is.

Pokies, Andrew Willkie and all that  Kim  @Larvatus Prodeo
We’re seeing a continuing pattern, one which actually goes back to the Rudd government and to Labor in opposition, of ‘clever’ short term political tactics which sooner or later backfire spectacularly. The notion of strategy, and of a sustained argument for a case based on values apparently eludes the post-Keating Labor Party. Perhaps the rot started with Kim Beazley, and particularly with his vaccilation over Tampa, which I’d suggest still haunts the ALP over ten years later.

Gillard duds Wilkie, and what’s left of her own credibility  Bernard Keane @Crikey
When you don’t really believe in very much, you tend to see most policy issues as, first and foremost, political issues, requiring political solutions. ... Viewing issues through a political prism foreshortens your view, making you inclined to mistake the tactical for the strategic, to emphasise short-term management over longer-term planning.

Poker machine doublespeak  Malcolm Farnsworth @TheDrum
It was a day for doublespeak yesterday as Gillard Government functionaries came out in force to promote their leader's "problem gambling policy".

Smart talk and foolish actions on pokies reform  Mungo MacCallum @TheDrum
Keeping her promise to Andrew Wilkie to legislate for pre-commitment for poker machine players was always going to be a problem, but it could have been handled much better, starting much earlier. Instead, she left her back-down so late that there was no time to produce genuine alternative reforms which would have proved to Wilkie, and much more importantly to the mass of voters, that she was serious about the issue. Now she is left looking, once again, tricky and deceitful.

all that gleams is not gold ... & my mate slippery ....  John Richardson @yourdemocracy
I wonder how strong the allure of the Lodge really is for Tony Abbott? As everyone in Australia seems to understand (apart from Liberal powerbrokers), Tony Abbott will never become Prime Minister via the ballot box: indeed, the very best thing Julia Gillard has going for her is Tony.

Labor back in opposition on economy  Peter Brent @mumbleblog
There are also some issues that incumbents should own, or at least hold an advantage in, that they never can in opposition.
The two biggies are what are generally known as national security and the economy.


Stimulus programs work. We need them ready - Access  Peter Martin @hisblog
Australia needs to be ready with a new economic stimulus program the moment Europe “blows” a leading economist says.

Political education: is ignorance really bliss?  Anna North @TheDrum
True story: Last week, a 24-year-old friend asked me "Is Tony Abbott a Liberal?"

What is the media's duty of skepticism?   Zachariah Matthews @OnLineOpinion
Do the media sometimes exacerbate people's fears that could strain community relations?

Dissing the disadvantaged  Bernadette Smith @OnLineOpinion
The government's agenda seems less about alleviating poverty than delegating non-government organisations to act upon a mute, deficient other. Instead of empowering the disadvantaged the government will outsource supervisory control over them by private agencies that are mainly answerable to their shareholders.

From the Newspapers ...

What the Front Pages are saying...

via James Massola @Capital Circle

The Australian http://twitpic.com/8auy8c
350 Jobs to go @ Toyota, The PM warns we risk losing the education race

The Herald Sun http://twitpic.com/8auylf
Oh, What a Crisis

The West Australian http://twitpic.com/8auy0c
Mid Air Drama & something about bikies

The Sydney Morning Herald http://twitpic.com/8auy2q
Jakarta Slams Abbott boat plan & ALP Maverick out of the box again

The Adelaide Advetiser http://twitpic.com/8auyb2
Apparently there is some cricket about to happen & Labor Pains

The Age http://twitpic.com/8auy63
How long does a Tennis Tournament Last? Apparently there is one on in Melbourne
Toyota Jobs & Boat Plan under attack

The Courier Mail http://twitpic.com/8auydm
Batten Down - storms on the horizon

The NT Times http://twitpic.com/8auyfw
No Crocs More Spears

The Hobart Mercury http://twitpic.com/8auyij
Mega Fight Night

The Canberra Times covers.ruralpress.com/frontpages/2/63416.pdf
Totally Local

... and the stories

PM’s bad bet adds to dud deals  Laura Tingle @AFR (Free)
The realities of the weekend pokie decision are that although Gillard might have avoided a vote in the Parliament, the outcome does nothing to stymie these perceptions. The sense of uncertainty about crossbench votes has increased. The government once again looks as if it has blinked.

Jakarta slams Abbott boat plan  Kirsty Needham, Tom Allard @SMAge
Expressing alarm at the Coalition's border protection stance, the UNHCR regional representative, Richard Towle, said: ''Any such blanket approach would potentially place Australia in breach of its obligations under the refugee convention and other international law obligations, and - as past experience has shown - is operationally difficult and dangerous for all concerned.''

Tony Abbott to test Julia Gillard's majority after Andrew Wilkie withdraws support for Labor over pokies reform  Steven Scott, Anna Caldwell @The Courier-Mail
The Opposition could use a no-confidence motion over the allegations that Labor MP Craig Thomson paid for prostitutes using a union credit card to test the allegiances of Mr Wilkie, an Independent, and turncoat LNP MP Peter Slipper.

Don't compensate Labor: Xenophon  Ross Peake @Canberra Times
The fall-out from the proposed trial in the ACT of curbs on gambling is today focused on how Labor-controlled clubs will handle the federal compensation for expected losses.
Canberra's licensed clubs will share at least $36 million worth of compensation ...


ALP finds it can't keep maverick member down  Kate McClymont @SMH
HAVING quietly killed off his $3000 a head fund-raiser, Labor's head office no doubt thought its embattled federal MP Craig Thomson would keep a low profile yesterday.
But Mr Thomson was having none of it.


Clubs push to expand trial for pokie machine curbs  Lauren Wilson @TheAus (Free)
CLUB manager Danny Munk has serious doubts that the proposed trial of mandatory precommitment technology in the ACT can succeed unless towns just across the territory's border are also forced to participate.

... and some Opinion

Turn the boats back and people will die - Abbott knows this  David Marr @SMH
People will die. They died the last time the navy forced boats back to Indonesia and they will die the next. They have always died.
That's why the navy hates these operations and that loathing is deep in the DNA of the service.


Mining boom the real cause of our lost jobs  Richard Denniss @Herald Sun
THERE is no doubt that the automotive industry plays an important role in the Australian economy -- but there is also no doubt that the Gillard Government's recent attempts to support it are like providing Panadol to a heart attack victim.

No vote at all is better than a win for the No  Gerard Henderson @SMH
It is always a good time to remove racially discriminatory provisions from the constitution. Except when such a sensible act might be defeated at a referendum for failing to obtain an overall majority and a majority of votes in a majority of states and there are unintended consequences.

... and well, a Dingo Story to finish off

Bag-snatching dingo makes off with iPod  Cameron Boon @Centralian Advocate via The NT News
A cry echoes out in the night: "A dingo stole my iPod." Joel Maher, 20, was out camping with five friends at 2 Mile near Glen Helen on Friday night when the cheeky dingo made off with his bag.

D Mick Weir

January 24. 2012 09:43 AM


Melissa Clarke has been undergoing a presentational transformation. Has anyone a link to or even info re the alleged occasion on which she was, as I heard it told, dancing in adoration around Abbortt? Please?

Meanwhile The Drum, with all its whizz-bang facy tinselly optical effects and 1960's audio electronic air pollution, is as vacuous as The Brady Bunch, with last night Cannane permitting the sneer-nosed Tim Wilson - (is that permissible, it's true!) - He of the braying contemptuous overbearing voice, he of the 'Institute of Public Affairs', now there's a name to conjure with! - to interrupt and shout down the relatively polite Peter Lewis, of Essential Media, time after time, camera instantly and always cuts straight to the interruptor, just watch, it is ABC policy that the interruptor is always where the action is!
Seems to me too that Annabelle the slyly-sidling Crabbe is trying to brand herself as a serious journalist, she seems to be trying to say less witty comments (not 'less-witty comments', hers are rarely witty anyway, but less 'witty comments' iyswim. That is in itself a relief, except that she has nothing of moment to offer in its place, she's a blow-up doll with lovely big hair.

[Imagine Annabelle with a Yul Brynner haircut SmileI reckon it'd be an improvement.]

In the end, at long last, Peter Lewis did object to being interrupted yet again but instead of nosepoking the Sneer, he jabbed the Crabbe instead, she deserved it too but Wilson needs a fat lip every time he interrupts with his brays and sprays, and the ABC not only allows, but actively encourages the attitude with its Interruptor Rules rule.


January 24. 2012 10:39 AM

Feral Skeleton

        Thank you for the helpful suggestion, but a wet blanket has rained on that parade already. So I was thinking about 'Punk Chicken', as I'm getting to be a bit of an old chook but will always be a punk. Diogenes sounds cool though. Smile

Feral Skeleton

January 24. 2012 12:43 PM

Patricia WA

DMW thanks for the link to thepoliticsproject.wordpress.com/.../.

It's the best and most heartening commentary on the pokies problem I've read  so far.   Talk Turkey, if you haven't already, please read it.   It will gladden your heart too.

Patricia WA

January 24. 2012 02:10 PM


Finally some sensible, and informed, comment upon PM Gillard's plans for pokie machine reform.


Sensible comment too from most of the respondents, although when I read the article there were only 8 of them (at ten past 2 on Tuesday).

For sure if the word gets Right around that this article does NOT hang draw and quarter the PM, then we can expect a rash of 'Joolya-bashing' to redress the balance back to brutalism.


January 24. 2012 03:22 PM


Excerpt from PatriciaWA's comment on wordpress, link above on her post:

January 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Agreed, Stephen Ke, and further to your last sentence, yes, he is full of crap. He’s the shiftiest politician I’ve ever seen leading a major political party. I’ve just been commenting on his ‘trustworthiness’ in a post at


It covers the major issues around this craziness of Abbott’s latest on turning back boats. Even crazier than his statement on this is his other statement within hours that no one ever can or should trust our Prime Minister because she is unable to deliver the numbers on pokies reform!
(The reason for that being that his party has the numbers to defeat her!)

She can’t be trusted! From him!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Patricia you have been busy! Cafe Whispers . . . Wordpress . . . TPS . . . and yes, your last bit I italicised, ain't that a doozy of a bit of unreasonment!

Funny though how when we read something mainstream with both credibility and positivity, that exceptional article is the time we realise most lucidly the degree to which we are being dudded by being dumbed-down, dumbed-down already as we already are by the process of having long been deliberately dudded by the process of dumbing-down, and of relentless negativity because the Barons are unanimous that the wealth divide between them and the great unwashworthy will be always be greater under a Coition* Government. As I said this morning, the ABC camera always switches instantly back to the rude interruptor and we as a dumbed down audience don't smash the set top box and picket the bloody place and demand resignations, we duhhhrrrr, ain't dat a fack.

*For: Government What #*(ks


January 24. 2012 04:51 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks again for a great set if links, especially from the newspapers.  I like too your replication of James Massola’s front pages from the main newspapers.  They take little time to view, but add a dimension that would otherwise be difficult for us to see.

I hope that you will be able to continue to post your links after Lyn resumes her Daily Links next Monday.  They would complement hers nicely.

Patricia WA
The James Higgins article was another good one, such a contrast to the negative stuff the MSM dishes out day after day.

The Tom Cummins piece was also a sensible appraisal.  It’s a pity there are so few of such articles around.

The Café Whispers piece by Min about Tuff Tony exposes the stark belligerence of the man.  Yet the rednecks will think he’s just marvellous!

Ad astra reply

January 24. 2012 06:43 PM


Ad astra
1963 the Nancy Prasad case hit the news. You will remember but many won't, for those here's the story in very brief, you can hardly imagine the hysteria that went down around this disgraceful but watermark case though.


I think we were less xenophobic then than we are now!

That Abbortt will never make PM I am sure, but that such a huge proportion of my countrymen could even see the possiblity of giving such as he the reins of Government keeps me in a permanent state of shame rage dismay and determination that never while I can raise one Fie against him and his ilk will I cease to try whatever I can to speed their ignominious demise.

Abbortt is a Christian eh. How does this sit with the story of the Good Samaritan hey?! Which is the sole story of either of the Testaments imo worth a tinker's dam.*

Dog grant I meet a nice heathen atheist (as the Samaritams were considered by Jesus's mob) if ever I need saving from a terrible life-threatening fate. Like meeting some Christians instead.

ignominy: dishonour, infamy, humiliation, all these will be yours briefly Abbortt, but what it really means from the French is namelessness, that's your real fate Abbortt, and that will haunt you till you explode. And what a Sh*t Happening that will be!

Abbortt Remember the Ides of September

*"tinker's dam: a small morsel of chewed bread used by a tinker to prevent the inconvenient flow of solder. It is the smallest conceivable unit of value."
From Joseph Furphy's great Australian nove Such is Life by Tom Collins, this quote fairly closely recalled nearly word-for-word I would wager, after nearly 50 years also! But then, I studied that book with Colin Thiele as my Tutor, makes a big difference!


January 24. 2012 08:15 PM


FS - I like "Punk Chicken" - it has some spirit to it in line with what I anticipate your blog to possess.

Signed "a wet blanket"


January 24. 2012 08:29 PM


Here is Furphy's original quote,I found it,
Dog Bless the World Wide Web!
Not word for word but not bad!

"Hides like that o’ yours,” she added, testing with her finger and thumb the integument on my near flank, as I hastily placed my bare foot in the stirrup, “ain’t worth a tinker’s dam for standin’ the sun.” (For the information of people whose education may unhappily have been neglected, it will be right to mention that the little morsel of chewed bread which a tin-smith of the old school places on his seam to check the inconvenient flow of the solder, is technically and appropriately termed a ‘tinker’s dam.’ It is the conceivable minimum of commercial value).


January 24. 2012 08:51 PM

Patricia WA


TT, just returned from an enforced three days without my computer! So I really had the urge to blog today!  I was going to get back to Michael to thank him to agree with him about that Unleashed posting on the pokies.  But your aside about my being busy today prompts me to explain to you and anyone interested my new 2012 routine re blogging and the writing of polliepomes.

Dishing out unasked for advice to FS last week gave me food for thought later that night as I as I went to bed and reviewed my day.  I remembered that the advice we give to others is often advice we should be heeding ourselves.

Now, I'm not stressed or stretched in any of the ways that FS seemed to me to be.  Though having had to be somewhat combative in my career in the past and still by nature being something of a perfectionist I thought I understood her and her current dilemma very well.  What I didn't see as I wrote those few sentences of advice to her was that I was talking about and to myself.

The end of the parliamentary year, the Christmas holidays and the silly season full of sport and nothing-news, had given me an opportunity to stop thinking about politics for a while and to pick up from where I'd left a major writing project almost two years ago.  The happening into a Larvatus Prodeo satire poetry competition in January, 2010, began my then setting up my own polliepomes site and more recently joining the buzz over at the Pollbludger.  So blogging about Oz politics has become an all consuming occupation and passion.  

I was getting get up every day at my usual 6.00 but wouldn't leave the house with Tacker for our walk until I'd looked at all the latest comments and followed up on Lyn's links. Inevitably our walks had become shorter and both of us had become a little fatter.  All quite unconsciously, of course.  I'd also left another writing project without a thought, because I was doing so much writing anyway and enjoying that with all the lovely appreciation and contacts.  Instant feedback on the blogosphere is one of the great satisfactions of writing these days, isn't it.   In fact, it can become an addiction.

But that other writing is a piece of work I meant to do and getting back into it reminds me that my time is limited and almost two years off is not wise at my age, as I realized when the silly season gave me time to get back to it.  As well, we've had a heat wave here and Tacker and I have been up and out soon after dawn for lovely long walks in the cool again.  We are both a little little leaner already after these few weeks. And later in the day I have done a lot of writing which has nothing to do with politics.  

But of course I still care about them, as TT has noticed!  But I can no longer give them the time and attention I have been doing.   So what to do?   How has Feral Skeleton's determination to change course affected my own plans for 2012?   Well, I know that old age is not of the same order as raising adolescent boys on a shoe string while writing your fingers to the bone with brilliance but no financial reward, but I do have to change my ways.   So.......


1.  To visit only The Political Sword and Cafe Whispers and to continue regularly reading both, as I have been doing for most of this break.   I will comment less often and follow up only links which particularly interest me.

2,   I will cease reading and commenting at the Pollbludger and not renew my Crikey subscription.  Bernard Keane gets up  my nostrils anyway!  I'll rely on Lyn here for links to good pieces by people like Margaret Simons and Bushfire Bill and to Mr. Denmore, of course.  I'll be watching out for James Higgins too!  And at Cafe Whispers Min and Miglo will also have their favorites they link.

3.   I will write polliepomes only when really driven, and do very brief introductions to them.  I promise to alert TT and Miglo when I do.

4.   Apart from the above I am going to ignore the Murdoch media saga, as well as stories about economic crises all over the world until they really do hit home here.  I am sorry that Nasking is not well and hope his health improves, but I am relieved I won't be tempted to read those postingss he had promised us on US and international events.  I won't be reading anything at all about the Presidential race until election night and Barack Obama is returned.

So there!

Patricia WA

January 24. 2012 09:06 PM

Patricia WA

PS    Sorry.   I left out an important reference to TPS and to CW which I've inserted here in bold.

The happening into a Larvatus Prodeo satire poetry competition in January, 2010, began my writing pomes for Cafe Whispers and then my visiting here at The Political Sword, then setting up my own polliepomes site and more recently joining the buzz over at the Pollbludger. So blogging about Ozpolitics has become an all consuming occupation and passion.  

Patricia WA

January 25. 2012 12:07 AM


Feral Skeleton

If you are still occasionally sticking your boney nose around the door:


Go Balloons!! Laughing



January 25. 2012 12:39 AM

Patricia WA

Is it really your birthday, FS?   Many happy returns!  Stay well!

Sorry about the long winded story up there about how you were a good bad example for me!

Patricia WA

January 25. 2012 09:08 AM






January 25. 2012 09:13 AM



Hippy Bathday Feral


January 25. 2012 09:27 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix

Some food for thought

Let them all come  Firstdog @Crikey

Twitter is running hot with the hashtag  #unAustraliaDay here are some of the thoughts:

@MrDenmore On #unAustraliaDay, I'll declare Nauru the Republic of UnAustralia & send Abbott, Bolt, Jones and The Ugly Crew there on a leaky boat

Athas Zafiris @ArtSapphire Putting Alan Jones & Andrew Bolt in a detention centre

Jovan Chossier @JovanC2 I'll be hiding in my room due to my ethnic background.

Athas Zafiris @ArtSapphire Not having a good old whinge

@canisverba: On #unAustraliaDay I'm going to patrol the borders and tell refugees that all our boundless plains to share are now full.

Niall @hyperdermik  Thursday is #UnAustraliaDay no flags allowed, no patriotic jingoism, no lamb, no barbies, no plastic flags mounted on cars and no Slim Dusty

@oldtom29: I want to have some involvement in deciding our head of state

Liosa Rafferty @Leesidge on #UnAustraliaDay, I'm going to wear my Uluru shirt - proudly proclaiming that "You're on Aboriginal Land"

Dark Star @darkstardeity @JohnBirmingham I plan to think about real solutions to the issues affecting the country instead of just blaming refugees

βя│∂ת_ρЯ↑βЫє @FlyBriGuy On #unAustraliaDay, I'll be so busy saying "Fair go, mate" that I won't have time to give anybody a fair go.

@Dan_Meijer:I'm going to pronounce the "L" in "Australia" all day on #unAustraliaDay

How to celebrate UnAustralia Day  Fionna Katauskas @NewMatilda

Some heavy duty documents to get out of the way

between The Hon Chris Bowen MP Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Scott Morrison MP, Shadow Minister for Productivity & Population, Shadoow Minister for Immigration & Citizenship

Hat Tip @Possum

Statement on the 2011 Draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Hat Tip: Paul Barratt @phbarratt
The Draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan should be withdrawn because it does not provide the information required to make an informed decision on the future of the river system.

A tour around the blogs

"It's completely up to you" Seth Godin @seth'sblog
... and that's the problem.

The relics of Manne  Andrew Elder @Politically homeless
Robert Manne is a professor of politics. His analysis can be very good, but it's been quite some time since I've read a piece of his that showed a genuinely impressive breadth and depth of learning, and which illuminated a commonplace issue in such a way that makes you look at it differently. This recent piece, purportedly written by Manne, is a textbook example of slovenly analysis. Maybe blogs just aren't his thing.

Forget your coins, we want change: begging should not be a crime  James Farrell @The Conversation
The criminal offence of begging should be abolished.
Criminalising begging is tantamount to criminalising poverty. It perpetuates, rather than alleviates, the marginalisation and disadvantage experienced by people who beg. It also violates the fundamental human rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society.


Why We Seek the New: A History and Future of Neophilia  Maria Popova @ brain pickings
What five-year-old Albert Einstein can teach us about serendipity and the filter bubble of information.
A newborn baby would stare at a new image for an average of 41 seconds before becoming bored and tuning out on repeated showings — that’s how hard-wired our affinity for novelty is.


Superannuation not so super for women alone  Malcolm King @On Linne Opinion
Life expectancy for Australian men is now 84 years of age and 88 years for women. So, if a woman living alone is planning to retire at 65, her retirement savings may need to last more than 20 years.
For those at retirement, average superannuation payouts in 2009-10 were $155,000 for men and $73,000 for women. This is nowhere near enough for single, divorced or bereaved women, as they must pay higher living costs for goods and services compared to couples.


“Will You Walk Into My Parlour?”  Pip @Cafe Whispers
A quick glance at recent headlines reminded me of a question I put to fellow whisperer ‘Catching up’ recently.
“Has Wilkie done a deal with Abbott?
Just asking the question seemed a little out of place at the time, but now, I’m far from sure about the answer.


Fruits of Labor: what’s wrong with the government’s science outreach drive?  Tim Dean @The Conversation
To its credit, the Australian Government is making a concerted push into science outreach with the tritely-named Inspiring Australia program. This includes $5 million in funding through the equally tritely-named Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant scheme – intended to “inspire people with science”.
Now, I’m all about science outreach. (In fact, I’m also all about philosophy outreach too. You might call it reason outreach, all up. But let’s stick to science for now.)


The Victorian justice quiz  @Independant Australia
Ever wonder whether you have what it takes to be a judge or magistrate in the Victorian justice system?
Well, why not try the Victorian Justice Quiz?
It will only take you a few adrenalin fuelled seconds to find out how much you really know about our Court system and its servile relationship with the National Australia Bank.


What’s data got to do with it? Reassessing the NT intervention  Eva Cox @The Conversation
Since its introduction in 2007, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in improving the quality of life in remote indigenous communities. Public discussion on using good evidence for policymaking has so far not encouraged Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to improve the quality of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) data. Given the failure rate of policymaking in this area, these data deficits are problematic.

Pokies reforms explained: how good intentions were derailed  James Doughney @The Conversation
The Labor Party has never been a genuine enthusiast for poker-machine reform – it’s never been Labor policy. Needless to say, the road to gambling reform has been long and bumpy, so it’s worth looking back on some of the policies that were on the table and how Wilkie’s good intentions have been derailed.

Abbott’s asylum seeker policy floats in murky legal waters  Maria O'Sullivan @The Conversation
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said that under a coalition government every boat coming to Australia carrying asylum seekers will be sent back to Indonesia.
The Indonesian police, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and former chief of the defence force Admiral Chris Barrie have all expressed concern the policy breaches international law, and could risk lives at sea.


“As difficult as possible”  Peter Brent @Mumble Blog
I don’t like Section 128 of the Australian Constitution.
It is the amendment clause, the final section in the document, and is the reason we need to hold a referendum whenever we want to change it.
Constitutional alteration is in the news at the moment with the recently released report of the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel.


Idealistic musings for a rainy afternoon…  James Higgins @ThePoliticsProject
It’s times like these – when it’s raining outside, when the 2012 political year has started off with angry sniping about broken promises, when no one seems to be doing anything right – that it is very easy to become disillusioned with politics.

colour my soul .....  John Richardson @yourdemocracy
What is it about Australia that makes it the greatest place on earth to live? It is very easy to reflect on your homeland with rose-coloured glasses. When living in the US, I would reminisce about Australia's magnificent beaches and national parks, the irreverent humour of Doug Mulray, the natural beauty of Australian girls. I conveniently forgot about the Sydney traffic, the tall poppy syndrome, the flies in summer and the hidden and sometimes overt racism.

Please don't view fiscal policy as a morality play. This could be 1930 - IMF  Peter Martin
Ahead of releasing dramatically downgraded forecasts early this morning Australian time IMF chief Christine Lagarde told an audience in Berlin $1 trillion would be needed to support ailing governments and stave off a deeper crisis - half of which would have to come from Fund backers such as Australia.

Yes, You Are Being Watched  Adam Brereton @New Matilda
Flagrant breaches of privacy are everyday occurrences online. Who cares? Is there a way to revolutionise the surveillance rentier state, asks Adam Brereton
At Saturday’s ‘War on the Internet’ forum in Melbourne, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam gave a curious formulation of what he called the "psychology of surveillance". According to Ludlam, people go through three stages when reacting to being spied on ...


Good money chasing bad @TheKouk
It's so disappointing to see money being tossed away at inefficient car makers, uncompetitive steel manufacturers, risk taking farmers and to other areas of the economy.  It imposes a large cost which is usually spread across the whole economy for a very concentrated benefit to a few.

From the Newspapers ...

What the Front Pages are saying...
Images via James Massola @Capital Circle

The Australian  http://twitpic.com/8b8paa
Qld Flood Inquiry & Auto Industry Handouts

Herald Sun http://twitpic.com/8b8oeg
Leave Our Day Alone & Celeb's Twin Babies

The West Australian  http://twitpic.com/8b8p2j
Beach Rescue & Hospital Staff Pressure

The Sydney Morning Herald  http://twitpic.com/8b8p7m
Cabinet Leaks & Cricket

The Adelaide Advetiser  http://twitpic.com/8b8ola
Lost Tribe in PS &Cricket

The Age  http://twitpic.com/8b8p4p
Power Blackouts & Stolen Art

The Daily Telegraph  http://twitpic.com/8b8ond
Killer Waves & PM says Lend Me Your Ideas

The Courier Mail  http://twitpic.com/8b8ozk
Flood Inquiry & More about Rain

The NT Times  http://twitpic.com/8b8ohw
At Last a Croc Pic with a Free Hat & A it could only be Darwin Headline

The Hobart Mercury  http://twitpic.com/8b8org
Chops & Asylum Seeker Hunger Strike

The Canberra Times  covers.ruralpress.com/frontpages/2/63456.pdf
Pokies Loopholes & Punter and Pup hit their Purple Patch

... and the stories

PM Julia Gillard calls in entire caucus for crisis summit  Simon Benson @ The Daily Telegraph
THE entire Labor caucus has been ordered to an unprecedented weekend brainstorming session before parliament resumes, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard moves to keep her party on side.
All 102 MPs will workshop policy ideas and strategies, with one saying: "We will be getting the butcher paper and Textas out and solving the country's problems."


Pokies ACT trial loophole identified  Ross Peake @Canberra Times
Gambling addicts may easily be able to avoid setting limits on their spending under the proposed trial of poker machines in the ACT, according to the clubs sector.
The Federal Government confirmed last night that this loophole could occur if the trial followed the recommendation of the Productivity Commission that players could choose ''no limit''.[/i]

IMF slashes world growth forecast  Adrian Rollins @The Financial Review (Free)
The economy is set to be buffeted by falling commodity prices and deteriorating financial markets as Europe’s debt crisis hits trade and stalls the international recovery from the global financial crisis.
In the second gloomy assessment of the world economy by a major global institution in less than a week, the International Monetary Fund has slashed its forecast for growth in world output this year from 4 per cent to 3.25 per cent, before it picks up to 3.9 per cent in 2013.


Audit criticises agencies' grant advice  Markus Mannheim @Canberra Times
Federal bureaucrats repeatedly failed to warn ministers against approving controversial grants that could harm their political careers, an audit has found.
Auditor-general Ian McPhee has also criticised government agencies’ failures to tell the public who won taxpayer-funded grants and how much money they received.


The pub with no Aussies  Pip Freebairn, Mark Ludlow & Katie Walsh @The Financial Review (Free)
While hundreds of car and finance workers are being laid off, tourism and hospitality are so short-staffed that the government plans to import 36,000 bartenders, chefs and waiters.
“We would love to employ locals, but unfortunately they just don’t want to get out there and clean toilets or serve people because they think that is all beneath them,” Transport and Tourism Forum chief executive John Lee said yesterday.


Labor's Chris Bowen reveals move to shift policy on asylum seekers but says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott kyboshed deal  Simon Benson @The Daily Telegraph
IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Bowen agreed to consider a controversial return to temporary protection visas, as demanded by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, in an effort to break the asylum seeker deadlock.
But the Coalition rejected the offer, exposing Mr Abbott to accusations he didn't want to end the stalemate.


ASIO boss says we need more Muslim recruits to combat terror threats in Australia  Simon Benson @ The Daily Telegraph
THE country's top spy boss says ASIO must recruit more Muslims into the intelligence agency as the fear of a home grown terror attack remained a "real threat".
In a rare public talk, ASIO director general David Irvine, said the future spies would be recruited from newly arrived migrant communities.


Unions threaten to ruin Australia Day celebrations  Ashley Gardiner @Herald Sun
AUSTRALIA Day plans for thousands of families may be thrown into disarray as unions threaten to close parks and disrupt fireworks shows.
Unions yesterday declared that the national holiday would be a "day of action" as part of their bitter wages row with the State Government.


Leaks expose cabinet tensions  Sean Nicholls, Matthew Moore, Anna Patty @SMH
TENSIONS have erupted between the Liberals and Nationals over the O'Farrell government's first big cabinet leak, with the Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, forced to deny accusations that he was responsible.
Details of confidential documents revealing that the government was advised against its controversial decision to ban regular unleaded petrol from July 1 were aired on Monday night.

Detainees on hunger strike  David Killick @The Hobart Mercury
ABOUT 150 asylum seekers at the Pontville detention centre are on a hunger strike, refugee advocates say.
The Refugee Action Coalition said half of the 300 Afghan asylum seekers at the centre were refusing to eat because of continuing delays to processing their claims.


Goverment accused of not knowing Public Service staff numbers  Greg Kelton @The Advertiser
THE exact number of public servants in South Australia is unknown because the last official report on workers is more than 12 months old.
Public Employment Commissioner Warren McCann is expected to be called before Parliament's Budget and Finance Committee in March to explain delays in producing detailed numbers for the public sector.


Minister used his own numbers on carbon cost  Josh Gordon  @TheAge
{i]ENERGY Minister Michael O'Brien ignored his own department's economic modelling on the impact of the federal carbon tax, instead relying on his own calculations to claim Victoria would be hit ''first and hardest''.


Queensland state election timing in turmoil after re-opening of flood inquiry  Steven Wardill & Sarah Vogler @The Courier-Mail
NEW evidence suggesting Wivenhoe Dam was incorrectly managed in the days before last year's inundation of Brisbane has forced the flood inquiry to reconvene, potentially delaying state and council elections.
Premier Anna Bligh was last night seeking urgent legal advice on a "number of options" after agreeing to grant an extension to the flood inquiry's reporting timetable.


... and from the Opinion Pages

Economic fixes must offer a fair go for all  Ross Gittins @National Times
When you listen to street interviews with people in the troubled countries of the euro zone, a common complaint emerges: whereas some people waxed fat in the boom that preceded the crisis, it's ordinary workers who suffer most in the bust, and they and even poorer people who bear the brunt of government austerity campaigns intended to fix the problem.

Abbott rejects no-lose deal  Michael Gordon @National Times
A NEW political year has begun, but the landscape is unchanged: Julia Gillard is under pressure and Tony Abbott is intent on taking his negativity to new heights.
It is clear that the Opposition Leader had no intention of being part of a compromise that would enable the government to enact its Malaysian people-swap agreement after the latest, pre-Christmas tragedy at sea.


A pokies trial in the ACT is bordering on the futile  Tony Wright @National Times
THERE are two good reasons why you wouldn't want to rely on the results of Julia Gillard's much-ballyhooed poker machine trial in the Australian Capital Territory: geography and history.
Politicians applauding the mandatory pre-commitment pokies trial in Canberra don't have much knowledge of either, it seems.


Pokies crackdown is just too big a gamble  Ben Keneally @The Daily Telegraph
I'M GLAD the Prime Minister decided to take a cautious approach to poker machine reform.
Caution is warranted because so much is at stake - not just the welfare of problem gamblers and their families, but also many millions of dollars of community infrastructure, enormous social capital and the personal freedom of millions of Australians.


Neither side will give an inch  Dennis Atkins @The Courier-Mail
FIVE months ago, the High Court scuttled Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's innovative and risky Malaysian people swap to deal with asylum seekers arriving by boats.
In an apparent Guinness World Records attempt, the Gillard Government and Abbott Opposition again announced a failure to agree on the basis of untying this Gordian policy knot.


... and to finish off a Croc story

Deadly croc waters lure hot residents  Damien McCartney @The NT Times
TOP End residents are still swimming with crocs despite extensive education campaigns.
Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Wildlife director Brett Easton said rural Top End residents were risking their lives swimming in flooded waterways.


D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 11:49 AM


Sorry Folks that link doesn't work

But google the words

punk chicken

and look at the third image at the top,
it's nice, but it's copyright of course.  

Happy Birthday Feral, I do mean that sincerely.


January 25. 2012 12:34 PM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix
The Lunchtime Update Some that I missed & Some that have come in since the Morning Deadline Passed

No hope for good policy in the ugly year ahead  Greg Jericho @TheDrum
Last weekend, on the way to "Australian Politics 2012: the year of despair and disappointment", Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott had a collision with politics and policy. The result was ugly and does not give one much hope for the year ahead - especially if you are one who wishes that good policy might prevail.

Sleight of hand  Peter Brent @mumbleblog
Yesterday’s Australian published an opinion piece by Keith Windschuttle. It was a response to a Weekend Australian article last Saturday by Marcia Langton and Megan Davis.
Langton and Davis were on the panel appointed by the Prime Minister to examine how Indigenous people could be recognised in the Constitution.


Andrew wrong a year ago: still wrong today  Syeve @OpinionDominion
It was almost exactly a year ago, after the Queensland floods,  that Andrew Bolt had a post up alleging that a 2009 report by the Queensland Office of Climate Change had only mentioned drought, not floods.  He was following the lead of another blogger who had originally made the claim.

arrivaderci baby .....  John Richardson @yourdemocracy
The Prime Minister has let us all down, particularly young people ....
Some things transcend politics and policy and the lust for power. Truth, honesty, integrity, decency and fairness are immutable values. They are the ethical substance of life. They ought to be cherished. To sell them out is to sell one's soul. It is even worse when a leader expediently betrays these values, because it undermines the entire community.


And now the further doings of POTUS, Bronwyn Bishop, the world of Rosewarne and the world of chairman Rupert ...  Dorothy Parker @LoonPond
Somedays the pond feels like making wildly defamatory statements about certain politicians to prove the point, but then again, even a minnow can cop a Meryl Tankard Reist, so maybe not ...

The IMF and the RBA  @TheKouk
The RBA uses IMF forecasts for the global economy when building its assessment of the local economy.  It has done this for many years.  Obviously, the RBA judges the risks around these forecasts but nonetheless, when the IMF changes its outlook for the world economy, you can rest assured the RBA will use these in its assessment of Australian growth and inflation pressures.

Lagarde's dire warning: it's better late than never  Jessica Irvine @SMH
YOU can't say she didn't warn us - and therein lies the main purpose of the dire economic prognosis of the International Monetary Fund chief, Christine Lagarde.
Lagarde's warning of ''a 1930s moment'' and rejection of knee-jerk budget austerity measures are as much about protecting the Fund's own legacy as they are about spurring political leaders to solve the euro zone crisis.


The corporates united, will never be defeated  Peter Lewis & Jackie Woods @TheDrum
There was a time, not that long ago, where people took political action; they'd strike for higher wages and safer workplaces, march against unjust wars, set up blockades against inappropriate developments.
Today our political agenda is dominated by the corporate activist, who mobilise their forces against industry regulation and taxation with all the verve of a shop steward but with much, much deeper pockets.


Do Me A Favour…  Wixxy @CafeWhispers
Some of my opinions are often seen as straying a bit left of centre,  and on occasion I may put things across a little bluntly, but I rarely ask for anything more than an open mind.
So with that in mind, I have a favor to ask of the gay community.


Turning Back the Boats – Back to the Future on Asylum Policy  Adam Fletcher @Castan Centre for Human Rights
The more things change in this area, the more they stay the same. The war in Afghanistan is still not over, although it seems to be running out of steam. Wars in Iraq and Sri Lanka have raged in the mean time, causing huge numbers of people to flee to neighbouring countries, and smaller (but significant) numbers to flee to safe havens in the West including Australia.

Tony Abbott's great sense of humour!  Ian @theblowfly
This week The Blowfly finds himself completely at odds with Laurie Oakes and the rest of the Australian press gallery.
Tony Abbott copped a caning from the media regarding his remarks about the sunken Italian cruise liner. He wittingly brought it into the asylum seeker debate. He referred to it as ‘one boat they could not turn back.’


What We Talk About When We Talk About Socialism  Tim Dunlop @The King's Tribune
Look, I’m all for a market-based economy, but these stupid pissing competitions by the blinkered champions of the free market like my mate the taxi driver, underpinned as they are by this pathological and self-defeating hatred of “government”, miss the point badly.
The issue isn’t about the size of government but who government is for.


Peter Costello Needs to Read the Budget Papers  @TheKouk
Former Treasurer and Board Member of the forever under-performing Future Fund, Peter Costello seems to be at it again.

Community is dead, now we can get on living  Doug Hendrie @TheDrum
Community is dead, and thank goodness for that. Nothing unites us, and therefore nothing divides us as it once did.
There is space now for alternatives – sexualities, lifestyles, subcultures, religions – now that the immense weight of society has lifted, leaving behind just people who live in the suburbs of big cities, cities full of strangers, but also home to our small individual sets of friends and family.


Political Affiliation  Andrew Tiedt @The King's Tribune
Some people hold political affiliations with an almost religious fervour.
Their political beliefs shape everything, from their world-view to where they buy their groceries. Almost every major decision is influenced in some way by their political beliefs. Along with their entrenched views often comes something far more concerning: the complete inability to consider alternative points of view.


grunt-it-al-ova .....  John Richardson @yourdemocracy
The genesis of the tennis grunt is disputed. Some say the grunt was invented in Nick Bollettieri's tennis laboratory where, convinced a noisy expulsion would help a player hit the ball harder, the famed coach played soundtracks from pornographic movies near the test tubes in which his ''Deci-belles'' were incubating.

From Steam Radio ...

Australia's Prime Ministers  @RN Late Night Live
Mungo MacCallum takes an irreverent look at the 27 Prime Ministers who have led Australia, for short periods and long.

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 12:34 PM




January 25. 2012 12:45 PM


There really is a 'Punk Chicken', the critically-endangered Hoatzin (pronounced Hwattzin)of South American rainforests. I remember many years ago reading about them in a National Geographic, they were already threatened, their situation now I imagine is dire. They are very ancient birds, perhaps the earliest, they fly "like a tired feather duster" according to that long-ago report: they like to stay in one patch of forest, don't handle relocation; they eat leaves and leaves, not much of a diet for birds. The babies have claws on the leading edge of their wings, the only vestigial thumbs in the bird world as far as I know, the littles use it to clamber awkwardly around branches, there's a good piccy of this at this link as well as many other ones. The claws fall off later on. Check the punk hairdo and the blue facial makeup.


A post I put up earlier appeared, then disappeared, I posted a new version, it disappeared too, but after half an hour or so they both came back, (even though the links were not what I wanted). Did that happen to anyone else? Just wondering.

All in all I think TPS works nearly perfectly now though, thanks WebMonkey. recaptcha is more fun than hassle, just what it's about I saw explained succinctly t'other day, a computer generates a message that humans can decipher but computers can't . . ! . . a bit boggling really. Because then the recaptcha has to be able to confirm our interpretations.  I imagine there are antirecaptcha agents out there ferretting away trying to teach their computer to read the challenges so they can do something heinous . . . That'd be right.


January 25. 2012 12:47 PM


There really is a 'Punk Chicken', the critically-endangered Hoatzin (pronounced Hwattzin)of South American rainforests. I remember many years ago reading about them in a National Geographic, they were already threatened, their situation now I imagine is dire. They are very ancient birds, perhaps the earliest, they fly "like a tired feather duster" according to that long-ago report: they like to stay in one patch of forest, don't handle relocation; they eat leaves and leaves, not much of a diet for birds. The babies have claws on the leading edge of their wings, the only vestigial thumbs in the bird world as far as I know, the littles use it to clamber awkwardly around branches, there's a good piccy of this at this link as well as many other ones. The claws fall off later on. Check the punk hairdo and the blue facial makeup.


A post I put up earlier appeared, then disappeared, I posted a new version, it disappeared too, but after half an hour or so they both came back, (even though the links were not what I wanted). Did that happen to anyone else? Just wondering.

All in all I think TPS works nearly perfectly now though, thanks WebMonkey. recaptcha is more fun than hassle, just what it's about I saw explained succinctly t'other day, a computer generates a message that humans can decipher but computers can't . . ! . . a bit boggling really. Because then the recaptcha has to be able to confirm our interpretations.  I imagine there are antirecaptcha agents out there ferretting away trying to teach their computer to read the challenges so they can do something heinous . . . That'd be right.


January 25. 2012 01:15 PM

D Mick Weir

via Latika Bourke @latikambourke
Govt has released the report detailing the nearly $2b cost of reopening asylum seeker detention centre on Nauru:

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 01:54 PM


Having been a long time reader of TPS.   Today I decided to start contributing my 2 bob’s worth.

We are starting what looks like a turbulent year in Politics. The Opposition Tony Abbott is not going to change his antagonistic hostile approach.

Ad Astra your articles and writing is admired by all.  TPS is one of the few substantial well respected blogs on the internet.

I am looking forward to being  a regular participating member of the TPS community.


January 25. 2012 02:58 PM

D Mick Weir

Good Afternoon Gun
Welcome. I am sure that you will find that coming out of the shadows into the world of commenting can be an exhilarating experience.

Already it seems that you know who you have 'in your sights' and I am sure your 'aim will be true'.  Smile

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 04:36 PM

Ad astra reply

I’m having a day off watching the cricket.

Patricia WA
Your resolution is sensible.  I have given up on print newspapers, follow the online ones only via links, and rarely comment on other blogs.  By the time I have read comments on TPS and followed the links, there is not much time left.

Welcome to the TPS family, and thank you for your kind comments.  We look forward to your contribution during 2012.

You have been super active today.  I’m still looking at your links, in between overs at the cricket.

Ad astra reply

January 25. 2012 05:30 PM

D Mick Weir

Afternoon All,
I haven't spent much time trawling the gutters lately, and no, I am not talking of the blog Gutter Trash,  cos I still drop by there sometimes and find some interesting posts and comments.

I am more talking of sewers I guess.

Today I got misdirected into one of the sewers and was promptly reminded why I haven't ventured there lately

Time to Stop the People Smugglers Senator Cory Bernadi @ Menzies House
The usual suspects are outraged at the ‘immoral’ determination of Tony Abbott and the Coalition to stop the pernicious trade by people smugglers. Naturally the most vocal critics of the morality of Coalition policy are those whose policies are directly responsible for 14,800 illegal arrivals since 2008 and the deaths of an estimated 600 people.

It is quite a worry that a Senator, a representative of the people, can get away with distortions, lies and well there is no better way of saying it but, 'spouting pure crap'

I didn't stop long enough to read all the responses to the Senator's article but the first few certainly gave him a serve which at least helped take some of the bad taste out of my mouth.

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 08:30 PM

Ad astra reply

I can't explain the disappearing/reappearing phenomenon.  If Web Monkey can explain it, I'll get back to you.

Ad astra reply

January 25. 2012 08:45 PM


DMW - if you were in South East Queensland over the last couple of days you'd have been looking at the drains and wondering when they would overflow!  Luckily the fluid in stormwater drains is usually cleaner than the crud in Menzies House.

And thanks for the links - I wish I had the time to read them all.  The ones I do read are well worth doing.


January 25. 2012 09:10 PM

D Mick Weir

Hi 2353
Just back from the back shed, been a big clean out day with SHMBO&LTC holding a big whip to make sure I culled ruthlessly.

I suspect that I need the good lady to assist in culling the links some days Tong

It warms the heart to know that you , and many others, are enjoying the eclectic and quirky summer silly season send us to places we would normally never go links.

I did a little sneak off and pretended to be having lunch when I found that link and I would rate it as a two raw prawn and a turkey on rye post, minimum Smile

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 09:16 PM


Oh - I forgot - for all the election junkies the Queensland election is March 24 and the Queensland Local Govt elections (some of which are party political) are 28 April.  Bit of a stink about the dates as Local Govt is four year fixed term which actually expires 31 March and Bligh has pushed them back.  

Apparently the Electoral Commission asked not to run two elections a week apart (and Bligh was making some statement about giving time for voters to consider the different issues). Another issue is that the Flood Commission that was supposed to release a report in the next week or two now wants extra time and more hearings to, it is assumed, partly respond to media claims that SEQWater mis-managed Wivenhoe Dam prior to the 2011 Flood (as I write this apparently the floodgates are cracked open at Wivenhoe again to reduce the level 75% of the water storage level which is the summer maximum - we've had a little rain over the past few days!).

So, we have Bligh claiming underdog status and after 5 terms the ALP is looking "jaded" versus  Newman who has been described as Queensland's version of the Energiser Bunny.  What happens if the LNP wins but Newman doesn't win Ashgrove hasn't been discussed that I've seen yet.  Could be fun to have an occasional look at the games being played north of the Rio Tweed.


January 25. 2012 10:59 PM

D Mick Weir

Hey 2353,
Could be fun to have an occasional look at the games being played north of the Rio Tweed.

You may be on the money with that particularly watching for appearances of the ALP's 'energiser bunny' over revvy kevvy compared to coolya joolya.

But in the end for this little mexican What goes on in Queensland should stay in Queensland  Tong

D Mick Weir

January 25. 2012 11:02 PM


According to Poll Bludger, Peter Beattie "predicts that Campbell Newman will seek to succeed Teresa Gambaro as federal member for Brisbane if he fails to win either the election or his designated seat of Ashgrove."


Perhaps the voters of Ashgrove will kill two drongos with one stone and choose a more committed Premier than Newman.


January 25. 2012 11:11 PM


P.S.  I meant that figuratively, of course; the Spangled Drongo is quite an attractive bird.


January 26. 2012 08:02 AM


Bad Abbott


'Coal seam gas drill in your front yard? You won't even notice it'.

Shouldabeen proving again he just opens his mouth and lets the bullshit flow.

Any thought associated with that "flow"?

'Nah, mate, he's straight-talking Tony! Only people who don't know what they're talking about have to think about what they're talking about.'


January 26. 2012 08:09 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix

On this Day

Holidays and observances

Republic Day - India  http://goo.gl/C6cCS
Liberation Day - Uganda http://goo.gl/FbhOr
Duarte Day  - Dominican Republic http://goo.gl/5mgIU

1878 – Dave Nourse, South African cricketer (d. 1948)
1880 – Douglas MacArthur, American general and Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1964)
1885 – Michael Considine, Australian politician (d. 1959)
1905 – Maria von Trapp, Austrian-born singer (d. 1987)
1918 – Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romanian dictator (d. 1989)
1954 – Kim Hughes, Australian cricketer  http://goo.gl/TU3ua

1948 – John Lomax, Musicologist and folklorist (b. 1867)  http://goo.gl/SujDp
1961 – Stan Nichols, English cricketer (b. 1900)
1962 – Lucky Luciano, American mobster (b. 1897)

1736 – Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne.
1788 – The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sails into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney
1808 – Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.  http://goo.gl/ELLCj
1837 – Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.
1838 – Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the United States
1950 – The Constitution of India comes into force, forming a republic.
1966 – The Beaumont Children go missing from Glenelg Beach
1992 – Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia will stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.
1998 – Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

D Mick Weir

January 26. 2012 08:19 AM


Bad Abbott... some reading


From a British newspaper about a USA situation a little further down the fracking line that just might give Shouldabeen a little to think about.

Doubt it, but


January 26. 2012 09:46 AM

Ad astra reply

I have just posted the last in the change-of-year series of political speeches.  This one is titled: What makes a good political speech? Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.


Usual activities on TPS will resume this coming Monday with Lyn's Daily Links and my first piece for the year What then makes a good political speech?.

Ad astra reply

January 26. 2012 10:28 AM


The pressures in the Mexican Gulf oilfields - (where there are around FIVE THOUSAND oil rigs!!!) - range up to 160,000 psi. Ten thousand atmospheres!

To paint a picture of that pressure, imagine around 80 Holdens one-on-top-of-t'other, supported by a hydraulic ram with a barrel of one square inch. Wha'?

What I wonder, and I've never heard else anyone even speculate about, is, when they release that terrific pressure, well I know it's not all just in big underground gaps, (much of it is in rock fissures etc, but some of it is underground gaps) but, well, you know what happens when the 32-odd psi (three atmospheres, - actually just 2 over and above the ambient 16 - in your car tyre escapes, the tyre goes flat -only at the bottom, true - but the car goes down with it.

Can you imagine what will happen when the pressure-supported ceiling of a huge underground reservoir of oil and gas suddenly collapses when the pressure gets to a critically low level - say, only 80 000 instead of 160 000?

Another comparison: the spike in pressure in the chamber of a high-powered rifle reaches about 80 000 psi. That is sufficient to propel a bullet at mach 3 or 4.

As the ceiling of the underground reservoir begins to collapse into the reservoir the remaining gas and oil plus rock and water will explode upwards at several times the speed of sound.

A tsunami the like of which has never been seen will instantly begin, with miles-high waves. The oil and gas meanwhile will immediately ignite and there will be an explosion to dwarf the biggest nuclear bombs (100 megatons as I remember). The shock wave will shatter the surrounding oil reservoirs too.

Black smoke many miles high will blanket the entire planet.
All oxygen will be used.

And ALL Life will be snuffed out.  

In Revelations the spirit says to St John the Divine, (or else it's some other part of the Bible), when Armageddon happens, wtte "verily, one stone shall not remain upon another."

'Course I don't believe in the Bible. But I do believe in logic, and it is logical to believe in what makes sense, and one might imagine in the scenario I just depicted, that Armageddon is quite on the cards.

'Course it might be something entirely else what does it.

In Slaughterhouse 5 Kurt Vonnegut Jr has the Tralfamadoreans destroying the universe accidentally as they experiment with new fuels. Prescient?

Has anyone any info on the possibility of that scenario being realised?

Or should I worry about invading celestial bodies instead? Or sharks?


January 26. 2012 10:47 AM

D Mick Weir

Mick's Media Mix
The Hottest 100 Edition

Yes today is the day that Triple J reveals it's Hottest 100  http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/

Happy fortieth Tent Embassy  Toni Hassan @OnLineOpinion
The Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra - the iconic and, to some, offensive site that kicked off a national conversation about the indigenous rights - turns forty this week. Governments starting from Billy McMahon's on have never quite managed to shut it down or belittle it as a symbol of resistance. That, says activist Gary Foley, is a spectacular event in itself.

Invasion Day/Australia Day: Unity/Disunity  Kim @LP
I think everyone of a certain age can remember a certain mantra from John Howard. Symbols, he intoned, are not important. “Symbolic Reconciliation” is not important, he couldn’t say Sorry. The Republic was just a symbol, of interest to “elites”. Not broken, don’t fix it.
Yet, symbols he liked were somehow exempt. Howard usurped the role of the Head of State, wanting to preside over things like the Olympics, attending military funerals, laying wreaths, and always, always, wrapping himself in the Flag. Which is just a symbol.


Australia Day, and the pond is standing in it ...  Dorothy Parker @LoonPond
t wouldn't be an Australia Day without someone in the commentariat being offensive about something.
Come on down Paul Sheehan and jump from the matter of magistrate Pat O'Shane to a wider commentary about being aboriginal and black in Australia, and running out the oldest meme about how being black is a sure way to cash in the paw:


‘Aliens in their own land’  John Pasant @enPassant
Forty years ago, at 1am on the morning of 27 January 1972, four young Aboriginal men – Billy Craigie, Tony Coorie, Michael Anderson and Bertie Williams – pitched a beach umbrella on the lawns outside old parliament house in Canberra and proclaimed the site the office of the Aboriginal Embassy, ...

Inflation is a Dead Duck  @TheKouk
The CPI recorded zero change in the December quarter locking in a marked deceleration in inflation through the course of 2011.  In the last six months, headline inflation has run at an annualized pace of 1.3%, with some of the deceleration due to a reversal of the price spikes for goods and services impacted by the floods and cyclones early in 2011.

RBA free to move. It may not, but it is now free to move  Peter Martin
A dramatic drop in inflation means there’s now nothing to stop the Reserve Bank cutting interest rates when it meets for the first time this year Tuesday week..
Australia’s official rate of inflation fell to 3.1 per cent for the year to December and to zero for the December quarter itself.


Drum Piece and Inflation  Grog @Grog's Gamut
My latest Drum piece... It has no graphs but lots of depressing cynicism.
Incidentally in it I quote that the $1.5 billion figure the Government is claiming as the cost of switching to $1 bet limits comes from the Productivity Commission Report. I should have made more clear that it is cited in the report but is the PC quoting a submission by the Gaming Technologies Association, so I would regard is with about 1.5 billion tonnes of salt. My points, the PC even knew about that large figure and still recommended moving to $1 bet limits. The Australia Institute, meanwhile puts the figure at a rather more friendly $350 million.


Protectionism: a matter of national pride  Vincent O'Donnell @TheConversation
In Australia’s political history, elements of both Coalition and Labor governments have used arguments of cultural identity and national pride to justify policies of economic protectionism. The practice continues today.
Take, for instance, this utterance: “The pragmatic zealot view would mean that there was no arts industry, no public transport, no environmental programs because none of those things pay for themselves.”


Not the National Press Club – Scuttlebut Alley  Pip @CafeWhispers
Yesterday ABC24 televised the National Press Club speech given by Mr. Anthony Albanese,  then took it off the air to show a State of the Union speech by President Obama.

Like it or not, we’re more diverse than ever this Australia Day  Bob Birrell @The Conversation
One of the sharpest divides in attitudes to Australia Day celebrations is between those who think of Australia as a nation of migrants and those who regard Australians as a unique people and culture.

Caught in a racial trap  @PipingShrike
How do you change racial provisions in the Constitution when the entire infrastructure of land rights is based on it? That’s the real problem that those who are now looking to redraft the Constitution are grappling with behind the smokescreen of drawing up a Preamble.

Australian car industry needs lower emissions, not handouts  Ann Mortimore @TheConversation
The Australian Government has been bailing out automotive manufacturers since 1985. Both that year’s Button Plan and the 2008 Bracks Report recommended restructure and additional funding. But unless the Australian industry accepts the reality of today’s automotive market, bailouts will make little difference and we’ll continue to see closures and job losses.

More than an excuse for a long weekend – how we came to love Australia Day  Mark McKenna @TheConversation
Some 224 years ago on January 26, the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove. Just 1500 people disembarked with nearly 800 of them convicts. The date saw the beginning of the British penal colony, then known as New South Wales.
But while there’s been something to commemorate for 224 years, the celebration of “Australia Day” itself is far, far more recent; more recent than most Australians would suspect.


Margaret Court, Translated.  @MikeStutcbery
Margaret Court, the former No 1 Women’s Tennis Player and pastor of the Victory Life Centre in Perth, today published an Op Ed in the Herald Sun that has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy due to some of the ideas it espouses regarding same-sex attraction and marriage. Arguments have raged over what she means by some of her stranger pronouncements.
In order to give everyone the best possible chance to fully understand what she means, I’ve chucked on the cowdung-filtering spectacles and had a go at translating her piece.


From the Newspapers ...

What the Front Pages are saying...

Today the Front Pages come to you from Front Pages Today

The Australian  http://goo.gl/3bnTO
A cricketer celebrates & Bligh to Uncover Truth

The Sydney Morning Herald  http://goo.gl/1kOHj
A speech therapist & Spy Blowout

The Daily Telegraph  http://goo.gl/JXc7d
G'day Kate

The Age  http://goo.gl/j6tKW
A speech therapist & Yr 12 figures rift

The Herald Sun  http://goo.gl/0wNCf
The Spirit of Our Nation

The Courier Mail  http://goo.gl/7NTLf
It's on - Battle March

The Adelaide Advetiser  http://goo.gl/ApkdY
Toast of the Nation

The NT Times  http://goo.gl/7f7VB
No Crocs - Barbies

... the stories

Bligh vows to uncover dam truth  Michael Mckenna & Rosanne Barrett @TheAus
As Ms Bligh set a March 24 date for the state election to accommodate the delayed report of the commission of inquiry into last summer’s floods disaster, she promised Queenslanders would know the truth about revelations by The Australian this week that the wrong strategy was used to manage Wivenhoe on the weekend before the floods.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese savages Greens and Abbott  Mathew Franklin @TheAus
In a bare-knuckle opening to political hostilities for 2012, Mr Albanese also strongly defended Labor's record of achievement and predicted Australians would tire of Tony Abbott's "relentless negativity" in coming months.

An Oscar for Albanese?  Tim Lester  @SMH
A senior minister in the Gillard government accused of ripping off lines from an old Hollywood movie, has conceded the quote in his National Press Club address today was a "stuff up".

Rudd aims worthy of support, says Evans  Daniel Flitton @SMH
THE former foreign minister Gareth Evans will make a spirited defence of Kevin Rudd's global ambitions for Australia, accusing Mr Rudd's ''most senior government colleagues'' of failing to support his agenda.
Professor Evans, Labor's longest-serving foreign minister, will use an Australia Day speech in Melbourne today to warn domestic politics has too often overshadowed attempts to reshape Australia's policy on tricky questions such as the Israel-Palestinian dispute.


Serco's 'secret' manual on use of force  Meagan Dillon @NT Times
LAWYERS are fighting for the public release of a "confidential" document that outlines how Serco security officers are trained to handle asylum-seekers in a Darwin detention centre.

Kevin Rudd to take high profile in Queensland election campaign  Anna Caldwell @The Courier-Mail
ANNA Bligh will tap into the popularity of Kevin Rudd as she battles to win the hearts and minds of Queensland.
Labor insiders expect PM Julia Gillard will take a back seat to Mr Rudd on the hustings because his popularity far outstrips the PM's in the Sunshine State.


... and from the Opinion Pages

A new shade of true blue  Martin McKenzie-Murray  @SMAge
AUSTRALIA is a relatively coherent and sophisticated society. But your acceptance or refusal of how harmonious it is, is probably determined in some way by your thoughts on race, and the cultural war so vigorously prosecuted by John Howard.

Cobbers through thick and thin, is that the real mateship?  Nick Dyrenfurth  @SMAge
MATESHIP. The term conjures up vastly different meanings in the minds of Australians. Many would associate mateship with the heroic deeds of the Anzacs at Gallipoli.
Less nobly, one thinks of the boozy barbecues that accompany today's national revelry.

Indigenous development in the eye of the beholder  Elizabeth Farrely  @SMAge
So much of Aboriginal culture consists in the ephemeral, the abstract, the excruciatingly subtle. This is its biggest disadvantage in grappling with modern materialism, or perhaps ours in grappling with it. What seems to us a rock groove or bit of coloured clay can be, by analogy, Rembrandt.

D Mick Weir

February 3. 2012 08:14 PM

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