Saturday salon 4/10


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Run, Kate, run!

Labor’s Kate Jones has thrown her hat into the ring to stand against Queensland Premier Campbell Newman at the state election.

The former environment minister will seek preselection in her former seat and the premier’s current seat of Ashgrove, in Brisbane.

ReachTEL have Jones on about 52%, Newman on 41% and TPP goes to Jones 56-44.

Dunno about ReachTEL, it was pretty erratic on individual seats before the last federal election.

In other shenanigans long-standing LNP member Dr Bruce Flegg has been given the flick by party bosses and will be prevented from recontesting Moggill. Flegg has now tipped a bucket on them, saying they have written Newman off in Ashgrove, and it’s about factional manoeuvring as to who will be the new leader.

2. GO8 warns on research funding

The Group of Eight universities have warned that the long-term shift away from basic research towards applied research could rob Australia of the ­fundamental knowledge base it needs to capitalise on new discoveries.

Back in 1992-93 basic research accounted for 28% of gross expenditure on research and development. In 2010-11 this had fallen to 21%.

Other countries are ramping up expenditure. South Korea, for example, is increasing research funding from 4% of GDP in 2011 to 5% in 2017. Europe is aiming at 3% of GDP.

Not sure of the number here, but if it’s $9 billion then it’s less than 1% of GDP. Our government’s strategy is to “massively” increase research funding by cutting grants and university funding, and ‘liberating’ universities to charge higher fees. And then of course there’s the 7% doctors visit co-payment.

3. Abbott to kill off Parliament House burqa ban

Abbott’s done something I approve of. Seems he’s killed off the parliamentary burqa ban.

Jacqui Lambie continues to embarrass herself.

Meanwhile Abbott:

“Frankly, I wish it was not worn. But we are a free country, we are a free society and it is not the business of Government to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear,” he said.

Tanya Plibersek:

“I’d prefer if Tony Abbott didn’t get about in his Speedos either, but it’s a free country,” she said.

4. PUP gets its Senate inquiry into Queensland

The inquiry will be in the form of a select committee, chaired by Glenn Lazarus, consisting of five members but only one from the Coalition, has a reporting date on or before March 27 next year, very close to the date of the next Queensland election.

the committee will examine Queensland’s use of Commonwealth funds, the administration of the state’s judicial system, and questions around development and environmental approvals.

It’s hard to see how the administration of justice is the Commonwealth’s business. I’m with Nick Xenephon in thinking it’s inappropriate for one government in the federation to be inquiring into another. For Labor, presumably it’s payback, but politically probably not a good idea.

5. Economic clouds gather

The world never really recovered from the GFC. Now:

Global debts have reached a record high despite efforts by governments to reduce public and private borrowing, according to a report that warns the “poisonous combination” of spiralling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis.

Modest falls in household debt in the UK and the rest of Europe have been offset by a credit binge in Asia that has pushed global private and public debt to a new high in the past year, according to the 16th annual Geneva report.

The total burden of world debt, excluding the financial sector, has risen from 180% of global output in 2008 to 212% last year, according to the report.

By Asia seems they mean China, mostly.

13 thoughts on “Saturday salon 4/10”

  1. Now reading Janice Hadlow’s The Strangest Family. The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians. Much more than an excellent group biography, extremely well written, it sets the Hanoverians into the context of 18C social history. Recommend it highly.
    As for the hijab/burqa debate. Its all too depressing. Though Bill Shorten did give one of his better speeches at Eid in Lakemba this morning. Saw it on ABC News.

  2. Tony Burke has excelled himself in this video of his speech to parliament on prejudice in our society. A stirring, well worded speech we could all applaud.
    We all need to say that “it is not in our name” to the crap that is coming from some of our politicians and others.
    Then there is Bronwyn’s decision to put people wearing a burqa in with school children in the public gallery “for security reasons.” I am not sure whether she thought that the kids would keep the burqa wearers under control or that what happens to kids doesn’t matter:
    On the subject of Bronwyn Tony Burke had this to say:

    On Monday Bronwyn Bishop suspended her 200th Labor member of Parliament. To put this into perspective, at this rate the Speaker is on track to hit 600 suspensions this term, which will account for around one third of all suspensions since Federation. I’ll let you make your own judgments on that.

  3. John
    You try wearing a balaclava or motorcycle helmet and try to even enter the building.
    Facial recognition technology is essential to todays security in places considered ” high target value ”
    Sruth, I was roused on for having sunglasses on my head when getting my last drivers licence photo!
    One law for all, no exceptions.

    That said, check out some vertical ballet on a rope.
    ( sorry Brian, Whimsy was my fav LP thread )

  4. jumpy, there’s a long and rather obvious history of criminals donning balaclavas and motorcycle helmets for the express purpose of avoiding identification while committing crimes.

    Women in niqabs and burqas? Not so much.

    Hence, it’s a solution to a problem which doesn’t exist.

    How about we focus on problems in this country which *do exist*, not the ones dwelling in our fevered existential imaginings.

  5. Being a small government, anti-nanny state, anti-excessive regulations type, I would have thought that’s what you would have preferred.

    And women who wear niqabs and burqas already reveal their faces for license photos. Why would they have a problem doing so, especially if the photographer is female?

  6. Nick

    jumpy, there’s a long and rather obvious history of criminals donning balaclavas and motorcycle helmets for the express purpose of avoiding identification while committing crimes.

    Yet people with no intention of wrongdoing must still comply for security reasons.
    Or decide to view parliament by other mean.

    If an exception to a rule is created for one sector of the community it will be exploited and most likely not by the sector the exemption was made.
    Criminals are bit like that. ( or the Chaser boys )

    All this hype is not about attacking anyone but rather enforcing a completely reasonable protocol that ,until now, has never been even questioned.

  7. Jumpy, in the unlikely event that you wished to attend Question Time wearing a niqab I am informed that Parliament House Security already have procedures in place whereby you would be taken to a private room and required to identify yourself.
    Do you often roam the streets wearing a balaclava?

  8. jumpy: “Yet people with no intention of wrongdoing must still comply for security reasons.”

    Yep. It’s a discriminatory policy. Plain and simple. And I’m sure it must be a bit inconvenient to have to remove your bulky helmet, when all you want to do is drop off a couriered package to the front desk of a building, or quickly pay for your petrol…

    But, unfortunately, there’s that “long and rather obvious history” of crimes being committed by people wearing helmets and balaclavas.

    Is there a history of crimes being committed by women wearing burqas and niqabs? No there is not. It just doesn’t exist. Hence, there is no justification at all to discriminate against them.

    “One law for all” says that we should not enact laws which discriminate against anybody, unless we have a very good reason to. The fewer people our society discriminates against, the better. If we don’t need to discriminate against women who wear niqabs and burqas, then why do it.

    jumpy: “All this hype is not about attacking anyone but rather enforcing a completely reasonable protocol that, until now, has never been even questioned.”

    That’s right. Until “now”, there’s never actually been a problem. You might want to double check then, who is doing the “questioning”? Who and why are they making a problem out of this?

  9. zoot

    Do you often roam the streets wearing a balaclava?

    No, but if I did, and we crossed paths, I’m sure you would be unfazed.
    And I’m sure if 3 or 4 of my ” motorcycling mates ” sported our face bandanas on a visit to a mosque ( as invited) the worshippers and their subordinate wives and kids would feel no unease, no suspicion or be confronted by what is very common practice in the ” motorcycling ” culture.

    That said, if they have a protocol that doesn’t allow this, I’ll either not visit or remove it. Simple.

  10. Nick
    I hear what your saying , I’m not discriminating against anyone, and whole heartedly agree their are far too many laws that do.
    But hiding ones face is not allowed in certain venues for very good reasons.
    Harm doers are innovative and motivated, create an avenue that could be exploited and it will be.

    Is there a history of crimes being committed by women wearing burqas and niqabs? No there is not.

    That’s not totally correct, there have been.
    But many more crimes committed by men wearing burqas, non muslim to boot!
    Look it up mate.

  11. Jumpy: I have no problem with a general rule about face coverings and places like parliament and banks in the name of security and crime prevention. However, I would be alarmed if some idiot proposed to put these alleged security risks in the same room as school children!
    Like you I don’t agree with the argument that certain face coverings should be excluded from the rule because, to date, no-one using a particular type of face covering has done anything wrong.
    What I don’t like is the wink wink that Abbott and some of his cronies use when talking about the burqa and other multicultural issues. It comes across as being all about retaining the support of the racists while appearing to be encouraging tolerance.

  12. “Look it up mate.”

    Hmm. About 4 or 5 cases in England, US and Australia combined…ever.

    How many armed robberies are committed in a medium-sized city like Melbourne every month?

    “Harm doers are innovative and motivated, create an avenue that could be exploited and it will be.”

    Evidently not.

    A crook who chooses to disguise himself in a burqa has to be regarded as something of a complete idiot. Lack of visibility much??

    I like the inset of first photo. The one where the jewellery store owner who foiled the robbery is actually yanking the guy by his face covering… 😉

    And their getaway car was a Fiat 500. Three men in burqas in a Fiat 500. Priceless. Can you imagine them all trying to take them off at the same time?

    You’re telling me this is what all that speechifying in parliament and the press is about?

    As Zoot mentioned, there are already procedures in place to identify people on entry.

    A standard metal detector takes care of pretty much any other threat.

  13. But jumpy wouldn’t wear a burqa, he and his motorcycle mates sport their face bandanas when they hold up jewellers.

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