Saturday salon 8/11


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. Jacqui Lambie spins out

At the end of the week the star turn was Jacqui Lambie digging in over defense pay, lashing out at Abbott and taunting Clive palmer, daring him to sack her.

Glenn Lazarus has directly urged soldiers to ignore his colleague Jacqui Lambie and her call to protest at Remembrance Day ceremonies as Clive Palmer struggled to keep his disparate group of Senators together on Friday.

But a defiant Senator Lambie taunted leader Clive Palmer to prevent the party from splitting in the Senate and challenged her colleagues to help her block all Government legislation until the Defence Force is given a better pay rise.


“Do not turn your back on any Remembrance Day activity or ceremony. Honour and respect those who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

“I married into a defence family and I understand firsthand the challenges defence personnel and their families deal with and the sacrifices they make for this country.

“Remembrance Day should be above politics,” he said.

It’s possible to feel sorry for Clive Palmer!

2. Whitlam remembered


David Marr says there was lingering sadness along with cheers and soaring oratory. I heard parts of it. I particularly liked John Faulkner’s speech, also his son Tony. Everyone has been raving about Noel Pearson’s speech. From what I’ve read he said some good stuff, but sounded stagy, self-consciously the orator.

Abbott and Howard were booed on entry, as is proper, Julia Gillard was welcomed effusively, Kevin Rudd in silence.

Lenore Taylor warns
that right now Whitlam’s legacy in schools and universities is being dismantled.

3. Is the media biased, or not?

Bernard Keane at Crikey:

Let’s try a thought experiment: imagine the Rudd government had, within a few short months of being elected, fallen significantly behind Brendan Nelson’s opposition in the polls; imagine that it had produced a budget universally panned as unfair, one that it struggled to get through the Senate, that Cabinet was leaking like a sieve without any wire mesh, that treasurer Wayne Swan had made repeated gaffes and been forced to apologise and was widely regarded as a growing liability, that corruption in the NSW Labor Party had forced a Labor minister to stand aside within months of being sworn in, that Kevin Rudd had consistently negative personal ratings and at times fell behind Nelson as preferred PM, that Rudd was so unpopular, state Labor leaders preferred he kept away from them during their election campaigns, that Labor had announced it was doubling the budget deficit, and if it was reliant on a political freak show of independent and minor party senators to secure passage of its bills.

And imagine if the Rudd government had resorted to national security in an effort to take the focus off its domestic woes, and it had failed to restore its fortunes, leaving it still trailing the Coalition?

Now imagine how all that would have been reported — and not just by the Coalition cheerleaders at News Corp, but by the entire media? You wouldn’t have been able to click on a news website without seeing “debacle”, “crisis”, “fiasco” and “Whitlamesque” in every political story.

4. Stop the ABC!

At Loon Pond:

So here’s a reminder of why there’s ongoing bleating in the commercial media about the ABC:

1. Insiders (ABC 216,000 + 108,000 on News 24) — 324,000
2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven)  —  305,000
3. Landline (ABC) — 291,000
4. Weekend Today (Nine)  —  237,000
5. Offsiders (ABC) — 138,000
6. The Bolt Report (Ten) — 131,000
7. Financial Review Sunday (Nine) — 130,000
8. The Bolt Report repeat (Ten)  — 84,000

Poor Bolter. It’s a truth universally noted that once a program hits a level, it usually stays at that level.

Here’s the wonderful David Rowe cartoon at the head of the post:


5. Business leaders lose confidence in Abbott Government

Only on the ABC:

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott likes to boast that Australia is open for business, but his government appears to be losing friends at the big end of town.

A survey from Institute of Company Directors has found the nation’s most powerful board rooms are not happy with the Coalition’s performance.

Their confidence in the Government has slumped to the lowest level seen since last year’s election.

company directors are saying that government decisions are hurting their businesses and hurting their customers, hurting consumer confidence as well.

6. A busy week

Last week was a busy week for me, the next one will be also. Moreover, I could be out three nights which will nearly halve the time I have for posting. We’ll see how it goes!