Saturday salon 29/11


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. Vale Phillip Hughes

Hughes_Phil_17_225From The World Today:

Cricket will go on, but when we’re ready.

That’s the message from the game’s leaders today as grief envelops the sport here and abroad.

Teams and individuals are paying tribute to Philip Hughes in their own ways and will continue to do so at games this weekend.

Some clubs will paint 63 on their ovals – marking that he was 63 not out when he was hit by that ball.

The outpouring has also been extended to bowler, Sean Abbott.

A test is due to get underway next week but at this stage cricket administrators say no one is in a position to make a decision as to if or how that will proceed.

Various sporting codes are honouring him in their own way. A state memorial service will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with date and other details to be confirmed. The notion of putting out your bats has gone viral:


Like Steve Waugh, I think he should have never been dropped. He was dropped five times in 26 tests. Waugh points out that he, Waugh, took 26 tests to score his first ton.

Our sympathies to his family and all who knew him. He obviously touched many hearts in a positive way.

2. Sturm und Drang in Brisbane

That’s “storm and stress” BTW.

A savage storm lashed Brisbane City on Thursday afternoon. Here it is as captured on social media. More images of the aftermath here.



I was 11 floors up in the T&G building when it struck. There was a roar as the hail, some say as big as oranges, bounced off the rooves below.

The cleanup bill of up to $150 million compares to the storm of 1985, which is said to have cost $300 million. Certainly it was not as severe as the tornado-like storm that hit The Gap in 2008.

I heard today that 208 Energex crews were out re-establishing power. We were just fine in Ashgrove. Wind and rain, but no hail.

See also Brisbane storm: why was it so bad?

3. Victoria’s election

Most pundits and the polls suggest Labor will win, but Morgan has the LNP in a late surge and it could come down to a handful of votes in a handful of seats.

There is also interest in the upper house with Labor and The Greens playing silly buggers with preferences:

Complex tactical preference deals struck by Labor and the Greens have angered some progressive minor parties, which feel votes should rightfully flow to them.

The Greens have preferenced the Palmer United party relatively highly in some regions, while Labor has preferenced Family First above a selection of left-wing candidates in some regions and has placed the pro-hunting Country Alliance above all other parties in eastern Victoria.

The Shooters and Fishers party could win a seat in Victoria’s eastern division, due to favourable preferences, while the Greens have preferenced the Sex party highly in the northern metropolitan division, despite the party’s stated support in the past for the controversial East West toll road, which the Greens oppose.

The final makeup of the upper house is likely to prove an interesting negotiating challenge for Labor if it does manage to oust the Coalition government.

4. Right wing warriors turn on Abbott

Andrew Elder had some interesting things to say about politics and the media with special reference to the ABC. The adults are definitely not in charge.

Now Janet Albrechtsen, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones have all turned on Abbott.

Abbott just can’t put a foot right. Laura Tingle on Thursday:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott finds himself defending the indefensible, or the already mortally-wounded, on three different fronts.

First, the government’s budget strategy is dead, a seriously ex-parrot, and we are left just going through the excruciating process of seeing how it is brought to account in next month’s mid-year budget review.

Yet the government persists – for now – with the fiction that it will all come good in the end.

Second, the prime minister’s credibility has been shattered, not just by a series of broken promises that have emerged through the year but by what one of his own backbenchers described as Abbott’s “verbal gymnastics” in trying to suggest that he had not broken any promises. The cut to ABC funding has crystallised voter disgust at such gymnastics.

Finally, the only thing that stopped an increasingly confident attack by the Opposition on the collapsing edifice of the budget bottom line and the Prime Minister’s trust deficit with voters was the spontaneous combustion of Defence Minister David Johnston when he declared on Tuesday that he would not trust the Australian Submarine Corporation to “build a canoe” . This opened up a whole new front of Labor attack on ministerial competence.

Since then the status of the $7 Medicare co-payment has depended on which minister you ask. What is definite is that they want sick people to go to the doctor less and they’ll try to find a way of making that happen!

When the photographers start piling in on you, you know you’re in trouble!


4 thoughts on “Saturday salon 29/11”

  1. The loss of Phillip Hughes is just plain awful. Death is occasional in motor sport and the risk is somehow acceptable. In cricket we see strain injuries and the odd broken hand but never death. To me, this out-of-the blue tragedy has really affected me, and many others too.

    I must also note that the massive outpouring of genuine grief from a very broad spectrum of society and sporting codes makes my heart look up. I wish that such unity of purpose was sufficiently contagious that our leaders – from all levels – would be similarly affected and recognise the benefits of more unified government.

  2. Sydney’s T&G building was dubbed “Terror and Gloom” by the lift installers during its construction, seems like you had your own little bit of terror during the gloom of the storm. And then Hockey seems pretty gloomy in the photo, while thinking “….get that hand off me, I know where its been”!

    As for Abbott’s communication problem, that’s straight forward. You can’t make a story from three word slogans

    Stop the taxes
    Axe the Tax
    Climate Change crap
    Repay the debt
    Stop the boats
    Hope reward opportunity
    A stronger Australia
    This toxic tax
    Stop the waste
    Scrape the barnacles
    Tax the sick
    Make students pay
    Balance the budget
    Million new jobs

    Abbott progressed from Journalism to Advertising, but a Prime Minister he is not. And the worlds real leaders aren’t holding back on showing their lack of respect for this clown.

  3. Good morning, gentlefolk:

    Here is a major turning point in Australian social and economic history. This article goes way beyond party and factional squabbles:

    If the nation of Australia does manage to survive this incredibly unnecessary mess, future generations of Australian students will wonder what the blazes the Abbott regime was thinking – and their teachers /lecturers will be unable to supply answers that are logical or make economic sense at all.

  4. Geoff @ !:

    Like thousands of others, no longer have a cricket-bat myself but nevertheless shall put a representation of a cricket-bat out the front tomorrow as a mark of sympathy and solidarity.

    The bereaved family AND the unfortunate bowler deserve our full support.

    This accident brought back a long-buried memory for me – of someone who died from a very similar injury.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if a foundation were set up in the name of Phillip Hughes – and if the Australian Mint put a 50 cent or 1 dollar coin into general circulation with his portrait on it.

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