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. Anzac Day
The Australian War Memorial tells us:
Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.
But more than 90% of the focus remains on Gallipoli. I think I’m joining military historian Jonathan King (here and here) in saying that Gallipoli is becoming a bit of a circus and after 100 years and that it is time to move the focus to the Western Front. Happens that on April 25 1918 the Australians were engaged with the Germans at Villers-Bretonneux where they won an important battle. Some 6,000 are gathering at Villers-Bretonneux this year to remember.
Australia lost around 46,000 on the Western Front (8,709 at Gallipoli).
Amongst the many memorable programs I heard and saw was Richard Fidler on the nature of trench warfare, on the use of tanks and how the Australians souvenired the German tank Mephisto, now in the Queensland Museum.
2. Migrant shipwreck near Italy
Other than Anzac, the drowning of more than 800 migrants in the Mediterranean was for me the story of the week. That makes more than 1,750 migrants perishing in the Mediterranean since the start of the year – more than 30 times higher than during the same period of 2014.
The drownings seem to have shocked the Europeans into some action, with other countries assisting Italy in rescue efforts, and looking for longer term solutions.
Abbott was at hand to advise them to turn back the boats, which was too much for Ukip Party leader Nigel Farage. Julie Bishop was more circumspect, saying that solutions should vary according to circumstances.
3. Sydney storm
From the Tele on Thursday:
NSW Premier Mike Baird has been “shocked by the size and scale” of the devastation caused by this week’s storms that continue to leave thousands of people without power and entire communities cut off by floodwaters.
Tony Abbott said the storm was a one in 10 year event. I heard someone sensible say that it depended where you were. In some places it was the worst ever.
Here’s the Sharks playing the Rabbitohs when the rain had barely begun:
QUEENSLAND voters have strongly backed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s handling of outcast MP Billy Gordon, the latest opinion poll suggests.
The Roy Morgan poll shows Ms Palaszczuk and the Labor Party have pulled ahead since she called for Mr Gordon to be expelled from the party over his undisclosed criminal record and allegations of domestic violence.
Ms Palaszczuk’s preferred-premier rating has increased to 61.5 per cent over Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg’s 38.5 per cent since March 15.
Labor is currently leading the LNP 52.5-47.5 on a two-party-preferred basis, according to the poll.
Some of us are getting sick of Springborg playing politics over the Billy Gordon issue.