Saturday salon 9/5

1. Mark Bahnisch in conversation with Paul Barclay

Last night I joined ABC Radio National’s Paul Barclay in conversation with Mark Bahnisch discussing his book Queensland: Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask at the Avid reader bookshop.

John Birmingham:

    Bahnisch’s deep north is a beautiful hive of scum and villainy one day, a perfect storm of gothic corruption the next.

It’s about identity, politics, culture and society. The writing is very lively and I’m learning what Mark has been getting up to all these years.

The question is whether Queensland is different. The answer is yes, of course. Queensland has shifted its vote dramatically against pollies that tell them lies, sell off the farm and stuff this neoliberal austerity shite down our throats. Will Australia do the same?

2. Abbott in Paris – homophobic incident or stuff up?

From The Age:

    Australia’s ambassador to France offered his resignation after an incident while greeting Tony Abbott as he arrived in Paris on Anzac Day.

    According to multiple sources, the ambassador, Stephen Brady, was on the airport tarmac with his partner of 32 years, Peter Stephens, waiting to meet the incoming plane around 7pm Paris time.

    The prime minister’s travelling party sent an instruction that Mr Stephens should not take part in the greeting but should wait in the car.

    It is understood that no explanation was given.

    The ambassador, a career diplomat and formerly the official secretary to two governors-general, refused the instruction.

The resignation was not accepted.

My take is that it was probably a stuff up. Apparently protocol is that the ambassador brings his partner when the PM brings his. Apparently Margie had diverted elsewhere and this was not explained.

Equally of interest was former Labor MP Steve Gibbons’ tweet that Bill Shorten should toughen the f— up!

3. Indigenous funding criticised

From memory, about $500 million was cut from Indigenous funding programs, which were then to be consolidated into five streams. Community groups had to make application through a tender process, which many of them found too complex.

Before the first round of grants about half of the $4.9 billion available was allocated to pre-existing programs. Then:

    More than half the organisations granted funding under the Indigenous advancement strategy are non-Indigenous, a Senate inquiry has been told.

4. Poll stuff

The TPP polls continue to track essentially sideways. Morgan has Labor ahead 53.5-46.5, Newspoll is 52-48, Essential 53-47.

Newspoll has Abbott’s net performance rating improving from -26 to only -19. Shorten has gone from -18 to -16, so there is not much difference now.

In the preferred PM stakes they are now dead set even, so the headline was “From near-death experience to parity”.

In other news, Newspoll as a separate venture is closing shop. In future Newspoll will continue to appear, but the polling will come from Galaxy Research.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


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.

12 thoughts on “Saturday salon 9/5”

  1. Brian

    1. Is audio available of Paul and Marks conversation ?
    Sounds interesting.
    2. A nothing.
    3. It should be illegal to base funding decisions on race.
    Socioeconomic or geographic ? Yes. But not on racist grounds.
    4. Pollster reputations are in tatters after the UK result. Good, adds a little more uncertainty and excitement to the real Poll.

    ( Everybody have a thoroughly lovely Saturday )

  2. Jumpy, Paul Barclay said the program would be available as a podcast. I doubt it will make it to his Big Ideas segment.

    It will certainly need some editing, so I don’t know how long that will take. If I get a link I’ll post it.

  3. On polling, I think the UK pollsters have a difficult task with first past the post and non-compulsory voting. It’s a matter of how it plays out in each electorate, and I don’t think national sampling can easily reflect that.

    Also I believe there was a big undecided vote that was unpredictable.

  4. Yeah Brian, even the betting market was caught pants down.
    Our pollster have trouble with preference flows (Antony Greens Bane ) and turnout/informal.
    I’m happy when the pollsters get it wrong, they have some sort of fake influence on the eventual decision of some voters.
    Iv’e been asked many times, by generally politically ignorant folk forced to choose, in the week before the election ” Who’s winning ? ” with, presumably an attempt to ” back the winner “.

    I try to reply politely.

  5. Hi Brian,
    I like the new look. There is a clear break from the legendary purple theme, looks clean and fresh with the green. It does reflect your sharp analysis and generous soul well. However, your posts are well sourced and concise and you have been consistently doing so since the purple LP days. Do I sense a political shift, resembling the colour shift in your online theme?

    I was rather side tracked for awhile by local politics on Facebook. It is remarkable how my experience as a participant on Larvatus Prodeo (from about 06) gave me a good understanding in how online culture develops through social networks and the skills to interact therein productively. Although, the highlight of this year sofar is my lessons in Ngirrma Djabugay, our local language, given by Bina Gari No ears/doesn’t listen. It is a very poetic language, as there is no fixed word positions. A linguistic quirk aboriginal languages share with only the Inuits and Basques.

    Jiri nyurra Hello/how are you to Paul Burns, good to see you’r enjoying life. You probably have more time for such, since you gave up research. I find giving up stuff also liberating. I guess getting older and chronic health conditions does that to you. Thankfully the later also taught us to take good care of ourselves.

    Garu Bye

    ps I think the html buttons above the comment box could have better contrast, for the more visual challenged of us. Maybe Tig Tog could tweek it for you 🙂

  6. Hi Ootz,

    Terrific to hear from you. I’d been wondering. Thankyou also for your kind remarks, and it’s nice to get some feedback on how the site looks. As has been said elsewhere, the latest was not really planned. We kind of fell into it as WordPress kept breaking the earlier versions. It needs some tweeking when we get around to it.

    Personally I liked the original version, but I don’t think I’m going to get it back. I feel in a bit of a maze with this one, kind of closed in, but that’s just me.

    Politically I’m still tribally Labor, but not uncritically so. Certainly I have Green sympathies and usually vote below the line in the senate, including one Green in the first three choices. The Greens annoy me from time to time (and Labor disappoints) but I’m amazed at how often they speak up about social issues in a way that Labor doesn’t.

    I’ve actually met Christine Milne and had instant rapport. I like the look of Di Natale.

    I suppose you know that learning languages is good for the brain, reduces the chances of Alzheimer’s etc!

    Anyway welcome back!

  7. Zoot: Wife and I learned a bit of Anindilyakwa when we lived on Groote Eylandt. Lots of interesting stuff like different sounds being distinguished by us and Aborigines. (Ex: Aborigines struggled to hear difference between rag and rake while we struggled to hear difference between various tongue positions when saying D.
    Also interesting how language varied with cultural need. (Ex: 100 personal pronouns because precision often critical – a man could get speared if there was any confusion about which “she” a man was with.)

  8. Hi, Ootz.
    Good to hear from you. Enjoying learning a new language.
    Since physical limitations because of health put an end to my history writing, I’ve taken up novel writing. Up to end of first draft of chapter 4. Feeling happy about it but not sure where it is going yet. Initially it was very very loosely based on Ivan Milat’s story, but now, apart from .22 rifles and a few murders in a forest, I feel it might be going in an absolutely different direction. In any case, its always been told from the various investigators’ views. Will keep CP informed on how its going.
    Toying with the idea of opening a new blog specifically for it.
    My history blog, though well received, has been defunct for years now.

  9. Oops. I meant are you enjoying learning a ne language, Ootz? I really should use previews.

  10. Don’t know if Abbott was being homophobic in Paris, or one of the Abbott flunkeys was trying to think like the boss and be homophobic for him.
    Enjoyed the resulting embarrassment.

  11. Interesting stuff ( at least to me ) on the future of ” King Concrete “.

    In words of Professor Alex de Rijke, founder of London’s dRMM Architects, “If the nineteenth century was the century of steel and the twentieth century of concrete, then the twenty-first century is about engineered timber.”

    With prefab-erect, imo, being the best ignored innovation in the building biz today, especialy in Australia, we need to wake up.
    Do it with 3d printing tech and watch construction costs plummet.

    My Grandkids may one day be able to afford a home of their own without incurring multigenerational debt for it.

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