Saturday salon 16/5

1. PJK has a win

    HarperCollins Australia has apologised and agreed to pulp unsold copies of its flagship 2015 release – Paul Keating: The Biography by David Day – to settle a fierce legal battle with the former Labor prime minister.

    The spectacular capitulation resolved the previously unreported dispute over incendiary – and it turns out false – claim by the author, that Mr Keating suffered from the reading and comprehension disorder known as dyslexia.

The dyslexia hypothesis was fundamental to Day’s characterisation of Keating and was mentioned multiple times in the text. HarperCollins agreed to pay Keating’s legal costs of legal costs of $27,500.

2. A new space for social democratic ideas

When Mark Bahnisch, Eva Cox and John Quiggin resigned as Fellows of the centre for Policy Development they said:

    we are working together to create a network to facilitate discussions and policy development around the core value of the public good.

A new site Social Democratic Directions: Alternative policies for Australia has now been created.

We wish them well!

3. Depp’s dogs

Johnny Depp, film star, thought it was OK to bring his dogs Boo and Pistol with him while filming on the Gold Coast. Barnaby Joyce found out that the pooches had avoided quarantine and demanded they leave on pain of death. He told them to “Bugger off!”

Apparently the dogs couldn’t be put in quarantine, because they lacked the paperwork. Strictly speaking, for the same reason, they shouldn’t be allowed back into the United States.

Depp did bugger off with his pooches, and he will be back without them. Apparently he had already taken considerable time off for less than plausible reasons, and the word is that if he doesn’t show the film studio will sue his arse off.

Meanwhile Kyle Sandilands and Clive Palmer got stuck into Barnaby for acting like a clown, which he was, because he is.

I understand that the shack where Depp and other A-listers hang out when here belongs to Mick Doohan who pops down to Coolangatta in his helicopter to pick them up.

4. The Conversation cut

    Academic website The Conversation will lose a quarter of its annual budget because of the federal government’s decision to scrap its funding.

    The government announced in Tuesday’s budget that there would be no new funding for the website, created in 2011 to give academics a platform to promote their research to a broader audience.

The website is now pondering its future.

The cut must be considered ideological. The amount involved is not even small change in a budget of $434 billion.

5. Brandis to call the shots in arts funding

George Brandis now gets his very own National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (note the spelling) courtesy of $104.7 million hived off the Australia Council’s funding. That’s 27.7% of the total arts budget placed in a special fund run by the Minister. The Council also loses an “efficiency dividend” of $7.2 million.

Joanna Mendelssohn at The Conversation sees it as a return to the Menzies era.

Artists, apart from the major companies, are worried.

6. Nepal earthquake

While we play ideological games, Nepal has suffered another earthquake, with 96 dead so far.

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.

15 thoughts on “Saturday salon 16/5”

  1. However clumsily Barnaby might be portrayed over this, Australia’s quarantine laws have kept many canine-borne diseases out of Australia. A commonly known one is rabies; an horrific disease easily transmitted to humans. We do have an associated disease in Australia that is bat-borne: the lyssavirus. In recent years lyssavirus has killed horses and humans. That’s a pretty good reason for the laws and a strict application of them. And should not be compromised by even a wonderful celebrity pirate. Did he really have no idea of quarantine? Was this a conjured up publicity stunt?
    Sandilands and Palmer – both with advanced degrees in two-handed tossery – attack Barnaby. Never mind the seriousness of the issue, it was the way in which Barnaby (apparently) spoke. I see no winners here except the Australian people whose rabies-free status continues despite some possible breach.
    I really don’t care if Barnaby was clumsy but I am less forgiving of Sandilands and Palmer for not supporting some very good laws and at the expense of Australia’s standing.

  2. Well said Geoff.
    What other disease riddled countries has Depp snuck these animals in and out of ?

    Cancel his visa Barnaby and Clive and Kyle can continue their clown performances.

  3. Barnaby was right to be concerned about quarantine, but quite undiplomatic and gross.

    Sandilands is a clown also.

    Clive Palmer, if you read the transcript, was pretty much on the ball. The film industry is good for the economy and us, and the matter could have been quite easily solved by putting the dogs into quarantine.

    Today’s news is that Depp didn’t go back to the US, the dogs went alone. A Deppless movie set costs about $250,000 a day.

  4. Wonder how much food and aid could go to Nepal for the price of the dogs airfares.

  5. Clive Palmer, if you read the transcript

    I did

    , was pretty much on the ball. The film industry is good for the economy and us, and the matter could have been quite easily solved by putting the dogs into quarantine.

    The film ” industry ” is a pittance next to our wealth of animal export and internal trade of animals for food, Depp put that at risk, I’d lock him up.

    Today’s news is that Depp didn’t go back to the US, the dogs went alone.


    A Deppless movie set costs about $250,000 a day.


  6. Thanks aidee. Fixed. Curiously the link I gave is what you get when you click on the header.

    Jumpy, we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. I appreciate the relative importance, but we can do both.

  7. Social Democratic Directions: Now there is a worthy team.

    Sadly, the chances of them rehabilitating the Actors, Lawyers and Plutocrats (ALP) or of restoring the liberal Liberals to some sort of authority in the Liars, Nincompoops and Plunderers (LNP) is about the same as you winning lotto. Still, I wish them well.

  8. Johnny Depp’s dogs: We don’t go to the USA and burn the American flag – so Yanks shouldn’t come over here and commit an equally serious insult against us. I don’t care if the is a talented actor – into the slammer with him and a 20 year non-parole period. End of story.

  9. Heh JD, in that case you may as well chuck Kyle Sandilands in with them just for fun.

  10. As someone who has spent the last twenty years on behalf of our apple and pear industry battling with our governments to enforce our strict quarantine laws (Australia and NZ are unique in being island nations) I was more than happy to see Barnaby carry on about Johnny Depps dogs. The interview with Kyle Sandilands proved what an arrogant person Sandilands is (a profile on him in one of the Saturday papers last year portrayed him as a real goose) and he shouldn’t be given any publicity for his antics. Barnaby wasn’t too bright either but we know that.
    This video clip, that I understand was shown on The Insiders last Sunday, makes it all worthwhile.
    Also on the Nepalese earthquakes, our daughter and her husband, who live in Hong Kong, decided to organise a fundraiser as the school that she works at has links to schools in poorer
    countries such as Nepal. As they are committed runners (our son-in-law is from Kenya) they organised a relay style run. It was originally only to be 2 sponsored runners however they ended up with 61 runners (including our 4 year old grandson and two of his mates) who ran a total of 407kms in 90 minutes and raised just under HKD75,000. Now that is what I call community spirit!

Comments are closed.