1. Remembering Shakespeare
Four hundred years ago on April 1616, William Shakespeare, “widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist”, died apparently from partying too hard on his 52nd birthday. Arguably he is the world’s greatest writer.
At school there was always a Shakespeare play on the curriculum. I went through four years of secondary school and three years of university English without studying any of his four great tragedies. It was my luck to tangle with Henry V, from which I think I never recovered, although of course it has memorable lines:
- Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
I recall once seeing a performance of Hamlet in Brisbane. Hamlet came on and started his “To be, or not to be” speech. A woman was coughing loudly. He stopped, bawled out the audience, and said, “Now let’s do that again”. He did, but the gas had gone out of his tank.
If you think he’s just a dead white man, Robert White looks at some of his influences, including on Marx, Freud, Hitler, Mandela and Greer. And he invented necessary words, like “bedroom”.
This is possibly a bit hackneyed, but I think he extended our understanding of what it is to be human and still speaks to us today.
2. Truckies’ pay matters
One of the stories of the week was the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) with the help of all crossbenchers except Ricky Muir.
The fact the proponents of abolition can’t get away from is that good pay and hourly pay for truckies saves accidents, lives and is better for the health than payment by the trip.
Louise Thornthwaite gives the history. In brief, the tribunal was doomed from the start, but nixing it doesn’t solve all the problems.
Farmers and owner-drivers are happy. The problem seemed to be that the tribunal-determined rates did not apply to big trucking firms and the hourly rates made the owner-drivers uncompetitive. Not in all cases, but enough.
There’s more here.
I have an uneasy feeling they’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
3. Political hardball in Queensland
The outcome is simple – Queensland will have four more MPs to make 93, and will return to the compulsory preferential voting system. Brisbane Times has the story.
Whenever there is an electoral redistribution in Queensland extra seats tend to get added in the outer suburbs, at the expense of regional areas, or indeed Brisbane City. The LNP and the regional crossbenchers wanted to add more members to preserve rural electorates.
Rejected twice, the LNP succeeded this week in taking hold of the agenda and with the crossbench forced it through. Labor responded by tacking on an amendment to bring back compulsory preferential voting. Under current circumstances this favours Labor. Antony Green says at the last election it would have given Labor nine more seats (not eight, as said in the linked article). All done and dusted in a couple of hours, no public discussion, no committee consideration. Amy Remeikis in the article:
- From a democratic point of view, it was a disgrace.
As a political manoeuvre, it was pure genius.
Under the Republicans’ voting system Trump got most of the delegates in New York, and threatens to come to the convention with a majority. It’s possible.
Bernie Sanders, defeated 43-57, looks finished, but won’t go away. I did hear that he is trying to get the superdelegates to switch to him. It’s his last chance.
Clinton and Sanders appeal to different demographics, but it seems unlikely they could ever work together. Liam Kennedy ponders the effect of his campaign.
Queensland Nickel owes nearly $74 million to almost 800 former workers, and about $150 million to other unsecured creditors.
Clive Palmer and his nephew, former QN director Clive Mensink, claim they’re owed money too and are asking for $3 million between the two of them.
Today’s vote allows liquidators to pursue the pair in court to try and recoup some of the millions owed.
Clive Palmer says, no chance, QNI was just a management company. Two of his other companies own the refinery, which he has under maintenance and is trying to open again.
I’m not sure where this will all end, but lawyers may be the winners.
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.