Saturday salon 11/6

1. Mungo man

The real story is more complex than that SBS piece.

A 2001 study looked at Mungo man DNA and concluded:

    that Aboriginal origins were the result of two independent migrations, one of which was from a population whose origins were firmly linked with ancient Java (Indonesia).

It hadn’t said exactly that modern Aborigines were not the true First Peoples of Australia, but that’s the way it was taken by some, as per the front page of The Australian at the time.

Now superior DNA technology has established that Mungo man was from the same mob as modern Aborigines and refutes the earlier suggestion that another extinct lineage of people predated Aboriginal Australians.

    The archaeology and the genetics provide very strong evidence that our First People have been here over the past 50,000 years. This was long before people first arrived in Europe.

2. The greatest of the great apes

Scientists think a humungous ape may have lived in the forests of Asia from 2 million years ago, and possibly rubbed shoulders with Homo erectus for a million years after they arrived 1.7 million years ago.

This whopper, called Gigantopithecus is thought to have been up to 3.5 metres tall and weighed around 540kg. This gives you some idea:


Scientists are not entirely sure, because we only have lots of teeth and four jawbone bits. It could have been something like the panda. Apparently the ancestor of the porcupines likes to drag off bits of bones and chew them up because they needed the calcium to to make their quills.

It’s possible that Homo erectus out-competed or killed Gigantopithecus. Human species can be like that.

3. Hillary Clinton is a thing

Here’s a mob who don’t like her. They sound like she’s the worst.

But what if Trump is the only alternative? It should take Hillary haters a nanosecond to decide that one, but this is the United States. Anything can happen!

Any way Obama says, “I’m with her”, declaring “I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary”.

Obama had a chat to young Bernie:

    Emerging from the White House after a meeting with Obama that lasted more than an hour, Sanders warned that a Trump presidency would be a “disaster” and that he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.”

    “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%,” Sanders told reporters.

4. Rousing farewell to Muhammad Ali

When I was young there was an American boxer called Cassius Clay who I thought of as a loud-mouthed braggard, who could fight a bit. I remember him when interviewed by David Frost looking as though he was going to punch Frost’s lights out. Admittedly David Frost could be quite annoying.

Then when he refused to go to Vietnam I thought he probably didn’t like being shot at, which was understandable. Then he changed his name to Muhammad Ali and became a Muslim. I thought he’d lost the plot entirely, but he could still fight a bit. Three times heavyweight champion, won 56 of 61 fights, and 31 straight until beaten by Joe Frazier.

I believe when someone was doing a poll for the sportsman of the 20th century Ali got more votes than everyone else put together. And I was wrong about him, he was a genuine man of peace, inclusive religiously, a humanitarian and a figure of cultural significance.

Anyway he was given a rousing farewell in a manner I believe he planned himself.

In later life he took an interest in Sufism which is “defined as the inner mystical dimension of Islam.”

29 thoughts on “Saturday salon 11/6”

  1. Watched with my American son and daughter in law the regional debate that included Barnaby, Joel Fitzimmons and Richard DiNatale. Their comment was that all the debaters were to the left of Bernie Sanders.

  2. John, left and right seem to have a different meaning in the American context.

    On Aboriginal beginnings, back in September 2014 I did a post Pushing back the African exodus, which still gets hits from Google searches.

    It suggests that Aborigines were here at up to 75,000 years ago, and there is one study that suggests an even earlier arrival at 130,000 years ago.

    Also there was genetic interchange with India about 4000 years ago, which may have picked up the dingo along the way. Dingoes genetically are from Island Southeast Asia.

  3. As your link said my long held understanding was that Northern Australian Aborigines were different from those further south.
    Aborigines in places like Groote Eylandt had a relationship with Maccasans long before European contact.

  4. A headline today that the LNP would preference Labor over the Greens caught my attention. The “strategy” would somehow disadvantage the Greens and other parties at the coming Federal election.

    I’ve held a view for some time that the two main parties have a tacit agreement to support the two party system, understanding they would swap as government from time to time.
    I watched how they went after Hanson, ravaged Chips party, and tore at Palmer. OK those guys were not always what was needed but the two main parties went out of their way to destroy them. More recently the changes to voting tend to support my concerns. Now it looks like they are going to try and thwart Xenophon who has a chance of disrupting a few LNP seats, and maybe some Labor seats too. If the news report is correct then the Greens will also suffer.

    If I am right then it underpins my discomfort with the quality of choices before us at the election. LNP has not been the salvation many had hoped for and Labor does not seem to have reformed itself sufficiently if at all. Pity, missed opportunity.

    Faced with poor choices (Labor or LNP) one would look around for other options. But if the two major parties are blocking options I become scared. To channel Don Chip – “…keep[ing] the bastards honest…” becomes less and less possible.

  5. John said:

    As your link said my long held understanding was that Northern Australian Aborigines were different from those further south.

    I recall being told in Cairns years ago that the rainforest people were different and gentler than the plains Aborigines. No idea whether it was true, but I would not be surprised if there were significant differences.

  6. Geoff, there are some in Labor who believe dead set that the Greens were negotiating with the Liberals in Victoria, though I believe Di Natale when he says he wasn’t personally involved. It’s done by the party minions. The assertion is that the national Libs overruled the Victorians.

    I don’t know, but I don’t think the Greens can oppose sitting Labor members in the HoR and then expect a formal agreement to form government. Labor is not going to accept the tacit assumption that all Green policies are an improvement on Labor’s. They’ll govern as a minority government if need be, and carry on much like Labor is doing in Queensland now on every specific piece of legislation.

    I think Labor is a substantially different beast now than under Rudd/Gillard. The divisiveness and undermining has gone.

  7. Malcolm Turnbull statement thatplacing Greens last in voting preferences in ‘national interest’ is interesting. Has he become so extreme that he thinks people like Pauline Hanson to those terrible people in Green tee shirts?
    My take is that Turnbull’s aversion to the Greens is because “

    the Greens remind Malcolm of the leader he once said he wanted to be but hasn’t got the courage to be now.

    ” It all has an hysterical sound about it that will help the Greens if anything. (It is worth noting that the Green vote in my patch is growing because of conservative dislike with what the radical, nasty thing the LNP has become.)
    Brian: You say that the ALP would

    govern as a minority government if need be, and carry on much like Labor is doing in Queensland now on every specific piece of legislation.

    They won’t be able to do that if LNP candidates get in on ALP preferences.

  8. Sorry, I put my response on the Election 2018 thread, where, as an open thread, this issue more properly should have been.

    I’ll repeat it here.

    John, you are right that the LNP see every crackpot as preferable to a Green. I heard, Michelle Grattan I think, that the decision was a Turnbull one in the end, so their voting strategy would match his rhetoric.

    I’m not sure there was any deal as such with Labor, but I understand all they have given away is to preference Liberals ahead of Nationals where there are socalled ‘three-cornered’ contests where a sitting conservative has retired.

    Labor’s preferences would only come into play if they came third. Adam Bandt was elected in 2010 on Liberal preferences, was he not?

    What’s up for grabs is Xenophon in the SA lower house. I gather Labor has made no commitments, but may preference Libs ahead of X.

    I understand Labor will still preference Greens ahead of the LNP and probably everyone else in the Senate.

  9. John, on the numbers I believe that Labor needs 19 seats to form government in their own right. If they fall short it’s unlikely this time that they’ll get the chance to form government, because Katter, Oakeshott, if he gets in, and even Windsor are likely to give Turnbull the first shot. But I don’t think the LNP combined are going to win any new seats as a result of Labor preferences in ‘three-cornered’ contests.

    There’s a remote chance that Labor will get, say 17, and the Greens get two or three. That’s when Di Natale’s dreaming would come into play.

    Labor would see it as quite unreasonable, and a betrayal of those who voted for them, if they dumped policies in favour of an amalgam with Greens. There is a lot of feeling within the ALP that 2010 should not be repeated.

    So they would legislate their policies one by one and take their chances. It would be up to the Greens if the place became ungovernable and we went back to the polls.

    That’s just how I’m reading the mood in Labor, but chances are, I think, Turnbull will stay with a small majority.

  10. My mood-read for this neck of the woods is that many people have just lost faith in the major parties.
    Last week Brian wrote of Turnbull pork barrelling millions here and there. Today Shorten is throwing out a billion dollars and is going to drag NBN back to full fibre for some more billions. Un-doing is one great way to foster (fester?) uncertainty in an economy. As an Italian mate says, these guys make my b*lls rotate!
    The seat of Leichardt is being contested by six candidates which will doubtless play into Warren Entsch’s hands, but I am expecting he will be in by a lower margin.

    I’m thinking we will see a fair migration away from the majors. I suspect many will go Green while others will vote for unknown local candidates.

    Maybe Turnbull could get back with help from Xenophon. That would be interesting.

  11. Geoff, with respect, the latest Essential poll has 79% still supporting the majors, 10% for the Greens, and 11% for everyone else. Polls are supposed to tap into the mood at any one time, so I’ll run with that rather than my subjective impressions.

    On NBN, it is a major stuff up in this town, and I think what Labor is proposing will possibly win a few votes. Delivering to the home through old deteriorating copper was never a good idea.

    If we give Xenephon the balance of power it will be a major hijacking of democracy, and it should stimulate a new look at the HoR voting system. That’s what I think!

  12. On preferences, Bill Shorten said tonight that in the HoR Labor will never come third, so their preferences will not be counted. I think that’s right in terms of 2013. In the senate Labor will be preferencing the Greens.

    Secondly, both Labor and the LNP are running open tickets in seats where Xenophon Team are running. X has threatened to preference against all sitting members of the majors if they preference against him. They don’t want to help him, but they don’t want to offend him.

    Third, I don’t want to make a big thing of this, but Adam Bandt in a bit of a rant to Fran Kelly this morning said as a throwaway line that their apparatchiks have been negotiating with other parties on preferences, Liberals not excluded. He and RDN have been suggesting otherwise.

  13. Mr Shorten may be surprised, then, to see a poll quoted recently that has ALP coming third in Missy Higgins’ seat. A possible (surprise) Green win?

  14. Yes, that one may have slipped under Bill’s guard.

    In Higgins the Greens candidate has slipped past the ALP candidate and is threatening Kelly O’Dwyer, if polling commissioned by the Greens is accurate. She is now fighting on all fronts. But:

    The Lonergan Research poll of more than 1100 registered voters in the seat of Higgins was conducted on June 3-4. On a two-party preferred basis, it still shows the Liberal Party leading the Greens 53-47. “We have turned a safe Liberal seat into a marginal seat,” Mr Ball said.

    It should be noted, though, that Labor is preferencing the Greens in the seat.

    In seats like Murray, where Sharman Stone is retiring as a Liberal, in this election Nats and Liberals are running. Stone was on 61.4%, Labor on 20.7% and The Greens on 3.9%.

    This time Labor could well come third, but preferencing the Libs is not going to do the Greens any harm.

  15. One of the problems facing the Libs is that the Greens gets a higher percentage of Labor preferences than Labor gets from the Greens. This means that the LNP may lose a marginal seat to the Greens in a seat where there is not a high risk of the LNP losing to Labor.
    This has happened in a number of cases in the past and could happen in a number of other seats this election. There seems to be a number of LNP voters around who are willing to switch to the Greens but not willing to vote Labor.

  16. Interesting observations JD. Have you seen this occur in some State elections?

    What does it tell us about the ideological views of those voters?

    This time, will disgruntled Abbott loyalist Lib voters stray further right? If some do, where will their preferences go?

  17. John, when you say “a number of cases in the past”, I’m struggling to think of any cases where an LNP seat has passed to the Greens, except the northern rivers one in the NSW elections (perhaps, I forget the details).

    The Greens seem to have two strong demographics – upper middle class and young people, in both cases, I think, more in cities than in provincial areas. I have a question as to whether the young Green voters will stay that way as they grow older.

  18. Brian: The greens won an inner city LNP seat in the last Victorian election.
    The Greens are also doing well in northern NSW where they won one state seat from the Nats, nearly won another and hold the lord mayor position in Tweed heads, Byron Bay and I believe Lismore. Part of the swing in the last state election was opposition to fracking.
    In Qld strong Green areas include the Brisbane leafy suburbs, inner Brisbane and the sunshine coast.
    In terms of age the Greens seem to range from grandparents who want a future for their grandchildren through to young people who want a future for themselves.

  19. Brian and John D.: The very long story of the Aborigines will be fascinating – once we are allowed to hear it without every-man-and-his-dog’s agenda glued to it.

    For example: Take the extinction of megafauna. Why shouldn’t action by Aborigines be one of the factors? It’s not as though the ancient Aborigines had GPS and topographical maps of Australia, nor did they have accurate surveys of the populations of each species. What they had was the horizon and everything out to it. If they came upon a big piece of meat on the prowl, why shouldn’t they knock it over and eat their fill. How the blue blazes could they possibly know it was an endangered species?

    Yet if anyone dares suggest that Aborigines did such a thing, the do-badders start screaming about “blaming” Aborigines.

    I hope I live long enough to hear all the details of the Aborigines’ prehistory.

  20. Brian: Prahan was the Vic LNP seat that fell to the Greens.

    Long alternating between Labor and Liberal members, at the 2014 Victorian state election the Greens targeted Prahran, turning sufficient Labor voters to nudge into second place and secure victory over the Liberals on Labor preferences – received at a rate approaching 90 per cent.

  21. Geoff Henderson: Nobody around here believes anything the big parties say – especially not their promises.

    If there is not at least a third to a half non-LNP, non-ALP seats in both houses of the new parliament, nobody will bother to watch State Of Origin footy on TV …. because they will all be out on the streets taking part in the Wattle Revolution.

  22. GB: By the time my ancestors arrived the Aborigines had in place a system of restrictions that stopped over harvesting of particular animals and plants.
    However, I agree with the thrust of what you are saying. Discussion of some topics is inhibited by Aboriginal sensitivities.
    On the other hand reporting of what is going on is often very selective and negative. For example, reporting of events on Groote Eylandt is generally about negatives even though the Groote communities have achieved many impressive things.

  23. John, from memory the Fairfax-Ipsos poll do voting by age demographics in the dead tree version. Next time I’ll post how they turn out.

    If I remember rightly, in the 18-25 age group the Greens do well, maybe a bit ahead of Labor. In the 55+ it’s usually the LNP. However, between 25 and 55 it’s Labor and the LNP fairly close, with Labor on average a bit in front.

    In Queensland in the 2103 election PUP took a bit off the LNP and seemed to take a large chunk off both Labor and the Greens. The latter went backwards by 4.7% to arrive at 6.22%. It will be interesting to see where the 11% that went to PUP ends up this time.

  24. Graham, isn’t Tim Flannery big on the Aborigines knocking off the megafauna?

    It’s commonly thought that Europeans and Asians knocked off the mammoth, isn’t it?

    I’m not an expert, but I can’t see an issue. Certainly climate change may have been involved, but there were some pretty tricky periods of climate during the million years before the Aborigines arrived.

  25. Hey, I’ll be a day late again this week, done in by work, having Mark here for a while and stuff. Out tomorrow, but should be in shape to finish the new SS tomorrow night.

  26. Never apologise to us if you’re posting at 11.30pm, Brian. You do a sterling job.

  27. Brian: Aborigines and extinction of megafauna: There are a few who are not intimidated. Yes, humans elsewhere exterminated many species of megafauna – then speeded that up when riding chariots and using bows-&-arrows became fashionable. And yes, most extinctions seem to have been caused by climate change with loss of a major food-sources.

    Still, I look forward to hearing the whole unadorned, uncensored story of the Aborigines from the time they drifted out of Africa.

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