1. Sally McManus is one to watch
Sally McManus has just become the first female secretary of the ACTU. When she went to study a bachelor of arts at university her parents said “We never knew you were good at painting.”
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over Leigh Sales ‘gotcha’ question about supporting the rule of law on the 7.30 Report. McManus took the bait head-on by stating that there was no obligation to obey an unjust law. Christopher Pyne called it “anarcho-Marxist claptrap”. Bill Shorten took the easy road and said “We believe in changing bad laws not breaking them.”
People should remember Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi.
McManus believes in solidarity, is good with social media campaigns, was credited with mobilising an “army” of volunteers to doorknock and call voters in the lead-up to last year’s federal election, and is said to have taken a hand in the WA election. Leo D’Angelo Fisher says:
- In a staid and insipid political environment, Ms McManus’ performance on 7.30 suggests she is someone to watch – for all the right reasons.
2. Geert Wilders fails in Netherlands election
Geoff Russell at Crikey (probably paywalled) explains the basics of the Netherlands election. There are 150 seats, and any party winning more than 0.7% of the vote can win a seat. Last time there were 11 parties, but:
- the right-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the centre-left Labour Party won a majority between them (41 and 38 seats respectively), and formed a coalition government with VVD leader Mark Rutte as prime minister.
There was much attention on Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), with its anti-Muslim and anti-European policies. Russell said he would never win, polling at 15%, and no other party would join him.
Here’s the result from Wikipedia:
Wilders picked up five seats, to make 20, the second biggest party. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) lost 8, but is still by far the biggest with 33, and will probably form government.
The shocker was the Labour Party, which lost 29, to be left with nine, in seventh place behind the Green Left party. There was a move to the smaller parties, and the new parliament will have 13.
There is much rejoicing around Europe. Seems this time the efforts of the Russians and the American far right have not succeeded.
3. White spot lays waste to fishing industry
White spot disease in prawns has now been found in the wild in Moreton Bay near the Redcliffe Peninsular and Deception Bay. The disease has no effect on humans, but the prawns cannot be sold. This is what they look like:
The disease is highly contagious, lethal to crustaceans and has reduced prawn farm productivity by up to 40 per cent overseas. A ban has been placed on moving uncooked crustaceans from an area encompassing Brisbane, north to the Noosa and south the NSW border, to prevent the disease spreading to Bundaberg and other prawn fisheries.. I heard Turnbull say that these things happen and now we are going to “fix” the problem.
The problem is actually unfixable with known science.
Late last year white spot was found in fish farms in the Logan River, south of Brisbane. The industry begged Biosecurity Australia to ban the import of Asia green prawns. Biosecurity Australia did nothing, suggesting, without any evidence, that the prawn farmers themselves had imported the disease. As the last farm was wiped out with chlorine to kill off infected prawns, Barnaby Joyce intervened and instituted the ban. Too late.
Prawn fishers can now still catch prawns in Moreton Bay, but those exporting to Sydney and elsewhere must now sell locally. One retailer said local sales dropped by 90%. The state government is urging us to keep eating prawns. It is probably a matter of time before the disease spreads to the whole bay.
At the bottom of this mess is the Biosecurity Australia policy to implement “acceptable risk” in importation to improve competition and drive down prices. And their pathetically small sampling rates of imports to detect problems.
Farmers say, and I’m with them, that if you accept risk, it’s a matter of time before you fall in a hole. That’s a $25 million industry at Logan down the crapper, with a $30 million Moreton Bay industry to come, in the clever country.
4. Bullies everywhere
There are about 3.8 million students attending Australia’s schools. We are told the around 25% experience bullying.
Reaction has largely been positive, but Michael Carr-Greg slammed it, saying that they entered a school without permission and kids rights had been violated.
It was hard to watch, and exemplified the harm done by bullying.
I have reservations, however. Thorpe said they developed strategies for dealing with bullying.
Strategies that don’t involve the teachers of the school are actually useless, and nothing was done to correct the behaviour of the bullies. I was not impressed with ‘expert’ Professor Marilyn Campbell.
At Buranda where my son went to school, they taught ethics in the classroom as part of the philosophy program. If issues were experienced in the playground they were brought into the classroom and discussed there.
Bullying is endemic in Australian society. Bullies include some teachers and school principals, as well as politicians. Nothing much has changed in 20 years.