Saturday salon 16/12

1. Remembering

They say that if you remember the 1960s you weren’t really there. I remember quite a bit about the 1960s. Who could forget Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, British secretary for war, John Profumo, and the Soviet attaché Yevgeny Ivanov in what was known as the Profumo affair. Christine Keeler died on 4 December 2017, a young 75.

She grew up for a time in a railway carriage, mixed with the rich and famous, and struggled thereafter, lacking the resilience of Mandy Rice-Davies. Here’s the iconic photo, from a life in pictures:

Richard Davenport-Hines thinks Keeler did not bed Yevgeny Ivanov, but the Profumo affair did win Harold Wilson the election in 1964 by a mere four seats. A pity, he says, because with Labour then losing four elections in 13 years:

    a coltish version of New Labour would have emerged at a time when Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson were still schoolboys. It was a tragedy for Labour, and a misfortune for the country, that the Profumo affair thus deferred New Labour for 30 years.

He also said (that was back in 2013):

    After half a century, the Profumo affair still resonates with significance. It is a reminder of the continuing contempt for women, especially in high-testosterone newspaper offices. During 1961, Profumo had a brief affair with a girl 27 years his junior, Christine Keeler. To this day, as in 1963, she is called “a prostitute”, “a call girl” and similar epithets. The truth, however, is that she was a sparky and beautiful woman, who made her own sexual choices, had the men she wanted and disdained the fusty morality of pompous traditionalists. To depict her as a sex worker, as commentators continue to do, is revolting stupidity. It reflects an outlook which expects women to be sexually available, but dislikes women showing sexual initiative.

2. Remembering Harold Holt

On December 17, 1967, the then Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappeared off Portsea’s Cheviot Beach.

Police diver John Simon recounts the day he searched for Harold Holt

There were many conspiracy theories including:

    suggestions that Holt faked his own death, was assassinated by the CIA, or was collected by a submarine so that he could defect to China.

The rips at Cheviot beach were notorious. A coronial inquest in 2005 returned a verdict of accidental drowning.

When Holt became PM I remember photos like this splashed on the front page of the Adelaide News, owned by a young fella called Rupert Murdoch:

They were Zara Holt’s daughters by a previous marriage.

Holt came and went with high visibility, and the transition to John Gorton as PM generated a headline or two.

Yet I also remember the new student intake at Wattle Park Teachers College in Adelaide being administered a current affairs test early in 1968. From memory around 25% of them thought the PM was Sir Robert Menzies.

3. Trump a strong leader with a global brand

It was interesting to hear Freddy Gray, Deputy Editor of The Spectator tell Amanda Vanstone what a success Trump’s visit to Asia was. Trump, he says, was seen as a strong man with a global brand. hence Asian leaders accorded him respect they never felt for Barack Obama.

I can’t find it now, but someone was telling Phillip Adams recently, perhaps some other program, that in the long haul there would be only one winner in the push for global influence, and it would not be the USA. We would need to get used to doing business with China.

Clive Hamilton recently wrote a book critiquing the amount of influence China exerts in Australia. After legal advice his publishers decided not to publish the book.

If you want to know what happens when your country is under China’s thumb, take a look at Hagar Cohen’s report on Fiji here and here.

Andrew Greene, defence writer for the ABC says Long after Sam Dastyari, China’s rapid rise will be this century’s big story.

Hugh White spoke to Geraldine Doogue about his new Quarterly Essay, Without America: Australia in the New Asia:

    Hugh White argues that Australia has developed the habit of looking at the world through Washington’s eyes, and that we’re failing to navigate the biggest geopolitical power shift in our history.

White says we are acting as though the US has our back. He says this is a big mistake.

4. Turnbull takes it up to China

Turnbull is blaming Labor for introducing China relations to the Bennelong by-election. Turnbull also says that Bennelong is a judgement on his government and there is no doubt he has tweaked China’s nose. So we have:

And plenty more. Bennelong has the highest concentration of Chinese Australians of any electorate in the country. hardly surprising China relations becomes an issue.

However, some articles are appearing like this one in the AFR:

Professor James Laurenceson who is deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at University of Technology, Sydney points out that:

    Australia’s foreign policy rhetoric has been tilting against China all year. But it’s hard to recall anything more extreme than Joe Hockey’s latest comments. Canberra’s man in Washington said that China is a threat to what Australians have “fought and died for”.

We may piss off Chinese politicians, but also at stake are the attitudes of many in the middle and educated classes. Apart from trade in things, there are 131,355 Chinese citizens studying at more than 30 Australian universities, with zero incidents this year. Chinese tourists spent over $11 billion here in the last year. Chinese households might start to find that California wine tastes better than ours and the views at Waikiki eclipse those along the Great Ocean Road.

On things:

    Last month’s foreign policy white paper noted that China’s purchasing power is expected to swell by $21 trillion between now and 2030.

During the week before last:

    after new foreign interference laws were introduced, the Chinese embassy in Canberra finally let loose. It claimed that some Australian media had “fabricated news stories” while some politicians and bureaucrats had made “irresponsible remarks”. China’s foreign ministry accused Prime Minster Turnbull himself of “poisoning” the relationship.

5. Bennelong showdown

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Australians in Bennelong are mostly concerned with matters that affect their daily lives, like congestion on the roads, education and health, according to this article. Macquarie University is in the electorate and some are worried about Turnbull’s eagerness to cut university funding.

The SMH finds that Truth has been the first casualty in the Bennelong byelection.

Eddie Obeid was not one of Keneally’s “first picks” for cabinet when she became premier in 2009. Obeid never reappeared in the cabinet after 2003.

On the other hand, Keneally blamed the Coalition for the closure of the Eastwood Medicare office, whereas the decision to close it was made in 2013 when Labor was in power.

This morning Turnbull was saying the future prosperity of Australia hung in the balance in Bennelong. Without John Anderson he could not pursue his economic agenda.

What hangs in the balance is Turnbull’s political skin, and the power to send opposition members to the high court to have their citizenship examined. If he wins three more Labor people, but no more on his side, will be sent there. If he loses, then a bunch from both sides, but not Josh Frydenberg, will get the treatment.

Turnbull’s economic agenda already comes under scrutiny from the crossbench in the senate. There are at least three conservatively oriented on the HoR crossbench, which should not slow him down, unless what he is proposing is actually outrageous.

However, one way or another, Turnbull would do well to think about how relations with China should be conducted.

68 thoughts on “Saturday salon 16/12”

  1. On 1, yes Christine and Mandy have echoed down the years, as has
    2. I was working at a strawberry farm near Red Hill that Sunday, and we heard a large helicopter flying over heading southerly. Didn’t look up, wouldn’t have been able to identify the type of helicopter; but they weren’t common in 1967 (as far as I recall, no Vic Police helicopters then, very few used for search & rescue, hospital transfers, shark spotting or indeed passenger transport or joyrides).

    Not until later did we realise the helicopter crew had been instructed to search for the missing PM in heavy, treacherous surf.

    Heard a rumour a year later that HH had told his wife before he vanished that he’d decided to leave her. Speculation had it that a woman in the small beach party who last saw HH alive was his very special friend.

    But my lips must remain sealed.

    Capt Hu Yao Bang
    Rear Vice Admiral
    Peoples’ Liberation Submarine Corps
    South South Asia Battle Group
    Imperialist Running Dog Leaders for the Snatching Of

  2. …. Chinese households might start to find that …. the views at Waikiki eclipse those along the Great Ocean Road.

    How very dare you, sir!!!

    I demand satisfaction, sir.

    It shall be long necks of Victorian Bitter at ten paces, else the Federation is at risk.


  3. It must have been early in 1968 we did the survey of Wattle Park students, because I remember Holt was spectacularly gone and Gorton had had to move to the reps to become PM.

  4. Ambi, Holt’s biographer said, I’m told, that there were so many other women no-one could do a decent count. It was always done discreetly. Seems unlikely he would leave Zara, who apparently was willing to put up with all this and who earned more than he did!

  5. Brian 2.02pm

    ?? Ah, so the focus on that particular very special friend at Portsea, may have been a ploy by the wicked Press, to put the public off the scent(s) of all the other women !!

    I tell you, friends!!
    “Fake News” is not new.
    Neither is it news.

    + + + + + + +

    Add HH to the crew of Antipodean Philanderers of Canberra.

    PS: I haven’t seen that biography.

    PPS: who was that old guy in the photo, with the suntanned and semi-clad ladies at the beach?? Was the pic taken at Waikiki??? And why did he have a great big zip down the front of his bathing costume?? And what were they all grinning about? A disconcerted nation awaits the answers….

  6. Re: indiscreet message from Chinese Navy at 1.02pm.

    Old Chinese proverb, invented to counter the widespread sales of, and influence of, “sex technique guides” published in the 1970s, 1980s, in the decadent West ~

    Hu Yao Bang is more important
    than Hao Yu Bang !!

    and this does NOT relate to Politburo rankings, OK?

  7. Back in the early sixties we were warned by the Libs of the dangers from all the reds who would get under our beds if the ALP under Whitlam got into power.
    By and large it makes sense for foreign relations to be conducted as far as possible in a bipartisan manner and definitely not used for point scoring

  8. I recall the Profumo affair. I think he dedicated himself to public good and eventually got some sort of gong for it – CBE?

    I was sailing a small boat at Frankston when Holt disappeared, so I recall that quite well too.

    Australia’s China “thing” at the moment seems to fit quite neatly into scenario’s generated in the current Quarterly Essay. My suspicion is there is a strategy being applied and we are trying to defend ourselves. Bringing the issue out in the public exposes our leader to a public loss if China prevails. And JD is right, the matter should be handled in a bipartisan way, not used for point scoring and I would add a not so public arena.

  9. Geoff H, seems Profumo was rich enough that he could please himself:

    Shortly after his resignation, Baron Profumo began to work as a volunteer cleaning toilets at Toynbee Hall, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life.

    Eventually became Toynbee Hall’s chief fundraiser and got a CBE in 1975. His wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him.

    He was invited to Maggie Thatcher’s 70th birthday party and sat next to the Queen.

    Lucky for him they didn’t have dual citizenship issues, because the family barony had been conferred by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1843.

    Poor old Christine Keeler didn’t do quite so well.

  10. Jumpy, Alexander winning Bennelong with a 5% swing against him makes everyone a winner, except Kristina Keneally I suppose.

    It’s not a death knell for Turnbull’s leadership and Labor is encouraged by a 7% improvement in their vote.

    Cory Bernadi’s mob would be disappointed to get less than 5%

    Byelections have generally seen a two-party preferred swing against the government of about 4 per cent, according to the Parliamentary Library.

  11. The Bennelong by-election was unusual in that the previous member was running again and would presumably benefit from the normal incumbent advantages. In addition the loss of Bennelong would have resulted in Labor winning government but would add to the state of confusion. There may also be some people like me who were appalled by the idea that democratically elected Australians could be thrown out of parliament as a result of some unelected judges being unwilling to look at the thinking of the writers of section 4. Both sides could find encouragement and a warning in the results.
    Tony Burke pointed out on insiders that the swing in the “multicultural booths” was much higher than the average. It was suggested on “Insiders ” that some multiculturals would not be impressed by the new citizenship rules that require Asians to get close to University entry English standard before becoming citizens while people who come from the UK or Canada are waved through.
    XMAS is coming so watch the Harry Potter analysis of this year in Aus politics.

  12. John, you’d forgotton to press “copy” on the Potter link. I think I’ve got the right one there now. It’s a great clip!

    I don’t blame the judges. They are not responsible for making bad law. Turnbull doesn’t even want to fix it because he thinks Australians mightn’t like to change the constitution. He is not a bold leader, just puffs up a lot.

    Apparently Chinese represent only 20% of the electorate, so their vote did change quite a bit, but not enough to change the result.

    Alexander was a hard-working member, which no doubt stood him in good stead. There was so much going on in this byelection it is hard to make generalisations.

  13. This was stolen from Mark on Facebook:

    Both Guy Rundle and Bob Carr have observed that the US security state and American capital are the biggest foreign influences in Australian politics. There is no doubt that ASIO and the strategic establishment closely aligned to US interests have been throwing fuel on the fire of the China panic.

    Turnbull and company were absolutely relentless in hounding Dastyari out of parliament. I think it wasn’t even a primary Bennelong strategy, rather part of the broader “kill Bill” strategy. Turnbull is clearly prepared to put the whole China relationship at risk for domestic political purposes.

  14. Turnbull has no spine to insult China, no spine for much at all.
    His go at Dastyari was a swipe at labour, no doubt, but the ” China-phobia ” is an invention of Bill and Kristina and THAT is genesis of any Australia/China friction.

  15. A good piece by Tony Wright in Fairfax online about Mr Holt’s disappearance.

    I was impressed to learn that Mr Profumo did charity work in a poor part of London. He didn’t need to.

    I think volunteering for that kind of work is worthwhile, even if it is done by someone who is well off.

    I don’t think he sought kudos for that work.

  16. Jumpy I am not at all qualified about foreign relations. But I do think that there are serious changes happening on a global scale.
    China is rising, and America seems to be declining. India, as an economic power, will possibly eclipse the USA within a short time.

    It’s not hard to see an new order coming, the hard part is predicting what it all means and how to deal with it. For example, we have very strong links to the US in the defense area, and strong economic relationships with China. Where do we place our futures?
    Trump seems happy to demolish trade agreements to make America great again, and he does not seem to respect Turnbull, so how would you view China?

  17. Geoff H
    I see China as a huge potential trading partner that benefits us both, India also.
    I’m gunna put my trust militarily in our long time ANZUS partner rather than a communist Country that won’t even tolerate their own people speaking freely.

    Trump wants to get rid of trade agreements that are not net positive for his Country, I would expect nothing less from any Leader. Trade agreements should be net positive for each participant.

    Free trade agreements, it should be noted, consist of just partial removal of harmful artificial Governments intervention for the most part.

  18. Thinking about it , if we add the by elections up there’s been a swing to Turnbull.
    Not for anything he’s done I would argue but says a bit about Shortens popularity.
    Some positive news on employment and the economy helps the incumbent usually too.

  19. Several leading Australians have argued that it will not be necessary to “choose” between the USA and China.

    Australia can be an ally of the US while trading with China.* As has been the case for many decades already. Not a new concept nor a new stance.

    I think Liberal Govts allowed sales (was it wool and wheat?) to Red China long before the ALP took power in 1972.

    And to his credit, Mr Menzies began and developed a post war trading relationship with the recent, defeated enemy nation Japan in the 1950s.

    The so-called “opening to Asia” didn’t await Gough Whitlam, for its genesis. Colombo Plan students here from Asia in the 1950s too.

    To think we must either kow tow to Washington or lick the boots of Beijing is old fashioned, demeaning, and a clear sign that this country has not yet thrown off some colonial submissive habits.

    Isn’t it time for the Australian people to stand up?

    * there. I’ve said it. I’ve agreed with Mr J about something. 🙂

  20. Jumpy you might be right but as I’ve said earlier I’m not up on foreign affairs. I somehow sense though that the game has changed over the past few years, even before Trump. I suspect the POTUS is almost an accident of fate but has become an idiot actor in a game started many years back and probably beyond his comprehension.
    I suspect the rules have changed with the playing field and our conventional analysis and response(s) my be inept.

  21. I think the rules are similar to the way it’s always been.
    Control of the transportation routes.
    Today most trade is by sea and the US Navy is bigger and stronger than the next 5 biggest combined.
    I think we overrate China a lot.

  22. Maybe. But I understand China plays a long game, about two hundred years in its planning. You compare that to our 3-4 year period. I think we underrate China, in part a legacy of our own colonial roots and our alliance with the USA.

  23. Oh, I dunno Geoff H.

    I reckon quite a few Australians overrate China. Some seem to fear it already.

    Most of us don’t understand it. Certainly I don’t.

  24. Jumpy, you need to ignore New England. The swing in Bennelong was 5.6%, enough to keep both Bill Shorten and Turnbull in their jobs.

    There has been muttering within Labor over Shorto, because really, on performance Turnbull should be about 40-60 behind. And some were unhappy, to say the least about dispatching Sam.

    Ambi, I think it was “Black Jack” Sir John McEwen who was minister for trade when we started trading with Japan. He caused a stir when Holt disappeared by stating the the Nats under him would not have a bar of Bill McMahon.

    So he became PM himself for a while and was one of three Australian Prime Ministers to be awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, First Class (the others were Edmund Barton and Robert Menzies).

    Amongst the most notable things Holt did was to officially end the white Australia policy, shepherd through the 1967 referendum about Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, plus kick off the National Gallery of Australia and the Australia Council for the Arts.

    He visited a lot of Asian countries, but was famously “all the way with LBJ” on Vietnam.

  25. Wikapedia has a full set of Bennelong figures including minor parties. The swings @ 17/12/17 have to be seen in the context of swings for significant minor parties. Combinations included:
    Lib+Conservative +Christian Democrats – Swing-4.5%
    Lab+Greens- Swing +5.1%
    Lab+Greens+Sustainable Australia+Science – Swing +7.5%

  26. Brian

    I’m sure you’re right about Mr McEwen’s key role in opening up trade with Japan. But PM Menzies would have needed to approve.

    Exports for Aussie farmers, help Japan recover from war devastation.

    Start the process of reconciliation between two enemies.


    Sayonara, Brian.

    (not everything a Liberal PM or a Country Party PM does, is on balance, universally mistaken. IMO.)

    PS have only recently become aware that Billy McMahon leaked to journalists, and at least once to the NCC, on a massive scale; thereby earning the scorn of many colleagues. McEwen was only the most famous of them.

    Whitlam “The PM is his own worst enemy”
    Jim Killen “Not while I’m around!”

  27. Interesting, John. Shows how complicated it was.

    Good one, Ambi.

    (not everything a Liberal PM or a Country Party PM does, is on balance, universally mistaken. IMO.)

    Agree totally. Sometimes there are things that need to be done that Labor is never going to do.

    Reduction in company tax reduction in the face of what is happening in the US might be one of them.

  28. Mr Adani’s corporation is to part ways with its contractor Downer, for that dirty big coal mine in Qld.

    Is that a downer?
    Has Mr Adani won any recent battles???

  29. The greens bled votes from the general election to the by election, 8,424 down to 5,489.

    That’s about 35% down !
    They must be doing some soul searching with that.

  30. They must be doing some soul searching with that.

    Since they received 9.13% of the votes cast in the general election and 6.7% of the votes cast in the by-election (a swing of -2.43%) I doubt they’ll be in chicken little mode just yet.

  31. Zoot 35% of their voter went somewhere else, that’d worry me.

    There’s a fair chance 1000 of the 2935 leavers went to the party of Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow ( Science Party ).

  32. Jumpy, by your reckoning 21% of John Alexander’s vote went somewhere else.
    That’s 9742 missing voters, 3 times the number who deserted the Greens. That should cause at least 3 times as much soul searching?

  33. Bleeding 21% is a huge worry, no doubt.
    But when the Libs get about 672% more votes than the greens they have more of a buffer.

  34. On a quite different topic, the woman that swallowed the fly, did she do that accidentally or intentionally?
    It makes a big difference if one considers her mindset when looking at her following actions.


  35. There’s another possibility.
    Total votes in the by-election were 8967 less than for the general election. Perhaps those green voters, knowing their first preference would have no effect on the outcome, and realising that the ALP was not a viable prospect, decided to do something enjoyable instead of voting.
    The Greens’ share of votes cast was only down by 2.4%, less than half the swing against Alexander (and as you point out his was off a bigger base), so he should be the one doing the soul searching.

  36. Bound for South Australia

    Galaxy/Newspoll reports on party support ~ ~

    SA Best (Mr Xenophon) 32%
    Liberal 29%
    Labor 27%

    dunno about the other (approx.) 12%

    Preferred Premier? ~ ~

    Mr Xenophon 46%
    Mr Weatherill 22%
    Mr Marshall (Liberal) 19%

    Mr X is not running for Premier.
    SA Best has candidates in only a small number of seats, so far.

    Source: ABC news online

    Multiple cats have been observed darting about amongst a flock of pigeons; feathers and fur are flying…..

  37. In news unrelated to the late and photogenic Christine Keeler, Senator Ian McDonald has suggested that the LNP of Qld should “sit as a separate party” in Canberra.

    “Then the Nationals would be a very small rump.”

    As far as I understand it, he proposes the Coalition be made up of three separate parties:
    LNP (Queensland)

    with the LNP, as the second largest coalition partner, holding the Deputy PM position.

    Bye bye Barnaby.
    Hello Mr Dutton??

    Perhaps there is a Queensland reader who may care to comment?

    source: Guardian Australia online

    What is it about “Queensland Exceptionalism”?

  38. “” What is it about “Queensland Exceptionalism”?””
    If you have to ask there’s no point in me telling you, you won’t understand the answer.


  39. Good morning, Brian and everyone.

    At last, after months of 3Kb/week internet service (how’s that for an oxymoron?), a dead computer, a highly infected computer and a bit of ill-health …. I can now take part in civilized discussions again.

    Profumo Affair was my introduction to very subtle media censorship in the Anglosphere.

    When Harold Holt disappeared, there was some smug pride that Australian democracy was so strong that our prime minister needed only one security guard whereas the U.S. president never went anywhere without a travelling circus of gunslingers in sunglasses.

  40. In breaking news, Minister Profumo has resigned.

    There are reports that the UK Deputy PM has resigned, at the request of PM Mrs May.

    (Shouldn’t that be “PM Mr McMillan”? At least we can be sure it won’t have been about sex this time. Phew!!)

  41. Many thanks for your encouraging words at 6.33am Mr Jumpyperson, Laird of the North.

    I will watch and learn.


  42. Brian,

    Yet I also remember the new student intake at Wattle Park Teachers College in Adelaide being administered a current affairs test early in 1968. From memory around 25% of them thought the PM was Sir Robert Menzies.

    Do you think students today would be better informed?

  43. Geoff M, possibly not. There was a pungent article in yeaterday’s AFR about the failings of democracy when people are so badly informed.

    Also as a society we don’t esteem our teachers enough to attract the best to the profession.

  44. Brian, 9.09am

    You are better than that, not just good entertainment for the Southerners.

    Vale Lady Flo.

  45. Graham Bell 7.06am

    Any smug pride was surely tempered by the “damn fools of the Souther Hemisphere” look, of having our PM drown in broad daylight, surely?? “Embarrassing ” doesn’t even begin to describe the nation.

    BTW, a recent piece by Andrew Rule in Fairfax (Sunday Age) says that Mr Holt prided himself on not having his bodyguard with him at all times.

    Macho man in bathers.
    Does that conjure up any comparison?

    Anyway, quite likely a bodyguard, ordered to stay on the edge of the sand, couldn’t have stopped the PM going in for a dip.
    Andrew Rule believes Mr Holt didn’t intend to swim, let alone body surf.

  46. Brilliant BilB.
    Yachties are …different, they live life.

    I remember, back in the day, stopping at Middle Percy Island on our way out to the GBR to pro trout. We’d do a half afternoon session to sort the tinnies then do the rounds of the yacht to give them what we caught on the proviso the prepared it their way and joined us at the camp fire on dusk.
    The stories were worth a few fish.

  47. Stink you BilB, I’ve had to watch another. Reminded me of how bad yachties are at fishing. One couple dragged a lure all the way from Sweden and nothin, their eyes went as big as dinner plates when I gave them 2 dirty old trevally.
    Best trevally I’ve ever eaten though.

  48. Brian @ 11;57. I was a demonstrator for first year undergrads 2013-2015. One of the tasks involved placing the capital cities on a blank map of Oz. Each year I would get students unable to locate one or more of our cities. Their explanation was that they were not taught geography at school. But these same kids on their Macs were wizards, producing graphs and searches at great speed. Nevertheless I thought they should know where our biggest cities lay, and just who theBeatles were…

  49. Hopefully the victims in Melbourne are ok soon.
    This shit is happening way too often now.
    I’m hopeful but not confident it’ll stop before good folk start getting vengeful.

  50. Brian. 9:27am.
    New computer, new everything. Unfortunately, lost most of my old info before that happened. Fortunately, this and some other sites do have archives.

    Geoff Henderson. 8:48pm.
    It’s not entirely a school thing. Mass entertainment and popular culture are the main culprits – I’ll bet those same students could rattle off the names of several American native tribes but couldn’t tell you the name of a single Australian Aboriginal one – and the same goes for knowing much about dumb-bunny celebrities and knowing little about the pioneers of science, medicine, engineering and justice.

  51. Hi again Graham

    Years ago I was talking with some Engineering undergrads, and mentioned Stephen Hawking and his work in astrophysics. Blank faces. Then his major disability, wheelchair, artificial voice.

    At last, one cheered up, “Yes, he was on The Simpsons!!

  52. Jumpy

    It appears that drug addiction was a factor.

    Ditto, apparently, for the Bourke Street murders. Addictions are a vicious problem for us all.

  53. Just to let folks know. Last night I did a post Not what we needed at Christmas about the Melbourne incident. Perhaps I should have used a more descriptive title.

    When I was young I was a librarian and found the titles like “Handbook of…” were very helpful.

  54. Adani…still
    Adani has parted ways with Downer, the company that would have developed the Carmichael mine. Adani insists that it will build and operate the mine itself.
    For it’s part the Queensland government has formally vetoed the NAIF loan. As far as I know, the federal government has been quiet about the NAIF loan. Canavan might do something yet but I suspect that even the federal government can see that the project ought not proceed – and can blame the Queensland government if Carmichael does not proceed. Adani has now said that it does not need the loan after saying previously that it was critical to the project…

    Tim Buckley of the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) outlines the fraught position of Adani, with emphasis on Abbot Point. Inevitably, much more about Adani is drawn in to develop the larger picture. It is a bit of a read but it is solid, well researched and referenced.

    Money is not the only issue Adani Carmichael faces. Consent of the traditional owners is still an issue and is getting messy. See New Matilda for some insights into how the traditional owners are fighting and how Adani is trying to circumvent process.

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