Saturday salon 10/2

1. Doomsday prepping: bunkers, bullets and billionaires

On the 13th of January this year the following message was texted out to mobile phones in Hawaii:


It was a mistake, someone had hit the wrong button. The impact was considerable. Children were helped into a drain and there was panic in paradise.

Bradley Garrett, Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, School of Geosciences, has researched the topic of doomsday prepping, which ranges from a specially designed bag you keep near your door to building extravagant doomsday bunkers in remote parts of New Zealand, complete with underground cinemas, pools, cryogenic facilities and helipads.

Back five years ago right-wing preppers in America were getting ready for the Barackalypse. Garrett says Trump has now inspired ‘liberals’ to join them.

He says it is happening here in Oz too, with people even buying army assault vehicles at disposal sales, so they can run over ordinary cars which may be stopping them from getting to their bolt hole.

It all contributes to the GDP.

2. The follies of Barnaby J

Barnaby Joyce may have preferred to be in a bunker during the last few days since the Daily Telegraph published the photo of the pregnant Vikki Campion, former Joyce staffer who is expecting his child in April.

I had sympathy for Joyce when attacked by Leigh Sales on the 7.30 Report. It was clear that Joyce was going to stick to his story that the matter was private, so in a sense Sales’ persistence was a waste of air time. However, Sales did raise the important principle as to whether it was acceptable management practice for managers to have such liaisons with staff members.

Clearly it isn’t, even though the staffer may be grown up, willing, indeed enthusiastic. Michelle Grattan has a thoughtful piece, including crossbencher Cathy McGowan’s call for a conversation within the parliament “about a process to address personal relationships within the workplace”, drawing attention to precedents in the AFL, industry and the American Congress law which has passed the House of Representatives banning sexual relationships between members of the house and staff who report to them.

Personally I think McGowan’s call for a conversation has been too quickly dismissed as an anti-bonking law. In this case Diana Hallam, Joyce’s chief of staff, quit because of his refusal to deal with the dysfunction that was being caused. Then Campion moved to a job in Matt Canavan’s office, which had obviously been created for her, at a higher salary. Malcolm Turnbull has studiously ignored this aspect of the matter, although we hear this morning that the PM’s office intervened to make it happen.

Now it seems a job was then created for Campion in National Party Whip Damian Drum’s office when Canavan lost his ministry and staff entitlements, a job approved personally by Turnbull. Quentin Dempster says Tony Windsor reckons there is more to come.

All this, I think, makes it a matter of public interest, more than just of interest to the public.

Laura Tingle is ultimately hard on Joyce:

    People are entitled to privacy.

    But people who aspire to leadership positions are expected to behave in ways that don’t erode confidence in their judgment. And they are expected to own their decisions.

Joyce has not owned his decision. This has left others covering for him and questions which will never be answered, leaving compromise and damage not just to himself but to his colleagues. She thinks this leaves him as a “diminished shell of a leader”.

One thing Joyce is right about, however. Campion did not deserve to have her photo in T-shirt and shorts splashed all over the front page.

3. Can Politics Be Freed from the Banality of Mass Culture?

That is the question asked by Scott Stevens and Waleed Aly on The Minefield this week. I think they made the program last weekend, because they said that important political issues had been entirely upstaged by cabinet documents showing up in secondhand filing cabinets.

The issue overlooked was the contrasting economic aspirations of the leaders of the main parties.

Bill Shorten says that everyone deserves a living wage. Turnbull says, no, companies need a tax cut and Shorten has exposed himself as more illiterate in economics than any leader since Whitlam. Actually if you look at the graphs the economy did quite well under Whitlam.

What this says, according to Stevens and Aly, is that the popular notion that there is no essential difference between the main parties is nonsense. There is a chasm. However, it is simply not news.

Stevens and Aly suggest that politics is now integrated with the entertainment industry and media profitability depends on the entertainment value of political events rather than their importance to governing the country.

Items that might have received more coverage this week include:

4. The Susan Lamb case is exceptional

No-one else in this citizenship saga was abandoned by her mother, has a dead father, applied to the Queensland authorities for her parents’ marriage certificate and was knocked back, without which the British authorities could not establish that she had the British citizenship she wanted to relinquish.

Professor Graham Orr, a legal constitutional expert from the University of Queensland, pointed out on local radio that the police don’t prosecute every crime; they take into account triviality, common sense and natural justice. He says the Government should stop referring people to the High Court, essentially declare an amnesty, which they already have done for those whose parents were involved in the Holocaust, and concentrate on changing the law so that we can be a grown up country in the modern world. And concentrate on governing the country.

Seems in this case there is a convenient failure of compassion on the part of the government politicians, mirrored by just about everyone in the press. Message to journalists – no, others did not experience similar family difficulties.

5. Early Britons were black

For something completely different the first Britons were “dark to black”, according to a Natural History Museum DNA study. Analysing a 10,000-year-old Somerset skeleton known as “Cheddar Man” they also had coarse black hair, high cheek bones and blue eyes. They think.

Around 10 per cent of Cheddar Man’s DNA lives on in modern Brits.

70 thoughts on “Saturday salon 10/2”

  1. Of course Bill won’t attack Barnaby given he got the GGs married daughter up the duff while he was still married, I don’t remember the ABC carrying on about that.
    But the ABC journalists need only look at their colleagues for the same stuff.

    Regardless,they’re private matters.

    If we want to open the political nepotism can of worms, be carful. So too the workplace relationships, especially in media.

  2. Jumpy, it’s not a private matter when it is open and in the work place. Probably if it is an executive and a personal assistant no-one will worry much, but if the staffer is within the structure of hierarchically-organised organisations it is bound to cause problems.

    You are right if you are saying that political opponents will lay off, but the situation is now, according to the AFR, that no National pollie seeking re-election will ask Barnaby to campaign for them. His strength was supposed to be that he was a brilliant retail politician with connection to his voters. He’s lost the magic, so is vulnerable to his own mob.

  3. Brian, thanks for your concise statement, “Stevens and Aly suggest that politics is now integrated with the entertainment industry and media profitability depends on the entertainment value of political events rather than their importance to governing the country”. That puts it in a nutshell, the greatest current threat to representative government in Australia.

    It is not just what the media publicizes that is the exercise of malevolent power, (which it has become), but what it does not publicize, or, worse yet, mentions very briefly then drops. This tactic has become, for the public in Australia, a clear signal that an event or issue is non-news and must be ignored.

    Distraction too, is a weapon for the exercise of malevolent power. Here are a few issues that have been given super-saturation news coverage, way, way beyond the need for spirited discussion in a healthy democracy:
    * That weird Nationality farce.
    * Committed permanent relationship of same-sex couples.
    * The folly/follies of Barnaby Joyce.
    * The madness of Donald Trump.

    The manipulators command, “Lookee Here; Not There!” – and like dumb animals, we do.

  4. Brian
    I’m sure you know of relationships in the educational organisations, be it teacher/teacher, teacher/administrator or teacher/parent where hierarchical ” power ” is unequal but doesn’t affect eithers work ethic.

    The current working model of television news and entertainment is old and being made redundant by innovators on YouTube.

    Interviews are either interrogations or advertisements with no depth in very limited little segments. With claims of ” impartially ” so blatantly false, tactics and techniques so obvious and little to no interest in the truth, just beating their interviewees.

    Genuine interviewer like Richard Fidler ( obviously a dripping lefty yet fair, honest and truth-seeking) can never get prime time spots on television. He’d get a far bigger audience on YouTube if he started his own channel. And usually any factchecking, debunking or alternate view is 1 click away, TV, radio or print media can’t offer that.

  5. Actually, innovators is the wrong word, the interviewer styles are being reclaimed, tv through them away because they weren’t sexy or something.

  6. Mr J

    We listened to the “talking book” version of Mr Fidler’s book on Byzantium. At first glance an obscure topic, but he brought it alive… and he read it himself, no need of an actor. As Brian has noted previously, Mr Fidler is a very good interviewer.

    Although much more openly partisan, ex-Comm, ALP stalwart Phillip Adams is the only radio interviewer who comes close IMO: Adams seems widely read (and/or has very good researchers), asks penetrating questions, and seems to gain a rapport with his interview subjects. I like a fireside chat.

    I loathe the snarky, combative TV snarls-pretending-to-be-interviews. Possibly many other viewers do too??

    Are the viewers and listeners truth seekers?
    Or are most of us just looking for entertainment?

  7. Good questions Mr A.
    I think if one looks for answers with an attitude that their preconceptions may be, in part or in full, incorrect then they have more tolerance to explore.
    As uncomfortable as that may sometimes be, it can be both entertainment and truth seeking at the same time.

    It’s an individual thing. Sometimes people only feel game enough in certain windows of time which the Net accommodates but the tv programming does not.

  8. Thinking a little further on that, remember when TV programming programmed or evenings ?
    We only had 2 channels so the TV guide told us when ” Oi, bit of shoosh !!” News time was.
    When laugh time ( Dave Allen, Two Ronnie, …..) was.
    When story time ( Sullivan’s…..) was.
    And when, for some odd reason, cartoon time and homework time were the same.

    TV doesn’t have that influence nowadays like it did back then.
    The papers yielded to radio – radio yielded to TV- TV is yielding to the Net- the Net will yield to ……???

  9. Ambi, Sarah Kanowski, who has joined Richard Fidler on Conversations, is also an excellent interviewer. Like Phillip Adams, they read the books the interviewee has written, have a great general knowledge and very accessible memory, so they make a contribution to the discussion.

    Someone like Leigh Sales has a list of prepared questions which she follows through with almost irrespective of the replies she gets.

    Phillip Adams is probably the only one who can fluently interview a panel of three.

    He does have one irritating habit. Sometimes he interrupts and talks over the guest. He then apologises and instead of saying “As you were” he goes on with his interruption.

  10. Here’s to the latest image of 10 000 year old Cheddar Man.

    The swarthy complexion with the black hair was half- expected as was the cows’ milk intolerance, but it was the blue eyes with the high zygoma that had me thrown. This has made me quite curious about the pre-Celtic and pre-Teutonic Neolithic inhabitants of North Western Europe.


  11. Brian
    I’m sure you know of relationships in the educational organisations, be it teacher/teacher, teacher/administrator or teacher/parent where hierarchical ” power ” is unequal but doesn’t affect eithers work ethic.

    Jumpy, I’ve known some, but not a lot. Let me give you three examples.

    Once, in a previous age, I took up a job at the University of Adelaide as a graduate librarian. A year later I married my first wife, who applied for a job there and was successful. The Deputy Librarian, who ran the place, explained to me that he was placing her in a branch library, the Law Library, as a precautionary measure, because he didn’t know whether having two married people on staff might cause issues.

    The way he handled the situation was very conservative, and of course there were no problems.

    Second example, when I was in Ed Dept Qld we had two administration officers. One was senior to the other and in different branches within the structure. They were really good mates, solved all the problems around the building and kept the admin side humming.

    Then the junior officer struck up a relationship with a younger woman working in the senior one’s office. The mateship fell apart and I started to hear back channel commentary (untrue) reflecting on the senior man’s character.

    I won’t go into how it all worked out, because my memory might be faulty and the people are probably still alive.

    Third example. A principal of a smallish school, probably about a dozen teachers had some innovative ideas about teaching-learning, had the parents on side, but not all of the teachers.

    One of the teachers happened to be married to a senior regional officer.

    It destroyed the principal’s career.

  12. Graham, I’ve just found an older post I couldn’t put my finger on the other night: Deep origins: early Europe. I’ve lifted this bit:

    From the post Deep origins:language, David Anthony thinks the core time for the development of the Indo-European language was 4000 to 3000 BCE, with an early phase that might go back to 4500 BCE and a late phase that may have ended around 2500 BCE. That’s about 4500 years ago. At that time according to Barras the Yamnaya began to spread throughout Europe. Conquer they certainly did, but not necessarily replace. Fraternisation and genetic mingling occurred.

    This image shows the broad waves of migration:

    Figure 2: Migration waves Figure 2: Migration waves[/caption]

    The resulting genetic mix varies:

    Figure 3: Genetic mix Figure 3: Genetic mix[/caption]

  13. The two white guys in the post with Cheddar Man are Dutch artists Alfons and Adrie Kennis, who specialise in palaeontological model making, according to The Sun.

    The AFR has a new story on Cheddar Man with this useful graphic:

    Seems there were intrusions by hunter gatherers prior to the land bridge (Doggerland) being inundated, but permanent settlement dates from after 12,000 years ago, when most of the ice was gone.

    It seems white skin came after Cheddar Man, which is much later than previously thought.

  14. According to PZ Myers:

    It isn’t at all surprising that ancient Britons were dark skinned — we know the genes behind pigmentation, we have sequenced genomes from skeletons that are thousands of years old, and we know that light skins were the result of a mutation that swept through Europe about 6,000 years ago.

  15. Brian: I read somewhere that about 44 % of married couples met their future partner at work. Hardly surprising since people spend a lot more time at work than socializing and seeing how people behave at work can be a better guide re what they might be like to live with than meeting at discos. Not sure how many of these marriages were between bosses and subordinates. but suspect there was quite a few.
    As a young man I would have been fairly pissed off if the personal dept had been telling me I wasn’t allowed to go out with the amazing woman I ended up marrying.
    I do think that part of being professional is managing likes and dislikes in a way that is fair on the people we work with and the organization for which we work.
    Affairs are part of this like/dislike spectrum. In some ways affairs should be less of a problem because we should be more aware of the potential problem and take steps to avoid unfairness.
    Forbidding relationships can create the threat of blackmail and makes it harder for someone to have a quiet word that might help avoid work problems.
    My take is that organizations should have guidelines on the behaviour of people who have become good friends or something more than that . They should also have procedures that allows someone to withdraw from a decision on the grounds of too close or otherwise that may bias a decision or be seen to have biased a decision.
    Sounds like Barnaby didn’t handle the issue well and that Turnbull was right to get involved.

  16. Mr J at 3.16pm
    Very good!!

    And I must thank my (then) teenage daughters, because for a while they watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on telly.

  17. Brian

    Yes, Phillip Adams can be intrusive, but he’s still very good, on balance. I think many of us prefer the longer interviews, if the questions are good.

    Some of the more pretentious journalists and publishers make a song and dance about “long form journalism” or even “essays”.

    When I were a lad, we called them ‘articles’, and ‘interviews’.

    [Aye, person drops pages of newspaper out car window, land in roadside drain (home to us, it were grand) and if you were quick like, could read half an article before our Dad grabbed paper for loo, or kindling. Preferred Daily Tele myself, but those Sun girls were right shocking. “Look away, son” says me Mam. Never heard interviews on radio, even if passing car had windows down might only catch two words. Public Library were OK but mainly we were there for the heating in winter. Gets cold in a drain after snow, like.]

    Happy times.

  18. Loathe as I may be to offer advice to the Canberra National Party, may I just say that many Gippslanders were mystified and disappointed when one of our number, Darren Chester, who had been doing OK as Transport Minister, was dumped recently.

    Perhaps he will rise Phoenix-like?

    Could be more of a wholesale politician than a “retail politician” methinks.

  19. On Barnaby Joyce, Scott Stevens on local radio this morning said he actively did not want to know about his personal relationships. He said the best work done by a US president in the second half of the 20th century was done by Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was a thoroughly detestable man, even a racist.

    However, Joyce made his family an integral part of the show as a politician, so it is no surprise that there is a backlash from his wife. Diana Hallam was also practically made one of the family, making it messier.

    Those who signed up to the Barnaby persona now have a choice, with the situation made more complex by the fact that Darren Chester and others may feel that they have been dudded.

    Natalie Joyce has her say here, and Nama Winston at Mamania tells her that her best years are in front of her.

  20. Jumpy, congrats.

    Zoot, thanks for the link. I was one who thought we got the white skin from the Neanderthals.

    John D said:

    Forbidding relationships can create the threat of blackmail and makes it harder for someone to have a quiet word that might help avoid work problems.

    I think this has already happened in a few cases with teenage girls and male high school teachers.

    I think sexual relations are actually Verboten between university lecturers and students, although marriages between staff and former students are not unknown.

  21. Jumpy, welcome to the wonderful world of grandchildren. They’re your reward for having children.

  22. Jumpy: Double congratulations.

    Firstly, on becoming a grandfather.

    Secondly, on finding your splendid new career as an abstract writer for scholarly journals. ” Stoneage Mutant Ginger Fertiles took over !! Cowabunga Dude.” stands in sharp contrast to the usual run of dull and dreary abstracts 🙂

  23. Jumpy

    zoot is right.

    As soon as the grandkid is old enough, you’ll be able to enjoy word play with the little giggler. This will be a higher calling than the old, standard tickling.

    Congrats again.

    but never Ambivalent about our grandkids

  24. Thanks folks.
    The big question in which position he’ll play.
    A forth generation winger or learn to pass the ball.
    At 8lb 10 he may be a forward and avoid passing too, that’s possible.

  25. I got taken out of play today. Had a phone call and my elder bro and his wife were down to Brissie for a bit of maintenance on his heart monitoring technology.

    Good to have a chat.

    SEQ had a brilliant electrical storm last night. 100,000 lightning strikes makes a severe storm and we had 265,000. I believe 500 power lines down and over 100k people without power. Three schools, including one near us, were closed because no power.

    We were on the edge of one of the two main cells and got all of 3.5mm, a bit of wind, but a lot of Donner and Blitzen.

    But really, no drama, just another day in paradise if you like 35C heat!

  26. Doomsday Preppers? That’s what almost everyone in northern Australia becomes during the cyclone season. Though underground bunkers are a bit iffy with the high risk of flooding .

    Interviewers. Richard Feidler and Philip Adams are good – so too are Geraldine Doogue and Amanda Vanstone.

    Whatshisname. Wonder if the puppet-masters of the Liberal Party stoked the fires of all this extraordinary news coverage and public outrage (both genuine and well-concocted) so as to smash the Nationals once and for all. The Liberals really would prefer to rule alone than be in coalition.

  27. Graham

    The political journalist in Guardian Australia reckoned that Mr Morrison as good as pinned a bright red arrow onto Mr BJ in Question Time yesterday:

    “Appointments in National Ministerial offices are for the Nationals.”

    Translation: it were Jarnaby that done it, not Viscount Turnbull.

    Now the disgraced ex-Senator Sam Dastyari has weighed in, saying he had to resign for far less and threatening to name and shame some right-wing MPs who have been mucking around.

    Ms Bishop warned the Labor front bench about “people in glass houses”.

    It seems we have not only a Westminster parliamentary system, but a very, very Westminster Style of Behaviour.

    Meanwhile, policy development takes a third seat.

  28. Brian, that is a massive increase in cosmic ray activity, and entirely focused on Brisbane, suspicious. It seems that even the Universe might have a political streak, but what is the message? Kill Adani??

  29. The Lord only knows, BilB.

    Meanwhile with Barnaby J women are remembering a bottom pinching habit he allegedly had going back to 2011.

    This is all becoming a bit ordinary.

  30. very ordinary

    And over on the Labor side, one W. Shorten has had a bit of a rep for a while.

    The reports of the Barnabroglio remind me strongly of the Dr Cairns/Ms Morosi saga.

    1. Infatuation
    2. Office in chaos (signing the letter offering 2.5% commission inadvertently, one tiny symptom of chaos)
    3. Acting PM
    4. “A kind of love” for Ms M
    5. Wife held up to public gossip
    6. Unrelenting media attention
    7. Dr C apparently perjuring himself in a defamation case later
    8. Dr C admits affair, on radio, years later after his loyal wife had died


  31. BJ continues to demonstrate that he is immune to both facts (science is lost on him) and figures, he can’t work the numbers for nuts.

    The new numbers he has to cope with are how many families can one feed on one’s parliamentary superannuation. The figure he needs to focus on is 3. First family, girl friend who will be with him long enough for a house to be acquired then departing with the toddler (once the razza ma taz of the parliamentary life has gone BJ will certainly reduce to a boorish pub slob and what intelligent young woman will want to cling to that for life), which then leaves just himself…on his own…with his regrets for company.

    For someone so clearly stupid he has had a privileged career, the achetypal “Being There” idiot, and then there is the puffed out ego. Its kind of fun to witness his steady deflation.

  32. BilB

    Not sure if other news sources reported it, but a very impressive Labor Opposition approach yesterday in Question Time. A sequence of questions to Minister BJ, asking about funds allocated to infrastructure yet not spent.

    “Why has Victoria received only X percent of its allocation? (Where X is noticeably lower than 100).

    The poor blighter struggled.
    Finally, “you’re not up to the job, Minister!”

    Ignore the marriage break-up, knowing surely that the TV and newspapers will hammer it….. Focus on expenditure, infrastructure, regional development. Plays well in the bush. And it’s meant to be the core business of Govt.

    Sitting watching this unfold in the House of Reps: Viscount Turnbull, “the infrastructure Prime Minister”.

    You don’t get so much of Jobson Growth if the infrastructure projects are delayed or cancelled, Minister.

  33. Fairfax see Sky News reports that Viscount Turnbull, PM, has been contacting Nationals MPs to gauge their support for Deputy PM Jarnaby.

    If true, ask not for whom the bell tolls, Mr Boyce: it tolls for thee.

  34. Interesting to see whether Gina Rinehart drops Barnaby like a hot coal if he gets the flick politically.

  35. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 13, 2018 AT 10:06 AM):

    Kill Adani??

    Please see my link here. I reiterate:

    Without viable funding for a rail line from the Galilee Basin to a sea port, there can be no prospects for coal mines in the Galilee Basin.

    As of last Friday, following the Aurizon announcement, it seems the Adani Carmichael mine proposal is now a dead duck. Interesting to see what excuses announcements Adani will now make?

  36. That’s an interesting thought. I didn’t realise that BJ was Rinehart’s minion.

    When a minion goes off and is on the nose does that make him a monion? Is a minion caught with his pants down a moonion? Is a minion with strange political ideas a mormion?

  37. Looks like we’ve depleted our ” love is love ” empathy since the referendum.
    Or is it just suppressed for certain individuals or groups ?

  38. not sure about “moonion”….
    depends, from what angle you are looking at the pantless person….

    My advice: look away!!

  39. The Australian sez
    “Senior Nationals MPs have met and are expected to ask BJ to step down.”

  40. Or is it just suppressed for certain individuals or groups ?

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I find it impossible to empathise with hypocrites, particularly corrupt ones.

  41. BJ stepping down? good move. Of course it will mean that one of the other National MP’s will have to spend less time at the pub.

  42. If I recall both Garath Evens and Cheryl Kernot got promoted.
    Their relationship was none of our business.
    Love is love, right?.

  43. Actually I give Barnaby a few points for not throwing Leigh Sales divorce back at her in that interview. He’s stronger than me.

  44. A bit of desperate muck raking there Jumpy, dredging up the past to mask the failings of present MP’s.

    Joyce’s problems are that he was stupid enough to not use protection, to cheat on a young and large family, to moralise to the public while he was doing this cheating, do his cheating while he held the second highest government post (jeopardising not just everything within his own life but the government itself), involved other people in his deception, and lied to the public by omission during a by election in order to maintain his position.

    That is not just a fling, that is full on pile of manure. A pile which he now must wade through for the rest of his life.

    I was just looking there to see if there are any non climate denialists in the Nationals. Doesn’t seem to be which means that as a party they not representative of their country electorate. I think it is safe to say that most farmers are fully aware of climate change as sit affects them directly. They may not like it but they know that it is happening. I see very large numbers of farmers adapting to climate change as they reposition there crops and livestock to minimise loss as the country slowly dries out.

  45. If I recall both Garath Evens and Cheryl Kernot got promoted.
    Their relationship was none of our business.

    You really believe that do you? To the best of my knowledge nobody else here agrees with you.

  46. BilB, I think the Nats are all climate denialists or sceptics or something, and more Liberals too than the average in the population at large.

    I think you’ve got it about right with Barnaby. Can’t believe the pregnancy was planned, so they were either stupid or very unlucky.

    Here’s Barnaby and Gina. She gave him a $40,000 cheque for being a “champion of farming”, which he accepted, then next day said he would decline the money.

    Garath Evens and Cheryl Kernot was our business, and I believe young Gareth lied to parliament about it. Doesn’t seem to have done his career any harm.

    My missus recalls that when she was young and travelling overseas she and he friend were more than once befriended by fellow Australian men who were married. They simply regarded married men as bespoken and off limits. Seems times have changed. So she tends to think Vicki Campion is a grown up person who didn’t need to be in the position she is in now.

  47. Chery K defected from the Party she led, then stood for and won a seat for the Party of Mr Gareth.

    The affair was exposed by The Sphere.

    When Ms K later lost the seat in a democratic election, she blubbed that her new Party hadn’t arranged a safer seat. She appeared not to understand or enjoy the internal machinations of the ALP.

    I recall feeling sorry for Mrs Evans, who later rose to a prominent leadership role in Monash Uni. She is an econometrician. As smart as her hubby, I think.

    Gareth has published an interesting memoir of the Hawke Govt, based on his “cabinet diaries”. Worth a look. He has had a productive and innovative “retirement”. Trained as a lawyer, prominent in student debates at Melb Uni, mid 1960s.

  48. I was contemplating the Nats and Denialists by way of looking at who they had to put up in place of BJ. It seems to me that they are all there just for the money and not one of them is prepared to commit the extra time as that would disrupt their other goings on. It kind of spells out why we have such government in Australia, all self interest (money, ego,,,) and minimal good will for the public.

  49. B. McKenzie, deputy to Mr BJ, says his a**air is “very human” and that “these things happen in every family, every workplace…”

    She also offers a “rolled gold guarantee” that Mr BJ will continue to lead his Party.


    It’s Party, Party, Party time then!!

    What a relief. An anxious nation had been on tenterhooks.

  50. One for the “I don’t think that word means what you think it does” department from here.

    Rolled Gold, Gold Overlay. ( RG, OG, GO,) This is not a plating process but a fusion process where a sheet of base metal is covered with thin layers of gold and then heat fused together. Jewellery is then made from this. There is usually an indicator number to tell you how much gold was used. E.g. 1/40 18K RG means that an 18K layer has been fused to a base metal AND that 1/40 of the total weight of the piece is 18k gold.

  51. Good one zoot.

    So we’re talking “costume jewellery”, down the low end of prices are we?

    Nothing expensive from BJ on 14th Feb?

    The other image that comes to mind is from Lord Rutherford. Rolling gold until the layer is thinner than paper. Then you bombard it with protons. And you think up the ‘Rutherford atom’.

  52. Bye bye Barnabye
    Off for a week.

    Taking leave of his absence.

    Watch out BJ cobber, when the cat’s away the mouse plague cranks up something terrible.

    “All hat, no cattle”?

  53. Vale Morgan Tsvangirai, opposition leader in Zimbabwe.

    Sad that R. Mugabe and J. Zuma have both outlived him.

    (On RN a few days ago, someone said Jacob Zuma is a firm believer in ‘family values’, having four wives and twenty-one children.)

  54. Ambi, I think it is appropriate the Matthias Cormann will be acting PM. He seems to do most of the work around the place, is now paid for being leader in the senate now that Brandeis has buggered off. Without Matthias the place would have fallen apart long ago!

  55. Jumpy:

    I just became a Grandfather ( 3:44pm ), that’s the good news


    When you are arguing about climate action just keep in mind that your grandchild will be only 82 in the year 2100. (And look at the projections for 2100.)

  56. Chapter 201

    And when the Lawmaker shall take the younger person in a warm embrace, and they shall have knowledge of each other and communication and shall communicate with delight unto the rising of the saffron stem and with steam and ever increasing esteem; and this shall be upon the Desk of the Congressperson, or under the Desk, or very nearby to the Desk: this we shall call the Congress of the Congressperson.

    from the ancient Sanskrit

    Ambi of the seventy veils

  57. John
    Ask a Venezuelan or North Korean if their lowering of CO2 emissions has been worth it.

    I can prepare him for global warming.

  58. Have to report that tonight I failed miserably to prepare a new Salon for this Saturday. This weekend I’m taking a look at paradise across the border in northern NSW and don’t expect to be on the interwebs, so it will have to be Sunday night.


    Remember Senator Ricky Muir?
    [Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Victoria; preferential voting; above the line.]

    He has abandoned the Motorists – or at least the enthusiastic ones – and joined The Hunters, Shooters, Fishers of men Party. He will stand for Morwell, currently held by Russell Northe who has had serious personal problems.

    ALP candidate: a former Hazelwood power station employee.
    Liberal candidate: a former Mayor.
    Every party will have a red hot go, doubtless.

    Morwell encompasses the Hazelwood mine (closed) an urban timber mill (Carter, Holt, Harvey; closed), job-short Latrobe Valley, etc.

    A world of woe in 2017.

  60. Apologies for my Latrobe Valley Parochialism: SA and Tas elections are more interesting by far.

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