Weekly salon 22/6

1. Trump hexed

It seems Conservative Christians Claim Ocasio-Cortez Is A Witch Leading Attack Against Trump

    She scares them: Conservative Christians claim Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a witch guided by demons and leading an attack against President Donald Trump.

    Frightened by a smart, articulate, attractive young woman, conservative Christians panic, worried that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is really a witch leading a demonic attack against President Trump.

They think Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is connected to “a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

So they are going to pray:

    against the demonic forces that are clustered in southern New York City” and “operating through the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

Only in America!

Meanwhile Trump has announced he is running for a second term, and people are starting to consider what a Trump win would mean for America and the world.

2. When too much sport is barely enough

At present there are any number of amazing sport stories going around. However, we need to celebrate the amazing journey of Ash Barty, who in 2016 was No. 623 in the world rankings. A couple of weeks ago she won the French Open, for the first time by an Australian woman since the great Margaret Court in 1973.

That made her No. 2 behind Naomi Osaka. However, Osaka has bombed out of the Edgbaston tournament in Birmingham. If Barty wins she’ll be numero uno. Overnight Barty disposed of Venus Williams in straight sets. Two to go.

The last time an Australian woman was No. 1 it was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

Meanwhile on the men’s side, those three old blokes, Roger Federer (37, going on 38), Rafael Nadal (33) and Novak Đoković (32) are still cleaning up. The record shows that historically most male Grand Slam events are won by men in the age bracket 22-26.

Amazingly, beginning with Federer’s win at Wimbledon in 2003 there have been 64 grand slams, and those three gentlemen have won 53 on them. Odds on one of them will win Wimbledon this year, plus the US Open too.

A case can be made for each of them as the GOAT (Greatest of all time).

3. Petrified wood

Where I grew up petrified wood was a common phenomenon. There was a big lump outside the school door, and on the hill behind the school, where we took a short cut walking to school on wet days, there was a whole stump in plain site.

Last weekend my wife and I visited Carinya Hostel in Miles, where my sister is currently staying on respite care after a short stint in hospital. This is what you see on the right as you approach the front door:

And this:

Googling turned up this item in the Chinchilla Museum:

    Petrified wood dates back to the Jurassic Age when dinosaurs populated the Earth 140-180 million years ago.

    Chinchilla petrified wood is regarded as being the best in Australia as to the colour and quality.

    Lapidary enthusiasts from all over the world as well as Australia visit Chinchilla to procure specimens.

    Types of trees petrified in Australia belong to the Araucaria family of conifers, tree ferns and cycads – all cone bearing or spore bearing trees.

Chinchilla was probably about 80 km away as the crow flies. I knew there was plenty around, but I was not aware of how exceptional and famous the district was for petrified wood.

Carinya was interesting as a nursing home. There are only 18 places for residents, and at least two carers are on duty 24/7. The staff were super friendly and competent. As a service provided by local government with support from higher levels of government, no-one has to make a dollar of profit. For such a small institution there was an impressive array of activities on offer, some by volunteers from the community.

In your room you can have your own TV, with Foxtel or whatever.

If such a facility were available in Ashgrove, I’d be happy to move in if and when the time came.

4. AHRC report finds that (our) detention centres are becoming more prison-like

    An Australian Human Rights Commission report has found that offshore immigration detention centres are becoming harsher, more restrictive and prison-like.

    It says the average length of stay in these conditions has increased to a record 500 days in some cases, which can cause physical and mental harm.

There is one word wrong in that summary of the ABC RN program. The AHRC were looking at onshore facilities, specifically the sample was Villawood, Brisbane, Melbourne and Yongah Hill. The full report is 88 pages long. I’ve only skimmed it, but it seems like a long lecture in polite language on the what changes need to be made in order to treat people with basic human decency.

The centres have been remodelled to look, and presumably function, like prisons, where the toilets are in the same room as the bed and ‘living’ space, under open surveillance. More internal physical barriers have been created within the centres.

The number of people in detention has stabilised, with the population remaining between 1,200 and 1,500 since mid-2016. However, the average stay a shocking 500 days. The inmates (we can call them that) seem to be predominantly visa over-stayers and some asylum seekers.

I haven’t had time to research how detention centre populations relate to asylum seeker arrivals who are flooding the system by the simple means of getting on a plane, which, unsurprisingly, people smugglers have found they can offer cheaper, faster and safer than leaky boats. Kristina Keneally told Patricia Karvelas that, through government cutbacks to immigration staff, the backlog of asylum seekers waiting to be processed has ballooned from 90,000 to over 200,000 on Peter Dutton’s watch. I gather that most of these are living in the community. I’m not sure what their entitlements are in access to schooling, medical care and work.

Of course, Peter Dutton did not expect that this would be his problem to deal with. Now it is, in a government which promised huge tax cuts and further ‘efficiencies’ in government services.

167 thoughts on “Weekly salon 22/6”

  1. The government’s unexpected win in the last election means all they can do is behave like the opposition they expected to be and attack Labor as though it is the government.

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton only managed to get three words into a substantive interview on Insiders last weekend before he started talking about the Opposition.

    The question was about who had leaked classified documents from his portfolio. But his answer was all about how Anthony Albanese was only asking questions about the leak because he was trying to distract everyone from Labor’s problems.
    This would have to rate somewhere between “marvellous” and “magnificent” on the irony-o-meter, since the only thing anyone in the Government seems to want to talk about at the moment, particularly this week, is the Opposition.
    You know? The mob that actually lost the election, not the mob who won it and who are supposed to be springing into action with plans to lead the country forward.

    Now they are attacking Labor because they won’t agree to tax changes that the government proposes to start after the end of this term of government.
    Perhaps Morrison should go to the governor and recommend he appoint Bill shorten as PM?
    Or call a double dissolution over the tax issue in the hope that Labor wins and the LNP can use all the plans they prepared for being in opposition.

  2. John, the coalition has been promising tax cuts for the last 3 elections they’ve won, am I right?

    Albo ( the temporary ALP figurehead) should accept the democratic mandate in my opinion.

  3. Jumpy: The LNP primary vote was well under 50%. Most voters didn’t vote for parties that supported the LNP tax cuts. There was no mandate for the LNP tax cuts for this term of government. We will have to wait how much support the LNP gets for the terms of government beyond this one.
    If you look at all the cuts this government will make to pay for the tax cut bribes there will be a lot of cuts that won’t have the support of 50%+ of voters.

  4. Jumpy, in one state we apparently voted for a coal mine, in the rest of the country Labor won 62 seats, the Coalition 54, and there were 5 indies, including Wilkie and Bandt.

    IMO the Coalition has only a mandate for good government, but does’t have a mandate to determine what that consists of.

  5. I met my friend David as an undergrad 1970. He went on to take a PhD in political science and policy. He is/was cantankerous and obstinate and a has a black belt as a PIA. Still, our friendship has endured.
    I called him on his mobile yesterday after noting an oddity in his new landline number – the country prefix 61 was reading 63. Turns out he is so disgusted by Australian politics he has moved to the Philippines.
    I don’t know whether he has made a good move or not, but I wish him luck. I also took a moment to consider whether things were really so bad here in Oz, and concluded they weren’t, at least not yet. But…
    I watch with alarm the US trend that is edging towards dictatorship as increasingly their government show contempt for law and even the Constitution. And the US has already relinquished its regional clout in SE Asia, while still clinging shakily to its military authority. And I think other countries may mimic that trend, incl. Oz. Politics in other parts of the world also are in flux e.g. Britain. Political tectonic plates seem to be moving at an accelerated rate.
    I try to think that the world is a wheel and things just go around then disappear only to return sometime later. But this time communications, warfare tools and small-world thinking seem to bring new elements to the history. I miss my dad who survived the depression and action in WW2 – I would love his counsel right now to bring me more perspective to what is happening just a few decades after the allies “won” the war.

  6. Rudd showed there are better ways of stimulating the economy than reducing taxes.
    What Rudd did was make a number of one-off payments that targeted low income earners.
    The problem with tax cuts is that people expect them to last forever. A political problem when the economy changes and needs to be cooled down. One off stimuli don’t have this problem.
    The problem with tax cuts that include the rich is that most rich people will simply add it to their savings or use it as spending money when they take yet another overseas holiday. By contrast, the poor will spend it now in Aus.
    Unfortunately the coalition has never admitted that Rudd did the right thing.

  7. GH: What did your friend find attractive about the Philippines?
    To me it is an example of the weakening/ending of democracy.

  8. Good question JD but I would not expect an answer from him. I think it was the relatively low cost of living and the bountiful supply of the local ladies. Plus it seems that he can watch all sports from the comfort of his lounge as his mobility is rather impaired these days. He might say it was about lifestyle.

    On the worth of tax cuts, I give very little credit to them. They are a brief sugar shot and for people already in deficit they give only a small improvement. The stagnation of real wages is the problem that guarantees that the life span of a tax cut is very limited. So I am looking for growth in real wages.
    My other wish is to see certainty restored to our lives. Our jobs are now uncertain, projects always subject to funding being continued, political partisanship menaces longer term initiatives and even the bureaucratic skill repository is at constant risk. Health and education, even the ABC are prime targets. Given reasonable certainty we will see investment increase leading to more jobs and more disposable income in the economy, and even an increase in real wages. Even the first Henry Ford recognised that his workers needed enough money to buy his cars. The increasing inequity of wealth is already coming from the so-called middle class consumers, and that does not work towards a robust economy.

  9. Good old Henry Ford again.
    Truth is when he decided to pay workers more there was a large turnover in the industry and he wanted to retain the best talent and poach from competitors. The Unions hated it at the time because it was merit based.

    He was a staunch Capitalist Republican when he did that , then turned Democrat later on.

    And the reality of Rudds helicopter money is it was borrowed, still hasn’t been payed for and is a drag on the economy to this day.
    A short sugar hit with a looong hangover.

    That’s the Swan/Rudd/Parkinson legacy on that.

  10. The Unions hated it at the time because it was merit based.

    I doubt it.
    Ford began paying his workers the fabled $5 a day in 1914 (it saved him money) and the United Automobile Workers union was founded more than 20 years later, in 1935. Was this after Ford had defected to the Democrats? At the time he was famously ferociously opposed to unions.

  11. That’s the Swan/Rudd/Parkinson legacy on that.

    You left out Ken Henry, who originally suggested the whole catastrophe. Those stupid ALP apparatchiks only went along with his fatuous proposal because they lack your intellectual acumen and economic insight.

  12. Geoff, Labor was actually promising better tax cuts for 10 million Australian, with the emphasis on lower to middle income earners.

    However, the language they used, and a lack of finessing the changes to negative gearing and franking credits left them open to a scare campaign.

    Chris Ketter, the Labor senator that lost his seat although second on the ticket, said that he knew he was in trouble on election day (although his wife had been telling him earlier) when a couple teachers bailed him up and said they had always voted Labor but resented being called “the big end of town” and this time they would change their votes.

    I think we have a social crisis as well as a climate crisis, when we have people on the pension living in poverty, people on Newstart likewise, dreadful conditions in aged care, people homeless who are on a two-year waiting list for public housing, and I could go on.

    Jacinda Adern has brought down a budget emphasising ‘well-being’ rather than growing the pie at all costs. I’d like to know a bit more about what she’s done and how it all goes.

  13. Jumpy back in the day I was a dedicated capitalist. Absolutely profit-driven. Yet we paid well above minimum wages, talked with them often and took their advice often. We had virtually no staff turnover thus retaining our skills and sustaining an excellent work culture. You can bang on about unions and government but I’m quite sure you can do really well by treating staff well.

  14. Jumpy, you need to read Shitstorm, by Lenore Taylor and David Uren. It was published in June 2010, a few weeks before Rudd got the flick.

    Julia Gillard was part of the gang of four Rudd was using instead of cabinet at the time, Lindsay Tanner not so much, at least on the GFC, because he had a habit of not keeping his trap shut, so the left him out of the loop on the really important stuff.

    It wasn’t just a ‘sugar hit’. From memory there was around $42 billion of infrastructure that was completed over the next few years, including a revamp of the road between Brisbane and Ipswich, which at the time was the most congested in Australia due to the years of neglect from Howard/Costello.

    After 6 years I think we can say that the Coalition now owns the debt, which is not large by international standards.

    Have a listen to Bill Mitchell on
    Debt, deficits and good housekeeping: what’s the fuss about?

    I would disagree to the extent that there needs to be a limit to debt and deficits, but his basic point is that we have made a fetish of running the country on the analogy of household spending. Even there, who saves the full price of a house before you buy it?

    Companies that don’t borrow around 30 to 60% of their balance sheet are said to have ‘lazy’ balance sheets, and are not primed for growth.

    But it matters what you invest in, and good social infrastructure like schools, TAFE, universities, medical facilities and hospitals, an accessible and fair justice system etc will promote growth.

  15. Geoff, Thailand has an expat community in the north where a lot of Australians have gone to retire. It’s encouraged by the government, because it creates demand for local services. But the Thais are strong on mutual obligation in their social interactions. Individualistic Westerners can come across as very rude. Or so I’m told.

  16. Brian I don’t mind a tax cut, I just reckon it is a short term hit that is quickly forgotten. And to tout tax cuts that are years away is surely a joke.
    Yes it will be interesting to see how the well-being turns out. There seems to be more interest in happiness these days too so we will see how that goes

  17. Brian
    According to JD Jacinda Adern doesn’t have a mandate to do anything because more voters voted against her policies. She has to wait till she wins the Primary Vote.

    And on top of that, most of the electorates wanted Bill English.

  18. Brian
    JD was specifically addressing the cash splash in the second stimulus package ( incidentally the LNP supported the 1st $10.4B package ) that gave $950 per child regardless of income and $900 for everyone earning less than $100,000.
    Not exactly directed to the poor.
    My Wife was working at one of the large furniture and appliance stores and recon the Chinese crap was flying off the floor. And I’ve read the pokies haven’t see the likes of that rush since.

    But it matters what you invest in, and good social infrastructure like schools, TAFE, universities, medical facilities and hospitals, an accessible and fair justice system etc will promote growth.

    All State responsibilities Mate, not Federal. Jumpy

  19. Geoff H, your friend may just be taking advantage of the tax rules.
    Or escaping most of Australia’s nanny state regulations.

    Good in him whatever the reason.

  20. Jumpy, Adern was elected by the rules operating in that realm. So she has a mandate for good government, that is to make decisions that benefit the residents of New Zealand according to the best information available, at the time the decisions are made, which might be different from when she was campaigning for office.

    The world is never the same. The Christchurch incident changed NZ forever.

    I can agree that much of the cash handouts were wasted on junk, but the purpose was psychological, and in that it is said to have been successful.

    As to fed/state responsibilities, I’ll let that go through to the keeper. It’s not that simple.

  21. Let me make the mandate thing a bit clearer.

    LNP promises were made on the basis that Labor would most likely win the election. The idea was to minimise the losses.

    Some of them, like tax cuts on the never never, were irresponsible, may have been more effective in gaining votes than anticipated, and now in the interests of good government and everyone, should be abandoned and reviewed in three year time, when we may have a clue as to whether they are still a good idea, and whether we can afford them.

  22. Brian:

    I can agree that much of the cash handouts were wasted on junk, but the purpose was psychological, and in that it is said to have been successful.

    What really counted is that the money got to people who were going to go out and spend it in Australia at the time so that Jumpy’s wife’s job was more secure. Turnbull wanted to provide the stimulus by dropping taxes. I put it to you that less of the the tax cut would have got into the hands of people who were going to spend it when it was needed in Australia. Worse still no-one would have been game to stop these tax cuts when they were no longer needed so the debt would have kept growing and growing or more and more government services would have been cut to pay for the tax cuts.
    What Rudd did was right for the time and some from of one-off stimulus is what is needed now. A bit of money printing now might be appropriate given that many experts feel inflation is too low.

  23. Brian

    LNP promises were made on the basis that Labor would most likely win the election. The idea was to minimise the losses.

    Not one LNP MP to my knowledge said they’d lose the election to my knowledge, perhaps you know of one ?

    I thought criticism was warranted for shortsightedness economically yet the “ never never “ plans by ALP are applauded as generational initiatives !?!.?

    I’m having trouble with the lefts argumentative consistency with policy, regardless of who thinks what is subjectively “ good government “.

    John, Rudd spent money we didn’t have, that they were never intending to pay off, for votes.
    He’s practically economically autistic, he’s a populist. At least Swan had the excuse of being a deep Keynesian zealot with a completely opaque facade of paying anything off.

    Here’s a serious question, what ALP Treasurer has ever payed down the National Debt by even one single cent ?

  24. Brian, John, Jumpy

    I think that first, rushed and timely stimulus was intended to keep the economy moving, where some economies elsewhere were juddering towards a stop because credit had dried up. Credit is a lubricant, Jumpy.

    Credit isn’t Bad, as I’m sure you know, Jumpy.

    Why do folk measure “consumer confidence”? Not because they care about our self-reliance, our equanimity, our morale; they care about our confidence as consumers because our propensity to spend (rather than save) is one factor – not the only one – in keeping the whole mysterious network pulsing along with “raw animal spirits”.

    The GFC wasn’t quite a local “run on the banks”but some of its effects were similar. Many years ago, Premier Don Dunstan went famously to the main Street in Adelaide with a loud hailer, to stem a run on a bank.

    Kevin Rudd had a larger task.
    The first stimulus package was his method, and it mattered not a jot if the goods purchased were “junk” because as John pointed out, that spending then circulated through the economy: retailers, shop worker wages, pokie venues wages, etc. Yes, some went to importers and hence to China, but not before it had circulated here first.

    A stimuus like that is a gift that keeps on giving……
    The cash doesn’t all disappear instantly. It circulates through wages, through GST, through income taxes, through retail and wholesale, etc.


    As to worthwhile infrastructure, I recall
    School halls
    Home insulation
    Rooftop Solar panel subsidies

    all of which, in my view, were worth spending tax dollars on; and all of which provided some employment (and subsequent further circulation of cash).

    But Messrs Turnbull, Hockey, Abbott disagreed vehemently.

  25. Mr Rudd was not economically illiterate. Lindsay Tanner was smart and knowledgeable, Ken Henry smart and practical.

    Or are you, Jumpy, unwilling to allow any Keynesians anywhere near a Treasurer’s Dept.?

    Strange, because that Keynesian approach has been used all over the world, in so many democratic nations, across many decades.

    Now I will make an exception for those jolly fine chaps in Beijing, who use stimulus packages unwaveringly…. perhaps their case is a giant Ponzi scheme, which we will see clearly only with hindsight after the Great Chinese Catastrophe.

    And heaven help us all, if that arrives. ..

  26. Please allow me to press the point that I see little value in the tax cuts as even as a medium term benefit. Whatever benefit is quickly swallowed and forgotten . I come back to consumer and corporate spending, the grist of our market based mill. If those sectors lack confidence their spending will be minimised, deferred, abandoned or directed to cheap imports. None of those choices are the best for Oz. But it allows us to bring home the illusionary baubles of good living and with it for some, a contentment. Politicians love it, it is the political Nembutal that calms voters and is a buffer from malcontent that might cast them out. The bastards have our mark, and thanks to social media will have a greater insight over time – you don’t think that the Cambridge people just fell off the earth?
    Well this has turned into a bit of a rant. I hope I don’t bore anyone, especially since I am not offering compelling evidence.

  27. Keynesian debt spending only makes sense if it will be payed off by the generation that racked it up. Keynesians leave that hard task to their grandchildren.

    Government centrally planned “ trickledown economics “ is a Keynesian thing heavily related to Marxist economics
    Just ask Venezuela how that works out long term.

  28. Has the rule for a penalty try been reduced to only a potential for 8 points to 6 ?

  29. The Venezuelan government is not an exemplar of Keynesian stimulus….

    As far as I know it is populist, nativist, command economy, nationalised industries, etc. Not following, for example, a Scandinavian social welfare model of using petroleum wealth to bolster social infrastructure. Not following, for example the “mixed economies” in nations such as NZ, Australia, UK, France etc.

    No, Venezuela is a bit unusual Jumpy.
    Not following a typical, Keynesian economic model.

  30. Am I alone in wondering if the Origin is being set up for s lucrative third game?

  31. Jumpy:

    Keynesian debt spending only makes sense if it will be payed off by the generation that racked it up. Keynesians leave that hard task to their grandchildren.

    You have a common problem with small business people who think that government is the same as running a small business. The rules for government are more subtle and minimizing debt is not always smart.
    At government level the health of the economy depends on the purchasing power and spending of the workers. At small business level it is unusual for a businesses workers to be significant customers.

  32. Jumpy:

    Government centrally planned “ trickledown economics “ is a Keynesian thing heavily related to Marxist economics.

    Err: Trickle down economic theory was invented by the Regan government as a way of defending making the rich richer and reducing top end tax rates. It isn’t an efficient way of getting money down to the people whose spending is required by a healthy economy. Fear of Marxism was a lot more effective. Until the collapse of communism Western governments and business were wary of anything that would push the workers towards communism.

  33. Not one LNP MP to my knowledge said they’d lose the election to my knowledge, perhaps you know of one ?

    All of them, so the Canberra journalists say, expected to lose, except ScoMo thought he had a chance, and I understand Matthias Cormann did too.

    They all scurried home to cry into their beer, and at parliament house all the shredders were at the ready, and outside the building were rows of wheelie bins lined up to take the residue of offices cleaned out.

    Jumpy, it’s time you stopped using Venezuela as an example of anything other than Venezuela.

    Ambi, I think the first tranche of GFT infrastructure was school halls, school libraries and home insulation, but fair square there was a pile of infrastructure (roads and stuff) commissioned which took 3 or 4 years to build.

  34. Has the rule for a penalty try been reduced to only a potential for 8 points to 6 ?

    Apparently so, when you and I weren’t looking, Jumpy.

    For those who don’t follow the game, we were thumped 38-6. Qld looked a gormless rabble for most of the game. the coach gave them 5-6 out of 10 for the first match, which they won. This time he would be generous if he gave them 1/10.

    The Blues were 10/10. James Maloney, and Tom Trbojevic especially, but they were all excellent.

    There seems to be a rule that if a Blues player strips the ball it is deemed a Qld loose carry, but the other way around if a NSW player drops the ball.

    That is according to my perhaps maroon tinted glasses.

    Also there were a number penalties against Qld I thought were rubbish. Or they were stupid Qld mistakes.

    Metres carried is a good indication. NSW made 1,645 to our 847, which made it hard to watch.

  35. I know that Venezuela is a red herring, so apologies to everyone, but I omitted a few adjectives in attempting to describe the regime there:

    Hasta la vista.

    y tambien

    !Vivan los Venezolanos!

  36. Government centrally planned “ trickledown economics “ is a Keynesian thing heavily related to Marxist economics

    Demonstrating that our economics lecturer has no understanding of the theories of Keynes, “trickle down” economics or Marxism.
    The hum you hear in the background is Baroness Thatcher spinning in her grave.

  37. Jumpy: Are you a left wing plant whose job it is to make conservative politics look stark raving mad?

  38. Jumpy: Are you a left wing plant whose job it is to make conservative politics look stark raving mad?

    No John, I’m genuine and honest.

    Do you have such a large guilt complex for being in the top 1% of income earners in human history due to the fossil fuel industry that you periodically lash out at people instead of rationally discussing issues ?

    Generally you a very good at separating the two but that was an exemption.

    On Venezuela, please look up what the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, the Australian greens and Chavez himself described the economic and social system of Venezuela before it inevitably collapsed.
    Model for the rest of the World they said…

    Oh, and don’t pull the “ oil crisis “ nonsense, plenty of other oil rich Countries are just tickety boo under not socialism.

  39. I hope Jeremy is not elected PM in Britain.
    He has a record of supporting all sorts of thugs.

    Also I think his pro-Palestinian stance has morphed over into anti-Semitism.

  40. No defence of Margaret Thatcher introducing “trickle down” policies (otherwise known as neo-liberalism) in the pursuit of a Marxist ideal as espoused by Keynes?

    (But a canonical demonstration of the “look, over there!” strategy – 10 out of 10 for that)

  41. And “ trickledown economics “ was a left wing journalistic tag attached the Supply Side Economics to barrack for idiotic Demand Side economists like Keynes.

    There has, and always will be a demand surplus.
    To attempt to address this we must focus on the supply.
    That’s a historical fact that can’t be argued against, I can’t believe it still has to be spelled out to some folk.

  42. Jumpy: Nazi Germany was capitalist but this doesn’t mean capitalism is automatically evil.
    Scandinavia is also has an essentially capitalist economy but the combination of this with a strong welfare system has avoided the downsides of capitalism you see in places like the US.
    Chavez may have looked a lot better in 2007 when the link you directed us to was posted. Suspect many of the people who hoped he would be a power for good then are disappointed now. The more paranoid might want to point the finger at US interference.
    BTW: Despite your protests and attack on poor sweet innocent me I still think you and your mate Abbott could be left wing plants. Much of what the pair of you say are damaging the causes you claim to support.

  43. John, most of the high crime and high poverty areas in the US have been Democrat for decades at federal, state, mayoral levels.
    Why wouldn’t US folk be fleeing California to Texas.

    Nice try at linking me with Abbott BTW but I don’t have a cause, I live my ideology.
    Do you?,it doesn’t sound like it.

  44. Jumpy as a false flag – A definite possibility.
    But my money is on a bot – programmed with phrases such as “supply side” and scraping stories from alt.right websites.
    It’s amazing what AI is capable of these days.

  45. There has, and always will be a demand surplus.

    As the buggy whip manufacturer said to the whale oil salesman while the spittoon repair dude nodded in agreement

  46. Yep, I’m a bot.
    Ignore me you loon conspiracy theorist ( and self confessed racist )

  47. Ignore me you loon conspiracy theorist ( and self confessed racist )

    There you go again, humbling me with your blistering wit, your towering intellect and the undeniable power of your logic.
    Truly, we are in the presence of a giant. (tugs forelock)
    I know when I’m beaten, but did you honestly think Margaret Thatcher was a Keynesian?

  48. And Jumpy, now you’ve demolished me, perhaps you’d like to put Ross Gittins right. He thinks (foolish I know, but you can convince him of his shortcomings):

    [W]orrying about deficit and debt is something national governments can afford to do only when they’ve got an economy that’s growing strongly.

  49. Zoot: Do you think the Jumpy bot is due for a reprogramming to take advantage of information a bit younger than 2007? Or do you think he could be hacked and reprogrammed to come up with something new and better informed? Or should we take your advice and stop using the bots reactions as part of our bot research effort?
    The Abbot bot problem was resolved by the voters for at least a short while but are there any voters who could shut down the Jumpy bot for a while?

  50. John, I think the bot’s main board is rusting out (all that North Qld humidity) and it will probably fail completely in the near future, particularly as it is obviously a superseded model. Faults like claiming Keynes was in favour of “trickle down” policies indicate the logic circuits are beyond repair. Maybe it can be recycled into something useful (like a can opener)?

  51. Zoot:

    Maybe it can be recycled into something useful (like a can opener)?

    Might work. The existing Jumpy Bot model likes opening cans of worms.

  52. On Venezuela, please look up what the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, the Australian greens and Chavez himself described the economic and social system of Venezuela before it inevitably collapsed.

    As it turned out they were wrong. Move on.

    Competent social and political commentators/historians will tell us why.

  53. My lost phone has reached it’s destination in Melbourne after 11 days in transit. If it wasn’t stuffed before chances are that it is now with water in it for so long.

    We saw the film Never look away.

    Stunning, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Reviews here and here.

  54. J. M. Keynes also had a reputation as a canny and well-off share investor. He influenced many areas of State policy. Can that all be explained by widespread delusion and ignorance at the peaks of the British Civil Service??

    What, pray tell, had they been teaching at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge??

    Were the “ruling classes”, aristocrats and plutocrats closet socialists?? Not in my book they weren’t.

    (But in fairness there was a liberal streak, since the days of slavery abolition and the beginnings of 19th Century welfare policies, which might have been allied to remnants of Christian charity and a sense of noblesse oblige)

    Or as Prof Davidson explains in his Political Economics seminar: the fearful memory of the French Revolution just across the Channel, making the “ruling classes” ever alert for rebellion and seeking ameliorative measures against poverty, starvation and distress.

    If Venezuela explains only Venezuela, does Britain explain only Britain?

  55. The problem with Britain is that their best and brightest sought their future in the colonies. The inbred remainders looked down their noses at the enterprising colonials instead of encouraging them to return to re-invigorate the ageing country. Since then the no longer Great Britain has reached the point that Boris Johnson is seriously being considered as the next prime minister.
    Hoping that Scotland decides that it doesn’t have to be part of the Brexit stupidity. (Confession: I always want to invade England whenever I hear the sound of bagpipes.)

  56. If Venezuela explains only Venezuela, does Britain explain only Britain?

    I’d say yes and no. But I think you need to look at the constituent parts of ‘Great’ Britain. Ambi, you are onto something with “ruling classes”, aristocrats and plutocrats. As far as I can see England was always a stratified society by social class, where traditionally the peasants were seen as somewhere between nobility and mammalian animals in the Great Chain of Being.

    The English thought themselves superior, demonstrated by their ability to defeat and subjugate.

    The English upper class are notable in that they don’t love and cherish their children all that much, leaving that to wet nurses maids, and boarding school. That results in the kids having stunted emotional growth, not becoming full personalities which then have trouble forming abiding intimate relationships, empathy, compassion and so it goes, compensated in part by some amazing eccentricities.

    How much that is true now I’ll leave others to consider, and how much it applies in other countries also. My sister when she went to Europe in the 1960s was downstairs maid (there was an upstairs maid too) to a Swiss banker married to an Englishwoman.

    My wife in the 1970s was maid to a minor aristocrat in Sussex who married a commoner. That didn’t work too well, especially when the colonial maid picked up a book from the coffee table and pointed out that her own family was actually listed among the minor aristocracy. My wife learnt a lesson from that.

  57. Jumpy: Someone described trickle down economics as someone on high pissing down on the lesser classes, and holding back while doing so to make sure the lesser classes didn’t get much upper class piss.
    Read about a culture somewhere in the Russian region where the upper class got their high by eating magic mushrooms and the lower classes got their high by drinking……. Maybe you are right Jumpy. The idea for trickle down economics may have come from Russia.

  58. Mr A

    J. M. Keynes also had a reputation as a canny and well-off share investor. He influenced many areas of State policy. Can that all be explained by widespread delusion and ignorance at the peaks of the British Civil Service??

    His success there could be that he invested in areas that he influenced the State to throw large amounts of “ stimulus “ at perhaps.
    The perfect insider trading scheme.

    Were the “ruling classes”, aristocrats and plutocrats closet socialists??

    They certainly acted like the ruling socialist political class.
    Every self proclaimed socialist Government I can think of has ended an authoritarian police state with people fleeing.

    I don’t see that happening in Britain or the US yet, but certain large sections of the political, academic, media and entertainment classes are pushing for it for reasons unfathomable to me.

  59. One of the things I’ve been thinking about today is how much experience in actual commerce and trade do todays politicians that are making economic policies have compared to previous generations.

    Far less it seems but I’ll have to do a lot of digging.

    ( I’m not going to count law firms or total taxpayer funded companies)

  60. Every self proclaimed socialist Government I can think of has ended an authoritarian police state with people fleeing.

    At least one ended in a coup which installed a right wing authoritarian police state. I’ll leave you to do the research.

  61. Mr J

    I’ve never heard it suggested that J.M.Keynes was guilty of insider trading.

    Look, if the fellow invested in shares abd debentures, and the economy recovered, wasn’t he entitled to reap some rewards?

    I didn’t pick you as opposed to unearned income, or being against a bloke having a bit of a go on the stock exchange.

    I thought you were someone who liked the idea of “a rising tide lifts all boats”. That has to include investors’ boats. Or would you prefer that private investors didn’t exist?

    Keynes was a chap who wrote about “animal spirits” of enterprise and risk, and exemplified those spirits.


  62. Jumpy:

    One of the things I’ve been thinking about today is how much experience in actual commerce and trade do todays politicians that are making economic policies have compared to previous generations.

    I guess what I want from our leaders is a deep understanding of what government’s have to do and the things that they can do to do what they can do that is different to what business must and can do. In my adult life Turnbull is the only prime minister we have had with business experience. A man who, lets face it was a failure as prime minister. Hawke was an outstanding prime minister who was able to successfully steer Australia out of the stagflation that mired Frazer.
    Herbet Hooverr was the US President who was in office when the great depression struck. On paper you might think he was the right man to handle the crisis, a very successful businessman with political experience as commerce secretary. However, Hoover’s business background was a hindrance when facing the great depression crisis.

    Hoover viewed a lack of confidence in the financial system as the fundamental economic problem facing the nation.[147] He sought to avoid direct federal intervention, believing that the best way to bolster the economy was through the strengthening of businesses such as banks and railroads. He also feared that allowing individuals on the “dole” would permanently weaken the country.[148] Instead, Hoover strongly believed that local governments and private giving should address the needs of individuals.

    Unlike Ken Henry, Rudd and Swan he did not understand that what getting money into the hands of consumers for a short amount of time was needed to get business going again. It was left to Roosevelt and his new deal to sort out the mess.
    Some interesting information:

    While Hoover continued to resist direct federal relief efforts, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York launched the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration to provide aid to the unemployed. Democrats positioned the program as a kinder alternative to Hoover’s alleged apathy towards the unemployed.[171]

    The economy continued to worsen, with unemployment rates nearing 23 percent in early 1932,[172] and Hoover finally heeded calls for more direct federal intervention.[173] In January 1932, he convinced Congress to authorize the establishment of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which would provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads, and local governments. [174] The RFC saved numerous businesses from failure, but it failed to stimulate commercial lending as much as Hoover had hoped, partly because it was run by conservative bankers unwilling to make riskier loans.[175] The same month the RFC was established, Hoover signed the Federal Home Loan Bank Act, establishing 12 district banks overseen by a Federal Home Loan Bank Board in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve System.[176] He also helped arrange passage of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1932, emergency banking legislation designed to expand banking credit by expanding the collateral on which Federal Reserve banks were authorized to lend.[177] As these measures failed to stem the economic crisis, Hoover signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, a $2 billion public works bill, in July 1932.[172]

    Budget policy

    National debt as a fraction of GNP up from 20% to 40% under Hoover. From Historical Statistics US (1976)
    After a decade of budget surpluses, the federal government experienced a budget deficit in 1931.[178] Though some economists, like William Trufant Foster, favored deficit spending to address the Great Depression, most politicians and economists believed in the necessity of keeping a balanced budget.[179] In late 1931, Hoover proposed a tax plan to increase tax revenue by 30 percent, resulting in the passage of the Revenue Act of 1932.[180] The act increased taxes across the board, rolling back much of the tax cut reduction program Mellon had presided over during the 1920s. Top earners were taxed at 63 percent on their net income, the highest rate since the early 1920s. The act also doubled the top estate tax rate, cut personal income tax exemptions, eliminated the corporate income tax exemption, and raised corporate tax rates.[181] Despite the passage of the Revenue Act, the federal government continued to run a budget deficit.[182]

  63. And let us not forget Will Rogers’ criticism of Hoover’s faith in “trickle down” economics.

    The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the dryest little spot. But he dident know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.

    Source: Nationally syndicated column number 518, And Here’s How It All Happened (1932), as published in the Tulsa Daily World, 5 December 1932.

  64. Zoot: Hoover worked at gold mining when he was in Australia. Gold mining is unusual in that there is effectively an unlimited demand for the product. The need to get more money into the hands of potential buyers would have been outside his experience. Trickle down economics makes more sense for things like gold. The contribution gold mining makes to an economy can be increased by simply encouraging more investment in gold mines. The converse is true in businesses where demand rather than capacity controls profits.

  65. Someone I know used to extol Pres Hoover simply on the basis that he had been a mining engineer, John.

    Clearly, you take a broader view, and one which encompasses what most folk care about: the actual results of policies carried out; various attempts made, successes or failures in the actually existing economy rather than some intellectual or ideological concoction.

    Well done, you.

    And zoot: well searched and found, sir.
    “Trickle down” theory as explained clearly and with all necessary sarcasm.

    I particularly admire “it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands”.

    Will Rogers can be excused for not propounding a macroeconomic theory. There are poor folk and there are rich folk. You can tell the difference: the poor have very few $, whereas the rich have oodles of $. Why? Because the economy. Will this persist? Yes. Why? Because the economy.

    That’s what the economy does.

    This is an empirical observation.

    If you wish, you may try to figure out a theory which could account for the observation; see you in a decade from now.

  66. Ambi of the high drays:

    Someone I know used to extol Pres Hoover simply on the basis that he had been a mining engineer, John.

    My wife grew up in a household where “engineer” meant mining engineer and the word engineer was always preceded by “bloody stupid”said with strong feelings. So there was a bit of prejudice there. Me, I spent time running concentrators and washeries that had to process the crap that mining engineers claimed was worth processing. So a bit more prejudice here too.
    Hoover actually started as geologist (and married a geologist!) He had an outstanding record in mining and directing gigantic humanitarian food relief projects in Europe during and after World War I post WW and served as Commerce Secretary before running for President.
    On paper he seems to have had what it takes to be an outstanding president and may well have been if he was the president that needed to mobilize resources in WWII. However, his tragedy was to be the president when the depression struck. The hard, driving mining engineer saw the depression as business problem where paying money for nothing to the potential customers that the economy required to spend money was too much against his grain,

  67. High drays and tallow to both of our readers.

    Ancestors here include a small business operator sluicing alluvial gold out of creek gravel. Son became an academic studying mining engineering, basically thought a bloke with experience in the mining industry must be a fine fellow.

    Herbert meant well, and had practical managerial skills, but as is the case with all humans, was limited in his outlook.

    “Cometh the hour, cometh the person”.
    Churchill is one of the best examples: natural pugnacity, daring, a cynical view of political posturing, family background in Westminster, earlier overseas war time assignments, master of the language; cometh the crisis, Churchill squeaked in as PM.

    Must away to round up the quill geese.

  68. Forgive me, I’ve been labouring on a post on the climate emergency which is about an hour off finishing, and I have to go to work now.

    There is a deadline of tomorrow I’m trying to meet, correction, have to meet.

    Back tonight.

  69. “Cometh the hour, cometh the person”.
    Churchill is one of the best examples: natural pugnacity, daring, a cynical view of political posturing, family background in Westminster, earlier overseas war time assignments, master of the language; cometh the crisis, Churchill squeaked in as PM.

    That’s all well and good Ambi, but had he ever run a business in the real world? Could he guarantee a budget surplus year after year and not rack up the national debt?
    If not, he was obviously a crap PM – just ask Jumpy.

  70. Churchill was actually a mixed bag. He was behind wacky ideas like Gallipoli in WWI and the Greek campaign in WWII. His hard line with the Germans at Versailles helped create the failure of the Weimar Republic after the war which in turn helped the rise of Adolf.
    Then again his determination and way with words probably kept the poms going when things were going RS.

  71. Yes, a mixed bag, that Winston.
    But Nazism needed defeating.

    Several national leaders shone during those days, not only Churchill.

    Churchill assisted in giving Britain a WW1 lead in developing and building tanks. A very practical matter, contributing to victory in WW1.

    The Versailles Treaty was a mixed bag too.
    I doubt that most of the blame for its consequences, if blame is needed, can be laid at Churchill’s feet.

  72. I doubt that most of the blame for its consequences, if blame is needed, can be laid at Churchill’s feet.

    I can’t quote chapter and verse, but I’ve been told our own Billy Hughes deserves a disproportionate amount of the blame.
    Good old Australia – always punching above its weight.

  73. Heard a few minutes of an ABC programme on Versailles the other day: they played an audio clip of Billy saying his main aim was to grab Papua New Guinea, to gain a barrier against invasion.

    The Americans said that was OK but forced him to take on a “trusteeship” which the presenter claimed Billy wasn’t pleased about.

    At least, zoot, we can be grateful the little Aussie battler Digger didn’t regain the PM job a decade after Versailles, when he was still lingering on in the senior ranks in Parlt.

    Hughesy, eh?
    There’s a name to conjur with..

  74. In archaeological news, the Budj Bim aquaculture site in south west Victoria, owned by the Gutjitmara people, has been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

    Waters flow from the crater of a volcano, down towards, then into Bass Strait.


    Would folk practising aquaculture be nomadic , in the strict meaning of that traditional description of our predecessors? I think not.

  75. Ambi: My understanding is that the group you are talking about modified the water flows and caught, smoked and traded the smoked eels. Some Victorian Aborigines also built stone houses for protection from the luvley weather Vic is famous for.

  76. I understand Billy Hughes wanted Germany to pay for every last bit of damage they did in WW1, and was in large part responsible for the ‘reparations’ which busted the German economy. Without that it is arguable Hitler would have never come to power, and we would not have had WW2.

    Eric Hobsbawm also speculated that it would have been better for the world if Germany would have won WW1, but that is idle speculation.

    Germany lost a third of its territory in each war, and I don’t think you will get them lining up again.

  77. On Victorian weather: yes, John.
    Stone houses, and remnants of at least one are at that site.

    On Victorian weather and smoked eels: “necessity is the mother of invention”.

    To amend John Maynard Keynes, “When the weather changes, I try to keep warm. What do you do?”

    Long live stone houses made of local stone.
    Reduce stone-miles and don’t use emissions-heavy cement.

  78. Perhaps also the French, on whose territory endless miles of trenches and exploding shells and bullets were inflicted, may have wanted un petit peu of compensation??

    E. Hobsbawm also felt that a price of tens of millions dead in Europe would have been a price worth paying for the triumph of the Soviet system. Idle speculation and most sanguine about the spilling of the blood of others, that historian.

  79. Ambi and JD July 6 “In archaeological news…”
    Aquaculture was very widely practised by first Australians including eel smoking in hollow trees – eel fat was found in the base of the trees.
    If anyone is interested, read Bruce Pascoe’s book “Dark Emu”. It offers accounts by Australian explorers and shows how they contrast with accounts written by government and settlers. In doing so the breadth, depth and sophistication of First Australians becomes really apparent. Pascoe has a lot to say about Aboriginal housing, agriculture and aquaculture.
    And if you want more, see Bill Gammage, “The Biggest Estate on Earth”.
    For me the contrast between the account of explorers versus those of vested interests (settlers, government) was incredibly stark. My life-long image of Indigenous was shattered by the realisation of my ignorance of this incredible and so very old very accomplished culture.

  80. Thanks Geoff

    Dark Emu is indeed a wonderful book.

    Just recently I saw a ‘childrens’ edition’ of it in a bookshop. But it was in Victoria. The drays should have copies to other States by Christmas.

    They say Bruce lives out east near an arm of the top lake at Mallacoota.

    He was busy writing short stories and helped many other writers as a publisher, decades ago. Good to see him gaining recognition while he’s still with us.

    At primary school in the 1950s in Queen Victoria’s realm, we were taught that Aboriginal life was entirely nomadic. At secondary school I think the term was “nomadic hunter gatherers”. Maybe that was later.

    John rightly points out that stone houses were built long before European Settlement.

    Congratulations anthropologists, historians and popularisers: Bill Gammage, Bruce Pascoe, et al

  81. GH, Ambi: Aboriginal culture and lifestyle should be looked at as an intelligent response to the problems of living in particular places with the tech and resources available. As a result, there were places in Aus where nomadic hunter gathering made sense others where stone houses, eel factories and various levels of agriculture were practical and used.
    From time to time I asked myself what would happen if the non-Aboriginal, educated people on Groote Eylandt became educated there without the possibility of trading. Maybe we could have farmed yams and a few other foods but we could not have made metals (No ore) In the end we would not have lived much differently than the Aborigines had and we would have had to accept much of the Aboriginal culture because our system would not have worked for a population of 500 that the place could support.

  82. Thanks Geoff, never heard of Dark Emu.
    Just got the audiobook for $ 18:99 of iTunes.
    Narrated by the author himself, I prefer self narrated personally.

  83. That’s great Jumpy, I hope you find the book as insightful as I did. I carried the very common perception that our Indigenous Peoples were hunter gathers strewn about Australia. Even Jarred Diamond remarked how little they advanced over 50,000 years.
    Turns out they had developed an extraordinary civilisation over that time.
    If you want to spoil your night, have a look at Timothy Bottoms “Conspiracy of Silence” that documents the “dispersal” of Queensland’s Aboriginals. Well referenced, it is an account of what was done by white settlers and government to the Aboriginals in Queensland. Some of the actors, e.g. the Jardine brothers, have rivers named after them, although there are rumblings that some names ought to be changed.

  84. An electorate in Victoria, in the recent redistribution, lost the name McMillan. Old Angus McMillan was a prominent, pioneering pastoralist in Gippsland. Stories about weekend hunting parties to shoot Koories have been around for some time.

    His family name no longer adorns that electorate.

    Instead, John Monash: engineer, SEC manager, and part-time soldier is honoured now. And psssssst, did you hear he was a Jew?

  85. JD July 7 – John I agree but could I comment that your account is rather more objective than mine. Quite OK and maybe very consistent with an engineering profile. I responded with more of an emotional reactive response and was embarrassed by my subjective lack of understanding. I think we are both right.
    Nice that you raised trade as a factor. Indigenous peoples did trade, and that was linked to culture and lore. I’m still reading about that, so I can’t add detail right now, but I think that the topic is quite large.

  86. Ambi I googled McMillan and was horrified with his reported actions. Quite a bit of detail from Wiki and some of the accounts seemed credible. I am thinking that dispersal was widespread across Australia and there are many stories like Gippsland.

    You know if Indigenous peoples developed their culture over 50,000 years (some say longer, up to 80,000) then the European influence has only been a few hundred years, not much more than a blip on the Indigenous timeline. Yet the damage done is extraordinary.

  87. I think that constantly talking about 50,000 yrs is a bit of a put down. Aborigines are like us. They have brains and use those brains to make sense of the world, solve new problems and take advantage of new things when they become aware of them.
    They have also not been completely isolated. We know that contact with the Torres St Islanders has been going on for a long time and that Makassans have been coming down to the North of Aus for hundreds of years before the British invasion and clearly had an influence on the culture and life of people like the Groote Eylandters. (Ex: Switch to dug out canoes and the use of flags in various ceremonies.)

  88. JD I mentioned 50K because very recently published research established that date as the time and place that people arrived in Australia. There are other estimates out to 80K years but I am not sure where that number came from.
    No intention of a put down, meant if anything as a sign of respect.

  89. GH: Suspect the time is greater than 50,000 yrs. The point I was making is that Aborigines may have changed substantially during the period in response to changing circumstances, development of ways to extend the range of environments they thrive in etc. They have changed because like us they have the ability to think, solve problems and so on. We have changed over the last 200 yrs. Ditto Aborigines. Who knows what they might achieve and which options they may choose.

  90. There could have been folk in Australia before “ aborigines “.

    I don’t claim there was or wasn’t but the possibility and skerricks of evidence exist for it.

  91. There could have been folk in Australia before “ aborigines “.

    No there couldn’t, unless you’re talking about extra terrestrials. The migrations out of Africa have been mapped and no homo sapiens reached Australia before our indigenes.

  92. Zoot:

    No there couldn’t, unless you’re talking about extra terrestrials. The migrations out of Africa have been mapped and no homo sapiens reached Australia before our indigenes.

    Touching confidence re mapping of migration routes and that signs of very small groups would be picked up. A particular problem if the groups we might be talking about traveled when water levels were lower and liked living beside the seaside.

  93. JD yes there are opinions that Aborigines were here up to 80,000 years ago. I cited 50,000 because of the recent study by Bird et al. that was confident about the migratory timeline. (The study was by 12 authors that included Bird. Link below). I was thinking I might be asked for compelling evidence…
    See: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333296822_45610-52160_years_of_site_and_landscape_occupation_at_Nawarla_Gabarnmang_Arnhem_Land_plateau_northern_Australia

    Yes the populations doubtless changed in many ways. Those near water and arable land sourced their food in ways that took advantage of local options, as did the desert dwellers.
    Birds study proposed that arrivals may have been in batches of immigrants, numbering about 70 people. I don’t know if he claimed that they were all from the one source population, but the physical appearance of today’s Aborigines does show considerable diversity, as does any other population.

  94. There was a rock carving site I was familiar with near Newman with a flat faced kangaroo which implies humans reached a site 400 km from the current sea level at least 50,000 yrs ago.
    Bradshaw paintings were pretty old a depicted a very gracile artistic people. Then there was a sudden switch to a cruder form of painting……….. Plenty of scope out there for speculation.
    I have this theory that some of the human expansion could have been done by a small band that all of a sudden decides ti want to travel east from Africa to find where the sunrise god lives.

  95. John, I’ve just led off the new Salon with NAIDOC Week.

    They proudly claim 65,000 years.

    However, I googled and found When did Aboriginal people first arrive in Australia?

    They say Aborigines carry the Neanderthal genes same as everyone else out of Africa. They think a bit after 50,000 years ago.

    There is a claim based on Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in Arnhem Land, that stretches back to 65,000 years, but point out that only the sand has been dated, not the artifacts, and no human remains. They say that artifacts can sink in sand, and think this likely happened.

    As to modern humans outside Africa, it’s looking like 185,000, or even earlier.

    Then there is this:

    Until recently, early evidence for excursions outside Africa by Homo sapiens was limited to the Levant. But in the last few years, discoveries of modern human fossils from Daoxian and Zhirendong in China dated to between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago suggest early waves of migration pushed further into Eurasia than previously supposed.

  96. Touching confidence re mapping of migration routes

    Upon reflection confidence in the mapping is neither here nor there John.
    We’re talking about homo sapiens arriving in Australia. There is no evidence of proto-humans (homo habilus, homo erectus etc) in Australia before then and the homo sapiens who arrived are what we now call Aboriginals.
    Any folk who were in Australia before “aboriginals” (to use Jumpy’s offensive terminology) arrived were Aboriginal.

  97. Zoot: My understanding is that Aborigines arrived over an extended period of time. for example, dingoes arrived with a group that arrived about 5000 yrs ago.
    It is also my understanding that Europeans, for example, have a mix of homo sapien and Neanderthal genes. Aborigines and PNG people have mix that include Denisovans. Being pedantic re who was here when and what their culture was like 50,000 yrs ignores the incompletness of the fossil record, particularly when early arrivals may have stayed in areas that are now below sea level.

  98. Two questions John.
    1. How do you differentiate between homo sapiens who arrived 50,000 years ago (who we agree are Aboriginal) and homo sapiens who may have arrived earlier?
    2. What makes the earlier arrivals not Aboriginal?

  99. 2. What makes the earlier arrivals not Aboriginal?

    They’re obviously Extraterrestrials according to your salty comment directed to me above.

    Change your tune ?

  100. Zoot:

    What makes the earlier arrivals not Aboriginal?

    All of the current Australian human population are believed to be the descendants of beings that arrived as immigrants. By definition, these immigrants to Australia could not be Australian Aboriginals no matter when they arrived. Only the descendants could be described as Aboriginals.

  101. Zoot: Not clear what you are on about. Speculation re when the first Australians arrived? Speculation re when the first ancestors of some current Australians arrived? (The first arrivers may not have living descendants.) Definition of “Aboriginal”? Putting the 2 J’s in their place? (Bit of a challenge in both cases.)

  102. zoot, at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, we only know what we know. There may have been homo sapiens here before 65kya, we just don’t know. However, if they were still here when the 50kya arrivals came, the geneticists would be telling us so, would they not?

    What they’ve told us is that there are traces of a third hominid in the DNA of Melanesians and Aborigines, beyond Neanderthals and Denisovans. Research (2016):

    Papuan and Aboriginal ancestors left Africa around 72,000 years ago and then split from the main group around 58,000 years ago.

    They reached the supercontinent of ‘Sahul’ that originally united Tasmania, mainland Australia and New Guinea around 50,000 years ago, picking up the DNA of Neanderthals, Denisovans and another extinct hominin along the way.

    If that is right, then they left Africa before the mob who headed towards Europe.

    One thing is certain. There is stuff we don’t know as yet. We seem to know nothing about this third group.

  103. My point is quite simply that if there were modern humans in Australia before 65 kya then by John’s definition their descendants (born here) were the first Australian Aboriginals.
    The statement that there could have been folk in Australia before “aboriginals” is at best illogical (or was Jumpy referring to the “aboriginal’s” parents?)
    I have to concede it’s possible that other hominins lived here at the time, but so far there is no evidence.

  104. zoot, that’s clear and logical.

    With respect to the third species mentions above, they could have been already here. I think more likely they were somewhere in Asia and subsequently either died out, or were small in numbers and were absorbed.

  105. Zoot/GH: If all Aborigines had been wiped out as a result of the English invasion we would still refer to them as Aborigines. By this logic if a group of “humans” who were the first arrivers have no living descendants in modern Aus this would mean that no-one living now could claim to be an Australian Aboriginal.
    People are funny about what they consider themselves. My wife for example talked a lot about her Swedish Ancestry when I met her even though she was only 1/8 Swedish. Perhaps it is because her surname was Swedish and the Swedish line was a lot more respectable than some of the other lines. However, in her dotage she talks more about her convict ancestry, in particularly the prostitute who got transported for having enough enterprise to steal the silver buckles off a customers pants. (Just what a liberated female ancestor would be expected to do.)
    Me I think of myself as Scottish because I get this strong urge to go to war with the English whenever I hear bagpipes.
    No easy fix to deciding who is legally an Australian Aboriginal when financial gains and prestege hanging on the decision.

  106. I like the handle “First Australians”. Of course, it was not “Australia” at the time but for expository purposes, it allows those inhabitants who well and truly preceded us to be acknowledged as they should be.
    I don’t make much of precise DNA or other attributes such as skin colour, facial features or particular time of occupying Australia. I’m OK accepting “they” have been here for a very long time and are entitled to a lot better deal than they have been given so far.

  107. JD too bad about the Scot in you. I got the same from my grandfather. And my mum was out of Sweden early 1700s.

    Queensland has just agreed to hand over $180 million to pay back stolen wages from Indigenous workers. ‘Been a long time coming. Now begins the actual money transfer. That might get messy because government will want some proof of identity and entitlement. Further, many have passed and it will be up to their estate to claim.

  108. Geoff thank you for the link to Professor Willerslev and Creative Spirits. I have quite a bit of reading to do 🙂

  109. The only ancestors I care to speak of are the ones I know or have known. All Australians.

    How they came to be here, I care not.

    They, current “ Aborigines “ and myself are all just Australians that just happen to find ourselves together for a very short while right now.

    Damn any imaginary hierarchy anyone wants to impose to divide us.

  110. GH: Somehow or other I became the policy committee chairman at the 1964 Abscol (university student Aboriginal Scolarship scheme.) conference. The committee included a young Charlie Perkins and a woman from WA who had had a lot to do campaigning for changes at Jigalong in the middle of WA. Interesting experience which opened my eyes much further to the incredible injustices being suffered by First Australian people at that time.
    Some of it was legal discrimination but quite a bit was informal discrimination. One of our friends of mixed ancestry talked about buying a book and how good it was to be able to buy this book with a cheque because it had his picture on the front. This was an honest man who was a pillar of the community. The story drove home to me the horror of constant informal community.

  111. Good on you John.

    Around Melbourne Uni circa 1965 I believe two of the strongest student clubs were the Student Christian Movement and Abschol.

    If memory serves, Abschol members were going out bush around 1967 to help build schools.

    Strikes me in recent years we’ve heard more than enough from the Freedom Ride crew in NSW. They weren’t the only group working positively for Aboriginal advancement. (Give me a school any day.)

    In Feb 1967 the hot topic on campus was Capital Punishment; Pentridge Prison had just been the site of the hanging of Ronald Ryan. His execution echoed down the years in Victoria and especially Melbourne.

    Other issues and protest movements arose soon after. In August 1968 over a thousand students packed the Public Lecture Theatre to hear the (Czech) Dr Frank Knopfelmacher denounce and explain the Eastern Bloc invasion of his homeland. It was as close to “live blogging” of an historical event as the times allowed…..

    (Three of the more notable student speakers around 1968 to 1970 were Harry van Moorst, Robert Manne and Gerard Henderson. I kid you not.)

  112. Jumpy

    I’ve heard in recent years that the most valued and meaningful gestures and actions of reconciliation occur in small towns, often including descendants of those who were in conflict long ago, and often in country towns.

  113. Mr A
    I’m not one for reconciliation with anyone I haven’t been in a dispute with.

    If there was dispute between my ancestors and anyone else then that’s for them to sort out.

    I’m not going to inherit guilt or victimhood, nobody should.

  114. Jumpy there is no need to be guilt-powered. There is the matter of historic and on-going mistreatment that is a community issue. There is an humane imperative to correct that injustice. But that does not require you to flog yourself wth a cat of nines.

  115. Geoff
    What “ on-going mistreatment “ and by whom ?

    I’ll fight it with you, just point at the perpetrator.

  116. Well, it was more than 70 years ago but some Greeks want the present German Govt to pay “war reparations” for the invasion and occupation by ancestors during WW2.

    Echoes of the Versailles Treaty?

  117. Ambi:

    Around Melbourne Uni circa 1965 I believe two of the strongest student clubs were the Student Christian Movement and Abschol.

    My wife to be was a very active secretary of the Newcastle SCM and member of Abscol when I met her. I was a very public non-christian at the time but this didn’t stop me joining Abscol at her urging. (We became a couple some time after this.) She still has a talent for talking people into doing things that they would never have considered doing without her urging.

  118. Jumpy, when people are dispossessed, it’s up to them to tell us whether the matter has been resolved. Clearly it hasn’t for many.

    Ambi, I think Knopfelmacher was Sudeten German. Millions of them were kicked out of what is now and was then Czech country after WW2.

    When we were on tour in 2015 as we drove from Prague SW to Passau our tour guide explained that the Czechs who moved in and replaced the Germans weren’t necessarily good farmers. It showed.

    BTW our tour guide was proudly Austrian from Vienna, with a German first name and a Slavic surname. He sounded and acted like a German to me.

  119. Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump.

    All power tends to corrupt…..
    – Lord Acton

    Thank Heavens, for leetle girls
    – Maurice Chevalier

  120. Jumpy, July 10: “What “ on-going mistreatment “ and by whom ?”

    Jumpy it has been established that terra nullius (Latin for no man’s land) as applied to Australia is bunkum. That was in 1992, but it was also held that the British settlement had established sovereignty in 1788, and that still held as the Australian government. So it was accepted that the Aboriginals were here first – it was not a no mans land at all. That implied rights that are still disputed today.
    But returning to the days when settlers wanted to claim the best lands for their own purposes, they “dispersed” the occupants by brute and lethal force. In Queensland alone, it is estimated from reliable accounts that well over 50,000 Aboriginals were killed. Some were shot, or drowned or given disease such as smallpox.
    So the First Australians were turfed off the land they were a part of, and their deep culture was damaged right to the core. British law prevailed over Indigenous lore without any reference to the rights of Aboriginals.
    Jumpy I surely don’t need to point to particular mistreatment of today’s Aboriginals. But if you do need some help, look at their health, the high infant mortality, the lower education outcomes and the disproportionate representation in the justice system. You cannot say that that is the result of individual choices – it is a function of a deep prejudice and ignorance practised over hundreds of years to the advantage of whites and at the expense of Australia’s first People.

    The perpetrator(s) – original settlers, government and generations who have, without question, been content with the sorry history behind us.

  121. Geoff

    One of the sad aspects of the events you recall, is that there were decent and humane people and leaders in the main colonial cities; many wanted justice for the Aboriginals and expressed those wishes at the time.

    But the Police were busy in the towns and cities; the lust for pastures and later mines was strong; the expansion of settlements and farming etc was rampant and urgent, as local conditions allowed; and it seems “what happened out in the scrub stayed out in the scrub”.

    Most murderers knew that they murdered, so they concealed their crimes. They knew they were breaking British Law in murdering.

    Some administrators became aware of crimes,……

    A tyranny of distance……

    Another, early example of the Great Divide in this nation between City and Bush?

  122. Ambi true enough, although Pascoe reckons there was high office complicity and cover up…
    I was actually responding to Jump’s post 13/7 to give my comments perspective. I’m hoping that Jumpy might review his arms length attitude to the sorry history that led to him having a place to build his home, raise a family and conduct his business.

    Most perpetrators knew they were murdering but maybe they did not regard “blacks” as humans. In early Sydney it was considered sport to ply Aboriginals with rum (their pay for work done), then make them fight each other for white mans enjoyment. Whilst Aboriginals did, on festive occasions, brew a weak (~2%) alcohol imagine the effect the 40%+ rum would have on them.

  123. Geoff, I asked “ what on-going mistreatment ? “

    I am familiar with many examples of past mistreatment by many groups to other groups that I have zero responsibility for.

    Apparently all of my ancestors were of Nationalities that mistreated and dispossessed each other over the centuries.

    Should I feel guilt or victimhood ?
    Or perhaps take responsibility for my situations failings and successes regardless.

  124. Jumpy do you really think that Indigenous Peoples get an equal share of the nations benefits? Are they treated fairly?

    Consider the Wangan and Jagalingou people who are the traditional owners of the land Adani seeks to mine. They are being mistreated by being dispossessed of their land and rights. I would say that is current and on-going. Adani has sought extensive legal redress including moving to bankrupt the People. It’s still happening.

    It’s not a question of guilt Jumpy, it’s about humanity and decency to recognise a fundamental wrong and do what you can to correct it. If you saw a dog hit by a car would you not be moved to assist that dog, even if it was in no way your fault? How about if it was a perfect stranger in trouble – surely you would assist. Can you see my point Jumpy? Not about guilt, just a proper way of being.

  125. Geoff, I’m unsure about financial compensation made by mining companies to anyone be they Aboriginal or not but the State Government is responsible for the resources under the ground.
    That may not be fair but it’s not racism.

    Your dog hypothetical isn’t relevant to what I’m saying because I’m apparently on the scene to be able to do something about it. I wasn’t on the scene 150 years ago.

    Jumpy do you really think that Indigenous Peoples get an equal share of the nations benefits?

    As much a share as any individual one of them wants and is willing to pursue.

    Are they treated fairly?

    Absolutely, more fairly that non-indigenous people in most cases with all these race quota programs.

    Do you think more or less taxpayer money is spent, per capita, on Indigenous or non-indigenous citizens?

  126. Yes, Geoff H at 9.32am.

    I did realise you were replying to Mr J, but added my 2 cents worth.

    Actually, the fact that there were decent, humane and law-abiding Europeans in the Colonies, some in positions of power and responsibility, doesn’t in any way impinge on the fact that murders and massacres occurred, and that prized land was stolen.

    An analogy might be: Person B points out some atrocities that occurred in War Z, whereupon Person A takes up his keyboard and says, “yes, but there were some pacifists in the belligerent nation at that time, and humanitarians, who decried that slaughter when they eventually heard about it.”

    Not much in the way of prevention or recompense.
    Some might condemn it as “virtue signalling”.

    A murder is a murder is a murder.

  127. Jumpy I thank you for taking time to respond. I am impressed with your ability to miss the point by hazing your way around the issues.
    Or you simply did not understand me at all.
    Either way you wash your hands of any wrongdoing by our ancestors, and having done that excuse yourself of any responsibility for a just and equitable society.

    If I came to your address and using brute force evicted you from your home you would be aggrieved and rather pissed at me for doing that. But then, my son occupies “your” house and whilst he is a really nice guy, he has no problem remaining in the home. He did not take it from you, his ancestor did. So should he feel any compassion for you?

  128. Something in the recent past may be another guide.

    At risk of breaching the netiquette of mentioning Ad*lf H*tler and his minions, there has been much discussion in Europe and the US in recent years, about restoring stolen art works to the (Jewish) families who had originally bought the works on the open market.

    (Last year in an historical Library in Vienna we saw displayed correspondence wherein a Viennese art dealer informed N*zi occupying officials which Jewish family homes might be worth a visit, to acquire some fine art.)

    In any case:
    1. This issue has been debated widely
    2. Much of the stolen art has been identified
    3. Much has been located.
    4. Some has been returned to the descendants of the original owners, where any are living still
    5. The search and restitution continues.

    Even publicised in a recent film, I believe.

    Do you, Jumpy, object to any of 2. to 5. above?
    Is that process justified?
    If so, why?

    If not, why not?

    Please note that very few of the thieves (1930s, 1940s) would now be alive.


    Footnote: when will an international commission begin documenting the theft of art by Soviet troops in WW2? (See Hermitage, and other museums in Russia). Has restitution begun? Or do “the spoils of war” occupy a different moral plane?

    Can we regard State-sponsored thieves with benign indifference?

    (There is an hypothesis, that today we see the crimes of H*tler quite differently from the crimes of St*lin. Could that be true?)

  129. Geoff

    Either way you wash your hands of any wrongdoing by our ancestors, and having done that excuse yourself of any responsibility for a just and equitable society.

    I’m sorry you have formed that opinion of me. All I can do is be as honest as I can.

    I do not believe the sins a Father should be payed for by his Son. Or the sins of a Grandmother or Great, Great, Great Grand uncle, etc.
    And I certainly do my bit for just and equitable opportunity in society to the extent I’m able. The outcomes are predominantly in the hand of each individual, certainly not me or you.

    You seem to want me to atone for being party to racism and I’m not.
    Sorry, not doin it.

  130. Jumpy I thought I was clear in not seeking people to assume blame for the sins of our fathers. However, there are consequences of those actions that affect people to this day. You for example likely own a home and maybe some industrial land. That property was once held by First Australians, so whilst you are not guilty, you have benefited from what has gone before.
    I think that warrants a compassionate state of mind towards the original owners.
    I never mentioned racism.

  131. GH/Jumpy:

    Geoff, I asked “ what on-going mistreatment ? “

    We have got beyond the point where Aborigines were killed or driven away from their traditional lands because a miner or farmer wanted the land that the Aborigines were occupying. We have also got beyond the point where Aborigines suffer from legal discrimination.
    But this doesn’t mean that the laws aren’t managed in a discriminatory way by some police and the legal system or that some laws have an inbuilt bias against those at the bottom of the pile. (Think punishment by fines and the jailing of people who cannot pay their fines – a major contributing factor in the high level of Aboriginal jailing and women going to jail because their menfolk have used the women’s money for the men’s booze.)
    Some things that were done with the best of motives can also end up becoming a sort of mistreatment – Land rights might be included here. It makes it harder to subject Aboriginal communities to media scrutiny and harder for businesses owned by outsiders to create jobs near where Aboriginals live.
    Then there is the problem of well meaning people putting effort into short term fixes instead of teaching re how to avoid or fix problems (Sometimes the underlying problem with well meaning actions is that Aborigines become convinced that SUMWUN and only SUMWUNs can fix problems that only the Aborigines themselves really have the power to fix.
    There endeth yet another sermon on Aboriginal policy.
    Neither you and I can really understand what it is like to live the life of an Aborigine.

  132. Another kind of property, for Old Master art works are too highfalutin.

    Around 1917-18, many mansions, businesses, farms, lands were seized by the Bolshevik government from folk deemed to be aristocrats/filthy rich/haute bourgeoisie. The seizers are all deceased; the acts were legal under the revolutionary regime.

    Should descendants of those expropriated scum, which descendants neither witnessed or protested against the seizures at the time, now be entitled to return of that stolen, or equivalent compensation?

    Ditto property (apartments, factories, businesses, tools of trade) seized in Eastern Europe [DDR, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugolslavia, Baltic States, from 1945 onwards …. ?]

    The shooting by DDR soldiers of persons trying to scale the Berlin Wall to emigrate, was legal in the DDR system. Was it murder?

  133. Funny you mention Ambi, for Indigenous intellectual property has been widely pillaged. Actually that is/was typical of all colonial rules, but it is ongoing in Oz.
    In one instance, the boomerang was first patented by a US corporation around 1895 I think. Remember that English law displaced Indigenous lore, so the aggrieved have to appeal in a foreign court under an imposed system completely different to their traditional lore developed over thousands of years yet ignored by the colonials.

  134. GH: It is hard to get our mind around just how different traditional and semi-traditional Aborigines are from us. They value different things, think differently and have different ways of doing things than we do. People who blunder in and assume that Aborigines want what we think they should want often end up being very frustrated.
    Read what I said above with the above comments in mind.
    So what are the options for an Aboriginal group? Possibilities:
    1 Go back to what they were. (Be essentially economically and socially separate.) Bit hard for most groups. The land required is just not there for most of them.
    2. The camel herder option: Living something like a traditional life adapted to the herding. (Essentially socially separate but there may be limited economic links.) Some groups may do something other than herd camels where the land and sea allows.
    3. The Jewish option. (Significant social separation including marrying Aborigines but largely immersed in the broader economy.)
    4. The Scottish option: Not much social separation and no economic separation. However, involved in some Scottish social activities and want to go to war with England when they hear bagpipes.
    5. Simply merge.
    My Scottish mind says the Scottish option has its attractions even though the end result may be complete merging with the broader society.
    What I wish for my Aboriginal friends obtain the skills and education that allow them to have the choice about their future.

  135. I have no problem with a Chinese woman or anyone else doing artwork in the Aboriginal style or sale.
    Nor Albert Namatjiras beautiful portraits in a non-Aboriginal style making him and his family money.

    ( as an aside, it funny that the communists and socialists valued paintings above the cost of just canvas, paint and wood for the frame. The exorbitant cost of some paintings is a result of Capitalist markets)

  136. John, I hope “ gubbament man “ will come up with something better than Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897

    On a Federal level one thing is bound to get NO votes on Constitutional Recognition, greens over reaching and spiteful rhetoric toward anyone that disagrees with that over reach.

    Anyway, it’s a waste of time to anyone that has read our Constitution, Aboriginals are already recognised by the 3rd word of it.

  137. Oh I dunno Prof Jumpy…..

    A work of art is admired (nay, revered) for its own sake as a work of art rather than for its monetary value.

    I invite you to look at a reproduction of a Rembrandt, a Vermeer, a Leonardo painting, or a Brett Whiteley; then tell me whether it’s just a few grams of paint and a couple of kilos of timber.

    The Soviet troops robbers would have had directions from folk well-acquainted with art history and artistic values. The Hermitage collection includes many pieces purchased by Tsars and millionaires before the Bolshevik era.

    And there was a strong 19th century school of Russian art, some of it with social themes (poor peasants for instance) long before the Soviet State mandated “socialist realism”, where every worker is heroic and every farm labourer on a collective farm looks ready to sing a hymn of praise to the Party.

  138. Jumpy I was on about the theft of Aboriginal intellectual property. If another person uses that property, say art, with the artist’s permission that is between the artist and the other party. But if another person simply copies the art then that is theft.
    Now if as you say a Chinese person does art in an Aboriginal style and holds it out as Indigenous, that is fraud, unless the item is clearly marked as an imitation.

    Albert Namatjira was known for his landscapes, not portraits. He was severely mistreated despite his talents. And he was never allowed to buy land.

  139. Jumpy at 4.27pm

    Perhaps Geoff in referring to “pillage of Aboriginal intellectual property” had in mind, as well as patents, the reproduction on everything from tea towels to T shirts to coasters to book covers, Aboriginal art work (paintings, designs, artefacts)?

    How would you like that, if you had painted a picture?

    Probably happened to Albert Namatjira too, though an optimist might have thought a man so famous could never be dealt with dishonestly.

    Human skulduggery is endless, eh?

    And quaint as it may seem, I can’t see how capitalism inherently reduces the occurrence or scale of skulduggery.

  140. Ohh, we’re concerned about the capitalist concept of Intellectual property rights now, ok.

    I don’t think that covers styles of art.
    Or will Aborigines be in trouble for singing US country and rap ?
    Perhaps an Eskimo can’t play Motzart on a didgeridoo.

  141. I wasn’t talking about styles , Prof.

    Rather, about particular, individual, unique images created by one artist (or in some cases by one artist with her apprentices filling in the easier sections).

    “Mona Lisa”, not Renaissance Portraiture.

    “Night Watch”, not Dutch style a la Rembrandt.

    “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, not Portraits from the Delft School, or copies in that style by other painters.


    If you can conceive a better method of allocating some return to creators than royalties and copyright, please explain.

    (If you suppose I’m an opponent of private property rights, you’re mistaken.)

  142. Fair enough Mr A.
    If it can be proven in Court that a particular image has been copied then recompense is due.

    I’m not aware of such forgeries being brought before a Judge.
    Are you ?

    Either way I don’t regard that as racially or culturally dispossessed.
    That’d be personal civil matter.

  143. OK.
    My guess is that in the 1930s to the 1950s, Aboriginal artists were unaware of remedies at law and most had other more urgent problems to deal with.

    If you’re interested, I think Albert Namatjira’s descendants have only recently had some measure of justice; can’t recall if it was through mediation or a Court.

  144. Jumpy I’m pretty sure we aren’t on the same page, especially on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Here’s something I have taken off the website of Terri Janke, Indigenous solicitors. It’s a bit of a read but I encourage you to try.

    ” Based on the right to self-determination, ICIP rights are Indigenous People’s rights to their heritage and culture. Heritage includes all aspects of cultural practices, traditional knowledge, and resources and knowledge systems developed by Indigenous people as part of their Indigenous identity.” And,

    “ICIP rights are collective in that the cultural expression and knowledge originate from a clan group and are passed on from generation to generation. Due to the continuing nature of Indigenous culture, ICIP also includes items created based on Indigenous cultural heritage…
    ICIP rights are based in customary laws which are not recognised by the legal system. There are gaps in the law which mean that unless Indigenous people can meet the requirements of intellectual property laws like copyright, their rights are unprotected and open to exploitation.”
    See: http://www.terrijanke.com.au/single-post/2018/01/29/Rights-to-Culture-Indigenous-Cultural-and-Intellectual-Property-ICIP-Copyright-and-Protocols

    ICIP rights also cover:
    Literary, performing and artistic works (see Copyright)
    Types of Knowledge, including spiritual knowledge
    Tangible and intangible cultural property
    Indigenous ancestral remains and genetic material
    Cultural environmental resources
    Sites of Indigenous significance
    Documentation of Indigenous heritage.

  145. GH: From your link:

    ICIP rights are based in customary laws which are not recognised by the legal system. There are gaps in the law which mean that unless Indigenous people can meet the requirements of intellectual property laws like copyright, their rights are unprotected and open to exploitation.

    Sounds like ICIP is a bit of an ambit claim at the moment. A claim that wants more for Aborigines in terms of intellectual property than a non-Aboriginal can get out of their intellectual property.
    I am conscious that Groote Eylandt Aboriginal law placed restrictions on who had the right to carve crocodiles but i am not sure how far this power extended. (Ex: A Groote right probably had no standing in the Kimberlies.)
    In general I would tend to favour Aboriginal intellectual rights to be based on Australian law when we are talking about who from outside an Aboriginal community can use a design or what ever that comes from within a community. It saves a lot of stuffing around.
    This doesn’t mean that I would never agree to the use of part of ICIP under some circumstances.

  146. I’m not aware of such forgeries being brought before a Judge.
    Are you ?

    I am, and I’m surprised a well read fellow such as yourself isn’t, particularly since it’s happened at least twice.

  147. Thanks John. To a degree I suppose that the ICIP is something of an ambit claim. Perhaps necessarily because as you say, Australian law prevails. Which goes to my exchange with Jumpy and talk of ongoing mistreatment.
    Australian law – based upon British law, was imposed without any regard for Aboriginal lore developed over eons. Murri Courts go a little way to recognising Aboriginal law but are very limited, often applied to Youth Justice

  148. Thank you Zoot. I just Googled “Aboriginal art forgery” and was surprised by the amount of material available on the topic.

  149. Good work, zoot.

    Forgery is one type of theft.
    Quite blatant.

    But there’s also breach of copyright: for instance, a particular, unique image is reproduced on, say, tea towels or coasters or posters or serviettes, etc. Sold to tourists and to Aussies. (In the era, decades before amazing dot paintings took the international art world by storm.)

    Not talking about some graphic artist making a design “in an Aboriginal style”.

    I agree with John that the IPIC assertion seems an ambit claim….. The bit that worries me is … Items produced based on cultural heritage.

    Wide open.

    Leonardo used existing knowledge and techniques and a rich religious heritage. Is his “Madonna of the Rocks” then a product ultimately owned by Renaissance Italy and the Church; should Mary Mother of Jesus and the Infant Jesus also have claims in copyright??

    It’s a truism that every work of art is produced in a cultural context by a sentient being who belongs, consciously or otherwise, to a number of social groups that any outsider can nominate, and owes debts to artistic antecedents which art historians may debate for decades or centuries. So bl**dy what?

    It is also a truism, which Prof Jumpy has advanced, that ultimately a painting is merely a collection of canvas, paint and wood – allowing of course for other materials falling within the purview of his discourse. Again, so bl**dy what?

    Artistic expression and artistic intellect are special. This is a field where the individual emerges from the collective and transcends it.

    Proof? Thousands of our fellow Aussies attend painting classes and join painting groups. Any Rembrandts? Any Albert Namatjiras? Any Brett Whiteleys?

    Very few.
    Very thin on the ground.
    Nup, not a huge number.

    Because of that strange, very individual nature of the most touching work.

    Which of course includes the work of “Possum”.

    (And gives a forger a financial incentive to forge. They try to forge van Goghs, they don’t bother with unsaleable artists.)

  150. Zoot: There are plenty of cases where women have published under male pen names because they thought they would be taken more seriously if potential readers thought they were male. Some of the cases the Guardian article you quoted would fall into this category of misleading pen names or stuff being written or painted by non-Aborigines using pen names that implied Aboriginal heritage.
    Some of the paintings we own were a team husband/wife effort with the plan and key parts done by the man and the cross hatching done by his wife.
    Similar can be said about some of the European masterpiece. The famous painter did the key parts of the painting and assistants did the rest. But the name at the bottom would be the master painter.
    The boundary between acceptable and not acceptable is blurry.

  151. John, I was simply refuting Jumpy’s apparent contention that nobody had been prosecuted for forging indigenous art works.
    As I’m completely unqualified I am offering no opinion on the finer points of the discussion in progress.

  152. Me too, zoot
    Never stopped me in the past….

    No turning over a new leaf here.

    Over to you, Prof Jumpy.

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