Category Archives: Sundries

Posts on sundry matters of life the universe and everything: Culture, Environment, Life, Politics & Government, Science, Social Science and Society, Technology etc.

Australian election enters the home strait?

We are in the home strait now. Which will prevail?

Newspoll (results available on Poll Bludger) shows the yawning gap that has opened up in two party preferred (TPP) terms:

I’ve taken it back to months before the 2019 election, which was on 18 May 2019, to show that the situation now is not like the situation then. With six days to go, incumbent PM Scott Morrison is looking for a miracle. Simon Benson, Political Editor for the Oz, wrote after the penultimate poll:

    According to the latest Newspoll, Labor would not only win government but it would win with a comfortable majority.

    Any notion of a hung parliament is extinguished on these numbers, irrespective of whether any Climate 200 independents get elected or not.

    Morrison needed the the contest to tighten with only two weeks to run. Newspoll has shown the opposite.

Continue reading Australian election enters the home strait?

Living and dying with COVID-19

We don’t use our own brains on Covid rules in Queensland any more. We just follow whatever NSW and Victoria decide.

So Queensland will ease Covid isolation rules from Thursday, bringing the state’s rules closer in line with NSW and Victoria, where ‘living with Covid’ is the go.

From the ABC monitoring site, Omicron is not kind to oldies, especially males:

Continue reading Living and dying with COVID-19

Morrison’s path to victory?

Scott Morrison calls federal election for May 21, setting up battle with Labor’s Anthony Albanese

Is it a personal battle between two leaders?

In large part, yes, because they certainly want to talk about each other, and the media do not want to talk about policy, having settled on the notion that neither side has any, although any journalist who is interested can find Labor’s policies here, the Liberal Party’s story book (plan) here. The Nationals’ Plan is much the same, but slightly different. For The Greens, it depends what you click on when you go to their site, but this is headlined as their Election Policy Platform.

All this is happening in an environment where trust in government, politics and politicians has largely been destroyed. Continue reading Morrison’s path to victory?

On fossil fuels, Queensland needs to pause and consider

The Queensland Government has put out for comment a Queensland resources industry development plan, Draft for consultation, November 2021with a consultation deadline of 11 February 2022.

My concern is that the future plans for coal and gas do not sit well the latest science and with what the world must collectively do to prevent the current climate crisis from becoming a tragedy. Within that I have a specific concern about the plans relating to the fracking of gas in the Channel Country. Relevant to these concerns I’ll make four statements with some supporting notes. (Last updated, 27 February 2022) Continue reading On fossil fuels, Queensland needs to pause and consider

Weekly salon 12/1

1. 2021 in graphs

Peter Martin has assembled 10 graphs from articles he has edited in 2021.

Each tells a powerful story. For example, it is clear that sooner or later something will have to be done about JobSeeker when it is forecast to become a mere fraction of the old age pension, which is miserly by international standards. Remember around a third of pensioners already live in poverty. Continue reading Weekly salon 12/1

Weekly salon 7/1: 2022 new year edition

1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!

That is a Thai new year’s greeting which means means:

    May you find compassion, loving kindness and equanimity along your paths over the next year!

On a personal level that would help. I think most people feel well rid of 2021, and hope for better in 2022.

2. Will humanity survive?

Andrew Leigh, they say, is always the smartest man in the room, and one of the nicest. Since entering parliament in 2008 he has now launched his 8th book. This Saturday Paper article (no doubt pay-walled) is an interview with Andrew Leigh on humanity’s one-in-six chance of ending. Continue reading Weekly salon 7/1: 2022 new year edition

Seasons Greetings 2021

I love this image of our fair city, so I’m reprising it from last year.

Last year I said 2020 was dominated by the four “C’s” – Coronavirus, climate change, China, and corruption in politics.

This year was much the same, and again I found myself overwhelmed in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Luckily others were better organised, so a good time was had by all. Continue reading Seasons Greetings 2021

ABORIGINES: CONVERSATION STARTER

My future wife and I became actively interested in Aborigines and Aboriginal policy when we were members of ABSCOL. At that time, ABSCOL was a University based society that raised money for Aboriginal university scholarships. (It also provided Aboriginal policy advice to the National University Students Association. – I chaired the committee that drafted the NUSA policy in 1964.)
Since then my wife and I spent about 20 yrs in places with substantial Aboriginal populations. In these places we spent more time than most mining town residents interacting with Aborigines.
This post looks at some of the things we thought we learned from our interactions with Aborigines and some alternatives for the future.
DETAILS:
A few key dates:
1965: Charlie Perkins led a “freedom ride” that shocked a lot of Australians. Australians were not comfortable confronting things like Aboriginal kids not being allowed to use the Kempsey swimming pool.
1965: In the early 1960’s BHP negotiated a mining agreement that allowed BHP to mine some of the manganese ore deposits on Groote Eylandt. At the end of this process BHP agreed to a number of things including equal pay for Aboriginal workers and the payment of royalties. Radical stuff at the time.
1970’s: Davidson’s lived most of this decade on the Groote Eylandt Aboriginal reserve. (I worked for Groote Eylandt mining. My responsibilities included Aboriginal training at one stage.)
1976: Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) is Australian federal government legislation that provides the basis upon which Aboriginal Australian people in the Northern Territory can claim rights to land based on traditional occupation.
1980’s to early 1990’s: Davidson’s lived most of this time at the Pilbara town of Newman. During this time a large fringe dwellers camp grew at Newman.
Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Is: Home of the Warndilyagwa people. This group consisted of a number of clans who all use Enindilyagwa as their primary language. (They could also speak a number of mainland languages as well as English.)
Makassan trepang gatherers had been visiting Groote for hundreds of years. The Groote people were used to dealing with strange outsiders and not given to being pushed around.
Traditional culture and laws have a significant influence on the decisions that the Warndilyagwa make. Some features of the culture can cause difficulty for strangers. For example, Aborigines think it is bad manners to say “no.” They deal with unwanted requests by saying “yes” and then not doing what was wanted.
We both learned a bit of Enindilyagwa. The language provides a good example of how languages develop to satisfy needs. (There were about 100 prepositions – It was important not to make mistakes about who was being talked about.)
My wife commented that: “After 8 yrs I would think I had things worked out. Then something would happen and they would do something completely different to what I expected.”
We were impressed with how the Warndilyagwa could make decisions and then make things happen.
Newman Fringe Dwellers Camp: During our stay in Newman a fringe dwellers camp grew next to Newman. My wife had some dealings with these Aborigines as a result of working for the Dept of community services and being editor of the local newspaper.
At that time the camp was used by Aborigines passing through, those who were there because of the booze and people trying to avoid tribal law punishments. (Since we left some improvements have been made but the fringe township is apparently being shut down and the people being moved into state housing.)
Newman was unusual because there were no living traditional owners because they were wiped out by the Hamersley mob. Since we left the Martu desert people have taken some responsibility for this land.
The Davidson’s have had not much to do with Aborigines since leaving Newman.
Conclusions: At the end of our time with Aborigines I concluded that:
1. It is the Aborigines and often only the Aborigines that can fix many Aboriginal problems.
2. My wish was that both individuals and communities have the freedom to choose what they want to do.
3. A lot of progress had been made since 1964. In 1964 I believe I knew all the Aborigines with university degrees – Both of them.
Conversation questions?
1. In 1964 Australia was following an assimilation policy which was similar to our migrant assimilation policy. The idea was that Aborigines/migrants should be helped to become part of the broader population. ABSCOL scholarships were about helping this process by demonstrating to both Aborigines and other Australians that Aborigines could do well in the broader society. Stan Grant suggested recently that Aborigines may be better of if they looked at how immigrants had succeeded in becoming a successful part of broader Australia.
2. Later on we talked about using an integration policy which aimed at bringing the Aboriginal community into the broader community. At first this was about getting the support of older Aborigines for the movement of younger Aborigines into the broader community. Over time both Aboriginal and immigration policies became more about encouraging multiculturalism rather than assimilation. (Benefits both societies.)
3. At the moment some Aborigines are talking more and more about Aborigines becoming a nation that deals through its leaders with the government and is recognised in the constitution. This may go further to the next logical step where the constitution and the Australian government are ignored.
4. Jailing, treatment in jails, defacto differences in how the justice system treats Aborigines and other Australians are topics that also need discussion.