Category Archives: Life

Canberra bubble explodes

Samantha Maiden’s story about Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape on the couch in Minister Linda Reynolds’ office shortly before the 2019 election has undoubtedly been the story of the week.

Higgins was just 24 years old, was less than a month into her new job, and it was just weeks before PM Scott Morrison called the 2019 election. Continue reading Canberra bubble explodes

Weekly salon 5/1

1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!

That is a Thai new year’s greeting I got from Mark that I posted two years ago. It means:

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

From a Jacquie Lawson ecard sent by my brother-in-law, we need:

    More co-operation, mutual care and love, a safer and happier world!

And more civilised politics. Continue reading Weekly salon 5/1

Seasons greetings 2020

Last year around mid-December the blog fell apart and did not re-appear until 2 January. Eventually I posted a Belated season’s Greetings on 4 January which was based on a Christmas newsletter I had distributed with cards.

This year we were quite overwhelmed during December with one thing and another, so I did close to nothing about cards, newsletters etc. This newsletter is a belated offering. Continue reading Seasons greetings 2020

Saturday morning interlude reprise

Twenty years ago on 7 December, 2000 I joined the ‘zip club’. In plain English I had open heart surgery. Around a week earlier I had undergone an angiogram, where they pump dye through your arteries while you are awake, but sedated.

The cardiologist said calmly, “You have 90 to 95% blockages, compromising 80% of your heart.” I needed a triple by-pass as soon as they could fit me in.

So I went about my normal business for a week with a bottle of nitroglycerin tablets in my pocket. I remember driving back from the airport in my old red Falcon ute, a blisteringly hot day, with inadequate aircon. This may be where it all ends, I thought.

Open heart surgery makes quite an impact on your life, and I had meant to write about it. Time passed until one Saturday morning a few years later I had an experience that got me going. Blogs were new then. The piece I wrote was published by a Melbourne freelance writer and editor, David Tiley, who was running a blog called Barista: heartstarters for the hungry mind.

When I started blogging here and there, it felt like one of those dreams where you are at a social function and you suddenly realise that you’ve forgotten to dress from the waist down. I was about to give up, when David wrote me an encouraging email.

The blog is no longer around, but David is. He is currently editor of Screen hub. The guest post from way back then, which I copied as published and kept on my hard drive, is posted with minor modifications below the fold. Continue reading Saturday morning interlude reprise

Trouble in the ‘Canberra bubble’

Louise Milligan’s Four Corners piece Inside the Canberra Bubble (transcript here) may have had its limitations as a program, but raises important issues as to whether the ‘Canberra Bubble’ is an appropriate and safe working environment, and the ethical appropriateness of the modus operandi of the Morrison Government generally.

Former ALP politician Kate Ellis who has written a book about women, sexism and misogyny in the Australian political landscape was interviewed on ABC RN’s Drive program by Patricia Karvelas – see or hear podcast “Clear power imbalance”: former MP on staffer relationships. Ellis is also quoted in Jennifer Duke’s SMH article ‘It affects all Australians’: Former MP Kate Ellis calls for reform to improve gender equality in Parliament. Continue reading Trouble in the ‘Canberra bubble’

Weekly salon 15/11

1. Aboriginal philosophy

Every week Waleed Aly and Scott Stevens bang on at ABC RN’s The Minefield for about 40 minutes on what they see as profound ethical and philosophical questions inherent in our politics and our culture, how we see the world and how we live in it. They always have a guest to help them.

This week they asked the question Can Aboriginal political philosophy and political liberalism be reconciled? Continue reading Weekly salon 15/11

Sundry virus update

1. Six types of covid-19?

The New Scientist reports on a study in the UK where researchers grouped Covid_19 symptoms into six clusters:

1 Flu-like symptoms, no fever
Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat and aches and pains, but no fever. Around 1.5 per cent of this group will go on to require breathing support in hospital.

2 Flu-like symptoms with fever
Similar to group 1, plus a loss of appetite and fever.

3 Gastrointestinal
Diarrhoea alongside loss of smell and appetite, headache, sore throat and chest pain. Typically, no cough. Continue reading Sundry virus update

Dan is done with political sniping

The word “slam” is used from time to time by the media reporting politics. Thus back on 7 September we had Scott Morrison in Coronavirus Australia: Gloves off as Scott Morrison slams Premier Daniel Andrews on road map.

However, if you read the article Morrison is not telling Andrews what to do. So as recently as last Thursday Morrison could credibly stand in Cairns next to Qld LNP leader Deb Frecklington saying that he accepts that state leaders make the decisions on COVID management. It’s just that he’s inclined to refer to ‘Federal standards’ that have not actually been agreed to by the constituent states of the federation.

All the while Victorian federal ministers have indeed slammed Andrews on quite a regular basis for some months. Continue reading Dan is done with political sniping

Weekly salon 17/10

1. How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers?

With all the terrible stuff going on in the world, I thought I’d try to investigate an important part of our history.

How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers in a seedy hotel in Memphis on 14 October 1986?

Wikipedia tells us:

    On 14 October 1986, Fraser, then the Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, was found in the foyer of the Admiral Benbow Inn, a seedy Memphis hotel, wearing only a pair of underpants and confused as to where his trousers were. The hotel was an establishment popular with prostitutes and drug dealers. Though it was rumoured at the time that the former Prime Minister had been with a prostitute, his wife stated that Fraser had no recollection of the events and that she believes it more likely that he was the victim of a practical joke by his fellow delegates.

The Daily Telegraph tells the story more vividly: Continue reading Weekly salon 17/10

Weekly salon 10/10

1. Stimulus budget wildly off target

Laura Tingle summed up the Frydenberg budget strategy in an article that in the AFR was titled Frydenberg stimulus shot veers wildly off target:


    The Government has punted everything on a private sector-led recovery out of recession; one that will happen both really, really quickly and dramatically enough to offset the huge disruption just about to start as businesses lose JobKeeper support for their workforce, run out of rent and bank payment holidays, and decide to close their doors.

Frydenberg spoke of:

    “providing a helping hand to those who need it”, yet so much of the Budget is actually directed at people, and sectors, who don’t need it.

    The most obviously perplexing political decision is that the Government has not only abandoned such a large swathe of its own small business base, but it has constrained the chances of it taking part in the promised recovery.

Continue reading Weekly salon 10/10