Tag Archives: Open Threads

Weekly salon 26/5

1. Three first nations people in Queensland parliament

Lance McCallum, newly elected Labor MP for Bundamba now joins Cynthia Lui, Labor Member for Cook and Leeanne Enoch, Member for Algester and Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts in the Queensland parliament:

Tuesday 26 May was National Sorry Day, commemorating the Bringing Them Home report. National Sorry Day is on the eve of National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June). The Qld Government marked the week with:

    “The $250,000 Celebrating Reconciliation Small Grants Program is our biggest round yet and will support up to 48 Queensland events by councils, community groups and non-profit organisations to be held during or around National Reconciliation Week 2021,” he said.

    The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships-funded program has supported more than 100 reconciliation events since launching in 2018.

“He” was the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford.

Rio Tinto blasted a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site to expand iron ore mine.

Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney, has been named the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law. Prof Davis had much to do with the formulation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and continues working on promoting its acceptance. Now funded by the Balnaves Foundation she doesn’t have to worry about university cuts.

2. Remembering and honouring Jack Mundey

As Wendy Bacon says, communists don’t usually get to become Australian heroes.

Mundey was said to be the first to weaponise the word green in politics. Those who enjoy the heritage buildings and green spaces of Sydney can thank him, but he did more than that. As Wikipedia says:

    During the 1960s, Mundey was a crusading unionist and an advocate on a wide range of issues from safety reforms on building sites to wider issues such as feminism, gay rights and international politics. Mundey considered all these matters appropriate targets for union activism.

Mundey was born and raised in Malanda in the Atherton Tableland as the son of a poor Irish Catholic dairy farmer. He ran away from St Augustine’s in Cairns, because of its “authoritarian methods” of discipline. At 19 he became a metal worker, later a builder’s labourer in Sydney.

In 2003 he joined the Greens, at the time of the Iraq War, and remained a member until he died.

Vale Jack Mundey. His life made a difference.

3. Target shrinks its footprint

We’ve known for ages that the department store chain Target has been struggling, so it was no surprise that Wesfarmers has announced that some stores will close and some will convert to K-Mart, which is a stronger brand.

I’m surprised at how many are being kept open. Here’s the Full list of Target stores that will close or be converted to Kmarts.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud blasted Wesfarmers, suggesting a boycott of their stores including Bunnings and Officeworks. How that would help employment or the public is not at all clear. He says that the closure was immoral and showed the company “don’t give a rat’s about us”.

Not sure how that would help, but it shows what a buffoon we have as an agriculture minister. Companies trading in the bush are not charities or public services. They need to make profits and modernise to respond to changes in the industry and buying habits of customers.

A broking firm whose advice I have access to says the change is going to cost Wesfarmers over half a billion. Their revenue runs at about $30 billion and EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) about $3 billion. Littleproud is suggesting we kill a company that pays about a billion in tax, unlike companies such as Amazon. Or are we just meant to regard what he says as blather?

The broking firm says K-Mart is probably best in class, and is building its online business, which trades as Catch. I’m surprised that K-Mart will still have a presence in places as small as Chinchilla and Goondiwindi, both in Littleproud’s electorate of Maranoa.

The broking house is forecasting that Wesfarmers shareholders will take a hit of 51% in dividends from last year. Yes, I’m one of them and without us there would be no Australian-owned companies. Littleproud doesn’t give a rats about us.

4. Happy birthday to Scott Morrison

Is he worth feeding? He thinks 1.1 million visa holders are not worth feeding. Settlement Services International found:

    In the survey of nearly 500 people on temporary visas carried out by SSI over the past eight weeks, 62% indicated they have gone without meals, 76% could not pay the rent or a mortgage on time, and 52% could not buy the medicines they required.

To be fair, I think the 500 was made up of people who contacted SSI for help.

Katharine Murphy in A year after his ‘miracle’ win, this is what we’ve learned about Scott Morrison says with Covid 19 we’ve learned that Morrison can learn.

Did you notice the link in the margin to The sports rorts questions that Scott Morrison still hasn’t answered?

Peter Brent in Happy anniversary? says:

    Last year Morrison enjoyed seven months of sunshine before an unwise holiday in the Pacific followed by several blundered attempts to reset his public persona.

    But that’s all forgotten now. He’s riding high, as are the state and territory leaders. It’s a respite from a long, steady depletion of trust in political parties and governments, assisted by sluggish economies. But while the coronavirus will linger, our leaders’ heightened stature can’t.

By rights Labor should win in 2022, he says, but Morrison’s mob are seen as the better economic managers.

He says that with Covid 19 Morrison’s biggest problem is within. A substantial number of members are grumpy

    partly because they have internalised the propaganda about the Rudd government’s response to the global financial crisis: you can’t spend your way out of trouble. Now this centre-right government is doing the same, but on steroids. There’s also the related backlash against the health restrictions, which often veers into voodoo analysis, mixing up cause and effect (namely, “all these restrictions and for what, just a few deaths?”)

Weekly salon 3/5

1. Premiers – perceptions of performance

One would think that Australia’s state premiers have performed well in the so-called war with Covid 19. Newspoll on 27 April found that they had indeed done so in the perception of voters. It’s pay-walled, but here is the graph:

That is a bit hard to read, but the satisfaction rate on the second graph runs from the bottom, Palaszczuk (Qld) 72, Berejiklian (NSW) 77, Marshall (SA) 82, Andrews (Vic) 83, Gutwein (Tas) 89 and McGowan (WA) 94. Continue reading Weekly salon 3/5

Weekly salon 25/4

1. Anzac Day

I guess I’ve never been big on Anzac Day. I grew up in a settlement of farmers of German ancestry. My Dad taught in German in primary school in the Barossa Valley until they changed the rules. He was too young to enlist when WW1 broke out, but could have joined a bit later. Being a third generation Australian, I’m sure he would have fought for his country. The tradition in Europe was that you fought for whoever ruled you at the time. Frederick the Great invaded Saxony so that the Saxons would be fighting for him rather than against him when he picked a fight with Maria Theresa’s Austria. However, Napoleon found that 30,000 Bavarians swapped sides when they saw what they were up against in the Battle of Leipzig.

As it happened, my mob were fingered as German during WW1 and not to be trusted. Continue reading Weekly salon 25/4

Weekly salon 2/3

1. Is it Biden vs Sanders?

Not long ago Slate was blaming Biden for messing up the selection of a Democratic Party presidential candidate in The “Establishment” Probably Could Have Made a Regular Democrat the Nominee if It Hadn’t Gotten So Stuck on Biden.

Some senior Democrats are going ballistic about Sanders comparing his Nevada win to Nazi Germany’s successful invasion of France, for example. The article says that if you thought Sanders was electoral poison:

    what should you have been doing for the past year to actually prevent the socialist from winning the nomination? Probably finding and supporting a nonsocialist nominee who’s shown themselves ready to run a dynamic general-election presidential campaign, right? Perhaps one like Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, or even Elizabeth Warren?

Continue reading Weekly salon 2/3

Weekly salon 15/2

1. Rupert gets his just deserts

The New Daily has an article News Corp in ‘dangerous times’ as audience and revenues drop in print and digital:

    Audiences deserted Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp mastheads in 2019 with its tabloid tub-thumper The Daily Telegraph losing a massive 15.5 per cent of its readership across both print and digital editions, according to research house Roy Morgan.

Continue reading Weekly salon 15/2

Weekly salon 28/1

1. Australia Day 2020

Australians seem to like doing crazy things on Australia Day, like pie-eating competitions and wrestling crocodiles. This time an innocent lamington-eating competition went horribly wrong when a Hervey Bay woman choked and died.

Laura Tingle asks seriously As we approach Australia Day, do we even know who we are as a nation? Continue reading Weekly salon 28/1

Weekly salon 20/1

1. Trump’s trade deal will make us collateral damage

Kevin Rudd’s AFR article Trade deal will not stop US and China drifting apart gives us the lowdown. From the URL his heading was probably Trade war truce a symbol of the US unhinged. Seems Trump banged on for an hour about incoherent nonsense at the announcement while the head Chinese trade negotiator stood patiently by.

Rudd says intellectual property theft will be criminalised in China for the first time. Good in principle, but you will need to make your case in Chinese courts. Continue reading Weekly salon 20/1

Weekly salon 12/1

1. Tingle drops the ‘f’ bomb

Yes she did. She commented on Twitter that ABC journo’s had been doing a good job in their coverage of the fires. Someone called YeaNah @YeaNah10 suggested that such a comment lacked balance.

Laura Tingle responded by telling the commenter to “go f**k yourself”, except she spelt it out.

Corrine Barraclough in Luvvie Laura and the(ir) ABC’s problem with abusive behaviour says you can’t do that. Abuse is abuse.

However, swearing is also shorthand way of expressing disgust and disapproval. Moreover, YeaNah is suggesting that ‘balance’ be privileged over the truth. Is Tingle unable to express the truth because she is working for the ABC, so she must demonstrate ‘balance’ at the expense of truth?

Continue reading Weekly salon 12/1

Weekly salon 15/12

1. Thunberg becomes Time Person of the year

From the ABC:

    Time lauded the 16-year-old from Sweden for starting an environmental campaign in August 2018 that became a global movement, initially skipping school and camping in front of the Swedish Parliament to demand action.

    “In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history,” the magazine said.

    “Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundredfold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg’s pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year.”

Continue reading Weekly salon 15/12

Weekly salon 9/12

1. Leading scientists condemn political inaction on climate change as Australia ‘literally burns’

    Leading scientists have expressed concern about the lack of focus on the climate crisis as bushfires rage across New South Wales and Queensland, saying it should be a “wake-up call” for the government.

    Climate experts who spoke to Guardian Australia said they were “bewildered” the emergency had grabbed little attention during the final parliamentary sitting week for the year, which was instead taken up by the repeal of medevac laws, a restructure of the public service, and energy minister Angus Taylor’s run-in with the American author Naomi Wolf.

Continue reading Weekly salon 9/12

Weekly salon 26/11

1. Scott Morrison perfects the art of hiding in plain sight

That’s according to Paula Matthewson at the New Daily. She says he’s doing fewer TV interviews and holding fewer media conferences than we’ve come to expect from a prime minister, but is bursting out all over on social media, where, she says, it will be almost impossible to enforce ‘truth’ online.

    No matter how welcome and overdue, imposing truth in advertising restrictions on Facebook will do nothing to staunch the flood of misdirections, deflections, mistruths and porkies that can flow through the other direct-to-voter channels. Continue reading Weekly salon 26/11