1. Eden-Monaro by-election
The ABC election page has Eden-Monaro too close to call with Labor’s Kristy McBain leading the Liberal Fiona Kotvojs by 50.9 to 49.1 after preferences.
Paddy Manning at The Monthly set up the scene in Southern discomfort: Tomorrow’s result in Eden-Monaro is on a knife edge.
The base-line is that Eden-Monaro has long been a ‘bellweather’ seat, which means that it lines up with the existing government. However, Mike Kelly broke this trend in the last three elections, with a personal following reckoned at about 3%.
So Labor was justified in claiming underdog status, while the Libs point to governments not taking a seat off the opposition in by-elections over the last 100 years. Continue reading Weekly salon 4/7
1. Race is not a thing
Race is a social construct, largely based on culture and language. In biological and genetic terms it simply does not exist. Looking at the genes, scientists simply cannot form racial categories. Angela Saini, of Indian heritage and living in England, has been investigating the issue in her recently published book Superior: The return of race science. See her New Scientist article and in The Guardian Why race science is on the rise again.
In the 19th century there was a common assumption that a hierarchy existed with the European male at the pinnacle. Yet modern science shows that:
There is no gene that exists in all the members of one racial group and not another. We are all a product of ancient and recent migration.
Continue reading Weekly salon 9/6
Last September in Australia’s The Herald Sun published a cartoon by Mark Knight following Serena Williams’ US Open loss to Naomi Osaka of Japan, with Williams in mid-tantrum and stamping on her tennis racket. The umpire is shown asking Osaka, “Can you just let her win?” There is a dummy on the ground nearby. Here’s the cartoon:
The Press Council has issued its adjudication, published in the Herald Sun: Continue reading Serena cartoon judged not racist
1. Political follies
To me the most staggering political event of the past week was PM Scott Morrison’s announcement that he had ordered the re-opening of the Christmas Island detention facility. What for? Does he expect that suddenly the navy will be unable to intercept and turn back boats? The facility is quite large:
Christmas Island Shire CEO Gordon Thomson told Patricia Karvelas the announcement was stunning and made no practical sense. The centre was already on 72-hour standby. Continue reading Weekly salon 16/2
Here’s Mark Knight’s Herald Sun cartoon which initiated a social media and general media storm around the globe:
My wife drew my attention to it in an article ‘Racist’ Australian cartoon of Serena Williams prompts global controversy in The New Daily.
Strangely, the cartoon is no longer there, and to save you trouble, none of those links lead to it. Continue reading Australian cartoon puts fuel on Serena fire
Much has been written since the women’s final of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships saw world number one Serena Williams beaten by a young rising star Naomi Osaka after receiving a code violation warning, then a point penalty and finally a game penalty, which put Osaka in an excellent place to win the second set 6-4 and the match. Elite opinion, especially overseas, has come down heavily in Williams’ favour, blaming the umpire Carlos Ramos for his handling of the incident, which, it is said, was an example of sexism because he would never have treated a male player so harshly, and probably racism to boot.
I’ll tell you my opinion, on the evidence I’ve seen (I didn’t watch the match) and comment on the commentary. My conclusion is that tennis needs to put its house in order, and has missed a golden opportunity to enforce rules so that tennis fans can expect to see excellent tennis being played, rather than players venting. Continue reading Serena meltdown a missed opportunity
1. Service interruption
I’ve been advised by the host of Climate Plus that they will be taking time out for maintenance for about two hours from 2pm PDT (whatever that means, they are based in the USA) on Saturday March 25. It’s about MySQL and they say connectivity could be affected during that time.
2. Who pays and who gets the loot?
Laura Tingle has an interesting graph about who pays the bills and who gets cash and kind from the government:
Continue reading Saturday salon 25/3
1. Do we need a new conservative party?
One Nation would tell us we’ve already got one, but Essential Report has now conducted a poll about an Abbott-based party, asking the question:
If a new conservative party was formed and included people like Tony Abbott, how likely would you be to vote for them?
Overall the answer is ‘not very likely’ with ‘Total unlikely’ at 58% and ‘Total likely’ at 23%. However the Lib/Nat preference is evenly split at 41% each way. Continue reading Saturday salon 17/12
The homeless are usually given transitional housing, and then are required to get a job and get sober before they are given more permanent options. Utah has implemented a scheme first developed in New York where the homeless are given permanent housing and then offered help to transition back into mainstream society, in this case in the form of a social worker to provide assistance.
homes are not free: new tenants have to pay $US50 or 30% of their income to rent each month (whichever amount is greater).
Mostly it works and is cheaper for the state, saving on things like shelters, ambulances, hospitals and jails. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/11
1. Australian managers are second rate
Martin Parkinson, head of the PM’s department, told CEDA what we need to do to become truly innovative.
What caught my eye was what he said about Australian management in manufacturing:
“We are well below top performers like the United States, Germany, Sweden, Japan and Canada, but more similar to France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/10
1. Survey on Muslims
Probably the biggest story of the week was the Essential survey asking people whether they would support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Overall support/oppose was 49% to 40%, with Labor voters 40-48, the LNP 60-31, the Greens 34-59 and Other 58-35. Essential were so shocked they ran the poll again, with the same result.
Just about everyone is shocked, including the higher than expected support amongst Labor and Greens voters. Peter Lewis, the Essential man, says he was floored by the result. He thought Pauline Hanson represented a rump, but not so. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/9
Louise Clegg, barrister and lecturer in constitutional law has written a piece which was printed in the AFR as Inevitable demise of 18C can’t come soon enough, and online as Why are politicians defending 18c when the High Court won’t?
She regards 18C as self-evidently unconstitutional, and cites a speech by retiring Chief Justice Robert French as indicating that the High Court would find it so.
She calls the QUT case “monstrous”, says the poor students have had their lives changed forever, and “these boys could be anybody’s sons.” Continue reading New attack on 18C – what do anti-18C campaigners really want to say?