The Death of Optimism

We need a catastrophic event to drive fear into our leaders, led by an angry public demand for action. The pandemic is not it, but the encroaching breakdown of climate integrity could well be. Daily, we see around us the consequences of our failure to act, and still our leaders refuse to face up to the crisis, preferring instead to make “commitments” that lack real substance. I was born in ’41 in … Read more

ANZAC Day 2021

If ever a song encapsulated the exploitation of patriotism and the horror of war it is Eric Bogle’s: And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. My dad fought in the 14-18 war. He was invalided out after being wounded. He was lucky, as he completely recovered. Others of course didn’t fare so well, as I discovered when I started work. Being severely traumatised, they were treated with circumspection by their workmates. Even non-combatants … Read more

…but a whimper

Watching Trump’s refusal to concede the presidency reminds me of the final lines of TS Eliot’s appropriately named poem, The Hollow Men: “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.” Substitute “presidency” for “world”, and that is how I expect him to finally leave the White House. However, there are some who believe he will need to be dragged from the White House on Inauguration … Read more

Our functioning democracy is skin-deep

“Our political system has the outward appearance of democracy, but it is largely controlled by undemocratic forces. We find ourselves on the wrong side of the portcullis, watching helplessly as crucial decisions are taken about us, without us. If there’s one thing the coronavirus fiascos show, it’s the need for radical change.” This article by George Monbiot is about the UK political system, but there are obvious parallels with the Australian system, … Read more

Who will challenge Trump?

In mid-July we will learn who will run against Donald Trump. On current indications, it looks as if it will be Joe Biden. I bet Trump is hoping so. I’m not a fan. He’s too close to the corporate elite, and has a chequered history on women’s rights (voted against Roe v. Wade, for example) as well as supporting cuts to Medicare and social security. As Sanders said yesterday, his presidency would … Read more

Corruption on a gargantuan scale

I cannot describe my feelings on this while I’m living through the worst bushfire season we’ve ever had, with 1000 homes already destroyed, but the influence of the coal lobby in preventing action to ameliorate the adverse effects of global warming can only be described as criminal. Please watch the video (15 minutes) to understand the severity of this issue. Dirty Power: Big Coal’s network of influence over the coalition government   … Read more

Close Encounters of the Hanson Kind

I had the great privilege to be present in the Legislative Council chamber during the opening of the NSW Parliament today. The highlight for me was the Presentation of the Message Stick by representatives of the Aboriginal Languages community, who spoke eloquently and movingly in their language and in English. The lowlight was the Governor’s Opening Speech, which was nothing more than a prolonged and tedious political party broadcast. Why this is … Read more

Egg Boy

The actions of the 17-year-old youth in hitting Senator Anning with an egg amounted to assault and he could find himself in court as a result, unless the police caution him instead. The senator’s response, by punching the teenager, was something else. Provoked it may have been, but it was grossly disproportionate. Far too aggressive in the circumstances. When Julia Gillard was our prime minister, she was also on the receiving end … Read more

Is it any wonder?

Scott Morrison in February 2011 tried to persuade Cabinet to capitalise on fear of Muslim immigration as an election-winning strategy. To his credit, Phillip Ruddock persuaded the meeting that it was against the Liberal’s policy. The Murdoch media in 2017 published well over 2000 articles vilifying Muslims. Trump calls innocent South American asylum seekers murderers, rapists, and drug dealers and declares it a national emergency. With all this hate-filled rhetoric circulating, is … Read more