When a Tassie Devil resembles a badger you have to wonder what it’s hiding

October 23, 2016

Over the last couple of days I’ve had an interesting exchange with someone calling themselves ‘Lushington Dalrymple Brady‘. this person acknowledges that the name is a pseudonym, and the avatar that ‘he’ adopts is supposed to be a Tasmanian Devil; to me it looks like a foppish badger imitating an 18th century dandy. What do you think?

Looks like a badger 'toff' to me

Looks like a badger ‘toff’ to me

‘Mr Brady’ calls himself a ‘liberalist’ and I must confess it is a political label I’ve never heard of. I immediately assumed ‘he’ meant libertarian and perhaps that is what ‘he’ is. But, I’m willing to take ‘Lushington’ at his word, here is a definition of liberalist. It is apparently an adherent of the philosophies of John Locke.

liberalist-2016-10-23-10-15-07OK, so I went to the source — American Thinker — to see what this is all about and yes, ‘libertarian’ is probably a good synonym. It is certainly an anti-left, anti-Marxist position that has everything in common with modern right-wing libertarian thinking that argues ‘Today’s a liberal is in fact a socialist [sic]’. Why are these batshit-crazy folk also grammar-challenged?

The ‘liberalist’/libertarian is anti-state, pro free-market, and adheres to a total buy-in to the myth of individual supremacy over the social totality. In short, as I told ‘Mr Brady’ in an email, a ‘Fascist with manners’.

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Making Headlines: How Chris runs the country after gulping a ‘large Shiraz’

October 20, 2016

Reading the first few chapters of Chris Mitchell’s hastily written memoir Making Headlines, it’s easy to get the impression that the editor-in-chief of The Australian was not only editing what he unselfconsciously describes as the ‘best political paper’ in the country, he was also running the country from NewsCorpse’ Holt Street bunkers in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

It seems that Prime Ministers, Treasurers and leading politicians from both major parties were super keen to get Mitchell’s advice about policy pronouncements, Cabinet appointments and which hand they should use to wipe their arses.

Five of the 12 chapters are devoted to Mitchell’s recollections of his, and The Australian’s, relationships with Prime Ministers. Alongside his character assessments of them, Mitchell recounts numerous instances of invitations to Prime Ministerial digs – the Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney – and secret and not-so-secret rendezvous with the PM to discuss government policy, Ministerial appointments and political tactics.

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Malcolm in a muddle:Media reform for the big end of town

October 20, 2016

The journalists’ union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), is concerned that the government’s proposed media regulation reforms will lead to a loss of jobs in the news industry and less choice for media consumers.

The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Media Reform) Bill 2016 is currently before a Senate committee; but even before it has taken effect, the MEAA says the current rules that are supposed to ensure a variety of news ‘voices’ in the marketplace are not being properly observed.

The MEAA estimates that over 5000 jobs in the media industry have disappeared in less than a decade. According to the union’s submission to the Senate review of the Media Reform legislation, the government’s mooted changes favour existing providers, will entrench the near-monopoly power of existing players, and will see less diversity among news outlets, not more.

For example, last month, the so-called ‘consumer watchdog’ (actually a government lapdog) the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) approved NewsCorpse’ sale of Perth’s Sunday Times newspaper to the Kerry Stokes-owned SevenWest Media.

When the deal is completed next week, it will give Stokes a virtual monopoly over print media in Western Australia, it has created a mood of fear and apprehension among Sunday Times staff.

MEAA’s WA regional director Tiffany Venning says her members are ‘deeply disappointed’ with the decision. There were 37 editorial jobs lost at The West Australian in the lead up to this transaction being approved, and Venning says there is ‘considerable concern’ for the jobs staff at Sunday Times and its online affiliate PerthNow.

It’s no surprise that union members are concerned. The entire printing staff at the Sunday Times are about to lose their jobs. That’s about 100 people, some of whom have been at the paper their entire working lives.

Tiffany Venning told EM that out of the 60 editorial staff at the Sunday Times, ‘less than half’ are likely to have jobs once the merger is complete. Rumours crossing the newsroom floor at the Times are that as few as seven existing editorial staff are likely to make the transition.

In an interview with EM, Ms Venning described this as a ‘bloodbath’ that will see over 100 people unceremoniously dumped onto the already depressed WA job market. However, it is unlikely that either Kerry Stokes or Rupert Murdoch will lose any sleep over adding to the west’s unemployment queues.

The Sunday Times was one of Rupert’s first purchases when he began to expand his empire in the 1960s, but he is hardly the most sentimental billionaire on the planet. He needs to sell the Times to fund the purchase of a cartload of regional newspapers in Queensland.

The ACCC has expressed some ‘concerns’ about the American mogul’s proposed $36.6 million purchase of Australian Regional Newspapers from APN. However, the ACCC’s remit does not include being concerned about the further potential loss of journalism jobs in the Sunshine State; it is only interested in competition in the local news market.

Given that the regulator didn’t allow similar concerns to stop the Sunday Times deal, printers, journalists and sales staff at the 76 newspapers and 60 websites affected by the APN deal should probably start looking for another job.

As I have written previously in Media Sauce, the media owners don’t have to be so worried. For them it is likely to be ‘business as usual’ and it seems that they can carry on with the government’s blessing.

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Bleeding the ink from newspapers: How long have we got?

August 29, 2016

I have to say it: “I have a grudging respect for Chris Mitchell, the former editor-in-chief of The Australian.”

Under Mitchell’s leadership from 2002 to 2015 The Australian cemented its place as the go-to source of news and opinion from the centre-right perspective.

Mitchell’s ‘take no prisoners’ editorial style and his willingness to pick fights with anyone to his left (that’s a lot of people) has helped The Australian to survive for many more years than it should have.

Apart from a brief period in the 1980s and 1990s, The Oz has been a loss-making paper for most of its life. As early as 1975 Murdoch complained bitterly about the cost of producing a national daily broadsheet. The printing, transport, newsprint costs and the wages of journalists were all out of control in those days.

It’s not much different today. But, ever optimistic, Chris Mitchell was bravely spinning the line that all is well at The Australian. According to Mitchell’s latest comments, The Oz is still making money on its subsidised sales to hotel guests and airline customers and News Corp is committed to keeping the title alive, even though it appears to be shrinking before our eyes.

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Malcolm v Gough: Who is/was Australia’s worst Prime Minister?

August 12, 2016

It has been a stable myth of Australian politics for nearly half a century, but was the Whitlam government of 1972-1975 the “worst” in Australian history?

I don’t think so and believe we can now safely make the claim that Whitlam’s record of so-called disaster is about to be overshadowed by the ongoing disaster that the Abbott-Turnbull government appears to be.

Perhaps we might even be so bold as to suggest that Turnbull’s legacy will be his ham-fisted attempts to dismantle some of the major reforms of the Whitlam period.

Was Whitlam really “that bad”?

All the aging so-calledsuperstars” of Australian political journalism would agree that Whitlam’s crash or crash through demeanour was at times rash or ill-considered. They would also chime in that Whitlam’s cabinet was the most incompetent of all time. Laurie Oakes, Paul Kelly and several others have written books on the Whitlam government and its dismissal that paint a picture of disaster and ill-considerd policy.

They would point to the Khemlani loans affair, Jim Cairns’ sexual affair with Juni Morosi, the debacle of some economic policies and a general air of chaos, then they would claim that Whitlam and the ALP were out of their depth, not ready to govern and lacking in individual talent or vision. They would argue that Whitlam’s dismissal by the governor-general was justified.

It wasn’t really until Whitlam’s death that the achievements of his government were properly acknowledged and celebrated.

whitlam vincent

Gough Whitlam and Vincent Lingari at the birth of the land rights movement in 1975

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How to vote in the Senate: A sensible guide for sensible people

July 1, 2016

All the pundits have been banging on about how most of us don’t make up our minds about who we’ll vote for in an election until  a few days, or even hours, before we enter the little booth to leave our mark on democracy.

Well, I don’t know about you but I pretty much made up my mind at birth; I could never vote for a Tory and my class loyalty comes first.

And it’s too close to call (maybe), Labor is going to take some seats of the Coalition, a handful of Greens and independents will sit in the lower house and the Senate will be another dog’s breakfast.

So for me the least troublesome option for voting on 2 July is the simple four-word slogan that I have been hashtagging and tweeting for weeks now: #PutTheLiberalsLast.

Don't elect a Fizza #PuttheLiberalsLast

Don’t elect a Fizza

This makes it relatively easy in most lower house seats, if the main enemy is a National, not a Liberal then a simple substitution works seamlessly.

Putting the coalition last is not such a simple matter in the Senate. It’s a smorgasbord of filth with lashings of stupids all desperate for a one issue shot at the title and a comfy spot on the red leather cross benches. If it’s a choice between putting the Liberals last or the anti-vaxxers where do you you go?

How do you make a principled decision on your senate vote when so many dribblejaws are vying for your very last vote.

You could always just follow the ‘How-to-vote’ of your number one choice (socialists, Greens, Labor), but then (as we know) you lose all control over where your preferences get directed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not giving up my rights to a bunch of faceless party bureaucrats who do deals with the Devil in order to secure as much red leather acreage as they can. So working from 1 to 100+ in your state Senate ballot takes a bit of thinking, planning, plotting and the ability to count beyond your fingers and toes. My advice, if you read no futher, start with the highest number at the top of the column you want to put last (remember to vote below the line). Work backwards making sure you keep track of every number.

Vote backwards example:

If you want to put the Liberals last in the Senate start numbering their number one candidate with your highest number (in Victoria it’s 116). If there’s nine Lib candidates you would get to 108 at the bottom of the list and you then start on your second column with 107 at the top, etc.

This is simple if you keep track of the numbers and don’t rush it.

What about the Uglies and the Numpties?

The Senate race always tends to attract the real crazies of Australian politics and 2016 is no exception.

The Health Australia Party is the Trojan horse for the anti-vaxxers and alternative medicine types, but it has the number one spot on the NSW Senate ballot paper. In Victoria the leading HAP candidate, believes in natural immunisations “homeoprohalaxis”. Their general policies are nothing to write home about either, a boilerplate cut and paste text about “free enterprise” not being held up by “big business, big unions and big paperwork”.

if you’re worried about economic plans and competetent budget management, don’t vote for these folks.

But what do you do when the anti-vaxxers are a “least-worst” option? Well, my advice is start at the bottom with the highest number and work backwards.

I’m going to start by putting all the real hard racist numbnucks right at the bottom. My example is from Victoria, but you can apply the formula and the principles in your own state or territory race.

Victoria: Who to put last is a difficult choice.

So working from the principle of #PuttheLiberalsLast we have a difficult voting choice in the Senate.

Do we literally put the Liberals last or do we preference them above the out and out Fascists like Danny Nalliah’s Rise Up Australia and The Australian Liberty Alliance?

It’s a hard choice, both RUA and ALA are Islamophobes, Homophobes, Misogynists and general all-round bigots. Local variations my arise, for example Pauline Hanson’s One Nation group has again raised its ugly redhead. There are lots of out-and-out racists clamouring for attention this time round, but in Queensland where Hanson herself is a candidate, putting her on the very bottom of your ballot paper might be the strategically sound move.

In Victoria One Nation is perhaps less relevant than RUA and ALA who have been active in several Islamophobic anti-Mosque actions around Melbourne.

We have some high profile Senate hopefuls in Victoria, including the Human Headline. He’s a pompous, arrogant git so is perfect for a spot on the long leather bench, but what does Derryn Hinch stand for? One word: ‘Justice’. If you are into meaningless slogans and like hairy ex-convicts with feral facial hair Hinchy is the one for you.

Personally I’m going to put Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party well ahead of Mr Hinch and the libertarian goon squads. Ricky the poo-chucker has actually been a good senator. He won’t let the coalition sprinkle bulldust in his eyes and he’s grown into the role. He’s also less racist than many of the others and, as far as I know, not an anti-Vaxxer.

Who gets the top vote

If the basic principle is put the most racist candidates in your state last, followed by the coalition, what do you do with your precious top 12 votes?

The choices are really between Labor, the Greens and one or two socialists here and there.

My personal preference is to vote for the most left-wing candidates, in this election that is the team from Socialist Alliance, then for me Green or ALP is up to you. My class instinct says vote Labor, but having Greens in the Senate is not such a bad thing.







Hirst v Deakin Update 19 June: Corrections & Clarifications

June 19, 2016

A busy few days for me ahead of deadline day Wednesday 23 June.

In the next couple of days I will be deciding whether or not to take my case to the Discipline Review Committee (DRC). The DRC is the final internal review process before my sacking for serious misconduct takes effect.

If I choose to appeal the termination will be delayed until the work of the DRC is completed. I will be making an announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

In the meantime, if you are not familiar with my case, please read the previous posts which are all linked from here. In a nutshell (to make sense of what follows), Deakin University is attempting to sack me for three tweets that it alleges were insulting, threatening and/or offensive.

there’s also some new commentary here from legal blogger, Kate Gallow. (Tx Kate)

Muttonflap also had a few choice words about the Roz Ward case, I rather liked the tone of this post, though republishing it here will no doubt cause coniptions back at HQ.

La Trobe University hit rock bottom last week, suspending academic Roz Ward for deviating from the vapid political fuckspeak that now passes for public discourse in this country. Ward raised the ire of the burghers of Toorak with a passing joke about a Marxist Australian flag. Ever concerned with the opinions of right wing voters, La Trobe suspended Ward immediately and suggested she atone for her un-Australian behaviour by placing some children in a concentration camp or beating a man almost to death with an iron bar.

Let’s be clear….

Academics have the right to say what they like in the private domain, and should be able to speak their minds in the public, even if it makes Murray and Genevieve choke on their All Bran. As a nation we are being herded into an echo-chamber of venal, neutered political speech where public utterances are little more than a duplicate of the Lifestyle section of The Age.

Thanks Mutton Flap, I like your style.

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