Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Asian Century Kicks Off Nicely

Gosh, where's Kevin Rudd when you actually need him?

Australia's bright new future in the Asian Century just got off to a flying start - literally. A Jetstar pilot and crew were held hostage for more than six hours by a mob of angry passengers after their flight was diverted from Beijing to Shanghai because of bad weather.

But thankfully the cabin manager spoke fluent Mandarin, and was able to communicate with the angry mob.
 
Repeat after me:

放下手中的 塑料餐具. 我们可以谈论这一点.

'Put down the plastic cutlery. We can talk about this.'

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Unsolicited Advice to Mrs Bob Carr

Julian Assange - in Da House

Apparently Julian Assange - sworn enemy of all secrecy, mighty hacker-warrior, glamorous sex god, and planetary philanthropist who had dedicated his life (like Roger Ramjet) to making the world a better place in which to live on - isn't really all that happy hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy any more.

And nor is the embassy. "Assange is said to be living a cramped life inside the embassy. He eats mostly take-out food and uses a treadmill to burn off energy and a vitamin D lamp to make up for the lack of sunlight."

Gosh, he must be a real joy to live with. The reek of stale grease from all those empty pizza boxes and plastic containers piling up; the annoying thud-thud-thud of the treadmill at odd hours of the day and night, the strange glow of the vitamin D lamp under the closed bedroom door. No one to listen to him talk about himself; people not paying any attention to him.

I'd love to make some elaborate comparisons here with Hitler in 1945 or Howard Hughes in 1976, but Assange simply isn't in their league. But I can tell you exactly whose league he is in, and that would be the under-10s.

Assange's attempted game of hide-and-seek with the adults of this world has ended - as so many other small children have had to learn - with the adults sitting in the living room watching TV. Not counting to 100 and then coming to get you, as you so carefully instructed them.

But perhaps this is too harsh - perhaps it would be fairer to compare Assange to that ubiquitious teenage son, now in his 30s, who refuses to leave the family nest and spends his days in front of the computer with his bedroom blinds drawn.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Unelected Foreign Minister's Wife Spends $120K in 6 Months

It's been a busy week at the trough. Here's Bob Carr defending the expenditure chalked up by having his wife Helena accompany him everywhere:

"I am proud that Helena has accompanied me on every trip I've done, because while I am talking to the Foreign Minister she is inspecting aid projects or talking to groups of women ... I think it is very, very good that Helena has been there with me. She's done meetings, she's inspected aid projects ... in China she had her own program and she's made a good contribution ... I think every stage in our bid for the UN seat it was an advantage for the Foreign Minister to be accompanied by a wife who was born in Malaysia of Indian and Chinese parents," he said.
 
Oh. Well, that's all right then.
 
It's nice, isn't it, that our unelected Foreign Minister has an equally unelected wife who is allowed to travel at taxpayers' expense to work on 'her program' in China and inspect aid projects elsewhere.
 
And I especially like the last bit, which sounded both sexist AND racist, but I daresay no-one else has noticed.
 
 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bill Shorten's Mother-in-Law Retains $400K Job

This just in:

Our Prime Minister has recommended to the Queen that Governor-General Quentin Bryce's term of office be extended to March 2014.

Is this to protect against any possible repeat of those unfortunate events of 1975?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Only $25 Million!

You know, I could give you a whole lot of stuff here about how much that $25 million we just blew on the UN Security Council could have purchased back at home in unglamorous Australia.

We could have frittered it away on things like effective drug addiction programs, mobile ear clinics for Indigenous communities, women's shelters, or scholarships for bright but disadvantaged kids to attend swanky private schools.

Or we could have filled a giant pinata in the shape of Senator Chris Evans' head with 250 ARC grants of $100,000 each and allowed random academics to beat it to pieces and then run off with a grant to research the importance of fatigue-testing cocktail umbrellas, the changing definition of the word 'misogyny' in contemporary Australia, the physics of the perfect golf shot, climate change in the works of [insert name of this year's literary luvvie], or really whatever takes their fancy.

Or, instead of bribing the Security Council, the Australian government could simply have given every voter in the country $2 to vote for them in the next election. This, and a promise of a bag of mixed lollies and a ride on their bike every now and then, might have worked wonders with some sectors of the voting public.

But really, the indefatigable Ainu Campbell-Barracks has said it all for me at Quadrant Online. So I don't need to say anything more. For now.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Thomson's Defence

This morning's Australian: "A DEFIANT Craig Thomson is threatening to sue anyone who claims he's had sex with prostitutes and is boasting he will win a court battle with the Commonwealth."

Sounds good to me. Perhaps he's engaged Nicola Roxon on his legal team? Her track record in this area - suppressing sleaze, keeping stuff out of court, covering up misogyny and protecting her government's one-seat majority - is pretty solid.

What Does It Take?

I watched with interest yesterday as Google News' various sources went from reporting Craig Thomson's scandalous charges, to reporting how Thomson was going to have them all thrown out and would get off scot-free, except for a massive and probably bankrupting fine.

But of course, bankruptcy would mean he would have to stand down as an MHR, so it would be a good thing, obviously, if all the charges were thrown out. And as for that whole misleading-parliament thing - weeeelllll, he could still keep serving, because after all, it's such a lot of fuss and bother to have a by-election when there's a Federal one round the corner.

The relief on the part of these news services was almost palpable, and their anxiety over Thomson's future quite touching. One felt as if they were on the verge of passing the hat round for poor old Craig.

So now I ask you: just what DOES a member of parliament have to do at the moment to be forced to stand down?

The Prime Minister staged a coup to displace a sitting Prime Minister and grab his job for herself. She is still up to her neck in some shonky business involving the AWU and the theft of around $400,000, all files relating to which have mysteriously disappeared, if indeed they ever existed. But she's still there.

Our Treasurer is delusional enough to think that his views on the US elections are of any concern to anyone except perhaps his immediate family. He also believes that if we spend more and more money it will miraculously grow back behind the sofa cushions. But he's still there.

Our Attorney General appears to have interfered with and attempted to block court proceedings. Peter Slipper was securely tucked away behind Nicola Roxon's skirts, and wasn't going anywhere until someone got to him behind the scenes. And even then he chose to fall on his sword, rather than be dismissed.

If Craig Thomson pranced naked into the chamber during a televised broadcast and waggled his bare bottom at the camera, would that do it? Or would some sub-section of some statute be wheeled out to argue that this kind of thing is in fact within the acceptable range of Parliamentary behaviour?

And just where does it say that in a hung parliament all bets are off, and the normal rules don't apply?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

FWA Charges Craig Thomson

And again, the day just gets better and better:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/fair-work-australia-charges-craig-thomson/story-fndsip4d-1226496362921

If found guilty, Thomson will face some whopping fines at the very least.

But if he's found guilty, then there's also the question of whether he misled Parliament during The Craig Thomson Hour.

Thomson is claiming that Fair Work Australia have been pressured into making this decision as part of a 'political process.' That would be much in the same way that James Ashby was pressured into claiming he'd been sexually harrassed by Peter Slipper, and the way Julia Gillard was young and naive when she signed all those rather grown-up looking documents for her married boyfriend and (in Gillard's own words) slush-fund operator.

The implication is quite clear from these infantile dummy-spitters: they believe that, if we didn't have a hung parliament, they would have been allowed to get away with anything they pretty much felt like. After all, that's the whole point of getting elected, isn't it? Snout A goes into Trough B, and stays there?

You Want Fries With That?

Fr Z again - just passing it on:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Freedom of Speech and other Myths

We've had a nice week here in Perth.

* On Monday, Spectator Australia editor Tom Switzer spoke to a group of around 80 people upstairs at the Claremont Hotel (60 of whom were economics and commerce students, mostly from UWA) about the current US presidential election campaign. A rowdy and good time subsequently had by all, even CIS founder Greg Lindsay (not Greg Sheridan - this is what happens when I overdo the orange juice) and Hal Colebatch.

* On Wednesday, columnist and legal eagle Professor James Allan (over here for speaking engagements) made the acquaintance of Perth's best-kept secret, the Perth Mint.

* On Friday-Saturday, Murdoch University's Law School hosted a seminar on 'Threats to Freedom of Speech', featuring Allan, Chris Berg (keynote), Professor Augusto Zimmerman and others. Very impressive turnout - again predominantly under 40 years of age - and plenty of cut-and-thrust.

The Mannkal Economic Education Foundation has been very busy sponsoring these events! Here in the golden West we are (I think) generally more friendly towards wealth creation and big ideas, but it's still great to see so many people getting an intellectual breath of fresh air in these otherwise foetid times. (And what a nice change NOT to be talking about misogyny, dubious powers of attorney and sexting.)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Michael Smith News

The blog Michael Smith News has, as you would expect, lit up like a Christmas tree over the last few days. It's a refreshing pocket of freedom of speech in an increasingly shrill world - a place where ordinary voting people are allowed and encouraged to view documents pertaining to our Prime Minister's past working life, at their leisure, and to judge for themselves.

The latest? Claims that Gillard 'witnessed' the transfer of a power of attorney during the AWU mess when the person making the transfer was not even in the room, or in fact the same state.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Down Down, Deeper and Down

And the day just gets better and better:

1) Fairfax have linked Gillard to more stolen union funds and dodgy property deals from the Bruce Wilson era. Professor Bunyip also has a few more comments on the matter.

2) And another academic writer has contacted me today and told me how a critique of his (circa 2004) on the ARC was spiked by the Australian's Higher Education supplement on the grounds that it was defamatory.

Ye Canna Change the Laws of Physics

What's really interesting for me is to watch and see just how much longer this Government can last.

The laws of physics don't seem to apply to politics. It seems that you really can pile up more and more garbage on a flimsy platform, and it can bear an infinite amount of weight. Or that you can push the lid down on a boiling saucepan of liquid, and it will just stay down.

Or will it? I watched some of Mrs Mathieson's antics this afternoon, and I saw someone who was rattled. Seriously rattled. Fighting-in-a-corner, starved-cat rattled.

Hasn't she done us proud, our first woman Prime Minister. Latched on to the union jugular early on in her career and never looked back, before knifing her way to the top job. Along the way she's shown us that all she really cares about is power. She has not a shred of policy to her name; no conviction, no principle, and no plans for the future apart from the next 24-hour media cycle.

And so she dips into the vocabulary of insult and slander to try to defend her appalling track record as Prime Minister. An inordinate amount of her time - and the time of her current henchperson-in-chief Nicola Roxon - seems to have been spent covering things up. These things involved both Gillard and her union chums from way back, or more recently the unfortunate and rather disorganised love life of P Slipper Esq.

Gillard has faithfully, each time, used the saucepan-lid principle:

- use any and all means to hold it down,
- when you can't hold it down any longer, let it ooze out the sides and make a mess on the stovetop,
- then blame Tony Abbott and call him a sexist for pointing out that you are probably the worst Prime Minister in this country's history.

Let's just keep watching, shall we?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Well, That Made Sense, Didn't It

Julia Gillard has just attacked Tony Abbott because he's called for Peter Slipper's resignation.

She has called him - in an outburst of startling unoriginality - a sexist and a misogynist.

So, let's do the math:

- The twice-married Peter Slipper repeatedly sexts a young and good-looking gay man who works for him
- Peter Slipper expresses in these sexts a marked dislike for lady bits
- Peter Slipper tells the court that he loves his wife (despite her having the same unpleasant lady bits)
- Peter Slipper is therefore Husband of the Year and an innocent victim of Liberal Party machinations.

- Tony Abbott shows no signs of being fazed by strong women, having been married to one for years
- Tony Abbott turns his back on Nicola Roxon in parliament
- Tony Abbott calls for the resignation of lady-bits-insulter and office masher Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House of Representatives
- Tony Abbott is a misogynist sexist pig.

- Julia Gillard was involved in the 1990s with a married union boss who has left her in the lurch to answer (or not answer) a series of awkward questions
- Julia Gillard set up what she later admitted was a 'slush fund' for her boyfriend
- Julia Gillard resigned under mysterious circumstances after an internal investigation of the above at Slater & Gordon
- Julia Gillard became Prime Minister by knifing the incumbent with the help of some union buddies
- Julia Gillard has appointed incompetent women to her Cabinet, including Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek
- Julia Gillard is therefore Woman of the Year and an innocent victim of Liberal Party sexism and misogyny.

Yup. All adds up to me.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Trick Questions and Double Standards

Q: When is bullying not bullying?
A: When you do it to Alan Jones.

Q: When is sexism not sexism?
A: When you do it to Tony Abbott.

Q: When is misogyny not misogyny?
A: When you do it to Gina Rinehart.

Q: Why are some people not protected by law?
A: Because we don't like them.

See Quadrant Online for the rest.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Yikes! Part IV

And it continues further. I emailed AFR and asked why the story had still been run in an electronic version when it had been spiked on Friday evening. It turns out someone had forgotten to delete the web version.

So anyone who read AFR's electronic version on the weekend - and indeed until a few minutes ago - would have been able to access this too-hot-for-publication piece.

If you try the link now, it's not there any more ...

I'm waiting to see what happens next, but isn't it splendid how I haven't once used the word 'Fairfax' as a pejorative phrase?

Yikes! Part III

And so it goes on. A Scholarly Lady Chum just emailed me this:

http://afr.com/p/national/arts_saleroom/grants_let_call_the_whole_thing_P59hqiYNtpIAdqxGFBX8zM

Go figure. But I can hardly complain. Don't forget to visit the unexpurgated version at Quadrant Online.