Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Green Left Weekly Calendar 2012-02-01

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Wednesday, February 1
Rally: Critical moment for HRL. On the eve of the federal government decision that could make or break HRL, the proposed new coal-fired power station for Victoria, it's up to us to convince the politicians that in 2012, new coal-fired power stations are a dud investment. Together we can convince the Gillard Government to withdraw their $100 million, and put it into renewable energy instead. Speakers include Kelvin Thomson (ALP MP for Wills) & Adam Bandt (Greens MP for Melbourne). 12:30pm. Parliament House steps, Spring St, City. For more info visit Quit Coal.
Thursday, February 2
Public meeting: After 'Homosexual'. The legacies of gay liberation. Speakers: Dennis Altman; Alice Echols; Jeffrey Weeks; hosted by Helen Razer. 6pm. ACMI, Federation Square, City. Presented by La Trobe University & the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives. $17/$14. For more info visit Midsumma.
Friday, February 3
Rally: Occupy Melbourne: Occupy Fridays! 10am-10pm. City Square, cnr Collins & Swanston Sts, City. For more info visit Occupy Melbourne.
Booklaunch: Life Without Money. Building Fair and Sustainable Economies. This book engages with today's big economic, environmental, democratic and social challenges; edited by Anitra Nelson & Frans Timmerman. Speaker: Jeff Sparrow (editor Overland). Entry free. 6:30pm. Readings Bookshop, 309 Lygon St, Carlton.
Concert: Jazz for good. Fundraiser for East Africa food crisis. Come along for some good green food, local drinks, and to listen to the great Madmen Band. Free entry; donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards the Oxfam East Africa Food Crisis Appeal. 6pm till late, Grumpys Green, 125 Smith St, Fitzroy.
Friday, February 3-Saturday, February 4
Conference: After 'Homosexual': The legacies of gay liberation. Forty years ago, a young Australian expat living in the USA synthesised the politics of the emerging gay liberation movement in a provocative book called Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation. In recognition of the 40th anniversary of its publication and to mark Denis Altman's retirement, this international conference will bring together leading and emerging scholars to reflect on the impact of Homosexual and the legacy of gay liberation. Victoria University, 300 Flinders Street, City. For more info visit After Homosexual
Saturday, February 4
Festival: Yalukit Willam Ngargee. Yalukit Willam Ngargee will kick off the nine-day St Kilda Festival with an action packed program of free Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music, dance, arts, children's activities and more. Music includes: Jayden Lillyst; Benny Walker and Band; The Gracemakers; Tambo Company Band; Emma Donovan; The Last Kinection; Bart Willoughby Band. 12.45-8.50pm, O'Donnell Gardens, St Kilda. For more info ph 9209 6306 or visit Yalukit Festival.
Booklaunch: Life Without Money. Building Fair and Sustainable Economies. Speakers: Moss Cass, (former Whitlam government minister) & Julia Dehm (Occupy Melbourne activist) in conversation with Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman (co-editors of Life Without Money). 3pm. New International Book Shop, Trades Hall, Carlton South.
Film screening: The People Speak. Inspired by Howard Zinn's books. Celebrates the extraordinary possibilities for creating social change that ordinary people have realized throughout the course of the United States' rich but often ignored history of dissent and protest. 4pm. Loophole Community Centre, 670 High Street, Thornbury. $5 minimum donation: This will be a fundraiser to help Palestinian refugee Mahmoud, currently held pending an ASIO 'security check'. For more info visit Industrial Workers of the World.
Sunday, February 5
Rally: Demonstration for Syria. Allow foreign media into Syria; Syria wants a free democratic society; an immediate end to killing of civilians; respect people's right to peaceful protest; provide immediate humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees. 11am. State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City. Organised by Australian Syrian Association.
Rally: 17th annual Pride march. Gather from 12 noon for march at 2pm Sharp. Cnr Lakeside Dr & Fitzroy St, St Kilda. For more info visit Pride march.
Monday, February 6
Rally: Tenants Union Victoria: Stop work and solidarity BBQ. SU members at the Tenants Union Victoria are fighting for better pay and conditions. We will be stopping work and invite all supporters and other community sector workers to join us. We will be out the front of the office on Johnston Street sending the message to TUV management from 10am-4pm. Tenants Union Victoria Office, 55 Johnston St (between Nicholson and Brunswick Sts), Fitzroy. There will be a solidarity BBQ from 12 noon-2pm.
Tuesday, February 7
Canberra Rally: Marriage equality cavalcade to Canberra. Action on first day of Parliament to remind them of the massive support for marriage equality. 12 noon. Parliament House, Canberra.
Vigil: Oppose the Afghan War. We have now been involved in the Afghanistan War longer than we were in Vietnam. A Roy Morgan poll late last year say 72% of Australians want the troops home, yet the war goes on. Join us in a vigil to oppose the war. 4-7pm. Flinders St Station, City.
Rally: Stop the deportation of Afghan Hazara asylum seeker Ismail Mirza Jan. Never before has an Afghan national been forcibly removed from Australia to Afghanistan. Recently Ismail received a temporary reprieve when the Federal Magistrates Court questioned whether he received 'procedural fairness' by the Australian government in their attempts to deport him. Ismail's deportation case will come back to the High Court on February 8. The refugee rights movement has a short window of opportunity to build a broad campaign against this forced deportation and the terrible precedent it would provide. 5:30-8:30pm. Bourke St Mall, City. Organised by Refugee Action Collective.
Film screening: The end of the line. Where have all the fish gone? The first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Shows firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. Talk with Sea Shepherd after the film. 7pm. Level 4, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, City. Entry by donation. The Big Picture at Ross House is a monthly film series showing films for the environment and social justice. This month we're supporting Sea Shepherd.
Wednesday, February 8
Film screening: END: CIV. with director Franklin L√≥pez. END: CIV illustrates the brutality of a civilization addicted to systematic violence and environmental destruction and the heroism of those who confront it head-on. As Australia is beginning to experience more frequent environmental crises resulting from climate change and a history of poor environmental management this film will be instrumental in bringing awareness of the need to confront the system which allows this destruction to continue. 7pm. Loophole Community Centre, 670 High St, Thornbury.
Fabian forum: Australian media: The question of integrity. David McKnight's recent book on Rupert Murdoch is a good curtain-raiser for this year's Fabian Forums. To coincide with the launch of thebook, David and Robert Manne will lead our first discussion for 2012 on the need for vigilance in pursuit of a healthy democracy. 6-7:30pm. Melbourne City Convention Centre, 333 Swanston St, City. $10 (non-members), $5 (members, concession and students). RSVP toFabian forum.
Thursday, February 9
Film screening: Melbourne benefit screening of 'Operation 8' with Gary Foley. On October 15 2007, activists around New Zealand woke to guns in their faces. Black-clad police smashed down doors, dragging families out onto roads and detaining some without food or water. Operation 8 involved 18 months of invasive surveillance of Maori sovereignty and peace activists accused of attending terrorist training camps in the Urewera ranges, homeland of the Tuhoe people. Four activists still face charges from the raids and their trial will start on February 13 in the Auckland High Court. Reflections on Operation 8 and Q & A hosted by Gary Foley after the screening. 7pm. Cinema 4, Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon St, Carlton. Tickets and payment at the door. $15. All profits go towards support for the Urewera 4 still on trial. Please reserve tickets via Hayley.
Friday, February 10
Rally: Israeli Apartheid Inc. Corporate criminals BDS tour. As part of the global Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions campaign, Students for Palestine is taking on corporations in Melbourne's CBD that support the theft of Palestinian land and the brutality of the Israeli military. 6pm. Bourke St, Mall. For more info visit Students for Palestine or ph 0410 513 302.
Rally: Occupy Melbourne: Occupy Fridays! 10am-10pm. City Square, cnr Collins & Swanston Sts, City. For more info visit Occupy Melbourne.
Concert: The Decline (WA) & Hightime (SA) Melbourne launch. The Decline launch their second album full of humourous socio-political punk tunes. 7:30pm. The Tote, 71 Johnston Street (cnr Wellington St), Collingwood For more info visit The Decline.
Saturday, February 11
Rally: Stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. Death in custody of Terrance Briscoe, Alice Springs (January 5, 2012); 4th anniversary of the death of Mr Ward (January 27); 5th anniversary of Queensland Police officer, Chris Hurley, being forced to front the Supreme Court charged with manslaughter and assault (February 5); 8th anniversary of the death of TJ Hickey (February 14). Stop Aboriginal deaths in custody: implement all 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. End privatisation of custodial services: cancel all contracts with G4S, SERCO and other profiteers from incarceration. 11am. Old GPO, cnr Bourke & Elizabeth Sts, City. Organised by Indigenous Social Justice Association. For more info ph 9388 0062.
Public meeting: Victorian Climate Action Convergence. (Note change of date). You're invited to join with Victorian climate action, fossil fuel and energy campaigners for a day of ideas and planning for Victoria's climate campaigns of 2012. Exciting plenary speakers will kick off the day, then campaigners from across Victoria will talk about what they are doing this year. You can also propose your own work shop for an Open Space. Entry by donation (to cover venue hire). 9am-5pm. South Melbourne Commons, 217-239A Montague St, South Melbourne. For more info email Brett.
Think tank: Next steps for the refugee movement in 2012. Organised by Refugee Action Network (RAN). Agenda: 1. Short introduction of what RAN has done over the last 12 months. 2. The year in retrospect. Guest speakers to open a discussion about the current situation for refugees given the legal challenges and the government's announcements in 2011. 3. Campaign actions & priorities for 2012. 4. Role & focus of RAN. 11am-4pm. Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St, City (opposite Victoria Markets).
Indigenous rights film festival. Featuring: The Coolbaroo Club (about racial apartheid in Perth in the late 1940s and fifties); The Tall Man (deals with the killing of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004); Ningla A-Na [Hungry for our land] (documentary about the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972); BarbaKiueria (satirical film about race relations in Australia). Starts 3pm. See display advertisement above for full details. Resistance Centre, level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Organised by Green Left Weekly & Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622.
Sunday, February 12
Festival: Anatolian Peace & Friendship Festival. Celebrating the rich history of Anatolia and the diversity it brings to Australia. The festival will provide diverse music and performances on stage all day as well as home-made Turkish food stalls, rides and entertainment for the kids and an atmosphere of peace and friendship. 11am till 6pm. Coburg Lake Reserve, Coburg North.
Zine fair: Festival of The Photocopier. Sticky Institute will be moving their annual zine fair to the biggest room inMelbourne, having well and truly out-grown Degraves Subway (that bit outside the shop). 12 noon-5pm. Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street, City. For more info visit Sticky Institute.
Tuesday February 14
Public meeting: MAPW dinner report-back from Yokohama & nuclear industry update. Guest speaker Dr Margaret Beavis, who has just returned from the massive global conference on nuclear power in will update us on both Japan and the global movement. La Notte, 140 Lygon Street Carlton. $30 fixed price menu, plus a voluntary donation to cover any student members who pay $15. Organised by Medical Association for the Prevention of War. All welcome. RSVP toCarole Wigg or ph 9439 7272.
Wednesday, February 15
Public meeting: LASNET 2012 annual get-together meeting. The main purpose of this meeting is to plan and delegate tasks for the projects we are committed to undertaking this year. Agenda: Introduction, LASNET background; Main commitments, Campaigns, our priorities; Solidarity delegation to Colombia; International multinational monitor; International visitors for 2012 from Chile (one of the president from CONFECH for April), a Colombian union leader from SINALTRAINAL for May; Possible gathering/conference for end of the year; Our publication, The Spectre. 6:30pm. LASNET Space, Trades Hall Basement, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. For more info email LASNET.
Friday, February 17
Rally: Occupy Melbourne: Occupy Fridays! 10am-10pm. City Square, cnr Collins & Swanston Sts, City. For more info visit Occupy Melbourne.
Outdoor film screening: 'Our Generation' plus short films about the struggle for the Kimberley. An evening of film, live music featuring Richard Frankland and speakers with a focus on issues affecting indigenous communities in northern Australia. Our Generation is a powerful and upfront documentary on the Aboriginal struggle for their land, culture and freedom, a story that has been silenced by the mainstream media. Money raised by film ticket sales will go to community projects in Arnhem Land and Kimberley campaigners. Doors 6pm. Food & bar from 6:30pm. Speakers and live music from 7pm until dark.Feature starts at 9pm. CERES Community Environment Park on the Village Green, cnr Roberts & Stewart Sts, Brunswick East. $20/$16. Bookings Ceres or ph 9389 0100.
Friday, February 17-Sunday, February 19
Festival: Sustainable Living Festival 2012. Federation Square & Birrarung Marr Event Park, near cnr Swanston & Flinders Sts, City. For more info visit SLF.
Sunday, February 19
The 'Please resist me' poetry slam tour Melbourne launch. Hosted by esteemed poet and rapper Omar Musa (Moneykat). 6:30pm. Performance Revolt, 12 Elizabeth St, Kensington. $18/$15. Organised by the Centre for Poetics and Justice. For more info visit CPJ.
Wednesday, February 22
Public meeting: Come the Revolution: A Memoir. A talk with the author Alex Mitchell, veteran journalist and one-time editor of the UK Trotskyist daily newspaper The Workers Press. In this role he travelled to the Middle East and interviewed Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. 6:30-7:30 pm, New International Bookshop meeting room, Basement, Trades Hall, Carlton. Entry by gold coin donation. Drinks and snacks available.
Friday, February 24
Rally: Occupy Melbourne: Occupy Fridays! 10am-10pm. City Square, cnr Collins & Swanston Sts, City. For more info visit Occupy Melbourne.
Tuesday, February 28
Rally: India's general strike: Melbourne supports the world's largest ever strike. On February 28, over 100 million Indians will join together and walk off the job in what is likely to be the largest strike of workers the world has ever seen. The different labor unions have specific demands that they want to achieve with the strike. These include bringing contract workers up to the same level of employee protections as permanent workers, extending the minimum wage to cover the entire population, and countering the attacks on unions. Workers around the world will be standing in solidarity with those fighting for economic justice in India. 5:30pm. Federation Square, City. For more info visit Workers' Solidarity Network.
Saturday, March 3
Fest La Frog: Urban eco fest. Showcasing sustainable and organic, music and art, this event will be even bigger and better than last years. Fest La Frog is paving the way for the future of festivals by using solar-powered stages, local artists, solar boosted organic food and beverages. Fest La Frog has a zero waste policy and last year 650 people onsite created only a handful of landfill and half a recycling bin worth of packaging! 1:30-10pm. CERES Community Environment Park, cnr Roberts & Stewart Sts, Brunswick. For more info visit Fest La Frog.
Sunday, March 4
Festival: Join the Socialist Alliance stall at Sydney Rd Festival. 12 noon-7pm. For more info ph 9639 8622.
Thursday, March 8
Public meeting: The Occupy movement: An infantile disorder? Melbourne University Graduate House, 220 Leicester St, Carlton. For more info visit The Monthly Argument.
Sunday, March 11
Rally: Commemoration of Fukushima nuclear disaster. Part of international day of action. 1pm. State Library, cnr Swanston & Latrobe Sts, City. Organised by MAPW, ICAN, Japanese for Peace and others. For more info visit 11 March.
Friday, April 6
Canberra Rally: Easter convergence on Darwin 2012. Free the refugees, end mandatory detention. Marks 10 years since the refugee rights movement's first Easter convergence at Woomera 2002, when busloads of protesters from across the country met magnificent protests by detainees, many of whom leapt through the fence and literally into the arms of the movement. Darwin is rapidly becoming Australia's detention capital. Chronic levels of self-harm and protest have put the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in a state of perpetual crisis. 341 continue to languish at NIDC, with scores more at the Darwin Airport Lodge. For more info visit RAC.
Saturday, May 12
Rally: National rally for marriage equality. 1pm. State Library, cnr Swanston & Latrobe Sts, City. Organised by Equal Love.

Campaign committees

Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective. (MAIC) meets meets on the first and third Monday of each month, 6.30pm on Level 4 of the rear building at Trades Hall, Lygon & Victoria Sts Carlton. For info, ph 0431 311 520 or visit MAI Collective.
Refugee Action Collective (RAC). For more info ph 0413 377 978 or visit RAC.
Quit Coal: No New Coal Power for Victoria. Aa Melbourne-based collective which campaigns against expansion of the coal industry in Victoria. We believe this is important because building new coal infrastructure locks in decades of dirty, old technology, when we should be moving towards clean, renewable energy. For more info visit Quit Coal or call 0402 337 077.

The Duopoly Duel: a couple of monopsonists slug it out

As Coles has forged ahead under its new owners Wesfarmers and Woolworths is not quite so dominant anymore, some questions about its brand placement have been raised.  It is suggested that "Woolworths - the Fresh Food People" was good branding and still relevant; that Woolworths is on the back foot because it had let this particular branding slide to respond to Coles discounting.

I noticed at the week-end (was it as I was watching the eternal never-ending Djokovic-Nadal tennis match?) a ramp up of Woolworth's advertising on this theme.  I thought: Ahah! How will Coles now respond to this?  News from the front to-day indicates Coles is shifting its price war to fresh food, to our fruit and vegetables.  

Now I'm pretty sure this is not, in the first instance, a response to "the fresh food people".  Rather, it is more of the same price placements that Coles has been adopting for some time.  Coles claims the company had worked closely with growers to transform their fresh fruit and vegetable prices, investing in new growing techniques, quality control, store displays and now lower prices for customers.   I wait for the next exciting episode of the Duopoly Duel

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Monday, 30 January 2012

Tess Lawrence and The Victorian Injustice System - Part 2: Tess tries to get her house back

I first published the material below on 14 January 2012.  Tess has published this piece in the journal for which she writes, Independent Australia, to-day 30 January 2012.  It gives great insight into the effects of this crisis on one individual. 

2 February 2012.  I have posted to-day here on Tess's appearance in court to get an extension of her appeal against bankruptcy.  Please go to the post to see a description of the systemic flaws which work against self-representing litigants.

You may recall this post about Tess Lawrence and her battle with the National Australia Bank.  Tess has sent me this video about the current status of her plight. Tess says:

Dear Brigid, 

Could you please help and circulate this far and wide. I am still trying to find out
where my belongings are - and the police won't help me.

kind regards,

Old Oz Media - and what passes for news

Now I don't know what the outcome of this debate was in India and I am not making an affirmative case in regard to 'media people' in Australia.  However, Australian journalism is becoming increasingly problematic. 

I offer, as one major piece of evidence, the brouhaha of the window rappers at The Lobby last week.  Read about the background to this reporting here and to date there appears to be no discussion among the mainstream media people themselves that they were part of the problem.  If  you follow the links in the Further Reading section of the post, there is a clear cleavage between reports appearing in the mainstream/old media and reports in the so-called new media.

Last week's events seem to have made me more sensitive than usual to reporting in our 'news' papers.  Now, I don't want to appear to be picking on The Aged unduly - however, this is the paper I usually read.  I read it on-line with an occasional purchase for cryptic crossword and sudoku purposes.  Occasionally, I might dip into The Australian but generally I feel yukky if I dip into the Murdoch tabloids so I am not bothering to take investigations there.

To-day's The Age has a couple of stand-out no-news and what's-the-point-of-publishing-this candidates.
The first stand-out is:

Union leader's 

long history 

of activism

This story has the by-line of Dan Harrison.  I have no idea of Dan's journalistic background but if he's applying for a job at Woman's Day or some celebrity oriented magazine, Dan might tender this piece of breathless writing in support of his application.

Dan gives the impression Activism=Bad, Mainstream sensibilities=Good.  

We have someone who is concerned with and earns her living in the cause of workplace equity and justice.  Her concern extends beyond this to making the case for equity and justice in other areas of society.  Clearly, from the tone of voice of this piece of journalism, such activities are suspicious, not laudable and must be used in any case that is condemnatory of Kim Sattler.  Could this be the beginning of or an urging to terrorism?  

Judges to dress 

in red for 

Sydney mass

This from The Age does not carry a journalist's by-line.  The story has been sourced from AAP.  The inclusion of this story is clearly included because of an editorial decision to pick this one up off the wire. Certainly, this is not a newsworthy item.  This is an event that takes place every year at the beginning of the Law Year. And every year regalia is worn.  The headline can only be viewed as some sub-editor's idea of a joke.  But then isn't The Age outsourcing sub-editing to AAP?

'Old' media, particularly of the broadsheet variety, are casting around to maintain their place, their presence and their subscriptions in an increasingly on-line world.  To continue to make money, broadsheets and tabloids alike - 'old' media - have still to find a replicable formula.  First and foremost, one would imagine, is the imperative to provide 'news' and other material of interest to a particular readership or demographic.  How else can advertising be sold and money made?

Are readers of The Age really interested in Kim Sattler's extra-curricular activities and activism?  How many readers of  The Age in Melbourne are bursting to know that judges are dressing up and going to mass in Sydney?  

Actually, this piece of journalism gives every appearance of being a direct lift of a Catholic Media Office press release.  How do I know this?  Because, historically, the Catholics go to a Catholic mass and others go to a protestant service.  In Sydney, the protestant venue would usually be at St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral.  So, not only is this no news, it also demonstrates religious bias.  Why did it make the grade at all?  To curry favour with a legal readership?  I figure that this would be a very tiny demographic among the readership of The Age.  And does the Melbourne legal fraternity give a fig for what the Sydney legal establishment is up to?

Dear Networkers, if you have similar material on which to make comment, please be in touch with Miss Eagle at misseaglesnetwork(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Groundwater issues - sustainability, salinity, water sufficiency

From water campaigner, Maria Reidl:

Maria has sent a link to podcast of a Fran Kelly interview with Professor Craig Simmons of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and Professor Robert F.Glennon is the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.

The interview was brought about because of last week's meeting in Sydney where four of the world’s leading authorities on global and regional water issues will gathered to advise on Australia’s groundwater research and training needs.

A note on groundwater below is from here.

Due to the cap on surface water extractions in the Murray-Darling Basin and the scarcity of surface water resources in other areas, groundwater use across Australia has increased by 90% between 1985 and 1996/97 to approximately 5000 GL/year (NLWRA 2001b). Overall, 33% of groundwater extracted is for urban/industrial use, 48% is used for irrigation and 19% is for stock watering and rural use. South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria use more than 60% of groundwater for irrigation, while Western Australia uses 72% for urban and industrial purposes.
The total volume of groundwater that can be sustainably extracted from groundwater resources is currently estimated to be 25 735 GL/year (< 5000 mg/L TDS); however, many undeveloped groundwater resources are in remote areas. More importantly, most groundwater sustainable yield estimates do not consider groundwater dependent ecosystems or the impact of groundwater extraction on baseflows associated with surface waters. These are major issues that need to be addressed before the intensive development of groundwater resources can be managed sustainably. Some groundwater resources are already overdeveloped including the Great Artesian Basin and many small aquifers in the Murray-Darling Basin and along the east coast of Australia.
Further reading & listening:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Friday, 27 January 2012

Wayne Swan, Rob Hulls and Pat Comben and seekings answers to questions

In the long ago when Miss Eagle was a very politically involved person, she took this picture with some of her then comrades-in-politics. I am re-posting this post - original publication September 25 2009 - because to-day, January 27 2012, Rob Hulls has announced his resignation from state politics in Victoria.

Rob has been an excellent Labor Attorney-General. Please note that of the three in the photo, only one is still in office. That's the one in the glasses - Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia Wayne Swan. Wayne, to me, is a good old-fashioned Labor politician and is employing traditional Labor methods in keeping Australia out of the financial difficulties afflicting the world. So far these methods are meeting with great success.

From Miss Eagle's archives.
No, these three lads are not triplets 
cutting a birthday cake.
From left: Wayne Swan - then State Secretary of the Qld Branch of the ALP, 
now Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia;
Rob Hulls - then Federal Member for Kennedy, a North Qld based seat,
now Victorian Attorney-General;
Pat Comben - then Minister (several portfolios) in the Labor Govt of Wayne Goss,
now an Anglican priest and Registrar of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton
and has the nomenclature of The Hon & Revd Pat Comben.
The date was 15 March 1991.
The place was Charters Towers.
The occasion was the Centenary of the ALP.
Charters Towers was one of the very first branches.


I am taking the opportunity of putting this picture up
because Rob Hulls is doing a live Q & A on line 
this afternoon at 2.30 pm here.
You will need to be quick about getting your
Qs on or you won't get any As
Miss Eagle has asked how we can legally get out of Water Trading
rebundle land and water once again.
Let's see if she gets an answer to that.
She might if Rob recognises the name attached to the Q.


The article below is by Tess Lawrence and is re-posted, with permission, from the Independent Australia website. I hope Networkers will pop over there to follow up on the comments to Tess's article.  Tess has kindly published my previous post in the comments section as well.  And I hope you too will become a regular reader of IA.


by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence

“Many of our people call it invasion day,” said Mr Mick Dodson, a professor of law at the Australian National University. “To many indigenous Australians, in fact, most indigenous Australians, it really reflects the day in which our world came crashing down.”

When Mick Dodson uttered those words in 2009, after being named Australian of the Year, he addressed the echidna in the outback room. I’m not the only Australian that empathises with him and like thinkers.
We have become so used to having a moribund Federal Parliament that has long divested itself of any concern, or even affection, for its people, but instead has morphed into a wasteland of toxic factions and fetid egos whose venal pursuit of power for power’s sake has reduced our nation’s governance to political squalor and hypocrisy.
This year we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up on the grounds of the old Parliament House in Canberra. It is a sacred vigil.
The Tent Embassy has a nobility, patriotic passion and sense of purpose that is completely lacking in The Big House.
Its Coat of Arms and Constitution has no need for royal decree, since the people themselves have decreed it and declared it.
It does not buy and sell speakers and squelchers of the House. Its Ambassadors do not sit in high chairs or high dudgeon.
The Tent Embassy seeks equality not superiority. It seeks recognition that this nation was occupied by aborigines when the first white boat people arrived in their tens, then hundreds, then thousands and now millions and became the master race through brute and gentler force, imposing their language, their religion and their diseases — and whatever else…
It is a disgrace that we have yet to acknowledge the original inhabitants of our Great Southern Land in our Constitution. I say that, as I write, in the midst of much back patting and back stabbing and nonsensical puffery surrounding the issue.
It is more than a disgrace that we have no Treaty in place and I have long felt this.
I feel we will remain an illegitimate nation until we are honourable enough to do the right thing.
In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wrote himself indelibly into Australian history when he said Sorry. Perhaps we will have to wait for the Gillard FM (Faceless Men) Coup to be reversed for him to negotiate a Treaty.
Certainly, of all the big noters and the big notaries in the Labor Party – the big talkers and the big hawkers – Kevin Rudd came the closest to effecting a Treaty. He might yet get the chance to extend his historical paragraph.
Today, Independent Australia republishes an article I wrote for Planet Oz Media in 2009 about the Dodson Affair. Tragically, so little has changed in the years since. Dodson was seen by some to be ungrateful and ungracious when he made his comments — and yet, I rejoice that other Australians of the Year have since voiced their passions and beliefs and told it like it is, without marinating in spin or ingratiation.
It’s the Australia that I once knew and still love. Our Governments can reduce us to political Shamocracy, but We the People can still act on behalf of, and with, our communities and refuse to be threatened into silence or brutalised by corporations into submission.


G’day Australia. Do most of us really believe that it’s the right thing to celebrate Australia Day on the anniversary of a date when a bunch of whiteys preposterously plonked a Union Jackboot in the sand and declared the land unoccupied, when they had clearly seen a bunch of black fellows peeping through the gum leaves.

Smacks of a rip-off to me. Come off it, sport, how UNaustralian is that, mate?! Fair suck of the saveloy our gracious king.
And what’s up with ‘lil Kev. When he was Kevin 007 he said ‘Sorry’ for Gawd’s sake. Now he’s morphed into Kevin 09, long lost blue blood brother to one John Winston Howard, hogging the mike and telling us all the answer is an emphatic ‘ NO! ‘to any thought of moving the date for
Australia Day to a more appropriate ‘time of the month’ or year.
I was rather disturbed at his attitude and his nobody language. How can Kev go on about democracy and freedom of speech and in the same breath dictate to that big black upstart, the man with the hat, and his like, that the date WILL NOT be moved. Who said? You’re an elected servant of the people, Kev. The Great Unwashed. You might be removed at the next election, mate, for all you know. And what’s up with the drongo Supposition agreeing with him?
Not a good thing to say ‘never’ in politics, Kev. We of the never never reckon you could find yourself eating someone else’s turds. I’m with Professor Mick Dodson, Australian of the Year – and
Ron Barassi and the apparent minority to which I belong, that believes in Australia Day – but not its date.
As it stands, it’s a day for dancing alright; dancing on the collective grave of the inhabitants of the First Nation. You’ve lost me on this one Kev. Australia Day is invasion day — Lostralia.
What’s more, Kev, and this is neither threat nor prophecy (in case you’re thinking of issuing any ridgydidge fridge magnets to report any Australia Day insurgents), if you keep this up you could get a pair of thongs thrown at you at your next press conference.

A.D. or B.C.?

Should A.D. (Australia Day) better reflect B.C. (before Cook)? I say yes. I say change — not the short change that keeps coming to indigenous Australians.
Tough if it’s an inconvenience to change the date, or to seriously think about what we are doing to our indigenous brethren. All the platitudes in the gin-joints of the world mean nothing if we are incapable of empathy on this matter.
In truth this country was ‘founded’ on a lie. It was not ‘terra nullius’; but to a people that considered itself the master race of the universe, blacks were not humans. Bungs didn’t count.
Do they now, Kev? Not really. Neither in fact; nor in law. Not the white man’s lore. Not the King’s Law. Nor the white Queen’s Law. Nor, it seems, do we want them contributing to public debate and impacting upon the outcomes of those debates.

A bit of shiny bling…

…to pin on their diseased and diabetic chests

We orchestrated their past and we’ll orchestrate their future. We know what’s good for them.
Say ‘Sorry’, keep them happy, give them a bit of shiny bling to pin on their diseased diabetic chests.
Better hold on the toxic sugar. And the rabid 100% alcohol-proof fences.
Even if they are on the dole forever, their life span is not as long as ours, so whiteys on the dole forever can still enjoy the dole life plan for much longer. In a way, their early deaths represent considerable saving to the public purse. Come to think of it, then, this means it is not economically viable for us to improve their health.

They wouldn’t work in an iron ore lung…

They wouldn’t work in an iron-ore lung anyway.
There are two types of black deaths in custody. There are your traditional black deaths in custody: go alive into a prison cell, come out dead — Aunties wailing and tearing their hearts and hair out.
You know the scenario. They make such a bloody songline and dance about it.
Then there’s the other black deaths in custody. They now run into their thousands.
They’re the black deaths that have taken place since they’ve been in custody of the wider community. Our community. In our political custody and all that entails. That is, the sum total of all of us since white foot first trod heavy upon this Great Southern Land.
Once, in 1967, white and whiteish folks voted for aborigines to be counted in the national census.
What if we turned the tablelands on that? Do you think we could ask indigenous Australians to participate in a referendum about the date on which we should celebrate Australia Day? Could they be trusted with such political gravitas? Is that too big a word for them, Kev?
You probably want to keep them away from the political gravy train. Look at what happened to ATSICK. I mean, you wouldn’t want them handling a Wheat Board or, say, be Victoria’s Minister for Transport, Lynne Kosky, or anything like that.

Reckonciliation — Reconciliation

And you’d have to keep them away from plonk, glue and petrol wouldn’t you, Kev? Thenthey might be able to handle it. You’d have to keep them away from parliamentary dining rooms otherwise all their rellies would be eating there and complaining theirservings weren’t big enough.
Have you seen how they scoff their tucker? As if there’s no tomorrow. A short tomorrow, granted — but, look, they do get everything just handed to them on a platter. They get handouts and handsup and handshakes — and then they paint all those hands and plant them in the ground. And then have the cheek to give us their hand in wreckonciliation … oops! Reconciliation, I mean.
But that’s not all. They might have altercations on a night out with the iguanas, which they like to bake over an open fire. And you’d have to ban them from going overseas and representing us as diplomats because they’ll just get on the booze — they could also lose their daks, gawd love’em; but they do wear those red nappy things when they’re dancing, so it would probably be alright in the long run.
Better still Uncle Kev, keep them away from any real participation in political change. No, I like
the way you stood up to Professor Mick — have you done a bio authenticity check on him? What’s he profess to be a Professor of, ’eh?
We stole this land. Dress it up in laws and legislation as much as you like. We all continue to collude in this theft. As long as we delay Reconciliation and a Treaty, we remain accomplices.
It’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s not justice. We can’t undo the past. But we should be honest enough to acknowledge it.

Obama spells a Mabo backwards

I love this country. Like many of us who travel overseas, I am perplexed at the nostalgia and sentiment that intoxicate the brain when away from her. It is surely a spiritual bond and not the privilege of one skin colour alone. The power comes from her — and not those who walk upon her; sometimes walk all over her.
People keep asking if there’s an Obama type of fellow out there amongst our indigenous folk. Fat chance. You wouldn’t consider Mick or Noel would you? Don’t even think about a black sheila.
Unless it’s that Catherine the Great sprinter, the one who’s got ‘Salome’ as one of her middle names,
strewth! That’s a bible name. Cheek of it. She must be well up herself, with a surname like
Freeman. I reckon she could be a closet Muslim. Think about it, Salome………
She was given a bogong wasn’t she — an OAM I think. It’s that bling thing again with them.
And she won a gold medal in the Olympics desperately trying to ingratiate herself to us.
Trying to be whiter than white. As for her draping their flag around herself like that, well, with a middle name like Salome what do you expect ?
I thought she’d breakdance into the dance of the Five Veils, it being the Olympics and all. It was different when our Dawn nicked the Aussie flag — that’s more in keeping with our tradition and idiom; plus our Dawn’s got the advantage of being white. But look, getting back to skin colour, of course it matters. For a start, some of them are that white they only claim to be black so they can get the benefits.
Funny that Obama spells A Mabo backwards. I reckon that’s a sign. Black Magic. Also, some of them blacks are muslims like Obama. Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous. What’s wrong with The Dreamtime? Their own culture not good enough for them? Rainbow serpents and Muslims. Didge in one hand — Koran in the other. What’s going on there? They should be facing Uluru, not Mecca; the Southern Cross, not Saudi Arabia.
I dunno, Kev, I think I’ve just about talked myself out of it now. Yeah, keep Invasion Day as Australia Day. After all, there’s more of us than them. Yo, whiteys rule! And don’t forget, they’re a dying race. As long as we go on as we are, soon there won’t be a race problem. They’ll die out. They’ve brought it upon themselves.
Geezus, they didn’t even put up a decent fight. And when you think about it, they may have lost their country but look at all they’ve gained. We brought them Civilisation! We took them out of the
Stone age. They put themselves into the Stoned age. We give them voting rights. They want Land Rights. They want equal rights. They make us feel like guests in our own country.
You can’t build a dunny on a dung heap without them claiming it’s sacred land and demanding billions of Australia Day medals. The only mistake we made was when we didn’t follow the example of our own white European ancestors. We didn’t learn from our own history. After all, did not the Dutch buy Manhattan for 60 guilders, if not baubles and beads, from the local red Indian savages. After all, our mob couldn’t read or write — still can’t. Anyway, even if we had’ve given them a few bob, where were they going to spend it ? They hadn’t even invented money. No shops. No milkbars. No malls.
Says it all, dunnit? I rest my slab.

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