Piercing silence over at Karen’s place.

November 22nd, 2007

I drive past Karen Chijoff’s electoral office in St Mary’s most mornings and most evenings. This morning at 0905 there was no sign of anyone. Granted it is always too early for the tattoo and piercing shop next door to Karen, but usually, and certainly in the run up to the election, Karen has her posters out and the place is buzzing with activity. This photo shows her office at 1830. It had not opened all day.

photo194_edit.jpg

Who would have thought that such an unassuming little shopfront on Queen Street in St Mary’s could deliver such a monumental gift to the Australian Labor party candidate of Lindsay- David Bradbury and perhaps a decisive win for Labor federally.

A little over a week ago John and Janette HoWARd spent two days in the seat of Lindsay as part of the coalition plan to win the election one marginal seat at a time.

“Labor was making a mistake to assume it would win Lindsay, which has a margin of 2.9 per cent. They’ve tended to say, well, this one will go into our list, simply because the very popular sitting member is retiring. The Labor Party is taking Lindsay for granted. I want to say they’re mistaken in doing that.” – John HoWARd

Our PM was uncharacteristically tetchy and ill-disciplined today with this response to questions from Michelle Grattan, regarding the unfolding evidence that the culprits behind the fake flyers of Lindsay, were the husbands of the retiring and aspiring Liberal party candidate of Lindsay.

“What more can I do? I’ve condemned it, I’ve dissociated myself from it, I think it is stupid, it’s offensive, it’s wrong, it’s untrue, I mean for heaven’s sake get a sense of proportion.”- John HoWARd

He’s right you know.

We should vote HoWARd out because he took us into- and yet keeps us in- an illegal war in Iraq.

Then, in the spirit of proportionality, we’ll next see him in The Hague.

How much more WAR d?

October 22nd, 2007

In tonight’s Leaders debate we saw arrogance, obsequiousness and finally some assertiveness.

First the arrogance:

“Mr Howard revealed in two days time, Australian force commanders will begin discussions with their coalition partners about the evolving role for those forces.”-Source

This is supposed to be a revelation. What, after four years this is the first time that the Australian Military talk to the US military about their evolving role.

Then the obsequiousness: What have the government and the Australian force commanders been doing up until this big discussion tomorrow- reading the tea leaves, tossing a coin, whatever they were told?

Finally, some assertiveness:
After having the live feed was cut, sourced from an alternative place, cut again then sourced again, Channel Nine’s director of news and current affairs John Westacott defended using the worm live to air.

“I think it’s (the worm) an editorial decision for the Nine Network, not for the leader of the Liberal Party what we put to air. I can only agree with [News Ltd chairman] John Hartigan in his excellent Andrew Olle lecture where he said that political interference in journalism is increasing, not diminishing. And this is a perfect example – the leader of the Liberal Party trying to dictate one of the key events in the election campaign.” -Source

worm.jpg

Image from here

Shock and awe we’re in Iraq

October 3rd, 2007

For many years now only a handful of Australians have publicly joined the chorus of opposing our illegal involvement in the war in Iraq.

A recent survey has shown that:

“Sixty-four per cent are opposed to Australian involvement in Iraq, and 50 per cent to Australian involvement in Afghanistan.” – Sydney University’s US Studies Centre.

Thank you fellow Australians. Now if we can only follow the British lead of withdrawing troops.

criminal_2.jpg

Image from here

Fortress Sydney

September 7th, 2007

I am very fortunate to live in Sydney and am usually very proud of my city. However, pride has temporarily left me as I contemplate the APEC public holiday.

A good example to illustrate the disappointment I have, is in the way this city has talked up the violent protesters that we must all be terrified of. In particular, is the shoddy treatment meted out to The Stop Bush Coalition. Throughout the negotiation period with the NSW police, which began in May 2007, the representatives of the protesters from within the coalition have been attending security meetings and listening and compromising. As late as 05/09/07, they have remained accommodating and balanced in response to the continued accusations that they face, that all protests and all protests are going to become violent and therefore it is legal to stop protests based on our assessment of their intent.

“We note the statement of the Supreme Court affirming the right of every person to engage in protest including in the declared area. However in this case the Court was forced to oppose our preferred route by the decision of the NSW police to place a barricade across the intended route of our march so as to stop our protest. We will continue to gather at Town Hall from 10 am for a peaceful protest on Saturday September 8. We will now march down George St along Park St and into Hyde Park North. The rally will conclude with music and bands. The unprecedented campaign by NSW police against political protest during APEC can not be justified. The security blanket thrown over the city is an attempt to deflect debate on the real issues that APEC leaders should be addressing.” -Source.

Alex Bainbridge: 0413 976 638, who is Stop Bush Coalition’s spokesperson, spent this morning attempting to convince 9am with David & Kim that the vision showing protesters destroying property at Melbourne’s G20 meeting last year is not indicative of protests around Australia. Alex gave the example of a peaceful protest such as the anti-war protests across all major Australian cities, in March 2003, which I attended in Sydney and can confirm that 350, 000 people were indeed peaceful. Kim would have none of this ‘peaceful protest’ talk from Alex and left herself wide open for him to say

“It’s not the protesters who are violent here. The violence comes from HoWARd and Bush who are extremely violent towards Iraqis, where surveys show that 1 in 4 do not have access to clean drinking water. We are using our democratic right to protest the wrong policies of the HoWARd and Bush governments.”

Compare the behaviour of the two competing coalitions- The Stop Bush Coalition with that of the Coalition of the Willing.

So, fortress Sydney, arresting comedians, haranguing protesters and scaring the kiddies.

Good luck with that guys.

UPDATE: OH NO– an outbreak of peaceful protesters.

stopbush-new.jpg

Image from here

Snailmail

August 11th, 2007

In honour of Prime Minister HoWARd’s secret little missive to his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki, I am going to make the “R” in HoWARd, lower-case, for now.

This is because I believe it may be the first of many steps to get Australian troops out of the illegal war in Iraq.† I am too cynical, after all this time to believe that my PM has realised that he has sent the ADF into an illegal war, and therefore can only conclude that the polls are telling him that troops in Iraq is a liability for him and his chances for a fifth term.

On 30/03/04, HoWArd said this:

“If the world at the present time trembles and shows any kind of equivocation in the face of the threat posed by terrorism, I believe that the worldóof which Australia is inextricably a partówill pay a very heavy price in the future. The decision we take on how we deport ourselves over the months ahead will go very much to the reputation and standing of this country in the councils of the world. If we choose to cut and run, if we choose to abandon our friends, if we choose to give the wrong signal to the terrorists, that will not only make the world a less safe place but also damage the reputation of this country around the world. It has always been the Australian way to stay there, to go the distance, to see it through and to do what is right in the long-term interests of this country and the interests of the people with whom we have aligned ourselves.”

Now Defence Minister Nelson has added this to HoWArd’s 2004 speech:

“The basic Australian approach is we believe in giving people a fair go, we believe in reaching out to people and giving them a hand. But we expect them to help themselves and at the moment we want to see a little bit more determination and political action from the Government of Iraq itself.”

I now know what the job was. That elusive job, as in ‘troops stay in Iraq until the job is done’.

The job was the passage of two critical pieces of legislation when the Iraqi Council of Representatives resumes its meetings next month. These are the hydrocarbon resources law and the new de-Baathification legislation.

Could this have been done without military action and in less than four years? I think so.

Guess it isn’t as easy as you would think to organise a secure diplomatic bag between Canberra and Baghdad.

diplomatic_300.gif

Image from here