Thursday, 28 October 2010

Update: The Big Ewe's first Question

Further to Monday's post Ewen Jones' big day out, the following is the Hansard transcript (via
Ewen Jones (Herbert, Liberal Party)  My question is to the Prime Minster. I refer the Prime Minister to the decision to locate onshore detention centres at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills and Northam in Western Australia. Will the Prime Minister rule out all other military facilities as onshore detention facilities?

Julia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister)  I thank the member for his question. I would refer the member to the statement and information that the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and I released at the time that we announced these new detention facilities and also the arrangements for children. These are the government’s plans for detention. We wanted to be transparent about a long-term strategy to undercut the fearmongering about other sites that had been going on around Australia. If the member truly wants to inform himself about this, all of the information he requires was publicly available and transparent on the day we made the statement (my emphasis)
Set-up by Crissy Pyne I'd say!!  Or maybe the Big Ewe had been picking-up a groundswell of local fear about Lavarack Barracks being converted into a detention centre???

Of yesterday's men and selling books

From Alan Moir:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What a damn good idea

Although, given our experience in Townsviile, I'd suggest that candidates in Council elections should also be similarly banned from accepting money from the alcohol industry! 

And then, if industry advertising was banned we might also finally get some balanced reporting on the real costs to taxpayers of the alcohol industry.

An Indigenous woman speaks out

The following posted by Ken Parish at Club Troppo first caught my attention because it mentioned a common old firend - when I saw Bob Durnan's name I knew the piece would be worth reading.  Turns out it is a must read and is cross-posted in full below:
An Indigenous woman speaks out

Bob Durnan is an old ALP colleague who has worked in Indigenous communities in central Australia for the best part of 30 years. Like me, he has witnessed the tragic deterioration of living conditions in many if not most remote communities and town camps in the Northern Territory over that period of time. As such Bob is a strong supporter of many aspects of the Howard government-initiated NT Intervention, especially the income management system.
Bob has just emailed me a copy of what I think is a very important speech delivered to the Australian Alliance of Lawyers last Friday in Alice Springs by Bess Price, a senior Warlpiri woman from Yuendumu.
The background is the release last week of the Bath Report into children’s services in the NT, which revealed that not much had improved in that area since the “Little Children Are Sacred” report which triggered the Intervention in 2007. NT Minister Kon Vatskalis said last week:
“The communities out there are in total collapse. There is a crisis in the communities,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“Yesterday, I was thinking, I said where is the person like Martin Luther King to come out and say ‘I’ve got a dream?’, because I can’t see anybody in the Indigenous community at the moment coming out and saying ‘I’ve got a dream’ and lead the communities. There is no leadership.”
Ms Price is certainly an Indigenous leader whose voice needs to be heard more widely.
My mother and father were born in the desert. They lived their childhood out of contact with whitefellas. They were terrified when they first saw a whitefella. They taught me the Old Law that our people lived by. That Law worked when we were living in tiny family groups taking everything that we needed from the desert. It is Sacred Law. There was strong Law for sacred business. If the sacred Law was broken both men and women could be killed. There was strong Law for who we could marry. Men had the power of life and death over their wives. Young girls were forced into marriage. Men too had no choice in who they married. There was no law for property except that everything must be shared. There was no law for money because we didn’t have any. There was no law for houses, cars, grog, petrol or drugs – we didn’t have any except for bush tobacco which was shared like everything else we had. The only way to punish was physically, by beating or killing the law breaker. They couldn’t be fined, we had no money or wealth to take. They couldn’t be locked up, we had no jails.
Everybody knew what they had to do to make sure that everybody survived. We all knew how to make a living from our country. We lived from day to day. Everybody was taught to fight. We only had our family to defend us. We had no army, no police, no courts. Everybody needed to know how to use a weapon, women and men both learned to fight and knew they would have to do that sometime. We also believe that our Law Man can make magic, they can heal the sick but they can also make people sick and die by magic. That is what all my people believe. We kept the peace by fear of violence and magic.
Now we live in a world ruled by a new law that is not sacred, that doesn’t accept that magic exists. Now we are all equal citizens with human rights. Now we have property, houses, cars, grog, drugs, pornography. Now we live off welfare, other people’s money or we need to get a whitefella education and get a job. We still share everything and this keeps us poor. We can’t say ‘no’ to our family even when we know they are drinkers and gamblers and will waste our money or destroy themselves with it. Now too many of our men still think they have the power of life and death over their wives. My people think all property should be shared and we think whitefellas are just greedy and stingy. We don’t plan for the future, we don’t budget or invest – we share and consume. All this has happened too quickly.
The Bath report on the failure of child protection in the NT tells us that our kids live in a chaotic world where they are at terrible risk. My community of Yuendumu has been torn apart by feuding. These problems show us that government has failed but is also shows us that Aboriginal Law has failed too. Aboriginal organisations have failed as well. Aboriginal politics that focused on the ‘Stolen Generation’ and ‘Deaths in Custody’ also failed. Aboriginal politicians forgot about our women and kids, forgot about the violence on the remote communities, forgot about the problems we are causing for ourselves. We can’t just keep blaming the government without taking our share of the blame. That is the only way we can find our own way out of these problems.
Our old Law worked really well in the old days but it was not about human rights. It was about unconditional loyalty to kin, to family and following the sacred Law. It was about capital and physical punishment. There were wise old people who tried to make sure that there was justice. But they are all dying now. Those like my own parents who were born and grew up in the bush, are all getting very old and passing away. But even they could not stop the grog and the violence that came from the new world we were living in. There is nothing in our old Law that helps us deal with grog and drugs. All these new things that whitefellas brought in we have no law for. But we still respect our ancestors and we still want to keep our culture. The Two Laws, whitefella and blackfella, are based on opposing principles. My people are confused. If they go the blackfella way they break whitefella law, if they go whitefella way they break blackfella law. Our young men are caught in the middle, they are still initiated into the old Law but they live in a world run by the new law, that’s why they fill up the jails.
Con Vaskalis is right when he says that we don’t have effective leadership. We have wonderful old people who know the old Law but are confused and worried by the new. They are truly wise when they have real authority, when they are in small, family based communities away from towns. They are ignored by the drinkers and the young people who are rushing to take the benefits of the whitefella way without learning whitefella law. Too many don’t know either law now. We have Aboriginal people who speak out all the time but don’t live in the communities and don’t speak an Aboriginal language – who don’t have any idea what life is like for my people. We have Aboriginal people who others call leaders who we know are only looking after their own families, their own interests and not those of the whole community. We have very good people who want to do the right thing but are too worried and confused and who are continually grieving over the deaths of their loved ones.
We have white radicals and NGO’s with their own agendas who want to use us like political footballs. When we women talk out about our problems they either ignore us or tell the world that we are liars and trouble makers. Some of my people who carry on about human rights and attack governments every time they try to do anything new run away from their own kin and communities when there is trouble. They never find it hard to find a gullible human rights lawyer to back them up in public but they don’t do anything in their own communities to make things better for their own people.
Too many lawyers are only interested in the rights of the perpetrators. Because they are worried about racism and they don’t like a particular government they will do what ever they can to make sure that murderers and rapists and child abusers are protected from the new law. They will only advocate acknowledging traditional law when they think it will work better for their clients, the perpetrators. But they don’t know how the old Law worked. They never worry about the victims who are also Aboriginal and victims of racism, who have had their basic human rights ignored and trampled on by members of their own communities, their own families. It seems to us that human rights lawyers only worry about the black victims when the perpetrators are white. It is not somehow more acceptable to be raped, abused and murdered when the one doing it to you has the same colour skin.

Our problem is that we want to keep our culture. We want to respect our ancestors and their Law but we also want to be equal citizens and we want human rights. We can’t do that without changing our Law. But we need to change it ourselves, others can’t do that for us. Only we can solve our own problems and we will do it in our own way. But we really need the support of governments and our fellow citizens. You need to listen to the voices that are usually drowned out by the strong, the noisy and the powerful. You need to find a way to listen to those who don’t speak English, who are the most marginalised and victimised in our own communities. You need to listen to our own women and young people, the ones who don’t have a voice under the old Law. If you really want us to have human rights then you have to find ways to protect the victims of black crime as well as white crime.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Ewen Jones' big day out

Listening to Question Time in the House of Reps live just now I heard Ewen Jones ask his first question! 

A big day for the big man, even though no-one other than the wife and kids were listening - although not quite as big as his maiden speech which is gig that ends up in the official history.

So what was the target of the big fella's first real test in the bear-pit?  A question on Health funding (dare I say, the bloody PET scanner)?, or the mining tax?, or the copper-string project perhaps? even the future of the goddamn Fury - no, a question about asylum seekers!!

It will be interesting to see how the Big Ewe (clearly just following orders - a bit like a big ewe), and the Bully report this momentous occasion and explain the choice of subject.

I'll post a Hansard link when it's available.

PS: Gillard batted the question away - telling the Big Ewe to read the public record!!

The Bulletin, The Fury and cheap news

Why is it that the demise of The Fury generates a front page and so many column inches in today’s Bulletin?

You would have thought they would have given prominence to this story about the arrest over the weekend of a 29-year-old man on 137 child sex offence charges – a story that every parent in the city would want to know more about. Instead, the sex offender gets 5 paras at the bottom of page two (four in the online story) while the long, slow and totally predictable death of The Fury gets three pages.

So why would The Bulletin run with a distinctly anti-business line (slamming the Football Federation for making a simple cost-benefit decision – as all businesses must) for a mob that has trouble getting 5,000 people these days to fork-out for a home game?

It certainly can’t be for the economic benefit the Fury brings to the broader community – I reckon that the Greek Fest, a good orchestra or a band like Powderfinger would bring more money into the town than the Fury could even hope to.

Rather, could this be about Murdoch’s investments in the development of soccer as yet another source of cheap content for his TV interests (There’s more soccer in a week on Sky Sports than SBS would run over a year).

The reality is that The Fury was always going to fail – the Townsville market is small and overcrowded with three other teams already in National Competitions. With a cost structure more like that of the Cowboys, The Fury can only draw as many as The Crocodiles who have a far, far lower cost-structure - it simply doesn't add-up and never did!

The Bully’s nonsense is nothing more than a self interested beat-up - and not a very smart one on their part, given the lack of interest in The Fury in the town.

Next they’ll be asking for more corporate welfare (government intervention) to support what is no more than cheap content for the mainstream media! (Don’t laugh – remember that TCC have already sunk your taxes into this diabolically bad business)

Monday, 18 October 2010

0.01% of Townsville citizens can't be wrong

Today's Bulletin includes a report on the Townsville Residents Against Crime rally at the Showgrounds (talk about wishful thinking) for the community to express their concern about law and order in the city.

Presumably the outrage from the 20 citizens who attended led the Bulletin to 'observe' that "the group is also concerned about the growing itinerant problem in the CBD..."  

(Of course the Bulletin did actually attend the rally didn't they? - not just a call to the organiser after? - surely not?  And speaking of the rally organiser, Mark Smith, by my account this is his third attempt to stir the masses who are right now cringing in their homes, hiding from marauding bands of criminals, 'itinerents' and, even worse, yoof)

So, now it is on the public record and to be repeated forever in Dale Last's mayoral election campaign (I bet he was one of the 20!) - the "itinerant problem" is growing!!
0.01% of Townsville have spoken!!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday funny

An attack add of the likes we ain't seen in Australia - yet!

via Truthdig

Playing the race card in Townsville - again!

Dale Last moved his Mayoral campaign up a notch today just as it looks as if Lez will have to do a humiliating backflip on water rates.

And what a better way to move your campaign along than by playing the race card - it's an old trick, 'sucessfully' deployed by Mooney for years after he'd learnt it from the old CLP in the Territory.

Last's latest effort here in today's Bulletin shows him and his tactics for what they are:
  • " ...investors were raising serious concerns about developing in the city." Last claims!  Of course, the investors are unnamed and, as such, the claim should be treated as nonsense.  I defy Last to produce one investor who's pulled-out of the inner-city (or any other part of the city) because of small groups of parkies - because of the lack of speed in increasing population densities in the inner-city or because of the lack of parking or simply because the inner-city can't compete with suburban shopping malls maybe, but because of a few parkies - no way.  If there was money to be made, they'd be there, parkies or no.

  • The "...Urban Quarter (is) on its knees with businesses going broke because of the public disorder and the problems associated with this group of people there, constantly harassing people." Last proclaims.  This is not just nonsense, it's bullshit.  Businesses in the Urban Quarter are going broke because if its location.  Completely predictable before it opened, until the redevelopment of the old rail yards is complete there is not the population to support two supermarkets in the city centre.  With Coles (the most poorly located of the two) not able to attract enough punters into the building, the rest of the tenants in the Urban Quarter have been pushing it up hill ever since it opened.
Blaming bad planning and business decisions on a few parkies is laughable simply playing the race card.

As for the reporting of Last's campaign launch, the Bulletin could not have made him happier than with the headline "Shops 'go bust' in city of drunks".  Of course neither the Bully or Last were game to admit that if the city deserves such a tag it is because of what happens in Flinders Street most nights.

Had they looked at the source of most serious alcohol related crime and hospital admissions in the city - you won't find a few parkies - you'll find middle-class kids and boy soldiers (predominantly white) behaving badly and a few club owners (and supporters of Last and major advertisers in the Bully) getting rich! 

And of course they wouldn't see any irony (or is that contradiction) in the Bulletin running at least 1 1/2 pages of liquor adds today while also running Last's latest little race-card play

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Wanker Medal

When Tony Abbott was first elected leader of the Libs, my initial reaction was that he'd do himself quickly and then flame-out.

Clearly, I was wrong!  Rather, he's evidently going to do himself slowly.

Leunig seems to agree:

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

My welcome to Townsville: Shame Anna, shame

Each day as the trial of 20 year-old Tegan Leach has got closer I've become more and more angry that, in this day and age in Australia, a young woman is facing judgement because she chose to have an abortion.

I was toying with what to post but then along came this from No Right Turn in NZ.  The heading in particular says it all for me really:
Like I said, Shame Anna, shame
Something barbaric is happening in Queensland: they're trying a woman for having an abortion:
Abortion is legal in Queensland only by a judge's ruling - and that ruling applies only to women who have gone begging to a doctor and effectively declared themselves insane. It does not cover modern pharmaceutical abortions, and it certainly doesn't let women control their own bodies. The upshot: two young people are now facing serious jail time because Queensland's abortion law has failed to keep pace with the times.
It is alleged that Tegan Leach, 20, and her partner, Sergie Brennan, 22, imported the abortion drug misoprostol from the Ukraine and used it to terminate Leach's eight-week pregnancy. They face jail terms of seven and three years respectively.
Meanwhile Queensland's "pro-choice" Premier Anna Bligh refuses to act, and says that any reform has to come via a member's bill. But she blocked such a bill just two years ago. Like most politicians, she doesn't want to take a position if she can avoid it. The consequences of her cowardice will be seen in the Cairns District Court this week.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Anon and proud if it: Part 2

There were some great comments on my last post about The Bully bullying bloggers, including a fantastic offering from NormanK called We're the Voice which I've now given pride of place in the blog sidebar.

In case you didn't see it, Inside Business (I wonder how many at the Bully watch it?) on the ABC this morning had a great piece on the media's absolute fear of transparent (read,  real) circulation figures and the lengths they have gone to (and still do) to bodgy the data in order to continue hoodwinking their real customers - the advertisers.  Read the transcript or view the vision here

Friday, 8 October 2010

Anon and proud of it: The Townsville Bulletin celebrates our first birthday

Well, well, well! Haven’t we bloggers really got up the nose of The Bully? :-)
As a rule, I don’t read editorials – mainly because I know that the only people who do are journos and politicians (editorial cartoons however are a very different matter).

So when reader M pointed me to today's Bulletin editorial, I just had to go out and pay good money for a hard copy !! And what a doozey it is – it’s not available online, but click on the graphic to read it full-size!

The story about the outing of Grog’s Gamut is now getting pretty old given that it happened over 10 days ago (I posted here on 28 Sept.)

For a fantastic summary of the action and reaction got to Craig Thomler's eGov AU blog here

Now I might be getting up myself a bit here, but I can’t help but think that rather than finding a bit of passion in a 10-day old story, the Bully are lashing out at this post from yesterday morning where I pointed out data from the Australian Newspaper History Group showing that the Bulletin’s average daily readership (or sales - it is unclear) is just 26,395 and had declined by almost 10% over the first half of the year!!!

Touchy aren’t they?   Not information they would be keen to have out there perhaps? 

Touchy as the the Oz was at the critiques of their work by Grog's Gamut?  I've asked the question before here, but, given that I seem to have drawn their fire publicly, I wonder if they are so touchy they will out me next? - after all, I know they've worked out who I am! 

Of course I could use their own language back at them and say they are the cowards if they don't - knowing the increased readership I'd get and backlash they'd get!!  But I won't.

For the record, my reasons for Island View’s anonymity are simple – I’m a small businessman trying to make a living and pay the rent in a small regional city and, believe me, publically calling the most powerful and most connected media outlet in the town to account wouldn’t be real good for business!

I may well be a coward but I’m certainly not stupid!

PS: today is more-or-less the first anniversary of Blogging Townsville and The Bully's Editorial has been the absolutely best anniversary gift!!  It's given me food for another post which will now float in the blogosphere forever with a Townsville Bulletin tag and showing them for what they really are.

UPDATE:  In the comments below, both Bill and Craig Thomler @ eGov AU point out that Townsville Bulletin Editor, Peter Gleeson, chooses for his Editorials to be published anonymously - just like this blog and yes, just like Grog's Gamut.  See more in Craig's post here on the propensity for the mainstream media to publish material by the widely read (and often either very wise or very funny), Anon.

Craig also managed to find the Bully's editorial online here

Finally, I note that in the hardcopy Saturday Bully this morning, there were no letters and no published txt messages about yesterday's Editorial.  As of this morning, there are no comments on their on-line opinion page.  Doesn't sound much to me like their editorial was representing the "voice of the people" - more like the voice of someone in power who's not used to being challenged, let alone questioned or held to account.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Just how powerful are the churches?

When you consider that some 75% of Australian women and GP's support the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code, you really have to wonder what Anna and John-Paul are afraid of (other than the right-wing of both their parties)?  I'd say the men who represent/control the 19% of people who go to church at least monthly

Setting Sons

Mr Fish has to be one of the sharpest cartoonists around.  This piece, both beautiful and profound, truly makes U think - exactly as a good editorial cartoon should!

Setting Sons by Mr Fish:

The most appauling aniversary

19 November, in a little over a month, will be the sixth aniversary of the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee at the hands the Qld coppers - SIX years and today this:
Is there no end to this for Mulrunji's family?  Is there no justice?

The decline and decline of the Townsville Bulletin

North Coast Voices reports that the Australian Newspaper History Group's October 2010 newsletter produced by Rod Kirkpatrick (which I can't find online) shows:

Four regional dailies had double-figure percentage declines in circulation for the three or six-month period to 30 June, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. They were: the Standard, Warrnambool, 16.45; the Gold Coast Bulletin, 15.31 per cent; the North West Star, Mount Isa, 12.98; and the Geelong Advertiser, 11.56. And the Townsville Bulletin, down 9.95 per cent, was only a whisker short of a double-figure dip.
Further to Anon's question in comments.  Unfortunately I can't find the original data, but as I understand it, the table show a -2.5% fall in the Bully's circulation in April-June with the 9.95% fall discussed in the text refers to the 6 months to end June.

Friday, 1 October 2010

ALP 2010 Election Review

The ALP Have set up a website for anyone to make submissions to their national review of the Election Campaign.  Here's my two-bobs worth
I'll keep it to the point:
1)  In Herbert, the Federal/Rudd intervention to preselect Mooney was a huge blunder - lots of bagage with the punters and little support (even loathing) in the Branches

2)  Herbert seems to be like many other electorates in the lack of talent available among our (ALP) potential candidate pool

3)  More broadly, changing leaders was the right thing to do, going when we did was probably the right thing, the "Rudd leaks" were killers and the campaign was woefull, uncreative and largely missed the point. Campaigns should be managed by tacticians not statiticians (or worse, market researchers) - You know what I mean John!

4)  We seem to have forgotten that we weren't elected in '07 because of Rudd - it was because the punters want the big issues addressed. Since then we've played the same small target we've played since we lost Keating as leader and have suffered the consequences.

5)  I don't envy your task
Two-bob is better than nothing!

For no reason

From via politicalowl