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Weekend reflections

February 24th, 2006

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

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  1. Spiros
    February 24th, 2006 at 08:30 | #1

    Peter Costello’s risible speech on Australian values was no doubt intended to broaden his image beyond mere bean counter, in his bid to succeed Howard.

    Having offended his party’s right wing with his support for the RU486 bill, Costello now seeks to build a bridge to them with a bit of Muslim bashing. He will fail. This kind of vacuous posturing, like his appearance at the reconciliation march a few years ago, will not impress anybody and will only reinforce the already strong impression that Costello doesn’t believe in anything much, and that he is a shallow opportunist who has no idea how to build an enduring political base.

  2. Andrew
    February 24th, 2006 at 08:31 | #2

    The Howard government up to its old tricks last night with Peter Costello’s speech about ‘mushy multiculturalism’. Howard and Costello do this very well – they say in public what are actually pretty sensible things (there will never be sharia law in Australia) – but do it in a way that goads the ‘Howard Haters’ into reacting. The problem is – the content is difficult to argue against – its the context that rankles. Which means that in many cases – the left is probably better off just ignoring it otherwise it just comes off sounding pretty stupid.

    Howard, Costello and Abbott have got this move down pat….. bait the left, get a reaction, and further entrench their position with most voters who generally agree with their view. The left needs to come up with a different tactic to counter it.

    By the way – this is not the first time Costello has expressed these views – see this transcript from Lateline last year.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2005/s1444603.htm

  3. Katz
    February 24th, 2006 at 08:42 | #3

    Spiro is correct. The whole thing is risible.

    Unspoken in all of Costello’s posturing is the truth that Australia’s constitutional procedures allow by referendum the transformation of Australia into any type of polity that can be imagined, including an Islamist state.

    Australian Muslims have never shown the slightest tendency to effect cultural change in Australia, except by constitutional means.

    But as Andrew says, Costello and Howard never intend to be sensible on issues like this. These issues are manna from heaven for their cheap and divisive tricks.

  4. February 24th, 2006 at 08:49 | #4

    Note the extremely large straw man over here:

    Mr Costello said he had attended an Australia day citizenship ceremony at the Stonnington Town Hall in his electorate of Higgins during which a state MP “extolled the virtues of multiculturalism”.

    He said the MP said becoming an Australian did not mean giving up one’s culture or language or religion — and it certainly did not mean giving up the love of their country of birth.

    “The longer he went on about how important it was not to give up anything to become an Australian, the more it seemed to me that, in his view, becoming an Australian didn’t seem to mean very much at all, other than getting a new passport.”

    Islamic Council of Victoria president Malcolm Thomas said he was disappointed at Mr Costello’s speech. “We have had the uninformed comments of Danna Vale, we have had the comments made by the Prime Minister and now we have these comments — all they do is reinforce a stereotype which doesn’t exist.”

    Mr Thomas said that singling out Muslims was pandering to a conspiracy that Muslims wanted to overtake Australia.

    “Australian Muslims are Australians first,” he said. “They abide by the law and they want to live here in peace and harmony. They are not interested in taking over the country. They are not interested in creating a theocracy”.

    Ikebal Patel, an executive member of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the comments were “inflammatory”.

    “Islam law teaches that when you go into a country you embrace the laws of that country,” Mr Patel said.

    “I hope we are not going away from multiculturalism as the founding stone of our immigration policy.”

    Mr Patel said the timing of the comments smacked of an attempt by the Government to deflect attention from the AWB scandal.

    Islamic Friendship Association of Australia chairman Keysar Trad accused Mr Costello of making “divisive, politically opportunistic comments that do nothing but play on people’s fears”.”This is very poor form from the Treasurer,” Mr Trad said. “It seems to be (something) we are increasingly hearing from members of the federal Liberal Government. It’s most disconcerting that instead of giving a logical argument they would resort to fear-mongering.”

    Mr Trad said the overwhelming feeling at a national symposium at Griffith University last week was that multiculturalism was the best thing for Australia and any country.

    Mr Costello said Muslims who did not like the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in newspapers should recognise this does not justify violence.

    He said he did not like “putrid representations” such as Andres Serrano’s controversial work, Piss Christ (showing an image of Christ immersed in urine), but recognised that art galleries should be able to practise their “offensive taste” without fear of violence or a riot.

    World Vision chief executive Tim Costello praised his brother for raising the debate about multiculturalism. “I think there should be a debate because it’s complex,” he said. “Should people from countries who practise female genital mutilation or bigamy and say it’s part of their cultural or religious beliefs be allowed to do so here? I would say no, they have consented to our laws by coming here. I think Peter is right in that fact.”

    My father is a naturalised Australian citizen, but he’s still gaga about Scotland and everything scots. Pipes and tartan still send him misty-eyed and he rereads the complete works of Walter Scott on rotation. My friend was born here, but he is always maundering on about his Irish and Welsh heritage and how it informs his talent for singing and songwriting, as well as his love of a bit of stoush.

    And then, of course, there’s those of English background, who provide a steady demand for Royal gossip in the womens mags.

    It’s perfectly OK for all these people from the British isles to show a deep love of their former or their ancestors home, but don’t do it if you’ve got a pigmentation problem, sonny.

  5. February 24th, 2006 at 08:51 | #5

    I apologise for publishing the entire article instead of the quote I selected. It is something to do with either the web page I’m on or the PC i’m on. The quote should have been only the first 3 paragraphs of the quote in italics above.

  6. still working it out
    February 24th, 2006 at 08:55 | #6

    Anyone know where you can get a transcript of the speech ?

  7. Paul Norton
    February 24th, 2006 at 08:57 | #7

    Costello also threw the hard Right a bone over same sex marriage:

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Gay-marriage-comments-appalling/2006/02/23/1140670208400.html

  8. February 24th, 2006 at 10:26 | #8

    Well I think becoming Australian certainly involves giving up your language, at least in public. How can you hope to be a member of society if you refuse to speak the language?

    People learn languages to even go on a holiday. I would think if you are going to move somewhere permanently then learning the language of your new home would be the #1 priority.

  9. still working it out
    February 24th, 2006 at 10:52 | #9

    I don’t have a problem with everyone in Australia being expected to learn English, although I think this is unrealistic for quite old people who have been brought here for family reasons. But giving up your language?

    People in Shanghai are comfortable having multi-million dollar contracts done in English. Even in a country as insular as Japan it is quite common to see english words and phrases. If it has not killed them I think we can afford to see a few signs in Chinese and Arabic now and then.

  10. terje
    February 24th, 2006 at 14:13 | #10

    I was quite perplexed in a recent discussion when John Quiggin refered to the elasticity of a government budget. To me this seemed like an awkward appropriation of a well defined economic concept. John also concerned me because he remained silent on an obvious analysis that I offered with regards to supply elasticity in the market for teachers labour. So I was well pleased to read John Quiggins article in todays AFR (page 3, Review section) in which he writes an excellent article about amoung other things the elasticity of oil demand.

    A great article John.

  11. February 24th, 2006 at 15:18 | #11

    As an adult, you’ll never speak a second language as well as you’ll speak your first language. My grandmother’s been here for over 70 years and still speaks to her friends on the phone in Croatian, can’t see how this makes her any less Australian.

    New arrivals are well aware of the advantages of learning the language and the disadvantages of not. Language learning ability differs for individuals and isn’t the only priority for being a member of society, there are things like earning an income, getting a house and supporting your family. Working 12 hours a day is probably going to slow things down a bit but being a good citizen can start well short of fluency.

    Somewhere between courtesy and having a decent society is the willingness to accomodate other’s lack of language skills- anyone who’s travelled will know this. I’ve found the people most willing to do this is are the one’s who have to tried learn a second language themselves.

  12. conrad
    February 24th, 2006 at 15:44 | #12

    You should tell that to all the white people living in Hong Kong Yobbo. They must be the least bilingual group living in another country on Earth. Even some of their children who grow up in HK manage to not be able to speak Cantonese, which must really take some effort. I have never met a second generation Australian that can’t speak English.

    For that matter, if people really want homogenous language areas, then perhaps it is fairer to do it based on the majority language of the area. I’m sick of hearing English speakers in Chatswood, disturbing my train of rather poor Cantonese thought as I try and learn a second language , so it would be good if the English speaking minority (most who would have come to Australia no earlier than Chinese people did) shut-up and tried to assimilate a bit better.

  13. February 24th, 2006 at 15:46 | #13

    Also who here is perfect at English anyway. I am pretty sure I would fail an English test if given one – is this grounds for having your citizenship revoked?

    Everyone immediately thinks of Arab-Muslims when this comes up. What about the Greeks, Italians and British etc people who do not ‘embrace’ Australian culture. Does frequenting an English pub or an Italo-Australian club disqualify you?

  14. wilful
    February 24th, 2006 at 15:46 | #14

    The total bullsh*t about the whole Costello statement is the number of people involved in calling for a sharia state in Australia. The merest handful of loonies, who don’t deserve the attention.

    I’m in far more risk of being subject to an unwelcome and unwanted religious decree by Tony bloody Abbott than I am by the Imam of Lakemba.

    Total dogwhistle disgusting politics. Well done Peter, got the AWB away from everyone’s focus for a day or so.

  15. February 24th, 2006 at 16:24 | #15

    Conrad, English is one of the two official languages in Hong Kong.

    “Even in a country as insular as Japan it is quite common to see english words and phrases.”

    And it’s not uncommon to see Japanese words and phrases in Australia. Tempura, Karaoke, **** etc etc.

    But if you live in Japan and don’t want to live as a second-class citizen, best you learn Japanese.

    “Somewhere between courtesy and having a decent society is the willingness to accomodate other’s lack of language skills- anyone who’s travelled will know this.”

    Of course nobody expects tourists to have good language skills. But I’m not talking about tourists, I’m talking about people who choose to come and live here.

    And I’m not saying that we should laugh and point at people who have poor English skills, I’m saying that if someone wants to be a fully functioning member of Australian society they pretty much have to learn English at some stage.

    And if they don’t want to become a member of Australian society, why are they here?

    Edited. This is a PG blog

  16. Andrew Reynolds
    February 24th, 2006 at 16:28 | #16

    PrQ,
    Over at catallaxy, they have worked out why “socia!ist” is being moderated – it contains “cia!is”, which is a drug on the word blacklist. Replace the ! with l in both cases for anyone wondering. You may want to see if there is a way around this.

  17. conrad
    February 24th, 2006 at 17:22 | #17

    “English is one of the two official languages in Hong Kong.”

    Perhaps learning both languages might be a good idea then (just like most Mainlanders seem able too) , in which case they might be able to become fully functioning members of Hong Kong. They might well enjoy living in the place a lot more too. THey’ll be able to try and pick up Chinese girls, instead of just Phillipinos.

    In addition, I’m sure I’m not a fully functioning member of Australian society, nor any society that I can think of, and thats presumably true of lots of people that come here too (why else would you leave many of the places people come from ?). People move because they think the next place will be better, which seems like a better reason than because they want to become a fully funcitioning member of society (of course, some people might be able to do both)

    Also, perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but just because you don’t speak English well doesn’t mean you have to be a second class member of society. Thats true of most white people in Hong Kong and probably true of the rich Chinese people living in Chatswood. I don’t see them as second class, even if they can only have a native language conversation with about 1% of the population. In addition, since they don’t do any harm to anyone, if they can’t be bothered to learn the language of the place they live in, who cares?

  18. jquiggin
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:02 | #18

    Thanks AR, and Catallaxy commenters. I’ve deleted “cialis” from my list of moderated words. More manual spam-deletion for me!

  19. terje
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:02 | #19

    My father left school at age 12. When he arrived in australia as a young adult he spoke no English at all. These days he prefers to think (and speak) in english. The fact that he learnt english is the result of three major factors:-

    1. he did not congragate with people from the old country. This was partly because they were a small group but also because he conciously decided to mix with the broader australian community.

    2. he was motivated to learn english and applied himself to the task.

    3. he encountered tolerant people willing to forgive his poor english and who cut him some slack.

    My mother is not a native english speaker however she spoke some english before moving to australia. They only recently became citizens. Dad likes to say they were too busy building the country to worry about such details earlier on.

  20. jquiggin
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:06 | #20

    “Well I think becoming Australian certainly involves giving up your language, at least in public. How can you hope to be a member of society if you refuse to speak the language?”

    There’s a big difference between learning English (as best you can) and not speaking your own language in public with fellow-speakers. I get the impression a lot of the people whom Costello is appealing to take offence at the latter.

  21. jquiggin
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:08 | #21

    Thanks for your kind comments on my article, Terje. I’ll expand on the schools point Real Soon Now, after my economics of Kyoto and other promised posts.

  22. Andrew Reynolds
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:10 | #22

    PrQ,
    Can’t you ‘whitelist’ soc!alist and leave ‘c!alis’ on the blacklist?

  23. terje
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:38 | #23

    I get the impression a lot of the people whom Costello is appealing to take offence at the latter.

    Perhaps. However I would say that a lot don’t. A lot will like Costellos words for other reasons. What he is saying is not so different to the popular words of JFK:-


    ‘ask not what your country can do for, but what you can do for your country’

  24. February 24th, 2006 at 18:43 | #24

    Conrad: How many of the white people in HK have taken out, or have expressed interest in taking out, citizenship of HK?

    END OF YOUR ARGUMENT MATE! Peter Costello was laying a well deserved boot into people who take out citzenship of Australia, yet despise Aussie values.

  25. Steve Munn
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:44 | #25

    Conrad says: “In addition, since they don’t do any harm to anyone, if they can’t be bothered to learn the language of the place they live in, who cares?”

    I care. For one thing I think everyone in a democracy has a civic responsibility to be an informed citizen and that necessitates learning the native language.

    Secondly, immigrants need language skills to understand the local laws, get jobs, obey signs etc..

    Thirdly, I would fear for the future of this country if we bacame a nation of segregated tribes. Tribalism doesn’t seem to work very well in Africa or the Middle East.

    Fourthly it costs the taxpayer money to provide publications, services etc that are multi-lingual.

    Fifthly, it is far better for the immigrants themselves if they can venture outside their little ethnic ghetto.

    Having said all that it doesn’t matter that much if a few old grandparents of immigrants are unable to grasp much English. My partner’s Vietnamese parents are in their 70s and don’t speak that much English.

  26. Steve Munn
    February 24th, 2006 at 18:48 | #26

    Yobbo says: “And it’s not uncommon to see Japanese words and phrases in Australia. Tempura, Karaoke, ***** etc etc.”

    Steve, I deleted your response here. Please see my comment further down

  27. still working it out
    February 24th, 2006 at 21:38 | #27

    “And it’s not uncommon to see Japanese words and phrases in Australia. Tempura, Karaoke, **** etc etc.�

    Yes, but they’re not written in Japanese characters. I would be surprised if one in fifty Australians could recognise a single character of Japanese.

    steve at the pub,

    “How many of the white people in HK have taken out, or have expressed interest in taking out, citizenship of HK?”
    Until 1997 they had Hong Kong citizenship.

    Edited: see later comment by JQ

  28. jquiggin
    February 24th, 2006 at 22:01 | #28

    I’ve edited a comment for obscenity and also some responses. As I’ve said before, this is a PG blog.

    I plan to post an FAQ about this sort of thing, but for the moment I’ll just remind everyone that if you don’t like the way I run this blog, you’re welcome to go elsewhere or start your own.

  29. February 24th, 2006 at 22:05 | #29

    Howe does the language issue become a problem? The issue is simply that migrants come here as families, many of whom were a) mothers pinned by kids, b) fathers who only learnt factory english, or c) too old to pick up the new language.

    The kids do pick up the new language and get used as impromptu interpreters. The real problem is the reverse – that too many migrant families abandon their community languages so the kids grow up monolingual.

  30. Katz
    February 24th, 2006 at 22:35 | #30

    “Peter Costello was laying a well deserved boot into people who take out citzenship of Australia, yet despise Aussie values.”

    Doesn’t take much to stir up the hobgoblins of atavism does it?

    Here’s a reality check. Costello is deputy leader of the governing party. The coalition to this governing party belongs has a workable majority in both houses of parliament.

    QUESTION: Why bother with the boot if it is possible to pass laws that’d do the job much better?

    ANSWER: Either the Government doesn’t want to, which makes this simply a head-kicking exercise with no real point, or the Government is scared to, which makes them a pack of lying coward wimps.

    Here’s another reality check. Does the government have a list of people who merit the treatment they’re talking about? Costello should put up, or shut up.

    Here’s a third reality check. Which “Aussie values” are immune from peaceful constitutional change by referendum?

  31. still working it out
    February 24th, 2006 at 22:39 | #31

    The problem with Costello’s speech is that the vast majority of Australian Muslims do not agree with the sentiments he is attacking, yet he never acknowledges that.

    I know that there are alot of Australians who are either unaware of this or will not believe it, but it is simply true.

    If Costello could just add one sentence into his speech acknowledging this it would transform it from a divisive to a unifying instrument. He would be a lot more successful in attacking these extremist views if he makes it clear that most Australian muslims are on his side of the argument.

    I don’t know if he failed to acknowledge that fact through oversight, ignorance or because he is appealing to the xenophobes in the Liberal party to bolster his leadership aspirations. The cynical side of me says its the latter.

  32. conrad
    February 25th, 2006 at 09:10 | #32

    “For one thing I think everyone in a democracy has a civic responsibility to be an informed citizen and that necessitates learning the native language.”

    Do you mean the native Aboriginal languages, the native Chinese languages (which got here at quite a similar to English), or English, which became the dominant language due to immigration, enforcment and high birth-rates of whites in previous generations. If it is English, then would be OK to change the language in case another gets spoken more ? Would dropping English for Spanish be OK in California ?

    In addition, why use an argument like “informed citizen” which probably doesn’t account for a fairly large proportion of the English speaking population ? If people want to watch sport all day and not be informed at all, is there anything really wrong with that ?

    “immigrants need language skills to understand the local laws, get jobs, obey signs etc..”

    Many don’t. Many expatriates in many countries get along just fine without, as do most tourists in other countries. THere are lots of Chinese in Sydney who are very successful that don’t speak English well. Just look at Chatswood.

    “I would fear for the future of this country if we bacame a nation of segregated tribes. Tribalism doesn’t seem to work very well in Africa or the Middle East”

    You could try and learn a second language. In addition, I don’t see the non-English speakers in Australia causing many problems. Most of the problems seem to be caused by people who speak English just fine.

    “Fourthly it costs the taxpayer money to provide publications, services etc that are multi-lingual.”

    Then don’t do it.

    “it is far better for the immigrants themselves if they can venture outside their little ethnic ghetto.”

    Why ? Not doing that doesn’t seem to hurt expatriates in Asia very much. Nor does it seem to hurt some of the rather succesful communities in Australia.

  33. February 25th, 2006 at 09:29 | #33

    Zaki Chehab is a leading Arab journalist currently in Australia. He has received little mainstream press, but his Sydney talk this week was illuminating:

    http://antonyloewenstein.com/blog/2006/02/24/zaki-chehab/

  34. Terje Petersen
    February 25th, 2006 at 13:40 | #34

    Here’s a reality check. Costello is deputy leader of the governing party. The coalition to this governing party belongs has a workable majority in both houses of parliament.

    QUESTION: Why bother with the boot if it is possible to pass laws that’d do the job much better?

    I get really annoyed by leaders who think that the solution to every problem is a new rule or law. I kind of like leaders to use dialogue to influence the direction of society. It is so much more civilised than always reaching for the big stick.

  35. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2006 at 17:44 | #35

    Terje, Costello was saying that there ought to be new laws stripping undesirables of their citizenship. The question then is, why doesn’t the government pass such laws.

  36. Terje Petersen
    February 26th, 2006 at 07:06 | #36

    John,

    My point above stands. However perhaps it does not apply in this instance.

    If Costello was saying that there ought to be new laws stripping undesirables of their citizenship (I have not read his full speech) then I would guess he is arguing the case for such a law and unless the debate goes against him in a serious way we will probably get such a law.

    I suspect that it would make more sence to review such things as religious fundamentalist inclinations and violent ideology before people are allowed to immigrate here and before they get citizenship. Perhaps we already do.

    Personally I think we should just lock up undesirables, presuming they have done something illegal. Sending them abroad to cause problems elsewhere seems a little irresponsible. When you acquire new citizens I think you need to live with the good and the bad. A bit like getting married.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  37. Derick Cullen
    February 26th, 2006 at 16:14 | #37

    First Dana Vale (sp?), then John Howard, then Peter Costello, then Andrew Robb, and snapping at their heels Joe Hockey. Seems we are set for a re-run of the Tampa fear_and_loathing or an Oz version of the French headscarf cultural insecurity scare.

    Now for something completely different.

    Does anyone know the ins and outs of the commercial TV broadcasting standards outfit’s ban on the commercial that starts off with Tim Flannery declaring global warming as the number 1 threat to humanity?

    If, as I read it, the commercial broadcasters have censored the ad, what does it say about access to media in this country?

    Arguably, there is a case for censoring “offensive” material.

    But who does the Flannery opinion offend?

    The Howard Govt and their mates in the coal lobby is my guess.

    Does anybody know the basis for the apparent censorship?

  38. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2006 at 16:25 | #38

    If Costello was saying that there ought to be new laws stripping undesirables of their citizenship (I have not read his full speech) then I would guess he is arguing the case for such a law and unless the debate goes against him in a serious way we will probably get such a law.

    I and others would guess that he is grandstanding, and that he has no intention of doing anything to promote such a law. Even an attempt at drafting it would expose all sorts of contradictions that can be happily disregarded when you are making cheap appeals to prejudice.

  39. February 26th, 2006 at 17:06 | #39

    Acquiring new citizens is a bit like getting married? Then think of it as a divorce Terje, when undesirables are stripped of their citizenship & sent packing.

    The concept is not new, Australia has been the recipient of the forced deportation of at least one person from the US who had been a citizen for approximately 50 years, before being declared undesirable, stripped of US citizenship, and deported to the country of previous citizenship (Australia).

    To get back to the point however: JQ’s assessment that Costello is grandstanding is the most accurate in the list of posts above.

  40. Katz
    February 26th, 2006 at 17:57 | #40

    “I and others would guess that he is grandstanding, and that he has no intention of doing anything to promote such a law. Even an attempt at drafting it would expose all sorts of contradictions that can be happily disregarded when you are making cheap appeals to prejudice.”

    Precisely.

  41. February 26th, 2006 at 22:37 | #41

    That said, Peter Costello was dead right in his comments, and has gone a long way to turning himself from unelectable to a favourite with the community.

  42. SJ
    February 26th, 2006 at 23:06 | #42

    That said, Peter Costello was dead right in his comments, and has gone a long way to turning himself from unelectable to a favourite with the [right wing nutcase] community.

    With the correction, that’s spot on.

  43. February 27th, 2006 at 02:46 | #43

    Love or hate him, admire or detest him, agree or disagree with the speech, Peter Costello’s remarks have gone down VERY WELL in mainstream Australia. Anyone who believes otherwise is out of touch with mainstream Australia.

    Anyone who actually believes (as opposed to just ranting about it) that Costello’s remarks appealed to ONLY a lunatic fringe, is very badly out of touch with the mainstream.

  44. still working it out
    February 27th, 2006 at 06:42 | #44

    Mainstream liberal voters. If it was the mainstream of the community they would be passing legislation rather than making coded speeches.

  45. Terje Petersen
    February 27th, 2006 at 17:16 | #45

    I and others would guess that he is grandstanding, and that he has no intention of doing anything to promote such a law. Even an attempt at drafting it would expose all sorts of contradictions that can be happily disregarded when you are making cheap appeals to prejudice.

    A reasonable position.

    I have only really sought to make two points on this issue:-

    1. Many people may like what Costello said without being against foreign languages been uttered in public. My parents are much more inclined towards the nationalist tendancies of the Howard government and the appeal to civic duty and patriotism than I am. Even though they are bilingual and I am not. Even thought they sometimes speak languages other than English in public.

    2. In general it is annoying that law (ie leadership by force) is so frequently regarded as the only form of leadership worthy of respect. I object to the implict notion that politicians that don’t make more laws are not really leading. We should not presume that the only tool in the kitbag of politicians is the legislative one. Jawboning is not necessarily a bad means of influencing the general direction of society. Jawboning is one of the essentially means of influence and soft power used by Church leaders, unionists, community workers, neighbours, friends and civic society in general.

  46. Crispin Bennett
    March 11th, 2006 at 15:24 | #47

    SATP — you’re forgetting the clear lesson of history that the current mainstream may in retrospect come to be seen as a lunatic fringe. If this isn’t the fate of our mainstream fairly soon, we’re stuffed. Despising the mainstream isn’t the same as being out of touch with it (indeed in Australia’s case, the closer you get, the more horror it invokes).

  47. May 29th, 2006 at 06:32 | #48

    I have to agree with the post above. He makes a good point.

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