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Weekend reflections

May 3rd, 2014

It’s time for another weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Side discussions to sandpits, please.

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  1. May 3rd, 2014 at 14:54 | #1

    Sometime over the last few days a refugee boat was apparently located near Ashmore Reef.

    Are these people still alive? Australia must have done something pretty serious/drastic/stupid/criminal for them to say it could be “embarrassing” for President Yudiyono?

    75 days since the murder of Reza Berati and still no arrests. Australia has interfered in PNG’s justice system to delay, and attempt to shutdown, a human rights inquiry initiated by the National Court pursuant to PNG’s Constitution (which contains human rights guarantees!!).

  2. May 3rd, 2014 at 22:37 | #2

    According to the Indonesian press:

    “The boat’s passengers include 11 women and 13 children.”

    Gone! This could be another SIEV X and the Australian media doesn’t care.

  3. May 4th, 2014 at 00:52 | #3

    This country is heading into a very dark place and nobody is paying any attention:

    A secret blacklist of lawyers and migration agents compiled by the Department of Immigration has been discovered, sparking outrage about the ”vindictiveness” of the department and calls for an immediate inquiry.

    The list of so-called ”agents of concern” names 30 lawyers and migration agents around the country who have been deemed to be ”high risk” or of concern by the department, leading to greater scrutiny of their applications for clients seeking partner visas.

    Some of the lawyers and agents on the covert ”Agents of Concern List A and List B” have been in business for decades and more than three-quarters of them have never had any official sanction against them.

    Perhaps we could get some attention if we called for all immigrants to be retrospectively deported “back to where they came from” starting with the richest? – Frank Lowy, pack your bags and get ready to go in 24 hours.

    What will it take to get this country to wake up to what is going on?

  4. Ikonoclast
    May 4th, 2014 at 06:36 | #4


    It will take a descent into complete fascism. That’s what it usually takes.

    Actually, the prospects for liberal human society globally are very bleak. Look at the standard of democracy and human rights in the world’s three superpowers, meaning USA, China and Russia. None of these countries is a proper, functioning democracy. None of these countries respect human rights either within or outside their own borders. Each of these three countries is now essentially an oligarchic or corporate capitalist system with one-ideology parties.

    Marx is so far vindicated. Capitalism has conquered the entire globe as he predicted. He also predicted this victory of capitalism would turn into an unsustainable disaster for working people. Both internal contradictions and external (environmental) contradictions will then cause the collapse of capitalism. The next stage will be democratic socialism only if humanity succeeds in humanising the system. The only alternative is collapse and barbarism.

  5. Tristan
    May 4th, 2014 at 08:16 | #5

    Hi John, on the point of privatisation (comments are closed), are you suggesting that we calculate the net present value of the asset being sold and compare that to the sale price?

    Makes sense to me. Difficult to model changes in price and service quality post-sale but you could at least do some scenario analysis.

  6. Fran Barlow
    May 4th, 2014 at 08:28 | #6

    When all else fails, satire is the answer to HoJo’s politics:


  7. drsusancalvin
    May 4th, 2014 at 09:11 | #7
  8. Rosinante
    May 5th, 2014 at 08:53 | #8


    I can’t help but wonder if these brutal, anti-humanitarian tactics are counter-productive to their stated aim. Of course they are dressed as a national security issue, but we all recognise the true motivation of short term political power. But I ask, to what extent are we developing a class of pathological hatred towards this rich and cruel nation, and what are the implications of that hatred for the country?

  9. kevin1
    May 5th, 2014 at 20:24 | #9

    This forum needs to have a laugh more often: the Packer/Gyngell fight gives us the oppportunity. Whatever your values, hopefully you are here because you seek something outside the norm.

    May I introduce Jack Fegan, one of the great Aussie proletarian larrikins; not only a one-off but a central figure in the tradition of the Packers and biffo. Maybe you don’t know the name, but if you watched “Homicide”, one of the first Australian police TV dramas in the 60s, you will remember him as the cranky Inspector Connolly.

    His shoplifting in Sydney and robberies in Ireland gave him a good background in police procedure. At the age of 14, he fought with Michael Collins and was apparently a revolutionary Fenian till the day he died; he was a pro boxer, a prominent member of the Workers Defence Corps during the Great Depression and was jailed in Perth as a communist agitator. There are many other outrageous – yet not outlandish – stories about Fegan related by Andrew Moore in “Red devils and white reaction: Jack Fegan and the Workers Defence Corps of the 1930s”, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol. 33, No. 2, June 2009, 165-179.

    The relevance to Frank Packer is that they faced up in the boxing ring, and Fegan deliberately smashed his hearing aid. The Wikipedia ref. on John Fegan says ‘According to an article about the event in The Sydney Morning Herald Packer’s hearing aid came flying out and Fegan lashed out and crushed it with his foot. Packer insisted that Fegan be fired on the spot. Upon being advised that Fegan was performing a single-episode guest role only, Packer’s response was reportedly “Well, sack him when he’s finished” ‘.

    When we see Bob Carr retiring, we are told “we will not see his like again.” How tame is current political life!

    A contro, Jack Fegan was a crazy brave revolutionary who lived his life as a fighter, and put his life on the line – often.

  10. Megan
    May 6th, 2014 at 09:50 | #10

    A boat (the same one?) was found stranded on an isalnd by the Indonesian Navy.

    The refugees say that the Australians forced them back to Indonesian waters where they ran out of fuel but made it to the island.

    Astonishingly, the Australians put aboard three people before sending the boat away. I looks like two of these were medical emergencies from a February boat – obviously they were treated and kept in storage until they could be dumped on another boat. Who knows who the third person was, possibly an Indonesian.

    It looks like I was right:

    Australia must have done something pretty serious/drastic/stupid/criminal

  11. rog
    May 11th, 2014 at 09:40 | #11

    This is well worth a listen, an interview by Alan Jones of ex journo Helen Pascoe who is being terrorised by the govt, state and federal, over mining rights.

  12. rog
    May 12th, 2014 at 15:38 | #12

    Newcastle MP Tim Owen has tearfully admitted that some of his funds “probably” came from tainted sources. Rumour is that Mayor Jeff McCloy could stand in his place; the irony being that he is a developer.

  13. Fran Barlow
    May 12th, 2014 at 16:17 | #13


    So spooky … barely two weeks ago, cleaning up the spare room, I came across a pamphlet by a UWS academic at the bottom of a box of stuff recounting the activities of the WDC in the 1930s.

  14. kevin1
    May 12th, 2014 at 16:38 | #14

    @Fran Barlow
    Would be interesting to know if it was a Stalinist thug outfit attacking “social fascist” non-CPA workers (third period communism I think it was called in the early 30s) or part of the Militant Minority Movement leading a rank and file fightback against Depression sackings, evictions etc.

  15. Fran Barlow
    May 12th, 2014 at 16:59 | #15

    From the pamphlet, it seemed probable that they were 3rd periodists, though given that the Trotskyists had not entirely given up on the CP at that point it’s entirely possible that some were flirting with Trotskyism.

    The point the academic made was that while they were big on revolutionary proletarian bombast, they were short on actual revolutionary activity. As a leftist, I got a warm inner glow about the former, which was entirely extinguished by the latter.

  16. kevin1
    May 12th, 2014 at 17:23 | #16

    Yes, I must admit to some self-indulgence in romanticising the Jack Fegan story, perhaps because he came out of the respectable 1950s as an unreconstructed classwarrior. The SMH story I recall from some years ago detailed how he lured Packer into the ring with the obvious intent of thumping him. Frank Packer was a hated figure for the left; he used his TV ownership to promote the Liberal party; the venerable newsreader Eric Pearce looked into the camera on the eve of the 1972 election and warned us all not to vote Labor. There was a famous obscene cartoon of Packer and Billy McMahon in sexual congress which contributed to the demise of the latter as a figure of fun. I forget the cartoonist, I doubt it was Pickering.

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