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Australia Day Monday Message Board

January 26th, 2015

A special Australia Day Monday Message Board. Post on any thoughts about, or tangentially related to, Australia Day and its meaning. Please keep discussion of the Republic issue to the post on that topic.

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  1. Hermit
    January 26th, 2015 at 10:16 | #1

    I think Shorten is trawling deep for true believers not middle Australia when he brings up the republic issue. My hunch is that the public is more worried things like future jobs, whether uni is worth the cost and why we’re getting more coal mines. However Abbott blundered on cue with some pompous knighthoods. I would have thought HRH Prince Philip had enough titles. Sir Duke as I recall was a song by Stevie Wonder with the title seldom heard otherwise.

  2. John Chapman
    January 26th, 2015 at 10:23 | #2

    A happy compassionate Australia Day everyone.

    I, for one, am miffed this morning – no news of Honours for me.

    I waz hoping to become Sir Jean BlokeHomme, Knight of the Worst Chapter of The Garter.

  3. Paul Norton
    January 26th, 2015 at 10:45 | #3

    In keeping with Australia’s multicultural character, the Belarussian tradition of wailing eerily while playing tennis is being observed in Melbourne on Australia Day.

  4. Michael
    January 26th, 2015 at 10:59 | #4

    @Hermit
    It was a clever move by Shorten because while proactive support for Australia becoming a republic has waned most people are probably comfortable with it being an aspiration with no fixed timetable to do anything about it. Abbott’s cringeworthy grovelling on the other hand is both repugnant and further proof of his tin ear. He won’t last the term which is kind of sad because he is looking like guaranteeing the government only gets one term.

  5. Uncle Milton
    January 26th, 2015 at 11:15 | #5

    @Hermit

    I am delighted that Phil the Greek got made an Australian knight. It says everything you need to know about that honour.

  6. January 26th, 2015 at 11:25 | #6

    I continue to avoid Australia Day, its face-paint and flags, its facile amnesia of reality, pending two events:

    1. The Invasion Day is given its due 80% weight

    2. Pine Gap is handed back to us so that we are no longer integrated into the US Empire’s full spectrum global dominance and perpetual aggressive war-fighting. Ask Des Ball and Richard Tanter. We only think we are independent and we ain’t.

  7. jungney
    January 26th, 2015 at 11:30 | #7

    I celebrated early by letting the dogs have a run after two roos in the front paddock. What a miracle of fluid movement they are. Oh, Roos 1, Dogs zip.

    This is unoriginal but I really do think that Abbott is barking mad. At a time when the Saxe-Coburg’s are exposed as pursuing the old ways again (under age sex? Moi?), Abbott awards a Knight of Australia to that canker, Philip.

    He really doesn’t have a clue who Australians are except for that special mob who cling to the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

    Tom Uren has passed away. RIP.

  8. Sancho
    January 26th, 2015 at 11:55 | #8

    Careful with that. More than a few dogs have lost fights with roos. They’ll shred a kelpie.

  9. Julie Thomas
    January 26th, 2015 at 12:28 | #9

    jungney send some pics of your dogs to Paul Sheehan who thinks that dogs deserve to be on our coat of arms.

    My over bred over sensitive highly anxious ‘chocolate’ border collie – he’s a rescued dog – would be terrified of a kangar-bloody-roo but they do not venture into my part of town unless it is very dry.

  10. jungney
    January 26th, 2015 at 12:50 | #10

    Sancho, my dogs can hardly run out of sight on a dark night compared to roos 🙂 No-one was in any danger of actually bailing one up. One of them caught a rabbit once but I think he improved the rabbit gene pool by doing so.

    Apropos Tom Uren, just deceased, there’s a fair obit at the Graud from which:

    e was taken prisoner during the war, and spent 18 months on the Thai-Burma railway. He later cited the collectivist principles employed to keep as many men as possible alive as an inspiration for his political outlook.

    He was in the Hintok camp under the command of Melbourne surgeon Edward Dunlop. Dunlop took the miserable allowance paid to his officers so he could buy food and medicine which were allocated according to need.

    British PoWs died more quickly because their officers didn’t share.

    Uren later said: “Only a creek separated our two camps, but on one side the law of the jungle prevailed and on the other the principles of socialism.”

    This is the sort of native socialism that ‘mateship’ is held to represent. Sometimes it does, but often it falls well short. Our treatment of refugees being the prime example.

    But I wonder sometimes that we may really now be well out of touch with the genuine ‘digger’ spirit. Because the sort of native socialism that Uren and Dunlop were involved in wasn’t invented on the Thai-Burma railway. It drew on an existing and distinctively Australian egalitarianism. It seems in short supply these days.

  11. paul walter
    January 26th, 2015 at 13:15 | #11

    @Paul Norton
    It is a sad a mess Channel 7 have made of the OZ open. This was once a dignified celebration of excellence and sportsperson ship, but I no longer watch most of it. since the women players started up this screeching stuff back in the late nineties of last century.

    7’s coverage is the spiritual equivalent of Murdoch tabloidisation of civil society typified in the final insult, Tony Abbott’s dismal honours list.

    This represents a madman’s victory not witnessed since Caligula brought back chests of sea shells from Gaul to lay before the Senate, to celebrate his symbolic triumph over the sea-god Neptune, although the raising of Incitatus to the Senate must have come close, for bystanders.

  12. jungney
    January 26th, 2015 at 13:22 | #12

    @paul walter
    Thank you Paul Walter for writing the words I had been looking for. I’m sure that Abbott is mad.

  13. January 26th, 2015 at 14:42 | #13

    When I was young, in the 1970’s, I loved Australia. To be fair, I didn’t know much about the rest of the world, but I loved Australia. I wanted us to win the cricket, the rugby, the tennis (remember when we could win at tennis?), and especially I wanted us to be good at swimming. I absorbed the history of Australian swimming, from Jon Konrad, Dawn Fraser and Murray Rose right up to Shane Gould.

    But then I fell out of love with Australia. I guess to be fair, I just grew up and realised that we weren’t quite as special as I’d thought. And then you realise that it might actually be worthwhile thinking about what is especially good about Australia, and what isn’t.

    And in the 80’s and 90’s, Australia ceased to be “the land of the long weekend”, and to me that seemed a great loss. We became more competitive and meaner. And I guess it wasn’t just us. Around the world countries followed suit. Sad isn’t it. While we were exporting iron ore, we should have been exporting the love of long weekends. Instead we were importing stupid ideas about competition and efficiency.

  14. Ikonoclast
    January 26th, 2015 at 15:49 | #14

    We copied the USA in matters of culture and economics. That’s what went wrong with us.

  15. Collin Street
    January 26th, 2015 at 16:12 | #15

    jungney :
    @paul walter
    I’m sure that Abbott is mad.

    Seems to me that Abbott has two basic problems:
    + he doesn’t change his plans easily/willingly: once he’s determined a course of action he sticks with it
    + he doesn’t seem to have a good handle on what other people might think: constantly blindsiding himself, surprised at negative public reactions to actions [like Prince Sir Phillip, most recently, but there’s lots of other cases.]

    Which, yeah: that combo, at the levels Abbott shows even after the support he has available to him, suggests “high-functioning autism”/asperger’s pretty loudly.

  16. paul walter
    January 26th, 2015 at 16:25 | #16

    Jungney, do you remember the squawk about msm when Rudd showed signs of eccenticity?
    Well, I reckon Abott surpassed that without raising a sweat, yet still the Coalition shows no sign of removing him back to his ward and his meds; this time also applying a straightjacket, for his safety and ours.

    Anyone with ideas as to why this may be?

  17. jungney
    January 26th, 2015 at 16:34 | #17

    @John Brookes
    Falling out of love with the country. Me too. A long process. The awfulness, thanks to Henry Reynolds and his ilk, of discovering that the landscapes of my early life idyll were killing grounds for Aboriginal people. High on a plateau in the Hunter Valley is a hand made hut, above the snow line, built by bushwalkers and other sorts of Jindyworobaks, that was a frequent haunt. Many years later it turns out that the hut was no more than five hundred metres from the site of the Mount MacKenzie massacre. It’s been memorialized now and I’ve been back to pay my respects. That’s how we go forward and learn to love country again. All this talk of healing is not flim flam and window dressing. It is true.

  18. jungney
    January 26th, 2015 at 16:59 | #18

    @paul walter
    Paul, I’m so pleased you asked the question:

    Anyone with ideas as to why this may be?

    There are certain types of bio-psychological subjectivity who are unsuited to the requirements of a communal subjectivity, as compared to their sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic and individualistic personhood. It’s the not just the captains of industry who are surplus to requirements, but their cabin boys as well.

  19. David Allen
    January 26th, 2015 at 18:07 | #19

    The value of any award (including medieval ones like knighthoods) rests in the quality of its recipients. TA has instantly conferred his stupid knighthoods with the same gravitas at the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” which is handed out to war criminals, spivs, sycophants and idiots with abandon making it a sorry joke.

    Two 93 year old men in the news today. One, a great Australian, who served his country at war, in parliament and after and the other a foreign, privileged, inbred, ignorant bigot. Guess which one gets a knighthood. So sad I want to cry. F*ck you Tony Abbott.

  20. Debbieanne
    January 26th, 2015 at 18:47 | #20

    @Paul Norton
    As much as my hubby believes in multiculturalism, he is wants this tradition banned forth with.

  21. Ikonoclast
    January 26th, 2015 at 19:13 | #21

    Recently, I foolishly wandered on to a site frequented by Australian pro-monarchists. A number of them mentioned how they loved the Queen and loved the Royal Family. I find this odd. As a child, when I was asked, directed, instructed etc. to “venerate” the Queen by standing hand on heart on parade and singing God save the Queen, it never struck me in the slightest that I should or did love the Queen in any sense. And I certainly did not know what “venerate” or any like word meant. I looked at pictures of the Queen and I saw this remote, porcelain-looking (today we would call it air-brushed) head and shoulders figure in a flat picture stuck on the wall. It meant nothing to me. Clearly my tendency to be unimpressed by icons was already developed at a very young age.

    Love for a distant, symbolic figure, to whom I am non-existent seems impossible, pointless and even abject. It can have no real meaning as opposed to the most confected and artificial pretend emotions. The idea of cult of personality covers it entirely. People would scoff at the idea of loving Mao and venerating his picture while they do the same with the Queen. It’s quite absurd.

    I wonder when people will get over this infantile venerating and genuflecting attitude to a mere symbol and grow up? Once upon a time, sucking up to monarchs actually meant something real because they dispensed favours and chopped off heads. Those times are long gone.

  22. David Allen
    January 26th, 2015 at 19:59 | #22

    Also this week, Australian flags at half mast for the death of a foreign homicidal maniac. Wow, just wow. Australian values?

  23. January 26th, 2015 at 23:22 | #23

    David Allen :
    Also this week, Australian flags at half mast for the death of a foreign homicidal maniac. Wow, just wow. Australian values?

    Was it Bush or Blair?

  24. DaveWA
    January 26th, 2015 at 23:35 | #24

    There have been many tributes to Tom Uren today, all deserved. I met him a few times during the Whitlam govt period while I was a junior in his department and he always took time to talk and listen. A genuine, smart, humble great man who always worked for the greater good.. He achieved much, but I often regret there was not another Whitlam term where more progress could be made on regionalisation.

    Fast forward to today, and we have C Newman black mailing electorates with promises dependent on voting LNP!!! Ffs we have gone backwards.

  25. JKUU
    January 27th, 2015 at 01:58 | #25

    As usual, I like to commemorate Australia Day by recalling the “Original Sin of White Australia.”

    There are two points here: a) James Cook knew from his own observations that the eastern seaboard of the continent was inhabited, and b) he did not obtain “the consent of the natives to take possession” of their land.

    In raising the Union Flag on Possession Island, 22 August 1770, in the name of “His most Britannic Majesty,” Cook thus violated to the letter the specific, written orders given to him by the Admiralty.

    Everything that has flowed from that inauspicious occasion is thus tainted by illegitimacy.

    (Sorry to be such a rain cloud on a summer’s day).

  26. David Irving (no relation)
    January 27th, 2015 at 08:01 | #26

    @Collin Street
    Not sure I’d agree Abbott is on the Autism spectrum – most of us are more flexible thinkers than he is, and he doesn’t show too many of the other signs.

    I think it’s more likely a consequence of being smacked in the head a few too many times when he was boxing.

  27. Julie Thomas
    January 27th, 2015 at 09:04 | #27

    I’d like to see the results of an IQ test, like the WAIS before diagnosing Tony. The differentials between the sub-tests would give more information about his intellectual abilities.

    How come he didn’t do very well in his Rhodes Scholarship?

    Did he earn the Rhodes Scholarship or was it hastily arranged to get him out of the country and away from that women he thought he had made pregnant?

    What sort of marks did he get at Uni that qualified him for the Rhodes thing and are his marks even a real indication of his intelligence or an indication of how influential his family and friends were?

    I did read somewhere among the electronic graffiti I like so much, that on one of his essays for which he ‘earned’ an A; the marker had written something like ‘next time use the prescribed text books’. Seriously, they thought he was so bright he could just submit whatever crap he wanted to and it was worth an A or did dad do a deal to help his number one son out?

    I think that his proper diagnosis is yet to be standardised; but it could be called something like Privileged White Person Hypocrisy Disorder.

  28. Collin Street
    January 27th, 2015 at 09:09 | #28

    Possibly! I’m neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, after all.

    But it seems obvious that tony abbott has genuine cognitive problems, and the case for… well, pretty much most of the rest of cabinet isn’t much less obvious.

    And if you’ve ever spent much time with melbourne uni young liberals you’d probably — like me — start to think that maybe it was a party-wide issue.

    [and then you look at online RWNJ commentators and start to see the linguistic disturbances that their typically poor rhetorical style reflects, and stuff like that…]

  29. ZM
    January 27th, 2015 at 14:49 | #29

    Interesting article in Scientific American about research that finds consistencies between thousands of years old Indigenous story telling and geological events like sea level rise. Makes you remember that a couple of centuries is not long to be here.

    “To most of us, the rush of the oceans that followed the last ice age seems like a prehistoric epoch. But the historic occasion was dutifully recorded—coast to coast—by the original inhabitants of the land Down Under.

    Without using written languages, Australian tribes passed memories of life before, and during, post-glacial shoreline inundations through hundreds of generations as high-fidelity oral history. Some tribes can still point to islands that no longer exist—and provide their original names.

    That’s the conclusion of linguists and a geographer, who have together identified 18 Aboriginal stories—many of which were transcribed by early settlers before the tribes that told them succumbed to murderous and disease-spreading immigrants from afar—that they say accurately described geographical features that predated the last post-ice age rising of the seas.

    “It’s quite gobsmacking to think that a story could be told for 10,000 years,” Nicholas Reid, a linguist at Australia’s University of New England specializing in Aboriginal Australian languages, said. “It’s almost unimaginable that people would transmit stories about things like islands that are currently underwater accurately across 400 generations.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ancient-sea-rise-tale-told-accurately-for-10-000-years/?WT.mc_id=SA_Twitter

  30. Julie Thomas
    January 27th, 2015 at 15:31 | #30

    @ZM

    The Documentary series “First Footprints” has some very interesting evidence about the wonderful stories that the blackfellas have to tell about their history, their culture and their religion. Some of the stories can be traced back to the first ancestor, a mother figure who is pictured in a cave painting with lots of babies in dilly bags hanging around her neck.

    Some of the ‘songlines’ type stories that are about caring for country can take days and even months to ‘tell

    The idea that they had an IQ of 80 is ludicrous – and this is the figure is derived from the IQ tests that were given in the ’30’s and this is the figure that the racists psychologist Jensen uses in all the stats that he claims show IQ differences between ‘races’.

    But there were a few alternative type studies and one showed that Aboriginal children had much better recall than the cleverist white children. This was according to one early ability test that used objects rather than paper and pencil testing – which as you can imagine is not going to lead to a fair estimation of ‘intelligence’.

    There are so many things that ‘they’ could do with their intelligence that ‘we’ were too stupid to be able to see. Like this, from the RN program Ockam’s Razor last year.

    “A decade or more ago a researcher at ANU was studying records of the stars and constellations described by Aboriginal men to a settler in the mid 1800s. He was puzzled as lots of stars seemed to be missing.

    He had heard of some work that I had done years before when I tested the vision of healthy young adults and found some Aboriginal people with the world record for vision of Europeans.

    Their vision was nearly five times finer than so-called normal vision. Armed with this knowledge and a good pair of binoculars the astronomer went back and could quickly fill in the missing stars that the Aboriginal people could see with their naked eyes.”

    This excerpt was only a bit in the middle of a program about improving the eye problems that indigenous kids suffer from now and I haven’t looked up the original research.

    There is such a lot of information and knowledge that we have available now about the first people that clearly show they were extraordinarily intelligent and law abiding people.

  31. ZM
    January 27th, 2015 at 15:44 | #31

    Yes that’s true. In town there is a program for the young indigenous children where they get together from all the different schools and learn about cultural and health concerns specific to indigenous people. They published a beautiful illustrated book a year or so ago about the two volcanoes in our area, it was really lovely that they shared it.

  32. jungney
    January 27th, 2015 at 15:45 | #32

    @ZM
    …and JT. You might like this article on Aboriginal science.

    JT: there was a time when I felt shame about the Australian history and the treatment of Aboriginal Australia. I entered into reconciliation wholeheartedly and these days, when I see how far the change has spread, I feel hope, as intellectuals and activists again drive the whole process forward. Around my quarter the reconciliation between fifth gen farmers and Aboriginal people united against coal, CSG and simple desecration of the land has been genuinely healing. Something will come of this.

  33. Julie Thomas
    January 27th, 2015 at 16:58 | #33

    @jungney

    Good article and the author is terrific in responding to the comments.

    I think a lot of the prejudice and negative stereotyping from the farmers and townspeople around here seems to have been based on the idea that the wicked Left and the aborigines would make them give their land back.

    That was the way the land rights thing was presented to them, this hasn’t happened and it’s the banks that are taking their land.

    The times they are a’changing as you say.

  34. rog
    January 28th, 2015 at 06:01 | #34

    I know it’s only billions not trillions but

    A coalition of institutional investors has committed to expediently decarbonize US$100 billion and to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of at least US$500 billion in assets under management.

    Three major pension funds from North America and Europe announced they would accelerate their investments in low-carbon investments across asset classes up to more than $31 billion by 2020.

    http://newsroom.unfccc.int/financial-flows/un-climate-summit-financing/

  35. Donald Oats
    February 8th, 2015 at 03:15 | #35

    Given the NSA, and now GCHQ, have been exposed as performing illegal mass surveillance of the citizens of the USA, and the UK, respectively, I wonder what the current practice is in Australia? Do the Edward Snowden files have anything to say about our secret squirrels?

  36. jungney
    February 8th, 2015 at 09:42 | #36

    I note with interest that the neww Syriza Finance Minister is Yanis Varoufakis, a dual citizenship Greek/Australian, who taught economics at Sydney U. for some time.

    SMH article and openDemocracy.

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