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Monday Message Board

June 8th, 2015

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

Since it’s notionally the Queen’s Birthday today, I’d be interest in thoughts about the prospects for, and politics of, an Australian republic.

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  1. Collin Street
    June 8th, 2015 at 15:44 | #1

    So noone got a knighthood.

  2. Troy Prideaux
    June 8th, 2015 at 16:40 | #2

    @Collin Street
    So no Sir Andrew Bolt? No captain Francesco Schettino call this time round?

  3. RussellW
    June 8th, 2015 at 16:42 | #3

    Since we have compulsory voting I’d say the prospects for an Australian republic are rather remote, particularly if the republicans start infighting again and there’s a sly reactionary as PM (not Abbott of course, he’s probably worth 15% to the republican cause). The country functions as quasi-republic already, which appears to be enough for the majority of voters.

  4. Tim Macknay
    June 8th, 2015 at 16:49 | #4

    Good news in Turkey as the voters appear to have comprehensively rejected Recep Erdogan’s bid to expand his own powers, forcing his Justice and Development party into coalition negotiations to form government. Erdogan deserves credit for ending the Turkish military’s role in politics but has shown increasing signs of authoritarianism in recent years. Looks like the voters have told him to cut it out.

  5. Megan
    June 8th, 2015 at 17:01 | #5

    @RussellW

    The country functions as quasi-republic already, which appears to be enough for the majority of voters.

    That roughly describes my position on the “issue”.

    If it ain’t broke….

  6. Megan
    June 8th, 2015 at 18:55 | #6

    @Tim Macknay

    This is what Erdogan’s Deputy thinks of those voters:

    Burhan Kuzu, the AK party deputy and head of the parliamentary constitution commission, said snap elections were inevitable. “No government will emerge from this scenario. Not even a coalition,” he told BBC Türkçe. “Early elections look inevitable.” He added that the election results reflected the weakness of the parliamentary system.

    “The parliamentary system is a curse for the whole world. In Turkey only majority governments ever worked, coalitions always destroyed it.” He said that the only solution would be an executive presidency.

    As the ultra-right around the world loses electoral support – at least in elections where there is some genuine alternative, as seen in Greece, Spain, Scotland and now Turkey – they prove they don’t get democracy by expressing attitudes like this.

  7. ZM
    June 8th, 2015 at 19:14 | #7

    John Quiggin,

    I thought I would mention Samuel Alexander’s new book Prosperous Descent as he has been discussed before. This contains a chapter which is a friendly critique and analysis of Ted Trainer’s work.

    “I am pleased to announce the publication of Samuel
    Alexander’s new book, Prosperous Descent:
    Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits, which is the first book of his
    collected essays to be published this year.

    The paperback of this book is available here:
    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FvRxk&m=3iCwPAMoVwid6Dr&b=hU24k2_m4a384Rwzx_Fg6w

    For those who would prefer an electronic version, the
    following link provides access to a pdf of the book on a ‘pay what you want’
    basis. While the suggested price is $10, if you are unable to pay, then the
    book can be accessed for free.

    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FvRxk&m=3iCwPAMoVwid6Dr&b=UFkqFXNBo4xyjpKWRTpowg

    Samuel Alexander declined several separate approaches by the
    premiere academic publisher, Routledge, because he wanted to reserve the right
    to give away his new book for free in a way that no conventional publish would
    allow. While we may not want to go into business with Sam, we can all be
    grateful for his generous activism.”

  8. ZM
    June 8th, 2015 at 19:29 | #8

    Victorians might be interested in a series of lectures starting this week for this years ANZAC Centenary Lectures at Museum Victoria engaging with the wartime exhibition Love And Sorrow

    The Technical Advance Thursday June 11, 6.30 – 7.30pm
    World War I made extraordinary demands on the scientific community. Its requirements for manufactured munitions and equipment, as well as the advent of new chemical weapons, made science essential to national security. The war would produce government laboratories, increases in research funding, as well as great boosts in the amount of scientific research — changes with lasting consequences for the pursuit of science.
    Dr Charlie Day Carlton Connect Initiative, Professor Iven Mareels, Dean of Engineering, Professor Harry Quiney, Faculty of Science and CSIRO board member Professor Tom Spurling will join Maxine McKew to examine the ethical dimension in the participation of science in war, and the ongoing affects of government support of scientific pursuit today.

    War Trauma and Psychology 17 June 2015
    The horrific nature of conflict on the battlefields of World War I had profound affects on those who served. The debilitating condition of shell shock changed those returning from war and had mental and physical manifestations that had not been seen before.
    Our panel trace the development of psychology in Australia, and the emergence of new psychological techniques. History experts Laureate Professor Joy Damousi and Professor Bruce Scates, together with Dr Andrea Phelps, a specialist in posttraumatic mental health, and Love & Sorrow curator, Deborah Tout-Smith will join Maxine McKew to examine these changes from a twentieth century perspective, and relate to current challenges.

    The Enemy Within 24 June 2015
    The First World War was conducted in political climate of patriotic fervour and rigorous policing of opposition. Debates over conscription divided the community. The War Precautions Act created arbitrary powers that threatened the civil liberties of minority and opposition groups.
    History specialist Professor Emeritus Stuart Macintyre, together with Legal experts Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders and Professor Gerry Simpson will join Maxine McKew to reflect on the powers enacted during wartime, and discuss current concerns for human rights in our own period.

    Culture and War 22 July
    The First World War brought great social and cultural changes to Australia. The experience of soldiers travelling internationally, the national mobilisation, the grief and loss. This forum will discuss the way in which these changes are revealed in the artwork of the period, and how art informs our understanding of the emerging Australian culture.
    This discussion will draw on the exhibition Follow the Flag: Australian Artists at War showing at NGV Australia from 24 Apr 2015 – 16 Aug 2015

    The Performing Arts and War 27 August
    The representation of war in music and theatre has had enduring resonance. Music has been used to stir the blood of combatants and inspire great courage, and also to offer consolation to the bereaved. Theatrical representations of war give meaning to the conflict and recreate the intensity of conflict. Our experts will discuss the affecting qualities of the performing arts and the way in which they convey the meaning of war.
    On this evening, you are invited to a viewing of Pack up your troubles: Music and the Great War. The Grainger Museum will offer extended opening hours from 4.30pm – 6pm on Thursday 27 August to allow guests special access to the exhibition prior to the panel discussion at 6.30pm in the Auditorium, Kenneth Myer Building, Royal Parade

  9. Ikonoclast
    June 8th, 2015 at 19:53 | #9

    @ZM

    Having an interest in cinema, I have noticed a marked change in the depiction of war from the 1960s to the present day in film. Anti-war films were common in the 1960s to 1980s. I find it hard to name a mainstream Hollywood anti-war film today. Most seem to glorify war now.

    I read an amusing shorthand criticism of the Tower of London poppies display in the UK. “They now seem intent on convincing us that war was an outbreak of flowers.”

  10. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 00:44 | #10

    Watching Obama Live from the G7.

    Terrifying.

    He just blamed “Mr Putin” for the “trouble” in Ukraine.

    He spoke about the “Separations of Power” [sic].

    Also the “Free Market” is “working” on health care under the neo-con model he implemented.

  11. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 11:30 | #11

    @Megan

    I have my car serviced twice a year even when there’s no evidence of anything broken; I have my teeth checked every year even when there’s no evidence of anything broken.

    In this case, however, there is evidence of something broken.

  12. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 12:06 | #12

    How (in what manner, by what process) will becoming a republic fix the broken thing?

  13. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 14:42 | #13

    I’ll boldly label this a “must read” by Alfred McCoy.

    Although, I disagree with his opening paragraph:

    For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

    Far from having “missed the significance”, it looks to me that this explains precisely what the US has been up to all these years and with all these wars (including why the created AQ and ISIS etc..), and what they plan next.

  14. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 15:38 | #14

    @Megan

    Becoming a republic, by itself, would not automatically do so; but it is highly likely that the process of change would make the operations of the political system a degree less obfuscated than they are now.

    (It would also be a symbolic affirmation of democratic principle, which is worth something.)

  15. Crocodile Chuck
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:00 | #15

    ‘Quasi-republic’: yeah, I guess that’s good enough for anyone.

    [snicker..

    @RussellW

  16. RussellW
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:03 | #16

    @Megan

    Regardless of Obama’s post-imperial posturing, surely the G7 is well past its use-by-date. It’s basically a North Atlantic club plus Japan and includes Canada, but not South Korea, India, Brazil or China. The G7 was described on the ABC as a meeting of the ‘world’s most powerful industrial countries’, no, it isn’t, the G20 is.

  17. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:11 | #17

    @Megan

    I’ll equally boldly label the piece a ‘can be ignored’.

  18. RussellW
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:11 | #18

    @J-D

    “it is highly likely that the process of change would make the operations of the political system a degree less obfuscated than they are now.”

    …Yes, that’s probably the real objection that the ‘monarchists’ have to an Australian republic, they’re afraid that some trouble makers will want to include a “Bill of Rights” in the Constitution, or some other left wing nonsense.

  19. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:19 | #19

    @J-D

    …it is highly likely that the process of change would make the operations of the political system a degree less obfuscated than they are now.

    I don’t follow. How?

    There was a process – albeit one that didn’t eventuate in a republic – of “change” last time.

  20. Debbieanne
    June 9th, 2015 at 16:46 | #20

    @Megan
    Thanks for that link, Megan. very interesting read. I think my grandchildren(if I have any) should learn Chinese(Mandarin).

  21. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 18:22 | #21

    @Debbieanne

    I hadn’t heard of Sir Halford Mackinder or his 1904 paper “The Geographical Pivot of History.”

    Those kids might benefit from learning Russian too – assuming we survive the declining US hegemony!!

  22. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 18:30 | #22

    @RussellW

    There was an ANU survey that indicated 74% of Australians favoured a Bill of Rights and about 79% of politicians were against it.

    There have been various attempts at it in referenda all of which were cynically sabotaged by our political class.

    There was a National Archives source I couldn’t open that suggested 62% of Australians believed we already had one.

    In my opinion we need a Bill of Rights much more than we need to be named a republic.

  23. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:05 | #23

    @Megan

    It’s my experience of discussing these things that a lot of people have confused and uncertain ideas about how our political system operates. For example, they often fail to grasp that the Queen plays no part in it whatever. The bare fact of having the Queen in our written Constitution where as a matter of fact she plays no part is a confusing factor. Taking her out of the Constitution would not eliminate the gulf between what the text says and how the system works, but it would by a degree reduce it. If we made the change without ensuing mishap, it might prompt people to reflect a little more that we can change it safely, and therefore to think a fraction more about how it works and how it might be improved.

    Do you have any affirmative reason to defend the monarchy? If you were writing a constitution for a country from scratch, would you put a monarch in it?

  24. Donald Oats
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:08 | #24

    Left-right, left-right, until we’re left no rights any more.

    Just saw Treasurer Joe Hockey giving Australians sage advice on how to get a house: get a good paying job, one that has security, then go to the bank and get a loan, at the most affordable they’ve ever been, and you know, you get a house. Easy.

    This from the man who sacked thousands of honest, tax-paying workers, for no fault of their own, simply to “prove” they were fixing a so-called budget emergency. Then they hammered the ABS when unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly…

    These people live in a world so rarified, they simply don’t see the little people skittering away as the boot comes down; these clowns mow down citizens and then entreat them with glib one-liners. Kick ’em with a boot and demand they lick the blood off the sole.

    The voice transcriber couldn’t translate my final sentence, I’m so irate.

  25. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:09 | #25

    @Megan

    I had heard of Halford Mackinder’s theory, and I still see no reason to take it seriously.

  26. Ivor
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:16 | #26

    @Megan

    Yes the United States is getting a bit upset with the Middle East, China and Russia and with independent governments in South America.

    Where can they get their Manifest Destiny now?

  27. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:43 | #27

    @Megan

    I don’t know how many attempts at a referendum on a Bill of Rights have been made, but I agree in favouring the principle and I also agree that it’s more important than a republic. However, ‘less important than a Bill of Rights’ is not the same as ‘not worth doing at all’.

    The people who imagine that we already have a Bill of Rights are another example of the point I made earlier about people’s lack of understanding of the system, although in that particular instance I suspect a major factor in confusing people is exposure to American television programs.

  28. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 19:56 | #28

    @J-D

    …I still see no reason to take it seriously.

    Despite the fact that it overlays so neatly with world events over the last 110 years?

    Matter for you.

  29. totaram
    June 9th, 2015 at 20:10 | #29

    @Ivor
    I am happy to see that. It is sad to see that Obama is just another neo-con. The powers that be in the USA are happy to have a “black” man in the white house to show the rest of the world how they have “advanced” with respect to human rights (despite all evidence to the contrary). But they have vetted him carefully and made sure he sticks to the basic ideology. Pity.

  30. Megan
    June 9th, 2015 at 20:16 | #30

    On the other issue, I don’t “defend the monarchy”. I couldn’t care less about her/them/it.

    It seems you want a republic. It seems your argument in favour of changing from what we have now to something different (being called a republic) is:

    1. the process of change would make the operations of the political system a degree less obfuscated than they are now.

    2. It would also be a symbolic affirmation of democratic principle

    3. a lot of people have confused and uncertain ideas about how our political system operates.

    4. Becoming a republic would take the british monarch out of the constitution and although that would not eliminate the gulf between what the text says and how the system works it would by a degree reduce it.

    5. If we made the change without ensuing mishap, it might prompt people to reflect a little more that we can change it safely, and therefore to think a fraction more about how it works and how it might be improved.

    I don’t see how 1 and 3 come into it, 2 is symbolic and 4 & 5 are “might” by “degree” do something vague.

    I don’t find that a compelling argument for anything much, certainly not for ill-defined fiddling under the bonnet of the system we currently have. Presumably you and others do, but I don’t.

  31. June 9th, 2015 at 20:48 | #31

    World Environment Day clashes with Australian land-clearing week (5/6/15) by Sheila Newman

    5 June 2015 is World Environment Day, but you wouldn’t know it in Australia as State and Federal Governments pave the way for inappropriate and highly environmentally damaging land-clearing. This week media reports have detailed the Federal Government’s approval for significant clearing of Critically Endangered woodlands in the Hunter Valley and lack of oversight on potentially illegal broad-scale clearing in Cape York, permitted by the former Queensland Government in direct contravention of national environment law.

    The Federal Environment Department has just given mining company Coal and Allied the green light to clear 535 hectares of White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland, a Critically Endangered ecological community listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The community has been recognised as Critically Endangered since 2006, primarily due to a decline in geographic distribution, and since that time numerous developments have chipped away at what remains. Permitting a further 535 vital hectares to be cleared for a single project indicates the Government is loath to use its habitat protection powers effectively.

  32. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 21:30 | #32

    @Megan

    Your second sentence I’m afraid I don’t understand.

    The question only makes sense on the assumption that there’s a neat match between Halford Mackinder’s theory and the last 110 years of world events. There isn’t.

  33. J-D
    June 9th, 2015 at 21:37 | #33

    @Megan

    You are correct to say that 2 is symbolic. I said that first. But so what? Symbolism may not be worth much, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth nothing.

    If you think that 1, 3, 4, and 5 are all intended to be independent reasons for a republic, then I have not succeeded in making myself clear to you. They aren’t intended to be independent reasons. They are intended to be parts of a connected chain of reasoning. I accept (and am untroubled) that my reasoning is insufficient to persuade you, but that’s not the same as saying that my position is unsupported by any line of reasoning.

    I am curious now to know whether you voted in the referendum in 1999 and, if you did, which way you voted and why.

  34. Ivor
    June 9th, 2015 at 22:56 | #34

    @totaram

    yes, you cannot become President of the American Empire unless you are ‘fit for purpose’.

    Even if any minority was represented by a face-in-high-place, the result would be the same.

  35. Megan
    June 10th, 2015 at 00:26 | #35

    @J-D

    Re Mackinder: Broadly speaking, where is the mis-match? A few major examples will do.

    I’m looking for a debunking so that I can disabuse myself of the notion that the wars and tens of millions of dead over the last 110 years are in any way explained by the idea that “it” is all about Eurasia.

  36. Megan
    June 10th, 2015 at 00:37 | #36

    @J-D

    On the republic:

    Aren’t secret ballots a wonderful thing? Did you know that Australia invented them?

    The republic “issue” has a fundamental problem.

    Proposition 1: It won’t change anything, but it is very important symbolically.

    Counter: If it won’t actually change anything then why is it so important?

    Answer: Because it just is and ALP, and you want to marry the queen and have her babies.

    Proposition 2: It is vitally important that we do this because it will change Australia in really good ways.

    Counter: In what ways? How?

    Answer: In mysterious but really good ways that can’t be properly articulated, and ALP and you probably want to marry Sadam Hussein and have his babies or kill people.

  37. J-D
    June 10th, 2015 at 08:15 | #37

    @Megan

    I am not clear on what the proposition is that you are looking to have debunked. You express it as follows: ‘it’ is all about Eurasia. But which ‘it’ are you referring to?

    Obviously there have been a great many wars with a great many casualties in what Mackinder called the ‘Pivot Area’. But there have also been a great many wars with a great many casualties outside it. Are you looking for some examples to illustrate that? I could easily find you some, if that’s what’s at issue.

    But maybe I’ve misunderstood your point?

  38. J-D
    June 10th, 2015 at 08:32 | #38

    @Megan

    Australia did not invent the secret ballot. Elections by secret ballot took place elsewhere, both in classical and in modern times, before any elections were ever held in Australia.

    The innovation of the ‘Australian ballot’ was the printing of voting papers by the government.

    Both the principle of the secret ballot and the principle of the ‘Australian ballot’ are excellent ideas, independently of where they originated.

    Exit polls are also a wonderful idea, no matter where they originated.

    I have articulated the reasons why I am in favour of a republic. I did not do this in the expectation of persuading you to support republicanism, so I am not surprised (and not bothered) to observe that I have not done so.

    You asked what reasons there could be for supporting republicanism, so I provided you with a possible answer or two. Those reasons don’t persuade you, and that’s fine. But it’s false to assert that they don’t exist.

    Your versions of the case for republicanism misrepresent what I wrote. I did not say it was ‘vital’ (it isn’t) or that it is ‘very important’ (it isn’t). On the contrary, I agree that many things are more important than republicanism. But the original question I was responding to was not ‘how important is republicanism?’ but ‘what reasons could there be for it?’

    Given the choice between a monarchy and a republic, there are some reasons — perhaps not important reasons, but some reasons nonetheless — for choosing a republic; but there are no good reasons for choosing a monarchy. Your most recent comment raises the possibility that you are determined to oppose anything that has any association with the ALP because you regard association with the ALP as an irremediable taint; that’s not a good reason to be a monarchist.

  39. June 10th, 2015 at 09:28 | #39

    It is now generally accepted that
    • The majority of Australians want an Australian to be head of state:
    • The majority of Australians are averse to any very large changes in our constitutional arrangements;
    • The web of accumulated, derived, and developed constitutional roles and functions of the crown in Australia cannot be transferred from the royal family unless they can be defined, and any attempt at definition brings forth such disagreement as to split the parties into mutually repugnant and uncooperative camps.

    This being the case, only the arrangements I propose can square the circle and allow Australians to have what they agree they want.

    1. Australia shall be ruled by a titular monarch.
    This permits all existing constitutional structures, understandings and conventions to be carried on unaltered, with the governor-general standing in for the monarch and his or her powers and duties to remain as they have been, whatever that might be, with all existing ambiguity and uncertainty retained unaltered.

    2. The monarch shall be chosen by computer by random selection from all persons on the Australian electoral roll born on a randomly chosen day .
    This ensures that
    a) the monarch will be an Australian citizen and
    b) the election or appointment of the monarch will not cause divisions among the populace.

    3. The identity of the chosen monarch shall remain in the custody of the computer, neither the governor-general, the government, the public, or the person concerned being informed.

    This means that
    a) every Australian could not only aspire to being King or Queen, but every 365th Australian could believe that they might already be King or Queen – producing that pleasant tickle existing at the back of the mind in the time between buying a lottery ticket and the draw, only indefinitely prolonged for no expense
    b) the person chosen would not be stressed by sudden fame or corrupted by unexpected power.

    4. The only possible objection to this plan would be that as the law now stands the monarch cannot be tried in his or her own courts, and unless appropriate arrangements were made every 365th person brought into court could plead that as it could not be proved they were not king or queen the matter would have to be dismissed; this defect could be cured, however, by introducing a constitutional fiction – the only significant change in the constitutional fabric required by my scheme – to the effect that Australian citizenship involves the waiving of any rights under this head.

    Any nation that can give a real Queen an imaginary birthday should have no problem giving a real birthday an imaginary Queen.

    While it might be objected that this proposal is ludicrous, its great merit is that it is considerably less ludicrous either than the existing system of privileging the heirs of Guillaume le Conquerant or the alternative proposal of going through all the trouble and expense of electing a president empowered to do no more than open fêtes. I look forward to its immediate adoption.

  40. June 10th, 2015 at 09:40 | #40

    Greens NSW MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi: ‘Power Privatisation Locks NSW Into Road Congestion and Private Takeover of Rail’

    Contrary to the expectations of many people living outside of New South Wales, on 23 March 2015 the Opposition Labor Party led by Luke Foley lost the state elections to incumbent Liberal Premier Mike Baird. This was in spite of Labor Party’s opposition to privatisation and a grass roots trade union and community campaign against privatisation. [1 ]

    In part, the Liberal Party’s victory was due to Michael Baird being able to convince some voters that his proposed sale of 99 year leases of the state’s electricity network to the private sector was somehow different to privatisation. In her speech of 2/6/15 to the NSW Legislative Council (Upper House), Greens member Dr Mehreen Faruqi, shows that for corporations intending to buy the 99 year leases, as well as the consumers and current owners of the NSW electricity network, there is little practical difference. The Youtube of Dr Faruqi’s speech is embedded below and the transcript of the speech from the NSW Legislative Council Hansard is also included. [2]

    Footnote[s]

    [1] In part, Baird’s victory was also due to the whiteanting of Luke Foley’s campaign by elements within the Labor Party, including former NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr and former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating. See Former premier Bob Carr crashes in on the debate over privatisation of electricity networks (7/3/15) Daily Telegraph, The Debate: should NSW’s poles and wires be privatised? (23/3/15) | SMH, Mike Baird’s caution on privatisation may affect NSW voters (8/3/15) | AFR.

    Bob Carr’s undermining of NSW Labor in 2015 is reminiscent of his undermining of Federal Labor Party’s election campaign in 2004 as described by former Labor leader Mark Latham in The Latham Diaries (2005). See also Ex-Labor treasurer downplays NSW privatisation boost (19/5/15) | Herald Sun.

  41. tony lynch
    June 10th, 2015 at 13:46 | #41

    @J-D
    Well, that’s it then.

  42. ZM
    June 10th, 2015 at 14:46 | #42

    I do not support becoming a republic and especially not the way last time.

    Since I was only about 20 at the time I am not sure if my recollection is accurate but there seemed mostly to be public debate about the wording of a new preamble, and hardly any debate about resulting legal issues.

    Since we have two constitutions, one written and enacted at federation and one unwritten and inherirted through convention, and we have two laws also, written and enacted statutory law and unwritten common law consisting since their amalgamation of both common and conscience law, not having a crown anymore would have lots of legal implications. But none of these were discussed at the last public debate.

    What is to happen to crown land? What is to happen to all land which is now legally the crown’s and privately owned by title recognised by the crown? What is to happen to the obligations that attend the office of the crown – who has those obligations now? What is to happen to the crown’s reserve powers? etc.

  43. Tim Macknay
    June 10th, 2015 at 15:03 | #43

    @ZM
    There was plenty of debate about the substantive issues. The lack of consensus about many of them played a large part in the demise of that push for a republic. The preamble was something of a side issue, although it was widely disliked, by both monarchists and republicans.

    Since we have two constitutions, one written and enacted at federation and one unwritten and inherited through convention, and we have two laws also, written and enacted statutory law and unwritten common law consisting since their amalgamation of both common and conscience law

    It’s more conventional to say that we have a ‘partially unwritten’ constitution, rather than two of them. As for ‘conscience law’, the term you’re looking for is ‘equity’.

  44. ZM
    June 10th, 2015 at 17:33 | #44

    There are three terms in the literature: chancery (as it was the jurisdiction of the lord high chancellor), conscience (as the lord high chancellor was keeper of the king’s conscience); and equity (which comes from US jurisprudence I think).

    I don’t remember much of the discussion other than the preamble, I thought the idea was that the president chosen by parliament would be like the Governor General any way, but I can’t recall discussion about the legal and legal theoretical changes that would follow from abolishing the crown.

  45. Donald Oats
    June 10th, 2015 at 17:54 | #45

    This still shocks me: how the ALP can even think of supporting these sorts of draconian laws (on disclosure by health workers at Nauru, etc), and yet it does. One by one, the LNP/ALP block of votes allows our rights, and those of asylum seekers, to be stripped away. The LNP have this in their DNA, but what is the ALP’s excuse?

  46. ZM
    June 10th, 2015 at 17:59 | #46

    “It’s more conventional to say that we have a ‘partially unwritten’ constitution, rather than two of them”

    I only took the idea of there being two from His Hon Chief Justice Robert French as at his recent talk he quoted from a legal scholar Atiyah asking

    “All lawyers of course know that large areas of both the common law and the statute law are a shambles but is it one shambles or are there two?”

  47. Tim Macknay
    June 10th, 2015 at 18:03 | #47

    @ZM

    equity (which comes from US jurisprudence I think)

    To my recollection, it’s been called equity ever since the Chancery became a judicial body in the High Middle Ages, more-or-less. The term “chancery” doesn’t refer to the law, but to the office (and later, the court).

    I’m familiar with the expression that the Lord Chancellor was the “Keeper of the King’s Conscience”, but I must admit that I don’t recall ever having come across a reference to the law of equity being referred to as “conscience law” in legal literature. I could be wrong, of course, and I am curious. What are your sources for the term?

  48. Tim Macknay
    June 10th, 2015 at 18:21 | #48


    I only took the idea of there being two from His Hon Chief Justice Robert French as at his recent talk he quoted from a legal scholar Atiyah asking

    “All lawyers of course know that large areas of both the common law and the statute law are a shambles but is it one shambles or are there two?”

    OK, although the speech (and quote) in question largely concerned the interaction between statute law, common law and equity, rather than the constitution.

  49. Tim Macknay
    June 10th, 2015 at 18:34 | #49

    @Donald Oats

    The LNP have this in their DNA, but what is the ALP’s excuse?

    The only explanation I can think of is the complete absence of a notochord.

  50. paul walter
    June 10th, 2015 at 19:00 | #50

    Tim Macknay..well explained.

  51. ZM
    June 10th, 2015 at 19:17 | #51

    I can’t recall all the sources, I was looking for the correct law to use to get the Crown to do its proper duty and tell the two Houses of Parliament they have to act on climate change for the sake of future generations. This took me some time but I found it was the public trust doctrine , there was an article published last year on public trust doctrine in English law which we inherit and climate change.

    The public trust doctrine has been an element of Western jurisprudence since Roman times and is in English common law – in the conscience part of common law – and in the Magna Carta. There was a washer woman in the Middle Ages who petitioned the King about the state of the river and this recalled the King to his duty of ensuring public goods (res publica) like air and water and the shore are kept in good condition.

    But here is a reference I just found:

    “Simpson notes that, if one were to ask a late-15th century lawyer for the title of a book about ‘what went on before the Court of Chancery, he would without doubt have said “Conscience” not “Equity”. Thus one petition from the period asks the Chancellor to ‘summon the defendants to come before you in the King’s Chancery which is the Court of Conscience, there to answer thereto as reason and conscience demand…’ And the petitioners’ replication to the defendants answer in a case from 1456 claims to be ‘sufficiente unto the law of consciens which is law executory in this courte for defaute of remedy by cours of the common law'”.

    Source: Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern England
    By Mr Dennis R Klinck, chapter 2

  52. Donald Oats
    June 10th, 2015 at 19:27 | #52

    @Tim Macknay
    10 out of 10 🙂

    Politically, they should be taking a stand on these bills, and getting some mileage out of smacking the government, the same way that Tony Abbott did as an opposition leader. The ALP need to be firmly against it, and to sound firm in their answers to interviewers’ questions. If they could master that, they’d have better control of the politics as it plays out in the media. Instead, it falls to the odd journalist or third party to say plainly what the ALP members should have been saying.

    Shortly after Joe Hockey’s condescending and patronising remarks on how to get your first home, Penny Wong was talking about how Hockey’s comments show he is out of touch, blah-de-blah-blah. It lacks passion, it lacks the ire, and it doesn’t mean anything to say “out of touch”, because we’ve heard this lazy cliche so many times it has lost any punch it had (if it ever had it). How about something a bit more visceral and blunt, but still polite, as Richard de Natale managed in another interview? He nailed Hockey and Hockey’s comments for what they are.

  53. Megan
    June 10th, 2015 at 19:56 | #53

    @Donald Oats

    The ALP/LNP duopoly are part of an international policy cartel.

    The ACCC website has a tab “What is a cartel?”:

    The Competition and Consumer Act requires businesses to compete fairly. Most Australian businesses increase their customer base and their profits honestly through:
    •continual innovation to improve products or services
    •sales and marketing showing the genuine benefits of their products or services
    •keeping costs down so they can offer competitive prices.

    Businesses struggling to compete fairly and maintain profits may be tempted to deliberately and secretly set up or join a cartel with their competitors.

    A cartel exists when businesses agree to act together instead of competing with each other. This agreement is designed to drive up the profits of cartel members while maintaining the illusion of competition.

    There are certain forms of anti-competitive conduct that are known as cartel conduct. They include:
    •price fixing, when competitors agree on a pricing structure rather than competing against each other
    •sharing markets, when competitors agree to divide a market so participants are sheltered from competition
    •rigging bids, when suppliers communicate before lodging their bids and agree among themselves who will win and at what price
    •controlling the output or limiting the amount of goods and services available to buyers.

    Cartels can be local, national or international. Established cartel members know that they are doing the wrong thing and will go to great lengths to avoid getting caught. Some estimates suggest that while a cartel is operating, the price of affected commodities rises by at least 10 per cent. Worldwide, cartels steal billions of dollars every year.

    With the necessary changes (i.e. “products” = “policies”, “customers” = “citizens” etc..), this pretty accurately describes what they are both up to.

  54. Megan
    June 10th, 2015 at 23:20 | #54

    @J-D

    I wonder whether you even read the article by McCoy which you declared should be ignored.

    You say:

    Obviously there have been a great many wars with a great many casualties in what Mackinder called the ‘Pivot Area’. But there have also been a great many wars with a great many casualties outside it. Are you looking for some examples to illustrate that? I could easily find you some, if that’s what’s at issue.

    Most, if not all, of the wars outside the ‘Pivot Area’ seem to be directly linked to back to it.

    For example, McCoy specifically places the US Vietnam war (3 million slaughtered by the US) in that context.

    Everyone knows the Vietnam war was an illegal war of aggression, bogus and based on lies. The excuses based on ‘good intentions’, ‘blunders’, and most laughably ‘domino effect’ never made any sense (unless one accepts that the US is some kind of giant baby). But it overlays very neatly with the concepts Mackinder laid out in 1904 – in fact it looks like the US empire has used them as its template.

  55. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 00:24 | #55

    Megan,
    “and most laughably ‘domino effect’ never made any sense”

    Not only that but the CIA assisted massacre of up to a million communists in Indonesia in 1965-1966 was recognized at a Senate Hearing and in the New York Times as nullifying the domino threat

    “Errol Morris: Would you call this a forgotten history?

    Joshua Oppenheimer: In the United States, yes. To the extent that it was reported at all—it was reported as good news. A victory over communism. It was a pivotal moment for the “domino theory” containment of communism in Southeast Asia.

    Morris: Communism had been contained. The dominos have been swept off the map. At least in Indonesia.

    I won an Oscar for my film The Fog of War, a profile of McNamara, who was secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, from Jan. 21, 1961 through Feb. 29, 1968.* The Johnson presidency included the period of the Indonesian killings and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Simpson referred in a footnote to McNamara’s memoir, In Retrospect, a book I thought I knew well. McNamara writes:

    “George F. Kennan, whose containment strategy was a significant factor in our commitment to South Vietnam’s defense, argued at a Senate hearing on February 10, 1966, that the Chinese had ‘suffered an enormous reverse in Indonesia … one of great significance, and one that does rather confine any realistic hopes they may have for the expansion of their authority.’ This event had greatly reduced America’s stakes in Vietnam. He asserted that fewer dominoes now existed, and they seemed much less likely to fall.”

    He concludes, “Kennan’s point failed to catch our attention and thus influence our actions.”

    I was shocked. It was a passage that undoubtedly I had read but passed over. But the message was clear. Kennan was saying that the Vietnam War was unnecessary—the invasion of the South and the bombing of the North; the deaths of 58,000 American servicemen and more than 1 million Vietnamese were unnecessary. Not to mention the “collateral damage” to Cambodia and Laos.

    Unnecessary.

    Had Kennan’s testimony been reported? Yes, on Page 1 of the New York Times, Feb. 11, 1966, top of the fold, right-hand column—the lead story. And although the Times was equivocal, it was clear that Kennan had serious doubts. “Kennan Bid U.S. Dig In.” “Kennan Asserts Reds Will Have to Negotiate if They Learn They Can’t Win.” Followed by “Opposes Widening War.””

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/history/2013/07/the_act_of_killing_essay_how_indonesia_s_mass_killings_could_have_slowed.2.html

  56. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2015 at 00:33 | #56

    @ZM
    Ah. So you’re referring to various usages which incorporated the word “conscience” dating from the early days of the Court of Chancery (as opposed to the specific expression “conscience law”). These days it’s called equity, so my original point still stands. 😉

    But seriously though, why not avoid torturous expressions like “the conscience part of the common law”, and just use the more straightforward expression, which in this case would be equity? It’s much clearer that way.

  57. J-D
    June 11th, 2015 at 09:01 | #57

    @Donald Oats

    ‘The LNP have this in their DNA, but what’s the ALP’s excuse?’

    What’s the LNP’s excuse? do you consider that ‘they have it in their DNA’ constitutes an excuse? how?

  58. J-D
    June 11th, 2015 at 09:14 | #58

    @Megan

    Wikipedia offers conveniently presented tabulations of wars by date. Many of those wars (including many in the last hundred years) took place in Mackinder’s ‘Pivot Area’ (naturally enough); but (equally naturally) many of them took place outside it. You can go through the list for yourself and confirm this; if you would like me to offer you my own selection of examples of wars in the last hundred years outside the ‘Pivot Area’, please let me know.

  59. Ikonoclast
    June 11th, 2015 at 09:52 | #59

    @J-D

    I don’t think the Mackinder Pivot Area theory holds up in any way. Presumably, the Soviet Union would have been an unstoppable juggernaut if it were true. It fails to explain, at various times, the rise of Britain, the rise of Germany, the rise of Japan, the rise of the USA and now the rise of China.

    Mere surface physical geography on its own is not geo-strategically determining. For a start, it leaves out the distribution of real resources on and under the land and in the seas too. The rise of the USA is clearly linked to its huge endowment of real resources though that is not the only factor of course.

    The rise of China is complex and too involved to go into here. Its sheer population base is one of its resources if it can sustain that population. An alternative theory might suggest that the pivot area is where the biggest populations are. But again this would ignore remaining real resources and sustainability issues.

  60. John Bentley
    June 11th, 2015 at 10:02 | #60

    Ain’t broke??? Well if you call up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe without a paddle – ain’t broke, s’pose you’re right! The jalopy we’re riding in is stuffed, corrupt to the core rendering society irrelevant and allowing the elites chuff away on their big fat cigars as they do as they please. However, I do agree, that by becoming a republic won’t fix the problem. We, collectively, must change. That is say we must seize the day, until there is a revolution and our current outlook changes, I’m afraid it’s a matter of more of the same.

    I’m currently reading Sheila Newman’s second book on demography, territory and law: Land-Tenure & the Origins of capitalism in Britain. This astounding series relates an alternative view of bio-systems and (over) population.

    The interesting point I wish to make is (it seems to me) that we’re currently in the similar predicament to when the British had felled almost all of the trees in Britain and then felled most of the trees in Ireland to satisfy their hunger for wood. In the process the monarchy and the landed gentry made rules to suit themselves and made tens of thousands of peasants and Irish landless. The price of wood went through the roof making the above peasants and Irish life an absolute misery. The monarchy and landed gentry didn’t give a damn!!

    Today the Yanks are running around the world desatabilising all and sundry in the quest for the black stuff. The same as the Poms did with wood 400 years ago, the Americans believe that it is their god given right to have access to oil and coal world wide. The similarities are remarkable, only this time it’s on a global scale and not just confined to a couple of islands.

    That the Americans usurped the British Empire is well known. A superior economy paved the way from a colonial state to a world super power. This transition was helped, of course, by 2 world wars which left Britain all but destitute. That transition was relatively smooth, the next transition may not be quite so smooth with future of the world hanging in the balance. Interesting times we live in.

  61. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 10:31 | #61

    Tim Macknay,

    “But seriously though, why not avoid torturous expressions like “the conscience part of the common law”, and just use the more straightforward expression, which in this case would be equity? It’s much clearer that way.”

    I just write from how I think of what I want to say. Conscience has a different meaning than equity and as I am not a lawyer but just looked for the appropriate law for getting the Crown to tell the government to act on climate change.

    So I looked for law obliging the Crown to act morally no matter the King’s or Queen’s wants, and even if subjects/citizens keep voting for governments with immoral policies. So then like in A Man For All Seasons I found the Crown has to be moral because in the constitutional structure of parliament the next most high office after the Crown is the Lord High Chancellor, Keeper of the King or Queen’s Conscience.

    So then I complained to Her Excellency Quentin Bryce when she was was Governor General that after the Australia Act we never got our own Lord High Chancellor, Keeper of the King’s or Queen’s Conscience here in the senate; before the Australia Act Australians had recourse to the English Privy Council and the Lord High Chancellor there. But just as the Australia Act was improper – not only for not giving us our own Lord High Chancellor but also for sneakily changing the constitution without a general referendum – the staff of the Governor General were improper and refused to draw Quentin Bryce’s attention to my complaint about our lack of a Lord High Chancellor to ensure all the laws given royal assent are of good conscience, even though when I complained to the Queen about Julia Gillard improperly replacing Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister not through a vote in parliament but by Bill Shorten doing the numbers on his mobile in a restaurant, the Queen said she was a constitutional monarch and so would forward my 28 odd page letter to the Governor General to read, so Quentin Bryce would already have been acquainted with my concerns that parliament was acting as a loose cannon as the Queen had instructed her to read my 28 page letter.

    So you can see this is why I always emphasis the conscience aspect over the equity aspect.

    I suppose I could utilise the equity aspect also in an argument about inter-generational equity and the Crown’s fiduciary obligations to ensure that laws provide for future as well as present day Australians, or as the old laws write it, the heirs of our Commonwealth.

  62. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2015 at 12:09 | #62

    @ZM
    Ah, I see.

    I’d like to give you some friendly advice: Don’t invest too much more of yourself in this project. Quixotic bush-lawyer crusades are not healthy for people. It can take over your life, and not in a good way. I’ve seen many examples of it over the years. It usually starts with a real grievance of some kind, but not necessarily a legal one. But then it starts to go wrong when the person involved, who is not a lawyer, becomes convinced that they have some killer legal principle or argument that everyone else (including all the lawyers) is wrong about. When the arguments are politely rejected, the person can become angry and frustrated, and dig their heels in. People can become obsessed. They can become bitter. Further rejections of their petitions and arguments can cause them to become paranoid. They may end up as vexatious litigants. It can destroy their relationships. People can even go mad. I have seen this.

    So my advice is: Let it go. By all means advocate for decent climate change policy, but find an effective way to do it. Talk to some real lawyers about building legal arguments that are likely to work. Do some political campaigning. But believe me, the bush-lawyer crusade is a road to hell.

  63. Megan
    June 11th, 2015 at 12:16 | #63

    @Ikonoclast

    I put a reply on Mackinder over in the sandpit.

  64. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 12:44 | #64

    “Quixotic bush-lawyer crusades are not healthy for people.”

    It is more of an urban planning student endeavor actually, as one of the objectives of planning in Victoria since 1987 is that development be sustainable, it seems to me this objective has not been met 🙂

  65. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2015 at 13:09 | #65

    @ZM
    Nobody ever calls their bush-lawyer crusade a bush-lawyer crusade.

  66. Collin Street
    June 11th, 2015 at 13:32 | #66

    It is more of an urban planning student endeavor actually, as one of the objectives of planning in Victoria since 1987 is that development be sustainable, it seems to me this objective has not been met 🙂

    Appropriate tribunals have determined that it is in fact “sustainable”. Whether something is or is not sustainable is what’s called a “question of fact” — relates to what actually happens in the real world, not the legal consequences of some specific reality — and the answers to questions-of-fact are not appealable.

    [mistakes that judges &c make are appealed based not on the fact/”fact” of the mistake but on errors in the process that lead to the mistaken conclusion: bias, improperly excluded or included evidence, &c. Sometimes a conclusion is so absurd that it in-and-of-itself provides evidence that there was a procedural error and you don’t need to say exactly what that procedural error was, but that’s subtly different and doesn’t apply here.]

    Your problem is essentially not one you can solve through legal processes. Fortunately! there are processes other than court processes we can use to affect administrative decisions: I urge you to investigate them.

  67. jungney
    June 11th, 2015 at 13:45 | #67

    Here’s a useful review article on how Hayek doesn’t think that liberalism needs democracy and generally how, if a choice is to be made, then authoritarian liberalism is preferable to democracy. Pretty much where we are at the moment.

  68. Julie Thomas
    June 11th, 2015 at 14:17 | #68
  69. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 14:41 | #69

    Tim Macknay :
    @ZM
    Nobody ever calls their bush-lawyer crusade a bush-lawyer crusade.

    I just outlined to you my search through the materials. I have read about planning law for a required subject but I hadn’t learned about other law so I just had to try to find what I was looking for as I outlined to you.

    But last year I found the proper law.

    Here is a Cambridge University Press book by an Oregone legal scholar about it

    http://www.cambridge.org/au/academic/subjects/law/environmental-law/natures-trust-environmental-law-new-ecological-age?format=HB

    Here is the American group trying to get standing for atmospheric trust legislation

    http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org

    They are trying to expand and have international chapters

  70. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 14:52 | #70

    Collin Street I have never heard of the Supreme Court ruling that planning in Victoria has been sustainable from 1987 to now. What case are you thinking of?

    Tim Macknay I have a comment in moderation due to too many links with a book by a U.S. environmental law scholar about the law and climate change and also a website of an organization trying to use the law for atmospheric trust litigation – they have lawyers working for them

    The first paper about the law and climate change in the UK legal system we inherit came out last year as I said

  71. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2015 at 15:59 | #71

    @ZM
    I’m guessing the book is By Mary Christina Wood. I strongly sympathise with her frustration at the failures of the existing environmental law apparatus to adequately protect the environment, although I think her diagnosis is flawed – the problem is political, rather than legal, in my view (agency capture is a real problem, but I don’t think it can be remedied, or at least not much, by litigation). Her concept of expanding the public trust doctrine is certainly an interesting one, although it hasn’t met with much success to date.

  72. Donald Oats
    June 11th, 2015 at 16:57 | #72

    @J-D
    I just mean that it is compatible with the prevailing LNP neo-conservative philosophy of life, which is an authoritarian approach to monitor and control the plebs, but a free market approach when it is in their specific interests.

    The ALP, on the other hand, once had a very worker-oriented view of the world, trade unions and all that, which isn’t so aligned with authoritarianism when it comes to citizens, but did expect regulation of business to prevent bad behaviour. The ALP emphasis used to be considerably different to the Liberal party, or the LNP coalitions that typically form government.

    You are right to say it isn’t an excuse.

  73. ZM
    June 11th, 2015 at 16:58 | #73

    I think the public trust doctrine aspect is useful along with other things, like divestment, John Hewson’s fiduciary obligations ngo, demonstrations, and town hall meetings like former sustainability commissioner Kate Auty organized in her shire. I agree the public trust doctrine should not be seen as able to get governments to act by itself, and even in legal cases would be better used in its interaction with statutory laws and native title.

  74. June 11th, 2015 at 20:05 | #74

    buckminster fuller’s dymaxion map (q.v. wikipedia) can be presented so as to reveal a world comprised of “an almost contiguous land mass comprising all of Earth’s continents – not groups of continents divided by oceans.”

    alternatively, it can be presented so as to reveal a “world dominated by connected oceans surrounded by land”.

    so the world is apparently simultaneously one large land mass and one large ocean

    the most famous contemporaneous counterfoil to mackinder is of course a. t. mahon. -a.v.

  75. Megan
    June 11th, 2015 at 20:46 | #75

    @alfred venison

    Wouldn’t they (i.e. land and sea) be two sides of the same coin in a sense?

    I’m no expert, but if Mahan was a big fan of control of the seaways surely the point of that is to have some power or control over what happens on land somewhere?

    And I took Mackinder’s broad point to be that a “solid” piece of land with lots of resources etc.. could be a self-contained ‘fortress’.

    I could see how they could end up in a perpetual standoff theoretically. Sort of unstoppable force meets immoveable object.

  76. Megan
    June 12th, 2015 at 00:08 | #76

    Just in case anyone hasn’t heard about it yet:

    Wikileaks has a new TPP release

    Today, Wednesday 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), along with each country’s negotiating position. The Healthcare Annex seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.

    Expert policy analysis, published by WikiLeaks today, shows that the Annex appears to be designed to cripple New Zealand’s strong public healthcare programme and to inhibit the adoption of similar programmes in developing countries. The Annex will also tie the hands of the US Congress in its ability to pursue reforms of the Medicare programme.

    The ALP/LNP duopoly is on the verge of giving away your right to universal health care.

    We can stop this from happening if partisans will become non-partisans.

  77. June 12th, 2015 at 01:52 | #77

    Joe Hockey is Australia’s Marie-Antoinette on Housing and Employment

    Joe Hockey reminds me of Marie-Antoinette, a foreign princess who didn’t want to try to understand the problems of the people and her husband. People look back and say, “How could she be so silly? Couldn’t she see that the people were angry and desperate?” But, you know, she had other priorities.

    He declared that “If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable”. The fact that wages are not keeping up with house prices is being ignored by this buffoon, and shows just how callous and out of touch our arrogant politicians really are!

  78. JKUU
    June 12th, 2015 at 03:26 | #78

    @alfred venison

    so the world is apparently simultaneously one large land mass and one large ocean

    — as it was in the Late Paleozoic – Early Mesozoic in the days of Pangea.

  79. Collin Street
    June 12th, 2015 at 07:04 | #79

    ZM :
    Collin Street I have never heard of the Supreme Court ruling that planning in Victoria has been sustainable from 1987 to now. What case are you thinking of?

    The thing about being in error is that you will believe things that will make perfect sense to you, that seem inescapable, and they will not be true.

  80. Collin Street
    June 12th, 2015 at 07:08 | #80

    WRT Joe Hockey:
    + he thinks about what he says very carefully
    + he’s not actually very smart at all.

    So as opposed to the rest of them that just say the same old stupid things over and over, Joe comes up with new and different stupid things. It makes him look like he’s stupider than the rest of them, but he’s not: they’re all pretty thick, it’s just that Hockey makes better use of the brains he does have.

  81. J-D
    June 12th, 2015 at 07:45 | #81

    @ZM

    Exploring the website of that American group, I found they’d posted the following court judgement:
    http://ourchildrenstrust.org/sites/default/files/15.05.11.OregonCircuitCtOpinion.pdf

    In that case the court decided that the common law public trust doctrine does not create a general responsibility to look after natural resources, but only a specific requirement that the government not permanently give them away or sell them off; it also decided that the doctrine does not apply to natural resources in general but only to ‘submerged and submersible lands’ under ‘navigable waters’ (in other words, things like lakebeds and riverbeds).

  82. Troy Prideaux
    June 12th, 2015 at 09:27 | #82

    Good article in today’s Age from Waleed Aly about negative gearing and the subtle rumblings of the political techtonic plates that could be happening beneath us.

    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/house-prices-is-the-ground-beginning-to-shift-at-last-20150611-ghla0f

  83. ZM
    June 12th, 2015 at 12:49 | #83

    Collin Street,

    “The thing about being in error is that you will believe things that will make perfect sense to you, that seem inescapable, and they will not be true.”

    What am in in error about?

    I definitely have not heard of a ruling in the Supreme Court that development in Victoria has been sustainable since 1987.

    It is generally accepted that development has not been sustainable. I asked a guess lecturer designer last year and he said he thought development was not sustainable and could not be sustainable. But at uni there are designers who specialise in more sustainable designing, so hopefully he was wrong.

    We’re you thinking about a particular case?

  84. Ken Fabian
    June 12th, 2015 at 13:59 | #84

    Could the ‘sustainable’ referred to be the capacity to keep on growing at the previous rate, rather than referring to being ecologically/environmentally sustainable?

  85. ZM
    June 12th, 2015 at 14:25 | #85

    No it does not refer to economic sustainability, and that the term sustainable relates to the environment was recognized by the government previously since they released a discussion paper on sustainable development around 2003 which is at the uni library and I used for an assignment once.

  86. Megan
    June 14th, 2015 at 11:23 | #86

    Images, journalism and presentation on our new lowest act (paying crew to take refugees on Australian provided fake fishing boats away – ultimately they were shipwrecked, so much for our political duopoly’s crocodile tears). Our corrupt establishment media have been desperately trying to downplay this news for a week but are slowly being shamed into action.

    Look at these people’s faces, women and kids. Look at the way the Indonesians treat them. We are monsters, and the world is paying attention.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150613/world/australia-paid-boats-to-turn-back-indonesia.572306

  87. Megan
    June 14th, 2015 at 19:52 | #87

    Peter Dutton had the hide to show up at a “Refugee Welcome” event in Brisbane today.

    A man threw shoes at him in protest against our inhumane treatment and demonizing of refugees.

    Although the story was reported online, I watched channel 7 news and the temple of lies (ABC TV news) and it wasn’t mentioned.

    Corrupt ALP/LNP duopoly and establishment media still trying to bury the refugees.

  88. Ikonoclast
    June 14th, 2015 at 23:25 | #88

    @Megan

    Yes, it is starting to look very bad. Abbott and Co. are insanely inept and dangerous. I am getting genuinely afraid of their rank madness and where it could lead us. They have to be tossed out next election or we are in all sorts of very serious trouble politically, economically and diplomatically. Our freedoms will be gone and our standing (and safety) in the world seriously jeopardised.

  89. Megan
    June 15th, 2015 at 00:44 | #89

    @Ikonoclast

    And if “we” just elect the equally insanely inept and dangerous ALP simply because they are the non-LNP we are certainly doomed.

    The ALP has backed all the worst of this lot’s removals of our few freedoms. They are WORSE than the LNP simply because they are better liars.

    In a weird sense we would be better off sticking with Abbott’s insane clown posse because to vote in the ALP by default would be to prolong denial.

  90. Megan
    June 15th, 2015 at 00:56 | #90

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m never voting LNP.

    But, on the other hand, if I had the last vote in the election and it was down to my vote to give Australia an ALP government – I wouldn’t do it. No way. These scum have put all of these refugees in misery AND allowed Abbott’s mob to get away with the previously unthinkable.

    If my “non-ALP” vote meant Australia had another LNP term that would be the ALP’s fault (and all their idiotic supporters), not mine.

  91. Megan
    June 15th, 2015 at 01:13 | #91

    PS: When the shoe thrower made his political protest against Peter Dutton, our Queensland acting premier Jackie Trad was standing right next to Dutton and was quick to defend and praise him.

    ALP scum.

  92. Collin Street
    June 15th, 2015 at 07:03 | #92

    Abbott and Co. are insanely inept and dangerous. I am getting genuinely afraid of their rank madness and where it could lead us.

    There are mechanisms for dealing with people with mental-health or cognitive problems that make them present a danger to others.

  93. Ikonoclast
    June 15th, 2015 at 08:12 | #93

    @Collin Street

    Well, I was guilty of some rhetorical exaggeration. Abbot & Co. are not certifiably clinically insane but they are certainly politically crazy and a clear and present danger to Australia’s freedoms, good governance, economy and national security.

    The more they follow these terrible policies, the more freedoms, checks and balances we lose domestically, the more the rule of law is put at risk, the more our economy nose-dives and the more they make enemies of Australia abroad.

    Megan is right that the ALP are also just as bad now or nearly as bad now: people will differ on the final nuance.

    The deeper question we have to ask is why has Western politics become so reactionary in the last couple of decades. Why are we proceeding down the path to fascism? I see this development as strongly linked to late stage corporate-oligarchic capitalism.

  94. ZM
    June 15th, 2015 at 09:34 | #94

    “But, on the other hand, if I had the last vote in the election and it was down to my vote to give Australia an ALP government – I wouldn’t do it. No way. These scum have put all of these refugees in misery AND allowed Abbott’s mob to get away with the previously unthinkable.”

    The local branch of Rural Australians for Refugees group met with our Federal MP, and she let us know if you are a member of a group that is not a political party you are able to make submissions to the ALP about its national platform if you identify as a stakeholder in the ALP. So we made a submission with regards to policy on refugees and asylum seekers.

    This process is a good opportunity to suggest policy about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, or other policy issues. If you are not in a group and want to make a submission you would need to be an ALP member. I am not sure if the LNP have a similar process for stakeholders to make submissions about policy.

  95. Collin Street
    June 15th, 2015 at 10:53 | #95

    > Abbot & Co. are not certifiably clinically insane

    I think it’s fairly clear that Chris Pyne at least has genuine medical problems, which casts a clock-striking-thirteen shadow on the rest of them in that they think Chris Pyne is fit for the big time.

  96. Ikonoclast
    June 15th, 2015 at 10:59 | #96

    @Collin Street

    I meant to the best of my admittedly non-medical perspective and knowledge. I could be wrong you know.

  97. Tim Macknay
    June 15th, 2015 at 11:23 | #97

    @Collin Street
    @Ikonoclast

    Questioning their sanity assumes that they are human beings in the normal sense of the word. We could be wrong about that – have you ever heard of the theories of David Icke? 😉

  98. Collin Street
    June 15th, 2015 at 11:48 | #98

    I have no medical perspective, but Chris Pyne acts exactly like a number of people I’ve known with mild — mild by medical standards — cognitive problems.

  99. J-D
    June 15th, 2015 at 18:38 | #99

    @Megan

    I am intrigued by the statement ‘The ALP … are WORSE than the LNP simply because they are better liars.’

    What lies behind that proposition? Is there any way of testing its validity?

    My starting point would be to consider what it would mean to be a ‘better’ liar. Generally speaking, the purpose of telling lies is to deceive people, and so the most effective liars are those who are best at deceiving people. Is that what’s meant by saying that Labor is better at lying than the Coalition, that they deceive people more than the Coalition? But is that true? Is there any way we could measure that.

    Perhaps we could look at how many people vote for Laborand how many for the Coalition. One problem with that would be deciding whether we were going to look only at the most recent election, or at the last ten years, or at the last fifty, or what? And then, would we look only at primary votes, or at preferences as well? Still, I feel reasonably confident that any reasonable measure of that kind would show either that roughly as many people vote for one as for the other or else that somewhat larger numbers vote for the Coalition. So if we used that measure it wouldn’t support Megan’s proposition.

    However, there’s another problem with measuring that way. Even if more people vote for the Coalition than vote for Labor, that doesn’t prove they’ve been deceived. Maybe people who vote for the Coalition know exactly what they’re getting. Maybe by voting for the Coalition they’re getting what they want, or at least what they expect, and are not being deceived.

    But then exactly the same things might be true of of people who vote Labor. Maybe they know what they’re doing and haven’t been deceived. Maybe what Labor delivers is what Labor voters want, or at least what they expect.

    My hunch is that on both sides there are some people who vote the way they do on the basis of realistic expectations and some who have been taken in. But are the proportions the same on each side, or different? How could we tell?

    Now, suppose you were a person who thought you knew what to expect from the Coalition, didn’t like it, and so never voted for them. But suppose at one time you had voted Labor, but now found that Labor had not lived up to your expectations (or at least so it seemed to you). You might feel that you had been deceived by Labor when you had never been deceived by the Coalition. On that basis you might decide that Labor is in general more effective at deceiving people than the Coalition is. But that would be faulty reasoning.

  100. Megan
    June 15th, 2015 at 19:46 | #100

    @J-D

    To broadly generalise:

    The LNP is openly fascist and gets votes.

    The ALP is fascist, but pretends it isn’t, and gets votes.

    The ALP gets more of its votes through misrepresentation and deception than the LNP does.

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