Monday Message Board

It’s time for the regular Monday message board, where you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

25 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. So who’d be a Tahs’ fan? Thank goodness we have those appalling Reds to continue to look down our noses at!

  2. The Federal Liberals’ campaign for voluntary student unionism has received an unexpected boost from the ALP – courtesy of the ALP-controlled Student Representative Council at the Brisbane Campuses of Griffith University.

    This morning I arrived at Nathan Campus to find that NUS anti-VSU campaign posters had been pasted over by SRC posters advertising an “all you can drink� function. (This kind of thing is the only activity of the Griffith SRC these days – it provides no campaigns or advocacy and, since last year, has ceased to provide tangible services.)

    The explanation for this apparent paradox is that the SRC is currently in dispute with the Food Co-operative, a voluntary student and staff self-help project which provides cheap organic food and meals at Nathan Campus. The Food Co-op is the only student-controlled food outlet at Griffith’s Brisbane campuses, and was the only tangible service supported by the SRC until its funds were cut by the SRC in 2004.

    Since then the Co-op has continued to function on the basis of sales and voluntary contributions by its members and supporters. However in mid-March it received a Notice of Eviction, issued by the law firm of former Federal Labor MP Con Sciacca on behalf of the SRC. No reasons for the Notice of Eviction were stated. However the political context is that the AWU faction of the ALP (which has controlled the SRC for four of the past five years) is politically hostile to many of the personnel in the Co-op, and culturally hostile to the Co-op’s ethos.

    The Co-op has begun a campaign to rally support against eviction. Apparently in response to this campaign, furniture and fittings from the Co-op premises have been stolen, trees and shrubs around the Co-op have been vandalised, and anonymous slander sheets have been distributed in bulk around Nathan Campus. It is worth noting that (a) there is no sign that the Co-op premises were broken into or entered by force prior to the furniture and fittings disappearing, and (b) certain SRC office-bearers are the only people, other than Co-op personnel, who have access to keys to the Co-op premises.

    Over the weekend the Co-op posted posters at Nathan explaining these events and the overall dispute with the SRC. This morning, the posters for the SRC’s “all you can drink� event were plastered over all surfaces bearing the Co-op posters. In order to disguise the targeting of the Co-op posters, the SRC posters were plastered over the entire area of the notice boards and bollards, in the process obscuring the NUS posters referred to above, and ordinary students’ share accommodation and For Sale notices. I took appropriate remedial action, and was witnessed doing so by SRC personnel, so I’ll be interested to see what is published about me tomorrow morning.

    There is some doubt about whether the SRC actually has the rights it thinks it does as landlord and/or owner of the Co-op’s floor space, as the University is the ultimate owner of this space. However, a final matter of interest concerns the involvement of Con Sciacca’s law firm.

    The SRC appointed Sciacca’s Lawyers & Consultants as its law firm at the end of 2001. At this time the immediate past President and an incumbent office-bearer of the SRC Executive was Duncan Pegg, who is, like Sciacca, a member of the AWU faction of the ALP. This appointment was not the result of a competitive tendering process, and was never approved by a General Meeting of the SRC, as required by the organisation’s constitution. This appointment was eventually cited by the University as one of several grounds for freezing the SRC’s funds in 2002.

    After a left-wing group wrested control in 2003, the AWU faction regained control of the SRC in 2004, led by Monique Bielanowski as President. By this stage the aforesaid Duncan Pegg was employed at Sciacca’s as an articled clerk. The Bielanowski-led Executive restored Sciacca’s as the SRC’s law firm, again without competitive tendering and again without approval by the AGM.

    It may be relevant here to note that in 2004 Pegg and Bielanowski were electorally enrolled at the same address. As a result of reforms stemming from the Shepherdson Inquiry it is much less probable than it once was that Queensland AWU faction members could be enrolled at the same address without residing at that address.

    Watch this space!

  3. I wonder what will come out of the governments discussion paper on Telstra and the Senate Inquiry, if anything?

    Though in recent times since privatisation is inevitable I believe this to be the only viable solution but the government wont have a bar of it.

  4. Globalizing education.

    For years Australia has been a exporter of tertiary education. Perhaps Australia should also import tertiary education as a way of making use of comparatively cheap education overseas.

    I’m thinking here of medical schools in India. Should Australian citizens be allowed to choose which country they wish to spend their education subsidy dollars? Is there anything wrong with this approach?

  5. Where are house prices going?

    I suspect they have plateau’d and the capital gains seen in recent years will not be seen again for many years to come.

    However, i also don’t believe there will be any widespread decline in South east queensland – however over inflated areas in sydney are a different story.

  6. Perhaps not especially current, but something nagging at me.

    The media made much of John Howard’s talks with the Indonesian PM, lots of “dawn of a new era” yadda yadda… and yet nothing was reported as to whether the Chapell Corby case was discussed (it being held in an Indonesian court and all).

    This bothers me on two counts:

    1) That our PM did not take up this opportunity, despite a public statement that the Australian Government will support Corby 100%; and

    2) the news media didn’t pick up on this at all (at least, not that I saw).

    It seems our Government truly doesn’t care what happens to Australians travelling overseas; nor will the media use their brains enough to connect two issues and ask questions.

  7. This anonymous comment got chewed by the Spaminator, so I’m reposting it

    Perhaps not especially current, but something nagging at me.

    The media made much of John Howard’s talks with the Indonesian PM, lots of “dawn of a new era” yadda yadda… and yet nothing was reported as to whether the Chapell Corby case was discussed (it being held in an Indonesian court and all).

    This bothers me on two counts:

    1) That our PM did not take up this opportunity, despite a public statement that the Australian Government will support Corby 100%; and

    2) the news media didn’t pick up on this at all (at least, not that I saw).

    It seems our Government truly doesn’t care what happens to Australians travelling overseas; nor will the media use their brains enough to connect two issues and ask questions.

  8. Paul Norton – “This morning I arrived at Nathan Campus to find that NUS anti-VSU campaign posters had been pasted over by SRC posters … I took appropriate remedial action”

    If you ripped down their posters (which you imply to have done) you are a complete asshat.

    The posters are put up with newest-first approach. Did they rip up your posters? no, they put theirs over the top of yours, which is acceptable within poster etiquette.

    This etiquette maintains that you can post over anything else (however some people still maintain the ethos of observing a events finish date, and with your general campaign there was none). The only no-no is to remove/destroy someones posters which you imply you have done. I have no strong opinion eitherway on your issue, but i now hope your posters are ripped down in response. … In fact i will be going past several of those boards on my way home tonight …

  9. Some of the media coverage of the Pope is really going too far and is beginning to annoy me, particularly the claim made by some people that John Paul II was the “greatest modern Pope�. The affection shown to him by the rest of the church is also exaggerated. Far from being universally loved, he had plenty of critics in the church for various reasons. Just to remember a few:

    * American Catholics were fiercely angry at his reluctance to address sexual abuse in the Church;
    * Liberals have been frustrated by his refusal to change church positions on moral issues like abortion, divorce, etc;
    * Many in the church were critical of the way he centralised power in the church in his own position, marginalising those who criticised him;
    * His tacit support for Opus Dei and right-wing groups within the church has been criticised;
    * The way he internationalised the church was resented by some Italian Catholics;
    * His reaching out to other religions in ways never seen before was also criticised by some.

    The point is he was far from universally popular in the church. More than this, he can boast few achievements in the church (and its arguable that the church has gone backwards during his reign). In some ways he was more politician than Pope.

  10. MB,
    You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.

  11. Absolutely. I’m just pointing out that he had his fair share of critics, for various reasons, and the reaction on the part of some people is, in my opinion, a bit too far (i.e. calling him the “greatest modern Pope”). As you’ve probably guessed, that’s something I don’t really agree with.

  12. John Q,
    Are you aware that the Productivity Commission has a recommendation before Treasury, to overturn the exemption for international shippers from ACCC guidelines on meeting to discuss broad demand and rates issues. Essentially the large shipping cartels have continually argued that they are meeting together (with exporters also) to gauge forward demand and plan accordingly. A meeting of honest businessmen.

    In the last year the conference lines have raised reefer rates by 25% generally and the big three are playing hardball with exporters at present to sign up for 12months for another 25% increase in rates. In fact all three have presented meat exporters with exactly the same increase of US$820/reefer to the States. Such an exact amount by three major suppliers in any industry, would smack of a collusive price fixing to any casual observer. At the same time the conference lines have notified meat exporters that they will not ship out of Fremantle any longer, which incurs an additional cost penalty of about AUD$2000/reefer to rail to Melb. The question needs to be asked- Is this a preemptive strike, to show Treasury what might happen if they don’t toe the shipper’s line on ACCC exemption in future? Behave yourself Treasury or similar disruption might happen in Melbourne or Sydney?

  13. Two slightly related issues:

    1. The mini controversy over the place in history of the late Pope: The status of “greatest modern Pope” much depends on one’s definition of “modern”. If “modern” refers to post-French Revolution (the usual definition used by historians who, after all, make up these terms anyway) the greatest modern Pope was Pius IX, whose record-making pontificate extended from 1846 to 1847. His claim to fame was as the greatest ANTI-modernist Pope. Not coincidentally, the late Pope beatified Pius IX. The most recent pontificate can be seen as a return to the anti-modernist, irrationalist, atavistic doctrines of Pius IX. It is the media who coin absurdities like “the greatest modern Pope”. John Paul II played the media game cleverly. He was clearly the greatest celebrity Pope. And the media returned the compliment by being rather more intellectually lazy than usual.

    2. I’d like to compliment Gerard Henderson’s assessment of the devisive and destructive role of Dr Evatt during the Split period of ALP history.

    As Henderson suggests, Evatt and the anti-Catholic, secularist and libertarian forces in the ALP in the post WWII era arrogantly believed that the era of religious sentiment had passed in Australia and believed that they could recast the ALP without electoral consequence. At the moment of the Split the broad Left in Australia ceased forever to be the natural party of government. It was a signal moment in Australian history, and Henderson tha done great justice to it.

  14. Ah, yes, Pius IX, perhaps best known for his Syllabus of Errors, issued as appendix to his encyclical Quanta Cura.

    Among the errors that he condemned,

    â–ª “human reason… is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil” (No. 3) “…hence reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at the knowledge of all truths of every kind.” (No. 4)
    â–ª “in the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.,” (No. 77)
    â–ª “Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church” (No. 18).
    â–ª “the Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.” (No. 55)
    â–ª “every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.” (No. 15) and that “it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.” (No. 78)
    â–ª “the Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.” (No. 80)

    That’s what Pius IX thought. Then there is what he did.

    In 1858, in a highly publicized case, a six-year-old Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, was taken from his parents by police of the Papal States. It had been reported that he had been baptized by a Christian servant girl of the family while he was ill because she feared he would die and go to hell otherwise. In this time, Christians could not be raised by Jews, even their own parents. Pius refused calls from numerous heads of state to return the child to his parents.

    Now you could say that Pius IX was a man of his time, the mid 19th century, and that he shouldn’t be judged by modern standards. Which is true. But what is truly disturbing is that John Paul II – remember him, the first Pope of the 21st century ? – should have thought so highly of Pius IX.

    Let’s be clear about this. John Paul II was an utterly appalling reactionary, in the worst traditions of the Polish Catholic Church.

  15. That case – Jewish child removed from his parents – raised quite a few questions even within catholicism at the time. It can’t be covered so briefly, and yes, to get a fuller understanding you do have to look into those debates. It really is a matter of how they agonised over a dilemma that we wouldn’t recognise, just as much as the wrong headed removals in many times and places. The apologia does have to take their viewpoint into account, if only to transfer the blame from the people to the viewpoint. Not to do so is to limit analysis just as much as a simplistic analysis of the “stolen generations” policies.

    That aside, I’d like to bring in some light relief, from this site.

    By the way, has anyone digested my late follow up to the message board a fortnight ago, that I put on the last weekend reflections? I’d be interested to see any comments, either here or on weekend reflections.

  16. “The apologia does have to take their viewpoint into account, if only to transfer the blame from the people to the viewpoint”

    Quite so. As I said, Pius IX was a man of his time. What is disturbing in that in this time, Pope JPII should beatify Pius, and therefore endorse his works.

    You don’t see George W Bush heaping praise on the mid 19th century justifications for slavery that his predecessors of the time dished up.

  17. But, once the blame moves from the man, you can take the qualities of the man into account without external influences distorting the case for or against beatification. Me, I wouldn’t bother with any of that anyway, not being RC, but that is an honest approach. To dislike the result is to assess it from the viewpoint of ramifications – which just isn’t where the theologians connect (though it may be an outward sign etc.).

  18. Katz and Dave, being a huge anti pope advocate appreciate your comments. Found this interview with Professor Judt (Professor of European Studies New York Uni) enlightening as to what this Pope was and was about. Mention him because he makes reference to comments of yours. Also his consideration of John Paul’s background both as a Pole and the particularities of that plus his loss of his mother at an early age and what that may have to do with his involvement in the cult of Mary as well as his attitude to women.

    “It’s not as though he’s become a reactionary old man, you can see this in his early writingsâ€?

    “He regards the Enlightenment, what we think of as the moment of the coming of modern thought, the belief in the rights of man, the beliefs in equality, the belief in democracy as the product of another mistake, the mistake that human kind made in abandoning faith and God two, three hundred years ago in the West. And his task is not to put that mistake to rights. He simply behaves as though it hadn’t happened…That is his relation to modernity.”

    And Judt’s assessment of his view of woman.
    “Some things are as they always are and must always be as they have been. The place of women is one of them For woman to be true to herself at all for him, she has to begin to be true to that which is distinctively womanly about her, which means total opposition to abortion. You cannot choose not to do that thing which is your nature to do. That’s the central thing. With that goes the opposition to contraceptionâ€?
    Luckily I don’t have any religious beliefs or I might be irritated at the fact that if a Protestant there might be some question of me getting into heaven, but if of a non-Christian faith no show, according to this compassionate man. Does anyone know whether not being a catholic I will not get a pleasant surprise when I cross over , in fact I will along with billions have to go to hell for eternity.
    Other than being really angry about what he tried to do to women and homosexuals, amongst many, and horrified at his “mysterium iniquitatis,� as an excuse for paedophiles in the church I am amazed at the claims that he was a Pope who was OK about science. No doubt most are aware of this statement, but worth repeating.
    “He [the pope] He instructed Stephen Hawking along with some other physicists that it was “all right to study the evolution of the universe after the big bang, but we should not inquire into the big bang itself because that was the moment of Creation and therefore the work of God. I was glad then that he did not know the subject of the talk I had just given at the conference – the possibility that space-time was finite but had no boundary, which means that it had no beginning, no moment of Creation.â€?

    Pope supporters have accused Hawkin of daydreaming, I know who I find more credible.

  19. Ros, I wouldn’t worry too much about not getting to heaven if I were you. Presumably the Pope is there. If you get there, you’ll have to spend an eternity, literally, with him bending your ear over abortion and homosexuals and God knows what else.

    That would be Hell, which would be paradoxical, if you think about it, (but no more so than the Church’s attitude to the child molesters in its midst).

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