Aside from the painful chest beating, politicians artificially inflating their accomplishments and the vacuous uncritical coverage in the local media, what really annoys me are the sudden spending promises. Every election year there is a sudden change in the economic narrative that enables economic largesse and pork barrelling as both the Liberals and ALP compete to see who can promise more money. It would be less galling if you felt money was being splashed around where it was most needed, but we know it is being promised strategically in the way parties think will earn them the most votes.
If you’re still upset about Triple J’s decision to move its Hottest 100 Countdown by a day, get over it. That was announced last year so surely it is time to stop living in the past, right?
Alright I make that comment a little facetiously, as I don’t think we get to decide what others find upsetting or that there is really a timeline on how long something can be upsetting for. But if you have asked Indigenous Australians to get over their opposition to a national day of celebration on the 26th of January, then perhaps you’ll appreciate the irony.
Judging from social media, there are plenty of people out there who haven’t just gotten over Triple J’s decision (it turns out getting over things isn’t actually so easy when you’re the one who has to do it), so it is little wonder that a number of radio stations and the Australian Conservatives are all having their alternative (cheap knock off) music countdowns on Australia Day.
The Tasmanian election hasn’t even been called, but the campaigns sure have begun. The Labor Party’s announcement that if elected, it would implement much needed poker machine reform started the de facto election race without any need for a formal starting gun. Perhaps aware that for many people, their policy is highly unpalatable, the Liberal Government seems content to let their donors/shareholders in the gambling industry prosecute much of the attacks on Labor’s policy.
Instead, the pre-campaign campaign (that’s not a typo) from the Liberals focuses a lot of their messaging around Tasmania’s economic upturn. A radio advertisement I heard recently asked me to compare the record of the Hodgman Liberal Government to that of the previous Labor Government.
So in the past week I have seen and heard a number of stories in both print and radio media exclaiming with some shock about the amount of money spent on social welfare. Comparing Treasury data on the cost of government welfare with employment data, it is possible to make unsophisticated assertions about how many hours a week the average Australian worker is working to pay for it. And from this we get the deliberately evocative headlines and sound bites that the average Australian worker works three hours to pay for social welfare programs.
Now admittedly some of the assumptions of this process are highly open to interpretation, but I'm going to be generous and treat the claim as largely accurate; as even if this is the case there are several points that need to bee considered in this context.
The producers at Triple J must have known they were going to get some serious heat for their decision to move their Hottest 100 Countdown to the day after Australia Day. The easier choice would have been to shirk the issue for a few more years until public support was absolutely overwhelming, but they made the tougher and better choice. Kudos to all involved.
And cue the outrage. The aggrieved commentary came from all angles including Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield (I'll come back to him later) and any number of critics, many of whom may not have actually cared much about the Hottest 100, and probably didn’t listen to it, up until now.
It takes a fair effort for David ‘Hypocrisy’ Leyonhjelm to find a human being more repugnant than he, but he hit the motherlode when he found Milo Yiannopoulos lurking in some dark corner of the internet. I thought we might have seen the end of Milo as an alt-right posterboy after his paedophilia scandal, but I underestimated (for want of a better word) the alt-right. These extremists will pretty much ignore anything when it suits them, including child abuse, as we are seeing with the case of Roy Moore.
So I guess in hindsight it is no real surprise to see Milo creeping back into the public spotlight. And the fit with Leyonhjelm is obvious. A self-titled provocateur and a self-styled champion of freedom of speech. So you can be sure what they have to say is going to be both revolting and disingenuous.
To say that the situation in Manus Island is awful is a massive understatement. Despite this a large portion of the population seem distressingly okay with it.
I realise that the issue of border security and refugees attempting to get to this country by sea is a complex one; and I suspect that this- along with some particularly vicious exploitation for political purposes- is a complicating factor in why many people don’t get as upset as I might expect over the treatment of these refugees.
But to me, it comes down to a pretty simple question. Does anyone really think the unfortunate refugees on Manus Island deserve this kind of abuse?
The refugees are yet to be charged with a crime because they haven’t committed one. And yet they have languished in a prison camps for four and half years and provided with little medical or psychological treatment (a few have even died for lack of such treatment).
Well that is a huge relief. With the postal survey confirming a vast majority of Australians believe in fairness and equality, social media has erupted with joy. For members of the LGBTIQ community especially, the prospect of the anti-equality campaign winning must have been an awful thing to contemplate, so I get the emotion around the occasion, but for me the main feeling is one of relief and having cleared the first possible stumbling block.
Bit of a dad joke I know, but it sums up the situation quite well.
There is certainly good reason for many of us to cheer The High Court’s decision yesterday that determined five of our national parliamentarians were invalidly elected.
To the lay-person it seemed hard to believe that a legal defence of not knowing the relevant laws would stand up well- when is it effective in any other area of law, after all- yet I still wondered if they would find a way to weasel out of facing consequences.
Aside from this, many people will also cheer this verdict as what they see as a rightly deserved smackdown for the government’s self-righteous hubris and hypocrisy when this scandal originally broke. You will probably recall the gleeful enthusiasm with which Turnbull and other Coalition MPs- along with their media cheerleaders- ripped into the Greens for breaching the Constitution, before suddenly going very quiet on the topic once the focus turned to their own party.
Can something be hard to believe yet predictable at the same time?
Because that was my initial reaction to the Turnbull government’s decision this week to abandon the Clean Energy Target, recommended by its own chief scientist and supported by both the Prime Minister and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg.
It is hard to believe that a government, supposedly governing in the interest of the electorate could make such a decision, but it is also predictable because this government has repeatedly shown itself to be beholden to both its own extremist right wing faction, and the puppeteers in the coal industry who pull their strings.
I've written a number of times about my experiences with injury and the recovery process. However, aside from actual race reports and reviewing hikes I have done, I’ve written much less about my experiences since fully recovering.
The thing about setbacks is they certainly do put you back in certain aspects of your life but they can often have the effect of sharpening your focus and desire to achieve certain goals. Remembering the advertisers’ favourite caveat that individual results may vary, I thought I would share a little more of my experiences to illustrate this.
"Don't politicise sport," has been the catch cry of conservatives this week when they finally figured out who Macklemore is and that one of his most popular songs was unashamedly written to support marriage equality five years ago. I can see how that slogan is kind of catchy, even if that horse bolted years ago (remember when we refused to play sport with Apartheid South Africa). Still, I get the appeal and I can even sympathise, as I often object to situations being exploited for political gain.
I feel the request rings a little hollow coming from creeps like Abbott, Dutton, Hanson and Morrison though. If we are going to talk about things that shouldn’t be politicised, here are a few other examples they might consider:
I have been a little slack about updating this site in the last few weeks, as life sometimes gets a little busy. That certainly hasn’t stopped or slowed the pace of events that draw our attention. Having been asked why I hadn’t made any comment on a few of these issues, my only answer was that I had got a bit busy. Not wanting to let a lot of it go without any comment at all, I thought I would wrap a few of these issues from the last week into a single post.
Firstly, I had no problem with the photo of Turnbull at the footy with a beer. As anyone that reads this site often would be aware, I’m not shy about criticising our PM. I actually think he is doing an absolutely dreadful job and the only good thing I can say about him is that he is not Tony Abbott or Peter Dutton. But if I criticise every action he makes, regardless of whether it is justified, just because I don’t like him; my criticism loses credibility and just becomes white noise. I made the same comment about recent criticism of the HCC.
Not since Crowded House have I seen this much fuss over chocolate cake.
For anyone that has been lucky enough to miss the hysteria, Woolworth’s decision to decorate some of their cakes with the phrase, “Happy Special Person’s Day,” prompted an angry online response from one shopper, which garnered supportive overblown outrage from all the usual sources.
Now you might well be thinking, “Checkmate, Quietblog,” after I said three days ago the stories about a push to rename Father’s Day were massively overblown. Or you could have done a bit of research instead, in which case you probably wouldn’t.
I don’t get all of my news from what you might call quality sources. I also flick through the trash news sites such as Newscorp websites to get an idea of what sort of news is being reported that I wouldn’t otherwise read about and how conservative commentators are lying to my friends. This is where I come across the push to ban Fathers Day that I wrote about on Saturday.
Another headline that I saw spawning a number of follow up articles was about a video going viral showing an aggressive racist copping a beating from another woman. Now I take the words, ‘going viral,’ with a grain of salt. After ‘patriot’ and ‘Australian values’ it is probably one of the most frequently abused terms of the recent years.
If didn’t occasionally check in with The Mercury to see what Rupert Murdoch wants Tasmanians to worry about, I would never have realised how powerful Hobart City Council reportedly is. It turns out they have the unilateral power to ruin Christmas. Wow.
The HCC rightly cop a fair bit of flak for many reasons (such as the infamous Christmas tree installation in Salamanca). But for all their flaws, they are obviously doing better than the suspended Glenorchy and Huon Valley Councils. It is also a hard argument to make that they have handled any matter as shambolically as Kingborough Council’s handling of the proposal for the Kingston Beach Surf Lifesaving Club redevelopment.
I know I am setting a pretty low bar at this point and I’m certainly not suggesting that this is a valid performance standard to judge councils by. I’m more drawing attention to the backlash every decision of the HCC receives. Not only are they roasted on social media, they also receive such negative headlines, you might think they were a Labor government. Now don’t get me wrong. Their handling of some matters has been decidedly poor, but when we complain vociferously about every decision they make, public criticism becomes white noise instead of effective feedback.
Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there (especially mine) and all those who trying to be awesome dads. I’m not really one for making a big deal about special occasions, but I like anything that reminds us to show appreciation for people we care about.
In recent weeks, I have seen a number of articles about a supposed ‘push’ to rename Father’s Day to be more sensitive to those who are excluded from the day. Like most people, I reacted to this pretty dismissively and ignored it the first few times I saw it mentioned. But the headline was obviously good clickbait for the outraged responses it elicited, as commercial news websites continued to run stories around it and even online polls.
Particularly after we have lived through the dishonesty and Orwellian double-speak of the Abbott-Turnbull governments, it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming all politicians lie and being largely unaffected by demonstrated examples of this. But that is a mistake. We should expect them to be held to account or we should vote them out at the next election.
“Did you hear about the terrorist who drove a vehicle into a crowd of people?”
“The one in Barcelona? Yeah it was all over the news all weekend. Couldn’t miss it.”
“No, the one in Charlottesville.”
“Oh I heard something about that, but was that terrorism?”
“Let’s see. A guy used lethal violence against civilians he perceived as political enemies. That fits most definitions of terrorism.”
“Why isn’t it being talked about the same way as London or Barcelona?”
“Do I even need to answer that?”
“Sadly, you don’t.”
From this side of the Pacific, Trump’s inadequacy seems incredibly self-evident and when they are not worrying about the spectre of nuclear war, many Australians laugh condescendingly about how any Americans could still vote for Trump. It is hard to overstate the role of Fox News and its even more malignant cousin, Breitbart, in explaining this phenomenon. They push a narrative so far from reality you can scarcely understand how people believe them. But obviously they do.
But before we congratulate ourselves for not making the same mistakes, let’s make sure such praise is deserved.