Monday, June 28, 2010

Gillard: please don't execute your Ricky Ray Rector

It'll be all too tempting for Gillard to extend the farcical suspension of due process for refugees. It's all too easy to viciously kick the least empowered, when the window-licking hordes want to see them viciously kicked.

To any right thinking person, Bill Clinton's integrity was laid bare when he saw through the execution of a cognitively non-functional man on the eve of his presidential election.

Gillard will tell us all we need to know about her worth as a purported leader of the centre left when, any day now, she has to make a call on extending the suspension of processing. Given she's just extended our involvement in the Afghan war, and in the background the UN is trying to gain access to Sri Lanka to investigate possible crimes against humanity, I hold out some hope that she will see that these people, from those clearly dangerous regions, at least deserve to have their claims heard, and heard fairly.

Suspending due process is like suspending the Racial Discrimination Act for the NT intervention; it speaks for itself on all the wrong levels.

This is the great moral challenge of her time. If she fails it, we can stop with all the hoo-har about her gender, her eloquent advocacy, her toughness... all mere warbling in the background if she shows that she has no basic ethical or moral fibre.

Please Ms Gillard, I know you can't deliver me utopia on this unpopular issue, but please don't sell out any further. You will, seriously, end up sitting to the right of the liberal party. And if you do that, people really will start putting Abbott above you in the preferences.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Et Tu Gillard- The Ides of June

In the fuzzy hallway footage, Gillard strolled along with that same measured, slightly ungainly walk, as instantly recognisable as Sting's voice, almost wandering through the door to drive the blade into the back that carried her into power.

Blood is all over the carpet. I've been a politics addict since around the time Hawke had just made PM, I can't recall an act of such cold, political ruthlessness to match this.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a massive case of blinking too hard, too soon. I have no personal love left for Rudd, it started draining away when I heard what an appalling hypocrite he was in the treatment of his advisers and senior public servants. I can't help saying in schadenfreude:

THAT'S WHAT YOU DAMN WELL GET for brutalising your people, effectively ruling any people who have families they care about from your team, anyone over 30, for relying on controlling spin doctors rather than policy experts.

And the love of course was pretty much gone by the time I'd digested the great asylum betrayal. But still...


It didn't take them long to dump him, did it? He may have blinked in the face of Abbott, but he's not the only one, clearly.

And was Julia Gillard really unconnected to all the crappy policy decisions over the past few months or so?

And in her core area, education, we've had, what, hardarse fighting with teachers and principals, a few buildings, a few laptops, some lost in the mail or something? Where's the huge injection of funds needed in poorer schools, where's the genuine revolution in the nature of the teaching profession? Where's the drive to get all kids receiving the analytical and critical skills needed to find their way through the glut of information and garbage they will be swimming in by the time they turn 21?

It'll be nice to point to her on the screen and tell Bear that the top job has at last gone to a woman.

It'll be good to see Gillard head-to-head with Abbott. To date she's tended to eat him for breakfast (but noting Keating used to do exactly the same to bumbling Howard...).

It'll be fascinating to see if the chance is taken to recalibrate any of the policy positions, if (at the most possibly optimistic) the Labor Party starts standing for things again.

It'll be fascinating to see what they do with the mine tax (needs a sensible recalibration to remove it from the issues list), the ETS, refugees (if as Rudd has suggested there is a move to take it to the right, I think I really will walk out and donate my kidney to the Greens- but I trust this won't, CAN'T happen...).

But I have to say, with all this, with all my disappointment in him, it is still tragic to watch a man who was Labor's Caesar, who beat Howard, who gave us the apology, signed Kyoto and at least had a good crack at the ETS, who has worked so hard for the Labor Party, hobble out of his office on his knees, blood streaming from his back, to face probable death in what appears to be a wholesale rejection by everyone around him.

Rudd, you've pissed me off on so many levels. But all the best tomorrow, wherever it, and life, takes you. And you know what, I reckon history, poring back over the sheer size of the financial crisis and the way it would have hobbled your better spending plans, the way we came through that, some of the things you've done or had a go at, history may not end up liking you but I'll wager it will look more kindly on you than the polls do right now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Child Bigotry Double Standard

So Pleb A is standing there at work, chatting to Pleb B. Pleb B pulls out their phone and says:

"Hey Pleb A, I want to show you a pic of me hanging out with my bandmate, here's us with guitars grinning at the camera."

Pleb A looks then pulls away quickly.

"I'm not into black people. Nothing personal, I don't have anything against them, and yours is an ok one I'm sure, but I just don't like them myself, prefer not to see pictures of them."

So the other day a workmate I really get along well with does precisely this, but in respect of a picture of my kids. I don't send these things around every other day, it was in fact the first time in several weeks of working together that I waved such an image in her general direction. (acknowledging that there can be overkill in this department, and that sometimes the kid-waving thing can be insensitive...)

I just don't get the 'thing' about not liking kids. Different to not liking some, particularly badly behaved kids, or even not liking kids in cafes or some other more particular circumstance. This is just the whole 'I don't like kids at all' thing. Even when I was younger, in my 20s, dating and drinking and whatnot, I didn't have, or get, this particular dislike.

Each to their own I guess, and I do have a couple of friends who fit this description but are civil and tolerant. That's a fair enough compromise, we can be mates and not take the matter further.

But I really struggle with the situation where someone treats even a glimpse of a photo as if they're being asked to put fire ants up their nostrils.

Bearing in mind I'm psychotically protective of my kids, and view them as an absolutely indistinguishable part of who I am, it throws up a bit of a barrier to a better friendship.

Friday, June 04, 2010

In defence of the jury system

My jury's still out on its value, but if prosecutors aren't going to exercise some sane discretion in cases like this, thank the traditions of the common law for 12 decent human beings.

Defence exhibit A.

Defence exhibit B.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Brumby's welcome backflip

Victoria's getting an anti-corruption commission. It's about time, and we need to be cautious about getting too excited until the detail is parsed over.

But in the predictable holler of 'backflip' going around, and having earlier had a dig at the Premier's attitude and silly comments about lawyers myself, I think a modicum of credit should be given.

He commissioned a report, it recommended he change policy, and he did. With many years of frustration in the public service behind me, can I say the shame is that this does not happen more often.

Politicians should not be condemned for 'backflipping' in the face of evidence. It is nothing less than proper conduct.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Australia- are we just international hypocrites?

As you'll gather from my previous post, I am in a bit of stroppy contrarian mood when it comes to selective invocation of international law. I don't like whaling, ditto Israel boarding those Gaza-bound vessels. Still, do we have an issue with consistency when we suck down on a few VBs and venture to tell the world what to do, worse, lecture them on international law?

Because we would never act like pirates and send blooded, armed commandos onto a humanitarian vessel that was acting in accord with international law, would we?

If a couple of refugees had freaked out and tried to grab the SAS soldiers' weapons, they would have had no alternative but to fire. This may in fact be true of some of the Israeli commandos. It's like the old self-defence adage about not pulling out a knife unless you are prepared to use it. If it's not absolutely necessary, don't pull it out. Don't attack civilian ships with commandos. It's a gutless abuse of the licence society has given you to train those commandos and have them at your fingertips.

(OK, without changing the heading as published because I know that throws feed readers, I concede on immediate reflection that it's a bit tabloidy! We're more than 'just' such, we aren't the worst global players. Obviously I still have an ongoing dose of the Mr Sh!ts...)