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38 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Damian (quog)

    As a life long leftie (and card carrying member of the Greens (WA)) one wonders how many terms it will take the “left” of Australian Politics to recover from what does seem to be a coming wipeout at the next Federal Election.

    Two terms? Three?

    Apologies in advance to those thinking the lovely Ms Gillard could actually win on Sept 14. I, for one, am going to miss Scott Ludlum’s presence in Senate Estimates.

  2. Jacques de Molay

    Labor’s welfare quarantining continues to win people over:

    The Northern Territory’s rollout of income management was evaluated by an Australian National University research team that included Matthew Gray, who spoke about the findings at yesterday’s Australian Council of Social Service national convention.

    “In terms of impacts, we found that there was very little evidence [of] overall positive impacts,” Gray told the convention.

    “You can’t really find evidence that is consistent with income management having large community wide benefits.”

    Gray’s study found income management didn’t help to improve school attendance, alcohol abuse, or hunger.

    The study also indicated a large number of people were forced onto compulsory income management because of where they lived, rather than because of their capacity to manage their money.

    Speaking alongside Forgione and Gray yesterday was young Aboriginal activist and Year 12 student Amelia Kunoth-Monks (see video).

    Kunoth-Monks comes from Utopia in the Northern Territory. She has been placed on compulsory income management, and said the program was damaging the self-worth of her community.

    “The basic card made us feel less than a dog. I wanted to commit suicide. Because I felt that I was not wanted in this world,” she said.

    “Why were all Aboriginal people put on the basics card? Do the government really think that we were so incapable of not understanding what was happening to us?


  3. Peter Murphy

    A tweet by Mr. Denmore:

    ‘Prominent Australian entertainer, 82, lives in Berkshire,’ say police. They may as well have named him. Just Google it.

  4. tigtog

    Just to cover potential litigation bases, it’s best not to mention his name here either.

  5. jules

    Someone showed me this yesterday:

    The Web, it should be said, is still a marvelous place for public debate. But when it comes to reading and understanding news stories online — like this one, for example — the medium can have a surprisingly potent effect on the message. Comments from some readers, our research shows, can significantly distort what other readers think was reported in the first place.

    But here, it’s not the content of the comments that matters. It’s the tone.

    In a study published online last month in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, we and three colleagues report on an experiment designed to measure what one might call “the nasty effect.”


    Here’s the abstract:

    Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue—namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology. We found that exposure to uncivil blog comments can polarize risk perceptions of nanotechnology along the lines of religiosity and issue support.


    The first thing i thought of when i read this was the current political climate in Australia.

  6. paul burns

    Looking for a DVD series that is utterly mind-blowing to watch over the holiday weekend?
    Try Parade’s End
    Its slow to start but once you get swept up in it its worth it.

  7. tigtog

    jules, there’s a very interesting response to that study written by Bora Zivkovic (Editor of Scientific American’s blogs network): Commenting threads: good, bad, or not at all.

  8. Fran Barlow


    one wonders how many terms it will take the “left” of Australian Politics to recover from what does seem to be a coming wipeout at the next Federal Election.

    If the polls are roughly accurate, large numbers of people have clearly, taken leave of their senses and agreed to join the tribal ignorati and nutbags. I see this as an episodic thing driven centrally by the failure of the ALP in 2007 to argue for an end to Howardism, and aggravated by the embrace of Howardism in NSW & QLD by the ALP in those places. Throw in the ouster of Rudd in 2010, the minority regime and the amplifying effect of the Murdoch-led old media, which raised moral panic and despair to extraordinary heights and you have something like a perfect storm welling around the ALP, which is clearly clueless, not only about how to win the long game, but even the short game. Like its counterpart in the US who let thr Repugs off the hook, Rudd never held Howard to account. Luckily for the Dems, they couldn’t roll Obama but they went awfully close to handing over to the Tea Party.

    Precisely because this is episodic though, I see buyers’ remorse setting in pretty quickly post-Abbott, assuming as I don’t that a Murdoch-Abbott coalition wins. The real question for the left — and I don’t agree one should include the ALP in that — is to recompose ourselves so as to stop covering for the ALP’s apparently undying commitment to the old politics or rightwing accommodation.

    Focusing on developing and holding a coherent left-of-centre constituency might well seem unappealing in the short run, but in the longer term it really is the only hope this country has of building something both measurably better and resilient against longterm subversion by the bosses and their dogsbodies.

    Although I don’t imagine it would come to that, I’d prefer to die without seeing another ALP-led government than to have an ALP as foetid as what we have seen over the last decade at state and federal level. There’s nothing of value in that for progressives.

    If we want progress, we must argue for it and be prepared to pay whatever price that struggle costs.

  9. Helen

    Apologies in advance to those thinking the lovely Ms Gillard could actually win on Sept 14. I, for one, am going to miss Scott Ludlum’s [sic] presence in Senate Estimates.

    I agree entirely with what you say Damien, except that could you possibly bring yourself to refer to the PM in the same way you might refer to Scott Ludlam or any other male pollie? “The lovely ms Gillard”, even with the “ms”, doesn’t really cut it as non sexist language in 2013.

    Unless you refer to Tony Abbott as “the fragrant Mr Abbott”, or similar.

  10. jules

    Just out of interest why are the polls to be believed anyway?

  11. Dianne

    Paul Burns, I am encouraged. How long must I endure before Parade’s End stops irritating me. I have watched about an hour of it and I find it cold and pretentious.

  12. Chris

    Jacques @ 2 – well they were never intended to win over the people they affect (and still aren’t under the ALP). Re: alcohol abuse though I’m curious as to what percentage of income was spent on alcohol before and after income management. Are there ways around the system or was there not the problem in the first place?

    Peter @ 3 – Wow (just googled).

    jules @ 10 – what reasons do you have for believing they are not accurate (outside margin of error which they publish).

  13. paul burns

    Dianne @ 11,
    its 1.08 NSW time. By now you should be really enjoying it.

    Helen @ 9,
    “the fragrant Mr. Abbott” – I agree with you- he smells like shit.

  14. mindy

    Helen I think from here on in any mention of the Opposition leader should have to be “the fragrant Mr Abbott”. I wonder if we could set it up so it happened automatically?

  15. Casey

    So I am watching my first reality tv cooking show ever – My Kitchen Rules aka Multi culti Race Wars 2013. Who is watching this? Anyone? Or am the the only twit rubbernecking in horror? First all the beauty queen bogans from Perth (who funnily enough, don’t look like beauty queens but more like Cindarella’s step-sisters) and the weirdo white dudes (the ones that go to middle ages sword fights and shit) get turfed out – cause, defects. Then the nasty Indian Spice Girls who cook the worst Indian food on the planet get turfed out. Remaining are some girls in pink from Adelaide who make cupcakes and who burst into tears every 2.5 minutes on average. Then the nasty Asian replacements (who cook excellent asian and have the best lipstick ever) go to war with the Southern Italians with big hair (who keep on invoking the spirits of their poor nonnas who must be turning in their graves as they make southern Italian dishes look and taste like rubber) while the remaining normal whites, who can cook, take bets on who will win the race wars. Then there’s some gay ballet dancer from Qld who regularly intones “Bring it on moles”. Meanwhile, Manu’s french accent is getting more and more intelligible, something about ‘more sauce’,something, and Pete Evans looks like he’s on crack for which the code term must surely be ‘activated almonds’. Why am I watching this? Reality tv is the spectacle of humiliation, why? Because apparently, next week the Asians will turn on each other, they are that nasty and I am so hoping that one of them cooks the other and presents it to Manu with ‘more sauce’, that’s why.

  16. Dianne

    Paul @ 13 thanks. I will think of you when enjoyment kicks in. I have done one hour. Two to go. Oh! Is that when it ends. Are you referring to the pleasure of seeing the credits roll? Is that why it is called Parade’s END? I will persevere as I have bought the production. I look forward to enjoying it at some stage but I wonder why directors can’t start entertaining the viewer from the start. I always think of Peter Weir’s fabulous opener to Witness.

  17. Pavlov's Cat

    Then the nasty Asian replacements (who cook excellent asian and have the best lipstick ever) go to war with the Southern Italians with big hair (who keep on invoking the spirits of their poor nonnas who must be turning in their graves as they make southern Italian dishes look and taste like rubber) while the remaining normal whites, who can cook, take bets on who will win the race wars.

    But this is a longstanding Australian tradition. I can remember decades back when friends who were teaching in tough Adelaide northern suburbs high schools would tell tales of a common sight on the oval after school (NB please assume all of the following racial epithets to be in quotation marks): all-out war between the wogs and the slopes, with the skips on the sidelines making bets.

  18. paul burns

    Dianne @ 16,
    I thought the shifts in character in Sylvia from bad to good to pitiful to good to mischievous etc etc were engrossing. It really picks up once Valentine arrives about 3/4 through pt. 1. And Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance is masterful . Its production values and the cinematography is, IMO, first class. I gather from reading the reviews etc that its a show you either love or hate. I’m one of those people who really liked it.
    The book its based on is apparently almost unreadable from all reports. I don’t know, I’ve never ever seen a copy to make up my own mind.

  19. Dianne

    Paul @ 16, thanks again. I really hope I like it now as I have the book too, so far unread.

  20. David Irving (no relation)

    I’ve managed to avoid the charms of “My Kitchen Rules”, Casey. The Lady Friend watches it religiously, she tells me (I think with the same fascinated horror you feel).

    I’m enjoying a CD of 16th C lute music called “Lord Chormley hif Lute Book”, or something. It’s great music to accompany an afternoon of wasted time.

  21. Liz

    I also watch it in fascinated horror. My money is on the Dating Hipsters, just because I love the phrase.

  22. jules

    Chris @ 12.

    Its not that I don’t trust the polls, just that they’re a semi meaningless self referential feedback loop. How many people have really made up their mind how they’re gonna vote?

    Basically, the polls may be accurate but its so hard to separate them from the construction of a narrative. So it is hard for me to trust them.

  23. Casey

    The dating hipsters? The ones who used the pasta from the mum and dad couple and had the boy hipster had a hissy fit and burst into tears when they got through and mum and dad didn’t even though they all used the same pasta? I want the sausage guy from Qld to win, just cause I wonder what he actually puts in those sausages, probably discarded contestants I reckon – there’s more to this show than meats the eye (freudian intended pendants).

  24. Liz

    Yrs, those Dating Hipsters. Wasn’t it fun watching them cope with a moral quandary? Yep, I like the fat sausage fiend and his tattooed lady. But, you missed the really sweet, but stupid Italian boy with the death stare girlfriend. Could not cook at all.

    And I am so looking forward to Asian Girl Meltdown.

  25. Casey

    Well, apparently those cupcakes from Adelaide? One of them’s Italian and they are taking over the race wars with the Asians. Thank God, I mean, you wouldn’t want the skips getting their hands dirty and there are so many Italians on hand, it’s great. Oh yes Stefano, he was the most useless Italian that was ever on TV frankly. Who can’t make polenta? Nong. (Says the remote control queen throwing popcorn at the screen).

  26. David Irving (no relation)

    The Lady Friend reckons we ought to go on My Kitchen Rules, because we’re both quite good cooks. My response is, “You’ve gotta be fucken joking!” (because I suspect being a good cook doesn’t have a lot to do with it).

    Anyway, I don’t think a couple of 60+ people who … err … weigh a bit more than they should would get past the first audition.

    I’ve moved on to Tom Waits, btw.

  27. Casey

    None of that matters David. The important thing is – are you Greek, Italian, or even Serb with a temper? Or are you a reasonable skip with the personality of a cardboard box? If you aren’t a reasonable skip, perhaps you like going to Star Wars conventions? Are you a satanist? Do you have a specialty? Aren’t you from Adelaide – perhaps you are German? wear lederhosen? This is what you need to think about.

  28. Liz

    Please go on MKR, David. If you and the Lady Friend are Anglo, you’ll get to play the role of ‘good bloke’. Someone has to do it. Please. Casey, I can’t make polenta. But, I can make risotto and Stefano couldn’t.

  29. Terangeree

    ‘Twas my brother’s 60th birthday, today.

    The Sweeney is playing on the DVD player tonight, and the boy (age 11½) has decided to enter an international mathematics contest next term.

    Can’t say I’ve ever been even slightly interested in “reality” television.

  30. Lefty E

    Spot on from Richard Dennis: [link]

  31. Damian (quog)

    Apologies to Helen and Julia Gillard, it was not my intention to signify any gender difference. I actually think Gillard has done a “reasonable” job given what she has had to work with both in the ALP and in the wider commentariat.

    I just don’t think anyone in the left (-ish) of politics could pull any rabbits out of any hats before Sept 14. It’s just the thought of Prime Minister Tony Abbott (and potentially deputy PM Barnaby Joyce {is that the Chattanooga choo choo}) scares the willies out of me.

    If we see a left wipe out equivalent of recent-QLD poll proportions, will the reversal be as dramatic as what seems is happening to the Newman govt? Or will it take a generation and need a Whitlam or Hawke to reverse the trend?

  32. Damian (Quog)

    P.S. I’ve never met Julia Gillard, hence the honorific in my first post. Whereas I count Senator Scott Ludlam as a friend.

  33. David Irving (no relation)

    The Lady Friend has some German heritage, Casey (although she doesn’t care for German food). I’m pure anglo (that is, a bastard mix of English, Scottish and French, with a touch of Native American, and waaaay back a smidge of Italian).

    Quite frankly, Liz, I’d rather poke myself in the eye repeatedly, or even put up with Chris Pyne’s company for an hour, than go on MKR.

  34. Fran Barlow

    Damian (quog): said:

    It’s just the thought of Prime Minister Tony Abbott (and potentially deputy PM Barnaby Joyce {is that the Chattanooga choo choo}) scares the willies out of me.

    Hmmm … perhaps your “willies” need to be evacuated … 😉

    More seriously, we on the left should, IMO, be less “scared” of an Abbott/Murdoch leadership than the longterm rinse and repeat cycle of rightwing Labor/Murdoch and rightwing Liberal/Murdoch. One always prefigures the other.

    Abbott/Murdoch rule, if it happens, will almost certainly produce a new iteration of {latest ALP-Murdoch golden boy/girl}/Murdoch rule sooner or later. Murdoch and his clients need weak compliant regimes, which is why we always get them as long as the ‘left’ allows itself to be blackmailed into playing our part in Murdoch’s endless game of thrones.

    We need to change the game and the entire conversation. If we can’t have what is worthy — and let us be candid — absent some serious work on building a disciplined and coherent left, we are mere supplicants to Murdoch because the ALP is permanent lead in the saddlebags — then we should simply shrug our shoulders and make it our business to build the resources we need to resist the attacks of the right on the interests of working people and the marginalised. We ought not to buy into propping up the foetid Murdoch-fellow travellers in the ALP.

    For mine, an ALP regime led by Jason Clare or Andrew Leigh doing Murdoch or his successor’s bidding in 2016 or 2019 is not something I will welcome as blessed relief, still less progress. And as iconically repulsive as watching Murdoch score another tactical victory would be, and Abbott-Murdoch regime in 2013 is ultimately no more than an expression of the ALP’s failure to articulate anything like an inclusive and progressive set of policies — for which failure we on the left must accept at least some responsibility. Most of us have covered for them, apologised for them, invited people to give them preferences they ill-deserved. If we are indeed obliged to look into the eyes of Abbott and Joyce post 15/92013, we ought to see in them at least some of our own work.

  35. paul burns
  36. Terry

    Will there be Labor figures in 2033 calling for a return to the Gillard/Swan years?

  37. j_p_z

    And now for something completely different…


    From July 31 through August 4 2013, at the Melbourne State Theatre courtesy of Arts Centre Melbourne, the visionary theater artist Robert Wilson will be presenting a new revival of his legendary opus “Einstein on the Beach”. Link to ticketing information here:


    Sell the house. Sell the children. Sell the iPad. Go see Einstein.

    Bob is up in years, so this is very likely the last time the thing will ever make it to Australia. The score by Phillip Glass is beautiful, so is the text by Christopher Knowles and the dances by Lucinda Childs, but the actual work itself cannot exist without Bob. For reasons easily understood if you’ve ever seen anything by Bob. There’s nothing else like it.

    Do yourself a favor: Go.

    Will it get some wind for the sailboat.
    And it could get for it is.
    It could get the railroad for these workers.
    It could be Frankie it could be Frankie it could be a balloon.
    It could be very fresh and clean.
    And so then it could be those ways.
    O these are the days my friends and these are the days my friends.

  38. Katz

    Thanks Japerz. I’ll be there.