Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Working Victoria: your taxes at work?

Is it just me or is this another example of governments spending taxes inappropriately on self promotion? It was on TV last night.

Don't know how long the ad has been playing as we don't watch much commercial television.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Balibo: unfinished business

From Cinema Takes: Balibo: Tense East Timor Testament

Robert Connolly’s Balibo is a compelling political thriller. It “is a true story” based on Jill Jolliffe’s book, Cover-Up.

The film raises many questions about the political responsibility for what happened and the need for justice to be done. This is a dark part of both Indonesian and Australian history. It does not attempt any definitive answers.
There have not been any prosecutions despite the 2007 Inquest into the death of Roger East:
The NSW coroner investigating held that "The Balibo Five ... were shot and or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle" in order to silence them from exposing Indonesia's 1975 East Timor invasion.
Balibo Five
Richard Walcoott, then Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, PM Gough Whitlam and his Foreign Minister Bill Morrison have consistently denied complicity, either directly or passively. Controversy has continued about their exact roles as evidence has come to light.

In his research website for the film Dr Clinton Fernandes argues:
The willful killing of the Balibo Five was a war crime. War crimes can be prosecuted wherever they occur and regardless of the nationality of the victims or perpetrators. There is no statute of limitations. This means that the alleged killers of the Balibo Five can be prosecuted in Australia following extradition from Indonesia.
34 years after the murder of the Australian journalists, there is still much unfinished business.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wild Coast Australia

Latest video from our travels.

Scenes from the South-West and West Australian coastline.

Music: Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons - Spring (Wichita State University Chamber Players, John Harrison: violin. ShareAlike 1.0 license)

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Friday, August 14, 2009

NT Labor: Last Chance

Northern Territory politics continue to defy conventional wisdom about what happens to parties that are deeply divided:

The Northern Territory Labor Government is set to retain power after securing the pivotal backing of independent MLA Gerry Wood in a nail-biting no confidence motion in Parliament today.
Deal secures power for NT Labor ABC 14 August 2009
That they haven't been able to rise to the occasion is a reflection of how weak the Country Liberal Party Opposition really is.

A last chance for the ALP to find real solutions to the indigenous agenda facing them.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Melbourne International Film Festival 09 reviews

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2009 has now finished. 25 Film Reviews of the sessions we attended are at: Cinema Takes

Top films: Milk Of Sorrows, Bran Nue Dae, Breathless, Defamation, Mother, Endgame, Zift, Snow, Murch - Walter Murch on Editing

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Andrew Robb's Wanton Waste

Whatever the political party, the waste of taxes by Federal members of parliament on propaganda is a disgrace. Our local member's latest effort is appalling. It's a 16 page glossy called The Robb Report. Andrew Robb is the MHR for Goldstein.

The first section is headed In the BEGINNING. Don't expect any light on political issues, it's Andrew's humble bio.

On the NATIONAL front is not about his coalition colleagues who hog the limelight and get the best headlines. Nor is it an historical piece on far right politics. It's actually about government policies. He would protect our economy from wanton spending such as the Rudd government stimulus package.

Right HERE in GOLDSTEIN is a 4 page list of Federal government funding to local projects such as $395,000 for Brighton Secondary College's facilities program. Andrew seems to be taking some implied credit for these as local member. One might have thought that they were examples of the other side of politics' wantonness that is "building unsustainable debt".

SANDRINGHAM Bowls Club gets 2 pages. Perhaps the link to their website would have sufficed. We do have two local Bayside papers and Council glossies that do this kind of thing much better. Robb fails to mention recent news about the club location which was recently renamed with an indigenous title Tjilatjirrin Reserve during NAIDOC week.

The back page has a plug for his NEW Website. It's a classy number. It seems that the Liberal Party are becoming more web savvy. Let's hope that taxpayers' money wasn't used in its development though the article quoted below seems to indicate otherwise. It isn't easy to find up-to-date information even with a web search. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Member sof the Hosue of Representative entitlements are:

Printing allowance of $100,000 a year for Reps, $16,667 a year for senators for personalised stationery, newsletters, certificates, fridge magnets, postal vote applications and voting information.

Communications allowance to cover postage and costs of creating and maintaining a web site. Worth $27,500 a year for senators and about $40,000 a year for lower house members (50 cents for every enrolled voter in electorate).
Full list of federal MPs entitlements SMH 22 May 2009
It's time to rein in this wanton waste. Let the political parties pay for their own spin. robb's website has an online Survey about "the issues that concern you most". Second on the list is: Making sure the Government spends taxpayers' money wisely
Bannning its use on party promotions or parliamentarian's personal propaganda would be a great start.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

G.ho.st: Building Global Bridges

From Global Voices, a fascinating story of Israeli/Palestinian ingenuity and collaboration:

A new Israeli-Palestinian Internet start-up called G.ho.st is taking on Microsoft and Google in the competition to develop a “cloud computing” operating system that allows people to access all their files and software via the internet.

G.ho.st launched on July 13 and is offering users 15GB of free disk-space as well as various other applications to edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. The system enables a user to manage email, photos, videos, bookmarks and the option via any computer or mobile device that has Internet access. The operating system is currently available in 20 languages, including Hebrew and Arabic.
Israel, Palestine: Free Virtual Computer Conquers Wall by Nicole Hyman
I've had a quick look at this Virtual Computer. Will post after trialling G.ho.st.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Malcolm Turnbull's Ozcar Own Goal

Senator Eric Abez has excused his own and his leader's abysmal lack of judgment over the fake Ozcar email by suggesting that occasionally the opposition bowls a "no ball":

The Opposition does have to go in hard, does have to keep a government accountable and from time to time, given that we're playing the Ashes at the moment, when the Opposition runs in, every now and then they do bowl a no ball and that is unfortunate.
PM calls on Turnbull to resign over OzCar
The World Today ABC 5 August 2009
The better sporting metaphor would have been an own goal as the pair certainly posted a major score for the Rudd government. If Malcolm won't resign, then Eric should fall on his stumps before he runs out his captain.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

MIFF 2009: the politics of protest

There was some irony as Australians for Palestine distributed leaflets outside Yoav Shamir's documentary Defamation (Hahmatsa) last night. Their message, coming after Ken Loach's withdrawal of his film from the Melbourne International Film Festival 2009, was not to boycott the festival but to sign the following statement:

As long as Israel continues its apartheid policies and practices in defiance of international law and ignores US President Obama's call to freeze all settlement expansion in the occupied territories immediately, I strongly protest the normalising of relations with Israel through partnership arrangements.
Defamation is a passionate, personal piece of journalism that is also remarkably balanced. We hear the ideas, concerns and opinions of a wide range of people:
  • Yoav’s 92 year-old zionist grandmother who thinks that overseas Jews are more interested in money than religion;
  • African Americans who believe that there is some truth to the long discredited Protocols of Zion;
  • well-off secular American Jews who believe that Israel is an “insurance policy” against future genocide;
  • the bitter and extremely frank Professor Norman Finkelstein who sees conspiracies by pro-Zionists as the problem;
  • academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt whose book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy argues that "the lobby's impact has been unintentionally harmful to Israel as well";
  • a teacher and students during their Polish excursion.

A full review is at Cinema Takes:
Defamation: in search of anti-semitism

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Progressive Conservatism: Arise Sir Malcolm

One of the goals of the The Progressive Conservatism Project is:

developing bold approaches to tackling poverty and inequality in all its forms: poverty of income, assets, aspiration, and networks.
It seems that Kiwi conservatives know what the new way means. Back to the future:
Eminent New Zealanders have overwhelmingly embraced the chance to reclaim the titles of knight and dame under a change in the country's honours system.

Of the 85 people singled out for distinguished work since the titles were abolished by the former Labour government in 2000, 72 have accepted the honours since they were reinstated by the current National government in March.
New Zealanders reclaim imperial honours
Malcolm Turnbull is a lateral thinker. Maybe he'll look across the Tasman for innovative solutions to the Federal deficit such as selling Imperial Honours.

Phillip Bond, Director of the PC Project, shared his ideas with Geraldine Doogue last week:
And what I want to do is try to create a genuine conservatism, the conservatism of the 1920s and 1930s, that was advocated in the UK by Noel Skelton, who coined the term 'property-owning democracy', and that in itself was influenced by the great liberal catholic thinkers, Chesterton and Bellock. And this notion of a property-owning democracy, creates a genuine third way, not an illusory third way, between a capitalism that dispossesses people for the benefits of a small elite, and state socialism that dispossesses everybody for the benefits of the state.
Phillip Blond: Progressive Conservatism
Time to bring back the limited franchise for elections, just for the property-owners of course.

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