Victoria might be right about the trifecta of self interest aligned against the ALP but she glosses over the damage the ALP did to itself when it deposed Rudd.
The problem with the analysis which says Labor has delivered good government (which incidentally I agree with) but finds its message lost in a right wing dominated media cycle is underlined by the comment about Julia Gillard’s legitimacy as PM. I suspect that lingering in the back of the mind of a lot of voters is the thought that somehow Gillard should not be PM and I think there is some reason to argue this is really what is corroding support for the ALP in government.
This is not to say that Gillard is a bad PM or that Labor is a bad government because that is simply not the case. The problem is that Gillard deposed a popular leader, Kevin Rudd, because the party she belongs to decided they didn’t like Kevin 07 anymore despite him leading them out of the electoral wilderness. I think the election result in 2010 underlines this, the Libs who had been unceremoniously kicked out less than three years before suddenly found themselves almost in government. No doubt they couldn’t believe their luck, their opponents had deposed of the most popular politician in federal politics in what looked like a midnight coup.
The extent to which this meme circulates in the public sphere is evidenced by statements about Gillard’s honesty and so on. What seems to be really caustic now for Labor is the simply fact that while it is now accepted that Gillard is the ALP leader, she is not a leader of the people in popular terms. Unfortunately for Gillard and Labor, this one single issue is what their opponents can exploit without even trying. It’s not just that Gillard is not popular, critically, Gillard has never been legitimised by a popular vote and more to the point, her election as leader resulted in Labor almost getting dumped less than three years after they trounced Howard and the Liberals.
The handwringing that Labor has gone through with regard to Rudd only fuels the flame of discontent. As far as I can tell Abbott is not particularly popular with the voters either but that is hardly good enough.
What seems to matter here is this. The Australian public decided Howard had gone too far and Kevin 07 was man. So far so good. But then mid term almost, the ALP goes ballistic and gets rid of Kevin despite the fact he was still riding high with the public. What no-one in the ALP seemed to grasp was, that for most of the public, accustomed as we have become to the idea that the PM IS the government, the ALP had deposed of the people’s PM. Kevin might not be a working class hero but his mildly progressive but quietly conservative public persona was lapped up in middle OZ. People like him. The same cannot be said to be true of Gillard.
So with less than 100 days until the next election the ALP machine is in total disarray. Perhaps too late they have realised the extent of their problem. In another time, perhaps Gillard was the leader they should have but even then her popularity would have to be tested and while no-one is suggesting that John Howard was popular, he was at least elected as PM in several elections with a majority. What seems to completely escaped the minds of the ALP brains trust is Gillard was not elected with majority, ipso facto, she and the manner in which she became PM wasn’t popular. Nor has she become popular.
Sadly for Gillard, who I think is potentially the PM we actually need, the ongoing K Rudd saga isn’t just a media beat up. The idea resonates with voters because they still like Kevin and they now don’t like the ALP because it took their Kevin away.
Of course the irony of a so-called party of principle held hostage to popular opinion demonstrates just how far from principles party politics has become, but that’s another issue. What Labor seems not to have grasped is that politics has become much more of a popularity contest and less of a battle of ideas, possibly because the ideas emanating from the left seem to be almost indistinguishable from the ideas of the right. If the electoral landscape changes radically ideas may once again take centre stage, but in 2013, federal politics is going to be shaped by the contest between the boxing monk and former lawyer who got rid of Kevin07. I doubt the bookies have odds for who will win.
My daughter who is a bit of an anime fan alerted me to this…
The concert is real, that is, the audience are really there as are the musicians. The “star” Hatsune Miku is a vocaloid with some distinctly anime characteristics. Wikipedia says a vocaloid is a singing voice synthesizer, someone inputs lyrics and melody, pushes a button and presto! The synthesizer is called Vocaloid by a few corporations like Yamaha and the products are referred to as vocaloids.
The step of taking the vocaloid and animating it was made possible by something called MikuMikuDance…
Now the whole universe of fantasy in real life is a very subjective matter but something about this “development” makes me somewhat uneasy. There’s this angle where a concert is the last bastion of live music. So when the vocaloid concert replaces the lyricist with a animation, not only is the voice not human but the combination of music and performance is contrived by a machine. How can we humanly relate to the vocaloid? All we are left with is our fellow audience members, being in the crowd.
But I think more disturbing is the “god” angle. Could the vocaloid be the forerunner of a constructed God? Could masses of people flock to attend the performance of an unblemished artifice? Listen to the sermon of God? Watch God perform miracles? Religion could make a serious comeback…
Civic was bustling with the usual crowd of public servants queuing their subarus on Northbourne while the chic young crowd pedalled serenely along the broad walkways that surround the Sydney and Melbourne building, themselves a gentle reminder of a different era. Outside April’s caravan sat on some plastic grass while the Moochers continued another tradition. Perhaps what is good remains.
Not so the iconic bookshop that has occupied the heart of Canberra for as long as I can remember. A victim of change, rendered uneconomic by the technological juggernaut of this age it has been transformed into what the chief minister described as a venue were the alternative culture of Canberra survives and prospers (or words to that effect).
Domenic Mico and Jorian Gardner have easily adapted the pokey little bookshop into a tidy little venue with April’s wares complementing the nice little stage and a baby grand piano that occupies the centre of the room. A few books remain and I was struck by how many of those were the large picture variety, particularly well represented was the range of erotica. If pictures are worth thousands of words, then maybe the abundance of pictures makes up for the lack of words in print.
So the pollies came, speeches were given, Jorian presented a tasselled pastie to Ms Gallagher, drinks were drunk and the band played on. As an alternative to Mooseheads or Transit, Smiths is a welcome addition to Canberra’s entertainment scene but as a sign of the declining influence of books in our lives Smiths Alternative punctuates the narrative of these times.
Adele is quick to blame “high wages, high input costs including energy and rental costs’ for the high cost of living in Oz without any mention of the fundamental cost of having a roof over your head.
Adele’s analysis is overly simplistic but dangerously prescient. According to Adele something has to give if we are to compete in the global economy. This sentiment strikes me as very similar to adjustments taking place elsewhere in the name of austerity. Places like Greece and Spain where wages have been attacked by wholesale unemployment and government social services have been severely curtailed. Perhaps this isn’t what Adele has in mind but that begs the question of exactly what is in the mind of those who see Australia as just another place to do business.
Perhaps we can take a leaf out of Campbell Newman’s book of good government and consider what a Abbott led coalition might mean for this country. In Queensland, unemployment is up and wages are down as both government and private sector employers ‘cut costs’.
But the problem here is obvious, someone’s wage, as a cost to business is the only thing that pays for a roof over someone’s head. And house prices since the late 80′s have far outstripped household incomes.Furthermore, and this is by far the biggest threat to the Australian economy, household debt has climbed to almost 100% of GDP in the same period, most of that locked up in house prices.
Australian House Price Index since 1880
House prices and household income
Australian Household debt as percentage of GDP
I’m going to go out on a limb here. The sort of serious structural adjustment required to bring wages and business costs down so that others can compete in the world economy is going to crash the domestic housing market. It’s the bitter pill Tony Abbott is going to administer in the name of global competition. Some people will be able to weather this storm but most of us will see hard times. For what? A better Australia? A fairer Australia or one where the rich can live well and the rest of us have to bow and scrape and be grateful for it…
I read it here but then it happened! Up popped the little ‘friendly’ facebook window with the added option of paying a $1 to send my message…wtf? You have to be fucking kidding me, an sms cost me a few cents, a phone call costs me 25 but a dollar for a facebook message ??? and I have no idea if the message gets read.
Zuckerberg must really think we are just suckers for his drug. No wonder Forbes thinks it is a good idea!
Fortunately there is a simple fix, don’t put facebook on your phone. While it probably won’t make a lot of difference to your privacy in the real world, since the government can tap your mobile device on just about any whim and the telcos collect plenty of data, not to mention what Google, Apple and Microsoft do, at least you will have the small satisfaction of not making Zuckerberg’s business any bigger. And that ladies and gents is the bottom line, Zuckerberg Inc, the pimply college boy who borrowed his ideas from a friend is really all about selling your data to whoever can pay.
A fan of Twitter? The cacophony of inane one liners and official media savvy utterances generated by self made new media experts in the employ of those who can afford such things…well here’s a way of visualising it
As a matter of disclosure, I did get the link from a page that I got in my twitter stream but it’s not that often I dip my toes into that muddy torrent. Frankly I’ve got better things to do. Yet there is a certain skill associated with twitter that seems to go with the media, that is the tendency or capacity to skim the surface of our turbulent times.
“the connective power of our new communications technologies — the flattening effect of the Internet, the democratizing abilities of the web”
but I think those words deserve some examination. Yes I might be connected to Tim O’Reilly via twitter whose tweet prompted me to this site but what of the nature of that connection? Tim wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap, I’m just one of the sparrows dining out on his daily bowl of tweets.
Megan says the internet is flattening something, or making more level the communications game in the name of democracy. I think Megan is taking the piss.Surely democracy is not measured by what we think we know, because someone we have no real world connection with told us so. Rather it must be measured in outcomes, democracy as a process or as Derrida liked to put it, democracy to come.
But rather than a process called democracy, what about the idea that democracy is a mechanism for sharing power? And here I part ways with the libertarian champions of the internet because it seems to me that information sharing is in danger of becoming a smokescreen for the activities of those who profit hugely from the status quo. Consider just what passes for the “information” we so eagerly share, Facebook to take just one example. The only world changing feature of Facebook is how it created billionaires like Zucks, and in the final analysis, do we need more billionaires?
Here’s a question, if you have read this far, why is it that almost everywhere we care to look, so-called democratic governments are busy installing surveillance and security measures on the internet, trying to control this so-called democratic technology? In the mean time alternative information sources to the internet are rapidly dying either by capital starvation or declining use. If you think Facebook or Twitter has it covered, good luck to you.
It has become a virtual consensus among the elites that their members are so indispensable to the running of American society that vesting them with immunity from prosecution – even for the most egregious crimes – is not only in their interest but in our interest, too.
So if money laundering is ok, I guess murder is probably ok too or anything else. How convenient this news “broke” just before christmas…actually it probably doesn’t matter unless someone likes it on Facebook.
The first telemovie production based on Peter Temple’s brilliant book is just short of appalling. Forget about the bastardisation of the plot because that’s the least of the problems. The biggest problem and one Peter Temple himself must have been conscious of when he publicly stated Pearce had a lot to offer in the role is Guy Pearce isn’t Jack Irish. He’s too small, he’s not funny enough, he’s not tough enough and he’s not really deep enough to do Jack any justice.
The second really serious problem is the rest of the movie lacks any feel for Temple’s unique grasp of Australiana. The language and its delivery seems pedestrian and commonplace. The wintry scenery of Victoria is replaced with largely clear skies, presumably because it’s easier to produce and less depressing for the viewers. The movie totally misrepresents Jack’s relationship with Charlie and the carpentry work, nor does the movie do anything decent with Jack’s other life with Harry and Cam. Instead we are presented with some kind of superior Pearce who just happens to do a bit of woodwork and hangs around with a funny little man who likes to bet on the horses. If you didn’t know the story it might just seem ok but the depth of character doesn’t come through on the small screen nor is there any real motivation for anything other than the plot to uncover Danny’s killers (in movie #1).
Some other rather serious problems include the modernisation of the story’s setting, moving it tardis like from the early 90′s to 2012. Again it’s hard not to form the view that a modern setting was easier to produce (read cheaper) but it removes a powerful force from the story, the sense of history which pervades Temple’s original stories. Then there are the bad guys, read the bit about bastardisations to plot above. It’s almost like the producers assume Guy Pearce’s name would sell the show to the audience and potential backers but forgot to actually produce anything remotely sympathetic to the original Temple story.
I guess it had to be made but I’m almost cringing at the lack of imagination or sophistication on show here. These stories are classy examples of a particular genre that just happen to be situated in Melbourne and I would have thought something better could have been done with them. Instead we get what really looks like a second rate production, hamstrung by budget and the choice of leads which might fulfil some ABC charter for Australian production but is hardly something to put in our trophy cabinet. Shame really.
I know it’s the silly season and maybe the Grimes needs to publish stuff just to stay alive but really this “story” is so lame I feel compelled to point out the bleeding obvious, a point the author avoided possibly because it might offend the very readers the Grimes is trying to cultivate, namely the great hordes in Tuggeranong.
Canberra’s lakes are an interesting feature. On the one hand it is very difficult to imagine Canberra without them since aesthetically they provide substantial relief to an otherwise flat and monotonous suburban landscape. And large bodies of water are traditionally associated with certain aquatic activities like boating, fishing and even swimming. Unfortunately the lakes do have another feature, they are all collection points for urban run-off and the main lake is downstream of a sewage farm and suffers from heavy metal contamination from an upstream disused mine.
So the lesson folks here isn’t just to report selectively on the historical facts, rather the story here if the Canberra Times has got the guts is to actually say to people, these lakes naturally protect the river downstream of Canberra by trapping the crap Canberra is putting into the waterways. If we don’t like the consequences, things like algae blooms, high bacteria counts, smells and so on then we should do something about what ends up in the water, all of us. A large part of the stormwater is collected from our roadways which get washed clean every time there is some rain. . The sormwater system simplifies the construction of urban housing and roads but it provides an easy egress into the waterways for all manner of contaminations.
Pond on Hawdon Street
Trapping the stormwater run-off in the lakes is possibly the only realistic option we have. A possible refinement is to employ smaller stormwater holding ponds like those being deployed in north Canberra but if we are ever to achieve not only visually pleasing results but also functional water resources, we need to either figure out a way to remove or trap contaminants at the source or come up with another way of neutralising their effects in the water chain.
The smelly dirty lakes we have inherited are a consequence of our urban way of life but its possible we can actually do something positive with them if we apply ourselves to the task at hand. It might not deliver an economic benefit but clean water is still a very valuable result.