I have found your book a great read.
I had no idea of the Webdiary in the months preceding the start of the Iraq war. It was a period when I corresponded by email with everyone who might have been able to prevent it or exercise influence. I corresponded with the PM's war team pointing out what their decisions were doing to people in Iraq. Bill Patterson wanted to hear no more of it. I corresponded with Jim Staples and John Valder, with the US, UK , German, Russian, Chinese and French press and the UN.
I pointed out that a five person chiefs of staff group of the UN security council permanent members was supposed by law as adopted by Australia as a UN member to run any UN military intervention by force. I asked the govt to see the UN documents which by law are supposed to authorize Australia's participation for the UN. There weren't any.
It was clear after the US Congress rejected the invitation by the Iraq National Assembly in August 2002 to send a WMD inspection team to Ir
Site to promote case against the privatisation of Telstra and to help coordinate opposition to privatisation (James Sinnamon)
The recent elections were a gross perversion of the democratic process. The newsmedia misinformed the public on so many of the critical issues which were at stake on 9 October, in particular the Government's plans to privatise Telstra. Accordingly, we dispute the claim of the Government to have obtained a 'mandate' to flog off what now rightly belongs to every citizen of this country.
We believe that it is essential to fight the Government's plan to privatise Telstra all the way. By promoting the sound and reasoned case against privatisation, and by arguing for a referendum to be held in lieu of any fair and democratic procedure for the Australian public to have decided upon this issue, thus far, we aim to prevent the sale, or else, to hold to account those who wish to proceed with privatisation, for the inevitable harm which will ensue from this policy.
If you are concerned, please visit the website, and feel encouraged
Member of The Greens, Candidate for Fadden 2004, campaigner against war and pro refugee rights (Willy Bach)
I received this:
Something rather astounding happened yesterday. Mr Laurie Ferguson, member for Reid, was appointed as the shadow minister for Immigration. This made Laurie responsible for asylum seekers and refugees on behalf of the ALP.
Below is the article from The Age of this morning. I expect this to be the first article of many - I think the fury of the refugee movement with this appointment, and Laurie's uninformed and dismissive comments to Meaghan Shaw of The Age yesterday urgently call for our concerted action.
First, Mr Ferguson taints the refugee movement as a bunch of people who reject processing of asylum seekers. Secondly, he displays bluntly stupid arrogance on his first day in office, by telling The Age that he is sick of 'being lectured to by people', as if that has happened to a sickening degree on his first day as Immigration shadow minister. And thirdly, he vilifies 'unannounced boat arrivals' as people who use the court system for sel
I think the election results say more about the people who voted for Howard than about Howard himself.
I often wondered how ordinary decent people could have manned concentration camps and witnessed the horrors without a twinge of conscience. The answer is twofold; they abdicated their responsibility to defend their democracy and in return Hitler gave them permission to do his dirty work without fear of the consequences.
It may seem too radical an idea, but I believe that a similar thing happened on 9 October. The Howard voters have made the same sort of pact with him. As long as they don't have to buy a car or anything important from him, it's fine to let him run the country. After all, that's not going to impact on their lives at all, is it?
In reference to Margo's comments about influencing people to stand as independents, I think a better way is to get a party of integrity into government. This is my suggestion:
Plan of action to make the Greens our next Government.
1. Every electorate is carved up into lots of a few streets.
2. Every lot is allocated to a group of supporters who are charged with the responsibility of their lot.
3. Every household is contacted 7 times prior to the election by the group responsible for the lot, in a systematic, planned and organised manner. (Because studies show that an average person needs to see something 7 times before they notice it properly.)
4. The key aim of each contact is to be a personal visit with literature distribution and explanations of key policy areas. The result of each contact is recorded for statistical purposes. A personal contact will not result in every case so letterbox literature will be left. Either way, people will also talk amongst t
Index slams Australia's media freedom
Australia has ranked dismally in a global index on media freedom released by Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Australia could only manage 41st position in RSF's third annual index of press freedom, lagging behind some former Eastern bloc nations, including Hungary (28), Czech Republic (19) and Poland (32).
Regional neighbour New Zealand placed a respectable ninth and was one of only three nations outside Europe to rank in the top 20. [continues]
See here for full story.
Margo was far more 'spot on' than even she might have feared :-(
There is a lot to fix in Australia 2004 ... sad, but let's get on with it!
The 'Defending Our Democracy' site is going to change and grow with everyone's interested input.
The postings on this site show that there are many numbers of us who are still committed to fixing up 'our' country politically and financially in any number of democratic ways. The diversity of opinion is remarkable and wonderful, but we all share the same vision, that is, to 'get our system fixed for the benefit of all Australian citizens'.
The little bit we all can do and some can do more than others, is important, do your little bit, it does count and it is valuable and it contributes to making changes happen.
Individually we all count, individually we can affect change - I believe in the citizens of Australia - I believe we hold the decision to change and influence global perspectives. I don't agree with some of the perceptions of people linking into this site, but I do agree that we have to have an 'inclusive' process.
We are not so different as people, we all have the
bLOG: Fixing Australia in one hundred words
Since the recent Federal election, which I had hoped would turn out as a notice of eviction for the Howard government, it has been quiet, strangely quiet. I sense a despair amongst many people when I ask them to talk and share their thoughts, a despair about Australia, about its social conscience, about the future we had hoped for in a new government after the recent election.
In many people I sense a notion that Australia is broken, and while we're all coming to terms with the election, which is interpreted by many as a loss for refugees, a loss of values, a loss of possibilities we had hoped for, a loss of honesty amongst many people, and a loss for Australia itself, there seems to be an uneasy disquiet when it comes to the ingenuity in how to fix that broken Australia.
Julian Burnside considers leaving for New Zealand. A member of The Greens, independently, also mentions New Zealand. An academic friend in WA ponders a
Thanks Jack, for your blog (Fixing Australia).
After preferences, only 52.67% of the eligible voters voted for the Coalition and 47.33% did not. But if one had been following the mainstream media one would think that at least 75% had voted for Howard!
I will submit my 100 words but alas, I suspect that while the economy is strong and interest rates are low it's an uphill battle convincing those in marginal seats to change government.
Casualisation and exclusion of older and other disadvantaged workers and policies to redress (Ross Venner)
The following is currently being posted to our Not Happy John mailing list. If you would like to be on this list email us.
Dear supporters of Margo Kingston�s Not Happy John! website,
Firstly, thankyou for your patience. Burnout is a serious issue for activists, and we have all needed a bit of a break in order to come back fighting.
This Friday Margo is regrouping with the NHJ! team and we are preparing for the next phase of the website and the �Defending Our Democracy� project. Note that �Defending Our Democracy� is the subtitle of Margo�s book, and has always had a much broader relevance than merely, �Not Happy John!�
At this time we are negotiating with an ISP for our new site and figuring out the details of the design. Our central goals are to build a genuine alternative media, to compete with the increasingly sycophantic mainstream, and to abet a mass movement to support, defend and if possible extend
Minor parties don't 'fracture' the vote in the lower house because of the way the preference system operates there - more options usually just means more opportunities there. In the upper house, the group ticket system does have some problems, especially when, as happened this election, the preferences are decided based on deals made between the parties rather than based on the policy of the parties or candidates receiving the preferences.
As long as the parties allocate preferences in a rational way, even the upper house system will normally not run into problems because there are more candidates. Hopefully the ALP and Democrats will have learnt their lesson on this.
We have put together a submission to the Brisbane Regional ALP conference, which may be of interest to other regions; to set up and utilise online communities, as proposed by Mark Latham during the campaign.
If you want a copy of it, please email us directly and we will forward it to you to submit to your own branch or region.
Dear All NHJ People,
I do not profess to have an answer to this problem ... but I think we need a serious discussion amongst ourselves about the following issues:
a) In the time available it is unlikely that a viable alternative party can be built in time to do signficant things for the next election, which we *must* win.
b) Part of how Howard got in was due to the fractured voting caused by minor parties and the quirks of the preferences system.
c) The Coalition parties are highly(!) UNLIKELY to reform themselves given the current leaders in both camps - or under the likely replacements once Howard cuts and runs.
d) We are unlikely to form an alternative free press in this country in time to take effect, sadly. The pathetic behaviour of all major media (even the SMH wimped out and didn't back Latham) gives no ground for optimism. NHJ!(HA): Watch this space Russell
So, there seems to be very little hope for us (l)iberals of any flavour to get satisfaction
The election result was a disaster, but it was a result that has been a long time coming - decades, not weeks or months. I think we've let the democratic muscle of our citizenry/society run down to a dangerous level.
We will need to build up media outlets that have a strong commitment to democracy - but even more importantly we need to draw more and more ordinary people into being involved in sorting out public policy issues. Simply voting is not enough - whether at elections or in referenda - because it's too easy to let someone else tell you what to vote. What we need practice at is actually thinking through and talking through issues with our fellow citizens and seeking out good info to feed into our cogitations.
Maybe local governments (or any other governments) that have a commitment to building our democratic muscle could institute a system of calling in relatively large numbers of citizens (in a manner vaguely reminiscent of the jury service idea) to work through issues