Friday 22nd of March 2019

Blogs

What to do? (Neville Brown)

I was on of the early readers of NHJ. It made me both sad and angry. The first questions I asked, was 'What can I do about this situation?' My first inclination was to run out and join the ALP. But on reflection I thought - to what end? So thy can have my subscription and I can stand in front of a polling booth? Woo Hoo! Is that making a difference?

Since Tony Abbot of Abbott and Costello can establish 'Australians for Honest Politics' why can not a lobby/exposure group called 'Not Happy John Inc' be established? A extra-political group dedicated to 'Keeping the Bastards Honest'. Worth Consideration?

Margo: Hi Neville. I hear on the grapevine that a few political types are thinking of starting a 'Not Happy John' group to sponsor independent-minded candidates. My hope is that if there's enough interest from Australians on this site - the mailing list is growing fast - we can create an Australian version of the brilliant American website www.moveon.org, which has har

Things are not always as they seem ()

Many of us are avid readers and consume all manner of media content. You would think this would give us a good basis to form a view on our government and our democracy. Alas, things are not always as they seem. We've had lots of feedback on Not Happy, John and a consistent theme has been a realisation that the system is more broken than we thought.

There has even been a fundamental misunderstanding about the PM. Many feel he is a conservative harking back to the ideals of the Menzies era. As the book shows, nothing could be further from the truth. John Howard is radical and rarely hesitates to cast aside tradition. Readers of NHJ comment that they never knew the extent of this radicalism until they read the book. In the past week the PM blithely accepted US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage's foray into our domestic politics. This is against diplomatic tradition between our countries.

Taking the steps needed to improve our democrac

Zionism isn't the only truth (Mannie De Saxe)

NHJ: The following letter was submitted to the Australian Jewish News (AJN) in the last weeks and has thus far gone unprinted:

Dr Colin Rubenstein is quoted in an article in the AJN (25 June 2004), criticisizing Margo Kingston and Antony Lowenstein because they

Itinerary (Norman Murdoch)

Hello 'NHJers'. Could someone please tell me on what dates Margo is conducting radio interviews? Keep up the good work.

Margo: Hi Norman. We're working on an 'uncoming events' link for the front of the site.

Your book articulated many ideas I have held (Ken Webb)

I have just finished reading your book 'Not Happy, John.' I have often heard your comments on Philip Adams' show and this inspired me to get your book. I too have been alarmed at the gradual destruction of our democracy by the Howard administration, its lying, its contempt for the Westminster system, let alone its psychophantic attitude towards the US. Your book articulated many ideas I have held. I shall keep a closer eye on 'web diary' from now on.

One Foot in the Grave (Tony O Hanlon)

NHJ was like a Doctors call with good news. I am a 64 year old grandad who has been feeling very very depressed during the last few years.My darling wife put it down to the fact that I watched and listened to too many news programmes. She was right, the whole political scene became fogged, and for a man who had lived through a lifetime of political disasters I was not coping very well. NHJ cleared the fog. For the first time in years I was able to see clearly what was going on. Margo Kingston has cleared that fog and given me a reason to work to free this country of those who deem it their right to take my Democracy from me. From one foot in the grave I have a new lease on life. In recognition for Margo's sacrifice and commitment I have nominated her as Australian of the Year. see www.australianoftheyear.gov.au. Tony Woy Woy

Ashrawi, AIJAC and the other side of truth (David Langsam)

NHJ: The following piece is by Melbourne based journalist, David Langsam. An edited version of this article appeared in the Australian Jewish News in late 2003.

It

The winds are blowing ()

Another week and the NHJ buzz is still growing. The latest Nielsen Bookscan chart places NHJ at No 3 (in The Age) and No 4 (in the SMH) on the non-fiction charts. And No 11 on the overall charts. In other words, we're reaching really encouraging numbers for a book that has, tellingly, received little mainstream press coverage. In other words, the message has entirely bypassed the old ways of communicating and succeeded in getting people excited and active. We reckon the mainstream press are a little scared that something, anything, can sell without their promotions, so maybe NHJ is a taste of much to come.

The Brisbane arts publication, Timeoff, has run an informative piece on NHJ.

And Lawyer's Weekly, said to be 'Australia's leading information resource for the legal professional' has a piece by David Hovenden.

The Canberra view (Don Aitkin)

I read NHJ in two big hits, and a lot of it hit home. As someone who had something to do with the work of the AEC in the 1970s, and knew earlier Commissioners well, I cringed at the chapter on the AEC. What have we come to? And the dreadful subjection of respect for our Parliament to the need to bow low before leaders of larger countries than our own, Yuk!

Two small points. There has been a century of growing 'apathy', not simply eight years. The modern party system works very well in allowing us to get on with our lives and to revert to being citizens only at election time. We've got to overcome the feeling that that's still OK. Your first suggestion at the end is an excellent one, but it's only a beginning. Second, please don't use 'Canberra' as a shorthand for the Federal Government. It's demeaning to those of us who live there, and it's demeaning to your own capital city. Remember, the PM and family have chosen not to live there.

Putting humanity into politicians (Phil Uebergang)

I'm finding NHJ to be a generally entertaining and provocative read, although from a technical point of view the structure is a little loose and loses me on occasion.

My major criticism is that the book tends to be too emotional, and I would have preferred more objectivity in the presentation of the facts ala the styles of Schlosser and Pilger. That said, the style takes nothing away from the factuality of the bulk of evidence presented.

This is an important contemporary work for Australians, not just because it reveals the current state of our government but because it also presents our politicians on a personal level, as people with hearts and minds, and I find that to be both refreshing and comforting.

Work for the dole unconstitutional? (John Chambers)

Not having read the book, I wonder if you touched on the constitutionality of the Work For The Dole scheme under Ch1 Part V Para 51(xxiiia) that states: 'The provision of maternity allowances, widows' pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances.' Surely WFTD is a form of civil conscription? I have raised this numerous times to the editor of The Advertiser [Adelaide], but I don't think the thought of WFTD being scrapped is to their way of thinking, and so have never published my letter. (God forbid that the Constitution actually do something in favour of the people, or that the Commonwealth should have to pay the going rate for all the work done under WFTD!). Cheers

NHJ! RESPONDS:

Thanks, John. No, NHJ! didn't examine WFTD in detail, and not being a Constitutional lawyer I'm not sure

Shirley Vivian Blair and compulsory voting (John Chambers)

To correct Shirley Vivian Blair, voting in Australia is not compulsory. Having your name crossed off the list of registered voters to say that you attended a polling booth, however, is. Once you have your name crossed off the list, you don't even need to cast a vote; however, if you fail to cast a vote, what right do you have to complain about the party that takes government? If the party you vote for wins, what right do you have to complain when they jack up the taxes, but you didn't care enough to look into their policies? The only ones who have the right to complain are those who were too young to vote in the last election, the ones who voted for the government, but were lied to, and those who voted against the government.

Originally Canadian, Naturalized 20 years ago, just returned from working overseas (Reg Gibson)

On my return to Australia, I was shocked at some of the changes, not least the way that the federal government lies and the appearance that the people of Australia don't care. This book is helping to restore my faith that someone cares and the web site indicates to me that there is a significant number of people who care.

It is important to remember that the problem is not John Howard nor the Coalition nor the Liberal party. My observation of question time makes me ask myself 'Do these MP's believe that the blather they are talking and the backbiting and partisan attacks that they issue are in the interest of the Australian people?' Why aren't they ashamed to behave in this way. It is because we let them.

In my case it is because I don't know how to elect representatives who will represent their constituents. I believe that the 'big party' system does not work well. So - how do we change that?

The Mighty Oz weighs mightily in ()

Hi all, just a quickie today since it's a day of rest for many.

NHJ! continues to do very well for a political book, we hear, with appearances on most Oz 'bestsellers' lists, generally at number 3 or 4 thus far. Our great thanks for your continued support. Also, we note that we got a (tinsy) review in the Weekend Oz 'Review' section...could it be that the mainstream Lit Crit Lads have been so dazzled by MK's brilliance that cracks are appearing in the Oz broadsheets' thus-far apparent determination to ignore NHJ's healthy sales numbers? Might we see a little mainstream coverage action? Hmmm...stay tuned.

In fact MK is still busy with radio and other meeja commitments, and Ant L's article in last week's Australian Jewish News was good gear, so we're not whining about any lack of airing - although god bless Clark Kent over at Crik

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