Saturday 2nd of March 2024

archive's blog

Going after Saint Tony ()

Neil Francey, Independent 'small l' Candidate in Tony Abbott's NSW seat of Warringah drops by with a review of NHJ!, poking all-interested potential voters to his rather flash website hub.

Have a swizz around his cyber-empire and check out Neil's democratic pitch - especially if you're a north-shore local who's fed up with Mr Abbott's arguably less-than-honest brand of 'Honest Politics'. NHJ! readers will be bemused to learn that, according to MK, the AEC has (apparently) now decided to drop the whole AHPT Trust fund pursuit. (Keep an eye on Webdiary for more on this soon; I haven't checked out the AEC website yet myself, so if anyone's got more on this, let us know.)

Meanwhile, cheer yourself up by having a look at Barrister Neil's legal work on health and tobacco issues. His campaign slogan

On the up ()

In the new edition of Australian Book Review (August edition) the bestsellers for July come from Readings in Melbourne and Imprints in Adelaide.

NHJ is number 2 at Readings & number 1 at Imprints!

Once again, thanks for all your support.

Our House? (David Chapman)

I found the book to be much more enlightening than I expected. I found the portion regarding Howard

Your timely book gives me hope... (Harvey Porter)

I have despaired about John Howard ever since he was my local member in Lane Cove (before he gerrymandered Bennelong and thankfully gave me some sanity in Ted Mack). If Howard has a vision it must be terribly short term and he must not be planning to live in the society he is creating. Prior to his election as Prime Minister he and his henchmen (particularly Peter Reith) destroyed the 1988 referendum (which he has probably regretted judging by his fairly recent comments about 4 year terms), he white-anted Hewson who would have given us a far fairer GST (Hewson promised to make it revenue neutral), he gave time to Pauline Hanson to build a party in not replying to her maiden speech for weeks (58 days?) etc etc - I thought I was alone in seeing my beloved country being divided and our democracy trampled by Howard. You have made me optimistic again.

I will have to start buying the SMH. Thank you, again and again Margo.

Sex for democracy (CILLA TEY)

I read in last Saturday's Icon (SMH 24/7) about the Carbon Defence League's plan (warning: For Adults Only) to remove George Bush. Conservative voters will be offered sexual favours in exchange for signing a pledge to vote for anyone but Dubya. I wonder if we can trust these voters? One may end up being screwed twice!

I gave it some thought but decided against starting something similar here so I will continue with my sticking NHJ stickers all over Jackie Kelly country. Thanks to Margo I have some which I have stuck in railway stations, cinema toilets and supermarket carparks. (BTW, Margo and John Valder were inspirational in Springwood last Sunday.)

NHJ! (JR): Cilla - there are about a thousand smarty-pants comments I'd love to add to that idea...but my wife would kill me. Be warned BEFORE YOU LINK, folks - when Cilla says the 'fthevote' website is 'adults only', she ain't talkin' about an archive titled 'Preliminary Notes For In

Journalism's challenge ()

Today sees the national release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. A box-office record-holder and explosive shot to the heart of the converted and undecided, the SMH's film reviewer, Paul Byrnes, writes an interesting review.

He praises the film, generally, though points out that, 'Moore's standard of proof is sometimes too low.'

One of the more interesting areas, related in many ways to NHJ, is when Byrnes comments on the role of the journalist - and how they are constantly failing in their task.

Key quote:

'The job of an intelligence service, as we have been told a lot recently, is to speak truth unto power. At times, this is also the job of the documentary film maker, but Michael Moore inverts the role - he's an intelligence service for the rest of us. That is why he is a hero for the young.'

'Journalists are supposed to do this too, but I think one reason

Honesty in Politics (Ian Simpson)

Congratulations Margo on an outstanding and motivating account on how to get rid of John Howard.

It is interesting to note though in past discussions with Don Chipp, I was amazed at how furious he was that Robert Menzies lied to Cabinet and the Australian public on the reasons to commit Australia to the Vietnam war. Maybe that's the only way seen to gain public support for wars that are questionable.

Even though the account of the Hanan Ashrawi episode is important to explain the political power groups that are at work in our community, I found this chapter a little tedious. Over all a wonderful insight into the operations of John Howard's government. I'm thrilled that you had the courage to put it all into print. I couldn't put the book down and read it in two sessions.

Angry Outsiders' are Not Happy, John! ()

Michelle Grattan writes in today's Age newspaper about the upcoming political campaigns of former Liberal Party President and John Howard confidante, John Valder, Andrew Wilkie and Brian Deegan.

Deegan and Wilkie will be running as independents in Mayo and Bennelong respectively, and Valder will be working to unseat Howard in Bennelong.

All three men come from vastly different backgrounds, but fundamentally believe that Howard, especially through the Iraq war, has made Australia a more dangerous place.

Deegan: 'We've become more of a terrorist target because of the war. I lost one child [in the Bali bombing]. I have three children - I intend to protect them as best I can.'

Valder lauched the Not Happy, John campaign last weekend, and Grattan mentions his inspiration as MK's book.

It's an encouraging sign that an increasing number of individuals ('angry outsiders',

post-review review (Katherine Wilson)

It's great to see you've inspired so many people with Not Happy John. I wrote a review of it for a newspaper and wanted to say so much more than I could in around 650 words. Wanted to add: 'This is an activist book, a real act of altruism, very accessible, with an action-plan in the back, READ IT.' Someone in this review's webpage mentioned that it didn't tackle education & asylum-seekers (I mentioned this in my review also). But I think this would have weakened its non-partisan appeal, and turned away some readers. Someone else who read my review told me that I'd 'served you one' in the last sentence. [NHJ!: Katherine's Age review of July 17 ended thus: 'NHJ will appeal to general readers of any political stripe, especially those who see themselves as moderates. Yet while it emphatically distances itself from 'the old, outworn, left-right rhetoric', the book's findings (including those of its conservative contributors) are precisely those the Left and Greens foresaw as inevitable c

Correcting Myself (Mark Harmon)

Hi - yesterday I sent a query suggesting that we teach about Democracy in Schools.

Well I spoke to soon. I have since found out that these days they have a curriculum called - Discovering Democracy for primary & secondary students. I apolgise for my mistake. But it was a happy discovery for me.

NHJ! (JR): Mate, as JWH would say, never apologise for anything! Still, we say 'curses'! Because there's nothing worse for a JH-basher than to have to (grumble, grumble) give a grumpy nod to the bad guys. Here's Brezza Nelson's Ministerial Opener for the DD website:

'Introduction - Ministerial Statement

Dr Brendan Nelson Commonwealth Minister of Education, Science and Training

Civics and citizenship education is an important national priority. Our democracy depends

Looking for more stickers (Nanna Van Dam)

Would like 10 more stickers.

NHJ! (JR): Watch this space - someone's getting 100, 000 printed up as we chat...

Unrepresentative swill....and no, I don't mean the Senate! (Robyn McGee)

Thank you, Margo, for writing NHJ. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And thank you to my aunt, who after waiting weeks for her local bookshop to stock more copies of

Immediate action is possible (John Levett)

Margo. Enjoyed the book: loathe the man; lost some sleep. There is one immediate way of getting involved. We've all got local members from both of the big sides: stir them. Ask them for THEIR positions on the FTA, on the Bush Invasion of Australia, on Iraq, and ask them why they never break ranks, whichever side they come from. Don't take the first answer if it's invasive. Be persistent but polite. Ask for an interview. Check on the electoral balance for their seat. Let them know you know what it is. Finally, your analysis of the Pauline Hanson phenomenon was spot on - and there is a real message there. Small, independent people can make a difference. She did. And scared me to death in the process!

Thanks very much for the book.

Keep smiling.

Hold that thought.... ()

We may have gone quiet for a few days, but we'll be back shortly.

NHJ continues to race up the charts as well as inspiring some wonderful thoughts in readers and citizens alike.

The Canberra Times reviewed NHJ over the weekend, and said the book is well-researched, and laden with facts and figures.

The reviewer was Charlotte Harper, former books editor of the South China Morning Post and Sydney Morning Herald journalist, and recent member of the Canberra Times. She says that in parts NHJ is 'emotional and rambling', but overall, salutes Kingston and the NHJ team for 'earning a place in the nation's top ten non-fiction best-seller list within weeks of publication - no mean feat for a political tome.'

She especially mentioned my chapter on Hanan Ashrawi, suggesting it is 'one of the best', and 'the uproar that surrounded her [Hanan Ashrawi's] selection makes for fascinating reading.'

Importantly, Harper salutes the 10 ideas for improving our d

Well researched book in which the writer has tried hard to stay non partisan. (Deb Wands)

Congratulations Margo, I'm pleased that you have been so incensed that you had to get it off your chest.

I found a lot of the book (about 6/8ths) to be solidly what I have researched for myself and did not find any new revelations.I suppose it was 'preaching to the converted' really. I do wonder though, was there maybe a lot of stuff that I don't know and would have loved to read, but you could not print for legal reasons. Now, that I would have liked! I do note that there has not been a lot said by either of the big two political parties, why are they being so shy?

The bit that I really liked was right at the end, Part 18 Democrazy - Ten ideas for change, Idea no.1 Stop the public funding rip-off. Now, can we get that out, far and wide as an election strategy. Who will run with it, motivate the masses, and get it on the airwaves. I like it!

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