Wednesday 19th of June 2024

archive's blog

Arresting Howard probably not a good idea, but in a similar vein... (Troy Rollo)

Arresting Howard is probably not a good idea, since an arrest has to be made based on domestic law. Unfortunately it appears that aggressive war has not yet been criminalised under Australian law, partly due to problems in agreeing on a definition for the purposes of the International Criminal Court Statute, and there needs to be a crime against Australian law to make an arrest. That doesn't mean there is no crime under international law - it is just that there are two sets of law, and something you do can breach one even though it doesn't breach the other.

Even if you identify a specific domestic law, you have to be able to show that the arrest was necessary to ensure his attendance before a magistrate, otherwise it's false imprisonment (yes, I know this means that there are false imprisonments going on regularly).

There are however other areas where Howard might be challenged in the c

Recommended reading for every Australian (Lisa Faulkner)

Thank you Margo! I have now become a 'Not Happy, John!' evangelist and have started badgering all my relatives and friends to read your book. This should be mandatory reading material for all Australians. Thank you for pulling together all the threads and allowing people like myself, who have been becoming more and more dissatisfied with the political state of our country, an opportunity to marshal our thoughts and realise that we are not alone! Congratulations!

Upcoming conference (Eleanor Gibbs)

Hi NHJ gang,

Will write a more detailed review of the book and process when I have more time, but thought MK may be interested in a trip to her old stamping ground for this Amnesty International conference on Human Rights. Regards, El.

NHJ! (JR): Bewdy Newk, and thanks, El. Hope it goes well. Imagine...

Democracy Education (Mark Andrew Harmon)

What do you think of the idea that Democracy should be learned in High School ? It seems that many people think they know what Democracy is, but if questioned they unfortunately don't even know the basics.

Isn't a healthy Democracy an informed one ? Are there any problems with this proposal? I'm sure a lot of kids would find learning about democracy more interesting than Calculus, and it would prepare them better for the real world.

NHJ would be great required reading. I'm sure it would promote very interesting discussions in the classroom.

NHJ! (JR): See Mark's own answer above. And how about we all write to Brendan Nelson lobbying the government to put in a bulk order for 100, 000 school-distribution copies of NHJ!?

Brezza'd see the funny side of it, I'm sure...chuckle, chuckle, chuckle...Brend? Mate?

it's overdue (joe leggett)

Thanks Margo for writing a great book - it deserves to become a keystone in our re-built Democracy. If this expose of a sustained and systemic attack on our hard-won democratic principles and structures doesn't horrify and inspire us to beat back these flag-flappers and their patrons and sycophants then we will have failed the real men and women who have fought and died in this struggle.

I am inspired and encouraged.

Become a webdiarist.

Look out you bastards!

An arresting suggestion (Rick Pass)

Why don't we cut to the chase and just arrest Howard.

The UN Declaration on Friendly Relations says that no state may wage war without UN approval unless under imminent threat of attack. To do so is to wage a 'war of aggression' which constitues a 'crime against peace'. (A capital offence under international law - and no I don't think we should support the death penalty, I was just pointing out how serious the law takes this kind of thing.)

The Nuremberg principles state that culpability for waging a war of aggression lies with the head of state and the heads of government and senior ministers.

So here's the challenge Australia. Every time John Howard (or Downer or Hill) hit the campaign trail to shake our hands and ask for our vote, simply walk up to them, smile and ask them to accompany you to the local police station. The best way to take back our democracy is to insist that no man is above the law, not even the PM.

Congratulations Margo! (Benjamin O'Reilly in Sydney)

Congratulations Margo! Reading NHJ made my blood boil. The veil of deceit woven from the thread of lies and super-spin that this government has shrouded itself in is a disgrace. I believe that the day will come when we will look back on this period in our nation's history with a terrible sense of shame.

It would be a great coup for any party in the upcoming election who used the catchcry of your book as part of their campaign. Ever since the wonderful Deborah Kennedy first uttered the words 'Not Happy Jan!' the phrase has slipped seamlessly into our idiom. I'm sure the slogan of 'Not happy John!' voiced by different Australians could fire the imagination of the electorate in the way 'It's Time' did for Whitlam and drive this shameful government from office.

Margo: Hi Benjamin. Watch this space!

No room for Liberals in Howard's party, lots of room in the party of Menzies (Niels Worsoe)

Dear Margo, Thank you for your courageous book. It's to the point, well presented and written. I agree with everything you touched on. You invited comments and ideas; here are mine. Most Australians used to be taught that an uncritical view of our national past will generate an equally subservient acceptance of the present. Since John Howard became our PM we have been told to forget about the past and try to live in the comfort of the present, like we used to in the 1950s.

And we all know what they were like: xenophobic, narrow-minded and bigoted years when dealing with anything which did not originate in Britain, North America or New Zealand. Hugh MacKay has pointed out that 'most of us welcome lies that make us feel better'.

Hence the political success of John Howard. Or, as Curtis White emphasises in his book 'The Middle Mind: Why Americans don't think for themselves', when democratic principles are diluted as a result of lies and hypocrisy - whether by acts of wa

Keeping Democracy in its place' - why is Howard backing Microsoft against open source? (Craig Warner)

Margo, I would like to thank you for writing 'Not Happy, John'. Although I have not finished the book yet but it leaves me cold and sad for the next generations of Australian's who will have to live with the results of John Howards 'leadership'. The reason for this email is a chapter in your book which has put the fear of God into me. The Chapter is titled 'Keeping Democracy in its place' in which Paddy Manning writes about the Howard Government and NGO's (non-government organisations).

I've spent four years helping start and run a non-government organisation called Computerbank NSW ( It's a self funding group that recycles computers with Open Source software and gives them back to needy groups and individuals. During that time I had a run in with one of John Howard's hand picked and funded NGO called WorkVentures. Workventures attacked Computerbank NSW for using Open source software and being against 'friendly' multinational corporations. I took that one on

Howard's extremist tendencies were known (Willy Bach, Greens candidate for Fadden (Libs, 58%))

Dear Margo, it's your troublesome friend Willy Bach in Brisbane. I am a slow reader, studying, campaigning, etc, and I have just got under way with your book. It is a very enjoyable read. But, I have to say something in relation to your decision to kick out Paul Keating in 1996 and vote for John Howard.

My recollection of that day when the election went the Coalition's way is different. I was at a polling booth in The Gap, at the Hilder Road State Primary School, handing out for the Greens for the very critical seat of Ryan. I was telling voters 'help stop a Thatcherite nightmare, vote Green' - like you are not supposed to, right? But people were giving me quizzical looks.

I remember that at 11 am (that's right) someone approached the Liberal team and said some quiet words to them. Suddenly they were all animated, hugging, hand shaking, beaming at everyone - as though they already knew that they had won. Probably a last minute poll or something. (Margo: The Gap - t

Springwood gig ()

G'day.I'm home after a weird experience at Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains. I'd thought it was basically a book launch, but the poster outside the civic centre read 'Reclaim our Australia! A community forum on honesty and values in public life' starring the unholy alliance of former federal Liberal Party President John Valder and me. Shit - what am I, the left wing Pauline Hanson! About 250 people turned up through cold rain and we had a ball, with fascinating questions from the audience. As usual., the Not happy John! stickers ran out early. The forum was organised by 'Blue Mountains for a fairer Australia' and the energy was electric. I absolutely refuse to believe that Australians are apathetic about the sick and sorry state of our democracy, and I reckon that lots of citizens will do their bit to shake up the system come the election. We'll see. We sold 89 books - not bad considering that Gleebooks sold a record 105 at the Sydney launch last month. There's even a chance tha

Less Moore, more factual criticism. (Julian Tol)

I read

Plan to democratise Brisbane (Hamish Alcorn)

For a number of years I have been obsessed with the project of seeking a much greater level of democracy for our civilisation. A couple of months ago I presented a fairly detailed plan for doing so in my city of Brisbane to the Brisbane Social Forum. Since then a regular informal 'politics in the pub' has occurred every Saturday afternoon at 3.30 in the back room of the Boundary Hotel, Boundary St, West End.

As briefly as possible:

1. This is a plan to build democratic institutions, in which people can disagree in a civilised manner, so previous political affiliations are not only irrelevant but a diversity of such affiliations will probably be crucial to properly promote the project.

2. The plan is to develop permanent community assemblies across Brisbane, according to council ward. We have developed a draft constitution for these assemblies, which is fairly orthodox, except that membership is defined by enrolment to vote in the given ward. So everyon

Independent political recording artist/poet website (Annette Hughes)

Goodness Margo, I knew that there was something rotten in the State of Oz, but your book pulls the bodybag off the stinking corpse of our polity. I sincerely hope you are right - that we can reverse the decline in our democratic institutions, but the pong is so high now that the very idea of mouth to mouth resuscitation takes some courage.

Well done, and thank you for your passion and persistence.

Thankyou:-) (Jessica Amos)

I had just soft-bound my thesis about my doco script about 'the public right to know' and I saw your book, Margo, at the Syd uni co-op bookshop - I'm chuffed! To read it and find someone who cares actively about our democracy. I'll check out Webdiary.

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