Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

archive's blog

Tim Milfull is a freelance writer and critic based in Brisbane. (Tim Milfull)

Sitting with journalist Margo Kingston a few weeks ago, I commented on the skyline of inner-city Brisbane and how, on the Joh Bjelke-Petersen scale of economic success, Queensland must be doing something right with all the cranes dipping and bobbing over constructions sites. Kingston smiled and squirmed hyperactively, her knees jiggling. She escaped Joh

A life changing experience (Tony Ramsden)

It's rare indeed that a book comes along and changes your life. This is such a book. I've never been so energized by anything - ever. Years of apathy have been blasted away by this unforgetable work of courage and love. Margo, you've created something vital here. It should be read by every single Australian. The battle lines are very clear now. This man Howard must be put back in his retrograde, narrow little 50's box until he's learned to treat others with respect and some simple human compassion.

Thank you, Margo for the hard work you've put into this book on our behalf. It won't quickly be forgotten.

Australian Democracy - Use it or Lose it! (Chris Saliba)

I read Not Happy, John in two days. Why? Because it's so much, to use the title of Anthony Trollope's novel on political corruption, The Way We Live Now.

Margo gives us a good memory jolt. There were so many things I'd forgotten that Howard had foisted upon us. Like the disgraceful lockdown of parliament just to let George W. Bush fly in and out again. Something is seriously wrong when citizens are barred from OUR OWN house.

As Margo says, Howard may be the major problem at the moment, but he will be moving on soon enough - whether booted out by Australians at the next election, or 'gracefully' exiting himself. The imperitive is to clean up the mess that's been left behind, to call for more genuine, straightforward democracy.

Mark Latham's words on grassroots democracy ring hollow for me. In his book The Enabling State he wrote: 'I do not share Dick Morris' view that direct democracy will be applied across the board. The Federal parliament

ANZAC PM, NOT. (Mick Stevens)

First up. Congratulations on your candid book. It basically summarised the lies, spin and deceit of Howard and his cohorts. What many of us suspected but couldn't articulate you have said it all.

What disturbs me about John Howard is how he will use not only the Aussie armed forces but the ANZAC legend for his own grubby political gain. Every ANZAC day I always wait to see what stunt he pulls for his own political profit. As a former member of the RAAF I am disgusted with what he has done with the millitary, its image and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for OUR country and OUR democracy, everything that's a hinderance to our PM and his big business cronies.

On another point: it is one thing to write a book that engages those of us interested in such things. But the majority of Australians have no engagement with politics - it is those people who decide elections, not those of us who read books about Howard's crappy form of non-democracy. I hope your book DOES

Not Happy John, Amanda, Phil and Alex... (Jack H Smit)

Terrific work, Margo. You've created a map for decent Australians who care to read it, to lead them out of the mire of obfuscation, intrigue and lies of 'little johnnie'. I've just put up our (first) page about the book with some of the media coverage of Tony Fitzgerald's speech and the manipulative attempt at rebuttal of his words by Vanstone - see the link.

The current government was not just one with cruel refugee policies since Tampa, it has always been more than the refugee issue. At our first public refugee event in Perth I called Howard's attempt at controlling Australia's directions an intent to establish a 'manipulative dictatorship' in Australia. That was in the presence of Andrew Bartlett and Carmen Lawrence, and my knees were shaking at the time. Your book is another contribution to the growing list of publications exposing the dark shadows in our country, and I thank you.

Our Media ()

I'm Antony Loewenstein, one of the collaborators and contributors to Not Happy John!. It's been a wild couple of weeks, and the response by all you out there to the book and its message has been really encouraging for us all. The media coverage has also been telling. Who's covered it, who's ignored it, who's praised it, who's trashed it and who has simply engaged in personal attacks. It's clearly much easier to hammer the writers and their personalities than actually talk seriously about the issues raised. So be it.

It's times like these, however, when greater media diversity in this country is sorely needed. Packer and Murdoch control a hefty percentage of what we see and hear. And if the Howard Government has its way, we'd soon be watching more Fox News style 'investigation' and less real investigation. I recently read a well-known Aussie blogger once again talking about privatising the ABC. Can you seriously imagine a book like this being covered in an organisation fun

Bloody Good Read (James Woodcock)

Congratulations Margo, what a great book and what a great service to our democracy. I hope this website turns into a rallying point for people who share our values. I am reading NHJ again and going back to the Webdiary Archive to re read the events, opinions and narrative as they were happening in real time. Really powerful stuff and I recommend everyone use NHJ as sort of a guide or executive summary to Webdiary.

One comment: The old leftie in me says Margo's yearning for the old days of our democracy is just a little too nostalgic. Was it ever that good? Hasn't Howard simply made the power structures just more transparent and obvious to what they are anyhow? Having said that, the kind of social and economic change we need will not happen without the reform of political institutions and processes Margo advocates.

Rage/Thanks/empowerment/helplessness (Richard Crane)

A wonderful book. I laughed, I cried, I was apathetic to issues, it lit the fire in me for others. The only criticism I would make of it is that it does not go far enough into the deals etc that currently protect all political parties from citizen scrutiny - I recall a Radio National Background Briefing that covered in detail how the Privacy Act didn't apply to political parties.

Loved it.

The book is a rallying point, a call to be concerned and to take a stand for all those citizens who seek to preserve our democra

Margo, you do good work, real good work. The book is a rallying point, a call for us to be concerned and to take a stand with all those citizens who seek to preserve our democracy. Make no mistake, the contents of this book have skewered the Howard Government and his Black Knights. Each chapter makes you sink further into your chair, as the catalogue of misery, deception, lies and selfishness mount, leaving you to wonder how you missed joining the dots for so long. It's an impressive list for its sheer rottenness. It's a bloody political incendary device. It will be noticed and read. It sets the real agenda, the moral and ethical political bottom line for anyone who fancies being a representative of the Australian people. Ignore its contents at your peril. What is at stake is nothing less than our democracy! Without that we have bugger-all to bequeath to our children. What would we say to them? Read this book? It will not be permitted and then you will know all is lost.

Margo and SMH Ethics Code ()

NHJ! Reviewer Paul Stack has a query about this book and website and MK's obligations under the SMH ethics code. Paul writes:

'Now that her extreme whinings have a home on the web other than the woeful Webdiary, when will Margo quit the SMH, as she seems unable to follow the SMH code of ethics. (Quote): IMPARTIALITY - Staff will not allow personal interest, or any belief or commitment, to undermine their accuracy, fairness or independence. PUBLIC ACTIVITIES - Herald staff shall avoid any prominent activity in partisan public causes that compromises, or appears to compromise, the journalist or the newspaper.

NHJ! readers can find the full SMH Code of Ethics here.

Hmmm, always with the awkward questions. Other bloggy types have made similar observations/accusations, albeit in slightly less eloquent prose. MK'll respond in depth next week - she really is flat-out at the moment. But she certainly rejects that the

losers (jonnie black)

THIS SITE SUCKS !!!!!!!!! get a life you boring old farts

Not Happy John II: The Making of a Polly (Mick Sedunary)

Ok. You have wet the appetite now go away and make the main meal. Its not just little Johnny Howler but the whole bloody lot. How did we 'the people' allow him and the other idiots political power. In any event keep going.

Margo for president (Bimby Hornswoggle)

Yay, yay, yay.

Why Do We Read? (Grant Long)

Margo et al, grabbed the book last night and couldn't put it down. Its great to know someone cares about our democracy, our country and its place in the world. So, why do we read? To know we are not alone. (ps. love the thought of independents holding the balance of power in the House of Reps.)

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