Let's Try That Again
Nothing to see here - move along, move along
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Friday, December 02, 2005
A candle for Van Nguyen
Just before daybreak tomorrow morning Friday 2 December, 25 year old Van Nguyen, an Australian citizen convicted of drug trafficking (heroin) will be hung in Singapore.
I do not in any way condone the trafficking of drugs such as heroin.
I cannot see the need or benefit for capital punishment in any part of the world today. I suggest that people should look to any government to collectively reflect and lead us to find what is good in all of us, not act in ways that reflect the worst. The death penalty, particularly carried out by hanging is to me a terrible and barbaric thing.
Today it was reported that the Singapore authorities took what is apparently an unusual step and allowed the condemned man physical contact. It had been requested that he be allowed to hug his mother one last time. The authorities said no, his mother may only hold his hand.
In Australia people are lighting candles for him and his family.
In Singapore apparently this event is not seen as unusual and has not attracted much attention. Given that I assume such punishment is meant to act as a deterrent, I wonder why his lawyers aren't allowed to witness it, and comment on it appears to be discouraged.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
KEVIN ANDREWS: “Over the last couple of days we’ve seen a continuation of the hysterical overreaction by the union movement to the Government’s proposed workplace relations changes.”
Actually I think the hysterical overreaction is more likely to be found within the legislation itself. It appears that the justification that this is necessary for economic growth doesn’t have much backing from economists, and in my view the support from industry groups has been a little lukewarm.
I attended the Canberra meeting this morning – apparently there were about 3000 people there, with attendance in the hundreds of thousands across the country. I think this will be a test for the unions. I also attended a briefing for CPSU members a few weeks back where I felt the key message was that we were just going to have to sit this out over the next two years and hope that the impacts were felt before the next election – a rather bleak and meek attitude I thought. Greg Combet’s statements today about the fines that could be imposed on union reps perhaps indicated a little more spirit (can’t find a link for that).
The tone of the warnings issued today by various employers regarding repercussions (supposedly under current laws) for those attending the rally made me wonder how much worse this sort of thing would become under the new legislation.
It seems that according to Kevin, its no use protesting now, we will all just have to experience the impact of the new legislation before we can properly reach a conclusion regarding its worth:
“Look, I think ultimately a thing like this, that the message as you say is the actual experience of it. It’ll be when people live and work under the changes that they will make their judgements individually and within their families about it.”
As has been said by many commentators, this legislation is likely to hit unskilled workers hardest (does that include people like me with only an arts degree?). It is also going to take some time for the impacts to be really felt.
The ABC reports that “Mr Andrews says the industrial relations debate in the Parliament, not in the streets, is the important thing”. Oh, that would be the debate that was cut short in the House of reps would it???
Walking out to the carpark at lunchtime today I observed dark clouds brooding over the parliament house flag pole, and, as thunder rumbled, it caused me to think a little of Mordor. Overreaction can be infectious I suppose.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Canberra - not all bad
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Friday, May 13, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Saw Fred Smith at Tilleys last night, accompanied by Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentleman (doubling as Mr Smith's security contingent). Launch of his new cd - Independence Park. A fairly unique product that I wonder whether anywhere but Canberra could have produced. Currently living the life of a househusband in Washington DC (he said that over there househusbands are regarded with a level of respect ..... similar to that given to a eunuch in ancient China ... I wonder if he has run into Tim Dunlop), his work has been influenced by his time in peackeeping missions in Bouganville and Solomon Islands, some of his lyrics in pidgin, reminding me of my other favourites, Telek (I should blog something about the Telek gig I saw at the end of last year) and David Bridie (I was pleased to notice that David Bridie contributes piano on a couple of the tracks on the cd, also, check his site for mention of a possible Not Drowning, Waving tour in August, and you might want to read the end of his April diary entry re implications for West Papua of the recent consideration of a comprehensive partnership between Indonesia and Australia).
Back to Fred Smith - mainly a story teller, there are both distinctly Australian Folk and rock influences. I love the particular variety of accent he has, somehow a sort of older style Australian accent without being overly broad. Bought the new cd at the concert and have enjoyed it so far, especially Rolling Thunder (not exactly sure who that is about, but it was a great start to the gig with Fred singing from the bar), and the tribute to David Branson - Song So Uncertain.
Was also pleasing to see Mikelangelo of the Black Sea Gentleman, a gentleman I must admit to have not seen performing since his days as Miki boy in P Harness back in the early 90's. Quite well attired these days compared to his old costumes of sheepskin coats, macrame codpieces and not much else.
All up the performers melded together to produce a very atmospheric night. Not sure what the US will think of Fred Smith though.