Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill



From Terry Sedgwick.  It’s a bit like the armadillo book that gave rise to the original name of this blog. 

Joshua Gans speculates that the Medicare levy change, doubling the threshold before the levy kicks in, might just be a test to determine the cost of further health care reforms, and doesn’t think the increase in luxury car tax will have much effect on prices.

Peter Martin takes the deep breath before the plunge into what will no doubt be a week filled with Budget-related work.

Harry Clarke is watching with interest the recent news on gambling contracts in Victoria.  Howard government barracker Harry also thinks the Rudd government is “heartless” on refugees and migration, despite noting that their policies are essentially indistinguishable from Howard’s (just as Howard’s were essentially indistinguishable from Hawke/Keating’s, leaving aside the Pacific Solution, despite all the sound and fury – KP). 

Ted Bailieu is still leader of the Victorian Opposition, despite the efforts of two supportive bloggers. Andrew Landeryou presents some of their greatest hits.
John Surname wonders if the Liberal Party will ever get anything right.

clarencegirl looks at the costs of World Youth Day and possible plans for all welfare payments to be “sequestered”.

The NSW branch of the  RSPCA isn’t exactly wowing them with their latest ad campaign.

Kim wonders if the Liberals can sink any lower, as Possum Comitatus analyses their gloomy poll trajectory under Brendan Nelson’s leadership.


The Analyst summarises the madness that is the Burmese military dictators refusing foreign aid. Ken Parish searches for mechanisms for foreign intervention in humanitarian disasters like Zimbabwe and Burma in spite of the local tyrants. Saint and Currency Lad believes the West should just intervene anyway and dare the tyrants to do anything. 11. gilmae: The cocks-out school of foreign policy is the technical term, I believe. Although as CL points out, it worked in Berlin in 1948. [] Club Troppo and John Quiggin are running an appeal to donate money to appropriate charities.

Clarrie Rivers looks at US bans on clotheslines. Ken Lovell looks at the Pentagon’s astroturfing of analysis of the Iraq war.

Clavos highlights some pretty unsavoury links between the Chavez regime in Venezuela and terrorists. 

Juan Cole reports on an apparent agreement between the al Maliki government in Iraq and the Mahdi Army which, though promising, seems to have ceded much to the latter.

Turcopolier discusses the Bush administration’s role in the current chaos in Lebanon, while Lee Smith (at Michael Totten’s place) is unimpressed with Obama’s utterances on Lebanon.



Megan McArdle and Kathy G argue about minimum wages and their employment effects.


Kim Weatherall analyses the Federal Court’s IceTV judgment (online digital TV guide facilitating recording that deletes ads) here and here.

Marty Lederman reports on the disqualification from a Guantanamo Military Commission trial of a controversial senior prosecutor.

and who’s been ripping in my chair?

green door

real estate dot com


Issues analysis

Jason Soon spruiks a book, Three New Deals, that appears to cover similar ground as Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism without trying to paint Liberals as actual Fascists.

An American pastor believes that marriage has already been transformed and rehabilitated by women, made into a contract pre-supposing love rather than hoping love eventuates. Mark Richardson disagrees.

Helen Dale reports on a libertarian lecture by Tyler Cowen at some junket colloquium she’s atteding in the US.  Some interesting reflections on liberty and its cultural determinants(?).


Dean The Happy Antipodean considers Craig Sherborne’s Hoi Polloi, a memoir based upon growing up in an exclusive Sydney suburbs and the strain of keeping up appearances:

This paranoia, a fear of being though ‘common’ (only plebs shout things out in the street, have arguments you can hear from three floors down) infuses the relationship between the intelligent boy and his fretful parents.

The Mercedes in NZ becomes a Torana in Sydney, with the result that the boy prefers to catch the bus to school.

Scott Esposito offers an insightful column on the culture of performance that drives Manuel Puig’s The Kiss of the Spiderwoman

Ming-Zhu muses about the VCA’s dramatic arts postgrad program in praising Brigid Jackson/Adena Jacob’s This is For You, which is finishing up at the La Mama at the end of the weekend.

Belgium author Paul Verhaeghen wins the Independent’s prize for foreign fiction for his Pynchon-like multi-perspective tale focused upon the dark events and the aftermath of the Holocaust (he translated the work into English himself and hence also pockets the translator’s prize-money). The shortlisted titles are here.

Cam Riley believes Taliesin West is worth seeing because of – not despite – not being a show room; it is the test bed of a number of innovations.

Richard Watts reviews Catalpa, a one man play about the rescue of six Fenian prisoners from an English prison in Fremantle, WA, in 1876.


Niall Cook wraps up both days of Round 4 of the V8 Supercars.

Chuck A. Spear really, really, really doesn’t think much of Jesaulenko and his mark. 22. gilmae: Maybe Chuck was one of the kids who always seemed to be at the bottom of a speccie while at school. []

Shaun Cronin farewells Jack Gibson, the first of rugby league’s supercoaches. 

Snark, strangeness and charm

Vest remembers his mother.

Darryl Mason catches HRH the Duke of Edinburgh inadvertently making the case for republicanism.

Amanda Rose is in desperate need of soup making assistance (at least she was on Friday).  Some pasta and beans and it looks like she good make a very nice minestrone without too much sweat.

Tony the Teacher re-headlines a Hun story about a robber with an unusual modus operandi.  Meanwhile, Tim Blair has biggest mobs of weird police story links at his brand new News Ltd blog.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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15 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. NPOV says:

    I’d agree that Labor supported many of the pretty indefensible changes Howard made to Australia’s refugee policy, but I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to say that by, say, 2001, Howard’s policy was “essentially indistinguishable” from Keating’s. I don’t remember examples of suicides, collective self-harm, hunger strikes, riots etc. pre-1995. Mind you, I haven’t seen much indication that Rudd is all that interested in improving things.

  2. gilmae says:

    Keating’s indefinite mandatory detention only got enacted in 1994, so not being able to remember any signs of psychological harm pre-1995 is like noting that you can’t remember anybody being hit by a Model-T pre-1908.

  3. Patrick says:

    It was also Keating who took the first stab at precluding any judicial review, although he largely failed.

  4. Ken Parish says:

    In fact mandatory detention of illegal arrival asylum seekers existed legislatively from May 1992. See the discussion in Chu Kheng Lim v Minister for Immigration Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (1992) 176 CLR 1. Moreover, in a more informal sense it had been in operation since 1989-90 when boatloads of Cambodian asylum seekers began arriving off Darwin. All of them were consigned to immediate and ongoing detention, first at a remote scout camp near Darwin and later at Port Headland after then immigration Minister Gerry Hand discovered that local Darwin lawyers including myself were far too willing to assist the asylum seekers for his liking.

    However, NPOV is certainly wrong if he imagines that the Howard government’s detention regime was somehow harsher and more harmful than that of the Hawke/Keating government. Detaining families for years in remote detention facilities is equally conducive of serious psychological harm whatever the ostensible political orientation of the government presiding over it. In fact Baxter is if anything slightly less unpleasant (and less remote) than the old Port Headland and Woomera centres that preceded it. This study conducted for HREOC surveys international and Australian research into the psychological and other effects on children in detention between 1991 and 2001. It doesn’t suggest that the Howard government’s regime was harsher or more productive of adverse pshcyological effects. Certainly (and at the risk of giving unnecessary encouragement to RWDBs) the mainstream media concentrated on publicising these adverse effects much more intensively under the Howard government than they had under Hawke and Keating, but that may say more about the MSM than about the quality of the respective detention regimes.

  5. NPOV says:

    Thanks for that Ken. I couldn’t find a lot of specific information relating to what the policy differences were between Howard and Keating. It does seem Keating was let off the hook for something that he was arguably more responsible for than Howard (having introduced the system in the first place).

  6. John Greenfield says:

    It is about time The Luvvies started owning up to their complicity during Keating’s shameful Culture Wars. I remember reading the MSM in those days. It was like those state-run “News” broadcasts we see from China and North Korea.

    Most of the braindead Luvvies under 30 are totally clueless about all this because their dopey Culture/Gender Studies classes think Ancient History means 1998 and their “Legal Studies” teachers do not teach Ancient Law BM – Before Mabo.

  7. It’s well and truly worth remembering that (a) mandatory detention was first brought in under a Labor government (but with Liberal support in the Senate) and (b) almost all of the most harmful and unjust aspects of the law changes affecting refugees made by the Howard government would not have occured without the explicit support of the Labor Party – especially temporary protection visas, use of the military to intercept and tow back boats, and the use of Nauru and other offshore processing sites to avoid any requirements for due legal process (as well as the many other changes made to the Migration Act which tried to prevent basic justice from applying).

    However, I still think it’s unfair to say that Howard’s policies were “essentially indistinguishable” from Hawke/Keating. Firstly, while Labor enabled TPVs, Pacific Solution, etc, they didn’t initiate it. Secondly, the Rudd government has closed down the Pacific Solution (albeit whlie keeping Xmas Island open) and has a clear promise to scrap TPVs. Thirdly, whilst Hawke/Keating initiated mandatory detention (and were no better than Ruddock in some of the rhetoric they used to prime the public for the so-called ‘necessity’ of it), the worst abuses in detention occured in the Howard era – particuarly the extremes the government went to (and the private prison firms who were contracted to run the detention centres) to prevent adequate care being provided to serioulsy ill detainees.

    In the same way, the original point Harry attempted to make in the post originally linked to is flawed. He was only trying to score a cheap partisan political point anyway, so being wrong doesn;t matter much in itself, but on an issue as socially and historically signifcant as our migration laws, I think its important not to let misunderstandings get too deeply entrenched.

  8. John Greenfield says:

    I am currently writing a retrospective on Keating’s Culture Wars and the complicity of the Greybeard Luvvies – Andrew Bartlett, John Qiggin, Phillip Adams – in their propagation during the Howard years. At the moment we have the scandalous Islamistaion of the Dawkins Universities and now our schools being told we can’t say “corroboree” or “tribe.” These wretched Luvvies need to be exposed and sent packing to the salt mines.

  9. Ken Parish says:

    Hi Andrew

    You’ll note that my primary post comment concerning Harry’s post specifically noted “leaving aside the Pacific Solution”. However, you’re correct to point out that the Howard government also introduced temporary protection visas and some other discriminatory measures against refugees after they’d been granted visas. However, my main point stands. The Hawke/Keating detention regime was just as harsh as Howard’s. I’m unconvinced that the private American firm was measurably harsher than the previous APS regime, although I’ve not studied the research closely. Certainly however, seeking judicial or merits review of the conduct of the private operators was much harder/impossible (although HREOC found it just as hard to get letters to detention centre inmates under the APS regime under the Keating government). Moreover, the Howard government belatedly liberalised the detention regime for families (something Hawke/Keating never did), albeit only under pressure from Petro Georgiou and other liberal Liberals.

  10. Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton) says:

    That sounds fascinating JG. I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  11. I can’t wait to read that one John – it should be most amusing. I think I had a beard for about 20% of the Howard years, and it probably moved from 25% to 75% grey over that period, so maybe that’s a sign you’ll be about 10 per cent accurate in your ‘exposing’. Although if your comment here is anything to go by, it looks like it will be a fact free effort.

  12. You’re making a fair enough point Ken – it seriously irritates me when some advocates and commentators give Labor a free pass on this issue given that most of it wouldn’t have happened without them. I heard it happen at a major gathering just last week. But I think you overstated it a bit much for my liking.

    Prolonged detention was and is harmful, no matter who the government is. But I think some of the build of concern and outrage was cumulative, rather than solely partisan – it took people a while to really just how serious the harm was that was being caused. In many cases it took the travesty of the Tampa to really make people think the whole thing had gone too far.

    Anyway, I won’t go on more about it here. I must get back to stopping people from saying ‘tribe’ (apparently)

  13. hc says:

    Some fairly significant distortions in the account of my post on refugees by KP and the response to it by Andrew Bartlett. Please read my post readers and certainly not Andrew Bartlett’s extremely biased account of it.

  14. Nabakov says:

    “I am currently writing a retrospective on Keatings Culture Wars and the complicity of the Greybeard Luvvies”

    Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

  15. Alastair says:

    I’m sure we’ll all enjoy a good laugh reading your trash Greenfield.

Comments are closed.