Friday’s Missing Link


Howard’s End? Matthew Talbot Hostel for Homeless Politicians, as imagined by Aussie Bob at Road to Surfdom

There hasn’t really been any clearly  dominant issue in the political blogosphere over the last couple of days. I suppose it reflects the onset of the Christmas silly season, with the pollies and most TV programs and political journalists off on holidays, and the Third Test on the tellie (with Monty ‘Python’ Panesar bamboozling the Aussies as Shane Warne does the Poms).

It’s an opportune time to explain the criteria I use in deciding what posts to highlight for Missing Link.   First, I abstract posts irrespective of whether I agree with what the writer is saying.    Primarily I’m looking for some significant element of  original comment or analysis.   That means I rarely if ever select posts that consist only of a couple of hyperlinks and a quote from one or two articles in the mainstream media.   That is the “traditional” sort of blogging pioneered by people like Instapundit and, in Australia,  Tim Blair.  It’s clearly popular with lots of readers, because  those bloggers  attract really large and loyal  audiences.   Frankly, however,  that sort of blogging doesn’t interest me very much.   I’m not interested in Tim’s glib one-liners (except on the very odd occasion when they’re actually funny and incisive), and I can read the mainstream media for myself.   Thus, because  Missing Link is my personal selection of the  blogosphere writing I find interesting, it  has an unashamed bias towards what some have called “essay blogging”, that is posts that actually have something original to say and which take the time to explain and develop an argument at least to some extent.


News and politics stuff

Palm Island –  the killing of Mulrunji

  • Following Queensland DPP Leanne Clare’s announcement yesterday that no charges will be laid against the Queensland police officer found by the Coroner to be responsible for the death of Palm Island man ‘Mulrunji’ in police custody, Ken Parish (modestly highlighting myself) examines the circumstances of the killing and the record of DPP Leanne  Clare, while Andrew Bartlett points to the incongruity produced by the fact that some Pslm island rioters recently had their sentences increased in order to deter  riotous behaviour.   Deterrence, it seems, at least in Queensland,  is a concept that doesn’t apply to violent policemen.

Rudd – reading the first tea-leaves

  • Mark Bahnisch fears Heavy Kevy is adopting a small target strategy.   Don Arthur disagrees.   Both analyses are subtle and well considered and streets ahead of anything you’ll read in the mainstream media.

 Quiggin versus Blair

  • Two of the venerable pioneers of the Australian political blogosphere go head to head on Australia’s recent economic history, each spinning an opposing story from the same set of facts.   We blog you decide! (where have I heard that before?)

Other political issues

  • No more troops – Tim Dunlop analyses the latest twists and turns in US debate about what to do in Iraq.   His closing quote is perhaps the starkest testimony I’ve yet seen to the horror and seeming hopelessness of the current situation:

… In a recent interview with The Washington Post’s Anthony Shadid, a woman named Fatima put it this way: “One-third of us are dying, one-third of us are fleeing, and one-third of us will be widows.” At the Baghdad morgue, they distinguish Shia from Sunnis because the former are beheaded and the latter are killed with power drills.

… Are the Greens worse than the DLP or Family First? Obviously yes, for the socially conservative wing of the 1  party, which is deeply opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion and gay civil unions. The Greens are the enemy. The DLP is a friend. Is this how the rank-and-file Labor members see things? …

  • DLP breathes life into Democrats – Graham Young gives a timely reminder on why the conventional wisdom that the Democrats are dead ducks at the next federal election   is misconceived:

… In the latest polls the Australian Democrats have been polling around 5% in a number of states, which is better than the DLP did in Victoria. Added to that, the quota in a senate election where there are six positions available, is lower than for a Victorian region where there are only 5 positions.

So, if the ADs can convince all the major parties they’re an easier group to work with than the Greens and that preference strategies ought to reflect this, they may do better than all the pundits predict. …

  • The pleasure of centrality – “Human Behaviour” – the thoughts of an American centrist who clearly hasn’t been in Australia very long:

… I wish more US politicians wrote articles for mass public consumption in the major newspapers. I believe Abbott to be a sincere, contemplative, and patriotic Australian – despite being a monarchist (that, I just don’t get). I do not agree with many most of his positions, but I respect them, because I believe they are honestly formed with thoughtful consideration and courage.   …

… The new Qantas will find it hard to play the patriotism card. The government might start acting in the interests of travelers instead.

  • Catch the Fire Ministries v Islamic Council of Victoria Inc: Free speech wins – just – Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale blogs yesterday’s decision in favour of two Christian fundie preachers who slagged Islam and were charged under Victoria’s Orwellian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.  It’s a technical win not a vindication of constitutional free speech principles.
  • What is the likely effect of the citizenship test on public opinion? – Andrew Norton argues ingeniously that Howard’s citizenship test might (counter-intuitively) actually serve to increase support for the current very large migration program.   He may even be right. If popular xenophobic fears are dulled by essentially meaningless measures like this, the Howard government will be free to continue importing huge numbers of skilled workers under its 457  Visa scheme, thereby simultaneously keeping a lid on local skilled wages and avoiding any need for employers or government  to invest in enhanced skills training of Australian workers.   It’s a win-win strategy, except for Australian workers.
  • PAPER TIGER: Australian Foreign Investment Laws Are A National Joke – in the wake of the announcement of a revised (and likely successful) private equity bid for Qantas, Andrew Landeryou writes on the broader issue of Australia’s foreign investment regulatory regime.


Life and other serious stuff

  • A trilogy of posts by DogPossum about history, dance, coolness and the blues:
  • Going private – Susoz muses about the issues surrounding public versus private schools as her son goes into primary school (a bit early I would have thought, but apparently many kids start at private schools in Year 3).
  • Inspiring teachers – Andrew Leigh writes about a new ANU award (which he apparently  suggested) where great high school teachers are honoured based on nominations of teachers who inspired them  from the ANU graduating class each year.   What a great idea.   Teaching is an extraordinarily important profession but bizarrely has always tended to enjoy fairly low status in Australia.   Why, I wonder?
  • Protecting us from ourselves – Steve Edney weighs up the arguments for and against having the right to order one’s own pathology tests (rather than needing a referral from a GP).


Mad Bad Sad and Glad


No caption required

You know it’s Christmas when

a) the pianist in David Jones is playing carols instead of the Moonlight Sonata or I Could Have Danced All Night.

b) you’re momentarily blinded at the wheel by the sun reflecting off the tinsel in the neighbours’ rose bushes. ….

  • Inhofe’s conspiracy theory – Tim Lambert blogs about some loopy US Republican politician who reckons global warming is a UN conspiracy:

Why did the UN cook up the idea of global warming? To “shut down the machine called America.” In fact, we learned, global warming is a plot to destroy the US economy and to initiate one-world government–a goal not only of the UN but of the American political left more broadly. …

You’d have to think it says something about the “true” meaning of Christmas when it appears more likely that you’ll receive a Christmas card from your local plumber than anyone you actually know. 3

Australian researchers are delighted by the discovery of a fossilised hamburger twenty metres south of the “Mungo Man” gravesite in south-western New South Wales.

“Righteous Glow Productions”, a documentary company jointly owned by Dr Keith Windschuttle and Janet Albrechtson, today announced a presale with Channel Ten to document what presenter Christopher Pearson has called “an approaching firestorm of lies” from anthropologists in Australian universities.

Scientists appointed during the Whitlam years are claiming the prehistoric lump of fast food proves that Aborigines had a sophisticated society around the once fertile lagoons some forty thousand years ago.   …

  • In search of good online video – legal academic Peter Black shares knowledge about some useful facilities that assist in locating videos that may interest you from YouTube etc.   I alwats wondered how people managed to find videos in those sorts of repositories.
  • Merry Corpse-mas – Caz

Skel seemed utterly ungrateful for the thoughtful Leunig calendar I gave him at the TSSH office Christmas party. I’m starting to wish I pulled Desci’s name out of the Secret Santa hat instead, because I’ve just found the perfect gift for her. A subscription to “Girls and Corpses” magazine  …

  1. Labor[]
  2. No time for an arts section today – I’ll include it in Monday’s edition.[]
  3. I don’t get any either, but I strongly suspect that it’s because I don’t send them.[]

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 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 the early 1990s.
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17 years ago


I arrived in Australia on September 11th 2004, so no, I haven’t been here a long time, and I have spent more of that time watching footy than anything else.

But how would you account for those native Australians who disagree with, but respect, Abbott’s views?


17 years ago

Ken, I don’t think the email thing works. I didn’t get it in my inbox.

17 years ago

“Helen ‘scepticlawyer’ Dale blogs yesterday’s decision in favour of two Christian fundie preachers who slagged Islam and were charged under Victoria’s Orwellian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. It’s a technical win not a vindication of constitutional free speech principles.”

I agree (as does Helen) that it wasn’t a “vindication of constitutional free speech principles”.

But it was not merely technical. The court apparently ruled that the tribunal was wrong in its reading of the law under which the two Dannys were found to have breached. It has to retry the case in accordance with the findings of the court. Effectively the court has found that on the facts of the case the two mean did not vilify Muslims, they criticised Islam – quite a different thing and something the anti-vilification law doesn’t forbid. “Technical” only in the sense that if someone is charged with flouting the law and a court finds they didn’t flout that law, then that’s “technical”.

Unfortunately lawyers have a habit of attempting to change the meaning of words in the English language. Yesterday “negligence” today “technical”.

Mark Bahnisch
17 years ago

I didn’t get an email either, Ken.

Mark Bahnisch
17 years ago

I subscribed this morning. I’d tried to earlier, but the syntax in the code on LP obviously went awry somehow – it clicked me through to Troppo itself rather than to the subscription site.

17 years ago

I got Wednesday’s on Thursday, so perhaps it is just a little behind real time?

Gummo Trotsky
17 years ago
17 years ago

I’ve been wondering who to favour with the gift of a Leunig calendar this year (I assume the one Caz gave away was the one that came free with The Age a couple of weeks ago.)

Just to rub it in they gave out Leunig “wrapping paper” (ie a large piece of colour-printed newspaper) the following Saturday.

17 years ago

A subscription to “Girls and Corpses”

David Jackmanson
17 years ago

I subscribe to my own blog va both Feedblitz and Feedburner’s email sub services, and it always seems to be quicker than Feedblitz, although still nothing like instant

EG Posted a story on Wednesday at about 1330 Brisbane time – received a copy of the post from blogger almost immediately, a Feedburner email about 7 hours later, and a Feedblitz email 36 hours later.

Perhaps its worth quickly setting up Feedburner, subscribing to email updates from both services and testing them?