Missing Link: YHBT. YHL. HAND.

jptroppo.gifWell, the news in this issue of Missing Link is that News Ltd appears to have played lots of people for suckers.

First, there was the story that some of the proposed citizenship examination questions had been leaked. Next, sundry bloggers, led by the redoubtable Irfan Yusuf and followed by Legal Eagle, Larvatus Prodeo, Catallaxy, Andrew Norton, Club Troppo, Tim Dunlop, John Quiggin, Gandhi and Andrew Bartlett dissected some of the sillier questions. They were followed assiduously by various MSM outlets.

Suddenly, we learnt via Geoff Honnor at Troppo that the questions had been mere trolling, and were not marked with any official imprimatur at all. Gummo at LP smelt a rather large rat; go visit his post and see if you do too.

Images in this edition are one of John Pasquarelli’s rare interiors, featuring some artworks from his time in Papua New Guinea, and Louise Adler engaging in some finger-wagging. They come courtesy the artist and Andrew Landeryou.

Today’s Missing Link compiled by Jason Soon, Amanda Rose, Ken Parish, Patrick Garson and James Farrell with Helen Dale in the editor’s chair.

1. News and Politics Stuff

WorkChoices (shhh!) is doing the rounds of the bloggy ridges, and first up is a lean and balanced perspective from Bryan at OzPolitics. He also does his customary compare and contrast between betting markets and polls.

Counteract Now highlights the latest AWA shenanigans, this time from that paragon of industry, Telstra.

Gary Sauer-Thompson reframes the current conflict in Palestine, illustrating just why the new government(s) are having so many problems.

APEC will apparently be a jewel in the crown for NSW. Sounds more like a finger up the bum to Darryl Mason.

Guy reflects on Kevin Rudd’s astute takedown of Howard’s political advertising, giving him a fabulous wedgie.

John Quiggin predicts that the new IR ads

will be somewhere between ineffective and counterproductive. Those who have been following the issue closely can only have a negative reaction, and those who remember the previous campaign might wonder why, if all the relevant conditions were PROTECTED BT LAW last time, they now need to be protected again.

Jeremy Sear finds the revisions to WorkChoices confusing, but will not let his trust in the government be undermined by Channel 9’s shameless anti-government propaganda. Gam has the McLeod’s Daughters video itself, and Tim Dunlop furnishes more examples showing how few choices Choices offers.

John Surname doesn’t think much of Heavy Kevvy’s current campaign slogan designed to encapsulate the Libs (“throwing the fair go out the back door”). But judging by John’s own suggested slogan for Kevvy, his advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. Any campaign slogan suggestions from Missing Link readers??

Graham Young joins the legions of bloggers who’ve posted about the ABC’s Bastard Boys docu-drama. Graham makes the following astute observation:

There’s been a division of political labour in Australia over the last 25 or so years. That is that Labor gets to do the really hard economic reforms, because its constituency is relatively unconcerned about them, and the Liberals get to do the labour reforms, for the same reason.

On the occasion of David Hicks’s return, Tim Dunlop finds it ‘hard to believe the Howard Government couldve handled this any worse’. According to his sources, Andrew Landeryou reckons Melbourne University Press (with Louise Adler at the helm) is at thelatroppoal.gif point of signing David Hicks’ Gitmo story. We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Climate Change – as expected – is already bringing out the rent-seekers. Harry Clarke documents a particularly egregious example. Iain Hall has a sobering YouTube vid to share (visit his place to see it; at the moment Troppo is eating YouTube vids posted by everyone except Jacques).

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Pommygranate has some sceptical reflections on Corporate Social Responsibility. As a new Australian resident, he has also started compiling a dictionary of Strine and shares it with us here.

Andrew Leigh publicises some new research he has just published which seeks to measure teacher effectiveness by reference to student improvements in test scores, including the fairly unsurprising finding that more literate teachers produce faster imrpovements in students’ test scores. But come to think of it, if this is so obvious then why don’t we as a society pay teachers better and value them more?

Still on matters schooling, Andrew Norton applies his psephelogical skills to the vexed question of whether private schooling makes people more religious. His preliminary findings may surprise you. For all you statistics nerds out there, Simon Jackman digs up a lovely bit of Bayesian arcana.

Kim links to a depressing story on the state of women’s rights in the new Iraq.

Tim Lambert itemises the errors and omissions in Davidson and Robson’s critique of the IPCC (and the econnomists’ petition) in The Australian. John Quiggin is outraged that the paper did print a reply submitted by economic modellers Dixon and Adams.

Bernice deflates the hyperbole about Macquarie Bank. Greed, she argues, is the key to the company’s success.

In two interesting posts at the Larva Rodeo, Robert Merkel discusses methane gas extraction for energy generation; and takes up the intriguing story of Kasparov, Putin, and the new American missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe.

For anyone out there with an open mind, a vietnamese choko recipe from Patrick.

tigtog feels that, after some counterproductive posturing on both sides, a balanced view of Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism is now crystalising.

Kieran at the Dead Roo gives notice of a film about refugee activism.

On the subject of films – or a DVD in this case – Roz at Groove Thang documents the effect that silly woo-woo ‘The Secret’ has had on a close friend (highly recommended):

Stupidly, I said to F, ‘What about if you’re born with Down Syndrome,’ meaning for example, what if you have an intellectual disability – how will you be able to utilise the ‘Law of Attraction’ when you have a limited intellect? I had forgotten (how could I – I went with her to the hospital) that F had a pregnancy terminated because the foetus had severe Down Syndrome. She said. ‘I attracted that baby to me because of my negative thinking.’ I was gentle with her, but I wanted to scream. Then F’s brother H, who’s also a ‘The Secret’ junkie, told me that he had bought a lotto ticket and tried to utilise the ‘Law of Attraction.’ At the split second he bought the ticket, he felt a glimmer of doubt. When the lotto numbers were announced, he had won. When he looked at the ticket, he had mistakenly been given a football pools ticket.

3. The Yartz

Richard Watts has some reflections instigated after being cited as an upcoming young public intellectual by Mark Davis. The Davis piece also kicked off discussions at Club Troppo (here and here) and Catallaxy.

Matilda’s regular review of Australian book reviews.

Pavlov’s Cat has started a new blog, Ask the Brontë Sisters, in which she dispenses no-nonsense Yorkshire advice to aspiring writers.

Paul Martin at the Melbourne Spanish Film Festival.

Vanessa has assembled some dodgy LP covers; giggling at those never gets old.

20/20 Filmsight tries to resurrect a sadly neglected classic:

I think most people would be turned off by the graphic violence and sex in the film, but I´ve always felt that Cannibal Holocaust has many redeeming qualities.

Big Brother update from The Guru.


If you’re near the QLD/NSW border later this year you might want to check out the Mungindi Music Festival and if you’ve ever wanted to write a comic book, Comikaze could be your chance.

David Tiley posts a learned and entertaining discourse on graffiti. Do you know the difference between graffiti, stencils, pasteups and tags?

4. T.S.S.

(troppo sports stadium)

Niall “Bannerman” Cook covers the weekend’s V8 broom-brooms round at Winton in Victoria. Very damp, which makes for both racing thrills and spills and happy farmers.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Richard Watts is not sorry to hear about the passing of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Saint in a Straitjacket uncovers a bizarre alliance between the Scientologists and American Pentecostals. Presumably the rather spectacular divergences between L. Ron’s brand of lunacy and Biblical fundamentalism are less important than the common bonds between shysters.

Peter Black discusses ten fabulous internetty things we no longer enjoy… thanks to lawyers, while Amir at Austrolabe tells when unread books may be of more use than read ones.

Adrian the Cabbie picks up a fare who takes him down memory lane.

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16 years ago

Once again there have been some technical kafups for our subscribers (apparently the last edition was also affected). We are working on it!

James Farrell
James Farrell
16 years ago

What does ‘trolling’ mean in this context? Does this mean that the Herald Sun report was a practical joke, or what exactly? It’s not April Fool’s Day, and this is not The Chaser we’re talking about, so what’s wrong with the conclusion that either the paper made the questions up and lied in describing them as ‘sample citizenship questions devised by the Federal Government’; or Andrews and Howard are lying when they deny these are their questions.

16 years ago

What’s a blogger gotta do do get some visibility?

Next, sundry bloggers, led by the redoubtable Irfan Yusuf and followed by Legal Eagle, Larvatus Prodeo, Catallaxy, Andrew Norton, Club Troppo, Tim Dunlop and Andrew Bartlett dissected some of the sillier questions.

I know Club Troppo does it’s best, but I actually posted about this “Values Test” within hours of the story breaking on Thursday afternooon (and the post was linked at Bryan’s Oz Politics feed).

Irfan Yusuf’s Saturday post incorrectly says the sample questions were posted on Friday. But actually, a Reuters story at 2:14 am Canberra time specified that the Minister said these were only sample questions and “the government had not yet decided the questions to go into the citizenship test”. So much of the outrage could have been avoided if media sources like ABC had checked with the source, as Reuters’ man did, rather than blindly trusting everything that comes from News Ltd.

Of course, even as sample questions, these were ridiculous nonsense. I think Andrew Bartlett’s analysis is right: this was a dog whistle designed to stir up trouble. Howard’s mob can’t even get that right these days. Where’s Alan Jones when you need him, eh?

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
16 years ago

The Reuters story as quoted lets News Ltd off the hook. They described them as “sample questions”, and the Reuters story supports the view that they were supplied by the government, which then used the fact that no final decision had been made to disclaim its own trial balloon. I think it’s Club Troppo who’s been trolled on this one.

16 years ago

You are right. Giggling at dodgy album covers never gets old. I’m glad it’s not just me who appreciates the extra sharp vintage cheddar qualities of such a collection. More to come. Many, many more…

Thanks again for the link :)

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
16 years ago

I take it back. The story quotes Andrews as saying that the questions were devised by the Herald-Sun. On the other hand, if News is making it up, they are digging a deep pit for themselves. This followup story http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21753675-662,00.html
implies very strongly that the paper has access to a pool of questions under consideration by the government. Even for the Murdoch press, it’s hard to believe they would quote readers condeming questions they had invented themselves.

16 years ago

JQ: whatever’s happening, it’s very sus. To be frank I don’t know what’s up, or who’s lying, but there’s clearly fudging somewhere along the line, especially with the Govt stating that the newspaper devised the questions. The paper is still relying on ‘strong implications’. Legalled perhaps? As Andrew Bartlett says, this may have to wait for Senate Estimates.

Apologies for forgetting JQ and Gandhi’s posts. I’ll pop the links in now.

16 years ago

Thanks for the link, Troppos! It’s a bit bung but.


16 years ago

Sorry Tigtog. Will fix. I’m not having a good debugging night, I see :(

Ken Parish
16 years ago


Ken Parish
16 years ago

BTW this edition turned out very meaty as usual. I was worried this morning it was looking a bit skinny. Just shows you. Thanks Helen.

16 years ago

The citizenship test thing really got it going, Ken. I actually think there’s a story in there, and that just for once Ozblogistan has played a part in breaking it.

16 years ago

Thanks again one and all for the link fest. The source and reason for the values questions would be worth more investigation. I’ve been looking at http://www.immi.gov.au and http://www.citizenship.gov.au for any comment and I am not finding any…nothing on ministers websites so far either.

Either News Ltd got it wrong (they definitely cited exclusive access) or government is lying…and I also recall a TV item on this where they were asking people on the street.

Mind you given that the questions are dodgy…first prime minister was the subject of an ad, the head of state/republican debate, unaustralian…I am leaning towards a media stunt.

16 years ago

Any campaign slogan suggestions from Missing Link readers??

How about this? “Aww, c’mon… give us a go!” or “ALP: Because it’s our turn”

Jason Soon
16 years ago

Any campaign slogan suggestions from Missing Link readers??

Well there’s a little boy waitin’ at the counter of a corner shop

He’s been waitin’ down there, waitin’ half the day

They never ever seem to have the time

He gets pushed around, knocked to the ground

He gets to his feet and he says

[camera pans to Kevin Rudd dressed as a schoolboy, wiping his nose, adjusting his specs after getting up off the floor and singing …]

“What About me, it isn’t fair

I’ve had enough now I want my share

Can’t you see? I wanna live!

But you just take more than you give…”

16 years ago

That’s quite a disturbing talent you’ve got there, Jason ;)

16 years ago

2 links? thanks SL!


[…] May 23, 2007 Posted by Fleeced in Election, Politics, Humour. trackback This recent post got me thinking about campaign slogans for the ALP (Australian Labor Party) – but then I thought, […]

16 years ago

I actually thought the post on N90AM was more exciting that the racing.

John Surname
16 years ago

Nice work Jason. Unfortunately, Kevin Rudd is yet to adopt my slogan, but there may be t-shirts on the way. You know how much the kids love t-shirts.