Friday’s Missing Link on Friday!

Guido’s take on Howard/Hockey’s portrayal of Sharan Burrow and the ACTU reaching out to Australian workers

The second half of the week has been dominated by tit-for-tat exchanges about John Howard’s use of Kirribilli House for Liberal Party functions and the ACTU’s leaked election campaigning strategy for Labor. Andrew Leigh asks an obvious question about the latter:

So the thing that I still cant work out with the ACTUs current campaign against the Howard Government is: what do the 33% of unionists who voted for John Howard in 2004 think about it? Its true that organisations sometimes make decisions that arent supported by all of their members, but one-third really is quite a lot.

Peter Martin’s post on the dodgy federal government tender seeking consultants to “model” the respective effects of Work Choices and Labor’s IR policies generated quite a bit of discussion in the blogosphere too, and demonstrated the bare-faced effrontery that has helped make John Howard what he is today …

This edition of Missing Link compiled by James Farrell, Amanda Rose, Jason Soon and Ken Parish (who also edited it). I ran the Tuesday and Friday publication idea up the flagpole to see who saluted. No-one did, so in time-honoured fashion I decided to do it anyway!

Warning – some may consider one of the images over the fold to be non-worksafe, although probably only if your boss is a close relative of George Pell.

1. News and Politics Stuff

Gianna draws out Miranda Devine and Janet Albrechtsen’s woman-hating tendencies

Tim Dunlop launched Round 2 of his experimental One Question (1Q) series, in which bloggers take turns to pose an essay question for others bloggers to answer. It was Harry Clarke’s turn this week, and his question was: How relevant are motives in assessing the public policies stance of a politician or commentator?

Tim’s own answer

So, what I really want to know is how believable John Howards claims about the legislation are given that I cant really know the truth of his end claim. Do motives matter now?

Of course they do. If his motives are driven by issues other than the niceties of the economic argument then it is reasonable to assume that the case he is putting forward is being influenced by those motives. He is choosing his evidence in light of them and therefore it is perfectly reasonable to take them into account.

Andrew Bartlett basically supports Harry’s thesis:

It is certainly true that I hope what I say and do does help me get re-elected, but that doesnt mean that what I say is dishonest or disingenuous or without substance. My arguments should still stand or fall on their own merits.

tigtog opts for a case study, the very trial that brought ‘cui bono?‘ into the lexicon. She examines the motives of Cicero himself and of Sulla, and asks whether they matter.

Almost everybody is talking about the suspension of two academics at QUT. John Quiggin finds it ‘very worrying’. Andrew Bartlett has an excellent coverage of the issue, including links to MacLennan and Hookham article in the Australian, and just about every other contribution one might need to form an opinion about the matter. His own judgement:

..despite all the competing arguments, I still believe that suspending people for six months without pay for being publicly critical is excessive and very dangerous. Im sure QUT didnt like being criticised so publicly and harshly, or the people behind the thesis, but its hard not to get the feeling that all academics are being sent the very strong message that academic freedom of speech and debate ceases to apply when it comes to any criticism of ones own University, and presumably their funding sources and opportunities too.

For readers who can’t get enough of thisissue, there’s also a useful comments thread following this summary from Kim at LP, who blogged on the story when it started.

Tim Dunlop reviews the questions raised by the Four Corners report on Mamdouh Habib’s ‘rendition’ to the Cairo touture chambers and what the government knew about it.

Legal Eagle has a great post on workplace “performance reviews“, while Slim Bollocks suggests that good workplace leadership obviates any need for a formal performance review system or “merit pay” system.

Nuclear Australia blog notes that contrary to recent reports, environmentalist Tim Flannery hasn’t backpedalled on his qualified support for nuclear power.

Here the Nuclear Australia blog discusses in greater detail Australia’s options for getting into nuclear power.

Andrew Norton and Fred Argy both focus (albeit from slightly different perspectives) on statistics showing that the bottom 20% of Australia’s population have benefitted more in recent years from federal government taxing and spending changes than the top 20%.

Simon Jackman examines the effect of “star” candidates in federal seats, and finds little clear evidence that they provide an advantage to the party preselecting them.

Dr Faustus sees sinister motives in recent US arrests of terrorism suspects allegedly planning attacks that were extremely unlikely ever to succeed. The good Doctor F also probes recent minor changes to US legislative restrictions on gun ownership in the wake of the recent Virginia tech massacre.

Lapsed Liberal Andrew Elder muses at length about the likely future of the Liberal and National parties if Howard loses the next election.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Dreadnought has a lengthy post on the Catholic Church and the question of gay marriage.

Pommygranate highlights a (dodgy-sounding – KP) carbon tax proposal by notorious global warming denialist Ross McKitrick. Meanwhile, Harry Clarke examines a far more promising sounding market-based proposal to induce China to genuinely embrace carbon-reducing energy technologies.

Pommygranate also picks up on the foreign aid to Africa meme in the wake of the recent G8 summit and, like Valorous Rob earlier in the week, espouses the Shikwati line that aid (as opposed to promotion of free trade and rule of law) is counterproductive. ((In fact my understanding of the research is that aid has valuable and measurable positive effects when delivered to countries with relatively honest systems and fairly strong rule of law, but is certainly counter-productive when delivered to kleptocracies – hardly a surprising finding really ~ KP))

Andrew Norton discusses a new quasi-voucher scheme for funding tertiary education, while both Norton and Jason Soon note an uncharacteristically silly op-ed piece about the voucher/scholarship proposal by legal academic Greg Craven. In fact it must be Andrew Norton week here at Missing Link, because Andrew also has an interesting post asserting (in the context of Melbourne’s Peel Hotel exclusively gay pub ruling) that classical liberalism favours tolerance of diversity while left-liberals tend to insist on the more fulsome concept of “acceptance”. ((I’m not at all sure that this is a universal attitude of “left-liberals”, but it was certainly an evident attitude among many of them when I dared to suggest a couple of years ago that liberal principles of tolerance of diversity didn’t require acceptance of the legitimacy of a lesbian student teacher apparently espousing her lifestyle choice to her primary school class, and that perhaps parents might be entitled to some say in this ~ KP))

Jason Soon notes research which seems to show that people’s attitudes towards technological change correlate with their ideological orientations.

In the first of what threatens to be a series, Cam Riley argues that constitutional conventions (e.g. those relating to the Governor-General’s reserve powers) are just whims of the sovereign power.

Andrew Leigh highlights research showing the effectiveness of congestion taxes in relation to road useage in London. Which State leader/s will have the guts to implement them here?

Robert Merkel discusses a new process that turns straw into diesel fuel.

Readers may recall that Kim at LP took a pounding in her comments thread merely for pointing out that female circumcision is not an essentially Islamic practice, and that a subtle campaign against it might conceivably work better than a heavy handed one. The mainstream media piled on too. Helen offers a stout defense, while Gianna confronts more of the same kind some of posturing, neatly turning the tables on Devine and Albrechtsen. Kim acknowledged these contributions, and managed to ignite a new string of firecrackers. As an example of how western intervention in Muslim countries can set back the cause of women’s rights, tigtog considers the case of Iraq.

Tim Lambert combats podcast with podcast in his ongoing campaign against Rachel Carson disinformation. He also notes a new attempt to revive long-discredited claims about the efficacy of execution.

Sarah advocates stiffer penalties for cruelty to animals.

Jeremy Sears deciphers some lefty bashing gibberish in an editorial from The Australian.

3. The Yartz

Is it art? Who cares? This image from a Japanese porn movie aptly titled “500 person sex” via Apathetic Sarah

This came up in the blog lists at the Australian Index, but its … kind of a forum post. Still, its a great round up of an issue that comes up a lot: internet downloading, particularly of TV. Australians are per capita the world’s biggest TV pirates, and given the major coverage Oz media gave this week to the final episode of The Sopranos which may or may not ever turn up on Australian TV, I expect those percentages just spiked. Anyway, the piece is attached to blog add-ons like Digg and it has comments. Bloggy enough! And the author has a blog. Most highly recommended for noobs and old seadogs alike.

Long interesting post on the form, politics, intersections and trends of theatre and performance art at Mink Tails.

Strawberries and Shakespeare at The Old Foodie.

Harry Clarke has been reading about the degenerate 70s, but assures us he is not a Deadhead.

Monkeys! Skulls! Bats! Early 19th anthropological art at BibliOdyssey.

A “fully fledged Rant” on Coppola, Jr’s Marie Antoinette at Roger really.

Obligatory gratuitous snark: Culture Strain on the new Seven morning show.

What is Kitsch, really?

Even crocheters have exams.

From the MP3 blogs: Perth’s Kit Pop at Who the Bloody Hell Are You? It’s “a cut-and-paste-and-fuck affair, influenced by hip-hop and abstract electronica.” Not my cup of meat, but some of you young folk might “dig” it.

So you don’t have to: Can a talking stick save Big Brother?

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Scott Wickstein previews the weekend’s Wallabies versus Springboks Tri Nations rugby showdown and expresses a (widely shared) trepidation about how Australia will go against a formidable South African outfit.

Gilmae has a great review of Queensland’s series-clinching win in State of Origin II.

As usual, Shaun previews the weekend NRL round.

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Steve Edwards gives the full treatment to an article in the fashionable ‘Time Out’ magazine espousing the benefits of an Islamic London. Pommygranate also “fisks” the same article. Now there’s a blast-from-the-past blogosphere expression I haven’t seen for a while …

Jason Soon highlights baseless whingeing by the Australia Institute’s Clive Hamilton that he is being “censored” by the Murdoch press. And in a mini-fatwa against Hamilton, Jason also notes the “no pooftas” tendencies of communist regimes and wonders mischievously whether the leftist-authoritarian Hamilton might have similar policies in mind.

Legal Eagle has investigated Justice Michael Kirby (although not in the same way as Bill Heffernan did) and discovered that His Honour is unreliably hip and trendy. The Eagle also fights for the rights of chubby Indian flight attendants.

Pommygranate publishes an extremely funny rundown of the imagined members of new British Labour PM Gordon Brown’s Cabinet.

Tony the Teacher notes research about the range of ways Poms manage to lose their mobile phones:

The UK has a population of almost 61 million, and each year they drop 855,000 phones down the toilet. … 1 common catastrophes include leaving mobiles in the pub (810,000 handsets) in a taxi (315,000) or on a bus (225,000). More bizarrely, dogs chewed their way through 58,500 handsets last year and 116,000 went through a spin cycle with the dirty laundry.

Guido is peeved about the Melbourne Victory soccer team being left out of some marketing gimmick concept called TEAMelbourne.

  1. Other[]

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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James Farell
James Farell
16 years ago

Whoops! Where are my contributions? I’ll email you, Ken.

16 years ago

Could do with a NSFW tag in the title or intro so people at work can make an informed decision whether to view it or not.

16 years ago

Andrew Leigh asks an obvious question about the latter:

So the thing that I still cant work out with the ACTUs current campaign against the Howard Government is: what do the 33% of unionists who voted for John Howard in 2004 think about it? Its true that organisations sometimes make decisions that arent supported by all of their members, but one-third really is quite a lot.

This seems to beg a pretty obvious answer to me. The 33% probably think, at a wild guess, that 67%, or a two-thirds majority, of their colleagues disagree with them. That’s democracy. Who ever thought that what the underwhelming minority thought was the obvious question? How many voted against the Howard government, again? When am I to be interviewed by Andrew Leigh, under the heading of the “obvious question”.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering, unobviously, what the 67% think of the 33% of their colleagues who voted for John Howard. We have to do all the hard yakka, while you bludgers vote however you bloody like, undermining us from the political level. What’s your problem? Tell ya, solidarity has its disappointments.

James Farrell
James Farrell
16 years ago

Thanks for fixing that, Ken. I expected someone would cover the other 1Q answers, but it seems not. Still, they ones I listed themselves have all the links. A good initiative by TD.

16 years ago


Why dodgy-sounding?


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