Missing Link – Saturday 28 July 2007

Nicholas Gruen looks distinctly dubious about the tucker at this week’s “grogblogging” function in Brisbane.

No intro, let’s cut straight to the guts. This (late yet again) edition of Missing Link by James Farrell, Peter Black, Legal Eagle and Ken Parish (while Helen Dale is on her way to Oxford). Editing by Ken Parish

1. News and Politics Stuff

Given the two biggest stories of the week – the overdue release of Dr Haneef and the unexpected resignation of Steve Bracks – only happened on Friday, the Oz blogosphere has not had much opportunity to comment. So even though we can expect many more bloggers to opine on these topics over the weekend and early next week, a few have already chimed in with their take on these two significant news events.

First, Dr Haneef. Colin Campbell categorises the whole affair as a “a disaster from start to finish” and wonders how the Australian Tourism Commercial, “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” will go down in India right now. “Roger Migently” can’t decide whether he’s more unimpressed with the efforts of the Howard government, DPP Damian Bugg or Kevin Rudd over the Haneef affair, having earlier succinctly summarised the apparently intended effect of the anti-terrorist legislation under which Haneef was charged:

[T]he terrorist legislation implicitly requires you to satisfy yourself that anyone to whom you provide a service, item or product of any kind which might conceivably be deemed at some future time as a resource which might conceivably be used in a terrorist act by a terrorist or a terrorist organisation, or what might conceivably be deemed a terrorist organisation, at some indeterminate time in the future – you are required, as we say, to satisfy yourself that the person or organisation to whom you provide such a resource is not, or may not in the future be, a terrorist or terrorist organisation.

As for the resignation of Steve Bracks, Andrew Landeryou pays tribute to the Bracks Premiership:

He was an unlikely factional warrior for the forces of freedom but while holding down his day job running the state, that’s precisely what he was.

And I cannot think of a higher tribute than that. We were lucky to have him.

Over at Skeletor’s place, insertnamehere also confesses to a soft spot for Bracksy.

David Tiley has a more qualified but still benign view:

The Bracks government is said to be boring, staid and conservative. I am no supporter of its attitude to the S11 demonstrations, or its policies on old growth forests, or its inability to articulate a long term policy about water.

But my partner Susie was in the The Alfred Hospital today for some physio, and she says the staff were shocked and despondent. One staff member said it was as if someone had died. That reminds me that the Bracks government has been about the slow, unspectacular provision of decent services to Victorians.

As Susie said – she stood in the new wing of The Alfred and thought This is not a casino.

Tony the Teacher has a rather more jaundiced view of the departing Premier:

Well, Bracksy set the ball rolling and Brumby, with Krudd to lead the way in Canberra, looks set to complete the job: namely, changing the Labor Party to the Liberal Party.

Looking ahead, Landeryou also doubts that Jacinta Allen would be the right pick for Deputy Premier.

Gianna’s take on John Howard’s birthday

John Quiggin re-christens peak oil plateau oil, predicting that global oil output will never rise much above its current level, and that a definite decline will be evident within a decade or so.

Robert Merkel links to a story in The Nation entitled ‘The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness’. The title gives a good indication of the content, which reminds Robert of Apocalypse Now! In contrast, John Ray rejects what he sees as the “recent Leftist attempt — mainly on Daily Kos — to smear the U.S. Army as psychopathic killers”. He also reports on a new paper that apparently finds that the “600,000 Iraqi deaths” paper published in 2004 in Lancet is internally inconsistent.

Bernice is shaking her head after reading Tim Weiners Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (or at least a review of it), and wonders when the history of AFP blunders and cock-ups will be written. Talking of AFP blunders and cock-ups, Gary Sauer-Thompson thinks the fallout of the Haneef case will include a reduction in public confidence in the AFP and the Commonwealth DPP.

Mark Bahnisch sees QUT’s partial reversal of its decision to abolish its traditional humanities programs, as proof that grass roots social action works.

Undertaking a detailed comparison of political parties’ websites and other internet media, tigtog finds the Democrats’ the most sophisticated.

Andrew Landeryou contends that it is far too soon to completely write off Prime Minister Howard. Meanwhile, here at Club Troppo Christopher Sheil is gleefully writing “Ratty” off! But perhaps he should have checked Bryan “OzPolitics” Palmer’s graphs first:

The shock news: John Winston Howard appears to be on-track for a late December election win. The trend-line since March 2007 is heading exactly where John Howard would want. … The 2007 election could end up being a lot closer than I had previously thought.

Bryan’s earlier post on the “Sawford formula” is also interesting if inconclusive. The formula states that if two or more of the unemployment, inflation and interest rates rise over a full, three-year electoral cycle, the government will lose. Conversely, if two or more fall the government will be returned. …

Daily Flute doesn’t think much of Heavy Kevy’s housing summit stunt.

Jason Soon sleuthes out some reminiscences about Malcolm Fraser by American economics guru Milton Friedman, confirming (if confirmation is needed) what a complete dud he was on economic policy.

Graham Young sledges an almost unbelievably idiotic idea by multimillionaire Labor MP Evan Thornley that parents should be able to vote on behalf of their under-18 children! LookSmart … ? Slattsnews thinks it’s silly too. Andrew Norton treats Thornley’s idea far more seriously than it deserves.

Jeremy is less interested in why Mirko “The Torturer” Bagaric is in Greece than in The Age’ s choice of title for him. meanwhile, “Roger Migently” covers some intersting developments relating to US Attorney-General Alberto “The Torturer” Gonzalez, who may yet get his just desserts.

Marcellous looks at the new WorkChoices ads and wonders (a) whether it is appropriate for a senior public servant to feature in the ads and (b) whether Ms Bennett will still be in office if the present Government is unelected.

Aussie Bob updates the scoreboard in the Shanahan versus reality match.

Readers with good concentration spans will enjoy two substantial essays at Surfdom: Eric Martin on the whys and hows of withdrawal from Iraq; Ken Lovell on what’s at stake in the federal election, encompassing foreign policy, governance, poverty, water and housing.

Saint in a Straitjacket sums up the Coalition’s federal campaign message:

So I’m supposed to believe that if Labor wins the next election it will be wall-to-wall Labor and that is b-a-d, b-a-d, b-a-d but if the Coalition wins, the federal government will take over water, Aboriginal affairs, hospitals, industrial relations and now public housing – you know, everything from the states – and that is g-o-o-d, g-o-o-d, g-o-o-d.

What am I missing here?

Kev Gillett wonders whether his Ruddy namesake’s bout of forgetfulness about the name of a Tasmanian ALP candidate will get as much coverage as Howard’s similar gaffe.

Andrew Elder reckons John Howard is anything but a supporter of State Liberal branches, which should be glad to see the back of him.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

Mark Richardson wonders not only whether women work hard then men, but also whether we should be asking that question at all.

Diogenes Lamp has a proposal which will make paying taxes a pleasure.

KG bemoans new health and safety guidelines in the UK that means that Remembrance Day parades may be scrapped for first time in over 60 years. And while in the UK, Diogenes Lamp looks at their recent floods and climate change.

The trend for education to be regarded as a business is identified as applying across the board: Gary Sauer-Thompson looks at the news on La Trobe Uni and Glen at Event Mechanics worries about the status and quality of high school education in this country.

Jim Belshaw wonders if too many laws are a bad thing.

Cristy at two peas, no pod ponders the addictive nature of Facebook. ((Yep, currently suffering from that addiction myself!~LE)) ((Me too!~PB)) Meanwhile, Audrey is even more obviously seriously addicted, as she contemplates the terrible spectre of no Facebook.

For those with a taste for stories about plumbers and vibrators, this is your lucky day, owing to Sarah.

tigtog detects a double standard in exhortations to civility from certain bloggers.

Tiberius has a detailed (and graphic) review of an extraordinarily confronting and controversial film, Cannibal Holocaust.

Andrew Elder argues that the demo is an outmoded and ineffective form of political action.

Pommygranate argues persuasively in favour of a proposal by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer for a default presumption of consent to organ donation.

3. The Yartz

John Surname reviews the new Simpsons movie.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

Guido covers Iraq’s victory over South Korea in the Asia Cup semi-final,and the sucide bombing that followed. Mike “Football Tragic” Salter also reviews it, as well as Saudi Arabia’s surprise win over Japan in the other semi, and previews the final. I hope Iraq wins too, the poor bastards need at least something to feel good about, but what are the odds of another evil lunatic suicide bomber in the celebrating crowds again.

“Five” previews the weekend’s AFL round at Sidelined, while Shaun Cronin previews the NRL round.

Andrew Landeryou pays tribute to Kevin Sheedy:

While words can be cheap as the ink overflows this morning in assessing his career, there’s one word left owed to Sheeds by everyone who follows AFL and everyone whose heart is red and black:


5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

YouTube video of the day – George S Patton’s New Speech-Iraq & modern world.

Ms Fits has a hiliarious post about being recognised for embarrassing reasons

Comic Strip Hero thinks that parents should think of children before they give them terrible names, using the example of Peter Andre and Jordan’s new daughter.

Babyboomer Pommygranate has an entertaining anti-Generation Y rant, which at least makes a change from the currently fashionable anti-babyboomer rant in the MSM, even if you think (as this Linker does) that classifying people by their “generation” is every bit as silly and meaningless as believing in astrology.

Arleeshar is understandably disturbed about the secret birthday present Janette Howard says she has for her hubby ….

Dr Faustus, who has obviously suffered grievously at the hands of the evil monopolist Telstra, speculates about a couple of technological developments which may eventually undermine its monopoly position.

Niall Cook wants to pick a fight with Tim Blair.

Proving that there’s no accounting for taste, Darlene Taylor confesses to having the hots for Qld Nationals maverick Senator Barnaby Joyce, while Adrian the Cabbie tells the story of a passenger with an unusual intergenerational romance.

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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27 Responses to Missing Link – Saturday 28 July 2007

  1. Nicholas Gruen looks distinctly dubious about the tucker at this weeks grogblogging function in Brisbane.

    That’s the fault of the photographer! Actually he was emphatic in his praise for the seafood paella.

  2. jc says:

    Yea, err, who’s the gal Nick? She looks very interesting from that angle.

  3. That’s the waitress.

  4. cs says:

    Christopher Sheil is gleefully writing Ratty off.

    I don’t think so. I have suggested that the Federal Treasuer has written the Prime Minister off.

  5. glen says:

    massive effort again, ken. good work!

  6. cs says:

    Yes good work folks, except I must also correct “gleefully”. I would prefer Ratty to stay. As I said in my post, Costello would induce a honeymoon, tighten the race and at least save more government furniture (if, implicitly, he didn’t win). Sorry to be a pedant, but I cannot help being annoyed at misrepresentation.

  7. Tim Lambert says:

    Missing Link says: “[John Ray] also reports on a new paper that apparently finds that the 600,000 Iraqi deaths paper published in 2004 in Lancet is internally inconsistent.”

    The paper was first posted on my blog here. There has been lots of discussion in comments.

    I also commented on Ray’s post here. Also, the paper was about the “100,000 excess Iraqi deaths” paper published in the Lancet in 2004.

  8. jc says:


    What’s the upgrade from Lancet. I read somewhere they’re suggesting the total is about 1 million now since the start of the war.

    If that’s the case it means there has been just under 700 deaths a day in Iraq.

    I have never read a toll that high on any day. Bit high don’t you think? It does seem to be stretching things a little.

  9. Ken Parish says:


    Sorry you’re annoyed. I guess it’s just part of this postmodern world that there are multiple readings of any text. Mine was that you were gleefully writing off Howard as a result inter alia of the ammunition Costello has given Labor to destroy his economic management credentials. Moreover, I’ve just re-read your post in the light of your expressed objection, but it’s still the sense I get from it. Naturally, however, I accept that that wasn’t your intention.

  10. Yes JC,

    Perhaps I was just concentrating on keeping my eyes on the paella, about which, as Mark reports, I was lavish in my praise.

  11. cs says:

    Ken, you mistake the joie de vivre in my writing, which is pronounced because I love to write, for the actual content, which in this case is sober. I would never write-off Howard, but I think that Costello may well have. For the Labor side of politics, I think that spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e … unless the Old Queen is determined to hang on, in which case to the gallows he will go. No leader is electable, or re-electable, if he has the hellhounds in his own party on his trail.

  12. Ken Parish says:

    Speaking of that waitress, was the Benny Hill-style pun in Mark B’s post title completely unintentional?

  13. As you correctly say, Ken, in a postmodern world, all texts are open to multiple readings, but as far as the discredited concept of authorial intention goes, the answer would be no.

    I’m a bit of a regular at Hotel Bravo and I can report that she always dresses like that.

  14. Actually, now I recall that having looked to my right I immediately thought of a song and was trying to get some others singing along. “Swing low sweet chariot” IIRC.

  15. But unfortunately the rest of the company were far too dignified to join such a singalong! ;)

  16. jc says:

    This election thing isn’t a rugby match, dude. you seem obsessed over this Howard thing as though it was. I watched the interviw with red kerry O the other night and Costello. It seems that the only two people who give a cracker over this Howard/Costello/who’s the best treasurer is you and Kerry. It’s a yawn.
    No one really cares.
    Here’s a deal, find me two voters who are swayed by the fact that Costello thinks he’s a better treasurer than Howard.

    And no, I am not a howard supporter. I don’t vote in elections because I don’t believe in compulsary voting and stay away in protest.

  17. James Farrell says:

    “As you correctly say, Ken, in a postmodern world, [etc.]”

    Pretty funny, Mark.

  18. cs says:

    Sorry to wake you up jc. Go back to sleep now, that’s a good boy. Why, now I’m yawning too. zzzzzzzz

  19. jc says:


    Stop behaving like a princess. All I’m doing is giving you an honest opinion that this issue has no chance turning even one voter around. The only two people in the in the country- no the entire universe- who seem to think its mighty important is you and red Kezza. You’re both on the outer field on this one.

    I never suggested you were a yawm. I said the issue was.

    I really think you’re jumping a lot of hoops in lateral thinking here, CS. There are plenty of other reasons to vote out the Libs, but it’s hardly going to be because you and kezza think Howard hasn’t been a good economic manager because Costello is comparing his own performance to Howard’s in the early 80’s. That’s a 500:1 shot CS. It has as much chance of resonating with the electorate as suggesting Julia Gillard is a closet libertarian.

  20. cs says:

    How do princesses behave jc? I’ve never met a princess. Do they always wear flouncy dresses and sleep on a bed with a pea under it?

  21. Tim Lambert says:

    JC, about 500 people die every day in Australia. But you never read of a death toll that high. Not all or even most deaths are reported in the papers.

  22. jc says:


    The Aussie count is the natural state more or less. I would have thought it was more, but anyways we’re talking about excess deaths in Iraq. That’s a pretty big nut to crack if you don’t have at least some days of big conflagerations. The biggest day I ever heard was about 300 people dying of a large bomb blast, which was a few years ago.

    But 700 deaths a day on average as a run rate?

  23. Niall says:

    Niall Cook wants to pick a fight with Tim Blair

    Merely trying to teach the lad the finer points of the English language. After all, he is supposed to be a journalist, yes?

  24. Patrick says:

    I am impressed that someone who used to refer to themselves in the third person has anything to teach anyone on the subject of English :)

  25. Darlene says:

    “He was an unlikely factional warrior for the forces of freedom but while holding down his day job running the state, thats precisely what he was.

    And I cannot think of a higher tribute than that. We were lucky to have him.”

    The day job part is acceptable, but being a factional warrior for the forces of freedom (errr, Labor Unity) won’t win him a Peace prize.

  26. Niall as Bannerman carried off the third person gag rather well, I thought. He couldn’t do it forever, so he stopped. The comic effect was effective while it lasted, though.

  27. James Farrell says:

    Bunyip was the original. I found it a tedious rather than an endearing eccentricity but, then again, nothing much was ever going to endear me to him.

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