Banerji and the Threat to Free Speech

14/08/2019

The High Court has ruled that Michaela Banerji’s sacking from the (then) Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Home Affairs sounds much nicer for the PR – was legitimate. This ruling has (to borrow the frequently used phrase from everywhere) rather chilling effects for democracy and free speech, and also has implications for other areas as well.

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Quick Quips: To Protest Is Your Right

01/08/2019

Nothing that benefitted any oppressed or supressed demographic was gained by doing nothing. Every major movement of the last century or so, from the black rights’ movement to the #MeToo movement, Union actions to revolts against autocratic governments, environmental and anti-war causes – all of these have involved some form of protest.

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Not to Say, “I Told You So”, But…

28/07/2019

… I told you so. It’s beyond the realm of predictive speculation – what the current government has done, or been tangled up in, has been blatantly obvious since the beginning. If people paid any attention or read into policies and the like, maybe they wouldn’t be so dismayed and shocked when certain stories break in the media. Although granted, the media is half to blame for most of this ignorance. There are countless examples that could be used, but here are four (mostly from this month).

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Master Theft: George Calombaris

18/07/2019

See what I did with the title there? You see? Get it…? I haven’t seen it anywhere else yet myself, however, I’m 100% certain it is by no means original. But, it is true. George Calombaris is under repeated fire for the scandal that has rocked his businesses for a few years now, having admitted this week “to underpaying $7.83 million in wages to 515 current and former employees…” His punishment? Not a lot.

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Quick Quips: What’ll We Lose First, Money or Sanity?

15/07/2019

  • As if anyone cared what her opinion was, Pauline Hanson has pitched in on the Uluru climbing debate. She doesn’t see the ‘cultural sensitivity’ seeing as people ‘have been climbing’ it for years. Reality check – yes, it has been a culturally sensitive issue all those years too, but finally Indigenous voices are being listened to. Just don’t climb Uluru – it’s that simple.
  • Can the media please stop asking Hanson what she thinks?
  • For Australians talking about ‘raiding Area 51’, we have a perfectly good US intelligence base near Alice Springs that could do with some dismantling.

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Freedom of Speech in the Workplace

13/07/2019

I’ve spoken about free speech a few times on this site, but almost always in a general sense. Noam Chomsky, to paraphrase, says that if you don’t believe in freedom of speech for views you disagree with then you don’t believe in it at all – no matter how opposite or offensive said views might be. Consequence is another thing entirely, and the workplace is an interesting – and rather dangerous – side of this.

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Silencing Powerful Voices

07/07/2019

When I say “powerful”, I don’t just mean people in positions of actual political power. I mean powerful in the sense that the words of these individuals, or groups of people, have immense weight. Whether it is a single person or a population, many powerful voices are being silenced, and it’s up to the rest of us to ensure they are heard again.

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The Right to Protest: Adani

07/07/2019

Along with the recent string of protests against the Adani coalmine in Brisbane, there has been a call from a number of people – generally supporters of the mine – saying that protesters should be locked up, fined, or punished in some way. That sort of rhetoric should alarm you for a few reasons, not least because Queensland has been there before.

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The Coalition’s Personal Attack Dog

07/06/2019

The AFP raids on journalism this week have brought widespread criticism from much of the media (including News Corp), the Unions, GetUp!, and even the international press, like the New York Times. I found the NYT comment about Australia being the most ‘secretive democracy’ rather funny – it inadvertently implies that the US is not a democracy. But this is not the first time the AFP has been used as a political tool, and that should concern everyone.

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Australia’s “Inauthentic Opposition”

06/06/2019

For a number of decades now, the Democrats in the US have been referred to, along with the Republicans, as ‘neoliberal’, ever plodding along to the ‘right’ to slowly normalise the inequalities that plague Americans each day, and which was one factor that led to Trump’s successful election. The term “inauthentic opposition” has been used to describe this slow but obedient drift, which most certainly leaves many people disillusioned about how their system works, when the flawed two-party system functions as one corporate body. Here in Australia, the Labor Party is definitely earning themselves this abysmal title.

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