Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category


April 25, 2019


Election posters are going up.  As I walked home from the station last night I spotted this young man’s picture fastened to the railings on the bridge over the Cooks River.

He is Connor Parissis, Greens candidate for Barton.

I’ve got a lot of respect for Linda Burney, the ALP incumbent, but before I vote for her I doubt if I will be able to resist expressing a prior preference.

Explanation of the title of this post is here.

The tram to nowhere

April 24, 2019

On Saturday, with my Chinese-Australian friend Z, I drove to Canberra.

The purpose was to shift some stuff in my late father’s house which was too bulky for me to deal with on my own.

We reached Canberra about an hour after sundown.  We had paused on the way to view the Easter moon as it rose over Lake George.

We came in down the now tree-denuded Northbourne Avenue.  The avenue of trees was felled to make way for the light rail.

Hang on!  Wasn’t Saturday the first day of Canberra’s new light rail?  I knew some festivities had been planned.  A quick internet check revealed that it was to be a fare-free day.

This was our moment to help make history!  We left the car in the car park of the former ACT motor registry and sauntered to Dickson light rail stop.  The first tram which arrived was headed to Gungahlin and we hopped aboard.

It was a bit silly really. From the brightly lit carriage we could scarcely make out any scenery.  We resorted to people-watching.

The tram was liberally staffed attendants clad in red with dinky Akubras.  It’s the bush capital, y’know.  From time to time there was a bit of fussing around about one thing or another: they are still on a learning curve.

Canberra has its fair share of bogan elements but on the light rail we were more a mixture of would-be urbanites/public transport nerds and families of subcontinental background with small children.  I pointed out to Z examples of a special kind of Canberra youth which you hardly ever see in Sydney.  I’ve had a theory about this ever since I met boys from Canberra when I first went to university.  They seem gentler than their Sydney counterparts; sometimes a little precious.  I’ve wondered if it was the lack of the example of the very poor before them in such a middle-class city; an ex-Canberran friend offered the view that it is more to do with Canberra being a very large country town.  At 440,000 on last announcement I spotted, it is just under twice the population it was when I lived there fresh out of uni, now more than 35 years ago.

Z shared with me a code he and his (“Western”) friend use when wishing to point out to each other beguiling (I guess young) men in public places.  If “Asian,” “panda;” if “Western,” “kangaroo.”

Z wanted something to eat at Gungahlin, but the restaurants he liked the look of were all closing, even though it was scarcely 8pm.  An enormous Coles was still open.

Time to linger was short as we still needed to get something to cook for dinner.  We took the next tram back to the other end of the line in Civic, stayed on it and rode back to Dickson.  By pressing my face closer to the window I was able to get a better view of the scenery, such as it was.

You can’t say that

April 13, 2019

In breaking news, Melissa Parke, former member for Fremantle and “star candidate” for Julie Bishop’s former seat of Curtin, has withdrawn her candidature following criticism of pro-Palestinian  views expressed by her.

It is not possible for such views or even the mildest suggestion of even-handedness between two sides in this dispute to be expressed in Australia by a mainstream career politician. Politicians who do wish to express such views have to wait until they are retired or at least on the home stretch to retirement – the brief outbreak of UN abstention when Bob Carr was foreign affairs minister is an example of the latter.

Meanwhile, Australian parliamentarians routinely go on “information tours” of Israel which, however dressed-up, could only occur if state-sponsored by Israel.  This happens without a murmur from those who are quickest to denounce “foreign influence” when it comes from other directions.

Australia is a global outlier when it comes to Israel and Palestine.   The circumscription of permissible public discourse underwrites this. There must be ramifications for our international relations.  It should be possible in a democracy for these questions to be entertained in mainstream political debate, but at present it is not.

This is not a healthy situation.  How long can it be sustained?

PS, 15/4: Now Josh Wilson, Parke’s successor as member for Fremantle, is also under fire.  Video here:

“They are going to turn Palestine into Swiss cheese and that is what is happening,” Mr Wilson is seen as saying.

Executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein told the West Mr Wilson’s comments were “both insulting and insidious and should have no role in our national debate”.

The “Swiss cheese” line was a throwaway; most of the video is about the ordeal of going through check points.

More of this saga  here.

See also  here. There’s also a party line.  Some Labor MPs/senators together with some Greens and independents  were prepared to criticise Israeli treatment of Palestinians (in this case, Palestinian children in Gaza, I think, or maybe the West Bank). Not one Liberal-Coalition MP or senator did so.

Update – see comment 2 below – apparently some coalition parliamentarians did express a view in 2019.

Bloody old Barry O’Sullivan

February 19, 2019

In Senate Estimates today, Queensland LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan was inveighing against the proposed/impending levy on stevedores, which has been justified as helping to fund Australia’s biosecurity efforts.

His claim is that biosecurity is more threatened by people entering Australia than by imported goods, and that if a levy is to be raised it should be raised from them.

That’s an arguable point. I’ve no idea of the respective risks.  Let’s leave to one side for a moment the legerdemain of “levies” as taxes dressed up as some kind of user-pays impost.

But I  was taken aback at how the senator chose to make his point.  The transcript isn’t up yet, but according to AAP, and reproduced without comment in the regional and national press:

“There’s a bigger chance of us having a biosecurity breach from some bloody old Chinaman that brings in his favourite sausage down the front of his undies,” Senator O’Sullivan said at Tuesday’s hearing.

And later:

“I’m not opposed to a tax to raise money for biosecurity, but from those that pose a risk. So start with the Chinaman,” he said.

Why pick on the “Chinaman”?

It is a word which which all  Chinese-background people I know find offensive because of its historically derogatory usage.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Senator O’B apparently doesn’t know this.

Update here.

And here.

I have been surprised at the slow reaction to this (only SBS and Junkee took up the story at first), because the Chinese-background (and not only Chinese – Japanese Americans have also complained about this) reaction to the term is pretty unequivocal.  The slow media  reaction goes to show how deeply ingrained casual racism is.

Meanwhile, I like to think “Bang goes Bennelong.” John Alexander will have to hit the streets at Eastwood to dissociate himself pdq.


Belatedly (in my opinion) Bill Shorten seized the day to denounce O’Sullivan on Wechat (= the overseas version of the Chinese quasi-Facebook, Weixin – I had an account linked to my Chinese mobile number but have failed to maintain it since that number lapsed).  The leader of the Nationals distanced himself from O’Sullivan (who lost preselection for the Qld No 1 senate spot and will be “retiring” when his term expires this June/July), describing him as “off the reservation.”  It turns out that this too is a phrase with unwelcome associations to Native Americans, as Labor MP Brendan O’Connor was quick to point out.  That may have been a bit of an own goal given that Andrew Leigh, Penny Wong and another Labor parliamentarian have all used the phrase relatively recently, though the (Labor) Northern Territory chief minister has recently disclaimed future use of the term after its connotations were pointed out to him.



The Quiet Australian

January 14, 2019

quiet mr morrison

I don’t normally go out of my way to get past the Daily Telegraph paywall so I am reliant on The Guardian (which provided the above photo) for news that, in a piece published in the DT, Mr Morrison has declared an intention “to reframe the Coalition government as the champion of ‘quieter Australians.'”

If that means a break from Mr Shouty, I’m looking forward to it. A longer and more permanent break later would be even better.

The promised emphasis is on “security and native species.” The latter apparently means  “local” environmentalism as opposed to the too-hard global warming.

Keep your eyes peeled for an Indian mynah trapping program.  It wouldn’t cost much, and could well kill more than one bird with the same stone.

The gleaners

December 7, 2018


That is the classic image.

So what about this?


That’s meant to be a picture of the woman by the bin. She had a male companion whom I saw first but he spotted me taking this picture and I was shy to take another. He probably thought I was photographing him as a prelude to dobbing him in.

They were both collecting containers from the “yellow” bins left by people outside their houses for council to collect, evidently with the intention of themselves collecting the statutory 10 cents for each one.

I had read about this  (see also here) but this was the first time I’d spotted it.

Councils are not happy about it. The standard council line is:

“The contents of someone’s bin is the legal possession of the property owner when on private land and of council when on the kerbside for collection.”

That’s very cutely expressed. It’s probably correct so far as it goes but there is a bit of a fudge there between possession and property. For example, whatever possession the council has (because the containers are in a bin which is its property and on the street which is also probably its property) is at least subject to the householder changing their mind.

Presumably  councils want to suggest that removing items from bins is stealing because under the container-recycling  scheme, councils themselves (or their contracted recyclers) collect the “deposit” (inverted commas because the 10 cents paid is only about two-thirds of the upfront charge) for containers which they collect.  They probably also are not keen about the contents of bins being scattered on the street by scavengers.

To be fair to the two scavengers I saw, they were perfectly tidy.

D spoke up for them.  “It’s a hard job.”  God knows, the effective hourly rate for collecting containers at 10 cents each cannot be high.

I don’t want to  dob them in.  But I do resent what they are doing.  It is an abuse of the scheme because these containers were already headed for recycling.

Where the abuse hits is if you bother go to a recycling depot.  These  are too few and too widely scattered.  There you will face a lengthy wait behind professional recyclers with enormous sacks containing hundreds of plastic bottles, which they feed into the machine one by one.  It’s like the supermarket transaction cost of being stuck behind people doing enormous weekly shops, but much, much worse.

The only silver lining is that the professionals generally only bother with the lighter plastic cans and bottles, so that the queue for glass bottles – not in truth worth the trouble but most of what I have to dispose of, is relatively short.





December 3, 2018

In breaking news, the Victorian state government has announced a royal commission into the affair of “Informer 3838.”

This follows the publication, after a short delay, of the High Court’s decision on 5 November in AB (a pseudonym) v CD (a pseudonym) EF (a pseudonym) v CD (a pseudonym) [2018] HCA 58.

The background is succinctly summarised in the first paragraph:

Early in February 2015, the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission provided to the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police (“AB”), and AB in turn provided to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (“CD”), a copy of a report (“the IBAC Report”) concerning the way in which Victoria Police had deployed EF, a police informer, in obtaining criminal convictions against Antonios (“Tony”) Mokbel and six of his criminal associates (“the Convicted Persons”). The Report concluded among other things that EF, while purporting to act as counsel for the Convicted Persons, provided information to Victoria Police that had the potential to undermine the Convicted Persons’ defences to criminal charges of which they were later convicted and that EF also provided information to Victoria Police about other persons for whom EF had acted as counsel and who later made statements against Mokbel and various of the other Convicted Persons. Following a review of the prosecutions of the Convicted Persons, CD concluded that he was under a duty as Director of Public Prosecutions to disclose some of the information from the IBAC Report (“the information”) to the Convicted Persons.

That’s all very hush-hush, isn’t it? Surely the identity of the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police and the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions can’t be that much of a secret?

EF, of course, is another story.

CD’s intention set the cat among the pigeons, though it took a while for the wheels of justice to grind into action. To cut a long story short, in mid to late 2016, EF and AB appied to the Victorian Supreme Court for injunctions restraining CD from passing on the relevant information to the criminals in question. Ginnane J knocked them back in June 2017 (1) (2). On appeal, the Victorian Court of Appeal knocked them back in November 2017. The police and EF obtained special leave to appeal to the High Court in June 2018, which has now also knocked them back, unanimously revoking the grant of special leave.

The basis of the revocation was an acceptance by the High Court (on the police’s say-so rather than EF’s) that EF could be adequately protected by the Victorian Police. In that case, the need to uphold the integrity of the criminal law system (to which EF’s conduct and the police’s conduct in encouraging and exploiting her in it is a scandalous and outrageous affront) trumped any other bases on which EF’s identity as a police informant was entitled to be kept a secret.

All of these proceedings were conducted in camera.

Obviously, Mokbel and the various convicted persons will know straight away who EF is.

I know nothing about Victorian criminal lawyers, but it took me about 5 minutes to make a pretty good guess. And if I’m right, then there’s enough information out there already about EF for Mokbel et al to at least suspect that EF was working with the police. I suppose they might have thought she was working with the police for them. (See comments here: in truth the cat must well have been not only among the pigeons but out of the bag a good 4 years ago.) It’s not as if such characters are above acting on a mere suspicion.

Nevertheless, the court has made orders prohibiting the disclosure other than in specified exceptions of “the real name or image of EF in connection with these proceedings” and the proceedings below until 5 February 2019. Presumably that is to give EF a head start should she decide to go into witness protection and (I surmise) the state an opportunity to act if she declines to do so and her children need to be taken away from her so that they can go into protection.

It’s a murky world out there. I hope that EF and her children escape reprisal. Meanwhile, she and the police have surely made life more dangerous for other lawyers and their families in the future.

Suing Gina Rinehart- an update

November 7, 2018

Under the title Deep Pockets, I have been maintaining now for some years a post which endeavours to keep track of developments in the long-running dispute between Gina Rinehart and some of her children.

The latest instalment in this saga, listed in my chronology as number 52, is an interlocutory decision delivered by Justice Brereton on 5 November 2018 on a notice of motion which was first brought by Bianca in September 2015 after, following orders made in May 2015 that Bianca replace Gina as trustee of the family trust, Gina failed to deliver all of the trust documents to Bianca.

Since nobody clicks on the links, this is what I have written there about the latest decision:

52.   (5 November 2018) Hancock v Rinehart (Trust documents)[2018] NSWSC 1684

This was a notice of motion filed on 3 September 2015.  Paragraphs 4 to 17 of Justice Brereton’s reasons for judgment are devoted to  its “labyrinthine procedural history.”  Suffice to say that considerable parts of that history are unsuccessful rearguard actions mounted by Gina and her camp, including 38A, 41, and 42 above, though some of the intervening delays involved documents belatedly produced or discovered in the hands of third parties.  Submissions finally closed in August 2017.

After mulling over it for a mere 15 months, Justice Brereton determined that Mrs Rinehart had not handed over all of the trust documents which she was ordered to hand over on 28 May 2015, and that she should be required to swear an affidavit verifying her production in terms of his decision as to what should and what need not be handed over, which she could at least potentially be cross examined on at a later date.

That would be a first for Gina or close to it: the beauty of being a very rich person is that you never actually have to do anything yourself.  Everything can be attended to by others who will do what you want and tell you as best they can what you want to hear whilst shielding you in many cases from direct scrutiny.  Even now, the scale of the task of identifying and producing trust documents to the new trustee is such (though I wonder maybe not so much as is claimed involves  the identification of documents as opposed to the vetting of documents to see whether they might be withheld) that if cross examined Gina could presumably palm the responsibility off on some minion, at least so as to avoid any direct censure.

As it was, Brereton J did not  find that Gina had deliberately withheld documents  or that there was an absence of good faith in her compliance with the orders (see [101]).  That’s the beauty of all that expensive advice and arguable though ultimately unsuccessful grounds for withholding them. Nor was he prepared to find that Gina had acted so unreasonably (once again, there were arguable points) so as to attract the sanction of an order for costs on an indemnity basis.


Just to put this in context:

  • the proceedings commenced in September 2011, triggered by the proposals advanced by Gina on the eve of her youngest child’s twenty-first (maybe twenty-fifth, whichever was the one significant for the passing of trust interests to all of the children) birthday;
  • In October 2013, when an actual trial was imminent, Gina’s counsel announced that she no longer wished to continue as trustee of the trust – though it was evident that she still affected to jump rather than be pushed and wished to play a part in the selection of her replacement.  – I have called this a “Clayton’s capitulation.”
  • In mid-2014, there was a contested hearing on who should be the replacement trustee;
  • In May 2015, Brereton J published his decision that Bianca be the new trustee.

That is only one strand of the multiple fronts on which this dispute is being fought.  On another front, Gina’s victory on appeal to the Full Federal Court that proceedings brought by Bianca alleging breach of trust by her in siphoning off various mining interests from the trust should be referred to arbitration has been appealed by Bianca and is set down for hearing on 13 November 2018.

The “Deep pockets” that I had in mind in my main post on this topic were obviously Gina’s.  It is a scandal, hardly unique to this case, that deep-pocketed defendants’ rearguard actions, even when ultimately unsuccessful, are so rewarded, without even the censure of indemnity costs.   It doesn’t help that judges are busy people and decisions (reasons must be prepared carefully because an appeal on any arguable point is almost inevitable) are such a long time coming.



Almost catching up

October 23, 2018

Continuing from my recent post and trying to catch up on a backlog of un-noticed performances. The motive for such blowhard completism is the reduced value of the blog to me as a record if I only maintain it patchily.

7. 1 9 SSO Brahms

This all-Brahms program, conducted by David Robertson, comprised:

Academic Festival Overture
Double Concerto for violin and cello and
Piano Concerto No 1.

The overture was a set work for AMEB musicianship when I was a teenager and I think for some years after (there was a time when the syllabus became set in stone) so I think I both studied and taught it. Oh those student songs! I totally did not understand the jollity of the choice of themes or, I also think, a certain measure of pathos in Brahms, hardly a ‘varsity man in his youth, having the chance to weave them together.

Orchestral principals Andrew Haveron and Umberto Clerici were the soloists for the double concerto. They are both good players but it is I think a shame that when putting such double concertante works on orchestras yield to the temptation to enlist soloists from the ranks. However good they are, they face an invidious comparison with the visiting soloists the orchestra engages and this took a bit of the gloss off it for me.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Alexander Gavrylyuk’s performance of the first piano concerto. It’s a temptation to undervalue players of an (even only passing) local provenance and I think I had succumbed to that in advance. I’ve heard performances of this concerto which have aspired to maybe more grandeur and breadth, but often that has been at the price of forcing the tone to get the volume. Gavrylyuk managed to avoid that entirely and I really appreciated the lyricism that he emphasised – in a way, the Schumann end of Brahms.

8. 15 9 AE

AE stands for Australia Ensemble. This concert was dubbed “Schubert and the Guitar.” The guest artist was guitarist Karin Schaupp. I’m usually suspicious of the acoustic guitar amplified but Schaupp uses amplification  discreetly with her own kind of beat-box rather than being channeled through the venue’s PA system.. I did not find it disproportionate in a venue the size of the John Clancy Auditorium.

Of course we had to have a performance of Ständchen from Schwanengesang. The song is a serenade at the beloved’s window accompanied by a guitar, impersonated by the piano. It was a bit naff but fitted well to have instead Geoffrey Collins play it on flute to Shaupp’s accompaniment.

The full program was:

Robert SCHUMANN | Fantasiestücke Op. 73 (1849)

Robert DAVIDSON | Landscape (2000)

Franz SCHUBERT | Serenade from ‘Schwanengesang’ D957 no.4

Phillip HOUGHTON | From the Dreaming (1991, rev. 1997)

Paul STANHOPE | Shards, Chorales and Dances (2002) – first performance

Franz SCHUBERT | Piano Trio no.2 in E flat

I enjoyed all the contemporary works, but I still enjoyed the Schumann (for clarinet and piano) and the Schubert (a big play for Ian Munro) the most.

9. 17 9 SSO Piano

Back next to Elizabeth for a recital by Benjamin Grosvenor.  The self-consciousness of our first encounter now resolved.  The program was:

JS BACH French Suite No.5, BWV 816
MOZART Piano Sonata in B flat, K333
CHOPIN Barcarolle, Op.60
GRANADOS Two pieces from Goyescas: Los requiebros and Quejas ó La maja y el ruiseñor
RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit

The Chopin replaced a previously advertised transcription of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

Grosvenor drew a big crowd, and justly so.  My friend and former piano teacher P liked his Bach the most, the Mozart not so much.  I was the other way around: I loved how he made a lot of variations in the rather spare texture which to me came out as  solo and tutti sections as in a concerto.

At the end of the Ravel, Albert Landa (prominent Sydney pianistic identity) jumped in early and alone with very loud clapping.  I wish he could have waited a little longer.  We all knew it was good. BG was visibly bemused.   I felt bruised.  And then AL walked out before the encore!

After the initial rush at the beginning of the year, I am hearing of same-sex marriages amongst my acquaintances.  D has been a witness at a female one.  He had to return for a re-signing because the paperwork the celebrant provided needed to be replaced by forms with gender-nuetral “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2.”

Amongst older, long-established couples, a reason often offered for taking the leap has been the advantages conferred in the face of possible health emergencies, including when travelling.  At Angel Place  one such couple told me they were getting married at home the next Saturday.

One of them first married many years ago, in Brisbane.  Max Olding was his piano teacher and a very young Dene Olding played at the wedding.  It would have been fun, I thought, if Dene could have been engaged again, even if something more than orange juice and biscuits might have been asked as a fee.

Saving the ABC

July 8, 2018

For anyone missing the context: despite promises made before it was first elected in 2013, our Liberal/National (ie, conservative) government has been cutting the funding of our national broadcaster, the ABC. The Liberal Party national council has voted in favour of privatising it. It is subject to constant sniping from the governmnent minister responsible for it who belongs to a mysteriously-funded right-wing think-tank which has just published a book advocating the removal of any state support for it, ie its sell off.

The minister in question denies that the Liberal party resolution is government policy, but on current projections, it’s not so hard to see a not so distant future where the ABC has been so deprived of funding that it will be in such a poor state that people will be ready to see it put out of its misery or no longer bothered to defend it.

I’ve previously written about how the cracks are starting to show at our national public music broadcaster, ABC “Classic” FM.

If you value public broadcasting in Australia, now’s the time to make a noise about it.


Today with D to the Teachers Federation Auditorium in Surry Hills for what was advertised as a “rally” convened by the Friends of the ABC.

I sold the rally to D as a demonstration. That was probably false advertising given that it was billed to take place in an auditorium, and they even asked you to RSVP.

I RSVP’d on Friday. On Sunday morning I saw in my email inbox a message sent on Saturday asking me not to come!

Due to the overwhelming response received we have filled our capacity three times over.
Unfortunately your RSVP arrived well after we had reached our capacity.
Thank you for your concern and willingness to give up your time in support of the ABC.
Please write or contact your Federal member and voice your concern and inform your MP that you were going to go the rally only to find it three times or more oversubscribed.

Blow that for a lark! Surely for any kind of political demonstration the numbers are the point. D and I resolved to go. Even if we were turned away that in itself could make a point.

“There’ll be a lot of older gents with beards,” I joked to D. I was thinking of the late Walter Bass and that kind of beard without a moustache which tend to be favoured by sixties-plus men of a left-wing or scientific/technological persuasion. I spotted the first on the front steps.

They had set up a second room with a video feed but D and I managed to squeeze in and stand right at the back. When we left, it became clear that the foyers also had been packed with sound piped out to them.

It seemed to me the model was more one of a public meeting. We had some musical items (violin and electric keyboard), speeches and the meeting culminated with a resolution. As you can see from the picture, the ABC Friends are a bit of a “grey army.” A real rally might have been a bit tough for them.

The speakers were:

Philip Adams (has a beard but with a moustache)
Sinddy Ealy (CPSU)
Kerry O’Brien (speaking in the picture – text of his speech is here)
Katelin MacInerney (MEAA)
Ebony Bennett (Australia Institute)
Tom Kenneally (who has one of those beards)
Julian Morrow (most recently EP of the just-axed ABC TV program “The Checkout”)
Magda Szubanski.

You can see the whole thing here.

Generalising a bit here, I’d say there were three strands.

First, the old-fashioned advocates of the public good, hearkening back to a possibly semi-mythical golden age of the Argonauts and before the Commonwealth Bank (and other public assets) had been privatised. I’d put Adams and Keneally in here. Whilst they got a warm welcome and both made some good points eloquently, I suspect their message would be largely water off a duck’s back for the anti-ABC agitators in the IPA and the Liberal Party. If it’s just about privatisation, they may well think, we’ve won that battle before and we will win it again.

The next strand, embodied by union reps Ealy and MacInerney. was about the effect and magnitude of the cuts on the ABC since the LNP were returned to power in 2013. It was good that E and M were there, but there are no surpises in employees of a government organisation speaking up in support of its funding.

Julian Morrow was in a strand of his own and for my money – a bit too specific to the recent fate of his particular program.

The third main strand first emerged as the audience began, in a pantomimish manner, to hiss some a reference to Malcolm Turnbull announcing cuts to the ABC. KO’B stopped them (it’s at about 51:50 into the video; his speech, which was the best and most tightly argued, starts at about 50:30). “I don’t like hissing.” he said. His point was that if the ABC was to gain the benefit of its broad support it had to reach out to those who value the ABC across the political spectrum, including people who would normally vote for the Liberal or National parties.

To me that was the real take-out lesson of the rally/meeting. That was why Magda was there (starting at 2.10 – they saved her til last) and it was the moral she drew from the Gay Marriage “survey” victory.

As they both put it, in their own ways, you have to distinguish between the hard-core antis (in this case, the Liberal Party and the IPA, say) and the reasonable people who look as though they are their supporters (ie, people who vote for those parties).

After all (this is my thought; nobody said this) if you thought (as the audience in the TF auditorium noisily demonstrated they mostly thought) the yes result in the gay marriage “survey” was a great result, not to say a resounding victory, there’s a good chance that the ABC could rustle up a better number than the “survey”‘s 62%.

Ebony Bennett from the Australia Institute made a similar point.

It’s just a simple practicality that if you value something from, in broad terms “the left,” you’ll need to speak towards the middle and even the right to muster the support you need. Maybe it’s not so different from the way that the right wing corrals the left into supporting (sometimes grudgingly) more conservatively favoured institutions such as the military, police and prisons.

At last the meeting ended, the resolution was passed and we streamed out. The poor young violinist was drowned out in the hubbub in the way that people talk over the organ when they leave a church. This was a pity because ‘Peter & the Wolf’ was livelier than the Rhachmaninov Vocalise and the Meditation from Thais she played earlier.

D was ready to march and disappointed that there was no sign of it. “You need the visibility” he said.

I don’t think we were the crowd for that. For one thing we were too conspicuously old and middle class. For another, the turnout obviously exceeded the organisers’ expectations. But I wouldn’t rule it out further down the track.

Projected behind the speakers from time to time was this image:


My first bemused thought was that someone was intending to invoke “The Argonauts.” Surely that would be a bit obscure? There cannot be many former Argonauts younger than 60. (I am, though not by much; most children of my age cohort had switched their allegiance to TV and the program dwindled to an end in 1972.)

In fact it’s the logo for an online campaign that the Friends of the ABC are mounting called “ABC Defenders“. So I suppose it’s a nod to video-gaming aesthetics and a reach-out to the younger generation.

Which is probably not a bad thing.

(As one person commented on the facebook video feed of the meeting: “Great rally. But such a pity that very few younger people attended. You really need to reach out to them if you want to be seen as fully representative voice. Go the ABC!”)