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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rudd's ministerial list

Gee, thanks Kev for taking Miss Eagle's advice about that superhero, Senator John. Special Minister for State and Cabinet Secretary - that will keep him at every cabinet meeting. How sweet!

The portfolio distribution looks quite artful with some ministers having plural parliamentary secretaries - is this something like plural marriage and will it require the same amount of juggling?

Here, here and here are the reports of the moment on who will be taking home every night the precious red boxes. More when the official list becomes available.
Meanwhile, across on the other side of the trenches, Brendan Nelson has just squeaked it in to the Liberal leadership over Malcolm Turnbull after silly Tony Abbott (where is Costello?) scratched himself and declared himself a future starter all at the same time. And this man wants to be taken seriously? Or doesn't he?
The exquisitely groomed but ideological right-wing Julie Bishop (now I don't think she would tolerate an earring should Nelson resume a former sartorial habit) is deputy. None of this was really surprising. Old conservatives could not vote for Turnbull - and he'd only been there five minutes anyway and his personal fortune could be scary for some.
So Brendan was probably young enough and modern enough for the progressives and sufficiently tolerable for the conservatives especially when tempered with Julie Bishop's dowry of West Australian right wing money!
Andrew Robb's political insider insight would have been handy but AR does not have sufficient flair in spite of the value of his methodical and workmanlike nature. And Christopher Pyne? You are kidding!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A mandate for intervention in the Northern Territory?

Miss Eagle has often thought that one of the difficulties for Aboriginal people goes to the very heartbeat of democracy. A simple definition of democracy which, at least in my generation, was learned at school is: government with the consent of the governed. Miss Eagle has often thought as she has seen mainstream communities battle with issues of law and order relating to the Aboriginal community that the nub of the problem was old and pervasive: how often had the Aboriginal community given its consent - been included, consulted, informed and given the privilege of having its opinion listened to? And if not - as so often has been the case - how can we expect people in such circumstances to have respect for our laws?

Behind the Howard/Brough Military Intervention in the Northern Territory were all the sins of the non-inclusive past: neglect, lack of consultation, no information, and certainly no one listening.

But Aboriginal people vote too. Out there in the bush, the planes fly in with mobile booths. If no one bothers to take any notice at any other time, then this is the time when someone CAN take notice. But will anyone notice?

In relation to whether there is a mandate for the Howard/Brough concept of military intervention in the NT, there are a few election results to be taken notice of:
  • Howard's seat of Bennelong. He was defeated.

  • Brough's seat of Longman. He was defeated.

  • Snowdon's seat of Lingiari which contains virtually all communities affected by the intervention. Resounding vote for Snowdon and Labor.

I am indebted to Chris Graham of the National Indigenous Times writing in Crikey for the following information:

The vote for the ALP and against the Howard Government:

  • Wadeye: ALP 95%. 723 voted Labor and 26 voted for Howard

  • Angkarripa: ALP 99.01%. 503 voted Labor and 5 voted for Howard

  • Yirrikala: (Home to Galarrwuy Yunupingu, the prominent Aboriginal leader who outraged colleagues by reversing his opposition to the NT intervention on the eve of the official start to the election campaign.) Of the 266 votes up for grabs, the Howard Government secured just two of them - 0.75 percent of the primary vote.

Many whitefellas who don't know a lot about Aboriginal matters have fallen for the Noel Pearson line. The politest public view that can be expressed was once expressed by NSW Aboriginal MLA, Linday Burney, when she said that it has to be realised that one size does not fit all. Noel is a big fella - in more ways than one - up on the Cape where there are a lot of Pearson family interests. He famously vented his spleen against the "Left" at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival. So what did people reckon electorally in Hopevale - the former Lutheran mission, pride and joy of Bjelke-Peterson regime where Bob Katter Jr negotiated the Clayton's land rights known as DOGIT (Deed of Grant in Trust).

The vote for the ALP in the booth of Hopevale was 75%.

It is going to be interesting to see what happens with Yunupingu and Pearson in relation to the new Rudd Government. Certainly, Central Land Council has some good things to say about what should be happening in relation to the intervention, the funding, and the holding of Aboriginal land to ransom.

Now Miss Eagle has never expected Aboriginals to speak with one, monolithic voice. Whitefella society doesn't. Why should it? In fact, Miss Eagle has been amazed over the decades at the united front projected by Aboriginal leadership at national level even though she was aware of undercurrents unseen. But those who have valued personal self-interest above all else have broken away for all to see. Yunupingu and Pearson are canny beings to be sure - but whitefellas have to realise how much their personal self-interest affected their actions and their decisions. Again, nothing new about that. Whitefella politicians have been hoodwinking their respective publics in exactly the same way since Moses was a boy. But let's get real.

It is time to acknowleddge the Aboriginal people and organisations who are working sensibly and in terms of sound, measured public policy and time to take note of those who have an eye to the off-chance and prepared to negotiate their own way forward when they are unable to bring their own constituencies forward with their informed consent.

So it is back to government with the consent of the governed. The Big Man role can be played irrespective of ethnicity or who was here first. The role of the inclusive, listening person is a harder role to play. Takes more time. Often there is less personal kudos. But including, listening, and acting with the consent of the people involved will always take one further. There are no guarantees that the right answers will always be there. But Aboriginal people have a right to expect the same civic rights and fulfilment of civic obligations as any other Australian. They have a right to lobby their politicians and they have a right to have their politicians consult with them.

The overwhelming vote in Aboriginal communities has been for the Rudd government. Aboriginal communities expect that with the dramatic intervention some of the drama will be retained to good effect by pouring in funding, energy, direction and policy to supplant the years of neglect. But modifications there have to be.

There is not only a mandate to get rid of Work Choices.

There is a mandate for revising the Military Intervention.

Rudd at the Rudder: measuring the homeless

At last, we have an Australian government who understands justice and equity. Earlier in the week our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, instructed all Labor MPs to visit a public school and a private school in their electorates to inform the schools about Labor's education policy which includes a computer for every child in Grades 9-12.

Now he has instructed his MPs to undertake a second visit: to visit homeless shelters to report on the extent of the numbers of homeless people being turned away from shelters. During the campaign Rudd had declared that the numbers of homeless people would be halved under Labor. Rudd is concerned that the turn away rates may be in the vicinity of 80-90%. Just not on in a rich and comfortable nation such as Australia, says Rudd.

Looks like good news for the poor, I say!

And for more enlightenment on Rudd at the Rudder, see here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Up, up and away - with John Faulkner

He is quiet of voice, self-effacing, tall, dark, handsome, be-spectacled. Miss Eagle's hero. Superhero even. Well, yes in childhood Miss Eagle could have been Lois Lane to Clark Kent. But she is a big girl now - and she does wish she could get over the hero thing, but there you are.

Miss Eagle has to tell you about her hero because she wants some input into Kevin Rudd's decision making on who will comprise his Cabinet.

Senator John Faulkner is Miss E's Clark Kent. You may have glimpsed him at the Tally Room on Saturday night, dear Reader. No mention has been made about his role in unseating John Howard. But you see, dear Reader, there is a system in the ALP whereby electorates not held by Labor are put under the guardianship of a sitting member. John Faulkner has been the official babysitter for the seat of Bennelong, formerly the seat of John Howard, and now the province of Maxine McKew.

John Faulkner's real and ongoing claim to fame is his role on the Estimates Committee. His forensic questioning on Estimates is legendary.

So, with Labor forming government, what should become of the good Senator. Well, for a start, he should become Leader of the Senate. But, above all, Miss Eagle suggests that he become Special Minister for State without portfolio with a permanent seat in Cabinet and a place in the Leadership team.

Kevin, please don't burden Faulkie with a portfolio. Let's use his wisdom and experience to the greatest benefit. Turn him loose to do what he does best. In fact, let him do whatever he wants to do. Just one proviso, that - in case of accidents - he has an understudy in training on Estimates!

Vale, Bernie Banton AM

Bernie & Karen Banton
Sky TV will telecast Bernie Banton: A life at 8.30am this morning

Bernie Banton is dead. A man who embodied so many of the characteristics which Australians admire has gone from our midst. Bernie is a Parramatta working man, a fighter for justice and right. As I right, I find words difficult to describe to people who have not seen Bernie on the TV so often as Australians have.

Bernie fought James Hardy for those who were suffering the ravages in their bodies of their interlude with asbestos. The fight would have been bad enough and relentless enough - but James Hardy turned out to be a shameless corporate criminal. A formerly reputable Australian company, it shifted itself to Holland leaving what amounted to a token amount of money in a separate company for the afflicted in order to avoid its responsibilities.

But Bernie took on the Australian Tax Office too. The heartless ATO was prepared to allow taxation to eat up further the compensation money for the asbestos victims.

Bernie may yet have one more triumph, one more scalp on his belt. As the Liberal Party writhes in agony and uncertainty after its dreadful defeat on Saturday which Michael Kroger has dubbed the Liberals' lowest ebb since the foundation of the party 60 years ago, Tony Abbott - the Health Minister in the Howard Government - has thrown his hat in the ring for the Liberal Party leadership. It is unlikely, in Miss E's view, that the Libs will take Abbott on. In fact, Abbott's own view that he has a chance shows a marked lack of self-reflection. And what has Bernie to do with that? This, dear Reader.

Abbott is nothing if not rude. Don't send him on a peace mission. He'd only add fuel to the flames. He attacked Bernie in a most dreadful way. Bernie handled that with his usual dignity. Abbott was forced to apologise. Abbott showed his true character. Bernie showed his.

And how did Bernie keep going? How did he keep going in the media campaign, the battle for justice, the battle to fight a one in a million disease? In Bernie's own words, faith in God.

Rest in peace, Bernie. You have been a good and faithful servant. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karen and your family - including your sister who flew in from Texas, USA.

Eternal rest grant unto Bernie, O Lord, and may perpetual Light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Absentee voting in Kowloon and Hong Kong?

Was there absentee voting in Kowloon and Hong Kong for the Federal Election? Why not? How many Australians - especially those of Chinese ethnicity - commute between HK & Oz? Anyway, Labor and Kevin Rudd had the campaign covered there. It is a matter of photographic record over at club chaos.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Refugee staff from Howard's Government

Word has it that Liberal Party staffers were clearing their desks to-day. When political staffers lose their jobs at elections, dear Reader, they tend to be picked up by their party in another jurisdiction. So a staffer from NSW might end up in Queensland. But now the landscape is Labor across the States, Territories and now the Commonwealth. Where will these people go?

The answer (if it is an answer, dear Reader) is the Brisbane City Council. The BCC is like no other Council in the nation. It is huge and covers the whole of Brisbane. Aldermen/women have large wards and draw the same salary as a State Member of Parliament. BCC runs its own transport system and - but this might have changed - used to run its own electricity system.

The Brisbane City Council has a Liberal Lord Mayor named Campbell Newman. Now, I'm sure that Campbell could take one or two of Howard's refugee staff. But that's the only base. Otherwise it's onto the Sydney Morning Herald's Rivers of Gold.

HENDERSON & SCRYMGOUR: Another generational change

Generational change is the name of the game all over it seems. In half an hour from now Paul Henderson will hold his first Press Conference as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory following the resignation this morning of Clare Martin. Miss Eagle is all excited. She knew Paul before he entered Parliament in the late 90s. He was an energetic man of ideas then and, it seems, is still so to-day.
Syd Stirling stepped down with Clare. Fare thee well, Syd! You have been there a long while - and done (pardon the bad pun!) stirling service to the NT and the people of Nhulunbuy.
Stepping into Syd's shoes is Marion Scrymgour. Marion is an Aboriginal woman who knows from experience about the hard decisions a political life demands. She knows what leadership is about. This is the highest ranking political position ever held by an Aboriginal person in this nation. Proud of you, Marion.
Miss Eagle thinks that with you two in charge and a new tenant at The Lodge that good will come considering that the two architects of the Military Intervention in the NT have lost their seats in Parliament. Clearly, the people of Australia took note - and such poor policy is not on. We wait to hear the good news of a sound policy substitute from your own government in collaboration with the Commonwealth.


Maybe someone in the Liberal Party of Australia will do a proper, official report of what went wrong at the Federal Election of 2007 which resulted in a loss of confidence in Liberals and the election of a Labor government.

However, reality seems to be a bit slow to sink in. Now, remember, dear Reader, that this was a government who had been in power for eleven years. They had countless polls delivering the wisdom of the electorate over all that time. There were enough of them to cover the length and breadth of the nation with their ears to the ground to pay attention to what people were saying and thinking.

  • One report says that a Liberal staffer has blamed the " Chinese". Did this person not recall Howard's stance of Asian immigration? Why would anyone from Asia vote for Howard? Of course, there was the rampant, blatant racism of the Liberal Party in the seat of Lindsay supported by staff at NSW Head Office.

  • Climate change has done it says Malcolm Turnbull and he says the Libs should have signed Kyoto. Water drying up across the nation and anything that would store water commanding pretty solid prices in the hardware stores and the Liberals expected that everyone was a climate change sceptic?! True, some movement on climate change -but too little, too late and with no conviction nor credibility.

  • Work choices was THE issue - and why did the Liberals think it wouldn't be?

Do the Liberals understand how many voting Australians come from the Middle East and Asia? Do the Liberals understand how many tolerant voting Australians there really are? And did they not realise how enthusiastically urban Australians have embraced water saving? Did they not stop to think that such people might have had a positive view of Kyoto? And could they not count heads in the population to comprehend that most of us are not West Australian miners earning thousands of dollars in a week? Did they not hear the discussions on radio of work/life balance and, if they did, did they not consider consider that people for whom work/life balance was an issue might have a view on the impact of Work Choices on the intensification of work and the large amount of unpaid overtime worked by Australians?

So save your time, Liberals, on official reports: these were the reasons that the Liberals lost. Of course, these were not the only reasons. These were just the main, very personal reasons. Others included a lack of ethics, immigration, refugees, AWB corruption, non-core promises inter alia.

Bring the old team back: Joe Hockey for Leader, Kevin Rudd for PM, and Sunrise for Speaker

As Kever Klevvie kontemplates his Krew this week, Miss Eagle has a few suggestions.

Kevin Rudd and his wife, Therese Rein, vote on Saturday.

One of the things that helped Klever Kevvie to popularity and being seen as a human being with a smile rather than a dour nerd was his regular appearance on Sunrise in tandem with Joe Hockey for the Liberals.

Joe Hockey, David Koch (Sunrise anchor) and Kevin Rudd

Now it seems to Miss E that poor avuncular Joe has been getting stressed out of his mind since he was given the job that Kevin Andrews could not do - sell Work Choices. We now know, don't we dear Reader, that no one could sell Work Choices. It seemed to Miss E that Joe put on weight that he needs to get off under all that dirty work he was given to do. Get the gastric lapband, Joe - and soon. Miss E has had it done. The Director, Miss E's sister has had it done. Go for it Joe in good health.

I don't think anyone thinks of Joe as either a dill or a bad guy - in spite of the poisonous Work Choices. Why not reward Joe for his loyalty to the Liberal Party and its dreadful policies by giving him the top job. Joe for Liberal Party leader I say.

The Sunrise Family

Then we would have the old team - Joe on one side and Kevin on the other. Well, not quite the old team, eh dear Reader? So, ergo Sunrise and team for Speaker. Who better?

At this point in time, whoever Klevver Kevie nominates as Speaker won't be experienced. But Sunrise is experienced. The Sunrise Team is used to intervening, sorting things out and making people stick to the rules of the game. OK, I know, I know. They all, including Kevvie, got a bit expeditious on the Vietnam expedition. I am sure that Mel and Kochie and Nat and Andrew can sort things out though. And the Speaker-ship might give Kerry Stokes and his meany crew something to focus on instead of The Chaser team.

Grant could tell us which way the wind blows. Mark could lighten proceedings with cricket, football (all codes), and basketball and netball scores.

All in all, I think it would the ultimate in outsourcing: Sunrise for Speaker and bring really serious entertainment to the six o'clock news!

ELECTION 2007: Records and Milestones

As the dust settles after Saturday's election when the pendulum moved away from the Liberal-National Party coalition to the Australian Labor Party, it seems a good time to look at the benchmarks reached at this election.

  1. John Howard became the second Prime Minister in the history of the nation to be kicked out of his seat by his electorate. (This is not decided yet but Miss E is prepared to go out on a limb as the final result of the roosting chook campaign.)
  2. The first female Deputy Prime Minister - and when Rudd goes to the Kyoto talks in Bali she will become the first Acting Prime Minister - in Julia Gillard.
  3. The first time that the Prime Minister and Treasurer came from the same country town and went to the same school in the same period.
  4. The first time that both the Prime Minister and Treasurer come from Queensland.
  5. The first time that the team of Prime Minister and Treasurer do not come from Sydney and Melbourne.
  6. The first Mandarin speaking Prime Minister.
  7. The first Labor Prime Minister of the century and the millennium.
  8. The first time in Australian history that there are Labor governments in power across the nation: in every state and at federal level.
  9. The first time that poker machines and gambling has been singled out for national focus in the Parliament of Australia with the election of anti-pokies campaigner, Nick Xenophon.
  10. A new record in the Greens vote which has been a major enabling factor in the election of the Australian Labor Party to government.

There you are, dear Reader, that should get you started. Could you please enhance our record-keeping to say what was noteworthy and worth remembering as a benchmark at this election.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peter Costello has other fish to fry

Tanya and Peter Costello

Here at The Trad Pad, we could never see why Costello would hang around building a career as Liberal Party Leader after the collapse of the Howard Coalition Government yesterday. It would be at least two terms in the normal course of events before he could become Prime Minister. Surely it would be better to go almost straight from the position of Treasurer into the business world: make squillions of dollars, have a good time with the family, and include lots of international travel. Leave the gap too long between yourself and the Treasury and it might not be as influential on the CV.

Now he says that this is what he will do - but will see out his full term in his seat of Higgins.

Well, Miss E wonders if that is what will happen. As was said in the previous post, there could be a number of by-elections. The Libs might chose to group them together for maximum impact and not have a gradual attrition in circumstances too favourable to the Rudd Government. Another factor is that, if some predictions are correct, there could be a Double Dissolution Election in twelve months time because of difficulties in getting legislation through a hostile Liberal controlled/blocking Senate. If that occurred, Costello could have his cake and eat it too. He could honour his pledge to see out his full term but be gone from Parliament into business in quick smart time.


John Howard's chickens have finally come home to roost

This morning a tune keeps coming into my mind. I hum it away but the words are a little different from the original. The tune is "After the Ball" and I apologise to Charles K Harris for the interference with his lyrics:

After the election’s over, after the votes are in,
After the worker’s leaving, after the poster’s gone,
Many a heart’s rejoicing, if you could read them all—
Many the hopes that have heightened after it all.
And here is why:

We don't know yet if John Howard has been defeated in his seat of Bennelong by Maxine McKew. But it appears more than likely. John Howard sought to make it into the history books - by longevity as Australian Prime Minister. He would have like to equalled or surpassed the long period of office of Sir Robert Menzies. He failed. He is second only to Menzies. But he will make it into the record books for another reason which he almost surely did not ever imagine - he would be kicked out by the voters of Bennelong. John Howard did not seek this record - but he will become only the second Prime Minister in Australian history to be voted out of his own seat.

As Miss Eagle's campaign against John Howard's retirement until the chickens come home to roost has shown, John Howard has meted such inhumanity out to so many people that his actions could not go unaddressed by the electorate. This has happened. The chickens have roosted. They are in the henhouse. They sit on their perch - and John Howard has been knocked off his.

John Howard was the Prime Minister for Injustice. The Minister for Injustice, Mal Brough - co-author with John Howard of the military intervention into Aboriginal life and land in the Northern Territory - has been kicked out of his seat of Longman. It is pleasing to know that the ALP has won the seat of Solomon in the Northern Territory. There are only two Federal seats in the sparsely populated NT - one was already held by Centralian stalwart Warren Snowdon for the ALP. Now the other seat has been snatched away by the ALP from the Coalition. The people of the Northern Territory have expressed their views on the military intervention at the ballot box.

Of course, a number of Liberals are in the safest of safe seats but because of their administration of injustice need to go. This raises the question of resignations and by-elections. In this category, Philip Ruddock tops the list. His horrific administration of Immigration followed by his deceptive and devious administration of the Attorney-General's portfolio has meant that he does not deserve membership in the Parliament of Australia - but the electorate of Berowra has decided to return him anyway. We look forward to his resignation from Parliament within the next twelve months.

The current incumbent in the Immigration portfolio is Kevin Andrews who has proved to have only lower-levels of competence and a complete intolerance of the heat in the political kitchen. His report card should read: Consider your future.

Another who needs to consider his future is Tony Abbott. If there is a particular hallmark in the character of Tony Abbott, it is his absolute high-level rudeness. If Tony Abbott is to continue in Parliament, graduation from a reputable charm school should be mandatory. Why should the Australian public have to witness his carry-ons?

And does Alexander Downer consider that he has a future in the Parliament? What heights of power and fame does he think he can now aspire to? Methinks, Alexander is an example of the Peter Principle. He has risen to his level of incompetence. Didn't know about the AWB corruption, Alexander? You must be incompetent then, Alexander. Otherwise, you must be telling porkies, eh?

So onto a new day...

We can't know or say what we are getting with Kevin 07 and his Krew.

We just believe that Howard & Co had to go.

We hope for a just, fair, equitable future for all.

And some of us are determined to keep Kevin and Krew to that.

And - for those who might be interested in how it happened in Australian democracy yesterday - here it is

Miss Eagle did her stint at Upper Gully School.
Schools traditionally use Election Day as an opportunity for fundraising

Miss Eagle as Booth Captain was there at 5.30am setting up for Your Rights At Work. YRAW is unique in that it had no candidates of its own but it did have a voting ticket to distribute. Our organisers in La Trobe, Katie and Sam, had provided us with a huge amount of bunting and there was a huge amount of fence to take it. So YRAW won the Fence Competition!
Posters, posters all about!

Booth Workers:

The Greens; ALP, the Officer in Charge of the Polling Booth, Liberal; What Women Want; Liberal.

Within two hours, we had formed a jolly little community of civic minded people.

Election hostilities are put far away on the day.

Australia does not use computerised voting although there have recently been pilot programs for the visually impaired. We use the plain old fashioned method: pencil and paper and placing in a secure box for counting, under scrutiny of all political parties, at the close of voting. Australia does not have the big issues of electoral fraud one hears of in the U.S.A. If there are disputes arising from the polling or the counting, matters can be referred to the Court of Disputed Returns for decision.

On Election Night, there are parties - private, public, and political - so people can gather for drinks, food, and watching telecasts from the National Tally Room in Canberra. Last night, in the seat of La Trobe, Your Rights At Work and Kevin 07 people gathered in a small church hall in Tecoma and watched on the big screen - with more and more and more cheering as the night wore on. Miss Eagle was beyond applause. Euphoria would best describe her condition - sprinkled with a tear of great relief.

Howard conceding defeat - we were beginning to wonder if he every would!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I am up bright and early as you can see, dear Reader. Booth tables in the station wagon, basket packed with everything from blu-tac to wire cutters and bottles of water. To-day, the final small anonymous actions of myself and thousands of people like me are orchestrated to rid Australia of a shameful and shameless leader.

It seems that Tracee Hutchinson has been eavesdropping. At least, that is what it looks like. Go here to see what I mean. She says it so much better than I but with exactly the same sentiment.

God go with you to-day, dear Reader. Vote for justice remembering all those sad cases of littered humanity strewn in the path of John Howard. Vote against his self-aggrandising meanness which benefited his kind and saw him - our national leader - deserting the Prime Minister's residence in Canberra for the desire of every Sydney-sider, a harbour view. Remove him from the national stage, dear Reader. Remove him from our embarrassment as he cavorted the world stage with George W Bush, and cavorted on television in a tipsy state with the fascist, Silvio Belursconi. And tell him to take his un-Australian values with him.
PS: Go Maxine in Bennelong to make Howard only the second PM to lose his seat.

Friday, November 23, 2007


The last day of the campaign to-day in what - one way or another - is an historic election. Miss Eagle wound up her small and anonymous role in the campaign with two and a half hours of leafletting in Rowville. To-morrow will be an early start as Booth Captain at Upper Ferntree Gully School for Your Rights At Work and a late finish at Kent Park School, Ferntree Gully for The Greens.

John Howard's career in government is coming to an end with the same cloud hanging over it as it began: RACISM.

There have been countless decisions by the Howard Government which have displayed a meanness to humanity beyond belief. But let's recall the inherent racism of Howard.
  • Remember those dreadful political advertisements where Howard was shown with a map of Australia in black and white which purported that 70% of Australia would be in Aboriginal hands under Native Title. A false, racist beat-up.
  • Remember his views on Asian immigration and that he had to swallow big and change his tune. Were his original views the views he held in his heart of hearts and he only changed for political expediency?
  • Remember how Pauline Hanson was rebuffed so close to election day that the ballot papers could not reflect the fact that Howard had dis-endorsed her? And remember how many concessions were made to racist Hansonite views to ameliorate the near wipe-out of the National Party by One Nation.

The fact is that, under Howard, the Liberal Party is racist. Miss Eagle does not suggest that all Liberals or even Liberal Members of Parliament are racist. Miss Eagle believes that there is a dominant strand within the Liberal Party under Howard which means that racism is always bubbling away beneath the surface and influencing policies such as those on immigration, national security, citizenship, defence, foreign affairs and trade.

Howard and his team have long stood accused of dog-whistling. The term "dog-whistling" derives from the fact that dogs are able to hear high-pitched whistles and sounds that human beings cannot. Dog-whistling in its political context refers to being able to enunciate or signal views in a way that larges slices of the body politic don't detect the full meaning being enunciated or signalled but those who are on the right wavelength do.

So when Howard has slammed into "political correctness", the sub-text or dog-whistle message is that there are all those left-wing people out there who stop us saying what we want to say. What we want to say just happens to be slanderous, libellous, racist, discriminatory, hurtful, unkind and mean but we must have the political freedom to say it. All those politically correct lefties are wrong and are to be despised.

Similarly, Howard despises a black armband view of history. Woe betide the historians who have opened up Aboriginal history to scrutiny and outlined the massacres and other disasters that have befallen Aboriginal people since their contact with white settlers. This sort of activity is to be despised and those who challenge the black armband view are to be rewarded - even unto seats on the board of the ABC.

And now there is the written form of dog-whistling as practised in the seat of Lindsay whose retiring member of parliament, Jackie Kelly, has been such a great favourite of John Howard. Notice that Chijoff, whose husband was one of the ringleaders in this escapade, has not been nor will be dis-endorsed. Howard does not want a repeat of the Pauline Hanson episode, does he. Howard condemns it - and the rest of it is left with the NSW branch of the Liberal Party to deal with. Ethics are not high on the list of the Liberal Party in the seat of Lindsay - and, perhaps, in the NSW branch of the Liberal Party.

So Howard has finished as he had begun - a dog-whistling racist.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

John Howard: two more sleeps to retirement!

Denis from The Nature of Robertson has a beautiful picture (doctored, of course) which illustrates John Howard's retirement. Do yourself a favour and have a look.


THE principal reason the public should take the opportunity to kill off the Howard Government has less to do with broken promises on interest rates — or even its draconian WorkChoices industrial laws — and everything to do with restoring a moral basis to our public life.
Without this, the nation has no standard to rely upon, no claim that can be believed, not even when the grave step of going to war is being considered. When truth is up for grabs, everything is up for grabs.

Cynicism and deceitfulness have been the defining characteristics of John Howard and his Government. They were brazen enough to oversee the corruption of a UN welfare program. And when they were found out, not one of them accepted ministerial responsibility. Not Downer, not Vaile and certainly not Howard. What they were doing was letting the cockies get their wheat sold through the AWB while turning a blind eye to the AWB's unscrupulous behaviour — illegally funding a regime Howard was arguing was so bad it had to be changed by force.
John Howard took us into the disastrous Gulf war on the back of two lies. One, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, capable of threatening the Middle East and Western Europe; the other, that Howard was judiciously weighing whether to commit Australian forces against an evolving situation. We now know he had committed our forces to the Americans all along.

If the Prime Minister cannot be believed, who in the system is to be believed?
When opposition leader in 1995, Howard told us he would restore trust in government, when at that time trust in government was not in question. He also told us he would make us more "relaxed and comfortable". Well, some relaxation and some comfort. These days, there are many parts of the world where Australians dare not go, something new for all of us.
But bad as all this is, how much worse was it for John Howard to begin the fracturing of his own community?

Think about his tacit endorsement of Hanson's racism during his first government, his WASP-divined jihad against refugees — those wretched individuals who had enough faith in us to try to reach us in old tubs, while his wicked detention policy was presided over by that other psalm singer, Philip Ruddock. This is the John Howard the press gallery in Canberra went out of its way to sell to the public during 1995. The new-made person on immigration, not the old suburban, picket-fence racist of the 1980s, no, the enlightened unifier who now accepted Australia's ethnic diversity; the opposition leader who was going to maintain Keating Labor's social policies on industrial relations, on superannuation at 15%, on reconciliation, on native title, and on the unique labour market programs for the unemployed.

These solemn commitments by Howard, which helped him win the 1996 election, bit the dust under that breathtaking blanket of hypocrisy he labelled "non-core promises". Even on Medicare, contrary to his commitment, he forced each of us into private health or carry the consequences.

During the 1996 election campaign, a number of people I regard well said to me, "Oh, I think Howard will be all right"; meaning, while not progressive, he would not be reactionary or socially divisive, or opportunistically amoral. Well, Howard wasn't "all right". He has turned out to be the most divisive prime minister in Australia's history. Not simply a conservative maintaining the status quo, but a militant reactionary bent on turning the clock back against social inclusion, co-operation in the workplace, the alignment of our foreign policies towards Asia, providing a truthful and honourable basis for our reconciliation, accepting the notion that all prime ministers since Menzies had — Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and me — that our ethnic diversity had made us better and stronger and that the nation's leitmotif was tolerance.
Howard has trodden those values into the ground. He also trod on the reasonable constitutional progression to an Australian republic, even when the proposal I championed had everything about it that the Liberal Party could accept: a president appointed by both houses of parliament (meaning by both major parties), while leaving the reserve powers with the new head of state.
The price of Howard conniving in its defeat will probably mean we will ultimately end up with an elected head of state, completely changing the representative nature of power, of the prime ministership and of the cabinet.

To compound Howard's transgressions, he has run dead on the continuing obligation of structural economic change, just as he did when he was treasurer in the 1970s. He and Costello have simply made hay while the sun has shone from the great structural reforms introduced by the Hawke and Keating governments. Those changes — open financial and product markets, and the new decentralised wages system of 1993 — were married up with $1 trillion in superannuation savings, to completely underwrite the country's prosperity and renew its economic base.

Howard's sole example of reform is his GST — the one he told us in 1996 he would not give us, a regressive tax on all spending regardless of income.

Nations get a chance to change course every now and then. When things become errant, a wise country adjusts its direction. It understands that it is being granted an appointment with history. On this coming Saturday, this country should take that opportunity by driving a stake through the dark heart of Howard's reactionary Government.
Paul Keating was prime minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996.


Meanwhile, back at The Trad Pad, Miss Eagle collected her booth captain's gear last night from the Your Rights At Work Campaign. Is this the first time that an organisation who has no representative candidate standing for election is staffing booths at polling places and handing out how to vote cards?

No leafletting got done yesterday - it was rain, beautiful rain, all day and into the night. As I write the sun is not yet out. Forecasts are for showers this morning and a clearing shower later. I hope there are a couple of hours of sunshine to get that leafletting done.

In the Blue Mountains up behind Sydney, the hills are also alive with the sound of honking. Here they are at Lawson. On ya folks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Sydney Morning Herald 25/7/2006

Excitement mounts! Only three more sleeps and a long wait on Saturday until EARLY on Saturday night John Howard's chickens come home to roost and he concedes. There are many ways to speak of chickens coming home to roost. Many spiritual beliefs speak of Karma. Buddhism says that you may forget your actions, but your actions don't forget you. Miss Eagle counts the Prophets of the Eighth Century BC among her best friends. The longsuffering Hosea - he of the adulterous wife - said it best in the Jewish and Christian tradition, in Miss E's view.
For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.

Hosea 8:7

Karma, unforgotten actions, and escalating wind apply to all of us - whether as individuals, families, groups, or nations. Miss Eagle believes that John Howard will reap the rewards of countless meannesses, innumerable cruelties, and injustices beyond counting.
But we also have to remember that if Australia does not hold John Howard and his cronies accountable on Saturday then Australia - Australians as a nation - risks reaping the whirlwind itself.
We can hold our governments accountable. When we fail to do so, we then face the judgment that should be visited on them as well. In other words, there are spiritual lessons to be learned in how we govern ourselves, how we respond as the body politic. There are no exemptions as Matthew points out in 5:45 when he speaks of the sun rising on the evil and on the good; and sending rain on the just and unjust.

So on Saturday we have the responsibility of collective accountability for ourselves and, above all, to hold our government and those who participate within the governance of this nation - the Opposition, the minor parties, the independents - accountable individually and collectively.

We are responsible for our actions - and those actions include holding those who act for us accountable responsible for theirs.
Miss Eagle's plans for to-day include - if our welcome rain eases off - more leafletting for the Greens in Rowville. Then to-night I will turn up with Katie and the Krew at the Your Rights At Work La Trobe headquarters in Boronia to pick up the gear for our booths on Saturday. Miss Eagle is booth captain at Upper Ferntree Gully School on Saturday and will be there from 6am to 10am.

From 2pm to close she will be at Kent Park school handing out how-to-votes for the Greens.

And how many election parties are on Saturday night! If my eyelids are open, I hope I can sit by the television blogging happily with a celebratory Bundy and Coke in between.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This morning, The Hills were alive with the sound of honking: car horns honking, honking short, honking long, loud and long. There we were at the roundabout on the Belgrave-Hallam Road near the Pony Club at Lysterfield with our placard letters spelling out HOWARD HURTS FAMILIES. We did get a couple of objections/objectionables - but we were wowed with the marvellous support we received from everyone on their way to work between 6.30am and 7.30am.
And here we are:

To-morrow it's happening at Berwick. Miss E won't make this one - but if you are down that way and want to attend, please email Miss Eagle at misseagleatbluebottledotcom and she will give you all the details.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Thanksgivingtime!

Monday, November 19, 2007


They're almost there, those roosting chooks. I can hear the sounds, the clucks and the crowing. John Howard's chickens are coming home to roost. We won't be able to do the counting until Saturday night - but the anticipation is mounting.
And its is full on.
Day 1 started with a 6.30am curtain call in the seat of La Trobe. Your Rights At Work has organised a week of events/community protests. This morning we were there in our orange shirts at the junction of Ferntree Gully Road, Burwood Highway and Commercial Road at Ferntree Gully. We carried large, large letters which spelt out:

Thank you to all those who honked and gave us the thumbs up in agreement with our placards.
To-morrow morning we will be over near the Pony Club at the the roundabout on the Belgrave-Hallam Road. Give us a wave, a cheer, a honk, a northward pointing thumb as we get rid of John Howard and bring his chickens home to roost.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sign the petition : end non-consultative intervention

Miss Eagle has to-day received information about a petition relating to the Howard/Brough Northern Territory Intervention into Aboriginal Communities. Links at the top of this blog detail the history.

This petition has come to me from Patricia Corowa who grew up in Bowen like I did. Patricia was an activist in her young days back in the campaign for and surrounding the 1967 Referedum. She has been an adviser to two Labor Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs.

The petition was initiated in Yuendemu in the NT. Patricia received the petition information from Ray Minniecon, a well known Aboriginal and Christian leader. Old Mount Isans remember his father Stirling well who, with his wife Di, was a missionary with AIM at Dajarra in north-west Queensland for many, many years.

Could you please, dear Reader, take a minute or two to go to the link here. There you will able to sign the petition. There is also a link at the top of the page. When you have done this, could you please forward this information on to your networks. That would be much appreciated.

Whichever party comes to power on Saturday 24 November 2007, the message has to be given:

Aboriginal communities have a right to be consulted
- proper two-way all-parties-concerned consultation - on matters affecting themselves, their children, their families, their communities, their land and their place in broader Australian society.

Anything less is not good enough.
Fifty years later, still petitioning for basic human rights and self-determination.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I spent a good few hours letterboxing to-day. As I plodded along one foot in front of the other, I decided something more was needed, so some words came in rhythm with my steps:

May this house vote for justice at this election

May this house lobby for justice after this election

May this house have a heart for justice.

In Jesus Name


The Campaign Thus Far from Crikey

The Centre for an Ethical Society has conducted a survey of the political parties. For details of the questions by the CES, the responses, and the analysis go here.
But, dear Reader, there is more to ethics than questions to political parties. If you are going promote ethics and preach ethics then you need to live ethically too. This goes for individuals like your correspondent (and I'm sure there are holes in my personal ethical framework) and for organisations.
When you go here and look at the people listed as Boards and Members, it immediately raises questions. And, Miss Eagle has asked those questions by emailing CES to-day. Below is the content of the email:
I have been in and out of the CES website in recent days and feel compelled to write to you about the constitution of your Board and the Members listed on your site.
I am stunned by the people you have listed. One woman! One black woman! Does she have a disability and immigrant heritage as well - so that everything and all that is tokenism rests on her shoulders?
It is not only the gender bias of your organisation that brings me to write in protest but also the clerical dominance of the people listed on your site. Surely, two of the great lessons of the late twentieth century are the negative fruit generated by patriarchy and professional clericalism - both of which dominate religions of all varieties to this day.
As a practising Christian, I am more than pleased when I come across organised Christian voices espousing balanced public policy directions but an organisation trying to preach ethics needs to provide balance socially and politically in accord with wide-ranging skills, work experience, and life experience within all its constituent parts.
I understand that you are small and new and, undoubtedly, struggling for financial support but, in all honesty, is this the best constitution of Board and Members that you can come up with in the whole nation to represent an ethical organisation for an ethical society?

A national motto for the national logo?

The Oz, otherwise known as The Government Gazette, is running a comp to find a motto for Australia. This is a copy cat of Gordon Brown's idea to get a motto for Britain as publicised in Rupert's other paper, The Times of London. Above, dear Reader, you will notice the Coat of Arms of this Fair Land of Oz. Now what Miss Eagle wants to know is if The Oz manages to come up with something somewhere on the way to appropriate - will it make it to that national logo, the Coat of Arms?