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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New directions


Oh, the paths one's feet take!
I started blogging over three years ago with The Eagle's Nest. My views are quirky, diverse, and often political. It seemed to me that I should separate my taste for the lovely things from my penchant for the controversial and so the beautiful things got discussed on The Trad Pad. Controversy was kept for The Eagle's Nest. Two other blogs came along: Oz Tucker which began with putting the handwritten recipes and clippings into some sort of order and Desert to have somewhere to put the spiritual resources which undergird desert spirituality.

Blogging has taken a back seat - except for Desert and, occasionally, Oz Tucker and, even more occasionally, The Eagle's Nest. I do want to have somewhere to discuss doings and talk turkey so I will no longer update The Eagle's Nest nor The Trad Pad. It will all happen here at in her own write. Hopefully, this will simplify things - and, perhaps, it may mean a different voice, a different viewpoint.

Which brings me back to the paths of one's feet. Four months ago a meeting was held in Melbourne with the purpose of establishing a multi-faith environmental organisation. I have never actually joined an environmental organisation before - but when I heard about this I was moved to action. You see, while I don't deny the science of climate change and I don't wish to ignore technology in finding solutions to problems, I am tired of the never-ending rationalism involved in the science, technology, economics and politics relating to climate change and environmental matters. My view is that human communities and the Creator of the planet need to be more clearly acknowledged in the debate.

From that very first meeting in July, GreenFaith Australia has been established and I have finished up its Secretary. In the four months since all this began, our landlords told us that they needed to come back and live in The Trad Pad at Upper Gully and then, in the midst of the house-hunting, I was ill for five weeks including two trips to hospital. Then, when the house was found there was the shifting - to a different suburb altogether. So, I am sure you will agree, there is little wonder that blogging took a back seat.

At this time, GreenFaith Australia has been launched - with a series of three seminars under the heading of Water for Life and 2009 looks like being an activity-filled year. We are settling into Home Beautiful and the house is getting into order. And there are new paths to discover and explore....

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stephen Crittenden - being hung?

A follow up to the posts below, Stephen Crittenden, has been suspended on full pay pending an inquiry into comments he made last week about the axing of flagship programs on Radio National.



~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Crittenden, religion and the axe #2

This article is in this afternoon's Crikey


What are they doing to Radio National? God help us!

An extraordinary opening comment by Radio National Religion Report presenter Stephen Crittenden this morning (listen to it here) was the first many ABC listeners will have heard about serious changes to the RN schedule planned for 2009. Former ABC religious broadcaster Paul Collins takes up the tale:

Words tell you everything. When you hear "interdisciplinary" you know it means "dumbing down" and "consumer focused" always refers to the lowest common denominator. This is precisely the rhetoric used yesterday by ABC Radio National management to describe their intentions for RN programming next year.

Several specialist programs are being taken off-air including the Religion Report, the Media Report and Radio Eye. The Reports are flagship programs that deal with issues central to current culture. Apparently they are being replaced by a movie show and something about the future. Specialist broadcasters will spend more time responding to opinionated bloggers rather than making programs. God help us!

Let's be clear what ABC Radio management is up to: it is a case of the bland leading the bland. Specialisation is out. Nowadays the belief is that any old (or, more likely, young) "interdisciplinary" journalist can deal with any topic. Well, I've been interviewed literally hundreds of times on ABC radio and TV. My experience is that while most journalists make a reasonable go of it, they just don't know the detail and often have to be led to the key questions.

Take religion for example. There are no more than half a dozen specialist religious journalists in Australia. Two work for Fairfax (Linda Morris and Barney Zwartz) and the rest for the ABC which has had a religion department since the beginning of the Corporation. Stephen Crittenden, John Cleary and Rachael Kohn are able to cover a complex spectrum of beliefs, practices and theologies from a wide cross-section of traditions precisely because they are specialists.

Nowadays religion is a mainstream political, cultural and socio-economic issue with enormous impact on world affairs. To cover it adequately you need specialists. That is precisely what Stephen Crittenden has done on the Religion Report. He knows what the issues are and where the bodies are buried. Sure, he's upset some powerful people, but that's the nature of a free media.

I'm not paranoid. I don’t see this as an attack on religion. It's more a lack of appreciation of specialization, derived from the half-witted, post-modern conviction that everyone can do anything. Sure, they can ask a few prosaic, "man-in-the-street" questions. But that's not the task of Radio National. If you think it is, get a job with the commercials.

We need to be clear where this is leading. It effectively spells the end of religion as a specialization in the ABC. If you only have a couple of minor, essentially life-style programs on air you don't need people who know their stuff. All you need is an 'interdisciplinary, consumer-focused' approach, produced by the type of journalist who doesn’t know the difference between an Anglo-Catholic and an Evangelical!

Paul Collins is a former specialist editor (religion) for the ABC

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Crittenden, religion and the axe

It was only on Monday that I explained how I try to keep this blog's focus on resources for Desert Spirituality. To-day, I am defending and attacking all at once in defence of one of the great religious resources, The Religion Report on Australia's public broadcasting icon, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and its presenter Stephen Crittenden.


The Religion Report is first broadcast on Wednesday morning's at 8.30am. Each morning on Radio National there is an 8.30am to 9.00am timeslot allocated as follows:

Monday..................The Health Report
Tuesday..............The Law Report
Wednesday...............The Religion Report
Thursday...............The Media Report
Friday.....................The Sports Factor


This morning Stephen had a spray at the beginning of The Religion Report and he has sent me what he said:

This week the new line-up of Radio National programs for 2009 was announced.

The Religion Report has been de-commissioned, along with The Media Report, The Sports Factor, The Ark, Perspective, In Conversation, Street Stories and Radio Eye. These programs are going in order to make room for (quote) 'more inter-disciplinary work on the network', and the 8.30 timeslot is being remodelled to give it (quote) 'more consumer focus'.

The decision to axe one of this network's most distinctive and important programs has been
approved by the Director of ABC Radio, Sue Howard, and it will condemn Radio National to even greater irrelevance.

The ABC's specialist units have been under attack for years, but the decapitation of the flagship program of the Religion Department effectively spells the death of Religion at the ABC. That
such a decision has been taken in an era when Religion vies with Economics as a determinant of everything that is going on in the world almost beggars belief - but you have to remember that just a couple of years ago they axed the Environment program.

The Religion Report has always been fearless - and I don't have to tell you that it has put many powerful noses out of joint. This is a signal to the churches that the ABC has decided to vacate the field. If you care about this program and what it represents, I suggest that you might
consider writing to the ABC Board or the Managing Director, Mark Scott.

I set out below my letter to everyone on my email lists this morning:

Dear One and All,

The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) is a national treasure and an international icon of public broadcasting - although our politicians of the right and left don't appear to regard it as so with their stacking of boards and miserliness with funding.

One of the great pleasures in my life is listening to the ABC's Radio National. If you don't listen to Radio National, don't bother reading further because this is all about trying to save some of Australia's most respected broadcasters and programs at Radio National from getting the axe. To outline this, Stephen Crittenden of The Religion Report has sent me a copy of his statement read at the commencement of TRR this morning. Read it below.

Stephen's spray outlines the proposed "re-modelling" of the 8.30am timeslot but makes no mention of either The Health Report or The Law Report. If they survive in one form or another, will this be because doctors and lawyers have more influence with RN than the rest of us?

The religion programs - which along with Radio Eye are my favourites - are The Religion Report hosted by Stephen Crittenden and The Ark hosted by Rachel Kohn. I would be surprised if there was a better religion journalist/presenter anywhere than Stephen. I have no idea of Stephen's faith perspective - he could be a religion literate atheist for all I know - but his conversation is intelligent, subject literate, perspicacious and insightful. Rachel Kohn is a most distinguished religious presented with great expertise in comparative religion.


The Religion Report covers a wide range of territory - but I think it would not be untrue to say that not all subjects of discussion on The Religion Report would have welcomed TRR reports of their doings. I can think of the Exclusive Brethren and Steiner education to begin with.

Australia has a long and proud tradition of secularism and long may it be so. However, in recent years, there have been clear displays of secular bigotry against individuals in particular and religion in general. Could the axing of TRR be another scalp of secularists who neither understand nor give a fig for the topic of religion?

Australia has a diverse population - and many of our immigrant communities come from old faith traditions which are continued in this country. TRR helps to give a voice to these traditions and to make those traditions known to the broader Australian community. Losing this voice will not only leave us poorer but also also take away from us a vital tool in overcoming our ignorance.

Religious adversaries have brought suspicion, violence and war to the earth in recent years. Australian politics, which were long largely religion free, have now been penetrated with modern political tools by a range of religions. Who will explain this to us if not The Religion Report under the clear and precise dissection of Stephen Crittenden?

Stephen has asked us to write to the ABC Board or the Managing Director, Mark Scott. I would also suggest that we write to the Federal leaders of political parties from the Prime Minister down. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are both known as men of faith - the former an Anglican and the latter a Catholic. I believe it is important that we make ourselves and our views known to them - for the sake of public broadcasting in this country and, in particular, the reporting of religion.Please let me know what you think and - importantly - what it is that you do.

So, Dear Reader, could you please do your bit to keep Australia's major religious communications resource on air and in the public domain. Please note for your records that the protocol for emails at the ABC is lastname.firstname@abc.net.au. Therefore......

Managing Director - Mark Scott .............. scott.mark@abc.net.au
Chair of the Board - Maurice Newman.... newman.maurice@abc.net.au
Board Members
Janet Albrechtsen .................................... albrechtsen.janet@abc.net.au
Steven Skala ............................................. skala.steven@abc.net.au
Peter Hurley ............................................. hurley.peter@abc.net.au
Keith Windschuttle .................................. windschuttle@abc.net.au
Director of ABC Radio - Sue Howard .... howard.sue@abc.net.au
Stephen Crittenden ................................. crittenden.stephen@abc.net.au

It goes without saying...

prayers and miracles are a welcome priority

BTW, the wonderful collection that makes up the Board of Australia's national broadcaster is the result of appointments made by the previous (conservative) Australian government. The current government bears no responsibility for that.

And, dear Reader, after all that, if you still have questions or need assistance for your lobbying, please let me know and I will try to find solutions.


~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to the blog...and on to Paul Krugman

As you can see, Dear Reader, it has been a long time between posts. Life has been full, to say the least. Firstly, because I am part of a new environmental organisation, GreenFaith Australia. This is a multi-faith organisation - and Miss Eagle is the Secretary. Secondly, our friendly landlords need their house back for pressing family reasons so we are househunting - no success yet - and I am organising my garden by potting up all that is not in puts. Won't be able to take the blooming broad beans, and the sugar loaf cabbages, and the cauliflowers but, gee whiz, silver beet and beetroot look quite decorative in individual pots. Thirdly, I have been very ill. Six days in the Angliss Hospital with cellulitis in my face and left ear on high-powered antibiotics. I was the tourist attraction of the Short Stay Unit for doctors and nurses who came to look at the monstrosity on the side of my head. Now I just feel like I have had the stuffing knocked right out of me.

So in all this what has brought me back to the blog................


PAUL KRUGMAN, 2008 NOBEL LAUREATE FOR ECONOMICS

for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity

The copyright of this photo belongs to Princeton University which, I hope, is forgiving to a Krugman fan and to whom Miss Eagle sends congratulations on yet another Nobel winner.


Joy! Sheer unadulterated joy! And self-congratulations too in the fact that your correspondent, Dear Reader, really does know a great economist when she sees one. Her favouritest economist - who is the only reason she continues to read The New York Times - has just received the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics. Miss Eagle presents to you the one, the only......PAUL KRUGMAN.





Krugman is a great and innovative economic theoretician but - and this is of vital importance to folks like me - he is a great communicator. Here is an economist who speaks our language, an economist who hangs his politics honestly on his sleeve. John Kenneth Galbraith long ago captured my heart. Krugman, in my view, is a worthy successor. For even more, go here.

If you, too, wish to congratulate Paul Krugman please email him here.




~~~

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'Tis amazing what causes one to have little trips down Memory Lane. This week it has been the Mayor of Mount Isa in North West Queensland, John Molony.

Early this year, my old mate Molony (National Party) defeated my other old mate Ron McCulloch (Australian Labor Party) in the race for the Mayor's job in Mount Isa. Now to all of those who live in places like New South Wales and Victoria who put up with weak, namby-pamby local governments who leave their local councillors to elect their mayors for one year terms: forget it. Queensland (as does the Northern Territory - clearly something about the North) directly elects its mayors.

Ron had been mayor for something like eighteen years - a popular Irishman. John had been on the Mount Isa City Council for years and years and then took off further north and west to Burke Shire up on the Gulf of Carpentaria where he became what used to be called Shire Chairman. Now Mount Isa City Council claims - or used to - to be the biggest city in the world in area because it extends across to Camooweal and the Queensland-Northern Territory border. This sure is a contrast to Burke Shire because, as I recall it, Burke Shire does not contain one bitumen road.

Anyways, John is back in The Isa. Well, I don't suppose he ever really left. Just that, now, he's the mayor. Runs the place you could say. John owns a western men's outfitting store. John was selling western gear to stockmen before he ever had a Mount Isa store. His business life began as a hawker selling clothes and stuff from station to station in north west Queensland and the Barkly side of the NT. So he knows the Barkly Tableland and the Gulf from go to whoa.

Now let's get things straight. If you are a bloke with the lifeblood of northwest Queensland flowing in your veins; you are a paid up member or supporter of the Queensland National Party; you own a cattle property; and you make your living from people who live and work on, in and around cattle properties it is possible - but not all that likely - that you are a reconstructed, sensitive new age guy. However, those four adjectives have never applied to me mate Molony even at his best.

You see, dear Reader, in the long ago in that place accessed by a trip down Memory Lane, I used to know John and his wife Heather. It was in the late 70s to mid 80s when I was employed by the Mount Isa City Council to manage the Mount Isa Public Library, then part of the North Western Regional Library Service. The Library was situated directly opposite John's menswear store in West Street. I served on committees with him and our relationship was always co-operative and cordial.

However, I remember one night where the unreconstructed John came to the forefront. It was the night of Mardi Gras which launches Mount Isa's biggest event of the year - the Mount Isa Rodeo. We (the Dear Departed Dearly Beloved -DDDB - and Miss Eagle) were in the street outside Boydie's pub and got into conversation with John. Now, back then as now, Miss Eagle was never short of a word or an opinion. In the course of the conversation, John looked past Miss Eagle to the DDDB and said to him - How do you handle her? Miss E, not showing her inward consternation and not waiting for the DDDB to reply, piped up with a large and glowing smile - Because he's a real man. 'Nuff said.

Now maybe John can't provide a lot of intellectual stuff to the wider political debate. Perhaps - and it really is difficult - it is difficult to get anyone's attention when you are way across the Great Dividing Range and the sunlit plains extended in far-flung Mount Isa. Perhaps, he's been following the example of and taking lessons from that well-known noise from the northwest, Bob Katter Jr. Perhaps, it is just that it's rodeo time and all those lonely, boozing ringers in town provoked Molony's grey cells into gear.

But this time he's been and gone and done it. He's got himself not only national publicity, but international publicity. What else is going to happen when you talk about an isolated mining town, a shortage of nubile women, and an invitation to ugly women?

Everyone is now buying into the debate about his comments - including Catherine Deveny. But the local women are holding their own well - as they always have. I can proudly make that statement since I founded what is, arguably, the only home-grown feminist organisation Mount Isa had - the Union for Western Women. Time alone will tell whether the old adage about any publicity being good publicity will prove true in this matter.

Last night, the women of Mount Isa gathered outside the Civic Centre (right next to the Mount Isa Public Library) and demonstrated their displeasure. BTW, Molony and I once organised a celebration for Australia's win in the America's Cup in that very space. We made it a fundraiser for our Bi-Centennial Committee and we packed in a couple of thousand Mount Isans. The jollities included soap-sudding the civic fountain. Kev Ashworth, Town Clerk at the time, said that, in his view, it was the best use the fountain had ever been put to. We had a good time that night, didn't we John?

And, in the end, that is the point. Mount Isa is unique. It is great. It is a place of great experiences and great times.

My nine years in Mount Isa were probably the best years of my whole life - unreconstructed men and all! I don't pretend that Mount Isa now is the same as Mount Isa then. Remote towns are transient towns - but, as demonstrated by John, some things stay the same.

I commend Mount Isa to everyone - male, female, ugly, beautiful or just plain interesting - but with one proviso. It is tough living in an isolated community in a forbidding climate and geography. It is not for everyone. Cracks in relationships can become gaping chasms. The education of kids has to be considered. There is the question of relationships with the First Australians. While the DDDB and I loved it - my children's memories are of the harshness. For them as they look back, their memories (and this saddens me) are bleak.

Perhaps some of us have longing for green grass and urban environments in our hearts - and others, like me, bless the sunlit plains extended.

The town Mount Isa Mines built (please note that fly in-fly out mining does not bring the socially constructive elements of somewhere like Mount Isa to the human community and landscape) is the result of generations of hard work since 1924. There have been deaths, occupational hazards, blood, sweat, lead, tears, strikes and a state of emergency. Men have mined, women have battled, children have thrived and cultures have lived together well. Those of us who have lived and shared the Mount Isa experience know that we have been part of something very, very special. Long live Mount Isa!


~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dont it always seem to go...

...that you don't know what you've got til it's gone

Big Yellow Taxi

This blog has opined and warned against the erosion of one of the world's greatest traditions and civic structures - Trial by Jury. Now Queensland is leading the Australian charge. This from the state who imprisoned, just a few short years ago, its own Chief Magistrate when its own legislation prohibited such a thing. Seems to me that the Chief Justice of Queensland, the Hon Paul de Jersey AC, may have been asleep at the wheel on that one. One hopes that he - and a few others on the Queensland Bench and at the Queensland Bar - were appropriately embarrassed when the High Court of Australia quashed Queensland's verdict.

Now Queensland has taken the plunge to erode its citizen's rights to Trial by Jury - and it may have given opportunity for Jayant Patel, the defendant in one of the most serious matters to come before the Queensland Supreme Court, to opt for a trial by a judge alone.

One day, when there are no juries, when parliaments have accrued to themselves every bit of power over our lives that they desire, when there are no trade unions at all, and banks and other forms of usury take all our money and we all have casual-no-penalty-rates jobs, I hope someone can still find an old Joni Mitchell song to provide an anthem for our memories.



~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When will we ever learn...to listen?

Makinti Minutjukur
Today the Indigenous Affairs Minister makes a flying first-time visit to the Pukatja Community in South Australia's APY lands. This is an open letter to the Minister from Anangu woman

12 August, 2008

Dear Minister

We welcome you on your first visit to our community at Ernabella/Pukatja.

We are happy to hear that the Government will pay for the repair of the Ernabella Church. That church is part of our present day heritage. Our fathers and grandfathers built it with their own hands. It is a place that helped to keep our community strong.

We are also happy to hear that the Commonwealth and State Governments will help the Amata community to have a new art centre building for Tjala Arts. Community art centres are like the hub of a wheel. They are a fixed point where people work and make money to feed their families; pass on their knowledge to young people; get training in art skills and business skills; and have a quiet safe place to be where they make beautiful things that make them feel proud and happy, as well as giving pleasure to the people who buy their work.

We are also pleased to hear that both your Government and the South Australian Government will do something to help with more houses in our communities.

We appreciate the help the governments are giving with these things. We believe that you know that they are the tip of the iceberg. Hiding under the water are the same old problems - bigger than ever.

First though, step back 30 years. In those days we had a community garden supervised by Ungakini's husband, and which supplied our fresh fruit and vegetables. The community bakery run by Peter Nyaningu supplied all our bread. Rodney Brumby ran the building projects, supervising the brick making for houses and community buildings in which my father also worked, just one of several of his community jobs. My mother worked in the women's learning centre where she and other women made clothes, home furnishings, and all sorts of practical goods which people bought with the money they earned from their employment in the community.

I worked in the clinic and was trained there by Robert Stephens and others. Many Anangu received health worker training then; few do today. We had the responsibility of doing the jobs that made our community. We earned our living and we did work that was interesting and worthwhile. We were learning in a good way how to be together in one place all the time, and how to start making so many changes in our lives. All this was new, since as you know, only 30 years before that most of us were still living in the bush and living from the land.

I believe the reason why all our lives out here have become so difficult and painful over the last 30 years is that governments, who have the power over us because they have the money we need to make the changes from old ways to new ways, have stopped listening to us. Listening properly. Taking the time. Working with us. Trusting us to be responsible for our own lives - since we know them best.

It's true that many people have come from government for visits: politicians like yourself, very senior and important public servants from Canberra and Adelaide, and all sorts of other experts and advisers. That's good of course - but not one of them has ever stayed long enough, or come back often enough so that they can really understand, and so that we can help them understand what is the reality here - and the other way, so that they can help us understand what the government can do.

You know and I know what some of the problems are: not enough money for people to live and eat properly, and so an increasing health crisis because of bad diet; no proper work for most adults and so a rising sense of hopelessness from young people who can see no future; a terrifying marijuana problem (since Opal fuel it has replaced petrol as the substance abuse of choice) which is a main factor in most suicides among its many other destructive effects; many old "slum" like houses, and not enough houses anyway, so babies, children, everyone gets sick.

The strength of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara is in our relationships with each other. That is how our society and our communities work - through our relatedness. Our communities can remain strong only as long as our relationships can be strong, instead of melting away because of no work and no meaning, sickness and sadness. We need to build up those relationships again and we need a different relationship with governments.

I want to ask you, for all Anangu: will you listen to us? As a participant in the 2020 Summit I felt very hopeful that your Government might listen to us.

I understand that governments change, that politicians come and go and so do public servants. We've been here all along, and long before that. Our lives were much better 30 years ago. In the years since there have been many changes, some big, some little. Our money has gone up but mostly down; the places we could work in the community changed, and/or disappeared - that is, they weren't funded any more (such as Wali K which only two years ago employed young men making building products). This is just one example of all the changes that are imposed on us in which we have no part, and no choice. Part of the reason is that the various groups, committees and individuals who make the decisions that affect us all are not properly representative of Anangu tjuta - all Anangu. This is a serious problem and needs urgent attention with full Anangu participation and understanding every step of the way.

Surely we can work together to understand each other properly, to make good plans together that will last, and not change every few years when governments change and officials change. I don't believe it has to be like that. We are a very patient people but none of us has much more time to wait before our communities disappear under the sea, with the rest of the iceberg.

Yours sincerely
Makinti Minutjukur
Disability Support Worker,
DFS Pukatja Community (formerly Ernabella Mission)

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Of mice and lights and poverty

To-day some of us have been synchroblogging about poverty. See my post below and if you go to the very bottom you will find some links to keep you busy. Now I shouldn't pick favourites and there have been some goodies but I have to tell you I just lurv Jeremiah's post - not least because of the cartoon above which I have knicked.

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Poverty - and the hospitable heart

This post is part of a synchro-blogging effort on Poverty - as seen from God's perspective being hosted at Phil Wyman's Square No More. Miss Eagle has not participated before but has been invited by Steve Hayes from Notes from Underground to participate. To make things clear for those who don't know Miss Eagle and haven't figured things out by looking at the sidebar, Miss Eagle has dual citizenship. She is a member of two faith communities: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Anglican Church of Australia. With regard to the former she is a member of Eastern Suburbs Local Meeting as well as the Dandenong Ranges Worshipping Group within Victoria Regional Meeting. With regard to the latter she worships at the Church of St Thomas at Upper Ferntree Gully in the outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I apologise if I am perceived to be not exactly on topic in this post - but there are things on my mind.

Firstly, at St Thom's I do a two hour stint once a week in the Open Door Ministry. The Open Church Ministry keeps the doors of St Thom's open between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday irrespective of whether there is anything else happening at the church. This means that the church is open for prayer. In winter, the back pew is made particularly comfortable with cushions, blanket, and heater. If someone wants coffee and a chat, the volunteers are happy to oblige. If emergency assistance is needed, we can help with emergency food parcels and with referrals to agencies who can be of more assistance.

A couple of weeks ago our team had a meeting which I found heavy going when it came to discussion on handing out our $25 vouchers to our next door supermarket. Now these were never handed out willy-nilly - in fact we only handed out 34 this year - but there was a lot of discussion which I found unedifying and we have now switched to only making food parcels available.

Secondly, if you take a look at the side bar, you will notice that Anti-Poverty Week is in the offing, and I represent Quakers on the Christian sub-committee of the Victorian Anti-Poverty Week Committee.

Miss Eagle is not one to take things lying down when she believes that things aren't right - as in the case of the attitudes surrounding the food vouchers. She did insert one or two comments into the discussion but they didn't cut the mustard with the attitudes expressed that day. So, believing in the old adage that one can lead horses to water but can't make them drink, I was not going to proceed to hitting my fellow parishioners over the head with scripture and theology. I have been around community and social services - including well meaning church programs - long enough to know that some people get it and some people don't. So anything further I could say would not be understood and would fall on deaf ears.

But as well as not taking things lying down, I am a devious soul. I am prepared to take back routes, come at things from various angles, walk beside folks over long distances to get to the desired result. Why am I prepared to do this? Because you see, I believe in the basic idea of the Open Church. There is something so very sad and so very wrong about churches that are locked up all day every day.

The Nazis closed churches in Germany. The rogue Anglican Archbishop of Harare closes churches in Zimbabwe. And in comfortable suburban Australia we Christians of various denominations close them quite willingly for ourselves.

So when we lock our churches what are we thinking, saying, doing? Are we demonstrating that we have such poverty of spirit that the locked doors of our churches say something about the locked state of our hearts?

Over at this church in Manhattan they seem to think it has something to do with the institutional church's love of money. Catholics in Australia have such a shortage of clergy (and I won't discuss why but you all know) that parish churches are under threat and lay people are taking things into their own hands to keep the doors open - and find themselves drawing closer to one another as a result.

So all this has got me to thinking. And the road I wish to take in opening up hearts to the poor, in opening up hearts to open churches - and by the way a group in England is collecting statistics on locked churches - is to talk about hospitality.

Hospitality is a strong tradition in the Judaeo-Christian context. As the icon on this post portrays, the Tanakh contains stories of ancient middle-eastern hospitality in Genesis 18 and 19. The prophet Isaiah gives us the words of Yahweh in describing what God thinks is an acceptable fast:

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

So what I wish to emphasise both here and within my communities of faith is that hospitality is an encompassing thing. In our Christian walk, it is required that we have a hospitality of heart and hand, spirit and mind. The Good Samaritan may not have been able to take the mugging victim into his own home - but he displayed a true spirit of hospitality and we have never forgotten it.

We have long-standing traditions of true hospitality within the Christian tradition which we can emulate. There is no shortage. However, one cannot fail to do honour to the mighty Benedict and his Rule. Monastic hospitality did not begin with Benedict but Benedict's wide and continuing influence through the Rule is a guiding star to us.

Chapter 53 of the Rule says:

All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matt 25:35).

I believe our Open Church Ministry team is always welcoming. Where I think we can lift our game (please note I include myself in this ) is to see Christ in everyone who comes in that door. I think our discussion at our meeting indicated that we were not seeing Christ - because if it had been Christ, if we were sure it was Christ, perhaps we would have given him a multiplicity of food vouchers in breach of the boundaries and rules we have. We probably would have had him home for dinner. We would have sent out for cream cakes to have with the coffee instead of the biscuits.

Benedict's rule makes clear that how we respond in our hospitality requires a renunciation, a discipline, a reformation in ourselves. In Luke Bretherton's book, Hospitality as Holiness, he points out that:

For Benedict, hospitality of vulnerable strangers was directly linked to a readiness to change one's self-willed and pride-filled pattern of life in order that worship of God and love of one's neighbour, might come first.

Mother Teresa said in her book, In My Own Words:

We should not serve the poor like they were Jesus.

We should serve the poor because they are Jesus.

And any treatment of hospitality and poverty in the Christian tradition cannot fail to mention the Catholic Worker Movement and their Houses of Hospitality. I love to recall Dorothy Day's statement about the Catholic Worker Houses: they did not help the deserving poor, but the undeserving poor.

Perhaps, difficult as helping the undeserving poor may be, this is how we entertain angels unaware.



Below is the list of contributors to this month's SynchroBlog. The subject is poverty and the people contributing so far are:

Phil Wyman at Phil Wyman's Square No More

Adam Gonnerman: Echoes of Judas

Cobus van Wyngaard: Luke: The Gospel for the Rich

Lainie Petersen at Headspace

Steve Hayes: Holy Poverty

Jonathan Brink: Spiritual Poverty

Dan Stone at The Tense Before

Jeremiah: Blessed are the poor... churches...

Alan Knox: Boasting in Humiliation

Miss Eagle: The Eagle's Nest

Jimmie: Compassionate Christianity

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A prophetic witness of Olympian proportions


Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

Jarrod McKenna, our energetic peace-loving peace-making Aussie, has written over here of a great Olympic story. It is the story of a prophetic and public moment in the lives of three Christian men. Two of these men were black Americans. The third, a white Australian. The white Australian was Peter Norman.

What Jarrod didn't mention was that when Peter died in 2006, the solidarity of the three men that was so publicly and irrevocably evident at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 was evident once again. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were here in Melbourne for Peter's funeral and they helped to carry his coffin.

Dear Reader, you have no idea how much this meant to us in Australia. That such athletic comrades from almost forty years ago should do such honour by coming half-way around the world will not be easily forgotten by Aussies.

To-night, I will watch the opening ceremony of the historic Beijing Olympics. I am a great admirer - in spite of things that get in the road sometimes - of the Chinese, their history, their culture and above all the Tao Te Ching. I am conscious of Australian's long involvement with the Chinese people. But if, like our Prime Minister, I could be a forthright friend: there are issues of justice in China and some of its relationships which can be difficult to overlook. Some people, perhaps, at these Olympics will feel strongly enough to make a public - and possibly prophetic - stand.

I pray that if this is the case that such people will remember the time forty years ago when three men decided to make their stand: representing two very different cultures these men really stood for something. The speedy and gentle Australian did not raise a fist. He wore a badge and, with Christ in his heart and his motivation, stood beside his black brothers. After all, Jesus said, where two or three are gathered in my name: there I am in the midst of them.


~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Transfiguration

To-day is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Three years ago, the fruit tree beside my home office window was covered in blossom (the picture is from 2005) but my fruit trees have very few blossoms at this time and my magnolia seems to have blossom as a permanent condition since they have been there so long without flowering.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Easter coincides with new life in nature. In the Southern Hemisphere, Easter happens in Autumn when the leaves are falling and nature prepares for Winter.

I love the Feasts but, on those occasions when we observe those that are not Easter and Christmas, I think we talk about them in a way which does not give any depth to the experience. I think that, in the main, this is how the Transfiguration is treated.

The Transfiguration was a supernatural event intervening in the natural order of things. It was transforming and predictive of the new life to come. Just like the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing at this time. How wonderful then if people in the south of the globe could take this great season of the soul and transform it to mirror the wonder of regeneration that is happening in the environment. We could then experience both the transfiguration of our environment and of our spirits.

The Transfiguration Lyrics




~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

GREEN LEFT AND THE ANGLICANS

This picture and its source offends Christian sensibilities and sensitivities.
However, when grown up Archbishops and Bishops play at schism, it offends mine.

Life is peculiar sometimes - particularly its synchronicities. A week ago to-day, I attended a huge turn out of union officials and delegates at the Dallas Brookes Centre in East Melbourne. Its purpose was to hear about the ABCC and what it is doing - and what it is doing, in particular, to Noel Washington.

As those of you who attend these big working class events know, they are a magnet for all sorts of left organisations (except the ALP, of course). They are there with their stalls, their stickers and posters, their buttons and badges, the newspapers, journals, books and flyers, and the petitions and the sign ups. The whole thing is quite festive and colourful. One sad note though was a woman from the Australian Irish Welfare Association who was handing out leaflets telling about the young Irishman gone missing, Stephen King. A body has since been found in the Yarra River and it is believed to be Stephen. May he rest in peace.

So on this festive sunny but chilly morning in the middle of Melbourne I collect every bit of paper presented to me - including the one I had to pay for, The Green Left Weekly. I am not a subscriber to GL but always buy it at these things - and it's usually from the lovely Sue Bolton. Don't read all the articles - but love the ads. This time - surprise, surprise - an article about religion: Class war and the Anglican schism by Barry Healy. I didn't read the article. I steer clear of reading about the latest machinations of the Sydney Anglicans in any form and I figured the last thing I needed was a Marxist critique of the whole shebang.

But synchronicity will have its mysterious and penetrating way. I have been in internet contact with Steve Hayes, a Greek Orthodox deacon in South Africa, on and off for the best part of ten years. I was studying theology at Morling College when I came across him through the South African Missiological Society and their excellent journal Missionalia. Steve - in our pre-blogging days - used to run an excellent email network. We have hooked up again on his blogs and on the Yahoo Groups site he manages, Christianity and Society.

Had an email from Steve the other day. A little controversy was in full flight on Notes from Underground. Guess what about? That's right, the GL article on the Anglicans. And are the Africans upset or what! Steve thought Miss Eagle from Australia might have something to say - and she did and she has, at length. So pop over to Steve's NFU and see what all the fuss is about - but it will help to read Barry Healy's article first.



~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Friday, August 01, 2008


AN OPEN LETTER
TO
MEMBER FOR LA TROBE
IN THE
PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

Dear Jason,

Denis at The Nature of Robertson has just forwarded to me this clip from a parliamentary speech you have made. Not a good look, Jason. And that concerns me because, you see, I am one of your constituents in the seat of La Trobe. I am dependent on you to represent my interests in the wider world of governing the nation. With a performance like this, Jason, you just won't cut the mustard will you?

They say that every army officer carries a Field-Marshall's baton in his knapsack. Well, Jason, if you have ever packed a Prime Ministerial baton or even a Cabinet Minister's baton in your knapsack you might as well remove it and use the space for something more useful like aftershave and hair restorer.

However, Jason, if you ever want to learn how to really communicate; to not trip over your tongue (and I hope it wasn't because you had been too long in the parliamentary dining room); to do your homework and present well as a representative for La Trobe, just email me at eaglemiss(at)gmail(dot)com and we can discuss what can be done.

It ill behoves me to make such an offer to a member of the Liberal Party of Australia after all they have put us through but - in the interests of sound representation and because we have more than two more years to get through until the next election - I am prepared to give it a go if you are.

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Words and silence

We are going to render an account to God,
not only for our idle words,
but also for our ill-considered silence.
- John Trithemius
Rule



~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How wonderful to find such a picture with an Australian flavour.
See here.

I count the prophets of the eighth century as among my best mates. It is hard to choose between when it comes to favourites but, if I am forced, I will choose Amos, shepherd turned reluctant prophet. Christine Sine, that Aussie resident in the USA who comes home very often, has written a wonderful justice prayer over at Godspace which is partly based on Amos. The prayer has also been picked up at The Breadblog.


God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry
Please help those of us who are rich to be honest and fair just like you, our God.
May we who have such abundance be honest and fair with all your people, especially the poor.
Let peace and justice rule every mountain and fairness flow as a river that never runs dry.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry
May we your people defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them.
May we be as helpful as rain that refreshes the ground, to those who are treated unjustly.
Let the wholeness and fairness of your kingdom live forever like the sun and the moon.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry
Because you our God rescue the homeless and have pity on those who hurt
May we who are rich stand up for the poor and let peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.
Let God’s kingdom of justice and fairness reach from sea to sea, across all the earth.
God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness

Monday, July 21, 2008

They have been referring to Australia as having a two-speed economy for quite some time now.
Perhaps it is about time we focussed on a society for us all.
~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another piece of the pie?

Photo: The Age

The Wall Street Journal now dedicates a full-time beat reporter, Robert Frank, to cover what he calls Richistan. Richistan did not suddenly appear on the American scene. Our top-heavy era has evolved from a heavily bankrolled effort by conservatives and corporations to instill blind faith in the market as the magic elixir that can solve any problem. This three-decade war against common sense has preached that tax cuts for the rich help the poor, that labor unions keep workers from prospering, that regulations protecting consumers attack freedom. Duly inspired, our elected officials have rewritten the rules that run our economy--on taxes and trade, on wage policies and public spending--to benefit wealthy asset owners and global corporations.
From The Rich and The Rest of Us in The Nation

That's the view from the USA. Meanwhile back in the Land of Oz, The Age has begun to-day a five part series titled The Sum of Us.


Like Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the UK, Australia - under both Liberal and Labor Governments - took on Milton Friedman's monetarism as the western world moved away from Keynesian economics. Never no mind that the work of John Keynes had real runs on the board: extricating the world from the Great Depression as well as bringing post-World War II prosperity.



And where has it got us? More wars and less peace in spite of the end of the Cold War. More rich and more poor in the world - in spite of more nations getting autonomy across the world. Solutions to the chronic problems of our society have been consigned to the so called "trickle down effect" where the wealthy try to convince us that their wealth and their getting richer would be better for everybody because it would all magically "trickle down". Instead, the dollars moved another way.



What has really happened - and it is there for us all to see - is that there has been a "trickle up" effect as money is syphoned away from the poor and the slightly less poor and the not quite middle class to build a constituency of wealth supported by sufficient numbers of middle class people to provide a constituency within democracies for all this to happen. Please note that this does not take into account the state-sanctioned robbery of public assets, the massive social change, and the mass corruption in Russia and China.



And so to the picture of the pie. Paul Keating used to tell us that the solution to all this was to build a bigger pie: trying to tell us that as we built a bigger pie there would be enough for the rich and the rest of us to benefit. But pendulums have a habit of swinging. Balloons inflate and deflate. At the moment, pendulums are swinging enough to give one motion sickness and balloons are popping or about to pop across multiple sectors of the economy.



Don't let any one pull the wool over your eyes again. Too many politicians over the last thirty years have spoken as if economic laws are immutable. They are as sure and as certain as the sun coming up each morning. That is not true. Human beings make the economic laws as we know and experience them to-day. Human beings can make bad decisions and they can make good decisions. They can make decisions for sectional interests and in a corrupt manner and they can make decisions for the common wealth and the common good in a clear, unfettered and unbought manner.



So let's keep watch. Let's not allow all those hood-winkers to get away with it again. Let's hold them accountable: for their lies, their corruption, their kow-towing to the wealthy, and - above all - their incompetence against the common good. Let's build a society for all of us.

~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Contemplation, Witness, Resistance

Christine Valters Paintner over at the Abbey of the Arts has given us a link to her article: The Practice of Contemplation as Witness and Resistance. Please take time out to read this since it provides a balanced view of the contemplative life in modern practice. Such a life is not mere navel-gazing but the seeding of an active, prophetic life. The post is here.


~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Are you a Christian?

I have snitched this quote from Sacred Threshold who seems to have got it from inward/outward. It is from Henri Nouwen.

You are Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in, so long as you emphasize the need of conversion both for yourself and for the world, so long as you in no way let yourself become established in the situation of the world, so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come. You are Christian only when you believe you have a role to play in the realization of the new kingdom, and when you urge everyone you meet with holy unrest to make haste so that the promise might soon be fulfilled. So long as you live as a Christian you keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life.
~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Garnaut Report: No Pain, No Rain

The Draft Report: Garnaut Climate Change Review
available here.
I sometimes wonder if there will be a time when we look back on the eleven years of the Howard Government as a period of lost time, lost opportunities.
This is almost certain to become obvious in relation to Climate Change. Ross Garnaut, in to-day's speech launching the Draft Report: Garnaut Climate Change Review, said "Now is not the best time to start. That was years ago. "
In other words, even if we start doing all the things we should do right this very minute we are behind the eight ball. And if we daydream about putting all this stuff in the too hard basket or waiting for China and India to come on board, then Garnaut has news for us.
  • Postponing now is not avoiding a decision. It is making a decision.
  • Delaying now will eliminate attractive lower cost options.
  • Without early and strong action before 2020 we will realise the consequences of failing to take action.
  • Rich developed countries, including Australia, have undertaken to do something first prior to the developing nations coming on board.
  • We will not get developing nations to do what they need to do if we do not honour commitments first

In fact, on the question of how our own attitudes can put Australia behind the eight ball, Garnaut pointed out that our seven decades long adherence to:

  • Protectionism
  • Xenophobia
  • Bureaucratic trammelling of the market

set the nation back economically.

Now, Miss Eagle says a "yes, but" to the last statement. There were some sound values embedded in these policies: self-sufficiency, self-support, defending things we valued, establishing fairness and even playing fields. Trouble is that some of these sound values did not work themselves out in equitable ways. The untrammelling of the marketing, for instance, does not always support these values - and some of us find that hard to take.

Not that Garnaut does not recognise values. He points out that some of the economic modelling does not, cannot and will not tell the whole story. For instance, any future loss of Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef can mean an economic loss due to projected fall offs in international tourism. These can be modelled. However, Australians themselves would experience a loss which the economic modelling cannot reflect.

Garnaut also placed a shot across the bows of the deep green ecologists. Any slowing of living standards, he points out, is no answer here or in Asia or in developing nations Their decline would be quickly translated into our own.

Garnaut emphasised Australia's unique location and the opportunities it might generate. He quoted Putin's comment that perhaps Russia might benefit from a couple of degrees increase in temperature. Australia, Garnaut points out, would not.

We are already a hot, dry country.

~~~

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Queenslander - Queenslander - Queenslander

Israel Folau (Melbourne Storm) in action for Queensland

We did it! The Maroons did it! We beat the Cockroaches and we did it on their home turf of ANZ Stadium, Sydney. 16-10.


The final Origin 2008 was magnificent. I don't think Queensland has ever put up a more consistent, fast-moving defence ever. A commentator in the second-half (a NSW one, needless to say) said that Queensland had no Plan B after Scott Prince's broken arm and other injuries. This, mind you, at a time when Queensland had it well over NSW in terms of possession. I agree that there might have been little evidence of a Plan B - but we saw a well co-ordinated team aggressive and speedy in defence and with the ball in their hands more often than not.


Ah, well - Queenslanders never have expected objectivity from Cockroach commentators have they?


Miss Eagle does not want to diminish the efforts of anyone in the Queensland side but, as an expatriate North Queenslander she wants to send big bouquets and thank-yous to Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday, the wounded Scotty Prince, and - my hero - the beautiful Billy Slater who scored the deciding try on a set-up by JT in the second half. Breathtaking!


And - to all of you who wonder what the fuss is about with the State of Origin series - go read my uncle's book:

~~~

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Missionary elites: born of ignorance, deafness and confusion

Let's call this for what it is. Hypocrisy. A brazen display of utter, craven hypocrisy. Tony Abbott was a minister in the failed Howard Government: the Howard Government which ignored - until a losing election was looming in its rear vision - Aboriginal Australia and, not to mention, the needs and aspirations of remote white Australia. And this sanctimonious ignorance was delivered at that centre for hypocrisy and we-know-what's-best-for-you, the Centre for Independent Studies. How long will we have to wait to hear this drivel reprised on Counterpoint - the mouthpiece for the CIS on the ABC?

Six years ago, Miss Eagle was working in Walgett in north-western NSW. The local whitefellas there had organised themselves to provide a scholarship for rural doctors. Medical personnel in private practice are in short supply in mainstream communities in remote Australia. People want to bring doctors to their communities and want to work hard to give them a good lifestyle and so retain them as long as possible. Whitefellas in the bush realise that their best chances are:
  1. Train doctors who have grown up in the bush and are likely to want to return to the bush - or at least have a good think about it.
  2. Encourage new doctors to the bush by doing part of their practical training in bush hospitals and situations and further encouraging them with a purpose-built bush scholarship.

In a difficult situation, this is reasonable thinking - but it does not absolve governments of their responsibilities - and it expresses the commitment of a local community.

Unfortunately, Aboriginal communities are not able to get together to raise the great wads of cash needed for medical scholarship funding. Even if those concerned gave up their grog and their drugs, the money would have to go to families first.

However, the best bet of getting medicos out into remote Australia is the same two points that have swung white remote communities into action.

More Aboriginal health professionals are coming through our universities. There has been good work done with the training of Aboriginal Health Workers (the original idea came from that of the Barefoot Doctors in Mao's China). A generation further on what are we doing to fund and build on the professionalism of Aboriginal Health Workers so that that from these ranks more Aboriginal health professionals can be put through universities and back into the areas of highest need?

The thing that has always sickened me in the language and actions of Howard and his lackeys is they carry on as if no one prior to their military intervention was doing anything of any value. They had turned their backs years before - meanwhile other parts of humanity, black and white and brindle, were carrying on through thick and thin, funding cuts, isolation, deaf ears and everything that the Howard lot found politically on the outer, politically incorrect. The deaf ears and detachment of the Howard crew cost lives and cost progress.

And Abbott says that self-determination breeds detachment!

WHAT! If self-determination breeds detachment, the only evidence of it is that Aboriginal self-determination was abhorred by the Howard Government and its lackeys and, as a consequence, THEY detached themselves from any interest in Aboriginal people, their situation, their communities.

Sure pay people good money - but pay Aboriginal people already in place and on the ground good money too. And money is not everything. If someone does not have the right spirit and attitude, money won't keep them there long and it certainly won't keep them there through the hard yards.

Will government provide professional development on the ground for all professionals: health, education, justice irrespective of whether of whether they are university or TAFE qualified? You see, governments are very good at doing the flashy stuff like toys and technology and the flash-in-the-pan stuff of big budget announcements. It is not good at the incremental building of solid foundations and structures which will last and which will deliver. Whitefellas lose interest and head back to their capital cities - and blame everyone else for any failures.

And, finally, how will government help to build and revive economies in inland Australia. The mining companies fly in and fly out and do not contribute to community building and localised economies as once they did. Corporate agriculture does not always contribute to local communities in meaningful and substantial ways - but then family owned farming enterprises don't always either. I always remember the quote from western Queensland "..as long as there's a post office to pick up the mail." But may be, in these days of email and digital phones and faxes, he can live without the post office. And then there's the shopping. Woolworths and Coles don't sprout in much of inland Australia. You go to major cities or regional centres for that and the dollar goes away from local communities and economies.

But this nation has made millionaires (including a Labor Prime Minister's wife) out of employment programs for unemployed people, so why can't the same fertile minds turn their attentions to the building of economies in remote Australia for both black and white communities. They would benefit. We would all benefit. Communities would be stronger and more cohesive. Tax coffers could get some additional input. Let's do some real nation building in the inland for black and white communities.

~~~


When you can do nothing else: bear witness.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Samuel's Pratt-fall

Melbourne can be a very small pond sometimes - particularly if you are well-heeled and influential as Richard Pratt and Graeme Samuel are and have been. Because the pond is small, people criss-cross one another's lives here, there, and in all sorts of places: boards, football clubs, the arts, Crown Casino, public events and - not to mention - politics. There are plenty of people to map the criss-cross of the lives of Pratt and Samuel. Thus, when everyone thought that Pratt had settled the Visy-ACCC matter and the ACCC comes back for a personal crack at Pratt, the odd eyebrow headed northward - but we won't give words to thoughts for most obvious of reasons!
Some have been heard to ask - surely when Pratt settled the matter last year part of the settlement would have closed off all avenues of further prosecution? Maybe, maybe not. But then, one assumes, that if one can be proved to have told porky-pies then all bets - or deals, if they were made - would be off?
Mmmm....
Anyways, Samuel has denied there is any vendetta by him against Pratt.
Miss Eagle supports Samuel's call for stiffening ACCC's capacity with the possibility of jail terms. Australian white collar crims are seldom seen in handcuffs let alone in prison - although it has happened that a few have had a taste of barred existence lately. Yet in the land of USA Inc they get to see their crims arrested, in cuffs and being hauled off. It happened with Enron and now it has happened with the Bear Stearns people in the sub-prime mortgage rip-offs.
Pratt stood down from the board of Carlton Football Club. We await his future. And Samuel is not answering questions on his - will he remain at the ACCC?
~~~
When you can do nothing else: bear witness.