Apr 252015

An important day for me as my father fought in New Guinea during the 1939-45 conflict we call World War 2. Dad has been gone from us now for 10 years, and I miss him more with every passing day. I often think I’d like some time back again, to make more of the few times he opened up about his experiences, and to get to know better what was a true gentleman, a quiet man, and a troubled man on some levels given what he must have seen and experienced.

I also like to sit quietly, watch the broadcast services from the Gallipoli Peninsula and Villers-Bretonneux provided in such excellent quality and commemoration by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Both services are wonderful remembrances, solemn and haunting, especially the vision from many, many points around both sites. I’ll never have the chance to go, so it’s important to me to try to be a small part of remembering. This year, I was greatly impressed with the speech given by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Mr John Keyes. He deliberately opted out of the standard finale, ‘Lest We Forget’, instead stating clearly, ‘We Remember’, and so we do and must always.

ANZAC Day is a sad time, a time for reflection, and a time to recall that war solves nothing. I was quiet put off this morning by this piece on ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra. Professor Ian Morris, the author of the book War: What is it good for? The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots; Sir Robert Fry, Former Deputy Commanding General of the coalition forces in Iraq in 2006; and Major General Jim Molan, Defence and security commentator, consultant and company director, Author of Running the War in Iraq (2008) together with presenter Geraldine Doogue, discussing in a very remote and academic nature, the supposed benefits which flow from conflict, loss of life and formation of nation states in the aftermath of wars. Frankly, I found the discussion rather off-putting and dismissive of the human element without which war simply would not exist. Benefits from young men & women surrendering their lives for distinctly political causes that somehow deliver ‘benefits’? I think the word is oxymoron.

I was also upset by the complete abandon with which the Gallipoli tourists – by which I mean those who feel the need to make the oft-espoused pilgrimage for various personal reasons – walking over the graves of those they’ve come to honour. As a young boy, I distinctly recall my father telling me that one should never walk on the dead. Those who have passed deserve our respect, be they fallen military, or just those who have reached the end of their time in this existence and been buried in the ground. There is nothing remotely religious in that sentiment, just simple courtesy and respect. The ground containing the husk of a human being belongs to them. We who live above it have an obligation to ensure we continue their memory and respect what they did with their lives, and for we who remain. Don’t walk on the dead.

I’m also concerned by the semi-circus hooplah with which some parts of the media treat ANZAC Day. The endless interviews with people who like to claim family members who fought in this or that conflict. Yes, it is important to remember, indeed, it is VITAL that we educate our young, who have never, and hopefully will never, experience war, into just what ANZAC Day means and why we commemorate it as we do. However, please, never make a form of celebration out of the day. There is nothing to celebrate. There is much to mourn. There is much to regret. There is also much to remember, as John Keyes stated. We must remember that fighting wars on behalf of other nation states is futile. It is wasteful of humanity’s most precious resource…..our fellow human beings.

Feb 022015
Between 1940 and the 1970’s in the south of the US of A, the phrase dead man walking was used by correctional officers to tell those in the hallways of the prisons to move to the side and allow the condemned person to pass unhindered. This phrase was looked upon as cruel and unusual and therefore “outlawed” by civil rights activists. 

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Jan 262015

Clearly this man, this pretender to the throne of public governance, is not only a gross embarrassment to his own political colleagues, but a gross embarrassment and outright abuser of the people he purports to lead.

Abbott is so clearly out of touch with the Australian consciousness it’s uncomfortable to even contemplate what might have driven him to afford the consort to the monarchy of a foreign nation pseudo-citizenship by inferring a citizens-only honour, on Australia Day of all days.

Then, to further compound the insult to the Australian people, he calls their digital voice – social media, to which we’re all attuned in great numbers – digital graffiti! Your opinion, should you voice it on any of the social media forums, is akin to an adolescent tag from a spray can on a dark night, applied to whatever your chosen canvas might be, before the authorities come along & spring you. Further, tagging public property is an offense, so is Abbott seriously aligning the publically expressed opinion in social media with an illegal act?

Is this man so far out of touch, so elitistly removed from the everyday, that he overtly regards a digital expression of opinion as a complete nonsense? Does he not recognise public opinion? Does he, more pointedly, choose only to recognise those who support the monarchy as he clearly does? These are all relevant questions to be asked of the man who makes more partisan decisions outside his own party room, outside of any collegiate consultation with his cabinet, let alone his back-bench, than any other Prime Minister in living memory.

I believe the man to be dangerous. Dangerous in the context of the terminology of loose cannon. He is clearly a danger not only to this country, but also to the party he purports to lead. He obviously has little regard for the opinions of his fellow ministers, and even less regard for the public which supposedly voted him into power. It’s getting worse as well. We see daily thought bubbles being put about as policy, only to be revoked the next day. Certainly, public opinion counts on issues like Medicare, for example, yet when that very same opinion, is expressed through the very same media which supported the outcry against the Medicare rebate manipulation, on the subject of appointment of a non-state member of a foreign elite class, it is regarded by Abbott as digital graffiti.

This man must go! He is not fit to lead his own political party, and certainly not fit to appear in the name of Australians everywhere, if he chooses to confer Australian citizen’s honours, on foreign nationals, on the one day of the year we seem to recognise our nationhood.

Dec 182014

So….David Leyonhjelm reckons that Sydney hostage business wouldn’t happen….sorry, PROBABLY wouldn’t happen, in Texas or  Florida. He clearly didn’t do his research, which at the very least should have consisted of a Google on the terms “Hostage Situations Texas” and “Hostage Situations Florida”. Continue reading »