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We turned 5 today
Cheers to Club Chaos patrons who've come and gone, popped in occasionally, and left forever but returned anyway. Cheers to new patrons, especially those who joined us since October 10 after dropping in to commiserate, gloat or chew the fat on what the result might mean for all of us. And Cheers to the stayers. You know who you are.
It's wild when readers hands join mine on the steering wheel. I won't say I've always enjoyed the experience, but it has held my focus, not least because of the sheer unpredictability of the journey. Thank you to everyone who helped shape Webdiary at any time in the last five years.
Webdiary has documented half of the first ten years of a tumultous period in Australia which began in 1996 with the defeat of the Keating Government and the election of the Howard Government and Pauline Hanson.
For the first five years I covered the story as a federal political journalist, including 2 stints as Chief of Staff of the SMH Canberra Bureau. The closest I got to looking the future directly in the eye was following Pauline Hanson's 1998 federal election campaign, which became the subject of my first book, Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson Trip.
From July 2000 I mixed my Chief of Staff duties with Webdiary, and from February 2001 Webdiary became my full time vocation. Since the 28th of August 2001 Club Chaos themes have been dominated by Tampa, September 11, and their aftershocks.
Last year, inspired by my Club Chaos experiences, I collaborated with three patrons, Harry Heidelberg, Jack Robertson and Antony Loewenstein, to write Not Happy, John! Defending our Democracy, which documented threats to our democracy exposed in 2003.
The Tampa/S11 themes continued last month with the Rau/Alvarez latest, the Rebel 4's Mandatory Detention revolt, Labor's continuing crisis of conscience and President Bush's speech to his nation to bolster support for the failing Iraq campaign.
How fitting, as we ponder what the future might hold, that Phil Uebergang's Origin of the Species debate dominated the Top Ten. What is the purpose of a life? Why are we here? These are questions many of us now face as we wonder whether there is anything we can do to help shape the future we desire for our children, and theirs, and mankind.
What will the next year bring? I feel we're at tipping point.
Here are June's Club Chaos statistics.
2. The origin of the species: final statements, June 19
4. 'Why is he here?' Roffey's Loner launch report, June 29
5. Only powerless if we think we are, June 2
6. Downer joins Vanstone in Alvarez cover-up, June 6
7. It's about the values of liberalism, John, June 15
10. Peace like a river, June 7
Top 5 referrals
My personal favourite reader pieces for idiosyncratic reasons in 2000 and 2001, date order
Questions to you journos, November 4, 2000 - Jack Robertson
Pull the udder one, March 30, 2001 - Tim Dunlop
Another world, May 24, 2001 - Tim Blair, Jack Robertson
July 17, 2001 - David Davis, Jack Robertson, Robert Lawton, Con
Vaitsas, Brendan, Andrew Cave, John Wojdylo, Denise Richardson, David
Terror unlike movies, September 18, 2001 - John Wojdylo
Bush's rhetoric gets more disturbing each day, September 19, 2001 - Brigadier Adrian D'hage
What happens next, September 20, 2001 - Christopher Selth
Understanding our racism - an attempt, October 29, 2001 - Brian Bahnisch
Arthur vision, November 5, 2001 - Don Arthur
Two Nations tragedy, November 6, 2001 - Tim Dunlop, Nardya Colvin, Graham McPherson, Dave Green.
Last word, November 9, 2001 - David Davis
Redrawing my map of home, November 13, 2001 - Jodie Brough, Christine Evans, Kerry Mills, Gary Williams, Kay Murphey, Dell Horey, James Gifford, Abraham Kennedy, Lee Borkman, C Crowther, Bruce Tabor, David Stanford
Ghettos of the mind, November 16, 2001 - Don Arthur, Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Colin Long, Tim Dunlop
Messing with your mind, November 19, 2001 - Scott Burchill, Richard Chapman, Greg Weilo, David Stanford, Nick Poynder
A Nauru state of mind, November 20, 2001 - Jonathan Liberman
Blaming Lasch, November 26, 2001 - Cathy Bannister
Rebuilding the left, December 3, 2001 - Tim Dunlop
Polly Bush Walkleys, December 4, 2001 - Polly Bush
Sydney and the rest, December 14, 2001 - Malcolm Street
The identity politics of Reschs, December 14, 2001 - David Davis, Polly Bush, David Redfearn
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