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Archive

Submitted by Kerryn Higgs on August 3, 2005 - 2:11am.
Blowin’ in the wind

"Blowin’ in the Wind was finished just in time to coincide with Operation Talisman Sabre 2005, the joint exercise of US and Australian troops conducted in June at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland – the first set of wargames conducted in Australia since a new defence agreement was quietly signed in Washington on July 7th last year." Kerryn Higgs

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Submitted by Stuart Lord on July 28, 2005 - 11:29pm.
The censors and double standards

"We seem to be putting the act of sex (not the explicit concept, but simply the viewing of sex), on a much higher pedestal than violence and death. The irony is that there is no ban for killing police officers or other innocent people, no ban for robbing and/or killing any random person on the street, and yet the second you beat and rob a prostitute, the game is banned. Does anyone else see the flaws? It shows something wrong within our morality, that we can choose to tolerate so many things, and yet ban others that seem much more trivial in nature and effect. That we tolerate violence in games and we don't mind sex, we only mind most forms and representations of sex. We only get indignant about sex that is visual." Stuart Lord

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on July 27, 2005 - 8:39am.
I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin’ back at me
"Let’s look at our community for a moment. Let's observe what goes on. On the street we might come to the same intersection. To connect we must first acknowledge each other’s presence. A glance, a relaxed and open stance, a smile. Then we can communicate with positive body language at a level deeper than we generally understand. We begin to comprehend what could unfold if we create the opportunity. We find confidence, and trust. We start connecting, we start to communicate." Craig Rowley.
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Submitted by Chris Saliba on July 26, 2005 - 6:48am.
The thought crimes of Jennifer Zeng

I asked Jennifer Zeng what she thought Mr Chen Yonglin’s claim of a thousand spies working in Australia. "I was not surprised at all by Mr Chen’s claims," she said. "My family back in China warned me more than a dozen times that they were not only warned, but also convinced by Chinese authorities that everything I am doing and saying here is monitored." Chris Saliba

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Submitted by Jack H Smit on July 23, 2005 - 7:22am.
Please swipe your card and press delete

"Finally, I will have the last swipe. It will be a swipe at my government. Up it comes: date of birth, mother's maiden name, nationality, last date of entry into Australia, flight number, colour of my eyes, known medical condition, started smoking when I was fifteen, was blacklisted and arrested pending self-removal from the USA in 1997 for overstaying my visa for 48 hours. And on it goes. I expect a big amount of crunching to go on inside my old computer. Never mind, I'll boil the kettle for another coffee, dream of an Australian Bill of Rights and wait. Then, Mr Howard, Mr Ruddock, Mrs Vanstone, I'll Select All, and I'll press delete. Because all the information, Prime Minister, all of it, is mine. It always was mine - and it certainly is not yours to hold or behold." Jack H Smit

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on July 22, 2005 - 7:28am.
Senate Inquiry into DIMIA needs public input

"In the final days of the old Senate, an inquiry was established to investigate the abuses of the Immigration Department. This provides an excellent opportunity for the community to raise objections to current immigration policies and instances of mistreatment and abuses of power by the Immigration Department, and put them on the public record under parliamentary privilege. There is a slight danger that the Government will use its numbers in the Senate to shut the Inquiry down, when it sits in early August, but public pressure and interest will make it difficult to shut it down. Therefore, The Greens are encouraging public involvement in this Senate Inquiry." Senator Kerry Nettle, inquiry member

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Submitted by John Richardson on July 16, 2005 - 4:40am.
The bloody price of US foreign policy

"The invasion and continued occupation of Iraq, the continued presence of US military bases in Muslim countries, coupled with continued western support for authoritarian regimes and continuing support of Israel at the expense of justice for the Palestinian people, guarantees that terrorism will not go away." John Richardson.

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on July 16, 2005 - 1:02am.
Bingo!

"You see we do not freely examine the texts that Ayman Zawahiri and his student Osama bin Laden would have themselves read closely, because such an exercise is deemed to be dangerous. And in many ways it is very dangerous, especially in the hands of naïve and easily manipulated people. On the other hand, if intelligent people in the community did freely access such material - in the same way as we could freely access the Al Qur'ān Al Karīm, the Biblical Canon or the Hebrew Bible and all the related literature - we might together come to a better understanding of what makes a suicide bomber tick. We might even begin to see what they think they see and 'Bingo!' we might find a way to defuse the ideas that form in their minds." Craig Rowley

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on July 9, 2005 - 9:12am.
Live 8: Dylan, Sir Bob and the selling of illusions

"With Live 8, as with Live Aid before it, Geldof follows his perpetual star. His dream is an electronic world of solidarity. But is this a false salvation? One notable absence from Live 8 was Dylan. Instead he was busy issuing a CD of a long lost gig at the Gaslight Café in Greenwich Village from 1962. In a typical Dylanesque twist, its release is exclusive to the Starbucks coffee chain." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Martin Gifford on July 8, 2005 - 9:05am.
Let's create worldwide happiness

"Have you noticed that although politicians, parents, teachers, businesses, organisations and the media promote the goal of happiness, no one seems to achieve real enduring happiness?" Martin Gifford

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on July 6, 2005 - 9:48am.
Delving into 'Democracy Denied' because it matters to all of us
"The Sydney Morning Herald's Gerard Ryle and Lisa Pryor have provided a series of reports in recent weeks detailing the Howard Government's deafening silence to calls from anyone outside the Party Room to do anything about many things that matter to many ordinary Australians. Ryle and Pryor's investigation into democracy denied was published just prior to the end of the old balance of power. They found that the Federal Government had not replied on time to a single public inquiry out of the 62 it has ordered in the House of Representatives since December 1998. It has given no reply at all to almost half of them." Craig Rowley
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on July 5, 2005 - 12:22pm.
We turned 5 today

G'day. We turned 5 today, the 4th of July, 2005. 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, 2004 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.

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Submitted by John Miner on July 3, 2005 - 3:41am.
IR power to the feds: the Australian people always say no

"When you amend the Constitution you amend it permanently. What one Parliament can do under the power another Parliament can undo. Just as the conservatives of 1946 saw a Communist plot behind the proposal, so the ALP sees a conservative government wishing to smash trade unions and workers’ conditions and rights. And they are both right." John Miner on how Australians have always said no to demands by Labor and non-Labor federal governments to seize control of industrial relations law from the States

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Submitted by Stuart Lord on July 3, 2005 - 2:50am.
Mugabe's repression: a call for action

"What if there was military action taken in Zimbabwe for the specific purpose to remove Mugabe and Zanu-PF, holding true and free elections and using the planned aid money to rebuild the economy shattered by years of mismanagement and deliberate destruction? On human rights grounds alone the removal of Mugabe and Zanu-PF would be justified." Stuart Lord

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on July 2, 2005 - 6:02am.
Be alarmed, not just alert, on ASIO power extension

"We should be alarmed, not merely alert, about Australia's terror laws. They abrogate civil rights, which are our bulwark against tyranny. We are already seeing them used in what appears to be a McCarthyist witch hunt against vulnerable members of the community. We have spawned a monster, and it is only now beginning to show its menace. These laws are due to expire in July next year, but the Federal Attorney-General has called for their retention beyond that period. They should be repealed immediately." Melbourne silk Brian Walters SC

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Submitted by Phil Uebergang on June 30, 2005 - 3:42am.
Humour, pathos, and a little bit of majesty: Phil reviews the origin of the species debate

On both sides of the Creation/Evolution debate there was character assassination, wilful misunderstanding, deliberate misrepresentation, unqualified intellectual arrogance, childish insulting, and all without much effort to really listen to the other side. So how does a person go about having a belief, and defending it, without falling into the moral quagmire of intolerance of another’s belief?" Origin of the species debate organiser Phil Uebergang

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Submitted by Jack Robertson on June 25, 2005 - 7:00am.
A glimpse of our democractic better angels

"It's individual human beings standing up in public on behalf of their fellows and urging us all to make the world the best possible place we can. Embracing their better angels openly and unashamedly in their public lives so that maybe we'll try to do the same in our private ones. It's called 'leadership', and the only kind that ever worked is leadership-by-example." Jack Robertson applauds our parliamentarians.

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on June 25, 2005 - 3:30am.
Click 'enter' for e-democracy?

"[Harry] Evans asks: 'Can there be deliberation in cyberspace?' Then he answers: 'The Discussion Paper refers to the point that debate requires rules to make it orderly and thereby effective. Cyberspace has no rules of debate, and probably cannot have any such rules if the process is open to everyone with a computer. It is like an assembly in which everyone can shout at once, and does.'" Craig Rowley ponders an electronic future for democratic participation.

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Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 24, 2005 - 9:53am.
Last Question Time in the old Senate

Senate Question time is fairer, more respectful and more information-based than QT in the House of Representatives - Senators even have to answer the question asked! - because the government doesn't have the numbers. Thus, though Senators vote for a Liberal President to be presiding officer, that person knows that he or she relies on the confidence of the Senate as a whole. Expect House of Reps rules and behaviour when the new Senate sits. From now on, if the Senate President is fair the government can sack him. This is the last Senate Question time of the era which closes tonight. The Rebel 4s compromise bill will also pass the Senate tonight. Fitting.

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Submitted by Russell Darroch on June 23, 2005 - 1:30am.
Housing, debt and the gathering storm, by Russell Darroch

"A decade of irresponsible economic management - to help fuel the growth of the banks, big business and the real estate markets - eventually had to come to some end, whether a voluntary and controlled one or, as now seems inevitable, as the result of unavoidable system corrections. We are only in the early days of the 'adjustment we'll have to have', yet these are likely to be testing times for many households." Russell Darroch

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Submitted by David Roffey on June 21, 2005 - 5:30am.
Warming up the energy debate

"A recent New Scientist editorial sets out a handy scoring mechanism for energy sources: 'We want them to have a small environmental impact, yet be able to supply energy on a huge scale. We want costs to be low, the method of generation to be safe and for there to be plenty of available fuel. The International Energy Agency estimates that two-thirds of the extra energy demand over the next 25 years will come from developing countries, so whatever sources we choose must be tradable worldwide. Also, in the post-9/11 world, we want energy sources that cannot be abused by terrorists or rogue states.'" David Roffey with the latest on climate change and the future of energy.

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Submitted by Phil Uebergang on June 19, 2005 - 2:06pm.
The origin of the species: final statements

‘Did the universe and life evolve, or was it specially created in six days?’ Here are the third and final arguments in the debate on origins.

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Submitted by PF Journey on June 19, 2005 - 2:04pm.
String Theory and the art of noodling

"My godfather, Creation-v-Evolution debate is heavy going, arduous and torturous at times. I never realised there are so many Webdiarists going for a PhD. So in desperation and frustration, I am putting up my own “String Theory” for my fellow Webdiarists, namely about my favourite food, the NOODLES, and how to cook them. I declare the Club Chaos Kitchen open. Bon appetit." PF Journey's guide on what to eat between bouts of debating Creation versus Evolution

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on June 19, 2005 - 10:00am.
Wake in Fright

"An end to the hard line on asylum seekers is not yet to take them into our hearts and out of the arena of political point scoring. Like racing on a tight stretch of desert road we have seen the PM playing ‘chicken’ with the Georgiou gang of rebels. He dared them to blink and swerve to avoid a collision. But outside of this drama he is running from a debate in Parliament. He may swerve but we must not let him escape the need for a Royal Commission into the whole immigration mess." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on June 15, 2005 - 3:58am.
Desperate slaves: a pork-barrel regional rorts update
"Typically, a pork-barrel involves funding for government programs where the economic or service benefits are concentrated on the patronised constituency but the costs are spread among all taxpayers. When a government rolls out the pork barrel it is funding something that benefits a particular district, whose legislator thereby wins favour with local voters. Hence the great importance placed by political leaders on 'getting credit'." Craig Rowley
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 10, 2005 - 8:55pm.
Archives

We are busily working on getting the past five years of Webdiary Archives into a user friendly format.  This is one of our top priorities and we will keep you posted.

The archives of the Sydney Morning Herald Webdiary site dating back to early July 2004 are available here at http://webdiary.smh.com.au/archives/margo_kingston/  where the original article and subsequent comments can be read.

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Submitted by Sue Hoffman on June 7, 2005 - 10:27am.
SIEV-X: an update

"Having travelled from Perth to attend the people smuggler trial at Brisbane Supreme Court with three Iraqi men who lost family on SIEV-X, I can offer a unique perspective on this chapter of the SIEV-X story. It was unbelievably hard, they tell me, to sit for hours listening to detailed accounts of how the asylum seekers were moved across Indonesia by people smugglers and ferried by small boat onto the SIEV-X, for this is the journey their wives and children took in the days and weeks leading up to their deaths." Sue Hoffman

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Submitted by John Miner on May 30, 2005 - 2:42am.
A stained white radiance

In an advertisement in the Canberra Times, Professor Gavin Mooney suggested that people in DIMIA should examine their consciences. A letter to the editor from DIMIA's First Assistant Secretary (Parliamentary and Legal) Des Storer dubbed it "a personal attack on the integrity of public servants”, then took advantage of his position to publish his response on DIMIA's website, a resource Professor Mooney doesn’t have. I and many like me would never have known about Professor Mooney’s idea if Des hadn’t used the website to defend his troops against a suggestion that might have been good for their souls. John Miner reports.

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Submitted by Stuart Lord on May 24, 2005 - 5:14am.
Iraq – What could have been done better?

"I was asked a very relevant question after my original article on Iraq, namely ‘What could have been done better?’ After some careful consideration and consultation with various people, some who had served in Iraq, I came up with the following." Stuart Lord

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Submitted by Stuart Lord on May 20, 2005 - 8:20am.
Contestable concepts on Iraq: a pro-war view

"Since the invasion during 2003, there have been countless opinion pieces, blogs, journals and reports on Iraq. I have seen quite a few very contestable statements about the legality, nature and morality of the Iraq war, and here are some of my thoughts on them. Just for the record, in no way does this article concern the following – refugees, the personal lives of George W. Bush, Tony Blair or John Howard, refugees, Afghanistan, refugees, Israel and Palestine or refugees." Stuart Lord

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