Who do you nominate for “Cnut of the Week”?

Image of King Cnut, labelled Cnut of the Week

Stilgherrian Live, my live Internet program, returns tomorrow night, and I need nominations for this week’s “Cnut of the Week”.

If you missed the last two episodes, well, the segment “Cnut of the Week” is dedicated to the memory of King Cnut the Great, also known as Canute, a Viking ruler of England and Denmark, and Norway, and of some of Sweden variously from 1016 to 1035 CE.

Cnut is best known for attempting to hold back the tide. As 12th-century chronicler Henry of Huntingdon tells it, Cnut set his throne on the shore and commanded the tide to halt — but of course it didn’t stop. Cnut leapt back and said:

Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.

He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again.

Continue reading “Who do you nominate for “Cnut of the Week”?”

Budget explains Internet censorship plan, a bit

The vagueness of the Labor government’s planned kid-friendly “clean feed” Internet become a tiny bit less vague last night. The Federal Budget dumped Howard’s NetAlert scheme and replaced it with a $125.8 million Cyber-safety Plan.

Budget Paper No. 2 says there’ll be “a range of initiatives to combat online threats and protect children from inappropriate material on the internet.” There will be ISP-level filtering of “an expanded Australian Communications and Media Authority blacklist” — which presumably means the already-illegal material such as child pornography — plus an “examination of options to allow families to exclude other unwanted content”.

To me, this implies that families will be in control of their Internet filtering, and it’ll be opt-in. As it should be. Presumably this will become clearer once the “options” are “examined”.

The plan includes other measures “such as”:

  • an education program for teachers and the community
  • a Youth Advisory Group to assist the Government to formulate age-appropriate measures to
    protect children
  • an expanded Consultative Working Group focussed on cyber-safety issues,
  • a dedicated website for children
  • research projects on cyber-safety issues

ISPs will get a one-off subsidy in 2009-10 to install the filters, with funding in following years only for new providers. The Australian Federal Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions continue to get their funding to combat child sexual exploitation. Again, as they should.

From the “It must be true” department…

Crikey has brought to my attention a media statement by the Australian Federal Police regarding the Mohammed Haneef case. In part it reads:

AFP Professional Standards has investigated suspected leaks to the media and is satisfied that there has been no unlawful disclosure of information by AFP members. The matters identified as possible inappropriate conduct by officials of other agencies will be referred to the appropriate authorities.

The AFP has acted appropriately throughout the investigation.

Well that’s good then. Some “other agencies” are to blame.

However the statement also says:

The continuing attempts by Dr Haneef’s defence team to use the media to run their case is both unprofessional and inappropriate and the AFP has raised this aspect with the Queensland Legal Services Commission.

Uhuh. And how about an equivalent sentence complaining about the government’s attempts to use the media to run their case? Yes, Ruddock and Andrews, I’m looking at you. Is your behaviour not also “both unprofessional and inappropriate”? No, no equivalent set of words? Oh.

I was under the impression that in Western democracies the police (as well as the “other agencies”) were there to independently uphold the rule of law, not act as the minions of the government of the day. Silly me.

Weekly Poll: Who should be sacked over Dr Haneef?

By any measure, the arrest and detention of Dr Mohammed Haneef on terrorism charges turned into a debacle. Much has already been written about it — and there’ll be a lot more to come, rest assured. The question that interests me right now, though, is who’ll wear the blame?

The new poll on my website asks a simple question: Who should be sacked?

  • Federal police commissioner Mick Keelty? News today is that he’s blaming everyone else — but his organisation was in charge of the investigation, wasn’t it?
  • Damian Bugg QC, Director of Public Prosecutions. While he did step in eventually, you’d have thought that in such a politically-sensitive case he’d have been involved from the start.
  • Kevin Andrews, Minister for Immigration. Dear dear dear, Kevin, first WorkChoices and now this. Last week’s poll suggested you’d be first voted off the island, and it’s looking even more likely now.
  • Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, for sticking his oar into the mess.
  • and I’ve made some other suggestions too.

[poll id=”4″]

If you vote, also feel free to post some comments here explaining your choice.