John Howard, during his time as prime minister, talked a lot about the rule of law. If we are a nation of laws then those laws must, presumably, reflect what we believe about ourselves as a nation. As people. As human beings. As Australians.
Howard, quite correctly, sees a century of the rule of law as one of the great achievements of Australian federation. And yet, under his watch, fundamental legal principles were eroded. Laws made as part of the so-called War on Terror introduced imprisonment without trial, secret evidence, searches without warrant…
With these conflicting thoughts in mind, I opened the pages of Julian Burnside’s book Watching Brief: reflections on human rights, law, and justice while leaving Australia for the first time.
As dusk fell somewhere over the Timor Sea, I imagined the horror of traversing that ocean below in an over-crowded, leaky refugee boat only to be hauled off to a concentration camp a quarter of the world away. Meanwhile, I ordered another brandy and Mr Burnside provided me with a concise, clearly-written explanation of just why I’d been so angry with the Howard government, and so angry with a weak and ineffectual opposition for allowing it to happen.
Continue reading “Review: Watching Brief”
If you listen closely to the conversations between you and your friends, you’ll discover tiny little phrases that reveal who you really are.
So this week’s poll — yes, I know it’s a week late, deal with it! — asks you to choose from a number of phrases the one you’re most likely to use in conversation. Go to the website to vote.
Last week’s results: Yes, without a doubt, Duran Duran is the greatest band in the history of pop.
Andrew P Street is a genius. I say that because (a) he is, (b) knowing Andrew is one of the three vital components for understanding the full subtlety of this week’s poll, and (c) I dare not upset him by failing to acknowledge his enormous throbbing brain.
Last night ’Pong and I went to the Excelsior Hotel in Glebe. Their website is slick and glossy — but the web designer has clearly never set foot in the establishment because the Excelsior is what we in the business call a “dive”. Or, as the Macquarie Dictionary puts it, “a disreputable place, as for drinking, gambling, etc.”
I wish to report that the Excelsior is well-equipped for drinking, and we made ample use of its facilities.
Andrew P Street is, I believe, also well-equipped for drinking, being in possession of hands, mouth, gullet etc. He also has a guitar, and his mouth is so arranged that red wine may flow inwards while, at other moments, song flows outwards.
Continue reading “Weekly Poll: Who should sing…?”
I’m chuffed! Inspired by the work of the Bonological Semiotics team, I coined my own Bonophone.
Bonorrhoea: A chronic disease which causes meaningless words to dribble from the mouth and, more usually, other orifices. Also known as “talking out one’s arse.”
As a result, Arch Bonologer Sabian Wilde has promoted me to the rank of Clayton Private. To celebrate, this week’s poll can only be… “Bono is…?” Go to the website to vote.
Bonus link: Netscape founder Marc Andreessen has a whole blog category about Bono.
Last week’s results: Clearly I’m the only one who’s getting moist over the return of Supernaut. Screw the lot of you.
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.
If you vote, also feel free to post some comments here explaining your choice.
Given a choice between dating Bronwyn Bishop or Amanda Vanstone, who would you choose? Apparently federal treasurer Peter Costello would go Amanda any day. Thanks to Crikey for the tip.