Hey Barry O’Farrell, piss off out of Marrickville

Barry O’Farrell, I’ve got my eye on you. It’s one thing to start sorting out the mess left after a decade and half of NSW Labor government that was incompetent to the point of, I suspect, corruption. I’m sure we can all provide a list of folks whose bank and phone records we’d like to see pulled by ICAC. But that’s very different from threatening with sacking a local government body whose actions happen not to coincide with the interests of your mates in the pro-Israel cheer squad.

Yes, Marrickville Council decided to boycott Israel over that whole Palestine thing. So what? What business is that of yours as NSW Premier? None.

As an individual, I have the right to hold whatever political views I like. Freedom of thought and freedom of political expression are amongst the very few human rights we’ve properly protected here in Australia. Should I decide that some individual, group, business, organisation or nation holds views so repugnant that I’d rather not support them, then it’s my right not to do business with them.

As a proper, legally-constituted, legitimately-elected local government body — as a legal “person” — the Marrickville Council also has that basic legal right to choose who it does business with.

Now as it happens, I reckon Marrickville’s decision wasn’t terribly well thought through. As my colleague Josh Taylor over at ZDNet Australia points out, boycotting everything that comes out of Israel denies you access to the latest computing technology from Intel, amongst other things. The very fact that Marrickville Council didn’t respond to his questions but instead waved him off to a prepared statement at their website proves, in my opinion, that they don’t have the intellectual integrity or moral backbone to discuss and stand by their decision. By all means criticise them for that.

But until very recently I’d spent most of a decade as a citizen of Marrickville. Yes, there’s a certain idealistic leftism suffusing the place, if I may resort to that tediously tired old left-right classification. But from a resident’s perspective they got on with the job of delivering services with far fewer allegations of dodgy behaviour than certain Labor-dominated local councils I could name. Or Liberal-dominated councils, for that matter. Why isn’t your attention focussed on them?

So, Mr O’Farrell, unless you’ve got some prima facie evidence of corruption or misconduct on the part of Marrickville Council, piss off out of it. It’s up to the citizens of Marrickville to decide whether they do or don’t support their Council’s actions, no-one else’s.

You’ve got enough on your plate to be getting on with as it is, Mr O’Farrell. Get on with it.

Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston

“EXCLUSIVE”, trumpets this morning’s story in Sydney’s Sun-Herald. “[NSW Liberal leader] Barry O’Farrell has his big fingers to blame for appearing to promote pornography.” Orly? “Appearing to promote pornography”? What bullshit, state political editor Heath Aston!

Here’s what seems to have happened.

On Twitter, O’Farrell apparently marked as a “favourite” a tweet by someone linking to a video of Matty Daley and Bobby Canciello (pictured), two American students who were attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss.

“Watch two boys break the record for longest kiss,” Aston reckons the video was entitled, though from the context it’s not clear whether that was the actual video title or just the text in the tweet.

That tweet was, we’re told, from someone who had previously linked to “images of male nudity and gay sex scenes”, either in tweets or in their Twitter profile. Again, we don’t know for sure because that Twitter account and O’Farrell’s favouriting have since been committed to the memory chute, and Aston hasn’t provided sources.

The user, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also posted a picture of a youth with his shirt off titled “an early teen boy completely and utterly adorable. That body is excellent.”

Aston claims O’Farrell is now “red-faced after saving a link on his Twitter account that leads to images of a shirtless under-age boy”.

Aston’s grubby little exercise in join-the-dots slander seems to work like this.

Continue reading “Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston”

Weekly Wrap 2

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. It’s all a bit thin in this short Queen’s Birthday week.


  • #penrithdebate: O’Farrell 1, Democracy 0 for ABC Unleashed, in which I contend that Twitter is completely the wrong medium for political debates. “Great to see the ABC’s standards are now completely in the toilet,” reckons one commenter, who has precisely nothing to say about the arguments being presented.


  • A Series of Tubes podcast #111. Returning after a long break, Tubes includes an interview with James Spenceley and David Spence about the float of Vocus and the changes taking place in the Australian bandwidth market, as well as my ramblings about the Australian government’s discussions with ISPs about archiving data for law enforcement purposes, Google and privacy, and the latest OECD broadband penetration data.
  • No episode of Patch Monday because Monday was a public holiday.

Media Appearances

  • The Fourth Estate, Radio 2SER Sydney. I was interviewed in a follow-up to my Crikey article on hacktivism for the episode of 18 June 2010. The podcast will be available soon. The Fourth Estate is syndicated to other community radio stations around Australia, so do check to see whether your local station carries it.
  • Homepage, Radio 2MCE Bathurst. The episode broadcast 18 June 2010 included an interview with me about the Twitter debate. There’s no podcast as far as I know, but the program is repeated on Monday afternoon at 3.30pm local time on 92.3 and 94.7 FM, and there’s a live audio stream. Homepage is also syndicated to other community radio stations.

[Photo: Circular Quay, Sydney, as seen while walking to the Sydney Opera House yesterday. Click to embiggen.]

The 9pm Edict #7

The 9pm EdictThe world’s sole remaining super power gets a healthcare system. Channel 10 pushes the heteronormative agenda. And Barry O’Farrell invents an entirely new criminal justice system based on who knows what.

Hello, possums! It’s late, but here’s an episode of The 9pm Edict.

You can listen to this episode below. But if you want them all, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

For more information on what I discussed tonight, check out The 7pm Project, Barry O’Farrell’s anti-graffiti plan, and pretty much any news outlet about Obama’s healthcare plan.

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]