The 9pm Edict #1

The 9pm Edict

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for your edification and amusement, episode 1 of The 9pm Edict.

“Peter Garrett resists calls for his resignation. #nocleanfeed monomaniacs get up my nose. And some strongly-worded stuff about the Premier of NSW and Sydney’s public transport,” it begins. Kinda.

Yes, this is my new podcast project. Tonight is the first of 20 episodes, to be posted every Monday and Wednesday night for the next 10 weeks.

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

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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.]

My dreams for 2010 (speaking formally)

ABC Unleased asked me think about what I want for 2010, in the context of my writing about the Internet and suchlike. My comments didn’t get a run in their piece My dreams for 2010 today, so here they are for you now, Gentle Readers.

From the government, I’d like more openness and the active inclusion of citizens in decision-making from the beginning. We’re not just an audience to be sold a policy cooked up with noisy lobby groups and the big end of town. The Government 2.0 Taskforce recommended a declaration of open government and, amongst other things, making all public sector information free and freely reusable by default, easily discoverable, and published in machine-readable formats to open standards. Let’s start seeing some of that — and not stuff at the edges like the public toilet database but big slabs of core government information.

From media magnates, less whinging about new competitors “stealing” your audience — we’re not your property! — and a lot more about making yourselves relevant to our new needs. We’ve got so many ways of informing and entertaining ourselves now, so do take that on board. Also, sourcing a comment to a random person on Twitter is not journalism. Find out who and where they are and give a bit of background.

And from the Twitterverse, quite a bit less self-congratulation and a quite a lot more practical work. Turning your avatar green or red or black changes nothing. “But I’m raising awareness” it not a valid explanation, either, because chances are your friends already agree with you. Open communication with someone well outside your normal circle and make a difference. Please.

The ABC piece is worth reading too, with contributions from editor Jonathan Green, Sophie Cunningham from Meanjin, comedian John Safran, opposition leader Tony Abbott, refugee and human rights activist Pamela Curr, futurist Mark Pesce, researcher and author Chris Berg, Julian Morrow of The Chaser fame, Robert Manne, Catherine Deveny, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, artist Gerard Oosterman, scientist Julian Cribb, journalist and former writer for The Chaser Gregor Stronach, and Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.

I haven’t had a chance to think about what I want personally. I was working on some urgent, stressful documents right up until close of business on New Year’s Eve, and went to bed early, exhausted. Maybe today’s beautiful showery day in Sydney, or tomorrow’s thunderstorms, will provide that inspiration.

St Kevin’s thoughts on religion in politics

Lots of Australian politicians claim to be Christians, but somehow the “What would Jesus do?” bit gets lost in the everyday business of arresting Indian doctors and sending refugees to concentration camps. Our new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he’s a Christian too. What sort?

Two years ago, Chairman Rudd gave a lecture at the University of NSW’s New College on Religion, The State and Politics. Written in the days of WorkChoices and well before Rudd became ALP leader, it begins with the observation that “Christianity began its life as an oppressed minority,” and argues that one of the church’s important roles is to speak out against injustice.

Continue reading “St Kevin’s thoughts on religion in politics”

Representative Democracy

Frame grab from mock election advertisement

Here’s a nice antidote to the Coalition TV advert trying to scare us about [gasp!] the Labor party having links to trade unions.

Interestingly, it’s another election-related video that doesn’t have “real” names and addresses at the end saying where it came from. I wonder whether the Australian Electoral Commission will be attempting to prosecute any of these folks for this apparent breach.

Weekly Poll: Who’s most disconnected from voters?

As we approach the half-way mark in the federal election campaign, energy is starting to flag. Some politicians and commentators are starting to lose the plot. Who do you think is now most disconnected from the voters?

Is it Tony Abbott, who yesterday slagged off a dying man? Arch-monarchist and oddly right-wing David Flint? Or one of our other choices? Have you any other suggestions? Go to the website to vote!

[poll id=”12″]

Last week’s results: Well OK the last poll was online for much longer than a week. Nevertheless, the results were precisely as predicted by the Snarky Platypus. Our new national animal is indeed the “lying rodent”.

The Leadership (Non)-Challenge

When I returned to focus on politics after a busy morning yesterday, I discovered that not only was John Howard still PM, but also that there was never a leadership challenge. Really. How can this be?

I happened to read Crikey first, where Christian Kerr wrote:

Nothing happened in Canberra this morning. Nothing in a Samuel Beckett sort of way. A nothing that means plenty. A nothing that is quite profound.

You’ve right there, Christian! Every newsroom and every politics junkie in the country including myself arced up — prepared, as I said, for the biggest political story in a decade. And then come the time, Howard et al strolled out of the party room meeting as if nothing had happened.

Finally, at 12:45, Tony Abbott appeared. There had been “full and frank discussions”, he said, but there was “absolutely rock solid support for the Prime Minister”.

Continue reading “The Leadership (Non)-Challenge”