The Peoples’ House

August 30, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, POLITICS |

Federal Parliament, 17 August 2017 Through the paint-stripping wind walked The Varnished Culture, shoulders collectively set and teeth gritted. Up the hill went we from the National Portrait Gallery, past the tent city (which looked uncomfortable, brother) and the old Parliament House, looking clean, white and reassuringly, democratically modest in size and scope. Now the old place is a museum displaying certain politicos as they were in their prime (no animatronics); one feels regret at losing the core use of the building, as the relatively small capacity would perforce limit the number of elected representatives and their retinues. We reached the…

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The Australian Federal Parliament is in a tizz because a raft of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives have discovered they have, or may hold, dual citizenship. This disqualifies one from office, and already there have been resignations and stand-downs whilst ‘clarification’ is sought. The problem is section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution, a document promulgated in 1901, when the optics of the world and his wife were slightly different. Any person who: is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights…

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Can Liberalism Fight Back?

August 23, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, POLITICS, Ulalume |

Liberalism is a slippery label, misused ever since the God of the New Testament set the sheep to the right and the goats to the left.  Liberals traditionally have been put along the political spectrum at the ‘sensible centre,’ or perhaps the ‘mushy’ centre-left: at its most worthy, however, it has transcended the spectrum and concerned itself mostly with the freedom and protection of the individual. From the right, liberals were sneered at as ‘wet,’ from the left, socialism was held to be the logical next phase (and replacement) of liberalism. This pincer movement of the two extremes is what killed…

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Gay, Straight, Other…Let’s Have an Adult Conversation on SSM

August 22, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Australian Politics, LIFE, METAPHYSICS, POLITICS |
Photo c/- Montrealais

Photo c/- Montrealais

[The Federal Parliament has seen fit to compromise upon its election policy of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, so that we are to get a postal survey or some such, in which the citizens can have a say and from which, possibly, legislative reform might ensue. There has been a considerable resistance to the move, on the grounds of cost, the non-binding nature of the poll, its vagueness and uncertainty, and the disharmony wreaked upon the minority by a national debate. Under the Constitution, the Federal Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to Marriage, Divorce and matrimonial…

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National Portrait Gallery


(Canberra, August 2017) Having breasted the paint-stripping wind blowing down the mountain and off Lake Burley Griffin, we wondered if this monument would rise to emblematise a great reference of images, or just amount to a pantheon of nonentities crowding Our Island Story? Actually, the galleries are small, but occasionally choice, and sometimes a laugh riot.  Little hordes of schoolchildren swept through on the hour (Canberra’s array of free stuff means almost every week there’s opportunity for a teaching free day or two) and little lessons were delivered by earnest folks who knew not what they were saying. Fortunately, P was…

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