Lambaste the Critic

January 21, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, LIFE, POLITICS |

Balance of power

Morry Bailes’ In Daily article entitled “Anti Judge rhetoric a danger to democracy” (https://indaily.com.au/opinion/2018/01/18/anti-judge-rhetoric-danger-democracy/) made the following fairly remarkable claim: “The recent criticism of Victorian judges is not helpful and serves only to undermine the public’s confidence in the judiciary. It’s up to all of us to protect the separation of powers and to denounce anyone’s criticism, especially politicians seeking bumps in the polls.” Unfortunately, this admonition to back off from judicial decisions shows the profession to be several passes behind.  If criticism of a judicial decision must be confined to someone with standing and wealth to appeal, a right limited to the…

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Maybe we should Bring Back the Noose?

Capital Punishment On 3 February 1967, serial robber Ronald Ryan, convicted of the felony murder of a gaol warder at Pentridge Prison, was hanged in Victoria. 50 years after Ryan, the last man in Australia to swing, new calls for abolition of the death penalty abound. Some 141 countries have either abolished or suspended indefinitely the penalty, or limit it to war crimes, the remaining 57 still applying it to serious crimes.  10 October 2017 was the 15th “World Day Against the Death Penalty.”  (In Reversal of Fortune, the Alan Dershowitz character says of the death penalty, “that’s no penalty,…

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The Cars That Ate Reason

Mitsubishi folded car manufacturing in Australia in 2008.  Last year, Ford closed. This October, Holden closed its plant at Elizabeth, with stacks of local workers shown the door and associated industries going to the wall.  It is not as if we made crap cars.  It wasn’t from lack of an enthusiastic local market for Holdens and Fords. And it’s not as if the good old Aussie taxpayer hadn’t stumped-up its fair share of subsidised cash to keep the embers glowing. Market forces are many and varied. But they tend to follow immutable, organic, rules.  When organised car-making started up in…

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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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Alt-Citizens

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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