Monday 17th of May 2021

Blogs

Independent political recording artist/poet website (Annette Hughes)

Goodness Margo, I knew that there was something rotten in the State of Oz, but your book pulls the bodybag off the stinking corpse of our polity. I sincerely hope you are right - that we can reverse the decline in our democratic institutions, but the pong is so high now that the very idea of mouth to mouth resuscitation takes some courage.

Well done, and thank you for your passion and persistence.

Thankyou:-) (Jessica Amos)

I had just soft-bound my thesis about my doco script about 'the public right to know' and I saw your book, Margo, at the Syd uni co-op bookshop - I'm chuffed! To read it and find someone who cares actively about our democracy. I'll check out Webdiary.

Taking a stand - being 'out' in John's Australia ()

Fantastic email from Peter Peridis, which I post here as well as in the 'Direct Action' section where you might want to submit your supporting comments at his courage in taking a public stand in JH's Australia on a very contemporary issue.

Peter writes:

Hello, fellow Australians. So much has happened since writing my first (review) piece.

As I initially stated, I have been moved to take a stand. If any of you watched the ABC

Mea Culpa - Prolix Jack ()

In one of the most keenly anticipated and overdue technical interventions in blog-history, our automatic blog-word limiting function stepped in to shut me up on that last post, which explains the technical mess-up. Sorry about that, Peter.

I've reposted Peter's story, with far less chattering from me. (Painful when it gets to the point that not even your own computer can put up with your prolix overkill anymore.)

Congratulations on a great work and further concerns of Labours interpretation of democracy (Bill Martin)

Congratulations Margaret and to all the contributors to this inspiring and alarming work. After reading the book and noting the recent secretive behaviour of John Howard over the two Flood reports, I am still concerned that our political process is an exclusive club of privilege that renders those who join to obeying the club rules irrespective of what side of politics you sit. For me Latham and Labour will make no difference or change towards the necessary democratic models emphasised in your book. Their corruption to the bloodrush of power will overwhelm their perception of our democracy and result in more of the same.

The Howard arrogance is merely a replication of the Prime Ministers that preceeded him all the way back to Robert Menzies. The independants in the main are still frightened to use their power in case of alienating their constituents, it seems that only the Greens and Brian Harradine have the guts to take on Howards bovver boys and Labours ambitions of power and

What NGOs can do...if we let them ()

Betty Green, Community Development/Health Promotion Activist & Advocate out at the Bankstown Women's Health Centre, drops us a line on the attacks on NGOs, which NHJ! contributor Paddy Manning exposed in Chapter 14, 'Keeping Democracy in its Place':

Margo, as a feminist working in an NGO for the last 18 years I must congratulation you on an excellent presentation of the degrading of the role of NGO's both in the Federal and State spheres of politics.

I found myself shaking my head on a number of occasions as I read your excellent book and expose on the machinations of a government that works to discredit and silence its detractors. I have faithfully promised my friends to pass on this book which I believe is a MUST read before the impending election.

I am concerned that the voices of NGO's have been successively silenced and Big Business has effectively hijacked the democratic process. As an activist for women's rights I am passionate in seeing a

Follow up to 'Howard and Gay Marriage' (Sam Butler)

NHJ! reader Sam Butler chimes in (via email) on the 'Howard and Gay Marriage' conversation, with a response to the Peter Hackney/Margo K chat last week. Sam writes:

Margo, first up I want to say 'love your work', I think you're one of the last angry people and a passionate champion of your cause to defend democracy and expose the lies of the Howard regime.

I have to say, however, that I was a little disappointed with your reply to Peter Hackney's inquiry yesterday on the website. You were sounding disturbingly similar to Nicola Roxon with: 'Gay marriage has never been a significant issue in Australia - what gay politics is about here is giving gay partners equal rights re superannuation, tax concessions etc. Howard's change to the law is meaningless - it is already clear in our Marriage Act that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.'

While it is true that gay and lesbian

When is the movie coming out Margo ? (Peter Dyce)

The book is excellent, unfortunately unless you make an impact on Big Brother or do a 'Mike Moore', your sweat and hard work may have virtually no impact. Who reads books anymore? People fill box shelves with dvds of the last squillion episodes of Star Trek. The only voting they really know about is via SMS. Who says we are the clever country? Certainly not in the last 15 years. Certainly Howard doesn't care about people writing negative books about him. He knows that 'his audience', 'his people' won't or more likely can't read it.

What is needed is a way to rouse the 'Our Fellow Australians' who don't give a toss about politics. Maybe you could talk to Phil Adams about producing a movie:

Mike Moore meets Bazza MacKenzie...

Politicians' List of Questions, Take Two (Terry Murphy)

Terry Murphy writes again to add to his original 'List of Questions' idea. Let's keep to 'em coming,,,

I was pleased that my idea of presenting a list of questions to candidates was so well received by Antony, but immediately felt the significant pressure of having to come up with more than the two questions that had originally occurred to me!!! A little thought and a quick flick back through NHJ provided sufficient inspiration. See what you think of these.

1. What steps will you/your party take to restore the convention of Ministerial responsibility?
2. What steps will you/your party take to depoliticise the Commonwealth Public Service and the Australian Defence Forces?
3. What steps will you/your party take to return Parliamentary Question Time to a real opportunity for the Parliament to hold ministers to account for their actions or those of their departments?
4. What ste

Work for the Dole unconstitutional? No. (Troy Rollo)

At this query, NHJ! reader John Chambers asks whether section 51(xxiiia) of the Constitution makes 'work for the dole' unconstitutional. The short answer is 'no'.

Section 51(xxiiia) allows the Federal Parliament to make laws 'with respect to... the provision of maternity allowances, widows' pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances'. The words 'with respect to' means they can do anything with the power they like. They could ban unemployment benefits altogether if they wanted to. As regards the phrase 'but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription', this clearly applies only to the 'medical and dental services' clause. The section allows laws 'with respect to':
(a) maternity allowances;
(b) widows' p

The Baldness of un-Courted Power (Tom Spencer (up in Bris-vegas))

Margo (or should I ask Tony Fitzgerald QC?):

Isn't the real problem that political force is now exerted baldly, rather than through some sort of court? For close to 700 years the political force of first the English monarchs, and then later, Parliament, was exerted through some sort of court. First, the monarch constituted a court; the English king was thought to be able to make judgments as a common law judge until the Case of Prohibitions in 1607. Then, Parliament was regarded as a court; legislation was called the 'judgment' of Parliament until the seventeenth century, parliamentary privilege is really the privilege of a superior court (see Erskine May, 'Parliamentary Practice' 22nd ed., p.65), and until the nineteenth century the lay peers adjudicated as the UK's highest court as an ordinary part of their parliamentary duties, because, again, Parliament was a court.

Now it is taken for granted that the legislature is NOT a court; no-one calls legislation the 'judgme

Married with children & not happy. (Marc Bondini)

As a son of a baby boomer, with little polical learning, it's now I feel the need for the strengthening our democracy and good leadership. This book as provided me with much valuable information that we as a family need to inform us of just how big the our rulers stick is. And how it is being wielded by an infantile Draco, with Gabbe and Goyle as back up. Life in the burbs is real John, and I'm happy being one of the bunch, but I'm not happy being pushed around. It's about time you listen to the people who put you there and understand why you're there. Please don't forget it.

My Story Begins (Peter Peridis)

Hello fellow Australians. So much has happened since writing my first piece. As I initially stated, I have been moved to take a stand. If any of you watched the ABC

Australian Story - On being 'out' in John's Australia (Peter Peridis)

As I initially stated, I have been moved to take a stand. If any of you watched the ABC

Transportable idea from the US presidential campaign (Mike Sprange)

This URL details a US advertising campaign to request that George Bush admit he was wrong about IRAQ. It could almost directly be transcribed for Australian purposes with Howard substituted for Bush. It has some interesting ideas in it.

NHJ! (JR): Going by the PM's post-Flood interview on The 7.30 Report last night, we're gunna need a ute full of gelignite to shift the PM even an inch on Iraq, Mike.

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