Monday 17th of May 2021


A & R Bookshops (Bill Gregor)

Margo, just for your info - I had a similar experience to Phil Edwards (15/7/2004) at Angus & Robertson in Port Macquarie last weekend. They had quite a good selection of other political books but not NHJ and didn't seem inclined to stock it. I have emailed their Head Office to let them know that I am NHA&R.

NHJ! (JR): Thanks. Let us know if you get any response, Bill.

Digger's Oath suggestion (Siobhan Hannan)

Could we perhaps persuade Steve Waugh to stand? JH has always said that being the Australian cricket captain was the most important job in the country...replacing JH should be a snap for Steve.

NHJ! (JR). Not sure if SW is so keen on any kind of 'political brand' association with the nation's Number One Tragic, though. Waugh was originally invited to the Bush barbeque, apparently, but declined due to 'other commitments'. JH snaffled Mark Taylor instead - the opportunist polly's consolation Baggy Greener. (Kind of like inviting the PM to your footy grand final brekky and getting lumped with Robert Hill instead, huh. Maybe Waugh was, like, washing his hair on 23 Oct or something.) about Cathy Freeman for Bennelong? She's definitely got a political edge, and just imagine the fun watching the PM delicately seek out the 'right' populist line in debates on the Stolen Generations...

Confirmation of what I experienced. (Alby Sutton)

Congratulations Margo, you have confirmed what I began to realise in my second year (1984) as a Private Secretary on Bob Hawke's staff. Politics has very little to do with Polity and is nothing more nor less than a highly organised power play, with hypocrisy and subterfuge as its major themes.

I have only read the first 2 chapters and no doubt will have more to say when I finish what I see as a necessary read for all on the electoral role.

Fantastic but depressing book (Anne-Marie Kingston)

I really am loving the book, only bought it yesterday but am galloping through it. But it is really depressing to find that all my fears about our so-called democracy, which has turned into a a clerverly disguised dictatorship, are true, and more so. I will do everything I can to stop John ('my best friend is George') Howard from serving another term.

Compelling (Paul Somerville)

Margo, just wanted to thank you for your excellent book. I found it passionate, well-written and disturbing. Sometimes I laughed out loud, sometimes my blood ran cold. The chapters on media ownership and Bush's visit angered me the most. It's fantastic that in these cynical times, someone has made the effort to write and compile a book like this. And I love the fact that (despite the title) it's not just a partisan rant, but aims to create dialogue across and beyond the old Left/Right divide. Every time I read a transcript of an interview where you asked tough questions of a politician (or one of their media people), I felt so grateful that there are (a few) journalists keeping these people accountable, despite all their attempts to prevent it. More power to you.

Ruffling feathers ()

The Australian Jewish News (AJN) continues to feature comments and coverage on NHJ and my Ashrawi chapter.

A letter appears today from Michael Danby, Labor MP for Melbourne Ports. He accuses me of being 'a non-entity who represents a telephone-box group of Jewish Australians', a 'fringe player' and says the Sydney media gave Ashrawi far too much positive coverage during her visit to Sydney last November.

(There are a few more letters in print, hammering Margo and myself, not available online.)

Suffice to say, I strongly disagree with the charges made by Danby. Attempting to portray Margo and myself as outsiders on the Israel/Palestine question belies the facts. Important debates about Israel's future, the occupation and Ariel Sharon are increasingly occurring overseas, but perhaps we aren't mature enough to have them here yet. NHJ is the first step in addressing this imbalance.

An opinion <


Margo, I just loved your book it has given me hope that we can save Democracy Australian Style.

I am a 57 year old female from country NSW who took to the streets to try to halt the war on Iraq, but being called 'The Mob' and 'Unaustralian' deeply wounded me. After reading Not Happy, John! and the reviews on this site I now feel energized along with many concerned true aussies that we can stop the deceit.

The other evening I heard the horses in the surrounding paddocks neighing wildly, when I took the torch out to see what was happening I found these majestic animals forming a 'Mob' and on top of the hill the torch light caught the eyes of a fox. The horses had formed a 'Mob' to protect themselves from a threat. Now I don't feel wounded being called 'The Mob' because we are banding together to fight off the threat to our democracy just as the horses had done with the threat to their lives.

Diggers Oath's idea appears to be illegal (Troy Rollo)

Nominating without having any genuine intention to serve appears to be an offence.

As part of the nomination process, the person nominated must make a declaration that inter alia they consent to act if elected (Commonweath Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) s170). A false or misleading statement within the nomination form is likely to amount to improper influence of an AEC official, which is an offence punishable by imprisonment for 12 months (Commonweath Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) s78). This appears to be the view of the AEC, who state that the penalty for any false information on the nomination form is 12 months imprisonment on page 10 of their Candidates' Handbook.

NHJ! (JR): Thanks, Troy. Digger's Oath might want to correspond with the AEC directly to confirm this via a specific query, but the relevant
One of the thing about which I was heartened on reading your book was the number of ordinary people who do so many things, big or little, to investigate and help others. I feel also that its no small thing [at any time, but especially in the current climate] to just be aware of what is going on in more detail. Thankfully my family

Howard and gay marriage (Peter Hackney)

Hi Margo, I take it that John Howard's most recent excursion/diversion into wedge politics - attempting to enshrine homophobia in our constitution - came too late for inclusion in 'Not Happy, John!'. I was wondering if you'd care to share your views on Howard's plan to ban gay marriage and if future editions of your book will include a chapter on this issue?

I also just wanted to congratulate you and thank you for the book. I've long felt that Australia needs to become more politicised. Thankfully, I feel that this is starting to happen - and it's because of the efforts of people like you!

Margo: Hi Peter. 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. Therefore it's a classic wedge to split the Labor side's str

How much do you care? ()

We feel energised by all the feedback we hear on NHJ. We can tell how much Australians care about our democracy. We have had many ideas from you and we have some ideas of our own. I'm leaving Switzerland tonight, bound for Australia. I'm coming home to work for Australia. I'm not sure for how long but I'm excited. That's the power of NHJ for me! We have a lot of work to do and the more that pitch in, the easier it will be.

Last weekend I set up Check it out. An easy example of how you too can become an activist! Activism in defence of free speech and Australian democracy is something we should all be proud to be a part of, regardless of our political colours.

People fighting back ()

NHJ seems to be finding new examples, almost daily, of citizens who are sick and tired of their governments restricting the flow of information about important issues. As ever, America is leading the way in progressive ideas and websites. Today, a few examples. Anybody keen on starting something similar here?

Media Matters is a Web-based organisation dedicated to monitoring bias in the US media, through campaigning, emailing, letter writing and public awareness programs. They have just launched Activism Network, a hands-on campaign designed to tell media outlets about their flaws, omission and bias. Media organisations will certainly respond positively when contacted by enough people with the right message.

Another new addition is Outraged Moderates, a one-stop shop for hundreds of government and court documents, many of which

Where's democracy now? (john augustus)

I am prompted to write after reading 'disappointing goes nowhere does nothing and is hardly left'. I am a regular Webdiary reader and occasional contributor, and my view on the book is completely different. NHJ documents carefully how the Howard Government unravels the true democratic process. It is clearly written, extremely well referenced, sometimes funny and often very very disturbing. It is a valuable permanent collection of the many lies and distortions that usually get lost in the fog of time.

It revolves around a basic definition that jumps out at you on page 321: 'democracy's bedrock promise:that each citizen shares equally in political power'. It highlights crowd control by ignorance and fear. It is neither left nor right, but idealistic to the point of frustration!

The human condition seems unable to manage such propriety as true democracy demands. This book is a must read for anyone interested in good government, the principles of democracy, and who love

Blue Mountains event ()

G'day. My next outing for the book is at the Springwood Civic Centre in the Blue Mountains at 2pm this Saturday, July 24. Former federal liberal party president John Valder - now an activist against the Iraq war and for human rights - will join me for a chat on the state of Australian politics and what we can we do to defend our democracy? Everyone is welcome.

Blue Mountains event ()

G'day. My next outing for the book is at the Springwood Civic Centre in the Blue Mountains at 2pm this Saturday, July 24. Former Liberal Party President John Valder - now an activist against the Iraq war and for human rights - will join me for a chat on what's gone wrong in Australian politics and what we can do to defend our democracy. Everyone is welcome.

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