Monday 17th of May 2021

Blogs

Ashrawi, AIJAC and the other side of truth (David Langsam)

NHJ: The following piece is by Melbourne based journalist, David Langsam. An edited version of this article appeared in the Australian Jewish News in late 2003.

It

The winds are blowing ()

Another week and the NHJ buzz is still growing. The latest Nielsen Bookscan chart places NHJ at No 3 (in The Age) and No 4 (in the SMH) on the non-fiction charts. And No 11 on the overall charts. In other words, we're reaching really encouraging numbers for a book that has, tellingly, received little mainstream press coverage. In other words, the message has entirely bypassed the old ways of communicating and succeeded in getting people excited and active. We reckon the mainstream press are a little scared that something, anything, can sell without their promotions, so maybe NHJ is a taste of much to come.

The Brisbane arts publication, Timeoff, has run an informative piece on NHJ.

And Lawyer's Weekly, said to be 'Australia's leading information resource for the legal professional' has a piece by David Hovenden.

The Canberra view (Don Aitkin)

I read NHJ in two big hits, and a lot of it hit home. As someone who had something to do with the work of the AEC in the 1970s, and knew earlier Commissioners well, I cringed at the chapter on the AEC. What have we come to? And the dreadful subjection of respect for our Parliament to the need to bow low before leaders of larger countries than our own, Yuk!

Two small points. There has been a century of growing 'apathy', not simply eight years. The modern party system works very well in allowing us to get on with our lives and to revert to being citizens only at election time. We've got to overcome the feeling that that's still OK. Your first suggestion at the end is an excellent one, but it's only a beginning. Second, please don't use 'Canberra' as a shorthand for the Federal Government. It's demeaning to those of us who live there, and it's demeaning to your own capital city. Remember, the PM and family have chosen not to live there.

Putting humanity into politicians (Phil Uebergang)

I'm finding NHJ to be a generally entertaining and provocative read, although from a technical point of view the structure is a little loose and loses me on occasion.

My major criticism is that the book tends to be too emotional, and I would have preferred more objectivity in the presentation of the facts ala the styles of Schlosser and Pilger. That said, the style takes nothing away from the factuality of the bulk of evidence presented.

This is an important contemporary work for Australians, not just because it reveals the current state of our government but because it also presents our politicians on a personal level, as people with hearts and minds, and I find that to be both refreshing and comforting.

Work for the dole unconstitutional? (John Chambers)

Not having read the book, I wonder if you touched on the constitutionality of the Work For The Dole scheme under Ch1 Part V Para 51(xxiiia) that states: '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.' Surely WFTD is a form of civil conscription? I have raised this numerous times to the editor of The Advertiser [Adelaide], but I don't think the thought of WFTD being scrapped is to their way of thinking, and so have never published my letter. (God forbid that the Constitution actually do something in favour of the people, or that the Commonwealth should have to pay the going rate for all the work done under WFTD!). Cheers

NHJ! RESPONDS:

Thanks, John. No, NHJ! didn't examine WFTD in detail, and not being a Constitutional lawyer I'm not sure

Shirley Vivian Blair and compulsory voting (John Chambers)

To correct Shirley Vivian Blair, voting in Australia is not compulsory. Having your name crossed off the list of registered voters to say that you attended a polling booth, however, is. Once you have your name crossed off the list, you don't even need to cast a vote; however, if you fail to cast a vote, what right do you have to complain about the party that takes government? If the party you vote for wins, what right do you have to complain when they jack up the taxes, but you didn't care enough to look into their policies? The only ones who have the right to complain are those who were too young to vote in the last election, the ones who voted for the government, but were lied to, and those who voted against the government.

Originally Canadian, Naturalized 20 years ago, just returned from working overseas (Reg Gibson)

On my return to Australia, I was shocked at some of the changes, not least the way that the federal government lies and the appearance that the people of Australia don't care. This book is helping to restore my faith that someone cares and the web site indicates to me that there is a significant number of people who care.

It is important to remember that the problem is not John Howard nor the Coalition nor the Liberal party. My observation of question time makes me ask myself 'Do these MP's believe that the blather they are talking and the backbiting and partisan attacks that they issue are in the interest of the Australian people?' Why aren't they ashamed to behave in this way. It is because we let them.

In my case it is because I don't know how to elect representatives who will represent their constituents. I believe that the 'big party' system does not work well. So - how do we change that?

The Mighty Oz weighs mightily in ()

Hi all, just a quickie today since it's a day of rest for many.

NHJ! continues to do very well for a political book, we hear, with appearances on most Oz 'bestsellers' lists, generally at number 3 or 4 thus far. Our great thanks for your continued support. Also, we note that we got a (tinsy) review in the Weekend Oz 'Review' section...could it be that the mainstream Lit Crit Lads have been so dazzled by MK's brilliance that cracks are appearing in the Oz broadsheets' thus-far apparent determination to ignore NHJ's healthy sales numbers? Might we see a little mainstream coverage action? Hmmm...stay tuned.

In fact MK is still busy with radio and other meeja commitments, and Ant L's article in last week's Australian Jewish News was good gear, so we're not whining about any lack of airing - although god bless Clark Kent over at Crik

Designer/makers of upmarket homeware: coffeegrinders, P/S mills, winestoppers... in Tasmanian wood (Mieke Senior-Loncin)

G'day fellow citizens,

This is a 'MUST READ' before... The Emperor orders the burning of our books!!

Mieke

p.s.: The other day I puchased a second book to UP the circulation, minus sticker! Was told not every book came with a sticker?

NHJ responds: Stickers should indeed be distributed with all book sales around the country. We are informed that due to the huge popularity of the book, stickers are a little low on the ground. So, if anybody wants more stickers, drop us a line and we'll see what we can do.

So happy about Not Happy, John! ()

Hi. It's Harry Heidelberg here and I'm so happy about Not Happy, John. I write to you from Switzerland on a really special day for all of us who are passionate in our defence of Australian democracy. I awoke to the news this morning from Australia that NHJ is No. 4 non-fiction best seller the on Nielson Bookscan list. We've always felt that the message of NHJ is powerful but to have an affirmation like this is just wonderful. Our hopeful vibe has become contagious. I'll let you into a secret: this web site is being personally maintained by Margo, Jack, Antony and myself. We set up a roster and my first day 'on' is today: a Friday! I have had to interrupt a night out to make sure I do my NHJ duty of posting your reviews and writing this blog entry. I promised to do it by midnight tonight Central European time! We think people from all walks of life in Australia and Australians around the world can share in our spirit. I told friends in Switzerland tonight about why I have to go

NHJ and Mike Moore ()

Just a quickie today, as the weekend begins. There has been much talk of the comparison between Mike Moore, Margo and NHJ. Some are valid, some are clearly not, but the Moore phenomenon is building to the point where his latest film, Fahrenheit 9/11 could well affect voters in the American, British and Australian elections. We have similar hopes for NHJ here. This is not a partisan book, however, as we believe the system itself is in need of CPR, rather than just a particular political party.

Paul Sheehan, of the SMH, has written an intriguing piece on the force that is Mike Moore, saying that he is the ultimate man and message for our times. With NHJ continuing to rocket up the charts, and your emails flowing in, we're beginning to have vital dialogue on the state of our democracy. I reckon Mike Moore has similar goals. Check out Sheehan's piece here.

Democracy NOT (Francis Weber)

They say, you do, or they send out their blokes with guns.

52 year old male from Newcastle (Greg Jamieson)

I have just finished reading your book and reviews on these pages and am startled to realise so many other people from all walks of life have similar opinions. Margo's comments about making a difference do start with us. I come from the Hunter region where cronyism and nepotism among our State and Federal representatives is blindly accepted. We also accept that as we are so strongly Labor that neither of the big two parties are interested in us. How wrong can we be? Our problem, like most seats with long serving backbenchers and time servers, is the quality of our member. A way around it is to join your local branch and elect better representatives. Our local branch picks our candidate. We vote for that candidate. So how many people and who are these people that pick our candidates? In other words a very small number of unknown people pick our representative, we vote for the party we choose and the minor parties and independents are left to fend for themselves. This is our democracy.

One of the Twenty Million Citizens Taking an Active Stand (Peter Peridis)

Hello fellow Australians. I've just started reading this book and I must say it reaffirms to me that what I am about to do is right. I have had enough of seeing our Australian Democracy ripped to shreds. So I will be taking to the air waves and doing my part as an Australian Citizen hoping to make a difference. As I go through each chapter I intend to make a comment about how I felt reading it and what I know from first hand experience. I was a Royal Australian Navy member and have a working knowledge as to how the 'system' works to blind and distract outsiders whilst all along working in the background to achieve a self motivated dark future. So far Australians have been taken for fools. We cannot allow ourselves to become fools. Stand up and be heard. Don't want to risk causing waves but you are 'pissed off' with our direction? That's fine. You don't have to cause waves. You only need to practice filling in a voting preference and make your vote count!! If you are reading

Why does Australia persist with 'compulsory voting'? (Shirley Vivienne Blair)

I do not agree with 'Compulsory Voting' I think the first requirement of a 'Democracy' is CHOICE? I would much prefer to have 'informed people' vote, than the present system of 'compulsory' voting and the handing out of 'How To Vote' cards which I find totally anti-democratic!! If you tried that in New Zealand you would be arrested! If voting was NOT compulsory, the politicians would have to be more accountable and work to win our vote. How many countries in the so called 'western world' have compulsory voting? I would really like to know the answer! Keep up the good work.

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