Showing posts from October, 2005

Hamish Malcolm

I was devastated to learn this morning that a friend of mine has passed away. Hamish Malcolm died of cardiac arrest a week short of his 26th birthday. I came to know Hamish this year as a friend, and occasionally rival, within the Political Interest Society. Hamish was a passionate lefty who believed strongly in justice and tolerance, but always managed to keep a sense of humour, often richly sarcastic. Having spent most of his life in Britain, that was where his heart lied, although he was rapidly becoming an honourary Australian after settling in Melbourne to continue studying. Hamish had a significant on-line presence. You can read his blog Omission of Mercy as well as his lively blogger profile . Here is the email recieved from the Melbourne University Debating Society explaining of Hamish's death and the events to celebrate his life: Dear VCs Cuppers, MUDS has recently received some very sad news regarding one of our members, Hamish Malcolm, who you may have met, cha

Unimelb election wrapup

As election week 2005 at Melbourne University comes to an end today, it's worth reflecting on one of the more peaceful campaigns in recent years. Having seen the skullduggery of the 2003 election in the State of the Union (the official website even refers to it with the adjective 'skullduggerous' - nice work, lads), one expects all sorts of silliness to be going on. To the casual observer, though, there was little smoke nor heat. The most visable presence on campus was the Left Union ticket, who were out in force last week and again during the election. Combining the considerable resources (oh, the irony) of Socialist Alternative and the left wing of the Labor Party, Left Union were the well organised voice of the left. In what was a real trademark of the entire election, there were few issues of substance raised by the Left Union folks. Apparently, they're really truely absolutely positively opposing VSU. And the war in Iraq. Still, these guys in their suave

Facing death in Singapore

Normally I'm not a fan of popular attempts to influence justice systems, but the presence of the death penalty, particularly in a country as enlightened as Singapore, is appalling enough for me to take action. Though I doubt it will have much effect, I think we owe it to a fellow human being to do all we can: URGENT ALERT NGUYEN TUONG VAN - Please don't hang this man He now faces execution, possibly within 10 days. Nguyen's mother fled Vietnam alone in a boat in 1980 and had her twin sons in a transit camp in Malaysia before being accepted into Australia four months later. Nguyen's Australian lawyers described the decision as "devastating for him, his family and friends". Lex Lasry QC said Nguyen had always admitted his guilt and given constructive help to authorities including the Australian Federal Police. "The decision appears to pay no heed to the provisions of the Singapore Constitution that make specific reference and provide for cleme

Another take on IR reform

I was impressed by this take on the government's IR reforms, published on (in?) Crikey today and written by an old friend of a friend of mine. After starting from a fairly neutral perspective, I'm becoming swayed by the merits of the IR reforms and am growing tired of union sob-stories. Plenty more to come, though, I'm sure: 12. The IR ads the government should be running Crikey's occasional corporate law correspondent Adam Schwab writes: Much has been said about the fact that the Government is spending around $100 million advertising its planned changes to the Workplace Relations Act. But not much has been said about the pathetic advertisements that have so far been produced. The Government would be better off sacking their grossly overpaid advertising agency and media buyers and running ads like this: Advertisement One: Cameras focuses on an employee rifling through the handbag of a fellow employee and removing money from her purse. Midway through the act the

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1999

After a two week hiatus, I'm finally back on board with my blow-by-blow, catclaw-by-catclaw account of the best bits of The Latham Diaries, which I notice is already being discounted by some retailers. Yesterday's epic is tomorrow nestling against the Complete Works of Max Walker. Sigh. Friday, 29 January In New York I met with Clinton's campaign adviser, Dick Morris, who has an amazing instinct and feel for politics. I explained my sutation is Australia and he got it straight away. He reckons that 'This period of ostracisation is essential to your success'. We also talked about the Third Way and the triangulation of policy. He sees it as a spin-off from Hegel's dialectic interpretation of history - out of two conflicting positions a synthesis emerges. - Page 96/97 ...and this was Morris' recall of this same conversation, on the ABC in 2003 : JOHN SHOVELAN: Dick Morris first met the Opposition leader when Mark Latham sought him out on a visit to

Brown on Latham

I wrote this on Tueday, when it was mildly newsworthy. It's now Friday night, and it's ancient history. Here it is, anyhow: Senator Bob Brown has remained quiet on the Latham-front, but stood up to be counted last night at Melbourne University. I've always had mixed feelings about Brown - whilst I reject his misanthropic ideology, I think he's an exceptionally talented and perceptive politician. Far from being a voice from outside the political establishment, Brown is capable of the sort of brutal tactical approach that would make even the most seasoned Labor numbers-men proud. His talk last night was on the topic of "Ten reasons why a young person should get involved in politics", a very direct contradiction of Mark Latham's speech at the same venue last week. Brown stuck loosely to his theme, although meandered through all sorts of themes. By the end, though, it seemed that Brown's attitude was not far from Latham's: the Labor Party is n

Bali carnage

Yet again, violent thuggery has proved itself to be a blunt instrument. We should not forget that Indonesia is a democracy (albeit a fledgling one) and those who turn to violence for their cause are those that cannot win in the battle for hearts and minds. For Indonesia's sake, JI should finally be criminalised by the archapelago, and authorities ought to ruthlessly crack down on those involved. Spare us the 'root causes of terrorism' argument, please. The Australian media have been squeamish about naming the victims, but not so the Indonesian media. I don't speak Indonesian, but I have a fair idea of the fate of those who appear on this list in the Bali Post .

Where's it buried?

A ripper yarn by Sly of the Underworld in today's Age, putting together the missing peices (nope, not a type) on Victor Peirce (told you) and the horrific Walsh Street slaying in 1988. I was very interested to read this paragraph: Allen was a prolific drug dealer in the early 1980s. "I saw Victor with cash, sometimes $50,000, sometimes $100,000. I saw Dennis with $500,000." Allen had many bank accounts but also liked to bury cash so it could never be traced. Much of it was never recovered when he died of natural causes in 1987. "When he got sick he couldn't remember anything. It must all still be buried around Richmond." Jackpot!!

He speaks! Latham hits Melbourne University

During the week Mark Latham made his one (and so far, only) public appearance to promote his book, at the University of Melbourne. Latham spoke in the sterile and lifeless Copland theatre, buried deep within the Economic and Commerce faculty in a way that leads one to conclude that it doubles as a bomb shelter. Latham's speech, on the topic "10 reasons why young idealistic people should forget about organised politics" (which leads to the conclusion that there are plenty of reasons why young narcisstic opportunistic people should enter politics). Anyhow, Latham's speech attracted a fair bit of attention, particularly in The Age. Michael Gordon wrote about it , whilst the Op-Ed page published an extract of the speech itself . The Age website also published the full text in a Word document on its website, obviously straight from the source, given that one "Janine Lacy" is listed as the author (head to File, then Properties, the Summary). Even more intr