Showing posts from August, 2006

Don Chipp: reflections on a life well lived

Growing up in the Democrats, there were two Don Chipps. There was the Don Chipp of historical record: the great warrior who founded the party, and with it a new way of practicing politics in Australia. And there was the Don Chipp of the present day: a scatterbrained duffer who had to be kept on a tight leash and with a proclivity for young and attractive female staffers. They were always two very different people. I met Don Chipp only once. During the 2001 Federal election, I was invited to MC a small media event to launch the House of Representatives campaign for Don's son Greg in the seat of Melbourne Ports. So on a weekday afternoon a few weeks from polling day, Greg and Don Chipp, Senator Allison and myself gathered before a throng of half a dozen or so media at the Catani Gardens in St Kilda. I called upon Don to say a few words, and with great gusto he launched into a stinging rebuke of the political leadership of the two major parties. Not just the current leaders, m

Truth, lies and spin

Following up from my critique of Corporate Social Responsibility, which reads a bit like an application to join the Chicago School , this time around I've had a chance to show my warm and fuzzy side. Here is journal entry number two for Governance and the International Firm : --------------- Last week I saw fantastic film about the decline of truth and the rise of spin. “Thank You For Smoking” is a dark comedy focused on a tobacco lobbyist and the brazen approach he takes to the ethics of his work, and more importantly to the truth. As becomes evident during the film, the art of public relations and spin relies heavily on attempts to influence public opinion through distortions of the truth. The objective nature of truth is questioned, and instead truth is repositioned as merely another subjective perspective on a set of facts. In the real world of lobbying and opinion shaping, the strategy is generally two-fold: firstly, it is necessary to impugn the reliability and reputat

Prahran: Clem blogs!

Guess which very funky Liberal candidate for Prahran has been in touch with the electorate's most-incisive-but-slack blogger?: hi Ari, good to see such a detailed commentary on the election (although you haven't posted for some time!). You may want to have a look at my site I have attached a flier I will be delivering next week for your information (perhaps the first political flier ever which contains neither a party logo nor headshot!) best wishes, clem Okay, I bite. (Note: the panel on the right was blank in the version CNB flicked my way, so I guess that's how it will go out to voterland. Perhaps voters will write comments... which is more than can be said for Clem's blog. Joke, Joyce.) I look forward to reading some blogging posts from the campaign trail. Politicians and candidates entering the blogosphere are becoming more and more common, which can only be a good thing for helping punters connect with their elected represen

Review: Thank You For Smoking

Last week I had a chance to see a preview of Thank You For Smoking. It's very dark and very funny, and certainly worth seeing if you can't get a ticket for Snakes on a Plane. Here's my take on it, from The Program : There's a scene about half way through Thank You For Smoking in which you don't know whether to laugh or cry. Sitting around the table of a seedy café are Nick Naylor (played by Aaron Eckhart), Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner) who between them are the chief lobbyists for the tobacco, alcohol and firearms industries. The topic of debate? Whose sin products kill the most people, and hence which lobbyist has the toughest job. In the end it's a debate that Nick Naylor wins, with the proud boast that tobacco kills 435,000 Americans a year. Something to be proud of. Thank You For Smoking is that kind of film. It takes the shrill moral absolutism of public condemnation of the tobacco industry and cleverly subverts it.

Say no to gay Zionist train drivers

Has the world gone mad? Firstly, the horrors of Connex : The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign calls upon citizens, NGOs and civil society groups to stand up and demand the immediate cessation of the involvement of French companies Alstom and Connex in the expansion of settlement infrastructure around Jerusalem. ----- We make the call for European citizens of conscience to put pressure on President Jacques Chirac and the French government to demand that they force an end to Connex and Alstom involvement in projects that contravene international law and work against our rights as Palestinians to exist in our capital. We call upon our supporters in all the countries where Connex and Alstom operate, to use all forms of popular pressure, protest and boycotts against them, until they end their support for the Israeli project to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. And secondly, the boycott of WorldPride 2006 : As individuals and groups working for the liberation of all o

A timely intervention

An email from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Glyn Davis, was sent to all students on Thursday afternoon. It's a damning indictment on those whose words and actions made it necessary to send it: Subject: Say 'no' to vilification From: "Vice-Chancellor" Date: Thu, August 10, 2006 4:18 pm To: Universities offer a forum for vigorous debate, including discussion of unpopular opinions. In Australia, as in the rest of the world, we are experiencing the effects of deeply troubled times in the Middle East. At this testing moment, students and staff of the University of Melbourne must feel secure in advancing or defending their views of the world. But equally we must respect long-established practices about the conduct of scholarly debate, however impassioned. Members of the University community have a responsibility to appreciate that people on all sides have sincerely and deeply held views.

The "peace" movement at work

A perfect juxtaposition, really: The Greens triangles alongside the burning of an Israeli flag. Forget the politics of it, just think of the pollution. Thanks to The Age , with a hat-tip to the mysterious "aunty" (no, not Aunty ).

Words from a heartless bastard

This semester at uni I'm doing a subject called Governance and the International Firm , which is focused on, well, governance, and the international firm. For a less-cynical explanation, you can look at the handbook entry . Anyhow, as part of the assessment I'm required to keep a journal of my thoughts on the topics being discussed in class. So that my handiwork is enjoyed by more people than myself and my tutor, I'll be cross-posting the best ones online. So here's the first one - my argument against the folly of Corporate Social Responsibility: ----------- One of the central discussions in corporate governance is that of the tension between the stakeholder model and the shareholder model. At the heart of the dispute is the question of to whom the managers of an organization are ultimately accountable. Traditional conceptions of the company place the shareholders as the sole body to whom management are held to account. It has become fashionable, lately, however

About time...

Here ends the posting hiatus. My laptop is back on deck (now with functioning wireless and broadband!) and so I've got no excuse for getting back in the rhythm of sharing my thoughts with the assorted oddballs who stumble across this patch of turf. I've posted some select photos alongside each of the Sydney posts from a few weeks back (scroll down for those), and the full selection of Sydney photos can now be viewed via a link on the right hand side, or by clicking here . Knock yourself out.

Not dead, just resting

Apologies for the sparsity of posts this past week. I'm enduring a technological drought not seen since the Luddite First XI were on a roll against the Industrial Revolution Social Club just before stumps on Day One. My computer is in for repairs, the broadband cable to my Significant Other's computer is not functioning, and the dial up cord decided to join in the fun, so I'm resigned to a couple of minutes a day at a little internet cafe around the corner. Still, those of your seeking your Ari fix can head here . And being the first of August, I must continue at AOTW tradition and wish all those horses out there a happy birthday. All those in favour? Against?