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aus election 2007

But you won't fool the children of the Cultural Revolution

John Howard and his ministers are making announcements like there's no tomorrow (which, give or take six weeks, is almost certainly correct). Two more legs of his education platform, otherwise known as the Cultural Revolution (registered trademark under licence from the estate of Mao Zedong), have been announced today.

Whatever you do, don't mention the policy

"Labor believes that supporting executions – even by a nation state – gives justification to all kinds of fanatical lunatics to take the lives of others in pursuit of their own warped ideologies. That is why, at the highest levels Australia’s public comments about the death penalty must be consistent with policy. This is especially the case if we are going to tactfully and successfully drive a regional abolitionist movement."

- Robert McClelland, Wentworth Human Rights Forum, 8.10.07

The strange case of Question 48

Yesterday I quoted an unanswered Question In Writing posed in the House of Representatives to John Howard on November 17, 2004 - the second sitting day of the current (and soon-to-be-ex) parliament. The question relates to Government expenditure on corporate boxes at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where Howard and ministers wined, dined and occasionally watched the action as, among other things, Marion Jones cheated her way to victory after victory.

Questions unanswered Part I

Question Time in Federal Parliament is a joke and, as it is currently administered, serves no useful purpose. But you knew that. The real interrogation comes in the fine print of Hansard, that section at the back called "Questions Without Notice".

There's an interesting document on the Australian Parliament website.

Its URL is

Its title is "List of Unanswered Questions in Writing".

Just when you thought the Immigration Department was doing something right...

The Australian Department of Immigration (currently the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) has rightfully been condemned for some dreadful actions over the years - turning away boatloads of refugees, passing the buck (in more ways than one) to cash-strapped Pacific islands, redrawing Australia's boundaries for migration purposes... even deporting Australian citizens who just happened to have non-Anglo names. And in the past week they've made us a global laughingstock yet again with the ludicrous Citizenship Test.

Name the country

[insert country name here] is close to its longest run of economic growth since the Second World War, with the economy 28.3 per cent larger in the year to June 2007, than it was ... in December 1999. Average [insert country name here] economic growth ... has been 3.4 per cent per annum ... Our unemployment has halved, and now sits at around the lowest levels reached in the OECD. Latest figures put the rate at 3.6 per cent, and that has been achieved at the bottom of the business cycle.


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