New Anthem Words – Australia We Share

[Published at Independent Australia]

The anachronistic words of our national anthem are finally getting a bit of attention. Denise McAvaney has done a good job on this site of laying out reasons why we should no longer grovel to Britain. She was triggered by Scott Morrison’s ridiculous and typically ill-informed rant demanding that all children should be forced to sing the current words. Denise also refers to Deborah Cheetham’s decision not to sing the anthem at the AFL grand final because she considers the words to be offensive to indigenous people. Susanna Duffy has posted some more thoughts and versions here. There may be others.

I was provoked a couple of years ago by an episode of the TV series Redfern Now, in which a young indigenous lad gets into trouble for refusing to sing the official anthem. I conceived the idea that we can just start writing new words.  Anyone can have a go, there need be no competition and no prize.  If a version catches on, then it might eventually replace the old words, by popular acclaim. So I wrote my own version, to kick the process along. It appears below.

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Revoke Tony Abbott’s Australian Citizenship

[Just published at Independent Australia]

Some people have wondered why Europe did not close its borders before the recent incursion by known incendiarist Tony Abbott. A more pertinent question for us is why we would let him return to Australia.

Some have made a plausible case that Tony Abbott is a dual citizen of Britain and Australia. That, combined with his activities here and abroad, would seem eminently to qualify him for having his Australian citizenship revoked.

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Labor’s Twin Crises – Malcolm and Jeremy

[Just published on Independent Australia]

150830sm_CorbynNo doubt the apparatchiks of the Australian Labor Party are currently very exercised with how to counter the Turnbull Coalition Government. It is now possible to conceive that Malcolm Turnbull could comfortably win the next Federal election. Or perhaps the Coalition will tear itself apart and Labor will coast in. In these early days no-one knows.

But the ALP would do well to focus also on a more profound challenge, one that may turn out to be existential. The personification of this challenge is Jeremy Corbyn, who recently won a landslide victory in a ballot of members and supporters for the leadership of the UK Labour Party.

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Why Corbyn is Right and Blair is Wrong

Tony Blair, like a lot of mainstream people, is mystified why anyone would support Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the UK Labour Party, but then he’s mystified why anyone would think invading Iraq illegally based on a lie was stupid and wrong, so his views are not worth discussing.

The useful thing to discuss is whether it can be sensible to oppose austerity, and possibly some of the other ills of the modern world like rising inequality and social discord, and a feral and destructive financial system. Young Labourite Rosie Fletcher is right, this is not 1980, and a few things have become clearer since then, to those who will look.

For example, economic performance in the neoliberal era has never equalled the economic performance of the postwar mixed social-democratic economies.

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The Flailing, Failing Radical Right

[Published at New Matilda, 31 Aug]

The current disarray of the Abbott Government may mark the end of a decades-long experiment in radical social engineering. The experiment has yielded deepening social divisions, an antiquated, colonial-style economy and little capacity to deal with the dramatic challenges of the near future.

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Who will rid us of this turbulent priest?


[Published today on Independent Australia.]

Is there no-one with eyes that see how the best of Australia is being destroyed? Is there no-one with the will to name it, and the courage to call on our better angels?

The rule of law, the freedom to know and debate, privacy, freedom from arbitrary detention and punishment, education for everyone, hospitals for everyone, help for the disadvantaged, family time, community time, social cohesion, the economy, infrastructure and industries to sustain our children, our priceless natural heritage, sovereignty over our own affairs, all are being attacked, undermined or neglected while we writhe in a lather of fear and distraction, jumping at shadows while hiding our faces from the real challenges staring down on us.

In one of the most blessed lands on the planet, what happened to the laconic Aussie and the fair go? Until a few decades ago we were working smarter and less, becoming healthier, more creative, more independent, more tolerant, more worldly, and expecting to continue on that path. We have abundant resources and educated, talented people who speak most major languages of the world. Why are we now struggling?

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Fourth Estate, Third Political Force

[Published at Independent Australia 7 July 15 5:30pm.]

The Australian commercial media are the unacknowledged third force in Australian politics. Arguably they are more powerful than any of the political parties.

MurdochConsider the pre-occupations that dominate our politics at the moment. Islamic terrorists are supposed to be a clear and present danger. Boat people are supposed to be a lurking threat, ever-likely to sweep in and over-run the country, taking our jobs, imposing an alien culture and bringing more terrorists. Roughly half the population does not believe global warming is an immediate or serious threat. (And global warming is almost universally referred to by the deliberately propagated euphemism “climate change”.)

On each of these issues, the dominant public perception is so far from evidence-based reality as to constitute a myth.

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