Gillard, The Mining Tax and the Coming Election

This week Tony Abbott was reputed to have declared that victory was within his grasp and Julia Gillard grasped it. Tony’s comment was derided as a bit impolite – it being generally conceded that to talk up ones chances beyond the avoidance of failure is in some way untoward. Nevertheless, Tony’s comment was given an endorsement in Gillard’s promotion. The drastic Labor leadership change is an attempt to stymie the steady descent of the government’s prospects at the next election.

The seat shuffling was done in the hope that that odd fascination with novelty on the part of the electorate, that phenomenon that saw people vote out Howard because ‘it was time for another guy to have a go,’ will be assuaged with the introduction of Gillard. But if this remains the only change to occur, it will only succeed on the twin assumptions that if Tony and Julia were in a TV soap, Tony would be seen as the bad guy and that Tony and the Liberal party have no coherent belief in what justice is.

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Battles of Thai Democracy in the 1970s

(This is a brief history of Thai politics during the 1970s. It is largely drawn from the book: History of Thailand by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit. I am reading it in order to gain an understanding of what is occurring there today and am sharing the information I get from those books – as well as my interpretation – here. More posts on this topic may follow.)

For Thailand the 1970s saw the collapse of military dictatorship followed by a period of parliamentary rule dominated by urban business interests and then a bloody return to military dominated rule. These events go someway towards contextualising the current conflict in that nations capital, Bangkok.
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MySchool and the Cowardice of the Left

“They’re not nihilist, they’re just cowards.” These are the words of warning that John Goodman’s character gave in the film the Big Lebowski when dealing with a bunch of black clad extortionists. Such a warning is appropriate for the Australian right regarding its leftist opponents. The point can be made evident with reference to any one of a large and increasing number of orifices that spout opinions which taken together constitute the Australian left. The most recent and high profile instance would have to be the reaction to the making public the results of National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy, NAPLAN, results via the MySchool website.

The reaction to the Myschool website and the making public the NAPLAN results demonstrates this beyond the fact of the Australian Education Union’s capitulation on threats to boycott the tests in exchange for a ‘working party’. The whole effort can be seen as a timid approach to seeking justice.

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