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ELECTION LANDSLIDE November 30, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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There is an inconsistency in the electoral system used for the House of Representatives. Individual seats are won on the basis of an absolute majority, and where necessary preferences are counted until this majority is obtained. Even allowing for the fact that 16% of voters were affected by the requirement under the Electoral Act to exchange one electoral division from NSW to Queensland, the number of seats won favours the new government.
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ANOTHER BONE MARROW BIOPSY November 29, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
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This post is not I expect of general interest. Yesterday I went to see my hematologist again to review the results of the latest blood tests. My white cells and neutrophil levels were down whereas my paraprotein level was up. My kappa/lambda ratio was 15:1, a leading indicator for Myeloma.
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COURT ACCEPTS CLIMATE CHANGE November 28, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Environment.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a local resident has won a case before a judge of NSW Land and Environment Court that overturns the decision of the State Planning Minister to approve a residential development at Sandon Point.

GOVERNMENTS will be forced to consider how climate change and rising sea levels will affect all future urban developments after a ruling in the Land and Environment Court yesterday.

Justice Peter Biscoe overturned a decision by the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, to allow the property developer Stockland to build up to 285 homes and an aged-care facility at beachside Sandon Point, 14 kilometres north of Wollongong.

Justice Biscoe found Mr Sartor had failed to consider “whether changed weather patterns would lead to an increased flood risk in connection with the proposed development in circumstances where flooding was identified as a major constraint on development of the site”.

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VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE November 27, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment.
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The apparent paradox is that peace is sought, most obviously at the macro-level, using the means of physical force and violence. In truth this is more a contradiction than a paradox, since the purpose of violence is to establish institutions of structural violence. The definition of structural violence given here is close to the usual meaning:
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NSW SENATE VOTE November 26, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Had he lived, would Peter Andren have made a difference? The ABC Online reports that voters in NSW appear to have elected three senators from each of the major parties. I find this outcome surprising given the role the Senate played in WorkChoices. Other states, including Western Australia seem to have given the sixth position to a minor party. However:
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ELECTORAL SYSTEM OUTPUTS November 25, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Comparing the percentage of votes and the representation shows the influence of the electoral system in the outcome of the Australian Federal Election. With almost 76% of the votes counted the following results have been obtained according to the ABC:
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BOOTH PHOTOS November 24, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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As for every election we went down to the local primary school. The following photos give an idea of the community festival of democracy as it applied to this particular polling booth. I start off with a photo of the ballot papers for people elsewhere in the world to give them an idea. (The large white paper is for the Senate, and green ballot paper is for the House of Representatives. On the Senate Paper you see the line. Above the line preferences are distributed by the Political Party that is chosen – Senate vote counted is a little complicated. By enlarging the picture, you can see the squares by which numbered preferences are recorded in Federal Elections for each of the listed candidates.)

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WALK WITH DESTINY November 24, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Time’s up Cobber! ( Photo via The Sydney Morning Herald.)

Today over 13.5 million of us living on this continent will go out sometime between the opening and closing of the polling booths to do our democratic duty. Will there be a change of government after eleven and half years during which time Australians have been caught up in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States and the emergence of China as an global economic presence? China has overtaken Japan as the principal export market.
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KARMA-PHALA November 23, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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John Howard at the National Press Club finally gets his act together and distills out the three reasons for re-electing him and his government. In his last national address before the election in two days, Howard said that he had lead a strong reformist government government, had a plan for the future, and no case for change had been successfully made by his opponents. So what happens? Liberal campaign workers, including the husbands of the previous member and the current member are caught distributing bogus leaflets suggesting something like Labor supports Muslims, now effectively scapegoated as terrorists apparently in the minds of many. These are not young enthusiasts, they include a member of the Liberal Party State Executive.
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IMRAN RELEASED November 22, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Philosophy, South West Asia, Terrorism Issues.
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RTE (Ireland) reports that Imran Khan had been released from prison by the newly installed provincial government. Further details of the report:

Mr Khan’s sister Allema earlier said Khan had stopped drinking water and that he was increasingly weak on the third day of his hunger strike.

Officials said Mr Khan would be among more than 250 prisoners being released in Punjab, the most populous of Pakistan’s four provinces.

Caretaker governments took power in Pakistan’s provinces on Monday to prepare for national and provincial elections on 8 January.

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AFTER THE PARTY? November 21, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Some of us a looking forward to Saturday night around 9 o’ clock when we expect clear signs that the Howard Prime Ministership and the Coalition Government will be a thing of the past. The question is moot as to whether Howard will retain his own seat and since the result will go to preferences, this result will not be known immediately. Given such an outcome, which seems more likely than not, questions will arise as to what sets of voters were significant, and reflect on the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of the leaders and major party campaigns. The emergence of psephologist blogs means, rather than wait and never get to read the political scientists, we will get the see a diagnosis of the entrails of the election soon after the event, or least I am hoping that this will happen.
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IMRAN- HUNGER STRIKE November 20, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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AFP reports spokesman, Saifullah Niazi, saying:

“Imran Khan has gone on hunger strike for an indefinite period.”

Imran is demanding the restoration of the constitution and the reinstatement of the judiciary. It seems that last Wednesday he was actually arrested and charged with terrorism so he is now facing a minimum of seven years jail, which if nothing else is a revealing commentary on the state of the dictatorship.
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HOWARD FRIGHTENED November 19, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Tonight J Howard admitted he was frightened. No he is not frightened about climate change – a balanced approach, blah, blah. No he is frightened about Labor becoming government at the Federal level while their are Labor governments in all the States and Territories. He is not frightened, as we might have been three years ago, that the same party will control the House of Representatives and the Senate.
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THE SHOCK DOCTRINE November 19, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment, Social Environment.
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Naomi Klein, speaking at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alterantives said:

We need the CCPA to remind us that our dreams of a decent, egalitarian society are reasonable — indeed that with a little work, they are practical. And I love that practicality, that protection of the dream of the possible.”

It seems that somebody has already spoken for our future, and it is not our future if they get their way, but theirs.
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WORKCHOICES REFERENDUM November 19, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Contrary to what would have been my advice, J Howard has come out and said in effect that the election is a referendum on the Work Choices legislation. My first thought was that this is crazy, and he has not seen the polls. The other alternative is that he has advice from Crosby Textor and this seemingly rash and reckless move is his Tampa boarding for 2007. I hesitate to dismiss the stratagem of the greatest political genius in the known universe at two minutes to midnight. What is afoot? The game, or something else?
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NO WIN SITUATIONS November 18, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy, Middle East, Modern History, South West Asia.
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Professor Hugh White, ABC Online reports says that “the West” cannot prevail militarily in either Afghanistan and Iraq. In his view their are insufficient boots on the ground, which is to argue that coercion can solve political problems. The interview is here. Implicit in these observations is that methods of violence can solve problems, rather than as we observe creating further and bigger problems. Nevertheless, it is the dominant paradigm and the touchstone for acceptable commentary.
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A PENNY FOR THE OLD GUY November 17, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Miscellaneous.
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The time to sledge, I reckon, is when the lower order batsmen are in, or the top order are batting like lower order batsmen. Of course, it is not a very courageous thing to be doing in those circumstances, but it is a kind of restorative justice through retribution after eleven years. Anyway, for something different to mark the political turning in a week’s time, I thought I would select a couple of poems to mark the occasion. Or one actually, since I am responsible for the other effort. So without further ado, lets go to the cupboard in the corner, dust off the bones, and see the stanzas take form and waltz around the room:
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ONE WEEK TO GO November 17, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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“Do you want my brother to come down on election night”, I am asked.”Sure ” I say. “It might be another Don’s party”, she insists. “I don’t think so”, I reply.

I notice that the the headline story on The Weekend Australia was the announcement that the ALP was set to win the election. The substance of the story is retold by The ABC News Online tell us that the ALP are ahead across the board in the marginal seats. It seems in 18 key marginals across the Eastern States, Labor is ahead on TPP by 54:46%, which is pretty much poll lead they have held overall for some time.
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IMRAN ARRESTED November 15, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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There is news that Imran Khan has been arrested by the police and placed back in home detention. I note they arrested him in a way that would minimize the opportunity for publicity, which leads me to think that just maybe in the back of the minds of the arresting officers there is the theory of the Gandhi.

As dictators inevitably do, Musharraf with the tacit consent of his ally in the White House, is ramping up repression. B Bhutto in the circumstances has made what seems to me the only sensible response in calling for a government of national unity to organize elections. P Musharraf cannot now either call off the state of emergency or have full and fair elections. He is in a place from which he cannot win unless the opposition completely caves in.
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EDUCATION REVOLUTION November 15, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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J Howard said he did not understand “the education revolution”, but K Rudd nevertheless went ahead to use that phrase,which with the abolition of Work Choices, is a major plank in his campaign launch. Strange is it not, that we are getting these speeches so late, but Rudd seems to have got the inside running, if he was not well ahead already, by giving his speech after Howard, and giving a more coherent speech than Howard’s.
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