How did Labor get it so wrong?

By | Other | 36 Comments

WH As I write, the Coalition is close to having 76 seats, and might get 78, which the ABC is tipping. I’m not concerned with these final numbers, which won’t be known for a week or more. Rather, like so many others, I expected a Labor victory, a close one, I thought. The actual result was a major surprise, and a dreadful one for Bill Shorten and his team. So, how did they get it so wrong? First, the ALP seemed to coast along on what the polling organisations were saying, and had been saying for a couple of years….

Read More

The Magic Pudding Moment

By | Other | 35 Comments

At a recent family event one of the absent cousins rang in something of a state: she had been going to vote Labor, but a Green had told her that if she didn’t vote Green, and the Greens didn’t get in, then we would all be dead in twelve years! What should she do? She was reassured by the family. Where did that twelve-years nonsense come from, I wondered. The originator seems to have been the Democratic Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who later said that her words were mis-characterised, whatever that meant. Thankfully, neither of our political leaders has been making…

Read More

The Young and the Old

By | Other | 12 Comments

I’ll leave my summary of the Handout Election campaign until next week. In this essay I want to say something about the differences between the attributes of the old and the young, which have blossomed for me in the past few weeks, to some degree because of what could be well described as the children’s crusade against climate change. So, to age. In 1953 our Latin class was devoted, in a manner of speaking, to two great texts, Virgil’s AeneidBook II and Cicero’s De Senectute (about old age). Cicero had some great advice about how to prepare for old age, and how to…

Read More

Anzac Day and ‘nationalism’

By | Other | 16 Comments

Some 37,000 people attended the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day. That’s a bit less than ten per cent of Canberra’s population. We were not part of that crowd, but our nursing home put on an Anzac Day service that was sensitive and well thought-out. We did go to that one, and as usual, I kept thinking about what ‘Anzac’ means now, and what the young people think about it. Last year 17,000 Australians and New Zealanders went to the service at Gallipoli; this year, given the recent strife in the Middle East, and the warnings…

Read More

Living in a nursing home

By | Other | 12 Comments

For the last five months I have been living in a nursing home, and because there is a Royal Commission inquiring into what happens in such dwellings I thought it might be useful to set out what it is like, at least in our place, whose name I shan’t mention, because this is not an advertorial. My wife and I are here because we have the highest ACAT ratings, she because of dementia (I am her carer) and me because I have an incurable cancer that has robbed me of a lot of strength. I need looking after, too.  And we…

Read More

Some real climate changes

By | Other | 151 Comments

Website essay 78:  17 April 2019 Every now and then I read something that changes my thinking, or fascinates me, so that I go on to more and more reading in the area. One of my sons gave me a book to read, saying that I might find it interesting. The book, Fingerprints of the Gods, is by Graham Hancock, not a scientist or an historian, and plainly almost an obsessive. More about the book shortly. Thirty or more years ago I became interested in the myth of the lost city of Atlantis, of which Plato is the early historian, and read…

Read More

How close will the election result be?

By | Other | 145 Comments

The last opinion poll I saw had Labor at 52 and the Coalition at 48, both figures in the two-party-preferred style. There have been three opinion poll results since the Budget, two of which have a 2 per cent gain or thereabouts for the Coalition, the other a gain to Labor. Given that the conventional error margin in such polling is around 3 per cent, those outcomes would be within the error margin. Conventional’ means just that — it is a convention, not greatly to be relied upon. Oh, having watched Clive Palmer’s expensive television campaign for the new United…

Read More

What sort of climate change policy does Australia need?

By | Other | 111 Comments

I had to search for the actual Labor climate change policy, after Mr Shorten had announced it the other day. Too many of the media sources stayed with the leaks about what would be in it, but I finally found the official Labor source. It is long and full of assertions that have little basis in evidence. ‘Labor accepts the science of climate change’, it begins, and that is a bad start, for there is a great deal of science about climate, and it by no means points in the one direction. And the Policy tells us that various experts…

Read More

An unexpected result?

By | Other | 155 Comments

WA A few days ago I was at a regular monthly lunch, and the conversation moved to the likely result in the NSW elections. Most of the company thought that Gladys would get back, and the common use of ‘Gladys’ tells you something. She may not be a great Premier (I have no inside knowledge), but she is widely seen as straightforward. She is no beauty (cf Kristina Keneally, a former Labor woman Premier) but that doesn’t matter. She qualifies in terms of the impression she gives of being on top of her job, fearless, and confident. I remember Julia…

Read More

Growing older, and planning for the future

By | Other | 22 Comments

This is a personal story, and it does have a moral, that we all may need a Plan B. When I was born, in 1937, my male age-cohort had an average life expectancy of 65 years, the girls 68. I retired at 65, and that was in 2002, seventeen years ago. In my head, so to speak, I am ageless, but if you press me, I will say that I feel about 37 — old enough to know how not to repeat past mistakes, and young enough to be able to do most things that I did when I was…

Read More