All posts by Noel Turnbull

The RSL – from a power lobby to a poker machine empire

The RSL was once one of the most influential, lobby groups in Australia. Today it is better known for the number of poker machines it operates.

Back in the day, as they say, they were knocking on doors in Canberra where the people they met to lobby often had returned service badges in their lapels. They had regular meetings with the relevant Minister and the comments of officials, particularly the late Bruce Ruxton, were widely reported in the media. read more

Senator Price tragically wrong – again

We will never know how many people over millennia have suffered from tragedies that continued through generations.

Prehistoric parents, who were killed by a wild animal they were hunting in the hope of feeding their children, may have been among the first humans to set in train the process.

Perhaps their young accepted it as part of life. Perhaps they were part of larger group that took them in. Perhaps they were just abandoned. Perhaps they may have had wise women to counsel them or perhaps they suffered a trauma which they carried forward first as warning tales and then as myth to their children and their children’s children. read more

What is a nation?

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s National Press Club speech has generated a lot of publicity – mainly about whether what she said was accurate or not – which it transparently wasn’t.

Senator Price, when asked if she felt there were any ongoing, negative impacts of colonisation on Indigenous Australians, replied “No, there’s no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation” – despite a literature which would fill a library demonstrating that she is wrong. read more

Why do so many right wingers sneer and hate so much?

There is a lot of discussion about the hate, disinformation, misinformation, lies and prejudice which have characterised the Voice debate.

But there is an additional response which is odd – the sneering at the proposal.

Some years ago the blog was at a function at the Melbourne Club. It is not a member needless to say, although was once asked if they wanted to join but passed for a variety of reasons including that it would probably be blackballed. read more

Blunders of our governments revisited

For many decades Australian political parties slavishly followed British party policies and rhetoric and then those of the US.

The only real difference was that Liberals in Australia first got into line behind the Tories, and nowadays the Republicans, while Labor was more likely to follow Labour or the Democrats. read more

A damned close run thing

After Waterloo the Duke of Wellington allegedly said: “It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.” Like many historic quotes it got refined over the years and became: “It was a damned close run thing.

Whichever it is particularly apposite in the light of a recent Nature article (31/8) by Anna Ikarashi on the origins of us homo sapiens. read more

Man bites dog

Stop the presses! Abandon the broadcast schedule! Flood your social media sites with your posts! Man bites dog!

An Australian media outlet has described much of what the Yes campaign is actually doing rather than focussing on who said what about the latest No talking point. It did, nevertheless, tack on to the article some of the latest details of what the No campaign was doing even if they were more aspirational than reality. But despite that the article was revelatory. read more

Could Trump be banned from the Presidency

Could Donald Trump be banned from standing as President? Even in the world of Trumpist paranoid delusions and social media posts it seems improbable.

Yet an increasing number of US legal scholars – including at least two who are regarded as ‘originalists’ – are arguing that Donald Trump should be disqualified from standing as President. They are all discussing whether Trump, and others who participated in the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, are disqualified from holding office under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. read more