A blueprint for action on integrity

Since the Liberal-National Part Government came to power Australia’s ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) global corruption surveys has fallen.

Australia has slid 8 points in the global corruption rankings since 2012 and the 2019 report (the 2020 is coming soon and likely to be worse) put Australia in 12th place, scoring 77 points on the 100-point scale. read more

Framing the Palace Letters

It doesn’t need a conspiratorial mind frame to explain the Murdoch media, Morrison Government and National Archives synchronous framing of the Palace Letters – just a realisation that such strategies are now so institutionalised that overt co-ordination is unnecessary.

Jenny Hocking’s book The Palace Letters speaks for itself. It is an amazing book – forensic, meticulous narrative history and polemical in the best sense of the word. read more

Soldiers vs warriors

What’s the difference between a soldier and a warrior? And in what environment is the distinction in danger of being lost?

The significance of the difference and distinction in the alleged war crimes of SAS soldiers in Afghanistan is apparently due to a significant difference in the chain of command. read more

Fraudster will create US COVID vaccination problems

What would you do if you were a medical researcher whose work was exposed as fraudulent; you failed to disclose to your medical school that you were secretly using it to mount a potentially lucrative class action from which you would personally profit; failed to disclose that you were planning a private entity to exploit the research; and, were struck off the medical register? read more

An Alabaman take on history

In the US they like to describe the US Senate as “the world’s greatest deliberative body”.

Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts, repeated the claim when he presided over the Senate Trump impeachment trial.

So what sort of people do the deliberating?  Well , the latest is the newly-elected Senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville. read more

A Harry Evans postscript

What sort of obituary do you think The Sunday Times would publish about probably its greatest editor, Harry Evans?

When you know that’s it owned by Rupert Murdoch you automatically assume it will be churlish and – surprise, surprise – it was.

The obituary starts promisingly enough: “Harold Evans’s mentor and predecessor as editor of The Sunday Times, Denis Hamilton, summed him up well when he wrote: ‘Harry could be wild and impulsive, but he had the sort of crusading energy a Sunday editor requires.’ After 14 mostly exciting and successful years editing the Sunday title, Evans was moved to The Times by Rupert Murdoch, who had purchased both titles in 1981.” read more

Something other than that election to think about

In the past 75 years there have been two people who have done more than probably anyone else in the English-speaking world to demonstrate what happens when language is mangled and distorted and, conversely, how to write clearly and powerfully.

Now both of them are dead. George Orwell is the obvious first but Harry (AKA Sir Harold) Evans has also been important. read more

Not much longer now

Less than week out from the 2016 Presidential election Hilary Clinton was 2.8% ahead of Donald Trump in the 538 average of polls. Six days out in 2020 Joe Biden is ahead in the 538 average by 8.8%.

The RealClearPolitics average gave Clinton a 3.2% lead. Joe Biden, at the same point in 2020 has a lead of 7.1%. read more

ICAN: prophets not honoured at home

In Matthew the Bible quotes Jesus saying: “A prophet is not without honour except in his home town, and in his own home.”

The Australian winners of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will today be celebrating the ratification by 50 countries of The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons thus allowing the historic though symbolic text to come into force after 90 days. read more

It should have been better but it could be worse

There are two views of the current COVID Victorian situation – it is a hell of lot better than the rest of the world; or, it could and should have been so much better as evidenced by Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, SA and the Northern Territory.

Both are obviously true and incompetent mistakes in quarantine were the biggest cause as no doubt the current inquiry will show. But whatever the alleged original sin, the second wave experience of other countries is illuminating and the polls show that you would rather be in Daniel Andrews’ position than Michael O’Brien’s. By the way, if you are wondering who O’Brien is – he’s the Victorian Opposition Leader. read more

An insider’s view of how public relations really works