Odds and sods – part 3

Rewards for political grandstanding

 An April 2023 article in PNAS looks at whether there are any rewards in political grandstanding. It’s based on analysis of US legislators and whether grandstanding designed to gain electoral rewards works or not.

Grandstanding usually takes the form of avoiding policy and focussing on political and symbolic statements in speeches. Increasing polarisation accentuates this behaviour. It is designed to shore up support and win votes…and guess what – it does. read more

Odds and sods – part 2

The blog is taking a break. In the meantime some odds and sods. More tomorrow.

Business, the Voice and Dutton

 There was some good news for the Voice Yes campaign when another of Australia’s most unpopular and distrusted political leaders, Tony Abbott – joined Peter Dutton in the No campaign.

Dutton has also got cross with the business community suggesting they should stay out of politics except for donating to the Liberals, campaigning against resources taxes and crying that they would all be rooned if workers got a living age. read more

Odds and sods – part 1

The blog is taking a break and will be back in June. Meanwhile over the next few days it will publish some odds and sods of material collected over recent times.

The state of contemporary journalism

These days much media coverage of most issues is skewed by Pavlovian responses.

You get some of the detail, little of the context and a false sense of balance when the rational is contrasted with the ridiculous. read more

If only it was happening in Australia

The French Government’s Research Minister, Silvie Retailleau, has announced a plan to shake up the country’s scientific research including investing an extra Euro26 billion (equivalent to A$42.5 billion.)

It is in stark contrast to the Australian situation where we spend $11.9 billion on research. To put that in perspective the French spend 2.3 % of GDP on science while in Australia it is 0.6%. read more

The world’s biggest democracy?

What would Australians, and much of the world, say if the Albanese Government arrested Peter Dutton and locked him up?

Well, that’s exactly the sort of political event which has just happened in what is supposedly one of our closest allies and the country called the world’s biggest democracy – India. read more

New medals for many but not for some

Australian Governments are always finding new ways to give new medals and new forms of recognition to veterans.

Some of them are welcome; some are essential such as DVA Gold Cards which allow veterans to access free health care at a time when their health needs are greatest; and some of them are more about trying to demonstrate that they care about and honour veterans than anything else. read more

Dr No’s on the nose

It’s early days yet but the latest opinion polls suggest opposing the Voice hasn’t done Peter Dutton any favours.

Obviously growing unpopularity can’t be solely due to the Voice policy and it might be just people are getting to know him better – and don’t like what they see.

Whichever, the latest Newspoll has the Government leading the Coalition 56% to 44% two-party preferred, with Labor’s lead increasing one point since the last survey. That’s within the margin of error but the overall situation when you aggregate the various polls is less than encouraging for Dutton. read more

More on Murdoch and Dominion

The last post was in haste as news of the crikey case being dropped was coming through.  Since then, the blog has given some thought to what it might mean.

The longer-term implication of the Dominion case is how it impacts on Lachlan and what happens when Rupert goes. When? What the rest of the family will want? Who knows? read more

Murdoch alternative universe confronts reality

The alternative universe occupied by the Murdoch media and its consumers is facing a very expensive and damaging confrontation with reality. But how and whether this will affect the Australian operations are another question.

The latest confrontation with reality came with the Dominion Voting Systems $US787 million payout – a very expensive way of avoiding Rupert and Lachlan being cross-examined. read more

Yet more baubles

Every Australian veteran has one overwhelming desire – to get another bauble from the Government commemorating the veteran’s services.

Well, that’s not exactly true but it seems to be the belief of successive Australian Governments.

The latest is a commemorative medallion marking 50 years since the end of the Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. It marks the launch of commemorative activities throughout 2023 culminating in a national commemorative service on Vietnam Veterans’ Day 18 August 2023. read more