Odds and sods – Part 3

A belated recognition of an injustice

 It is hard to know what to think about addressing a grave injustice many years after it occurred. It does nothing for the individual although it may erase a blot which needs to be addressed.

Those thoughts came to mind with the announcement that the Biden administration had reversed the 1954 decision by the Atomic Energy Commission to revoke the security of Robert Oppenheimer who was known as ‘the atomic bomb’s father’ having headed the team of brilliant physicists and engineers who were involved in the Manhattan Project. read more

Odds and sods – part 2

Poor, old Britain

 While Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer yearn for us to be closer to Britain our societies are in fact getting further and further apart – at least according to performance data compiled by The Economist (17 December).

The Economist compiled data on a range of indicators comparing British performance between 2007 and 2022 with that of an average of the performances of the US, Canada and Australia and of France and Germany. read more

Odds and sods – part 1

An end of the year series of odds and sods

Treaties, treaties, treaties

Surprise, surprise – despite the high-flown claims of political leaders international treaties have mostly failed to produce their intended effects.

In a PNAS research article (1 August 2022) almost 30 researchers combined to evaluate what impact international treaties that aimed to foster global co-operation actually had. read more

War Powers Reform – Part 3

Following the original submission we made to the Joint Standing Committee examining war powers reform, and at the end of our opening statements (See Parts 1 and 2 on the blog), we tabled another statement as the process allows.

Perhaps the final paragraph of this submission sums up the crux of our argument. read more

War Powers reform – Part 2

Prior to appearing before the Committee (see the previous blog post) John Phillips and I had submitted a formal submission to the War Powers Joint Standing Committee inquiry. This submission was:


 This submission has been prepared by John Phillips and Noel Turnbull who are both veterans. John Phillips was a career Royal Australian Infantry Officer who served in Vietnam in 1971 with 3rd Battalion RAR. Noel Turnbull was a conscript who served in Vietnam as a Royal Australian Artillery Officer in 1968-1969 with 104 Field Battery. read more

War Powers Reform – Part 1

On Friday January 9 John Phillips (former Captain Royal Australian Regiment Vietnam 1971) and myself (2nd Lieutenant Royal Australian Artillery Vietnam 1968-69) gave evidence to the Joint Standing Committee inquiring into War Power reform – how we go to the war.

Currently, unlike a number of other countries, the decision to go to war is the Prime Minister’s and the Executive Government – as in the case with John Howard and the Iraq War. read more


While we worry about social media misinformation we overlook that one of the main sources of misinformation about politics is mainstream media.

Take the recent Federal election and the Victorian election.

The media consensus about the first was initially about gotcha moments and then it moved on to whether or not the miracle marketer would pull it off again against a Labor leader allegedly fatally damaged by gaffes. read more

What the media coverage of the Finnish PM says about us

There is nothing which agitates much of the ‘Anglosphere’ media more than a young attractive woman in power. The latest example of the phenomenon is the treatment of 37-year-old Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

In New Zealand Jacinda Ardern got asked whether she and Marin were meeting because they were young and female. Ardern called the questioner out. In Australia the same sort of coverage followed when Marin arrived here shortly after. read more

How Voice opponents will try to derail the referendum

One of the most difficult tasks facing politicians – particularly conservative ones – is how to derail a policy which is popular and principled but which you oppose.

You can’t be seen as opposed for your real reasons so you need to come up with other tactics. The only problem is that the tactics have been used so often that what you are really trying to achieve is transparent. read more

Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the most unethical of them all?

There is a broadly inverse relationship between how unethical the public think an occupation is and how much those within it get paid.

The Governance Institute of Australia Ethics Index 2022 survey finds that the occupations considered more unethical than ethical are, in descending order, directors of Australian companies, mortgage brokers, fund managers, lawyers, senior executives, directors of foreign companies operating in Australia, local politicians, real estate agents, Federal politicians and State politicians. read more