The Dickson Wetlands have been a success both as a water-engineering project (providing water for the nearby sports grounds) and as attractive open space parkland.
A couple of key articles online worth reading…
There are so many stories to be told around the installation of the memorial to the 353 people who drowned while attempting the journey to Christmas Island on 19th October 2001.
Some good thoughts on the current tax debate – click here.
The interviews on the ABC program Kitchen Cabinet are in some cases simply soft propaganda for particular politicians.
I remain totally unconvinced about the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. I agree that the country is far far better off now that Abbott is no longer out there trying to terrify everyone.
I often wondered whether Abbott was not quite sane – and more recent events have done nothing to dispel this thought.
Oh my god! I have been denied my chance of ever being made a knight in Australia!
The whole of the Barangaroo story is messy. Sydney based architectural writers are not very happy. Yes their chosen few did not get the contract. Yes even the next team did not survive.
There’s no doubt that the ACT Government has put an emphasis on communications and marketing when it comes to particular urban developments. This is very evident in the number of media statements in circulation.
This sign has been mentioned by me previously – click here.
We have endured several days of stuff written by the junk journalist writing on the Greece decision to reject the demands of the Intentional Monetary Fund. The Greeks voted no and the journalists have reproduced the media releases of those with ties to the Big Banks. It has taken a few days but at last some real journalism is appearing on this important topic.
One of the faults with Australian democracy remains that many decisions by the elected politicians remain flawed because of the obvious but ignored conflicts of interests.
Rhiannon Giddens: Tomorrow Is My Turn, Feb 2015
This album, the first for Rhiannon as a solo artist, features a woman with a strong voice who is singing songs about women written by women. Rhiannon Giddens wrote just one —the last one. The musicians on this album do a fabulous job – and together it is one beautiful experience. Some people may have some difficulties, as she has collected 10 songs from very different sources.
The lack of vision in planning
Sub Titled: let’s blame everyone but those who cause the problem!
Over the last year or so a local architect has been writing in the Canberra Times on issues around planning, development and design. Unfortunately his tone has changed somewhat. Or maybe it was always so, and we have only now witnessed the true nature of his advocacy.
Is this an eyesore for Canberra?
I was staring at the image above from the Canberra Times story about a concept that has been accepted for the new Canberra Convention Centre. I was wondering, is this something radical or is it an eyesore? Continue reading Architectural Eyesore
Change needs to happen!
Right now the leadership of this country is a total mess and remains out of touch with reality. The politicians are continuing to carry on as if nothing needs to change. Something needs to happen. The country was in a similar state of going nowhere once before.
The meanness of Joe Hockey
and his continued destruction of Australia’s way of life
If there was anyone left in Australia, who for one minute thought that the current Australian Federal Treasurer was anything but a mean and nasty politician, then all they had to do was observe his latest crimes. This man looks after his rich mates especially Big Coal, Banks and Big Miners; looks after this who pull his strings and keep him in power, Murdoch and their cohorts; and does all this by stripping back opportunities for health and well-being from those most disadvantaged.
An Opinion Piece
Dickson Section 72 – Community Consultations – 20th Oct 2014
On a cool Monday evening, more than one hundred local residents from surrounding suburbs gathered in the Dickson College hall in response to the invitation to attend a workshop staged by the ACT Government.
Comment: Cities Planning and the locals
Locally the planning authority is notorious for carry out all forms of planning with no real interest in the present residents and no interest in the urban character. It is left to the developers to define how the suburbs of Canberra will look in the future.
Comment: A case of the Police getting it wrong – again.
About a year ago, we visited Linden Gallery in St Kilda (Melbourne). This was not long after the infamous raid by police following a very dubious complaint about the ‘sexual’ content of an artwork by Paul Yore.
The director of the centre was holding up well given the nature of the issue she was having to deal with. She deserved to have been paid a lot more for all the complex stuff that had come her way.
Politics in Australia
We are fortunate in Australia to have some independent voices writing both in hard copy and online. For instance we have the Saturday Paper and The Monthly and online resources such as The Conversation and a host of others.
Unfortunately most of this reading at the moment can be a little depressing as so much of the news is being taken up reporting on the destructive nature of the Federal Government.
Commentary: George Monbiot
There are lots of good commentators out there who have loads of intelligent views to offer. George Monbiot, author and contributor to the Guardian, is one of these people.
I have quoted from George before and have a few of his books.
Commentary: Articles by Michael Moore of Canberra
I have mentioned articles written by a local, Michael Moore. While he holds down a very busy job in health, he continues to devote serious time to punching out thoughtful articles in one of the local free newspapers. They are most welcomed.
Commentary: Civil & Political Rights in Queensland
An article by Harry Hobbs & Andrew Potter
The 2012 state election landslide for the Liberal National Party has had significant consequences for minority groups in Queensland.
Comment: no further comment required
Andrew Bolt has been called a racist on his own TV show by former Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson. Bolt attacked Qantas’ decision to support the Recognise campaign for Indigenous constitutional recognition as racist, but Emerson said Bolt was the racist for his attacks on fair-skinned Indigenous people
Paul Costigan, 18 August 2014
Commentary: George Monbiot
There are lots of good commentators out there who have loads of intelligent views to offer.
George Monbiot, author and contributor to the Guardian, is one of these people.
I have quoted from George before and have a few of his books.
Tax Rorts and the IPA
Australia has been suffering for several years now through an era whereby an ideological ultra conservative group of people (mostly men), who make up the Institute of Public Affairs, have been allowed to dominate the important social, financial and environmental debates.
Their damage will be long-lasting.
Political Comment on two international atrocities
Two commentators have offered intelligent comment on the two atrocities currently occupying headlines and interest.
Political comments on Joe Hockey
For many years Australian voters have been trying to see the good things in political characters such as Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey. Joe Hockey is now famous for his speech delivered in the UK in which he outlined that The Age Of Entitlement is over for Australians.
Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists
Something to remember: Pig Iron Bob
Bob Menzies, the hero of the Liberal Party. Some of us have other thoughts about this man who wanted to sell out his country.
Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part Two: The Urban Development Atrocities
The Queensland state government spent millions on the Roma Street Parklands. This parkland was set to add huge value to any apartments built around its edges. One would have thought that the City would have insisted on at least some higher levels of design for such buildings. Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two
This government depends on lies and more lies.
It does not get any worse than this.
Oliver Milman reports in the Guardian, that the Commonwealth Environment Department extreme weather official advice rewritten to remove climate change link – click here
Paul Costigan 30 June 2014
Opinion: Under the Oak Tree: Institutional Reform in the Deep North
An article by Andrew Trotter and Harry Hobbs
The independence of a legally qualified judiciary and the transparency and accountability of government are the cumulative result of many centuries of progress.
Opinion: The lies and more lies and mindless spin of the Rabbott Government
The present government must hold the record for the amount of lies and the level of stupid and patronising spin. While their high levels of lies and misrepresentation worked to get them into government, it seems that they had convinced themselves that such high levels of crap would continue to fool the people who voted for them.
Apparently not so.
INSIDE-STORY: by Richard Johnstone
about Sydney photographer, Sam Hood.
Australia has a brilliant history of photography. There is a host of names that have been well published and are well documented.
There are also many who had a significant contribution in their day but who have slipped out of view.
Opinion Piece: Measuring the fairness of the 2014 Federal Budget for rural people
An online report following the 2014 Commonwealth budget announcements and how they relate to people in rural and remote areas of Australia. The piece was posted by the National Rural Health Alliance. Definitely worth the read. It is not good news. Click here.
B. B. King: One Kind Favor (2008)
& Blues from the Bayou (1998).
What will you be doing when you are 82? B B King was that age when he was in the studio to put down the tracks for One Kind Favor.
Comment: the widening inequity gap
by Michael Moore of Canberra
The ideology of ultra conservatives now dominates the current Australian federal government and we all know that this mantra simply reflects those pulling their strings, being the same industry groups who managed their ascension into government.
There’s so much written, but not read, about the inequalities in today’s society. It is welcomed to see a lone voice in our local media occasionally urging people to step back and think about what sort of society is being created.
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain
Kelly Hogan does not fit well into the simple music categories. On this album the sound is a mix of many styles, being a bit of pop music, country, club blues and any combination or versions of the above and more. She has a great voice.
She is a friend and backing singer for Neko Case, so the one song here by Kelly, Golden, is in honour of her friend.
Review: Visual Arts
Points of Focus: Historic Photographs from the Pacific
University of Sydney, Macleay Museum
This exhibition is advertised as being of historic photographs from the Pacific spanning a century beginning from the late 1850s. With these words both in advertising and online, the expectations were for an extensive exhibition of photographs of the pacific islands.
Nine Stories on the Status of Women
The first story was told to me about a proposal being put to someone’s recent board meeting suggesting that the organisation needed to do far more about the status of women in their particular workforce. That is, along with the business councils in Australia, the organisation could devise some manner by which annually they recognise and award the female achievers.
In a world of inequity, the reactions should not have been so surprising.
A call to put the Rabbott in his place!
For those outside Australia, more of this political story is in this newspaper article – click here. The speech is absolutely brilliant.
Comments: The future of QANTAS
This partly changed with the privatization that happened under the Keating Government. However most still believed it was a national carrier even though it was run by a private board.
The stupidity of Rabbott on National Forests
“We have quite enough national parks, we have quite enough locked-up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked-up forest.”
Comment: Tea production and slaves today
a YouTube Guardian presentation on tea production (11 minutes)
Sally McManus tracks Abbott’s Wreckage of Australia
You probably are already aware of the damage being done to Australia by Rabbott and his feral friends. Sally McManus is listing them all. It is unbelievable! and it continues to grow. Click here for the link
Comment: refugees and Australia’s uncivilised behaviour
I am totally and always have been against the concept of detention for refugees. As for detention centres on islands and in other countries for refugees trying to come to Australia, it is unbelievable that any civilized country would even have contemplated this. Continue reading refugees and Australia
Is it possible to be optimistic on climate change?
Check out two posts on Sustainable Settlements Institute.
Re-posted: Comment from Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser’s comments say most of what any thinking person has to say about migrants and Manus Island; except that a certain dangerous and uncivilized Minister should resign and sent to detention immediately.
more news about our friends, the Banks!
Amongst the news items in the last week was the report on the enormous profits by Australia’s Commonwealth Bank. This one slipped through while the media was taken up with all the usual superficial distractions.
Re-post: A comment on the walk of the Rabbott
This has been observed by many. It is indeed really strange.
Those who have known him longer say that it is all part of his manufactured persona.
Opinion: Rabbott defence of Navy actions
With all the spin and calls to be patriotic and to use the Navy for its political purposes, the Rabbott government has carried on with its attack on the ABC.
Opinion: On the growth of inequity in society
The ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor
I did not think the day would come in my lifetime when I would find myself agreeing with a speech made by a Pope.
There are many issues unresolved about his church and many nasty things that it remains responsible for. It is one house that needs to get so many things in order before it can be credible on the world stage.
However at least on the topic of inequity this Pope seems to have hit the nail on the head.
Opinion: Church Signs
I have previously made comment about a local church sign on Limestone Avenue. Mid this month, there was this about climate change.
Please click on any photograph to enlarge it.
Comment: on the wonders of two 2014 Superbowl advertisements
First a declaration. I know almost nothing about sport. I have no interest in sport. The whole ‘Superbowl’ thing is of interest in a very limited basis in that it is such a weird cultural phenomenon. It and large sporting events like it are way beyond my interest and understanding.
In the lead up to the 2014 Superbowl I noticed the occasional comment relating to how people were looking forward to viewing the Superbowl advertisements. This I found very strange.
Opinion: faces on panels
I wonder how long before it becomes unusual to see a line up of male faces on panels and seminars? It remains unusual to see an all female line up. And this is the 21st Century.
The latest Grattan Institute talk sounds like a worthy discussion to attend.
Leadership in Landscape Design
The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System
Despite all the evidence and all the advocacy, our political leaders are still not up to the challenge of dealing with something that is a threat to life as we have come to know it here on this planet. True leadership seems to be in short supply these days.
Opinion: Big Tobacco and big lies
This landmark piece of legislation, hailed internationally, fitted well with her belief that “governments have got a role to make sure they can help people in circumstances they can’t control – either through their health failing or an accident”.
Opinion: Health Costs – the reality
We expect all manner of stupid decisions to follow soon. That is, once the business groups have worked out what they want this Rabbott Government to do. Hence all the reviews underway, which are being overseen by the business and lobby groups who brought this government to power.
Opinion: Climate Change and the church
There have been many times I have driven by a particular church along Limestone Ave and have thought about another church and pub on Broadway just south of the Sydney CBD.
Dear old St Barnabas Church burnt down in May 2006. It has since been replaced with a brand new building.
Before the fire, the church was an icon for anyone driving down Broadway into Sydney because of its signage in front of the church that could be read by passing motorists. The church used to frequently change the wording and this was matched by the pub across the road. The banter between the two sets of signs became known as the “Priest and the Publican”.
Opinion: Urban Trees and Heat
A case study of neglect and willful blindness?
There was a routine piece in the Canberra Times about the current heat wave, temperature around and above 40 Degrees Celsius, and backyard trees or in some case about the lack of them. The article pointed to the now well established reality, that during such times those residential properties that lacked shade were suffering higher temperatures.
re-post from David Gillespie’s site
The World Health Organisation has taken a tough stand on sugar.
It’s about time we listened.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has leaked a draft report about sugar. The report will tell the world’s health authorities that they should be severely limiting the amount of sugar we all eat.
It will recommend that we consume no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day. Given the average Australian is putting away somewhere closer to 35-45 teaspoons a day, it’s a very big call indeed.
Opinion Editorial: Cities and Heat
Melbourne city centre a death trap as heat-island effect takes its toll
It is about the urban heat island effect
Opinion: what is the government doing?
and now we have a misuse of the term Judea-Christian
This term, Judea-Christian, is being thrown about by our Rabbott government and its appointed camp followers who are to review the yet to be implemented National Schools Curriculum.
There is now doubt that this carefully orchestrated use of the term Judea-Christian is in fact a nasty stirring up of discrimination.
Opinion: Climate in danger from Australia
re-post from the Guardian
Once upon a time, not that many years ago, Australia was on the world stage as a leading in actions on climate change. It was not that a lot had actually happened. The truth was that a many new initiatives were being proposed.
The aura was that the country was on the move. The Australian Government was open to do business on climate change. Continue reading Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Opinion: Political Stupidity Reigns Again
The Latest from our Rabbott Government
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The national edukashon minister announced that after years of development, years of consultations and a bloody huge amount of work, that he considers he needs to appoint two close political associates to look into getting ‘balance’ back into the curriculum. They state that they will be independent. That probably means their report will be independent of facts and of intellect.
It is obvious that this is more about getting the old ‘culture’ wars started again and to drive particular ideological points into the headlines while loads of other disastrous changes are being put through by the Rabbott.
Opinion: Reading a Novel?
Re-post from WIRED: Reading a Novel Alters Your Brain Connectivity — So What? By Christian Jarrett
Having read a book or two, hopefully your brain will have been stimulated. It starts you thinking. Keen to read another? And then you had to return to work!
Opinion: Domestic dogs and their owners
It was while staying with friends on holidays that I took the opportunity to occasionally take their dog for its evening walk. The dog is a very friendly and well-behaved golden retriever. While walking this happy animal I was reminded of the feelings I have sometimes when approaching a person walking a dog. It happened a couple of times that I could see people move out-of-the-way as I approached with the dog.
Opinion: Be afraid, be very Afraid
Stupidity in action
From The Guardian Australia: Tony Abbott’s top business adviser accuses IPCC of ‘dishonesty and deceit’. ‘The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling,’ Maurice Newman says.
It does not get much worse than this. The Rabbott government has been doing some stupid things of late, and there’s promise of even more stupidity to come in 2014.
Reporters have a choice: to either continue being regarded as untrustworthy, or to be seen as willing to hold the powerful into account. Here are my suggestions for better journalism:
PS: If the ABC could cease having politicians on Q & A, maybe the program format could deliver real debates and possibly become watchable. We need engaging commentators not politicians or their stooges on such programs.
Opinion: Threats to human rights in Australia
The Rabbott government has moved quickly to shut down and to strangle so many progressive, financial, immigration, education, indigenous, disability, social welfare and climate programs, that it is difficult to identify which of their ideological decisions are the most dangerous to the future of this country.
Freedom of speech and the freedom from discrimination are both fundamental to our way of life. Yet these are now very much under immediate threat thanks to this inhuman national government.
Opinion: about manufacturing and innovation
and a few more topics
While I am not too worried about the closure of GM’s (Holden) manufacturing plants in Australia in 2017, I am concerned as to whether manufacturing as an Australian industry and its associated innovations are not being supported. It is hard to find intelligent comment on these subjects in the Australian media.
Opinion: Damon Young: Distraction
blame the mind, not the machines
An interesting few words from Damon Young on the machines that distract some people. Damon likes to observe – here’s one of his people observations. I think that too often I have observed his subject.
An ordinary suburban cafe, with an ordinary sullen teenage waitress and faux-friendly barista. The tables are unvarnished barrels. The cups are marmalade jars. And the coffee is bitter, weak and overpriced.
Opinion: any behaviour we ignore, we condone
A recent opinion piece on bullying that you may have missed given the way the mainstream media reports such things.
For the article by Julia Baird – click here
Opinion: About some of the not so nice links that come with sponsorship and funding.
It was this story on Crikey “Packer’s Sydney arts donation a lay-down misere‘ that took me back to discussions I had been involved with over several decades including when we used to debate such issues openly in the arts. In recent years, all sorts of Sydney groups joined the public debates about the horrors of gambling and in this instance campaigned, unsuccessfully, against the granting of the license for a second casino.
As the deal was signed, it was arts organisations in Sydney who had agreed to take money from James Packer as the payment demanded for the granting of the new casino license. James Packer has never shown an interest in the arts.
Opinion: Rabbott Distracts while cutting deep
The mainstream media filled headline after headline about the closure of a particular car manufacturing company.
Our loyal opposition parties did not help as they joined in crying out loud through the media about the closures. Meanwhile damage was being done elsewhere in plain sight.
Opinion: Northbourne Avenue re-development
I quote from the Canberra Times 10 December 2013: “Strong commercial demand is expected for ACT government-owned properties along Northbourne Avenue that will be sold for redevelopment.”
Opinion: The High Court Judgement on Marriage
Interesting to hear the mainstream media go on about the high court decision on marriage equality. Yes the ACT legislation was voted down by the judges.
But the real story is how the judges went further and made the call on what the court will allow to be constitutionally recognised as marriage when the Australian Parliament decides to get its act together and do the logical thing.
Under the judgement by the high court, once the National Parliament has passed the inevitable changes, the high court will not stand in the way of the changes, that is there will be no avenue for a challenge by all those vexatious religious types.
David Marr is on the case and has provided a neat summary of what really happened with this quiet landmark ruling by high court – here is his article from the Guardian.
Opinion: Workplace Bullying
An emphasis on the Not For Profit Sector
It was after a couple of conversations in the last months with people with whom I was able share experiences about bullying in various workplaces, that I have decided to make research in this area one of my ongoing topics.
As I have spent most of my working life in the Not For Profit sector I am including this sector as part of the main focus of this research.
This line of research and subsequent comments will be a ‘work in progress’.
Fiction Gallery: Patrick Henderson: On being not here
Do you now a Patrick Henderson?
Patrick Henderson attends meetings called to carry out the business of the gallery for which he is a company director.
When Patrick sits at the table he remains very alert to the presence of his mobile and aware that there may be emails, text messages and tweets that require his attention.
Patrick’s commitment to these distractions is such that he cannot ignore them. Because of his lack of control of the technology, poor Patrick has become one of the many who are physically present somewhere but are rarely mentally completely there.
Opinion: Voices of Wisdom amongst so much ranting.
Comments on the statements by Australia’s Governor General, Quentin Bryce.
Every now and then Australians are taken aback when one of our national representatives actually makes intelligent and thoughtful contributions to public debates. This happened recently with the delivery of the Boyer lectures by Australia’s first female Governor General, Quentin Bryce.
Opinion Piece: cycling on our roads.
First an admission. I used to be a reasonably keen urban cyclist . However some time back, I had two serious near misses whereby I was run off the road by local buses. After the last bruising, the bike sat in garage till one day I sold it on. Whenever I can , I now walk instead. But I do miss the experience of cycling through neighbourhoods.
Today there was a very good summary in the Guardian on the situation and changes to urban cycling across many cities internationally. Click on the image below.
There’s currently a crazy debate here in Canberra about cyclists and vehicles and pedestrians. Crazy because the debate has been dominated by no so cool people who are not accepting of any other point of view. So I wonder what the problem is?
Opinion: on the moves to the right
There’s a piece in the Guardian today that says it all. I agree. We need to think this through and resist this blatant undermining of rights.
Make no mistake: Zoe’s law is an assault on women’s reproductive rights. It’s not a coincidence that those who design ‘foetal personhood’ bills are often associated with anti-abortion beliefs. Australian women have to fight back.
My difference of opinion would be on her statement “Australian women have to fight back”. This is for everyone, men and women, to be concerned about.
Opinion: The state of Australian Media
The Democracy experiment continues to be under threat
An article from the Asia Sentinel hits the mark on the media issues in Australia.
A milestone of a dubious kind was passed in Australia recently when it was discovered that the number of public relations practitioners had for the first time exceeded the number of journalists actually working as reporters and editors. (Hamish McDonald)
The full article is a good read. Click here.
Comment: the resignation of Kevin Rudd
former Prime Minister resigns, at last.
There were lots of kind words and some hinted at the troubles he had caused but most were polite and positive about his contributions in public life.
Opinion Piece on the state of Australian Architecture Awards
It was while standing in front of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), that it occurred to me that the extension, which includes the new entrance, had not figured in awards. I am fully aware of the controversies about how these extensions came about. Should any of that have excluded this architectural addition to the nation’s art gallery from being the recipient of awards.
I intend to write more about the NGA in the near future, but for now I my curiosity has turned to the architecture awards as run by the national professional body, the AIA. These awards are lauded nationally, so why not apply a reality check as to how their award winners really stack up.
“It’s time to stop this madness”
Paul Keating: a most appropriate speech
the Australian War Memorial 11 November 2013
Paul Keating’s Remembrance Day address “Those Australians fought and died not in defence of some old world notion of competing empires and territorial conquests but for the new world – the one they belonged to and hoped to return to.
This is why Australia was never in need of any redemption at Gallipoli, any more than it was in need of one at Kokoda thirty years later.
There was nothing missing in our young nation or our idea of it that required the martial baptism of a European cataclysm to legitimise us.”
full text of his speech at Australian War Memorial