Category Archives: opinions

George Monbiot on Greece

George-Monbiot-LWe 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.

Continue reading George Monbiot on Greece

Rhiannon Giddens

Music Review

Rhiannon Giddens: Tomorrow Is My Turn, Feb 2015

rhiannonThis 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.

Continue reading Rhiannon Giddens

Planning Idiots Reign Supreme

The lack of vision in planning

Sub Titled: let’s blame everyone but those who cause the problem!

actpla_logoOver 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.

Continue reading Planning Idiots Reign Supreme

Hockey meanness

The meanness of Joe Hockey

and his continued destruction of Australia’s way of life

Baz-P1020496If 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.

Continue reading Hockey meanness

section 72 Dickson

An Opinion Piece

Dickson Section 72 – Community Consultations – 20th Oct 2014

P1080436On 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.

Continue reading section 72 Dickson

Visual artist cleared of all charges

Comment: A case of the Police getting it wrong – again.

art353-artist-yore-200x0About 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.

Continue reading Visual artist cleared of all charges

Abbott the destroyer

Politics in Australia

Cover-September-2014We 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.

Continue reading Abbott the destroyer

Michael Moore of Canberra

Commentary: Articles by Michael Moore of Canberra

Michael-Moore-175x1751I 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.

Continue reading Michael Moore of Canberra

Bolt out of the blue hits Bolt

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

racistClick on the image for the video when Craig Emerson calmly messed with Andrew Bolt’s thick head!


Paul Costigan, 18 August 2014

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two

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

More Lies from Abbott

This government depends on lies and more lies.
It does not get any worse than this.

Bushfires in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia - 19 Jan 2014Oliver 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

Harry Hobbs on Queensland 2

Opinion: Under the Oak Tree: Institutional Reform in the Deep North
An article by Andrew Trotter and Harry Hobbs

max-P1020481Strong institutions are a prerequisite to good governance and a critical aspect of the rule of law.

The independence of a legally qualified judiciary and the transparency and accountability of government are the cumulative result of many centuries of progress.

Continue reading Harry Hobbs on Queensland 2

The Rabbott’s Lies and More Lies

Opinion: The lies and more lies and mindless spin of the Rabbott Government

rabbitt01The 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.

Continue reading The Rabbott’s Lies and More Lies

Michael Moore of Canberra

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.

Continue reading Michael Moore of Canberra

Kelly Hogan

Review: Music
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain

Kelly HoganKelly 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.

Continue reading Kelly Hogan

Not A Photography Exhibition

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.

Continue reading Not A Photography Exhibition

Status of Women 2014

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.

Continue reading Status of Women 2014


Comments: The future of QANTAS

images-1Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, Australians were proud of the national airline. It had a first-rate international reputation. Whenever you could, you flew 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.

Continue reading QANTAS

refugees and Australia

Comment: refugees and Australia’s uncivilised behaviour

manusIt is very hard to put together the words to describe how thinking people in Australia feel about the situation we are in thanks to the Commonwealth Governments of the last couple of decades.

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

Climate Optimism

Is it possible to be optimistic on climate change?

f7c6a3ac-f0f1-491c-892b-a27b5324354d-460x276To be honest I am not so sure given the quality of governments people have voted in. But there are signs within local governments that things may be taken seriously at last.

Check out two posts on Sustainable Settlements Institute.

Reasons for Optimism – click here – &  – Clover Moore and the City of Sydney – click here


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.

Continue reading Inequity

superbowl advertisements

Comment: on the wonders of two 2014 Superbowl advertisements

Super-bowl-2014-game-Metlife-StadiumFirst 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.

Continue reading superbowl advertisements

Leadership in Landscape Design

Leadership in Landscape Design
Online Presentation:
The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System

olmstedDespite 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.

Continue reading Leadership in Landscape Design

Big Tobacco

Opinion: Big Tobacco and big lies

Australia has the tobacco plain packaging legislation due to the wonderful work by the former health minister, Nicola Roxon.

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”.

Continue reading Big Tobacco

Health Costs

Opinion: Health Costs – the reality

rabbott01The Australian Government is currently not doing much,  except to hand power to its business friends.

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.

Continue reading Health Costs

Climate Change

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”.

Continue reading Climate Change

Urban Heat

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.

Continue reading Urban Heat

Urban Trees and Heat

Opinion Editorial: Urban Trees and Heat

A case study of neglect and willful blindness?.

(cross posted from our other blog)


Continue reading Urban Trees and Heat


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.

Continue reading Sugar


Opinion: what is the government doing?

and now we have a misuse of the term Judea-Christian

I would recommend first reading the Wikipedia contributions on the use of the term, Judea-Christian (click on the image).

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.

Continue reading Judeo-Christian

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Opinion: Climate in danger from Australia

re-post from the Guardian

rabbott01Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

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

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Opinion: Political Stupidity Reigns Again

The Latest from our Rabbott Government

rabbott01Be 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.

Continue reading Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Reading Books

Opinion: Reading a Novel?

Re-post from WIRED: Reading a Novel Alters Your Brain Connectivity — So What? By Christian Jarrett

So you have just finished your summer break and have taken the time to read a few books. Hopefully the pile of unread books has come down a little, or did you also buy up during Christmas?

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!

Continue reading Reading Books


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.

Continue reading Dogs

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

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.

Continue reading Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Guardian Opinion

Antony Loewenstein’s wish list for journalism 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:

Click here for his article in the guardian

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.

be afraid, be very afraid

Opinion: Threats to human rights in Australia

rabbott01The 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.

Continue reading be afraid, be very afraid


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.

Continue reading Innovation


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.

Continue reading Distraction


Opinion: About some of the not so nice links that come with sponsorship and funding.

packer2It was this story on CrikeyPacker’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.


Continue reading Sponsorship