Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Defeating Australia’s Internet Censorship Plans

NO Censorship!!

Last December, in the middle of the political dead season, Australia’s Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, announced that the then-newly-elected Rudd Labor Government would start up a compulsory filter of the Internet. Back then, Senator Conroy laid down the line that we will hear again and again from the Government:

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of
the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said.

“If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

Continue reading ‘Defeating Australia’s Internet Censorship Plans’

Barry socking it to the greens

Here is nine minutes of Barry’s comedy gig at the  2008 Australian Environment Foundation Conference dinner.

Our report of the conference itself can be read here.

Getting out and about: The Australian Environment Foundation Conference

Last weekend, a few of us drove up to Canberra to attend the Australian Environment Foundation conference.

You need to get out more

“You need to get out  more!” my kids always say . Anyway, we went and it was fun.  Immediately below is my report, followed by a separate report from David McMullen.

AEF conference slide

It was an interesting and refreshing experience to meet with people outside my normal circles.

I enjoyed being among   people engaged in real-world politics which could make a positive difference in the here and now (see DavidMc’s report below for more details).  For decades  now “leftwing politics” has been the politics of protest and abstract demand that those in charge to make things all better.

Continue reading ‘Getting out and about: The Australian Environment Foundation Conference’

“Academic Freedom” is a cop out by the fearful liberal-left

Academic Paul Norton has written an article at left social-democrat blog Larvatus Prodeo. It’s about the Senate’s Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee’s Inquiry into Academic Freedom, and specifically about a submission by the “Make Education Fair” campaign (pdf, over 4 1/2 Mb), which appears to be run by right-wing Young Liberals and the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation. Norton’s article is in response to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald of Friday October 10th, 2008, headlined “Academics Rally Against Young Liberal Witchhunt”.

Most of what Norton says about the Make Education Fair submission seems fairly true. While some of the examples may be true (there’s rarely enough proof to clearly say that bias is as bad as they say), it’s a reactionary document, which seems to push the idea that any sort of university course that questions the status quo is illegitimate in itself. It’s also poorly argued and appears to take quotes out of context to push its point.

But pointing that out is like shooting academics in a barrel where free wine and cheese are on offer. Norton’s argument against the Make Education Fair campaign is that it is a threat to academic freedom. This appears typical, as it is repeated in this article by Katharine Gelber, an academic at the University of New South Wales, and this page at, set up by the NTEU (the academics’ union).

Continue reading ‘“Academic Freedom” is a cop out by the fearful liberal-left’

Postage stamps as green propaganda

Is there no end to corporate greenwash? In Australia we now have postage stamps nagging us to “save energy”, “travel smart”, “reduce waste” and “save water”. What about a stamp telling us to save on human effort? That is the only genuinely scarce resource.

Complain here.