Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Dead Blogs

As anyone passing by this site in recent months would know, this blg has basically been dead for some time. But perhaps it's just been resting. When I saw a piece towards the end of last year by Jason Kottke called The Blog is Dead (long live the blog) - http://kottke.org/13/12/rip-the-blog-1997-2013 - it seemed apt. He, and others who responded, such as John Scalzi - http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/12/19/the-death-of-the-blog-again-again/ - made ...

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Malaysian elections & social media

This weekend sees a national election taking place which could be pivotal in Malaysia’s future, which makes it a significant event in Australia’s south-east Asian region. It also reminded me of a forum I attended in Kuala Lumpur last year as part of Malaysia Social Media Week (MSMW). I spoke in one session which looked at the use of social media in politics – encompassing campaigning ...

Interview with Peter J Black: Racial vilifaction vs freedom of speech

A recent controversy over a blatantly racist page on Facebook - and Facebook's delay in taking the page down - raised the issue of how best to address cases of blatant racial vilification. Similar issues were raised with the trial of Andrew Bolt for columns he wrote which were found to breach the Racial Discrimination Act. I recently spoke about these issues with law lecturer Peter J Black, who ...

Rhetoric vs reality

I've had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions - and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims - roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality - I suggest ...

Bob Brown’s retirement – what next? Discuss

Large amounts have already been written about the surpise decision by Bob Brown to retire from the Senate and as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens. I did a fair bit of media commentary on Bob Brown's announcement, so to get some idea of my views on the immediate context, you can read this piece from the Brisbane Times, listen to this interview with Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612 ABC ...

End of LP the end of a blogging era

Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I've done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don't read many of the blogs I used to ...

A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

Fundamentally, I don't greatly care about the outcome of Labor's leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The ...

A long time between hits

In amongst all the politics and policy stuff, I try to make time to do some things that are completely disconnected from that*.  One thing I’ve found myself doing recently is doing a bit of practicing with a band, which has led to me doing a live performance for the first time in a long time.  Readers of this blog with a very long memory for minor matters ...

The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

I've mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They've released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it. It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to ...

Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition ...

Stuff from my 4ZZZ shift this week

Every Monday morning I do a shift on radio 4ZzZ FM102.1 - Brisbane's longest serving community radio station (36 years old this year). And almost every week I talk with social media expert and lawyer Peter Black about some current political and other issues. You can listen to our talk this week by clicking on this link (it goes for over 30 minutes and has the occasional sweary ...

Changing Times

In the past I'd write an angry blog post on refugee rights. Now I just tweet that the ALP & Coalition both suck big time on refugee rights. (and then post the tweet on my blog) Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if the comment thread contains statements that are little more than a carbon copy of comments posted here on this topic literally hundreds of times on this ...

Voiceless animal law lectures happening this week

Voiceless is an Australian organisation dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals, and each year they hold a lecture series focused on animal law.  This year's lecture features Peter Stevenson, the chief policy advisor for Compassion In World Farming in Europe.  Among other things, he will drawing attention to the potential health impacts from the overuse of antibiotics on animals in factory farming situations. The lectures are happening around ...

Questioning Question Time (again)

There have been many comments made about how badly Question Time in the Australian Parliament looks in comparison to the Question Time in the UK House of Commons recently shown on local television. This piece by Katherine Murphy in The Age is a good example. Its opening paragraphs state that "there is no more grinding and time-wasting ritual in federal politics" than the "pathetic", "banal and pointless spectacle" ...

This week’s 4ZzZ interview with Peter Black

I haven't posted one of these here for a while, but each week on my radio shift on 4ZzZ FM I do an interview with QUT law lecturer and obsessive follower of social issues and media, Peter Black. The topics covered include the Greens taking on the balance of power in the Senate and how they might fare compared to the Democrats; a few other things happening in federal ...

The future of the Bookshop – interview with the owner of one of Brisbane’s older book outlets

Nick Sherry drew a lot of media coverage (and opprobrium from bookshop owners/representatives) this week for his suggestion that in five years time, the traditional book store as we know it will barely exist outside of major cities.  By total coincidence (or as an example of my uncanny ability to tap into current stories even before they've happened), I interviewed Hamish Alcorn, the proprietor of Brisbane bookstore Archives ...

Improving our country’s Constitution

The moves to recognise Australia's First Peoples in our nation's Constitution are starting to gather pace.  The federal government has pledged to hold a referendum on this by the time of the next election - that is, within 2 years - which is not a lot of time to build community awareness and understanding of the issues. The Panel established to engage and seek community views has set up ...

Today’s 4ZzZ interview with Peter Black + playlist

This is the playlist from my shift on 4ZzZ FM today, plus the file has my interview for this week with Peter J Black - where we talk about the internet, long long weekends, Julia Gillard, refugee policy, an interesting campaign about male depression and suicide and also do some blaming of Canada (for dumb electoral laws, not depression and suicide). Peter_Black_25_April.mp3 Listen on Posterous This week, my suggestion of ...

The growing shift from blogs to Facebook

This article in the New York Times about more people shifting away from 'long form' blogs to sites like Facebook and Twitter details pretty well why I've been doing less and less stuff on this blog, and more stuff just on Facebook or Twitter. I remember when I first started this blog (now waaaay too long ago to think too much about) I was determined to just try it ...

Just when you think they can’t go any lower ……

I wrote last week about some of the cowardly cheap shots at Muslim Australians being indulged in by some federal MPs from the 'Liberal' Party, spruiking some half-truths and lies in an effort to grow and garnish the minority bigot vote. Such lazy Muslim bashing is sadly far from uncommon, even amongst some people in leadership positions. But that has been well and truly ...

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Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.