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) - - it seemed apt. He, and others who responded, such as John Scalzi - - made ...


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 ...

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 ...

The decline (or re-defining) of blogging?

This piece in the SMH details some of the reasons why the breadth of blogging has reduced in recent times. I basically agree with the reasons it outlines, not least because it goes to some of the same reasons I've expressed on this site previously. Ironically, I read the SMH piece because it was linked to in the first post on a new blog by Annabel Crabb, which ...

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 ...

Interview with Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam on this week’s 4ZZZ show

This week I had the privilege of having Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam in the studio for an interview.  Together with my regular interlocutor, Mr Peter J Black, we spoke about the recent carbon pricing announcement, the internet filter and the NBN, and nuclear waste, nuclear power and Fukushima. You can listen to it all by clicking on this link - (unfortunately due to copyright laws I have to edit out ...

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 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 ...

Advertising & writing/commenting on blogs

Readers of the Online Opinion website and/or followers of some of the political blogs in Australia would probably have noticed some commentary about the withdrawal of advertising from those sites by a couple of corporations. This blog is part of that group of blogs which are collated under the label of The Domain, which is linked administratively to Online Opinion. That means this blog has been caught up in ...

Peter Black interview + songlist from this morning’s 4ZzZ show

My weekly on-air chat on 4ZzZ FM with Peter Black can be heard at this link.  It covers the flood levy stoush, the Egypt stoush, the advertising stoush at Online Opinion - and suggests checking out a new site, Readability, that makes websites easier to read. You can also have a look at my songlist from the show this morning at this link. My recommended Brisbane band of the ...

Latest Brisbane Media Map launched

Tonight I was at Kelvin Grove campus of QUT to speak briefly at the launch of the latest annual update of the Brisbane Media Map, which is put together by final year Media and Communications students from QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty. They describe it as “an online resource that provides a comprehensive guide to the media and communication industries in Brisbane and the surrounding areas.” Apart from being a valuable ...

6 years of blogging

It's been such a long time since I started this blog, and both I and the blog have been through so many transitions I'd forgotten what time of year it was that I started it. So it was a complete coincidence that I thought I might look to see when the first entry was, and discovered it was precisely six years ago. I started this blog as an experiment ...

New Matilda folding

Some sad news for independent media today, with the announcement that the New Matilda website is likely to be shutting up shop at the end of next month. As most readers would be aware, I've had a number of pieces published on New Matilda over the years. I'm sure I'll still be able to find places to publish my pieces if and when I want, but I'll certainly miss ...

South Australian electoral law to affect blogs?

I just saw this piece on The Advertiser's site about a new law which has come into force in South Australia The law "requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month's state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll." The law will affect anyone posting a comment on an election story on mainstream news websites.  It reportedly also applies to social networking sites, and ...

Blogging across national boundaries

Blogging across nations A couple of months ago, I started doing a few blog posts a week at a new site called Asian Correspondent.  In short, the site is an amalgam of standard news reports from countries across most of the Asian region – including Australia – along with posts a wide range of bloggers from those countries.  It is still developing in both content and layout, ...

Writings and doings

Writings and doings The asylum seeker debate is causing a lot of political and media flurry at the moment.  In one way that’s good, because it’s an important and complex issue with some crucial principles at stake.  But for years I have found it frustrating that an excessive focus on a very small number of people arriving here in boats takes up so much attention, while there is so ...

5 Years on ……..

I was just reading  a piece on New Matilda noting the five year anniversary since that online publication first appeared. The piece explores the evolution of the online environment for news and opinion in that time, as well as the continuing discussion about the future (or lack thereof) of ‘quality journalism’. All of which made me suddenly realise that I completely missed the five year anniversary of this blog, ...

Helping Iranians to speak, hear and be heard

The crucial role the internet is playing in enabling Iranians (and the rest of the world) to access uncensored information about what is happening in the post-election dispute has been well documented.  It is obvious that social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs are very important, otherwise the Iranian government would not be putting so much effort into trying to prevent online access. often uses ...

Another Political Cartoon contest at New Matilda

I wrote last year about a new cartoon competition being run by New Matilda.  The opportunities for political cartoonists to make a living are probably fewer than ever these days, so it’s great that New Matilda has been holding the same competition again this year.  To have a look at their final heat entries click on this link.

Susan Boyle – bigger than the Beatles (for this week at least)

The online video of Susan Boyle’s singing performance of the reality TV show “Britains Got Talent” has reportedly set online viewing records. In a little over a week after being posted on YouTube, the video has been viewed more than 30 million times, and “according to Visible Measures, which tracks videos from YouTube, MySpace and other video-sharing sites, Boyle's audition has generated 66.3 million views.” (figures which are bound ...


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... (7)
  • 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.

  • 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 may recall that I played keyboards in a couple of mini-performances with a band as part of promoting the Rock Against Howard compilation CD prior to the 2004 election.  However, drumming is what I’m better at – although I’m still a long way short of being able to say I’m good at it – which is what I am doing in the band I’m currently doing stuff with.  They’re doing their first full live Brisbane show tonight – which I think will be the first time since 1988 I’ve played drums in a live show.  It’s all nice and low-key, and for peoples’ enjoyment rather with an eye to making money out of it, so will make a nice change. *Actually, I don’t think anything is completely disconnected from politics. By coincidence, today also happens to be National SLAM Day – Save Live Australian Music.  As their website shows,

    More... (0)
  • 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.

  • 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 word, so probably best just for dedicated fans). You can see the songlist I played this week – as usual featuring a sizable number of local artists – at this link, which in most cases also contains further links to other videos, information or photos of the artists.