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.

The value of facing up to past wrongs -

There is an interesting piece over at Webdiary by Orville Schell on efforts by Tsuneo Watanabe, the Editor-in-Chief of Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, to more fully and honestly detail and acknowledge the reality of Japanese responsibility for aggression and atrocities in World War II and towards China in the Sino-Japanese war. “Watanabe, who is now in his eighties and served in the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII, was ...

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Anzac Day

The modern nation of Australia is very fortunate not to have been seriously impacted by invasion or defeat in war, but there are still millions of Australian individuals and families who have been touched terribly by war in one way or another. If we could find ways to more clearly amplify the individual human and family impact of war, we might be less keen to wage it. ...

Delegation Ends – the good, the bad and the verdict.

It feels a little bit like I’ve been transported to an alternative universe for the last couple of weeks, where the very immediate and important arguments in Australia are distant and faint and the political disagreements between us are put on hold (mostly) and I got immersed in a continual stream of new and different things (some of which remind me that what’s happening in Australia is a ...

Dana Vale makes the Turkish media

I heard about Dana Vale’s suggestion that a part of Mornington Peninsula in Victoria be used to recreate the Anzac landing site on the day we left to drive to Gallipoli. I had got a fairly scathing email from some war veterans about it, and it was the subject of a bit of comment amongst members of the delegation while we were on the bus on the way ...

Back to Istanbul

After leaving Çanakkale and Troy, we caught the ferry back across the Dardanelles and drove back to Istanbul. Our drivers had been going all day and as it’s Ramadan at the moment, they had been fasting since dawn, so at sunset they pulled into the equivalent of a roadhouse to have a meal. Not surprisingly, it was full of many people also ending their day’s fast. Although Turkey ...

Çanakkale

Çanakkale is a smallish town of around 75 000 people, which is also the administrative centre of the province of the same name. The province includes the Gallipoli Peninsula on the other side of the Dardanelles (and also on another continent). We stayed in a hotel on the banks of the Strait, close to its narrowest point. It is only about a mile wide here, and some of ...

Gallipoli

On Wednesday, we drove to Gallipoli, which is about 330 kilometres from Istanbul - about a five hour drive. The highway is fine in parts and not so good in others. If you’re feeling the pinch from the increased price of petrol in Australia, it is over $2.70 a litre in Turkey – although many other things, such as food, are comparatively cheap. So much has been written and ...

Ankara

The Ankara leg of our visit was a little bit afflicted for me by jet lag. Four flights and 28 hours after I checked in at Brisbane airport, I arrived at the hotel in Ankara, along with the rest of the delegation, about 11am. Ankara is a large sprawling city of several million people. Attractive is not a word which comes to mind when thinking of ways to describe ...

Visiting Turkey

By virtue of its geography, Turkey tends to often be involved in a range of issues of wider international significance. However, at the moment, it seems to be pivotal in an even greater number of issues than usual, which makes it a particularly interesting time to visit. It is only a couple of weeks since the decision was made by the EU to formally commence negotiations to enable Turkey ...

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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,

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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