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.

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 ...


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 ...

The Speech

As the speech itself acknowledges, a single speech can't resolve things.  But it is impossible to overstate how significant it would be if the vision President Obama expresses and aspires to in this speech is successful.  The text of the speech is here, or here for translations into 14 other languages.  It is worth taking the time to listen to and watch as well.

Child executions to end in Iran?

Back in March I wrote about Nazanin Afshin-Jan, a campaigner I met at a human rights conference in Taiwan who focused a lot of her efforts on trying to bring about an end to the Iranian government’s practice of allowing the execution of children. Recent news reports suggest the efforts of Nazanin and other human rights campaigners in this area may have born some fruit, with this report quoting an Iranian ...

Time to rethink our approach to Afghanistan?

Sometimes I find it strange that there is so little public debate about the ongoing engagement of Australian troops in Afghanistan. As this piece from The Age last October noted, "recent polling indicates declining public support, with half saying the troops should be pulled out", even though "there is bipartisan support for that war from the major parties" and "Labor leader Kevin Rudd has gone so far as to ...

Malalai Joya still speaking her mind

A couple of months ago I wrote about a speech I witnessed in Brisbane by Malalai Joya, a 28 year old female member of the Afghanistan Parliament. Among many other things, she has spoken out against the warlords who have seats in the Parliament and opposed recent legislation which granted an amnesty for any war crimes committed within the last 25 years. According to a report in the ...

Women in Iran

A further piece in recognition of International Women’s Day to follow on from my previous post about Afghanistan. This article from the Open Democracy site by Nasrin Alavi gives a fascinating insight into the challenges faced by women in modern Iran. On one hand, it is clear women are participating in Iranian society in very significant ways: the nationwide literacy rate for girls aged between 15 and 24 has ...

Release the Bats – freedom in Afghanistan

I wrote a blog post at the end of 2005 about Malalai Joya, a young female Afghan Member of Parliament who had caught my attention when I saw report of her speaking out against the warlords, war criminals and drugs barons she said were in the Parliament and holding senior government positions - calling them "blood sucking bats" clawing at the men and women of her country. This ...

A morning of Micronesia, Multiculturalism and Israel

While debate on the Land Rights Bill continued in the Senate and debate started on the anti-refugee legislation in the House of Reps, those MPs and Senators not immediately involved in the debates continue on with a lot of other business.

Nothing to Justify Terror

The profoundly depressing violence in Gaza, Lebanon and Israel continues unabated. Whilst heartbreaking war and conflict is hardly new in this region, or many other parts of the world, I can’t shake the feeling that this particular outbreak will hit us much more directly.

More on Israel, Lebanon, Gaza & Us – 3

This will be the last entry I will do on this conflict. I am sure people can find their own links and information from many of the sources I've provided in my previous four entries (here, here, here and here). It seems that Gaza has slipped out of the focus of most of the media, which is perhaps understandable but does not mean that all is now fine there. ...

More on Israel, Lebanon, Gaza & Us – II

Click here for some more links to items on this issue.

More items on Israel, Lebanon, Gaza & Us

Click here for a list of more links to reports, views and assessments on this issue.

Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Us – updates

I did a post recently on the escalation of conflict by the Israeli government on Palestinians in Gaza and now also in Lebanon (according to this report, bombing a powerplant there too.). As I said then, this is one issue that I have never been able to see a solution to, but at least in the past I could feel thankful that it was not likely to ...

Israel situation endangers us all

A piece on Antony Loewenstein’s blog drew my attention to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Paul Sheehan. Seen by many as a conservative, pro-Israeli, anti-Muslim commentator, he wrote: as someone who has given support to Israel, and taken a hard line against Muslim racism, I can no longer draw any other conclusion than that the combustible policies of the Israeli Government have become a danger ...

More Aussie troops to Afghanistan – UPDATED

The Australian government has decided to send another 200 troops to Afghanistan. I’d be interested to know people’s views about our ongoing involvement in this country.

Hamas & the path to peace – Updated

By the look of the letters pages in the papers, and the comments of many politicians globally, the success of Hamas in the Palestinian elections is engaging the thoughts of many people. The first thought that entered my head when I heard of this victory was 'maybe only Nixon could have gone to China', so maybe only Hamas can produce the path to genuine peace in the region. ...

“Blood sucking bats” – a reminder that politics is a lot tougher elsewhere

I can't say I'm enjoying being involved in Australian politics much at the moment, but whenever I'm at risk of getting too maudlin about it, there's always plenty of reminders that politics is a hell of a lot tougher and more difficult in many other parts of the world. One example came with the recent sitting of the new Afghanistan Parliament. One newly elected member of that Parliament ...


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.