A Hard Rain

Further to my recent post on whether or not Australia should further embrace uranium and the nuclear fuel industries, today I attended a screening of A Hard Rain, which is the new documentary by Australian film maker David Bradbury, who also managed to get along to answer a few questions at the end of the…

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Ring the bells that still can ring

I attended an interesting function today in the Chinatown Mall in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. It was the unveiling of a commemorative Chinese bell, dedicated to all Australian military service personnel of Chinese heritage, past and present. The bell is 1.41 meters tall and 0.91 metres in diameter. Weighing in at 1080 kilograms, I think it…

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Recognising all military sacrifice

Apart from being Valentine’s Day, February 14th is also National Servicemen’s Day. Veteran’s Affairs Minister, Bruce Billson has issued a press release ‘encourag(ing)…all Australians to reflect on the service and sacrifice of Australia’s national servicemen…’ He is right to draw attention to the role of those who were obliged to serve our country during the…

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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…

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Weapons of Mass Destruction

We are right to be very concerned about the potential for North Korea or Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The reasons why are obvious. However, what I don’t understand is why we as a nation – and from what I can see much of western society – don’t seem to be overly concerned about the…

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Treatment of injured service persons

The Australian Government’s recently announced that it plans to significantly increase the number of people in the Australian Defence Force, and will be starting a full scale recruitment drive for the army in order to achieve that. I am not convinced that such an increase is needed, but regardless of that, if the Government is…

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Defence dilemmas

There are plenty of defence related issues high up on the political agenda at the moment, including the death of Private Kovco in Iraq, regular stories of massive overspends and failings in expenditure on defence equipment, problems with the military justice system, the (not unrelated) issue of inadequate recruitment and retention, and the wisdom of the deployment of our forces in such a range of places around the globe – added to with the news that Australian troops are on their way back to East Timor.

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Other Anzac views

The piece I wrote today giving some of my reflections on Anzac Day seemed to give offence to a couple of people, who left comments suggesting I was politicising the day and showing no respect, and taking offence at my suggestion that excessive nationalism can be less than ideal. This reaction surprised me a bit,…

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Anzac Day

I think it is a pity that Remembrance Day has become less significant in recent times, as to me it seems more effective as a recognition of the universal truth of the tragedy and loss of war, without being as coloured by the excessive nationalism that can occur with Anzac Day.

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Remembrance Day

The topics of November 11th are the same as they were last year (and many years prior to that) – the sacrifices of our war veterans, and the dismissal of the Whitlam government. In my own mind, I always add the execution of Ned Kelly and the personal anniversary of my first speech to the…

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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…

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Unarmed truth

After getting back from Canberra last weekend, I went to a dinner to mark the retirement of Tony Kelly, one of my lecturers from when I studied Social Work at the University of Queensland. His focus is community development, which is something I always felt was linked to but separate from most aspects of the…

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Avoiding Hiroshima

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. I hope it will help refocus people’s minds on the importance of getting rid of the threat of nuclear and other weapons, although recent events are not very promising. I wrote in this entry about how efforts towards disarmament seem…

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Whatever happened to disarmament?

I wrote in this posting that, although I supported the latest deployment of Australian troops to Afghanistan, I believe the Parliament should be required to approve such momentous choices. I and other democrats have unsuccessfully been pushing legislation that would achieve this end for decades. This report in the Guardian shows that similar legislation in…

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Troops back to Afghanistan

I have mixed feelings about the imminent decision by the Government to send some Australian troops back to Afghanistan. As a matter of principle, I don’t believe any Australian troops should be deployed to a new theatre overseas without a vote of Parliament, except in cases of extreme emergency. I’ve had a Private Senators Bill…

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