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 Senate in 1997.

To save repetition, I’ll just link to my posts from this time last year – my views are basically the same on all these matters. (for some reason the sites all show zero comments, but each of the posts have some comments from the time)

Remembrance Day :– this has some extra resonance for me following my visit to Gallipoli last month.

The Whitlam Dismissal :- Over at Larvatus Prodeo, they are having a ‘Dismissal Fest’, with heaps of posts from different writers giving their views and reflections (or what Daily Flute, who has a post of his own, calls “Larvatus Prodeo’s bleeding hearts club band”). Mike Steketee from The Australian wrote a good piece a couple of days ago pointing out the fact that a Labor victory at the next election would still very likely leave the Liberals in control of the Senate, recreating the Parliamentary dynamic of 1975 for the first time.

Killing of Ned Kelly :– it is unfortunate that, 125 years later, many countries still carry out executions, as we’ve been debating very recently.

My First Speech :– I recently got tagged for a meme asking me to list my regrets. After having thought about it, I decided I would just be asking for a rubbishing by the mainstream media if I was to honestly answer that one. However, even though I still really like this speech, I do regret starting with such a naff line. There’s also the far bigger regret about not doing more to stop the GST, which I touched on in this post. There’s plenty more of course, but I’ll stop the list there.

Ambit Gambit also has a Nov 11 post today covering the remembrance day and Whitlam issues, which has a couple of worthwhile comments. Some others are on Sam’s Study, Bella, Institutional Economics and piss n vinegar.

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16 Comments

  1. What really impressed me about the dismissal of the whitlam government was the apathetic response of the australian people.
    I loved the whitlam years- I was living in Canberra at the time. There was a passion and vibrancy in politics that we have not had since.

  2. “Legislation stuff!” Hee. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I don’t get everything I say recorded for the edification of all in Hansard, so… yeah.

  3. Andrew, is it likely that we will see an apology from the honourable leader of your party sometime soon for her outrageous and obviously wrong comments regarding Prime Minister Howards ammendment of the anti-terror laws?

  4. Gibbo
    I’m not sure which comment of Lyn Allison’s you are referring to – it might help it provided the specific comment you have in mind.
    There was a lot of media coverage given to part of a comment she made last week which suggested she was saying that Mr Howard may have encouraged the Police Commissioners to conduct their raids – if the full comment had been shown it would indicated she was specifically saying she thought such a suggestion was unfair and she did not believe it was the case.
    As to the specific amendment to the terrow laws (which was actually an amendment to the Crimes Act I think), nobody opposed that amendment (well nobody in the Senate opposed it anyway – I did an article on a global socialist website that criticised all of us, Democrats and Greens included, for supporting it).

  5. I am indeed talking of her suggestion that the raids were laid on at the suggestion of the PM. I did actually see the interview in full and her hastily added comment at the end once she realised what she’d said. She was not, as you infer, commenting on suggestions from others. These were her suggestions alone.
    Do you agree that the comments of your leader were stupid, hasty, comments that have no basis in fact, or do you agree with her that the PM was able to influence two Labor Premiers as well as ASIO and the Federal Police into cooking up a raid to divert attention from the IR law changes?

  6. Sorry, I meant to include the exact quote, including the half hearted backdown, here to avoid any further confusion.
    “Given that the Prime Minister was criticised for there being no action, I suppose it’s not beyond the possibility that he would say to the State Police Commissioner, “Well, you know, is there not a raid that could be taken – taking place at this time to justify it?” I don’t know, that might be a bit unfair.”
    LYN ALLISON, DEMOCRATS LEADER

  7. Gibbo
    If you did see the ‘interview’ in full, including the preceding question, I’d like to know where because I’ve been looking for any example of it.
    The end of Lyn’s comment, which you left off (or might not have access to) was:
    “I’m only speculating and some might be speculating that way. I’m NOT.”
    I wasn’t at the doorstop where Lyn Allison gave the answer, but I have been told that her answer actually was in response to a suggestion along those lines from one of her questioners. I have no reason to disbelieve that, and having been through many doorstops myself, it is also very plausible. It is the sort of question painting an extreme scenario that often gets put to try to provoke a response. I am not criticising the questioner – it is a legitimate technique. Lyn’s mistake (which many of us make from time to time in such circumstances) was to think aloud and repeat the scenario in responding to it.
    None of which is to deny that it was a badly phrased and unhelpful comment, and I have already publicly said that she could have chosen a better set of words. I find it hard to be too critical because i know how easy it is to inadvertently do that. Lyn Allison has also publicly said she regrets making the comment and clarified beyond any doubt that she was not intending to in any way to imply, and did not believe, that Mr Howard rang up the Police Commissioners to order raids.
    I doubt that would satisfy you as an adequate apology, but given that she didn’t say what she was accused of saying, I don’t think she have to specifically apologise for something she didn’t say.
    As a bit of an aside, I think by and large most Democrat MPs are more willing to acknowledge a mistake or apologise where appropriate than many MPs I could think of from other parties (and not because we make more mistakes :-)
    I also should say that after 15 years of up close experience in watching and partaking in situations where apologies or acknowledgement of mistakes might be called, on average I think those politicians who dig in and refuse to apologise usually end up better off over time with the media and public. If I had my time again on one or two incidents, I’d think twice about apologising for a mistake (not because i didn’t make the mistake but because it just ends up being used to ‘confirm’ whatever distorted narrative may have been created about the matter and a whole bunch of other things only dimly related to it.

  8. Fair enough Andrew I’m willing to admit there may have been more to the interview than what I saw. Can you please point me to a complete transcript that includes the journalists question.
    Could you also please point me to Lyns clarification as I have not seen it yet.
    If she didn’t say what was reported though, why express regret over the comments?
    I tend to agree with you about the problem of apologising regarding a mistake. It is too frequently painted as either a “backflip” or a straight out lie. Even worse than that is inferring that someone is lying when they are clearly being truthful.

  9. Gibbo
    I don’t have a transcript with the journalist’s question – that’s why i was keen to know if you had heard it. It was at a doorstop as she was walking into Parliament House in the morning, so it isn’t broadcast. That’s that ritual you see bits of on the TV news from time to time when reporters cluster outside the door and try to interview a rage of MPs as they go in. They then use grabs from that througout the day, depending on what stories are running and what comments might be seen as newsworthy.
    There’s a comment from Lyn about it on Crikey at http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2005/11/09-1610-2206.html . I’d say she expressed regret over the comments because the comments formed the basis of her being widely pilloried in the media and made to look pretty silly to many in the public. As I (and she) also said, they weren’t phrased terribly well either.
    She also made a personal explanation in the Senate (Hansard, 10th Nov 2005, p34, at 12.45pm)

  10. It may be too late for most to see this, but allow me to share a ‘Remembrance’ experience:
    Last Wednesday I went to the war cemetery on Labuan Island (at the north of Borneo). I’ve studied (and taught) a fair bit of Australian History, but had never heard much about our involvement in WWII on Borneo – PNG seemed to take most of the publicity.
    What most struck me was the number of ‘Unknown Soldier’ or ‘Unknown Australian Soldier’ graves, without any explanation of why this was the case.
    Over a few beers the following evening (hence my memory/understanding may be impaired!) an Aussie mate in Brunei explained that towards the end of the Japanese occupation of Borneo, they took all their POWs (about 5000) from the camp and marched them into the middle of the jungle, where they shot those who had the strength to make it that far (about 500).
    The story is only known because four men were so exhausted that they fell off the track into thick jungle and were not spotted by their captors. The local people did find them, however, and nursed them back to health and kept them until the island was freed. The POWs had been stripped of dog tags, uniforms and any other identifiers.
    I hope I’ve got the gist of the story correct. I must say that the cemetery is still well maintained and is an overwhelming monument to the destructive power of war.
    Good luck with the new site!

  11. “I’m only speculating and some might be speculating that way. I’m NOT.”
    Badly phrased it maybe but could have been phrased in a way to give wiggle room to her and still feed the ‘believer’s’.

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