The blogging VC

There was an interesting piece on the value of blogging in the Education section of The Australian by Steven Schwartz, the Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, who started his own blog last year.

His straightforward assessment of the interactive benefits of genuine blogging is just as applicable for politics, business, academics or many other fields as it is for a university leader. He also provides a very clear rejoinder to the mainstream media’s distorted caricature of bloggers as little more than a bunch of crazed amateurs with no expertise.

as Rudyard Kipling might have advised, if you can trust yourself when people doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too, then go ahead, because you will find that for all its potential for pitfalls and pratfalls, the blogosphere is a great place for a university leader to test ideas, to engage in discussion and debate, to stand corrected or to correct others.

Schwartz is just one example among many bloggers with far greater expertise in their field than all but a handful of journalists – which is not to have a shot at journalists, but rather to emphasise that the best of both the blogosphere and the mainstream media play important and beneficial roles (and the worst are easy targets for ridicule and contempt).

UPDATE: Via Robert Merkel, I have just discovered another example of high level expertise in the blogosphere – respected Australian climate scientist, Professor Barry Brook.

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18 Comments

  1. Get round to looking at these sites later.Accept to say Schwartz isn’t Australian,and comes from another tradition.

  2. I went to Professor Brooks site,and ran like a dingo that had been drinking something fermented across it.Needless to say,wether what I left had any interest to academics ,it did for me.Which is really a bad excuse for leaving an opinion.Just went to the SMH RSVP and I cannot leave an opinion,although,in that area of matters,I feel slightly truncated,because of a whole series of inadequacies,unfortunately I face everyday.I dont know wether I am actually compatible with anyone,or that I should even try,unless I am being experimental.Somehow I feel my politics are the undertakers.Same with other aspects of life.The unemployed and the Pensioned off males,must find it frustrating visiting blogs of any type,because the experience is sort of a continuous shattering,and then having to pick up the pieces more intelligently than last time when felt completely shattered.I now think,I exercise my opinion as a way of resolving the problem of the underwhelming reality of not being significantly self-important.In a world being hammered by those who should just stop building the world.Spent sometime at Rense in the U.S.A. tonight and watched a video of an author researcher Eustace Mullins,a protege of Ezra Pound.In this world now of proud B52 bomber Zionists,My heart sank,and Eustace’s story was indeed a more sobering account than a tipsy dingo.Thanks.

  3. As a blogger myself I do get emails from around the world about my blogs and perhaps nothing but positive responses. When I do get responses I do try to make it a pint to give reply as after all it is a form of communication.
    Regretfully, I find that many bloggers fail to realise this and merely use blogging to seek to doctrinate others with their views and that is it.

    Many current and past politicians I view also have this kind of conduct.
    I would welcome a Vice-Chancellor to be a blogger if it is for the right reason and not merely to be one sided statements. I certainly intend to check out his blog.
    .
    Perhaps now that you are out of the federal Parliament you could reflect upon what you could have done but failed to attend to appropriately so others may perhaps learn from this?
    .
    You may not accept it but I view the demise of the Democrats was because of the deal about the GST. Was it really worth it to end up as it did?
    .
    Without going in to many details the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) in its correspondence made known that it accepted my position as to opposing the GST legislation as being unconstitutional but that as an “organ” of the Crown it was bound to apply legislation. Upon which I stated that if the legislation is unconstitutional then no organ of the Crown has any position to legally enforce this. I had already pointed out why the O’Meara decision was constitutionally floored. I invited the ATO to try to challenge matters in Court but instead they dropped their demands.
    .
    Now, it would be ironic if in time to come indeed the Courts would conclude that after all the GST is unconstitutional and that the Democrats demise came about the GST as a main issue.
    .
    Let this be a lesson for others never be short sighted as to making a deal that may give some benefits in the short term as the long term consequences may be far more harmful.

  4. Those who have blogs should accept that others may have views that albeit it may be initially ridiculous in the bloggers view, in the end it can be a reality.
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    And further;
    .
    After all, after a 5-year legal battle with the Commonwealth I succeed in on 19 July 2006 in Court that compulsory voting is unconstitutional! Yet all the politicians who are bloggers ongoing ignored this, but the court in the end ruled in my favour!
    .
    Again, it is essential that those who are bloggers are open minded and do consider what others have to state as otherwise their blogging is mere self-gratification and general worthless for others.

  5. Mr. G. H. Schorel-Hlavka: The notion that compulsory voting might be unconstitutional is indeed interesting, and if so, not a fact to be ignored.

    My Austlii searches quickly revealed that you are a litigious person if nothing else, but amongst all the search results, I was unable to locate a July 2006 ruling in your favour.

    I may well be searching incorrectly; please oblige us with a link.

  6. “bloggers as little more than a bunch of crazed amateurs” – dont know about the bloggers but not a bad description of the contributors.

    Ironic that Mr GHSH notes – “it is essential that those who are bloggers are open minded and do consider what others have to state ”

    Blogging seems to be, in the main, just a realtioely easy and cheap medium for people to express themselves, paricularly as they can’t access ohter media, and express their need to be noticed.

  7. Ken:

    Just how long have you been a crazed amateur with a need to be noticed?

    I don’t know about others, but I’ve accessed newspaper, radio and TV.

    Radio and TV have come to me on each occasion, not I going to them. Newspaper came to me at least once also, but I mostly go to them.

  8. Lorikeet & crazed GZG: perhaps Ken – staring into the commenter’s heart of darkness – is taking on the role of this blog’s Joseph Conrad. I hope his Polish is up to scratch (though I’m sure many others would gladly see Ken lashed to the mast in the eye of a storm…).

    I think Ken’s self-awareness in acknowledging the impulse that drives us to place our thoughts in public forums should not be dismissed lightly. Don’t let his facade of world-weary cynicism obscure the frankness that underpins the comment.

  9. As a non-voter the cheek of that person who is so litigation minded,makes me almost want to vote.What a thoroughly boring thing to do to find out by court procedure that voting cannot ever be compulsory.I dont vote for exactly that reason.Who are these nongs who want everyone of human actions transcribed into the processes of legal decision!?People like the above,who dont quite understand even Andrew Bartlett as Senator,is only as good as he can be on what are legalities,by whatever advice he receives.Simply being a Legislator,does not mean that ones actions are tainted by illegality by some court process later on making a decision about it.The bloody idiot is picking on the wrong man for all the wrong reasons.And it doesnt take much research to see that Andrew Bartlett as Senator was opposed to the GST.If it is true that voting is non-compulsory and the GST an illegal sham,well that may be entirely true.But the bureaucrats still do the job,and even Andrew here has no authority to refuse to pay the GST.Does Hvalaka seriously suggest everyone quote him from here,as legal Reference and thus legally enforceable to say to someone managing the till” give me my ten percent back otherwise ,you will be in serious trouble with the law”!?He should take his masculinity problem somewhere else,and feed it to those, who will automatically obey,because,he claims he has had a judge decide for him on the questions he put in a thoroughly convened legal court case.

  10. GH S-H asked “Perhaps now that you are out of the federal Parliament you could reflect upon what you could have done but failed to attend to appropriately so others may perhaps learn from this?”

    That is a topic for a book rather than a blog post or two. I’m not sure how many people would be that interested as to merit me taking the time to write a book on that, but may be one day.

    GH S-H asked “You may not accept it but I view the demise of the Democrats was because of the deal about the GST. Was it really worth it to end up as it did?”

    As Philip said, it is widely known I opposed the GST. I have also made no secret of my view that the GST decision (and the processes leading up to and after the decision) were pivotal to the party’s eventual demise. Obviously, I don’t think it was worth it, but it was also obviously not anyone’s intent at the time to cause the demise of the party.

    In any case, in all the many submissions and evidence and feedback about the GST around that time, I don’t recall seeing any credible suggestions it was unconstitutional. I simply do not believe that the ATO would accept this view. It was (and is) always open to anybody to take such a case to the High Court (as the Unions did with Workchoices). Given how unpopular the GST was with many people at the time, I think it is safe to assume that the reason a court challenge wasn’t made is because there is no credible case to be made.

    As for compulsory voting being unconstitutional, I am also unaware of any Court finding to this effect. I find it impossible to believe that such a Court finding – which government and Parliament would be bound to act on – could have occured without the Parliament being aware of it. But like GZG, I would be happy to read such a finding if you could provide a link to it

  11. I think the Democrats bit the dust with their excessive Liberalism and Greenism. The GST had a smaller part to play.

    Who would be so stupid as to spend a large sum of money on a court case to cast aside his own voting rights?

  12. Lorikeet: The hour is now late, and perhaps it was also for you when posting, leading to some confusion.

    Who was the one so stupid to spend money on a court case to cast aside his own voting rights?

  13. Andrew,
    In many ways I had great respect for what you appeared to pursue but it doesn’t take away that you belonged to a party that promised so much but in the end caused its own downfall.
    .
    As for the court decision of voting being unconstitutional the County Court of Victoria upheld both cases against the commonwealth where it had pursued me for FAILING TO VOTE and my submissions were that the framers of the constitution specifically refused to give such legislative powers to the commonwealth. This was presented as one of many constitutional submissions and the Crown (neither so any Attorney-General) opposed these submissions1
    .
    As for the GST my INSPECTOR-RIKATI® books reveal correspondence with the ATO about it and be frank about it to dispute any legislation as being unconstitutional is trying to climb Mount Everest without any climbing gear. The High Court of Australia railroad cases to be accepted for filing and then even if you make it through the risk of the huge legal cost associate with such constitutional challenge makes it beyond the financial ability of most Australians. It is not about being right or wrong but about the opinions of judges at the time and if the same case is heard another year then with some different judges there be a different decision. After more then 100 years of federation we still haven’t manage to get judges even to agree with themselves!
    .
    Hansard 19-4-1897 Constitution Convention Debates
    QUOTE
    Mr. CARRUTHERS:
    This is a Constitution which the unlettered people of the community ought to be able to understand.
    END QUOTE
    .
    Again the judges still haven’t even managed that for themselves!
    .
    As the Framers of the Constitution stated that it only would take one Senator to block a bill on constitutional grounds because the moment a Senator (or for that a member of the House of Representatives) raised the constitutional objection then the bill could not proceed until and it was determined
    (See part 2)

  14. Part 2

    if the bill was within constitutional provisions or not.
    But, how many Members of Parliament really were constitutional experts and so many a bill passed by the Parliament and later given royal assent still can be unconstitutional but keep on keeping on until finally has enough money to oppose it. So, what is left is the ordinary citizen having to stand up for his fellow citizen because the very Members of Parliament who were elected to do so failed to do so!
    .
    Those who do not comprehend the importance as to having a constitution should be aware that Adolf Hitler was able to convince the masses to allow him to do as he did and then when the very people no longer like it then it was too late as for too long they had ignored the rule of law!
    .
    EITHER WE HAVE A CONSTITUTION OR WE DON’T!
    .
    Iraqi’s were murdered in their own homeland and yet no ROYAL COMMISSION was set up to investigate the constitutional validity of this. SIEV X was lost with 353 aboard (including 146 children) on 19 October 2001 and again no one was held accountable for this. And this is what it is about that while there may be people ignoring the plight of others because they do not care, what goes around comes around and one they their calls for help will be ignored because there be no one left to care for them either!
    .
    The “COMMON” “WEALTH” was created precisely for this for the COMMON WEALTH of all people residing in the Commonwealth of Australia!
    .
    FINANCIALLY IT MAKES NOT ONE OF IOTA DIFFERENCE TO ME HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET KILLED OF, BUT AS A HUMAN BEING I OPPOSE THE KILLING OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING!
    .
    What we lack is the true spirit of Don Chips in the current political climate! His intentions were as it appears to me right but just that the Australian Democrats lost its course!

  15. GZG:

    Sorry, I’m very late in answering you, but I did mean what I said.

    Compulsory voting gives every Australian citizen the power to elect political leaders. I don’t understand why anyone would want to throw that power away, let alone pay huge sums of money for the “privilege” of doing it. Or perhaps his idea was to empower himself and similarly financially-endowed people to make other people’s share of the decisions.

    As Australian citizens, I think it is encumbent upon EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US to try to understand the policies so we can make informed decisions at elections.

    I thought Mr GH S-H said he shelled out huge sums of money in order to put an end to compulsory voting. Remember he tried to tell us that compulsory voting was unconstitutional.

    How disempowering (and uneconomical) is that?

    If Mr GH S-H has further moneys to spare, there are 5 million people currently starving in Zimbabwe who could make better use of the surplus. A failure to respond might be considered by some as a passive form of killing.

  16. Hmmm, I’ve had another idea as to how Mr GH S-H “proved” that compulsory voting is unconstitutional. Perhaps he managed to dodge a fine for not voting.

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