Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Chaser Vs The Royals : We Are Definitely Not Amused

The office of Prince Charles and Prince William forced the ABC to pull a planned live commentary TV broadcast of the 2011 Royal Wedding last night

This is one of the clips that saw an unprecedented act of censorship by representatives of the future king of Australia. Note, all Prince Phillip quotes used are based on things he has actually said :

From the Sydney Morning Herald :
Clarence House, the almost 200-year-old London royal residence which doubles as an office for the Prince of Wales and his son, Prince William, demanded the ABC cancel plans to use the controversial comedy group, the Chaser, as royal wedding commentators.

They then contacted broadcast suppliers, including the host BBC, Associated Press Television News (APTN), Sky and ITN, to ensure the ABC would have no access to footage if it ignored the request.

Faced with the prospect of airing static for almost four hours tomorrow night, the ABC had no choice but to capitulate.

This is a letter The Chaser sent to The Queen :

Dear Australian Head of State,

We would like to place ourselves at your mercy and request a stay of execution for our television program, The Chaser's Royal Wedding Commentary.

We, like Kate, are commoners, and were looking forward to celebrating her wedding to your exalted grandson with a few affectionate observations.

To ensure that our coverage was respectful, we were only planning to use jokes that Prince Phillip has previously made in public, or at least the ones that don't violate racial vilification laws. We've also filmed a joke about hunting grouse which we think you might enjoy.

We Australians are a simple people who don't often get to watch that kind of pomp. The last big wedding we had here was Scott and Charlene on Neighbours. We've asked around, and there are at least six people in this outpost of your empire who would quite like to watch our commentary.

Please consider our plea.

We have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servants,


The Chaser

PS: How serious are you about treason laws?

Yes, The Royal Family wields absolutely no power at all over what happens in Australia.

Well, except for using blackmail to censor live TV mockery.

A few more pre-filmed clips from the canceled royal wedding special The Chaser are now only allowed to air on YouTube :

More Banned By Royal Decree Chaser Clips Here

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here

Sunday, April 24, 2011

From a wall in the Chauvet Cave in France, a hand stencil believed to be more than 30,000 years old :

From a wall in a cave in Western Australia, a hand stencil believed to be more than 10,000 years old :

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Heath Ledger Was Right About The War On Iraq

"It's Not A Fight For Humanity, It's A Fight For Oil"

By Darryl Mason

Heath Ledger, like the million other Australians who marched against the War On Iraq, was right, as Paul Bignell details in the UK Independent (excerpts) :
Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being "locked out" of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq "post regime change". Its minutes state: "Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity."

The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq's reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.

Lady Symons, 59, later took up an advisory post with a UK merchant bank that cashed in on post-war Iraq reconstruction contracts.

Rupert 'Always Wrong On Iraq' Murdoch knew all about the deal making on Iraq's oil future, and could barely keep his trap shut, boasting a month before the war :
"The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be US$20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."

A bit later, after publicly giving his full and solid backing to the war, Rupert Murdoch explained why, in his deluded old man fantasy world, the War On Iraq was likely to fuel economic recovery :
"We're keeping our heads down, managing the businesses, keeping our profits up. Who knows what the future holds? I have a pretty optimistic medium and long-term view but things are going to be pretty sticky until we get Iraq behind us. But once it's behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else..."
People actually believed that. They really, really did.

At least, until the truth about Australia's ongoing involvement in the War On Iraq became a little clearer in 2007 :

Amusingly, it was Rupert Murdoch's own Australian media empire that spread this bit of truth far and wide. At least they did for a few hours, until Don't Make Rupert Angry censorship survival instinct kicked in and they tried to make their own headlines disappear and went delete crazy on one of the biggest stories of the past decade.

From The Orstrahyun, July 6, 2007 :

The phone calls from John Howard's office to the head office of Rupert Murdoch's News Limited in Sydney yesterday were less than pleasant.

The website, the main portal for Murdoch's network of Australian newspaper websites, reaching some more than 1.5 million Australian readers per day, ran a number of headlines claiming John Howard had said that oil was now a key reason to stay in Iraq. Some of the headlines said the Iraq War was a war for oil. Just like all those protesters back in early 2003 claimed it would be.

By the time Howard moved to deny he said anything such thing, it was too late. The story was out, columns and articles had been written and sent to the printers for today's news racks, and there was no going back.

John Howard's office knew there was little point trying to get Fairfax newspapers to retract their stories, in print or online. Howard Admits War For Iraq's Oil was the story many journos for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age had been waiting more than four years to write.

But Howard knew the Murdoch media were likely to play ball. If not in print, then at least online, where now reaches more Australians than the same company's newspapers do, in print.

But even until the early afternoon today, almost 24 hours later, some of the Murdoch websites were still carrying 'Howard Says Iraq War For Oil' headlines and stories, even though the main site had rewritten headlines and stories, inside its own archive, and published the following correction....oh sorry, clarification :
An earlier version of this story from the Australian Associated Press incorrectly reported the Prime Minister as saying oil was a reason for Australia's continued military presence in Iraq.
He said "energy", but as we all know, "energy" is "oil" when it comes to the Middle East, unless Howard is thinking about cutting natural gas deals with Iran sometime soon.

The phone calls from Howard's office to News Limited HQ clearly worked. chose to blame Australian Associated Press for supplying the wire news story that claimed Howard had admitted to a war for oil in Iraq.

Here's the pre-furious phone calls from Howard's office Uncorrected Version as it appeared online yesterday :

And here's the spiffy new Corrected Version :

Note that the sub headlines now put the words relating to 'Iraq War For Oil' squarely in the mouth of defence minister Brendan Nelson, when it was also Howard who publicly talked of needing to "secure" energy resources in Iraq and the Middle East.

The sub headlines were also edited to remove the dead giveaway line 'Another Reason Is To Uphold Prestige Of US, UK', to be replaced with the far more Freedom And Democracy Agenda-friendly 'We'll Stay Until Iraq No Longer Needs Us, Says PM'.

But perhaps more importantly, note that on both the 'corrected' and 'uncorrected' stories above, the byline clearly reads "By Staff Writers And Wires".

AAP may have supplied a story that claimed Howard said Australia had an interest in staying in Iraq to secure future oil supplies, which is, of course, exactly what he said, but unless the byline is a total lie, more than one journo rewrote or added to the text and headline and sub headlines before it went online. Hence "by staff writers and wires".

But to Howard's utter horror, that correction, sorry clarification, only made it onto the story on the main site.

The calls for clarifications to the story must not have gotten through to other city newspaper editors and staff in Murdoch's network. Unless, of course, they chose to ignore the clarifications because the story didn't need any clarifying at all. It was true.

And if that was the case, then good on them for not following directions from head office, via the Howard office.

The below pages were all still online through the Murdoch online stable at 10-11am today, and later.

From the Adelaide Advertiser :

Australia's biggest selling daily newspaper, The Herald Sun, ran the following editorial today, hitting the presses before it could be pulled, and staying online, unchanged, well into the late morning :

The Tasmania Mercury still had this up on their site at midday :

And the Murdoch site in Perth still had this posted after midday today :

Even though the story of Howard's Iraq Oil Slick was running up hundreds of comments an hour on websites around Australia, any mention of it was gone from the front page by 10.30am this morning.

Over at Murdoch's flagship 'The Australian' newspaper website, at least three key columnists weighed in supporting Howard's claim that he didn't say what he said, and it really didn't matter even if the prime minister and the defence minister did say what they said. Which they did.

Just to jog your memory, here's a reminder of what John Howard had to say about claims that the, then, still coming War On Iraq was about something other than WMDs and deposing Saddam Hussein back in February, 2003 :

"No criticism is more outrageous than the claim that US behaviour is driven by a wish to take control of Iraq's oil reserves."

And here's what the Murdoch media's favourite political whipping post, Greens Leader Bob Brown had to say in that same week, in 2003 :
This is not Australia's war. This is an oil war. This is the US recognising that, as the economic empire of the age, it needs oil to maintain its pre-eminence.
Back then, 76 percent of Australians were opposed to a War On Iraq.

By midday today, the Australia In Iraq For The Oil scandal was making international news, in a big way.

And the hundreds of headlines from around the world were immune to Howard's attempt to reframe his own comments, and those of his defence minister. They went in hard, using Howard as the first leader of a Coalition Of The Drilling country to finally admit the truth about a war so blackened and poisoned with so many lies :

Herald Sun, Melbourne : PM's war for oil

Daily Times, Pakistan - Oil key motive for Iraq involvement: Australia

The Scotsman, Scotland - Oil keeps Australia in Iraq

The Independent, UK : Australian troops 'in Iraq because of oil'

RTE, Ireland : Mideast oil priority for Australia

The BBC : Australians 'are in Iraq for oil'

Turkish Press, Middle East : Oil a factor in Australian role in Iraq: minister

Voice Of America : Australia Says Oil Key Motive for Involvement in Iraq

The Guardian, UK : Oil a factor in Iraq conflict, says Australian MP

Xinhau, China : PM: Australian troops to stay in Iraq for oil

Aljazeera : Australia admits Iraq war about oil

Forbes : Australia says securing oil supply means no Iraq withdrawal

Press TV, Iran : Aussies in Iraq for Oil

Gulf News, United Arab Emirates : Oil 'key factor for Australia's role in Iraq'

Stratfor (key military intel site) : Australia: Oil A Reason For Iraq Presence

Alsumaria, Iraq : Oil supply is an essential factor

Zee Tv, India : Mid-east oil crucial to our future: Australian PM

Alalalam News Network, Iran : Australia: Oil Means no Iraq Pullout

Some of those same news sites ran Howard's attempts to deny that he said what he said, but his retraction was given mostly backwater coverage. Those international editors knew, like some editors of Murdoch's Australian newspapers knew, that Howard was trying to scam them.

Like he tried to scam the entire nation back in late 2002 when he said he hadn't decided whether or not he would send troops to Iraq, when they were already in the Gulf. And in early March, 2003, when Howard said he hadn't decided yet whether or not commit troops to the coming war, when some of those already deployed troops had already written letters to their children in case they died during the fighting.

Read The Full July 6, 2007 Post Here


So when are we going to have an investigation into the real reasons why Australia became involved in the War On Iraq?

When are we going to have an investigation into Howard government foreign minister Alexander Downer's meetings with some of the world's biggest oil companies in 2002-2004?

When are we going to have an investigation into the false intelligence circulated so enthusiastically by the Howard government and the Murdoch media back in 2002 and early 2003?

Taxpayers who were swindled of almost $20 billion over eight years for the War On Iraq deserve the truth.

The thousands of Australian soldiers who served in Iraq, the hundreds physically & psychologically wounded, those who committed suicide after they got back, the families ruined, deserve nothing less than the truth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Will Making The Hobbit Mean Peter Jackson Won't Get To Shoot His Long-Dreamed Of ANZACs Epic?

By Darryl Mason

New Zealand director Peter Jackson has begun shooting his two-part 3D adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, and this set visit video is more interesting, more entertaining, than most of the movies released in cinemas so far this :

The Hobbit is expected to keep Peter Jackson busy until 2014 at least, which raises an important question, for me anyway.

Does this mean Peter Jackson's deeply personal and long dreamed of movie about the ANZACs has now been confined to the dustbin of 'Movies That Almost Were'?

Following is a repost from last year about Peter Jackson's ANZACs project, and why it is so personal to him.

As the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli draws closer, Jackson finds himself thinking about his grandfather, who fought there and won a distinguished service medal, and the numerous cinematically untold stories of Australians and New Zealand teenagers fighting together so far away, on the other side of the world.

Here's Peter Jackson on The 7.30 Report :
"I went to Gallipoli in 1990 for the 75th anniversary. That was the amazing year where 50 diggers were taken along, 50 of the original diggers were there. And so, you know, watching the dawn parade with 50 of these old men - the youngest was 92, the oldest was 103 and they were all sitting in these chairs as light came up....

"As the sun rose or the sky started to get light...thee old guys...they weren't interested in the speeches, they were all turning round looking at the hills. And it was an amazing experience to see them all looking at this landscape that most of them hadn't seen since 1915, hadn't seen it for 75 years.

"And I was standing right beside them as they were all turning around and looking behind and up at the sphinx and all the ridges....

" me (Gallipoli has) been a remarkable part of our history. And Peter Weir obviously made a great movie, but Peter's movie was set around events of August 7th, August 8th, 1915. I mean, you know, the Gallipoli was a seven or eight-month-long campaign. And that story is yet to be told on film. So I'd like to do that."

You Can Watch The Interview With Peter Jackson Here

The following is rare footage restored by Peter Jackson & WETA colleagues of the ANZACS fighting at Gallipoli :

And if you're wondering what a Peter Jackson World War I movie might look like, here's the captivating trailer for a short film by Jackson and Neill Blomkamp called Crossing The Line. It was shot on March 30 and 31, 2009, as a test for the Red digital camera system.

And no, I have no idea where you can see the full version of that short movie. If you manage to find it online, please let me know on Twitter.


By Darryl Mason

Apparently if Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspapers don't run at least one story a week mentioning "Hitler" and/or "Nazis" the entire media organisation will wither and die.

What other explanation can there be for such a relentless obsession?

The latest :

First, the smear. Then the beat-up :

Wilkie dealt with the allegations at a press conference earlier today :

"Let me start by saying I can't remember anything about that specific allegation, but I have never made any secret of the fact that I was one of the many cadets involved in the bastardisation scandal at the Royal Military college Duntroon in 1983.

"In fact I was disciplined for misconduct at the time.

"I am obviously regretful of my behaviour of almost 30 years ago when I was a cadet at Duntroon in my early 20s.

"I think that sort of behaviour at the time was wrong and I regret I was in any way involved in that sort of behaviour.

"I've obviously grown up a lot in the last 30 years and what at the time seemed appropriate, I have learned is clearly inappropriate and nor is it necessary in a place like Duntroon or in the Defence Force Academy.

"If there is anyone in this country who feels aggrieved in any way by anything I've ever said or done to them then I apologise unreservedly."

Wilkie is, rightly, suspicious of why this near 30 year old incident, if it happened at all, is suddenly headline news, in the midst of his campaign for badly needed reforms of the multi-billion dollar Australian poker machines industry :
"There is clearly a campaign that is being waged against me on account of the fact I am the only thing standing between the poker machine industry and the $5 billion that is lost by problem gamblers in this country on poker machines each year.

"I will not be intimidated by that campaign against me, I will not be cowed in any way."

Nor should he. The Hitler card has been played. What's next?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Man In Blue

The following, recently released video from the March 11 Japan tsunami, showing the utter destruction of the beautiful fishing town of Minami-Sanriku, should come with something of a warning.

I've seen dozens of videos of the Japan tsunami destroying villages, towns and cities, but nothing like this. You may think you're prepared, but you're not.

You will see people driving, unknowingly, into the path of the tsunami, people running for their lives being caught up and swept away and the horrified screams and cries of the townspeople watching their world being destroyed before their eyes is distressing, haunting.

But towards the end, there are moments of incredible heroism, stunning bravery.

At 5:01, a man in dark blue can be glimpsed helping to carry someone to safety. He then returns to try and save the life of another, at 5:08, charging into the rapidly moving wreckage, which then carries him away.

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here
Andrew Bolt's Reality Meltdown

By Darryl Mason

Screengrab from The Australian online front page in the days following the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami

How many times can pro-nuclear wacko and alleged journalist Andrew Bolt show himself to be grotesquely ignorant, wrong and ill-informed in the space of just one week? Five times? Ten times? More?

Following the March 11 earthquake in Japan, a 15 metre high tsunami wave slammed into a nuclear plant in Fukushima. The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 28,000 people.

For obvious reasons there was widespread concern in Japan, and around the world, about how good a job the Japanese government and the nuclear plant's operators were doing in containing radiation leaking from the smashed plant.

As a sign of just how confident the US government was that the Japanese government could contain radiation from the Fukushima plant, they began preparations for the evacuation of thousands of US military families within hours of the US government learning just how huge and potentially deadly the unfolding disaster actually was.

And, not unexpectedly, news media leaped on the 'Nuclear Crisis' story and ran with it hard, voicing arguments both for and against nuclear power.

This gave Andrew Bolt the opportunity to blame The Greens for nuclear "scaremongering" and to attack "the media" (of which he is one of Australia's most prominent and highly paid) for their coverage.

Well, attack some media.

Attack, primarily, the main newspaper competition to the newspapers owned by ex-Australian Rupert Murdoch that publish Andrew Bolt's often incoherent and poorly researched swill.

Bolt began his ill-fated campaign to bludgeon his ideological and political enemies for "fear-mongering" over Fukushima on March 14 :
"...the offensive media fear-mongering..."

"...the media coverage of some papers obsesses instead about trouble at some nuclear reactors..."
This was the only time Bolt linked to Australian newspapers he claimed were over-hyping the radioactive threat posed by the rapidly failing Fukushima nuclear plant. He didn't link to anything published in the newspapers he writes for, of course, because that would have proven what a deceitful idiot he is.

The stories from The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald Bolt did link to were, in fact, mild and quite low on undue hype and "fear-mongering", in stark contrast, that is, to the newspapers Andrew Bolt works for.

Here's the online front pages from the Bolt-publishing Daily Telegraph & Herald Sun the day before those Age & SMH stories were published.

Even more bizarrely, Andrew Bolt ran this headline on his blog...

....the day after his Herald Sun newspaper ran this front page :

Which proves Bolt doesn't even read the front pages of the main newspaper he writes for, because nowhere, in a week of blog postings, did he acknowledge it was the actually the Herald Sun shouting 'Meltdown'.

Here's more excerpts from Andrew Bolt's blogs & columns in the 10 days following the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, interspersed with online & print front pages from the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and other Murdoch news media, including The Australian, published during the same period.

Bolt neither linked to nor mentioned any of these in any of his columns or blog posts.

March 15 :
The great green scaremongering gets worse.

March 16 :
No, there won’t be a nuclear explosion, “China syndrome” or “another Chernobyl”. The situation today is better than yesterday, and as each day goes by the chances of a big accident lesson. The nuclear fuel remains contained.

This scaremongering over the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex is extraordinary.
Isn't it though?

March 18 :
We will need to make some people accountable for this monstrous scaremongering once the truth becomes undeniable

March 19 :
The fear of Fukushima is deadlier than the fallout

Utter madness. The journalists who have whipped this up should be ashamed of themselves.
These journalists?

March 20 :
The wild reporting of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear emergency continues, with lurid claims of radioactive plumes, poisoned milk and more. The fact remains, though, that no one has been killed and probably never will.

March 21 :
no one in the towns around the plant is in any danger whatsoever from the radiation.

...the screaming, braying, lying, hyperventilating, fabricating, panicking media coverage is probably likely to kill you first instead.

March 21 :
It’s time to hold the scaremongers to account.
These "scaremongers?"

Andrew Bolt, March 22 :
Why worry only about the reactor that has killed no one?

Yes, why worry about a mostly destroyed, exploding, radioactive water spewing nuclear plant when you can, if you read Murdoch news media, worry instead about whether or not Mother Nature is now purposely trying to kill humans?

Her cruelty, eh?

March 11 wasn't, you see, another one of the hundreds of mega-earthquakes and tsunamis that have rocked, smashed and swept across the fault-line islands we now call Japan in the past few dozen million was instead a Terror Attack on humans by 'cruel' Mother Nature, at least according to the Gold Coast Bulletin :

None of the above headlines or front pages were criticised, or even mentioned, by Andrew Bolt is his 10 day campaign to blame "fear-mongering" over the deadly serious, ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan on "the greens" and non-Murdoch news media.

Not one.

And since it has been confirmed that explosions at Fukushima did indeed claim lives, that vast farming areas of Japan are so polluted with radiation they can't grow essential crops like rice, perhaps for years, or decades, and that radioactive water gushing into the Pacific Ocean from the nuclear plant has destroyed lifeblood fishing industries and clouds of radiation have even reached milk and food supplies in the United States, what has Andrew Bolt said?


As soon as Andrew Bolt realised facts and reality had proven him wrong, deceitfully wrong, about Fukushima, over and over again, he simply dropped the story.


Like a petulant child who, once told he is wrong, runs to his room and slams the door on the reality of his mistakes.

Bolt has said nothing, not even an update or a correction, about the true scale of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in weeks.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Fukushima disaster has been upgraded to a Level 7 nuclear emergency, the same rating as Chernobyl, the highest rating possible.

Quality journalism indeed.

There Is No Good Outcome For Fukushima Disaster

Your New Reality - Mother Nature : The Ultimate Terrorist

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here


Saturday, April 09, 2011

This movie, Tree Of Life by Terence Malick, was to have starred Heath Ledger. The movie was in pre-production when he died in January 2008, with shooting scheduled to start in March. After Ledger's death, Brad Pitt stepped in to play the role.

For those not interested in sequels or superhero movies, or superhero movie sequels, Tree Of Life is about as good as cinema's going to get in 2011.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Trailer for the Snowtown movie :

Presumably the movie will do so, but the trailer doesn't really tell you much about the true horror of the 'Bodies In The Barrels' killings :

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

David Flint : Beyond Parody

Australian independence hater David Flint was so very, very pleased to learn the UK Guardian had decided it was time to re-embrace the British monarchy, he excitedly used this editorial to attack those who think Australia is mature enough to now exist without a foreign head of state, like most of the rest of the world :
"It is a knockout blow to the Australian republican movement – a mere shadow of itself compared with the formidable force it once was under the Turnbull-Keating ascendancy – as well as the minuscule United Kingdom, Canadian and New Zealand republican movements.

That respected voice of progressive politics, The Guardian, has returned to the monarchist fold.

Probably the leading English language quality newspaper of the left, The Guardian has renounced the republican agenda it vigorously endorsed in 2000. The newspaper had even challenged the law in relation to the succession.

The Guardian is the leading intellectual media source for Labour and similar parties in the sixteen realms over which The Queen reigns. This decision will have a considerable effect in these parties and beyond.

It will make it acceptable for ALP politicians to admit that they support the existing constitution. After all a large number of the 72% of Australian electorates which voted No in 1999 were held by the Australian Labor Party.

Some republicans hoped this declaration by The Guardian was just an April Fool’s day joke...
Did they, David? Did they?
....but there is no evidence of that.
No evidence....except for the fact the editorial was published on April 1.

What an hilarious old dickhead David Flint is.

He has since scrubbed the above editorial praising the Guardian from his website :

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Howard Legacy :
Australian's international competitiveness is under threat because up to eight million Australian workers don't have the reading, writing or numeracy skills to undertake training for trade or professional jobs.

The nation's 11 Industry Skills Councils will today call for a new campaign to tackle endemic numbers of workers with poor reading and writing skills, launching a report detailing the problems being faced by industry training bodies.

And :
"International studies have shown that over the past two decades, Australia's literacy and numeracy skill levels have stagnated while those of other countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, have improved.
More :
Mr Taylor said industry had been complaining about the poor quality of literacy and numeracy among school leavers looking to enter the trades for more than 10 years and there had been no improvement.
Prime Minister John Howard left Australia as a nation of coal diggers and fruit pickers, where sports stars are valued more highly than scientists and buying a home is more important than a sound education.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra On Touring Queensland In The Early 1980s :

It's the state that's referred to, in other parts of Australia, in hushed tones, because it's so openly racist and repressive. It's run by a state dictator, a kind of Huey Long, named Joh Bjelke-Petersen. His National Party hardly holds any power anywhere else in Australia because they're considered the right-wing lunatic fringe. But at home he's been able to keep in power by outrageous forms of gerrymandering, and is widely rumored to have rigged every election. He has beefed up the police force, and given them carte0blanche to do what they want to keep people from questioning things.

In Australia, there is no constitution and no laws about search and seizure, so the cops can, and do, kick in your door, and smash up your house, if they want. They've been known to break up conversations on the streets involving three or more people, cause they didn't want any assembly on the street. I met many people in Sydney who had fled Brisbane because they were being pulled over and detained for a holf hour or so every day. I met a lot of very warm people there, very radical in the head, but very afraid to talk. I felt safer walking around on the streets of East Berlin than I did in Brisbane.

Brisbane is also where Darren, our drummer, was picked out of a crowd of about 15 white people, and arrested for drinking in public, even though his can of beer was unopened. When Ray, our guitarist, tried to intervene, he was thrown in another police car and taken away. Also, Bjelke-Petersen's people are trying to take away the Aborigine's right to vote and own land, claiming they "haven't gotten that far up the evolutionary scale." And still, his party is kept in office. Some of his cronies, in fact the head of the Chamber of Commerce, wants to enact forced sterilization laws to kill off the Aborigines.

Summing up Brisbane, all I can say is it was the closest thing to a heavy, heavy, junta-style police state I've ever been in. I was looking over my shoulder a lot!
Biafra also supplies a state by state roundup of the Australian rock and punk music scene in the first half of the 1980s.
Julian Assange, Reykjavik, 2010 :