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Weekend talk thread November 4 – 6

I know there’s a fair bit of love for tractors in weekend threads, but have you ever wanted to build your own? Want to build some life size Meccano gear? Then take a look at the Global Village Construction Set, a modular, DIY, plan to help communities build and maintain their own industrial machinery.

Something to read?

What a tangled web we weave

From using euphemisms such as “collateral damage” to faking orgasms, we practise deception all the time. But in order to lie better to others, we must first fool ourselves.

The Movie Set That Ate Itself

Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home

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  • 1
    Angra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Bees. Can they communicate intelligently?

    Consider the works of Noble-prize winner Karl von Frisch.

    He showed that bees have a sense of smell, advanced optical vision, powers of orientation, ability to detect the polarisation of light, could accurately observe the position of the sun, and have a very concise internal clock.

    He was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance, by which honey bee foragers can accurately communicate the distance and position of food sources to their colleagues.

    Is this insect language?

    Bees – amazing little buggers!

  • 2
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    From The Age:

    THE Hitler Youth wing of the Greens is how a Liberal senator has described popular political activist group GetUp!, prompting calls for Tony Abbott to pull his troops into line.

    During debate on carbon tax bills, Senator Ian Macdonald interjected, prompting Greens deputy leader Christine Milne to call a point of order.

    ”Mr Deputy President, before you take any instructions, I suggest you hear what was actually said to Senator Milne. I repeat it now: ‘GetUp! is the Hitler Youth wing of the Greens political movement,’ and I stand by that,” Senator Macdonald said.

    He later rose in the Senate to admit to making the comparison and apologising to the Jewish community.

    ”I want to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise for any offence taken by the remarks to the Jewish community,” Senator Macdonald said.

    No apologies to The Greens or the 582,000 members of GetUp! of course.

  • 3
    Angra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Tomatoes and tractors. How can you get better then this? (except maybe with nuns).

    My challenge to you – combine nuns, tomatoes and tractors in one post.

    http://knatolee.blogspot.com/2008/09/tomatoes-and-tractors.html

  • 4
    B.Tolputt
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    No apologies to The Greens or the 582,000 members of GetUp! of course.

    Of course not, the apology was to highlight the insult. Just like the apology for calling certain persons “grubs” in the HoR. Funny how the Liberal Senators can get away with abuse of Parliamentary Privilege, but should Xenophon use it – the media is on it for days.

  • 5
    Angra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Well, does this count?

    http://www.wickedlocal.com/harvard/features/x1837748175/Nun-maintains-St-Josephs-Farm-in-Still-River-WITH-PHOTO-GALLERY

    “Sister Philomena said. “All the Sisters love the tomatoes and cucumbers, then the lettuce, and the beans of course.”

    “We started it because we needed it, and one year we got too many cucumbers and I went to the Farmers Market,” Sister Philomena said.”

    So what can nuns do with too many cucumbers at the farmers market?

    (Shut up and piss off Angra)

  • 6
    Angra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Bit puzzled about the lettuce. (Perhaps some frizzley thing?)

    But I can understand the tomatoes, beans (maybe) and cucumbers.

  • 7
    stephdoubleu
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I must say, as a member of GetUp! I wasn’t aware of our fascist tendencies but I must admit I enjoy a good goose step.

    Although it is hard to keep track of whether we are young labor in another form or a front for the radical Greens. Ho hum.

  • 8
    Howard,B.
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    GetUp will need some sharper looking uniforms than those orange t-shirts in order to truly cut it as a facist organization of any worth. Then there is the need to police the organization itself. May I suggest the GetstUpo?

  • 9
    Lord Barry Bonkton
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I wondered why my orange Get-up T-shirt went brown after a couple of washes !

  • 10
    Cuppa
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Did you seen Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, being questioned in the Senate this morning? He was given quite a hard time by Senators Bob Brown and Doug Cameron. Commenter, Aguirre, at Poll Bludger, writes up how Their ABC reported spun it:

    I don’t think you’ll be getting any balanced reportage from the ABC on this. I’ve watched Joyce before the Senate committee right through, and just seen the ABC wrap of same, and it looked very skewed the way of Joyce to me. Very much angled towards Joyce’s version of events. It even wrapped up with everything Abbott said in his presser about the ALP “bullying” Joyce because they were “embarrassed” about their handling of it.

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/10/31/essential-research-55-45-to-coalition-3/comment-page-105/#comment-1077350

  • 11
    Tomus Barava
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Cuppa @ 10

    I just watched the ABC 24 news wrap too.
    It was ludicrous and left me asking myself, Why should Tony Abbott get 2 minutes of airtime to carry on about Joyce deserving respect and it all being Julia’s fault.

    Makes me wonder if the punters in newspoll land will buy this pup?
    52 – 48?

  • 12
    Cuppa
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Tomas,

    It looks like Their ABC is spinning flat out (as usual) for one side of politics with one eye on the coming Newspoll result. How can it be that a high-profile public institution be in apparently open breach of its charter, and it not appear on the radar as a massive national scandal? o/O

  • 13
    The Pav
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sammy Jankis,

    As an occaisional sonor to Get Up the Senator has now made me a regular donor.

    By training, economic circumstance and professional career I could never have been regarded as a Green and have never supported that party.

    As to the Hitler Youth aspesion the only political party I have been a member of was the Young Liberals!

    According to this dispicable senator if you disagree with him you’re a nazi!!

    I’ve emailed his office to make my outrage known to him and advise that he has no made me a committed supporter of Get Up. As I have considerable technical, legal & financial skills from 30 years in business I think I have something to offer

  • 14
    Tomus Barava
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Cuppa @ 12

    ABC spinning like weather vane in a cyclone.

    Just heard the lead in item for the next bulletin with Kim Landers…

    wtte “Alan Joyce tells senate that government did not ask him to delay the lockout/grounding”

    As if he effing would!

  • 15
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Most of the members of GetUp I know are middle aged liberal voters who hated our refugee policy and joined up to stop locking up innocent people.

  • 16
    The Pav
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    An aspect to the Pokey argument I hadn’t considered

    I live in Pokey free WA ( Thank Gawd)

    My son went to Melb for a friend’s birthday and naturally went out

    At the club they were at he found the drinks incredibly ( compared to WA prices ) cheap.

    My guess is the price of booze is kept down by Pokies profits or pehaps to encourage people to drink & gamble.

    My point is that if Pokies subisdise alcohol consumpotion to excess then it is an evil upon an evil

  • 17
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    “As an occaisional sonor to Get Up the Senator has now made me a regular donor.”

    Yeah. After that hitler youth thing I think I might have to do something similar.

    I remember when being part of a hitler youth actually meant there was a HITLER somewhere. These days, you just have to care what happens to refugees. Standards have really slipped.

    Also, I think our senators need to get a broader vocabulary.

  • 18
    dudette
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Talking about refugees, I cannot understand how the fate of these refugees hasn’t garnered more attention:

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=244319

    There are no words …..

    “Inhumane” doesn’t cut it.

  • 19
    monkeywrench
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I remember when being part of a hitler youth actually meant there was a HITLER somewhere.

    So does the Pope.

  • 20
    monkeywrench
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Ludicrous stuff being published by the Mail on Sunday (UK) about the authors of the BEST study “hiding the decline” to cover up the “fact” that the earth hasn’t warmed recently. It is so obvious now that any appeal for common sense to rule this ‘debate’ is just wasted breath. I propose sending denialists to re-education camps.

  • 21
    John Reidy
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear… the Mail article is garage,

    I propose sending denialists to re-education camps.

    Or primary school maths.

  • 22
    Brizben
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I propose sending denialists to re-education camps.

    I thought the leftist conspiracy was silencing them in the courts. Speaking of people who have been silenced I just saw Bloota on the ten evening news doing a piece about the Qantas hearing today. I couldn’t be bothered reaching for the remote so I just turned my brain off for a few seconds. Thankfully they had a real reporter appraising todays events later in the show. Apparently Joyce only gave 3 hours notice to the Govt and sold 600 tickets after they had made the decision to shut down the airline.

  • 23
    Angra
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    ACA is on to woo-woo stuff again tonight. First ‘cold laser treatment’ second ‘chinese massage’.

    They complained that the latter wasn’t performed by ‘qualified’ people. But didn’t have the same qualms about pushing ‘cold laser’ treatment.

    Their past history is shameful.

    Who pays them for these stories? I think we know that.

    I’m waiting for someone to sue them for the crap they peddle.

    My mum died while still having hope in this stuff. I even imported a herbal extract from Europe spruiked by ACA to make my mum happy (not legal/available in Australia, and I had great arguments with customs).

    Of course it didn’t help.

    She died of cancer.

    Hence my ongoing campaign against this shit.

    Anyone got some ideas?

  • 24
    zoot
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    As a GetUp! member in his late sixties I’m quite flattered by Senator Macdonald suggesting it is a youth organisation.
    Mind you, I don’t know how he found out we intend to invade Poland.

  • 25
    Tomus Barava
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Dudette @ 18

    Hopefully, as with most “organ harvesting” stories we see, this one will turn out to be a myth.

    From memory only 2 reports have proven to have any substance over the years.

    The Chinese death row case, were it was argued by the authorities that permission was given.

    The other being the Israeli case of Yehuda Hiss of the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine, who was forced to resign after an investigation by Israel’s Ministry of Health.

  • 26
    Nick the Hippy
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-05/sun-reporter-arrested-over-bribery-claims/3636950
    Something else for Rupert to explain.

  • 27
    Tomus Barava
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Another News Ltd journalist arrested in the UK:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-05/sun-reporter-arrested-over-bribery-claims/3636950

    A journalist from the Sun Newspaper in London has been arrested on suspicion of having made illegal payments to police officers.

    Police investigating events at the News of the World tabloid after a phone hacking scandal said they had arrested a 48-year-old in connection with payments made to police.

    A spokesman for News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International confirmed an employee had been arrested.

    Two company sources identified the man as senior Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt, a journalist who covered the 2002 kidnap and murder of British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, a case which played a key part in the hacking scandal this year.

    Meanwhile here in Australia, Rupert Murdoch is trying to get his hands on Australia Network. Below is a link to a petition calling on Senator Conroy to halt the gift of our international broadcaster to News Ltd.

    The more signatures he has, the stronger his mandate will be to stop this.

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/murdochs_secret_abc_attack/?fRQuSbb&pv=18

  • 28
    Tomus Barava
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Nick @ 26

    great minds link alike?

    Ben Sandilands over at Plane Talking is pointing out some very important questions from yesterdays appearance of Alan Joyce at the Senate.
    Including:
    Why did Qantas keep selling tickets after 5pm Saturday?
    When did Qantas start booking all those international hotel rooms?

    My question is why aren’t other media organisations focussing on these issues?
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2011/11/04/if-you-believe-alan-joyce-then-qantas-would-have-to-be-be-an-incredibly-inept-company/

  • 29
    monkeywrench
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Scottish Tories Elect Flamin’ Lezzo!” …(aplogies for the inflammatory terminology) but that is exactly what one might hear in the Coalition backrooms at this news. Ask yourself: what would happen in this country if an openly-gay person had the temerity to stand for leadership of the Coalition?
    Few events could more starkly underline the chasm between Australian conservatism and….well, anyone with the slightest common sense, compassion and humanity. It seems Australia is the last bastion of the Right-wing Idiot.

  • 30
    Marek Bage
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    dudette;

    I cannot understand how the fate of these refugees hasn’t garnered more attention

    Are you inferring a conspiracy of silence?
    The story only broke on Friday, give it some time.

    Meanwhile, here’s the story with video from CNN.

    Cheers.

  • 31
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    A massively charter-busting post …

    I have a kitten. The one I caught (and mentioned) a few months back. She’s doing the “looking for a boy” thing again (she’s a bit young still to go to the vet, and frankly I’ve been a bit busy – s’ok, she doesn’t ever go outside). Anyhey, she’s got it bad this time, poor thing. Anyone with teenage kids probably see similar symptoms, but female cats in heat REALLY don’t leave much to ambiguity. I’ve been supplying extra pats and hugs because I feel sorry for the poor girl.

    Anyone who’s never seen it – basically, apart from all the calling, as soon as any living thing approaches (including me, although I’m not much use to her), she squats down in front, sticks her tail out sideways, shoves her bum up in the air and shuffles back and forth between her back feet. It’s indelicate, but I guess boy cats aren’t really looking for high standards.

    The main real problem is that she’s REALLY getting on my other cat’s nerves (she did it once herself, but she’s been desexed). There’s still a bit of territorial aggro, but it really doesn’t help the inter-cat relationship when a kitten keeps wandering endlessly around “brrp brrp WAOOOOW WAOOOOW brrp brrp brrp WAAOOOOW” (she actually woke me up with it, yesterday morning). My other cat (who’s a couple of years older) just wanders around now going “grrrrrr grrrrrr grrrrrrr” and occasionally smacking the kitten (who really wants to be friends, so follows her around a lot). It’s a bit funny, on one level.

  • 32
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    And the weather outside, right now, is inconceivably gorgeous. I have two small birds chasing butterflies in the tree outside my window, the sun is sparkling, the deciduous leaves are new and still bright green, the flowers and grass are technicolor brilliant, the temperature is spot-on comfortable, there’s a light breeze making the gum trees wave, the sky is baby blue and there’s a young bird in a nest somewhere nearby squawking for food (I live next to a small park/green-strip). It’s perfect. It could not possibly be better in any way. I love this time of year. Living in canberra means looking forward to spring half the year :-)

  • 33
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone been watching the bazura project?

  • 34
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    MoC, no, but I feel like I should have.

  • 35
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    DG:

    It’s very silly, but it’s a kind of very silly that very appeals to me (right down to the very visual gags). I hope we see more of these guys on the ABC. Who knows – they might even be able to enter the logies now!

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2511370.htm

    (the short snips of video in that give a hint at bazura’s style)

  • 36
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    For some giggles, check out:

    http://www.corybernardi.com/2011/11/time-to-restore-common-sense.html#comment-6a00e5520b72ea88340154369e632b970c

    (after you click on that, click in the address bar and hit return – the site doesn’t contain the posts or anchors in-line, it’s all written into the frame by javascript, so the anchor doesn’t exist at first. So you have to give the browser two tries at locating it)

    I figured out what happened. I have a couple of email addresses, some of which I (now) use when I post to sites that might lead to inbox aggro. I used one of my others (with matching screen name) to try to post my earlier attempts to debunk cory’s “common sense” BS stories, because it’s the one I’ve used to post there in the past. It would seem that the site just drops any posts using that email address. So I switched to another one and managed to get that post accepted. Curiously enough, I tried this morning to post a follow up to one of the responses to this post (the one from Robert Tulip) to point out that “you can’t prove it DIDN’T happen” isn’t what I call “common sense”, but … now it seems that my SECOND email address is being ignored.

    I’m starting to doubt whether senator bernardi is as keen on the free exchange of ideas as he lets on.

  • 37
    Angra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    If you’re visiting blighty and have an interest in 20th C history, I recommend a visit to Brooklands Museum, Surrey. Great motoring and aviation exhibits (including a Wellington bomber and a Concorde, plus numerous Bentleys and Napiers and a Lanchester etc).

    You can also see where Barnes Wallis worked – he of geodesic design, WW2 aircraft fame and bouncing bombs.

    Also 45 minutes up the road go to Hendon RAF museum – the most amazing collection of historical aircraft you will find. From a Bleriot to a Spitfire to a Vickers Bomber and an F35 (JSF).

  • 38
    Angra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    ‘Celebrity Apprentice Australia’ must be the most disgusting and horrible excuse for a TV programme ever dreamt up. You couldn’t imagine it in your worst nightmare.

    A 57-year old Pauline Hanson trying to do sexy?

    It’s on Go if you are into self-abuse (in the suicidal sense).

    Pass the Immodium.

  • 39
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    This will brighten your day.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39379_Jon_Stewart_on_Donald_Trumps_Racism_Accusation

    (I really wish the Daily Show was available for streaming in Australia)

  • 40
    Fran Barlow
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Why did Qantas keep selling tickets after 5pm Saturday?
    When did Qantas start booking all those international hotel rooms?

    Why after 2PM? Indeed, why after the moment they knew they were not planning to honour them. ACCC got stuck into Tiger Air over this..

    Then there’s the insider trading question … Who knew? When did they know? Were shares traded on their behalf?

  • 41
    monkeywrench
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Laughable “journalism” on The Age’s front page (website): “G20 Ends in Disarray!!1!” screams the headline…and the title of the (annoying) video window reads: “G20 Ends With Cautious Optimism.”
    Nothing like an each-way bet, is there!

  • 42
    Angra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Well I’ll ask the obvious stupid question for this week.

    If Black Caviar is the best horse since Phar Lap, why wasn’t she running in the Melbourne Cup?

    Phar Lap did, before being murdered by the yanks.

    Is it distance, or handicap or something else?

  • 43
    John Reidy
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Mind you, I don’t know how he found out we intend to invade Poland

    I think it was the Wagner that gave it away….
    I am currently listening to Sympathy for the Devil

    I rode a tank
    Held a generals rank
    When the blitzkrieg raged
    And the bodies stank
    Pleased to meet you

  • 44
    John Reidy
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Thinking about Qantas, I can see that they planned the shutdown for 1 day – Sunday I think because they didn’t want to annoy the rest of the business community.
    They did loose Monday – as they were getting running again.
    I think they picked 2pm for operational reasons, it was enough time to get all of the planes on the ground for Sunday.

  • 45
    savemejeebus
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    LizA @39

    Use a Proxy server such as Proxify.com and just enter thedailyshow.com into their URL bar.

    Or, Change your IP address. Lots of free IP addresses can be found at hidemyass.com Copy the new US IP address. ( eg. 123.45.678.90 1234) Go to Firefox Options. Click Advanced, then the Network tab. Click Settings. Check Manual Proxy Configuration and then paste the new IP address into the space HTTP Proxy: Dont forget the port no. Usually a two to four digit no. at the end of your IP address. Click OK and then happy watching. Also, when finished go back and check No Proxy so you can watch abciview without them thinking you are browsing from the States.

    Can someone tell me if hiding my IP address is illegal? If so, I haven’t actually done it. I just know how it can be done.

  • 46
    haines
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Angra.

    Black Caviar is a sprinter. 1400m or 1600 meters at the most.
    Horses for courses.
    Would you back Usain Bolt in a marathon?

    I like Bob Brown calling Joyce “devious and misleading”.
    Finally. I have the perfect description.

    Of Bob Brown.

    .

  • 47
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    JR @43

    Treat yourself: http://www.amazon.com/Master-Margarita-Paperback-Mikhail-Bulgakov/dp/B002UD7XUU/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320488579&sr=1-7

  • 48
    Brizben
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    That Fox news interview of Ann Coulter John Stewart commented on was was truly cringe worthy:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/ann-coulter-herman-cain-our-blacks_n_1069172.html

    I feel icky after watching that interview.

    @angra Black Caviar is a short course horse. It has not raced a track longer than 1300M.

  • 49
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    “Phar Lap did, before being murdered by the yanks.

    What the?!?!?

  • 50
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s time somebody called bulltish on andrew’s incessant whining about this media inquiry.

    Andrew, it’s an INQUIRY. It’s not a change to any laws, it’s a study of … well, I’m not exactly sure what to be honest. Surely the parliament of australia has a right and obligation to investigate matters and industries of importance from time to time? In the US it’s seen as an important role of their senate. We’ve had inquiries into bushfires, the private business arrangements of wheat trading monopolies, the building industry, union activity, you name it. Why should one industry be able to keep all of its dirty laundry secret? What’s so special about NEWS? What’s AB so worried that this inquiry is going to discover? We already know you all write crap, so stop worrying. If all this inquiry reports is that NEWS is a serial fabricator that routinely distorts its reporting to pursue political influence over journalism then, hey … no big secrets will have been revealed at all.

    Everyone here agrees that a free and functioning press is critical to a healthy democracy. NOBODY here wants to see our press interfered with by a government – even a government they happen to like (because, as we know, governments periodically change).

    But the influence of NEWS is a problem. If 70% of our national media was owned by a company run by vladimir putin I think we’d all agree that would be a problem. Nobody would kid themselves that we had a free and effective press, in that case. Well, that level of ownership by murdoch’s company isn’t any more free, if it is maybe a little bit more likely to be effective. NEWS journos keep up with the line “nothing to see here”, but the output of the organisation can be easily judged on its merits. Its coverage of some very important issues over the last decade or so has been seriously at odds with the facts and, in some cases, even basic common sense.

    And I’ve seen the result of that influence – I work with some people who clearly believe what they read in the papers, and the looks on their faces when presented with the actual statistics of the BER and insulation schemes have been priceless. It’s the moment when they realise they’ve been thoroughly had. Similarly I got into some stoushes over specific policies at the last election that were trivially easy to find in detail on the parties’ web sites, but were utterly misreported by the press. And these are smart people – it’s just that the bulk of our political reporting is SO bad and SO pervasive. NEWS’ coverage of the NBN roll-out has been relentlessly wrong. Just plain factually incorrect. They’re obsessed with a leadership squabble that nobody else seems to take seriously (although, to be fair, they were equally obsessed with howard/costello).

    So yes, I do think a free and effective press is important to an informed democracy. Trouble is, I’m not convinced that we have one. I think what we DO have is a very big organisation that seems to think it has the right (and ability) to determine who will win elections – and they’ve been doing it since the hawke years. NEWS’ fury at the last election outcome was just a little bit too obvious. That assumption IS a threat to democracy. The australian people aren’t stupid, but they can apparently be convinced in large numbers of things that aren’t true.

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