November, 2009

Crawford report a dull dud spiced by a big no to John Coates

, Nov 18, 2009

Today’s media coverage is rightly hostile about the Crawford report, commissioned and welcomed by the Rudd Government, which recommends that Australia abandon its Olympic traditions and ambitions and accept a more realistic target. So much for excellence. The report recommends that additional government funding go to community sport (eg our many footy codes) rather than […]

Bonney Djuric, Parramatta Girls Home and the Forgotten Australians

, Nov 16, 2009

This is the text of a piece I wrote for ABC Unleashed last year: On Wednesday last week, during ceremonies to mark the nation’s apology, Bonney Djuric gave Prime Minister Rudd a letter seeking his support for a living memorial to the Forgotten Australians and the Stolen Generations in Sydney’s western suburbs, on a site […]

More, not less, equality needed for economic growth

, Nov 10, 2009

Now the attention of Australian policy-makers is turning to maximising prosperity, understood as GDP growth, over the next few years. The Australian’s Michael Stutchbury says this will require ‘tough-love’ policies. Usually, this is code for giving carrots to the rich and sticks to the poor. Tough for the bottom of society, great for the top, […]

Can Rudd save his ETS, or will it destroy him?

, Nov 09, 2009

Rudd is a control freak. His government is run along command and control lines (read Cameron Stewart’s interesting piece in last Saturday’s Australian magazine). His media strategy is a campaign strategy. Win the day, stay in front.  Make your opponent the issue. Control the message. Make no mistakes. This is the goldfish in a bowl […]

Mark Scott’s religious affiliation

, Nov 02, 2009

The November issue of the SMH’s Sydney magazine features a profile of the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott which contains this curious line on page 36: “Their scant private time is devoted to family; once identified as a prominent evangelical Christian, Scott now says he doesn’t attend any particular Church” Scott may not ‘attend’ any […]

NEWSFLASH: Bernard Salt discovers new acronym

, Sep 09, 2009

Bernard Salt is no doubt a wonderful demographer, but he is also great at getting publicity. Salt knows the value of a bright new social trend, be it tree changing, sea changing or now Nettels. Yes, folks, Salt has interrogated the data (generously provided by taxpayers) and discovered (drumroll please) that many people are time […]

NSW government tries to stay relevant in health system future

, Jun 03, 2009

In a well-executed media stunt (labelled an ‘exclusive’ by the Daily Telegraph, LOL) the NSW Government has come up with an idea to try and carve out a future in the (mis)management of the state’s health system. Apart from being an ‘exclusive’, the stunt also has two other elements designed to give it media appeal: […]
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Simpsons and smoking; public health research sinks to a new low

, Jun 01, 2009

From the ‘who funds this nonsense’ file comes this  ludicrous  quote: The researchers noted that even “in instances of smoking being reflected in a negative way, particularly among younger characters, could have an impact on prompting children to smoke cigarettes.” If anyone really believed this then surely we would immediately cancel all those anti-smoking ads? The […]

You can’t expect men to …

, May 14, 2009

Here’s a great take on the Matthew Johns saga: Men are capable of reasoning and judgement, and indeed are expected to exercise it at all times in our society.  We’re not primal, ungovernable, raging beasts.  Nobody ever says “you can’t expect men to drive competently when they’re so aggressive”; “you can’t expect men not to […]
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Is group sex the same as sex with your mates?

, May 14, 2009

Earlier this week I pointed to some fairly obvious homoerotic aspects of the enthusiasm of certain high profile rugby league players for group sex. Today, Annabel Crabb has written a brilliantly funny piece along the same lines. She’s good, she didn’t miss. You must read it!
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Rugby League and homoeroticism

, May 11, 2009

Allegations of group sex, akin to those we expect to hear about on Four Corners tonight, have surfaced intermittently in recent years. In the descriptions of these events, the key point seems to be the opportunity for the boys on the team to engage in a sexual activity together with the woman involved a sort […]

Rudd in humiliating ETS backdown

, May 04, 2009

The SMH is reporting: The Federal Government is planning to delay its emissions trading scheme by one year, understands. The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is scheduled to make an announcement at lunch time. It is believed the Government still wants the legislation for the scheme to be passed this year but the scheme itself […]

“Racist” iPhone app

, May 01, 2009

From NZ Herald An iPhone application where the aim is to kill off islanders has been criticised as racist by members of the Pacific Island community. Pocket God opens with a “meet the islanders” screen, before brown-skinned men wearing hula skirts are shown on an island with a volcano in the background. To score points, […]

Conformity theory and the alcopops debate

, Apr 17, 2009

The freakonomics blog on the NYT has an interesting look at the role of conformity in communications. Basically, it’s hard to convince people to stop doing something if they think everyone else is doing it. People don’t want to rise above the crowd and be exemplary. So public service messages that suggest that many people […]
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Sorry day and saving the future

, Apr 16, 2009

On the 13th February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples on behalf of the Parliament of Australia. The State Library of Queensland, with assistance from Queensland University of Technology and Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, has captured responses to this historic event. Patricia Lees (pictured) is one […]

We humanists are the true believers

, Apr 14, 2009


Another dodgy public health survey

, Apr 13, 2009

From the SMH, which seems to luv dodgy public health surveys: George Patton, director of adolescent health research at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne said he was surprised by the results. He had expected that those with no evidence of excessive drinking as teens would “do well as adults”. “But we found, particularly for males, […]

Jensen out-dumbs Pell

, Apr 10, 2009

Unbelievable: Dr Phillip Jensen, Anglican Dean of Sydney, told AAP on Friday he sympathised with Cardinal Pell’s views, but did not believe condoms alone had made society more promiscuous. “In terms of adultery, in terms of divorce, in terms of grandchildren, yes we are in big trouble as a society because of the sexual revolution,” […]

Should beer companies sponsor ANZAC day?

, Apr 10, 2009

In recent years, ANZAC day has morphed into an opportunity for young (and not-so young) people to get shit-faced and soppily nationalistic, which makes it an ideal target for a big beer company. VB’s “raise a glass” campaign will no doubt find favour with anyone who thinks binge drinking is an appropriate part of remembering Australians […]

Dishonesty is contagious

, Apr 09, 2009

ABSTRACT—”In a world where encounters with dishonesty are frequent, it is important to know if exposure to other people’s unethical behavior can increase or decrease an individual’s dishonesty. In Experiment 1, our confederate cheated ostentatiously by finishing a task impossibly quickly and leaving the room with the maximum reward. In line with social-norms theory, participants’ level […]