On This Day

I am reading the book on my iPad, 1812 : Napoleon’s Fatal March On Moscow by Adam Zamoyski, so this day is pertinent.

1812 – The French army under Napoleon reaches Kremlin, Moscow.

1904 – Wilbur Wright makes his 1st airplane flight.

1928 – Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

1938 – British PM Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgarden.

1941 – Nazis kill 800 Jewish women at Shkudvil Lithuania.

1949 – Lone Ranger premieres on ABC – TV.

1962 – Australia’s 1st entry in America’s Cup yacht race (US wins).

1965 – Lost in Space premieres.

1978 – Muhammad Ali beats Leon Spinks in 15 for heavyweight boxing title.

2000 – Opening ceremony of the XXVII Olympics in Sydney, Australia.


Save the Children Book Sale

The 50th Annual University Branch Book Sale starts today in the Undercroft at the University of WA.

Starts today at 5.00pm until 9.30pm and goes until Wednesday, so get there and support the great work that Save the Children does here in Australia and throughout the world.




John Pilger

This article is from The Spectator Australia written by one of its regular contributors Peter Coleman.

Journalists such as John Pilger get pleasure from knocking Australia and Australians.

‘What a stupid question! What a stupid question! What a puerile question!’ This is how Warren Snowdon, the Labor MP for Lingiari in the Northern Territory, responded to John Pilger as recorded in the film Utopia — a pilgerising documentary telling what the English playwright Harold Pinter called ‘the filthy truth’ about Australian treatment of Aborigines. Pilger put it to Snowdon that he has been the representative in the federal Parliament of ‘some of the poorest, sickest people in Australia’ since 1987: ‘Why haven’t you fixed it?’ It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the spluttering Snowdon. Pilger pinches a nerve. For generations Australians have been determined to ‘fix it’. We have tried almost everything. Missions. Welfare. Self-determination. Land Rights. Royal Commissions. Constitutional Amendments. Reconciliation Walks. The Intervention. The Apology. Billions of dollars. Nothing has ‘fixed it’ — if by ‘fixing’ we mean the elimination of poverty, squalor, disease, malnutrition, drug addiction, unemployment and violence against women in Aboriginal camps. They continue to shame Australia and shock the world. Long ago the full integration of traditional Aborigines into a modern Australia proved unworkable. Timeless Aboriginal traditions gradually or rapidly disappeared, and only remnants have survived in the demoralised outstations on which Pilger concentrates.

Yet Pilger and negativist films like his Utopia are among the greatest obstructions to Aboriginal advancement. They alienate ordinary Australians whose continuing goodwill is necessary for all our programmes of reform. In style and argument the leftist Pilger reminds me of no one so much as P.R. (‘Inky’) Stephensen, editor of the prewar neo-fascist Publicist, who in the sesquicentenary year 1938 published his contemptuous Brief Survey of Australian History deriding what he deemed the patriotic complacency of Australian yobs and snobs. In 1938 he also published the newsletter Abo Call, which campaigned for the renaming of Australia Day. He called it Day of Mourning — denouncing the arrival of the infamous British settlers of 1788. The idea has had currency ever since. Pilger is cast in the same revolutionary-defeatist mould. In an Australia Day street scene in the film he asks a passer-by if Aborigines might be offended by Aussie celebrations. The man replies ‘You are full of shit’ and moves on. Pilger uses the incident to illustrate ingrained Australian prejudice. But if it illustrates anything, it is the popular rejection of terrible simplifiers like Pilger. In Abo Call Stephensen promoted Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia as a novel supporting Aborigines against white Australians. He would have been delighted to promote Pilger’s Utopia.

Does Pilger have any proposals to ‘fix it’? He shows no interest in the ideas of Noel Pearson or Marcia Langton, or in Bess Price and the other indigenous MPs in the Northern Territory. He seems unaware of any government programmes or of the work of countless private organisations ranging from conservative Rotary Clubs to the libertarian Centre for Independent Studies. He does not mention the continuous commitment of Tony Abbott. At the end of the film, he calls for a Treaty between Australians and Aborigines. But a Treaty (or series of Treaties as Warren Mundine recommends) would have as little influence as The Apology. It would probably make matters worse by bolstering separatism.

The best policy remains assimilation, not separatism. As it happens this is the underlying theme of an important new play — Tom Wright’s Black Diggers. A sort of rejoinder to Pilger’s Utopia, it is about the thousand or so indigenous soldiers who joined the AIF in the first world war and fought alongside fellow Australians in Palestine, the Somme, Gallipoli and Flanders Fields. The play’s director Wesley Enoch says that they ‘forged bonds that would sow the seeds of the modern reconciliation movement’. The play’s researcher David Williams observes that the black recruits were fully integrated into the AIF (unlike in many foreign armies.) He quotes Gary Oakley of the Australian War Memorial: ‘The Army was Australia’s first equal opportunity employer.’ They received the same pay and same training as other soldiers and experienced the same hardships. Any negative stereotypes quickly disappeared in the trenches. Their service obviously did not eliminate prejudice in the postwar years, but it was a giant step in the right direction. Assimilation — and a play like Black Diggers which received standing ovations at the Sydney Opera House — do far more to advance the Aboriginal cause than the anti-Australian and ultimately anti-Aboriginal propagandists from P.R. Stephensen to John Pilger.

AC Grayling

Anthony Clifford Grayling  is an English philosopher and noted atheist, who appeared on Q & A during the past week.

He is an an interesting character with a tragic past, look up Wikipedia.

The AFR WEEKEND has a very good article written by him titled “Finding enlightenment in the absence of God” which is very interesting reading.

I really like this quote of his:

“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”


UK Garlic Eating Competition

Travelling to the UK in September then you may be interested in this:

A garlic-eating contest in Dorset is expected to attract competitors from around the globe.

The 1st Annual World Garlic Eating Competition will be held in Chideock on 14 September and organisers hope about 40 people will take part.

The person who eats the most pre-peeled Iberian garlic cloves in five minutes will be declared the winner.

Organiser Mark Botwright, 49, of South West Garlic Farm near Bridport, said he had “trialled” the contest himself.

“I managed to eat just seven cloves over the course of an afternoon – really pathetic,” he said.

He added there had “already been plenty of inquiries” about the the event, which will take place at the George Inn.

Snakes Alive

Walking on the walkway near South Beach this evening I saw out of the corner of my eye a brown shape.

Jumping in the air my foot brushed the snake, about 4 feet long, which then slithered into the brush towards the new apartment block above The Pickled Fig.

A couple with a todler were only metres from me and had a laugh as did two young guys walking some distance behind me who stated that they had never seen me move so quick.

The purpose of this post is to alert readers that snakes are out and about, it is summer after all, even near our beaches so we need to be vigilant.

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