Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for April 2012

While I do not like brainwashing as a means of getting people to accept ideas, occasionally repetition can be acceptable. I make that statement in defence of my occasional attempts to get people make comment of the subject of my blog rather than the subject of a blog they have read on another website.

Unfortunately this is a common occurrence. People often make a comment about all kinds of issues that have nothing to do with the blog. And while I admire peoples’ attempt to try and make issues known, when they put these issues on my site it places me in the rather invidious position of having to send them to the trash bin.

This is not to say that while other the publishers of blogs on other sites might be delighted when, regardless of their relevance to the published blog their screen fills up with comments that, in a sense, are non sequiturs. As for myself, the apothegm ’never mind the quality feel the width’ has never attracted me.

Previously, in previous short blogs on this issue I have said that in order to gauge opinion I have asked people to post comments that are either complimentary of, or contrary to, the ideas outlined in my blog. And while I know many people might be interested in Viagra, Insurance, diets, pornography and a whole range of other issue if I was seeking comment on such issues I would have made them the subject of my blog.

I feel sure that in common with me, commentators, no matter which part of the world they come from, think of the web and blogs as making a contribution to the democratic system because they help promote the value of free speech. However, to maximise the value of free speech, commentators should try to ensure as much as they can that their comments will add to that value.

And so the next time they decide to make a comment, I ask them to weigh up if what they have to say will satisfy that objective.

Don Allan


Published in The Chronicle Canberra, Tuesday 24 April. Published online Wednesday, 25 April at:

With political football now an international game played in virtually every country in the world, many people interested in politics who tried to keep their eyes on the political balls being kicked around in the games played in the global political arena would, in all probability, have experienced serious bouts of dizziness.

The reason: across the globe, free speech and democracy do not enjoy the same popularity they have in Australia, while the quality of politicians in countries without these gifts is often questionable. Nevertheless I hope that, over time, as free speech and democracy make their presence felt, the quality will improve. But I also have another hope: as the quality of the political players in these countries improves, I hope not too many of them try to model themselves on some of Australia’s well known political players.

So who should be their model? Should it be the soon to depart parliament Green Senator Bob Brown, thought by some to be a man of integrity and exemplar of the good politician, who, over the years, has shown considerable political skills? Indeed some environmentalists think him a political saint while less fanatical people see him more as political sinner and anti-progress politician who would keep all Australians deprived of the benefits that resource mining and nuclear energy can bring.

He talks much about equality which sounds strange in a society that boasts of its egalitarian status. And writing as someone who, when young, lived at the bottom of the wealth ladder and once climbed it not quite to the top, but now again if not quite at the bottom, close to it, Senator Brown’s solution of taking from the people who have grown rich from mining to give to the poor, will turn Australia into an even more unequal society.

I’m not sure how much experience Senator Brown and his supporting coterie of environmentalists know about being poor but take it from me that having grown up poor midst a community of poor people, most discovered that in return for the charity legalised by politicians as welfare they were expected to vote for them. Effectively they were being asked to take a bribe.

But enough of Senator Brown: what about Labor, Liberals and The Greens at the next ACT election? As an apolitical citizen, my hope is that the next ACT Government will not be composed of elected but often inadequate members who owe their position in The Assembly to leaders of party factions. In truth, faction leaders are really gang leaders who control inadequate members some of whom some succumb to a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

So which party do you think will form the next ACT Government? Will it be Labor, Liberal or The Greens or will the current system that some people have labelled a dog’s breakfast continue? With Australian politics in a chaotic state, who can say?

In the ACT and despite Government after Government promising cure to the problems of transport, education, health, housing – with particular emphasis on homelessness – and planning and despite streams of letters to the editor, the problems remain. Indeed as I look back over the years, I have no great confidence in that whosever forms the next government will solve them particularly if the ACT ends up with a Government where the green tail is again wagging the government dog. Not that I would be happier if, should the government change, the tail of the developers’ mutt wagged the government dog.

On the other hand I would be happier, if the ACT’s apathetic voters showed their alleged political savvy and said it’s good government we want, not a political club where politicians want to show how good they are at slagging opponents, of which a good example is the recent pot calling the kettle black slanging match about the time sheets of people employed in the office of the Opposition Leader.

While the Opposition Leader was guilty of poor management, nevertheless it mystifies me how time sheets in the Opposition Leader’s office ever became a Freedom of Information issue and media story, when the previous Chief Minister had the same thing happen in his office but without mention by the media?
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Published The Chronicle, Canberra. Tuesday 17 April.

Major problems some new politicians face following their election is trying to remain the kind of person they were before being elected and keeping their promise of continuing to pursue the policies on which they were elected. Unfortunately, some don’t succeed, particularly if they model themselves on politicians who have had a long (too long) parliamentary career. Sad as it seems many of these models have not only forgotten why they were elected but have allowed personal interests to take priority over that of their constituents.

But worse, many newly elected politicians also undergo another change. As time goes by, they begin to think that a seat in parliament has imbued them with a wisdom not given to those who elected them. Unfortunately, this leads to them believing they are special people and part of an elite deserving of special treatment. In some cases this seems to lead them to regarding those who elected them more as inconveniences than as constituents.

Such behaviour is not the preserve of politicians who embrace a particular political theology. I use theology rather that ideology because political parties boast of themselves as broad churches accommodating a wide range of views something you might not accept after a conversation with some church members.

As occurs in various religious sects, members of the different factions in the political churches preach different brands of theology. And in common with the members of religious sects the factional political leaders preach that if everyone accepted their political theology they would be on the path to living in an earthly heaven.

If only to emphasise how political parties are like church sects they have head offices where the hierarchy congregate and develop laws that every member is expected to accept, believe and obey without question. Failure to do so is to risk excommunication. And just as religious denominations have saints political parties have their political saints, devoted followers who worship in their suburban churches –they call branches.

In common with religious denominations and much as they say otherwise new ideas unless previously endorsed by the party hierarchy which is sure that their ideas are the only ones that will save a state, nation and in some cases, the world.. Not that party hierarchies do not put forth new ideas but often the ideas belong to someone else. Often and unknown to their creator these ideas have been passed on by sycophants in an effort to satisfy their own ambitions. Unfortunately, Australian political parties have many members in this category.

However, to continue with the thesis that political parties are like churches, broad or not, if members express views contrary to those laid down by the hierarchy they are viewed as heretics, a fate that has caused many a politician to be expelled from the party they had served faithfully for many years, because they had spoken out.

Let me make the point that while politicians of every persuasion talk of free speech, some politicians who have lost faith in the philosophy of the party of which they are members will never say so publicly. Not only do these politicians lack courage, they are venal because they fear loss of access to the earthly delights their position brings, something that seems implicit in former Health Services Union now Labor MP Craig Thomson’s statements of innocence.

Clearly their behaviour not only conflicts with but also mocks the philosophy of free speech they say they are sworn to defend. Politicians will not agree with that statement. If anything, most would disagree with it ‘til the cows come home.

However, apart from lacking courage and loss of access to earthly delights what these venal people fear most is being labelled pejoratively as scab, a title they might find hard to rebut. It is a good thing they are not living in the middle ages as they would be shunned, spat upon in the street and in some cases tarred and feathered. They should thank their lucky stars if they have any
If ACT voters want to avoid electing an Assembly with venal members it behoves them to closely examine potential MLAs and satisfy themselves as to their credibility before voting. Chronicle online edition published every Wednesday

Published The Chronicle, Tuesday 10 April, 2012. Also in: Wednesday, 11 April

When I started write this column on Saturday 24 March, voters in Queensland were wending their way to polling booths across the state hoping that after the votes are counted the result they get is the result they want. Not only will they know the result by early evening but they will know also if the opinion polls were right that only a few Labor candidates will survive. If it turns out that the polls are right the message for Labor is that it will need to make substantial changes to its political diet to survive as a party.

I am not a political oracle but in a column published shortly before the NSW State election last year I suggested that Australia was suffering political anthropogenic climate change due to the volume of hot air being expressed by Labor, Liberal and National Party parliamentarians plus Green parliamentarians whose per capita expression of hot air was even greater. To add to that volume I should include the Independents who, after the Federal election showed they were not lacking in capacity either.

My reason for saying Western style politics are doomed is because countries that practise them seem not to have gone even part of the way to creating the kind of political system that will accommodate the cultures of the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the many other strong cultures in the world. If anything they seem intent on forcing these countries to adopt a Western system similar to theirs even though, after more than two thousand years, no two Western style democracies seem to practise the same system. I venture to suggest also, that were it possible to ask two thousand people in these countries from the highest to the lowest in all walks of life the simple question, what kind of political system do you want? would elicit two thousand different answers.

It is now the morning of Sunday 25th March, though I suspect for many members of the Queensland Labor Party it will be remembered as either Mourning Sunday or Black Sunday. For some it will be a day of despair while for others it will be the beginning of a slow march to extinction.

That slow road to extinction will be the road followed by sensible people who will see the Queensland result as not just affecting Labor but also the Liberal Party, the Greens and all other parties because, in our increasingly geopolitical world they do not think Labor, Liberal, Green, Labour, Democrat and Republican et al, describes the kind of parties they will want in the future or even will they want parties.

What they might be thinking is that In the not too distant future we will be living in a world driven even more by technology than it is today and unlike today, every country will have this technology. Life will be programmed. Computers yet to be created will do many of the jobs that people in and out of politics do today. For example, I think it more than likely that economists will no longer be needed. Self-developing and self-programming computers will undertake the modelling needed by a world government to make decisions.

Economists aside, the world will have many more scientists who will continue to develop even more sophisticated technology that people will come to rely on to produce their food, t housing needs, medical needs, clothing needs because all those needs are likely to be different. They will develop interplanetary travel and later still, interstellar travel systems.. And that is but a brief look at what I think the future might hold.

Of course in Canberra, with an election in October, our future is nearer. Soon we will see Independent and party candidates the hustings making their promises. Voters will need to listen to them then start making their mind up about which of them has the vision of the future that you like best. Voters might also decide that, like Queensland NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, they need to make a change. If they do however, they should make sure the candidates they support are visionaries not candidates programmed to respond like robots.
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Not being able to speak German I hope at least one reader can who is also willing to send me an accurate translation of the following comment “Wunderbare Geschichte, rechnen wir könnten ein paar unabhängige Daten zu kombinieren, dennoch lohnt sich ein Blick, whoa hat man über Mid East lernen verfügt über mehr problerms sowie.” posted to my website – – Monday, 26 March, in response to my column in The Chronicle so that I can make suitable response to the person who sent it.

It pleases me to know the column is being read by people who live far from Canberra and Australia now that The Chronicle has gone online. So if you have relatives or friends you keep in touch with online but you haven’t yet told them about The Chronicle’s foray into cyber space, why not send them an electronic Easter Egg. And while you’re at it, why not send an electronic Easter Egg to all Members of the ACT Assembly.

Why an Easter Egg? I suggest an Easter Egg because Easter is said to be the time of the year that herald’s rebirth. That being the case I cannot think of a more appropriate gift to MLAS if only because so many voters are under the impression that most of them are either dead or in a catatonic state. That being the case, and although I make no promises, if an electronic egg helped cause their rebirth that could be cause for celebration.

In all seriousness however, don’t you think the world is in need of a celebration? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, at Easter, instead of news stories that almost daily report double digit numbers of soldiers dying in Iraq or Afghanistan, what was being announced was an increased birth rate?

And wouldn’t it be even more wonderful if sincere Easter messages of peace were sent out not just from the US and Britain but from all nations that have personnel on active service in areas of danger yet never seem to get mentioned in news reports? Better still and regardless of religion if the US, UK and their allies plus, Jews, Arabs, copts, Hindus et al, could forget their animosities, exchange the same message of peace and enjoy a rebirth of humanity.

My touching on Easter has also brought to mind some of the happiest days of my young life, albeit they occurred during World War II. At the time I didn’t know anything about Easter being celebrated as the rebirth of life. What Easter meant to me was picnic time, the time for rolling coloured eggs in races against my brothers and sisters down the grassy slopes of the Duchess Park, eating sandwiches, getting the rare treat of an ice cream and at least two drinks of lemonade or Irn Bru. Perhaps there are people living in Canberra who enjoyed the same experience.

Like many of my companions in the park, I had but a dim knowledge of war. Although we were surrounded by the war, it only became reality when unaware that Uncle Willie had been killed or gone missing in some other war zone, some children said how they would have loved him to be there to referee one of the many impromptu games of football, played with a tennis ball that, almost certainly, would spring up.

Sadly, as many found out later, there were many Uncle Willies.

As I think of those Easter days spent picnicking in the park I remember them almost as heavenly. The hell that was war never crossed my mind. Unfortunately as time passed many in my peer group became disenchanted with the heavenly idea because they could not understand who, and why Uncle Willie, been chosen to go to heaven rather than be sent home. I am in no doubt that, like me, many questioned the explanations given by parents and relatives and found them unconvincing.

Despite my earlier optimistic hope of Easter being a time for the rebirth of peace and humanity, as a realist and for many years having spent my days try and understand mans’ reasoning about the ‘need’ for war, sadly, I could not. Perhaps because there is no answer.

Happy Easter to all.
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