05 January 2018

to: The Minister for Home Affairs The Hon Peter Dutton MP

The Minister for Home Affairs
The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Dear Mr Dutton,

Tuesday’s Guardian reports (and http://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/peterdutton/Pages/Interview-with-Chris-Kenny.aspx confirms), ‘Victorians are “scared to go out to restaurants” because of “African gang violence”, Peter Dutton has said, in an interview attacking the supposed lack of deterrence of crime in Victoria.

Please tell me the data to support this statement.
•             What is the number of people who scared to go out to restaurants?
•             How was the data obtained?
•             Which regions or suburbs does it apply to?

The Guardian reports further,
‘Dutton blamed Daniel Andrews, calling for the premier to pass stricter bail laws and to stop appointing “civil libertarians” as magistrates.’

Please tell me which magistrates do you consider to be civil libertarians. The people of Victoria need to know this.

You are reported as saying,
‘… the reality is people are scared to go out to restaurants of a night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasion and cars are stolen.’

How many people does your data show
•             have been followed home by “these” gangs
•             have suffered home invasions
•             have had their cars stolen?

If you can’t or won’t provide these data your statement must be considered bullshit*.

If you can’t or won’t provide these data the anti-South Sudanese ‘gangs’ campaign by you, Mr Turnbull and Mr Hunt must be considered supremely and cynically political.

John Howard’s ‘children overboard’ campaign was demonstrably political and is now known to be baseless in fact. In short he used the lives of human, in that case refugees, as a political weapon.

You appear to be doing the same.

Yours sincerely,

Stewart Jackel
sent: 3 January 2018

*Bullshit is described as a statement without reference to fact. Conversely a lie contradicts a fact.

I will publish the reply to this email as soon as it arrives - due 29 January.

02 January 2018

A great year for clean energy in Australia ends, while bad news for coal continues

... The real story, driven by the states and the private sector, is more interesting and much more positive.
Australia now has renewables-friendly governments in every state and territory. Victoria legislated a target of 40% by 2025 and both Queensland and the Northern Territory committed to 50% renewables by 2030. South Australia leads the world on wind and solar integration and has shed its title of the highest wholesale energy prices in the country.
More than 50 large-scale renewable energy projects are either under construction or have been completed in Australia in 2017 totalling 4,670MW, as much as was built over the first 15 years of the renewable energy target. Australian households installed more rooftop solar than any year since 2012 when subsidies were three times as generous — no other country has a higher take-up of residential solar.
 ‘It’s undeniable that the energy transition is well under way — but Australians could be forgiven for despairing when coal dominates our politics and media cycle.’ Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

30 December 2017

VERY URGENT Vietnamese national HPN

The Minister for Immigration and Boarder Protection
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT

Dear Minister,

I implore you to exercise your statutory discretion to cancel the deportation order applied to  the Vietnamese national called HPN.

In the name of common humanity, I request you agree to his application for ministerial intervention to prevent him from being deported and separated from his partner Kesinee Kingrak and 10-month-old daughter Lily.

 Vietnamese national HPN has applied for ministerial intervention to prevent him from being deported and separated from his partner Kesinee Kingrak and 10-month-old daughter Lily. Photograph: Kesinee Kingrak

The Guardian 30 December 2017

Yours sincerely,

30 December 2017

29 December 2017

Mr Turnbull, Mr Shorten, I condemn you policies about our most vulnerable people.

Examine almost any contemporary political problem, from Australia’s growing economic inequality to the declining performance of our school students relative to the rest of the world, to our dying coral reefs, and you will find the fingerprints of John Winston Howard.
Having lived through the Little Winston years, I'm entitled to feel enraged at the way he entrenched the Right in this nation.
Mike Seccombe “It’s all John Howard’s fault.” in The Saturday Paper Edition No. 188 December 23, 2017 – January 26, 2018 p 1

Seccombe is correct. Howard’s destructive legacy, even though he is not dead, still infects all that is good. For example, he more than any other prime minister, codified the vilification of people who are refugees or seeking asylum with us.

A 32 year old man who fled the ‘stans’ region lives in Melbourne’s east where buses run every hour in daylight and where flats are cheapest.
“My brother worked in the garage that serviced US vehicles. Terrorists bombed it and killed him.
Then they looked for me.
Because he was my brother and he had co-operated with the Americans.
I was scared of every man who came towards me in the street – going to the shops, walking to the barber, going to visit my friend.”
People have the right to live without fear.

I see the issue as about fundamental human rights; they are universal.
Our political leaders see it as about political advantage.

A 26 year old woman fled the middle east. She lives as far west in Melbourne as you can and still find a regular commuter bus – on weekdays.
“My brother found me in bed with my girlfriend.
He said something like, ‘Sister, I’ll give your four choices. Pick one. Would you like to be stoned to death buried up to your neck in the middle of a soccer pitch? Would you like to be beheaded? Would you like to be hung? Would you like to be pushed off a six-storey building?’
People have the right to marry the person they love.

I did nothing in the Howard years.
I’m not going to do nothing now.
Even if it's only a few hours a week, I’ll try to undo a few fragments of Howard's legacy.

I can think.
I can write.
I can manage projects.

I’ll write a blog – one that I know  the monitors of political parties will pick up.
I’ll volunteer to paralegal with Refugee Legal – even if only one day a week.

How to get help

11 December 2017

Noël Noël!

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Choir

Melbourne Recital Centre

Saturday 9 December 2017

Carols in the Domain? No, because 1. I live in Melbourne and 2. the music is rubbish. Why then did Saturday’s ABO program sound as if I were there?

Untill this year Oz Brandenburg’s Noël Noël! programs have been an oasis of joy, intelligence, clever musicology and superb performance – just as the rest of the 2017 series was. Maddeningly, last night’s was CitD without the under-bum grass.

Constructing a program around a musicals singer was dangerous. That alone prevented the development of any logical program thread. There’s not much American theatre Christmas music that’s anything more than supermarket junk. Those songs that were programmed last night demonstrated that.

ABO is one of the best baroque bands in the world but I got no obvious enjoyment, no enthusiasm from them last night. Incredible performance values in their playing of course but the sparkle, the wit – something to work with – was missing. The superb, spikey arrangements of familiar and unfamiliar Christmas music or the very interesting (intriguing?) Middle Eastern and Nordic programs of of a year or so back were not there. Too much saccharine muzak.

Singing Fauré’s very legato Cantique de Jean Racine with a very percussive piano didn’t work. It was especially annoying that there was a 15 piece baroque orchestra with chamber organ sitting mute beside the piano. 
A contemporary Twelve Days of Christmas was pointless when the words were unintelligible and the props are too small to see from Row Q: no idea what it was about. And giving a platform for an emerging Oz composer, Alex Palmer, is great, but only if the piece has enough musicality and harmonic interest to sit alongside Palestrina, Gibbons and di Lasso. His arrangements of trad. pieces didn’t have the edge that arrangements of previous years have had
Treating Once in Royal David’s City as a music theatre selection was a crime against humanity. Updating mid-C19 music can work well of course but it needs a good rationale. I wonder how the first verse would have sounded with Mrs CF Alexander’s awful ‘poetry’ sung unaccompanied by one of ABC’s superb countertenors from the back of the circle.

I’ve recommended ABO for four or five years with the caveat ‘include the Christmas recital’. I couldn’t do that on the basis of the 2017 Noël Noël program.

I couldn’t find the motivation to try one more year to reach the Wilcocks descant. It’s ABO’s tradition to end to these concerts with While shepherds watched and it’s a good one. But it was as if Adolphe Adam’s one-hit-wonder, the ‘carol’ with zero harmonic interest, leached the energy from poor Dr Wilcocks’s superb nod to English cathedral Christmas music.

I could find little to applaud last night. But I’d had a brilliant G'n'T for dinner outside MRC in the warm evening breeze. It was memorable.