The Alexander Gambit – how to resign in five moves

MP John Alexander resigned his seat in parliament on Saturday, five days after Fairfax Media revealed that it was highly likely he was a dual citizen, and nearly four months after the issue of dual citizenship became front page news with Scott Ludlam’s surprise resignation. While I’m not John Alexander, here’s my attempt at what […]

Is my enemy’s enemy my friend?

Everybody knows the proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I don’t think so. Quite apart from the simplistic, black-and-white division of the world into friends and enemies, I think it’s a morally dangerous idea. It might encapsulate a frequent truth about expedient political alliances, but more often than not I think it […]

A Regrettable Want Of Candour

Poor George. All his life he has aspired to gravitas but has never advanced beyond turgid, pompous and, in this case, petulant. You would think that after a 7-0 thrashing in the High Court a responsible Attorney-General would bow graciously to the collective and unanimous wisdom of the highest court in the land, say a […]

Evolution, Reification, Homunculi, Anthropomorphism, Teacups and Storms

What’s wrong with this sentence: “This is how evolution stops bad mutations building up to dangerously high levels in a species”? I count at least four things wrong… This musing was prompted by the following snippet: When we reproduce, our children inherit a shuffled bag of mutations, and those with a collection of particularly bad ones are […]

Liberals Embrace Science? Yeah, But No

Senator Sinodinos – the Minister for Industry, Innovation, and …  whatsitsname? Oh yes, Science – said in a recent speech to the Press Club: [I]ncreasingly, there has emerged a lack of respect for the scientific method in some quarters. We see the conclusions of experts being cast aside, in favour of ideological positions and selective use of […]

Freedom: Of Speech, Religion, & Discrimination – Or – In The Language Of Flowers, What Does A Pineapple Signify?

Can a florist refuse to sell flowers for a couple’s wedding because the wedding is against the florist’s religious beliefs? The answer to that question took me on an interesting journey through the Australian Constitution, the High Court, Australian Standard 1266.0 (2011), the language of flowers, the Australian Human Rights Commission Act and the Sex Discrimination […]

Computers are bad, m’kay

Suddenly all of the jokes about economists aren’t funny. Here is an economist, Tim Harford,  writing about applied psychology, AI, and control systems in the article https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/crash-how-computers-are-setting-us-up-disaster Being likewise an expert in none of these disciplines, but with that little knowledge that makes me dangerous I am disturbed by what seems to be the basic […]

Reporting the Trump of Doom and the Doom of Trump

I have read quite a few opinion and analysis pieces about the presidential race in the U.S.A, which chronologically could be grouped into three phases: Phase 1 “Why Trump can’t win”; Phase 2 “Why Trump is winning”; and Phase 3 “Why Trump won’t win”. I find these pieces fascinating. Not because of their patent inaccuracy, […]

One-term-Tony turns out to be .666-term-Tony

How appropriate. I doubt anything else will change – the destruction of R&D, the tearing down of renewable energy, the attempted removal of the CCA, the homeopath’s NBN – half the network for twice the price,the attempt to create a two-tier education system, a two-tier health system, the wholesale defunding of women’s shelters, aboriginal support […]