“Australia likes to think of itself as a diverse, multicultural, egalitarian country,” notes Osmond Chiu. And yet…

There are no official statistics on the ethnic or cultural composition of the Australian population and Australia’s cultural diversity is often underestimated. The Australian Bureau of Statistics should review existing measures of cultural diversity and develop a similar demographic category to “visible minority” used by Statistics Canada.

Oz makes some other good suggestions about how to improve representation in Australian parliaments, but I think this is the linchpin. If you’re not counted, you don’t count.

Richard Ackland has written an interesting profile of banking royal commissioner and former High Court judge Ken Hayne. It includes this tidbit about the Commonwealth Government’s tactics to protect the worst ever High Court decision:

But the albatross around Hayne’s neck is the notorious 2004 High Court case of Al-Kateb v Godwin. Hayne delivered the leading judgement for the majority where it was held that the indefinite detention of a stateless person who had not been charged with any crime was lawful.

… [A depressing decision] from which the High Court has since, differently constituted, tried to nibble its way out. The Commonwealth is keen not to have the Al-Kateb flame extinguished, so whenever a refugee or asylum seeker in similar circumstances brings proceedings in the court that confronts the 2004 decision, the government smartly steps in and issues a visa. Case over.


Bill Shorten’s campaign to posthumously promote John Monash to the rank of field marshal is stupid. Given that half of Victoria is named after Monash, does he really need another honour? And even if so, making him a field marshal would be an insult.

There have only been four “Australian” field marshals. One was King George VI, and one is Philip of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, whose son Charles is soon to inherit the rank. Another was the Pom responsible for the disastrous landing at Gallipoli.

The only one who was really Australian was a corrupt and viciously anti-union police commissioner and leader of a clandestine far-right paramilitary force. He was promoted to field marshal at the insistence of Robert Menzies.

The rank of Australian field marshal is a national embarrassment, and Shorten should be promising to abolish it.

Gee, nobody saw this coming:

The manufacturer of White King “flushable” wipes has been fined A$700,000 because these are not, in fact, flushable. … So-called flushable wipes, now sold for everything from make-up removal to luxury toilet paper, are a growing hazard to public health. Sydney Water says 75% of all sewer blockages in the city’s waste-water system involve wipes.

Sydney Water has been complaining about wet-wipe induced fatbergs for years.

Not content with destroying the immigration department, Peter Dutton has bypassed Cabinet to unilaterally slash immigration to Australia. Putting this authoritarian spud in charge of the sprawling (and growing) Home Affairs department will prove to be one of the worst decisions of any Australian government. With luck, his latest racist gambit won’t save him at the next election.

I went to the Kathleen Syme Library yesterday, because its children’s section is excellent, and I needed to get a new library card. While sorting it out, the librarian mentioned the online digital collection and encouraged me to check it out.

It is incredible. Everyone in Victoria is eligible to join the Melbourne libraries, regardless of which local government area they live in, and that means they have free subscriptions to a mountain of publications.

The Kanopy movie service is on Apple TV and includes a decent library of recent arthouse movies. The Age’s library edition is a horrible experience, so it won’t replace my personal subscription, but the RBdigital and PressReader iPad apps are pretty good. I will save hundreds of dollars on subscriptions to things like the Saturday Paper, The Monthly, the New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Economist, and others. Comics, too.

Run, don’t walk.

Joe Veix: “YouTube Face is clickbait, attaining human form.”

I like Twitter. More specifically, I like Twitter mediated through Tweetbot, because the official apps and website are a nightmare of spammy intrusions. Unfortunately, Twitter has decided that its ugly, confusing and just plain annoying approach should be mandatory, and is #BreakingMyTwitter by implementing API changes that seem designed to cripple the functionality of third-party apps that respect users.

Streetmix is a little browser app that lets you drag and drop elements to design a street layout; for instance.

I saw a couple of sequels this week. I went into both with low expectations, but I’m happy to report they are both excellent:

    Pacific Rim: Uprising is much more fun than the original, ditching the dark, rainy shaky-cam and finding a better balance between action, drama and comedy. (Good review from the mech enthusiasts at The Cockpit.)
    Roseanne’s tenrth season puts things back the way they were before they were broken. It’s like seeing an old friend after many years, and finding you just pick up where you left off.