THE NEW NORMAL is quiet

The New Normal is quiet -- Quiet as the eucalyptus forest after the firestorm, after the loss of koala, kangaroo, birdsong, and after the Murray-Darling shrivels, shrinks, subsides -- its once-languorous vein stretches tangled and dry. Instead, upon its heat-cracked bed, bloated, stinking fish writhe in their dance of death. Quiet Australians are deaf to silent Spring. Quiet Australians choke on smoke -- they mouth submission herded and cowed under the hammer of slogans, under the sickle of Planetary Death, that their baseball-capped medicine-man invokes. Resilience is spin. Spin, as flattering as medals, stirs the myth of glory -- of blokes, of battle, of jingoistic pride. Forgetfulness sed

AUSTRALIA'S NUREMBERG

So, at the last minute, Scottie our PM, graciously bestows his benevolence upon his subjects: a bulk fire-fighting package. We're talking: $$$, aircraft and personnel, all dispensed without any consultation or planning. Thousands of untrained army reserves promised --- to the alarm of the fire authorities. Imagine having all those well-meaning novices underfoot. Imagine the added responsibility for their safety. Thank you, Prime Minister. Too bad you didn't follow up the consultations requested in July. Perhaps Scottie thinks he can take the heat off himself with this party promotional media beat-up and accompanying up-beat jingle. Or perhaps, his minders might hope to stifle the real people

A Pudding for Christmas

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turn’d / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d.” - William Congreve Brandishing the newspaper, Medea swept down Melbourne’s grungy Gertrude Street on that hot sticky December morning. She could think of a lot of things she’d like to do to that journalist. Wrap him up and throw him on a bonfire for starters. There’s me, expecting a bit of coverage from friendly Roving Reporter. She was fuming. But no, they send in their wannabe, Head Honcho. He’s right into it, stirring up sensation, getting himself in the spotlight. Well, not this time, mate. When Medea arrived at The Hair Lair, it was abuzz with chatter. “Are you OK, dear?” her hairdresser said. “Not

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