Monthly Archives: December 2013


The Genealogy of Terra Nullius

ANDREW FITZMAURICE This article examines the genealogy of the term terra nullius, which remains elusive even as it is now clear that the term is absent from the eighteenth – and early nineteenth century historical record. I show, however, that … Continue reading


PShift Retrospective 2013

History is an angel being blown backwards into the future He said: History is a pile of debris And the angel wants to go back and fix things To repair the things that have been broken But there is a … Continue reading


Mandela memorial: history from an a to an z, in a tea-cup.

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what began, as i saw it, as an historical storm in a tea-cup became, due to the frantic efforts of a few people, a lesson and rebuttal on rewriting history or the attempt thereof. my following words and the articles … Continue reading


Aboriginal shareholders ‘driven off land’ by rising rents in remote Lake Tyers community

By Jeff Waters Video: Lorraine Sellings has been recently evicted from her house in Lake Tyers (ABC News) Map: Lake Tyers 3887 Aboriginal shareholder-owners of Victoria’s remote Lake Tyers community say they are being driven off their land, because even … Continue reading


Towards Peace — a worker’s journey

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Towards Peace – A workers Journey (PDF) by Phil O’Brien and Bernie Dowling [SHAPE – Social History Publishing Enterprise with LeftPress] Tunnelling through the night, the trains pass in a splendour of power, with a sound like thunder shaking the … Continue reading


Salvador Allende this Friday at Goma



Refugee MUST READ- Babies in detention

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‘Don’t call my baby illegal!’ Inside asylum seeker maternity wards CAROLINE DE COSTA Professor at James Cook University School of Medicine| EMAIL | COMMENT I am sitting in a room with several families and numerous small children on a hot … Continue reading


No Permanent Protection Visas

No Permanent Protection Visas to be granted to people who arrive in Australia without visas. THIS is the excuse given for no releases from detention since Morrison took over. People in detention have to sign this Code of Behaviour before … Continue reading


Sinking below sight

 The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. It’s justice Bryan Stevenson – US death row attorney FOUR years ago I moved with no great enthusiasm and a troubled child to Logan City, one of Australia’s ten poorest urban areas. Divorce had … Continue reading


Xmas day lunch at Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy


WBT Editor needed for 2014

WBT is looking for a new editor in 2014. This may take the form of an individual or an editorial collective. Workers BushTelegraph is primarily for original articles, original news, stories you can’t read elsewhere, original verse, original pictures, videos … Continue reading


Urgent Appeal to Pope Francis to help Gaza

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Gazan families are suffering. Israel and Egypt have cut off fuel supplies so that Gazans have had no electricity and vital services for 2 months. Families, in freezing temperatures have no light, no heat and hospitals are overflowing while sewerage … Continue reading

Art tells the story

THREE years ago the not so magnificent seven of us were sitting around, drinking coffee and eating crackers laden with chili-cheese dip.
We were gathered in the comfortable recreation room – actually a detached building – at the home of Arts Alliance president Ken Armstrong.
It was one of monthly meetings of the alliance we had formed two years earlier as an umbrella organisation to represent the artists of our local area.
President Ken did not have to travel to meetings at his place and in exchange for that comfort, he supplied the excellent coffee, tasty dips and the occasional small glasses of red wine.
Representing the arts community,  those of us who enjoyed a quiet drink felt it was fitting to indulge in the traditional arty red rather than a white cousin.
Theatrical representative Ray Swenson suggested the Alliance put together  an anthology of short stories from local writers.
Artists Ken Armstrong and Daniel Wagon said we should illustrate each story. The annual arts alliance anthology was born. Ken and Dan produced the covers for the first anthologies.
Ken took on the role of Illustrations  Editor at our usual rate of pay  –  priceless appreciation for a love job well done.
An  anthology of short stories, each with original illustration, is a rare beast.   I am yet to see one from the Big Six mainstream publishers. Such a creation for the vow of Bent Banana Books to produce books that are different.
I present a selection of the  art from  our 2010 and 2011 anthologies.
Bernie Dowling

Get a lawyer, a real Godot one

A-G Brandis seeks
legal advice in fiction

 We Australian taxpayers kindly bought attorney-general George Brandis a copy of the Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot for the bookshelf of his Canberra office.

(That’s Brandis’s office. Godot has not been seen in the national capital for a long time; some say never.)
It worked this way. Brandis, between January and June 2013,   suggested Godot was an indispensable addition to his departmental literature and those who approve such an acquisition on taxpayers’ behalf concurred.
Normally I would be churlish about such a purchase and suggest Brandis would be reading above his intellectual weight. But Godot is a significant totem in the plot of my novel Iraqi Icicle.

Instead of poking fun I look forward to seeing my novel among the attorney-general’s considerable library haul for July to December, 2013.

In all honesty, I cannot take a cheap shot at Brandis and demand he explains the relevance of his purchase. In Godot lies a deep legal conundrum.

It is where Vladimir raises the question of the reliability of eye witnesses, specifically in the Biblical account of the Crucifixion.

…Of the other three, two don’t mention any thieves at all and the third says that both of them abused him.’

Why do Christians accept the evidence of one of the four eye-witnesses as fact to create a moral principle of “the good thief” which I must add does not refer to efficacy in his profession. He was being crucified, after all. In Godot, Estragon says it is because “people are bloody ignorant apes”. I am unsure whether Estragon’s Law will hold up as a legal principle.

You will notice Vladimir is not concerned with the jurisprudence of one thief being saved and the other damned.

For that question, we taxpayers need to buy the attorney-general a copy of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (only $3.59 in hardback from Amazon)

‘ALDRED DOOLITTLE: I’m one of the undeserving poor: that’s what I am. If there’s anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: ‘You’re undeserving; so you can’t have it.’ But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow…I don’t need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don’t eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, ‘cause I’m a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low.’<


As attorney-general, Brandis may be called on to decide whether to prosecute or save a good thief, so the Beckett and Shaw texts could prove inspired spending of public money.

Earlier this year, Mr Brandis repaid $1700 in public funds he had used to attend the wedding of right-wing shock-jock Michael Smith who not only speaks for the legendary bloody-minded “Everyman”, but even has his name. No further inquiry was made into Brandis’s initial claim which he still insisted he was entitled to. He was returning the money to put to bed ”uncertainty (about his entitlement) in favour of the taxpayer”.

In law, words mean what they say: Brandis was doing us taxpayers a favor for not claiming public funds to go to a private wedding. The attorney-general was “the good uncertain”.

The bad uncertain was Peter Slipper who had defected from the conservative party known from some historical anomaly as the Liberal Party. Brandis remains in the now-governing Liberal Party.

Slipper was bribed by the then Labor Party government with the cushy chair as Speaker of the House.

He was caught spending lots of public bugs-bunny joyriding in cabs. Slipper had the mirror excuse to Brandis of uncertainty over the use of public payments for cab dockets. Like Brandis, he paid back the money. There the comparison ends as Slipper is before the courts for alleged abuse of public entitlements.

Brandis is the good uncertain and Slipper the bad uncertain. You wouldn’t read about it. Or maybe you would – in Brandis’s office.

It is all a misunderstanding when an attorney-general is caught with his hand in someone else’s cookie jar.

Bernie Dowling


Mirarr safety fears remain despite Ranger visit

Traditional owners in Kakadu National Park still fear for the health of their country after a technical team visited the Ranger Uranium Mine today, following a series of pollution spills and safety breaches. The Mirarr Traditional Owners – who do … Continue reading


Justice for Kevin Hall


On January 26th 2014, we rallied outside QLD Parliament in Brisbane City at 10am. There were twice as many people as last year.  People from all tribes spoke and danced. Shannon Ruska led a thousand others in the welcome song. People … Continue reading

Munching the Millions

Munching the Millions

Munch’s The Scream

AUSTRALIANS will gamble on two flies. crawling up a wall, they say.

Aussie bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is currently betting on how much Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream will fetch at a Southey’s auction this month.

Waterhouse has previously wagered on the winners of reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars and The Voice to add a bit of zest to mundane wagers on political elections and Academy Awards.

Waterhouse’s mother is leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai and the bookie regularly reports on Monday how punters cleaned him out on Saturday backing Mum’s horses such as great mare More Joyous and unbeaten 2-year-old Pierro. It is always “Mum’s horse” though it is a surprise the trainer does not say, “When I am in a professional capacity, it is Ms Waterhouse to you, sonny boy.”

Tom Waterhouse needs to bet on an exotic event such as the Southeby’s auction to recoup some of the damage Mum’s ponies have reeked on the bottom line. It does not hurt that weird bets attract media attention, something London bookie Ladbrokes worked out decades ago.

I do not know how much Tom and Mum know about art but I would like to think it is a lot. It is comforting to believe wealthy people might slip a few stray bucks the way of artists.

Here is Tom’s analysis of the race to buy The Scream or Le Cri, in the land of the Oo-La-La.

“Sotheby’s in New York is auctioning one of four versions of The Scream created by Edvard Munch and, as the only version owned privately, is betting $1.90 that it breaks the US$106.5 million record set by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust two years ago.
“Of the four versions of The Scream, the one that’s up for sale is the most colourful and the only one whose frame was hand-painted by Munch to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration.

“Sotheby’s has listed The Scream at $80 million, the highest pre-sale value that the auctioneer has ever put on an artwork but even that figure looks somewhat conservative given the level of interest in the famous painting.”

So here’s the market.

The Scream sale price (including the buyer’s premium)

$5 Less than US$80m
$10 US$80m to US$89,999,999
$9 US$90m to US$99,999,999
$4 US$100m to US$106.5m
$1.90 More than USD 106.5m

I am sure my gambling anti-hero Steele Hill would have a wager after consultation with arty girlfriend Natalie and polymath-bookie mentor, the Gooroo.

As a punter and an art fancier, I think Tom and his crew have got the market way wrong.

Tom admits there are four paintings of The Scream though he fails to mention the brace of Munch lithographs. This contrasts with one Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.

The prose-poem embedded in the frame is Munch’s reflection on how he came to paint The Scream.

I am not sure how many millions it is worth.

I was walking along a path with two friends –

the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red –

I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence –

there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city –

my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety –

and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

That is my versification, BTW. I am not sure how Munch does it on the frame.

I reckon the best bet is the $5 shot, less than $80 million, though I would make sure the bookie wrote the ticket as fewer than $80 million.

Check out this blog shortly to see who is right.

If you wish to smile about the place of quirky Australia in the Universe buy my book 7 Shouts from Google eBooks or Amazon.

Bernie Dowling
Bent Banana Books



The trailer for Gary Foley’s one-man show – FOLEY. Performing at the Street Theatre in July 2013 as part of the Centenary of Canberra. > And another Ilbijerri theatre production called Coranderrk


Unions without a Cosa?

On this week’s show Aaron Bastani and James Butler from Novara and Resonance fm discuss the ’3Cosas’ campaign and forthcoming strikes throughout UK higher education. Can the larger incumbent unions adapt and remain relevant? This program was sent around by … Continue reading


Kooii at the HiFI this Sat with Bobby Alu

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hi friends, Kooii is playing this Saturday Dec 14 at the HiFi supporting Bobby Alu for the release of their album. It’s sure to be an awesome night of music. Here’ is a link to tickets and more details about … Continue reading


indigenous social justice association wins international prize

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this media report by barry parker of afp is the only known media interest shown by the mainstream australian media to the wonderful good news that isja has been included as one of 5 laureates chosen for the 2013 french … Continue reading


G20 protest group condemns Courier Mail pot stirring


Aboriginal delegation to Santos, “Stop before it’s too late!”

To all Gamilaraay people living in Brisbane who would like to be a part of this, please turn up to Musgrave park at 9.00am to be painted up in Gamilaraay designs. Please come along we have to stop them now. … Continue reading


BFU Presents: The Politics of Schooling, a panel discussion.

Dear BFUers, The Brisbane Free University invites you to a panel discussion on the Politics of Schooling, featuring four diverse voices from the Brisbane Community. Each panellist will give a brief presentation, followed by time for general discussion. About the … Continue reading

Celebrate the launch of Vision 111

Bent Banana Books is offering the third installment of Jane Sharp’s Vision III psychic mysteries free for five days. Flight of the Reluctant Psychic is free from the Kindle store from December 10 to December 15.
Mark your diary or return to the  website below  regularly, click on the Amazon link of any book in our gallery to see if one of summer holiday promotions is available on it.

If you have an Amazon account in the UK or US, you will soon find the promotion of Vision II Return of the Reluctant Psychic.
From December 10-16, US Amazon customers will be able to buy Vision II Return of the Reluctant Psychic for $.99c.
The free copy of Vision III should be available in most Amazon markets, so check the price at the side of the book.

For UK Amazon customers, Vision II Return of the Reluctant Psychic will be on sale for £.99  from December17-23.

UK and US should check the £.99 $.99c promotion of Iraqi Icicle.

Please write a review if you are able after buying a BBB.

The UK and US £.99 $.99c promotions of Vision I The Reluctant Psychic are in January for readers who can wait that long to have the three volumes.

And now for our song

Good Vision means I can see clearly…


Bent Banana Books


Noir thrills in Brisbane

Bent Banana Books has all its titles at Bewdiful BargainBasement prices this festive season starting with Bernie Dowling’s neo-noir novel Iraqi Icicle at .99c.


Check back regularly at   click on books in our gallery and see what bargains are on offer.
The Iraqi IcicleeBook bargain begins on December 7 at Amazon US. Your copy for Kindle is a few clicks and .99c away.  The promotion begins at Amazon UK on December 8 for £.99.
In paperback, your favorite online book stores will have the 368-page paperback in your eager hands for $US16-17 including delivery.
For less than $20, you can give a paperback copy of Iraqi Icicle as a Christmas gift and have the eBook at your finger-tips for your holiday reading.
You might want to read the reviews before you buy.
Here is one from the most respected book magazines in the world, Publishers Weekly. At the very least, you will find out what an Iraqi Icicle is.
Australian author Bernie Dowling applauds this promotion.
“I am pleased Amazon and Bent Banana Books have made Iraqi Icicle available at the eBook price of .99c,” Dowling said from his home  north of Brisbane.
“I created the novel as a deliberate challenge for the reader with a headache from the sugar-hits of formula thrillers. Now, people can read the eBook to decide which friend would appreciate the paperback for Christmas.”
He said the correct answer to what is an Iraqi icicle was find out for yourself.
I have not blogged here for quite some time so I am not sure if you are out there. Helloooow!  Helloooow! Anybody there? 
Any way, if you are out there, you know the drill. We finish with a song. As this post is about a neo-noir novel this one is appropriate. The video is a cultural atrocity but the song is cool.
Cheers, Bernie.

The great timorese rip-off

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The Australian has bugged the East Timor government during crucial negotiations over the $40 billion gas resources in the Timor Sea. Not surprisingly the East Timorese government  has annulled the Timor Sea Treaty on the basis that Australia engaged in … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo in December

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Friday, 6 December 2013, 8.00 p.m. Kurilpa Hall 174 Boundary Street West End Rivermouth / Jumping Fences / Rough Red As always Maggie’s delicious cakes tea and coffee will be on sale. $10 / $7 BYO More info: