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No shortage of petrol in East Brisbane?

Soon there will be no fewer than eight (8) petrol stations within a kilometre of each other in East Brisbane ! The owners say that the proposed development ‘falls within the Brisbane City Council guidelines’. What kind of guidelines are … Continue reading

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Chomsky’s Bad Dream

Noam Chomsky: Speculation of course, but I’ll indulge in a bad dream — which could become reality if we are not on guard, and if we fail to recognize that elections should be a brief interlude in a life of … Continue reading

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Some Medevac refugees win fight for freedom

Congratulations to Refugee Solidarity Meanjin, Refugee Action Collective and Unions for Refugees in Brisbane for their sustained campaign to achieve the release of Medevac refugees. Please see reports below from Refugee Solidarity (Meanjin) and the ABC. – Ed., WBT. __oOo__ … Continue reading

Vale Mungo MacCallum

Lean and Nosey like a Ferret – Mungo Wentworth MacCallum: December 21, 1941 – December 9, 2020

The first and possibly last time I saw Mungo in the flesh was at the Abel Smith Lecture theatre at the University of Queensland in the early 1970s. We were born on the same day, only 9 years separate us. Although I may have seen him once after that at the Poinciana cafe in Mullumbimby which he used to frequent in more recent times. Mungo represented an age when Labor-in-government was a party of modest reform rather than the reactionaries that grace government benches these days. That was Whitlam era politics.

The day I saw Mungo he was giving political commentary on Vietnam, Keynesian economics, capitalism, the Prime Minister ‘Big Ears’ Billy McMahon. While Mungo spoke at length on the ‘bible bashing’ bastard Bjelke-Peterson Bruce Petty was keeping up by drawing on a long piece of transparent film that rolled speedily across an overhead projector. They had us in tears of laughter. Mungo and Bruce kept us transfixed for over 90 minutes. Mungo was a self-confessed ‘class traitor‘ having given up on the rich and powerful and gone over to the side of the underdog. Mungo was born into the squattocracy, the impecunious distant offspring of the aristocratic Wentworth family.

“Gough Whitlam is remembered more for the agony of the dismissal than for the many great achievements his government wrought in a mere three years,” wrote Mungo MacCallum. At first he thought Whitlam to be a snob but changed his mind.

Our first meeting changed my mind completely; I was won over to lifelong Whitlamolatry. In place of the sinister manipulator I had half expected I found an amiable, funny and rather shy man desperately eager to explain his plans to transform the smug backwater from the Menzies years into a model for the rest of the world. In those days the idea that Australia could take any kind of leading role beyond sport was breathtaking, yet Whitlam seemed to find it entirely possible if a meticulously prepared program of public education and overdue social change could be carried out – and, as he outlined it all 35 years ago, there seemed no good reason why it should not. Certainly, in the rapidly changing times of the late 60s it was a cause worth embracing, and embrace it I did.”

Nation Review, 20-september-1973, Gay Pride week
v3-n48-14-

Mungo and Michael Leunig were a formidable combination at the Nation Review (the ferret) funded by millionaire Gordon Barton. Barton later funded the Australia Party, a small ‘l’ offshoot of the Liberal Party that later morphed into the Australian Democrats under the leadership of Don Chipp who was a minister during the Menzies era. The left of the Democrats finally found a home in the Australian Greens after their leader supported Howards regressive tax, the GST. Mungo famously called Howard ‘an unflushable turd‘ when he became Prime Minister in 1996.

With Mungo’s passing goes an age of journalism which was courageous and irreverent, if not entirely independent. After Nation Review Mungo ‘free lanced’ for Fairfax and Murdoch to earn a living.

On libel cases, Mungo’s particular forte, the law is absurd. Mungo said that every time you mentioned a person’s name or sometimes when you didn’t, it was possible to be successfully sued. Here he gave an example of a satirical piece he wrote in The Australian on a Brisbane police porn raid, where a certain Sonnavover, Ug and Og who communicated in grunts were featured — three Brisbane policemen threatened to sue under grounds that they were clearly identified.

On Bjelke-Petersen’s consciousness, Mungo wrote:

“The choice is, it’s between our system, everything that’s made Queensland what we are, and them, the others, the downhill road to socialism and communism, make no mistake about it, and my goodness, we don’t want that, do we, for democracy to be destroyed all that is necessary is for good people to remain silent, remember that …”

MacCallum saw himself as a ‘romantic Fabian socialist’.

Vale Mungo.

Condolences to his family, friends and readers, a new age is upon us.

Ian Curr
12 Dec 2020

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Ban Food Irradiation

It is well over 30 years since LeftPress printed leaflets that cautioned people against food irradiation. The campaign to stamp it out continues. Why is it taking so long for food companies and governments to get the message provided by … Continue reading

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Secrets, Privacy & Collateral Murder

“I supported the war from day one, but Afghanistan scares the hell out of me.” – Kevin Rudd, 6 Jan 2008. Prime Minister of Australia speaking to United States Congressional delegation led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)and Minority … Continue reading

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Bring Julian home Facebook live tonight

https://fb.me/e/5U02K1hBE

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Make West Papua safe

6 years on: Remembering the Paniai massacre 11am 08 December 2020  Australian Federal Police offices MELBOURNE and BRISBANE 383 La Trobe St, Melbourne   |   45 Commercial Rd, Newstead, Brisbane West Papuan community rally / funeral rites   Media contacts: … Continue reading

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Politics of Forgetting

Politics of Forgetting: New Zealand, Greece and Britain at War Greece was a poor country in turmoil and pain during the 1940s. A military dictatorship was followed by invasion and terrifying occupation by Germany and its allies, starvation, civil war, … Continue reading

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Save Brisbane’s Maritime Museum

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The maritime museum looks in a bad way. The old Forceful can no longer go to sea. One member of the museum says: “No doubt the museum has been run by enthusiasts who did pretty well and worked selflessly – … Continue reading

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Parliamentary Hyprocrisy on ‘Rule 303’

Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on FM 102.1 4ZZZ Fridays at noon. We challenge the assumptions of our current society, to resist oppression … DECEMBER 4, 2020 Following the release of the Brereton report into war crimes committed by the … Continue reading

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Hiroshima Day – end of march ban

Various anti-uranium groups like CANP applied for and were denied march permits by police from 1977 till 1979. At the same time opposition to uranium mining and export was so strong that groups that challenged the march ban and the … Continue reading

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A Book of Doors Launch

I am doing a Zoom book event for A Book of Doors with Avid Reader on Monday 7 Dec, 6.30-7.30pm. My editor Edwina Shaw who also edited Bjelke Blues will be interviewing me online. There will be an introduction and welcome to … Continue reading

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Paper Chained – callout for writings/art

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No Extradition! Bring Julian Home!

On Wednesday December 9, Julian Assange’s father John Shipton, will talk at a webinar in Brisbane about the Assange along with Assange supporter Ciaron O’Reilly and Greg Barns SC, Adviser Assange Campaign.  You can join the webinar here NO EXTRADITION: BRING … Continue reading

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Scapegoats of Empire?

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No chance had he to win the cross of honourNo mighty empire echoed with his nameHe did not leave a record, kindly, helpful,A pure untarnished name– Poem on gravestone of Gnr. L. M. Juster who died of wounds in France … Continue reading

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Returning to the ‘Scene of the Crime’

In 2014, our friends Greg Rolles, Tim Webb. Sam Quinlan, and Dave Sprigg were brutally assaulted by SAS soldiers on Swan Island, a highly secretive training base off the coast of Victoria. They were hooded, stripped naked, threatened with rape … Continue reading

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“Wealth enjoyed by the few” – South Brisbane MP’s maiden speech

This morning I delivered my maiden speech to the Queensland Parliament. And I focussed on a topic that is too often ignored in this chamber – why in a state where mining billionaires and big banks have such obscene wealth, … Continue reading

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Fraser’s ragin’ against the dying of the light

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In the early 1970s I worked, for a short time, on Fraser Island (K’gari) as a yardman. My duties included watering and tending the grass on the airstrip at Orchid Beach. This enabled the rich to fly in on Friday … Continue reading

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Managing Australia – China relations

“Between the gunpoint border and the spiritual violence of our identity“, “Beyond the daily war, beyond the days I wonder if the sound of my voice isn’t mine“ – by punk band Strike Anywhere – in their 2021 release Dress … Continue reading

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Australia’s Mỹ Lai massacre

“A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” – Epitaph on Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant’s gravestone (Matthew 10 : 36) “It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally … Continue reading

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The Huawei war

Our leaders argue we need to keep our alliance with the US strong in order to ensure our defence in the event of an aggressive foe. Yet the most likely reason Australia would need to confront an aggressive foe is … Continue reading

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Vice Admiral Griggs: SAS assaults on protestors at Swan Island ‘reasonable’

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Now only thing I did was wrongStayin’ in the wilderness too longKeep your eyes on the prize, hold onThe only thing we did was rightWas the day we started to fight — Pete Seeger ‘Keep your eyes on the prize’ … Continue reading

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Soldier, We Love You

“Having experienced limited lockdowns and restrictions as a result of the pandemic, Australians should recognise that locking up psychologically vulnerable Medivac refugees in totally unsuitable motels for over a year is torture pure and simple.” Welcome to the Paradigm Shift … Continue reading

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KP Prison – torture’s simple plan

“Worst of all is that institutionalised sadism has proved to be electorally popular and oppositions are hesitant to attack it, so there is community acquiescence” – Barry Jones, former Minister in Hawke Government. Jones was National President of the ALP … Continue reading

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Lytton road was wide enough

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Both Brisbane Mayors Quirk and Schrinner lied about resuming all those houses to reduce traffic congestion along Lytton road at East Brisbane. There may be marginal improvement for inbound traffic but there is even more congestion for outbound traffic. They … Continue reading

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Workers Liberty study Marx during Covid

Studying Marx’s Grundrisse Following several other successful study groups since lockdown, from Thursday 10 December, 8-9pm Workers’ Liberty will start a weekly Zoom study group on Marx’s Grundrisse. That is Marx’s rough draft of his economic theories – of much of what was later rewritten … Continue reading

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Julian Assange update at Brisbane Trades Hall

Last Train to Mirabad Julian Assange took on the US Wikileak’d ten years war in Afghanistan … No Wikileaks today about Sapper Jamie Larcombe No mention of his Afghan mate Both dead in Mirabad – Ian Curr Report from John … Continue reading

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Moreton Bay Quandamooka & Catchment: Past, present, and future

We post this important study of Quandamooka (Moreton Bay). Please find below the preface and link to the electronic record. WBT hope that some resolution will be found to prevent the proposed development at Toondah Harbour, a truly beautiful gateway … Continue reading

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Qld universities in the red. Why?

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Save Griffith University College of Art The Queensland College of Art (GCA) has a long history in Queensland. Over the years it has been housed in George Street, Brisbane, Seven Hills, and South Bank. It has been part of the … Continue reading