Malcolm’s Miasma

Malcolm is rooted.

He’s a middle of the roader. A Nowhere man. A piece of history. And why?

tone 1

The anger of the Righteous. Tone defends society from liberalism.

Tony says. Tone’s another christian, with strong values. According to the latest census, the vast majority of people identify with no religion. But Tony is quite right, no one listens to irreligious people. Malcolm aint irreligious. He just aint religious as Tony is.

Tony you can rely on. Malcolm is wishy washy. And in our last conversation with Tone, he reckons he heard a voice from above. None other than the voice of the patron saint of conservative Catholics everywhere. Yes indeed, Saint Bob of the Santamaria spoke to him and said. “ Tone, nows your chance, Malcolm is a fuckwit. He’s what buggered up the Labor party in the first place’. (Though Tone reminded the angel Bob that Malcolm was in the Liberal party and it was your eminence Bob that rooted Labor). They embraced, in as much as you can embrace with the true spirit of eternal truthfulness to Rome and the oligarchy of very old men, in keeping Australia on the line.

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Saint Bob of Santamaria. Patron saint of the IPA

Tone, then received the holy sepulchural chalice of God’s anointment. Only he could be vested with this anointment. An anointment from Saint Bob himself. The anointment is written in stone. It says; ‘No poofters. No lezzos and no people who don’t even know what fucken sexuality they are in the first place should ever be MARRIED’. Tone, then promised, on his knees that he would carry out Saint Bob’s holy vision and pursue any dodgy bastard down avery fox hole and expose them as shirt lifters, freckle punchers and kiddy fiddlers.

Christopher Pyne is the collateral damage. Chris is proof perfect that ‘Charterhouse Rules’ don’t apply. Tone only knows Rafferty’s Rules. Anyone with a phone is only one phone call away from making big bucks for Lord Rupert. Doesn’t matter who you are, you’re on God’s telephone, straight to Rupert.

tone 4

They must never MARRY

Course, Tone has no trouble getting his message out, he’s got the IPA. For those unfamiliar with contemporary political discourse, IPA is not a beer. It’s an Institute set up for like-minded people. Who believe in God and the certainty of being absolutely RIGHT. And they’re united, in a vision for Australia. Just like Saint Bob. A guiding unifying principle. The principal of HATING Malcolm. It’s a biblical hate. Because for all intents and purpose Malcolm, like Cain is one of THEM!! And he has betrayed THEM!!

And they have been betrayed by the Australian people. The latest census comes as a lightning bolt from HELL. (We like to mix our metaphors at pcbycp). The biggest religion amongst Australians in the latest census is NO Fucken religion at ALL. Saint Bob, the IPA, and Tone know what to do. Fight for the Right! This is a watershed moment in Australian socio-political history. This census is a repudiation of God-botherers, cranks and nut-jobs to infect the body politic. It must be crushed. And how to crush it? Close down the Bureau of Statistics. It worked with climate change, Why stop there?


Kev listens in on as PM and Pyne twitter over Grinder texts. Kev will report directly to Tone via Lord Rupert

Destroy the Federal Liberal Party. And in doing so achieve PEACE in our time.

And give Tone the contract.

To pick up the Pieces.

Citizen-chip. Deciphering Dutton

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You’ve gotta be clever to appreciate humour.

We cannot compete with our highly paid politicians for laughs. The latest from New Daily’s, Rachel Eddy requires no editorial comment, the words say it all:

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Peter Dutton models new ” Border Force” uniform.

‘Aspiring Australian citizens could soon test their English with a series of “politically charged, inaccurate and inappropriate” questions on coal, the Climate Council has warned.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last week announced that changes to the citizenship test would include a controversial “stand-alone English test involving competent reading, writing, listening and speaking”.
The reading task contains a passage that appears to be in favour of “clean coal”, while acknowledging climate change is driven by human activity.
The passage is accompanied by the questions  in this link

dut 6

Not only amazing, but able to stymie intelligent debate and bamboozle foreigners who wish to live in G.O.C ” Gods own Country”

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie described the exercise as “beyond belief”.
“It is completely inaccurate and inappropriate,” Ms McKenzie told The New Daily.
She said the section included “politically charged, incorrect, biased subject matter that has completely suspended any notion of the truth”.
The sample test, used by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and written in 2009 contains several controversial passages.
One such paragraph reads: “Defendants [sic]of mining point out that, environmentally, coal mining has two important factors in its favour. It makes only temporary use of the land and produces no toxic chemical wastes.”

Dear reader,this is GOLD! Goodonya Peter, and thanks must be given to the architect of neo liberalism the English world over, Lord Rupert. He has bought us to this. The credit is his alone, and Peter as one of his standard bearers must be proud. Though he will need tutoring in eloquence if he’s to fill one of the sinecures on offer when he “ retires”. He is cureently in talks with Andrew Robb and Joe Hockey. Two ex pollies who’ve made retirement PAY.
But the final word is from our own Ira Maine, who puts the narrowness into a very specific pidgeon hole, marked, “intolerance’.

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Mrs Dutton tests new English requirements to “would-be” Australians in a foreign country.

‘Unbelievable, Surely not…

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Rupert worried that higher literacy standards may erode his readership

This  is simply a perfect demonstration of how, in any society, gentle forms of Fascism are introduced into our ways of thinking. This insidious infiltration could not happen in any normal circumstance; it would be rejected out of hand. Yet ours is not a normal circumstance. Ours is a time when people from Africa and elsewhere are being driven from their homes, even their own countries, by bullies, thieves, bandits and rogues. Their landing on our shores provides our two bob Hitlers, our  shameless Fascists with a perfect line of easy prejudice with which to inflame the more ill-informed elements of our society. This is precisely the strategy of lies employed by UKIP and Nigel Farage in the Brexit business which has resulted in the Teresa May election debacle and which will almost certainly accelerate Britain’s plunge into political oblivion.
Our politicians, sadly, don’t seem to realise that, with the rise of the disgracefully treated Corbyn in Britain, Macron in France and the ridiculous neo-prat Trumpery in America, the disastrous adventure of neo-liberalism is finally over.

Our mob, our Australian political mob, as if nothing had changed, as if it was still the rip-roaring, demented eighties, ludicrously  keep on trotting out the same, lunatic,’economic’ message. As if the bankruptcy of the West had never happened.
God help us but their arrogance, their chutzpah, their political Fascism, will be the death of us all’.


dut 4

Ira Maine.

Working hard for Australia.

jool 1

Best comedy is always played with a straight face, Julie’s Oscar deserving performance at the unveiling of the “Glorious Julie Bishop Foundation”.

It would be mean spirited to begrudge the latest pay rise for our Federal politicians. They work bloody hard. When they’re not using the pay rise to augment their portfolio of negatively geared investment properties, they’re up to their armpits receiving gifts from donors, lobbyists, and the big end of town. Some of these donors might even be Australians.

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Proposed “Glorious Julie Bishop Foundation’ Poster to be displayed in all Coalition offices.

So it’s hard cheese for the donors of the ‘Glorious Julie Bishop Foundation’ to have any respect for the people they’re channelling money into if they’re paid a lowly salary. And Joe Hockey himself would have to repudiate his vision for Australian egalitarianism; ‘get a better paid job’, if he was awarded the pay packet of a menial, a pecksniff, or just another middle manager. These are tough times and we know at pcbycp that well-paid politicians are there because we get more bang for our buck. WE get truly great value. And it pays.

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Lord Rupert, indicating just how much he pays politicians to do his work.

We were speaking to Rupert just the other day and he reminded us that now senior bureaucrats who do nothing at all except officiate, can get paid more highly then the PM. And it makes it increasingly difficult to offer cash incentives to get things done. And on top of all this is the widening inequity between politicians, and the departmental heads who alone get paid way beyond Prime Ministerial salaries, for running the post office, running employment schemes or doing non Governmental agency work like running charities and church organisations that pay absolutely no tax. They’re the heavy lifters, and politicians salaries are way out of wack.

So spare a thought. Though ordinary people’s wages haven’t risen in decades, the cost of living has gone through the roof. Spare a thought for power company executives, (whose salaries are incidentally over the top, but they deserve every bit) who rent-seek and send consumers broke. They all have expensive lifestyles to uphold, and the taxpayer must appreciate the sacrifices made, in order to achieve greater efficiencies.

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A demonstration of bi-partisanship in Australian Politics. Sam Dastyari, reluctanty reveals gift given to him by the ‘Glorious Julie Bishop Foundation’.

To the general public it seems curious that we pay our politicians at all. Like Mr Robb, they can get 800 k per annum as a flunkey for just for signing a trade deal. There’s much more money to be won in lobbying for Chinese state owned enterprises if you can’t pay off the swimming pool the beach-house, and the Ferrari on a paltry 200k parliamentary salary. But there are offsets, by being a politician you keep a standard, and ensure that us, the electorate, know that the system is in satisfactory working condition.

Even the “Glorious Julie Bishop Foundation” understands this, and as Sam Dastyari will tell you, it pays to have your ear, or hands, pocket, suitcase, close to the ground. That’s what keeps politicians in touch with ordinary Australians. Some of them, even wander into very public places, (Banks for instance) to oversee their offshore investment accounts. It is here that they mix with ordinary people. It’s reassuring to know that the pillars of the Australian economic dream, (the banks) are in furious agreement. The politicians we elect should stay as far away from dangerous “progressive” policy as humanly possible. And work towards the goals WE all agree on.

More growth, low wages and lower taxes.

And freedom of choice.

Poetry Sunday 25 June 2017

Lionel Fogarty’s Selected Poems 1980 – 2017 was launched last night in Bella Union, Trades Hall, Melbourne.  The fine academic, Philip Morrissey write that Lionel “Fogarty would agree that he is in a conventional sense unlettered. Initially he wrote down the poetry he heard or visualised in his mind, but he couldn’t read his own writings once he had written it down.  In order to communicate this poetry he had to ‘learn’ English with the aid of a dictionary.  It could be said that ‘he learned Engilsh backwards’, starting with poetry and moving back to grammar rather than vice versa.  His poetry is constructed from the weight of words and silences rather than in recognisable syntactical or metrical units”.

This is the first poem in this new anthology.

Insane Go Away, Sane Come Again

Rock you belong to?
Sand we want you?
Land you know now
Words we are afraid of
Animals you’re sane
Skies eyes sees
Clouds cry can’t see
Sees mostly easy but uneasy
Short and long life
Strangled around earth
in four ways
Soon will make us sane.
Ongoing rock, sand, land
whites betrayed living sands
Animals, skies, clouds, seas
whites must go away.
You      we      me
Earth shouts now
Four ways
oppressed people
in rushing four winds

MDFF 24 June 2017

G’day friends,

Words are easy, words are cheap
Much cheaper than our priceless land
But promises can disappear
Just like writing in the sand (Yothu Yindi- Treaty)

On the other hand “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King Jr.

The Intervention (Northern Territory Emergency Response) happened a decade ago. That indefatigable group ‘Concerned Australians’(CA) invited Harry Jakamarra to speak at a forum/conversation in Melbourne on Thursday 29th June. Jakamarra urged me to come along and speak. I expressed my reluctance to “be yet another white-fellow talking about Aboriginal matters in front of an audience” Harry won me over by appointing me as his cultural advisor!

I know the vast majority of recipients of the Musical Dispatches will not be able to attend (I like to think most if not all Dispatchees would like to attend). Just in case you can, attached is the relevant CA flyer. The good people at Arena Magazine (likewise indefatigable advocates for Aboriginal rights) are also holding an event in Melbourne on 21st  June. Their flyer is also attached.

To preach to the converted is far from being futile if the converted come away from the conversation better informed. I hope this will be the case.

You’re all welcome to attend.


Guns and Roses …. Welcome to the Jungle…..


A Conversation with NT Aboriginal Elders and Community Leaders

Concerned A“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King Jr.

Forum & Discussion sponsored by ‘concerned Australians’ cA

Date: Thursday 29th June 2017
Time: 2.45 for 3.00pm – 5.45pm
Venue: RMIT Building 80, 4th Level, Room 11 (Yellow Door)

445 Swanston St, Melbourne – Directions here or Tram stop (route 64, stop 7)


Facilitator:  Jeff McMullen AM – Journalist, former Foreign Correspondent and Filmmaker

Introduction: Jon Altman AM – Research Professor in Anthropology at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University

Northern Territory Speakers

Josie Crawshaw – Descendant of the Gurindji, former ATSIC Commissioner, founding Member of the Aboriginal Provisional Government, and participant of the recent Uluru Convention

Harry Jakamarra Nelson Senior Elder and custodian of the Warlpiri people, North West of Alice Springs with friend and peer Frank Baarda long term worker and resident of forty years in Yuendumu

Elaine Peckham – Apmereke-Artweye woman of Mparntwe and custodian of Alice Springs and surrounds

Yananymul Mungunggurr – Djapu woman, Elder and custodian for Gurrumuru, outspoken advocate for improved education and spokesperson for Yolgnu homelands (TBC)

Message from Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, senior Elder and Dhurili political Clan Leader of the Yolngu people of North-East Arnhem Land

In 2007 under the Howard Government Aboriginal peoples’ lives in the Northern Territory were suddenly and brutally traumatized. Labeled the ‘Northern Territory Emergency Response’ or ‘NT Intervention’ the policy was later expanded in 2012 by the Gillard Government for ten years and rebranded as ‘Stronger Futures’. These imposed Government policies have caused widespread havoc and disempowerment amongst First Peoples’ communities in the NT, breached human rights and United Nations guidelines, and were not consented to.

The policies are failing. Aboriginal land rights have been weakened and the Gaps are widening.

The people have long called for this LEGISLATION TO BE SCRAPPED. 

The sovereignty of the clans and First Nations Peoples must be recognised and respected. 

There has been a resounding call for substantive reform and PATHWAY TO TREATY/IES.

RSVP: To Pia at cA by 26th June

Facebook event (please like and share) at

A May Day for High Rise Apartments

Dear reader, after the appalling Grenfell apartment block disaster it is encouraging to see that something “concrete” is being done to redress the paucity of planning, safety and good governance in the construction and maintenance of residential high rise apartments.grenfell 1

PCbyCP were privileged to be invited to the media conference at No. 10 Downing Street. The PM’s press secretary, (Sir Algernon Lick-spittle OBE) proclaimed; “a new openness”. And we were pleasantly surprised to receive a show bag, and some very nice gifts courtesy of the parliamentary sub committee for affordable housing. A task group recently set up by the “Tories who really really care about poor people”sub committee.

may 3

P.M’s May -Day. She really cares about poor people.

The P.M, looked grave when she fronted the lectern. Before talking, there ensued a long pause. She looked up at the assembled throng and then shuffled some papers. She ushered in Sir Algernon who pushed a trolley piled high with building reports, inspections and policy documents. She turned to the audience as he struggled to place them all on one long bench. With a perfuctory wave he was whisked away, and the PM spoke.

“You see, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, what you have behind me is the sum of just one years, deliberation by the parliamentary sub committee into dodgy building practices. And this committee, I chaired. It’s a shameful indictment upon our neglect of the poor, the homeless and the refugee’s who sought shelter in our public housing. They died for our neglect, and I can tell you, the pound stops here! Something must be done to ensure that this NEVER happens again!!”

A roar of enthusiastic applause followed, and whilst the PM beamed, she thanked her parliamentary colleague. Then sipping on a glass of Perrier, she turned to the audience, and continued:

‘Therefore it gives me great pleasure, to throw all these reports, recommendations and studies into the bin. We will not waste any more time on red tape, and exhaustive enquiries. Enough is enough!!

may 4


It is my great pleasure to demonstrate a new business model for public housing, and a new commitment by our government to get things RIGHT. May I unveil, (Much laughter) courtesy of the Murdoch Institute, the newest model in public housing. And I’ve gotta tell you it is entirely made of STONE. I’ve got a burning (much laughter) desire to unveil this and even our most ashen-faced critics, (more convulsive laughter) will find this one just stokes ( uproarious laughter) the public desire for fairness and equity. May I (more laughter, and fanfare of opening bars of Hope and Glory) present the FUTURE!

may 5

Detail of Ground floor penthouse apartments under construction, detail indicates swimming pools, gaming lounge and excercise gym.

To prove BRITAIN is the envy of innovators and thinkers post Brexit the world over. We bring you the BABEL. The BABEL is the first integrated universal socio-economic mixed housing project in the world. Its 356 floors give unparalleled comfort and security to both the filthy rich and the dirt poor. And as a consequence of the disastrous Grenfell Tower conflagration we can offer penthouse apartments, pools jacuzzis and tanning lounges on the first fifty levels.  That’s for the very rich. Their investment will partly finance the project and be SECURE. Above them, levels will be will be devoted to middle class aspirationals. They’ll get the same level of comfort, on a reduced scale without security of tenure. And for the top 165 floors will be for the ultra poor, and  the homeless. They’ll have magnificent views and the performance enhancing benefit of steps. The upper floors have no lifts! Thus incentivising them to strive and be worthwhile citizens. We’ve reversed the cycle of inequality and given the dirt poor aspirational goals. And, we’ve put them ON TOP! ( thunderous applause) And in doing so provided them with Safety and Certainty that they know we care. And will ensure, for ALL OF US that they appreciate the stated order of things that contribute to a healthier SOCIETY’!!!

may 6

Sir Algernon Lick-Spittle OBE inspects multi level housing block courtesy of; ‘the Tories who really really care about poor people sub-committee’

Pm steps off podium and embraces Lord Murdoch, (God Save the Queen played loudly by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Band)

Three Wise Men.

hunt 5

Supreme Court of Victoria.

Fascinating news from the legal profession. The Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue, QC, representing Health Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant ­Treasurer Michael Sukkar, told a packed Supreme Court; ‘that the Ministers regret their statements, but will not apologise for them’.

We cant blame them. The Ministers were confused. They believed that the highest court in the land was not the Supreme Court, nor the High Court, but the Australian.

hunt 1

The three ministers

The Australian did, after the inevitability of serious criminal charges offered a full apology. But the Ministers would not retract their accusation that the Victorian judiciary were conducting “ideological experiments”, and “divorced from reality”. In light of so called “ lenient “ sentences handed out to would-be terrorists. The two terrorists are adolescents. One would think terms of five seven years would be enough for being stupid. And we cannot comment on the “stupidity” of sending them to jail to make them “ better” terrorists.

So the Court has deferred a judgement and we wait in stunned silence to see whether the Ministers will go all the way and repudiate the ancient principle of separation of powers. Bit like the ancient principle of the separation of church and state. Bit like the ‘No means No’, which part of the ‘No’ don’t they understand?

Helpfully from Sydney Criminal Lawyers comes this useful advice for those about to front the bench.

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Over the portal of the Victorian Supreme Court. An inspiration to Minsters who read from the “book of Murdoch”

WE suggest the Minsters, follow the instructions very carefully. They are lawyers, but not all lawyers are so good at comprehension. It makes them more human. We’ve added supplementary, commentary in italics.

‘Writing a letter of apology can help persuade the court to treat you more leniently when you are being sentenced for a criminal or traffic offence, (or just being stupid)
A letter of apology shows the court that you realise the seriousness of your charges and are truly sorry for your actions. ( because they demonstrated your profound ignorance of the law)
There is no magic formula to writing a letter of apology. It should be from your heart, so a lawyer can only guide you generally.
However, here are a few basic tips:
Address the letter to ‘Your Honour’. (unless his name is Rupert)
Make sure it’s typed or that your handwriting is very neat. ( get a journo from the Australian to do it for you)
Make sure it’s signed and dated. (ensure the date is post Magna Carta A.D1215)
Say why you’re writing the letter eg: ‘I am writing this letter to express my sincere remorse for my irresponsible (stupid) and dangerous actions’.
Accept full responsibility eg: ‘There was no excuse for my actions and I accept full responsibility for what I’ve done’.
Say something about yourself, eg ‘I’ve worked hard for many years and never been in trouble with police. I’m a family man with two young children and would never want to be a bad influence on them. I recognise I have been a bad role model through my conduct’.
Say something about your arrest, eg ‘I was arrested in front of my friends and family, which was humiliating. I had to tell my wife about this and face her disappointment’. (and it may affect my parliamentary pension and ancillary perks)
Say something about steps you’ve taken since the offence eg ‘Since this incident, I have (spoken to my counselor, psychologist) or (undertaken research) or (undertaken the Traffic Offender Program, or studied law properly) and I have come to understand the impact upon the community of my decision to (buy drugs, or drink drive or being stupid) and the danger to which I exposed myself and others’.

News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch applauds during a forum on The Economics and Politics of Immigration where Murdoch and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to a business organization In Boston, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

Lord Rupert. Wrote the book of Murdoch. Compulsory text for all Coalition ministers.

Beleaguered in Byron.

byron 1When no one could live in Lorne, we couldn’t give a toss,

The place is full of plutocrats, another paradise lost
When we couldn’t live in Byron, we were a little histrionic
There’s a problem with just being, just a little bit Byronic
But away from the sunny beaches, the interior’s bloody hot
Who’d wanna burn in summer, stuck to your little plot
But beachcombers, tree-changers, they’re all the bloody same
Now they’re kicking me dunny door down, bound for Castlemaine

(Traditional vagrant song C. 2017)

Dear reader it’s been long obvious that any delightful leafy or beauty spot is ruined by over-development. If it be desirable, it’ll be converted into something very undesirable. And if you loathe resorts, the “resort-ification” is almost complete. A paddock in Port Lincoln is paradise in contrast to this creeping homogenisation and pasteurisation of the soul. It’s called “progress’. We laughed when Lorne became too expensive for baristas. The irony was excruciating. And besides the death of Lorne, in our considered opinion can be dated either to the rebuilding of the Cumberland Hotel in the 80’s or the privatisation of the foreshore with the Erskine Resort. Either way it was a beach resort gone Chapel Street Sth Yarra, very shiny. And the aura of the 70’s cock rock, surfies, chicks and chiko roll eating blokes a thing of the past. Apparently people still go there, but they’re the same who enjoy Portsea, and the falls in Winter, They flock that way. They find comfort in numbers, sameness and being resolutely the same. It’s ‘Nice’. Though, not quite as “nice” as the one in France.

byron 2

Lorne. So expensive. Can’t even get a lawn mower man to live there

Same thing happened in Daylesford. Now it’s too expensive. It suited us further north. Kept em at bay. We spurned the over indulgence of massaging, herbal remedies and absorption in self. We loathe that sort of thing further north. We like cold showers, porridge, and being beaten by Swedish masseurs before a long walk, with singing, and the odds bit of lederhosen, keeps us pure in sprit and deed.

byron 3

Daylesford. The water is more expensive than gold!!

Now there’s that creeping susserus of change in Castlemaine. Lived there on and off for twenty years and the prices are going through the roof. And they reckon the same thing is happening, the forces of Air bnb is creating a vacuum. Sure to be kicked out of my rental home soon. Suffering from a newly diagnosed neurosis, “Transientis-forebodus”. The fear of being up-rooted’. As people get nuffink from the banks they’re long to short term rentals and the old, the addicted, the weak, the impecunious are being squeezed. And why not?

It’s time the poor moved to to Whycheproof, and Inglewood. Housing is cheaper in St Arnaud. Some suggest that Broken Hill is a good option. But like a fusion between Lorne and Byron, plenty of sand, and a bit of a tree change. That’s why the over-cashed retirees, (who happen to be the baby boomers) are heading north. It’s ‘Nice’, and as a consequence it’ll be soon DEAD.


Homeless dog with male companion.

And that’s the market at work. For poor people, Stuff em. Orbost is cheap. Shepparton and Seymour looking good. And on the rail. No jobs for barristas. Just plenty of work for barristers, solicitors and the aptly named “Justice System”.

Poetry Sunday 18 June 2017

Disappointment by Samih Mohsen, translated by Henry King

At the door to her room
In the motel looking over the sea
I stood
Thinking of how she laughed in the corridor
When she came back that afternoon, damp with sweat.

I remember the look she gave me
Hands that made her hair flash
So lissom
A violet I held
And a song I will sing.

She prised me open with two crooked fingers
She looked at me
At the door to her room the heart stammers
She bolted the door
I bolted shut my heart with a rusty padlock.

from A Bird is not a Stone, An anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry.  Freight Books, Glasgow 2014


MDFF 17 June 2017

Today’s dispatch is  ‘Interpretation’.  Originally dispatched on 3 June  2016


In 1994 IAD Press published ‘Aboriginal Languages in Education’

Nangala Baarda contributed a ten page article to this compendium titled: ‘The impact of the bilingual program at Yuendumu, 1974 to 1993’

Nangala didn’t shy away from mentioning some of the problems faced by the school in delivering education to Warlpiri children, but overall presented a very positive scenario, because it was. Under the sub-title ‘Benefits of the bilingual program’ there is this: “…The status of the Warlpiri language has improved greatly in the community, in the eyes of both white people and Warlpiri people. It is not ignored or put down by anyone. Lots of meetings are conducted in Warlpiri these days, with the decisions being related to the white people afterwards. And the language has gained in respect, so have the people. The bilingual program, together with the much less racist treatment of Aboriginal people, seems to be producing young people who are more sure of their identity and more satisfied with it…”

Back then meetings were well attended. A long period of not being listened to and gradually increasing control by what are effectively foreigners (non-Warlpiri people) has resulted in ‘meeting fatigue’ and mostly poor attendance at meetings. In recent times I’ve witnessed authority figures (politicians, bureaucrats, welfare officers, police etc.) speak to Warlpiri people in a patronising authoritative way. I’ve even seen groups of Warlpiri people being admonished and lambasted by such as the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, who should know better. Needless to say all of this ethnocentric lack of respect is delivered in English.

I recall Jampijimpa Robertson (who sadly is no longer with us) and Jakamarra Nelson acting as interpreters at meetings. It was then that the difference between translation and interpretation was driven home to me. I had learned enough Warlpiri to realize that the English words spoken by say a political candidate, didn’t match the Warlpiri words being rendered by Jakamarra or Jampijimpa. When every now and then I would grasp a snippet of Warlpiri meaning I’d find that it was identical to the English meaning.

By way of illustration of what I’m talking about, the Spanish expression ‘tomarle el pelo’ (taking one’s hair) is identical in meaning to the English ‘pulling one’s leg’.

I could only marvel at Jampijimpa and Jakamarra’s linguistic agility.

Untitled 60I had always admired those people who do simultaneous interpretation at the U.N. In 2011 I attended the IX International Rangeland Congress in Rosario (Argentina). Why I would bother to go, is another story. The papers were presented in English or Spanish so I got to put on a pair of headphones and listen to those Babel-fish people. Like the film sub-titles on television, the interpretation ranged from excellent pure genius to rather piss poor. It has made me wonder how many manmade disasters (colloquially known as fuck-ups) are the result of misinterpretations.

In the last Dispatch I was guilty of ambiguity. When I said that I would make an exception and judge Kieran Finnane’s Book ‘TROUBLE: on trial in Central Australia’ by its cover and then juxtaposed the ‘glass midden’ with …the ethnocentric assimilationist interventionists see only broken glass…. I left out that I thought the description of scattered broken glass as a ‘glass midden’ was very clever and evocative. As a result of this omission some would have misinterpreted and understood that I disapproved of the book. Quite the opposite, I think it is a must read for anyone interested in the complexity of Central Australian societies and the manmade disaster that is the NT justice system. …..Trouble in mind- Lightnin’Hopkins.

So when a Dispatch written in English (a language in which I consider myself reasonably competent) for a predominantly English speaking audience is open to misinterpretation, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize what Warlpiri people are up against when they apply an entirely different weltanschauung (world view) to expressing themselves in English.

When the Intervention rolled into Yuendumu in 2007 on the coattails of a politically opportunist stigmatising propaganda barrage (our very own ‘Children Overboard’ and ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ scenario) a public meeting was called.  The entirely English language meeting consisted mainly of the community being lectured on a new tougher paradigm which would deal with everything which they alleged was wrong with our community. It was all a bit much for Jungarrayi Sims- he got up and forcefully told the occupation forces : “You should go after the perpetrators, the perpetrators are who you should go after”. We all knew exactly what Jungarrayi meant and agreed with him.

He’d left out…. Why don’t you all piss off, leave us alone and instead go after the alleged paedophile rings somewhere else, because you won’t find any here…. 

The authorities interpreted Jungarrayi’s call to “go after the perpetrators” as an endorsement of their policies.

…..Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…. …The boxer- Simon and Garfunkel

Ngaka-nanyarra nyanyi
Jungarrayi Baarda

The sun gonna  shine…..
Chippie Hill, Louis Armstrong – Trouble in Mind (1926)…

Aretha FRANKLIN – “Trouble In Mind [Live]” (1965)…..