Many of you have asked me how it is that I can write a blog essay every week. My normal response is to say it is not as hard as you think. There are many likely sources for my weekly dabblings. I have normally been reading a book about something stimulating. I read the newspapers and listen to the news. This also offers material that can be elaborated on. As well, I work monthly with my coaching clients who always raise issues of interest that I can sometimes share with you.
Let me relate to you some of the inspirations I might have gained from these sources this week if I had chosen to write about them.
As you probably appreciate I take a keen interest in politics. I am a staunch republican and I was dismayed that Tony Abbott decided to resurrect a form of the old imperial honours where he could nominate a limited number of people to be given the title of knight or dame. I have in a previous essay outlined my expectations of our newest prime minister. I have a good deal of respect for him, but this certainly did not figure in what I expected. In making this seemingly unilateral decision I think he has misread the electorate.
I could just as well have written about the shame of the Labor Party and the union movement following the sentencing of the ex-federal head of the party Michael Williamson and disgraced Labor member Craig Thompson. There is obviously a lesson to be learnt by the party to be a little more circumspect in pursuing its relationship with the union movement.
Perhaps I might have made an issue of the appalling neglect of the Rudd government elicited by the Royal commission into the insulation batts issue. They seem to have bull-dozed an initiative through that was ill-advised and certain to result in injury or death.
There has also been a divisive debate about free speech and the proposed changes to section 18c of the Racial Vilification Act. Those who know me would not be surprised by the fact that I believe freedom of speech is put at risk if we are unable to say things that people, however insecure, might find offensive. I suspect I could have written a controversial and confronting essay on that topic!
As well I came across a rather esoteric essay by Sam Harris debating with Daniel Dennett about the nature of “Free Will”. I could have taken that up but I suspect it would have interested me more than my average blog reader.
I have been working with a couple of my coaching clients on communication techniques. I could have easily written an essay on that topic. Most of us are unaware that our communications always contain not only considerations about the subject matter, but our feelings about the subject and our feelings about each other. Our communications are also mediated by a filter that is there to pursue our ego defence. That sounds like three or four pages of a blog essay to me!
And then of course there was the court finding in favour of Australia’s protest at Japanese whaling. It reminded me of the venerable Father Robin who was a frequent responded to my blogs. He at one time sported the rather confronting bumper sticker – “Nuke the Whales!”
This week we also had the release of the latest report by the IPCC on climate change. It caused much wringing of hands by the true believers and increased scepticism by those on the other end of the spectrum. There were lots of controversial levers there I could have chosen to pull!
Then we had the ongoing scandal of AWH and the Obeid family who might have put a temporary stop to the political ambitions of the well-regarded Senator Arthur Sinodonis.
There were several issues of significance in the sphere of Industrial Relations. The Supreme Court fined the CFMEU $1.2M for its disgraceful blockade of Grocon’s Melbourne building sites. The Federal Court also overturned the Fair Work Commission’s rejection of a contentious non-union enterprise agreement. This seems to open the way for businesses to negotiate enterprise agreements directly with their employees.
I could probably have sought to increase my readership by commenting on the tragedy of the Newcastle Rugby League forward whose neck was broken in a dangerous tackle by his Melbourne opponents. Or I could have bemoaned the atrocious efforts of the Australian T20 team in the recent international competition.
I stumbled across a quote by Christopher Hitchens where he stated, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” This immediately suggested to me further arguments against fundamentalism!
Then there were the recent speeches by Reserve Bank Governor, Glen Stevens, and retiring Treasury official, Martin Parkinson, alerting us to the parlous state of the Australian economy. It would have been easy to write an essay excoriating the profligacy of the Rudd/Gillard governments and the insidious tendency for populist politicians to encourage their constituents to believe that they are entitled to things the country can’t afford. The Paid Parental Leave scheme, Gronski reforms, National Disability Insurance Scheme and the National Broadband Network spring immediately to mind!
And of course I could go on – but you can easily see that there are a plethora of subjects out there that I could write an essay about.
Of course I had an ulterior motive in writing this particular essay. For personal reasons I will probably not be able to post another essay for a week or two. So in the vacuum that that circumstance creates I have now given you a few things to think about. Even if you are intellectually lazy enough not to want to do this, you might at least ponder on what I might have written on these various topics!