David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

17 July 2014


This morning we watched in disgust as The Senate finally passed the Abbott Government's AXE THE TAX legislation.

A few days ago, Bill Shorten made one of his better speeches, we reckon. You can read it HERE on page 31 of Hansard.

The extract below is the conclusion of the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt's advocacy, followed by Bill Shorten.

... Ultimately, repealing the carbon tax will reduce the cost of living, make jobs more secure and improve the competitive position of our country. It will be replaced with a system which actually reduces emissions. Let us be absolutely clear: the Australian people have already voted on this carbon tax repeal bill. They are now waiting for members and senators to honour their commitments to abolish the tax and get the budget back into surplus. As the Prime Minister has said previously to the House: these bills are the government's bill to reduce the Australian people's bills—and so the government and I commend these bills to the parliament.

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (12:51): I rise to speak on the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014 and related bills. In late 2009, this nation was on the verge of making a decision about which we could have been collectively proud. We could have made this parliament a place of inspiration, with a national response to climate change, supported by both government and opposition. It was a policy of both government and opposition that built upon the previous government's decision—a government not of our party—but consistent with the best practice in the world Indeed, this week is the seventh anniversary of Prime Minister Howard announcing his support for an emissions trading scheme...

Gauge the seriousness of concern here by the uncommon language of the conclusion, addressed to the future and to history :

... Today, the parliament has a choice: we can enter the history books as the generation that ignored the perils of climate change; we can be marked down as the generation that surrendered to the selfish, shouting clamour of vested interests; or we can guarantee that Australia does its fair share to deal with this global problem. This parliament can vote for an emissions trading scheme that puts Australia in step with the rest of the world. Today, I give Australians this promise: Labor will always fight for serious, credible climate change policy. We will never surrender to this Prime Minister's bullying denialism and his government's extremism. 

Sadly, we have run out of time to deal with climate change. The decisions made by us, the elected representatives of the people, over these final six years of this critical decade for climate action will have an irrevocable impact on the quality of life for future generations. We all have choices in history, and some are more than important than others. Today, we can embrace the extreme risk of doing nothing, and when, in the future, it is proved wrong, the costs will not be measured by a rye laugh of those opposite, an embarrassed smile or a belated and sincere expression of regret. No apology will suffice. It will be forever remembered as your greatest voting folly. There is no mistake greater. There is no blunder more serious. It is inexplicable. It is unjustifiable, not because we were responsible but because we did not accept our responsibility in this parliament. 

If we embrace the risk of doing something, then we shall take our place in the progressive world supported by a society that saw this issue as political but above politics. This parliament has choices. Each of us here knows that the political process can be exciting and exhilarating. We all know that it can be cruel and exacting. On this side of the House, we know that on the other side of the House and in the other house in this place there are people of character and commitment no less convinced than we are of the severity of the problem. But, for Labor, we will reach for the higher ground, always and constantly. In the blink of an eye of Earth's history, we have seen climate change that is staggering and frightening. In the blink of an eye that responds, let there be no tears for humanity.

AXE THE AXE : We turn in this moment of frustration to a what-goes-around-comes-around drawing made by a local primary school student ten years ago. 

click image to enlarge 
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ... 


Post Script : 
After four days of deliberation, The Age publishes this Editiorial:
To read it click here