The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Elections! Photos! Trains! and other stuff

Thursday 3 April 2008 at 4:20 pm

Not dead! Just, y’know, busy scheming the next phase in this blog’s evolution. The first change you’ll see for now is a few more photo posts, taken from my newly pro-ified Flickr account … and other new stuff is in the works (no, honestly!).

In the time since I last posted here …

  • Taiwan got a new president! And he seems less interested in aggravating China’s government than the previous president was. This is a good thing for world peace, although it remains to be seen whether his party has really changed from the era of one-party rule.
  • Zimbabwe came close to getting a new president! Well, maybe, possibly, assuming Robert Mugabe is kind enough to actually acquiesce to the people’s vote — not exactly a certain outcome.
  • Brendan Nelson and his ragtag Federal Opposition decided they should just copy Kevin Rudd! Specifically, he’s gone on a “listening tour” all his own, ’cept it’s even more pointless than the Ruddster’s.
  • The NSW Government announced plans for the first real subway/metro in Australia! But then, in doing so they blithely dumped long-standing plans for a CityRail line in that area of town. That plus the far-off completion timetable has me doubting whether this will go ahead or be yet another expensive bright idea that gets shelved.
  • Kerry Stokes used his ownership stake to try to get some changes at The West Australian! The staff at that paper have such intransigence that again I doubt anything will happen, but if he succeeds and makes the paper stop sucking, he’ll be quite the unlikely hero.
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Briefly: ministers, global warming, and the EAS

Thursday 6 December 2007 at 11:24 pm
  • As nice as it is that the Ruddster has gotten all tough for his new ministerial code of conduct, I do believe John Howard was really quite strict on his ministers too, for a while in 1996. But then he fired so many that he had to scale the rules back, and something tells me that Labor types aren’t any more wholesome and pure than Liberals …
  • Also, the poor PM already seems to be having a hard time handling the global warming talks in Bali. And this is before any signs of progress emerge at all!
  • Brendan Nelson’s new shadow ministry certainly seems to keep with his promise to be fresh and new, with Tony Abbot getting the demotion he probably deserved. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the new faces are competent in opposition, because I have no idea how they’d perform as real ministers.
  • I never got a chance to write about the East Asia Summit, which was held in Singapore a fortnight ago. Pending a more thoughtful post, the news reports I’ve seen suggest that the biggest topic of discussion was climate change. It’s lovely to see more awareness of this issue, particularly from the Chinese (now Mr. Wen, can you fix the haze in Guangdong?), but it’s disappointing to see the EAS so distracted by it. With global warming being global and all, this isn’t the kind of issue that the institution was built to handle.
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Notch up at least one change so far

Monday 3 December 2007 at 7:04 pm

How symbolic of the Ruddster to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on his first day of officially being PM.

And just as the what-do-we-do-next Bali summit opens up, too. (Given how long and painful it was to get agreement at Kyoto, I am neither holding my breath nor hoping for anything, though we might hear about some wacky ideas.)

The Ruddster’s ministry changes are also intriguing, what with Julia Gillard being handed a new super-ministry (might she turn into a federal Alannah MacTiernan-type figure?). And it’s cute that he renamed “Communications” to “Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy”.

Meanwhile, the party on the other side of the fence is still all messy and backflipping on policy. But despite his promises of change I really can’t (yet?) see Brendan Nelson ever making it as Prime Minister …