Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Monday, November 14, 2005


The government of Oz is ramming through very powerful legislation on two main fronts:
1) anti-terrorism and
2) industrial relations "reform".

On 1), I have some sympathy for the government and the Laberals on this, without trying to manifest the Chicken Little syndrome (The sky is falling, the sky is falling). How does an instrumentality deal with radical extremists who want to overthrow not only the state, but a society's general way of life? How does a government do that without itself going off the deep end and creating the very sort of society that our ancestors fought so hard to get rid of?

And how does the government temper its legislative reflexes so that the laws are a) enforceable, and 2) just and fair?

I have no easy answers. I have an easy fear though; and that once measures such as sedition laws are passed, then who guards the guards? An unscrupulous government or minister may well invoke them against any citizen who may happen to vocally or textually disagree with the dogma of the day. Scary stuff!

on 2), the "reforms" of industrial relations appear in the main to cater to the whim of the corporations who slavishly follow Pareto's law (higher wages = fewer profits). On this I will wax more eloquently. It would seem that we are heading rapidly towards a genuine, casualised "McWorkforce", with no rights, no rewards except for a paltry minimum wage and some limitations to keep the kiddies out of the mines. Oh brave new world of reform! Didn't we go through all this in the 19th Century, and the early 20th? How come we have do to it again?

Is it because, perhaps, that greed has taken control of the agenda? Perish the thought...

The late M. Scott Peck wrote once that evil is not dynamic and 'out there'; it's banal. Witness the Nazi bureaucrats putting in an honest day's work organising the shipping schedules to Auschwitz. Witness the corporate spin doctors and managers denying any blame or guilt over disasters such as Bhopal. More closely to home, HIH going bust after looting the corporate treasury, or Hardy's scarpering off to avoid compensation payments to workers suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

These sorts are the folks who are driving the government? Surely not. They'll tell you so. Perhaps it's the Americans, who are leading the way in the "greed is good" approach to management and government, influencing our decision makers? Surely not.

Come back Karl, all is forgiven.

Enough for now.

PB White