Some advice for Glenn Lazarus on the mankini

Glenn Lazarus gained some political gravitas recently when he departed from political Laa-Laa land by leaving the Palmer United Party. He will now sit as an independent senator for another five years unless the Abbott government calls a double dissolution.

Like the other defectors from political parties, Madigan and Lambie, he must now create a political profile similar to that of Nick Xenophon and do it without the backing of Clive Palmer’s millions and without Xenophon’s political smarts.

So was clever to take to the streets of Brisbane in support of gay marriage. Popular cause, good TV coverage, the kinds of things you need to get re-elected to the Senate.

But then, he threatens to turn up to parliament in a mankini if the legislation doesn’t get through.

Now this is really dumb on a couple of counts.

The first is that an image of Glenn Lazarus in a mankini immediately springs to mind. It’s something like this:


Although in the case of Senator The Brick with Eyes, it is slightly less appealing.

The second is that if the legislation does not get through, he must either fulfil his promise or spend a lot of time explaining why he can’t. In both of these situations, he will look very silly.

So the advice is: Pursuing populist causes is a smart thing to do if you’re an independent senator but threatening to appear near naked should be avoided at all costs.

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Perhaps the worm is turning for George Pell

Two pieces of information from The Age this morning.

Cardinal George Pell may have known about disgraced priest Gerald Ridsdale’s crimes against children years before he faced charges and may have been involved in decisions to move him between parishes, a royal commission has heard.

This particular piece of information is based on the fact that Cardinal Pell was a member of the College of Consultors – a group of priests who advised the Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns  who removed paedophile priest Father Gerald Ridsdale from the Parish of Mortlake.  Pell will deny that he was present at any meetings where Ridsdale was discussed but can we really believe that these guys never actually talked to each other about what must have been a pretty serious matter.

Father Denis Denehy, a priest appointed to Mortlake parish in 1982 after Ridsdale was removed, previously told a Catholic Church Insurance investigator that he “thought every male child between the ages of 10 years and 16 years who was at the school was molested by Ridsdale,”  claimed Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Gail Furness, SC.

And this touching photo of George and Gerald going into court where Ridsdale was facing charges of child abuse.

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If Pell was close enough to Ridsdale to be supporting him what he faced charges of child sex abuse, he must have had some idea of the extent of his culpability.

Father Gerald is about to give evidence before the Royal Commission and let’s hope that a number of years in jail, where paedophiles are not treated well, may have led Ridsdale to think it’s about time he dropped a huge bucket-full on George Pell’s head.

And George is safely ensconced in the Vatican where there are no extradition treaties.

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The Scumbag Register

Somewhere in a better and purer world there is a scumbag register.

People are able to make application to be put on the register. Here is such an application.

Baby Gammy’s biological father, convicted sex offender David Farnell and his wife Wendy Li, who left Gammy in Thailand because he has Down syndrome, want access to the $235,000, the Charity, Hands Across the Water, has collected.

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You would think these people would be hiding in shame that they’re not. They actually want some of the funds are being allocated to their  abandoned disabled son diverted to them.

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Tony Abbott plays silly buggers with infrastructure funding

Tony Abbott and Matthew Guy should be made to go and stand in the naughty corner.

Victoria would get to keep $1.5 billion of infrastructure cash being demanded back by the Abbott government under a deal brokered by state Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.

Matthew Guy is not the Premier of Victoria and Tony Abbott should stop  acting as if he is

Matthew Guy is not the Premier of Victoria and Tony Abbott should stop acting as if he is

This is pure mischief making on the part of the Prime Minister and the leader of the Victorian opposition. Matthew Guy has no authority to make deals with federal government and Tony Abbott should stop pretending that he does.

It seems as if most readers of The Age  think so aswell

It seems as if most readers of The Age think so aswell

Abbott and his cohorts are quick to accuse people of “playing politics” but this takes the cake.

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Cartier-Bresson: Self-portrait and compositional descant

There is a wonderful self-portrait of Henri Cartier-Bresson. It bears all the hallmarks of his genius for photographic composition.

HCB portrait The focus of the picture is  the expression on Cartier-Bresson’s face as he appears prepares for a shot. We are drawn to his eyes,  framed by his glasses.

The  line of the glasses runs down to the secondary focus of the photo, the camera, which is framed by his hands. It’s a brilliant piece of composition.

But there is another element to the photograph.

It is the connection between the photographer’s eyes and the Elmar lens of his M4 Leica, a third eye for him. And then this  strong compositional line takes us to the lens hood that he holds under his pinky.

It’s a form of visual descant: eyes, lens, lens hood.

The remarkable thing is that such a brilliantly composed photograph looks completely natural.

Compare this photo with an another used by Terry Lane in an article on the photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald.

untitled 3Cartier-Bresson would have hated it.

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Will “Tumble turn” Tony call a snap election?

Will Tony Abbott gamble his prime ministership on an early election? Despite there being a good chance he would lose, he might just be crazy enough. writes Adam Gartrell

Should Tony get a rush of blood to the head, it might be worth checking the polls.

Before the budget:

First, there is the long-term trend that Abbott and Hockey are hoping they will have reversed with the Budget.

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With the exception of one small blip, the Labor Party has led the Coalition in every poll since the last general election. So the polls will be important in the post-budget period to see if the budget really has reversed for fortunes of the coalition government.

In another indication of the pre-budget situation, Galaxy has produced its first federal poll for the News Limited tabloids since the Liberal leadership spill vote in February and the headline two-party figure is 52-48.

After the budget

Reachtel Labor 53 – Liberal 47

There will be more polls to come but it doesn’t seem as if the budget has changed the trend line.  And the indication is that there will be some strong head winds in the Senate, particularly over the measures that were stalled after the last budget. As the Coalition becomes mired in a fight with an intractable senate, it is likely that it’s electoral position will erode.

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Cartier-Bresson and the ferryman of the Rhine

This photo, entitled  On the Rhine, Germany, 1956  is another example of the way in which Cartier-Bresson structures his photographs. There is a large expanse of white light on the river, even on this dull and dreary day.

HCB on the rhine

The density of this white light breaks up as we follow the line of boats down to the bottom right-hand side of the photo.  The density of the white light is also in sharp contrast to the dark shapes in the small dark dinghies.

But while this picture is immensely satisfying in compositional terms, it’s emotional impact is also very strong. The forbidding and dehumanising nature of the industrial Rhine is captured in the dark and sombre tone of the photograph.

There are also echoes and resonances of the ferryman crossing the River Styx transporting lost souls to Hades.

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