Three nudes by Bernard Hall (1859 – 1935)

Sometimes when you are walking through an art gallery, your attention is caught by a particular painting. One such painting is by Bernard Hall (1859 – 1935) an English-born Australian artist, teacher and art gallery director. The painting is in the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Hall’s painting is beautifully balanced. The subject’s body is curved around the yellow sheet, the tension in her body in contrast to the luxuriant folds of the material.

The tones and gradations of the light on the subject’s body are subtle and, even in the sleeping body, there is a tension that is accentuated by her right arm being behind her back emphasising the line of the side of her body against the black background.

The background and foreground are uncluttered and very simple to emphasise the play of light on subject’s body and the light on the material. It’s a wonderful little painting.

This particular painting represents a theme that Hall returned to in two other works.

In the first of these, the yellow material and the black background is used to isolate the body. The arms are used to elongate and create tension in the torso. Internal light is used to create delicate skin tones In a fashion similar to the first painting.

In the final painting, the model is set against a black drape and the arms and legs are arranged to create the tension that runs through the body and emphasises the model’s torso. In this painting, the contrast between the arms and legs is greater than in the previous paintings.

Time for Boris to pick up the ball and run.

For all his bluff and bluster about energising the country, Boris Johnson faces the same problems as Teresa May.

And the opposition is likely to be much tougher than the little kid in red who had no trouble stopping him last time he was on the rugby field.

THE AGE reports that: The EU is adamant that it will not renegotiate the agreement struck with May on the terms of Britain’s departure.

He heading a government without a parliamentary majority and with most lawmakers opposed to leaving the EU without a divorce deal.

And the Europeans are going on their summer holidays during the hundred days that he has to renegotiate the deal (which the Europeans have said they won’t do) and get the deeply divided British Parliament to agree to it (which the Parliament has refused to do three times already).

So as Neil Armstrong famously said “Good luck Mr Grotsky”

It appears there is no limit to the hypocrisy in the restaurant business

George Calombaris on a salary of $1 million – walked after 10 refused to up his pay by more than 40 per cent, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald understand.

MasterChef Australia judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris.CREDIT:TEN

Calombaris is one of the directors, and Made Establishment has been under fire over revelations that staff were underpaid a collective total of $7.8 million.

He recently addressed the staff saying he wished to be “a force for change ” in the industry where his multi-millionaire celebrity chef fellow travellers are similarly underpaying their staff. You could hear the eyeballs rolling.

Now we must remember that this million dollars that he is already paid for appearing on Master Chef is on top of the profits he earns from his restaurant empire built on the slave labour of the people who work 80 hour weeks for 40 hours wages.

What should we do about George Calombaris or Neil Perry (and their fellow travellers)?

There is a body of opinion that we should probably put them in jail. The logic goes like this: if one, or a number, of their employees had their fingers in the till to the tune of $7.8m or their accountant was cooking the books to the tune of $7.8m and they got caught, they would be put in the slammer.

So what is so different about George nicking $7.8m in wages from his employees?

The answer is: Nothing.

Why is THE AGE featuring pictures of disgraced chef George Calombaris with a halo around his head?

The other thing we should all do is stop watching MasterChef so the ratings go to 0.

We should also stop patronising the restaurants run by Calombaris and all the people who are underpaying their staff.

Now this is a double-edge sword. It does mean, that in the short term that the people who work for them will lose their jobs. But the business will shift somewhere else and job opportunities will open up in other restaurants which pay properly.

So it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

And we need to get rid of these celebrity chefs who are exploiting their workers and the restaurant-going public needs to show that they are not prepared to tolerate this kind of behaviour.

There needs to be some kind of public register of how staff are paid that allow people to make decisions when they make bookings.

The Age Good Food Guide would be a good place to provide guidance about whether restaurants provide ethical payments to their staff.

But this opens up another question. it has been argued that it is impossible to run restaurants and pay decent wages.

If this is true then Australia cannot afford to have a restaurant industry.

If we do wish to have a restaurant industry, then those of us who wish to dine out need to pay the price of doing that. Perhaps we can no longer expect to have a sirloin steak for $20. Perhaps we can no longer expect to have a coffee for $4.

So we may need to spend more than we go to a restaurant. But George and Neil may need to take a slightly smaller slice in terms of profit at the end of each night. A much smaller slice.

Or perhaps these people who have been exploiting the staff heed to get out of the industry completely.

Certainly The Age needs to stop running articles in the Weekend age featuring George George Calombaris with a halo around his head.

New Zealand government offers to take asylum seekers, Australian government refuses

The Age reports: Australia has another chance to transfer refugees from Manus Island or Nauru in a renewed offer from New Zealand to resettle 150 people, just as Papua New Guinea demands the closure of the detention centre on its soil.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “we’ve consistently” made the offer to Australia to resettle 150 people. CREDIT:SIMON SCHLUTER

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government remained willing to accept the refugees on humanitarian grounds, confirming the number of places during her visit to Australia last Friday.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected the chance to resettle the refugees on the grounds it would weaken border security.

Rather it’s an act of absolute bloody-mindedness.

The offer was first made by former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in February 2013 and was continued under his successors, Bill English and Ms Ardern.

Why did we ever think privatisation was a good idea?

In yet another example of the disastrous impact of privatisation, the outsourcing of building approvals in Victoria has led to a $600m taxpayer bill to replace flammable cladding in buildings constructed by shonky companies.

Deregulation of construction sector oversight was turbo-charged under former premier Jeff Kennett. He declined to comment on the impacts of his government’s building regulation changes when contacted by The Age on Wednesday.

Kennett and his henchman Victorian Treasurer Alan Stockdale also privatised Victoria’s water and electricity resources. The results have spoken for themselves. These resources are now owned by overseas companies reluctant to invest in our infrastructure.

Kennett and Stockdale

Why did we (and our politicians) ever think that adding the profit motive to the costs of running these valuable resources was ever going to make them less expensive to the taxpayer.

It defies all logic.

Somehow politicians were convinced that competition, with only one owner of the resource, was going to make everything more efficient.

It was a form of economic madness and it is an omelette where the eggs will never be unscrambled

Miriam Adelson wants a ‘Book of Trump’ in the Bible

Miriam Adelson is the Israeli-American wife of GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson.

And she wants a “Book of Trump” in the Bible. Heaven knows what would be in it. Presumably there wouldn’t be a chapter on pussy grabbing. And Stormy Daniels wouldn’t be asked to contribute.

President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

“Would it be too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a ‘Book of Trump. She is the wife of Sheldon Adelson, the wealthiest person in Nevada and one of the 20 wealthiest people in America contributing more than $123 million to conservative politicians in the 2018 election cycle, more than any other U.S. citizen.

This shows how rich and and how scary Trump’s supporters really are.

When will the Roman Catholic Church face truth about the paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale?

The Catholic Church continues to play hardball in its fight against a victim of notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, arguing to delay the civil compensation trial by at least 120 days.

The church’s defence lawyer David Collins spent much of a hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday arguing about the use of the word “propensity” in the victim’s statement of claim.

Ridsdale, who was moved across south-west Victoria by authorities in a bid to protect the church’s reputation, has admitted to abusing hundreds of victims and been jailed four times.

The bells begin to toll on the Catholic Church and sex abuse.

THE AGE reports: The viability of the Christian Brothers is in doubt as the religious order is forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to settle an avalanche of compensation claims stemming from decades of child abuse.

The Age can reveal the Christian Brothers’ Australian wing has already spent more than $213 million on victims’ payouts and legal expenses in the past six years, with the order expecting to outlay at least another $134 million in the future.

The royal commission found the Christian Brothers were among the worst perpetrators of child abuse in the country, with 22 per cent of its religious members being identified as alleged abusers.

Among them were brothers Gerald Leo Fitzgerald, Edward Dowlan, and Robert Best from St Alipius in Ballarat – the same school that harboured notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale and became one of the most shocking examples of the church’s crimes and cover-ups.

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale with friend and supporter George Pell

Doubts emerged (over the group’s future) two years ago, when regional boss Peter Clinch told the royal commission the group was no longer seeking applications for its novitiate and suggested it could disappear from Australia within a few decades.

The payment by the Christian Brothers are in marked contrast to those made by George Pell’s Melbourne Response.

The bulk of the money during that period was spent on other operational costs for the scheme, including $7.8 million for its Independent Commissioner Peter O’Callaghan, QC; $4.7 million on general legal fees; and $11 million on its pastoral arm, Carelink.

The Sunday Age reported that the compensation scheme set up by convicted Cardinal George Pell, cost the Catholic Church $34.27 million between 1996 to March 2014  -but only $9.72 million, or 28 per cent of it, was used to compensate 307 child sex abuse victims.

As Justice is given to the victims of child abuse from priests in Catholic orders, things do not bode well for the Church’s finances.

While Germany closes its uneconomic coal industry because it won’t meet the Paris Accord conditions, Australia is opening new mines.

This is an extract from an article in The Age entitled How Germany closed its coal industry without sacking a single miner

While Australia continues to open new coal mines, Germany is in the midst of closing down its entire coal sector so it can meet its agreements under the Paris climate accord.

One of the men who has led this transition is Michael Mersmann, director of global affairs with German mining union IG BCE. Mersmann is well travelled, charismatic and blunt.

Asked if he thinks that Australia could manage such a transition when and if the time comes he says “No”.

“One of the biggest problems Australia has is there is no existing relationship between employers, trade unions and states,” he said.

“In your country you are rather heading towards a conflict, not a consensus. What we are trying to do here is have softer negotiations and find a solution at an earlier point.”

Operating under a slogan that, loosely translated, declares that no one would be left behind in the pits, it was determined that not a single miner would be forced out of work. Instead pits were closed progressively across the region. Workers who wanted to stay on were transferred from mine to mine, while others were offered retraining, or if they were over 50, generous voluntary payouts.

The Mineral Council or Coal21 (as it is known) chief executive is Mark McCallum who said that with clean coal technology carbon generated by burning coal can be harnessed for uses as varied as hardening concrete to help extract oil from oil fields more effectively, safely keeping it out of the atmosphere.

Dr Martin Rice, acting chief executive of the Climate Council, which provides independent climate and energy advice in Australia, scoffs at the very notion of “clean coal”, likening it to “dry water”. “It is a fossil, you can’t burn it cleanly,” he says.