This week

To most Australians, who are uninterested in the daily political banter, Howard’s toneless voice sounds like reassuring political muzak we are dulled into a false sense of security. His speeches are so monochromatic, so achingly anodyne, that we mistakenly think of them as being as innocent as they are comforting.

 Wily Weasel Words by James Bourne has drawn comments on the politics of language:

How on earth in these times of high terrorist activity could anyone be lulled into a false sense of security by John Howard’s voice?   (Denise)

Howard’s deceptively banal (but often whining, often indignant) ramblings ARE part of a ten year long background static that has become somehow strangely reassuring, even at its most malevolent, to a large part of the populace (Asmcrae)

Language -in politics, in business, in all public discourse, therefore, is becoming more and more non-specific, wooly and, as James says, weasely. After all, if you don’t know what I am talking about, I cannot be held accountable for anything. (Jane)

Thank you James for articulating the power and appeal of an unthreatening voice. (hannahrachel)

Other articles that attracted several comments last week are:

Terror Australis by Jane Caro

Art After Terror by Eva Sallis

Previous issues

Recent articles that are still getting posts in the forum:

Open Letter to the PM by John and Barbara Gunn

We Are All Responsible by Jocelynne A. Scutt


Human Rights Act

During the past few months I have written to politicians such as Senator Ruth Webber, Prime Minister John Howard, Senator Andrew Murray and Senator Rachel Siewert. It seems a waste not to share my findings after weeks of researching and thus I am including a few quotes from these people’s replies to my letters  
Read Mun Tsin’s post on the forum

Indigenous Policy

Many white Australians acknowledge that their existence in this land lacks an important measure of legitimacy, while Indigenous people need recognition of prior ownership in order to feel part of the body politic. Sooner or later, a formal agreement which acknowledges past mistakes without apportioning blame will be needed to create a firm foundation for the future of this nation.
Reconciliation: Stalled, Fermenting, or Taken Out by Mark Byrne


Reconciliation is a silly concept and I’m sure indigenous people would rather be treated with respect, instead of verbal abuse and by some of the racist attitudes I’ve heard by some of the most bigotted of Australians, I wonder just who is sub-human around here (Denise)

Denise, ‘I’m sure’ -really? ‘They, them, we, us’ – alienating and objectifying language. (Maree)

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.