The other election is here in The Gong

Yes indeed. We have a NSW state by-election coming up. See also The Tally Room:

Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP Noreen Hay resigned from the state parliament in August 2016.

MarginALP 8.9% vs IND

Wollongong covers the Wollongong city centre, as well as surrounding suburbs including Berkeley, Lake Heights, Port Kembla and Unanderra.

The current electoral district of Wollongong has existed since 1968. Previous districts with the name of Wollongong existed from 1904 to 1920 and from 1927 to 1930. The current district has been dominated by the ALP, who have won the seat at all but three elections.

Wollongong was created in 1968 when the seat of Wollongong-Kembla was split between Wollongong and Kembla. Wollongong-Kembla had been held by the ALP continuously from its creation in 1941 until 1965, when it was won by the Liberal Party’s Jack Hough. Hough won the renamed seat of Wollongong in 1968, but lost in 1971.

Eric Ramsay won Wollongong in 1971. He held the seat safely throughout the 1970s, narrowly defeating independent Wollongong mayor Frank Arkell.

In 1984, Ramsay retired, and Arkell won the seat. He was re-elected in 1988, but lost the seat with a swing to the ALP in 1991. Arkell was murdered in 1998.

Wollongong was won in 1991 by the ALP’s Gerry Sullivan. He held the seat until 1999, when the ALP gave preselection in Wollongong to Col Markham, who had held the neighbouring seat of Keira since 1988.

Markham was defeated for Labor preselection in 2003 by Noreen Hay. She served as a parliamentary secretary from 2007 to 2008.

At the 2011 election, independent candidate Gordon Bradbery challenged Hay, and came within 700 votes of winning. Bradbery was elected Lord Mayor of Wollongong in 2012.

Hay was challenged in 2015 by another independent, Arthur Rorris, who was leader of the Illawarra trade union council. Rorris didn’t do quite as well as Bradbery. Rorris was narrowly outpolled by the Liberal Party’s Cameron Walters, although Rorris overtook Walters on preferences and finished up on 41.1% after preferences.

Some key dates:

Wednesday, 26 October 12.00 noon Close of nominations for Registered Political Parties at NSWEC Head Office

Thursday, 27 October 12.00 noon Close of nominations at Returning Officer’s Office 12.00 noon Registration of candidates closes  2.00pm Ballot paper draw Registration of Electoral Materials commences

Monday, 31 October  8.00am iVote voting opens 8.00am Pre-poll voting opens

Friday, 4 November 12.00 noon Registration of Third-party campaigners closes 5.00pm Registration of Electoral Material closes

Saturday, 5 November 9.00am – 5.00pm Pre-poll voting

Monday, 7 November Declared Institution (DI) voting starts 6.00pm Postal vote applications (outside Australia) closes

Wednesday, 9 November 6.00pm Postal Vote applications (within Australia) closes

Friday, 11 November DI voting ends 6.00pm Pre-poll voting closes

Saturday, 12 November 8.00am – 6.00pm Election Day


Pre-poll voting at Wollongong Town Hall 2015

At the moment there are three candidates:

  • Cath Blakey (Greens)
  • Gordon Bradbery (Independent)
  • Paul Scully (Labor)

There is quite a good chance that current Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery could win. There is no Liberal Party candidate.

The by-election for the Central Western NSW seat of Orange (held on the same day) is the one to watch though. The NSW government’s Coalition partner, the Nationals, could lose.

Fight night in Vegas – greatest show on earth

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Awkward! This is not a parody


This is a parody – I think


This is just clever…

Well, what to expect in the “debate” (more accurately “performance art”) today our time? I’ll be watching!

Apparently one of The Donald’s star acts in the audience in the third debate is Barack Obama’s half-brother. See Presidential debate: Why is Donald Trump bringing Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik? That’s The Independent (UK), but even more interesting is this July 2016 story in The Hindu (India).

United States President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama, a long-time Democrat, has switched allegiance to the Republican Party and intends to vote for Donald Trump because he believes the business tycoon “speaks from the heart.”

Mr. Malik (57), an accountant in Kenya, used to live in Maryland in the U.S. and is still registered to vote there…

‘Barack, Hillary killed friend Gaddafi’

Mr. Malik is also annoyed that Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama “killed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi”, whom he called one of his best friends. He dedicated his 2012 biography of his late father to Gaddafi and others who were “making this world a better place.”

But what bothers him even more is the Democratic Party’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I feel like a Republican now because they don’t stand for same-sex marriage, and that appeals to me,” he said.

Malik has 3 wives

Mr. Malik currently has at least three wives.

The President’s and Malik’s father, Barack Obama Sr., left Kenya in 1959 when Mr. Malik was a year old and his mother was pregnant with his sister Auma. Obama Sr. enrolled at the University of Hawaii, where he met and married the President’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

They first met only in 1985

Mr. Malik did not meet his younger half-brother until 1985. Mr. Obama (54) has seven half-siblings from both sides of his family. Mr. Malik, the eldest, is the director of the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a controversial Virginia charity named after his father.

For more on Fight Night and also the source of my top pic see the UK Daily Telegraph Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to clash in Las Vegas ‘Fight Night’ debate: US election briefing and polls.

But if the election is subject to the vagaries of all those dead people voting and is rigged from the start, as The Donald insists, you may wonder why they’re bothering. Perhaps a coup would be easier and more certain?  And I wonder if they will take drug tests before the show?

Finally some good reads, the first two from a US writer, John Scalzi. A cousin of mine (who is a strong evangelical Christian) commended the first a few days back as the best analysis he had thus far seen.

At this point there is no doubt that Donald Trump is the single worst major party presidential candidate in living memory,almost certainly the worst since the Civil War, and arguably the worst in the history of this nation. He is boastful and ignorant and petty, disdainful of the Constitution, a racist and a sexist, the enabler of the worst elements of society, either the willing tool of, or the useful idiot for, Vladimir Putin, an admirer of despots, an insecure braggart, a sexual assaulter, a man who refuses to honor contracts, and a bore.

He is, in sum, just about the biggest asshole in all of the United States of America. He’s lucky that Syrian dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad is out there keeping him from taking the global title, not that he wouldn’t try for that, too, should he become president. It’s appalling that he is the standard bearer for one of the two major political parties in the United States. It’s appalling that he is a candidate for the presidency at all….

The comment thread is instructive. Next, the latest post is Reporting in From Trump Country.

I live in Darke county, Ohio. In 2004, Darke county voted for Bush, who got 69.5% of the vote. In 2008, it voted for McCain, who got 66.9% of the vote. In 2012, it voted for Romney, who got 71%.

So you may not be surprised when I tell you the area in which I live is heavily tilted toward Trump in this election, and when November 8 rolls around, I expect him to win my county handily, likely gathering something like 70% of the vote.

Do I live among idiots? No. I live among wonderful people who will clear your driveway when it snows and watch your pets when you go away, who love and care for their friends and families, who are decent people in their day-to-day lives and are folks I am proud to call neighbors…

Finally, former NSW Premier and former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

Amid the bleakness of Shakespeare’s King Lear one character, Edgar declares: the worst is not/so long as we can say “this is the worst”.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse – Trump as candidate – here comes a more troubling prospect: the Trump next time, four years off, who defeats an unpopular President Clinton.

It’s easy to tick off what gave the Republican nomination this time to a bossy, ignorant demagogue – the loss of industrial jobs, anxiety over borders and trade, racist resentment of minorities. Perhaps, as well, bewilderment at a multipolar world where America can’t get its way.

None of these is about to fade.

The old jobs aren’t coming back. China is shrugging off traditional manufacturing so the plants in America’s industrial belt aren’t going to be opening again. In any case the robots are arriving to disrupt manufacturing and services alike.

The anger of white working-class males, incited by Trump, is bound to simmer angrily at a distrusted woman in the White House imposing background checks for gun buyers and appointing three or four liberal justices to the Supreme Court…

I think he is spot on.


Well, now I have seen it on ABC News 24 here in Oz. Interesting that SBS took their feed from Al Jazeera; perhaps I should have watched that one.

Purely in terms of reasoned debating Clinton clearly won. I speak as a former debating coach…

Trump is one weird guy. I do hope he also becomes one of the biggest failures ever to run for President of the United States. God help us all if he were to win.

Seems that The Donald regards accepting the verdict of the election as optional…

Nothing came of Obama’s half-brother being present. Was he?

Related: Fact Checks of the Third Presidential Debate. It’s bipartisan. Just happens that The Donald’s grasp of reality is more defective.

And another one: Presidential Debate Fact-Check from US ABC.

Real boys do cry – Man Up magic last night on ABC


That’s Triple M presenter Gus Worland and his son as seen in ABC-TV’s series Man Up. That’s the series website: a must visit. The genesis of the show is explained in this review:

Triple M presenter Gus Worland lost his best mate, Angus, to suicide in 2006.

Angus was the life of the party. A father figure and role model to Worland, Angus was his go-to guy whenever he needed advice be it relationships or his next career move.

“I just couldn’t believe someone like him could take his own life. In fact, I asked the police to check if there was anything slightly suspicious,” Worland told The Huffington Post Australia.

It took Worland nine years to fully come to terms with his death. To cope with his grief, he would visit Narrabeen Headland where he’d yell out to Angus, screaming at him in anger for leaving him and so many people he loved behind.

The same lookout point is the setting for the opening scene of ABC’s new documentary series “Man Up” which follows Worland’s mission to kickstart a conversation about male suicide in Australia…

Associate Professor of Psychiatry Steve Ellen had reservations: Man Up: inspired genius or half-bakedcelebrity expertise?

It’s done from the perspective of a quintessential Aussie bloke – Gus Worland – one of three male co-hosts on the Grill Team, a Sydney morning radio show that’s more blokey than football, meat pies and Holdens…

My first impressions of the show were not good. It annoyed me: another celebrity telling the experts how to suck eggs. Did decades of research and clinical experience count for nothing? Could a radio broadcaster with a microphone walk into the room and tell everyone what they were doing wrong?

I’m a big fan of people who have actually experienced mental illness adding their voice and knowledge – but a guy from the Grill Team – surely not?…

There are some flaws in Man Up. For starters, there are few female voices. The show is unashamedly male oriented – it’s about understanding why men suicide, from a mostly male perspective. At times it feels hollow. Given Worland presents the view that Australian men, as distinct from women, are emotionally barren, more opinion from those who do express emotions would have helped…

I am reminded however, that people like me (psychiatrists) are often criticised for boring everyone senseless with our endless inclusion of all the known facts to the point where the basic message is lost. Worland’s simplicity and direct approach might be just what’s needed to tackle the hidden epidemic of suicide lurking in our society.

Overall, Man Up is well worth watching. It’s both a TV show and an experiment – a description of the problem of male stoicism, and an attempt to change it. It is narrow in its focus, but it’s a true insiders view – Worland is about as Aussie as you can get and has a refreshing, honest and genuine approach.

Also, a team of scientists are sitting behind the scenes doing the research to see if this approach works. It’s nice to know that in world where opinion seems to trump evidence, there are still people who back up their ideas with science. I liked that it’s a curious mix of celebrity, culture and science.

Professor Ellen refers in particular to one long segment in the episode we saw last night:

There is a particularly poignant part, in episode two (which airs tonight), where he visits his son’s school to watch a seminar on emotions. The boys do a series of exercises to build their comfort around expressing feelings. It ends with some surprising revelations. I think even the hardest of men will shed a tear during this part. (I shed more than a few!)

Steve Worland himself wrote:

First up this week, one of the best school lessons I’ve ever had. Tom Harkin runs workshops for young men in schools all around the country, and he’s incredible. He challenges the boys to talk about masculinity and what it means to be a man. Frankly anyone who will take on a bunch of 16 year old boys has my vote.

At the beginning, the boys were mucking around and weren’t convinced about the workshop. But as Tom wove his magic, there were these incredibly honest responses from the boys, showing bravery they didn’t know they had. They all said they had cried recently but they knew ‘the rules’ were that they should hide their crying and “not get caught crying”.

I wish there were a thousand Tom Harkins going out and talking to our young blokes. His message is that men need to open up our emotions and maybe this is the age where we can really make a change. By the end of the day there were tears and the most utmost respect in the room. I was blown away and the most special thing of all for me was that my son Jack who (unlike his dad) is quite a reserved boy said he felt the day had changed his life. That’s a day to treasure.


Visit Tom Harkins’s site. Read ‘Bloke whisperer’ challenges what it means to be an Aussie man and Cassie White’s feature Boys Don’t Cry: young men and suicide. On that last one a commenter wrote:

I was disappointed that the article did not include the issues of sexual identity as part of the issue, nor add some of the gay/gender specific help services. My understanding is that a significant proportion of young male suicides in Australia can be related to this particular issue. In some Indigenous communities it is almost endemic.

See also my post 14 September 1989 and related memories.


That’s from the current edition of Face the facts: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People which miraculously still exists, though there would be those who surely would rather it didn’t. Kudos to the Australian Human Rights Commission, I say!

The issue of LGBTI youth and suicide was not addressed in Man Up, but it could hardly address everything and there is no doubt that by extension what it did show, especially in that school episode, was quite relevant. I was indeed rather surprised to find that the first AUSTRALIAN study of GLBTI youth suicide was begun in 2014:

Suicide rates amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are being investigated in Australia for the first time, researchers say.

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University is conducting the study on behalf of Beyond Blue.

It was prompted by documented high rates of non-fatal suicide attempts amongst LGBTI people and is investigating if they constitute a unique risk-group.

AISRAP researcher Dr Delaney Skerrett says it’s the first time a study has been done on fatal suicidal behaviour amongst the LGBTI population in Australia.

“You get a lot of research done on the non-fatal behaviours, suicide attempts, thoughts about suicide,” he said.

“But it’s a lot harder to do the research on people who have actually died because often that kind of information isn’t recorded when people die, that they were actually LGBTI.”…

See an excellent piece in The Conversation: Preventing suicide among gender and sexual minorities. And resist the pushbacks emanating from reactionaries of various stripes. See my post Show some backbone, PM:

See also Max Chalmers, The Anti-Gay Emails To MPs: Safe Schools Program Will ‘Destroy Civilisation’Safe Schools: Education or social engineering?, Safe Schools: Malcolm Turnbull requests investigation into program helping LGBTI students, Jill Stark, Safe Schools program: why zealots are trying to drag us back to the dark ages

Now I am such a Marxist, eh! Why only a couple of days ago on this blog I was commending Robert Service’s Comrades: A World History of Communism (2007) to my readers! A Marxist I really am not, but I do embrace diversity as a core aspect of the human condition and commend any society or program that does the same. Hence on Twitter I wrote yesterday: “I totally support #safeschools.” I also retweeted: “RT @JoshThomas87:.@TurnbullMalcolm You’re turning out to be a real shit bloke.” Among others.

First, a really really good idea is to read the actual stuff that Safe Schools offers…

See also Ian Thorpe, Gayby Baby, and today in my life.