Looking back: July 2015

On 11 July I posted:

I could have blogged about this strange creature, not originally a native of this country:


But I suspect you wouldn’t believe how feral he has been lately…* So I just hope he goes away. Many Australians agree with me, it seems. Trouble is there is little alternative.

Well in September we got our wish – almost. It has now been 100 days! But be alert if not alarmed: Abbott’s plans from the backbench.

Abbott is discovering what other leaders before him have learnt: it is not necessarily easy for former prime ministers to walk into corporate roles. Soundings have been taken by Liberal figures in the business world but no job has yet been found.

Turnbull, who knows from personal experience how gutting it is to lose the leadership, may well be hoping that Abbott finds another “noble and honourable calling” beyond parliament and does not follow his example and choose to stay.

In July the Friday memories continued: Random Friday memory 19 – Wollongong Mall, Random Friday memory 20 – July 1990, Random Friday memory 21 – wind-up gramophone, and:

Random Friday memory 22 – Beethoven in Minnamurra

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Neil

In 1970 I was teaching at Dapto High School. A younger colleague, Paul K, rented a house at Minnamurra, just north of Kiama. A delightful place then. The house was right on the river, roughly where the following much more recent photo indicates:


Of course there were fewer houses then.


The ocean beach was just across the river. Many a party happened in that house as Paul K was most hospitable.

So hospitable that the house was usually left open, even when no-one was around. One day I drove down there with a newly purchased copy of Beethoven’s Ninth. Perhaps I’d got it for my 27th birthday. No-one was home, so I let myself in. A storm was coming up as I placed the record on the turntable and turned up the volume. Magical!…

Reminiscing also: I return to teaching — 1985 and…

The air-raid siren of Woodleigh

Posted on July 9, 2015 by Neil

It was I, apparently, having well-developed lungs in July 1943.


The TV highlight of July was the third series of Go Back to Where You Came From:

Rethinking boat arrivals policy?

Posted on July 27, 2015 by Neil

My position over the years on asylum seekers who come by boat has been fairly consistent. I have lamented the trajectory taken on this issue over the past decade and more, but at the same time I have never been an advocate of open borders – or a policy of warm-hearted anarchy.

I made a point of watching live on ABC News 24 the recent ALP Conference debate the motion to ban boat turnbacks with interest. The standard of debate was itself encouraging. I have to admit to being moved by Tony Burke’s speech.

Tony Burke, who was immigration minister when Labor lost office in 2013, told the conference 33 people died in less than four months he spent as Minister, including a 10-week-old baby.

In a passionate and emotional speech arguing that Labor needs to be able to turn boats back, he said he asked his staff to find out the child’s name from the Department.

“The staff came back and said, ‘Oh no, we have spoken to the Department they can’t give you the name, you can’t use it in the media at the moment because the names can change and the details can change’.”

“And I said, ‘Can you just tell them, I don’t want to use it in the media’.

“He was 10 weeks old. He died on my watch. I just want to know his name. His name was Abdul Jafari.

“I was given his name on a post-it note and I kept that post-it note on my desk until we lost office.”

Mr Burke said Labor needed to change its policy.

“Be in no doubt, if we allow a consequence of our policies to be that people smugglers can credibly argue that they can sell someone the chance to be Australian, then good, desperate people will say that’s worth the risk,” he said.

“I want us to help more people than we’ve ever helped before but I want everyone to get here safely.”

Some in the audience were moved to tears by his speech.

Now hot on the heels of that debate (lost, by the way, so that turnbacks remain an option under Labor, though whether The Greens let it happen is a moot point) comes SBS with series 3 of Go Back to Where You Came From on three nights this week.


See Go back, lunchtime prayers, Adam Goodes.

July  brought the tenth anniversary of the London bombings: London ten years on. There was also a rather silly story in July about the Queen’s “nazi salute”: The young princess and her 1933 wave.

The UK Murdoch asswipe The Sun has unearthed footage showing Elizabeth II in 1933 allegedly being taught the Nazi salute by her embarrassing uncle, and perhaps even worse the Good Old Queen Mum enthusiastically participating…

My top reading was the biography of Alan Turing:

Steak and kidney – and Alan Turing

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Neil

Yesterday at City Diggers:


An excellent winter meal, and a great book, Andrew Hodges’ biography of Alan Turing

And speaking of Diggers:

NRL tipping success

Posted on July 22, 2015 by Neil

Round 19 of the 2015 NRL Premiership Season proved to be one of my finer moments: seven correct tips out of eight, and the eighth was a damned near thing, Cronulla beating Canberra by just one point in extra time. This of course relates to City Diggers Tipping Competition.


See NSW election, and my new-found skill (March), Wild weather, wild tipping… (April) and Wind, wires, winning (May)…

Finally, a delightful addition to our Saturday lunches. Chris T and I were there again last Saturday.

Reclaiming Australia Persian-style in Wollongong

Posted on July 19, 2015 by Neil

Yesterday’s visit to Wollongong’s Shiraz Persian Restaurant coincided with a weekend when the paranoid right was out “reclaiming Australia” in various places around the nation, sometimes with the support of the nuttier members of the Australian government, alas. It was just a coincidence, mind. Our friend Persian Danny had suggested the place last weekend. Chris T and I didn’t even know it existed.

But I very happily reclaim the Australia that respects the beliefs of all Australians and doesn’t freak out over urban myths about halal food. I ate the food. I did not turn into a Muslim. As someone with Australian ancestry going back almost 200 years, or likely even 40,000 years, I am proud to reclaim multicultural Australia through such excellent food. As others have said:

Simply the best Persian restaurant I have been to. My favourite dish is “chenjeh” 😀

The Persian food here is amazing!

Persian rice heaven with pomegranate, lovely food, lovely people

We were accompanied yesterday by a Korean colleague of Persian Danny, glimpsed here entering the restaurant: