Elegy

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This is part of the story of an extraordinary Australian.

Frederick Septimus Kelly is one of Australia’s greatest sons. A century after his death on the last day of the first Battle of the Somme, the time has finally come for his music to be played again, for the notes to rise off the page, like ghosts taking form, and move towards us through time with arms outstretched, before finally embracing us, here, in the present. This is a gift to all who love beauty – the music of a deeply, sensitive soul, who was an Olympic Gold medal-winning athlete, Pablo Casals’ preferred pianist and a composer of real genius – Australia’s Vaughan Williams. It is time to finally hear his music and savour the sweetness of his flowers – for Australia to love its lovely boy.

The person who probably knew ‘Sep’ Kelly best was his brother Bertie, himself an amateur violinist who had studied with Joseph Joachim. “Born in 1881, as the youngest member of a musical family, Sep soon decided to copy his elders,” Bertie wrote. “I can remember him as a baby climbing onto a music stool and imitating the actions of a pianist.”

“For a while Sep was limited to what he could create with his small closed fist, but clearly he was not satisfied with that. To the astonishment of his family he rapidly succeeded in playing what he wanted. He seemed to pass in one bound from the stage of a boisterous child using the piano as a toy, to that of a miniature musician. I cannot remember him ever learning the piano. He just seemed to play it as a duck suddenly finds it can swim.”

At 12-years old, the child virtuoso went from Sydney Grammar to Eton for specialist tuition. Here began Sep’s introduction to rowing as a cox, then stroke, of one of their boats. Having spent his youth on Sydney harbour sailing with his father, he had always loved the water. Within a few short years he would be considered the greatest amateur sculler of his time.

Sep had composed music from his teenage years and his early songs are unusually eloquent. He had always preferred to play music by heart. He wrote music in his head without referring to a piano, polishing the works to perfection before committing them to paper. There are very few corrections in his mature works, if any. There are very few drafts. As with Mozart, the pieces seemed to come into being perfectly formed, as if they had always existed.

After Oxford, Kelly studied piano and composition for five years at the Frankfurt Conservatory, the leading music school of the time, where Percy Grainger also studied. In 1908, Kelly ended his studies to train for the London Olympics. He aimed to beat the Canadian rower L.F. Scholes, the only man who had ever bettered him. He rowed in the eights and won Gold in commanding fashion – his Australian nationality no obstacle to rowing for England in those very different days. However, his fame as an oarsman presented many obstacles to his musical career. The public thought he was an athlete dabbling in music, rather than the other way round. Reviews of his piano performances always referred to him as a sculler and Kelly eventually would realise that only in composition would he be able to escape his own shadow.

Kelly’s professional musical life commenced in earnest after the 1908 Olympics. He quickly took on a leading role in London, becoming the cellist Pablo Casals’ recital partner and also appearing as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra, amongst others.

Kelly’s great return to Australia occurred in 1911 when he appeared as piano soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Sydney Town Hall. The Bulletin review said: “The orchestra had the help of F. S. Kelly, a returned Australian, in Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto for piano and orchestra. This was his first appearance in Sydney after many European successes and his brilliant performance justified a remarkable outburst of enthusiasm!” He followed this with three marathon piano recitals in ten days, two chamber recitals, and conducting a chamber orchestra concert, all of which featured his works.

When war broke out, Kelly was back working in London. He rushed to sign up and was soon commissioned in the Royal Naval Division (RND). He became part of the famous Latin Club, a group of officers from the Hood Battalion. Kelly served alongside the poet Rupert Brooke, the composer William Denis Browne, the British Prime Minister’s second son “Ock” Asquith, and New Zealand’s Bernard Freyberg, later commander of their WWII forces and finally their Governor General. The war would take all of them except Asquith, who lost his leg, and Freyberg, who was wounded seven times, eventually dying from one of those wounds when it ruptured 50 years later.

By the time war broke out, Kelly had composed enough music to fill five CDs but there was far more that remained in his head, un-notated. “Before dinner I looked through my recent unpublished works and revised some passages before going to bed,” he wrote on Sunday January 3, 1915. “In view of going to the front I am somewhat conscious of Keats’ sonnet:

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain

“I am anxious to leave my unpublished work as far as possible ready for the press. Unfortunately there is no time to notate the works in my head – the Symphony in E Major, the Lyric Phantasy for large orchestra, the F Minor Piano Sonata, the Aubade for flute and strings, a String Quartet in E Minor and about a dozen songs.”

In the remaining 22 months before his death at the Somme on November 13, 1916, there never was enough time to write them all down and record them for history. They live now only as titles, the music dying with the bullet that cleaved his ‘teeming brain’.

In Australia artists are called many things, but rarely war heroes. Kelly was certainly that. More importantly, he wrote the most music of any composer who served. His war music is remarkably serene, as elusive as trying to collect moonlight.

Quickly written poems or drawings in the trenches are often cathartic, expressing and expelling bitter experience. Music, on the other hand, requires weeks of sustained concentration. It becomes a place of refuge on the battlefield – an oasis of calm transporting the mind to a more peaceful place. Kelly – like Mandela in Robben Island prison – transcended his environment, writing music in his mind over months at Gallipoli and France. He was able to sustain musical ideas coherently, notable for their lack of angst, even amidst danger and chaos.

Kelly fought throughout the Gallipoli campaign. He was wounded in the foot, allowing him the chance to notate his masterpiece, the Elegy for his friend Rupert Brooke. In the second half of the campaign, he wrote a sonata for the great Hungarian virtuoso, Jelly D’Aranyi, the most famous female violinist of her day. When the Royal Naval Division was transferred to the Western Front, Sep continued to compose, including trying to notate his aforementioned F Minor Piano Sonata, but which remained unfinished at the time of his death.

Kelly was a soldier who seemed to have no real hatred of his enemy. He spoke German fluently from his studies in Frankfurt and had mastered the musical language of Schumann and Brahms. He blended that with a very English sensibility, much like Handel did, creating a musical language that is closest to Ralph Vaughan Williams, but remains clearly his own. If Vaughan Williams had also died at 35, their two catalogues would be almost identical in quality and quantity, with Kelly writing more piano music and Vaughan Williams more chamber music.

There are layers of contradictions with Kelly: he was an Australian living within the highest levels of English society, whose manner was the epitome of an English gentleman but who was not accepted as such. He was often laughed at by his fellow officers for writing music in his dugout, along with his habit of constantly wearing gloves (though logical for a pianist protecting his hands), which they took as proof of his eccentricity. His Australian directness of expression caused fits of laughter, as did his love of cats, which he seemed somehow to collect in the trenches, particularly in France. However, it is very moving to read, how, after his death, his fellow officers came to realise how much they missed him – how life was a lot less interesting after he was gone.

Kelly’s last completed work was written on October 28, 1916 in Mesnil, near Thiepval, opposite Pozières. Lt. Commander Bernard Freyberg wrote: “Kelly and his fellow officers are situated in a small cellar of a bombed out house – indeed the whole town of Mesnil has been reduced to rubble by shell fire, and in this basement, only a few feet square, they cook, eat and sleep – the staircase serving the dual role of chimney and entrance.”

The work is an introduction and theme for a planned set of orchestral variations which Kelly marked Lento and Lamentoso, and which history will remember as The Somme Lament. The manuscript, in his perfect handwriting, scored as if for piano but with some details of orchestration, is impossibly clean, with no trace of dirt or soot, and not a single correction or error. It seems as pristine as if it had been written yesterday. It will shortly be orchestrated in order to represent the nearby battle of Pozières in the upcoming Diggers’ Requiem, the bookend companion piece to the Gallipoli Symphony, which will premiere in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.

On X Day, November 13, 1916, the day of the big push to take to take Beaumont-Hamel, the final battle of the Somme, Freyberg wrote: “On the extreme right I stopped to talk to Kelly who was in command of B company. We had been daily companions for the last two years and he, Asquith, Edgerton and I were the sole survivors of the Battalion who left Avonmouth for Gallipoli in February 1915. I wanted to take both his hands and wish him ‘God speed’ but somehow it seemed too theatrical, so instead we talked awkwardly and synchronised our watches.”

“Owing to our heavy casualties, it was never known really how Kelly was killed, but it appears that someone on Kelly’s left had missed a dugout entrance from which the enemy was starting to shoot. The situation was critical. Unless the strong point was captured at once enemy machine guns would pop up everywhere. Hesitation would have endangered the success of the whole attack on our front.”

“Kelly, being an experienced soldier, knew this quite well, as he must have known the risk he was taking, when with the few men he had hastily gathered, he rushed the machine gun. A few men reached the position, but Kelly, with most of them, was killed at the moment of victory.”

Freyberg, wounded four times, won the Victoria Cross. Kelly’s surviving men, as a sign of respect, carried him back through No Man’s Land in order that he might be properly buried. He is the only one of the dozen composers killed in the Somme to have a marked grave.

On the occasion of the centenary of Sep’s death, we must come at last to realise just how immense his loss was to our young culture. Our small population did not have composers to spare. Like so many countries, we paid a preposterous price in the First World War. The stories from this period are our modern-day Greek Tragedies, yet too often they are stories we do not know. If we did we would not risk war again.

We cannot recover Australia’s 60,000 dead from the Great War, but we can bring back Kelly. Following his death, Sep’s obituary was run in almost every major paper in England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia, and yet now he is largely forgotten. It is well past time for us to grieve for Kelly, to realise just what we lost, and to finally know him through his music, as Kelly himself foresaw when he quoted Callimachus in the foreword to his Elegy for Rupert Brooke:

Still your works live on, and Death, the universal snatcher, cannot lay his hand on them.

260 thoughts on “Elegy

  1. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/26/game-over-man-aliens-cast-remembers-the-irreplaceable-bill-paxton-on-alien-day.html

    https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/01/09/hal-mother-and-father/

    http://www.premier.sa.gov.au/index.php/martin-hamilton-smith-news-releases/7375-sa-supports-australian-space-agency

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/manus-island-shooting-mp-reinstated-following-dutton-claims/8473676

  2. This latest newspoll result, 52-48 to Labor, I dunno. While Labor can win an election on those numbers, a sense of pessimism has set in on me since the 2010 election where I believe Labor can win on nothing except numbers of 53-47 or greater.

    Namely because Labor leads since 2010 completely evaporate by the time of polling day, especially in federal elections, and seemingly especially in marginal seats in Queensland where it’s all decided lately.

    I dunno, while I’m mostly confident Labor can win this in the next election, it’s just, the right wing media still seem to have the ability to whip up voters into a frenzy against anything left of center. I mean it kind of outraged myself when I heard the headline that the Andrews government was seeking out ways to ban fairy tales because of anti-feminist messages (but of course the truth isn’t quite like that).

    While of course the truth is less sensationalist than that, it makes me worry a bit that in some cases, fighting may be occurring on the wrong front. Yes of course we progressives want to make sure every human being is raised as equal, no matter their gender, race, sexuality, etc, but crap like that just plays into the hands of the right, where they can frame the whole debate as “The extremist Lefties want to ban Cinderella” and that just seems to resonate.

    It’s just I think this kind of debate should occur around things of the economy, rather than the trimmings of society.

  3. Geez, how juvenile, good debt and bad debt. Getting out of owning their appalling handling of the finances. They call themselves the ‘Adults’. Sigh! I guess they’ll get away with it as usual.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. It’s a big ‘un today!

    Turnbull is about to impose an extraordinary imposition on gas supply arrangements.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/why-malcolm-turnbull-has-made-an-extraordinary-intervention-on-gas-prices-20170426-gvt3m3.html
    At last! The government will budget recurrent expense and investments in assets separately. No doubt they will spruik this to describe a small operational deficit so journalists will need to be vigilant for smoke and mirrors. It would also be useful to reconstruct past accounts to establish baselines.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/federal-budget-2017-new-rules-allow-scott-morrison-to-boost-infrastructure-spending-20170426-gvsirc.html
    Peter Martin says we’ll now be able to DO things as a result of the budget structure changes.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/federal-budget-2017-at-last-morrison-and-turnbull-will-be-able-to-borrow-big-20170426-gvsl13.html
    Trump has just announced the biggest tax cuts in US history and moving to a phenomenal fiscal cliff. And we thought OUR tax cuts were dangerous! Google.
    /news/politics/world/white-house-makes-opening-bid-for-biggest-tax-cut-in-us-history-20170426-gvtaq3
    Refugees hit back at Potatohead’s accusations.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/all-we-did-was-help-poor-hungry-child-asylum-seekers-hit-back-at-peter-dutton-20170426-gvsyr5.html
    The White House had all senators in to receive a briefing on North Korea. One senator summed it up with “If it flies it dies!” Google.
    /news/world/north-korea-white-house-in-extraordinary-senate-briefing/news-story/e5e0c9dc125b62f419a289932cae2c25Bernardi wants to be a right wing political PacMan and gobble up small parties and independents into his new outfit.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/family-first-takeover-cory-bernardi-looks-for-more-mergers-after-great-day-for-conservatives-20170426-gvstv2.html
    Andrew Street has a look at what Bernardi has got from Family First’s closing down sale.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/what-cory-bernardi-picked-up-at-the-family-first-goingoutofbusiness-sale-20170426-gvsopp.html
    The SMH editorial says that Bernardi and Family First have gamed the system.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/bernardi-and-family-first-game-a-flawed-system-20170426-gvshv0.html
    Mark Kenny says that Bernardi has the Liberals running scared.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/cory-bernardis-conservative-challenge-has-backpedalling-liberals-running-scared-20170426-gvt4nh.html

  5. Section 2 . . .

    And with consummate timing Bob Day has been declared bankrupt. Google.
    /business/former-family-first-senator-and-homestead-homes-owner-bob-day-is-officially-bankrupt/news-story/9273884a519238ee6f03572d9bea30bb
    Lawyer Duncan Fine writes that we should celebrate Yassmin not attack her. He makes some good points.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/we-should-celebrate-yassmin-abdelmagied-not-attack-her-20170426-gvsp1k.html
    So great has the cult of Anzac Day become, any dissenting voices are now attacked, condemned and vilified writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.
    https://independentaustralia.net/article-display/the-vilification-of-yassmin-abdel-magied-anzac-as-apologia-and-religion,10237
    Judith Ireland writes about the irony of the push to unseat Kelly O’Dwyer.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/what-kelly-odwyers-treatment-says-about-women-in-politics-20170425-gvrv79.html
    Mark Kenny climbs aboard the story that Michael West has been writing on to tell us about the billions of dollars of taxation revenue that are being lost to multinational gas operations.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/global-gas-giants-use-loophole-to-avoid-tax-on-billions-from-australian-operations-20170425-gvrwn9.html
    Coles has reversed its outsourcing of trolley collection in order to overcome underpayment of workers.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/coles-reduces-underpayment-in-its-supply-chain-by-bringing-trolley-collection-in-house-20170426-gvt1zu.html
    Macron’s email accounts have been hacked according to his campaign management.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/french-candidate-emmanuel-macrons-campaign-confirms-they-were-targeted-by-phishing-cyber-attacks-20170426-gvtacr.html
    In another classy act Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to identify national monuments that can be rescinded or resized – part of a broader push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/donald-trump-orders-review-of-national-monuments-to-open-land-for-drilling-and-mining-20170426-gvtaiu.html
    Trump just can’t help himself!
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/maralago-promotional-article-pulled-from-us-government-websites-after-uproar-20170426-gvsnoh.html
    Telstra has admitted to gross mistakes with its NBN offering in WA. But it plans to do nothing about it! This has to be a time bomb. Google.
    business/technology/telstra-admits-nbn-failings-in-wa/news-story/8794c39536464770f31d851590b6072a

  6. Section 3 . . .

    The rental market in Sydney is beyond the pale!
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-rental-affordability-hits-new-crisis-levels-20170425-gvs0h4.html
    Greg Jericho has a close look at the dynamics around rental affordability. He concludes that many on government benefits or even on minimum wage are essentially denied the ability to live independently – surely a sign that such incomes are woefully inadequate.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2017/apr/27/rental-affordability-at-crisis-point-for-low-income-families
    The Australian Olympic Committee has opened itself up to an independent assessment of its workplace practices. It’s obvious that many of the members have backed themselves in.
    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/australian-olympic-committee-submits-to-independent-review-amid-bullying-claims-20170426-gvt8z5.html
    Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against the network, accusing it of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.” Nice outfit!
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/fox-news-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-alleging-abhorrent-racial-discrimination-20170426-gvta0b.html
    Far from being the solution to Australia’s energy crisis, bureaucrats have confirmed the upgrade to Snowy Hydro may never even go ahead reports Mark Hipgrave. Turnbull fibbed.
    https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/turnbull-fibbed-about-snowy-hydro-20,10235
    Another day in court for our friend Mehajer.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/salim-mehajer-pleads-not-guilty-to-assaulting-taxi-driver-tv-reporter-laura-banks-20170426-gvshsr.html
    In a very good article this professor of cardiology explains that we, as receivers of high quality health care, have responsibilities.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/we-all-have-a-right-to-medical-care-but-with-that-comes-responsibilities-20170425-gvs9vu.html
    John Warhurst on the Nationals’ push to decentralise APS departments out of Canberra.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/messy-politics-of-public-service-decentralisation-and-the-canberra-region-20170425-gvs2di.html
    Cathy McGowan is going to push for a parliamentary inquiry into the decentralisation plan.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/proper-inquiry-needed-on-public-service-decentralisation-cathy-mcgowan-20170426-gvshwl.html

  7. Section 4 . . .

    The extent of nepotism in the Trump White House is amazing. And it’s not a good look.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/26/trump-s-white-house-family-affair-looks-a-lot-like-the-most-corr_a_22057107/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage
    Meanwhile House Oversight Democrats are demanding that the committee is allowed to vote on a bill that would require Trump and all future presidents to release their tax returns.
    http://www.politicususa.com/2017/04/26/democrats-turn-heat-demand-vote-bill-force-trump-release-tax-returns.html
    Stephen Koukoulas on the latest inflation figures.
    https://thekouk.com/item/491-inflation-is-low-and-remains-low.html
    Will we see naming and shaming as a result of the Post Panama Papers? A lot of dark forces will be pushing for this not to occur.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/post-panama-papers-call-to-name-and-shame-people-behind-secret-shell-companies-20170425-gvrz9o.html
    You have to hand it to PHON. They know how to pick and vet potential candidates.
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/one-nation-candidate-mark-ellis-quits-over-abuse-threats-to-family-20170426-gvsqwp.html
    Looks like cricket (and other sporting) is in a bubble market set to collapse.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/crickets-revenue-problem-is-all-in-its-timing-20170426-gvszad.html
    In the face of a significant increase in public schools enrolments in NSW the government has announced a bold new plan.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/revealed-the-5b-plan-to-tackle-overcrowding-crisis-in-nsw-schools-20170426-gvt0aj.html
    If EVER there was proof that fools and money are easily parted this is it!
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/nordstrom-is-selling-a-pair-of-mudstained-jeans-and-theyre-probably-what-we-deserve-20170425-gvses9.html
    The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink robo-debt issue continues to uncover inconvenient truths.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/centrelink-inquiry-hears-robodebt-collectors-never-visited-homes-20170426-gvshz3.html
    As does Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mp-quiet-on-30000-campaign-contribution-source-says-stafferturnedcandidate-20170426-gvspo6.html

  8. Section 6 . . . Cartoon Corner

    Matt Golding despairs over FOI.

    Andrew Dyson with Bernardi Family First.

    Brilliant work from Mark David as he pens new words for our national anthem. It has a seminal third verse.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C-UV0QlXYAEwTX4.jpg:large
    David Pope has a ripper on the new senator fleeing from “home:.

    Broelman has a sneak preview of our northern missile defence system in light of North Korea’s posturing.

    David Rowe drops in on Bernardi.

    A classic from Mark Knight!
    http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/592270191b6684db63f6667cd130941d?width=1024
    Jon Kudelka and The Cory Bunch.
    http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/48f46563b81cb6adda26bd2b1f3e3a90

  9. Kirsdarke (from last night) – I don’t think it’s as bad as all that. A singular poll is just a ballpark estimate of the current mood, and as such it bounces around a bit within 2-3 points. You need to look across the polls and over a period to get a clearer picture. And I’m quite confident that the polls are showing a spread of 52-54% for the ALP, so it’s highly likely the figure is still solidly at 53%.

    And remember, this is on the back of a concerted effort by the Coalition to turn the polls around. I mean, they’re really trying, and pulling out all the stops. We’ve had terrorism, war, racism, personal attacks on Shorten, big-ticket schemes like Snowy 2, even some backdowns on cuts. We’ve had jingoism too, which I suppose is what this ‘Australian Values’ thing was supposed to be about. You’d think all of those efforts would reap some return, but I’m not seeing it. From what I’ve seen of primary vote figures, it shaved a little bit off the ALP, but gave none of it to the Liberals.

    I’m going on memory here, but this is pretty much what’s happened over the last few Federal elections:

    2001 – 9/11 and Children Overboard gave Howard a big boost, but votes were coming back to the ALP late in the election period.

    2004 – Howard gazumped Latham right at the start of the campaign with his “Who do you trust to keep interest rates low” and Latham never recovered.

    2007 – The 53-47 lead Rudd established was never reeled in at all, despite Howard trying every populist thing he could think of.

    2010 – Abbott was a clean slate at the time, offering platitudes, and Gillard had only just replaced Rudd, so that was more of a momentum/destabilisation thing.

    2013 – Went as expected, Abbott’s pre-election lead stuck fast.

    2016 – Turnbull won by a lot less than he expected to. And this was mostly because he still had a reputation for progressivism, and there was a feeling that he hadn’t really been given a proper go at the job yet. That ‘Fake Tradie’ ad was a pretty good scam in retrospect. This one was definitely a case of Turnbull hanging on for grim death.

  10. Aguirre

    Thanks for that. I hope it cheers Kirsdarke up, but I understand his misgivings, especially with the msm all out backing this mob of idiots.

  11. This is absolutely right.

    Telcos slammed for selling $200-a-month phone plans to people on welfare
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/telcos-slammed-for-selling-200amonth-phone-plans-to-people-on-the-dole-20170426-gvsyhz.html

    It goes a lot further than Telstra shop sales staff though.

    Telstra are notorious for making sales calls to home phones and mobiles too. I used to get one every few weeks. ‘We are just checking to see if you are getting the best deal’ they say, then they try very hard to persuade you to swap to a more expensive plan and to switch to BigPond. I was able to deal with them, politely and firmly telling them I was very happy with my cheapest possible plan. I allowed them to send me information about BigPond and when it arrived it went straight in the bin. Then I found out how to stop the calls (you ring a secret number and ask) and I’ve had no more problems. Being on the Do Not Call register doesn’t stop these calls if you have a relationship with Telstra – a landline, a mobile, whatever,

    If you are a dotty old lady or a person with an intellectual disability or just someone who is not good at getting rid of pushy sales people then you are going to be conned. it’s very likely you will end up with a more expensive plan, an expensive BigPond plan, maybe a tablet and a new mobile phone as well, all because some salesperson persuaded you it would all save you money.

  12. When Morrison splits his debt into ‘good debt’ and ‘bad debt’ and allows us to know which portfolios have ‘bad debts’ guess which portfolio will always be top of the naughty list. That’s right – welfare!

    This ploy is just another attempt to blame all this country’s financial woes on those lazy, idle unemployed, and on all those disabled people pretending to have bad backs so they can get a pension, and on single mums popping out baby after baby so they can stay on welfare.

    Morrison could get his deficit under control today if he wanted to. All he has to do is make sure those millionaires, billionaires and big companies pay their fair share of tax. He won’t. He’s going with yet another ‘welfare crack-down’ instead, just as this mob have done in every budget sine they came into government.

  13. Mark Kenny is such a dill!

    Why are the Liberals supposed to be ‘running scared’ of Bernardi’s fusion with Family First? I wish Kenny could explain why he thinks this way.

    Kenny isn’t even up with the latest news – Bernardi and Leyonhjelm are forming a senate bloc (insert joke about blockheads here) and hope to persuade Lucy Gichuhi to join them. They believe they will be able to collude with the government to counter-act the voting power Xenophon now has.

    A new Senate voting bloc of conservative crossbenchers David ­Leyonhjelm and Cory Bernardi is being positioned to exert influence over the government, and diminish the power of South Australian senator Nick Xenophon.

    The Australian can reveal Senator Leyonhjelm and Senator Bernardi have discussed co-operating on matters they agree on, headlined by the economy, amid a merger of the Australian Conservatives and Family First parties.

    Senator Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democrat, yesterday described the arrangement as a “loose ­alliance”, similar to the one he formed with former Family First senator Bob Day.

    He and Senator Bernardi, who launched the Australian Conservatives after defecting from the Liberal Party in February, also want to work with Mr Day’s replacement in the Senate, Lucy Gichuhi.

    Senator Gichuhi said she would sit as an independent instead of following her two Family First state colleagues in joining the Australian Conservatives.

    An alliance of two or three senators would maximise their power in a Senate that already houses the blocs of three Nick Xenophon Team MPs and four One Nation MPs.

    “It would be nice to have a wingman back,” Senator Leyonhjelm said. “I have had hopes that Lucy, Cory and I would be able to form a loose alliance and potentially prevent some of the ­sillier things that Nick Xenophon forces the government to consider.”

    You’ll need to Google this one or use an incognito window.
    Bernardi’s alliance intends to bloc Xenophon
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/cory-bernardis-alliance-intends-to-bloc-nick-xenophon-in-senate/news-story/02c0a616b6c7d66c7a181cee58c5f210

    There’s an obvious fault in Bernardi’s cunning plan – he and Leyonhjelm almost always vote with the government. Lucy Gichuhi will do the same. She would not have run as a Family First candidate if she had not been deeply conservative. So what’s the difference now? The government has the same number of assured votes on the big issues that they had before Bernardi defected and Day was booted out. What has changed? Where’s this alleged threat that has the Liberals so frightened?

  14. Morrison says portfolios will be held responsible for the debts they rack up and incur on future generations.
    What puerile crap! How will the Dept of Human Services’ “debt”be calculated? Is it the difference between budget and actual? Will it be offset for unemployment levels that differ from budget forecasts?
    It’s cost accounting on ice and will lead to extensive sub-optimal behaviour by portfolio heads and ministers.
    FAIL!!!

  15. One for the round file, no doubt

    Three refugees who gave a hungry child fruit inside the Manus Island detention centre have hit back at suggestions of wrongdoing, lodging a formal complaint with the Australian Border Force over “false allegations”, along with a plea to release the CCTV footage which they say will exonerate them.

    The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said the men’s assistance of the boy inside the detention centre created “a lot of angst” on Manus, and alleged it was the trigger the Good Friday shooting rampage by Papua New Guinea defence force personnel on the centre, despite it occurring five days before the riot.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/27/manus-refugees-who-fed-child-lodge-complaint-about-duttons-false-allegations

  16. The fix is in

    Former chief executive Fiona de Jong has questioned the independence of a review into workplace practices at the Australian Olympic Committee.

    Part of the AOC’s response to bullying claims by De Jong, which have led to senior staffer Mike Tancred standing down, will include an “independent” review of the body’s culture by the incoming chief executive, Matt Carroll.

    De Jong said Carroll could be put in a difficult position should claims of misconduct be made against members of the executive, headed by president John Coates.

    “I would question the ability of any CEO to be truly independent and impartial in circumstances that the CEO was to become aware of an allegation against an individual to whom he or she reports,” De Jong told the ABC.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/27/fiona-de-jong-why-cant-aoc-bullying-commission-be-fully-independent

  17. The government is spouting the good / bad meme.Good debt and bad debt. Good Australians (those with Australian values) and bad Australians.

    That is so much easier to tell to the voters than any nuance. And the “journalists” love it: it’s all so easy.

  18. Well, I don’t know about good debt and bad debt, but I’m quite certain there’s good politics and bad politics. I also know that you don’t solve a problem by redefining it.

    If he wants to play that game, then it’s pretty clear that ‘good debt’ would be the kind that benefits the people, seeing as its the people’s money that’s being spent. So investment in infrastructure and what I would call ‘obligations’ – health, education, welfare, social services – are all ‘good’. Wasted money – and the first thing that springs to my mind is the millions being wasted on housing refugees off-shore just to pander to a right wing fantasy about ‘border protection’ – is bad debt.

    If it was defined in that way, I might think about going along with it. But we all know it’s just another in a never-ending series of attempts to destroy anything that smells of welfare or community services. The Liberals will never learn that responsible government and ‘ideology’ are enemies and cannot be forced to live with each other. And that no amount of redefinition of terms or PR speak will successfully obscure that.

  19. I learned something shocking tonight. I have said before that I am a family violence survivor. I went through the women’s refuge system in Adelaide, in the early 1980’s

    After trying to prosecute the perpetrator, who eventually skipped the state to avoid an arrest warrant, I dropped out, and put myself into my own form of witness protection, for the sake of my kids. I had not one instance of contact with my own family for 15 years until I found out he had died,

    When talking tonight about that poor woman in an induced coma from being burnt by her fiancee, I was told that my ex searched for me, (as I thought he would, to try to get me and the children back into his clutches.)

    Apparently, I was the first woman to stand up to him, especially to the point of police reports. No one had ever got arrest warrants issued before. But those coppers wanted him, so he hightailed it out of the state. But he kept trying to find me for years, I was later told.

    But no, he did not want me back.

    He wanted to murder me.

  20. Billie – There was a time when DB2 was the only system that existed to social security IT people regardless …

    Now everything has to be SAP.

    They continue to think that one ‘solution’ is all that exists.

    Smart, agile interfaces that allow them to incrementally move on, without all in commitment to a particular ‘product’, makes them spend, and waste, a ‘motza’.

    • This linked article is also interesting, particularly this quote:

      All of Earth’s ocean floors deeper than 500 meters (i.e., exclusive of territorial waters and continental shelves) could be mapped by GPS-navigated MBES for 200 ship-years of effort (e.g., 40 ships working for 5 years), at a total cost of US$2–3 billion [Carron et al., 2001]. According to the NASA scientists we consulted, this is less than the cost of NASA’s next mission to Europa.

      I suspect the cost would be substantially higher than that, but well worth it – unlike pissing money away on immigration detention centres, border fences etc. (I’d still keep the Europa mission, though.)

      Airline Flight Paths over the Unmapped Ocean
      https://eos.org/opinions/airline-flight-paths-over-the-unmapped-ocean

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