Involvement in professional sport is seductive. Winning seduces, but winning premierships is the ultimate force of seduction. It has, over many years, driven a win-at-all costs culture in sport.
In an era of professional sport systems and governance how is it possible for the Melbourne Storm to blatantly rort the salary cap? Salary cap rorting in professional sport is similar to white collar trangressions, and could be deemed the Melbourne Storm’s global (local) financial crisis. The penalties imposed by the NRL are harsh but necessary. The decision to strip the Storm of the right to earn premiership points in 2010 will place the club on the brink of extinction.
With a volcano erupting and disrupting people’s plans to make a pilgrimage to Gallipoli, a virtual ANZAC Day commemoration is looking more likely. As couples decide to have an internet wedding due to travel plans being disrupted by the volcanic ash, why not remember ANZAC Day online through an internet site? Social networking has been used for love before. Lots of people have an emotional attachment to ANZAC Day. With real travel plans disrupted, virtual tours may become more popular.
National identity is a theme that is on the arts agenda again. It is a perrenial theme, that recurs from time to time, usually when an artist is accused of plagiarism, copying or deception. With the visual artist, Sam Leach winning both the Archibald portrait prize and the Wynne landscape prize put on by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, he is placed in the pantheon of one of only three Australian artists who have taken out both prizes. His art prize bed fellows are Russell Drysdale and Brett Whiteley, both of whom went on to gain wide acclaim and sometimes notoriety for their art. Some people said it was antics, not art. Is this what we are seeing here with the Sam Leach affair?
Imagine, if you can, that you have spent the last 30 or more years in an environment of war, where your security is at best not guaranteed and at worst you and your loved ones have been regularly exposed to physical attack. Some, or many, people you have known and loved have been killed and many more bear the physical scars of war. Everyone bears its psychological scars.
You are at best a political outcast and vulnerable to repression, physical abuse, or worse. You or your sons or daughters flee your once loved home, seeking respite, hoping you can find safety and acceptance elsewhere.
This is the situation facing Sri Lanka’s Tamils and many Afghanis, who in desperation seek refuge in one of the countries lucky enough to be able to offer it. What they find, however, is that they are treated as criminals.
It is embarrassing to Australia that the Italian Textile Association has taken the extraordinary step of formally expressing its disappointment about the recent visit to Biella, Italy, of three directors from the Australian Wool Innovation Board.
The association raised a number of concerns. They felt the informal delegation didn't express official AWI thinking; they were embarrassed and disappointed at seeing people involved in clear conflicts of interest; they were surprised and upset by the lack of knowledge and extreme insensitivity to the mulesing issue, and the lack of communication about an upcoming advertising campaign.
The dickhead and nose candy campaigns are two very different campaigns, with different potential outcomes.
American journalist Allan Nairn’s game of cat and mouse with the Indonesian military is a brave attempt to show that it continues to represent the greatest challenge to Indonesia’s process of reform and democratisation. It is also one that could well see him spending time – potentially up to six years - in an Indonesian prison.
Nairn recently detailed how the Indonesian military’s special forces, Kopassus, continued to be involved in illegal activities, including murdering civilians. His report comes at a time when the US is considering renewing direct support for Kopassus, after having banned working with it for a decade and a half.
Would you say your child’s education is important to you?
It seems like a harmless enough enquiry and, when asked, what parent would not instantly agree that their child’s education is a priority?
But when it comes to the sale of educational software, obvious questions like this can be significantly more dangerous than you’d think – corralling parents into a corner that is difficult to escape from. They are the foundation of an insidious in-home sales strategy one former sales person described as “a sheep paddock, where you would go around shutting the gates as you went through your routine. So that at the end, the only gate left open was to buy”.
Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono address to the Australian parliament yesterday marked a very real change in Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations. Much of the history of that relationship has been characterised by either problems or diplomatic distance, which President Yudhoyono frankly acknowledged. But his speech to the parliament illustrated how close the two countries have now become.
The main change in the relationship has been as a result of Indonesia’s increasingly deep democratisation. No matter how close Australian political leaders might have wanted to be in the past, the fundamental contradictions between Indonesia’s then closed political system and Australia’s more open system meant that underlying problems would always surface.
The visit to Australia by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono marks an important step in the maturing of Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations. Not since the ebullient Aburrahman Wahid have we had an Indonesian president visit twice (SBY was here in 2005) but, more importantly, Yudhoyono is the most substantial political leader Indonesia has had since the departure of the authoritarian President Suharto.
That Yudhoyono has been invited to address the Australian parliament – and has accepted - is a further clear sign of the strength of the bilateral relationship. As a marker of Australia’s international diplomacy, the relationship with Indonesia has always been the biggest and most difficult test. As Indonesia democratises, both countries seem to be getting it right.