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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

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29 responses to “Media Circus: Gaza edition”

  1. Li

    In the Overland Literary Journal: War is Social

    “War existed before social media, but not like this. This is a new thing. Imagine reading the IDF feed from inside one of those homes. Imagine scrolling in real time through the continually updated rationale for why your life is expendable, for why you might be killed in the name of security. Imagine reading the approving responses and watching the retweets accrue, knowing that you cannot silence that outrageous voice, that nobody could or will. War is social now. This is what is new.”

  2. sky

    I got into a debate about this with one of my relatives, and ended up looking through the ABC News online site to get a sense of the coverage. It ended up looking pretty biased to me: http://skycroeser.tumblr.com/post/35954487056/click-on-images-to-see-captions-which-explain

    I’m a bit curious whether:
    a) I’ve missed something here – do I have a skewed perception? Is the coverage less biased than I think it is?
    b) If what I see as bias actually is, is this continued across other Australian channels and the ABC’s other platforms?

    Note: if bias exists, hopefully it goes without saying that it would be ridiculous to impute it to any kind of shadowy conspiracy. Bias might be explained by the ABC taking the easy out of focusing on Australian press releases, by Israel being easier to access for journalists than Gaza, or for some other reason.

  3. paul walter

    Imho- only mine, mind you, I think the Israel Palestine conflict has been slanted against the Palestinians for generations. Zionism is part of the Western Alliance; Arabism is outside the charmed circle.
    Why am I thinking of comfortable Dr. Pangloss?

  4. Aqua of the Questioners

    Sky: I found that adding Al Jazeera to my newsfeed helped get balance. They’re possibly too far the other way, as I don’t recall much Israeli civilian perspective, but they’re not explicitly IsraelIsEvil, either.

  5. Aqua of the Questioners

    Sky: I found that adding Al Jazeera to my newsfeed helped get balance. They’re possibly too far the other way, as I don’t recall much Israeli civilian perspective, but they’re not explicitly IsraelIsEvil, either.

  6. Chris

    +1 for Al Jazeera to get more coverage of what is happening inside Gaza. I wonder if the reason that Al Jazeera has more Gaza coverage and the western media has more Israel coverage is one of access and safety of the reporters though. How much access would Al Jazeera have in Israel and how much would traditional western reporters have in Gaza with a Hamas government?

    It all seems rather Groundhog dayish to me though. We’ve seen pretty much the same headlines before. And barring a major miracle I think we’ll be in exactly the same spot in 5 years time.

  7. tigtog
  8. tigtog

    This is an excellent piece in the SMH on simplistic views of Aboriginality. Usual nuh-uh going on in comments.

    Whitefellas fail to grasp reality

    Category: Opinion
    Lindy Edwards

    Tony Abbott’s attempt to explain ‘authentic Aborigines’ was more than just rude.

  9. paul walter

    Re#7, the wonder is that the Republicans were even in the hunt with their medieval explanations for private expropriation of the commons.
    Their supporters, when asked, which is what an election is, wanted to to be brainless slaves rather than than walk as adults with a black man, a Harvard law Professor no less, for the good of all.
    American politics shares with Palestine/Israel politics the trait of sheer and perverse counter productivity

  10. tigtog

    In a lighter moment, yesterday during Question Time in NSW Parliament:

  11. Jo Tamar

    Article in the SMH today about the Encompass Australasia program, which is alleged to be “treatment clinic for clergy with psychosexual problems [which] harboured known paedophiles and shielded them from police scrutiny.”

    The following quote is … interesting:

    The NSW upper house MP Gordon Moyes, who as superintendent of the Wesley Mission in the late 1990s was closely involved with the Encompass Australasia program being set up at the Wesley Private Hospital, said this week that neither he nor hospital administrators knew the identity of clergy sent for treatment, or the nature of their offences. “In general we knew that they were largely priests of the Catholic Church who had engaged in various forms of serious sexual sins, particularly against children,” the Reverend Moyes said. “But Encompass was extremely secretive about all their business relationships.”

    LOLSOB.

    Can someone please tell Mr Moyes that “serious sexual sins … against children” are ALMOST CERTAINLY pretty serious criminal offences?

  12. tigtog

    FFS, Jo. What a mealy mouthed enabler Moyes is.

    Why isnt that statement of his all over the news this morning, instead of yet another round of Gillard-bashing over the fact that 17+ years ago she had a shonky boyfriend?

  13. Jo Tamar

    INORITE!!!

  14. tigtog

    I would also like to cast some heavily side-eyed skepticism towards Gillard’s ex-colleague’s claim that he definitively knows that she must have seen this particular correspondence with her very own eyes. Isn’t the routine correspondence side of legal paperwork what paralegals are there for?

    Going by the experience of an old-skool e-friend of mine in the USA, her male colleagues were astounded when she made partner because they assumed that she had gone part-time mummy-track, based on the conclusions they reached about her going home at 4:30pm every day. What they had no idea about was how she arrived every day before 6am to get all her paperwork done before meetings started, and that she was racking up significantly more billable hours than any of her male competitors for partner were managing by staying in the office until 8 or 9pm. It strikes me as highly unlikely that colleagues in the same law firm generally have any detailed knowledge of exactly what paperwork their peers see or do not see as part of their work done for any particular client.

  15. Jo Tamar

    Re oversight: absolutely.

    A partner might (probably should) have a pretty good idea of what work any solicitors they supervise are doing.

    But in a large firm, a partner is fairly unlikely to have much of an idea as to what another partner is up to.

    It might depend on the firm – within a practice group, that kind of information might be shared – but if so, it is likely to be at the general level (number of matters, total hours billed by the group, that kind of thing) and not anything specific.

    Re paperwork: many things need to be signed by a partner, and one would expect a partner who signs a letter to have read it (!), or at least a draft. But I understand the allegation is that Ms Gillard received something. It is quite common to address all correspondence to the partner whose name is on the matter, but the solicitor with carriage of the matter is highly unlikely to show it all to the partner just because it has their name on it.

    Also, knowing about a certificate of insurance does not mean you know the source of funds for the purchase!

  16. Chris

    But in a large firm, a partner is fairly unlikely to have much of an idea as to what another partner is up to.

    I doubt there’s any way he would have first hand knowledge that she knew about something in particular at that time or that he would remember it. But he may know of the culture of the workplace at the time. Whether it was reasonable that she would or would not know about such a thing if it came up. How much should she have known if she was doing her job and there’s the general issue of plausibility – how plausible is it that she didn’t know about a series of events?

    Also, knowing about a certificate of insurance does not mean you know the source of funds for the purchase!

    I don’t have a great understanding of exactly what is at issue here but I thought the implication was that if she was handling the certificate of currency she it would be to provide it to the bank for the mortgage and so she should have known some details about the mortgage itself.

    Given that claims are now popping up on programs like the 7:30 report who I would expect to do a reasonable amount of background research I don’t think the allegations can just be written of as the rantings from a guy with a facebook page. Not that it means she is guilty of anything, just that it may warrant further investigation especially given more people from that time period who were involved are now willing to talk publicly. Waiving by the union of attorney/client privilege from that time period may also help clear things up.

  17. tigtog

    I don’t have a great understanding of exactly what is at issue here but I thought the implication was that if she was handling the certificate of currency she it would be to provide it to the bank for the mortgage and so she should have known some details about the mortgage itself.

    I can’t imagine that one would need to know anything more than the mortgage account number and the property address i.e. that a mortgage existed on a particular property. What else would any legal firm need to know in order to supply an insurance certificate?

    Rather like setting up a bank account for a client at the client’s behest: why would a legal firm need to know any details about the source of funds which would be placed in that account? The client says “we need a bank account of this type now” and the lawyer says “yep, no problem with your organisation having that type of bank account, sign these papers and we’ll get that done by the end of the week”.

  18. Mindy

    Plus it is likely that a paralegal did all the legwork and paperwork especially in a large lawfirm like that. Why are they trying to beat this up into something? The 7.30 Report jumped the shark some time ago IMHO. Why aren’t they looking at who is beating this up. Liberal party connections? Colour me shocked. Not. They can’t pretend any longer to be engaging in journalism when they are sucking this stuff down with nary the need for a hook. Unfortunately the odd cracker of an interview by Leigh Sales doesn’t even out the balance. It should all be like that.

  19. Chris

    I can’t imagine that one would need to know anything more than the mortgage account number and the property address i.e. that a mortgage existed on a particular property. What else would any legal firm need to know in order to supply an insurance certificate?

    I know little about conveyancing beyond what I’ve come across buying/selling a house a few times so you may well be right! But I thought the insurance certificate was needed by the bank in order to obtain the mortgage in the first place? Eg the lawyer generally sits in the middle of all of this process. Well at least that’s how its worked in the past for me. Whilst I apply for the mortgage to the bank and the insurance company for the insurance separately, I give the bank & insurance company details to the solicitor and they handle all the paperwork that is needed to be exchanged between the different entities.

    I really don’t know how much detail the lawyer in the middle sees – in the paperwork shuffle what are there details about the mortgage itself? Just having a number would be a bit error prone, so they may well have information about who owns (account name etc) the mortgage – and isn’t the allegation that it was an S&G run mortgage? Now even with all of this perhaps only the para-legal saw the details. What are the obligations of the lawyer overseeing the process in this case?

  20. Mindy

    Not a paralegal, but as far as I can tell the paralegal does the legwork, the lawyer might check it over – maybe but with an experienced paralegal possibly not – and then the lawyer bills you as if they did the work ;)

  21. tigtog

    Chris, I don’t see how handling conveyancing paperwork tells any lawyer anything about the ultimate source of the funds. Mortgagee applicants can lie to the bank about where they actually plan to obtain the funds they will use for repayments – all the bank needs to know is that they have a legitimate source of income sufficient to manage the repayment schedule, but there is no way to track whether the funds that arrive actually come from that legitimate source of income, is there?

  22. Chris

    tigtog – perhaps I’m misunderstanding what the allegations are – its not about where the repayments were coming from but that the mortgage for the property was run by S&G (a different part)? And so that is something the conveyancer would/should know about.

    Gillard’s defence appears to be that she simply didn’t have any involvement with the file, not that the contents of the file would have led her to knowing the source of mortgage.

    Mindy – yea it starts becoming an issue of whether Gillard should have known, rather than did know, the former of which I’d guess is not illegal. But either way may be politically damaging. I wonder if the original paralegal is still alive and willing to give their version of what happened?

  23. Arcadia

    at the law firm I worked for, conveyancing was handled exclusively by the paralegals, and wasn’ t touched by a partner. Partners did put their names to some paperwork and letters though. Conveyancing is a pretty straight forward business, each transaction pretty similar to the one before.

  24. tigtog

    Thanks, Arcadia. Chris, as laid out by Laura Tingle in the AFR a few weeks ago, Gillard was not actually the lawyer who handled the conveyancing anyway (i.e. signing off on the work of paralegals).

    However, the significant weakness in the Opposition’s attack on the $67,000 cheque stems from the fact the attack rests on the presumption that Gillard handled the conveyancing of the property.

    In fact, the notations in the conveyancing file show all the conveyancing work was done in the commercial division of the Slater & Gordon practice, under partner Nick Styant-Browne, rather than in the industrial division where Gillard worked.

    Slater & Gordon at this point of history was fiercely competing – particularly with rival firm Maurice Blackburn – to build up links with trade unions in search of business.

    As a result, it offered package benefits to union officials and members as it touted for business, including free consultations, discount conveyancing and the like to create good will

    Styant-Browne told The Australian in August that “The Kerr Street conveyance and mortgage were both unexceptionable transactions for the firm’s conveyancing and mortgage practice.” But he told The Age last month that, in his view, Gillard had been “wilfully blind” at a minimum and that a media release by Slater & Gordon on August 19 was “stunningly incomplete”.

    Peter Gordon had said in a statement that he remained of the view that there was “no explicit or indirect evidence that [Gillard] was involved in any wrongdoing”. He believed that statement was “utterly consistent” with the Slater & Gordon press release.

    While Gillard was regularly dealing with Blewitt and Wilson as an industrial lawyer, the files show the conveyancing on the property was primarily handled by Olive Brosnahan, a senior paralegal working in the commercial division.

    Gillard’s name coming up in the file can generally be explained by her passing messages between her colleagues seeking to complete the settlement and Blewitt.

    Further, the Slater & Gordon ledger suggests Blewitt deposited the cheque in the firm’s account at a Commonwealth Bank branch in Perth, meaning no-one at the firm might have seen it then.

    Styant-Browne casts Gillard as “wilfully blind” above. But would it look any different if she was deliberately keeping her distance for purely ethical reasons from any details which were not her direct industrial division responsibilty? Not because she necessarily knew that Wilson and Hewitt were doing anything wrong, but just because she considered that it was the proper ethical thing to do to keep her professional actions and her personal life as separate as practically possible?

  25. Chris

    tigtog – thanks for the link – that is much more in depth explanation. It looks like it is an extremely complicated scenario.

    Not because she necessarily knew that Wilson and Hewitt were doing anything wrong, but just because she considered that it was the proper ethical thing to do to keep her professional actions and her personal life as seperate as practically possible?

    Its possible, but hasn’t she also admitted she did off the record work for them? So keeping private life/professional work separate doesn’t appear to have been a high priority for her.

    I wish there wasn’t so much time in politics spent on things that happened 20-30 years ago – whether it be Gillard or Abbott. After all regardless of what might have happened there were no criminal charges and people do change significantly over such a time period. Its also going to make it much harder to get people into politics in the future. But this appears to be the way that both the Libs and the ALP want to play the game now.

  26. tigtog

    Brian Cassidy writing in The Drum about how the “goes to character/ethics/judgement” argument is being unevenly applied:

    What else do we know about this man, other than the fact that he admits to being a part of the fraud, and that he has taken 17 years to speak to authorities about it?

    There was quite an insight into his character on Radio 6PR in Perth with Paul Murray back in August.

    Murray was interviewing the deputy leader of the opposition, Julie Bishop, who was going through her now familiar lines on the issue. “It goes to her character, Paul – her ethics, her judgment, whether people can have trust and confidence in her. I think people are entitled to answers from her so that they can make a judgment about whether she is fit to be prime minister of the country.”

    Then Murray took a call from Penny.

    Murray: “What can you tell us about this?”

    Penny: “… Ralph Blewitt is my brother, he is my older brother. He is as crooked as they come. It wasn’t Julia Gillard that stole the money. She might have set up the fund, and Wilson and Blewitt, Ralph Blewitt, were the crooks, not Julia Gillard. Ralph is out to make whatever he can make out of this for himself.”

    Murray: “… he appeared on the front page of The Australian newspaper saying ‘I’ll tell my whole story as long as I don’t get prosecuted’.”

    Penny: “Yeah, well, he is crooked as they bloody come. Sorry, but he is my older brother and I am telling you now he is rotten to the core.”

    Jon Faine, the host of the morning show on ABC 774 in Melbourne, read out the transcript on Thursday and asked: “Why hasn’t that appeared on the front page of The Age or The Australian? Why hasn’t that appeared so that we can factor that in, and judge his reliability as a whistleblower?”

  27. tigtog

    Chris, it’s one thing to do an off-the-books favour for one’s client within the normal functions of your division, under which setting up a special purpose fund & bank account for their organisation would fall – it’s the sort of thing that perhaps any other senior lawyer in the industrial division might do for a major client as a favour. It’s quite another thing to go outside one’s division and step on the toes of work which would normally be entirely done by other people in the firm, for a matter that is entirely personal.

  28. tigtog
  29. tigtog

    Moylan attacks Abbott, Gillard ‘race to bottom’

    Liberal backbencher Judi Moylan has urged the public to “stand up” to the “rubbish rhetoric” of her own leader over asylum seekers as well as to the ”maladministration” of the Labor Party.
    [...]
    Ms Moylan – who is retiring at the next election – railed at the language.

    ”We should not talk about queue jumpers, we should certainly not talk about illegals, we should not pretend these people are idle, they want to work and be part of our society, we just seem to spin rubbish rhetoric and get people whipped up over it, it’s an appalling low level of debate,” she told the Herald.

    ”I think this overblown rhetoric has to stop and it is up to the public to say it has to stop, because this is not a political game, it’s people’s lives we are talking about.

    ”I think there is likely to be a backlash from the community, just like there was in the Howard years, when people realise what is going on, what we are doing to women and children.

    ”We can’t think this will go away just with sloganeering, there is no quick slogan that can fix this, it is not about turning back boats, it is not about punishing people.”

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