15th & 19th November 2004


Justice Shaw returned the state's sample of his blood, unopened, after three weeks.  (tested 0.225).   He said that he was given both samples (his and the police's) in a bag at the hospital.   Both the doctor responsible and a nurse witness initially reported that the sample was placed into the locked police box.  Only the police have a key to that box.  Under extreme cross examination pressure by eminent barrister Barker, the doctor admitted the slightest possibility that he might have remembered procedure rather than actuality.  Despite the press accepting that as fact, I have formed the opinion that the doctor did put the police vial sample in the box.  On that assumption:
I repeat the mantra from last diary.

Our system of selecting public officials seems to be a little bit incestuous.  Are we encouraging a system of mates who give quid pro quo.   Perhaps our judicial officials should be elected, not appointed by politicians?


Independent Federal Parliamentarian Tony Windsor has alleged that he was offered a diplomatic posting (To Ireland, no less!) if he did not contest his seat at the election held last September.  Considering the circumstances, I am inclined to accept that his allegation is fact.  Such offers are apparently quite common in Australian politics.  The case of DLP senator Gair who was offered the same posting a few decades past immediately springs to mind, as does the Peacock posting.

Your diarist reiterates the thought above with a variant:

Our system of selecting public officials seems to be a little bit incestuous.  Are we encouraging a system of mates who give quid pro quo.   Perhaps our senior diplomatic officials should be selected from diplomatic staff, not appointed from external sources by politicians?


One of the primary blots on the Australian economy is union power.   One of the worst excesses that compounds that problem is compulsory unionism.  For many years the major training ground for politicians of all flavors has been the university student unions.  (e.g. Liberal Tony Abbott at Sydney University, Labour MP Tania Plibisek at Adelaide.)  Fees of $500 pa are common, and constitute a heavy financial burden on less well off students.  All too often that money is wasted by student politicians on grandiose schemes that lose millions of dollars, or on the (quite expensive) alcohol and food requirements of political meetings, or to donating funds to the various clubs (I understand that one club, minimum size 5 members, was formed for the sole purpose of attracting that subsidy and disbursing it to the members), or even on donations (usually to the Labour Party, which supports compulsory unionism.)  Only a small amount goes to the Union canteens, a task which could more efficiently be performed by private enterprise.  (For instance at Sydney University, the coffee at the Wentworth canteen is only 20c less

Prime minister John Howard has promised to remove the compulsory element of Unionism.  Number 2 daughter is ecstatic.  Good work John.  Do not get bought off.


Both the Euro and the US Dollar are floating currencies.  Both are somewhat "dirty" floats, in that importation of certain agricultural goods is restricted (to Australia's detriment). However, purchase by central banks of foreign currency to adjust the exchange rate is not (so far as I know) in operation.

The Chinese have fixed their exchange rate to the US dollar by purchasing appropriate quantities of US treasury bonds.  This brings back memories of Breton Woods, when central banks were expected to maintain the parity of their falling currency by borrowing.   The system eventually disintegrated because currency speculators spotted the systemic weakness, and sold into a falling market, buying back after devaluation.  This has meant that interest rates for US bonds fell to a very low figure.

As a result:


According to the "Weekend Australian Magazine" of 13-14/Nov/2004, Reem Raiyshi, mother of two babies, was persuaded by Hamas (under threat of a dishonorable death for adultery) to become a martyr.  If that allegation is true then Iranian sponsored Hamas has acted as Mahommed would have acted himself.  Mahommed condoned the breaking of the law if it was for the greater good.  For having been found committing adultery Reem was already a dead woman.  As a wife-martyr her family gained honor, instead of the dishonor of having a wife-adulteress.  I give top marks to Hamas for creative and innovative thinking.  Having found an effective strategy for providing martyrs (which no doubt meets with theocratic approval) I expect that more Muslim girls will be seduced into martyrdom.


Al-Jazeera reported that US casualties to Sunday 14th were 38, while terrorist casualties to Friday had reportedly passed 1,000 and several hundred prisoners taken (of whom about 50% were not Iraqi nationals).  The terrorists left to die (martyrdom) in Falluja had stated that half of the terrorists left before  investiture, with orders to raise mayhem in other cities.

If that is so then their efforts are marked by a singular lack of success.  After the vocal threats the terrorists have made, I would have expected that Iraq would be a raging inferno.  Instead it is a damp squid.  I expect that as their central command is now dispersed, supply will become a problem, and terrorist activity will further diminish.

It is perfectly understandable that the Sunni tribes around Baghdad (which is where Falluja and most terrorist activity is concentrated) should wish to prevent a fair, democratic election.  For decades the Sunni tribes have had "their man" ensconced in the presidential palace, and they have benefited enormously.  They want elections that the Southern Shia would win with about as much fervor as they would want two left hands.  It is also reasonable to expect that from the two or three hundred million Muslim crabs there would be a few thousand idealists would heed the call to Jihad.  It is understandable that most of the volunteers to the Iraqi police and army would be Kurds or Shia.  I would anticipate that after the elections there might be an accounting.  The Sunni in central Iraq might fear the same treatment as happened to the Jews in Jerusalem under Turkish rule, or to the Shia in South Iraq under Saddam's rule.

The elections should be held next January regardless of whether polling booths can be established in all cities.  If the vote proceeds as I suspect, the Kurds in the North and the Shia in the South will vote, and they will account for 70% of the national population.  I suspect that the candidates from those regions will overwhelmingly (72%) elect a government, giving a majority government representing more than 50% of the nation, even though 30% of the population did not vote.  If the voting is spread over a week, all Iraqis, even those around Baghdad, could reach a polling booth.   It might be necessary to travel a fewscore kilometers.

Alternatively Iraq could be split into three.  Of course there would be some argument about the oil riches around the city of Kirkuk.  Before Saddam Kirkuk belonged to the Kurds.  However Saddam moved the Kurds out, and moved his people in.   The inheritors of Saddam's legacy (the Shia around Baghdad) would argue the Palestinian paradigm, that the population Status Quo at the ending of the last government should be used to determine the borders.  The Kurds would take the Israeli position, that they were forcibly removed from their homeland, and should have a refugees "right of return" with expulsion of the intruders.

To me the fair solution appears quite obvious, but I am sure that to people on the other side the opposite solution is quite obvious.