Monthly Archives: January 2008

Memo: Liberal Party

Dear Liberal Party of Australia,

Go ahead, merge with the National Party. I cannot see any better way for you to entrench your irrelevency in the minds of the small-l liberal voters of Australia than to merge with a group of socially-conservative agricultural-socialists.

With any luck, a merger might be the catalyst for your more progressive members to finally tell your increasingly Taliban-like NSW religious MPs where they can shove their bibles, and form the sort of centrist party that Australia desperately needs.

Enjoy your time in the wilderness,


PS. I think you’ve taken that practical joke of pretending that Brendan Nelson is leader a bit too far now. How’s the poor man going to feel when you tell him what you really think?

Playing audio streams with xine-lib

Should anyone be interested in writing their own audio player (and surprisingly enough, I’ve found the need to do so on more than one occasion), I’ve started writing a tutorial on using xine-lib. It’s a great little library, but there’s next-to-no documentation out there for it…

Overreactions: banning bikes on trains and Australian internet censorship.

2007 closed with a couple of government overreactions, which mostly escaped scrutiny because the governments involved announced them at a dead time when no-one really gave a bugger:

  1. The Victorian government has banned bicycles on peak-hour trains in Melbourne, and on any V/line service which originates or terminates in Melbourne during peak hour. Now, I hate bicycles on trains as much as the next person (probably more so, given the number of bikes I had to squeeze past on the crowded Amsterdam metro, while I was living there) – but a complete ban seems overly heavy-handed.

    Wouldn’t it be more sensible to remove a few seats from the end of each train and restrict bicycles to the final carriage? It’s not like our public transport operators haven’t stooped to removing seats in order to cram more passengers aboard, in the past.

  2. The new Federal government is channelling the ghost of the old Federal government, dredging up a discredited internet access policy to appease a small group of Christian fundamentalists, who are too irresponsible to monitor what their own children are doing. ISPs in Australia will be compelled to supply a “clean” internet connection (read: no pr0n, violence or anything “inappropriate”) to all customers, and anyone who does not wish to be subject to this must explicitely opt-out (whereupon their ISP may well decide to charge a fee, and presumably flag the connection for easy targetting by Australia’s security services).

    Our new Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, then went on to show he comes from the same fine pedigree that produced our previous Communication Ministers, by deliberately confusing pornography (which is legally available) with child pornography (which is already, as it should be, illegal):

    “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

    Apples and Oranges. As mentioned earlier, this is all being done to appease the Fundies First party, because the government may well need their one vote to kill off Workchoices. A saving grace may be that the government hasn’t got the ISPs on side, as Paul Montgomery notes. The previous government announced these plans several times, and never did anything about it; with luck, this will be just more bluster – because if it’s not, then either their plan will be unworkable, or Australian internet connections will become unusable.