September 10, 2004


The Sydney Morning Herald's Louise Dodson: "This is good news for the Government."

Poll question in The Sydney Morning Herald: "Who will benefit more from the terror attack?"

Former Australian ambassador Richard Woolcott: "By deciding to join the invasion of Iraq, Howard raised our profile in the eyes of terrorists."

Academic Scott Burchill: "All of the attacks on Western targets since 9/11 have taken place on Howard's watch. How does this make him the strongest candidate on national security? Mr Downer might also like to start thinking about 'root causes.'" Simon deals with him.

Christopher Sheil: "Bugger! Just when [John Howard] needed a circuit-breaker, along comes JI. Among the shocking things about terrorists, I include their timing."

Posted by Tim Blair at September 10, 2004 04:26 AM

"All of the attacks on Western targets since 9/11 have taken place on Howard's watch"

-Duh, maybe that's got something to do with the fact Howard has been Prime Minister since 9/11. Like, you know, duh, in World War II all the Nazi attacks on London after May 1940 took place on Churchill's watch ... Hey, Scott, can I be an academic like you?

Posted by: Sue at September 10, 2004 at 04:59 AM

The scum suckers at the SMH are lower then whale shit. They hope to sell papers while dancing on graves.

Posted by: swassociates at September 10, 2004 at 07:01 AM

I simply don't understand this mindset. People are dead or wounded horribly. Don't these idiots care? Is it all really just some political game to them, good conversation fodder for the cocktail party circuit? Do they honestly believe that "keeping a low profile" would protect them from rabid killers?

Posted by: Rebecca at September 10, 2004 at 07:03 AM

As I said on Yoboo's comments.

The SMH has jumped the shark, well and truly. To think I liked to read the paper, many years ago.

Now its just a screaming rag.

Posted by: Quentin George at September 10, 2004 at 07:44 AM

Former Australian ambassador Richard Woolcott: "By deciding to join the invasion of Iraq, Howard raised our profile in the eyes of terrorists."

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but wasn't the Bali bombing before the invasion of Iraq? At least the US isn't the only ones with idjits in it's diplomatic corps.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 10, 2004 at 07:56 AM

Chris Sheil...acting like a wanker? Kinda hard to believe.

Oh wait, no it isn't.

Posted by: yobbo at September 10, 2004 at 09:11 AM

Mr Downer might also like to start thinking about 'root causes

YES SCOTT Its called islamic Jihad. its been going on for the last 1500 years. Strange you've only just noticed.

Posted by: lucien at September 10, 2004 at 09:18 AM

Kudos to Mark Latham for not buying into the 'root causes' idiocy.

Those that preach an examiniation of root causes strike me as being either extremely disingenuous or blind. What would they advocate when they finally identified the root cause and found that the problem was existential: terrorists want everyone (including 'soft' Muslims) to either convert or die. They have been quite explicit about this.

Does Margo want to wear a burqua? They will make her if they can.

Does Mike Moore want to live under a REAL fascist theocracy? They want him to, more than they value their lives.

Wake up and smell the fundamentalist death-cult.

Posted by: fidens at September 10, 2004 at 09:27 AM


Posted by: chileau at September 10, 2004 at 09:40 AM

We need to understand and eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

Posted by: Ken Summers at September 10, 2004 at 09:53 AM

Poor Richard Woolcott, no one listens to him anymore, boo hoo! The great architect of Australian / Indonesian diplomacy who has blood on his hands and still thinks he has something to say. He was hopeless then and is still hopeless now.

Posted by: hube at September 10, 2004 at 11:19 AM

What is the best, most effective way to show our contempt of the SMH and its handling of the incident ?

Even the comments in the 'your say' section are a disgrace, nothing about the loss of life, only about "Howard'.

Slatts mentioned writing to advertisers, any other ideas?

Posted by: nic at September 10, 2004 at 11:51 AM

The Professor this morning had this to say, which sums up exactly, how I feel.

"Stop buying the Silly if you haven't already. Tell its advertisers that you won't patronise their shops if they continue to support Hilmer's daily disgrace. Alert friends and neighbours who still buy it that the rag is beneath them.

When they ask why, point them to Louise Dodson's first thoughts on the Jakarta bombing:

This is good news for the Government

The skid marks in Fred Hilmer's underpants have a more finely developed moral conscience than does Dodson, and her column was no accident, either. Just look at the latest online poll.

Ideological to a fault, addicted to distortion, perceiving every event through the prism of partisan perceptions, the Silly has no place in any decent home. To use it for cleaning up dog muck is an insult to the turd."

Posted by: nic at September 10, 2004 at 11:57 AM

"Root cause" is just a magical word which allows you to shimmy up and down the causal chain until you find your favourite scapegoat.

The only _real_ root cause is the Big Bang, and I think it's too late to do anything about that now.

Posted by: Jorge at September 10, 2004 at 01:04 PM

And stuff Deegan too.

What, we should negotiate with terrorists? Give them the status of nation state? Bend over and take it? The man is a disgrace.

Posted by: tortfeaser at September 10, 2004 at 01:08 PM

I've been out of Australia for a long time now, making only brief visits home for holidays and the odd business trip. I'm well aware that I've lost touch with what's happening on a day-to-day basis. I don't know the latest teen fashions, have no idea who's who on the TV or in the music industry, and couldn't tell you about any minor news story for years.

Nevertheless, I thought I still understood the basics. I thought I still understood that Australians were fair and decent, lent a helping hand to those in need, had a sense of humour that might not be well understood but was respected nonetheless, were direct and forthright...

Simply being an Australian has stood me in good stead in Asia. Just to labour the point: I have been advantaged because of who my forefathers were. And I honour them by loving and respecting them for their honour, courage and decency.

I now wonder if my children and theirs will be advantaged by who their forefathers were. For the first time I really wonder.

The response to the Jakarta bombing has been shrill, callous, and Australia-centric. I have never typed the word Australia-centric before, and it feels odd. I've never thought of Australians as believing we were the centre of the universe (an insult more likely to be directed at the Americans or Europeans).

Yet now we have people left of centre, the very people who were always first to decry Eurocentrism or US-centric thinking, turning inwards and putting petty political issues before Indonesian dead and injured. I may disagree with many left-leaning ideas, but I've never faulted the Left's compassion.

In a show of leadership, Mark Latham stood for decency yesterday. I wouldn't vote for him because of it, but I respect him for it. He showed old fashioned labour values that many on the other side respect, share and value.

But outside of the Party, it's been a free for all that brings disgrace on Australians. Twenty years ago I considered the SMH one of the finest newspapers in the land. Can anyone over 40 really imagine that editors in the late 70s would have run a poll like the one yestereday. Or allowed Dr Burchill a platform to scribble a few lines that journalists would once have called "notes".

Likewise Louise Dodson. Louise has actually worked in Indonesia, and she once talked publicly of how important it was to forge deep connections between Australian and Indonesian people. And yet her first response now is to ask whether dead Indonesians will help Howard's electoral chances. Dead Indonesians!

Is this how friends act? To start counting the electoral cost before body parts are scraped from the road?

I was in Asia during the rise of Pauline Hanson and listened to a thousand people tell me how her popularity stained Australia's reputation in the region. I told people then, and can tell you now, that they were wrong. People in China or Indonesia were sometimes puzzled by Hanson's popularity - and sometimes angered - but they at least understood her directness. After all, in which country in Asia are there no such people?

But the slap to Indonesia's face administered by the Dodson's, the Burchill's, the Parish's, et al, is that people they once thought were friends have shown they are more - or at least as - interested in how dead Indonesians affect an Australian election as in the dead themselves.

And that is why I wonder if my daughter will be met in Indonesia, Cambodia or China in 20 years time in the same way that I have been.

Posted by: Hanyu at September 10, 2004 at 01:19 PM

I agree Dodson's line "This is good news for the government" is clumsy and insensitive but she's writing in the context of what this may mean for the election campaign.

She preceeds it with:

"But a mood of uncertainty and insecurity is likely to develop. Such a feeling often encourages voters to stay with the incumbent government."

People want to know, among other things, what the Jakarta atrocities may mean for the campaign.

Dodson is offering analysis. She may be wrong. But I didn't read her comments as meaning the bombing is "good" but rather the reaction of the electorate is "good" for the government.

I appreciate the two are hardly mutually exclusive and using the expression "good" in the context of mass murder is daft.

But as far as Fairfax bias many on Tim's blog complain about goes (and compared to the ravings of Margo) I don't think it deserved some of the brickbats delivered above.

Posted by: BH at September 10, 2004 at 01:31 PM

Why the fuck does Brian Deegan get all the media limelight? He's not the only person to have lost a loved one to terrorism. Why aren't the media interested in what someone like Spike Stewart, who also lost a son in the Bali bombing, have to say? Isn't Spike articulate enough for them. He obviously isn't because he calls a spade a bloody shovel, unlike Deegan and his mates.

Posted by: steve at September 10, 2004 at 01:37 PM

BH, its not just Dodson. such poor attitudes are also reflected in the web poll as well as Margo's usual brayings.

Posted by: nic at September 10, 2004 at 01:45 PM

Deegan has to be the biggest tosser I have ever seen. You know, his ability to leverage his sons death to further his political beliefs may turn the traditionalist way if his next son dies of aids - then we'll watch him go postal on the sexual revolution while he dances on that grave for ideological publicity.

Posted by: Jamie at September 10, 2004 at 01:52 PM


I agree with you on Margo.

The poll seems to have changed to "should we negotiate" with terrorists, which thankfully is only getting a 33% yes vote.

Mind you, that's still alarmingly high.

Posted by: BH at September 10, 2004 at 01:54 PM

Brian Deegan classes JI as a legitimate political organization and says the government should negotiate with them.

Has this man completely lost his mind, or is he just so consumed with hatred for the government that he will say or do anything?

I have cut Mr Deegan a lot of slack in the past, believing that a grieving father is not totally responsible for his words and actions.

Free pass just expired.

Posted by: PQ at September 10, 2004 at 02:10 PM


The people that you comment about are the same people whose initial responses on the Beslan school massacre where how this will affect Putin, and why it was the Russians fault.

How to explain it ? Some of them I think are, like many politicians, civil servants and journalists, wrapped up in their own little world, a sort of 'mutual admiration society', where they all recognise that what each other has to say must be terribly important because they are, after all, politicians, civil servants and journalists, and don't have to worry about what the rest of us, the lumpen proletariat, may think.

Some of them probably don't have children, and cannot begin to feel what every parent does when he or she sees a murdered child.

Some of them have no moral compass, and state that everything must be seen in terms of their own world view.

For most of us, and I think that this is the majority of Australians, every picture we see of a dead Indonesian child, a murdered Israeli toddler, a traumitised Russian girl or an American jumping from a burning buliding, think how awful it is for the families of those killed, what they are going through, and how can we make sure that it does not happen again. We think the same thoughts when we see a Palestinian child used as a suicide bomber, or an Iraqi child caught in a crossfire.

I think a major point of difference between many of those who contribute here, and those of whom Hanyu writes, is that the death of every innocent (and by innocent, I mean those who are not busy advocating murder)person is condemned by us as unforgiveable, whilst the left-wing journalist seeks to apportion blame anywhere but at the people who commit the crime.

For them, there is no good or evil, just causes and effects. For them, dead children are an effect (or, as you say, a possible cause of an election swing).

For us, a dead child/brother/friend/mother, is a dead child/brother/friend/mother.

Posted by: Andrew at September 10, 2004 at 02:48 PM

"The response to the Jakarta bombing has been shrill, callous, and Australia-centric."

yes I know what you are saying. Don't take it to heart. It's only a degenerate and effeminate minority who look on it, as focused only on Australia.

Anyone who has an IQ larger than their dick size (this leaves you out Richard Woolcroft, Scott Burchill & Co.), understands that even if it was focused on Aussie and its assets, which I doubt, it is the good people of Indonesia who have suffered. Poor bastards.

I don't give a stuff what those brown-nose media shirtlifters say and neither does a lot of other Aussies. We all know they tart up any news that is unfortunate enough to fall into their hands, so that they look like they actually know what's unfolding. Too bad for them that we know that even Mr Squiggle can draw a better picture on what's going on, than they can.

On the subject of Pauline Hanson, there were a number of things she said that were correct or believed by people to be correct. But once they were "edited" by the media turdburglars, were totally altered in content and consequently, she was looked upon as a out-and-out racist.

Same thing here with Jakarta, trying to squeeze any mileage out of a situation and manipulate it to produce more crap for the unbelieving masses to behold. I had no doubts they'd put an election angle on this tragedy. They're always living down to my expectations.

Keep your chin up and don't let the bastards get you down.

Posted by: Lofty at September 10, 2004 at 02:49 PM

Andew and Lofty: If you're ever in Hong Kong I'll buy you a beer. I really appreciate the time you've taken to response. That kind of thing is worth more than a hundred articles by poeple who have nothing to say.

Posted by: Hanyu at September 10, 2004 at 04:10 PM

Latham's comments appear to be that of the "old Latham". The one that went to the back benches because his ideas didn't quite gel with the party at the time and appeared quite "right-wing" and/or traditional at the time.

This may have put him offside with some of the "luvvies" and lefties in his own party.

Posted by: DaveACT at September 10, 2004 at 05:40 PM

Rebecca asks: "I simply don't understand this mindset. People are dead or wounded horribly. Don't these idiots care?"

While it is never a good thing for people to die or be wounded... these aren't the first people to suffer that horrible fate. Indeed, innocent people are being killed all the time in lots of different ways. I'm not happy about this. However, if I allowed myself to be depressed everytime an innocent person died -- I'd end up a bloody depressed person.

People find it easy to be outraged and moral when the deaths make the front page of the paper and when the deaths occur near a building occupied by people with the same style of passport as us... but if you really care, then shouldn't you care even when it's not front page news?

Posted by: John Humphreys at September 10, 2004 at 05:57 PM

I have posted before and no doubt will post again about what to do about the SMH and Age: Buy a small number of Fairfax shares - stockbrokers will sell odd lots these days, then turn up at shareholders' meetings and raise Hell.

Posted by: Sue at September 10, 2004 at 08:42 PM