What Does the Finkel Review Really Do For Us ?

Is science actually jeopardised by commercial restraints?

Let us look closely at realities. What do we expect a scientist to do? All expectations are deeply rooted in our culture.

The Latin word “scientia” is our beginning.  Its meaning: “knowledge based on demonstrable and reproducible data.” Vital words these: “demonstrable,” “reproducible” and “data.” Their connotations are crucial. Their implication is that science must use, to check validity, methods that are open for all to see. Science too, needs reliability so that its methods can be repeated with confidence to check outcomes. Above all, its findings must spring unquestionably from the data base obtained by the research.

Observe the work conditions of Australia’s Chief Scientist. Note well the requirements and constraints of the position.

The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) is part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Its primary responsibilities are to enable growth and productivity for globally competitive industries. To help realise this vision, the Department has four key objectives: supporting science and commercialisation, growing business investment and improving business capability, streamlining regulation and building a high performance organisation. Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_the_Chief_Scientist_(Australia)                          Date Accessed: June 25, 2017

Now this poli-speak is worrying me.

I’ll try to give you some of the reasons. It’s all a matter of truth and its link with science.

When my own words seem inadequate, I often seek help from greater minds than mine. Perhaps these lines from R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek will help me explain what I mean.

Robots throughout the world, we command you to kill all mankind. Spare no men. Spare no women. Save factories, railways, machinery, mines, and raw materials. Destroy the rest. Then return to work. Work must not be stopped.

There is a little help too from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre .

Unless I have the courage to use the language of Truth in preference to the jargon of Conventionality, I ought to remain silent.

Those quotations might help you understand why I am having trouble working out the priorities of my present world, especially regarding the Finkel Review.

What has greater importance, business or human survival?

Are the two always related? There lies my problem. My doubt.

How do I feel about this? Here I can turn to Gustav Flaubert:

L’avenir nous tourmente; le passé nous retient;  c’est pour ca que le present nous échappe.

The future torments us;  the past imprisons us;  in this way we flee from the present.

 My big worry is the focus of OCS.  Is my planet in danger or isn’t it?

Is global warming really a threat to us now; to you, to me, to our children and our children’s children? In other words are all those scientists reported in reliable journals wrong? If the weather is going to kill me, I am not so interested in the rising cost of my electricity or the job potential of a proposed massive coal mine.

I really am worried about the weather. And I am not alone.

Just now the clocks seem to be striking thirteen. We trust scientists, with their weather reports, to keep our planes flying safely. We put our bodies willingly in the care of scientists when doctors save our own or our loved ones’ lives. We plant or harvest our crops with scientists’ guidance. And we prepare for flood, fire or tempest under the constant watch of scientists. So why O why have recent years been contaminated by a sudden, whimsical doubt concerning 97 percent of world scientists regarding climate change?

Are vested interests exerting pressure and distorting reality for profit ahead of our wellbeing? Where do you buy “clean” coal? Is it for sale with left handed hammers and tins of striped paint?

Some Other Vital Questions Regarding OCS

  1. Should growing business investment be the motive for scientific research ahead of universal human problems such as illness, pain, suffering or death?
  2. Should growth and productivity control evaluation of scientific data ahead of benefits to lessen human suffering?
  3. Are “streamlining regulation” and “high performance organisation” better scientific objectives than needs based validity and reliability?

Now Here Are Some Other Causes Of Concern

  • I cannot understand why, after the recent review, Australia will still be among world leaders in per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change inertia, and trading in coal, gas, iron ore, uranium and methanogenically-derived meat. Is commercial gain or sustainability unduly influencing this science? Why do Dr Alan Finkel and team confirm gas and coal use for 50 years?  Eventually 2067 will see GREAT BIG NEW TAXES to repair the damage, will it not?  

I x Y = RC x D

(Inertia x Years = Repair Cost x Disasters)

  •  The Finkel Review sees coal-fired generators as being part of our lives until 2050. But we need to get to average zero emissions by then if we are to keep up with the Paris Agreement.
  • The media clearly neglect Australia’s renewable energy successes already achieved. Australia is now a leader in per capita solar installation for homes. South Australia has 40% renewable energy, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) approaches 100% renewable energy and water stocked Tasmania also aims for 100 % renewable energy. Look around you at the individual solar fittings on the rooftops of ordinary people.
  • A vast storm involving several cyclones massively damaged South Australia’s energy system in September 2016. The ensuing blackout was falsely blamed by the federal government on failure of renewable energy sources. Despite the organised lies, the South Australian Government stayed relatively calm and rapidly moved to ensure back-up power with batteries and (alas) promised a new gas-fired power plant.
  • Finkel’s Review favours gas as a reducer of emissions. My information is that natural gas is grubby energy containing 85% methane that has a global warming potential 105 times greater than CO2 over twenty years combined with the expected impacts from aerosol.
  • To know is to be responsible! This was Mordechai Vanunu’s stated reason, a long time ago now, for whistleblowing about Israel’s atomic weaponry. It makes me sad to think that distinguished scientists, when reporting on the state of things in our world, would not focus in detail and with great energy on the dangers of air pollution as well as global warming. The  World Health Organization tells us that seven million people die each year from air pollution. World production of coal was 7, 823 million tonnes in 2013 of which 336 million tonnes  were Australian coal exports.  The use of this  coal  for energy or metallurgy is linked to about half of the 3.5 million outdoor pollution-related deaths annually.

Now the next bullet reveals a disturbing link from the web. I share it here for you to assess. The source is:  Dr Gideon Polya  of countercurrents .org

  • 10 billion people may die this century in worsening climate genocide. Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia Hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Deputy Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have estimated that only about 0.5 billion people may survive this century because of unaddressed, man-made global warming. If we note that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, we will see these estimates translate to a climate genocide involving deaths of 10 billion people this century, this including roughly twice the present population of particular mainly non-European groups, specifically 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. DARA has estimated that presently 0.4 million people die annually from climate change  but this may be a considerable underestimate because presently 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation in the developing world (not counting China) that is already impacted by climate change . 

A Final Question

Shouldn’t the line between certainty and doubt concerning a people’s wellbeing be something more than the bottom line of a stock market report?

Further to this matter of words

How can we do justice to the importance of words?

We speak. We listen. We write. We read. In all my teaching years I have tried to tell my students that with these deeds we can change the world.

There was a Chinese saying I often shared with those students:

I hear what you say but I see what you do.

Now this leads me towards one human category of power, politics. Politicians’ words and actions have had a vast influence on my life down the years into my eighth decade. They have inspired me, disgusted me, helped me, hurt me, led me to war, brought me brief peace, dismissed me and often flowed from kneeling figures begging for my vote.

Now have you noticed how frequently honourable members use the expression “the bottom line”? It’s an expression taken from profit and loss accounting and I believe it came into first real use c. 1967. I was alive then but, as with so many other things, it was not part of my detailed understanding. But oh my! Do I notice it now?

So many things are “monetised,” to use the YouTube category. Money is the route of all weasels. Education is not vital. The real problem is can we afford it? Same for health, including research. As for climate. Well. Old King Coal was a merry old sole (sic).

And all those weasel words are of extreme importance if you are into shady deals. We now know, for example, the terminology used by the gods of the Watergate affair. Some interesting examples: “correct endeavour,” “correctly impede,” “correct motive,” “political containment.” Each of these we can now recognise in the context of Watergate as a euphemism disguising culpable behaviour.

Another discovery from that time is the presidential coaching of accused staff for survival in the courtroom. These were some of those words: “I don’t remember;” “I can’t recall;” “do not volunteer anything;” “deal only with established facts.”

Two other expressions come into mind as well: “classified” and “business confidentiality.” I have seen “classified” countless times in my lifetime. One example will do. Information on the Phoenix Program was classified during the Vietnam War. We now know that this secretive scheme was responsible for the massacre of at least 20,000 Vietnamese civilians during that war.

What of business confidentiality? I have no real evidence here. Therefore it would be wrong of me to make unsubstantiated claims. But I feel justified in making the following comment. In the light of human misdemeanours documented throughout history, is it not reasonable to ask for something more than a label “business confidentiality” when  misbehaviour could be possible?

I feel pretty sure that some of my readers will know more clearly what I mean and even have access to tangible evidence to set the truth free . . . Ah me! Despite my advanced maturity, my glass is still half full. I just wish proof would be easier to find. Life would be far better if we could trust the powerful.

To end this little sharing of ideas,  I strongly urge you to follow this link. It has helped me better understand the bright and dark side of words. You may find it interesting.

R.

Words are crucial; so study and protect them.

Words.

Loaded pistols said Sartre. Powerful drugs said Kipling.

Yes, the true meanings of words seem to vary in these recent times.  So-called “truth” constantly needs further investigation. This little piece of fiction plays around with that idea.

Dr Yorec VeilPhoto on 22-09-2016 at 7.45 AM

Doctor Veil is a former citizen of Elysium, in the Land Of Two Rivers. Born in hard times within a country where university study was mostly no more than a poverty stricken dream, he broke free of pauperdom by winning scholarships. His rise in Academia was rapid and distinguished, leading him to several teaching posts and awards.

Sadly his former university was destroyed in the Iraq invasion of 2003. Fortunately for mankind he survived and is now a distinguished staff member at Hope University in Brazil. His works and philosophy are now part of a broad canvas.

His most recent missives follow.

***

Snake Oil Sales 1Snake Oil Sales 2Snake Oil Sales 3Snake Oil Sales 4.jpg

Now Some Non-fiction From Me

Recommended Source: Don Watson weaselwords.com.au.

Weasel words are the words of the powerful, the treacherous and the unfaithful, spies, assassins and thieves. . . To speak the words the powerful speak is to obey them, or at least to give up all outward signs of freedom. Don Watson (205 p.1)

I want to share with you some weasel examples. Maybe it will help to explain my contempt.

Once, when applying for a job teaching English to migrants, I asked a CEO if there was a predominant approach to the teaching of essay writing. I needed to know if genre writing was used as well as or instead of traditional methods.

The reply was very brief: world’s best practice. Now what did that answer do for me, a professional seeking to do his job well? Did it mean: “I want to test you not me so I will tell you nothing” ? Did it mean: “I am ignorant actually, so I will use this high sounding language of emptiness to cover my tracks”? Or was that CEO simply under the influence  of Edward Bernays, trying to control me with  Bernaysian manufactured consent ?

You decide. As for me, I did not get that job and went to teach in a university where it was a little harder to cover up the truth. Not always impossible though.

When leaders fire weasel words at us we have a problem. Don Watson sums up weasel power pretty well regarding President Bush, The Younger, and Prime Minister Howard.

Our two leaders have sucked the meaning out of the words . . . They are shells of words: words from which life has gone, facsimiles, frauds, corpses. (loc.cit.)

These shells of words bring power to such rulers. The effect of this power on war and peace is disastrous and on our society catastrophic.

Look what such people have done to the proverbs I learnt as a child. Weasel words below for sale: half price.

Look before you cut and run.

He who hesitates is decruited.

All that glitters is not an accounting irregularity.

A miss is as good as change management.

Fortune favours critical success factors.

Manners maketh the self actualiser.

While there’s life there’s a mission statement.

Actions speak louder than the chattering classes.

Call a spade an action plan.

Give credit where credit is clear evidence.

A picture is worth a thousand absolutely collaborative events.

A change is as good as a capability gap.

A friend in need is a circle of strength.

A pot calling the kettle non-core.

Every dog has its global bulge bracket pedigree.

Two heads are better than a Client Infrastructure Representative (CIR).

What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t disconnect.

Silence is bulletproof.

What you eat today walks and buys-in tomorrow.

As you sow, so shall you drill down.

And pop goes the weasel.

 

Principal Reference: Watson, Don. 2005. Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words. Sydney. Random House.

 

 

Tears In A Desert

Down the ages children have endured pain and suffering for many reasons. Today, as a consequence of bungling and crude reasons for detention, covered up abuse, poverty in postcodes, and heinously accurate weapons of mass destruction used deliberately with sham excuses against thousands in civilian populations, the trauma and anguish of children tears us even further apart.

This brief post is only a little cry against the anguish inflicted. Butterflies wings in a tempest probably.  But the tiny fluttering may start a small breeze. Nothing never happens.

R.

 

Suffer little children to come unto me … Matthew 13:16

On The Matter Of Unjust Laws

Obedience to the Law is on our Australian minds just now. Fascinating questions on a recent  ABC’s 7.30 Report concerning cutbacks to penalty rates and obeying the law as a duty.

Just thinking…

Saint Augustine: An Opinion

A law proven unjust is no longer a law.

Now here is a law passed by a democratically elected government:

The Enabling Act:  Source: http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Reports2013/hitlerenablingact.htm Date March 1 2017  6.58 AM.

“Law for Removing the Distress of Volk and Reich.”

The protection of the frontiers of the Reich, and with them the life of our Volk and the existence of our economy, is now in the hands of our Reichswehr which, in accordance with the terms imposed upon us by the Treaty of Versailles, can be regarded as the only really disarmed force in the world. In spite of its small size prescribed therein and its totally insufficient arms, the German Volk can regard its Reichswehr with proud satisfaction. This slight instrument of our national self-defense came into existence under the most difficult conditions. In its spirit, it is the bearer of our best military traditions.

Those reading this who, like me, were alive during World War II, will understand my attitude to that particular law. Of many more examples, I choose just one more:

1640 — 1660: The Critical Period: Custom to Law when Status Changed to “Servant for Life”

  • 1639/40 – The General Assembly of Virginia specifically excludes blacks from the requirement of possessing arms
  • 1642 – Black women are deemed tithables (taxable), creating a distinction between African and English women.
  • 1662 – Blacks face the possibility of life servitude. The General Assembly of Virginia decides that any child born to an enslaved woman will also be a slave.

You can read more on my second example here.

My consent for them is not engineered.

I have nothing more to say so I will make this my shortest ever post.

Thanks for being here and happy thinking dear reader,

r.

An Effort To Escape

No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.

George Eliot

So far I have lived twenty-three years longer than Shakespeare. Oh my! What he would have done with that extra time.

As for humble me, I have noticed so many dark deeds in my eighty odd years I will feel guilty unless I at least draw attention to some of them now. That is why I am writing this.

That looking glass of mine still seems to be getting darker and darker. All my years of teaching and that infinity of classrooms have created so much data.

I feel driven just now to talk about the shadows that worry me. Are you familiar with Plato’s Cave? That sums up the way I feel pretty well. So many people in my life have announced THE answer to so many things. One of my problems is that I have seen so many unexpected changes I am beginning to wonder if you can be sure of anything.

Is uncertainty the only certainty? But wait a minute. If my answer is “yes,” how can you be certain about the certainty of my answer? My brain needs a rest. Contact with these four heroes of mine might help you understand what I am trying to say: Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing?

Please note therefore I’m into suggestions not certainties but possibly useful points of view here. For now, as I’ve said elsewhere, I focus on one cause of my anguish at a time. This is the second post in my list.

I am sick of all the sad news around me so I have decided to laugh a bit here.

The problem this time is

Things are not what they seem to be.

The means alas, justifies not the death!

FAKE NEWS 4 SALE. MEDIA WHERE R U?

FROM OUR FOR REIGN CORRESPONDENT

  • I bought a bottle of grow-tall juice by Beanstalk Jack Inc. from my chemist last week  I know it will work because I have seen breathtaking computer generated TV images to prove its effectiveness. Six foot six within my reach! I took my first dose this morning. Watch this outer space!
  •  Midas Merten sold me a pair of Bullshit-detecting Reading Glasses for my 83rd birthday. Cost him a fortune I believe, although included was a pair of absolutely free Climate Change Sunglasses. Haven’t detected anything yet, as I read, but patients are a virtue.
  •  Error-free pens are the latest craze in the US. They are just now poker machine prizes. A new age is approaching and it’s good buy to misspelling.
  • My dear wife has bought me a Truth-selecting Hearing-aid  for our anniversary. So sweet of her!  When I hear words of suspect truth, I notice the volume gets louder but it’s good to know lies won’t trouble me anymore.
  • That Anti-aging Potion I also bought from my chemist last week has caused me a bit of trouble. It’s a three times a day job with a free, precise measuring glass and a homogenised plastic spoon. The first day of treatment went very well but for the last few days I can’t remember where I put the bottle. Damn!

MORE FROM OUR LOCAL CORRESPONDENT

 How Political Schemes Do Come True
  • A dog has just been elected to the Australian Parliament after a long series of court battles. Citizen Canis, as his owners named him, was declared a valid, living being by the High Court and approved on constitutional grounds because dogs have not been specifically forbidden by law to occupy a seat in the House Of Representatives. The dog is functional. All it needs is one bark for yes and two barks for no. The new independent member for Black Tree wags his tail a lot. Frequent requests for support in divisions are usually backed up by gifts of  export quality steak.
  • Citizens are advised that postage stamps are now, as the border enquiry suggests,

A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

  1. “threatening our freedom and much envied way of life. Classified sources now reveal messages in stamped envelopes have been detected avoiding border security. This is a clear and present danger. All foreign stamps therefore will now be vetted by dedicated, well versed geologists. Please note that this may lead to delay of up to six months in delivery.”
  • The Treasurer has announced for tomorrow a state of the art plan to reduce costs and improve the lives of the aged and the disabled with a spectacular Budget switch. On this given date, all motor services for members will cease. Parliamentary vehicles and drivers’ roles will be be diverted  to welfare service for the aged, incapacitated and dying. This will save as the needy will die off more quickly than politicians and so reduce costs and workload.Self-sustained member transport will be applied henceforth. Free bicycles will be issued. For the bicycle infirm, substitute  three-wheeled scooters are planned. Long distance transport will, from this day forth, be by train only. All air transport is banned save for helicopters in a state of emergency. Overseas conferences are already missing from members’ agendas, interstate conferences will be fewer in number, and Skype and internet conferencing will become the new mode of travel.
  • Notice this. Bold steps have also been taken to reduce needed attention span in Parliamentary Question Time. Now, for both questions and answers, the number of words spoken will be limited to what can be stated in a single breath. Breath Detectors have been fitted to all microphones so that if a second breath is taken, a BD switch renders the member totally silent. An increase in the use of gestures has been noted. So too have the many Speaker demands to withdraw unparliamentary gesticulations.
  • In addition,  we report that Standing Orders in the Parliament of Australia have been privatised. The Speaker now has digital support, at a small taxpayer-funded cost, for all judgements. Notable is the Question Time Relevance Monitor. Now, whenever an answer strays from the topic, a whistle blows and a QTRM recorded voice will say loudly, “Tell the truth you devious scam artist.” Disruption has already become suddenly rare and speeches in reply are noticeably brief.
Last Comment: Ad Folk Regularly Advertise Confusion
I just don’t understand these things.

Because I am old and infirm, I don’t get out much. This means I depend on television for my awareness of the world and for advice on how to spend my meagre pension. As you can see, that is serious business. I have to concentrate hard to get things right.

That is the problem!

They keep saying things that don’t make sense. I am nearing an Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood over this. Big challenge in my extreme maturity!

Look. Here are some examples of what I mean.

  • I needed a new scrabble set because I’d lost Q. So I saw this advertisement

BUY ONE TODAY AND GET A SECOND ONE ABSOLUTELY FREE.

I contacted them and told them I’m pretty poor so I would just like the free one please. This caused an immense fuss as they said no. Well how about that! How can something be free if you have to buy something else to get it? So I’ve made a new scrabble rule. If you’ve got u and e, you’ve got q.

  • And then there was my wheelbarrow insurance.

I couldn’t afford to pay a lump sum so I spaced the cost into 12 monthly payments. Would you believe I broke an axle in January and they told me I could get only one twelfth of the value as I hadn’t paid for the whole year. They didn’t tell me that on the big blurb that got me in. Fabulists!

  • My sweet tooth got me into trouble recently. I love hundreds and thousands.

Now look what that has done to me. In one of those shops with good deals I saw a huge jar of hundreds and thousands marked SPECIAL. Now I’ve no surplus money for luxuries, but I decided on a cunning little plan to forgo toothpaste for a month and use salt to clean my teeth.

That was how I bought the great jar. That was why, when I opened it, I had another mixed anxiety and depressed mood outbreak. The jar was only  half full. Jar size trickery. No thousands just hundreds. For some sad reason those pretty sandwiches I made  were not delicious at all.

  • And now I must tell you about the Truth Converter I picked up at Vinnies for a song.

It works under the old AV system. I’ve kept my out of date AV recorders just for old times sake. When you’re 83, old times are important. Things fade away like the old Stanley Steamer don’t they, for various reasons, but they might still be useful one day. This one was.

This Truth Converter works for me! Only me.
I just plug the lead into the old AV recorder.

Look at these results. A mindblow! Look at what I fed in and what came out.

The hordes on that PM did trample as he thought a sample was ample.

robust discussion … a vicious argument

responsible spending … gainful cuts to welfare 

 a deep trust alliance …  all the way with LBJ     

a finely balanced budget … any profitable asset sold

 as soon as is  practical … before the next election

within reasonable time  …  after the next election 

   telling the truth … agreeing with me

nothing but fake news … not agreeing with me

            great prime minister …  great at hiding the truth

There you are. What fun my little toy is! Only paid $1.50 for it. Can’t wait to get back to it.

Finally, to end this post, here’s a little piece I wrote.

Use-by Date

Once in a fit of ill-informed hate

Back in the mists of my time,

Somebody wrote the use-by date

When I would be past my prime.

Then, it was thought, my mind would decay

And the voice would lose its thrall.

Thus, even though I still seized each day,

No one would heed me at all.

It is true, now that I’ve seen a few years

And I’m often in need of a bed,

Some people don’t give me access to their ears

Or even a nod of the head.

But there’s always a trumpet with smiling face

Who will tell you he’s got a solution;

But alas he is crass, brain so far out of place

Any wise thought’s a true revolution.

Yet he’ll offer false dreams with lucrative schemes

To turn all your strife into money.

All that does for me is awaken my screams

As I hide his junk mail in a dunny.

It’s a lonely place this, with your energy spent,

Where half-truths will still come and go;

If you spend your last cent to dispense with the rent,

There are few other strings to your bow.

Yes here then am I, much older than most,

Foundering, some say, and dismasted.

You may feel that I’m past it, or even a ghost,

But I’m not a loot wizard’s snared bastard.

 March 2004

Howard Littlejohn

A Loot Wizard

Thanks and respect to Howard Littlejohn

______________________


Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Twitter is no longer a place for me.

 That is all I have to say about that.

______________________

All images on this site are my own or from Wiki Commons, Creative Commons or Public Domain. If there is any error, please tell me and I will fix things immediately. All my thanks to the wonderful Wiki service and to the artists who share their gifts.

Royce

 images-1

A Survival Guide For Dishonest Political Bastards

 

This bit of great fun was the first book I wrote in my exciting “retirement” after 2004. There are seven different titles in the National Library now.

I simply love the “busyness.”

I’ll let this battle-scarred image of me on YouTube do the talking here. That will do for now.

Book 1 copy

The same PayPal buying conditions as in my other site places, author signed, comment and no extra charge postage, will apply.

Thanks for your visit and more regards,

Royce

All My Books

My How To Write Books (For Sale At Amazon Kindle for $3.99)

Letters to Nowhere

Letters-To-Nowhere-Cover_600

Just for interest: I have a film contract for Letters To Nowhere

This is first a book of stories about human lives. It may also help you towards a better understanding of refugee realities and also international law.

The central figure in this story is a mysterious refugee detained in a remote centre amidst a hostile Australian landscape. He inexplicably disappears at the very beginning of the narrative, leaving behind a cache of letters that is discovered by one of the guards.

The letters tell the stories of an extraordinary range of inmates, befriended by the old man, the enigmatic Number MO131. These letters are each written by the old man to a beautiful young woman, it seems, although there is some brief contention that she may be a figment of his imagination to preserve sanity in this inhospitable place.

The tales that unfold touch on many aspects of the human condition: love and hate, greed and kindness, war and peace, truth and deception, bigotry and compassion, laughter and extremes of sadness. The final letter reveals a surprising truth.

Quotations found when you open the book:

The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

Milton :  Paradise Lost

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Emma Lazarus: from “The New Colossus,” Statue of Liberty engraving

An Unfrequented Verse

We’ve boundless plains to share;

With courage let us all combine

To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia fair.

From Verse 2, Australian National Anthem

There I leave this introduction. As with my other books, the PayPal price ( This book: AU$19.50) will include author signing, comment and postage anywhere in the world.

Welcome and thank you for your visit here,

Royce

An afterthought: Habeas Corpus is too precious to abuse by indefinite detention.

You might find some interest in this site. There but for fortune go you or I in other times.

If you would like a copy of this book, author signed with comment (you choose if you wish) and posted free anywhere in the world, this PayPal button will get it for you.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST McQUILLAN

Fate plays strange tricks on ordinary people sometimes. It did with me when I first met Ernest Mervyn McQuillan.

That was about two years ago. I was the ordinary person. Ern was, among other remarkable things, the trick that Fate played on me.

Ern McQuillan OAM
Ern McQuillan OAM

The meeting arranged by my friend Les Johns did the trick. It literally changed my life.

First, I discovered that Ern was once a Newtown (Sydney Australia) kid like me. We went to the same Newtown school. We were both interested in sport and were both quite good at it. There the comparison ends. Very definitely.

You see, Ern is one of Australia’s best known twentieth century press photographers. His dedication and skill saw him in continuous demand throughout the second half of the twentieth century under the gaze of such demanding taskmasters as Ezra Norton, the Packers, and Rupert Murdoch.

As for me, I am merely an ex-teacher in schools and universities, and a writer with a particular interest in history. That might help you to understand why my weekly chats with Ern for the past two years have made me a riveted listener, and a discoverer of surprising historical details few people would know about.

I have got so close to Ern’s life I feel my own life has changed into something close to his. Seriously. At times I think I am, like Ern, a former drinking mate of Keith Miller, the famous Australian cricketerErn knew him very well, as you can see.

Keith posed this shot for Ern.
Keith posed this shot for Ern.
Keith Miller In His Golden Days
Keith Miller In His Golden Days
In the company of a friend.
In the company of a friend.

I feel I have photographed the Queen’s first step on Australian soil in 1954

Her Majesty On Our Shores For The First Time: 1954
Her Majesty On Our Shores For The First Time: 1954

It’s wonderful fun this “work.” I’m starting to feel like a Balmain (Sydney) Rugby League star meeting the Queen.

The Queen and Balmain.
The Queen and Balmain.

While we’re on Rugby League, I seem to have gone over to another club, Newtown. I’m starting to think I was once a good mate of “Bumper” Farrell, Newtown and Australian footballer as well as Head of the CID at Darlinghurst (Razorhurst), Sydney …

The Mighty Bumper Farrell - Named After The Cigarette Bumpers Smoked At School
The Mighty Bumper Farrell – Named After The Cigarette Bumpers He Slyly Smoked At School. He was a very good friend and drinking mate for Ern.

I’m beginning to dream I was the one who showed Richard Nixon how my old (now vintage) camera worked. No fancy digital machines then. The Quarter Plate Speed Graphic Press Camera was no piece of trivia. It was heavy. It gave you once in a lifetime pictures close up or far away; still or moving.

One problem however! You had to be an artist to use it. You had to predict the shot before the event happened. You had to have a sense of proportion and sensitivity. You had to get the light and other mechanics right. And you had to have allies in your human subjects and a rare kind of affinity with the non humanYou developed the photos taken with your big, heavy camera yourself, if they were satisfactory. One shot and you’re in — or you’re out …

Ern Touched Base With Many Powerful People.
Ern Touched Base With Many Powerful People.

Ern’s meeting with such a powerful figure was no minor achievement. You might enjoy this study of Australian Prime Ministers’ struggles to do the same.

After sharing so many stories with Ern, I feel I am really identifying with that military photographer of World War II?

So many of them went, including Ern as photographer.
So many of them went, including Ern as photographer.

Reality again. I WAS there at the Sydney wharf when the hospital ship Manunda brought my grandfather Sidney Isaac Levi home after his work on the Burma Railway. I have since discovered Ern was there with my family and me.

The Manunda: Hospital Ship
The Manunda: Hospital Ship

Was that me who knew famous jockeys and their families as close friends? Did I visit their homes and family functions?

Ern's Picture of Riding Fast and Bill Williamson
Ern’s Picture of Rising Fast and Bill Williamson

Was I available for special shots to fit in with the Jockeys’ lifestyle? Was that me, for example, who needed a shot of the champion George Moore in his colours? Did I go to his Sydney home and find him playing tennis? Did he kindly agree to help me, but refuse the arduous task of exchanging tennis shorts, shoes and socks for jodhpurs? You can find the image of George here, sans tennis shoes and socks.

This is George Moore, a close friend, riding Tulloch.
This is George Moore, a close friend, riding Tulloch.

Was it me who flew around Australia for four years in a Gypsy moth taking photos of the Australian landscapes, including the great Maitland flood of 1955?  Was it me who was taught to fly by the pilot in those air voyages, A.J.R. Oates,”Titus” Oats, the DFC+ war hero of Beaufort Torpedo Bomber fame in New Guinea and elsewhere, to give “Titus” a break from flying?

Two stars and close friends: Ern and Titus.
Two stars and close friends: Ern and Titus.
Amy Johnson's Gypsy Moth. Ern's  and "Titus'" Flimsy Vehicle For Four  Years
Flying as it was in those days. Amy Johnson’s Gypsy Moth.

A little sad reality. One thing I really am — extremely sad now to discover that “Titus,” incredibly brave in wartime, was later killed in a crop dusting accident in South Africa? Ern gave him so much life in our discussions that the later discovery about Africa was almost like a bereavement.

Did I pick up Mrs Petrov’s shoe and hand it to the Russian agents when she was being arrested at Mascot, Sydney in the 1950s by the agents? Ern did; after he took this picture.

Petrova Being Taken To The Plane At Mascot Airport. Ern was part of history!
Petrova Being Taken To The Plane At Mascot Airport. Ern was part of history!

Was I the young son who learnt to box in my father’s gymnasiums, training and road running with some of the 60+ champions my father, Ern McQuillan the famous and perhaps greatest Australian boxing manager, trained and managed?

Ern’s Father: Ernest Edward McMillan OAM
Ern’s Father: Ernest Edward McMillan OAM

Did I actually get to know Chief Little Wolf and “Dirty” Dick Raines, the famous enemies of the wrestling ring, who were actually the best of friends and worked out their wrestling moves at Ern’s father’s gymnasium?

Back To The Past Courtesy Wiki Commons. (This site is really worth visiting.)
Back To The Past Courtesy Wiki Commons. (This site is really worth visiting.)

Reality again. I too am really glad now that young Ern, forced by a caring mother and boss Ezra Norton, to give up boxing and focus on press photography. It was a big step for the young pro. after he won all six of his bouts in the ring, as “Ernie Mac,” by knockouts.

Was that the wondrous Betty Cuthbert who ran out onto an empty athletic field as a favour to Ern, to give Ern (and ME) an action shot?

Betty Cuthbert kindly posed this shot for Ern.
Betty Cuthbert kindly posed this shot for Ern.

Some trick on this ordinary person, those two years of discussions between Ern and me! One emotional outcome for me is a desperate longing to see books and at least one film result from this great Australian’s fascinating life, making good use in the Ken Burns mode, of hundred’s of photographs at his disposal.

The pictures and comments of this post are an iceberg tip. The rest makes an amazing story.

There is the potential for several books – on our nation’s twentieth century history, and on remarkable, passionate incidents for several sporting categories.

Film Makers? Book Publishers?

Where are you? In Australia or anywhere.

Let his amazing records be known for the future. We have hundreds of pictures. The research is done.  Find him and give his art to the future. You will not be sorry!

I feel so strongly about the majesty and excitement of Ern’s life I need to give it a high place in my “TO DOs” here. He is still a delight to talk to. My next posts in this place will try to show you more of the adventure, the significance and the variety of that life.

Ern's Picture of Fireworks – Celebration 1946 War's End!
Ern’s Picture of Fireworks – Celebration 1946 War’s End!

Here’s to Ern, a warrior I have been extremely lucky to find.

Royce

All images on this site are my own or from Wiki Commons. If there is any error, please tell me and I will fix things immediately. All my thanks to the wonderful Wiki service, and to the artists who share their strength and bring us joy.

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