Scab is always taunt

BETTER PEOPLE THAN YOU or I have fought against shifting displacement. The Green Bans are the well-known heroic story of the beginning of built-environment heritage protection and the last hurrah of working class militancy in Australia. The Builders Labourers Federation (BLF), a union made up of low-skilled demolition and construction workers, made common cause with the interests of preservationists and aesthetes of cultural significance. From the unlikely teaming-up of singletted Communists and connoisseurs of Georgian buildings, NSW retains its Rocks, its Kelly’s Bush, its significant buildings and its Heritage Act 1977.

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Rum

MODERN DRINKERS RECOGNISE RUM as a spirit distilled from sugarcane (more often specifically, molasses). These days, unlike those of Australia’s original penal settlement, you can’t drink it in jail. Eddie Obeid, formerly New South Wales Minister, formerly member of the Legislative Council, formerly OAM, will have none for a period of at least three years, and up to five. That’s not likely to concern Eddie, who is reportedly not a big drinker, or indeed, anyone else. That Obeid has been sentenced is justice, no more or less. But how much does our current political culture owe to the rum days?

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Stop the x save the y

I CAN’T FEEL THE outrage. It’s true that Westconnex, the planned motorway to be constructed through and underneath Sydney’s inner west, is bad. It’s a model of combined woeful planning, culture war assumptions about transport, shocking public relations, and kleptonomics: a chuckleheaded set of map lines straight from love-in seminars between baked-in NSW Treasury headcases and cynical bagmen from the usual consultancies. It’s a highway project that would shame Robert Moses, who, when all was said, at least believed in the public good and not simply transport efficiency. It has been and will be a crappy project from the get-go to the eventual ribbon-cutting ceremony, and it should justify every vociferous demonstration, tree ribbon, and lie-in. Yet I can’t quite gather the strength to be infuriated. What is worth saving?

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Cup Day Spew

THE FIRST TUESDAY IN November, Melbourne Cup Day, is marked not by the excessive consumption of food and drink, but rather, by its regurgitation. The race that stops a nation also stops it in mid-sentence (‘um, hang on a minute’), bends it at about forty-five degrees at the waist, puts its hands on its knees, then floor-pancakes its lunch across the footpath, or bus floor, or office carpet. There, doesn’t that feel better out than in?

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Chicken Roll

THE SPECTACLE IS NOT a sandwich, but a social relation mediated by sandwiches, or so Guy Debord didn’t say. A long week of ridiculous thinkpieces and social media wank, begun by shameless controversialist and charlatan Bernard Salt, just reinforces the prime role of foodstuff-as-ideology.

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