Unsatisfactory Flying Object

This hot-air balloon in hi-vis
Is claiming (for shame) he’s a whiz —
For saying “Net Zero”
He thinks he’s a hero
But darned if we know WHAT he is?

This speech bubble up in the sky
Will obfuscate, quibble and lie
And drop on us bogans
His glib three-word slogans —
Let’s hope all the bullshit won’t fly

He promised us NOTHING, that’s true
(And, yes, he’s delivered it too)
But there’s no attraction
In specious inaction —
It’s vacuous bumph through and through

Winning’s what he has his eyes on
But WE know our future relies on
His dropping the guff…
Or losing his puff
And fizzling out on the horizon

©Deb Conyngham


International conferences have in large numbers shifted their business online. Saves on airfares or indeed oblivion.

But they have to grapple with graceless time zones. The International Music Council’s conference set a schedule with sessions beginning at 1.00pm and 4.00pm Central European (eg Berlin) time – which is to say, 11.00pm and 2.00am Eastern Australian time. This wipes out participation by most of Australia and, well, most of Asia, in the interests of Europe and the Americas.


There’s a job for Peter Dutton here. Now that he has subjugated China, would he please reposition the tectonic plates?


Jig’s lived for a while in America.

A surprising thing was that a lot of people could sing, full throated, in tune, musically. There was a bar I knew which would fill every Sunday with people gathered around a band comprised of pianist and banjo (!) and sang things like When the Red Red Robin Comes Hop Hop Hoppin’ Along. Corny music but so well sung and such a warm feeling.

Others occasionally popped up in living rooms and sang long stretches of music theatre songs by people like Stephen Sondheim. (They didn’t have that great Australian invention, the Pub Choir. But neither did we.)


Sondheim just died.

Maybe the greatest music theatre composer yet.

The New York Times reports that people spontaneously gathered in bars around the city and sang his songs, for hours. What a lovely image.

Remembering Sondheim in one of the piano bars. (Jeena Moon for the New York Times)

They knew his music by heart. And could sing it. And wanted to join in remembering and honouring him. Is a similar emanation likely in Australia about one of ours – or even (yet) possible?


Loudmouth brings you music news but music lives or dies in a larger world that we need to know about.

Jig’s just got the Civil Liberties Association’s online newsletter. It reveals an extraordinary amount of vital information that seems not to make it into the major media , whether print or online. Information about growing corruption, and lawlessness unchecked while, as a music friend used to say, the authorities look out the window. Or are doing the lawlessness.


At the bottom of this month’s goss, Jig’s has republished a sample article. It takes one third of a page in the 14-page newsletter. So there’s more…

Run. Scream. Thump. Vote early, vote often.


Genevieve Lacey

The Melbourne Symphony has an online video on demand service available by monthly subscription. The top four trending concerts are by Tina Arena, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, tenor Jonas Kaufmann – and recorder player Genevieve Lacey. Genevieve also just won the Classical Aria with the recording Bower, reviewed here a couple of months ago. She is extraordinary, in a way that won’t make it into the CLA news.


Julian Meyrick, co-writer of an important article in this edition, was moving to Brisbane for his new job at Griffith. He writes: “I got caught in the Melbourne lockdown, mid-year, while I was back visiting the family. So I won’t know about Qld until I’m back there 17 December.  Sounds like it’s become a bit of an anti-vaxx whinge fest up there. My solution: stick it in the beer, and the whole state will be vaxxed by Wednesday.”


Zubin Mehta and the Australian World Orchestra, Sydney Opera House 2013

The Australian World Orchestra will reassemble its Australian musicians from around the world next year AND Zubin Mehta will return to conduct. He loves Richard Strauss and vice-versa and will conduct three of Strauss’s most famous tone poems – Don JuanTill Eulenspiegels and Ein Heldenleben.



Nation’s law agencies becoming more corrupt

Australia’s law enforcement agencies are becoming more corrupt, particularly those in the Home Affairs portfolio and the Australian Federal Police, which are hotbeds of official corruption, the figures reveal. Together, they account for 94% of a record number of referrals of corruptly passing information to criminals, accepting bribes, and tipping off companies.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) annual report says that in 2020-21 it “had the busiest year in our 15-year history,” according to the Commissioner, Jaala Hinchcliffe.

Corruption among the relevant government law agencies was up 62%. There were 478 notifications and referrals of alleged corrupt conduct involving ACLEI in 2020-21, with 353 raising a corruption issue. ACLEI investigated 108 and referred 306 back to enforcement agencies for investigation and action. In other words, CLA notes, ACLEI did not investigate 64% of the corruption allegations made to it.

The closest thing we have to a federal corruption body allowed the agencies to self-investigate, in the same way that police investigate police misbehaviour complaints throughout Australia. Police rarely find a complain justified: when they do, action against a serving police officer is almost never taken.

So it is with ACLEI. ACLEI finalised 35 corruption investigations in 20-21, finding 10 cases of corruption: agencies finalised 104 investigations – 11 investigation reports were sent to the Attorney-General: only 6 were published.

In other words, CLA notes, just 6 of 478 cases of alleged misconduct among Australia’s federal law enforcers saw the light of day. That’s about 1.25%.

If you are a corrupt federal law enforcement employee, your chances of getting away with corruption have never been better: it’s about 98.5% certain you won’t face public scrutiny.

Corruption issues raised ranged from unauthorised access to “significant allegations relating to the supply of operational information to assist criminal activities, making operational decisions to benefit associates and receiving bribes”. Government employees disclosed information to companies seeking commercial advantages, and to help criminal syndicates undertake illegal conduct or evade justice.

The Home Affairs portfolio accounted for 71% of total matters, and the AFP 23%. [You know, the people who give such loving care to asylum seekers.]


As it happens, this particular piece of news already appeared in that English daily, The Guardian, here: https://tinyurl.com/96rp87k9