Opinion: Opera Australia’s "On Message" with the Ring. Or Are They?

Tickets are sold out.
But then they’re released.
They cost thousands.
But opera is being bought “to the masses”

I’m tired of the same old marketing spin for the about-to-happen Ring Cycle in Melbourne with Opera Australia. First they say it’s sold out, then they say tickets have been released (just the less expensive ones). Then we get some sort of tired old aristocratic-aid-mission-guff about “bringing opera to the masses” (the Herald Sun for example).

Clearly “the masses” whoever they are, don’t like opera and if they did, it wouldn’t be necessary to refer to them in such a pejorative fashion nor to “bring opera” to them as if it were some sort of novel discovery we colonialists have made in terra australis and could probably “learn you” something by expanding your meagre “culcha” with. 

Besides, what’s the point of bringing opera to the masses when all your seats are sold out (or are they….)?

After being to the opera many times myself, with many people of all ages and backgrounds, I think the only thing about it I can be certain is elitist is the marketing itself.

Oh, and the ticket prices for the ring – compounded by the accommodation costs (which because a full cycle is strung out over more than a week), anyone from interstate has to “boost the Victorian tourism economy” by retaining at least one hotel room for the duration.

So in between all this “boosting of the economy” and releasing tickets to a show that we have been told for months has “been sold out for months”, I wonder where the time will come to “bring opera to the masses” – through the auspicious channel of cabaret and other “festivally” bits and pieces?

If there is one thing the masses are historically overwhelmingly in favour of – it’s getting the crumbs of the cake and none of the icing.

Pity Marie Antoinette didn’t live to see Melbourne’s Ring Cycle Festival Extravaorgazama.

Oh well, back to South Pacific for all us Sydneysiders. Or is it King and I? I don’t know, one of those well known operatic masterpieces that are obviously core repertoire for any international opera company. I wonder what the masses will make of those “operas”…

Aaron Kernaghan

Hilarity Ensues in Court – When Premier’s don’t understand separation of powers…

This appears on Justinian today – a timely reminder of how far Queensland has come (or not) since the dreadful days of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Unfortunately, few law students seem to be taught this anymore. For those who don’t know, the inquiry ended up with the deposition of a premier, two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and a police commissioner who was jailed and lost his knighthood. It also led directly to the end of the National Party of Australia‘s 32-year run as the government of Queensland.

More unfortunately, where are the law commentators and profound minds to comment on the obvious comparisons with the present outrages and affronts being committed in the state of Queensland to it’s legal system and the rights of its citizens?

This is an exchange from the commission during which former premier Bjelke Peterson is being cross examined by counsel assisting. For more information on the Royal Commission, go here.
Michael Forde (counsel examining Bjelke-Petersen): What do you understand by the doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

Bjelke Petersen: The Westminster system? The stock?

Forde: The doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

Bjelke-Petersen: No, I don’t quite know what you’re driving at. The document?

Forde: No, I’ll say it again. What do you understand by the doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

Bjelke-Petersen: I don’t know which doctrine you refer to.

Forde: There is only one doctrine of the separation of powers. 

Bjelke-Petersen: I believe in it very strongly, and despite what you may say, I believe that we do have a great responsibility to the people who elect us to government. And that’s to maintain their freedom and their rights, and I did that – sought to do it – always.

Forde: I’m sure you’re trying to be responsive to the question, but the question related to the doctrine of the separation of powers or the principles – – –

Bjelke-Petersen: Between the government and the – is it?

Forde: No, you tell me what you understand.

Bjelke-Petersen: Well, the separation of the doctrine that you refer to, in relation to where the government stands, and the rest of the community stands, or where the rest of the instruments of government stand. Is that what – – – ?

Forde: No.

Bjelke-Petersen: Well you tell me. And I’ll tell you whether you’re right or not. Don’t you know? 

Ridiculous Name for Legislation – Queensland Strikes Again

One of the time-tested norms of law is that when parliament makes a law, it will usually have a tremendously boring, if not entirely un-informative, title given to it. For example, the law that regulates crimes in NSW is imaginatively titled, The Crimes Act.
The latest fracas in Queensland over Bikie Laws is only surpassed for it’s mildly circus-like atmosphere for the dramatic and almost Harry Potterian titles given to the bill that was put to parliament, named – wait for it it –

Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment 

Act, 2013

[Play dramatic music here]

Truly, it’s just terrifying isn’t it?

According to the act, it’s now possible to be a “vicious lawless associate”. Which begs the question, what is a non-vicious lawless associate? Might there be some sort of aggravated vicious lawless associations to be had? 

Unhelpfully, “vicious” isn’t really defined.

Anonymous Hacks Singapore Prime Minister’s Website

Last week Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong’s website was hacked by Anonymous in a protest to the 
The day before the website was hacked, a video posted on the hacker group Anonymous’s website and youtube contained threats the group would launch attacks on the government’s data infrastructure if lawmakers refused to loosen new internet restrictions.
Prime Minister Loong told media after the video was published “When somebody threatens to do harm [to Singapore’s information infrastructure], we take that very seriously and we will spare no effort to try and track down the culprits,” Lee said. “If we can find him, we will bring him to justice and he will be dealt with severely. You may think you’re anonymous – we will make the extra effort to find out who you are.” 
The next day the hacker group infultrated the Prime Minister’s webiste changing it content. The most obvious of the messages stated ANONYMOUS SG WAS HERE B*#$@H.” 
All content was quickly removed and returned to its original state.

Simultaneous to this act twitter account of Singaporean actor Ridhwan Azman was also hacked and unauthorised messaged sent on his account.

Are these acts Cyber Terrorism or harmless protest? What can be done about acts such as these?

Change of Policy by Legal Aid

Effective from 4 November 2013, Legal Aid NSW has changed it’s policy on when you can get Legal Aid for defended local court hearings.

You will only be able to get aid in situations where there is a real possibility that a term of imprisonment will be imposed on conviction, or where there are exceptional circumstances.

Practitioners will be required to certify whether the application satisfies the policy, and if so, on what basis. If there is not a real possibility of gaol, or exceptional circumstances, then aid is not to be given.

This is a meaningful change from the previous situation and is unfortunate in that it equates the need for legal aid in Local Court hearings with those matters in which a gaol sentence is likely. The problem is, all sorts of injustice must be defended against, whether it involves gaol or not.

More information here.