All Posts By

David Werdiger

The Language of Mistrust

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Language constantly evolves, and we coin new words and phrases to fit the zeitgeist – the dominant set of ideals and beliefs at any time. While usually language and pop culture are reflections of this zeitgeist, features of said culture can be hard to identify because we are deep inside of it. However, by studying the new words that have been coined, we can get a greater insight into the trends around us. I’ve noticed the increased use…

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Run-off vs Two-candidate-preferred

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The recent French Presidential election highlights the differences in voting systems between the run-off and the two-candidate-preferred system used (but not that well understood) in Australia. The outcome of the election process is to determine which (one) candidate is the choice of the people, and therefore has a mandate to rule on behalf of the people. When there are exactly two candidates, this is easy: one candidate would usually have more than 50% of the vote, and the…

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The Real Problem with Pauline Hanson

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Another week, another audacious and controversial statement by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. The recent terrorist attack in London prompted her to repeat her proposal for a “Muslim ban”, and present her own hashtag #Pray4MuslimBan instead of the sympathetic #PrayForLondon. Her statements temporarily reignited the debate about Muslim immigration and how we ought to respond to terror attacks – threatened and actual. But yet again, the debate was superficial and highly polarised, and quickly fizzled. Hanson’s statements are inflammatory and…

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On Gay Marriage, Polyamory, Slippery Slopes and Straw Men

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It started when I read recently that Cory Bernadi “equated gay marriage with bestiality“. Did he really do that? It sounds absurd! Before I go any further, an important disclaimer: this article does not take a position on gay marriage. Rather, it looks at the way it is debated and reported. In the current world of “media stories with dubious connections to reality” (which beats the now meaningless term “fake news“), I felt obligated to investigate further before commenting,…

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Membership has its Privileges? The Gamification of Loyalty

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The airline loyalty system has officially gone crazy. I was ready to board a flight from Houston to LA, and was pleased to see the big word “PRIORITY” on my boarding pass. The earlier I board, the greater the chance of finding a free bin to put my hand luggage. Thinking that I would be one of the first to board and positioning myself at the front of the pre-boarding area, I wait. Then the…

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Superbowl LI Preview

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I know deep in my heart and in my mind that the Falcons can win. They have the offensive weapons to keep up in a shoot-out – watch out for some deep magic from Sanu since Julio Jones will certainly get a lot of attention from the Patriots secondary. More importantly, they have the running game and offensive line to keep hold of the ball for as long as possible, thus keeping the Patriots offence…

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A Modern Australian Nationalist Credo

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I love my country and am proud to call myself an Australian. I have travelled around the world enough to have formed the view that our country is up there with the best in the world. Being an Australian is a strong aspect of my identity. I support the concerns of all citizens of our country, especially so called “ordinary people” (an awful term). Does all that make me a nationalist and a populist? By any dictionary…

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Fake #FakeNews and Alternative #AlternativeFacts

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Is there anything worse than #fakeNews ? Yes. Fake #FakeNews. The #FakeNews phenomenon grew out of the large number of contrived and false articles purporting to be news that spread like wildfire on social media. I’m not talking about the satirical newspaper The Onion (although there are way too many people who think their articles are true). Rather, it’s about: completely fabricated stories (sometimes from real-sounding news sites) like the Pope supporting Trump, or Germany adopting Shariah law,…

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What VCE results announcements tell us about schools

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The VCE results for 2016 have been released, with much fanfare. Again, the Jewish schools have ranked very highly in the state, jostling for position in the top 10, and the best performing students in each school are among the very top in the state. We are spoiled for choice when it comes to Jewish schools, and each caters to a specific segment of the community. Whether all of this is good or bad is not the focus…

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Yeshivah Episode IV – A New Hope

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The drawn out process of governance reform at Yeshivah over the last few years has not concluded, rather has reached an important step. If it were a construction project, we could say that we’ve done our share of demolition and excavation, and the foundation is largely complete. Now it begins in earnest. With a new organisational structure, broad membership, and boards with elected representatives, we have the basis for a fresh start – a new…

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