Seat of the week: Gippsland

For as long as there has been a federal parliament, there has been a seat of Gippsland, and for as long as there has been a National/Country Party, the seat has been theirs. The present incumbent is Darren Chester, who succeeded Peter McGauran at a by-election in 2008.

Green and red numbers respectively indicate size of two-party Nationals and Labor polling booth majorities. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The electorate of Gippsland has covered the far east of Victoria since federation, and has been in National/Country Party hands since the party was founded in 1922. It currently extends as far westwards as the Latrobe Valley towns of Morwell and Traralgon, other major centres being Sale, Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. The Nationals’ hold appeared to be in serious jeopardy for the first time when the redistribution ahead of the 2004 election added Morwell and Traralgon, which had long been accommodated by the electorate’s western neighbour McMillan. However, Labor’s traditional strength in this area has been waning over the past two decades with the decline of its electricity industry, and a realignment among workers with a stake in coal mining resulting from climate change politics. Howard government minister Peter McGauran, who had held the since since 1983, increased his margin by 5.1% at the 2004 election, and the swing against him in 2007 was only 1.8%.

McGauran was the first member of the Howard government to leave parliament after the 2007 election defeat, resulting in a by-election held on 28 June 2008. This produced a three-way contest involving both the Nationals and Liberals as well as Labor, which at the time provided a spur to talk of a coalition merger. After a campaign dominated by the Rudd government’s “alcopops tax” and local concern over the prospect of an emissions trading scheme, the Nationals easily retained the seat, outpolling the Liberals 39.6% to 20.7% and gaining a 6.1% swing on two-party preferred – a surprisingly poor result for Labor given the strength of the Rudd government’s polling at the time. Labor’s primary vote fell 8.1%, and was down particularly heavily at the Latrobe Valley end of the electorate.

Gippsland has since been held for the Nationals by Darren Chester, who had previously been the chief-of-staff to state party leader Peter Ryan. Chester had earlier run unsuccessfully against Craig Ingram, then the independent member for the state seat of Gippsland East, at the 2002 state election, and sought Senate preselection at the 2004 federal election against Peter McGauran’s incumbent brother Julian, who went on to defect to the Liberal Party in January 2006. After his strong win at the by-election, Chester’s margin was little changed at the 2010 election, and he picked up a further 4.4% swing in 2013. Chester was promoted to shadow parliamentary secretary for roads and regional transport after the 2010 election, and became parliamentary secretary to the Defence Minister when the Abbott government came to power in 2013.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

370 comments on “Seat of the week: Gippsland”

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  1. Some welcome news this morning

    [Fairfax Media is set to publish political polls again, inking a deal with market research company Ipsos that will lead to 10 federal polls a year plus state-based polls on demand.
    The Fairfax Ipsos Poll will have a sample size of 1400 and be based on telephone interviews. The first one will be published this month in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as well as The Australian Financial Review. Victoria is set to held to the polls on 29 November; NSW in March next year.
    Fairfax’s long-running relationship with pollster Nielsen came to an end earlier this year, as Nielsen pulled out of political polling.
    Ipsos was then chosen for an undisclosed price.]

    Read more:

  2. Morning all. Good news indeed about Fairfax Sprocket.

    I hadn’t followed the news much over the weekend and just caught up with the devastating, and unseasonal, blizzard in Nepal. The timing and bad luck was striking. I did that trek myself (Appapurna circuit) a few decades back now, and at this same time of year (I took 20 days then, as the roads did not go in nearly as far as now.). It was t-shirt weather until you got over 4000 metres. I would fear most for all the porters, who are often not locals. The western tourists all had expensive cold weather gear. The porters dod not.

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Kate McClymont tells us of the further decline of the charming Obeid family.
    I’m sure university deregulation will sort this out.
    Really? MH17 shot down by a Ukraine missile?
    $435 pa increase in domestic eastern states gas price? Bloody carbon tax!
    So Abbott must charm the new Indonesian president? Give it your best shot Tone.
    Ross Gittins and Abbott’s “crony capitalism”. Ross unloads nicely here.
    Science the benchmark of an educated society. Hear hear!
    Plibersek steps up the attack on Abbott’s ebola efforts.
    At last credit card holders wake up to how they are being ripped off.
    Cormann defends the indefensible.

  4. Morning all. The Obeid marina story is another of those “its about time” stories. I can still recall raising questions of corruption in NSW on this blog a few years and one pro-Labor poster saying that Obeid was a “skilled businessman” and this explained his wealth. That poster had the “end justifies the means” attitude to ethics so typical of political staffers.

    Yet as time goes by, with more and more stories coming to light, I am increasingly asking myself, why has no trial occurred yet? The public servants who carried out his wishes were guilty of breaking various public service acts based on evidence made public so far. Why no trials?

  5. So who is going to be missing today from Captain Tones Team Australia run on squad in the House Of Reps.

    The Capatain is in Indo crawling to the new bloke. Is Bishop J still away?

    So who is going to step up …. Trusssssss and Sloppy Joe ?

  6. Tourists acting irresponsibly may take Ebola home.
    Overseas aid has gone to waste.

    [Samura believes sexual promiscuity among westerners could play a role in the virus’s spread abroad. Almost immediately after the outbreak was reported in March, Liberia’s health minister warned people to stop having sex because the virus was spread via bodily fluids as well as kissing.“I saw westerners in nightclubs, on beaches, guys picking up prostitutes,” he said. “Westerners who ought to know better are going to nightclubs and partying and dancing. It beggars belief.It’s scary.”

    He said another striking feature was that the ineffectiveness of years of aid had been laid bare: “Money has poured in from the west, but it has gone to waste. Ebola should make us think about how the west gives aid to Africa; aid has not been used to create a system able to cope with this challenge. Ebola has exposed the fact it is not working. That money has gone to waste.”

    A committee of MPs recently criticised the Department for International Development and the EU for failing to address the problem of aid being misappropriated. It said just £2.4m of £37m of aid had actually made its way to Liberia’s health ministry.]

  7. Thanks for all the links BK. You are right about Cormann. Defending his caveman remarks is as pathetic as Chris Pyne pretending that all is well with Barry Spur developing school curricula.

    Off early today, have a good day all.

  8. Although William does not, in general, approve of large slabs, I have here quoted the entire article by Henry Ergas in today’s The Australian on what he calls, ‘The Barry Spurr Affair’.

    I do so because most Bludgers would otherwise not read it and because it states fully and fulsomely a case most elements of which, I believe, they would not support.

    I note that Ergas ignores several inconvenient truths which most Bludgers will pick up on. That said, Ergas’ discussion of parody is better-informed than anything that has been written on Bludger to date.

    [THE Barry Spurr affair is terrifying in the shoddy treatment of Spurr; in what it says about our universities; and in the lack of outrage that either has evoked.

    What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy. To that must be added the likelihood that his emails were obtained illegally and used when it was known, or should have been known, that that is how they had been obtained.

    Moreover, that use was by a publication, New Matilda, that had only recently committed the same offence; and whose journalists hypocritically denounced the wrongdoing at the News of the World and, since then, have attacked the government’s metadata proposals, with all their checks and balances, as an assault on privacy.

    Of course, one expects nothing better from Wendy Bacon, who demands a moral right to invade the private emails of others without providing public access to her own. But it is disappointing that Bill Shorten, who repeatedly invoked the presumption of innocence to shield Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, failed to show the same concern for Spurr.

    And it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.

    To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial.

    Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a div­orced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).

    It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poet­ics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communic­ation. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) was an anti-Semite.

    To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’.

    Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’.

    In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise.

    At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack.

    Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice.

    But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf.

    Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price.

    None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace.

    Reversing it should be an oblig­ation, as well as a priority.]


    [A controversial plan to segregate people wearing face coverings in Parliament House has been abandoned.

    Parliament’s presiding officers have dumped their controversial interim ruling that people wearing burqas or niqabs in the public galleries be segregated behind glass.

    In a new security circular issued by the Department of Parliamentary Services this morning, visitors will now be required to show their faces and to show identification upon entering Parliament House but after that, will be free to move around.]

  10. Crikey does this song sound familiar!!

    [Why did Britain’s political class buy into the Tories’ economic fairytale?

    The UK economy has been in difficulty since the 2008 financial crisis. Tough spending decisions have been needed to put it on the path to recovery because of the huge budget deficit left behind by the last irresponsible Labour government, showering its supporters with social benefit spending. Thanks to the coalition holding its nerve amid the clamour against cuts, the economy has finally recovered……….

    That is the Conservative party’s narrative on the UK economy, and a large proportion of the British voting public has bought into it. They say they trust the Conservatives more than Labour by a big margin when it comes to economic management.]

  11. briefly

    But what if they are in the gallery, hiding behind burqahs, niqabs and the like, and shouting norty things at Bishop? How will she know who to evict from the House?

    It is the end of civilization as we know it!!!!!

    Last night I saw eleven muslims at the Canberra Airport Arrivals Hall. They were neatly dressed, comported themselves with decorum and did not blow the place up, behead anyone or king hit anyone to death with a single coward’s punch.

    What one of them did do was to crack a joke, at which the group burst in delighted and, may I say, delightful laughter.

    Que? Laughing Muslims? What happened to the Death Cult?

    You won’t read about that in ‘The Australian’.

  12. Boerwar

    Thank you for Ergas’ piece. I would say the core of it is
    [By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant.]

    I also agree that those emails should never have been made public.

  13. 10

    THE Barry Spurr affair….

    What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy.]

    What is certain is that Spurr’s expressions were not privately made at all. There’s no invasion of anything, simply a breach of network user rights by Spurr.

    Ergas is effectively asserting that scholars should have special rights to publish descriptions of women as sluts and whores and to use racist language for their own amusement.

  14. BB..

    More “poetic licence” from Barry Spurr & ‘friend’..

    Bridie Jabour @bkjabour
    In which Barry Spurr and a friend discuss the sexual assault of a “worthless slut”…

  15. AWH causing rumbles in far away Qld.

    [Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale’s email trail raises queries about connections

    IPSWICH mayor Paul Pisasale’s attempts to distance himself from a water company at the centre of corruption investigations have been brought into question by his own email inbox.

    The emails show Cr Pisasale was kept in the loop about business ambitions of Australian Water Holdings in Ipswich in November 2011.

    He was also still regularly socialising with AWH staff – sharing joke emails and passing on photographs of himself arm-in-arm with the likes of AWH’s Eddie Obeid Jr, the son of corrupt NSW Labor operative Eddie Obeid Snr, as late as 2012.]

  16. IMHO there is a dividing line between those who take Spurr’s comments at face value, as real in and of themselves, and those who regard them as unreal because they are parodies and the like.

    The former would have to demonstrate that the concept of parody/irony/sarcasm don’t apply to racism and sexism.

    The latter would have to demonstrate that parody does not have a reality of its own.

    When the dust settles we will, no doubt, get someone who goes so hyperbolic in his language that we will get into a debate about whether parodying parody is legitimate.

    BTW, I assume that Spurr is preparing FOI requests on all USyd’s administrators’m academic staff and student emails from which, doubtless, he will be able to demonstrate that personal use of USyd’s email system is general, not exceptional. He may well extend the FOI request to their use of txt messages on USyd paid-for phones and any posts put up on social media pages including, of course:

    POLL BLUDGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Borewar and Lizzie

    I think new Matilda’s arguments today are very good in favour of publishing emails:

    And I disagree that they r private. It’s his employers email ie Barry.spurr@uniwhatever, not his gmail account. Maybe it’s an age thing but as someone who grew up with email I assume anything I send through my work email is not private (it may b confidential but that’s another thing). If I want private then my personal email (although with data retention guess not so much!) but at least then u can say u said those things in a private capacity not as a representative of ur employer.

  18. briefly

    […and that his private conversations may be transmitted to others without his consent….oh no!!]

    Poor Julian. We’ve already had the ‘he can’t breathe’ claim and now ‘he can’t talk’ is on.

    Next will have to be ‘he can’t s#it’.


    [Australia’s foreign minister has reached a deal with Baghdad for the deployment of about 200 special forces to assist Iraqi troops in their fight against jihadists.

    Julie Bishop has been in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi officials about Australia’s involvement in the fight against Islamic State extremists.

    Ms Bishop told reporters in Baghdad on Sunday that she had hammered out a deal allowing Australian commandos who have been waiting in the United Arab Emirates, to deploy to Iraq.

    “I have finalised an agreement for a legal framework to enable our special forces to be deployed here,” she said as she wrapped up a two-day visit.

    Ms Bishop said the special forces’ mission would be to “advise and assist the Iraqi government in building up the capacity of the Iraqi security forces”.

    The agreement came a day after the appointment of interior and defence ministers ended a security limbo that had been seen as an obstacle to coordination in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group.

    Australia was one of the first nations to join the United States’ aerial campaign against the group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and is increasingly seen as a global threat.

    During her trip, Ms Bishop also reiterated that Australian forces would be deployed in an advisory capacity and that Canberra had no plans to send ground troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces.]

    So there’s a “deal”. I wonder what the terms are…

  20. The excuse-making for Spurr is reaching levels where people are starting to turn a blind eye to reality.

    [What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy.]

    No. Emails I send via my work email remain the property of my employer. I don’t get to take them all with me when I leave. My employer has the right to monitor my emails, sift through them on the server, even call up and read specific items of correspondence. Only an idiot would use their work email to conduct personal conversations when picking up your phone and communicating via your own personal email is just as easy.

    [In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. ]

    Yeah, he is entitled to his private vices. And as I’ve said all along if he wanted to indulge in racist and sexist and offensive rants with his buds, he should’ve restricted these ‘conversations’ to Friday night after work either at a back corner table at the local pub, or in the privacy of his own home. Not via his employer’s email network.

    As for the ANU’s divestment strategy being a witch hunt against fossil fuels, what on earth can one say?

  21. Boer

    We get back to the fact that freedom of expression works in a number of ways.

    Spurr could have said (arguably) anything he wanted, using his own personal email, paid for by him, and that’s fine.

    He used the email provided by the University, and that subjects him to certain penalties under the University’s rules.

    “New Matilda’ argues that they didn’t hack his account or obtain his emails illegally. (Fine line here, but anyone who uses email knows there is the possibility that, accidentally or deliberately, the email can be sent out to hundreds of other people at the click of a button. If you regard emails as either a secure or private form of communication, then you’re either ignorant or stupid).

    In other words, someone who received the emails sent them on to “New Matilda’. (If there’s an offence, that’s the someone who commited it).

    One minute papers like The Oz are arguing that a journalist who receives emails (or other forms of communication) on ASIO matters should be free to publish these without penalty, the next that leaked emails shouldn’t be used. Consistency on these issues would be helpful.

    As for the other defences, yes, literary types have long indulged in satirical, ironical and other forms of word games. They’re also often suffered for this. The ones with real purposes behind their actions have accepted the penalties (they have often deliberately sought publicity and courted the dangers) in order to promote their cause.

    Spurr isn’t a noble fighter for justice or freedom of expression. His reaction to the exposure of the emails demonstrates this. He is either genuinely racist (in the way that so many people who are ‘just joking’ are) or making fun of those who are genuinely concerned about these issues.

    “I was just mucking around” is a standard excuse I hear from 12 year old boys when they’ve hurt someone or broken something. Usually they grow out of that by the time they’re 15.

  22. [markjs
    Posted Monday, October 20, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    There was no parody in the email exchange I linked to.]

    Simply asserting this view would probably not cut it in front of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or that other Tribunal (name?) that deals with workplace issues.

    Given that a person’s job is on the line, you would need to establish your view with some fairly good arguments.

  23. Boer

    I will also point out that you consistently make the argument about whether Spurr intended to be racist or sexist. That isn’t my argument at all. Mine is about the employer’s right to restrict the way equipment they’ve provided is used.

    You seem to be ignoring that entirely.

  24. BW

    [Saw, amongst others, Pyne, Ruddock and Morrison.]

    Did Pyne and Morrison have to collect Ruddock from the lugage conveyor?

    On a Sunday all claiming $300 or so for a night in Canberra.

    Pyne has an excuse but Morrison and Ruddock should have been up at 4AM this morning heading to Sydney airport.

  25. Was Spurr using a personal email account and accessing it with a PC he owned and on a personal network or ISP?

    If he used any of the resources of the university it is simply wrong to consider them personal emails and unless the uni has really bad legals there will be no doubt whether the emails are ‘private’.

    With parody there are two questions which I am not sure necessarily get the same answer. Firstly if it is intended as parody is one question, and if it objectively reads as parody is a second.

    I’m no expert on parody but don’t you usually use parody to mock the bad behaviour of power. I just don’t see how advocating bras inside clothes on opera singers and mocking recognition of aboriginal artists can be anything other than racist. Unless the purpose of the parody is to suggest there should be less recognition of opera singers and more of aboriginal artists? I don’t know it doesn’t read like anything but totally unacceptable even if it is racist and sexist driven parody?

    In shocking breaking news Abbott and bishop mock the office of speaker with burqa ban parody!

  26. zoomster

    Is it against USyd’s rules for a Professor of Poetry to use University emails to play with words? It is his core business. I doubt that any charges along those lines would survive the pub test, let alone a court of law.

    Is parody against USyd’s Code of Conduct? I doubt whether there would be a specific reference to it. More, if there were, parody would probably be encouraged rather than discouraged.

    The Spurr Affair keeps coming back to a central issue:
    ‘What is real?’ Shakespeare spent a fair bit of time on the topic:

    [Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.]

  27. Boerwar..

    You’ve got it wrong way round.. Spurr will have to convince AAT that it was parody & thus the Uni was wrong to dismiss him (if that’s what they decide to do)..

  28. WWP

    [With parody there are two questions which I am not sure necessarily get the same answer. Firstly if it is intended as parody is one question, and if it objectively reads as parody is a second.]

    Ah, yes, but what does ‘objective’ mean? One man’s parody is another man’s poison.

    [I’m no expert on parody but don’t you usually use parody to mock the bad behaviour of power.]

    Parody can be used on anyone by anyone for any purpose.

    [I just don’t see how advocating bras inside clothes on opera singers and mocking recognition of aboriginal artists can be anything other than racist.]

    Is it racist if it is parody?

    [Unless the purpose of the parody is to suggest there should be less recognition of opera singers and more of aboriginal artists? I don’t know it doesn’t read like anything but totally unacceptable even if it is racist and sexist driven parody?]

    That is the core, I believe.

  29. “Studying Poetry” by Barry Spurr.
    [This engaging introduction to poetry covers the entire tradition of poetry in English, providing close readings of interesting and varied texts. In this updated second edition, coverage has been expanded to cover medieval poetry and to give more weight to literary theory and women poets, while a new chapter focuses on key contemporary poets.]

    Perhaps he’s not a poet, but an academic.

  30. m

    Nope. The onus of proof would be on the accuser to prove that it was not parody, if that is the basis for USyd’s applying censure or any other penalty.

  31. Trouble in paradise.

    [Relations between the conservative partners in the Barnett Government have hit a new flashpoint in the wake of the Vasse by-election, with Nationals leader Terry Redman defying calls from Premier Colin Barnett to co-operate more closely to fight the real enemy – the Labor Party.

    And in a rare public expression of frustration, Liberal Party State director Ben Morton lashed the Nationals’ strategy of running in every seat in country WA as “stupid” and “crazy”.]

  32. If Barry Spurr wrote anything that was interesting, shocking or scandalous on his work email account, he should have expected that it would be likely to be disclosed to a wider audience than the addressees. In any case, as others have pointed out, a work email account isn’t private. The Security section of the IT Department and thence an employee’s line management can read it.

    Professor Spurr appears to have done nothing illegal. However, the sort of things he wrote would probably have violated my former employer’s policies with regard to use of email and probably also those the University if Sydney.

    As for all this bleating from conservative commentators – well boo hoo. The Liberals haven’t hesitated, for example, in using private communications, stealing private papers and even abusing the legal system in pursuit of their enemies. No bleating from right wingers then. Spurr involved himself in a political process – the ‘Curriculum Review’. He should have anticipated what happened.

    Simple principle: you don’t put anything in a work email you don’t want your boss or potentially a wider audience to read.

  33. Boerwar..

    SydUni can sack Spurr on the basis of those email exchanges …which, as others have pointed out, utilised the SydUni email server using their username system. They can do so under their CoC..

    It’s then up to Spurr to show the AAT that either: 1)He didn’t use the SydUni email network …and/or 2)His email exchanges were parodies..

  34. lizzie

    Interesting point.

    My original point was that it was not going to be as easy for USyd’s adminstrators to winkle Spurr out as most Bludgers seemed to think.

    The immediate reaction was, more or less, ‘This is racist and sexist so kick him out.’

    The administrators are going to have to argue with a considerable degree of intellect and sophistication on Spurr’s home ground: words, the reality of words themselves, and the multiple realities that words signify.

    IMHO, it is more likely than not that the issue is so contestible that any finding and penalty will be thrown out on appeal.

  35. Spurr rooted from every angle.

    And deserves it.

    Angus Houston terminology regarding dumb people using work e-mail is ‘Blinkeys’.

  36. Boer

    [Is it against USyd’s rules for a Professor of Poetry to use University emails to play with words?]

    Yep. If the email use forbids certain uses, it forbids certain uses. If Spurr felt his academic integrity was being compromised, he could always have taken it up with the University.

    [It is his core business.]

    If it’s his ‘core business’ than I await (with bated breath) to see his published material along these lines.

    Otherwise it’s just a personal frolic which has nothing to do with his real work.

    (A Physics professor could not justify building a working atomic bomb in his private time using University facilities by claiming it was part of his ‘core business’).

    [Is parody against USyd’s Code of Conduct? I doubt whether there would be a specific reference to it..]

    In which case, parody isn’t a defence, either.

    Spurr’s only hope would be if the University actually specified that racist/sexist material was OK if it was for the purposes of parody or satire. If they don’t make such distinctions, then Spurr doesn’t have a defence.

    [Shakespeare spent a fair bit of time on the topic…]

    I’m sorry. I know Will Shakespeare, and Spurr is no Will Shakespeare.

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