Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vienna here we come

We're off to our favourite city , Vienna, tomorrow.

The weather looks good, low thirties celcius daytime and low twenties overnight, which'll be a pleasant change from the cold, windy, wintry stuff we're getting here now.

Here's what we're looking forward to:

Tentative plan is to do some day trips, which we'll book when we're there. Places like Bratislava, Budapest, Salzburg are possibles, plus maybe the Vienna Woods and Danube Valley.

But the majority of the time we'll stay in Vienna, getting to know it better, exploring for new places, trying out new restaurants and cafes. Mostly on foot, so hopefully we'll walk off any over-eating.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bypassing democracy

They just get worse and worse.

Minister for Secrets, the appalling Scott Morrison, refuses to answer legitimate questions in parliament about the asylum seekers reportedly held captive for over two weeks on a customs ship.

Bully boy Treasurer Hockey says if he doesn't get his way with his budget he'll simply by-pass parliament and make cuts anyway.

Two fingers to parliament, democracy and us.

Remember the hairy-chested threat by Abbott to give us a double dissolution if the Senate didn't roll over and do exactly what he wanted? It's what we need, but he knows so well that he'll be thrown out of office by a huge majority if he does that he won't carry out his threat.

Instead he'll continue to do what he vowed never to do - negotiate with minor parties and independents.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Qantas fiasco

The Qantas situation is getting more and more ridiculous.

We have endless whingeing about 'unfair' competition from government owned foreign airlines, appeals from Qantas for government support, a government plan to open the airline up to foreign ownership rejected by the Senate.

They rabbit on about it being Australia's airline, the national carrier, a big employer of Aussies, headquartered in Oz.

Well, it was when it was state-owned. But they decided to privatise it, which changes all of that.

The choice is simple. Either re-nationalise it, so that it is once again truly the national carrier, or remove all the ridiculous obstacles to it being truly privatised, and stop calling it the national carrier.

What we have now is an unworkable mish-mash of the two - a company which is presented as a national asset but which in reality is a private company, but with restrictions on who can buy shares.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

PM's insult to victims of Japanese atrocities

Even though Abbott wheedling and crawling to foreign heads is what we've come to expect I could hardly believe my ears when he praised the Japanese for their WW11 heroics.

I was going to pen some words, but then came across a letter in the SMH from Jenny Rollo of Putney and I realised I couldn't say it better. Of all the letters I read condemning the actions of the moron Abbott, this stood out:

How dare you speak in praise of Japan's military skill in WW11, Tony Abbott. Your statement is appalling and insensitive to all Australians.  Remember Australia? You are supposed to be representing its people. That would be the men and women who were starved, butchered, raped and tortured. The ones imprisoned and worked until it killed them. The ones whose Red Cross boxes were stolen by their captors. My uncles and my father witnessed their unspeakable atrocities.  You shame us all with your cruel policies. You insult us with your words. Not in my name. How dare you.

Monday, July 07, 2014

The age of entitlement powers on

Cartoonists so often nail it with a few pen strokes, as did Moir in the Sydney Morning Herald:

The age of entitlement is over, we've been told by this government.  What they didn't do was to finish the sentence, as Moir so brilliantly illustrated. The unsaid part of the sentence was 'unless you're wealthy'.

Nothing wrong with trying to get the budget under control, nothing wrong with means testing, nothing wrong with ensuring those claiming a benefit are entitled to it - all as long as the load is spread equally and fairly.

Which it patently is not.

All sorts of tax minimisation schemes, family trusts, multi-billion dollar companies paying little or no tax.

Banks ripping off their customers and then covering it up, while the Finance Minister is trying to push through changes which will make it easier for them to con their customers. And of course the government has dismissed the Senate enquiry's call for a royal commission into Commonwealth Bank's ripping off of investors and the subsequent cover-up.

All mates together, keep it in the club, look after each the expense of the rest of us.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Morrison has to go

The Dept.of Foreign Affairs says of Sri Lanka: 
 We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka at this time because of the unpredictable security environment. 

The Prime Minister, in relation to sending Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to that country:  

... Sri Lanka is not everyone's idea of the ideal society but it is at peace . . .

I prefer to believe the travel advisory.

As for his Minister for Secrets, Scott Morrison, he has to be the worst we've had in government, even worse than the appalling Philip Ruddock. I never expected him to be unseated from that unenviable position but Morrison's done it at a stroll.

The arrogance of the man, apart from anything else, is breathtaking. He was elected to represent and serve the people.  Instead he treats us with utter contempt and refuses to say what he's doing in our name. If he says nothing is happening then nothing is happening, so we can piss off and mind our own business.

It's the modus operandi of the old USSR right here right now in Australia.

He's an absolute disgrace and having him in government tells us all we need to know about the man who keeps him there, Tony Abbott.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mandate and secrecy bullshit

Abbott's been telling the incoming senators they have a duty to support him because the voters gave him a mandate.

It's what all governments claim, but rarely is it true.

The people who gave Abbott a mandate are only those who voted for him. According to the Australian Electoral Commission, the various Libs and Nats candidates got 45.55% of the total votes.

When you are elected in spite of most people voting against you, you don't have a mandate 'from the people' - you have a mandate from the minority who voted for you.

The majority of voters, 54.45%, gave a mandate to the parties they voted for to pursue their policies.

The incoming senators have a duty to the people who elected them to keep their promises.

We have reports of an asylum seeker boat in trouble, but naturally the appalling Scott Morrison is hiding behind his secrecy campaign, refusing to answer questions and tell us what's happening. He won't discuss 'operational matters' of course - except when it suits him.  He and Abbott couldn't wait to tell the world when they claimed six months of no boat arrivals.

What the country needs is for Abbott to make good on his threat and go for a double dissolution.

We still wouldn't get the government we need of course. Apart from the odd independent, Nick Xenophon comes to mind, none of them inspire any confidence. But at least we'd have a less extremist, less biased government.

The real problem is that the wrong people are going into politics for the wrong reasons.