Friday, December 23, 2016

We don't deserve this.

We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel with the bunch of politicians we've got at the moment.

There are examples of stupidity, ignorance, blind ideology, bigotry almost daily.

Latest example is Liberal National Senator Matt Canavan - who is Minister for Resources & Northern Australia.

He was interviewed on ABC radio about the Adani coal mine project - a huge disaster for the environment if it goes ahead. It'll be Australia's largest coal mine which will need a new rail line built across half of Queensland to the new port they plan to build on the Great Barrier Reef.

Our useless federal government has offered a soft loan of a billion dollars of our tax money to help the Indian owners of the mine build the rail link.

It's been common knowledge for years that Adani is a very dodgy company run by very dodgy people. Murky finances, a web of companies that lead back to the Cayman Islands tax haven, lies about how many jobs the project will create and so on.

(Big companies only have to say they will create jobs, or threaten to cut them, and this government does whatever the company wants, usually without due diligence).

Anyway, the latest revelation is that the Indian government is investigating Adani for siphoning money offshore and artificially inflating electricity prices, ripping off Indian consumers.

Senator Canavan was asked: 'were you aware of this investigation into the Adani group?'

A simple question. but his first answer was: 'Well before I get to that question Kim, can I just thank you for having me on your program because I have been very disappointed in the ABC's coverage of this issue in the past week. Your reports have been nothing but fake news.'
The question was asked eight times but he refused to answer, just rambling on with rubbish such as '... it's very good to be joining you as a Minister for Resources but it's even better to be joining you as a proud resident of North Queensland.

I'm looking out at the Great Barrier Reef right now, I'm lucky enough to have a view from my house.'

It was a surreal, bizarre few minutes of absolute rubbish from someone who came across as barely literate, struggling to put a meaningful sentence together. And most certainly dodging the questions, telling lies (the ABC has no video journalists in his area when in fact they have seven, for example) and just trying to spout the pro-Adani spin both the Queensland and federal governments are churning out.

And the accusation that the public broadcaster is creating fake news is a very serious matter. He should be called out on it with demands that he support his ludicrous claim with some facts.

But so low is the standard we've come to expect from our politicians that we expect their constant lies to be simply laughed off. 

The full transcript of the interview is here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Close-up wildlife

People down in Victoria are having very close encounters with wildlife, according to stories in The Guardian.

One of the nice things about Oz is the abundance of wildlife all around - nice apart from things like snakes of course.

And even the cute furry ones can  be less cute if they're too close.

First story was about a woman in Frankston who found a venomous tiger snake pretending to be a decoration on her Christmas tree. She took a quick photo, and very sensibly shut the door and called a professional snake catcher.

Then in Torquay, a couple were having a Sunday morning lie-in when a kangaroo crashed through the window and jumped on the bed with them.  It bounced around the house until it found the back door open and hopped off.

Only in Oz.

The stories are here:



Monday, December 19, 2016

Defrauding the electorate

We have another example of arrogant policians treating the electorate with contempt, with One Nation's Rod Culleton resigning from the party but remaining in parliament.

He isn't the first to do it and unless the system is changed he won't be the last.

This is nothing less than defrauding the electorate. Votes were cast for One Nation and as one of their candidates, Culleton was elected.

To now resign and stay on as an Independent is totally unacceptable.

Had he stood as an Independent, he would have got a handful of votes - from his family and close friends.

Friday, December 16, 2016

On the nose

It's no wonder we're so sick of our politicians.

Ex-NSW Labor 'power broker' Eddie Obeid has just been given 5 years jail for his corruption when he was in office. Previously, ten Liberal members had to stand aside or resign after ICAC revelations.

The federal government is in disarray, full of incompetents and a PM running scared of the party's small but very vocal extreme right fanatics, doing their bidding each time they shout.

The buffoon of an Immigration Minister, Dutton, continues to go public with brainless statements.

Treasurer Scott Morrison (second-worst Treasurer in living memory after Joe Hockey) hasn't a clue and answers all questions by blaming Labor for everything negative.

Ex-PM Abbott is still sniping away wanting his old job back, currently extolling the virtues of Pauline Hanson - the person he made sure went to jail when he was John Howard's attack dog.

And at a local, more mundane level, we keep getting garbage spouted at us by our local federal member Lucy Wicks.

Typical of our 'representatives', she wilfully ignores the facts if they don't agree with her agenda, the latest being her statement on marriage equality, published in one of our local papers. She's firmly against it of course.

She states that "Changing the definition of marriage is not simple...". 

In fact, it is.

Marriage was not defined in our 1961 Marriage Act.  In 2004, John Howard, determined to not recognise same-sex marriages lawfully made overseas, amended the Act to define marriage as 'a union between a man and a woman'.

The excuse was that marriage needed to be defined in law - which it would equally have done if the wording had been 'between two people'.

It was a simple approval by parliament that changed, the Act. The same can be done again.

Trying to con her electorate into believing it's difficult is typical of the contempt in which we're held by our 'representatives'.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

RIP, AA Gill

Sad to read of the death of AA Gill at only 62, from cancer. A writer whose pieces I always looked for.

Whether it was an opinion piece or a restaurant review, he had such a way with words, a true wordsmith.

Even his announcement that he had cancer was made in his unique, brilliant writing style. He said he 'was suffering from an embarrassment of cancer. There is barely a morsel of offal that is not included. I have a trucker’s gut-buster, gimpy, malevolent, meaty malignancy'.

His peers recorded his death with phrases like 'a giant of journalism', ' one of the most gifted journalists of his generation', 'Gill, at his best, could make the rest of us feel like rank amateurs'.

One of my favourite quotes was from a restaurant review, which ssums up his way with words beautifully:

'A lobster bisque ought to be the crowning glory of the potager. And this one was excellent. Silky as a gigolo's compliment and fishy as a chancellor's promise'.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Put up or shut up

I've long said that business is full of frightened men. Frightened to make decisions in case they lose their well-paid jobs.

Our federal government is proving itself to be the same, time and time again.

The culture is set at the top, with the Prime Minister  terrified of losing the leadership of the party - again - and living in fear of the extreme right.

Today's example is that of Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Environment & Energy. On radio he announced that the government would be considering an emissions intensity trading scheme (political claptrap for a carbon tax).

Extreme right wing mouthpiece Cory Bernardi, of no senior position,  immediately jumped in said it wouldn't happen.

Within 24 hours the PM was waffling on about party policy, hung Frydenberg out to dry so he had to deny he'd said what he'd clearly said.

It's pathetic. It's embarrassing for the country.

The far right is ruling, but from a minority position and without the responsibility of being in power.

Time for them to put up or shut up. To show some guts, unseat Turnbull, put their own man back in charge, whether it's Abbott, Bernardi or someone else, and see how the electorate rates them.

I have no doubt it'll be the same as when Abbott was PM, they'll crash and burn.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Whose ABC?

Under ex-lawyer for the Murdoch empire, Michelle Guthrie,  the Murdochisation of 'our' ABC is well on track. And she's done it in only six months.

It's a conspiracy theory you say?

The facts tend to suggest otherwise.

Her first speech as MD was at an event put on by The Australian - a Murdoch paper.

The far-right conservative and ex-Murdoch employee Tom Switzer has been given an extra radio show, while other staff - and many programmes - have been axed.

Former News Corp Australia chief executive Kim Williams has been given a radio show starting next year.

Now she's hired Jim Rudder, a veteran Murdoch consultant, to help restructure the ABC.

Rupert will be pleased. And I bet he'll reward Guthrie well at the end of her ABC gig.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Government screws us again

Our state government's dodgy deals are being revealed at least weekly. Looking after their mates in the big end of town at the expense of the rest of us.

Today's reveal is about additional largesse to Macquarie Bank relating to the Martin Place metro station development.

We already knew the government had decided to demolish a small art deco building, which consists of privately owned apartments, while retaining the much larger and uglier building adjoining it. That  just happens to be used by Macquarie Bank to store bicycles and lockers for staff who work at the bank's adjoining Martin Place headquarters.

The previous (Labor) government's plan for the station had this building down for demolition but Baird's mob changed that. The new metro site instead dog-legs around the Macquarie property.

Smell a rat?

A compulsory purchase order was slapped on the heritage-listed apartments and, when negotiating compensation, owners say they were told the air space had no value.

It's now revealed that in February this year, Macquarie put in a proposal to develop the air space into a high-rise building.

A lawyer acting for landowners affected by the metro project is quoted in Sydney Morning Herald summing up this government's modus operandi  perfectly:

"The process has been highly irregular and they have not been transparent".

Yep, that's the way our state government does things.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

How to upset customers

I really don't like something I've noticed recently when staying in hotels. Not only do I not like it, it's absurdly bad marketing and customer relations.

Room service meals now have a delivery charge added to them as a separate item.

Oh come on! That's like a restaurant charging for the waiter to bring your meal from the kitchen to your table.

I worked in hotel marketing for years and we would never have done that.

If you want to up the price, for heavens sake just add it to the cost of the meal. Don't infuriate the guest by showing meal delivery as a separate cost.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Multicultural gulls

We were in Sydney overnight, went to the theatre in the Opera House, and had dinner at a harbourfront Chinese restaurant.
We discovered it isn't just chips the gulls like, they obviously have a taste for Chinese food too.
Waitress delivered the first two dishes, had barely left the table when a gull dived in at it.

I flapped my arms and he veered away, at which point the waitress arrived back with covers "to keep it safe from the gulls" she said.

And that's how it had to stay throughout the meal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Only in Oz!

A woman has just phoned in to ABC Sydney 702 radio to take part in the evening quiz.

Chatting before the question was asked, the presenter asked how her evening was going. She said she had a tiger snake in her kitchen and was waiting for a snake catcher to arrive.

"A poisonous snake in your kitchen and you're calling in to join the quiz?!"

"It's OK, it's not doing anything" she said.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Suddenly I can use blogger again

It's been impossible to get into this blog for months.

I was signed in but when I hit Dashboard the next screen told me that I was not the author of any blogs. When I tried to re-sign in it told me my user name was invalid.

I got on the forum, was given new links but they gave me the same results.

Then, without doing anything, I tried to open the blog again today and, hey presto, the header had changed itself and gave me the options of Design and New Post.

It's the same old problem of successful companies being swallowed up by a handful of massive conglomerates, who then stuff it all around by linking all the companies they've bought and changing the way each one had worked.

Scanning through the blogger forums I see endless complaints about the changes - basically they've changed the very reason the site they bought was a success.

We get endless changes so that the company can link all its acquisitions to maximise usage, and change for change sake. If webmasters didn't keep "improving" things, they'd be out of a job.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

What a bloody Medicare shambles

What an absolute bloody disgrace the changes to Medicare "service" are.

Some health suppliers send the claim direct to Medicare and anything due to you is paid direct to your bank account.


But other providers send you the bill in full and you have to claim yourself from Medicare.

I've just tried that.

The local office, in Erina Fair Mall, has been closed, so the many thousands of us in this part of the Central Coast now have to travel to Gosford.

You used to present your invoices to a person, they were checked for eligibility, any rebate due was paid direct to your bank account.  Took a few minutes. You could then walk to your private health insurer and claim anything due from them - that has to be done after Medicare.

Now it's 'serve yourself'. 

A person directs you to the computers or to some forms and you're on your own. Or you can use the bloody mobile phone app, apparently.

While I was there several elderly women painfully made their way up the many steps to the office, then were totally bewildered and had no idea what to do or how to do it.

FFS, a huge number of, elderly, people are not computer literate and don't have mobile phones or know what apps are or how they would use them.

We spent a lot of time trying to work out exactly what to put on the forms, then we handed them in to the staff member, who said she would take care of it.

I have no idea what happens next, we have no copies of the invoices (not expecting Medicare to take them) and we have nothing to take to our private health insurer. The Medicare person said they would forward it to them, but to trust such an incompetent bunch is naive in the extreme.

But we have no choice.

I just tried to see what I have to do to conduct the whole thing online.

The site has a fault and won't let me provide details. You can't claim hospital expenses online. The site is is down for maintenance for two days.

What a bloody joke.