The New Australian

Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

The New Australian - Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

Top of his game, by Christ

We’ve seen before how one’s location is an excellent indicator of where one sits in the pecking order of excellence in a profession. In many walks of life, if you aren’t living in New York or London you are probably in the B or C league of whatever it is you do.

 

There are some notable exceptions to this generalistion about the Big Smoke and Apple. Green Party politicians, for example; if you’re at the top of your game, you should be living in Australia where, in a remarkable example of why democracy often provides disappointing results, they win parliamentary seats and get paid good money for talking the usual Malthusian bollocks.

 

Whilst idly browsing the TV channels available to me in my hotel room in India last week, I discovered another example of where the location and career combination which indicates  “top of the game” isn’t a big US or European city.

 

Perhaps it’s just me but I find TV evangelists fascinating. They often hold my attention for far longer than I care to admit when I happen across them on the idiot box. Generally, I don’t change the channel until I’m satisfied that they’ve committed a confirmed logical fallacy or spouted something clearly ridiculously-easy to disprove by simply uttering the question, “erm, what about the dinosaurs?”. So, I hang around for about 172 seconds, on average.

 

This chap caught my attention last week, initially because I realised he had an Australian accent. Granted, it was a soft Australian accent, but the inclined diphthongs were there, nonetheless.

 

Russell Evans is an evangelical preacher who is making a bloody good living selling God…. to people in StabYerDadAlaide ™ ….. Fridges to Eskimos an’ all that.

 

He’s bloody good at it too; in the nearly 3 minutes which I dedicated to hearing his message I was completely taken in by his schtick that he was previously living a wayward and drifting life and that this was all turned around by the revelation that the big Sky Daddy loves him. It’s a common theme of all good TV evangelists; you can’t show improvement if your previous life was dull and sinless. A good heroin addiction and a list of sexual conquests that would put Led Zeppelin’s tour diary to shame are useful histories to wave around when trying to demonstrate a success story for the Holy Trinity.

 

Of course, cursory research on his own his own website disproves this completely. The bloke was born into a missionary family, became a preacher at the onset of puberty and inherited the family business when the Pater Familia retired. If he had any time going off the rails it probably involved no more than two shandys and impure thoughts about the middle-aged barmaid who served them to him.

 

But, God bless him, he’s still selling religion to a country town city where everyone you meet is either a lay preacher or a serial killer. Or both. That’s got to be a hard gig by anyone’s measure.

 

So good luck to him. Few of us ever know what true success looks and feels like but Russell Evans is churning out quality God bollocks and making a damn good living from it, by the looks of it.

 

Hallelujah!

Busier than an Obied with a shredding machine

Another poorly-timed project plan sees me spending the week in my one of my favourite countries but at the least pleasant time of year.

As the title suggests, the client is getting their value out of me this trip, hence the taciturnity on this organ.

This week, we could have a chat about terrorism, or perhaps the ridiculous charade that is going on in Europe (as if Greece is ever going to be allowed to exit the Euro, how funny!) but instead, let’s discuss shaving.

Calm down, this website hasn’t suddenly turned into one where you need to visit with the privacy settings set to “embarrassed”. I’m talking about the gentleman’s equivalent of a lady’s manicure.

If you’re reading this with “out-ies” not “in-ies” between your legs and you’ve never experienced an open razor shave at a barber’s you need to seek the experience out.

It can be sampled in most large western cities as a bit of a novelty but this comes with a few downsides;

  1. Unless you’re a fey, tattooed, penny farthing-riding throwback, it won’t be local to you.
  2. You’ll have to sit next to a fey, tattooed, penny farthing-riding throwback, sporting a Crimean War-era beard while a barber irons a precision parting into his short back and sides.
  3. Forty fucking dollars.

However, if you happen to be visiting one of a handful of countries where it’s still a commodity service rather than an overpriced, heavily marketed pre-nuptial ritual, you can bypass all the cockwomblery and faux old time nostalgia with the added bonus of not having to visit Surry Fucking Hills.

From experience, Turkey is such a place, as are several of the Middle Eastern countries without oil. India though, has it as an option on most busy streets.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t for the crowd who eat all their meals in the Four Seasons Hotel and order from the Western Cuisine pages. It’s worthwhile if you’re prepared to temporarily suspend some ascetic sensibilities, however.

There won’t be a big pile of brilliant white towels sitting atop a varnished antique desk and the mirror is likely to be cracked but the general procedure will be the same as the Surry Hills hipsters.

Firstly, of course they will use a new blade. You should see the barber take it from the packet and fit it to the razor. Then, you’ll probably have your face sprayed with water and experience a quick facial massage to soften up the pores.

Next, shaving cream is applied. This can be quite enjoyable; they often use a menthol shaving cream and really work it into the face with a shaving brush. Quite invigorating. Another quick fine spray and we’re ready to start the serious stuff.

Many of us blokes never really get a very good lesson of how to shave properly, we develop personal patterns, not knowing if that’s the best way to do it or not. Watching a professional barber at work will give you some tips on how to correct your technique. Always shave with the “grain”, i.e. downward strokes, stretch the skin slightly for the angles and tight spots, don’t repeat the stroke on the same area but come back to it on a second full face shave.

Wielded expertly, an open razor shave gets far closer than any modern safety razor, despite the multi-blade, three-way swivel head innovations of Gillette and their competitors’ arms race. It might be a function of my delicate and fine features and lack of testosterone but I find I rarely need to shave the following day if I’ve had a shave at the barbers. Of course, if it’s as cheap as chips I end up having one anyway, just because I can.

The added bonus of having a shave at an Indian barbers is there is often a head massage chucked in at the end for good measure. It’s difficult to articulate in words quite how good a head massage can be, so I won’t. Just try it for yourself.

Of course, this being India, the biggest pleasant surprise of all is the bill. I’ve had four barber’s shaves this week and I’ve not paid more than a dollar for any of them.

Normal service will be resumed on this organ after the weekend. Come back next week for a heavily-couched (in an attempt to maintain some level of anonymity) rant at the expense of a bunch of Kiwis who seem more than happy to remain working in the 1970s. As previously mentioned, I will be propping up the bar at Volstead in Christchurch on Wednesday evening if any locals fancy wandering over for a chat. Just use the catchphrase, “our postilion has been struck by lightning” to identify yourself as that rare breed of Kiwi; friendly and well-read.

 

Cognitive dissonance

It’s an unusual day when I find myself agreeing with much of a Guardian article, but like the proverbial stopped clock, it’s bound to happen that they are correct occasionally.

I had to check the date to be certain we weren’t at the start of April when I read that Tony Abbott used a speech at an event to celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta to try to persuade us that we need new laws to banish people from the country and strip them of their citizenship….. and, most importantly, that power needs to sit with one individual rather than the law courts.

Let’s pause for a moment and have a minute’s silence for the death of irony.

.

.

.

Right. The gobsmacking thing is, of the few remaining clauses in the original 1215 document (it was updated later in an attempt to secure the monarchy after King John’s death and that document has more familiar concepts), Abbott’s anti-terrorism proposals touch on two of them; not giving power to an individual to be used arbitrarily and not banishing someone based on secret evidence.

Tony Abbott will know this already as his outstanding academic career will have covered Magna Carta and Common Law in some detail.

So we can only draw our conclusion about why he continues to push these proposals from a limited set of possible reasons;

1. He’s forgotten the content and history of the 800 year old cornerstone of the Anglosphere’s legal framework, or

2. He’s too thick to spot the problem, or

3. He believes were all too thick and lazy to be concerned, or

4. He’s had a big knock to the head recently and has suffered a significant reduction in cognitive ability whilst still maintaining the illusion of intelligence to colleagues.

I’m going with (3).

We’ve pointed out many times on this organ that there is no tangible difference between the mainstream political parties in this country; all are in favour of expanding governmental power and the protection of their version of stakeholder/sponsor privilege. Write this up as yet a further example.
By the way, if any of our readership fancies a beer at Volstead in Christchurch on July 8th, let me know.

Je suis Oncle Vernon

It turns out I am a character in Harry Potter (h/t AussiePride).

 

Vernon was apt to despise even people who wore brown shoes with black suits” writes Rowling.

 

Quite what Uncle Vernon would make of this clown is anyone’s guess;

 

   

For those of you living such empty existences that the almost daily appearance of utter bollocks on this organ is the only moment of brightness in an otherwise permanently moonless night, I must apoligise for the drop off of frequency of updates in recent weeks. This is not for the want of material, quite the opposite, just switch on the Australian media and wonder at the incongruity of a Prime Minister giving a speech under the title “Magna Carta” about the need to give a minister the power to revoke citizenship without recourse.

 

No, I’m a bit bloody busy at the moment in a financially-rewarding way. Next week should see a slight let off of pressure so stay tuned. At the very least I will be able to post pictures of the various items of Indian street food I will be sampling in Pune followed by a detailed description of the quality of tilework in my hotel bathroom.

Never mind that they’ve got no bollocks

We are a big fan of politically-correct lip service regardless of the impact to shareholder value diversity here at The New Australian as witnessed by our previous writings on the subject.

 

It should come as no surprise then, to learn that a VIP invite arrived in the in-box this morning to this event.

Wimmen

 

And, as if we needed further encouragement to attend an event of such monumental importance, they’ve lined-up none other than Johnny Rotten as guest speaker;

Johnny Rotten

 

Hopefully he’ll take questions from the audience. A few I will be asking include;

 

  1. If you’re so committed to diversity, why did The Sex Pistols and PiL have solely male line-ups?
  2. Why have you re-formed PiL without Jah Wobble, the greatest bass player Bethnal Green ever produced?
  3. How did quota systems work out for, say, South African sports teams?

She blinded me with science!

There’s a bit of heat on the Sydney Morning Herald Property Advertiser’s preferred political party at the moment, what with the Royal Commission into unions asking awkward questions of the Leader of the Opposition about why he’d accept a payment to the union in return for ripping off the workers……

 

So, the fish and chipper has turned to its second preference bunch of unreformed pre-Berlin Wallers, the Greens, and produced a pull-out section all about Global Warming (yes, they even used that old incorrect term for it!).

 

Oh where to start, where to start?

 

Go on then; first of all read this article and have a minute’s silence for the death of the meaning of the word, “science”, in the title of the “Science Editor” Nicky Phillips; If you don’t believe the scientific results are compelling, here’s a shit loaf of bread next a nice one to convince you.

Science innit
 

Seriously, Nicky has trashed her reputation as both a scientist and a journalist (cough) by taking the work of AgFace and cherry-picking the bad news. Don’t believe me? Here’s the actual research. You may be surprised to learn that, yes, should the predictions of CO2 levels turn out to be correct, the protein content of wheat will be lower by mass. However, we will be able to grow 20% more of the stuff for the same overhead of land, water and fertiliser. Not exactly catastrophic news, is it?

 

Another amusing moment in this desperate and unbalanced pitch to get us all on the (carbon neutral) bus is this one; Apparently, the Great Barrier Reef’s greatest threat is climate change.

 

Really, are you sure about that? There’s a hint later in the puff piece which suggests that the author (“Dr.” Nicky Phillips again) knows that’s not true;

Confused
 

Yes, agricultural run-off would be jockeying for top spot with Crown of Thorns starfish according to any research body which doesn’t rely on climate change to be real for its existence.

 

Don’t let facts get in the way of 500 fully-paid for words though, eh, Nicky?

 

Best of all though, is the terrible news that we won’t be able to go skiing in Australia by the end of the century.
Skiing cancelled

Isn’t it funny how these sorts of predictions always seem to have “by the end of” and then some time period stated. What I mean is, if I were to predict when my car would run out of petrol on a journey, I reckon I could do it to a 25 kilometre margin of error. Why? Because it’s a proper prediction based on knowledge of the previous trend, capacity of the fuel tank and the known road conditions ahead. If, on the other hand, I had none of those facts to hand, I’d only be comfortable in predicting that we’d run out of petrol before we get to Melbourne.

To illustrate my point, this report from 1999 suggests that there will be no skiing in Australia by 2070. So, after 16 years of research and billions of dollars of study grants, we can update that confident prediction by making it more vague and extending the timeline? Fucking genius.

 

In the meantime, this August we’re off for our third skiing holiday since arriving in Australia. It’s been snowing in Falls Creek for over a month now so we should have a fine time. In fact, we consider it our duty to enjoy skiing in Australia so that, in 2070 by the end of the century my kids can tell their disbelieving grandchildren that they once saw ice and snow in Australia.

One can’t help wondering if Nicky Phillips’ job title has been mistyped on the SMH website. Rather than Science Editor, she seems to be demonstrating that she is better qualified to be the Religious Editor.
You gotta have faith

No brown in town

Apparently, it’s the eternal conundrum…..

Black innit

No it’s not; unless you truly do plan to pursue a career as an estate agent, Jehovah’s Witness or corrupt Queen’sland property developer, the correct colour of shoe to wear with every suit you will ever own is…… black.

And as for the question of what is the correct shoe colour required to match your white suit….. Surely that’s more rhetorical than, “what type of cheese is the moon made from?“.

Lastly, look at the suggested shoe on the bottom right of the graphic. A tassled loafer? Fuck me, you all have permission to throw me off the Sydney Harbour Bridge wearing a pair of leaden-soled Ugg boots if I even hint at wearing a pair of those in the company of other humans.

ANZAC Day bargain basement

Well, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see why the ANZACs lost; they were freaks with short legs.

I think the term to use is “midget” if the body  is proportionally correct and “dwarf” if not.

I’m struggling to decide which is appropriate here.

Anyway, there’s some good shopping bargains to be had with your hard-earned cash. It’s what they would have wanted.

The best option seems to be the Sands of Gallipoli Poppy commemorative apron (made in China by 9 year olds) for $29.99.

Hands up those of you who are a certain age and from the motherland who can remember the Rampant Mackeral Ashtray ……diligently fashioned in blue onyx, sitting atop a glistening rock pool which contains one perfect matchbox. How much is it?

Happy Magna Carta Day

Just the eight hundred years young today.

Nowadays most of the articles within the original 1215 document are no longer relevant or on the statute books (the fishing weirs on the Thames and Medway have been removed) and many of the rights people ascribe to coming into place through the document actually didn’t; Habeas Corpus, for example.

Article 39 still rings true however;

No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

Well, it will do for a little while longer until the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition decide to overturn it.

Article 41 seems to have something to say about this too;

It shall be lawful in future for anyone (excepting always those imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the kingdom, and natives of any country at war with us, and merchants, who shall be treated as if above provided) to leave our kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a short period in time of war, on grounds of public policy- reserving always the allegiance due to us.

Perhaps you’re comfortable with a government minister revoking the citizenship of a suspected ISIS fighter who holds dual citizenship but revoking that citizenship for someone with only the one passport seems, well, a bit of a backward step since Runnymede. 

If the evidence is that compelling, put it before a jury and go through due process and have a moment’s silence for the rights given away with little thought to history.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,

Your rights were won at Runnymede!

No freeman shall be fined or bound,

Or dispossessed of freehold ground,

Except by lawful judgment found

And passed upon him by his peers.

Forget not, after all these years,

The Charter signed at Runnymede.


That ABC MD vision thing

Now that my application for the position of MD of theirABC is in the public domain, it’s time to start fleshing out my vision for the future of the state broadcaster and the role the MD will play in realising this.

Firstly, let’s get the subject of filthy lucre on the table early. As our correspondent from Bulimia points out, the wages on offer are shite. You’re not going to get anyone of quality in an MD role with such a public profile for a package that is equivalent to an MD minus 2 role in a major commercial organisation. Perhaps there’s a clue there though; maybe theirABC should be a much smaller organisation to match the remuneration on offer?

Put simply, I’ll do the job for the fun but only for 18 months as transition project.

What will we be transitioning to?

Well, there’s a good clue in the charter;

 

Have a look at that charter closely; it speaks about providing programs (sic) not being the medium of broadcasting these programmes.

Does theirABC actually need to have radio and TV stations broadcasting to the nation and the local areas?

Well, yes where there isn’t enough critical mass for the commercial stations to pick up the supply gap. One might question whether buying BBC nature documentaries or slick American crime shows and broadcasting these nationally is something the market wouldn’t do if the state broadcaster didn’t?

Think about the yoof radio station, Triple J; if this didn’t exist would da kids really not have a source to listen to shit white boy hip hop? With the plethora of Internet streaming services and their smart phone applications, it seems highly unlikely that anyone wishing to hear someone shouting over a drum machine about hanging with his posse is going to be dissatisfied. Speaking as a taxpayer,I’m going to be far happier to not have to pay for a radio station I never tune into.

Digital media is another area where it seems unbelievable that a commercial solution wouldn’t bring adequate supply if the state broadcaster wasn’t already diverting significant public funds into delivering the service free at the point of consumption. If I can watch a documentary online for “free”, I’m hardly likely to pay for an equivalent over at www.naturedocumentaries.com.au.

TheirABC’s annual report doesn’t go to the level of detail I would need to articulate the cost savings I’m proposing; it’s difficult to work out how much, say, Triple J costs as their share of the news service or the transmission costs aren’t obvious. So rather than try to put a hard figure on what I’m going to reduce your tax bill by, I’ll set out what you’re not going to have to pay for once I’ve been appointed;

  • National TV entertainments channels
  • National radio channels
  • Classical, yoof, jazz, etc. radio channels
  • Online content.
  • Production of any programming which doesn’t inform or isn’t reflective of the diversity of Australian community. For example, most Australians will not get the weak joke underpinning Bondy Hipsters and nor would they care if they did.e.
  • Overseas-produced content which isn’t specific to Australia.

My guess is that this will cut the total budget by about 70%, handing back about fifty bucks a year to each taxpayer which they can then choose to pay for half the annual cost of Netflicks or a subscription to an online newspaper. 

Perhaps counter-intuitively for many Australians, removing a massive part of the supply from the market might actually result in a new proliferation of these digital services and the lowering of the prices as a consequence.

Of course, these savings and focus on returning back to the core of the charter will come at a human cost; many commuters from Balmain will find the journey to Glebe completely unnecessary in the near future as they are handed an opportunity to spend a lot more time drinking fairtrade soy decaf lattes and tidying up their CV via the free Wi Fi in the cafe.

….and that’s the part of the plan I will ensure I get maximum enjoyment implementing.

Putting my hat in the ring

The top job at theirABC is coming up for grabs soon. The vacancy is out with some highly-paid recruiters and we will therefore be unlikely to see it advertised on Seek.com.au any time soon.

However, the headhunters will have a job description and a candidate profile against which they’re looking for candidates. 

The job description will be easy enough to work out; just a bunch of random bullet points lifted from the charter.

What piques this organ’s interest though, is the other document, the profile of the candidates the board will consider for the soon to be vacant Managing DIrector position.

For the fun of it, let’s try to list some of the more obvious qualities the new MD will need to demonstrate;

  • A track record of success running organisations with many employees and a large budget.
  • Broadcast or perhaps some kind of popular retail background.
  • A strategy for navigating the state broadcaster to relevance in the multi-channel digital media environment (I’ve no idea what that means, just CTRL/C and V’d it from elsewhere).
  • An appreciation that climate change and gay marriage are the world’s most important challenges to be addressed.
  • A lover of all things Keynesian, except the pedophilian aspects.
  • Privately-held Malthusian beliefs.

There’s probably a corollary list of qualities the successful candidate definitely shouldn’t possess;

  • Discomfort at spending other people’s money like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
  • An appreciation of balanced governmental budgets, spending within one’s means and the idea that benefits-dependency eventually hamstrings a society.
  • Balanced panels and audiences on QandA.
  • Preference towards the use of the nouns “terrorist” or “Muslim” in news reports of people murdering other people whilst shouting “Alan’s Snackbar”.

Internal candidates are jockeying for position, speaking at the press club dinners about grandiose visions for the future of the quasi-government department. A couple of possibilities are also being touted from the commercial channels too.

But here’s an idea, why not realise that radical times call for radical measures? Pick a “cleanskin” MD, someone with a proven track record of taking the difficult decisions in large corporations, some strongly-held beliefs and who is not afraid to tell it how it is, regardless of what the Glebe media bubble groupthink may say to the contrary.

Today I formally announce my application for the position of Managing Director of theirABC. Over the coming weeks and months I shall be setting out my vision for the organisation to guide her through the turbulent digital waters.

Stay tuned, don’t touch that dial…..

Whining winemaker

In a single headline, Australia’s genetically-coded statism is explained;

Wining

Peter Gago channels Gerry Harvey in wanting to tax us more to consolidate his position at the top of the pile.

Sometimes one can’t help wondering if there is any question in Australia that isn’t answered with the response “more taxes”;

  • Your house is flooded and you’re not insured? More taxes.
  • You work in an unprofitable industry? More taxes.
  • Bad weather ruined your crops and you’re not insured? More taxes.
  • A bush fire burned down your house because the council banned you from cutting down the trees? More taxes.
  • Your industry is going through a boom and is making large profits? More taxes.
  • Your political party was elected without a clear majority so you’ve had to do a deal with the Greens? More taxes.
  • Your business is under threat from cheap imports direct to the consumer rather than via your retail stores? More taxes.
  • Your taxi cartel is threatened by an innovative new technology? More taxes.

Vote Team Red and get Socialism.

Vote Team Blue and get Corporatism.

Hands up who wants to start a Libertarian Party with me? First item in the manifesto; revoke income tax and cut government spending to fit inside the remaining revenue.

 

 

 

Australians abroad; top of their game

This organ has previously demonstrated how, by the simple geographical fact of living in Australia, one is unlikely to be at the top of one’s game. An exception being Green politicians; this country leads the world in that department.

The corollary is also true; any Australians living abroad are likely to be striving towards a greater degree of success than their domestic equivalents.

Take this chap, for example;

It’s obvious to any fool that this diminutive Antipodean, with his Wimbledon Tractor and ill-advised middle-aged man’s soft leather jacket, has truly reached the very pinnacle of his abilities in his field.

What field is that?

Well, he’s the owner of the Brew Café chain with cafés in Clapham, Wimbledon, Putney and Wandsworth. His name is Jason Wells and, although you won’t have noticed from the video as he seems to speak only in bleeps, he’s actually Australian. No wonder he had to leave these shores with a first name as traditional and unimaginative as that, by the way; couldn’t his parents afford a hyphen or apostrophe when they named him?

He’s clearly a man who is confident in his abilities and station in life, a man with that sweet swagger of smugness, safe in the knowledge that things are going well and that he has the respect of his peers, community and customers.

Ooopsie.

Anyone watching that video wondering why there were no punches thrown needs to understand that the really hard men never do that arm waving, appealing to the referee/police/teacher/parent thing. They just hit you.

Road rage occurs home and away, of course (s’cuse the pun). The driver of that car turned out to be a senior member of the Sydney legal profession. We were shocked, shocked to learn he didn’t wish to press charges.
 

Pro-nonce-iation

As the years have gone by, I’ve become acclimatised to some of the idiosyncrasies of Australian pronunciation.

A colleague discussing how their “prow-ject needs some dar-tah to be row-ted to AnTH-ony” no longer phases me.

Occasionally I still do a double-take, however.

For example, while wandering around the supermarket recently I heard an advert over the loudspeakers for potato crisps (“chips” in the vernacular).

To the delicate strains of the strings of Rule Britannia, an Australian actor was attempting an English accent with only marginally more success than Dick van Dycke. Ah, these crisps are English.

Whereabouts in England was he claiming these fine, almost royal, crisps came from? The county of “Hurtfordshire”, apparently. Which is probably exactly how Hertfordshire sounds phonetically when one looks at the noun for the first time.

With the sheer volume of Pommie backpackers in Australia who are too scared to take their gap yahs in dangerous or less sanitary countries, it seems perverse to not use one for this.

Perhaps the funniest current example is this cracker.

Lad-browkes“?

I’ve never heard anyone in Britain pronounce it that way.

Lad-brooks“, surely? As in Ladbroke Grove referenced on at least one Clash song (I don’t recall which, jump in on the comments to assist).

The amusement is, not the incorrect pronunciation per se but the juxtaposition with what is otherwise a passable cheeky cockney accent. Hard to tell, but they might have even used a native Pommie speaker for the advert. If so, then he would have surely pointed out the correct way of saying the name but was overruled by the creatives.

(London backpacker) Nah mate, doesn’t make sense to say it like that.

(Advertising Twinkie) Well that’s what we’re calling it so either go back to the Coogee Bay Hotel or do the advert.


Utter hubris

As the frequency of posts this week to this organ indicate, either there’s been a sudden dearth of Australian subjects and opportunities to ridicule or yours truly is going through a busy patch professionally and/or domestically.

Last time I checked, Australia was still jumping the shark. The opening to the State of Origin is a very good example of this; they paid some American to read out an introduction to the game which explained that it was the world’s biggest rivalry and then went on to name the two sides (in an American accent, natch) as Budleigh Salterton and Bury St. Edmonds New South Wales and Queen’sland. Yes, it’s not a provincial and parochial contest at all, honest.

We digress.

A mid-week diversion was to be had when an invite to the World Business Forum landed on my desk. I could only clear the diary for Thursday so missed the on stage interview with Oliver Stone, which was not that great anyway, apparently.

The World Business Forum is an interesting concept; we all took a day out of our schedule to attend what is, in effect, four free lectures by famous people. There’s not half as many networking opportunities as a business card-spraying high class hooker freelancer like me would prefer. In summary; have a coffee, hear a speech, have another coffee, hear another speech, lunch, speech, coffee and cake, speech. Great fun but you’re kidding yourself if you’re pretending it’s work related.

The highlight of Thursday’s sessions was the appearance of the world’s greatest Socialist, Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve. It is always surprising to discover that many people still don’t realise that the Fed isn’t a government department but has, in fact, a “unique structure that is both public and private“. Or, in other words, is owned by the very banks it regularly bails out and has a level of public scrutiny verging on completely opaque.

image

Ben gave a brief chronology of the crisis which led to Lehman’s Brothers collapsing and AIG being bailed out by the taxpayer.

He then sat through a verbal executive massage from a self-confessed “Old Keynesian” who happens to be the Chief Economist of the NAB and some journo from the Australian Financial Review who bore an uncanny resemblance to Eddie McGuire.

image

To say that it was a soft interview is to take understatement to a level approaching absolute Kelvin.

Bernanke told us how he decided to reward insane risk-taking on the part of privately-owned institutions by bailing them out with public money.

Neither interviewer thought to ask any of the obvious questions which were screaming inside my head to shout out in a career-limiting heckle, such as;

  • What gave him the idea that he had any kind of mandate to take such a decision on behalf of the American public?
  • Was the decision legal under the American constitution?
  • What did he consider were the key moral questions needing to be answered to reach the decision he took?
  • What were the alternatives and their potential consequences?

It would seem that Hank Paulson, George W. Bush, the Senate or Congress weren’t particularly interested in that last question either. The bailout plan was presented to all four as a fait accompli in a remarkably similar style as the plan to invade Iraq, i.e. we gotta cos we gotta.

Bernanke is an historian who has researched the Great Depression of the 1930s. He greatly emphasised the lessons he had learned from this during his time on stage, explaining that he felt, in the earlier crisis, the Federal Reserve had been too late to stimulate and didn’t go hard enough when it did.

Which reminded me of the Russian joke during the Cold War, that America, being late for the first two world wars were determined to be early for the next.

Another question his interviewers might have asked at this point could have been to seek a compare and contrast exercise with the secret depression which occurred in 1920/21. Of course, being a pair of Old Keynesians they wouldn’t have enjoyed the obvious lesson from that short sharp shock followed by a rapid recovery, namely; allowing failed businesses to go bust, cutting government spending and letting capitalism to do its thing results in a far better outcome in the medium to long term.

Fortunately, I was able to ask the bankers’ best friend that question in the open Q&A session which followed the interview.

Or perhaps not because, unlike all the other speakers, he didn’t take questions from the floor. I can’t think why.

He was quite happy for us to buy his many books for sale, however.

image

I politely declined.

The most important issue in Australia

Is gay marriage, apparently.

The problem with writing or discussing same sex marriage is that, by doing so, it automatically elevates its importance relative to any other current affairs issue to a position completely out of context to reality.

This organ’s position on same sex marriage can mainly be summarised as, “yawn“.

If pushed, maybe we’d have a conversation about whether there was any legal restriction on same sex couples living together, getting joint mortgages, being parents, adopting kids, provisioning for each other in their wills, having a public ceremony to make vows to each other, etc. and, if not, what exactly does a government sanctioned certificate of their relationship provide accretive to this?

All a bit dull and irrelevant really, when one considers, say, the infant mortality rate in the Northern Territory or the shocking inability of Australians under the age of 40 to competently place apostrophes on plural possesive’s (sic).

However, there’s still some fun to be had at the expense of the self-righteous left.

The Sydney Morning Property Advertiser, for example.

image

Despite a referendum in Ireland“.

Ponder that for a moment….

Now replace that tagline with, “Tony Abbott is opposed to stoning to death for apostasy, despite a popular resurgence of the practice in Syria“.

Or, “Tony Abbott is opposed to Lewis Hamilton being BBC Sports Personality of the year, despite a telephone vote in the UK“.

One suspects the monkeys with the typewriters at the SMH need a quick lesson in how national legislation works.

A couple of folks who probably do know how Australian legislation is made have jumped on the bandwagon added their gravitas and respected opinions to the debate, however.

image

If only Australia could have the benefit of someone with Kevin Rudd’s considered and wise opinion on these matters in the office of Prime Minister then perhaps Billy and Johnny could get married and live happily ever after…. oh, hang on….

Fortunately though, Bill Shorten will ride to the rescue when he gets the top job, despite the fact that he was a government minister for 6 years and didn’t make any headway on the issue.

Next time will be different though, eh Bill?

image

Perhaps Bill should channel the only Prime Minister to be fired by Her Majesty and fight the next election campaign with the slogan, “It’s (now) time”.

Is this blog’s author actually Alan Jones?

Considering the number of times that the views expressed on this organ have been compared to those of Alan Jones, this author recently realised how little he knew about himself Alan Jones.

So some research was undertaken this week and a whole world of new information on the life and times of the radio talk show host was revealed.

Prior to setting out on this journey of understanding, there were only three things I could tell you about myself Alan Jones;

1. He was a gobby member of the Sydney commentariate.
2. He used to coach the Wallabies.
3. He speaks with what is probably as close to a posh accent as you’ll ever hear an Australian speak with. With the possible exception of Mike “fuck the kikes” Carlton during his LBC days in London.

It turns out that he’s in the strangest of all clubs; Australian aristocracy.

Perhaps the kindest thing one can say about Alan is that he’s a complex character who has never held an opinion too strongly and rarely without personal gain.

The new facts I’ve learned about myself Alan include;

1. Born to a miner/farmer in Queen’sland.
2. Was a teacher until the allegations started to catch up with him.
3. Became reasonably successful at monitoring the use of showers in changing rooms and also coaching sports teams.
4. Was involved in an unfortunate misunderstanding with the Met Police anit-cottaging squad in Mayfair.
5. Has difficulty distinguishing personal opinion from advertising depending on the size of the cheque.
6. Is highly-influentual to the political class; new Prime Ministers (we have a lot here) and Treasurers rush to his court to seek papal blessing.

Putting aside the obvious differences in our sexual proclivities, some of our commentators on this organ point to the libertarian, laissez-faire free market leanings expressed here as being somehow analogous to La Jones’ radio rantings.

Of course, being Australian, these commentators have confused corporatism with capitalism. This is best illustrated by examining Jones’ views on Uber, the car share application.

He would have the governement regulate and strongly-enforce restrictions on the service to protect the advertisers on his radio show public.

Whereas this organ would remove the existing regulations and let the market solve the problem.

The only conclusion to be drawn is that the author of this organ is not Alan Jones.

Right then, I’m off for a late night walk around Manli ™ which may or may not involve a furtive visit to the North Steyne public toilet.

The Origin bollocks begins

There’s a State of Oregon tipping competition, donchya know. You can select players from either of the two states in Australia where the global sport of Australian Rules Rugby is played.

Can anyone see the irony of the advertising tagline;

image

Reading this might help.

Clarity

Ah, that’s clear then.

We’ll publish a bunch of rules with a load of caveats and wriggle room opportunities to allow you to petition us to play for whoever you damn well want.

Yep, borders mean nothing all right.

You gotta fight for the right to be nannied

We love checklists here at The New Australian Towers.

Here’s my weekday morning checklist, for example;

1. Wake up with a bastard behind the eyes.
2. Switch on espresso machine.
3. Have a double shot.
4. Shower.
5. Have a double shot.
6. Dress in clothes which are exponentially more formal than those anyone else you are likely to meet today will be wearing.
7. Have a double shot.
8. Switch off espresso ma….. ok, one last double shot.
9. Go to the office.
10. Fire enough people to justify today’s day rate.

If you live in New South Wales and you are considering hosting a small social gathering, there is another checklist you could follow.

Here’s a checklist to see if you need to complete the checklist;

1. Live in NSW?
2. Throwing a party?
3. Are you the sort of person who would definitely not notify the police in advance?

If you answered “Yes” to all three of those questions you absolutely should complete this checklist and form.

Can anyone else spot the slight flaw in the logic?

image

image

image

image

Who can be fagged enough to submit a FOI request in a month’s time to ask how many forms the cops received and, of those parties, how many needed their later attendance?

Never crash

Despite what the UN surveys might tell you, my personal experience of Australia is that there is a deep vein of corruption running through to its core.

We can all watch, with jaundice, the long-running show trials of former public officials fighting charges of selling mining rights to family members at knockdown prices or using hospital cleaners’ union subscriptions to buy rubs and tugs from hookers. But those are only the cases which make it to the surface, and look how few of those actually result in jail time.

At a corporate level it also exists. After a reasonably long career, the first approach to me to supply insider corporate espionage was when I arrived in Australia.

But even more pernicious and subtle are the every day decisions being made on the basis of petty personal gain rather than what is the correct thing to do by the shareholders.

A great example of this is a debate I am witnessing as I wander through the corridors of one large Australian organisation.

The corporate air travel contract is up for renewal. The spend is substantial, tens of millions a year, a mix of domestic and international flights to Europe, Asia and the Americas.

One airline’s flights are significantly more expensive on a like for like basis (route coverage, class of travel, seat pitch, etc.). There is no other feature to distinguish between the two airlines whatsoever.

Well, maybe one….

The two most senior members of the client’s negotiating team have a large collection of frequent flier miles invested in the incumbent’s programme.

For the last three weeks they have been calling meetings, examining spreadsheets, trying to convince themselves that the recent reclassification of the class codes used for fare types was irrelevant and generally doing everything they can to get the incumbent airline across the line.

They haven’t even had a second meeting with the other airline once the initial price list was provided.

Of course, the correct thing to do is wrap all the historical data of last year’s flights into a spreadsheet, add in a forecast for next year’s flights and ask the two airlines to give their best quote.

What’s the betting that won’t happen though?

Let’s be conservative and assume the savings opportunity is, say, quarter of a million dollars. At a corporate profit margin of 10%, that requires the revenue generating side of the business to make two and half million dollars of sales….. to pay for the flights component of a couple of dodgy blokes’ family holidays this year.

That’s what we’re talking about really, isn’t it? About five grands’ worth of flights after being converted from air miles. You’d be apoplectic if you were a shareholder and got wind of this situation.

The trouble is, of course, there’s a bastard in the mix…

Someone who needs to send a bunch of people on quite a few flights this year, keeps a tight level of control on his costs and has a recent benchmark on how much these journeys should cost.

That bastard would be me.

I’m gold status on one of those airlines and have pretty much exactly enough airmiles on the other to take the family away over Christmas this year. So I’m completely ambivalent on this decision and, mores the point, I enjoy being a nasty cunt.

The funniest thing? I’m not on their radar as a threat….. oops.

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline