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"

Banana Republic

One doesn’t have to be a republican or a monarchist to appreciate Tony Abbott’s latest attempt to troll half the Australian population. As trolling goes, it’s right up there with Old Holborn.

 

Last week he gave Phil the Greek a knighthood. Which is hilarious if you think about it, as Phil has breakfast most mornings with the woman who hands them out. It’s a bit like when my kids get Charlie to buy me a birthday gift with money taken from my wallet for them to present to me.

 

The great thing about Australia is that there is very little that ever goes on of any consequence or threat, allowing vast swathes of the population, political class and media to focus their attention on the truly trivial and meaningless. The broadcast hours and column inches devoted to this new gong allocated to Phillip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg have been comforting in their confirmation that there’s not much else wrong with the world right now.

 

It’s the only explanation, otherwise how else can one explain a front page of a “serious” newspaper that is dying to tell us about the award along with important information about an advert to be shown during the Superbowl, Lara Bingle being a bit lardy, how to avoid buying a beach house if you don’t want one (erm, is the answer “don’t”?), some singer’s phone or email being hacked, a new Ghostbusters film and some guff about a dead bloke who invented a phone?

SMH

 

By the way, the tagline for the paper is “Independent. Always.” I wonder if anyone at the paper has ever thought about the fact that the full stop breaks the link between the adjective and the adverb thus diluting the permanence of the claim to independence? They were probably too busy wondering if they were brave enough to name Rolf Harris as the “82 year old Australian entertainer” arrested for sexual offences….

 

Anyway, as if the game was to out-compete with each other to show who was the most detached from reality, the Opposition leader, alleged rapist Bill Shorten, used the knighthood as an opportunity to renew the call for Australia to become a republic.

 

Now that I’ve submitted my citizenship application I’ve got a lot of sympathy for that idea, it makes a lot of sense in theory. The downside is that a republic would require the election, or worse, the appointment, of a head of state to ratify legislation and appoint governments following elections, etc.

 

Think that through for a moment. Now try to think of two or three candidates to be the inaugural President of Australia. Tricky, isn’t it? Australia’s not exactly crawling with elder statesmen or women renowned for their wisdom, wise counsel, gravitas and sober impartiality, is it?

 

Here’s my list of potential Australian El Presidentes;

 

  • Paul Hogan
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Gerry Harvey
  • Gai Waterhouse
  • Germaine Greer
  • John Pilger
  • Barry Humphreys
  • Julian Burnside
  • Jeff Fatt
  • Angus Young

 

Who did you come up with?

No longer an ubervirgin

Following all the whining in the press from the vested interests and drunk stupid passengers who seem unable to cope with the concept of price rises during periods of high demand or low supply, I thought I’d sign up to Uber.

After all, any service that pisses off the owners of the taxi management cartel has got to be worth a try, just on principle.

On Friday evening I was down in Randwick with my sniper’s rifle, taking out anyone with a beard, pomade moustache and tattoo sleeve. As the daylight faded, my aim was wavering and the police had started to triangulate my location, so I called it a day.

There were no white cabs for hire coming past the road I was on so I had a look at the Uber application I’d downloaded and registered for the previous week.

Requesting the cab was simple; confirm on the map that my current location was the pick up point and then hit my home address (pre-configured) as the drop-off point.

Contrary to Jade Wilkes, there is an option then to get a fare estimate. For me, this was $41 plus tolls. That seemed fair enough and very competitive compared with similar taxi journeys I’ve previously taken from nearby.

Once the car has been requested, the allocated driver shows up as an icon on the map with an estimated time of arrival. In this case, it was 9 minutes away. The name and picture of the driver and a rating out of 5 was also shown (4.5 stars for Mr. Singh). He arrived on time.

We had a good chat in the car on the way home. Mr. Singh explained that he’d been driving with Uber for about a month since being made redundant from his job in IT. He’d previously driven regular taxis but stopped after a series of violent attacks. Uber feels safer for him because the customers aren’t anonymous and he gets to choose which journeys he accepts or rejects.

In addition, he feels less threat from robbery as the transaction is online and therefore there is no need to carry large amounts of cash. The only drivers he knows who don’t like Uber are the ones who prefer cash journeys to avoid paying tax. Mr. Singh has no problem with paying tax. I think that was our only point of disagreement.

He’d got more than a few opinions on Reg Kermode, the late owner of the licence to defraud corporations Cabcharge. Apparently, when it started, taxi drivers were given a couple of percentage points of every Cabcharge fare to incentivise its use. Once the payment system had become widely-used, that situation was reversed. That’s not to blame Mr. Kermode, he was just doing what anyone with a monopoly ought to do. It’s for precisely this reason that innovations like Uber are born; the one begets the other.

Mr. Singh also likes the flexibility Uber offers him; he described a regular day where he does the school run with his grandchildren and then taps his phone to log in to accept fares. Or doesn’t, depending on his mood.

We arrived home without incident and I thanked him and left the car without having to make any further transaction, it was all done automatically online.

One experience isn’t representative but I will certainly be using Uber again. It seems to be as safe as a taxi, cost-effective, convenient and transparent. The safety aspect is interesting; Uber has replaced an expensive taxpayer-funded registration and licencing process with a market solution. If a taxi driver behaves discourteously or worse he will immediately receive a poor rating which will be visible to potential customers prior to them using him.

What’s the equivalent sanction from the New South Wales taxi licencing authority? I can’t find it, but here’s the Victoria version. Good luck with that.

In addition, I’ll be having a conversation with my client’s Chief Procurement Officer on Tuesday suggesting that anyone who works in a metropolitan area should set up a company Uber account and not be issued with any more rip-off tickets Cabcharges. The Uber statement shows the date/time of each journey and the precise route taken. Let’s see how the knowledge of that visibility affects the corporate taxi bill…….

 

All set for Australia Day

We love Australia Day, here at Chez Nouveau Australie.

There are many reasons to love it, not least of which is that it signifies the end of the business blackout period in Australia. Put simply, cock all significant decisions get made between about the third week of November until the week after Australia Day.

It makes the French look like they’ve had a nationwide blood transfusion of Protestant Work Ethic for the self-control to only take the whole of August off.

It’s great if you get paid for simply turning up but can be somewhat frustrating if your remuneration is based on the concept of reward for performance.

This December and January were surprisingly productive for me, but that was despite the best efforts of colleagues and suppliers. I swear I could feel the resentment in the email acceptances for meeting invites during this period.

The family love Australia Day for another reason; Westie Watching.

It’s an easy game to play, simply park yourself on or near a beach with easy access from the Western suburbs; Bondy ™ or Manli ™ are best, but North Curl Curl isn’t bad because of the Warringah Road, and observe.

What we’re looking out for is as many examples of the following as possible, maybe tick them off on bingo sheets you’ve prepared earlier;

- people in the water wearing football or cargo shorts because they don’t own swimming costumes (we could suggest counting the naked kids for the same reason, but that’s a bit too Rolfy)
- non-swimmers being rescued
- entire family groups splashing around adjacent to a powerful rip current (Manli ™ is good for this; the walking route from the ferry ends at the 2nd strongest rip on the beach)
- kids having sandball fights while their parents look on thinking that this is somehow acceptable behaviour on a shared beach
- heavily-tattooed body-builders unable to go further than waist deep because they can’t swim
- fat people cooling down by drinking 2 litre bottles of fizzy corn syrup-based beverages

Of course, we get fully into the spirit of the day by evicting the local Aboriginal family from their home and giving them a disease for which they have no immunity wearing cheap Australian flag tat manufactured by Chinese children in unsafe factories. It’s the fair go society, after all.

Good old Aldi WTF has come up with the goods yet again;

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Compulsory voting; the solution

The New Australian is very close to becoming officially Australian. I’ve applied for citizenship.

Immigration laws are second only to taxation laws in the frequency with which politicians fiddle with them. Therefore, if you find yourself eligible for citizenship of a new country and there’s no long term financial or other implications (military service, for example), grab it.

This poses a few questions however, two of which I will put to the readership of this organ.

Firstly, if Australia has been kind enough to allow me to join the citizenship club, should this blog continue to exist at all, or if it does continue, should the Aussie-baiting be toned down somewhat?

Secondly, considering I have significant opinions on the paucity of quality available to choose from in the political class, should I engage in the practice of voting or, if I choose to break the law, should I keep my opinions to myself in future (which is mildly related to the first question)?

With regards to the second question, I did a little digging following advice in the comments section of the previous post on here.

If one enrolls to vote but then fail to do so at an election, a fine will be issued.

Obviously, the politicians want as many people to vote as possible to give them a sense of legitimacy when they craft useless and unnecessary laws.

But guess what the penalty for not enrolling in the first place is?

Yep, it’s a big round number.

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Government; spending your money with profligacy since 1798.

Do you live in Victoria and voted Labor (sic)?

If so, can I respectively ask why? Was it because, (a) you are retarded or, (b) your English comprehension skills are below that of a small child?

I’m struggling to think of another explanation, given that they pledged to cancel the legally-binding contracts to build the East/West Link prior to the election. Granted, not every voter in the state of Victoria will be an expert in contract law or have experience in signing and executing large construction contracts but I bet they’ve all got a mobile phone contract and are very aware that terminating it for convenience comes at a price.

Nonetheless, the good people of Victoria voted in a bunch of union lackeys on a “let’s give Lend Lease a fuckload of compensation for doing fuck all” platform. Obviously that wasn’t the exact phrase on the election leaflets but it may as well have been.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting Labor (sic) are any more corrupt than the other lot, after all, the outgoing Liberal party signed the contract just a couple of weeks prior to the election, no doubt triggering a whole load of new Lend Lease swimming pools to be installed in ex-ministerial backyards. However, that’s an issue for future anti-corruption inquiries and one which might be prevented from occurring again by implementing a purdah rule similar to those in place in modern western democracies.

Even the questions of whether the toll road was a good civic idea or value for taxpayer money are irrelevant at the election; the only two questions that mattered were whether there was a contract in place and how much would termination for convenience cost?

It seemed fairly clear to an outside observer that the answers were “yup” and “a fuckload, suckers!“.

Imagine the Victorian voters’ surprise and disappointment then when the overseas financiers backing the consortium politely declined Andrew Daniels kind offer to tear up the contracts without charge and told Lend Lease et al that the clauses they’d instructed them to write in the contract as protection were to be triggered? To be fair, everybody nobody could have seen that coming.

Of course, it’s hardly surprising that a state Premier, who went directly from an art degree to a career in politics, has not a fucking clue about commercial contracts. Presumably he had a paper round when he was a teenager, but that would be the sum total of his public sector experience.

We really do get the political class we deserve, don’t we.

On a related note, my citizenship application has been filed and, if it’s not UnAustralian, I fully intend to divert the future savings in Return Resident Visas to pay for the $50 fine I will be charged at every election I choose not to vote in.

We can’t catch Ebola from lip service, fortunately

Did you ever travel through Asia when bird ‘flu was in fashion or SARS was all the rage?

If you did, you’ll remember seeing white-coated officials with face masks and heat sensors checking for anyone with a raised temperature traveling through international airports.

I’m sure the statistics haven’t been collated or, if they have, they haven’t been published, of how many bird ‘flu or SARS sufferers they spotted using this method but I’m willing to bet it was a nice round figure. Zero.

If they stopped a single avian ‘flu or SARS case in an airport they kept it very quiet. The chances are, they didn’t catch a single sick person.

Lip service.

 

The good news is, Australia’s front line of defence against Ebola is far more robust and practical.

 

 

 

Ebola

A nice leaflet telling you to keep a watchful eye out for signs that you might have contracted Ebola. They helpfully suggest that you should hang on to the leaflet for 21 days after arrival just in case you get a sniffle in a couple of weeks and it slipped your mind that you’d been to Nigeria three weeks ago.

But” I hear you ask, “how do the authorities keep us safe and track those at risk of being infected from entering the country?“.

Good question. Here’s how;

Safe as houses

They ask you. Actually, they ask everyone.

Hence the sight of a plane load of visitors from Christchurch, an airport not previously know as a hub between anywhere other than Invercargill or perhaps the Antarctic, having to stand around filling in all the same details previously entered on their arrivals cards with the addition of the question, “have you been to Africa in the last 21 days?”.

In addition to the unnecessary inconvenience to the many passengers who’d consider Africa only mildly more appealing than North Korea and the expense of printing and distributing thousands of useless cards, there’s now a full time employee (plus shift cover) at the airport waving the cards and helping people complete them.

Genius.

If only public health professionals of the calibre that came up with this idea were around in 1918, the Spanish Influenza pandemic would have been easily contained.

When is a visa not a visa?

When it is a tax.

Ok, most visas are poorly-disguised taxes but I’m particularly filthy about a really obvious cash grab today.

Due to Charlie being one of the enemy an Australian, I am living in Australia courtesy of a permanent resident’s visa. Perhaps the title of this post should be “When does permanent not mean permanent?” but I’d probably end up writing about all the full-time salaried people I’ve fired who thought I was “just the temp” instead.

Anyway, it turns out that an Australian permanent resident’s visa needs renewing after four years.

How do I know this? Because the obese ginger-haired lady at immigration told me as I left to fly to 1960′s Coventry Christchurch at 9am. In fact, I think she said something like, “you can leave now but you can’t come back” which is ironic because I may have said those very same words at about 9am in the morning to a few fat ginger Australian girls a decade or so ago too.

I digress.

Turns out that if one uses the free Wi-Fi in the airport to log on to the immigration website and pay $360 you can get the right to come home again tomorrow. In a world record for a government department transaction, the email confirmation of the visa was waiting in my inbox when the plane landed.

So it’s just a tax.

Good job I can bill it to the client.

I’ll drink to that!

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This has nothing to do with Justin Bieber

Daydream Belieber

 

Official Statement

We have been made aware of press speculation regarding a recent worldwide crime-wave, including the following;

London, January 12th 2014 – Four teenage girls, armed with machetes and wearing “Beliebers” t-shirts broke into the offices of Ticketmaster demanding backstage passes to the upcoming Justin Bieber concert. Two staff were killed and four maimed before police marksmen shot the attackers dead.

Madrid, March 19th, 2014 – Two teenage girls, wearing “Justin Bieber World Tour 2013” t-shirts kidnapped and tortured to death a girl who had previously been romantically linked to Justin Bieber by the tabloid newspapers.

New York City, May 8th, 2014 – Three teenage girls, screaming the lyrics to “Beauty and a Beat” savagely kicked to death a record store clerk who had suggested that the album “Believe” was totally unpalatable shite and would therefore be found in the bargain bin.

Sydney, September 28th, 2014 – A mob of eleven teenage girls, wearing a collection of Justin Bieber merchandise and chanting “True Beliebers” attacked the congregation at Asr prayers at Lakemba Mosque with improvised explosive devices. Nine mosque-goers were murdered, a further twenty three were seriously injured and all of the attackers died of their injuries.

Bali, December 19th, 2014 – A “lone wolf” teenage girl, with matching Justin Bieber tattoos on both forearms, stabbed to death American comedian Bo Burnham outside a comedy club. In her statement to police, she later cited the insults the comedian had made towards Justin Bieber in May of the previous year on the Conan TV show as the reason for the attack.

Glasgow, January 6th 2015 – Four teenage girls, viciously tortured to death another teenage girl who had previously expressed the opinion that she “might have grown out of Justin Bieber”. The method of torture was multiple lacerations with a sharpened copy of the Justin Bieber “Never Say Never” CD.

All of us here at the Justin Bieber Fan Club are understandably upset and traumatised by these atrocities and completely distance ourselves from these events. The criminals who undertook these murderous activities are not real fans and do not represent the true faith in Justin Bieber.

The millions of moderate Justin Bieber fans around the world reject this extreme version of Beliebing and stand in solidarity with non-Beliebers everywhere.

#JeSuisBieber

 

 

 

Dear Sydney Morning Herald staff…..

Clear your desks and post your CVs on seek.com.au.

You are a fucking disgrace.

A syndicated article entirely about the cartoon on the front page of a satirical newspaper and you decide not to show the actual cartoon but add a hyperlink to another newspaper that did.

SMH Banner

Scaredy Cat

 

 

Here it is.

707192-une-charlie-png

 

 

Oh, by the way, vous êtes hypocrite.

 

Moral highground

The have nots and the have yachts

To recreate the experience of owning a yacht, simply stand under a cold shower tearing up $100 bills.

S/Y Dulcibella is a well-found vessel, the pride of Her Majesty’s fleet and, in keeping with the high standards of the navy, requires constant maintenance to ensure a suitably professional image is presented to the sailors of less happier lands.

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In other words, we’re buying some things to tart her up a bit. Specifically, a new mainsail cover.

As much as I’d love to write a lengthy essay on marine canvas, installation and use of lazy jacks and self-furling jibs, this organ hasn’t turned into a grotty yottie forum just yet.

What might interest Australian landlubbers though, is the incredible price differential between finished canvas work in Australia and the rest of the world.

Actually, it probably won’t but that isn’t going to stop another post in the Petit Bourgeios Price Checking Ninnies category from practically writing itself.

Firstly, full admission; we’re not quite checking apples with apples here. The Australian example is using Marine Sunbrella, the American is using WeatherMax80. There’s a premium of about 30% of the Marine Sunbrella material over WeatherMax80 material. WeatherMax80 comes with a 5 year warranty, Marine Sunbrella has a 10 year warranty (they doubled it in 2008).

Keep that in mind when we read that a boom cover made in Australia will set one back around $1,175 (plus GST) and the American-made equivalent will cost $360 (no GST to be applied and shipping costs to Australia are included). Information you’ll need to know if you follow those two links is that S/Y Dulcibella’s boom is 14 feet/4.2m long.

Ok, the Australian cover will probably last twice as long than the American but, given that we could buy three American covers for the same price and still have change left over, fuck it; we’re looking west for our canvas needs this month.

With the saving we can also chuck in matching boom tent (a big sunshade for the cockpit), a sail bag and a barbecue cover and still be laughing all the way to the chandlers.

Of course, this is a silly example of a highly discretionary spend, in fact probably a luxury item, but it illustrates the problem Australia has as a high cost economy. What are the possible reasons for a price delta of 30% on raw materials increasing to 300% for finished goods? Here’s some I can think of;

  1. The raw material costs significantly more in Australia, presumably due to higher import duties.
  2. The American firm produces greater volume and therefore has better economies of scale, passing the savings on to the consumer.
  3. Sailmaking is less of a niche skill in America, ensuring wages aren’t priced at premium.
  4. The American firm offshores the production to a low cost economy, passing the savings on to the consumer.
  5. Wages are higher in Australia for some other reason.
  6. Australian consumers are unaware the other countries exist, don’t have access to the internet or don’t like passing their credit card details to people overseas.
  7. Australians are all millionaires and are happy to pay for the best quality, the cost be damned.

I go for a combination of (6) and (7) but most significantly, (5). The “other reason” being our old friend, government-mandated pay scales for thousands of job categories. i.e. the Australian labour market is nothing like a market, it’s a government-controlled closed shop.

The Law of Unintended Consequences applies here, again. Even if Gerry Harvey and his fellow rentiers get their way and force the Federal government to spend our money inefficiently collecting GST on imported goods under $1,000 of value, people who prefer to get the best value for their own money will do so….. outside of the domestic economy and labour “market”.

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Boy she was yarrrr.

ANZAC centenary… And it begins

This is going to be a difficult few months for anyone living in Australia with a sense of proportion, appreciation for historical accuracy and a dislike of venal politicians and journalists usurping personal tragedy for ideological gain.

Yes, it’s the 100th anniversary of a tragic military defeat of minor historical importance the Gallipoli Campaign.

This is the year where everyone with an agenda to tout will be going balls-deep to get their particular version of events impregnated into us.

Depending on the political and ideological standpoint of the proselytiser, expect variations of the following themes;

- Australia finally became a nation, throwing off the shackles of the Imperial coloniser (although the national anthem was God Save the Queen until the 1980s).
- Australian soldiers were the hardest-working, toughest and most honest of all the allies.
- The campaign ended in defeat because the English generals, Winston Churchill in particular, were heartless incompetents.
- The national disaster that was Gallipoli strengthened the country’s resolve to never again blindly follow another country into war, such as Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq.
- Apparently, some Kiwis were there too. There may have been the odd British soldier also but they were most probably an incompetent officer.
- The 1st and 2nd world wars were fought to defend democracy/capitalism/socialism (delete where appropriate).

Of course, what I think the 8,141 Australians who died on those Turkish beaches would have wanted most, is to have known that they died defending Australia Post’s right to sell you Private Murray, The Great War Bear.

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Lest we forget.

Take this plane to Richmond!

After tourist attractions, airports are the next best location to partake in the Richmond Game.

Today’s entry resulted in a rather unfortunate coffee spillage whilst I was sitting at the coffee shop in Departures at Sydney Airport this morning.

My first attempt to document The Richmond was fairly amateurish;

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So I had to stalk them a little further;

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As we know, The Richmond Game is all about relative inequality in relationships. This one has the usual visa and wealth vs. age and beauty transaction going on but theres also quite an extreme disparity in weight.

This got me thinking; maybe this weight difference was a criteria for him when he browsed the catalogue in Bangkok? Many airlines have floated the idea of charging extra for obese passengers. Perhaps this gentleman has planned for this and is hoping that he’ll be able to negotiate an “overs and unders” true-up which will result in a cost neutral position when they travel together?

Anyway, 67 points for today’s entry.

Speaking of entries, let’s all have a moment’s silence for the poor girl for the evenings when she’s not on top.

First Dog in Mecca

To learn who rules over you, simply discover who you are not allowed to criticise.

Voltaire

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I don’t depict Muhammad because it’s probably racist and also I don’t get to put my family and coworkers at risk….

Or, in other words, “there are plenty of other targets of my satire which will respond with nothing more threatening than a shrug, so I’ll self-censor“.

Oh, and while we’re at it, “probably racist“?

What race is a religion/ideology/philosophy?

We actually don’t deserve freedom really, do we?

(h/t JK).

UPDATE: To illustrate (cough) the point; the same cartoonist is happy to portray The Pope as a dog.

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See what Voltaire was getting at yet?

UPDATE; How flattering of Tim Blair to borrow from this post. Of course, he came up with the material himself and didn’t follow the links from his dinner date’s blog to get here.

Back to the future

England in the 1980s was quite a fun place and time. I had some very pleasant experiences there and then.

 

Time machines are prohibitively expensive and notoriously hard to source, so in a nostalgic trip down memory lane, I’m doing the next best thing and recreating that 1980s Britain experience next week and visiting the state of Eastern Australia New Zealand.

 

For both of our New Zealand based readers, if you find yourself in the Christchurch (cough) CBD next Thursday evening, feel free to seek me out at this pub (hat tip to Paddy for the recommendation).

 

I will be the well-dressed gentleman sitting behind a venison and blue cheese burger, slowly working his way through all nine (count them; NINE!!) beers on handpull.

 

If you’re around, come over and say hi any time after 6pm. Be sure to use the secret passphrase; Je suis Charlie un rockstar, Je avais un residence, Je habiter la, A la south de France.

If we find ourselves enjoying the evening, we might push on to the Flock of Seagulls concert that happens to be scheduled for that evening. Apparently, Split Enz are the support act.

 

Drink Beer

Happy Magna Carta year

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.

Rudyard Kipling

 

800 years ago this June, Magna Carta was signed by King John. Of the 63 clauses documented in the 4 existing original copies of the document, probably only 3 or 4 are still relevant to modern life for anyone who doesn’t keep and graze livestock in England, but that doesn’t detract from the significance of the inferred principles first stated in the “great charter”. June 15th 1215 was the date that the tide turned for the English-speaking world and rights commenced flowing back to the individual.

 

Legislation detailing important individual rights such as trial by peers, property, freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of speech were all triggered in some form by that scratchy signature on the vellum. The original ex-pats in the thirteen American colonies were highly influenced by Magna Carta and the protection of the rights of the individual was the driving force behind the subsequent documentation that became the US Constitution (possibly the most important document in the history of human freedom).

 

Wars have been fought to protect those rights; our ancestors have suffered huge personal costs to pass these rights on to us. We have inherited a priceless legacy.

 

How interesting then, in 2015, our “free” media, who enjoy the full protection of freedom of speech under the law and its enforcers, respond to a murderous terrorist attack against the freedom of speech by publishing pictures of an innocent man lying on the street seconds before his murder rather than reprinting any of the cartoons which prompted his murder.

 

Here’s Judith Whelan, News Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, apologising explaining her decision;

Judith Whelan

“Offend a segment of the paper’s readership”?

Offend them more than printing a picture of an innocent man’s final moments pleading, hands outstretched, prior to being executed by a terrorist? Is anyone else not offended by THAT?

 

One might suggest that what Judith meant to say but couldn’t quite bring herself round to articulating it is that the picture of the (soon to be) dead man would have offended many different groups of society whereas the cartoons of The Prophet would have been more focused in the demographic taking offence.

 

Judith chose to self-censor, a crime against freedom worse than externally-imposed censorship, because it means that the those who bully, extort, threaten and pressure us have achieved their goals completely.

It is the journalistic equivalent of the defeated partisan solemnly digging his or her own grave.

But why pick on the Sydney Morning Herald Property Advertiser; from what I can tell, every editor in the country took the same compliant decision, with the notable exception of Paul Colgan at Business Insider, an online-only news source (but with a healthy 1 million daily visitors).

 

“Our” media have form in this, of course. For months after his arrest, Rolf Harris was not named in the weekly updates in the Australian media but, instead, was an “82 year old Australian entertainer living in England”. Poor Barry Humprhies and Clive James must have been spitting with rage and taking every opportunity to point out that their age wasn’t 82.

Of course, if you find yourself the prime suspect in a drive-by shooting in Bansktown you can be certain you will not be afforded such sensitive and compliant anonymity; your name and photo will be in the paper faster than you can say “can’t afford to bring a libel case”.

 

When our freedoms and rights are handed back this easily by those we pay to challenge and report the truth, is it any doubt that we sit idly by allowing increasingly invasive incursions into our privacy and rights to quiet enjoyment?

 

As this organ has suggestion previously, we probably get the journalistic and political class that we deserve.

 

 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

This very kindness stings with intolerable insult.

To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C.S. Lewis

It’s innovation, Jim, but not as we know it

When I first saw this service, my immediate thought was that it would make Gerry Harvey incandescent with rage.

Shopmate is a service from Australia Post that allows you to buy cheap shit in the US from companies that don’t normally ship to Australia and then have it forwarded on to your home address.

I mean, it’s not sticking your entire record collection on a tiny device in your pocket or directional oil drilling using binary pulses sent down the hole via the cooling liquid, but it’s still mildly innovative nonetheless. Obviously, Australia Post didn’t come up with the idea themselves; other companies got there first.

The prices look reasonable though, especially compared with sending an equivalent parcel the other way (3kg from USA = $60, 3kg to USA = $73)….. which leaves a fairly obvious question hanging as to why there is a difference in rates for the reverse journey?

Answers on a postcard please, and try not to use the words “rip”, “fucking” or “off”.

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So, I thought I’d have a good laugh at Gerry “fuck the free market, I’ve made my dough already” Harvey’s expense. Maybe write a satirical piece about how he was hospitalised or spontaneously combusted upon hearing about the service.

Too late.

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I’m very slow on the uptake on news at the moment as he made these comments back in early November;

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Hmm, let’s all have a moment’s silence while we are lectured on morality and taxation legislation by Gerry Harvey. Better still, let’s ask him to show us his tax returns and supporting documentation so we might judge the solidity of the moral high ground from which he pontificates.

The good news for Gerry is that he was Australia’s official Cunt of the Week for only two weeks in November until he was replaced by this twat.

On reflection, I feel we’ve learned (or been reminded of) three important Australian facts here;

1. Australia Post is neither innovative nor immune to a little shameless aping of a good idea.
2. Australia Post’s international rates from Australia are a rip off.
3. Gerry Harvey is a self-serving hypocritical cunt.

Australian media; this is your benchmark

Vive la liberté indeed.

Charlie

The attack and the confirmation of the motivation of the attackers probably came a little late in the night for the Australian dead tree press to follow the admirable and honourable leadership shown by Berlin Größte Zeitung and reprint Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

So, newspapers like the Sydney Morning Herald Property Advertiser have the entire day to pluck up the courage to redress the damage they did to freedom of speech last year by not naming Rolf Harris until five months after his arrest.

Think there should be a limit to freedom of speech? Sure, but let’s remember where that leads;

Stasi HQ

UPDATE: So far it would seem one Australian publication has a pair of bollocks; Business Insider. Let’s see how many more join the fairly limited club of courageous journalists.

Richmond, London

We go back to the source of The Richmond Game today with this solid 64 point entry in the game, submitted by an anonymous correspondent who spotted this fine example wandering along Old Compton Street yesterday;

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Great work there, sir or madam.

Remember, if you’d like to compete for the honour and a prize beyond value, just take a quick snap of a quality Richmond couple and send it through to thenewaustralian at gmail dot com.

The New Australian version of Godwin’s Law

This organ is a personal release valve for me to vent my spleen at the unusual, the alien and the plain ridiculousness of life in Australia for a middle-aged Englishman with a good tailor and reasonable sense of apostrophe placement.

It’s very useful in that regard; I get to express opinions on here I would otherwise have to internalise. That some of you appreciate these and, in the main, share many of the views I have, helps to maintain my sanity.

In public, I tone down some of the more controversial themes because,  as I quickly learned on arrival, Australians are not as thick-skinned and robust as their preferred public image would portray.

A hint of this is apparent in the well-known expression, “whinging Pom”. Rather than questioning why someone with experience gained elsewhere might be suggesting something is sub-optimal, the locals prefer to label this as frivolous whining.

Of course, this conclusion can’t be drawn for Antipodeans living in London who complain bitterly about the weather because that’s obviously different; a bad weather experience somehow being the fault of the English….. rather than a poor choice of clothing by the visitors.

Nonetheless, in my real life dealings with Australians, I’ve realised that I can bring them to a tipping point quite easily and that, at this monent, we reach the Australian immigration version of Godwin’s Law, that is, when the phrase, “well, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you go home, maaaate?” is offerred as a well-thought out and articulated argument.

I’m having great sport along these lines with a relatively new colleague who I managed to goad to the WDYGHM (why don’t you go home, maaaate?) point twice in December.

Both involved some alcohol. The first was when I was describing my many children in response to a question from someone else. She has only the one child, conceived by IVF (as she explains, unprompted, to strangers at every opportunity). Apparently, I had somehow offended her with my fertility.  Ponder that as a concept for a moment.

The second was because I’d suggested that politics in New South Wales seemed somewhat venal to the eyes of a recent immigrant.

So imagine my delight in hitting the WDYGHM jackpot only a day and a half into the working year and without recourse to alcohol!

It would seem that reminding her that not only was “Advance Australia Fair”  a bit of a shite anthem compared to other countries and only superceded “God Save The Queen” in the 1980s but the unofficial anthem, “Waltzing Mathilda” was about a thief’s suicide and therefore was a bit strange as a national tune.

Why don’t you go home, maaaate?

Because I AM home. How’d ya like them apples?

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