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"

The Richmond Game explained

As much as it pains me to link to an article on the Grauniad, there were a couple of charts here that did make me chuckle.

The following two pictures go some way to explaining why every entry to date in The Richmond Game has involved fat old blokes and young slim women.

We’ve not posted a Richmond up here for a while so, for the newer readers, here’s the origins and the rules.

The first chart is this one;

Laaaadies

This is an analysis from a dating website of what single women think is the ideal age of a man. In general, a couple of years younger than she is, hopefully with a full head of hair, good personal hygiene and as little baggage as possible, is the consensus.

The female of the species is definitely more realistic than the male. Here’s the same analysis for us blokes;

Gennlemen

It’s unconscious knowledge, isn’t it really? Any bloke over 30 is a lecherous twat.

Want to see this chart in action? Be in a bar in the city at around 7pm on a Friday night where there’s an office drinks party happening. The young leggy blonde from HR/recruitment is stuck in a corner having to laugh at the lame jokes and innuendo from the fat 40 year old married accountant while she desperately wonders how she’s going to make her excuses and get away without jeopardising her career.

Being a contrarian, I look at that 2nd chart and think to myself, “what a bunch of idiots“.

Why? How about the 65 years young Isabelle Adjani, for starters?

Isabelle-Adjani

Bonjour Madame Adjani…..

But we could also have mentioned Helen Mirren (69) or perhaps Zeninab Badawi (54), both of whom float my boat.

Just my personal view but frankly, when I was of an age where 20 year old girls would give me a second look, I generally found them to be more than a bit vacuous. Of course, that was fine for a fairly vacuous spotty TNA, but now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things….

This is not a view shared by much of the male population, clearly. Otherwise, this would not be currently our second-placed Richmond Game entry;

20111128-185703.jpg

The summer is rapidly upon us, friends of this organ. This is the season of The Richmond. We need some quality submissions for this year’s coveted prize of the best Richmond.

Remember, you’ve got to take the photo clearly showing that the pair are an item and get it emailed through to thenewaustralian at gmail dot com with a little supporting information and your preferred screen name (let’s stay cowards use the antiseptic of anonymity).

Happy hunting!

Targets can be hard or soft. Australia is probably nursing a semi

One of the clients I do work for has a range of semi-industrial sites. As is good practice, they encourage a high safety culture and, for consistency, this extends to the office environment, looking to reduce the trips, slips and falls, etc.

Meetings open with a “safety moment”, where staff are asked to bring a suggestion or observation which will reduce risk of injuries.

All good stuff and very similar to good practice I’ve witnessed elsewhere.

Last week I attended a series of meetings and I made a contribution to the “safety moment” in one of them.

My point was this; the national security rating has just been lifted from medium to high. Australia has a four level system, the UK uses five.

Both the UK and Australia have moved to the level where terrorist attacks are deemed to be imminent. In these situations, public vigilance is key; we all need to be aware of situations which seem suspicious, look out for unattended luggage, etc.

If you see something, say something.

The reaction from my colleagues was interesting to say the least; none of the usual discussion around the safety topic occurred and, in fact, the subject was quickly changed to a recent incident with an overheating toaster in the staff kitchen.

This confused me for a while, irked me somewhat, in fact.

After a some contemplation, I realised the reason of my irritation.

My career has included time in London during the height of the IRA mainland campaign; I had near misses with both of the two big city of London bombs and the Canary Wharf bomb. For example, I’d been drunkenly staggering along St. Mary’s Axe just before 9pm on April 10th 1992. If I’d had stayed for one more pint you wouldn’t now be reading this blog. As it was, I heard the boom from the District Line.

Back in those days before mobile phones, on several occasions I arrived at my desk in the morning to a ringing phone; my mother would be on the other end asking if I was OK because she’d heard of another London incident on the national radio. I’d laugh it off; “Mum, there’s 6 million of us working in Central London right now, I’ve got more chance of winning the Ladbrokes Pools than being blown up by a bunch of left-footed bogtrotters“.

Later, when the IRA threat had declined, if I hadn’t chosen to cycle to work on 7/7/05, I would have been travelling through Aldgate Station sometime close to that of the suicide bomb attack. A few months previously, the number 30 bus had formed part of my commute to another office.

What am I trying to say here, that I have a charmed life, someone is looking over me? Nah, thousands of people “nearly” got hit by these events, many of my friends have similar near miss stories.

The message I’m trying to get across, and was trying to in the office last week, was that we live in a safe environment….. until we don’t.

There’s a level of diligence and awareness that Londoners have that’s shared by the locals of very few other global metropolitan areas. Tel Aviv, Belfast, Colombo, etc.

But not a single Australian city.

Take the tube for a couple stops in London and leave your back pack unattended for a moment and observe what happens. There will be nervous looks and glances, some people might get off at the next stop despite it not being the one at which they planned to depart. Almost certainly though, someone will eventually point to the backpack and say loudly “whose bag is that?“.

Now do the same thing on the Sydney train network. You’re more at risk of having the bag stolen.

In fact, it would be a fascinating statistical study to run on the transport systems of different global cities to answer the question; what’s the average journey time that an unattended bag will travel before being stolen or challenged?

Until recently, one could board a domestic flight in Australia without showing any form of identification. A home-printed boarding card is all you’d be asked to show. This might have changed now, but I’ve not flown domestically recently so can’t confirm.

So, here’s the The New Australian “safety moment”, for those willing to listen;

1. Be aware of your surroundings.
2. Challenge and report suspicious circumstances.
3. Give your office landline number to your loved ones. Why? Because in the event of a terrorist attack the security forces will cut the mobile network (mobile phones can be used as remote bomb triggers) and, even if they don’t, the networks will not cope with the capacity demand.
4. Treat the political ramblings of left-wing media trying to conflate the alert status with obfuscation around budget deficits with the contempt they deserve.
5. Don’t be concerned; if your number’s up, it’s up. Hedge your bets and buy a Lotto ticket.

Golf: If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all

(With apologies to the several good friends who subscribe to this organ and enjoy golf. It’s our differences that make us interesting…)

All right, I CAN think of one positive thing to say on the subject of golf; it keeps a significant number of wankers occupied for long periods of time in locations other than the places I spend my weekends.

Imagine if all those chubby, all-the-gear-no-idea idiots had spent all that cash on a boat instead and were clogging up the harbour while I was out sailing?

Similarly, what if all the lycra-clad twats on their fancy carbon fibre, Sturmey-Archer geared bikes were out surfing on a Sunday morning instead of riding 6 deep on the roads in their pathetic peletons? It’s bad enough dropping in on bloody boogie board dickheads.

Back to golf though; it’s completely passed me by how any pleasure can be derived from it. Not intensive enough exercise to have any tangible health benefits, huge time gaps between actually “doing” the golf rather than walking to “do” the golf and let’s not forget the people one meets are the sort of people who join golf clubs. Shudder.

Suppliers often call me up at the office and proudly announce that I’m invited to their corporate golf day. Whoopee fucking do. Spend a day walking around an artificial landscape with a bunch of people I usually struggle to build up the enthusiasm to spend more than an hour with in meetings where I’ve set the agenda to suit my purposes?

But what about the free grog, TNA, you old soak? Surely that will grab your attention?“. It was a bloody long time ago when not having to pay for my drinks was a significant factor in my decision to attend or not attend a function. Difficult to put an exact date on when that was but it was likely to be at the confluence of attaining a reasonable disposable income and having the realisation that most other people are boring arseholes.

To put it more brutally, golf is the thing people do when they failed at sport as children. Didn’t get picked for the First XV in year 8? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to take some golf lessons when you’re 35 and spend the next couple of decades pretending you’re an athlete.

It’s also often something you do if you dislike your family. When I wasn’t single and still playing rugby, my Saturdays consisted of arriving at the rugby club with about 30 minutes to spare, playing the match, showering and skulling a couple of cheeky pints before heading out to whatever entertainment, gig, restaurant, etc. I had planned with my significant other. Total weekend time commitment; about 3 hours for a home match, maybe 4 hours for an away fixture. Golfers get very little change from an entire morning or afternoon away from their spouses. Isn’t it simpler to face facts and just get a divorce? Think of the money you’d save on green fees.

Anyway, all that being said, I do enjoy this video…..

Jai Hind!

Search this organ and you will discover plenty of evidence that I am very much an Indophile. I’ve spent many months of my life visiting the place for business and pleasure, I’ve studied one of their national languages at SOAS and I can hold my own in conversations on their history and culture.

Perhaps this love of the country clouds my judgment somewhat but I always respond with a wry smile when people talk about this being China’s century.

Sure, China is hugely important and has made rapid progress to lift itself out of being simply an agrarian economy.

But China is hamstrung in ways India will never be. Firstly, China is still a command and control economy with little or no concern for the rights of the individual. Just ask Ilham Tohti.

India, on the other hand, has Common Law and many of the individual freedoms and rights that have been won in that system since the signing of the Magna Carta.

India is also part of what Dan Hannan calls the Anglosphere. With that membership comes significant benefits that are “the envy of less happier lands”. The principle of government being the servant of the population, rule of law, property rights, free trade.

And most importantly of all, we get to fire our leaders every few years. India just picked a very promising one recently, for example.

So it shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone that India just managed to successfully hit Mars orbit with a satellite that cost less than the previous Australian government spent on failing to install the internet to half a dozen houses in the western suburbs.

But fear not, my fellow Australian taxpayers, because we can all pat ourselves on the back and share in this Bharatian success. Why?

Well, back in 2012 when the Mars programme was initiated, Australia kindly donated $22m in humanitarian aid to India. Or just under a third of the total mission cost.

Sadly though, we will be unable to claim credit for any future space exploration successes by the people who often take Australian jobs and perform them cheaper and better than the redundant Bogans.

You see, one of the first things that nasty Tony Abbott did upon entering office last year was to say, “Bus hogia! Joylti! Joylti!” and stopped the donations.

If, like me you are outraged at this backward policy and disregard for scientific endeavour, you could always get onboard the outrage bus with Senator Sarah Hyphen-Young and sign her petition here. The petition has been up for a couple of years now and she’s still about 60 or so signatures shy of her target of 1,300 fellow outragees.

Aw, bless रफ़्तार

What’s Californian for Bogan?

Ok, I had stopped accepting entries in this game because it was becoming like shooting fish in a barrel.

However, because I miss him terribly since he emigrated to San Francisco last month (to be a househusband, the lucky bastard) and because I had a vague memory of an emotion I think other poeple call “guilt” when someone told him about this blog at his leaving drinks…. here’s a bogan car plate entry.

image

Thank you Brad (as in “what’s on Brad’s iTunes today?”).

Keep working that accent to your advantage like the skinny gimp in “Love, actually“.

The category isn’t being resurrected though, I’m just being lazy as I recover the time I lost in my life this weekend while writing my thesis on the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and its role in the Manson Family crimes from my hospital bed.

See psoas, Oscar Pristorious

File under; fuck me, we’ll laugh like drains about this in years to come.

Monday; run to work. It’s a tidy little 10 or so kilometers which has never bothered me before. Take the Opal-ready bus (and not all of them are; because public sector project managers are incompetent) home.
Tuesday; wake up in the early hours of the morning in complete agony, unable to find a way to lie, sit or stand that doesn’t hurt. Dose myself up enough to struggle through a day at work.

Wednesday; ditto. Important planning workshops are on and I had a large contributing part to play.

Thursday; ditto. Workshops complete, self medicate with a few bottles of fine Malbec with colleagues.

Friday; Charlie drives me to the GP who prescribes the good stuff; a cocktail of valium, anti-inflamatories and painkillers.

Saturday; the cocktail isn’t touching the pain in the slightest. To misquote Lou Reed, “valium didn’t help that pass“.

Saturday night; fall into the back of a taxi, with Charlie waving a tearful goodbye as I head to the hospital.

The diagnosis was that I had an injury to a disc following the run on Monday and that an MRI scan would confirm this. Great, except to fit into the scanner one needs to be;
1. Not moving every 30 seconds due to spasms, and
2. Not bent double writhing in agony.

At this point the medical staff seemed to take it as a personal challenge to find the drug which would stop the pain and deliver me to the welcoming arms of the radiologist.

In rough order of play (but things became blurred towards the middle and end of the innings) they gave me paracetamol, nurofen, codeine, valium (in ever-increasing doses), morphine, some other opiate-derived pills and then, on Sunday afternoon some bright spark decided ketamine was the way to go.

Horse tranquillisers.

Of course, I’m pretty fucking insensible to all of this after about the 2nd or 3rd hour. All I know is that I keep being asked for my name and date of birth prior to more pills being offered for consumption or syringes of liquids being fed into the line in my hand. And the more spaced out I get, the more frustrated they seem to be that I keep shouting out in pain when they try to move me into a prone or supine position.

Eventually, I can only assume my presence became an irritating reminder of their failure so they shoved me in a side room and closed the door. As a final gesture of goodwill, the ketamine drip flow was doubled. At which point I relived the graveyard scene from Easy Rider, the kidnapping of Popeye Doyle in The French Connection and the ballet dancing elephants from Fantasia. I tripped my fucking nuts off. Alone, with soul-destroying levels of pain while lying in a grey room with a single light bulb.

Thankfully, they forgot to come and refill the drip bag and the ketamine ran out. I don’t know how long it took for me to realise I wasn’t a smurf on a Harley Fat Boy riding the wall of death around a child’s kaleidoscope but when I did, I managed to hit the “call nurse” button.

Would you like me to top up the ketamine and give you another shot of morphine?
No, I want you to pass me my phone, dial the first number in the directory and ask her what I should do“.

Thankfully, that number was Charlie’s and she said stop taking any more drugs until she could arrive. Which she did, just as soon as she could persuade a friend to come over to sit for the kids.

In the meantime, she’d been doing some research (it’s not giving too much away to mention she’s medically-qualified) and had a theory as to why I was looking like an extra in Trainspotting but not being fixed in the other sense of the word.

Turns out there’s an extremely powerful muscle nobody has ever heard of called the psoas which connects the lower spine to the hip and upper thigh. Which happened to be exactly where all my pain was originating from. If this muscle goes into spasm it can resemble a disc issue and is very difficult to treat. Especially if one is reasonably immune to valium, which I’m beginning to suspect I am.

An hour of assisted leg stretches to isolate the psoas on the relevant side of the body and, guess fucking what? I could stand straight again.

So in summary, there are several lessons to be learned here;

1. If at all possible, never check in to hospital without a loved one to be there fighting your corner for you all the time, asking difficult questions, challenging the “professionals” and ensuring the shift change-over isn’t the point where you go back to square one.
2. Charlie is a fucking genius and the best thing that ever happened to me.
3. The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Judge me

In what must be the biggest shock to the readership of this organ, I must admit to being somewhat judgemental.

Yes, I know; hard to comprehend eh?

In fact, the multiple times I’ve completed the Myers/Briggs survey have confirmed this fact for all to see; I’m an ENTJ personality type, where the J stands for Judgemental.

If you’re an employer, what that means is that you’ll get the outcome that you’ve employed me to drive and you’ll get it fast, efficiently and with an excessive number of visits to Human Resources to explain that you can’t fire me just yet but you’ll ask me to tone down the Malcolm Tucker-isms in the meantime.

Judgmental is useful to me and people who employ me, in other words.

Being quick to draw conclusions has lots of benefits, especially if those first impressions turn out to be correct more often than not.

A more negative synonym of judgmental is discriminatory. It’s almost the worst possible crime one can commit in the modern liberal (in the non-Aussie meaning of the word) world. There will be a candlelight vigil and “we shall overcome” choruses outside your house within minutes if the righteous left got wind of any discriminatory behaviour.

But“, I wondered last weekend at the beach when my kids asked if they could play with the young boy with the backwards baseball cap and asymmetrical haircut throwing handfuls of sand around, “are there occasions where discriminating is just sensible self-preservation?“.

Is it perhaps an unspoken fact that in many situations we would be stupid if we didn’t discriminate?

I’d read some of the comments on last Friday’s blog post and realised that we are under great pressure to appear moderate and inclusive when this might be at odds with our collective best interests.

For example, say I was recruiting for bus drivers and a chap turns up to the morning interview smelling of booze. Do I continue the process only for him to fail the medical due to alcoholism or do I discriminate against his disease and show him the door?

Common sense but discrimination, right?

Or perhaps if I ran an opticians and decided not to hire an optometrist because they had very garlicky breath?

It’s in my best interests to discriminate in these cases. Yeah, sure I could hire them and counsel them but life is too short to solve everyone’s problems for them and I’ve got plenty of kids already.

We have legislation, and plenty of it, in Australia to limit what we can and can’t discriminate over.

Indeed, there should be some boundaries to what is legally-acceptable in this regard. I shouldn’t be able get away with hiring only big-titted pretty blondes under the age of 25 to serve in my bar just because my clientele are lecherous men, for example. Although the actual policing this situation is clearly another challenge if my unscientific research is to be trusted.

What about a situation where someone’s religious beliefs are at odds with my interests though?

While, in principle, I like the ideal of religious tolerance, it feels somewhat naive to be tolerant towards a belief system which is counter to my interests. If your religion judges me and my family negatively for our actions, beliefs, clothing choice, consumption of food and drink, etc. I’m not sure the sensible thing to do is for me to tolerate this. And making allowances and being overly-sensitive to people with these attitudes would seem like borderline insanity.

Tricky though, isn’t it?

Firstly, there are laws preventing me from discriminating. But, as we’ve seen above, some discrimination is common sense and not doing so might be counter to my best interests.

Australia goes even further though and even has legislation preventing “vilification”.

That puts us in a tight spot, doesn’t it? We might want to call out our distaste that certain religious beliefs judge me and my family negatively and actively calls for our conversion to the faith and associated rules. But that would risk being charged for offending someone.

It feels like the pendulum has swung a little too far sometimes. Before you shout waaaycist religionist at me, here’s a an example; “profiling potential terrorists going or returning from a religious pilgrimage is ‘racist” ($ content).

Hmm, religion isn’t race and race isn’t religion, last time I checked.

And here’s a second; “it’s ‘unjust’ to arrest people on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack“.

Even in my valium-induced torpor, I still can recall the old adage;

When you are sitting at the card table and can’t work out which player is the sucker, it’s probably you.

The only way is ethics

In Sydney, and I assume it’s the same for the rest of New South Wales, the religious education choices in most public (that means “state” if you’re reading this with a British accent) schools are likely to be limited to;

1. Catholic scripture
2. Protestant scripture
3. Sit quietly drawing pictures

A few schools have started offering a more secular option though.

Oh good“, thought Charlie and I, “we’re not particularly religious and it’d be nice for our little tykes to have some rounded teaching in these matters.

So, off I trot to do some research on what they are likely to learn.

Here’s an article in our old friend the Sydney Morning Property Advertiser from earlier in the year describing the classes.

At Balgowlah Public School, a combined year 5/6 class sits in a circle, talking about how sometimes it’s fairer to treat people differently. An example is offered: a maths teacher who spends more time with the student who doesn’t have a calculator at home. I then offer scenarios from the adult world for them to think about: should companies be proactive in appointing more women to boards, should they seek to hire more indigenous employees? Some kids instinctively revert to the familiar playground refrain: “That’s not fair,” arguing that everyone should be treated equally. One child suggests it is fair, since – like the disadvantaged maths student – not everyone comes to the table with equal life experience. And with that, they’ve just tackled the notion of affirmative action.

Oh your chosen diety Jesus wept.

Is affirmative action still a thing?

Affirmative action in the boardroom?

Really?

What might the consequence of promoting people to senior positions based on their gender, race, religion, etc. the inference being that they aren’t quite ready for the role if it weren’t for their “disadvantage”? Surely shareholders would expect the best candidate not the best candidate who also happens to own a vagina?

There’s little chance of us preventing the Penelope Problem if we’re teaching this bollocks at school.

Clearly these Ethics classes are going to be driving a “Johnny has two Mummies”, “men are destroying the environment”, progressive left wing agenda.

It looks like Charlie and I are faced with a choice of having to unpick from our kids’ heads some silly sky-daddy mumbo jumbo, some silly left wing dogma mumbo jumbo or find a lot more space on the fridge and kitchen cupboard doors for crayola scribbles.

“Thief” is another Australian synonym for “entrepreneur”

It’s just a yeast-based spread that’s tasty on hot buttered toast and illegal in America but, fuck me, they know how to talk it up.

 

The cognitive dissonance in this article is breathtaking.

 

First of all, apparently Vegemite was stolen invented by a bloke called Cyril;

 

In The Man Who Invented Vegemite, Callister tells how Cyril, the son of a widowed schoolteacher, became the first person in his family to go to university when he won a scholarship to study science in Melbourne. During the First World War, Cyril was recruited to make explosives at a munitions factory in Scotland.

 

Nice one Cyril. Good on him, helping the war effort an’ all that. I wonder whether he tasted the local version which was invented in Germany and then manufactured in the UK since 1902?

 

It’s all about entrepreneurship though, right;

 

After the war, when he returned to Melbourne, he had his fateful meeting with food entrepreneur, Fred Walker. “Fred wanted him to come up with a home-grown version of Marmite, which had become generally unavailable during the war,”

 

………Today, the Kraft plant in Port Melbourne produces 23 million jars of Vegemite every year. As Callister says, whether you like the black stuff or not, there’s a remarkable story behind its success.

 

Damn right there is something remarkable about the story; remarkable in the way that I can buy designer clothes in Mong Kok market in Hong Kong for a fraction of what they cost in the shops.

 

See also Penguin biscuits Tim Tams.

 

Is there anything Australians don’t claim as their own? Oh yeah, Mel Gibson and Rolf Harris, apparently.

Ayslum and economic theory

This organ has dealt, at tedious length, with the issue of asylum seekers arriving at Australia Christmas Island and the extreme polarisation of views on the subject. Selling Christmas Island was one of our contributions, for example.

One of the folk I follow on Twitter (my primary source of news these days) is a chap called Julian Burnside.

He’s a humanitarian lawyer, does a lot for those in desperate need of legal services. I’m not sure how he’s recompensed for this, if at all, but I’m fairly sure most of his working week is spent doing good work for little reward.

He does seem to go on quite dogmatically at times though about the boat arrivals (or lack thereof these days).

So I asked him, “what’s your alternative to turning the boats back or offshore detention to prevent deaths at sea?“, or words to that effect.

Because, as distasteful as anyone might find the current solution, the death count has become significantly lower (1 murder and 1 death from infection vs approximately 1,200 drownings).

If we’re going to make any further changes those outcomes ought to be a factor in our thinking, one assumes.

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing trying to clarify my question and batting off the personal attacks from his cheerleaders, Julian offered this essay as his alternative solution.

You should read it, please follow the link.

Let me summarise it for you;

Everyone picked up at sea or who makes it to Christmas Island gets locked up for a month and is then released with a work visa until their claim is verified or not.

Genius.

And at least one side of the debate listens to this guy as if he has an insight into how public policy should work.

Rather than a rather dry explanation referencing the works of Adam Smith to explain the unintended consequences of this proposal, I will describe my personal journey to arrive here and ponder as to what I might have done instead if Julian’s Law had been in force.

How I actually arrived here

In 2009, I applied for a spousal visa, paid the couple of grand fee, did the medical and collected the police clearance certificates (yes, I do have a criminal record but an ex-girlfriend’s discarded copy of Simple Minds’ Greatest Hits doesn’t count, apparently).

We then bought a nail of a boat and sailed it from Plymouth to Athens over a leisurely 7 month journey. Ah…. memories.

After sticking a for sale sign on the boat we picked up our connection at Heathrow and arrived in Australia. We rented a house, picked up some paying gigs and put the kids in school.

What I’d have done if Julian’s Law had been in force

In 2009 the consequences of the sub-prime crisis had hit the American boat market hard. One could pick up a lot of yacht for relatively little money.

Rather than fagging around getting all my certificates and medicals, paying hard cash for a visa to a country still owned by Her Majesty, etc. I probably would have spent the time finishing my Ocean Master qualifications.

Then I would have bought a single plane ticket for the family to the West Coast of the USA, spent a few weeks traipsing around boat yards, sticking a couple of cheeky offers in on yachts which required little or no upgrades to be “blue water” capable.

A few days of relays to and from supermarkets and chandlers to provision victuals and spare parts and then we’d be off on probably an 18 month crossing of the Pacific, maybe wintering somewhere pleasant or even flying back to the UK to get a juicy contract to top up the finances.

About 20 nautical miles off the Sydney Heads I would have radioed in to the Maritime Rescue chaps asking for asylum and, within a month, I’d have a work visa to match the one Charlie already had for being a citizen.

I probably wouldn’t look for work though as I suspect I might make a damn good living on my yacht doing the “milk run” between Jakarta and Christmas Island during the safe sailing season with a bunch of paying passengers. It wouldn’t be illegal, right? We wouldn’t even need to pay mooring fees at the island as we could radio in to offload the asylum seekers and then turn back to get some more. Easy peasy.

Anyway, for reasons only known to democracy and logic, Julian Burnside isn’t making public policy in this area and that line of work is currently closed to me.

And 1,200 people aren’t drowning trying to get here this year, either.

By the way, in case you think I’ve put words into Jools’ mouth, below is an extract from his work of pristine and beautiful logic, “Whither Asylum Seekers?”;

 

 

I do not advocate an open borders policy.  Initial detention for people who arrive without papers is reasonable.  But it should be limited to one month, for preliminary health and security checks.  After that, release them on interim visas with the following conditions:

- they must stay in contact with the Department until their refugee status has been decided;

- they are allowed to work or study;they have access to Centrelink and Medicare benefits;

- until their refugee status is determined, they must live in specified rural or regional towns.  There are plenty of country towns which are slowly shrinking as people leave. The National Farmers Federation estimates that there are 96,000 unfilled jobs in country areas, the likelihood is that many asylum seekers would get jobs.

 

King of Scotland

Australian royalty is a funny old beast. Apart from the the girl who pulled a Swedish prince in a nightclub, the nearest they come is generational crookedness.

Witness; everyone’s favourite bookmaker, allumni of Cunt College and all round smarmy git, Tom Waterhouse. We’ve had a look at him before, but we never realised quite how high fallutin’ he really was;

image

By the way, stay tuned for some fun and games for Dress Like a Pikey or Prossie Day this year.

One of our submarines is missing

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, another bunch of entitlement-hungry Australians lay claim to your wallet…..

 

As a nation, it should ring alarm bells if you unable build an navy ship cheaper than certain nations. Some which leap to mind are Switzerland, Andorra, Lichtenstein and the Vatican City. The next tier of countries which should be easy to compete with would include the high labour environments such as Sweden or Japan.

 

Yet that’s where Australia finds itself, being significantly underbid by the Japanese, a nation not previously known for churning out cheap ocean-going vessels (with the exception of the early 1940’s).

 

Obviously this has been hailed as a watershed moment for Australian industry, hundreds of column inches have been devoted to questioning how we got here and what is to be done to return from the abyss of being a net-importer of anything more complex than iron ore (oops, less than $90 a tonne now, timberrrrrr!). Politicians and union leaders alike are calling for a winding back of the restrictive labour terms and conditions which have made Australian workers some of the world’s best paid workers….. until the work dries up and they find themselves with the best terms and conditions of any unemployed on the planet.

 

No actually, none of that is happening. Instead, out comes the usual whining about Australian jobs for Australian workers, government bankrolling investing in industry and the massive opportunity to benefit the economy due to the “multiplier effect” or some such guff.

 

Of all the crap being spouted, I think the readers’ poll under the Sydney Morning Property Advertiser article is the funniest.

When did you stop beating your wife

It’s the pollster’s equivalent of asking, “So, when did you stop beating your wife?”.

 

 

International rugby coach dead pool

Obviously, with my woeful track record in this year’s Deadpool competition, it’s practically a guarantee of future rude health if you’ve been identified by The New Australian as a good candidate to shuffle of this mortal coil.

Despite this, during a boring section of play in the 2nd half of the Wallabies’ gifted victory after an inconsistent yellow card miraculous win over the Springboks, I observed that some of the current crop of international rugby coaches seem to be living life on the edge. “Hmm”, I wondered, “which one is going to croak first?”.

Steve Hansen, for example, looks like a coronary heart attack waiting to happen. One’s thing for certain, Steve has never been left unsure as to what the hotel cooked breakfast option tasted like. He’s really let himself go since that hit, “Mmm Bop” too.

Mmmmm Bop

Ewan McGregor, the Wallabies coach, isn’t exactly the epitome of svelte either. Chicken is classed as a vegetable in his diet and all that heroin he took in Edinburgh is going catch up with him too;

Ewan McGregor

Obviously the England Coach, John Connor, is going to be with us for a long time to come, especially as he’s yet to be transported 500 years into the future to defeat Skynet and the Terminators;

Terminator

No, on balance, the international coach least likely to make it to pensionable age has to be South Africa’s Heyneke Meyer. Here’s a man who leaves you in no doubt as to his emotion.

Fancy a game of poker, Heyneke-jie?

There are only two places in Sydney to be tonight

The first choice is this one;

image

We were there last night and, speaking as a veteran of a good number of Dylan performances, I would suggest that the form he and his band are in at the moment will rarely be surpassed by anyone. I suppose that’s what you get when the same group of musicians play several thousand gigs together. “Outliers” an’ all that.

If you’ve enjoyed the albums since Time Out Of Mind, you are going to love the show. My old mucker, Flod, reckons he’s nothing but a J. J. Cale tribute act these days but J. J. Cale is dead and didn’t play too many gigs anyway (although, anecgloatally, we got to one) so it’s not so bad a prospect.

If you can’t buy a ticket for tonight’s performance, come over to the Rocks for a Denier Bier with us where we will be celebrating the 18th birthday of the pause in global warming and ponder where all that heat went? My personal theory is that it fell out of someone’s retro Levi 501s in 1998 and is currently stuck between the cushions of a cheap vinyl sofa in a squat in Camden Lock.

All our usual Sydney-based correspondents will be there; KiwiBear, Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain, Zorba the Greek Jim, etc. plus a few special guests. Not wishing to give the game away but we’re expecting the polymath Dr. Jonathan Miller Adam Barrington Spencer, John (please fund the climate council) Connor and Professor Tim (I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it) Flannery.

We’ll be arriving around 6pm so we hope to see you there.

Pop back in to this post around lunchtime and there will be a less than professional photo of the suit, shirt and tie combination you will need to look out for.

When approaching me for the first time remember to use the code phrase, “Excuse me, but my postilion has been struck by lightning“, to which the return reposte will be, “le singe est dans l’arbre“.
You will know you are among friends at this point.

UPDATE
And this is what I look like today (and also what trap 1 and 2 look like in the gents).

image

Super, smashing, great

Australia has a compulsory employer pension contribution. It’s currently at 9.5% of gross salary.

 

The current Federal government has decided not to increase this ratio for a while. Previously, 12% was targeted.

 

Speaking as someone working for my own limited company, it makes little difference to me; the relationship between income tax rates and the maximum employee contribution before the tax rate increases is more relevant to me.

 

However, if you want to learn how daft many Australians are the news reports of this and the comments under the articles are instructive. Here’s an example in our old friend the dying institution called the Sydney Morning Herald Property Advertiser.

 

Think about it for a moment, if the employer pays your pension, does that mean that they will be paying you more money or do you think that they will take it out from future pay rises?

 

With regards to this, there are really three categories of employees in Australia;

 

  1. Low paid workers covered by an award or negotiated enterprise bargaining agreement. They may be better off from a rise in “Super” as their hourly rate is fixed but the pension contribution rises. Except, if the employer can’t afford the rise, they will reduce the hours they ask these people to work.
  2. Private sector workers not covered by an award or EBA. They will find themselves not seeing a pay rise for a year or two if the contribution rate rises.
  3. Public sector workers. They will be better off by the amount of the rise in contributions as the Bank of You and Me will fund it.

 

Here’s a couple of the comments which made me chuckle.

Comment 2

This one points out the Australian belief in the magic money tree is strong…..

Comment 1

But we’ll leave the best for the economic brains trust at the SMH.

SMH Dumbness

 

 

Ok, the very last word is mine; join us for a Denier Bier tomorrow from 6pm at the Lord Nelson in The Rocks. I’ll post a picture of the shirt and tie combination tomorrow so you can identify me and punch me gently in the face on the night.

Hard Rain gonna fall on the Gold Coast

As an immigrant to a new country, one tends to take a while to understand the national calendar and the seasons. Obviously, summer and winter are upside down here, Christmas on the beach an’ all that.

But it’s more subtle than that.

The seasons and annual events we’re talking about today are those unique to the country. National Dress Like a Pikey or Prostitute Day, for example, is rushing up on us soon. Stay tuned for some further preparations for that classic day in the diary.

 

There is a season creeping up on us soon too. “Hang on TNA, you gobby Pommy twat”, I hear you shriek, “the first day of spring was 3 days ago”.

 

I’m not talking about spring, though. I’m talking about the Gold Coast monsoon season.

 

You’d be excused for not being aware of this but there is a rainy season specifically for the Queen’sland version of Blackpool. Amazingly, it doesn’t really spread out much beyond the main coastal road of the town either.

 

It’s got an official start time too. 79 days, 21 hours and 5 minutes from the time of writing this sentence, apparently.

 

Yep, during the week of November 22nd the streets around the Gold Coast high rise apartments and hotel buildings will be ringing to the gentle sound of teenagers falling from balconies. If you’re in the area, you’ll be faced with the choice of ducking for cover or recreating the classic Gene Kelly scene in signing in the rain. Actually, second thoughts, keep well away from Queen’sland in general.

 

“Schoolies” is rite of passage in Australia, apparently.

 

Working on the assumption that most of these kids have not been earning much in part-time jobs, if they have been working at all, and at a starting price of $200 for a room shared by 4 (cosy) and with flights and food, drink and ecstasy costs on top, one might suggest this is more a right of passage than a rite.

 

i.e. the majority of these kids are going with funding from the bank of Mum and Dad.

 

Ah, the baton of the Australian entitlement culture is handed on to the next generation. Heart-warming.

 

(Banquo) It will rain tonight.

(First Murderer) Let it come down.

Malthus, problem solved

As previously noted many times, the comments on this organ far surpass the original content in terms of wit, originality or accuracy.

 

Yesterday being an excellent example. Today’s topic is inspired by our correspondent Muzzer.

 

Back in 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus put forward the proposition that population growth was exponential while food growth was arithmetical. The long term consequence of this, he predicted, was that there would come a time when the planet would be unable to feed itself and society would collapse back to feudal, subsistence living.

 

Bearing in mind that this prediction was made some 216 years ago and the human race is still producing more food than it needs (albeit not distributing it with any level of fairness or efficiency), a cynical mind might question whether his premise was particularly sound or not.

 

It matters not, because the idea of an impending disaster is an attractive one to many people.  Often, these people were the same ones you saw handing out copies of the Socialist Worker in the student union bar at university. The fall of the Berlin Wall hit these people hard; suddenly a dogma which they had invested a lot of personal time and energy into pursuing and proselytising had been discredited.

 

Fortunately, a couple of decades  earlier, The Club of Rome had been formed and had a back-up plan to defeat capitalism.

 

The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man

 

Niiiice.

 

So mix a tendency towards Malthusianism with a belief that the planet is doomed because of mankind and you can begin to understand the motivation behind the attitudes we see in evidence whenever people raise a question about climate change such as “how come there’s been an exponential rise in CO2 in the atmosphere over 3 decades but no warming has been measured for nearly 18 years?”. The casual conflating of someone’s scepticism of an unproven scientific theory with holocaust denial is always personally distasteful to me, for example.

 

So the problem we have is this; if the Malthusians and followers of the religion of catastrophic man-made climate change are correct, we need to rapidly slow and possibly reverse the growth of the global population. Some Malthusians like the idea of providing free birth control to the Third World, after all, if someone has to have fewer babies, it really ought to be people in the rich western countries those who consume less resources. Oh, hang on.

 

Realistically though, a few Durex Featherlites chucked out to some folk in Bongo Bongo land isn’t going to crack this nut. What’s needed is a step-change, a circuit-breaker, a paradigm shift.

 

And that’s exactly what Muzzer stumbled upon yesterday, little genius that he is.

 

Of course, the answer has been staring us in the face for years. Here’s a brace of visual clues;

Raft of the Medusa

Alive!

Clearly, anyone who truly believes that the planet is doomed through overpopulation should be the first to agree that cannibalism is the only hope for humanity. It’s also similarly obvious that the first invitations for a dinner date should be issued to those who most fervently believe in the impending catastrophe.

 

Apparently, the people of the Marquesa Islands used to refer to human flesh as “long pig” because of a strong similarity to the porcine taste and texture.

 

So, in preparation for the end of the world due to the cancer we currently call “friends and family”, this organ is calling for recipes. We need some suitable preparations, marinades and techniques to make more appetising the prospect of chewing through, say, Tim Flannery for dinner.

 

Add your suggestions to the comments section and bon appetite!

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