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"

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!

For the benefit of Professor Kyte

We’re all going down to the Lord Nelson for a Denier Bier.

 

The venerable professor from the University of New South Wales probably won’t be there though, because it’s the end of the world as we know it.

 

 

“The challenges from waste to warming, spurred on by a growing population with a rising middle-class hunger for meat, are leading us down a dangerous path,” Professor Kyte said. “Unless we chart a new course, we will find ourselves staring volatility and disruption in the food system in the face, not in 2050, not in 2040, but potentially within the next decade.”

 

Agriculture and land-use change currently account for about 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Feed quality can be so low in arid parts of Africa, where livestock typically graze on marginal land and crop residues, that every kilo of protein produced can contribute the equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide – or 100 times more than in developed nations, Professor Kyte said.

 

Well, you can switch to veganism if you want to appease your Malthusian conscience, Professor Kyte, but the rest of us will  be merrily supping ale celebrating the 18th birthday of the pause in global warming.

 

Venue: Lord Nelson, The Rocks, Sydney.

Date: Friday 5th September (this coming Friday).

Time: 6pm to closing time.

 

Tyresome Sunday trading

The TNA-mobile suffered an exploded tyre yesterday.

It’s never a great experience and this was no exception as I was traveling at 110kph, in the rain and with a kayak strapped to the roof.

Of course, that’s just the start of the fun. Next, I discovered that the mechanic who put the wheel nuts on didn’t bother with a torque wrench and, instead, tightened them up to the same specification NASA uses to seal the panels of the international space station.

Finally, with a sore back and completely sodden clothes, I drove home at the 80kph limit of the temporary spare. “Right then“, I thought, “I’ll get up early tomorrow and drive down to one of those half a dozen tyre places on the Pittwater Road and get it fixed. And while they’re at it, they can loosen all the other wheel nuts back to a tightness which doesn’t resemble one of the labours of Heracles to undo“.

How stupid of me.

I’ve lived in Australia for nearly 4 years, you’d think I’d have learned by now. Of course you can’t buy a replacement tyre on a Sunday. That would be too bloody convenient, wouldn’t it?

In a 2km square in the industrial/retail area there is a Bob Janes, a Kmart, a Beaurepaires, a Jaxquickfit and about 4 other independent tyre retailers. Not one of which opens on a Sunday.

Granted, as problems go, this isn’t the greatest; we don’t have any long journeys planned for today or tomorrow so our lives are not being impacted greatly. It does make me reconsider making future long journeys on a Sunday though; driving back from Melbourne at a sluggish 80kmh would probably usurp my definition of “completely fucking tedious” (currently “a loop tape of Spicks and Specks“).

Of course, we all know one of the main reasons why car maintenance can’t be undertaken on a weekend after midday on a Saturday; our old friend penalty rates.

The government has helpfully determined the hourly rate of pay for tyre fitters who work on a Sunday. I say “helpfully” but probably the more appropriate adjective would be “stupidly”. Clearly it’s too expensive to hire these people to work extra shifts compared to the business that the extended opening hours would bring in.

So instead, people such as Charlie or I (we haven’t yet flipped the coin to decide who) have to buy a commodity item during regular office hours. Depending on the nature of employment, this will involve either taking leave from work or that old lie, “working from home”. The point is, someone will take a financial hit for this, either the employee losing valuable leave or the employer as they subsidise the repair in reduced employee productivity.

It might not seem like such a big deal, and this organ is well-known for a tendency to be WhingeingPom.com, but multiply this productivity hit across loads of other goods and services which are trading on a Sunday in other countries (Kwik Fit in the UK, for example) and it goes some way to explaining Australia’s growing productivity problem.

All that said, it would seem that there are some retailers out there who don’t quite understand the concept of turning a threat into an opportunity; A search at the University of Google for “tyre sales Sunday opening” produced this result. No, it’s not an independent tyre shop that opens for a few hours on a Sunday, it’s a forum where people are complaining about not being able to buy a replacement tyre on a Sunday. A respondent who seems to run one of the retailers I would have liked to give some business to today replies as follows;

So why should I have to work different hours to you?? If you need tyres or work done on your car you can drop it off at 8am and we will drive you to work.

I have a family, and I work 6 days a week, why should we open later at night or on sundays just in case you get a flat tyre??

Um, because we’ll pay you?

Maybe switch to half day closing on a mid-week day or run a smaller staff profile one day and put someone on Sunday morning? Or any one of probably half a dozen more solutions to capitalise on the fact that none of your competitors are open on Sunday.

Of course, being hamstrung by government legislated pay rates which penalise any employer who wants to trade additional hours doesn’t help.

The forthcoming recession is going to make fascinating viewing.

 

Rainy day women #4

Australia is a tough nation of uncompromising, battle-hardened, robust individuals who will never take a backward step.

 

Unless it rains.

 

Iggy Dylan Moonunit, one of les enfants du TNA is due to play the last game of the rugby season tomorrow. Or he would be if the weather was bone dry and the forecast was favourable.  As things stand, he’s probably going to have to find something else to do with his time, such as sniffing glue or spraying graffiti, as the playing field has been closed.

 

When we first signed him up for rugby we were told to check the wet weather line on training nights and on the morning of the matches.

 

The what?? Wet weather?

 

Fuck me, if my junior rugby matches had been called off every time it rained in England I’d be a damn sight better at table tennis and Scrabble than I am now.

 

Seriously people, rugby is a winter sport; it’s designed to be played in the wet. Speaking from experience, there is nothing quite as reassuring than the gentle splash of a patch of mud just after you’ve been tackled by a 7ft lock with biceps the size of your thighs; it’s a sign that you’re likely to not have to ask to have your shoulder re-set back in it’s socket.

 

Things are different in Australia, Frontier Nation though. Here, they close sports fields because playing on them might wear them out a bit and it’s a “safety issue” for some sports. Yeah, cricket and Formula One, maybe.

 

In my entire rugby career (spanning more than two decades) I’ve only ever once played in conditions I felt were unsafe due to precipitation; on tour in China during the rainy season, I was at the bottom of a ruck and my mouth and nose were under water. “Oh shit”, I thought, “Mum and Dad are going to be pissed off when they learn I drowned playing rugby”.

 

There’s little point me ranting about it on here though, it’s too late already; an entire generation has grown up under the delusion that rain stops play for all sporting activities.

 

Witness; the bike store in the basement of my office building. On a sunny day, my tatty Le Mond commuter would be jostling for space on the racks.

 

image

 

Apparently, Australia is going to bomb Iraq next week. My advice to ISIS/ISIL is to quickly buy some cloud-seeding equipment and bring the rain on. It’ll be much cheaper than anti-aircraft defences.

I think I’ve found your problem…. and the solution

Parking ticket revenue has declined in the City of Sydney, apparently. The official hypothesis is that we’ve all become a lot more considerate and compliant with the local by-laws.

Nope, the TNA sniff test just issued a big FAIL result again.

I wonder if an average sick leave total of 16.1 days a year has anything to do with it?

Three fucking weeks off sick in a year???

I’ve not taken that much off in total over two decades. Being paid by the bloody day might have something to do with it. Snow days, tube strikes, life-threatening hangovers, major terrorism attacks, heat waves, swine ‘flu; it would have to be a bloody catastrophic event to stop me from clocking on and billing those hours. Like the sort Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain wants you to pay taxes to avoid. THAT catastrophic.

No, what we have here is a public sector solution with public sector results.

If the Clover Moore sycophants and thumbsuckers had half a brain between them, they’d tender the parking rangers’ department off to a private contract.

Because I’m nice that way, I’ll even give them some clues on the key provisions to write in the agreement;

  1. We don’t care how many employees the contractor has walking the street; this is an outcome-based contract charged as a fixed component (for the baseline) and variable (above baseline).
  2. The minimum acceptable annual number of tickets to be issued will be 1697 x {how ever many rangers we currently have} i.e. what we’re currently managing to do.
  3. If more than that baseline of tickets are issued in a year, the contractor will receive an extra $5 per additional ticket.
  4. 5% of tickets issued will be audited monthly to confirm compliance with the rules of issuance. A non-compliance rate greater than 2% will result in the contractor issuing a credit for 10% of the monthly service fee. Three of these in a rolling 12 month period triggers termination for cause.

Now, we all hate parking wardens when they catch us parking illegally and we can dislike the high parking fees or lack of spaces available but the rules are there and should be enforced. It just doesn’t require a department of workshy public sector SNAFUs to do it.

Of course, this won’t happen for two main reasons;

  1. Communism, and
  2. Corruption

Both of which are endemic in New South Wales’ governments.

By the way, if you are secretly-pleased that the parking wardens are a bunch of workshy muppets managed by civil servants with the IQ of a lichen, imagine how angry you’d be if this car stayed for an hour and didn’t attract a ticket.

A big river in Egypt

Hypothetically…..

Imagine, if you will, that you are the head honcho (or honchess) of a large business unit within a multi-national organisation. Depending on which country the HQ is located, your title might begin “Head of” or “Executive Manager” or “Senior Vice President” or something similarly grandiose.

Giddy heights and rarefied air indeed.

Now imagine that, in line with a much-publicised corporate strategy, you’ve committed to implement and lead a significant change across not only your business unit but every part of the organisation with which you and your staff deal, practically the whole company with only a few exceptions.

This change will cut across some of the fundamental ways the organisation does business, bringing projected benefits which would make make national headlines were you to be successful.

The CEO is backing it and much investment and foundation work has already been put in place to ensure that the programme is set up for success. A highly-experienced team are in place ready and willing to support you in this endeavour.

Perhaps the only area of potential distaste is that, once you’ve finished the implementation, there will be some inevitable redundancies across all business units, yours included, as the crippling inefficiencies and waste are removed from the current situation.

That’s the background and right now you’re arranging a three day off-site workshop for your trusted team of leaders. Do you;

A. Set the workshop agenda such that this change is really the only subject to be addressed, bringing in expert speakers and facilitators to help guide the planning and approach of the change, learning from relevant case studies both internally and from peer organisations, or

B. Similar to (A) but break it up a little with some more “business as usual” discussion points and an opportunity for some light relief as you are conscious that everyone will be daunted by the prospect of what’s ahead, or

C. Ignore the forthcoming changes and just focus on the “business as usual” agenda and only discuss the change if some disloyal member of staff mentions it?

And that, ladies and gentlemen is why it is such a pleasure to be paid on a day rate to work with Australian business managers. Their incompetence is surpassed only by their lack of maturity and leadership.

Despite all the amplification

 … you could dance to the rock and roll station….

 

In a Velvet Underground mood today. Nothing to do with the subject of this post though.

 

While waiting for the iTwat to kick in on the car stereo this morning, I caught a snippet of a Radio Moscow ABC programme on farming in Tasmania. There’s been an increase in dairy farming due to some irrigation work that’s been going on for a while.

 

One of the statements got my attention before the sounds of Eddy Current Suppression Ring (brilliant recent discovery, by the way) kicked in. It was around security of water supply; the farmer was quoting Tasmanian Irrigation (which seems to be deficient of a noun if you ask me; “authority” or “department” perhaps) that they have 95% security of supply and that Tasmanian Irrigation department has planned for the scenario that CSIRO describes as “Ultra Dry”. No, that’s not a shite beer.

 

It all sounds very commendable, frankly. Even this fan of small government can see the benefit of having a single controlling body overseeing the careful husbandry of the water supply. The free market is brilliant at finding the most efficient and innovative solution to most problems and with the right regulatory framework perhaps a free market solution to water supply would similarly be of benefit but this is Australia we are talking about here, not some Ayn Rand utopia. This is the country that has a government department to regulate the overtime rates for people who make your morning coffee.

 

So, I’m not about to go slamming the farmers, Tasmanian Irrigation or even the ABC reporter today. Who or what am I going to rant at?

 

Climate Bollocks, of course.

 

One of the commenters to this organ (no, not Bardon; he seems to have disappeared following the fairly robust assertion that I am a Zionist in the original meaning of the word and Hamas is pulling a bloody and immoral propaganda con-trick on much of the world), Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain, often argues that even if the global warming communists were incorrect about the catastrophic nature of the warming that hasn’t happened since Hong Kong was British, we would have a cleaner environment and we would have paid for what was in effect an insurance policy.

 

Does that stack up though, is it just a little insurance premium that we’re stumping up?

 

My thought process goes like this; the farmer needs a guaranteed source of water to underpin his business model, the costs of which inform the price at which he must sell his milk. The government body regulates this water supply, determining how much and when he can draw his allocated megalitres. Their charges are set to factor in future costs, including those required to ensure the sustainability of the supply. The future plans and costs are set by applying scenarios provided by CSIRO. CSIRO are predicting the possibility of an “ultra dry” spell due to climate change.

 

Now here’s where it matters less where one sits on the catastrophic global warming through to big conspiracy by the people who used to read Mao’s Little Red Book at university continuum and more about what your view is on the nature of human behaviour when someone has invested personally into an hypothesis that isn’t being corroborated by the facts.

 

Consider for a moment, a group of staffers at CSIRO who are unconsciously more than a little concerned that the IPCC’s very own data sets are showing no global warming since the late 90’s. Let’s go frivolously strawman fallacy 4 da lolz, as the kids say.

 

(Phone rings) CSIRO Climate Helpline, how can I be of assistance?

 

Tassy In-bred: Yeah, hi there, it’s Bob here from Tasmanian Irrigation (whispers) department. I need to work out whether or not I need to build more dams over the next 10 years or so. What do you reckon the climate is going to do, get warmer, colder or stay roughly the same?

 

CSIRO Oh, definitely warmer. Absolutely.

 

TIB Ok, that’s a shame because those dams are bloody expensive and we drown a load of land when we build ‘em. Are you absolutely certain?

 

CSIRO Dead certain mate. Erm…. Bet your mortgage on it. (Sotto voce) I know I have.

 

So the dam or some similarly expensive irrigation project gets built. The costs for which are fed through to the farmer’s input costs which he then passes on to the consumer or is paid for from debt taken out on behalf of the Tasmanian public. The consumer has to pay 2 cents more on a litre if they want to buy Australian milk.

 

It’s just 2 cents, right? Not much to pay for an insurance policy.

 

But consider the amplification effect. Chez TNA gets through 3 or 4 litres of milk a week, so that’s five dollars extra a year. Still not much for an insurance policy. But there’s 15 million households in Australia so that’s maybe $40m a year in additional costs for milk.

 

All due to a somewhat overstated scenario for climate change.

 

And that’s just milk. Amplify that across every product and service where an overstated scenario has been acted upon. Billions of dollars of malinvestment and a significant increase in the cost of living of anyone who is unable to live without the luxuries of, say, food or accommodation or transport.

 

Of course, all of the above was a fabricated scenario with no basis of truth whatsoever.

 

Which is also what could be cruelly said of the warmist’s predictions of global warming;

IPPC vs reality

 

 

it was all riiiiiight.

 

Don’t forget to come out for a Denier Bier with us at the Lord Nelson on September 5th from 6pm……

None more black than the blackest day

No, keep reading, this isn’t another one of those wonderfully wise with hindsight pieces which are sprouting up in the Australian mainstream media on the subject.

The latest development in this pitiful tale of the heads of sporting bodies being duped into a political press conference is that a bunch of rugby league players have been given 48 hours to cop a plea bargain.

Hmm, 18 months’ worth of high profile and expensive investigation culminates in a rushed threat of legal action with a two day time limit to avoid?

It doesn’t pass the the sniff test, does it?

The suspicion is that the noise around the Essendon AFL club used up all the resources and attention of the anti-doping body and now that they’ve finally got round to the shaved monkeys rugby league players they are in an unseemly haste to get a score on the board.

But let’s wind it back a touch shall we?

Ignore for a moment the fact that peptides have only just been designated drugs that require a prescription (therefore were legal at the time the alleged doping took place).

Let’s also paper over the obvious lack of a positive blood or urine sample from any of these players, otherwise we would have heard about it by now. We are clearly dealing with evidence no harder than witness statements.

No, what piques my interest is the legislative and governance framework within which all this is taking place.

What authority and power does ASADA have over Australian sportsmen?

It’s useful to remind ourselves of Tony Benn’s five questions to ask those with power;

1. What power do you have?
2. Where did you get it?
3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. How can we get rid of you?

I’m particularly curious to learn how a government-appointed body gets to exercise power over people playing sport for privately owned companies (the NRL and their respective clubs) if no law has been broken.

So, to answer the late Mr. Benn;

1. What power do you have? Loads, actually. The Anti-Doping Act details the powers. These include taking samples without notice, seizing property as evidence and charging fees for the privilege.
2. Where did you get it? Obviously from the Act but, interestingly, the legislation doesn’t stipulate which sports are covered or not. The law only covers those sporting bodies that sign up to the “service” and then enforces that individual sporting code’s anti-doping rules. Mostly, these will then delegate the compiling of the list of banned substances to the World Anti Doping Agency (perhaps we might ask the 5 questions of WADA while we’re at it).
3. In whose interests do you exercise it? That’s an interesting one. Difficult to say with any real certainty. The obvious answer would the spectators and participants of the various sporting codes. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Other interested parties might cynically include employees of ASADA, heads of sporting bodies who have a vendetta against particular clubs or players and very definitely politicians who need to divert attention from failing policy in another area.
4. To whom are you accountable? The Federal Minister of Sport.

5. How can we get rid of you? Two ways; a majority of voters to vote for a political party which explicitly states in their manifesto that ASADA will be disbanded. Unlikely. The next best options would be for the individual sporting codes to opt out of ASADA’s oversight or amend their anti-doping rules to remove alignment with WADA.

Let’s try to sift all of this and simplify it; a professional rugby league player is employed by a private limited company (his club) that has signed up to a set of rules defined by another private limited company (the NRL) that has signed up to a banned substance list defined by a body based in Canadia funded by other national governments and policed by another government body which is accountable to a career politician.

Is anyone surprised then, that sport was hijacked for political gain a year and half ago and the consequences have been both tardy and unsatisfactory?

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline