Category Archives: australia

Democracy being dealt a deadly blow

We have in Austrailia at the moment a stoush between the nation’s two most senior law officers – the elected Attorney General and the Public Sector’s Solicitor General.

7934748-3x2-340x227George #Brandis, the AG (pictured left), has been accused by John Gleeson, the SG, of bypassing his office in seeking on crucial pieces of legislation.

Even worse, Gleeson says Brandis misled parliament by saying the AG’s office had consulted Gleeson.

They appeared before a Senate Committee last week. That didn’t solve much.

The point is that if what Glesson alleges is true (and I seem to believe him more than Brandis, a politician) it has the potential to undermine our system of government and, the Public Service.

It goes right to the heart of what the Public Servce is about (to provide frank and impartial advice on legislation).

What’s particulatly worrying is that this fight invvolves the nation’s two highest law officers. Not a good look.

As Gabrielle Appleby, Associate Professor, UNSW Law School, UNSW Australia, said: “It is a situation with potentially serious repercussions for government under the rule of law.”


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Filed under attorney general, australia, brandis, gleeson, parliament, politics, solicitor general

What is Wirrpanda thinking?

What is David Wirrpanda thinking? He’s head of an Aboriginal Youth Foundation and decides to open a Sexpo? Not only that, he’s decided to run for the Senate for the Nationals. Really, none of it fits. He’s not setting a great example for his foundation by opening a sex event. You’ve only got to read his organisation’s charter to see how it’s a conflict. I can’t imagine the Nats would to too pleased, either. Very bad strategy, David. I doubt I’d vote for you if that’s the level of your thinking.

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Filed under australia, politics, western australia

Women on the front line

News Limited media are running story on women on the front line. Every few years we get this subject surfacing. Who knows who’s pushing it.

Let me tell you the facts and a story.

Women can not handle “real” frontline work. Physically they simply can not lift the loads required. Well, a couple might.

In East Timor, 2001 (when I was the Army’s PR Officer there), A Current Affair wanted to do a story on how women should be on the “front line”. The female reporter was pro the issue. However, I said she could only do the story if she could lift a standard pack and carry it up the stairs to the helicopter lading pad. She couldn’t get it off the ground, let alone on her back and up the stairs.

“I see what you mean,” she said.

She ended up doing a story on a female captain who managed all logistics for the operation – a pretty damn hard job in its own right.

Anyway, girls, if you want to do it, knock yourselves out. There are also a range of other issues associated with this, including being raped by the enemy and a male soldier’s propensity to show more “care” for a wounded female, which may lead to jeopardising a mission.

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Filed under australia, defence, media, society

Tea, anyone?

We all know Australia is a nation (predominantly) of coffee drinkers. But it wasn’t always so.

In the many years after we were colonised by the British, we drank tea. That changed when migrants from Meditteranean nationas (mostly Greece and Italy) started arriving in the 1950s.

It took us a while (30 years of so, according to demographer Bernard Salt) to adapt to their cultute, customs and food. But now look at us. We’re as at home with a paella as we are with a meat pie, and, of course, coffee.

This is an analogy of our changing demographics. Salt says Italian and Greek communities in Australia are declining, with Indian and Asian communities growing rapidly.

In another 30 years we probably will have assimilated their customs and habits.

Will this also mean that we once again become a nation of tea-drinkers? Should be interesting.

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Filed under australia, Culture, society

On the road to oblivion

The just handed-down Australian federal budget has done little to inspire confidence in our nation’s leadership. It was an insipid document, showing little care for the things that matter – the environment, the underprivileged.

The Rudd government has shown scant regard for it promises made at the last election: notably that the environment was “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”.

It’s inepitiude has been shown in the failure of the insulation scheme, and the building of infrastructure for schools, where rip-offs were rife. The mantra seems t be throw some money at it and she’ll be right.

Give Olympic hopefuls $300 million, and budding scientists nothing. Anyway, what good is money two years out from the Games? It’s too short a timeframe to develop successful elite sports programs. But I digress.

The government simply panders to the (perceived) populist whims of the electorate and the business lobby, without consideration of anything of the effects, other than the next election result. Rudd simply operates by what glib media grab he can produce. He’s been doing it ever since he won the last election.

We are wasting our resources at an alarming rate, while business calls out for more development. This is simply greed; for how much more profit do corporations want to wring out of the earth? Sustainable development? What’s that?

Logging is an example. Our forests disappear, and along with it an ever-increasing number of animal species. Our pollution rate climbs as we contribute more to global warming by supplying coal to power China.

There is technology in place that allows electricity to be generated by waves. One platform I saw demonstrated last week can supply enough power for 2000 homes.

Why do we have to continue to use technology from the steam age? Answer: it’s easy money for the coal and oil industries. Why do we have to be bigger? Answer: So these companies can be richer. Arguments about greater prosperity for the country don’t wash. Much of the profit goes overseas.

If we are to believe the government, we live in a country awash with wealth. If that’s the case, why don’t we have free tertiary education for all, as we used to?

In short, I’m concerned we are moving to a situation where there will be precious little left for future generations.

I believe many Australians are thinking this way, and will vote for neither Liberal or Labor, instead perhaps creating a situation as has just occurred in Britain. In our case, we may see Bob Brown (Greens) as the Nick Clegg of Australian politics.

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Filed under australia, environment

Channel 7 contemptible

I don’t know what Channel 7 does in the eastern states, but here in Western Australia they treat rugby union viewers (and I suspect many other sports-watchers) with contempt.

First, they telecast the Wallabies matches against NZ and South Africa at midnight. Second, they don’t replay the game on a Sunday, when there’s more chance people will watch the game.

Telecasting a rugby match at midnight means most people will record it, watch it later and skip through the ads, so the advertisers are wasting their money.

Why couldn’t they schedule it, say for 7am? Take today’s TV program. There’s some movie called Ghost Dad on at 3.30pm. It got one star in the TV guide. Why couldn’t Seven replay it then?

I’m not sure what universe TV programers (particularly those in WA) live in, but it sure as hell isn’t a real one. The logic defies me.

Channel 7 do not deserve the rugby union. Kerry Stokes obviously isn’t a rugby fan.

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Filed under australia, sport

Puzzling support of Torch Relay

I found it strange that Aboriginal elders welcomed the Beijing Torch Relay to Canberra yesterday.

For one oppressed people to welcome the Chinese, who oppress the Tibetans, is just weird.

Also just as troubling is aboriginal Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris’s decision to run with the torch. Honestly, athletes just don’t think further than sport. The same goes for you, Thorpie and SMH journalist Jacquelin Magnay.

 for blogs on PR issues


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Filed under australia, sport

It’s just weeds, folks

I’m always amazed at the amount of time people spend watering and tending their lawns.

The amount of water wasted (yes, wasted) on keeping lawns green is a national scandal.

Truth be told. Lawns are a weed. We don;t water ours and it bounces back after the first winter rains.

Gardeners of Perth (and elsewhere) would be better off laying down some artificial turf.

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Filed under australia, environment

Meaning of Easter disappearing

Easter has come and gone, and with it another year in which the reason for its existence probably slips a little more.

One of my Asian students asked her Aussie counetrparts what Easter was. They didn’t know; just muttering something about getting chocolate eggs.

Sadly, this is a scenario that is probably becoming more common. The same also applies to Christmas.

These religious seasons are fast becoming just another holiday. Without meaning, what’s the point of even having them?

More importantly, it indicates how ignorant some of us are.

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Filed under australia, religion

Happy Australia Day

Here is it: Perth, 7am, Australian Day. I’m in my undies sitting at the computer.Undies? Yes, because “it’s too damn hot for a pegnuin,” to quote Billy Madison. Like it or loathe it, the bloody Aussie weather over here is true to summer form, though minus the seabreezes.Congratulations to all the immigrants who will become citizens today. I can’t wait for the day my son’s new Japanese wife does. Then there’s my wife’s brother and his brood, who arrived from South Africa last week. Interesting to read a poll this week, which showed 72 per cent of Australians want to keep the flag. It must be okay, because there’s a lot people driving around with it this week.Bewdy. I can also be found at 

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