Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the week that was

In a speech to our Parliament, PM Tony Abbott has explained that Australia collects intelligence because a government has a duty to protect its people. His speech implies that it's okay for us to do it because others do it too.
My mother has now returned to haunt me with her mantra…. "and if everyone else was jumping off a cliff, does that mean you should do it to?"

Julie Stepford has spent some time in Indonesia as mediator in this "little" spat. Ms Stepford reportedly said to SBY "There, there, lovey. I'm sure your failure to locate any intelligence in Canberra was not for want of trying."


The readers' forum in today's Hun [letters to the editor] reflects strong community feeling that tipping in restaurants is unAustralian and should not be made compulsory.

Perhaps I spend too much time napping – doing nothing can be tiring, believe it or not – but sometimes these "issues" appear out of nowhere. Is it a topic that was raised on the teev recently? Did I miss a headline yesterday as I flipped through the paper looking for the crossword?

En tout cas, surely compulsory tipping in eating establishments would be the equivalent of an across the board rise in prices? Surely the projected impact of compulsory tipping should be assessed on that basis?



In State politics, the opposition leader Daniel Andrews has given the Liberal incumbents an even bigger smack in the head than Fkn's rep Shaw did last week: Andrews has released a well thought out traffic action plan.

I say "well thought out" despite my reservations. At least the Labor Party have shown a little of that scarce commodity known as vision. The idea of widening the Tulla Freeway to six lanes, however, seems a little short sighted.
If there is room for widening and if we are prepared to put up with ten years of construction inconvenience, why not just run a bloody train down the centre of the freeway instead and have done with it?

As for paying for this vision by selling our Port for a few billion – it seems a little like a glimpse of the future TO and I face as old farts. What will we do for money when we run out of things to sell?

Meanwhile, despite a vague Federal pre-election promise to significantly expand mental health services, the State Government has announced plans to significantly reduce admin staff levels in the health system. Guess which area of health this will have the greatest impact on? They are nuts to consistently ignore the true cost to the economy of untreated mental illness.


And so to "schoolies" week. Given its timing, it's hard not to compare this silly phenomenon to Halloween. WTF did this "tradition" – which merely replaces ugly costumes with ugly behaviour – come from?

Is this the first generation to experience exam stress?

At the very least we should prevent these entitled yobbos from going to Bali and risking our excellent relationship with the Indonesians.


  1. Oh FC you really know how to get your point across, I burst out laughing when I read your last sentence, very clever indeed, round the houses and back again :)) I'm thinking there may be many voters who are now ruing their indifference when's going to be a long and turbulent three years!

    1. Grace... turbulent is not some reference to swells and tides, I hope.

  2. 'schoolies' is repulsive and unnecessary in every way, and WHERE do unemployed kids get the money to do it?

    Abbott has been trying to start a war with our BIG neighbour since Day 1. They have a military greater in number than our entire population, and they don't drink.
    The whole world wide business of espionage is getting ridiculous. Hypocritical too, with the absolute basis of the US desire to execute J.Assange (not even a citizen of their country) being based on The 1917 Espionage Act.

    1. Ah yes... I vaguely remember something from the dim past about ignoring East Timor for a long time, for fear of upsetting the giant sleeping monster immediately to our north.

      Hypocrisy??? Blasphemy!

  3. "surely compulsory tipping in eating establishments would be the equivalent of an across the board rise in prices?" You have no understanding of economics at all. Once compulsory tipping is established, the staff wages can be reduced. Are you with me so far? Then restaurant owners can reduce the prices charged to customers. Everyone's a winner! It's just basic free market economics. Now FC, there is no need to stare at the screen with such a pained and doubtful expression.

    1. Andrew, my first response was 30 seconds of channelling Rainman trying to work out who's on first... then I roared hysterically.

      I bow, take off my hat, and thank you.

  4. yes exactly. that is not going to happen. remember 10% GST replacing all other taxes? well the cost of French perfume did not reduce by 23% from it's 33% Sales Tax position. The reason there is tipping in the USA is that waiters and hotel maids get such low wages.
    Espionage: today the report "Australia monitors civil and military communications in Asia as part of its role in the "Five Eyes" signals intelligence alliance" with USA, UK, NZ, and Canada." and all I could think of was Whisker and claw they crouch in the night, Jekkel and Jessup and OneEye Jill

    1. Ann, I've not kept track over the years, but I'm sure ASIO and other
      Australian "intelligence" agencies still simply provide our treasurer with an unitemised budget which is rubber stamped. That alone should be enough to give us pause [paws?].

      To be honest, my initial and ongoing response to all this has been a recollection of those Spy v Spy margin cartoons in the old Mad magazines,
      Perhaps we shall soon have our own "Bay of Pigs"... all travel by boat, of course.