Catch up on: 2014 EVENTS (SERIOUSLY)

Ok, no nonsense, all the kids are at school getting brainier by the day and I supposedly have more time on my hands so it’s time to get serious about brain progress. No holiday nonsense, no excuses, no more gossip magazine style intercourse (OMG look at Jennifer Hawkin’s face and what the bejesus is Sam Worthington thinking etc), no silly segues (segue is a funny word). Just on with the facts. Now. Go on. Start. Ready Set GO!

1) So did Orlando and Miranda the Tasmanian Labor Party and the Greens really break up? Why?

Yep. So the story goes that the labor-green minority government was formed at the 2010 state election by then premier David Bartlett after a hung parliament was delivered by the polls. For the first time in history, 2 green MP’s were given ministries. The opposition referred to the union as the “labor-green experiment”. 

Bartlett resigned a few months later (citing family reasons) and left Lara Giddings to carry the ‘experiment’. It lasted until January 16 2014, which was longer than many critics thought. Lara sacked both green ministers from cabinet in mid January on the same day she called an election for March 15 (bugger it, that’s Bream Creek Show day, most inconvenient).

Why? Well the power sharing arrangement was deeply unpopular with traditional labor voters as well as a few vocal labor back benchers and some union heavyweights. Plus the liberal party is looking pretty strong in the polls with almost 50% of the primary vote. With liberal and labor both holding 10 seats each and the greens 5, labor can’t afford to play silly buggers with their seats (ooh, that reads a bit wrong, I mean can’t afford to risk pissing people off).

Liberal leader Will Hodgman (hmm, interestingly, “Hodgman” autocorrects to “manhood” – oops broke the silly segue rule) says that the split is a ‘fake divorce’ designed by Labor and the Greens to win back enough votes to get back into a leadership role.

Analysts predict that given the polls and the past reactions to minority government, a Liberal majority is likely post March 15.

What do I think? I think that due to the 10/10/5 balance of power (and its minor shifts) in Tasmanian politics, there will be more power sharing to come and the buggers just need to figure out a way to make it work. The public need to suck it up too. I don’t feel drawn to the Labor party for sacking the greens, I feel repelled by their cowardice and blatant game playing. I also think that we shouldn’t need a Green Party or a Green movement to instill green practices into everyday life; we’re at the stage now where it just should be built into every policy of every major party as well as the public psyche.

2) What’s  all the hoo-ha about the ABC?

ABC-logo-420x0Ok so the ABC reported late last year that Australia spied on Indonesia and more recently that the Australian Navy subjected asylum seekers to injury by forcing their hands onto burning pipes. Both reports came under fire from Government for being unfounded, inflammatory and negative. Tony Abbott then accused the ABC of being consistently negative about Australia and for “lacking affection for the home team”. The ABC admitted that perhaps they gave too much credence to the claims of the asylum seekers.

Since then, there has been talk of a merger between SBS/ABC/NITV (the three taxpayer supported networks), which is unrelated but probably the bigger issue really. It’s an old chestnut though – been bandied about by various pollies for years as a cost saving measure.

What I think: I probably wouldn’t have thought of it at all if Abbott hadn’t spelled it out, but I tend to slightly agree with him. The ABC clearly have a deep affection for Australia, but I do think that they are also – maybe even subconsciously whilst justifying it with ‘for the good of the public’ – on the look out for mistakes. There is also a whiff of cultural cringe about ol’ Aunty. I sense that a few of the major ABC player are rolling their eyes  but comfortable thinking they are on a higher plane of intelligence than the rest of us. But none of this bothers me, indeed I hadn’t thought much about it until now (unless I”m listening to Phillip Adams who is clearly a man of very large brain but also unaccountably irritating). In general, I love the ABC. Good on them for getting stuck in. Don’t merge them with SBS and NITV, so many decent production companies with wonderful things to tell would have to pack up and sell real estate for a living. Ranty rant rant. Anyway…

4) Is Schapelle Corby free?

schapelleYep; Indonesia’s justice minister released her on parole after nine years imprisonment for drug trafficking (at least it’s implied that was her under the weird veil. She has maintained her innocence throughout her sentence but Indonesian authorities found the 4.2 kg of compressed high grade cannabis in her boogie board bag just too incriminating – along with revelations that her best friend and neighbour was a total drug lord and her immediate family stonor types from way back. Schapelle claims that the drugs were planted and she had no idea they were there. Under conditions of parole, she will not be allowed to return to her home on the Gold Coast until 2017. She ‘s gone to live with her sister Torana. I mean Mercedes.

Statement of the week goes to Schapelle’s former lawyer who told Carl from the Today Show that the first thing Schapelle would likely do post release would be to roll herself a big ol’ joint. Champagne telly.

What I think: I don’t know whether she’s guilty or innocent but I do think that her screechy family would have done well to shut the fuck up a bit more during the trial/appeals etc. Those people are just waiting for an excuse to get all shrill about everything. The Indonesian justice system would be scratching their heads over the shrew-ish, abusive, entitled behavior of the Corby family and their questionable entourage. I know I sound like a snob but they could have tried toning down the bogan. Schapelle herself has the worst case of bitchy resting face I’ve ever seen (which would be entirely justified if she’s innocent, I’ll give her that). To be honest it’s going to be fascinating to see how they can further embarrass Australia and bugger up Indo-Aus relations when she is released. I’ll be picking up the No Idea in the supermarket queue just to watch the train wreck.

Her mother should have named her Joan; she would never have run into such trouble.

5) Who’s killing sharks?

The WA government has begun a shark cull in response to 7 fatal shark attacks in the last 3 years. The target sharks are the ones that come too close to the beaches. They are caught using baited, unmanned ‘drum’ lines which are attached to buoys and hook the sharks. Sharks over 3 metres are then shot. There are 70 of these enormous baited hooks set on lines 1 km offshore along WA’s most popular beaches. The first shark was caught and killed on Australia Day.

shark

The cull has sent activists all over the place into outraged demonstration with shouts of cruelty and endangered species and apex predators messing with the marine ecosystem. Some claim that the presence of baited hooks will excite sharks further and increase risk of attacks.

What do I think? Well sharks scare the bewillies out of me. They are the main reason I haven’t excelled at competitive ocean swimming (that and not being a very good swimmer and a bit wussy with the cold). But I don’t like the idea of any living creature being killed deliberately for the sake of destructive humans. Those who surf or swim in shark territory clearly make the choice to do so, and do so at their own risk. Shark attacks are terrible, so are mountain climbers falling or racing car drivers crashing. But these things happen. And shark numbers are declining – partly due to Asian penchants for shark fin soup (it’s apparently good for skin, chi and penile erectile function. I just added that trvia because I wanted to type penile erectile. Hee hee.)

And on a more serious note, Jeff Hansen who is manager of the Sea Shepherd, says that if you get rid of the sharks, “Stingray populations will boom, which will lead to depletion of scallop colonies…You can’t touch one species without affecting the next.” I’m not sure if this is correct but I reckon Mother Nature has her way. Mess with it and you’ll be sorry.

6) Are we getting a new Govenor General?

Hell yeah. We’re moving on from her dainty-ness Quentin Bryce, she leaves office in March. Well done – first female GG, first GG to have no prior title or pre-nominal style (meaning she wasn’t a Dr, Prof etc) and first GG to be – modestly – vocal about her views (republic, same sex marriage).

cosgroveReplacing her will be General Peter Cosgrove (remember him back in the liberation of East Timor days and the post-cyclone Larry recovery co-ordination in North Queensland). He was chief biggie of the Australian Defence Forces apparently tabled for GG by John Howard but poo-pooed by first lady Janet. Well now he’s it – put forward by Tony Abbott and okayed by the Queen (these days it’s more a PM selection than a monarch one – not since 1930 has a PM selected GG been opposed by the monarchy).

GG’s get a mansion, a holiday house, a private plane, a chauffeur driven car, all expenses paid trips all over the place and if you don’t like the PM you can fire his/her arse (for very good reason). In exchange you have to be very very good (no drunken bum flashes, f-bombs or hot headed rants about bogans), make a lot of speeches, open things, look smart, meet vast amounts people and pretend to like them even if you don’t and generally represent the Queen (but not necessarily being like her as per “Air Helair” etc, which is shame because that sounds like the fun bit. Nonetheless, sounds like a pretty good gig).

BTW, if you meet the GG, call him/her “Your Excellency, the Honourable…” and his/her spouse, “Your Excellency”. People who have been GG in the past are still, “Your Excellency”.

7) What’s happening in the Ukraine?

Well a few moths ago the Ukraine was on the verge of signing a trade and political agreement with the European ukraineUnion (EU), a move that would seem to make good economic sense. But increasing pressure from the Kremlin in Moscow (Ukraine’s former ruling centre) in the form of trade sanctions and other political moves caused the Ukraine government to turn their back on the EU agreement. Instead it was announced that the Ukraine would engage in new partnerships with a competing trade bloc of former Soviet states.

European leaders got suitably crapped off and several hundred protesters gathered in Independence Square in Kiev. Carrying European flags, they chanted, “Ukraine is Europe!”. She was on.

Things got violent in November last year when police broke up protests with tear gas and truncheons. This inflamed the situation to the point of full scale civil uprising, Lenin statues toppled and smashed and up to 6 people have been killed to date.

In the last few days the EU has raised the possibility of trade sanctions against the Ukraine, a complete turnaround from the original proffered trade agreements.

What I think? Bloody hell; we’re so lucky that our political unrest extends to the nation feeling affronted by the outline of the PM’s doodle in his swimming togs.

8) What’s happening in South Africa after the death of Madela?

zumaPresident Jacob Zuma has announced elections for May the 7th, 20 years after the end of white minority rule. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) looks to be the favourite, despite the part’s popularity declining amid Zuma corruption scandals and increasing problems for poverty-stricken ANC supporters.

It is thought that the legacy of Mandela will pull the ANC though, as memories of the apartheid system that discriminated against non-whites remain fresh in the minds of older generations. It is thought that the ANC will win the vote with a comfortable majority, giving Zuma another five-year term in office.

What I think: Zuma might be a bit of a take-liberties dodgy man, but I thought his song at Madela’s funeral was kind of moving. That said, he could have been singing, “I am king of the world and I will use public money to buy that gold plated toilet I really like” for all I know. Nor do I know anything of the significance, appropriateness or dynamic of things over there. So shut up me.

9) Why would Copenhagen kill a young Giraffe and feed it to the lions for amusement?

No it’s not me pulling legs, this actually happened. 18 month old Marius the giraffe, in all his doe eyed gorgeousness,

Marius the Doomed

Marius the Doomed

was shot by Copenhagen zoo keepers. Why? Because he was male and the presence of too many males increased the risk of inbreeding. Biological reasons. This despite offers from England to take Marius in.

But that’s not all. The keepers then invited onlookers to view the dissection (chopping up) of parts of Marius and the feeding these parts to the zoo’s lions. WTF? Saving money on meat? You stingy bastards. A zoo spokesperson says that death is an important part of the zoo’s functionality.

What do I think? I am trying to respect the different practices of other parts of the world but jeez, you god damn arseholes. I know nothing of how zoo biology works but this seems an unnecessary act of callousness. Australasian zoos (I heard on the radio this morning) plan their breeding programs so that there are never any unwanted animals and therefore no need for these practices. Look and learn you nasty Danish zoo people.

10) What are those lines on my children’s noses? 

noseThis is hardly important news, but I have been wondering all summer what causes those little lines across 2 of my children’s noses (the lines are more prominent in summer as their faces darken slightly). Finally good old Googs coughed up this answer: that itchy nosed children rub their smellers so much (known as the allergic salute) that a line appears where their nose folds up. There is even a name for the line – the transverse nasal crease. Bollocks, thought I, my children don’t rub their noses, nor do they have allergies. But on closer observation I noticed that they do indeed rub their noses quite a bit, and that the lines occur precisely where the noses fold up.

There you go then.

So that’s enough seriousness for the moment. I’m off to catch up on other important business. Such as Twitter.

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Categories: Newsteller, Quick Q&A

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10 replies

  1. Thanks for sorting out the nose issue. I was always curious about that!
    Great post, Meg.

  2. I AGREE – “we shouldn’t need a Green Party or a Green movement to instill green practices into everyday life”. But we do, as later you note re killing sharks that “you can’t touch one species without affecting the next”.

    It’s neither the Liberal Party (no longer “liberal” in the sense of acting liberally, generously, or respecting other’s opinions) nor the Labor Party (supposedly focussed on the needs of workers) who fathom the role of the human species in the modern world. We no longer have frontiers of limitless resources to exploit willy-nilly – cut-it-down and ship-it-off has responsibilities and consequences. Selfishness has no place in a world at war over resources, territory and religion.

    Parochial short-term thinking is hard to replace. Until we “think globally, act locally”, we’ll need the Green Party.

    • I agree Dick, we do. But would they be better to infiltrate the major parties, get them away from the right, form new factions, so that over time their thinking just became the norm?

      • Here’s another “ism”: Entrism is the practice adopted by Trotskyites who, unlike their fellow communists but bitter enemies, believed in joining various Labor parties in the UK and Australia in an attempt to convert them to their strict ideological positions. Being so holier-than-thou and divisive, their HQs had more splinters than a shingle-splitter’s backyard – we used to say, for every two Trotskyites there were three factions.
        In Oz, they’ve tried an acceptable face as the Socialist Alliance and, while older style Trots have attempted to infiltrate the ALP many have given up, and younger ones attempted to ride the green wave with publications such as “Green Left Weekly” and to join Green groups and recruit youth to their determinedly anti-capitalist causes.
        When the world’s first Green political group (the United Tasmania Group) was formed a month before the 1972 state election, both major parties said environmental issues were irrelevant – but, after seeing the enormous clamour for change in the first weeks, both rushed out their first ever environment policies. And, after the election, one of those promises resulted in the first Department of Pollution Control.
        And 42 years later you’re suggesting this world-wide political movement should just blend into the gormless, formless, directionless, compromised, opportunistic so-called “major” parties of the left or right. The Greens have a holistic philosophy based on the inter-connectness of humans with the natural world and other species: it is a much-broader and oh-so-relevant approach than mere fights between capital and labour. The old parties might wish they would just go away, but they’ll eventually be replaced by
        The Greens are not left or right: just out in front!

      • Crikey, remind me not to bring this up on Christmas Day.

  3. Good read thanks!
    We built a full solar house, Trombe walls etc in 81.
    We have solar collectors feeding into the grid in our pad in Melb. We try to be responsible with buying local etc etc. I changed my vote last year from Labor/Green to LNP.
    I will vote Liberal at this Tasmanian election. Nick McKim, so much promise but a fizzer of firework proportions.
    The ABC has behaved appalingly, and i no longer tune in, but as a recent add sent to me about protecting the ABC was signed on behalf of “all thinking Australians” it appears i’m now seen as the ‘unthinking Australian’…..until i vote labor again. Not very pc of them.
    I think we all have to be ‘Green’ , but if people don’t at least have solar hot water where their roof permits, commit a few $’s to the cause, they can vote Green till the cows come home and it won’t work. Mostly now, the Greens and green voters give me the shits. All words, no positive action and so patronising! Sorry i voted for them.

    • It’s great you’ve done your bit, Mary. And good to get things off your chest! But you didn’t explain why McKim is a fizzier, how the ABC’s actions are appalling, or how you’ve been patronised! In short,you’ve slung a lot of mud. You seem upset that others haven’t followed your lead on installing solar: indeed, this will only happen when we have consistent long-term government support via energy policy, moving away from fossil fuel dependence – not the Labor policy of giving grants to coal companies, or Liberal policies of disallowing wind farms and new Abbott ideas of picking winners with hit-and-miss subsidies.
      Mud-slinging won’t solve the problems: let’s examine policy, as support consistency!

    • Do you agree with the PM on the ABC Mary?

  4. I believe the ABC selectively reports the news. Yes, i agree with him on ABC.
    I now watch Al Jazeera which has excellent news coverage, and Sky News.

  5. Another great read. As always.

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