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Policy or Politics?

Oh Australian Politics. You have been so shameful recently. Not because of corruption or negligence but because of the school yard fighting.  The name calling and muck raking is more juvenile than a year 5 class room.

I am so over it.

I don’t care about gender in politics. It shouldn’t matter. You are all able to get the job done. That is all that should matter, no matter your gender.  Yet, the Prime Minister continues to play this card.  A bunch of men wearing blue ties. She’s including a hell of a lot of members of her own party in that gender classification. No wonder she is losing support by the truck load from within her own party.

And then we have #menugate. Oh the hashtag allows everyone on Twitter to join in on the conversation on this one. Describing the Prime Minister as a small breasted and big thighed woman was a disgrace for the venue that held the dinner, but I’ll come clean and laughed when I first heard that ‘joke’ a couple of years ago. Now, it’s no longer funny.  It’s distracting the nation from having a more important conversation.

And finally what about the continual talk of the Labor leadership? Ex-PM, Kevin Rudd has consistenly denied he won’t ever be making a challenge for the leadership of the Labor party and therefore a return as Prime Minister. We’ve had a gut full of it all. It’s a distraction from the more important conversation.

It’s time for a change and I think it’s has to be driven by the media. Oh yes, the media. You are not without blame in all of this as well.  You continue to report on stories such as the ones I’ve already spoken about. The Australian public, and I dare I speak on behalf of all of us, have had it up to our eye balls with this stuff.

We want to hear about POLICY. Not POLITICS.

  • We want to hear how the government plans on putting us back into surplus, sooner rather than later.
  • We want to know how you will stop the boats safely to avoid hundreds or thousands more people dying in a dangerous journey in a rickety old boat over an unforgiving passage of dangerous water.
  • We want to know who will be brave enough to legalise same sex marriage.  The majority of the population support this. You are here to govern for the majority.
  • We want to know how the government will protect the environment and protect jobs at the same time.
  • We want to know how families, living in poverty, will be given a fair go to climb out of the basement and into a standard way of living. Note I didn’t say the penthouse. They just want the basic necessities to live by.
  • We want to see improvement in skills and training for all and how we keep Aussie jobs in Australia and how we can compete in an ever increasing globalised society.

Who will answer the call?  Is there anyone out there?  At the moment, I can’t see how either Labor or the Coalition can do this. They’ve descended into such an insipid and derogatory tone, I just don’t think they get it.  Will Clive Palmer and his United Party make a difference?  What about Bob Katter and his new party?  Or will the Democrats rise again?  All interesting questions and only time will tell.

The media in Australia is strong and whether we like it or not, they dictate the debate and tell us what they want us to hear.  They seem to be more interested in the muck raking than the policies. Well at least that is my opinion on the way the media reports in this country, across all of the networks and cable TV.  We need a real life Will McEvoy from the fictional TV drama, The Newsroom. We need someone who will continually ask the tough questions and leave the personalities out of the discussion.

But if we get this someone, we, the people, need to watch and listen and also ask the important questions. We need to stop hash tagging #menugate and #convoyofcleavage and instead start hash tagging #howaboutpolicy or #climate or #jobsforoz instead.

 I’ve had enough. What about you?

Jason Alexander – On Australia

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Iconic American actor, Jason Alexander, best known as George from Seinfeld, said this about his love of Australia, during an interview he did on Channel 7’s Sunday Night program.

"Here's the easiest way for me to feel, tell you why I love the country.  "MATE!" It is spectacular! The notion that the guy that serves you your coffee is your mate. The guy that runs your banking account is your mate. The guy on the sporting team is your mate and the prime minister of the country is your mate. That you're all mates, that you're all in it together. That there's a sense of, we're Australians. We may have differences between us. We're Australians. That sense only happens in America, for me, when we have a disaster. But you guys propagate it every day just by going "hey mate", "good morning", "good day mate". It is, I love it. I love it. And it is so welcoming and so embracing and so human and to me that is the character of the country and I think that is why I respond to it".

Mate, you got it spot on. I’ve never heard anyone articulate it so well, exactly what it means to be Australian and it took an American to remind me.

I think sometimes we forget that as Australians.  Let’s never lose our ability to be mates with everyone. To be neighbourly. To lend a helping hand when ever it’s needed. To show the world exactly what being mates can be. How free we feel and friendly it is to be Australian. Whether you were born here or brought here, everyone is mates.

I’ve always called people mate, and not just because I didn’t remember their names. Let’s keep the word ‘mate’ front and centre and keep our country friendly and welcoming to all.

Thank you, Jason for the reminder.  We’ll see you on our friendly shores in July. You can catch Jason’s show, Jason Alexander And His Hair, around Australia. Click here for more details for his Brisbane show.

Gun Control and John Oliver

If you’ve been living under a rock, you probably don’t know that there is a massive debate happening in the United States right now surrounding gun control following yet another mass shooting, this time at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last December.

The Daily Show, a US TV show hosted by Jon Stewart, has recently shown a three part series on how Australia has dealt with gun control since then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard introduced a ban on automatic and semi automatic weapons after the Port Arthur tragedy in Tasmania in 1996.

By cleverly using satire to get his point cross, John Oliver makes a pretty convincing argument in favour of gun control.

Take a look at the three video’s (click on the links) and tell me if you agree or disagree with gun control reform in the United States.  If you disagree, you better have a pretty good argument and waving the US 2nd Amendment in my face is not it.

Doping and Organised Crime

A couple of weeks ago I watched with interest the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah.  I honestly never expected to see Armstrong admit to cheating in his sport of cycling.  For so long I believed that people were gunning for him due to the tall poppy syndrome.  Surely someone who won seven consecutive Tour de France’s had to be juiced up, they were saying. No one could possibly achieve that feat with some assistance, they said.

I for one, believed him and then felt like a schmuck when I heard him confess. I knew that doping in cycling was rife but I hoped that the best of the best, who had such stellar careers and did so much good in the community, were above that.  That these people won because they had a drive and determination and a skill that made them the best.

I now can’t look at the sport of cycling or its participants without thinking cheats and that their  sport is tarnished, perhaps forever.

I remember thinking that I am glad that cycling, which is to me, just a sport which is a passing interest, and I felt sorry for all of the fans whose sport was now ruined and in tatters.

I was glad I wasn’t that guy.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday the same brush that has tarnished the sport of cycling was also used to brand, well most Australian sports, into the category of drug cheats.

In an historic press conference, the heads of the major sports in Australia, including AFL, NRL, FAA and CA, with politicians and investigators from Australian Crime Commission lifted the lid, no blew the lid on illegal doping in most Australian sports with a link to organised crime.

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I was shocked that it was so widespread and while no names were named it was pretty obvious that this story is only going to get bigger and a witch hunt will begin.

So now what?

As a major consumer of sport, particularly AFL, NRL and Cricket, I want names named! I want to know who are the players and coaches and sports scientists and clubs that are illegally trying to get an advantage.

I want to know who the clean players are so that when I watch the footy this winter, I’m not wondering if that goal by a superstar forward was not assisted by illegal doping. That, that freak try that no one in their right mind should have been able to score, was not assisted by illegal doping.  That, that outfield catch which was no one’s business to take, was not assisted by illegal doping.

Because until names are named, that is exactly what I will be thinking.

It’s a very sad time for Australian sport and the authorities must get to the bottom of it and quickly.

So what do you think. Is all Aussie sport tarnished?  Will you be watching and wondering who is a cheat and who isn’t?

Mosman Bomb Threat

Australia witnessed live on TV and the internet via Twitter a very unique crime which unfortunately starred a Sydney teenager earlier this week.

A device, originally thought to be a bomb with a ransom letter, was allegedly placed around the neck of an 18 year old school girl, Madeleine Pulver, by a balaclava clad man.  She was told she could call the police but was limited to what she could say to them.

Eventually, some 10 hours later, with the girl’s parents waiting patiently outside while the world looked on, the drama finished in the early hours of the morning when the device was removed from around her neck and the girl was taken to hospital for a check up.  Luckily she was fine, albeit with a bit of a sore neck, and was released the following morning.

During the 10 hour ordeal the girl was reported to be fine and co-operative and was superbly looked after by members of the NSW Police Service.

All’s well that ends well.

Well not quite.  As at time of writing, the perpetrator was still at large with no solid leads and no arrest imminent, according to police.

Whoever he is, I bet right now he must be getting a little bit of cabin fever.

How are those four walls looking?  I just bet they are closing in on you, inch by inch, day by day.  You can’t hide inside forever.

If you are venturing out, when someone looks at you do you think they know who you are?  Can you trust your accomplices if you have any? Are you sure they aren’t right now dobbing you in to police.

Is there anyone you can trust?

You went to a lot of work to carry out this crime.  Surely you had help.  By the sounds of it the device was very well made and made to look like the real thing.  Who helped you?  Can you trust them to keep your identity a secret?

The area of Sydney you committed this crime in is very affluent with many homes boasting CCTV systems.  How many of these homes captured you entering and leaving the street.  Has your type of car been identified and police are now going through records of ownership?  Or was the car stolen and ditched?  How long until the car is found with crucial DNA evidence contained within.

Yet as the days go by and you are not captured, do you start to get a little careless. Do you start boasting about the crime of the century?  After all a lot of criminals commit crimes to be famous.  Do you want to be famous? Do you want to be known as the bloke who picked on a helpless teenager and had the world watching?

You may think you have committed the crime of the century but when you get a whole nation drawn into it and hoping for the best for this young woman, it also means the police are going to throw plenty of resources into finding you, and you will be found.  You’ll let your guard down and pretty soon you’ll see a SWAT team smash down your front door and take you down.

Maybe that is what you want.  After all this isn’t the movies.  We don’t know whether the ransom note asked for money or not but you must realise you were never going to get it, if that is what you were trying to do.

Nope.  Your days are numbered and while you will soon be going to prison, you’re living in a virtual prison now.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.  That’s the sound of your last minutes as a free man.  They’re coming for you and we’ll have a front row seat when it happens.

Where’s the popcorn?

 

Maddie Pulver

In Their Footsteps

Tonight on Channel 9 Australia, a new Australian series will commence called, “In Their Footsteps”.

Here is the blurb from the Channel 9 Web Page:

In Their Footsteps is a 10-part series about Australian families rising to the challenges, enduring the deprivations and dealing with the lasting scars of war.

In Their Footsteps will shine a bright new light on Australia’s wartime history, bridging the past to the present for a modern generation of viewers.

And here is the Sneak Peek

Everytime I have seen this show promoted I have had chills running up and down my spine. I am so proud of every single person who has ever fought on our behalf and with ANZAC Day just recently behind us again and having attended the Dawn Service and the Brisbane CBD March, this series comes just at the right time to remind us of the sacrifices made by hundreds and thousands of brave men and women who have and still do, defend our country.

What this series is going to do however is take select relatives to the scene of some of the world’s greatest, yet horrific battles and give them a glimpse of just what conditions their relatives fought in.

Perhaps the defining moment in Australia’s history and one which forged our character as a nation occurred on the morning of April 25, 1915 on the day we now call ANZAC Day.  On this solemn day, brave soldiers from Australia and New Zealand stormed the beaches of Gallipoli Cove in Turkey and were slaughtered on the beach and trying to get up the cliffs to face the Turkish army.

On that day the Aussie spirit of never giving up and being there for your mates was born and it is a fine tradition that lives on in us all almost 100 years later.

I didn’t have any relatives fight in the wars yet I feel so proud of everyone who ever did and I take my hat off to the relatives left behind when their loved ones went to war.

Thousands never returned.

There are thousands of people walking around the world today who lost loved ones in war and dealing with the struggles this would have caused them.  Especially in the early 1900’s when men who were the bread winners in most families went to war and never came back.  Many children grew up without mothers and fathers and didn’t have the privilege of growing up with both parents like most children do now.

It is important that all Australian’s remember these sacrifices of not only the people who went away to fight but also for those families who sent their fathers and sons and mothers and daughters off to war and were left behind to pick up the pieces.

In Their Footsteps will help tell their story and I for one, can’t wait to see it.

In Their Footsteps airs Sunday nights at 6.30pm on Channel 9. (ignore the time on the picture above)

Did you have a relative who fought for you and your country? Have you ever retraced their footsteps? I’d love to hear your story.  Will you be watching this series?  What do you think of it?

If I Only Had A DeLorean

Not the standard one, but a time travelling one as used in the Back To The Future movies.

That would be cool.  Way cool!

Just add 1.21 gigawatts of power to the Flux Capacitor and away you go.

I’d love to go back to 1770 to see Australia when Captain Cook made his epic voyage and see and hear what he and his crew really said when they laid eyes on this great country for the first time.

Advance forward 18 years when the first fleet arrived into Sydney Harbour.  That would have been amazing to witness.  How did Sydney look without the buildings and bridges back then?

Or go back 20,000 years and see Australia as how it was inhabited by the Aboriginals.  What a spectacular visual that would be to see how these proud and mighty people treated this wide, brown land.

What about just a few months earlier from now, when a friend was in town and you didn’t have the chance to catch up?  Just jump in the DeLorean and head back to December to spend some quality time with them.

How about heading into the future to get the lotto numbers for a Saturday night Jackpot $20 million draw?  That would change my life for the better. How about you?

If you don’t mind a big drive from Brisbane to Tasmania, why not go back to the day before the Port Arthur massacre and stop a madman from killing 35 people.

I’d like to go back to my 13 year old self on the first day of school and tell myself to put my head down and study hard. If I did that would I be sitting here today writing this piece? It blows my mind to think about it.

If I have a friend who has a terrible boyfriend or girlfriend do I jump in the DeLorean and tell them that the future with that person is not so rosy?  They probably wouldn’t listen to me but at least I could give it a shot.

How about an epic trip back in time 65 million years ago? Wanna see a Dinosaur? That would be cool! Just make sure you are ready to get back up to 88 mp/h again to get the hell out of there in case you end up in the middle of a herd of them. I wouldn’t want to be the entrée in a dinosaur meal!

Want to know the winners of the next 30 NRL and AFL grand finals?  Nah, me either. If I was a St Kilda supporter travelling forward in time from 1985 I’d hate the fact that in 2010 they still hadn’t won since 1966.  How depressing.

Would you want to see your future self?  See what became of you and your family?  You could use that information to make changes back in the current day when you return from your time travelling.  Would your younger self believe you?

Would you go back in time to stop a friend or relative from being in a nasty accident? I’d go back to April 25, 2009 and stop that exact thing from happening.

Were you losing your hair in your early 20’s and didn’t go and visit Ashley & Martin?  That could be a good visit back in time too!

Would you spy on your adult kids and make sure they turned out ok? What if they weren’t?  Would you intervene then or back in the past?

So many possibilities and places and times you could go with a time machine.

Or do you not bother with it and take advantage of today and make sure that the life that you live is the best one possible?

Sure it would be great to travel back in time to witness history being made but would changing history totally change your future or those around you?

And what would you do with knowledge you would get from the future? Would you use to advance your own self in the past or would you use that knowledge for humanitarian causes?  Who would believe you anyway?

If only I had a DeLorean. I could answer these questions.

I guess we all need to live for now and respect history but have an eye on the future because the decisions we make today, will affect our tomorrow.

It doesn’t mean that I still wish that I had a DeLorean.

 

What time would you like to time travel to and why?  Past or future? Or would you not be tempted and just stay right where you are?

Please rate this post out of 5 stars and leave a comment if you feel compelled. Thanks for reading!