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Showing posts from August, 2007

Bricks In Their Heads

Watching a particular story on 60 Minutes last night made me pretty furious. No, not the one you might think - that made me unspeakably angry too, but I'm not posting about that today. What concerns me was the story about what's shaping up to be a major election issue - mortgages and interest rates . It's terribly sad of course when a family is kicked out of their home for failure to pay the mortgage, but do people often have themselves to blame? Last night we met Frank and Tess, who have a monthly income of $3000 - and mortgage payments of $1600. They also owe thousands of dollars in other debts, and the couple admit they have nothing left to pay the bills and live on credit with no plan for the future. Oh, and they have three primary school age children. So why on Earth are they hanging on? Frank said, "It is an absolute struggle but, I tell you, it is worth it. You know why it's worth it? Because when you come home and you see those kids, you see the smiles on

A Sorry State

If you really want to see how Australia has failed in it's foreign policy in recent years, then just read the interview with Xanana Gusmão and José Ramos-Horta of East Timor, in the August issue of The Monthly . Timor-Leste is obviously a nation facing many problems. Australia finally took action in 1999, after 24 years of shameful ignorance, to aid in Timor Leste's fight for independence from Indonesia. Since then, however, we've contributed little to the economic developement of East Timor. They're not looking for wads of unsupervised, unallocated money. As José Ramos-Horta has said, "one of the most disgraceful things about Australia's co-operation with East Timor is that only a handful of positions in Australia are open to East Timorese students." Ramos-Horta says that East Timor would benefit greatly from having large numbers of their young people go to Australia to work or study, then bring what they've learnt back home. But at the moment this is

If God's In The House, Is All Right In The World?

It's Sunday, the Lord's Day, and do you know where our Parilamentary leaders are right now? Sleeping off last night's excesses, did I hear you say? That might be fun, but more likely, they're in church. As Senator Lyn Allison, leader oF the Australian Democrats, recently pointed out , Christians are dramatically over-represented in Federal Parliament. But Federal Parilament isn't exactly representative of Australian society anyway - too old, too male, too white. The Christians though, are a bit of a worry. Back in the days when Australia was a far more religious country, people generally kept their faith private. Now though, they seem compelled to let everyone know all about it. American influence on Australian culture can be a good or a bad thing, but this seems like a decidedly negative development - the pandering by politicians to the evangelical Christian movement. A person's faith or the lack of it is their own business. But it's different for politicia

A Voter's Perogative

Things are getting better for those of us counting the days till the Federal election. Not only is Labor still ahead in the polls (actually posting about that this year seems as useful as posting about the weather - it's just happening and what else can one say?) but it's now getting personal. According to a leaked document from the Coalition's own polling firm, showing many voters now believe Howard is too old and not to be trusted. They see Rudd as "compassionate, human, genuine and likeable", whilst the Coalition is seen as stading for "broken promises and dishonesty". What's suprising is, this is news ? It's been what myself and a lot of other people have been saying for years. Howard isn't doing anything radically different now from what he's done before - he's always been a **** (insert whatever word you like at this stage, adding more letters if necessary). So what has happened to change the average voter's mind? The tagli

Casual Post Day

Casual day is a problem for myself and, I've noticed, a lot of other workers. Sure, you're allowed to wear casual clothes, but they have to be work-appropriate casual clothes. My t-shirts with vaguely obscene slogans won't cut it, so on Fridays I end up dressing in a manner that is not only unbusinesslike, but completely different from how I dress at any other time. I'll be damned if I'm buying special outfits just for Casual Day, so on Friday I end up wearing the few things I do have in my wardrobe that are "appropriate". Still, I'm not the only one who shows up every Friday wearing the same thing. It wouldn't be Friday if the office didn't see me in my blue not-quite-jeans. You sure do see some weird things walking around the City every day. Just the other morning I spotted a guy of at least my age, dressed in a coat and business suit, skateboarding down the middle of a moderately busy street (he was in the street, not on the footpath) in