Australian DIARY


ARCHIVES 1997-2007  --- ARCHIVES 2007 +

APRIL 2016


With help from the Greens, Malcolm has modified our senate voting system.  Previously a party could offer preferences for an "above the line" vote which, if the nominated party candidate did not get a "quota", would automatically transfer to the next candidate preferred by that party.

I always voted below the line.  I preferred to allocate my own preferences.

In future I may well vote above the line. Because I am not limited to only placing one number.  I will be able to select my own preferences.   


Malcolm is down from 70% in October 2015 to 49% in mid April 2016.

How did that happen?  Rupert Murdoch was/is extremely interested in having the TPP come into existence.  Since October Australia has passed the TPP. 

(The US has not ratified the TPP, and unless it does so within 2 years, it will not become law.)   So Murdoch is now looking to whoever in the USA will give him the TPP.  (That will be hard to find.  There are quite a few swing states that will be disadvantaged by cheap Asian labour. Still a new President might owe a few favours.  Unless his name is Trump).

It is not in Rupert's interest that any person (like Malcolm) become too popular.  Because then they might be less sensitive to what Rupert wants.

As an example of Malcolm's technique, consider the recent strategy employed by Malcolm to avoid having the Federal government pay for the state's demands for the promised Gonski education money.  He offered them the right to collect the money themselves.  Presumably (details were not released) they could add in their own income tax so that (say) Victorian citizens would each pay an extra $1,000 p/a to implement Gonski.

Unsurprisingly, none of them accepted.  In fact the Victorian Premier was effusive when he was offered a bit more than he would previously (to Gonski) have obtained.

How did our noble Media report the matter?  "Turnbull backs down on giving states right to taxation!"

So turning a rather clever move into the image of defeat.

I really do think most of the chattering class realized the truth.  For a few days some of them were referring to Malcolm as the "cleverest man in the room" without attributing a cause.

Some of them didn't seem to get it.  Nobody could really be that stupid.  Could they?

The issues in the US with Trump probably has to do with the perennial question about the TPP.  First he sicced Megan Kelly onto him.  His newspaper attacks even stretched to Australia where "The Australian" of 30th April reported violence at Trump's Californian rallys, and appeared to place the blame on Trump with "Riot cops hold 20 for Trump rally violence".

If I hold a talk in a hired hall and people turn up and beat up on the people who come to listen to me, does that make me the "at fault" Nazi?

Somehow Murdoch manages to do just that.


Since the introduction of student loans to third party VET trainers the education debt has ballooned.

The media have outlined the problem.  Certain institutions are offering (very expensive) courses and payment is a government loan "upfront".  Giveaway sales techniques are employed and in some extreme cases people have ended up with enormous (in the tens of thousands of dollars) debts with only a laptop to show.  No classes attended.  No examinations sat.  No qualifications achieved.

As a result the government TAFE system has been starved for funds.  Essential trade courses (e.g. Plumbing) have been closed. 

The solution is not difficult.  One possibility: Instead of lending the money "upfront", it must be doled out on performance indicators.  For example, attendance rolls must be kept, and each student charged only for the classes attended.  Third party progressive qualifying examinations must be attempted, and the loan repayment determined by performance.


Since at least WWII King's Cross has been the "Nightclub" part of Sydney.  When I lived there in the sixties through eighties it was rarely possible to walk the streets at any hour and find them deserted. If I had wanted quiet nights to sleep, I would not have chosen King's Cross to live.

Cafe Hernandez is now one of the few coffee shops that is open 24/7 in King's Cross.  Apparently it began as a coffee import business, and branched out by offering samples of it's wares.  It has a strong Spanish/Latin America flavor.  Mostly it's early morning clientele is made up of "loners" working on laptops or reading the morning paper, small groups cooling down from a night out, or groups of Taxi Drivers or Police taking a break.

It is not an upmarket establishment, with chrome and glass finish, or lush recliners.  It has almost spartan tables and chairs and dim lights.  It has been open for 40 years, and in that time it has always had a couple of tables on the sidewalk.   On hot nights sitting outside is welcome.

I happened to turn up there recently.  The City has had a war with nightclubs and many of them are now closed.  Much to my surprise, the tables outside had been moved inside and stacked.

I asked the barista why the tables were inside.  He told me that the city council had ordered them inside.

I wrote a letter to the city council asking why this order had been given.

Apparently the 40 years of "existing practice" in having street tables deployed had not been authorized.  I was told by Sydney Council that there had been three complaints this year about "noise and lack of compliance".  One of the customers told me that recently a neighbour had "had a shouting match" with a couple of customers.

I do think that the neighbour might be guilty of harassment.  He chose to live in one of the busiest areas of Sydney, right across from  the William Street expressway and exit from the CCT (Cross City tunnel that is busy 24/7).  The noise from people talking quietly on the street outside Cafe Hernandez should be considered in that context.

I also think that the rangers could have been a bit more understanding.  And perhaps should have considered that the considerable clientele who visit Hernandez had more right to talk on the footpath at 2am than he had to "lose it".

Hernandoz 1 hernandoz 2
Hernandoz from uphill
Across the road from the expressway.

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