Retired infantry officer. Conservative by nature and politics; Happily married and father and grandfather of eight. Loves V8 powered Range Rovers, Golden Retrievers, good books and technology and think there should be open season on Greenies. Born in the mid forties and overdue for servicing but most parts still work.

I don’t know about others

I don’t know about others but I think Indonesia will regret giving Baasyir only four years. For one, It doesn’t matter how long they put him away he will still be able to influence Jemaah Islamiah. In a country that sets very high corruption standards do you really believe that all the prison guards are professional. Of course not! The ‘four years sentence’ sends a message that Indonesia is still not serious about terrorism. In times when the press wasn’t so aware, Indonesia would have simply executed or prisoned for life anyone who had a hint of treason about him – and this guy has been found guilty. Times do change. Keep a watch on Baasyir, you’ll be hearing more about him. Here for a US report from the Washington Post and here for an Australian perspective from the Sydney Morning Herald. Downer, the Foreign Minister, reflects majority opinion when he says he’s surprised.

From correspondents in Starke, Florida

From correspondents in Starke, Florida and quoted in this article in the Australian ON the eve of his execution for the murder of an abortion doctor, an unrepentant Paul Hill said today: “I expect a great reward in heaven.” Sounds a bit like the ’72 virgins’ recruiting campaign that another group of idiots use. News Flash! Heaven is an invention of the church to guarantee tythes and you have to get up real early to get one virgin, let alone 72.

Having a heart attack? Cough

Having a heart attack? Cough like your life depends on it. According to this article your life does depend on it. Dr Tadeusz Petelenz, a researcher in Poland, said the technique, called cough CPR, forces blood to the brain while the heart is starting to fail and keeps patients conscious long enough to call for help. It may also rectify their heart rhythm, he told a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. If you can’t cough, keep a packet of Winfield Red ciggies handy – guaranteed to work for you. Posted in the interests of us mature people staying around long enough to spend our kids inheritance.

Who the hell is LEADING

Who the hell is LEADING Aboriginal activist Warren Mundine? I’m a news junkie but if I have ever read of him, the article wasn’t significant enough to stay in my head. He’s opposing Carmen ‘I can’t remember’ Lawrence in the ALP presidency so just the fact that he is breathing will make him a better canditate. Mr Mundine, a cousin of boxer Anthony Mundine, is chairman of NSW Country Labor and chief executive of the NSW Native Title Service. I see little merit in his CV, particularly the bit about being a cousin of Tony, and I sincerely hope he loses. Nothing to do with him, I just think the ALP under Carmen will have less credability than it does now. One can always hope.

The Australian Defence Force has

The Australian Defence Force has placed orders for twelve new patrol boats to replace the Fremantle Class. More ammo to stop the invasion of bludgers and rev up the asylum lawyers and friends who are long on rights of children but neglect to mention the parents of these kids put them in the circumstances in the first place. Don’t like being incarcerated and weep for your children? Then take them home and give them a life – stop appealing against the courts. Senator Hill said it was a great honour to announce the boats will be named Armidale, Bathurst, Bundaberg, Albany (my home port), Pirie, Maitland, Ararat, Launceston, Larrakia, Wollongong, Childers and Broome. Collectively the class will be known as the Armidale Class.

Debate about Kopassus being trained

Debate about Kopassus being trained by Australian Special Forces brings out a lot of opinion based on less than serious knowledge. The Australian has an article on the matter in todays issue For those who think training them is stupid when we may have to fight them one day I would point out one fact. If we train them and later have to fight them then it will be a huge advantage. We will know before-hand how they will react to any given situation. Kevin Rudd claims we should be training police only in counter terrorist work; But Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, who has just returned from Indonesia, said Australia had an alternative to working with Kopassus. He said the US Government, which had concerns about Kopassus’s involvement in the killing of US citizens in Papua last year, was building a counter-terrorism capacity within the Indonesian national police. He said it was devoting $45 million to developing a 300-strong counter-terrorism unit within the police force. “The (Australian Federal Police) has developed an excellent relationship with the Indonesian national police and it is the police that Australia should also be developing its counter-terrorism ties with,” he said. Kevin misses the point. In a society like Australia the roles of police and the military in counter terrorism are clearly defined. There is a role for both and it is based on overall role. The Army with its weapon and equipment inventory lend itself to resolving hostage/terrorist situations when all else has failed. They are in fact, the logical step after the police have failed with their less powerful inventory and negotiating skills. The Army are not known for negotiating but are known for reaching ascendency very quickly once the situation has degenerated to a do-or-die scenario. If we are to help Indonesia combat terrorism on the road to an acceptable democracy then we only have our standards as a guide. With that in mind it would be natural for Australian senior ADF/Polce officers to train both the Indon Police and Kopassus. I actually don’t think Kevin misses the point but he is politically obligated to have an alternative to whatever the Government suggests. The report mentions that; ….senior Australian military officials, including army chief Peter Leahy and special forces chief Duncan Lewis, have also visited Indonesia since June in a bid to smooth the way for a resumption of ties. I would point out that as well as being a respected Special Forces Officer and commander, Gen Duncan Lewis is also, like myself, a graduate of the RAAF Language School. When he negotiates it will be with the strength of being profficient in Bahasa Indonesia. Be assured, we in the military have been taking ABRI, and particularly Kopassus, very seriously since the late 50s early 60s.

Melbourne’s CityLink is a great

Melbourne’s CityLink is a great revenue raiser for someone. This guy is up for $70,000 worth of fines, most of them accrued from CityLink travel in Melbourne. I sympathise with him. On my recent trip I used the CityLink to get from Wantirna in the east to Essondon. The next morning I dutifully fronted at a CityLink office and said” Be gentle with me, I’m from Brisbane” The counter jumper laughed as he charged me $18.40 whilst having crack at unsophisticated Queensland. All I wanted to do was travel back to Wantirna but I was charged $18.40 for a weekend pass that I didn’t want, thus representing $9.20 for each use of the system. Queensland may be unsophisticated but a similar use of our bypass, the Gateway, would have cost me #2.20 for each trip. The weathers better too!

On Staturday Katherine arranges for

On Staturday Katherine arranges for a ride on a ski-doo up to Kofflers Hut. The driver kept asking me if I was OK and I resisted the temptation to tell him that in my time I had driven a 50 ton Leopard tank over a creek gap at 80 km/hr and this little toy was unlikely to scare me. I enjoyed it though, and he was only being responsible. Katherine and I shared an apple struddle and coffee while watching and snapping pics of the intense activity. The weather closes in (read approaching blizzard) and we catch a chair back to the village. Sleet driven by gusts introduces me to the cold and I’m glad to get inside. Later, Tom, the radiographer, and his delightfull wife Leanne play host as she prepares dinner. Leanne had once owned a Chinese Resturant and it showed. Mmmm…special fried rice, chinese chicken and more……so good. The village priest, Father Frank Bellet, donates a leg of pork in exchange for a dinner invitation and the already great company is enriched by his wit. Kerryn, nurse, wife and mother prepares the best sticky date pudding I’ve tasted and tells of her young son Luke sking black slopes while I think ‘Wow! – and I was concerned being near the slopes taking happy snaps’. Younger son Morgan is heading the same way. She is obviously proud of them and should be. Later that night we went to the Whittaker Clubhouse of the Victorian Ski Club for drinks. Whereas I’m not a skier, I had slipped over on my arse earlier in the day and maybe that qualified me for entrance. The club was full of young people playing the mating game, a great spectator sport for those like myself whose marriage vows precludes running on the field. Eddie, prospective son-in-law, has to drink ten Tooheys New pots to qualify for another cap and is busy doing that while Kerrin and Katherine, my daughter, talk of men and how to mold them. Good Luck! I think. I don’t see much maleability around here. Trainability? Maybe. To stop me slipping on the ice, Katherine had borrowed shoe chains from one of the doctors. I proceeded to put them on backwards but even then they worked a treat and the cost of $70.00 per pair was after all only equal to one visit to the Physio or an XRay or a percentage of a broken limb repair cost, so good value. The second bottle of red I shared with Kerryn set the standard (as low) and I slept that night in what the Medical Centre staff call the Ops Room. I think after my visit they may take my suggestion and call it the ICU. The medical Centre handles up to 80 cases per day of ski junkies injured with broken limbs and other traumas – all frantic about the fact they have paid big money to sit on the sidelines with plastered limbs. Sunday evening we dined at Pension Grimus, a very Austrian resturant run by a very Austrian Hans There was a Porsche 4WD parked outside and we asked how much does it cost? $240,000 and the guy pays $400.00 to have it cleaned before he leaves the mountain. Earlier that day, standing back and observing the crowds, all I could see was serious money. A young mother of three with Nanny in tow, instructing the Nanny, in the manner born, to get the kids into the Merc for the trip home. I figured the clothes and gear adorning this small group would have cost more than my car let alone what a Mercedes 4WD would have cost. The dinner was good, the red wine better and later Hans came around and offered snuff. Yes, the stuff the Poms used and now I know how they colonised the world. Man, that snuff clears the sinuses and helps concentrate the mind. It is peak season and on Monday 4,000 kids were due from Melbourne private schools. Tom, the Radiographer told me the state school kids come up much later in the season when the resort operators do deals for children of lesser gods. Don’t get me wrong, I subscribe to elitism but when my children went to private schools it was a struggle and my wife and I worked three jobs to do it. No ski holidays then! Maybe I noticed it more because I have seldom had time or money to pursue hedonism. Good to look around though and good luck to all of them. On Monday morning, I depart appreciating the company I had kept over the two days and also the priveledges of no-cost accommodation and free parking I had been accorded. Others have to settle for parking miles below the village and shuttle up by bus. I, for whatever reason, was issued a VIP pass, allowing access and parking in the village with all the monied folk. The VIP pass surpised my daughter who had orgainised free access only, but me, Hey! maybe the lady at the gate thought I looked distinguished (grey hair does that) or, more likely, thought I was a visiting Medico. I had said ‘Visiting the Medical Centre’ in my best “visiting proffessor” voice. I worry about the Disco – will it start with a frozen block but she kicks in and I start to de-ice/snow the body. The Ambo driver tells me to scrape off the 6 inches of snow/ice off the top of the vehicle as police have been known to book vehicles so adorned for having an unsecured load! This amuses me but on reflection, makes sense. The trip down the mountain was slow but once we were below the snow line all was OK. I had to ask my passenger to turn on the heater in the car as living in the tropics I had never had to heat the car. The heater had never been used. Breakfast, point the car north and hit the tow!
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