Back on deck

I spent yesterday driving up the Newell Highway on the last leg of driving back from Melbourne and a Regimental reunion. I note in today’s The Australian Melbourne claiming the most livable city in Australia status. I might agree if it wasn’t for the abysmal weather we had to endure. My bride and I had intended to tour the Great Ocean Drive but locals kept on saying “if you don’t like this weather then be aware it comes from the West – it will simply be worse. We compromised and went down to Phillip Island – bad call. A sudden Western Port Bay/Great Southern Ocean combination storm dislodged the tent on the second night and let some rain in. At 0500 the Princess decamped to the car and I packed up vowing to drive north until we reached civilization. It wasn’t so much the zero Celsius, it was the unquantifiable ‘wind chill factor’ that detracted me from my normal chipper demeanour. Yesterday morning we left Coonabarrabran with another zero on the car readout. Along side the zero was a little icon on the Climate Control display I hadn’t seen before – looked like a crystal snow flake. We had to look up the manual to read that it was a warning of the potential of ice on the road. It comes up whenever the temp hits zero. Things just got better all day as the temperature on the road climbed while I listened to the ABC scrabbling to get activists on line who still believed that the boat people are actually refugees. They found them abundance and I listened spell-bound as they rattled on about torture, assassinations and deprivations that existed in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and every where from whence our current crop of ‘better life with generous handouts’ mob came from. Chopper Driver Houston’s recommendations were being picked apart looking for any basis to classify them as being of the ‘cruel Howard’ variety and there was some basis. The chattering class hated the thought of those who abuse our generous nature should be housed in tents in the tropics – oh the inhumanity of it all and then they might be housed in such an inhumane manner for as long as it would take to process a real refugee through UN channels. I thought it was a great idea but then that’s just me, and I suspect, most of the country. The debate is not over as the ALP appear not to be taking up all of the Coalition’s policies. We have to be very careful that Gillard’s about turn isn’t quite 180 degrees. Once on Narau or Manus Island the ‘better life with generous handouts’ mob need to be aware that the Government are really trying to stop them or they will reason that they can still achieve a better life by just enduring life on a tropical paradise for a year or two and then they can still win lotto. The people smugglers and their clients will be very aware of this government’s incompetence in previous dealings with boat people and may well gamble on more of the same and that the government really don’t want to stop the boat people anyway, they just want the country to stop talking about them. Most boat people will vote for the weaker party and I simply don’t trust Gillard’s motives. Still, it’s a start and gives Abbott something to work on.

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