RIP Mates

We will remember

Camped at Eagle Nest near Sharks Bay WA

You can just see the glow of my laptop where I was working on a clients web sIte in Tassie hosted through Rumcorps.net servers in Dallas Texas. As good an office as any!

Whales off the NW Coast

A pod of about 20 whales come fast from astern and passed either side of the yacht, frightening hell out of us.

Fire on the road

No flames apparent so I hardly slowed down until I had travelled a hundred odd meters with no visibility. About the time I started to panic I came out the other side.

 

What would Slim Dusty have said?

The Sun Herald reports Stockman may have to wear hard hats after OH&S Nannies took a case to court over the death of a jackaroo.

THE owners of a cattle station yesterday pleaded guilty to breaching occupational health and safety rules after the death of a jackaroo.

Daniel Croker, 23, was killed when thrown from a horse mustering at Gunbar station, near Hay in New South Wales in 2001.

Mr Croker was not wearing a helmet.

The case, the first of its kind to go before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, could result in hard hats replacing the traditional Akubra worn by stockmen and farmers across the country.

The NSW WorkCover Authority prosecuted Gunbar’s owners, B.H. MacLachlan Pty Ltd, claiming the company failed to provide safety equipment and training for Mr Croker.

B.H. MacLachlan faces a fine of up to $550,000 but will contest some facts of the case when submissions on penalty are heard in June.

Seems a bit odd to me. Will MacLachlan and Company have to muzzle the horses as well. They bite you know. What about hobbling them to stop them kicking. We should also look at filling in all the small holes in the paddocks to stop the horses tripping in a rabbit warren and maybe we should get rid of the cattle – they’ve been known to spook horses.

Yellow hard hats – bloody hell. The hat rack on the verandah of the Boulia Pub will never look the same.

yellowjackaroo.gifringera.jpg

And the new OH&S Ringer – hardly an inspiration for country music.

Coast Guard or Coastwatch?

coastguard.jpg
The ALP want a US style Coast Guard and whereas images of cutters like the USCG Cutter Hamilton (pictured) might make us feel grown up and a significant player in the world all such thoughts would disappear when the first payment fell due.

Peter Reith, when Minister for Defence had this to say more than two years ago when Kim Beazley first raised the coast Guard issue.

You can read the ALP policy on the Coast Guard issue in their Policy Paper – 007 – 27 November 2002 Although mentioned in this election build up, the ALP have yet to update their site with more recent considerations.

Try as I could I couldn’t find a picture of our Coastwatch cutters. If the debate continues could we have some please – Mr Coastwatch PR man. I know they won’t be as big and as flash as the US Cutters but they sound OK to me. Our cutters are 38 m long versus the US 250m plus versions.

The division of Customs that handles Coastwatch vessels is the National Marine Unit (NMU)

The NMU fleet comprises eight vessels:

ACV Roebuck Bay
ACV Holdfast Bay
ACV Botany Bay
ACV Hervey Bay
ACV Corio Bay
ACV Arnhem Bay
ACV Dame Roma Mitchell
ACV Storm Bay.

All ACVs are surveyed under the Uniform Shipping Laws Code (USLC) to class 2B standards with a 200 nautical mile (NM) offshore capability. Bay-class vessels have an operational fuel load of 25,000 litres and are powered by two MTU 1050-kilowatt diesel engines. This provides endurance in excess of 1000 nautical miles at 20 knots and considerably more at lower speeds.

Each ACV has two 6.4m tenders capable of carrying two crew and four passengers. Each tender is powered by twin 90 hp outboards and has a cruising range of 150 nautical miles. Tenders are deployed from an ACV via compensated davits on the port and starboard sides aft.

The standard crew for an ACV patrol consists of eight Customs Marine Officers. These officers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and spend 22-30 days at sea per six week roster cycle. Southern ocean crew will work under modified conditions and will generally spend around 40 days at sea. A variety of training is undertaken to ensure crew are skilled to operate as a safe and professional team. Training includes:

occupational health and safety at sea

Bay-class operation

operational safety and defensive skills

statutory Federal and State marine qualifications

other Customs specific training.

coastguardplane.jpg

More than two years ago I was sailing off the West Australian coast and while at the Monte Bello Islands a Coastwatch plane (pictured above) come over and demanded all sorts of answers such as yacht’s registered name and home port, who was on board, last port, next port, ETA next port and what did we know about the other yacht nearbye that they couldn’t raise on radio. I was impressed. Days later we witnessed Coastwatch operatives conducting training with heli fast-rope inserts onto a small rock way out in the ocean. I’ve been there, done that, am critical and they looked professional to me.

The Australian Coastwatch service has a website here and the National Marine Unit here

Coast Watch is a uniquely Australian answer and currently under the umbrella of Australian Customs. Why change that?. If the ALP think Coast watch is not working properly then why not just boost Coatswatch?

Canada are looking at our system and ask; ‘Australia’s Coastwatch ? What Can Canada Learn?’ Read that here. It’s a short piece

Could someone tell me why we shouldn’t just develop and improve Coastwatch. Why do the ALP insist on a Coast Guard when we already have one? Is it just a name change or do they want it under the umbrella of Defence?

All sounds like books for kids to me – the wrong angle of approach.

Version 2.0, my Son

It had to happen. A techno dropkick has called his son Ver 2.0.

Free Circuses

Mark Latham has a ‘free book’ plan to help kids improve. The fact that the problem is the parents and not the kids seems to slip through the net. The Herald Sun has the story

“Most would agree that kids spend too much time with computer games and TV,” he said. “If we can get them reading and doing more exercise it will give them a more balanced lifestyle.

When my kids were at school there was no TV during the week AT ALL. That didn’t happen because some loopy MP gave them free books, it happened because I said so and therein lies the rub. It’s the parents, stupid.

If most would agree that kids spend too much time with computer games and TV then it’s the parents who need counselling, not free books for kids. No parental discipline and the free books will be lost uner the TV Times on the coffee table.

Parents who don’t read to their kids don’t do so because they’re stupid and don’t understand education and its benefits. The same people think homework is an invasion of their leisure time and take-away is healthy and for these reasons they are most probably already voting for the ALP so what’s Mark Lathams point.

Free books for kids? He hasn’t heard of school and public libraries chock-a-block full of free books?

Mark’s point is this; Look at me, I read to my kids. Look at me, I plan to give free books to people so they can read to their kids. People who read to their kids are are responsible parents and people who give them books to help them be responsible are very responsible. Ergo, I am very responsible – vote for me.

It’s not the wherewithal Mark, it’s the motivation.

Work on the parents. Encourage them to go the local libraries where they can access free books for thier kids that won’t cost the country another 80 million dollars.

Update: One of my progeny states I turned soft later and the younger kids could watch TV for an hour after school but not after dinner. Another tells me the rule only worked when I was home which explains the flurried activity as I drove into the driveway. At least I tried.

Education

In another life I was a recruiting Sergeant and on one notable day lectured to Year 12 kids at two Hornsby High Schools. The first lecture was at a St Leo’s College where the boys, all well dressed and well mannered, listened politely, asked discerning questions and the School Captain thanked me for my time and my service (I was in uniform).

After lunch I entered the hall at the Hornsby High School to be met with pro-communist propaganda on the walls and a group of young people that could only be described as a noisy rabble. Vitriolic abuse flowed freely and the teacher in charge could only smirk. I requested she take some control but she couldn’t or wouldn’t see my point.

I left without another word.

Life, and love, gave me five children and I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised as to what type of schools my children attended. I’m not Cathiloc but they all went to Catholic schools; not that all State Schools are like Hornsby was, but because they could be. A heavily Union or left wing orientated Principal could negate all that is good about the state school system.

All of my children went on to teriary education and two, both men, teach. One in a private school and the other public. Don’t try and tell me it’s different – it isn’t.

The responsibility of teaching young people is heavy and the all to often situation of teachers putting their point of view as fact to young impressionable minds is an abrogation of this responsibility and should be cause for censure.

And no! I am not suggesting all state schools have this problem. They don’t, but while the left wing is in the ascendency in the tertiary institutions it will surface all too regularly.

I don’t want my right wing views espoused as fact either. Kids need to be taught that there are different views on how things should be and given a good impartial education should be able to make up their own minds when they mature.

Howard is right, there is a problem and the biggest aspect of that problem is the left wing refusing to see it. Like the ABC, proof that there is bias is emphasised by the fact that the left wing never complain about bias – it’s biased their way.

While we’re discussing education can we bury this red herring that suggests Federal Government funding suggests some social engineering project on the Government’s part. The fact that the Feds allocate more funding to Private schools than State is a part of their charter. The States have the responsibility of funding their own schools. The Government helps State and ensures private schools have some funding as they do eduacate over 30% of our kids.

Don’t be alarmed though, the Australian public knows all this and will says so come the election.

Clear Sailing

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I’ve been to sea in yachts and ships of the ‘Grey Funnel Line’ (RAN) but I’ve never seen seas like this. Just goes to show it aint all beer and skittles.

Photo courtesy of the Australian

Summer Storms

The summer storms hit Brisbane with a vengence with considerable damage to the community and the power grid.

I flew in from Perth yesterday just in time to notice my website had been hit by spammers before the storm struck and took away the power. I was actually in the pool when it struck having given up on fixing my website. I couldn’t get out quick enough. Water – lightning strikes- run for cover – run back and try and secure umbrella (too late) patio furniture (too late). Later all secure – now find the camera to take a shot of horizontal palm trees. Found the camera but couldn’t switch it on due to lack of reading glasses.

After the storm had passed I found them in the middle of the pool along with my coffee mug and a considerable amount of local flora and fuana.

Ergon Energy reported up to 100 000 homes without power and I went without until 1:30 the next afternoon. Third world service in a state that promised bells and whistles with the new ‘privatised’ power company.

37 degress celcius – no power for the airconditioner or the computer – water for coffee heated on my old gas camping stove – light in the kitchen from my Mothers old Kerosene lamp from the farm in the fifties – hurumph.

Tomorrow will be a better day, I’m sure. I hope. Similar storms are forecast for the rest of the week.

Bloody Spam

I go away for a week and all hell breaks loose. A spammer got onto my site and left a comment on every post that ever was. It then tried to send emails and because the server didn’t recognize the source it dumped them all in a bin.

90 mb worth of emails clogged up the system and if it wasn’t for the abilities and amicability of Gary Gravett we’d all still be looking at a blank screen. Well I would, you all would have gone on to more fertile pastures.

The old familiar three column template will be up later tonight and my leave pass has finished.

Thanks again, Gary.

Pass from 18:45h’

Tonight my wife and I will board Virgin and fly west to the land of my fathers, Albany, West Australia. My Mother still lives there at the tender age of 84 and in full command of her facilities. A published poet and writer, originally from the small town of Pemberton, she has inspired most of her children to write.

My three sisters also live in the west and it is the son of my youngest sister that has prompted this return to Albany. He is getting married on Saturday. Courtesy of the cheap air-fairs from Virgin ($300 return Brisbane-Perth) four of my five children will also make the journey. My other son will be starting work in Yepoon too soon after the wedding to manage the flight from Perth and the 600 km drive from Brisbane to Yepoon the night before school starts.I am strong on family and am pleased my children will get this chance to see their Grandmother again and socialize with their western cousins. I will not post while I’m away (7 days) so readers may like to go visit new sites linked on my sidebar. Bastards Inc, penned by an irreverant man with just a hint of ex-service about him makes no bones about his opinions of fools. Marty’s Insight does have insight but I note most of his readers would prefer to be ‘kicking cute puppies’ wich seems to be in direct contravention of my ideas of what is reasonable but I’ll let it pass. Bizarre Science appeals to my thoughts that science shouldn’t be used to confuse the youth of the country. He dispells bullshit with fact. They are all well worth the read.

Leave Pass from 18:45h

Tonight my wife and I will board Virgin and fly west to the land of my fathers, Albany, West Australia. My Mother still lives there at the tender age of 84 and in full command of her facilities. A published poet and writer, originally from the small town of Pemberton, she has inspired most of her children to write. My three sisters also live in the west and it is the son of my youngest sister that has prompted this return to Albany. He is getting married on Saturday.

Courtesy of the cheap air-fairs from Virgin ($300 return Brisbane-Perth) four of my five children will also make the journey. My other son will be starting work in Yepoon too soon after the wedding to manage the flight from Perth and the 600 km drive from Brisbane to Yepoon the night before school starts.

I am strong on family and am pleased my children will get this chance to see their Grandmother again and socialize with their western cousins.

I will not post while I’m away (7 days) so readers may like to go visit new sites linked on my sidebar. Bastards Inc, penned by an irreverant man with just a hint of ex-service about him makes no bones about his opinions of fools. Marty’s Insight does have insight but I note most of his readers would prefer to be ‘kicking cute puppies’ wich seems to be in direct contravention of my ideas of what is reasonable but I’ll let it pass. Bizarre Science appeals to my thoughts that science shouldn’t be used to confuse the youth of the country. He dispells bullshit with fact. They are all well worth the read.

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