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.

Have a good one

 

Labour Sticks to guns

Labour are still insisting they will bring home the troops by Christmas

I’m relieved. I was worrying about how the 50,000 odd servicemen and thousands of police in Australia at the moment would be able to handle the terror threat without the help of 20 or so Air Traffic Controllers and the few hundred Infantrymen guarding Australian assetts in Iraq.

Latham must have heard of one of the principles of war that argues against splitting forces.

ATSIC dead in the water

Good. It should be harpooned while it is wallowing around.

Lets revert to one nation, one Government, one law.

Yesterday I thought we were going to be presented with ATSIC by another name. Latham still thinks it the go but I think the punters are sick and tired of separate governments. Howard is reading it that way as well and even his detractors must admit Hawke’s ATSIC has failed.

Reinstitute Indigenous Affairs as a separate department and give it the flexibility to respond to known problems. Laws, policy and standards are in place to help disadvantage Australians – lets use them wherever it matters.

Update: The Editor of the Australian underscores the problem we have in Australia by printing this letter from Andrew Sweeney

MARK Latham’s plan to abolish ATSIC is racist. He would find it inconceivable that parliament could be abolished, yet he plans to decide the fate of indigenous governance himself.

Indigenous Australians won’t be free until they have governance that privileged white men can’t sack.

Mr Latham should look to his own prospects for governance. Privileged white voters like myself don’t want another heavy-handed PM.

Reality check, Andrew

It’s a reasonable case to say ATSIC itself is racist. It is, after all, an Australian Government body that disenfranchises most Australians

There is no such thing as governance that privileged white men can’t sack. All governance is sackable by the votors and the last thing we want is an un-sackable body playing loosely with public monies.

Your not priviledged because your white but because you are an Australian. We all have a vote (except if your white and then you can’t vote for ATSIC)

Andrew says heavy-handed, I say decisive. If it ain’t working – fix it or demolish it.

Indigenous red herrings

Indigenous Australians are more likely to die young than people in Nigeria, Bangladesh or India, a report by the Fred Hollows Foundation says.

Fair enough.

The fact that indigenous Australians have an income stream most probably has some bearing on the subject. Money and idle time lead to some of indigenous Australian’s health issues. Troubled people in Nigeria, Bangladesh and India have a different sort of problem. They have no money to buy anything, let alone substances to abuse.

ATSIC say the average income for Aborigines is $14,000, 30% less than other Australians, but it sure as hell takes Nigeria, Bangladesh and India out of the formula. Let’s compare apples with apples.

Foundation chief executive Mike Lynskey said the poor health of many of Australia’s indigenous people was an indictment of our society.

I agree wholeheartedly and we have a lot of work to do but the indictment doesn’t read ‘maliciously disadvantaged their health’, it’s more along the lines that money has been wasted on projects by ATSIC, and others, that have more to do with grandiose dreams than practical help.

ATSIC has directed a lot of effort towards home ownership and whereas that has merit, I’m not sure we shouldn’t fix the endemic alcohol and drug dependency that exists in many groups and impacts on poor health, low birth-weights and short life-spans, before we just move the problems into white picquet fenced bungalows.

From Geoff Clark, Chairman of ATSIC. (quoting the last figures I could find)

We acknowledge the Federal Government will outlay about $2.5 billion dollars in the 2002-03 financial year on Indigenous Affairs but less than half is administered by ATSIC.

Three Points.

1. The $2.5 billion dollars does not include mining royalties or individual and business income, so all in all, quite a significant sum for 400,000 plus Australians,
2. The ‘less than half that is administered by ATSIC’ needs auditing – quickly, and
3. $2.5 billion dollars indicate it is not the amount of money that is the problem.

The Fred Hollows Foundation does a good job but we all know on which side Fred’s politics lay and I think it’s disingenuous to keep on bringing up these half arsed facts without raising some coalface issues.

Let?s hope ATSIC’s replacement is better advised and audited than has been the case in the past and that they work at grass roots levels as well as pursuing high and lofty ideals.

Update: A comment from a reader who lives at the coal face states Where I live substance abuse is not the issue…It has everything to do with poor personal hygiene, gambling away welfare payments and a total lack of willingness to take responsibility for their own lives.

I know different problems occur at different communities including those with little or no problems but something needs to be done overall and I don’t think ATSIC is the answer.

Another one we missed

I received this email from Defence.

Minister for Defence Media Mail List

Monday, 29 March 2004

AUSTRALIA AND VIETNAM DEFENCE MINISTERS MEET

WHAT: Photo opportunity
Defence Minister Robert Hill will today meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Senior General Pham Van Tra. It is the first time a Vietnamese Minister for Defence has visited Australia.

I have advise for Robert Hill

Control your breathing,
Remember to take first pressure, and
Aim for the centre of the seen mass.

After firing shout Dung Lai! (Halt!) At least I think that’s how we used to do it.

Brisbane City elections.

Brisbane City Council, the biggest city council in Australia is now Liberal led with Campbell Newman the new Lord Mayor. That?s the good news. The bad news is Labour still hold a majority in wards and after Jim Soorly’s reign, I can only imagine there is a lot of left wing influence. The Labor councillors, the Labor State Government and the unions are all gearing up to make Campbell’s reign very difficult.

If you didn’t know, Campbell is son of Kevin and Jocelyn Newman. Newman won the Bass by-election in June 1975 with a 13.8% swing, giving the first hint of the unpopularity of the Whitlam government and a portent of its eventual electoral fate in December 1975. Kevin was my Commanding Officer in 1972 and after noticing the difficulty I had walking, arranged for a soft posting for me in Army Recruiting to give me time to recover from patrolling in Vietnam. Jocelyn was a competent Senator for many years but, I think, lost some of her zeal when husband Kevin died.

Breeding is everything and coming from such a good family I can only imagine Campbell will have plenty of fight in him.

He will need it and I wish him well.

Shades of 1972

Latham, all hat and no cattle, sets himself up for another backflip. Surely by now, voters are getting his measure.

I wonder if Gough had any input into his latest ‘We will bring the troops home by Christmas” line. Gough used just that line in 1972, notwithstanding the fact that troop withdrawal was already set in train by the Libs. Another of the great ALP lies of those days was born as even today there are plenty of ‘Maintain the Rage’ devotees who believe Gough brought the troops home.

With todays hounding by the press Latham will have to think a bit harder about policy on the fly and maybe run his ideas through Caucus first.

Shades of Gough and the punters are starting to notice.

Don’t think the troops aren’t reading the Australian press and wondering what’s the go. They shoudn’t be pawns in any debate but the media are quick to head that way. Watch them find a recalcitrant digger saying ‘I want to be home as well – we shoudn’t be here’ or better still, his wife complaining about his absence whilst holding a stressed toddler to appeal to every mother in Australia.

He is still all show and no substance. Downer made a big call when he said

…Mr Latham’s remarks were made without consulting his shadow cabinet and seemed to be influenced by Greens Senator Bob Brown.

But it is the stupid type of statement Brown would make, but then Brown isn’t a contender for the Prime Ministerial crown. Latham is and it’s a worry.

Musings

Warning. Emotive blackmail post

Now into my third week of helping set up an auction for Brisbane Legacy time to blog has been at a premium. One of the staff stalwarts at Legacy had the temerity to fall ill and I’ve had to double as data entry chick person. All involved agree I’m far from an improvement and wish her well and back at work soon, as do I. If your into collectables and antique militaria you are invited to Legacy House Merrival Street, South Brisbane on Saturday for viewing and Sunday at 9:00 for viewing and auction start at 10:00.

600 lots of history. A Japanese Officer’s Samurai from the surrender ceremony at Singapore, uniforms from the Boer War, 18 century cutlasses, Light Horse webbing and equipment from the famous Beersheba stoush. Photos, documents. medals, bayonets, commando daggers, trench art and first edition books. Something for everyone with an interest in Australia’s military history.

20% of proceeds go to Legacy helping widows and children of Australian servicemen killed in defence of Australia.

No politics here, just doing the Australian thing and helping those in need.

Stories of gallant deeds of men never seem to mention the gallant deeds of the widows left to ‘soldier on’ with little Government help. Not being a voting block, the 120,000 war widows in Australia seldom get a mention in the media.

Telephone bidding and catalogues can be organized by ringing 07 3846 4299.

What about some of you armchair warriors pitching in? If you do I undertake to give you a full brief on whatever you buy.

Escape

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The crowded beach

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Good house, good wheels

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Locals stop by looking for a handout.

Why did I come back? Niall forcing me to think. Legacy want more work. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing – damn.

Wake Up Australia

I take a week off to help at Legacy and the country goes mad.

We’ve been fighting Terrorism for a long time now and people still think it’s about cause and effect. The so called intellectuals think it’s all about scoring cheap points against John Howard – Jesus Christ, bloody well wake up!

It?s about our lifestyle, about our religion, our enjoyment of life, about their lack of education and resulting acceptance of myths as fact.

They may or may not have won in Spain but it doesn’t matter who’s in power there. From the Terrorists point of view, Spain is their country and was stolen from them 600 years ago. They don’t accept any umpires decision, let alone the voices of democracy. It’s theirs and they want it back. They want East Timor back in the fold as well and Australia will ever be a target for helping democracy overcome tyranny in that neck of the woods.

So we helped in Iraq – so bloody what. The media, the ABC and SBS all seem to think that the whole debate is about WMDs – Oh my God, there’s no WMD’s – Howard lied, Bush lied, Butler didn’t, Wilkie is a hero, we shouldn’t have gone in without UN sanction.

None of that matters

Get over it you dipshits. It’s about Moslem extremists trying to kill us Infidels and have their Shari law take precedence over our laws.

As Bush tries to get a democracy up and running in Iraq every left wing intellect and fool are trying to pull it down. Well, you had better start hoping he pulls it off. A democracy in the middle of the cauldron that is the Middle East is what the world needs and extreme Moslems dread. Holy Moses, they are thinking, if these people are educated and have a vote, we’ll never get a look in. They are fighting to maintain their power over the illiterates.

They are not fighting for Iraq, the point is not that just that the US are there. It’s the fact that the US still exists.

Jones on Late Line spends all his time missing the point – blaming everything on what Howard ever done or didn’t do. Jonesy, it might have escaped your notice but the problem is extremists are killing innocents and they are not, repeat not, doing it because Howard is a conservative.

Watch tonight?s SBS show on Hicks, the idiot at Guantanamo. There are lawyers around spruiking about human rights when the facts are, he was caught fighting for a foreign power. He abrogated any rights an Australian might enjoy when he enlisted with the enemy. There is no lengthy discussion needed here. If he actually was doing that then he stays incarcerated until the war is over. Were the fathers of these lawyers up in Thailand trying to get Aussie POWs released during WW2 because of human rights – no.

Let him rot there until the war is over – like all POWs have had to do.

Taxpayers should be very peeved that their taxes have paid for this pro-terrorist propaganda. Why didn’t the ATO just send the money over to the Taliban Propaganda Corps and leave out the SBS middleman – could’ve been cheaper.

We are at war and too many are aiding and abetting the enemy.

Hercules musings

Last week I posted on the demise of the Huey and now the bloody C130 Hercules is under threat.

a400landing.jpg

Airbus A400 new Military Spec Aircraft

Looks good but it has a long way to go beat the Herc’s record and of course Lockheed may have something to say about sales. They are not going to roll over without a fight.

My career covered Herc modes ‘A’ though ‘H’ and while business executives notched up air miles in 707s, 727s, 737s and 747s I did it in Hercs. Few creature comforts but we could smoke and drink (mostly) and a hammock always beats an airline seat.

The ingenious amongst us could get comfortable but poor insulation made it very cold and the noise made conversations difficult for days.

I flew from Townsville to Perth when I was stationed in the West and we set some sort of record for slowness. 11 hours beating into a 200 mph headwind. An example of why soldiers get hard lying allowances

In Thailand with US forces during the Vietnam War, the Commander gave us an Easter leave pass. A Colonel offered me a seat in a Herc to Sydney and back and I felt compelled to ask him if he had done such a long haul in a Herc before. He answered in the negative and so did I.

You’ll spend most of easter in the air, Sir – Jesus had a better deal than that. The Colonel had one day of the four at home but he did bring back some ‘four and twenty pies’ and VB so at least some of us benefited.

Which brings to mind the senior Aussie Sergeant Major who stated he was staying in Bangkok for the break while the rest of us took of to Pattaya.

I said ” four days and four walls’ is not good for a man. He replied ‘Four days, four walls and four legs!

Silly me!

More>>> (on the A400)

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