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Miscellaneous comments page, 20-28 Feb 10

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments here.

(Apologies that year 2009, rather than year 2010, was used in dates previously - JS, 3 Aug 2010)

This is the first of a series of blog entries that will be added from time to time, was set up at the suggestion of a site visitor.

Where are the missing comments?

Some may be wondering why the two comments listed below can't be found on this page, it is because they have flowed over to page 2. The "Recent comments" links are not incorrectly point to this page. I don't know how to easily fix his. I have manually rectified the problem in a limited sense by adding correct links here.

This is Kevin Rudd's idea of "tough" action regarding whaling of 6 Mar 10 by Milly Osborne

No wise governance, just a wise guy of 6 Mar 10 by Sheila.

Announcement: for now I am momentarily turning off the commenting capability on this page in the hope that people will, instead add new comments, unrelated to any already in this page, to "Miscellaneous comments from 1 March 2009", linked to from the page linked to by the "Your say" link on the Primary menu. If you want to respond to a comment on this page, in the meantime, please let me know. - JS 6 Mar 10.

Comments

Subject: Invitation to 'An Afternoon With Australian Icons" May 23rd 2010

Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to invite you to join us for a fund raising event called "An Afternoon with Australian Icons" for our most recognised Australian Native Icon, the kangaroo. My name is Gail Browning, I am the chief organiser and I have many well known Australians such as Bob Irwin, (Steve Irwin's father), Lee Rhiannon (The Greens Party) Lynda Stoner, (Actress) Fiona Corke (Neighbours), Johnny Pace, (comedian), Mark Pearson (Animal Liberation), an Australian Bush Poet Kevin Campbell, and "The Next Step", a male tap - rap dance group, to help make this afternoon a huge success. I also have an auction and raffles to raise funds. I am a professional pianist, and I will be playing the piano, and performing my song, written for the late Steve Irwin, "A Hero's Tale".

The Date is May 23rd 2010.

The Venue is the Revesby Workers Club (RWC) 2b Brett St Revesby, NSW. (Next to Revesby train station)

The Time is 3.00pm - 6.00pm.

AIM

The aim is to raise the public's awareness of the world's worst wildlife massacre, our kangaroos. I was shocked when I read the report on the Decimation of an Icon, written and compiled by Nikki Sutterby for the Australian Society for Kangaroos in 2008.You can read this report by clicking on to the website: www.stopkangarookilling.org The sad facts of the killing of both mothers and joeys are very alarming and many animal organisations are asking for it to stop. Since 2001, kangaroo numbers have declined by 55%. The ways in which the joeys are killed are as bad as the baby seals.

Bookings

To book your tickets, please call the RWC on 9772 2100 or you can book online at www.rwc.org.au Go to home page, scroll down to "Events" , click on to "Full listing" and click the event called "Afternoon with Australian Icons" Click "Buy Tickets" which will take you to screen, click on how many tickets, press continue ,then select ticket type Then follow prompts with your credit card details. Tickets can be picked up from the RWC prior to the day or on the day.

Adults: $25
Children: $15
Pensioners: $15.

Family passes : $60, can only be made via phone. There is no limit on children. Reserved Seating, so please book early.

Thankyou, I hope we see you there for a memorable and enjoyable afternoon.

Kind Regards
Gail Browning.
www.gailbrowning.com.au

The Australian Greens today slammed the decision by the Minister for Environment Peter Garrett to allow the Gorgon development to go ahead on Barrow Island, saying he is signing off on the destruction of this unique environment.

"There is no way that the environment of Barrow Island can be protected from this development - no environmental conditions can protect the environment of this Island, and it is a nonsense for Minister Garrett to hide behind such conditions. It is inevitable that the island will be degraded," said Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Just today we've heard that Chevron's own environmental consultant gave them advice to locate the processing plant on shore, as the environmental impact to Barrow Island is too great."

"Barrow Island is an A- Class Nature Reserve. It has been dubbed 'Australia's Ark' for its unique range of endangered species, with 24 species and sub-species preserved on the island, many of which are extinct or endangered on mainland Australia."

"This proposal will have unacceptable environmental impacts on the terrestrial and the marine environment. It simply should not be going ahead on Barrow Island," Senator Siewert said.

"The Federal Government is once again putting resource development ahead of environmental protection. I must admit I didn't really expect the Minister for the Environment to make any other decision but to give this project the tick as he was clearly given his riding instructions when the Prime Minister announced it last week, however it is still hugely disappointing that the Minister has failed to do his job and protect this Island."

"We call on the Federal Government to require that the Gorgon development is located on the mainland," concluded Senator Siewert.

Senator Siewert is available for comment today in Broome

Threatened mammals are being airlifted from Barrow Island where the massive Gorgon gas project, West Australian Environment Minister Donna Faragher says.

Up to 500 golden bandicoots, 170 boodies, 140 spectacled hare wallabies and 140 possums would be airlifted from Barrow Island, 50km off WA's Pilbara Coast, Ms Faragher said.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett gave environmental approval to the project in August last year, imposing 30 conditions on the joint venture partners involved in the $50 billion project.

Barrow Island, an A-class nature reserve, is home to the endangered flatback turtle species and a number of other endangered species endemic to the island.

Natural historian Harry Butler has worked on the island for decades, researching the species on the island and advising Chevron on environmental issues.

Ms Faragher said it was one of the biggest translocation projects ever undertaken in Australia.

The animals will be transferred to the Montebello Islands, 30km north of Barrow Island, the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth or Lorna Glen, a former pastoral station, about 800km away in central WA.

Ms Faragher said the transfer of the animals was part of an offset program managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), funded by Chevron and linked to the environmental approvals of the Gorgon project.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to translocate animals from Barrow Island where there are currently healthy populations of about 40,000 to 60,000 golden bandicoots, 5000 boodies, up to 10,000 spectacled hare wallabies and 10,000 possums," she said.

And won't the incumbent indigenous animal populations defend their territory? (A total disaster for all.) Or is the government creating some new territory there by rehabilitating enough land?

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

They are supposedly moving the majority of these mammals to the Monte Bello islands,which are "supposed" to be pest free,highly unlikely I think....They have only moved a small proportion of these mammals from Barrow Island,so just a gesture from Chevron oil company..Who knows what will happen to the thousands of mammals left behind at barrow island once this money spinner Gorgon project starts up....Im sure 90% of the australian public will be too concerned who will win the moronic footy at the weekend or their weekend booze up than concern for our rapidly declining beautiful wildlife...anyway..

MPs gagged on growth; Bligh uses numbers to shut down debate on population
Anonymous. Sunshine Coast Daily. Maroochydore, Qld.: Feb 13, 2010. pg. 12
C) Australian Provincial Newspapers 2010

AN assault on the South-East Queensland Regional Plan by Sunshine Coast MPs was cut short in Parliament when the government used its numbers to kill off debate on Thursday night.

The planning scheme, which caters for a 75% growth in the Sunshine Coast's population within 20 years, requires the council to make provision for 98,000 additional dwellings in that time, 61,500 in green field areas and 31,500 within existing urban communities.

The region's State LNP representatives expressed outrage at the government's failure to listen to feedback from existing residents concerned about the impact on the environment and the need to have infrastructure keep pace with growth.

Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe told the House that from 2006 to 2031, an additional 754,000 dwellings would be required to cater for the expected population growth in South-East Queensland.

But he claimed the number was not a number set by government but "an estimated projection which we need to prepare for''.

Member for Noosa Glen Elmes told the Parliament that submissions on the plan had made no difference to the government's direction, which had ignored the position of a range of Sunshine Coast community groups.

"How could we expect anything to be different?" Mr Elmes said.

"With a Labor government now more dependent for its political survival on donations from the property development industry than from its traditional labour trade union base and with a Minister captive to that same industry for whom he was a consultant and advocate before coming into this place - how could we expect other than what we have got?

"But the Minister monsters any notion of impartiality through the concept of investigation areas and sleight of hand expansions of the urban footprint to appease his constituent urban development lobby.''

After years of intimidation from Japan, idle, empty "threats" from Australia, and procrastination, it is unlikely that Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada feel in any way pressured to stop their whale slaughter. There has been too many "talks" and a total lack of commitment and seriousness given to whaling, despite Kevin Rudd's pre-election promises and bravado.

Australia is cowering to Japan's economic powers and in desperation for their "friendship"! More "talks" will just add to the hot air, and to the illusion that something is being done! Once a crime has been committed for years without being challenged, it's legality becomes de facto and this makes it harder to take action.

Japan must see Australia as a land of cowards, and this they are manipulating for their own ends. Rudd is an accomplice in Japan's whale slaughter.

Japan has been allowed to ignore Australia's whale sanctuary, our Antarctic Territory, and Kevin Rudd has given sanction to the unprofitable and cruel practice of whale harpooning.

The return of commercial whaling will see their bloody slaughter legal, justified not because of science, but for food - now that the oceans are suffering from overfishing!

Mega-merger anger. Families in Banyule, in Victoria, are angry that the State government intends to close and merge some of the local primary and secondary schools and merge them into one mega site from preps to year 12. They intend to close four local schools and the senior section of one of the primary schools.

The mega school will occupy 9.3 ha and cater for 1800 students instead of having family and child friendly community facilities close to where they live. Many families in this area are disadvantaged and don't have cars.

The Education Department has bulldozed its way through the decision making process with only token community consultation. This is the mode of operation of our State's "Planning" department! This closure is likely to cause the demise of communities, and other people condemn the idea of prep to year 12 schools.

The merger and closure of schools in the Banyule area is simply a land grab, an effort to push the population of Marvellous Melbourne towards 5 million, and give opportunities for land developers and investors - already favoured and pampered by our State government.
Heidelberg Leader Mega-merger anger - have your say

Brumby is driving Marvellous Melbourne into a depressed, overcrowded and increasingly violent society. Education, child and family welfare, conservation, infrastructure and the protection of local amenities are not priorities for our State government.

The following was sent through our contact form. - JS

Please support our petition to change the national anthem.

The petition is:

Australia's current national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair" is difficult to remember, and does not inspire or unify the nation or optimise patriotism.

Many Aussies do not know the words or what they mean!

Waltzing Matilda has generated enthusiasm, and is the Aussie song chosen in celebration and in times of struggle.

Lets all embrace our heritage, our future and an anthem that is known locally and internationally as Australian.

An anthem that instills pride, strong verse in song and an anthem that has stood by Australia in peace and in times of adversity.

Sign our petition, and let's inspire our nation to be the best it can be. Waltzing Matilda is the unofficial anthem that Australians look to, and choose to sing. Waltzing Matilda is the only song that needs no prompting to bring everyone together in full voice.

You lot are completely un-Australian! Leave the bloody thing alone.

What is so Australian about 'Advance Australia Fair?'
Sounds like pretentious Victorian-era colonialism to me.

Whilst "Advance Australia Fair" with its reference to us having "boundless plains to share" is ludicrous as a national anthem, I have never been able to understand the enthusiam that others have felt for "Waltzing Matilda".

A recent documentary "The Matilda Myth" in two parts, the first being on Radio National's Background Briefing and the second being on the Hindsight.

It appears that the song, in fact served to cover up the murder of the unionist Samuel "Frenchy" Hoffmeister, by implying that Hoffmeister had killed himself, by implying that it was a suicide.

The transcript of Background Briefing dealing with the inquest follows:

Ian Walker: The inquest into Frenchy Hoffmeister's death was held only days after his body was found, but, the wildly conflicting witness statements paint a muddy picture to say the least. Trevor Monti has been a barrister in Melbourne for more than 30 years and he's taken a keen interest in the Hoffmeister case. He's convinced the official finding of suicide just doesn't stack up.

Trevor Monti: About the only non-contested fact, I think, is the fact that Frenchy Hoffmeister was shot through the roof of the mouth, as a result of which he died. The circumstances by which he came to suffer that wound are quite controversial. There are a number of different versions given by witnesses at the inquest. What I think is significant is that this inquest is conducted three days after the death of Frenchy Hoffmeister, when these events should have been very fresh in the minds of those who were present in the union camp where he was found dead. And for there to be such blatant discrepancies in the accounts given by various witnesses is just amazing.

Ian Walker: Trevor Monti reckons the inquest has the whiff of a classic cover-up, starting with the incredibly, or perhaps deliberately, shoddy work of the investigating officer.
Trevor Monti: There's no doubt that there was a completely inadequate investigation made by Senior Constable Cafferty. And, the more so, after he extracted the bullet from Frenchy's head and then compared the weight of that to the weight of the other bullets that were in the revolver and found that the bullet extracted from Frenchy's head to be heavier than those in the revolver. I mean, that of itself, I would think, would normally call for further inquiry and further thought and further investigation.

Ian Walker: The one thing we do have that's quite solid is the doctor's examination of the bullet wound and the bullet found in Frenchy's head. If this indeed was not a suicide, and was a murder, it's pretty much similar to a gangland assassination, isn't it?

Trevor Monti: Yes, it is, but he could well have been murdered by someone placing a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.

Ian Walker: Is this a good old-fashioned cover-up then?

Trevor Monti: The magistrate was called in those days a police magistrate, and they were appointed from anywhere out of public life, oftentimes without much legal training. It's a little harsh to say that he may have been involved with the pastoralists but they were turbulent times. It may be the case that he was quite happy to have the death of Frenchy Hoffmeister put away as quickly as possible, with a finding of suicide that would result in no further inquiry being made.

Ian Walker: Barrister Trevor Monti.

The official finding of the coroner was that Hoffmeister, presumably racked with guilt about the bungled arson, had committed suicide, possibly to save his fellow unionists from going to jail. The more plausible explanation, according to the Magoffins, is that Hoffmeister's comrades shot him, so he could be used as a scapegoat for the arson attack.

(End of transcript).

Yet only a few months later, according to the transcript, "in an extraordinary scene, champagne flows at the Kynuna pub between the local squatters and striking unionists, who only months before had been trying to kill each other. In a way, they may have been toasting the death of Frenchy Hoffmeister, who was found with a bullet in his head the morning after he allegedly lit the match at the Dagworth woolshed."

Yet the program seemed to ignore this unsettling information that it, itself, had unearthed and continued to treat "Waltzing Matilda" as if it were the celebration of Australian unionism and rebelliousness. Of this I wrote on the ABC forum:

Thanks for having produced an excellent documentary.

I also find disturbing the fact that McPherson served champagne to the same striking shearers who had previously burnt down his shearing shed.

The most likely explanation of events was that a tacit agreement was somehow reached between the strikers on the one hand and McPherson, the police and the authorities on the other, that the murder of a scapegoat was an acceptable means of enabling an agreement to be reached between the two parties in conflict.

Thus a crude form of "an eye for an eye" "justice" conveniently allowed the conflict to end, but it would hardly seem fair to the murdered Hoffmeister.

As one who supports trade unionism and generally celebrates its history and achievements, I don't see how this particular episode is not to its credit.

I agree that while Waltzing Matilda conjures nostalia, its lyrics are odd for a national anthem.

A tale about a jolly swagman camping by a billabong, rustling a jumbuck then escaping into the billabong is bizarre. It is not relevant to messages needing to be conveyed in a national anthem.

Advance Australia Fair was chosen to replace Waltzing Matilda in 1984.

"In 1973 the Whitlam government decided that the country needed an anthem that could represent Australia with "distinction" and started a competition to find one. The Australia Council for the Arts organised the contest, which was dubbed the Australian National Anthem Quest. The contest was held in two stages, the first seeking lyrics and the second music, each having an AUD $5,000 prize for the winning entry. On the recommendation of the Council for the Arts, none of the new entries were felt worthy enough, so the contest ended with the suggestions for Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda and Song of Australia.

Advance Australia Fair emerged as the most popular choice for the national anthem after an opinion poll in 1974 (the Australian Bureau of Statistics polled 60,000 people nationally). A spokesman for the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam stated that the Government regarded the tune primarily as the national anthem.

At the same time as the 1977 referendum, a national plebiscite was held to choose the National Song. Advance Australia Fair received 43.29% of the vote, defeating the three alternatives: Waltzing Matilda (28.28%), Song of Australia (9.65%), and the existing national anthem God Save the Queen (18.78%).

Advance Australia Fair was adopted as the national anthem (the 1st and 3rd verses, with modified lyrics) on 19 April 1984 by a decision of the Labor government of Bob Hawke and a proclamation by the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen."

So the choice was very democratic and is quite current in comparison with many nations.

The song is easy for most people to sing, which is an important consideration. I think the music is fine, but some of the lyrics may need to evolve to reflect social attitudes better.

Certainly if you look at the British National Anthem it is all monarch-centric, not about the people. So in many respects Australia's national anthem is far more relevant and inspiring than Britain's:

"God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.
O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen."

As for France's national anthem, 'La Marseillaise', it is the opposite in approach to that of Britain. La Marsellaise is a protest against monarchy and a peoples' call to arms during the French Revolution and about France invading neighbouring countries. This is arguably hardly appropriate or relevant today!

La Marseillaise:

"Allons enfants de la Patrie, Come, children of the Fatherland (Homeland),
Le jour de gloire est arrivé ! The day of glory has arrived!
Contre nous de la tyrannie, Against us, Tyranny!
L'étendard sanglant est levé, (bis) The Bloody banner is raised, (repeat)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes Do you hear in the countryside
Mugir ces féroces soldats ? Those ferocious soldiers roaring?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras They come up to our arms
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes ! To slit the throats of our sons and wives!

Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens,
Formez vos bataillons, Form your battalions,
Marchons, marchons ! Let's march, let's march!
Qu'un sang impur May an impure blood
Abreuve nos sillons ! Water our furrows!

Que veut cette horde d'esclaves, What does this horde of slaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés ? Of traitors and conjured kings want?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves, For whom are these ignoble trammels,
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ? (bis) These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Français, pour nous, ah ! quel outrage Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
Quels transports il doit exciter ! What fury it must arouse!
C'est nous qu'on ose méditer It is we whom they dare plan
De rendre à l'antique esclavage ! To return to ancient slavery!

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...

Quoi ! des cohortes étrangères What! Foreign cohorts
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers ! Would make law in our homes!
Quoi ! ces phalanges mercenaires What! These mercenary phalanxes
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers ! (bis) Would strike down our proud warriors! (repeat)
Grand Dieu ! par des mains enchaînées Great God ! By chained hands
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient Our heads would bow under the yoke
De vils despotes deviendraient Vile despots would become
Les maîtres de nos destinées ! The masters of our destinies!

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...

Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
L'opprobre de tous les partis, The shame of all parties,
Tremblez ! vos projets parricides Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix ! (bis) Will finally receive their prizes! (repeat)
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre, Everyone is a soldier to combat you
S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros, If they fall, our young heroes,
La terre en produit de nouveaux, The earth produces new ones,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre ! Against you, all ready to fight!

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...

Français, en guerriers magnanimes, Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Portez ou retenez vos coups ! Bear or hold back your blows!
Épargnez ces tristes victimes, Spare these sorry victims,
À regret s'armant contre nous. (bis) Arming against us with regrets. (repeat)
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires, But these bloodthirsty despots,
Mais ces complices de Bouillé, But these accomplices of Bouillé,
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié, All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Déchirent le sein de leur mère ! Rip their mother's breast!

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...

Amour sacré de la Patrie, Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberté, Liberté chérie, Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis) Fight with thy defenders! (repeat)
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire Under our flags, victory shall
Accoure à tes mâles accents, Hurry to thy manly accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants Thy expiring enemies shall,
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire ! See thy triumph and our glory!

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...

(Couplet des enfants) (Children's Verse)
Nous entrerons dans la carrière[3] We shall enter in the (military) career
Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus, When our elders are no longer there,
Nous y trouverons leur poussière There we shall find their dust
Et la trace de leurs vertus (bis) And the trace of their virtues (repeat)
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre Much less jealous to survive them
Que de partager leur cercueil, Than to share their coffins,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil We shall have the sublime pride
De les venger ou de les suivre Of avenging or following them

Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens..."

Now if Australians adopted words like that in our national anthem, our mates across the ditch in New Zealand would have cause for concern. So a reality check shows that we could do a lot worse.

Conclusion: Advance Australia Fair was chosen by plebescite relatively recently and is accepted by most Australians. perhaps some of the lyrics like "In history's page, let every stage Advance Australia fair"and "Brittannia rules the wave!" and "We've boundless plains to share" need to be replaced.

Postscript:
As for New Zealand's national anthem, they are even more culturally confused than we are. New Zealdn is the only country with two natinal anthems. "God Defend New Zealand" is one of the national anthems of New Zealand, together with "God Save the Queen".

God Defend New Zealand runs like this and is quite similar in themes to Advance Australa Fair.

"God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country's spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations' van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand."

Notably, none of the above anthems conveys a message respecting the rights and aspirations of indigenous peoples.

Subject was: Do Anthems Matter? - JS

It bothers me that so many people seem to put so much energy into debates about the National Anthem and such and appear to be far more concerned about the national anthem, the flag we fly, or our path to becoming a republic than other issues which to me seem far more important. Debates on these issues keep popping up, inevitably some desire the retention of the status quo and others seek immediate change, others hold a range of views in between. To my mind these matters pale into insignificance when viewed alongside the continual duplication, inefficiencies and scapegoating that our current system of governance thrusts upon us. For many years I have entertained the notion of removing the inherently superfluous, out dated mid tier of government (at state level) and reallocating functions to the local or federal governments.

We will always have need for local government to facilitate garbage collection, drainage and planning matters but beyond that I would like to live in a unified country with uniform standards and administration of our health, education and legal systems, a nation with a far greater accountability on our government than currently exists. I for one am tired of the continual scapegoating and respective whineing from governments as follows;

• The States complain that ‘the federal government allocates insufficient funding.’

• The Feds respond to the effect that ‘sufficient funds are allocated but they have no control over how the money is spent’.

As long as these loopholes exist the vicious cycle continues, monies are squandered on inefficient, ineffective programs and policies with each party blaming the other. With the average voter not really in a position to identify who is at fault.

Our current federation was designed with 19th century thinking and 19th century technologies in mind. Communications were slow, thinking was local rather than global as now applies, competition between the states was rife and a major factor in things such as construction of incompatible rail gauges which has held this country back, cost us dearly and continues to do so. 19th century consideration of environmental issues were minimal and as long as environmental management is localised, fragmented and inconsistent things are only set to get worse. The Murray Darling Basin is but one example of environmental issues transcending state borders with management fragmented, impractical and backward. John Howard’s efforts to assume federal control of basin management were I consider bold, noble and well intentioned but regrettably decades too late. The self serving recalcitrance of the Victorian Government in rejecting the notion outright is an example of how difficult this change to federalism will be. I consider our State borders are relics of history and accordingly should be relegated as such as they currently represent nothing more than an unfortunate burdeneous legacy.

By placing issues of sole responsibility for Health, Education, Environment and such like with the federal government I believe there would be far greater level of transparency and accountability upon our parliament ( with no-one else to blame) and as a result a much higher level of democracy placing more power, where it belongs, through the vote , with the people.

I consider changing the flag and or the anthem will always be debated and changes will come and go. I consider a change to a republic is eventually inevitable. I consider federalism is also inevitable and slowly taking place but is far more important and potentially far more beneficial than any of these other issues. The sooner it comes the sooner we all will benefit to greater advantage. Unfortunately it requires constitutional change and complicity of the States. Perhaps those who will be most obstructionist to this important issue will be the self serving, self interested, fat cat politicians (as opposed to those serving the state, the nation or the people). I see no reason to delay this important change any longer than necessary.

What do other people think?

I think it would be a good idea to abolish state governments but I think we still need three tiers of Government. The problems of forced council amalgamations in Queensland and Victoria show that most council sizes are too large. However, to have only two tiers the national government on one tier and hundreds of of small local governments at the second tier would be too unwieldy.

We would need something in between -- perhaps regional Governments that would combine the regions occupied by a number of local Governments.

The far greater problem is that Governments are not democratic and have not been for at least 3 decades. They are not democratic because nearly all of the important questions which have determined the direction of our society have been made against the wishes of the puplic. (If I am wrong, how many can you name which have been with the support of the public? Of those, how many were made with the informed consent of the public?) See, my article "Why Queenslanders must demand new and fair state elections" of 12 Jan 10, which lists some of the decisions imposed against our wishes by state and federal govenments in recent years.

For Australia to be democratic instead of an elective dictatorship, we need the right to recall Governments which have clearly lost the trust of the people such as the Governments of NSW and Queensland and we need legislation to allow any citizen to force the governments to hold Binding Citizens Initiated Referndum as the citizens of Switzerland are entitled to do. See, also, Internet censorship, Citizens Initiated Referenda and the Greens - an open letter of 23 Dec 09.

Sorry James but I beg to differ.

Continuance of a three tier system with regional governance as you suggest would in my opinion defeat all purpose of change.

Essentially we would still have the same system as we have now though the new “States” would have a different name, different shape and different boundaries. With the Feds administering Health, Education, Environment, Roads if national significance and rail networks and other issues too large (and transcending municipal boundaries)what function would the middle tier perform?

If a third tier was retained how would the various regions be determined?

By;

• population?
• resources?
• climate?
• land use?

... and how big should they be?

It is not my intention to have a go at your comment I raised the issue to stimulate credible opinions/observations/debate and welcome any legitimate views.

I am not suggesting any further amalgamations of local government. The term ‘local’ quickly loses its significance when the area under consideration becomes too large and becomes ‘regional’. I consider regional issues could be addressed adequately in a two tier system with a suitable chain of command and responsibility.

My point is that big issues and services such as health, education, law etc should be universally administered from a national perspective.

Within a two tier system there would undoubtedly be a need for co-operation, liaison and partnerships at a regional level between various local municipalities, particularly in the areas now recognised as our State Capital cities, these kinds of liaisons occur now to some extent in a three tier system. I agree there is an obvious need for some means of keeping a cohesive integrated approach between the numerous local municipalities as allowing them to act independently in isolation without consideration of the neighbours could not work effectively but I do not think a third tier of government is necessary nor desirable to this end.

I consider a two tier system should be quite workable.

I would certainly appreciate any suggestions as to what issues others may consider could not be adequately addressed by a two tier system and why.

I consider discussion & debate healthy.

Don't have much time to comment here, but I would have agreed with you, Search for Truth, but James has reminded me of the size thing. The best way of determining regions is biophysical, I think.

So I will have a think about all of this.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
home page

I appreciate the above input from 'Search for Truth', and so I have contributed a new vision for two-tier government in Australia. Go to new article:
'Two-Tier Australian Republic'

Feedback and development of policy ideas welcome - under the article itself.

John Marlow has commenced a thread on this very subject in his article "A Two-Tier Australian Republic". I suggest further comments on this important subject be posted on his thread rather than mixing with numerous other topics on this miscellaneous page.

There were 59 dogs found housed in squalid living conditions at a Moorabool puppy farm on the outskirts of Melbourne during a secret raid this week, according to animal activists from Animal Liberation Victoria.

According to the report, puppies were found in cages and chained to cars surround by their own faeces and rotting meat.

Last week the Moorabool Shire Council denied Melinda and Les Paxton a permit allowing them to run the puppy farm, after claims they had this many dogs on their property at one time when they only had a permit for 30.

Dogs were deprived of the basic necessities of life, and only had dirty water to drink. "The dogs were in very, very small pens, in cramped conditions and were living in their own filth."

Animal Liberation Victoria's Debra Tranter said members were stunned by conditions at the property in Beremboke, between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong, when they launched a spy mission there.

Neighbouring property owners complained about dogs escaping, excessive noise and people shooting kangaroos to feed the dogs.

Why wait until the tragedy of puppies dying in "factory farm" conditions before we get some action from our State government? The whole industry of puppy farming urgently needs to be regulated and updated. The damning report is an indication of just how ruthless and callous this industry is. It is only the tip of the iceberg!

The number of puppies in the market is already at saturation point. Our shelters are full of unwanted and abandoned animals, and unknown numbers are being "put down" due to an over-population. However, it is still quite legal to keep dogs in cages as breeding animals to supply pet shops and markets. It is still quite legal to have dogs breeding in back yards to sell directly to the public, often via the Internet.

The lure of buying puppies from these places means that people buy on impulse and don't get expert advice, and dogs at shelters continue to face death-row! If all cats and dogs were desexed, by law, and there were strict and humane regulations for breeding, then these tragedies could be avoided.

Puppy farmers Leslie Paxton and Melinda Pryor have been told to remove all dogs from their property as the Moorabool Shire Council moves in to close down their puppy mill.

Incredibly, an RSPCA spokesman said inspectors had found no breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty Act.

Cruelty is quite legal when profits are being made!

Cruelty to animals is morally the same as cruelty to humans

Under the Victorian Crimes Act 1958 - SECT 24 'Negligently causing serious injury':
"A person who by negligently doing or omitting to do an act causes serious
injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 5
imprisonment (10 years maximum)."

The same penalty should apply in the case of comparable negligence to an animal, be it a companion animal, livestock, wildlife, any animal.

In the above case involving puppies, it would seem that the RSPCA needs to raise the standard of its moral code. Australian national law should then reflect this code.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

You make a very good point. It requires the same callousness. It requires the overcoming of another creature's natural defenses.

Personally, I feel animals are entitled to even greater care and respect than how humans treat other humans. Animals have no choice. Animals provide unconditional trust. Yet so often humans breach that trust.

One must keep in mind that clinical psychology research reminds us that a person with a history of animal cruelty typically tends to manifest that cruel behaviour towards humans. This confirms that legal protection of animal welfare is akin to humans and that it is important in our so-called civilised society that we are legally consistent in respect for human rights and animal rights.

The following article by Carol D. Raupp explains:

The “Furry Ceiling:” Clinical Psychology and Human-Animal Studies.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

Quiet Tasmania's picture

Those readers who value kangaroos will not be pleased to read this item at
http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/newshome/6895081/us-festival-uses-roo-in-boxing-show/
which further reinforces my view that human beings are the worst people on Earth.

"A red kangaroo that is goaded into fighting a human clown is the star attraction at a festival in the US designed to celebrate Australia.

"The Daily Telegraph reports that the BorderFest festival in Hidalgo, Texas, features an event called Rocky Show Circus, involving two kangaroos and their owner, Javier Martinez, who dons the clownsuit.

"The festival is sponsored by Kraft, the US owners of Vegemite.

"The report says Mr Martinez baits the kangaroo by pushing it and poking it before placing it in a headlock.

"If Rocky fights back too much, Mr Martinez's wife Sandra restrains it using a heavy tether attached to a harness around the animal's chest."

Peter Bright
www.quietas.net

This is disgusting.
Kraft foods must withdraw their support from this show.
I am most distressed and alarmed by this news. It makes me very angry with the manufactuers of Vegemite (Kraft foods)
and it makes me hate Texans.

Thank God the animal rights activists in USA kicked up such a stink about the red kangaroo boxing the stupid trainer / clown in the ring, that it has been banned and they apologised for "offending" anyone. There was also a vote cast and it was over whelming for "yes" that it was a cruel act.

That's one win for one kangaroo. I hope they stop the boxing of the 2 kangaroos that were meant to be boxing each other as well.

Editor's comment: Please see publicity for Gail's upcoming Kangaroo appreciation event here:An Afternoon with Australian Icons

Gail

Apparently all the brain dead morons watching this act of cruelty were laughing whilst this poor Kangaroo was suffering..
I would personally if given the chance have great pleasure in rescuing this poor animal from this CLOWN,and then blow the whole circus tent up with all these morons inside..
What hope is there for the human race..I would say none.

What a disgrace our Federal leaders are! Instead of arresting the criminal whale killers, they actually act on their behalf and use our AFP to "investigate" Sea Shepherd. What about Peter Buthane held captive? The cowards we have in government are grovelling to Japan to ensure safe trading relationships and "friendship", and protected whales are just ignored.
Japan's bogus "research" is a cover to return to commercial whaling, and due to our government's incompetence and ignorance, Japan is winning the wars against whales. This is a totally contemptible action by our Federal government, using the taxpayer-funded AFP contrary to our Australian interests. They have surrendered Antarctic security, and the blood of magnificent and gentle whales are heading towards becoming just another red meat!.

Iam absolutely convinced that this useless government in Australia are hell bent on destroying every animal and environment that gets in the way of their filthy greedy hands..
You would think the useless police force would be out arresting criminals rather than worrying about SeaShepherd.
Useless the lot of them and we pay these mongrels wages.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown is angry Australian Federal Police are searching the anti-whaling ship the Steve Irwin in Hobart, saying the federal government has caved in to pressure from the Japanese.

The Sea Shepherd has ended its summer campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet and docked at Princes Wharf at 8.30am (AEDT) on Saturday.

The boat was greeted by a crowd of well wishers but federal police officers were also there - armed with a search warrant.

Greens leader Bob Brown said federal police were executing the warrant at the request of Japanese authorities in Tokyo.

"This is outrageous that Australian police are at the disposal of the Japanese whale killers," Senator Brown told the welcoming crowd.

"Tokyo has taken over Australia's Antarctic seas and whales and now it controls events in Hobart."

Senator Brown said the search warrant used to raid the vessel alleges breaches of Australian law, not Japanese law.

"The search warrant invokes a lot of potential claims of infringement of laws, obscure or otherwise, under Australian law.

"The spineless Rudd government has laid charges, including throwing of rancid butter.

"I am not the only person around the world that is very angry at what's happening here.

"Shouldn't the Australian police be waiting on the docks in Tokyo for the real criminals here?"

A spokeswoman for Senator Brown said video material onboard the ship was being investigated by the police.

The captain of the ship, Paul Watson, has been released from the boat, but his colleagues don't have permission to leave at this stage.

The Sea Shepherd's second anti-whaling boat, the Bob Barker, is also due to dock in Hobart at 2.30pm on Saturday.

Federal police are yet to confirm if they will search that vessel.

An AFP spokesman said a number of officers boarded the Steve Irwin soon after it docked in Hobart on Saturday morning.

"As a result of a formal referral from Japanese authorities the AFP can confirm it conducted a search warrant on board the Steve Irwin this morning," the spokesman said.

The spokesman declined to say if anything had been seized from on board the boat or if any of its crew would be interviewed by police.

The Sea Shepherd activist boat has ended its summer clashing with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

Those clashes have included a collision between another activist boat, the Ady Gil, and a Japanese whaling ship, that led to Ady Gil being damaged and abandoned at sea.

The Ady Gil's captain, Peter Bethune, was later detained by the Japanese on board their boat Shonan Maru 2 after he boarded that vessel without invitation.

Follow thewest.com.au on Twitter

Quiet Tasmania's picture

Many people are similarly disgusted Vivienne, but I suggest that if you yourself had the heavy responsibilities of wise government on your shoulders, and the welfare of the Australian population at large on your mind, you too would be obliged to deeply consider the overall picture. I believe that Kevin Rudd is doing exactly that.

It is often the case that restraint, even though invisibly backed up by quiet strength, is seen as cowardice.

I suggest that we all withhold condemnatory judgement for the time being.

Peter Bright
www.quietas.net


 

Where are the missing comments?

(Repeated from the top of this page.)

Some may be wondering why the two comments listed below can't be found on this page, it is because they have flowed over to page 2. The "Recent comments" links are not incorrectly point to this page. I don't know how to easily fix his. I have manually rectified the problem in a limited sense by adding correct links here.

This is Kevin Rudd's idea of "tough" action regarding whaling of 6 Mar 10 by Milly Osborne

No wise governance, just a wise guy of 6 Mar 10 by Sheila.

Announcement: for now I am momentarily turning off the commenting capability on this page in the hope that people will, instead add new comments, unrelated to any already in this page, to "Miscellaneous comments from 1 March 2009", linked to from the page linked to by the "Your say" link on the Primary menu. If you want to respond to a comment on this page, in the meantime, please let me know. - JS 6 Mar 10.

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