Tag Archives: Politics

What is a pledge?

“I will quit smoking!”

If you make a pledge to quit smoking, and then you smoke the next day, you have broken the pledge, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have made the pledge in the first place, nor does it mean that you should discontinue your effort to stop smoking.

A pledge is about trying to improve; to set a high standard and then make a commitment to achieve it, or abide by it.

A New Year’s Resolution is a pledge. We make them and break them each year, but we shouldn’t stop making them because we often, sometimes or always break them.

Marriage vows are also pledges:

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I take you, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 40,000 people break that pledge every year. Greg Norman broke it very quickly and is now ready to take it again!!

Ben May wrote:

What [Sue Brooks] wrote initially was right – how can you say you will never speed. Intentional or Unintentional – saying that you will do all these things is being idealistic.

For some people, it is also being idealistic to make a resolution to stop smoking, or a vow to love your partner until death. So in future, please don’t make these commitments; be realistic and don’t even try to become a better, safer, happier or healthier person.

As Ben points out:

Sign all the petitions, pledges, votes or whatever – but until drivers actually do something, and take personal accountability and responsibility on the road, little is going to change.

I suppose what I’m pointing out is that a pledge is about your intentions. No one can guarantee that they will never smoke again, never divorce their partner or never speed again. As I wrote in my last post, people make mistakes. But that shouldn’t stop them from trying to do the right thing and make a pledge, a resolution or a vow to change.

Speedy Sue won’t sign Safe Driving Pledge

Fraser Coast Councillor Sue Brooks intends to continue speeding because some speed limits are too low and sometimes driving above the speed limit is safer!

Last week, Sue Brooks, a Councillor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, stated on her blog (Speedy Sue or Snail Sue, 14 Oct 2010) that she could not take a safe driving pledge because she would be lying. Note: This is a pledge (it’s about the future, not the past).

There have been a number of fatal crashes in the Fraser Coast Regional Council area recently. Two separate crashes killed two young women, and the most recent, killed a well known restaurateur. The pledge was created by a local news organisation for people to ‘sign’ online as a way to help reduce the number of car accidents in the area. While this may not be a very effective strategy for reducing accidents, it couldn’t hurt! The ten safe driving pledges are included below.

I will:

1.    Abide by the 3 c’s (concentration, consideration, control)
2.    Always be patient
3.    Not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
4.    Drive to the conditions
5.    Not speed
6.    Check my health regularly and accept my limitations
7.    Never take a phone in my hands
8.    Exercise caution at all times
9.    Be aware of my surroundings
10.  Ensure my car is roadworthy

Fraser Coast Chronicle

Councillor Brooks stated on her blog:

“I can’t sign the Fraser Coast Chronicle Road Safety pledge as I would be lying! I can’t sign it because I sometimes speed.”

“I reckon numbers 4 and 5 are contradictory somewhat as some speed limits are just too low. And we should ALWAYS be driving to the conditions, which I think means sometimes it is safer to go SLIGHTLY faster than the posted limit on some roads at some times.”

I’ll take these points separately.

Some speed limits are too low, therefore it’s okay if I speed!

Now, I can understand that there is debate about what level speed limits should be set at on particular sections of road to achieve a relatively safe driving environment. A debate about speed limits is perfectly fine with me and I’d encourage people to have their say. But, it is important to note here that Queensland Transport sets speed limits and has quite a substantial criteria for determining the level; they don’t wake up one day and just pick a number. The following elements are taken into account:

  • environment in which the road is located;
  • pavement, shoulder and lane width;
  • horizontal and vertical road alignment;
  • traffic volume, activity and prevailing speeds;
  • frequency of intersections and property access;
  • on-road parking activity;
  • type of roadside activities;
  • presence of unsignalised at-grade pedestrian crossings;
  • presence of traffic signals;
  • magnitude of property setback;
  • presence of linemarking, channelisation and medians; and
  • proximity of roadside hazards and standard of protection.

Queensland Transport

Now, I’m not calling Sue unintelligent, but who would you rather set speed limits, Sue or Queensland Transport? At the end of the day, a limit is set, and that limit should be followed.

Sometimes it’s safer to go faster than the speed limit, therefore it’s okay if I speed!

Well, it doesn’t take much to counter that argument; it’s simply false.

Some people may argue that occasionally it’s safer to speed in order to overtake a big semi-trailer and get back to their side of the road as quickly as possible. Incorrect; it would be safer to not overtake! Your decision to overtake should be predicated on you not needing to speed to safely overtake. Take a chill pill, and enjoy that distinctive cow poo aroma!

Next statement:

“In residential areas the speed should be a carte blanche of 50kmh”

I believe the speed limit is already 50km/h in residential areas – I also believe that this is an incorrect use of the phrase “carte blanche” but that is hardly a topic to cover in this blog post. Yep, Queensland Transport confirms:

“The default speed limit in built-up areas has been reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. This means that when driving in a built-up area, you should drive no faster than 50 km/h unless there is a sign stating otherwise.”

Queensland Transport

Were you not around during the advertising campaign informing us of this change?


To hear someone in a position of authority even suggest that speeding is tolerable in some circumstances  on some roads is an absolute offense. I’ve actually crashed a car at high speed (100km/hr), and I don’t want to ever be involved in something like it again. I ran off the side of the road, hit a culvert for a driveway, was airborne over the driveway and landed in a ditch. The road was good, I wasn’t speeding, it wasn’t rainy or foggy. I made a mistake. Anyone can make a mistake!

Sue, sign the damn pledge and stop fucking speeding!

ABC Election Coverage

Looks like I was with the crowd last night watching the election coverage on ABC.

More viewers turned to the ABC for Saturday’s election coverage than commercial offerings. ABC1 won the five-way primary share tussle with a 27.0% share ahead of Nine’s 20.3% and Seven’s 16.9%. With its AFL commitments TEN slumped to a lowly 10.5% while SBS ONE’s belated coverage was just 3.3%.

TV Tonight

I did switch over to Seven and Nine but the graphics on Seven were barely legible – with those glittery edges – and Nine had too many panelists to deliver a coherent analysis in my opinion. There is no debating Kerry O’Brien is extremely talented, and I reckon Antony Green must prepare for elections for months.

Bob Katter used some very strong…

Bob Katter used some very strong language about the plight of rural Australians. Very interesting result! #ausvotes

“I can’t speak for the other independents, but as far as I’m concerned the gong goes to whoever [is going] to allow rural Australia to survive.

“We’ve had 12 years of LNP [Liberal National Party] government – they smashed us into the ground and the ALP government in three years hasn’t restored anything.

“We have got in a position of power and surely we must exercise that to try and ensure survival for our people, which we haven’t enjoyed and are not enjoying at the present moment.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/22/2989895.htm

Toothpaste will save Africa!

I was reading an article today and got really depressed.

(Azeem Azhar (2005). “Better and Faster than politics” New Stateman 18(878) p. 24.)

Here is a snippet:

The bottom of the pyramid is a new competitive business space, with new demands. If you want to sell toothpaste to an Indian villager, you need to know that he may not have access to running water, that he can’t afford to throw away the packaging, and that your main competitors are the twigs from the neem tree.”

And another:

“…the organisations best able to rapidly design and deliver the products and services that poor people need are the world’s multinationals.”

I totally understand his argument. Sure the world’s poor people are an untapped market for large multinationals and there is money to be made. But does this Indian villager really need to spend money on toothpaste when he can get free twigs from a tree to brush his teeth. I mean, is that really an effective use of his/her wage, over say clean water or a flushing toilet.

It really comes back to how we measure poverty. And I think we do that by living standards. Therefore the fact that someone has a toothbrush, raises their livings standards and moves them out of poverty. Please someone explain how this works in intricate detail.

This also doesn’t help the country that this new toothbrush owner lives in. All the money he spent on it his lovely toothbrush gets flown out of the country back to the United States (or somewhere else equally rich). The country doesn’t really benefit from the creation of jobs to make the toothbrush, nor any money from taxes (other than a value-added tax) earned from the manufacturing plant (land tax, capital gains tax, company tax).

The author finally gains some considered thought and suggests:

“Am I saying that there is no role for government in this sort of work, that politics is useless? Far from it. Government and civil society – politics, if you like – are urgently needed to foster the basic conditions, such as physical security, that allow the poor to connect to the world economy.”

Thank God (Side note: I don’t believe in God. Who should I thank?). The governments of developing countries need to apply restrictions on multinational companies operating in their country if they want to extract some of that wealth for themselves. Don’t sell out to McDonald’s!

A non-post

I haven’t blogged for over four weeks!

I just don’t feel like I have anything to say at the moment.

It is interesting how for the first six-months of this year I was really interested and willing to give some of my time to write on this blog, and then I just stopped. It is like something happens and you don’t have the same motivation to write about current issues and events. I mean I still think about the things I blogged about like religion, advertising, politics and media but I just don’t have the same drive to spend time writing my thoughts and opinions down.

Interesting phenomenon. It probably has a name like ‘blogging fatigue’, or something and has been studied down the minute detail.

Maybe I think my opinions don’t matter. If my blog is for me, and not for a wider audience, why should I publish my ideas rather than just think about them? Or, if my blog is for a wider audience, why write down my thoughts if I don’t know who is reading them and what they think about them? I have had only a few comments on my blog this year, is it really worth the effort for one comment. Where is the conversation, the dialogue?

Who really cares; I stopped blogging. One day I will start again.

Joe Hockey is an idiot… (not personally > I don’t know him)

Joe Hockey was on Sunday this morning. He talked about Kevin Rudd and his regular appearance on Sunrise as well as the ‘outrageous’ amount of money the Labor Party will spend between now and the election in November.

Joe tried to suggest that Rudd’s appearances on Sunrise are no longer appropriate because he is the Opposition Leader. However he defended his own appearances. Why is it acceptable for a minister of Parliament to appear regularly on a light, entertaining morning show but not for the opposition leader?

He also suggested that the Labor party will spend around $100 million leading up to the election ($88 million from the unions and $12 million from the state Labor branches). This continues the governments attack on the Labor party for being ‘ruled by the union’s’. Meanwhile the Federal Government has been described as the biggest advertising spender in Australian political history – (see quote below from SHM – 2005).

“Crikey! Remember crocodile hunter Steve Irwin bobbing about on your TV screen a year or so back warning you not to bring any plants or animals into the country?

“You paid for that ad. Irwin received a $175,000 appearance fee for one day of filming, a recent Senate estimates committee revealed, and the Quarantine Matters campaign cost $5.3 million.

“Yet it was a comparatively cheap campaign for the Federal Government, which is the biggest advertising spender in Australian political history, and a significant player when compared with the corporate sector.

“Federal Government spending on advertising jumped by nearly $70 million last financial year [2004-05] to $170 million, according to Opposition figures released this week.” – Stephanie Peatling, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Mar 2005, p.19.

Joe said the government’s spending of millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money is necessary to let people know about the policies they are putting forward. I tend to agree. However…

  1. the Constitution allows political parties to advertising as much as they like,
  2. the Labor party is spending about half the amount the government is spending (according to the quote above), and
  3. the Labor party isn’t spending taxpayers money > unlike taxpayers, a union member can choose to leave the union if they disagree with this use of their money.

Get over it Joe… Move on…

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Hicks decision – Everyone’s a winner baby, that’s the truth…

[audio:everyonesawinner.mp3]

The Hicks case has finally been resolved and everyone is a winner!

“It was a good result for Hicks because he finally has a date for release and a chance to be close to his family, although he will not earn a cent from selling his story to the media.

“The plea deal bans him from “any profits or proceeds”. He has agreed to give any money received for the rights to his story to the Australian government.

“The US military and government can proclaim themselves winners because they have their first scalp of a Guantanamo Bay detainee under the controversial Military Commission Act. They also have a signed confession.

“Guantanamo Bay, which has been compared to a concentration camp, comes out clean, as Hicks – who has complained about his treatment – said in his plea deal he was “never illegally treated” while in US custody.

“Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his government, suffering in the polls months out from an election, can boast they brought Hicks home.

“Mr Howard is also protected from embarrassing comments from Hicks because under the plea agreement Hicks is banned from speaking to the media until March 31, 2008, a convenient date because it falls past the election.

“Under the plea deal, Hicks must co-operate fully with US and Australian law enforcement and intelligence authorities to reveal secrets about al-Qaeda or testify against the terror group’s operatives at other court proceedings.” (SBS World News Australia)

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Hicks guilty of fighting for two hours and never firing his gun…

What he did…

“… Hicks acknowledged that he trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and fought with its forces against US allies in Afghanistan in late 2001 for two hours and then sold his gun to raise cab fare and tried to flee to Pakistan.” (ABC article)

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“Hicks admitted he had trained with al-Qaeda, fought with the Taliban and that a friend of his believed he had approved of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. ” (BT Article)

How he gets punished…

Five years of Hell on Earth

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Seven years in jail (in Australia)

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“Hicks’s plea agreement bars him from speaking to the media for one year and says if he ever sells the rights to his story, the Australian Government will get the money.” He was also banned from taking legal action against the United States. Hicks had previously said he was abused by the US military but said in his plea agreement he had “never been illegally treated while in US custody”.” (ABC article)

Sounds fair to me…

And who can we thank for ending this madness – JOHN HOWARD who is pissing his pants about the next FEDERAL ELECTION. Rudd has already achieved so much…

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What the Prime Minister could and should say next Australia Day…

The Honourable John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, 26 January 2008:

Australia Day has always been an occasion when all Australian celebrate the amazing country we live in. We gather together to celebrate the prosperity and the freedom of our country.

“However, we forget that the land we now stand on has always been the land of Australia’s aboriginal people. These people have a deep emotional and spiritual association with this land and it is time that we reflected on the feelings of these aboriginal people.

“From this day forward, part of every Australia Day celebration around the country, will also include a short moment of silence to remember that since white settlement, the local inhabitants of this land have been disadvantaged. They have been locked away, forced into slavery and treated as second class citizens. So while the rest of us celebrate, these locals have been mourning the loss of their culture; their heritage.

“So let us now pause and reflect on this fact…”

Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

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NSW techno-education plan…

NSW - Premier Education PlanSydney Morning Herald: Classroom revolution as schools
connected to world

Mr Iemma plans to equip government schools with interactive whiteboards. The whiteboards would be able to show webpages and stored teaching material, as well as video-conference – to connect to universities and remote schools – and act as regular whiteboards. The plan would cost $158 million over four years.

Under the proposed boost to state schools, students would also be given webspace to receive and store material and submit homework or assignments.

Queensland your education system sucks.

Read the article.

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The rights of homosexual citizens…

Earlier this week the Prime Minister’s office revealed they were preparing a submission to review the rights of homosexual couples (ABC). Conveniently revealed during Syndey’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (the PM is a clever little fella), the laws would give citizens in same-sex relationships equal rights as people in heterosexual unions, in areas such as superannuation, tax and welfare.

However, the Prime Minister has twice rejected ACT legislation which would have recognised civil unions. This state legislation would have given homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples and would have recognised their relationship as a legal union (Your Guide: Canberra, IBN News). It seems the Prime Minister, while recognising that homosexuals shouldn’t be financial disadvantaged, doesn’t believe he has any obligation to correct social inequality.

In the Prime Ministers words:

Well I don’t criticise gay people for that lifestyle, that’s their choice. What I do say, and I don’t apologise for saying, is that there are certain benchmark institutions in our society that ought to be defended and promoted and marriage is one of them and the reason I don’t support gay marriage is that I think it in different ways reduces the status of marriage as so commonly understood in our society, that is partly influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition of our society, it’s also influenced by other things as well, it’s not only people of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which is obviously the dominant one in our country, who hold that view, others hold it as well, but there has to be a point at which you stand up for certain benchmark institutions. I don’t think that’s intolerant, I think it’s common sense because they contribute to the continuity and the stability of society. (emphasis added: Radio Interview: 891)

Lifestyle choice? Defend Marriage from what? Benchmark institutions? That gays would corrupt, corrode? Reduce the status of marriage?

The Prime Minister believes that the institution of marriage is far more important than the rights set out by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He thinks that because we are influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition, people are allowed to be discriminated against for the stability of society (which happens to be exactly the same argument Mr Bush uses).

Why does the Prime Minister believe that if 5-10% of the population married within their gender the whole institution of marriage and society at large would crumble to its knees? Heterosexuals have done a pretty good job of recking the institution of marriage on their own – Hollywood stars stay married for about the same time it takes to tie my shoelaces.

The Prime Minister’s reason for defending marriage is also a dangerous one. He cannot say that because our society was based on a religion which had certain values, that we can forsake the rights of citizens which don’t fit with that religion. The Christian religion didn’t value women, yet society hasn’t crumbled because women are allowed to vote or have the freedom to choose a career. Many Muslim countries restrict women’s rights. Does that mean because the Muslim religion allows this discrimination we shouldn’t be concerned?

Would society really crumble because gays and lesbians were allowed to marry?

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Read my essay on the rights of homosexuals in Australia.