Tag Archives: Sydney

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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LG TV’s display a certain distaste for Channel Nine programs…

Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Television manufacturer LG has failed to determine the source of a glitch in some of its televisions, which caused them to freeze when screening Nine Network’s programs, despite being notified of the problem three weeks ago.

The manufacturer said 10 models in its television range were affected, but that as far as it was aware, the problem only occurred in Sydney and Melbourne.

(Several readers – responding to this story – have reported the problem in other cities, including Brisbane and Perth.)

A statement released by LG this morning said “LG has become aware that occasional ‘freezing’ problems were experienced with selected TVs when viewing particular network digital programming in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney over the weekend”.

But upon further questioning an LG spokeswoman admitted “LG became aware of of the issue three weeks ago, [but] did not have any data streaming recorded and therefore were unable to trace the problem”.

LG is getting some very bad press about this, including these two comments from LG customers:

I too have been affected. Funnily enough I reported the problem to them 6 months ago when I first bought the TV. Pretty crap that they won’t even advise customers directly when it’s fixed.

  • Posted by: Clark Kent at March 19, 2007 10:57 PM

 

It seems that the problem lies with both channel nine and lg, the problem usually occurs between 4pm and 5pm and on HD 90. Quick recovery is:

1 Unplug the power and coax (antenna) leads.
2. plug the power lead back in only
3. Do a auto search tune.
4. Plug the coax lead back in again
5. Do another auto search tune again.

FIXED, until the next time…:)

  • Posted by: matt at March 20, 2007 12:31 AM

More comments can be found at SMH: Mashup Blog.

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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Centophobia’s solution to childhood obesity in the western world…

Today the Sydney Morning Herald: Good Weekend magazine reports – Meal or Medicine?

SMH Article - Meal or Medicine?Source: SMH: Good Weekend –
Melissa Sweet, “Meal or Medicine?”, 17 Mar 2007

“Eating fish could prevent heart disease. Then again, it might not. It depends on who you listen to. With the media and marketplace awash with claims and counterclaims about the health benefits of food, it’s never been harder trying to work out what’s best to eat.”

The article suggests that consumers are confused about the health benefits and health risks of food. People have no idea what they should and shouldn’t be eating; what is improving their health and what could be potentially exposing them to disease and obesity. The article warns that this could get worse with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) soon to allow companies to put a greater range of health claims on their products such as “may reduce the risk of bowl cancer” and “helps to prevent osteoporosis”. However other health organisations are worried that adding more health claims to products would further confuse the public and would also reduce the appeal of fresh fruits and vegetables which would be unable to use health claims because they are largely unpackaged

So what is the solution. One might say to increase regulation on health claims; to stop “Brunchtime Bars” from being labeled “high in fibre” or “low GI” or “may help protect against lymphoma”.

SMH - McDonald’s AdvertisementSMH advertisement for McDonald’s new ‘tick approved’ meals
“Tastes good. Better for you. Now you can feel better about enjoying the great taste of McDonald’s when you choose one of our nine Tick Approved Meals.”

I found it interesting that this McDonald’s advertisement was featured in Good Weekend just a few pages after this article. So here is a health claim for you: “Better for you.”. The copy suggests that these ‘tick approved’ meals contain 45% ‘less salt’ and are ‘virtually trans-fat free’. Yay.

Think of the fruit and vegetable section of Woolworths or Coles. The products are generic; you have no idea who grew it, how and where. You can’t choose products from suppliers who don’t use pesticides or from regions that produce superior quality because you have no way of distinguishing between products. What does a consumer know about the products they buy in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of their supermarket? Nothing…

How can mere – trans-fat free, salt free, preservative free, hormone free, vitamin and mineral enriched – fruits and vegetables compete. They don’t have packaging to carry ‘health claims’ nor do they have the marketing budget of McDonald’s to tell people how much “Better for you” they are.

The solution. Brand it all. Put a name on every last apple, orange and kiwifruit and every last pumpkin, onion and leek. Split the produce section of the supermarket up and sell it like shelf space. Consumer would have to choose between producers, and producers would have to advertise and differentiate. We would see advertising on television for this producer and that producer showing images of their farm and their fresher, healthier produce. Truly healthy food would suddenly have a voice in the marketplace. Apples would be marketed to kids as ‘action-packed’ and salad would be advertised to office workers as ‘light, quick and simple’. The sales of fruit and vegetables would rise and people around the country would drop a few kilograms.

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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.

Coca-Cola launches “Mother”

The energy drink market is one beverage segment Coca-Cola is yet to dominate. This year however Coke will again try to capture the hearts and minds of a new group of consumers with the launch of Mother. Coke will reportedly spend over $10 million dollars marketing Mother as an all-natural energy drink to young men (Sydney Morning Herald).

The campaign includes three 30 second executions (Lemur [above], Turtoad and Monkeydog) featuring animated ‘Amazonian’ creatures.

In response to this challenge by Coca-Cola, V has reportedly upped its marketing budget, released a new product, and created a new advertisement (shown below). Red Bull has also increased its marketing budget but hasn’t yet broken away from its Red Bull Gives you Wings advertising and no doubt will continue to place heavy importance on extreme sport sponsorships.

The energy drink segment is definately a lucrative segment. It is “worth $151 million and is growing by 47 per cent a year. Energy is the fastest-growing category in soft drinks and account for 22 per cent of total drink sales …” Sydney Morning Herald. However Coca-Cola has a task on its hands with Red Bull and V already accounting for 94 per cent of total energy sales in convenience stores. ” Sydney Morning Herald. So, can three brands share the energy drink market?

In my opinion: with Coca-Cola’s distribution network, Mother will have every chance of success. V has already been removed from the QUT (university in Brisbane) cafeteria :( and replaced with Mother (in a special branded fridge). I have also seen supermarkets and petrol stations with dedicated, branded Mother refridgerators and other branded material. Consumers will therefore be encouraged to at least trial the product when there are no other “energy/caffeine” options available. As for the V energy drink advertising: I have heard both positive and negative reviews. I think the advertisement shows a brand forced to join the race, rather than remind. I don’t like it – too sex-centric, not that cleaver.

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Labor just got my vote…

Not that they didn’t already. Today the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The Opposition Leader will call for “nothing less than a revolution in education” and warn that Australia’s prosperity will hit the wall unless the quality and funding of education – from childhood to adulthood – is raised substantially.

Totally agree with this… Education would be my first priority if I were in government. From improving the uninspiring physical environment of state schools, to paying teachers a decent wage to attract the best and improve the status of teaching as a career; from offering better childcare and early childhood education so that mothers can realistically re-enter the workforce; from universities which only offer mass-produced business and engineering degrees, rather than specialised and customised degrees… the whole thing needs major work.
Where will the money come from? Well, I read something months ago which said that if the money in the ‘Future Fund’ was invested in education, the government would earn a similar return. So there is definitely the money available for a ‘revolution’.

Birth Rate / Women in the Workforce

One of the problems with the baby bonus is it encourages people with low incomes to have children which they cannot realistically support. Offering world-class childcare to children from a very young age may encourage parents with higher incomes (and some chance to independently support them over the long term) to have children and give women a way to return to the workforce without feeling like they are disadvantaging or betraying their children.

What I am suggesting here is childcare, early childhood education, after-school programs and perhaps even later finishing times for high-school students, which would allow couples to consider having children and a career at the same time rather than waiting until later in life and allowing mothers (and fathers) to return to full-time work.