More Chaplains – Just What We Need

19 May 2014

This country has a serious financial crisis (according to the Government).  No, it hasn’t (according to the world’s economists).  So last week’s budget was intended to make us all “share the pain” and “tighten our belts”. 

However it would appear that some members of society will be made to feel the pain more than most.  Those earning over $180,000 pa will probably lose 1% of their income.  A single mother will lose 10-14% of her income.  “Share the pain”??

There is so much in this budget which makes me angry (furious) but this would be a VERY long post if I ranted about them all.  So I’ll address a couple at a time.

Big business won’t be feeling the pain at all – 1.5% cut in company tax for a start.  And how many Australians knew until a couple of weeks ago that the mining industry receives a subsidy for their use of diesel?  $2.4 billion in the next financial year!  When the Treasurer was questioned about this, he seemed surprised that anyone would think that “unfair”.  Mining company vehicles are used on private roads only so why should the mining companies make a contribution, through the tax on fuel, to the cost of our roads?  I assume therefore that I’ll be getting an annual rebate because I’m currently paying part of my tax for the funding of schools, which I’ve never used, either for myself or a child.  Many ratepayers would be claiming a refund for their contribution to the public library system, which is free at the point of service and which they never use but do pay for.  It’s called “for the common good, Joe”.

And then my “bete noir” – the funding of chaplains in schools.  $245 million.  AND they’ve scrapped secular student welfare workers in schools.  As someone suggested on Twitter tonight, the chaplains are presumably there to encourage the children to pray for the old, the disabled, the young, the sick and the unemployed, all of whom are really going to suffer if and when these budget cuts get through the Senate.  


Name That Town

29 April 2014

And thank you to my friend, Jean, in the USA who reminded me after my last post that Australia also has a town called Townsville.

A bit like New York really – “New York, New York, so good they named it twice”.

There the similarity ends.




Name That Beach

22 April 2014

We all know the story that a camel must have been a horse designed by a committee.

I’ve often wondered how many committees sat for how many weeks naming some of the places I’ve come across in Australia.

I’ve lost count of the number of beaches with the name “Sandy Beach”. 

And how about “Boat Harbour”? 

A couple of weeks ago, I drove across a very long bridge – named aptly, of course, “Long Bridge”.

Imagination?  They have none.



The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

18 April 2014

Yes, it’s that time of year again – Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.

I really miss going around with David Reidy and talking about the entries but I still go along there and peer into the cabinets.  I did enter three items this year but by “enter”, I mean I paid the fees and received the paperwork.  The knitting never made it as far as the Show (in fact at the rate I’m going, they may not be ready for next year).

But there was the usual mixture – some beautiful items, so well-crafted they take your breath away (well they do if you’re a knitter), some fairly mediocre entries, some nice zany ones, and some ……..!  As usual there was at least one item that we couldn’t identify.  I remember David and I staring at something for ten minutes one year trying to work out what it actually was (and the catalogue didn’t help).  Well we had another one this year that kept some of amused for a while.  I still have no idea.

If you’re on Ravelry, there are some excellent pictures here.  Courtesy of Jody – thank you.

And to those people who often ask me about David and how he’s doing, I bumped into him a couple of weeks ago and he’s fine.


Tighten Your Belts

15 April 2014

The Government is preparing us for a tough budget – we’ll all have to tighten our belts apparently.  Two of the savings they’re considering are raising the retirement age to 70 and reducing the State Pension.

That seems like a great way to run a country – let’s get the pensioners to pay for it.  I’ve certainly seen no mention of perhaps raising the highest rate of income tax, or company tax.  The cynic in me presumes that this is because aged pensioners in this country don’t donate squillions to the Liberal Party coffers.  And remember that a State Pension in Australia is heavily means-tested.  It isn’t just dished out to everyone above retirement age so we can assume that the recipients actually need the money.

They’re still determined though to push through their changes to maternity pay.  FULL salary for 6 months, capped at $150,000 a year.  It’s currently 18 weeks at the minimum wage ($622 per week).  The proposed scheme will cost $6.1 BILLION. 

And raising the retirement age?  It’s difficult enough finding employment if you’re over 50 – practically impossible if you’re over 65 unless you’re highly qualified and experienced in a specialist field.  But if you’re in that category, you can probably retire when you want as you won’t be looking for support from the State.  It’s manual workers and the unqualified who will be the hardest hit, and they’re the ones for whom working till 70 may just not be physically possible. 

I fear this is going to be very selective belt-tightening.


I Managed It!

4 April 2014

I’m not quite sure HOW I managed it, but I did post every day in March.  Now I must see if I can keep this going – not every day but at least 2-3 times a week. 

Thank you to all of you who visited every day. 


A Foolish Lamington

1 April 2014

It’s only 8.45am here on 1st April but I’ve just found my first April Fool’s prank  –  as usual in the Guardian (the Australian online version).

An interesting article written by Olaf Priol (April Fool?) iabout the Lamington being a New Zealand invention, as proved by an 1888 painting. 

An academic, Dr Arun Silva (haven’t worked out the anagram there yet but I’m sure there is one!), states that this proves conclusively that the Lamington did NOT originate in Australia. 

Well, that’s settled that then.


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