Archive for October, 2011


Will Work (At Least Worth A Try)

31 October 2011

Following yesterday’s post (which incidentally was my 500th) about poker machine reform, I’ve been researching public opinion on the subject.  And it’s quite heartening.

One poll shows 78% supporting the initiative.  Another shows that 82% do not agree that Tony Abbott should reverse the legislation if he becomes Prime Minister.  Everywhere I look, I find overwhelming public support for the Government’s plan. 

Which just goes to show that most Aussies have a lot more sense than their political masters.  And my opinion of Club Australia’s stance on this matter isn’t really fit to publish.


Will Work . . . Won’t Hurt

30 October 2011

Some of you may think that my recent silence here is because I have nothing to say.  Others, that is those who actually KNOW me, will know that’s unthinkable! 

Frankly there is so much happening in Australian politics at the moment that enrages me, I’m never really sure where to start.   I want to write a thesis on the carbon tax, the mining tax, the National Broadband Network and the poker machine reforms.  The Government is trying to deal with big issues, and trying to tackle social problems, but everywhere they turn they’re faced with the usual half-baked propaganda and the usual cries of “businesses will close and people will be put out of work”.  The Opposition as usual says they will overturn everything when they next get in power.

The latest and loudest cries at the moment are coming from the clubs in Australia.  These are difficult to describe to a non-Australian but the nearest I know to them anywhere is probably the working men’s clubs in the North of England.  They’re huge places with bars, restaurants and gaming rooms, with sometimes hundreds of poker machines. 

Gambling is a major issue in Australia and at long last the Government is trying to tackle the problem.  They’re trying to introduce a pre-commitment system on the larger machines (ie those where the bet is high and the winnings can be very hgh).  The clubs (and the Opposition) are up in arms. 

The clubs claims that:

1.   Income on these machines will be reduced by 40%.

2.   They currently give a percentage of their profits to sporting and community groups, particularly those for young people.  That would have to be cut drastically and some of these groups would close.

3.   It won’t work.  They’ve even launched a campaign and a website called “Won’t Work – Will Hurt” and are spending $40 million on it.

This has of course raised many thoughts in my head, such as:

1.   If gambling in poker machines is reduced by 40% that sounds great to me (and will show that the initiative is working).

2.   One club in Sydney has a $69.4 million a year revenue from poker machines.  They gave away $1.2 million.  About 1.72%.  Stop pretending you’re great philanthropists.

3.   Won’t Work, Will Hurt??  If it doesn’t work, their income WON’T be reduced.  If their income isn’t reduced, who will it hurt (except for the addicted gamblers)?

The donations and sponsorship argument is the one that I find the most offensive.  Does this mean that if I’m found peddling heroin at the school gates, I would be able to argue that 1.72% of my profits are going to help the underprivileged?  How about 100% of my profits?  The Mafia always looked after the widows and orphans – that didn’t legitimise their activities one iota.

One journalist recently put it rather well  in a Sydney paper “They are arguing that the continued enslavement of poker machine addicts is central to their business model”. 



Sweaters For Penguins (Again)

20 October 2011

A few years ago the cry went out around the knitting world for sweaters for penguins who’d been harmed by an oil spillage off the south coast of Australia.  They were inundated with them, from all over the world. 

This time, it’s for New Zealand penguins and I received the following from my MP, John Alexander, as he knows I’m a knitter with lots of knitter friends.

“Not sure if I have quite evolved to the point where knitting is my sport of choice (despite tennis getting harder in my 60′s). However, this call to arms sure is motivating! Thought you may all appreciate:

Knitting for Penguins.

I am presuming this is legitimate. If so, perhaps some of you may like to get your yarn and needles into action?

I am happy to look after the postage: just drop off your woollen creations at my office in Epping.

All the best

John Alexander MP
Federal Member for Bennelong  –  44 Oxford Street, Epping

So if any of you are answering the call, get them over to his office or give them to me at any of the various knitting groups I attend around Sydney, and I’ll drop them into him.

Thanks for the offer, John. 

PS:  The pattern is here.

PPS:  Apparently they’ve already got all those they need.  I know that Australia ended up with THOUSANDS they didn’t want so maybe they’ve sent them over to our NZ friends.


Olympic Knitting

10 October 2011

No, knitting hasn’t yet been admitted as an Olympian event but for those sports lovers among you, maybe you’d like to knit your own Olympics dream team.

I won’t be bothering (not interested in sport; generally aim to knit items that are attractive).

Link courtesy of Judith (also not interested in sport;  what a strange family I inhabit!)