Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic, but Australia Day is an obvious discussion starter. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please

93 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Here we go.. what has become the sleaziest day of the year and a monument to Howardism.

    They have killed there first Noah’s Ark in WA and in Orange NSW someone has already been king-hit at a party and is unconscious in hospital.

  2. I pay no attention to Australia Day. It is meaningless jingoism inflated by corporate media and their lackey politicians.

  3. I was dreading the nauseating jingoism and had almost decided to go into hiding for the day, but glad in the end that I ventured out.

    On the way into Brisbane I could count the number of car-flags on one hand. At the anti-VLAD rally I was in a crowd of maybe 3,000 diverse and seemingly intelligent people make their disapproval very loudly heard. Their determination and non-partisanship was uplifting to be around. The roar of a few hundred bikes was quite a spectacle, too.

    I would have liked to see “Utopia” at Musgrave Park but didn’t make it.

  4. A few weeks ago I thought about the idea of a fine for being intoxicated (and a nuisance, e.g. looking for a fight, breaking things, etc.), which would free police from having to make an arrest/no arrest decision. Turns out we actually have such an idiot tax in SA, and from October 2013 to Dec 31st 2013 it brought in $284K from 560 issued fines for drunken and disorderly behaviour.

    Unfortunately, that makes the number of idiots in SA more transparent. Come visit SA, the home of the idiots… 🙂

  5. Morning. Beach, barbie, bogans. Late afternoon. Intoxicated punch ups and racial targeting.

    What is the solution to the rampant nationalism and not so subtle racism that pervades Jan 26?

    Changing Jan 26 to a “remembrance, lest we forget” type of day? Doesn’t work – see for example April 25 – we still send troops on meaningless and abhorrent invasions.

    Have a national holiday, on another day? 27 May? May be better.

  6. What is the solution to the rampant nationalism and not so subtle racism that pervades Jan 26?

    Abolish it and rededicate the spare holiday to some islamic festivity, so that bogans have something to thank the muslims for.

    Do the same thing for queen’s birthday and give it to the hindus.

  7. I’d go the other way and take religion out of some of our public holidays. Christmas would be “Summer Festival Day” and Easter would be “Find the Egg Day”. :-p

  8. According to the BBC, HSBC in the UK has placed restrictions on withdrawals.

    I would have thought that a potential bank run might be news but our hard-working journos don’t seem to believe so.

  9. @Megan

    The reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.

    Maybe these measure are to reduce the risk of money laundering and funding terrorism. In any case I think that using electronic funds transfer and bank cheques are much safer than carrying around large wads of cash, even if you lose a bit of privacy (i.e. the bank knowing where your money is being spent).

  10. ideally it should commemorate the first day of “national” self government, not the foundation day of the oldest colony. for a start, it shouldn’t be on nsw day and given jan 1 is already taken for a holiday a move there seems unlikely to happen. perhaps it should be rotated, on each state’s foundation day, on a six years cycle. you could make that a seven year cycle if you wanted to throw in the nt & the act. -av.

  11. @Megan

    My wife and I noted the almost complete absence of car flags too. Fortunately, Australians don’t like being told what to do by self-appointed tin gods. As soon as the tin gods started ordering us to celebrate Australia day and celebrate it in the way they decreed, people just started turning off.

    I like the way we disrespect authority by ignoring it and peacefully doing our own thing. It’s a form of peaceful non-cooperation, the best way to be.

  12. I don’t see a need for a national day at all. Let’s have a day when all of us forget our nominal nationality and press to the front of our minds the bonds tying each of us to every other human on the face of the planet. Perhaps it could be called “Common Humanity Day” and each of us could reflect on what we have done to contribute to the ethos of “playing nicely with others”.

  13. My grandfather (a WW2 RAN veteran) taught me that “patriotism is un-Australia” and he told many tales of using the “reflex patriotism” of Americans to easily start bar fights.

    This also goes to the suggestion that king hitters could do with a period of national service – likely to have the opposite outcome I’d suggest.

  14. Three indigenous teenage boys undergo a botched initiation ceremony in the NT and are flown 700 kms to Darwin for medical ‘repairs’. Those responsible are not charged. I thought genital mutilation was unlawful in Australia. Have I missed something?

  15. @Donald Oats
    ny idea of the policy background to this as history can be enlightening – a? Is my memory correct that it was introduced in the early 80s as a non-custodial deterrent to aboriginal people drinking in public places such as Victoria Square? I have a feeling it also reflected govt sotto voce concern about its “SA great” slogan, since Vic Sq was outside the new Hilton, which was prime international tourist accomm.) Pity that a town (sorry, city now that you have airbridges at Adel airport) which produced, Mawson, Oliphant, Florey, Traeger has a reputation for football supporters who are “morons”.

  16. @Collin Street
    I see Antony Loewenstein in The Guardian on 20 Jan (“It’s time for UN sanctions on Australia. Our government deserves nothing less”) is advocating a sanctions campaign to highlight the govt’s contemptuous response to inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The open brutality this govt now exhibits may create a useful space for political action to coalesce opposition, and resume debate about the inconsistency in the Australian populace between its long standing and intractable intolerance towards “irregular entry” refugees, while it strongly supports an expanded humanitarian intake.

  17. @kevin1

    I’m a fully paid up member of the cricket tragics demographic, but I’d support other jurisdictions putting sanctions on the Cricket World Cup to be held here, in pursuit of a humane and transparent asylum seeker policy.

    Don’t imagine that it will happen of course.

  18. In Perth, 1984 was the best Australia day ever. Maybe it wasn’t even Australia day, because back then common sense prevailed, and the public holiday and fireworks were held on a Monday, regardless of when Australia day actually was.

    In 1983 we’d had our first ever fireworks on the Swan River, and about 30,000 turned up to watch. I was one who heard about it at the last minute, and missed out. So in 1984, I made sure to get there early. As did 250,000 other people. There was total chaos! No parking restrictions, no police, no alcohol restrictions, no portaloos. Just lots of people, lots of alcohol, lots of music and fireworks. It was fantastic.

    It was before mobile phones, so we nominated a particular tree beforehand, and somebody would go there every half hour to meet any new arrivals and bring them back to the group.

    People parked everywhere. People stopped on the Narrows bridge to watch. It took hours to get out of South Perth. Because people parked everywhere, there were car stereos everywhere, so there was music everywhere. Fantastic.

    The toilets were overwhelmed, with woman taking over the men’s loos, men being slightly more flexible in that regard.

    The next day, there were mountains of rubbish around the river. A reminder of the very good time had by all.

    We planned things better in future years, riding bikes to avoid traffic. But the magic gradually faded and now it is a ridiculously overplanned event.

    In the intervening years much was made of violence at the fireworks, but the fact that most of the violence happened several hours after the fireworks had finished and all the families had gone home was not highlighted. In some ways, I blame the violence on having the public holiday on the 26th. If that is mid week, then people can’t plan for a long weekend, so the yobbos have no option but to just get pissed for the day and cause trouble. If it was more sensibly held on the Monday of a long weekend, everyone would have had a couple of days to mellow out, and there would be less trouble.

    For me, this shows how what I regard as “Australian values” have been lost. To have the opportunity for a long weekend, but to pass it up instead, surely that is unAustralian. Or just plain stupid. And that is what we’ve become since we stopped just being ourselves and enjoying it, and started being patriotic jingoistic Aussies.

  19. @Fran Barlow Sadly, Fran, there is no “humanity” – there are 7 billion humans competing ever more savagely for the rapidly shrinking resources of our poor unappreciated planet.

  20. Circumcision is not considered genital mutilation in Australia.

    We should at least move Australia Day so its not on Invasion Day .The trends of increasing Australian exceptionalism and the militirasition of our history concern me. Governments have set the wrong example .

    Labor have an opportunity. To achieve long term budget sustainability cuts must be made . Liberals want those least able cope to pay ,Labor (presumably ) wants each to pay according to their means . Labor wants to cut according to ability to cope – Liberals simply want to cut according to social class. Isnt that class warfare ? The Liberal way is un-Australian . They are hoping to be able to cut to the lower classes without being forced to say clearly what they are doing or why they are doing it . Labor should not let them get away with that – they should draw the Libs out into the open on this , distinguishing themselves from the Libs in the process. Get ready for a barrage of dole bludger stories in the mass media.

  21. @Ron E Joggles
    You know what – there’s plenty to go round if we used it wisely and shared it fairly.

    There’s a billion or so obese and a billion or so undernourished – that’s a fact (moreorless) but it’s also a powerful metaphor for what’s wrong.

  22. DI(nr) @13: From 1905 to the 1950’s Empire Day was celebrated on May 24 (Queen Victoria’s birthday) it says here. Apparently it was also known as cracker night, but I don’t remember fireworks as part of the celebrations during the mid fifties (in WA).

  23. @Ron E Joggles

    To be fair the savagery isn’t evenly distributed. Apparently the richest 87 people in the world account for 0.7% of the world’s wealth. So do the poorest 3.5bn.

    If Pareto distribution holds (and why wouldn’t it?) then the top 18 or so have as much as the poorest 2.7bn and the richest of them all is worth 1.6bn people or so.

    You know it makes sense.

  24. @Val My point is that the notion of “humanity” as a united and cooperative entity is an artificial construct with no basis in reality. At every level we identify with smaller groupings which are primarily defined by their difference from and competition with other groupings.

  25. @Ron E Joggles

    Precisely why there’s a place for Common Humanity Day. How else could so few privileged and comparatively educated humans so recklessly disregard the well-being of their peers?

  26. One may argue that the celebration of the narrow-minded parochialism to which you allude is precisely what is wrong with national days.

  27. Fran Barlow :
    @Ron E Joggles
    How else could so few privileged and comparatively educated humans so recklessly disregard the well-being of their peers?

    Precisely because the rest of humankind are not seen as peers! Our peers are other Collingwood supporters, or other farmers, other Australians, other white people, and yes, “the celebration of narrow-minded parochialism .. is precisely what is wrong with national days”, but that ain’t going to change, because it is not just choice or culture, it is evolved, it is inherent in our behavior, and it is why we are so successful, if overpopulating every environment to the point of collapse can be considered success.

  28. @TerjeP

    E-cigarettes need some oversight and regulation like any new product. It is a matter of ensuring public health and safety without being “burdensome and harmful”. Corporations, entreprenuers and people who usually care only about making money cannot be trusted to care about general public safety and health. This has been proven countless times in the capitalist era.

  29. @zoot
    Cracker Night moved from 5th Nov to Empire Day (although it was probably Commonwealth Day or something by then) in the early 60s from memory, because everyone got sick of the bushfires which were an inevitable consequence of freely-available fireworks in November.

  30. Ikonoclast – the rules in Australia require you to buy e-juice with Nicotine online from New Zealand. You can’t buy it via local retail. That seems needlessly burdensome given regular cigarettes, which we know are harmful, can be bought retail with nicotine.

  31. @TerjeP

    The word ‘regulation’ seems to have chewing gum qualities in the sense that it can mean anything from legislated micro-management of how people are to do up their proverbial shoe laces to essential quality control.

    IMO, e-cigarettes with nicotine juice do require grading of nicotine concentration and quality control and the allowable nicotine concentratons should be based on the best available medical knowledge and related disciplines.

    While there is no side-smoke (true negative externality) problem and therefore more responsibility can be placed on the users (consumers in Econ speak), the users cannot be assumed to take full responsibility because they have no experience (direct or indirect) with how they react to nicotine that can be supplied more or less continuously and they have no control over manufactured nicotine juice.

    My casual observations suggest even long term heavy cigarette smokers are not really interested in getting more adicted to nicotine or killing themselves with one overdose. On the other hand, my sample also includes cases where a ‘heavy dose’ (cigar) at the age of 10 or 12 turned out to be a life-long turn-off for some people whom I met when they were in their 40s or 60s. I’d like to sum up by quoting an actuary friend of ours. It is a case of “life and other contingencies”.

    From an economists’ perspectie, I’d be particularly interested in the taxes levied on e-cigarettes with nicotine juice, relative to cigarettes.

  32. EG – a fair point.

    Another aspect to consider is that a disposable e-cigarette with a pre-defined quantity of nicotine (currently prohibited) may well be safer than the do it yourself variety based on internet imports (currently permitted).

    However also consider that caffeine pills can be freely bought in lethal quantities. Eat just half the pills in the following bottle in a single sitting and you will likely be dead. I don’t see why nicotine should be regulated much differently to caffeine.

  33. On e-cigs, it would be useful if someone could link to a statement of the case for prohibition. On the face of it, it seems hard to justify differential treatment relative to nicotine patches etc, but perhaps there is an argument we haven’t heard.

    Terje, I really don’t think comparisons to caffeine are helpful.

  34. I would expect that tobacco companies would not like e-cigarettes. But I suggest that even if e-cigarettes aren’t made totally legal, they be introduced for “registered nicotine addicts”. One of my sisters lives in a residential complex for people with various degrees of mental illness. Just about everyone there smokes. The manager keeps some of their pensions and buys bulk cigarettes which he distributes at the rate of 15 per day.

    I’m not sure if the residents would be prepared to swap from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, as I’m not a smoker. But not inhaling the tar must surely be a lot healthier.

    The one thing that might influence smokers to change would be price. If the excise was small, then the motivation of actually having some spending money might be enough to convince people to take the healthier option.

    Most people with mental illness are hopelessly addicted to nicotine. Maybe some mental hospitals could be used as a trial of e-cigarettes.

  35. @John Brookes

    Some Tobacco companies are now getting into the e-cigarette business. But initially it was treated as a threat and pioneered by others.

    I don’t think e-cigarettes should be more restricted than cigarettes. As such I’d oppose the need for a doctors prescription. Just retail them like cigarettes without the taxes or graphic labels.

    I have vaped an e-cigarette in a night club. It has none of the after smell or irritation of smoking. And it’s legal to vape in such a venue. The only hang up in Australia is that nicotine based e-juice must be purchase over the internet from a foreign source (eg New Zealand). It can’t be retailed in Australia.

  36. @TerjeP

    Is nicotine good for you?

    Just retail them like cigarettes without the taxes or graphic labels.

    Surely if it isn’t, then there should be consistency across labelling?

    i.e.: “This is the same poison we’ve been warning you about in cigarettes for all these years. You may die.”

  37. Every year around this time, I ponder the appropriateness and meaning of “Australia Day.” January 26 marks the founding in 1788 of the colony of New South Wales (not Australia) by landing a squadron of largely involuntary boat people — much to the dismay of the local residents. Considering the history of settlement, it is clear that the other states and territories need not feel unduly patriotic about the foundation of the NSW colony*. Declaring January 26th as a national founding day for Australia is rationally equivalent to celebrating May 14th as the official foundation day of the United States because on that date in 1607 the Virginia Company founded the first permanent English settlement in North America (again, to the consternation of the locals).

    It is often said that the United States gained nationhood through revolution against imperialism, whereas Australia gained its nationhood by evolution. Some even say Australia is still evolving, but slowly, and that complete independence will arrive when it, too, severs its connection to the British crown. America’s national day, Independence Day — July 4th, is couched in a period of violence and bloodshed from which emerged a new nation. What is remarkable about Australia’s history, on the other hand, is that it is markedly unremarkable. As David Stevens over at OLO said there should be more to a commemorative national day “than convicts disembarking, heroism in bad causes [or] a horse-race.” Australians should feel ambivalent about celebrating January 26th as their national day. But what else is there? Ennui now consumes the writer.

    *- I hesitated to post this because the discussion has moved on. In any case, a.v. ( at #10) already made the point I was trying to make in the first paragraph. I apologize – writing from Time Zone -5 always makes me late to the party.

  38. On a different note, I read the tragic news today (Fairfax) that Queen Elizabeth is ‘down to her last million.’ Apparently, the Queen’s reserve fund has fallen from £35 million to just £1 million over the last 12 years. British MPs have been told they are now at a “historic low.” I hope the poor dear doesn’t have to pawn the crown jewels to keep the wolf from the palace door. Some of us should be so lucky as to be down to out last million.

  39. @Megan

    No Megan you are spreading misinformation. There is no indication that nicotine is carcinogenic.

    Like caffeine or paracetamol it can be lethal in high dosage but quite safe at low dosage. What is clear is that tobacco smoke, which contains thousands of chemicals including tar and carbon monoxide, is carcinogenic. E-cigarette vaper by contrast is on par with a cup of coffee.

    Nicotine patches don’t have a warning saying they will kill you because they won’t. There is no reason to label e-cigarettes saying they will kill you. They won’t kill you. In fact if you are using them as an alternative to tobacco smoke they are saving you. We should be celebrating this technology and promoting it.

    Nicotine is addictive but so is caffeine and we don’t have warnings on cups of coffee.

    For some reason John Quiggin doesn’t like the comparison with his favourite drug caffeine. He hasn’t said why.

  40. It looks like Abbot is testing the waters to see if he can get away with cutting funding for the ABC. I guess this is part of his pay back to Murdoch so News Ltd can have an even stronger hold over the news media in this country.

  41. I note that after CSIRO said soil carbon was dodgy their budget was cut. Soil carbon being a linchpin of Direct Action. My sense is that Middle Australia likes boat non-arrivals but will not like austerity.

  42. JKUU @ 46. Maybe Liz could ‘touch’ our new guv, General Cosgrove who is to be paid some
    $400 000 perannum to do the gig, all of it tax free I understand. A bit of payday lending to his boss might be in order. Incidently I thought he was retired from the military which should mean he drops the ‘general’ tag or have we got the American disease of high flyers, eg presidents and ambassadors retaining the moniker. Then again we wouldn’t have the delightful monty pythonesque, (apologies to G & S) of addressing ‘governor general general’.

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