Monday, September 10, 2007


WYSIWYG or "What you see is what you get" is an important attribute in politics.

Why vote for someone who appears to support one thing, only to find that after they get elected they're totally different to what you expected? That would be a disaster.

I will be voting for John Howard at the next election because he is definately WYSIWYG. You definately know where this man stands. He is predictable. You know what he's going to do.

I don't agree with everything he's done, but I know when he says he's going to do something, he'll do it.

Kevin Rudd is the opposite. He's Mr "Me too", presenting himself as a clayton's opposition leader. Mimicking the Prime Minister on vital issues like Economy ("Echo-Nomics"), Foreign Policy, Taxation and Indiginous Affairs, he tries to present a "not too scarey" version of the Labor Party that isn't going to frighen the voters, while placating the left with platitudes about Climate Change, Iraq, and (of course) Industrial Relations.

I.e. they dont' really stand for anything (especially if it's unpopular). All they want to do is get elected.

But ask yourself this. Why would the Labor Party want to get into office if they were just going to mimick the Liberals?

There's only one answer - they're definately NOT WYSIWYG. They want your vote, and they'll dress up in sheeps clothing so you can't see the wolf.

If you're not convinced, check out the conga line behind Kevin Rudd - the ones who he wants to make ministers in his government:

Deputy prime Minister and Minister for Industrial relations: Julia Gillard, former student radical and AUS president
Treasurer: Wayne Swan, former ALP state secretary
Attorney general: Joe Ludwig, former AWU official
Minister for Trade: Simon Crean, former president, ACTU
Minister for Transport and Tourism: Martin Ferguson, former president, ACTU
Minister for Finance: Lindsay Tanner, former state secretary, Federated Clerk's Union
Minister for Environment and the Arts: Peter Garrett, lifelong anti-American activist
Minister for Infrastructure and Water: Anthony Albanese. Former assistant general secretary, NSW ALP
Minister for Human Services: Tanya Plibersek, former student union official, UTS
Minister for Immigration: Tony Burke, former official Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union
Minister for Resources: Chris Evans, former official Miscellaneous Workers' Union
Minister for Veterans' Affairs: Alan Griffin, former official Federated Clerks Union
Minister for Primary Industry: Kerry O'Brien, former official Miscellaneous Workers' Union
Minister for Superannuation: Nick Sherry, former state secretary, Federated Liquor and Allied Trades Union
Minister for Sport: Kate Lundy, former official CFMEU.

And waiting in the wings are:

Greg Combet, candidate for Charlton and former ACTU president
Doug Cameron, NSW Senate candidate and secretary of Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union
Bill Shorten: candidate for Maribyrnong and national secretary, Australian Workers' Union
Richard Marles: candidate for Corio and former assistant secretary, Transport Workers Union.

Get the idea?

A vote for Kevvie is a vote for the ACTU - government of the People, for the Unions, by the Unions.

That's what you get - but it's not what you saw. Sort of like the opposite of WYSIWYG.

Kev07? Not bloody likely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Grubby and heartless in the local rag

I hate grubby journalism.

Here's some photos, and the text of an article in our local rag, "The Northern Times".

The full text of the article can be viewed at (unless they delete it).

Click on the photos for larger versions. The text of my letter to the editor follows the article.

The Northern Times 24 August 2007.
AUGUST 24: The controversy surrounding campers pitching tents in Wyllie Park looks set to continue until the future management of the reserve is finalised.Residents have called for action to be taken against people camping in the park, in defiance of signposted rules governing the use of the green space.They say people camping in tents should be moved on, while campers themselves say they are doing no harm and just want to enjoy a peaceful stay before moving on in their travels.One resident, who asked not to be named, said the rules of the park were clear and should be enforced by council officers.

``We're not saying everyone who camps down there is a troublemaker, but there are clear rules about who can and can't stay overnight at the park and we just want the rules to be enforced,'' the resident said.

``And it clearly says that camping in tents is not allowed.

''Pine Rivers Shire Council CEO Ray Burton said the land the park was located on belonged to the Queensland Department of Main Roads.

He said council did not have any power to take action in relation to camping on state-controlled land.``The legal tenure of Wyllie Park is declared as state-controlled road, however, council is currently negotiating with Main Roads to gain legal control of the park,'' Mr Burton said.

``Council will continue to maintain the facilities within Wyllie Park
which includes the collection of rubbish, cleaning of toilets and showers and
also regular mowing.``This is part of an historical agreement.''

Here's the letter I sent on 29 August 2007.

Dear Editor

Your front page story, "Our Tent Ghetto" (NT 24 Aug 2007), is an indictment on the standard of journalism of your paper, and the level of heartlessness that exists in our community.

With no by-line, your anonymous reporter claimed that tensions had "again surfaced between residents living near Petrie's Whllie Park and people erecting tents within the grounds".

"Residents"? Which residents? You only quoted one nameless resident. Was there anyone else? One anonymous undated quote does not demonstrate that the community has "called for action to be taken". If the claims are true, surely someone (even your reporter) would have the courage to pin their colours to the mast and speak without the shroud of anonymity?

You claim these residents live "near Petrie's Wyllie Park". Have a look on a map. Wyllie park is triangular, bounded on one side by the North Pine River, beyond which is yet another park. On the other side it is bounded by Gympie Road, beyond which is a cricket field and a paper recycling plant. On the third side it is bounded by a railway line, beyond which is a football field. The nearest houses are several hundred metres away in Mundin Street on the other side of the railway line and embankment.

In the middle of winter, during one of the wettest weeks of the year, your photos show large tracts of water on the ground in what is supposed to be a camping ground. Several unfortunate people found it necessary to live in the middle of this flood in tents. A nameless journalist, and an anonymous resident claiming to live nearby (in a warm dry house, no doubt) want "the rules to be enforced". The council, who claims to be powerless to do anything about it simply turned off the hot water.

That's the real story.

How unkind.

By the way - feel free to publish my name.

Neil Ennis

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More than Mutual Media Masturbation

Kevin Rudd and Channel Seven's "Sunrise" have been caught red handed telling porkie pies about their plans to stage a fake "dawn service" at Long Tan in Vietnam on Anzac Day to fit in with prime time TV slots in Australia.

While Kevvie and Kochie might be permitted a bit of mutual ego stroking on prime-time, the problem is the mess they've made while they were doing it:

Rudd tried to convince us he knew nothing of his discussions with "Sunrise" to stage the fake service. Emails then came to light which proved Rudd's claims to be false.

He then tried shift the blame to his staff for the "oversight" - grossly hypocritical in the light of the charges of "Sergeant Schultz" behavior that he leveled at the Government over AWB ("know nothing, see nothing, ask nothing").

Most Australians have to put up with wankers from time to time, but it's a bit much to expect us to tolerate hypocritical, lying little wankers.

Makes you wonder what he'll come up with next.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Queensland Health - a first-hand account

Our 4 year-old, Lilly, had trouble breathing last night at about 1am.

Her lips started turning blue, she started making barking noises like a seal, and could hardly get any air into her lungs. We were very worried.

I called 000 and the ambulance arrived within 5 minutes.

They were really effective, gave her oxygen, and took her off to the Royal Children's Hospital right away.

A doctor was available to see her as soon as we arrived at the hospital, administered some drugs (Dexamethasone, for Croup), and we were able to take her home within the hour.

Everyone was very professional and helpful, and I can't praise them enough.

It didn't cost us a cent.

There's been a lot of criticism of the health system in Queensland recently, but I think that despite the problems that have been publicized, we have an excellent system. It worked for us, and probably saved our daughter's life.

To all the doctors, nurses and ambo's in Queensland - our family regards you as heroes.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Poor Pacman Poopsies put on a Pout

See this story from the ABC

The rapacious whaling pac-men from the land of the rising sun are upset because they didn't get their way at the international whaling commission.

They failed by two votes to introduce secret ballots (to make it easier for wavering delegates to vote for whaling without the public shame), branded the IWC a "waste of time", and threatened to leave.

Joji Morishita spat the dummy. Bribing all those small third world countries for their votes is such hard work, and costs him and his grisly butcher "scientific whalers" a lot of money.

Those who have evolved beyond making sushi out of the largest mammal that ever lived need to be vigilant and turn up the heat. Winning a few votes at the IWC is not enough.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Beazer's Budget Blabberings

Check out Kim Beazley's budget reply speech

He uses the term "Middle Australia" 35 times. I think his polsters must have told him that they're the people who are a bit worried about him.

The only problem is most "Middle Australians" wouldn't know who a "Middle Australian" was. It's a bit of doublespeak that politicians use to tag a group of amorphous voters, but its not a term that any serious person would use to describe themselves.

"G'day my name is Neil and I'm a.... Middle Australian". Not likely, mate. I'm a father, a husband, a small business operator, a daydreamer, a wannabe musician, maybe even a battler, whatever.... but "Middle Australian"? Give me a break, Kim. If you use that term and me in the same sentence, then the only meaning I derive from it is that you're after my vote and you aren't too sure how to get it.

The other bit of doublespeak Beazer used was "Triple Whammy" - as though it was some big silver hammer that Maxwell was using to bang us on the head with as per the song by the Beatles. The Opposition Leader was referring to the recent quarter of a percent interest rise, the increase in fuel prices, and the change to the Industrial Relations laws.

Regarding his first point about interest rate rises. I'd rather be hit with Costello's quarter percent interest rise than the 18 percent rates that Beazley gave us when he was in power. Especially since most commentators agree that we're not going to need another rate rise for quite a while. And anyway you can count on a closed fist the number of initiatives Kim Beazley made in his speech addressing what he'd do to reduce interest rates.... none at all because he and his party wouldn't have a clue about interest rates.

The second point about rising fuel prices is pretty lame. Oil prices are rising around the world. Does Beazer have a magic wand he's going to wave which will bring them down? If not, is it the nasty government's fault that they're high? Who are you trying to kid?

And on the third point of Industrial Relations reform threatening the jobs of "Middle Australia", blind Freddy can see that unemployment is much lower now than under Beazley's government. When he ruled the roost it was over 10 percent. Now it's 5 percent. Which number is more threatening to you?

One initiative I have mixed feelings about is his ideas about the "Double Drop-off". Building childcare centres in State Schools is fair enough - provided the State Governments let you do it. But if you already have your kids at one child care centre, you'd still have a double drop-off under Beazley unless you pulled your kids out of one childcare centre and put them into another.

And then what happens to the other childcare centres that aren't in school grounds? If they lose customers, will they close down?

Sounds to me like the cure might be worse than the disease.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Well said, Bill!

Full marks to Bill Leak for his witty cartoon about Indonesia and West Papua.

A similar cartoon in an Indonesian newspaper portrayed John Howard and Alexander Downer as amorous dingoes. Most people either smirked about it or wrote it off as a pretty lame joke.

But Bill's cartoon has got a lot of people running for cover, with Downer "disassociating" himself from it, opposition counterpart Rudd calling for a stop to the "cartoon wars", and numerous Indonesian commentators getting very worked up.

There's no need to get so upset.

The Indonesian media opposed Australia's actions over West Papua and criticized that decision.

Similarly, many Australians are skeptical of Indonesia's actions in West Papua, and are openly critical about it.

Debate between international neighbors about issues of mutual interest is a healthy thing. It would be a much less desirable situation if this sort of debate was stifled to try and appease those sensitive souls who are offended by criticism.

The debate serves a vital role - governments at home and abroad are held accountable for their actions.

If Bill Leak can have a bit of a laugh about it while contributing to the debate, then good for him!

Friday, March 24, 2006

We know what you're upto in Papua

The Indonesian Government "is surprised, disappointed and deeply deplores" the decision by the Australian goverment to grant temporary protection visas to 42 asylum seekers from Papua.

As Dr Phil would say, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

So taking into account the thuggery that the Indonesian army committed in East Timor and Aceh, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that the Papuans were telling the truth when they complained of brutality at the hand of the indonesians.

If I had to chose who to believe between a Papuan who braved the ocean in dugout canoe, and an Indoneisan military thug with a past history of brutality, it's a no brainer.

It's good news for lovers of freedom that politicians in Indonesia are upset about this.

They know that we know what they're up to. And they don't like it. Nice of them to let us know that we're getting under their skin.

It's good to see the plight of Papua in the mainstream media too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Getting smarter about Capital Punishment

Full marks to Robert Richter, QC, and Brian Walters, QC.

They have come up with a plan to extradite the Bali Nine to Australia to face conspiracy charges. The goal is to get them out of Indonesia before they're charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad.

I hope the Department of Public Prosecutions in Victoria co-operates, as should other state / territory governments and the Federal Government.

Our government may not have the political will to lobby Asian governments to forsake Capital Punishment, but with some smart legal manoevering we may be ale to use international law to make it more difficult for them - even if it is only when dealing with our own citizens.

More info

Friday, December 02, 2005

For Van Nguyen

Singing The Spirit Home

  • (Eric Bogle)

    They came for him in the morning, an hour before dawning
    The pale white moon was waning in the African sky
    The cell door flew wide open, they stood looking at him
    He saw no mercy in their hearts, no pity in their eyes

    As they took him and they bound him, tied his trembling hands
    behind him
    He felt his courage leave him, his manhood disappear
    His legs would not support him, so from the cell they dragged him
    He sobbed and screamed and cursed them in his loneliness and fear

    Chains, chains, chains
    How many souls have died in freedom's name
    To some it is a way of life, to others just a word
    To some it is a snow-white dove, to some a bloody sword
    But until the last chains fall, freedom will make slaves of us all

    With faces closed and hidden the white guards walked beside him
    Indifferent to his pleading - they'd been down this path before
    But other eyes were watching, other ears were listening
    Other hearts beat with him in his final desperate hour

    From the darkness of that prison came the sound of his brothers
    Courage, their voices told him, you do not walk alone
    From their cells beyond the shadow he heard their voices echo
    As in love and pride and sorrow they sang his spirit home

    Chains, chains, chains
    How many souls have died in freedom's name
    To some it is a way of life, to others just a word
    To some it is a snow-white dove, to some a bloody sword
    But until the last chains fall, freedom will make slaves of us all

    And their song of hope and freedom, it rang inside that prison
    It beat against the iron bars and crashed against the stone
    As in their fear and hate they hung him, the last sound that filled
    his being
    Was his brothers singing, singing his spirit home

    Courage, brother, you do not walk alone
    We shall walk with you and sing your spirit home

Friday, November 25, 2005

Bring Jovicic Home

Opposition Immigration Spokesman, Tony Burke, and his leader, Kim Beazley are totally correct. The immigration department was wrong to deport Robert Jovicic, and they should bring him home.

Until he was forcibly repatriated, Jovicic had never been to Serbia in his life, didn't speak the language, and had lived in Australia for 35 years.

He's as Australian as I am.

If he's guilty of crimes, then we should be dealing with the problem here - not exporting our woes to Serbia.

Why does the immigration department get it so wrong so often? Consider the cases of Vivienne Solon, Cornelia Rau, and now Fatih Tuncok who is facing deportation to Turkey after spending the last 33 years of his life in Australia.

I don't think its enough to say that the Immigration Department (DIMEA) "got it wrong" or "made a mistake". These are malicious actions by a dictatorial department that is drunk on its own power.

Someone with guts has got to take drastic action and sort DIMEA out once and for all - starting with the Minister and working right down to the gratuitous gnomes who perpetrate these mean and nasty policies.

Enough is enough.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Save a man's life

Please read this article in my main blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

John Doyle - Comedian and Genius

The Andrew Ollie 2005 Media Lecture was presented by John Doyle.

For those of you who haven't seen him, Doyle is "Roy Slaven" - part of the comical duo, Roy and HG.

Although John Doyle's lecture was very funny in parts, he delivered an incisive appraisal of the state of our world, with some intelligent suggestions on what could be done about it.

The text and mp3 download are available at:

If you ever find yourself questioning things like the "Dumbing Down" of commercial media, the future of the ABC, the facile nature of Talkback Radio, and the decline of the skeptical thought process, then you'll appreciate what Doyle has to say.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Virus of Ideas

Ideas are like viruses.

They spread from person to person. If a person is infected they can pass the idea on to someone else.

Some people are immune to some ideas. Others are susceptible to them.

Ideas change the people they infect. They can turn someone into a political activist, a religious zealot, or a suicide bomber.

Some ideas (like some viruses) can cause much damage. Consider the AIDS virus, or SARS.

Epidemeology is the study of the distribution of diseases. It is an advanced science and is vital for containing the spread of infectious diseases. It teaches us how to prevent infection, and how to treat those who are infected.

I think that we need an "Epidemeology of Ideas".

It is moot whether a particular idea is "dangerous" or not. I don't want to be drawn on which ideas are "good", "bad", "dangerous" or "helpful" because each person will have a different opinion depending on their point of view.

But a society may feel threatened by the spread of a certain philosophy. For example, western societies feel threatened by terrorism.

The usual response to this perceived threat is to increase surviellence, military presence, etc - trying to prevent terrorist acts.

I think this is akin to doctors trying to stop a runny nose, or reduce a temperature. It's dealing with the symptom rather than the cause.

We need to ask more probing questions such as:

  • How is the destructuve idea communicated from person to person?
  • What makes someone susceptible to such an idea?
  • How do we prevent people from being infected by such ideas?
  • Once infected, how do we remove the infection?
  • Can someone not infected with such an idea still spread it? For example, someone who doesn't beleive in a certain philosphy might promote it for their own personal gain.

These questions raise more alarming questions about human rights, freedoms, democracy, freedom of the press, etc.

I'll try and explore some of these questions in my future postings.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Senator Ian Campbell - hero for the whales

Well done, Senator Ian Campbell.

The Australian Environment Minister worked tirelessly to convince some wavering delegates to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to oppose Japan's lust for whale meat.

The cetacean slaughterers have dug in for a long fight, and have indicated they will ignore the IWC and continue their hunting anyway.

The IWC motion is a start, but ultimately, someone is going to have to start playing hardball with the whalers.

Last year the Navy hunted half way round the world to catch poachers of the Patagonian Toothfish. In the same way, I hope they go hunting for whalers soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Lock out the whalers

Greens Senator Bob Brown is right to call on Australian to close its ports to Japanese whaling vessels if they start hunting Humpbacks or increase their take of Minke Whales.

"Scientific Whaling" is bullshit. What's scientific about going out on a whaling ship, harpooning heaps of whales, slicing them up, and selling them. The sooner someone stands up to the Japanese and tells them to cut the crap, the better.

To make it worse, they're now bribing smaller nations in the whaling council to get them to either reintroduce commercial whaling, or increase the quota allowed under the terms of "Scientific Whaling".

If we let these butchers into our ports, and make it easier for them to do their grisly job, then we are complicit in their deeds.

I'd probably go one step further and suggest the Australian Navy use the whaling ships for target practice.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sour grapes on Interest Rates

The ALP is crying foul over the campaign run by the Coalition at the last election.

The basis of their argument is threefold:

1. The government claimed that rates would be higher under labor, but then the RBA lifted rates by a quarter of 1 percent.

2. The goverment quoted RBA figures during the election, and the RBA complained to the AEC that the government shouldn't be quoting the RBA during an election campaign.

3. The RBA complained to a coaltion staffer who authorized the ads who should have passed on the complaint to the coalition's campaign director.

Since the interest rate campaign torpedoed the ALP's chances of winning the election, they're not very happy.

Beazer's been telling anyone who'd listen that it's not fair, and his sidekick, Swannie has been repeating the message for us, just to make sure we didn't miss it.

Come on guys. Get over it. You lost. Voters decided that it wasn't smart to let you loose on the treasury benches just yet. Especially after what happened with interest rates in the late 80's.

In a footy game both teams go on the field, play hard, try a few clever tactics, and at the end of a tough battle, the stronger team prevails. If the losing side started behaving like Beazer and Swannie, the crowd would laugh at them and call them a bunch of wusses or pansies.

So we if had swallowed the ALP's bunch of porkie pies instead of the coalition, would that have been alright, Kim? Give Aussies a bit more credit than that. We're not dopes. We know the game that they play in Canberra, and we're pretty adept at sorting out truth from bullshit.

There's nothing inspiring or exciting about a potential leader crying in his beer.

It's just plain wussy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Deport McGauran, not the Vaingolos Family

Peter McGauran must have rocks in his head to deport the Vaingolos family for visa infringements that occurred almost 2 decades ago.

Mafi and Hiki Vaingolos came to Australia just under 20 years ago on tourist visas. Since then they overstayed, married and have had 4 children. The eldest, Keliti, is a 14 year old boy who has shown outstanding sporting and acedemic achievments at Sydney's prestigious Newington College.

Their last chance to stay in Australia was an appeal to junior citizenship minister, Peter McGauran, who said "The Government is not going to reward people who knowingly and deliberately flout Australia's immigration laws and avoid detection for many years.

My guess is that unlike his relatively articulate predecessor, Philip Ruddock, Pete is finding the job a bit challenging. Rather than use scarce brain cells thinking about the issue, it's much easier just to say "no". Almost all the time. In fact of the 740 cases that have come to is short little span of attention since the election, he's only intervened 27 times.

And so, the junior minister who prides himself on the "Pro Family" policies of his party is breaking up the Vaingolos family. Mafi, Hiki and their two youngest children have to leave the country by the end of March, while the older children Keliti and Na'a are now Australian citizens and are allowed to stay.

Good on ya Pete. It's a literal "no-brainer". No need to think about it. Say "no" and send those illegals back to where they came from. Split the family up even though they paid their taxes, supported their local church, and (in Keliti's case) were chosen to play sport for Australia.

Brilliant! Especially considering the government is raising its skilled migrant intake because of a local skills shortage. (See ABC news article

Obviously there's a skills shortage in competent citizenship ministers. Perhaps we should deport the current plodder and get a real one.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Beazer's interest rate beat-up

Labor Leader Kim Beazley's attacks over the possibiity of interest rates rising in the next few months are a beat-up.

The U.S. federal reserve is considering a hike of maybe a quarter of one percent sometime soon, which may cause rates to rise by a similar amount in Australia.

Beazley seems to think this somehow means that John Howard was being economical with the truth when he campaigned on interest rates at the last election. Howard claimed that Coalition policies would be more likely than Labor policies to keep the lid on rate rises. Now that there is upward pressure on interest rates, Beazley is claiming that Howard has been "caught out".

So rates might rise to 6.25 percent as a result of external pressues, and Howard is to blame?

Give it a break Kim. It just doesn't make sense to anyone with at least half a brain.

All I can say is thank heavens we're not now suffering interest rates of 17 percent like when Beazley and Keating ran the country.

If you're going to try to be effective against the government, ask questions that are relevant. You don't do yourself or your party any favours making false claims based on questionable economics.

Phillip Adams Dreamtime

"Dreamtime" by Phillip Adams in the Weekend Australian is a classic.

I don't agree with Adams on some issues. I agree with him on much more, even though I come from a much more conservative viewpoint than he does.

More than most journalists in Australia today, I think he has earned the right to be heard and respected.

Phillip Adams has a heart as big as Uluru. He writes with a compassion and wit that can't be denied, but without any soppy sentimentalism. Like a loyal friend, he never tells you what you want to hear - he tells you the truth as he sees it.

Give us more people with this sort of integrity. I don't care if you disagree with me about something - just tell me the bloody truth. I'll respect you for it, and always will listen to what you have to say.

Spin doctors, and propagandists deserve the skepticism they receive. If you want that sort of tripe, watch Fox, listen to Laws or Jones, or some of the other cold leftovers they serve up on talk back radio. Like candy for the mind, it will rot your brain.

But if you want to work a bit harder, read Phillip Adams. He won't dish up policies from thinktanks. He'll just talk to you straight from his heart.

Phillip, thanks for sharing your dream this weekend. We'd be lucky if even half of it came true. I'm sure we could negotiate which half :)