One vote, one value? Not in the City of Sydney

23 08 2014

‘No taxation without representation’.

NSW local government minister Paul Toole wrote in a comment piece for SBS on 18 August, apparently with his tongue firmly planted on his palate. As fond as I am of American history, pinching a line from the colonists to describe a legislative overhaul which will result in a blatant malapportionment of votes within the City of Sydney (CoS) is lazy and misleading.

Under the City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) 2014 bill, introduced by the Hon. Robert Borsak of the Shooters and Fishers Party:

  • the General Manager, not the Electoral Commissioner, will be responsible for keeping and maintaining an automatic non-residential roll. The Electoral Commissioner will review it to check the nominated voters are eligible (i.e. over 18 years old, eligible to vote in Australia and not on the CoS residential roll)
  • if a corporation is the owner, lessee or occupier of rateable land, the GM will enrol two people to vote based on a majority written nomination
  • if no nomination is received, the GM will automatically enrol the first two people from an alphabetical list of owners, lessees or occupiers

Mr Toole likens this malapportionment to four people living in Redfern each having a vote despite occupying the same address. This ignores the fairly basic concept that four individuals on the electoral roll all contribute to, and use services provided by each level of government, and only get one vote in the divisions in which they are enrolled.

Mr Toole is correct that non-residents have the right to vote in the City of Sydney, and that the poor turnout at the last election suggests they find the relatively new re-enrolment provisions cumbersome. I don’t have a problem with business people who have a stake in the way the city is run having a say at the ballot box. I’m no fan of the current Lord Mayor, and after 12 years living in an inner city suburb, I proudly support local, independent businesses. What I object to is the malapportionment of votes. A single business entity with multiple business locations (such as a fast food chain) might ‘only’ be eligible to two votes, but that’s still twice what mine is worth. Further, who is to say that the ‘small business people’ the minister speaks of will actually get a say? An absentee landowner living interstate could nominate themselves over the people who deserve it – the ones who run the business, whose livelihoods are affected by council decisions such as metered car parking. Also, the model proposed by the Shooters Party means a corporation with interests in several separate business entities with a physical address in the City of Sydney could have multiple punts come election day. #Imagen this: just a few years ago, a certain family’s group of companies leased two shops at Circular Quay. Fast-forward a few years and under the same circumstances, that family could arrange for different companies within its control to nominate up to four people to vote in the council election based on holding those two leaseholds alone. Tops.

According to Mr Toole, the ‘Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Land Property Management Authority and business surveys will guard against fraud or scam electors’. Who will pay for, and resource this extra policing of the vagaries of some 40,000 businesses, which could be under administration or investigation, change hands or directors? The minister talks of cutting red tape, but the Shooters Party Bill will create another task for both Federal and NSW government agencies. The minister appears to be unaware the LPMA was itself abolished in 2011, with its three divisions now under the purview of two State government departments.

State MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, has introduced his own Bill into the Legislative Assembly. In addition to pointing out the inconsistencies with adopting a model based on Melbourne city council, the City of Sydney (Business Voting and Council Elections) Bill 2014 address several concerns I have about the Shooters Party Bill, including the CoS GM’s management of the roll. Why should the GM keep the non-residential roll when the Electoral Commissioner is responsible for the residential roll? Regardless of the nature of the elected council, a council employee with oversight of who votes for the composition of the council which pays their salary is low-hanging fruit for vested interests. Further, the Greenwich amendments provide for in person or postal voting, and importantly, does not make voting compulsory for non-residents. Let’s face it: the person who owns my flat may not give two stuffs who’s in charge at Town Hall. Compelling people to vote in an election they give even fewer fucks about will do nothing more than boost the number of invalid/donkey votes. While the changes to the CoS Act don’t affect other local government areas, Mr Toole has signalled his support to roll out the changes to other ‘key cities and economic areas’ such as Parramatta and Newcastle (because having a developer as Lord Mayor worked so well…).

————

I started writing this piece a few days’ ago (c’mon, you don’t think I could read this much draft legislation before midday on a Saturday), only to be beaten to the punch by Secco, who has written a #getClover feelpiece for The Saturday Paper. This, I hope, delves deeper into the nature of the proposed changes and the long-term impact on the residents of the City of Sydney, because it is much more than an attack on the political survival of one person as per the current narrative. The Tea Party-lite sloganeering adopted by Toole, Borsak et al is a reminder that money will equal speech, regardless of how sick to the stomach NSW is of those who sought, and succeeded to steal elections. Set aside political affiliations, apathy, personality-based views: malapportionment of votes; an electoral roll kept by a council employee; more red tape caused by the multi-layered policing of the roll and no clear indication of which corporation will wield the business vote where more than one exists on a rateable property make the amendments unworkable. Let MPs know, and don’t forget it in March 2015.





Our greatest Premier?

21 04 2014

A dear friend compiled this list of Neville Wran’s achievements and poses a worthy question: was he our greatest Premier?

  • founded the University of Western Sydney
  • electrifying the railways to Wollongong and Newcastle
  • saving the north coast forests
  • Aboriginal Land Rights Act
  • working with Blewett on the AIDS response
  • beds to the west, including building Mt Druitt Hospital
  • all the great arts work for the suburbs and regions eg Riverside Theatre, Campbelltown City gallery
  • created the Powerhouse Museum and Wharf Theatre
  • gay law reform
  • Darling Harbour
  • Anti Discrimination Act 1977
  • built the Sydney Football Stadium
  • NSW Film and Television Office
  • democratised the Legislative Council after a titanic constitutional battle with the dinosaurs
  • appointed Michael Kirby as President of the Court of Appeal and Mary Gaudron as Solictor-General and QC (first female in both)
  • appointed the State’s first female Minister
  • created the DPP
  • introduced AVOs
  • introduced Random Breath Testing
  • passed the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
  • set-up the Land and Environment Court
  • passed the Heritage Act and Coastal Protection Act
  • established the Historic Houses Trust
  • Parramatta Stadium
  • Sydney Entertainment Centre
  • purchased all those ferries that we still have
  • restored Macquarie St and Hyde Park Barracks
  • the Premiers Literary Awards
  • sister-state agreement with Guangdong Province
  • commenced the new wings of the State Library, Australian Museum and Art Gallery of NSW (opened in 1988)
  • development of the old Treasury building as an hotel
  • modernised the coal industry – new coal loaders and rail lines

It’s an impressive body of work which doesn’t rely on, ‘but we passed hundreds of pieces of legislation’ as a measurement of good government.  The Hon. Neville Kenneth Wran AC QC did things.  He invested in the future.  He protected our past.  He acted, where others mouthed the words.  For fuck’s sake – the Shitkansen takes as long to reach Newcastle as it did when the line was electrified.  A great many last week judged a Premier who signed up to an education package that delivered NSW more money as ‘great’ and ‘honourable’, all the while ignoring the fact that he took lifetime medical cover away from people who lose a leg below the knee in the workplace.  As acts of bastardry (not political bastardry, complete bastardry) go, that’s right up there.

Unless all political parties get rid of the cookie cutter hacks who are ‘for’ an electorate (spin me around and call me Susan if there’s a candidate who’s ‘against’ being elected); the venal cyphers who think we are unworthy of the truth while they line their pockets, abuse their influence, reward their mates and generally take the fucking piss; the timid and weak who follow opinion, rather than establish the theme; the empty shirts blathering endlessly to the cameras for next to no return, we will never see the likes of Neville Wran again.  Who am I kidding?  We are getting the public representatives, at all levels and all shades of the spectrum that an exclusive pack of pricks with limited life experience choose for us.  The only time they speak their minds is when the system that suited them fine on the way up screws them on the way down.  Wran had facets of each of these faults, but set against the dreary, small minds in the back seat of too-large white cars, he was a colossus.

~~~~~~~~~~

Enough vitriol, time for a personal reflection on ‘Nifty’, the dapper QC, the brilliant Balmain Boy who never forgot his roots as he rose, inexorably, to what passes for high society in Sydney.

I was awestruck when I met him almost a decade ago.  He had agreed to head a mine safety review my-then boss, Kerry Hickey, commissioned after NSW lost three miners on one of the single darkest days I hope to ever know.

He came into the office for a preliminary meeting. He extended his hand, one of an old man.  The rest – the intellect, the commitment to the cause of ensuring people could do a day’s work and return home to their families, the ‘dash’… it was all still there.  The grin, still blinding, even though the teeth were discoloured by age.

‘I’m Neville’.

The Hon. Neville Wran AC QC defied the truism about the charismatic, that they have the ability to make you feel like you’re the only person in the room.  Neville made you feel like you were an old mate in a room of good friends.

‘I’m sorry, but I have to call you Premier.  ’78 was my first political memory.  You’ll always be Premier to me’.

Again, the grin and chuckle.  ‘You’re too young to remember ’78!’

If you could muster indignation with Neville Wran, that’s what I felt.

‘I was seven! ‘Wran’s Our Man’ was our mantra’.

He chuckled again, and then his face changed.  The eyes ceased crinkling in good humour.

‘We’ve got a lot to do’.

Kerry, Neville, Genevieve, Siobhan and I stood in silence in the middle of the office at GMT.  Kerry had been hit hard by the accidents; the dead were his constituents.  People outside mining communities rarely understand the shockwaves these godawful events send through anyone with a tie to the industry.

There’s a wall outside the CFMEU’s Cessnock office inscribed with the name of every miner killed since the northern coalfields were founded in 1801.  More than 1,800 men and boys – almost four times the Australian lives claimed during Vietnam and a quarter of those who died during the entire Gallipoli campaign.  I have seen the damage first-hand: widows, wheelchairs.  A childhood walking home from primary school and looking for Dad’s bicycle in the garage.

As they say, you never start an inquiry without knowing the outcome.  We were about to wage war, and Neville was our Ajax – powerful, intuitive and intelligent.

The government adopted all of the Wran Mine Safety Review recommendations.  Sadly, two more names will be added to the Jim Comerford Memorial Wall over the coming weeks, and the CFMEU is calling for another review.  If one is conducted, all workers who give evidence (and the government) will be poorer for not having Neville Wran’s expertise and empathy to guide the process.

I know this is a small remembrance of a very public life, a sketch of one of the end notes of a full working life – and that everyone has a Neville yarn.  I’m grateful that of all of them, I’m able to tell this one.





Sucker punched

21 01 2014

Well played, dickheads.

The new offence & mandatory minimum sentence for so-called ‘one-punch’ assaults occasioning death, announced today by the O’Farrell Government is poor public policy on several counts. I don’t have time to pretty this up, I want to put a few thoughts out there & some links. You can chew my argument up & spit it out, but bring your A game. I worked for a government which made similarly populist decisions & they sucked arse. This one bites because it’s not only bad policy, it’s bad politics.

1/. What has the NSW Government done?

See the fact sheet released by the government here. In addition to the new ‘one punch’ offence, the government will:

  • increase maximum sentences by two years and introduced mandatory minimum sentences for serious assaults committed under the influence of drugs and alcohol;
  • create a new ‘CBD precinct’ stretching from Kings Cross to Cockle Bay, The Rocks to Haymarket and Darlinghurst which will be subject to 1.30am lockouts and no alcohol sales after 3am;
  • not approve new liquor licenses for pubs and clubs within the precinct;
  • run free buses from Kings Cross to the city every 10 minutes;
  • give police the power to ban ‘troublemakers’ from the precinct for up to 48 hours and the Police Commissioner the power to ban persons from the precinct for extended periods of time;
  • introduce a periodic ‘risk-based’ licensing system, based on the Victorian model (higher fees based on poor compliance);
  • change closing times for liquor stores to 10pm Statewide;
  • increase on-the-spot fines for anti-social behaviour;
  • toughen penalties for the possession of steroids;
  • suspend online Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification until changes are made to protect their integrity;
  • continue covert police surveillance to prevent sales of alcohol to minors; and
  • run a social media and advertising campaign.

2/. Why has the O’Farrell government acted?

The new ‘one punch’ offence is a reaction to a handful of high-profile cases and a sustained campaign by both the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph. The moral hazards or unintended consequences this moralising presents will come back and bite us all on the bum. You’ve got 150,000 signatures on a petition? I reckon I could do a whip count and match it with people who think this is at best unhelpful, creates different classes of victims of crime and could make a situation inflated by the media worse. When the State Government body which collects crime statistics tells you last week that the facts do not bear out the media campaign, you know you’re on a loser. Here is the latest NSW quarterly crime report. Violent crime is falling or stable in the City of Sydney. Crimes, as reported to police and passed to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, but no, let’s go and set our hair on fire over a catch phrase.

One Australian woman a week is killed by a current or former partner. ONE A WEEK, but you’re most likely to read about it if the Governor-General speaks about it, or the victim is a beautiful young woman. I live for the day either of these rags passionately advocates for a ‘safer Sydney’ for women and children murdered by their partners. White Ribbon Day is a fantastic initiative, but it’s not in the same league as the ‘one punch’ mission the newspapers went on. Why choose to crusade over the tragic deaths of a few young men when BOCSAR research indicates domestic violence is grossly under reported. If Dr Don Weatherburn & his team is right, you could look at doubling the recorded number of assaults in a domestic setting. There were 27,000 in the 12 months to September 2013.

  • The recorded number of assaults in the domestic setting in the City of Sydney LGA in the year ending September 2013? 905
  • The recorded number of assaults in the domestic setting in the City of Sydney LGA in the year ending September 2012? 874

(I.E. UP)

  • The recorded number of non-domestic related assaults in the City of Sydney LGA in the year ending September 2013? 3583
  • The recorded number of non-domestic related assaults in the City of Sydney LGA in the year ending September 2012? 3737

(I.E. DOWN)

This data is published quarterly by BOCSAR. It is freely available & I strongly encourage you to refer to it whenever you read about what constitutes or provides for ‘a scared community with the succour and support it needs’. Also, listen to the Governor-General’s second Boyer Lecture in full. If her words on the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) and its Australian context doesn’t blow your socks off, I don’t know what will. How dearly I will miss Her Excellency. I’m not big on titles, but Quentin Bryce deserves that one.

3/. Why am I angry?

  • I am terribly sorry for the loss of these young men’s lives. The grief of their families and friends … I’ve never known it. I don’t question the push for sentencing reviews. A life lost in circumstances such as Thomas Kelly’s is worth more than the four-year sentence handed down to the man who punched him. I just don’t believe that a new offence needs to be created, or that one life ended at the hands of a violent drunk is worth more or less than another’s. A person who is stabbed to death is not any more of less dead than a ‘one punch’ victim. The person who stabbed them might be up for murder, found guilty, be sentenced to life and get a non-parole period of 10 years. Excellent. Reverse the situation. The 25 year old man charged with murder following the death of Daniel Christie on 11 January 2014 faces life imprisonment if the Crown proves his intent was to kill Mr Christie, or that he acted with reckless indifference to human life. If the charge of murder is proven, it serves as a precedent for charges to be laid in future cases. That’s a life sentence, which carries a standard non-parole period of 25 years. The maximum sentence under the new offence (if the offender is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol) is 25 years. The call to ‘get tough on thugs’ could result in a plea bargain for the lesser offence, and wind up before a judiciary chafing at the bit to tell the executive branch of government exactly what they think of mandatory minimums by handing out custodial sentences of 10-12 years. Well played.
  • Voluntary intoxication will be removed as a mitigating factor in hearing such cases, but the ‘vulnerability’ of the victim (such as age) is still taken into account as an aggravating factor. What happens if an 18-year-old man (they’re not ‘boys’, so let’s stop with that right now) physically attempts to restrain you to further unwanted sexual advances? Say the man is pissed out of his brain and falls like a sack of spuds if, in desperation, you hit them with an open backhander? Is it a WFA title bout? What constitutes ‘one punch’? What happens if two people each throw one punch, and only one connects, or as Ed Butler writes today, a person reacts to seeing a male or female friend being threatened or assaulted, lands one punch on the instigator, who then falls and dies? How do you treat the death of someone after a ‘brawl’, such as Daniel Cassai? Does anyone deserve a mandatory minimum of eight years’ jail because they’ve clocked someone on the back of the head in an effort to stop a rape? Removing judicial discretion – the idea that judges and magistrates have the wisdom, experience and knowledge of the law to give proper consideration to all evidence presented in court – is just a nonsense; as is the implication that a jury of our peers can’t understand or execute their role, one of the most important in our society. It’s a bloody insult to our collective intelligence. In the United States,the introduction of mandatory minimums for dealing in crack cocaine – but not powder cocaine resulted in one thing: disproportionate incarceration rates among young men from minority and lower socio-economic backgrounds. It’s the same drug, just presented in a different form. This is what I mean when I talk about creating classes of victims. Are the Christie and Cassai cases so different? All people who die during, or following a violent assault should be treated with the same dignity.
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing laws do not work, here or abroad. As Declan Roche wrote in a 1999 Australian Institute of Criminology report;
  1. they are not a general deterrent to crime – deterrence implies that people are rational actors when considering committing a crime when much crime (especially crimes such as ‘one punch’ assaults’) is impulsive and involves limited deliberation;
  2. they are not cost-effective – in fact, they are the opposite of a cost-effective solution to fighting crime. Consider the increased costs in the court system as more defendants contest charges to try to avoid the mandatory penalty that follows conviction, where they otherwise may have entered a plea of guilty; cost of housing large numbers of offenders imprisoned under mandatory sentencing laws. In Australia it is estimated that it costs up to $60,000 to keep a prisoner imprisoned for a year and approximately $200,000 to build a new cell;
  3. they do not promote consistency in sentencing – statutory definition of offences is inherently imprecise. Very unequal offenders can receive the same sentence when convicted under mandatory sentencing. Secondly, mandatory sentences may encourage judges to circumvent the mandatory penalties imposed by legislation. Judges and juries may “nullify” laws or penalties that seem to them unjust. Thirdly, rather than eliminating discretion it simply displaces it to other parts of the criminal justice system, most notably, prosecutors. Discretion is unavoidable in the criminal justice system. When that discretion is left in the hands of judges they are in a position to attempt to achieve consistency by taking into account all the relevant circumstances of the offence. Moreover, judges’ decisions are publicly accountable through their visibility, which provides some safeguards against inconsistency. By contrast, displacing that power & putting it in the hands of prosecutors means that discretion is being exercised in a less considered, and certainly less accountable way.
  • The new ‘CBD precinct’ just pushes the ‘problem’ elsewhere. What about Bondi, Coogee, Manly – all ‘notorious’ trouble spots for ‘alcohol-fuelled’ violence. I live two blocks outside the Darlinghurst suburb boundary, near other pubs in Surry Hills. Are those pubs going to adhere to the 1.30am lockouts because they want to be good neighbours? YA THINK? I look forward to the locked out masses trying to get into pubs 500 metres down the road. Fun times.
  • NEW ANGER: You know loses out here? The large pubs & clubs on Oxford Street, safe places for LGBTQI people, all with 5am licences. Odds on an upsurge in gay bashings because people who choose to switch nightclubs themselves are locked-out after standing in a queue for 30min & are vulnerable to homophobic fucks? THAT. THAT RIGHT THERE IS AN UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE.
  • Here comes another ring stinger:  small bars (yay, civility and $20 cocktails in Mason jars); restaurants and ‘tourist accommodation establishments’ are exempt from the CBD precinct rules on lockouts and new liquor licence applications. Excellent. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Think hard. It lets James Packer’s Barangaroo casino development go ahead. No worries.
  • The ‘bans’ on ‘troublemakers’? WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF? ‘Hey, pissed up suit! Don’t bother rolling up to the office after you’ve been arrested?’ How is this even going to work?
  • 10pm closing times for bottle-os? Get fucked. Just fuck right off. How many off-licences are open after 10pm? I know of two. The others are hotels which sell takeaways during opening hours. ‘Pre-loading’ doesn’t begin at 9pm. If you’ve ever caught a train from Newcastle to, or from Sydney on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll see it in full flight.
  • WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE – call a cunt a cunt and there’s a good chance some cunt will hand you a cunning $500 fine because that cunt can;
  • The ‘roid angle is interesting for singling out the stereotypical ‘one punch’ deliverer – a pumped up mid-20s bloke trained in mixed martial arts. What about the ‘one punch’ puncher who really is a coward & doesn’t have the self-discipline the vast majority of people who are trained in any martial art or boxing possess?
  • OH FINALLY SOMEONE HAS REALISED THAT ONLINE RSA TESTS ARE RORTED AND EVEN WHEN PEOPLE HAVE RSA CERTIFICATES THEY KEEP SERVING ALCOHOL BECAUSE MONEY.
  • Covert surveillance – I think this means young cops hanging out at Liquorland but I’m not entirely sure.
  • Bring forth the ad blitz. If it’s one thing Australia does well, it’s PSAs (no sarcasm; we really are very good at creating and heeding them. I just wish they’d run ‘DON’T HIT OR RAPE PEOPLE EVER’ on loop.

I know police are sick of seeing punch ons, but pro-tip from an inner-Sydney resident: I have seen police sending eight to 10 officers into nightclubs with sniffer dogs, or squad cars and paddy wagons parked outside one or two pubs, 20-30 police milling about, then walked 250 metres to my street and found a group of young blokes kicking a homeless person, or a man pushing a woman around. I’ve stepped in, because I always think, ‘what if that was me’? I’ve seen a bouncer drag a young kid from a club around into a lane way & beat the shit out of him & was too scared to intervene. I shouted at him & went into the club to tell the manager; the bouncer came in & dragged me off the premises. The manager told me to fuck off. I called the police, when they arrived they said there was no point taking the matter further because I’d had wine over dinner & the kid was a meth-addicted rent boy. I’ve seen a young woman thrown into a cab by two bouncers. When people who saw what happened tried to give the young cops a different story, they became belligerent. I’ve seen a bouncer hit a bloke, then lie about it to the cops, backed up by eight other bouncers. There is a plethora of existing law under the Crimes Act 1900 for NSW Police to enforce. There are City of Sydney bans on public drinking – in 12 years living here, I’m yet to see the bans in action. The laws & by-laws exist. They just aren’t enforced.

Finally (!) … as well as making no sense from a public policy perspective, it’s just really poor politics. I would be tempted to vote Liberal if Barry O’Farrell had stood up to the papers and their combined circulation of the population of Elizabeth Bay and led. Instead, the Premier did as he has done from 25 March 2011. He squibbed it. Small target politics is O’Farrell’s comfort zone. With the ALP unlikely to make a comeback for the next two, even three elections and a thumping majority, O’Farrell made the mistake of treating the NSW parliamentary press gallery with contempt. Ministers rarely hold press conferences or throw the lazy sods an ‘announceable’, so the media set itself as the Opposition. In a salutary lesson for the Abbott government, it shows that playing Sergeant Schultz, issuing statements instead of facing the cameras and not having the common courtesy to return calls before deadlines is a dangerous play. Sure, you can avoid the relentless questions on topics from Britney Spears to bikie shootings, but the habit of saying nothing can easily be turned into the perception of doing nothing, until you cut your losses and announce poor policy written on the back of a beer coaster, sponsored by the all-mighty liquor industry lobby. Instead of looking at the multiple causes and victims of violent assaults, Barry O’Farrell handed the papers their win. Really, the gloating is unseemly. Rather than ask the people of NSW to take a long, hard look at the way our casual acceptance of cultural norms not only around alcohol, but ego, as detailed here by Brandon Jack, followed up with this and this by Dane Rampe (which I might not agree with entirely, but I’ll take the lived experience of men of the same generation as the ones punching and dying as more relevant), the Premier folded, earned the plaudits of the crusaders and blamed one factor for an upsurge drop in violent assaults outside the domestic setting.

This is a Government creating new law in a category where crime rates are falling and introducing mandatory minimum sentences that will increase the cost of our criminal justice system and are unlikely to be at the forefront of a drunk’s mind when they throw a punch.

We’re the biggest state in Australia and we’re being governed by the Beverly Hillbillies.

Disclosure: after the Sydney Morning Herald’s deputy editor, Ben Cubby, tweeted this today, I thought I would add the following, even though my family’s financial interests and the occupations of people I talk to when I am not writing for five hours are none of your damned business. My parents are part-owners of a pub in Muswellbrook. My sister manages a pub in Newcastle. My parents are not members of the AHA. I have friends who work for the major liquor industry lobby groups. They might want to throttle me for a few of these points. I have not been paid, encouraged or influenced to write this or any other form of written or oral communication on this issue by my parents’ financial interests OR my relationship with anyone else. These are my thoughts on a media crusade I believe is unwarranted and a Government reaction to that campaign which I see as unwise and unworkable. You’re welcome.





Four beers and a packet of fauxtrage, please.

4 01 2014

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

~ Edmund Burke

Young people getting drunk = end of civilisation as we know it:

“The community needs to send a very clear message that it is unacceptable to drink yourself silly, because whether in backyards or beaches, or whether at barbeques or at other parties, we need individuals, family and friends to get a message to try and change a culture.”

Barry O’Farrell, NSW Premier

PM, 16 December 2013

Octogenarian alcoholic smashes a beer in front of adoring crowd of young people = legend:

Shut up. Just shut up.