28 September, 2013

Some free advice for Tony Abbott

There are reports that at least 22 people have drowned and 70 more are still missing after their boat broke up and sank on their way to Australia.

Tony Abbott spent three years campaigning with a relentless mantra of Stop the Boats.
It would be awfully easy to play politics with this and rub the new government’s nose in the fact that their policies have not yet stopped the drownings but I will not do that, partly because a new government deserves time to let its policies (however abhorrent) work, but mainly because it would trivialise the death of children.

However, one aspect of Mr Abbott’s response – or lack thereof – to the tragedy cannot pass without comment:

When asked about the incident when he was leaving an early Grand Final function, Prime Minister Grownup ignored reporters’ questions and just kept walking.

Wrong response.

No fair person should expect the prime minister to be fully briefed on an event as it occurs or have a fully thought out reaction to it. It would also be wrong to say anything before seeing all the relevant information. But to simply ignore questions on the topic looks callous at best.

Here’s how a pro would handle it:
“We are deeply concerned about these reports. We will have more to say when we have all the information to hand. Thank you.”
Would that have been so hard?


20 September, 2013

The Rules of Attraction

This piece is partly prompted by Rhys Muldoon’s lovely column today, and partly something I have been thinking for quite a while on the subject of whether or not we choose our sexual orientation and who to love.

I can’t approach being anywhere near as eloquent as Mr Muldoon on the subject of love so I will be writing about the mechanics of sexual attraction. I am writing from the male perspective because that’s the only perspective I have, but I would love to hear from women on the topic too.

The question of whether people choose who they are attracted to can be answered in one very blunt sentence of five simple words:

You can’t fake an erection.

It’s that simple. You can’t.
Of course, there are many things that can cause an erection that have nothing in particular to do with sexual attraction, especially if you’re a teenager. It could be a whiff of perfume, a cool breeze, a particular underwear fabric, the way the train jiggles, or even something as simple as waking up. This doesn’t mean you want to marry your bed sheets.
I’ll say that again just in case Cory Bernardi is reading:
This. Does. Not. Mean. You. Want. To. Marry. Your. Bed. Sheets. Is that clear?

An erection is by no means an infallible sign of overt sexual attraction but it is the body saying Mmm, I like that! You can’t just make it happen, it’s completely involuntary. The only way to make an erection happen in a situation that you don’t find arousing is to think of something that you do find arousing – whatever that may be.

You also can’t stop an erection. There’s no saying ‘Down boy, we don’t choose to be turned on by that kind of thing.’ If it’s going to happen, then it’s going to happen and you have no choice in the matter whatsoever. You might – and I stress might – be able to control it a little bit by thinking unattractive thoughts but your chances aren’t good. Arousal is like blinking or getting goose bumps. You don’t do it because you choose to, but because it is (pardon the pun) hardwired.

Every man knows this is true. Almost every woman knows this is true of men. I can’t speak for women (and again, I would welcome women to comment), but given that female arousal is generally a more complex process than in males, I strongly suspect it would support my premise that you can’t make it happen if it isn’t happening and you can’t stop it happening if it is. Women are fortunate that they can still be a bit mysterious and dignified in their arousal, but the penis never lies.

So why on earth is anyone still suggesting that a person’s attraction to another person is some kind of lifestyle choice and not basic programming? Is it because it’s a barely plausible excuse to treat people differently?
And why are some who have finally come to accept the fact that it’s simply how someone is built suggesting that it’s okay if they’re built that way so long as they don’t act on it. That’s like saying it’s okay to be hungry so long as you don’t eat.

If you’re still not convinced, do the experiment yourself. Pick something that doesn’t attract or stimulate you, and try to get off on it. You will not be able to do it. If you can, then it only means that it really does attract and stimulate you. And that’s perfectly alright too.

19 September, 2013

The Rules: Charity

If you contribute a lot to charity, either through work or money, that's wonderful.
Well done! We applaud you. Carry on.

If you ever feel the need to boast about it, then it's no longer charity - it's PR.

15 September, 2013

Everyone has their mandate

Let’s be honest and admit that any discussion of mandates, either by a government or an opposition, is always going to be an argument of convenience.

The rest of this piece can be read at AusOpinion.

11 September, 2013

08 September, 2013

Fair’s Fair

I have had many unflattering things to say about Mr Abbott.
However, according to our rules of government and the Westminster system, he will form government and become our 28th prime minister.

Therefore, he deserves all the respect that he afforded previous prime ministers who came to power under exactly the same rules.

Which translates and demanding a redo every day for three years if you didn’t like the outcome.

Go for it!

06 September, 2013

Other “poorly worded” Liberal policies

Thursday was a real dog-ate-my-homework day for the Coalition.

First there were the long-awaited policy costings which, by their own calculations, offer a measly $6 billion in savings over four years. Then there was the internet filter fiasco. The mandatory internet filter which everyone, including the Liberal party opposed when Labor proposed it, and which was quietly dropped by Labor last year would have been back under a Liberal government. I say “would have been” because they reversed the policy a couple of hours later. Tony Abbott said that he quickly read the policy the previous night and though that it meant optional PC-based software (presumably there isn’t a Mac version) and shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted that the policy “wrongly indicated” support of an opt-out system.

It can only lead one to wonder what other “poorly worded” policies the Liberals have rushed out that give a misleading view of their intentions and may not be picked up in the next 24 hours…

  • “WorkChoices dead, buried and cremated” should read: “Dead, but being resurrected.”
  • “Paid Parental Leave,” is a typo. Should be, “Maid parental leave,” which is the coalition’s policy for compensating the head of the house when their domestic staff take leave.
  • “Operation Secure Borders,” actually refers to safer online book shopping.
  • “Stop the boats,” has a word left out. Should read: “Stop reporting the boats.”
  • “Direct action,” is not actually a policy but a page from the script of one of their television commercials that fell into the wrong folder.

03 September, 2013

The new Australian history

Following the news that Tony Abbott wants to rewrite the history curriculum, I wonder what a Liberal-approved Australian history curriculum would look like…

Once upon a time, there was a big wide country with nobody in it.

Then one day, some enterprising young men set out on an expedition to see what there was in part of the world that couldn’t be seen.  Led by Captain Cook, they discovered a land of boundless riches and claimed it for His Majesty the King, as was the culture.

Labourers were needed to maximise the value of this wonderful new continent. As luck would have it, the Mother Country had an oversupply of nasty people. So they decided to send the nasty people to this wonderful new continent. It was to everyone’s advantage. Great Britain got to have its nasty people taken away, and the nasty people got to see the world and learn the value of hard work.  Their hard work was rewarded with their eventual freedom and some were even allowed to own some parts of the new country to help develop both their own and the nation’s potential.

The plan worked so well that eventually Great Britain didn’t need to send nasty people there any more and the new country didn’t need to have them sent and everyone was happy. The new country still received many great gifts form the mother country such as western civilisation, the Westminster system of government, and rabbits.

Eventually, it was time for this great new place to become an independent country called Australia, but you are always a part of your family and although Australia was no longer governed by Great Britain, there were ties that could never be broken.

The strength of these ties was shown in 1915 when, as Britain went to war, so did Australia and in this way, Australia became a man. The first operation was Gallipoli and there was forged the Anzac spirit of always obeying your betters. A few things went wrong but the war was won.

In the 1930s, there was the great depression. Back then, they understood that it would be foolish to try some left-wing scheme of stimulating the economy. We came out stronger for it. Many people would have starved to death if it weren’t for the rabbits that were brought over many years earlier, which tells us that the wisdom of our ancestors isn’t always apparent at the time and that we should not question the judgement of those in authority.

The 1930s also introduced us to the greatest ever Australian, Sir Donald Bradman. For those of you with older books that mention Henry Lawson or Weary Dunlop, cross those out.  Sir Donald Bradman was a man who was very good at playing cricket and he was the greatest ever Australian. Yes, even greater than John Howard. That’s how great he was.

There was another war and this time, while Australia was defending Britain, Australia herself was attacked and was placed in the sad position of having to bring her soldiers back from Europe in order to defend herself.

After the war, Australia’s equal greatest prime minister Sir Robert Menzies founded the Liberal Party of Australia as a new alternative to union thugs. He ushered in a Golden Age of prosperity and happiness throughout the 1950s and 60s. Of course, someone had to build all this prosperity, and because Great Britain wasn’t sending us her nasty people any more, we had to let others into the country. They weren’t really nasty, just foreign, and that was nasty enough at a time when people were used to being just like Great Britain only sunny. Eventually, the foreigners learned to be proper Australians so that was alright.

To maintain the balance, Australia made it easier for nice people from Great Britain to come here, and that’s how we got great Australians like Tony Abbott.

Sadly, Sir Robert Menzies could not govern forever and things went downhill after his retirement. Firstly, some people started saying that there actually were people in Australia before it was discovered by Captain Cook, but that’s all in the past now so there’s no point dwelling on it.

Then in the 1970s, after decades of irrelevance, the unionists came to power in Canberra and immediately started dangerous and irresponsible policies like free education and national health cover. Eventually, the Liberal opposition was forced, for the good of the country, to block the government’s money bills. In the face of this crisis, Governor General Sir John Kerr did the only thing he could do and dismissed the government, prompting a new election and thankfully, order was restored.

Apart from Australia winning the America’s Cup, nothing much happened after that until the election of Australia’s other equal greatest prime minister, John Howard, who brought with him a second Golden Age of safety, stability and security.

Unfortunately for all of us, Mr Howard lost the 2007 election and the incoming government reversed many of his policies because they weren’t “politically correct.” Write that down now, and be sure to use the inverted commas, they are very important.

These days, Australia has lost her way, having lacked the strong guidance of business and free enterprise, which is why we should redouble our efforts to return Australia to the greatness she enjoyed during the Menzies and Howard years.

And now for the test:

Australia is…
A: Awesome    
B: Totally awesome   
C: The greatest country in the world   
D: I’m a “politically correct” leftie unionist thug and I hate Australia

02 September, 2013

The adults in the room

Another morning, another press conference from Tony Abbott talking about how “adult” he is.

Do you know how to spot an adult?
They’re the ones who don’t need to brag that they’re adults.

Maturity, like intelligence, is self-evident. Have you ever seen Bob Hawke, Kim Beazley or Malcolm Turnbull waving their Rhodes scholarships in people’s faces in order to counter a perception that they’re a bit dim? Of course you haven’t, because their knowledge, education and intelligence is obvious, regardless of what you think of them politically.

Adulthood is not poking your tongue out at the speaker of the house.
Adulthood is not telling the nation that they should vote for you because someone in Corangamite dropped his dacks and then following it up by quoting a bum joke.

Show me someone who talks a lot about how mature and adult he is, and I’ll show you a petulant child with ambitions above his ability.