Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New car for LM Mackay

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hello Cocky

Monday, April 25, 2005

ANZAC Day - "Lest We Forget"

"They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.
Lest we forget."

April 25th, marks ANZAC day in Australian and New Zealand. On this day in 1915, members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey.

In a military encounter which was poorly executed, the Australians and New Zealanders were blown off-course and rather than landing on a beach with low hills, landed at what is now known as ANZAC Cove. A beach surrounded by towering hills with almost verticle cliffs. With the Turks well dug in, the ANZAC's were "butchered like lambs at the slaughter".

The journey to ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli has become a pilgimage for Australians. An estimated 16,000 attended the dawn service today. Each year the numbers of visitors grows.

ANZAC Day is not a day to celebrate war. The destruction of so many lives is not something to celebrate. ANZAC Day is the day we remember and thank those that served their country.

For those who served, whether voluntarily or by conscription. For those who served during war or peacekeeping times. For those that returned and those that did not. Regardless of personal views for or against each of the conflicts we have been involved in. Today is the day that Australians and New Zealanders say thank you.

"And the band played Waltzing Matilda" (C) Eric Bogle.

When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli
Well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When we stopped to bury our slain
Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again
Oh those that were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying
Oh no more I'll go Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me
They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the Band played Waltzing Matilda
When they carried us down the gangway
Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned all their faces away
Now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year, their numbers get fewer
Someday, no one will march there at all
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong
So who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
Rather than no-one marching there at all, the Returned Services League allowed the children and relatives of deceased soldiers to march in their place. The annual march has grown in size and has become one of the most important days on the Australian and New Zealand calendars.
"Lest we Forget"

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Glad I'm not a betting man

The day before the Australian Federal election, I made some predictions about the results. With most of the results now known, I decided to see how close I got.

Needless to say, if I had put my money where my mouth was, I would be much poorer for the experience.

Firstly, Dawson:

Prediction - De-Anne Kelly to get 53% primary vote (no preferences needed)
Reality - De-Anne Kelly 48.5% primary vote.


Prediction - Coalition to win with margin falling from 12 to 3
Reality - Coalition gained 3 seats with 4 still undecided.


Prediction - Vote to plummett, Senate seats lost.
Reality - Vote plummets, Senate seats lost.

The Democrat vote dropped from 7.25% in the Senate to 2.05%. Very few people in Australia actually join political parties. The Democrats had the unique situation where the members were at mainly to the left of the ALP, where the people who voted for them were Coalition voters with a social conscience.

When the members took the party closer (or even past) the ALP, the Coalition supporters who used the party as their "Senate insurance" withdrew that support. It also caused many members to leave the party.

Long-Term Projection:

2007 election. It's a long way to go, but I predict that economic forces will conspire to bring down the government. Due to continued high oil prices, a lower $A, changing demographics and an overheated economy, interest rates will be forced higher and the property market will suffer a severe collapse.

many Australians are overextended and many will end up owning property that is less than their mortgages. They will hold the government accountable for their own greed and vote against the Coalition. The scare tactic of "A vote for the ALP is a vote for higher interest rates" will not work a second time.

Big prediction, I know. I've been wrong before, but let's wait to see how close I get. Hopefully better than last time.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Election Prediction

I did not get the chance to run through all the candidates for tomorrow's election.

I started writing when my health failed and I have recently had a relapse, hence I have not been able to keep up with my plan of writing every day.

This weekend, the people in the Dawson electorate will return the National Party Candidate, De-Anne Kelly. Even with 9 candidates and much anger with members of the National's traditional voter base, De-Anne will win and win very easily.

My guess is a National's win on the primary vote, with no need to look at preferences. De-Anne will attract 53% of the primary vote.

Overall, the Coalition will win with John Howard getting the Prime Minister's job for another term. (Although, he will retire after 18 months). The margin will narrow to 6 seats.

The Democrats vote will plummett and they will lose Senate seats to the Greens. This will be the beginning of the end for the Democrats. The in-fighting and excessive influence of the loopy left will split the party, or drive the party so far to the left, they will lose their traditional supporters. (Remember they were started by ex-liberal Don Chipp)

About this time tomorrow, I will have a rough idea of how close my predictions are.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Margaret Menzel - Katter Sugar Reform Independent

The first name on the ballot paper for the seat of Dawson will be that of Margaret Menzel. She will appear with the word "independent" next to her name.

She has been deeply involved with the Sugar Reform Group, which formed after the Australia - US free trade agreement, which excluded sugar. They ran candidates at the last Queensland state election. Because of the involvement of outspoken politician and supporter, Bob Katter, these sugar reform candidates were called "Katter Independents".

With most major newspapers ignoring minor party candidates, my knowledge of the policies is very limited. From interviews around the time of that state election, it appears that the major focus is on getting subsidies to be provided to sugar farmers and other rural exports.

These subsidies would then allow farmers to earn more while selling into the world market at less than what the farmers get paid. Basically, they want the same kind of deal that they are upset that the Americans have.

Dawson is an ideal target for this group, with sugar being one of the major industries. The sitting member was also the secretary to the trade minister and was partly responsible for the actual agreement and what it's details would contain.

In the absence of further details from the candidate or her supporters (An open invitation to post comments) I have concluded that there appears to be little in the way of broad based policy. The sugar industry is vital to the local area.

There have been people calling on the sugar industry to prepare for growing global competition and to diversify into other crops or to start value adding by using sugar mills for co-generation and paper manufacturing. The co-generation idea is particularly attractive at the moment with the revelation that Queensland is facing electricity shortages in the very near future.

Unless I can locate and study more policy details, there is little likelihood of me supporting this candidate.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Dawson hit with candidate deluge

In the Australian federal Election due on October 8th, I have the choice of 9 candidates. Realistically, our electorate has been held by the National Party since at least 1975.

This year, we have a plethora of new minor parties as well as some of the far right parties that this electorate is renown for. While Gympie may get the media coverage as being the home of the far right in Australia, the electorate of Dawson continually has the highest support of right wing candidates at federal elections.

The choice we have (in ballot form order) is:

1) Independent (Katter/sugar independent)
2) Family First Party
3) Nationals
4) New Country
5) One Nation
6) Aust Labor Party
7) Aust Democrats
8) Greens
9) Citizens Electoral Council

Who do you choose? Over the next 9 posts, I will run through the candidates and their policies (or lack thereof) and see what my research comes up with. I honestly haven't made up my mind who to vote for, so this is an exercise for myself as well as a reason to blog further.

I will declare that I was a member of the Australian Democrats for almost 20 years, and actually ran for federal and state parliament, but resigned in disgust last year and no longer have any loyalty to that party.

My summaries of the candidates and policies will be as impartial as I possibly can. If you disagree or want to correct something, by all means go for it.