Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 29, 2011

Saturday, 29th January 2011 – Bill’s weekend thought processing!

While Julia Gillard ended the week fighting to contain a growing public and political backlash against her $5.6 billion flood reconstruction package [including the levy proposal], the overnight result in the tennis saw Andy Murray come out on top, over David Ferrer, defeating him in four sets,  4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 7-6 (7-2). Murray is described as having grown from a talented teen to a man shouldering the burden that afflicts all British players in terms of Grand Slam wins. The Brits most recent ‘attempted hero’ was Tim Henman who couldn’t break the drought of big wins, which date back to Fred Perry in 1936. For Murray to beat the hoodoo, he must beat a man who knows his game as well as any other. Djokovic has been in outstanding form in the past six months, twice beating Federer in grand slam semi-finals and falling to Nadal in a US Open final described by many as one of the best ever played. He has also studied his rival from the opposite side of the net since the pair were 10, because that was their ages when they first played against each other! . It promises to be an entertaining game on Sunday night.

As for the flood relief proposal, I see that the organisation GetUp is organising a national petition calling for my suggestion yesterday, that we establish a permanent natural disaster fund, viz;

‘Cutting climate initiatives to respond to an extreme climate event is head in the sand policy. Instead we need to set up a permanent natural disaster fund using the billions of dollars handed out each year in fossil fuel subsides.
We know that the Government is already monitoring the news cycle after the anger over their flood levy. That’s why we want to put our message in major newspapers next week where the Government won’t be able to miss it’.  Hence:-

“To the Australian Parliament,
Paying for climate events of today by cutting climate change programs doesn’t make sense. Instead lets create a permanent Climate Natural Disaster Fund and pay for it by reducing fossil fuel subsidies, which cost the taxpayer over $10bn a year”.

GetUp seems to achieve some results with it’s petitions – will be interesting to see where this one goes!

Meanwhile, I think Prime Minister Gillard, when Parliament resumes next week is also facing further backlashes over her refugee policies. Last year, she almost created scorn, with her proposal for a refugee processing centre in East Timor, which seemed to have been ‘planned’ without much consultation with the Timorese leaders themselves. Now, I see that proposal has been dealt a further blow by Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, who claims to have no knowledge of the plan. I wondered at first, how he was getting into the picture, but as reported in today’s ‘Australian’; newspaper by Foreign Editor, Greg Sheridan:

“In an exclusive interview at his prime ministerial office at Putra Jaya, just outside Kuala Lumpur, Mr Najib, when asked whether his government had given any thought to the proposed East Timor centre, said: “No, I’ve not been alerted about that proposal.” Mr Najib’s comment indicates that Ms Gillard’s proposal has failed to make any headway in the region, and follows the declaration by East Timor’s Deputy Prime Minister, Jose Luis Guterres, this week that the centre should not be built in the fledgling nation and would be better located in Australia. It also indicates the inability of Canberra to get any regional leaders to take the East Timor idea seriously, despite nearly seven months of ostensible Australian diplomatic and political activism on behalf of the idea. Ms Gillard lobbied Southeast Asian leaders on the proposed East Timor processing centre at the East Asia summit in Hanoi in November and then went to Malaysia to try to sell it there as well. Mr Najib was sick during Ms Gillard’s visit and she saw Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who would not commit to the idea”

There is little doubt, that despite all the current emphasise on the floods and reconstruction proposals, the Opposition will continue to create controversy and public opinion on the long ongoing refugee question, as well they should in this case. The whole question seems to be going nowhere, while the problem itself continues, and lives continue to be lost and/or  the hopes of thousands for a free and safe life, held in limbo in respect to the refugees and asylum seekers looking for refuge in Australia.

Something [or someone] annoyed me a little this morning. I’d been out in the back garden for a couple of hours, ‘literally fighting’ with an invasion of blackberry bushes which have taken over my gardens along much of the rear fence. Whilst I was doing that, the woman on the other side of the fence [a bit of a green thumb] started up a conversation with me [which I really didn’t feel in the mood for having] – it was a conversation ‘through’ the fence – we couldn’t see each other because of the height of the fence, and the trees and shrubs along it’s perimeter, and on my side, also the blackberry bushes!! ‘I’m not blaming you Bill – but, those blackberry  bushes  are starting to encroach on my side of the fence, they made my dog sick [not your fault Bill] but I’m still telling you. I could see where they were going over the top of the fence\, and in fact one of the purposes of the previous two hours was to get rid of them. But presumably there was some encroachment under the fence also. Anyway, whilst not wishes to prolong the conversation as long as she obviously wanted it to go, I assured my back fence neighbour I was doing the best I could to remedy the problem.  After all that of course, I realised once again today, as I did last week, that my ‘back garden’ has got away from me over recent months, mainly due to lack of time and energy, and it was becoming more and more obvious, that I needed some help, to get things back into the condition the garden was in a year ago, and where it had been in all of the time we have been here. And with my damn lawn mower still in for repairs, even the length of grass was depressing me – not so much on the property, but on the nature strip out in the street – had always prided myself on keeping that in order as the ‘public’ face of my place, so not been able to do that at present was a concern! Maybe nobody else cared, but I did!

Anyway, as we went through the afternoon today, one could feel the temperature slowly rising, and in the process, giving us a taste of tomorrow’s predicted 40 degrees in Melbourne  –  where for the two big crowd pulling events – Australian Open Men’s Final, and the Big Day Out [BDO – all day rock show] at Flemington Racecourse – extra medical teams have been put on standby in case of heat related problems.  The latter wouldn’t normally concern me, but only because three of my ‘kids’ are going to the BDO, and as it consists of an all day outside event, with little shade, in the sun, I just hope they are all sensible and look after themselves. I think there will be some red faces returning to Sunbury, late tomorrow night! The only ‘kid’ not going is eldest son, James, who called around briefly late this afternoon, with his new dog ‘Murphy’ [appropriately named after one of James’s favourite Carlton footballers] for a short visit. He has recently resigned his full time job, and is about to commence two years of study at the Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy – seeking his Primary School teaching qualification.  Hopefully, he has realised that suddenly he will not be able to do a lot of the ‘money eating’ activities he has indulged in over recent years. As already indicated, I will have a daughter and a son, both going for teaching qualifications this year, and in both cases, a post graduate decision, not something they had planned to do, until recently!

The Australian Open Women’s Tennis Final was played tonight –  between China’s Li Na, and Belgium’s Kim Clisters [the girl we like to claim as a ‘defacto Australian – something which goes back to the days when she and Lleyton Hewitt were a ‘romantic’ item]. Kim has already  played in 7 Grand Slam finals. She lost the first four she competed in, then won a title before retiring and settling down to marriage and a family. She made a comeback 2 or 3 years ago, and has since won two more Grand Slam titles. Tonight is her 8th final. For her opponent, Li Na, well, she is the first Asian player, male or female, to play in a Grand Slam final, and I believe that for that privilege, regardless of the outcome, she has been named a national hero in China!

Interesting start to tonight’s game – the full cast of the musical, Hairspray, currently showing at the Princess Theatre, came out onto Centre Court, and performed one of the main songs from the show, before singing the Australian National Anthem. As for the match, Li Na lost the first two games [didn’t win a point] before fighting back, and from then on, until early in the second set, she appeared to be dominating Kim Clisters. I guess one would have expected her to be tight and extra nervous at the beginning, with the weight of the expectations of a nation the size of China on her shoulders, but she seemed to overcome that, and went on to win the 1st Set.  The 2nd set was dominated by broken service games by both players, but eventually, the experience of Kim Clisters began to show out – she hadn’t won 3 Grand Slams already without the ability to be ruthless on the court, and that was how her game was beginning to pick up. Kim went on the win the 2nd Set, good for the capacity crowd at Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately for Li Na, for the bulk of  the 3rd Set she was playing catch up tennis, and she was also starting to let things around the court worry her, as the true professionalism of Kim Clisters began to take charge of the court –  flashing cameras, extra noises in the crowd, moths on the court – little things like that seemed to rattle the Chinese girl a little bit, although she never gave up, and it was a gutsy performance, but in the end, Kim Clisters proved too strong and experienced, and went on to win her first Australian Open title of Li Na 3/6,6/3,6/3. Incidentally, Clisters was the second ‘mother’ to win the Australian Open final – the other of course was our own Yvonne Cawley [Goolagong] back in the 1980s.

My other interest tonight is the Asian Cup Final  – it had been suggested today that I go out to a local pub where the Final will be telecast, in the absence of my not having ‘Pay TV” here [the only TV coverage of the match – Australia versus Japan] –  but at 2am in the morning, for someone who seldom frequents hotels in any case, that was not really an option. So in the early hours of tomorrow morning – [another Saturday night for me with not much sleep]] – I hope to pick up either a radio broadcast of the game, or at the worst, some progressive reports through the radio!! I’m still disgusted, that an event of that nature, with Australia featuring in their first ever major international football final, that free to air TV channel, SBS, has not been able to come to an arrangement with Fox Sport to share this one telecast! Quite a disappointing effort by SBS which promotes itself as the ‘soccer’ channel!!!

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