Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 1, 2011

Monday, 28th February 2011 – last day of Summer!!

It’s probably no surprise, after the way I have described much of the last 3 months, that the last day of Summer here in Victoria anyway, was cool, overcast, with periods of scattered showers throughout the day. I was quite surprised when driving home to see that the temperature was not even 18 degrees!! Personally, while we could of course do without the floods and cyclones, etc, I would be quite content to have a summer  of the kind we have had this year, as a regular thing. Apart from a few odd days, not too hot, suits me fine!!

Rather busy at the office, with a committee meeting in progress for a few hours, and yours truly suddenly the catering & luncheon officer for the day!! I must say, it makes for a more peaceful day in comparison to some of the committee meetings of three years when I attended as official minute taker, etc – in fact, even though I ‘kept out of the regular fireworks’ it was usually a rather stressful environment in which to work.  These days, we have a much more cooperative committee [all public tenant volunteers] who generally work pretty well together now that most of the ‘troublemakers’ have moved on [or being moved on]!  I think there were a few potential problems with one member this time, but that seems to have been sorted out and solved in an amicable manner, something that probably wouldn’t have been possible or likely a few years ago.

Now summer generally means ‘cricket’ in most of the nations where that sport is popular, and I think It’s time I caught up with the last couple of results of the ICC World Cup Cricket competition.  I think we left on Saturday night with Pakistan defeating Sri Lanka in Match No. 10. Yesterday, there was a real thriller of a game involving one of the host nations [India] and the England team.  It was always going to be a tall order for England to chase down a massive India score of 338 [including  a score of 120 by Sachin Tendulkar – his 5th World Cup cricket century, a record previously shared by him with India’s Sourav Ganguly, and Australia’s Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting. In fact, in One Day International matches, it was Tendulkar’s 47th hundred!!  Obviously after that score, it was not surprising that my English friend, Maureen, noted on Facebook that ‘ I see england are getting killed bill?’ All the more reason why she would have enjoyed what followed.  England captain Andrew Strauss went on to score 158 runs, and in the process helping England to equal  India’s score of 338 in 50 overs by losing eight wickets  – they didn’t quite win, but the match was an amazing tied result..
Match 11: India  338  tied with England 8 for 338  (Group B game at Bangalore (India), on Sunday 27 February.

Two other games on today – Canada vs Zimbabwe, and Netherlands vs West Indies – we will catch up with those results later.

Meanwhile, it’s Monday night  – which means Q & A on the television – the ABC panel program of public identities facing a live audience, an hour of television I always look forward to.  Tonight’s panel consists of Bill Shorten – Assistant Treasurer,  Malcolm Turnbull – Shadow Communications Minister,  Samah Hadid – UN Youth Representative,  Piers Akerman – Political commentator , and Gretel Killeen – Comedian and former Big Brother host. As usual, with the help of the ABC, I like to record a little bio of these people, which usually includes, as in this case, a couple of names I’m not familiar with.


Before entering Parliament Bill Shorten was one of Australia’s best-known trade union leaders. As secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union he was a major player in the national industrial relations debate and gained widespread prominence for his role on the scene of the Beaconsfield mine disaster in Tasmania in 2006.
As a key member of the Victorian ALP’s right-wing Centre Unity faction for more than 20 years, Bill was always expected to pursue a career in Parliament. He was elected to the seat of Maribynong, covering Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs, in the 2007 election and was promoted straight to a senior role as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services. He has since also assumed responsibility for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction. Bill is one of a new breed of Labor politicians who are expected to take senior leadership roles in the party in coming years. Born in Melbourne in 1967, Bill graduated in arts and law from Monash University and – unusually for a trade union leader – completed a Masters in Business Administration from Melbourne University. Apart from his union and political activities he also served as interim CEO of the Australian Netball Players’ Association and on the advisory board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association. After the 2010 election he was promoted to the ministry to the position of Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation’.  [Note: watch out for this man as a future leader of the Labor Party, and  even a Prime Minister, providing Labor stay in power long enough for that to happen. He was convincing enough tonight to retain the impression]……………………………………….

‘Malcolm Turnbull is the Opposition’s spokesman for communications, having been replaced as Opposition Leader by Tony Abbott in a knife-edge leadership vote late in 2009. His leadership imploded on the issue of climate change, with conservatives in the Liberal Party rebelling against his stated intention of supporting Labor’s emissions trading scheme. Though frequently described as the richest man in Parliament and regarded by many as having a privileged background, Malcolm’s early years were spent in comparatively humble circumstances. Born in Sydney in 1954, he grew up in a single-parent household with his father, Bruce, after his parents separated. They lived in a series of flats, mostly rented.  Malcolm attended Vaucluse Public School and, with the aid of a scholarship, Sydney Grammar, to which in later life he donated a new scholarship program in his father’s name to help underprivileged students. After graduating from Sydney University with an arts-law degree, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and completed a further degree at Oxford. Malcolm worked as a journalist, lawyer and in business, and became widely known in the late 1990s for leading the Australian republican cause. He entered Parliament in 2004 and represents the seat of Wentworth which covers Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Malcolm and his wife Lucy have two adult children and live in Point Piper in Sydney’.  [I have to say that as time goes on, I’m becoming less keen on Tony Abbott remaining as leader and would like to see Malcolm Turnbull do a John Howard ‘Lazarus’ and return to the leadership. I believe that is an inevitable outcome eventually. He too was impressive on the program tonight and responded better I thought to criticisms of ‘inadequacies’ amongst his Party then did Mr Shorten].

‘Samah Hadid is a 22 year old human rights advocate from Sydney and is the Australian Youth Representative to the UN.  She is currently completing her Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of New South Wales. Samah serves as the Youth Representative on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO. She is also the co chair of the Multicultural Youth Network , member of Amnesty International’s Diversity Steering Committee and Action Partner for Oxfam International Youth Partnerships. Samah has previously been a member of Bankstown Council’s Youth Advisory Committee, the National Youth Roundtable and selected as a participant to the Prime Minister’s 2020 Summit and a member of the UN Expert Group on Youth.  She has been a volunteer with the Muslim Women Association for 7 years. In 2009 she completed a fellowship with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Samah has been recognized for her volunteer work as the CRC Young Volunteer of the year, UWS Young Woman from the West, finalist for NSW young person of the year and received a human rights commendation award. Samah is also a co author of the book The Future by Us. As the Australian Youth Representative to the UN Samah hopes to profile the voices of indigenous and minority youth and promote the valuable role young people make to Australia and on an international scale.  Samah is also a performance artist and playwright , she is currently developing The Burka Monologues’. [An attractive young lady, hair hidden behind a scarf, and obviously a good choice for the roles she currently undertakes with her display of high intelligence and knowledge. My only negative for Samah, was her obvious bias towards the government, other than that, good to listen to, and watch!!]

‘For more than 15 years the Labor-baiting columns of Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph have made him one of Australia’s best-known commentators. He is regarded as a trend-setter, in that conservative columnists are now common but were a rarity when Piers first burst into print. Born in Papua New Guinea in 1950, Piers was raised in Perth and pursued a career in journalism. He worked at a variety of newspapers – mostly in the News Ltd group – in a number of cities and spent a long period in the US during the 1970s and 80s. He met his wife, Suzanne, a solicitor, while covering the 1974 America’s Cup yacht races at Newport, Rhode Island.  After returning to Australia he was made editor of The Adelaide Advertiser in 1988 and Melbourne’s Herald-Sun from 1990-92. His confrontational approach as editor challenged the established order in both cities and caused considerable controversy. Piers began writing his columns after his stint at the Herald-Sun, and ever since has maintained his assault on Labor and all soft-Left causes while staunchly supporting the coalition – especially under John Howard. He is a committed climate-change sceptic and a voracious critic of most green causes’.  [Despite this man’s very strong bias towards the Coalition, I’m afraid I didn’t really take to him, and some of his responses, almost too anti-Labor, and one could not imagine a great deal of balance in his newspaper articles. Nevertheless, obviously very successful and well credited in his field, I just didn’t like him].

‘Gretel Killeen’s career began shortly after she dropped out of law studies at university and accidentally performed stand-up comedy at a poetry reading. This led to comedy writing for radio station 2JJJ, regular spots on TV, and work as one of Australia’s top voice artists for over seventeen years. For the next seven years Gretel hosted the Logie Award winning Big Brother for which she received a MO Award, and during this time she also hosted TV broadcasts for The Logies, The Sydney Mardi Gras, the Sydney New Year’s Eve Concert and several Australia Day Live broadcasts.  In theatre and stage Gretel has been a producer at Sydney’s 90’s cult venue, The Harold Park Hotel, performed as the narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, and entertained the troops in the Middle-East, the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Egypt. Gretel recently returned from Afghanistan where she was the host and producer of segments for the ABC Australia Day live telecast. The author of more than twenty books, including best-sellers, Gretel has written for many of Australia’s leading publications, was a regular columnist with the Australian newspaper’s magazine and a weekly columnist with The Sun Herald.  While a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF Gretel wrote and directed TV commercials for unexploded ordnance awareness in Laos and the need for financial aid in Bangladesh, and wrote and directed a documentary on AIDS Orphans in Zambia.  Currently directing her first feature film Gretel’s greatest achievement will always be her role as the single mother of her two children’. [I knew nothing about this lady before tonight – made her ‘angry’ passion in respect to the way in which Labor have just introduced the ‘carbon tax’ plan, very obvious in one of the few opportunities she had to say much on the program].

That in fact was the unfortunate aspect of as panel of five guests with two of them, high profile politicians included – most of  the questions were directed to either Malcolm or Bill, and the bulk of subsequent cross discussion tended to involve them as well. Quite rightly – as it was a program involving questions from the audience –  the host Tony Jones, on a number of occasions had to  cut short ‘questions’ coming from the others on the panel to the two politicians – I guess they were just trying to get more involvement in the overall process. However both women were very articulate in expressing their views when the opportunity arose. Piers simply kept interrupting, especially if Bill shorten was talking.  I think the best question of the night, the first one, was ‘With the announcement by Ju-Liar that there would NOW be a carbon tax, and Christine Milne, boasting: “It’s happening because we have shared power in Australia.” My question to the panel is, WHO do you believe is running the country? Since Bob Brown is calling the shots, should he just officially be declared PM?’ The bulk of the discussion tonight however was around the issue of carbon tax, promises broken, Islam and the One Nation views, Islam and the question of foreign aid, and a subject which created the only real aspect of bipartisanship between the two politicians, on the proposed funding options for disability care and support.

The other ‘big event’ today was the Academy Awards – the Oscars – where Australia had three actors in the final five nominations for individual performances. All missed out on the Oscar. Performance by an Actress in a leading role, won by Natalie Portman [Black Swan] – Nicole Kidman missed out [in Rabbit Hole]. Performance by an Actress in a supporting Role went to Melissa Leo [The Fighter], no luck for Jackie Weaver [in Animal Kingdom], while the award for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role [our best hope] went to Christian Bale [The Fighter] – Geoffrey Rush’s performance as the speech Therapist to the King in The King’s Speech wasn’t quite good enough. Interestingly, Colin Firth who played the King in that film, also missed the Oscar for the Leading Actor role.  The King’s Speech, amongst four Oscars picked up the Original Screenplay Oscar.  A film, as I noted a couple of weeks okay, well worth a visit to. Aussies did win three Oscars however – Kirk Baxter in the Best Editing category [The Social Network]; David Elsey [British born Aussie] won the Oscar for best make-up for his work in the horror film, The Wolfman, while Shaun Tan won an Oscar for his animated short film, The Lost Thing [all of 15 minutes in duration apparently].  As I mentioned earlier,. I didn’t bother to try and watch the very late delayed telecast by our Channel 9 tonight – don’t know why they bother to do these things so long after the event sometimes.

Late phone call from Susan – wanted to ‘borrow’ my debit card for urgent purchase of some study books.  Were you asleep?  No. watching ‘Q & A’!  Oh yes of course, it’s Monday night!!!






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