Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 12, 2011

Thursday, 12 May 2011 – more politics, cold weather and long waits!!

I spent most  of what is another ‘chilly’ Autumn morning, sitting around in medical facilities  – beginning with a simple and short [I thought] medical consultation over a few matters, but preceded by a wait of over an hour or more before I got in.  I remembered during that time, why over the past 20 years or so, I have generally tried to avoid appointments during weekdays!!! A delay seems inevitable!

Afterwards, the wait at the chemist was more reasonable than usual, followed by a visit to pathology  –  I expected to walk in there to a room crowded with people waiting to have a blood test [my purpose in that visit] but surprisingly, it was all relatively empty!!  That didn’t mean no wait for me  –  I had the usual problem, that the nurse[s] were unable to fine a suitable blood vein from which to draw blood!! That seems to be a regular occurrence for me, and I more or less come to expect it these days  –  I mean, if it took two nurses and a doctor six attempts to get a drip into my arm a few years ago at our major city hospital, what hope have these ‘guys’ got!!  Anyway, by the time all that was over, most of my morning had disappeared – it was a good thing I had pre-planned to make use of one of the multitude of sick days I currently have owing to me, and which in all probability, I will not get to use before I finish work.

In view of the miserable weather conditions outside, I rather enjoyed having this opportunity to be at home for the rest of my day –  apart from catching up on a few tasks, also gave me the opportunity to watch the telecast of Question Time from the House of Representatives. Not always so sure why I bother though.  The attitude that people like the Prime Minister and the Treasurer take towards the answering of questions always disgusts me, in particular, the manner in which they both continually disregard the directions of the Speaker [from their own Party] to ‘keep to the question asked’ in their response, and to refer to other members by their correct parliamentary title.  I get quite annoyed at times with this constant abuse of parliamentary procedures!! But, I’ve been on that bandwagon before  – probably best just to turn off, and my disgust is certainly not going to change anything.  When Labor got back intro office last year, purely on the whim of the group of Independent members whose procrastination delayed the election result for some considerable time, I thought one of the points of agreement had been related to a clean-up of ‘Question Time’ to make it a more effective and relevant part of the parliamentary day  – as far as I can see, the only real change that has been made, is the imposition of a time limit on responses to questions [something that has happened in the Senate for many years]. So the PM and others now have 4 minutes in which they can answer a question put to them, without answering the question!!! Unless of course it’s a ‘Dorothy Dixer’, a question asked by one of their own, that allows the relevant minister to then go into a four minute tirade of supposed achievements!! I notice that those kind of questions seem to make up 50% of  Question Time!!

It’s 3.30pm, as I write this, and outside, the rain is coming down steadily. No doubt, to the north of Sunbury, conditions on the roads will not be good, and I guess I am hoping that Susie is not in one of the vehicles on those roads, although it would be preferable for her to be there now, rather than after dark this evening. With the early wintry conditions we are currently experiencing in this part of Victoria, tonight’s Calder highway is likely to be flood prone, slippery, misty, and generally treacherous.  The only positive aspect about that road is that it is a divided road for the entire distance between Sunbury & Bendigo.  It was a couple of hours later, upon re-reading the text message that Susie sent me late last night, that I realised she would not be returning to Sunbury until tomorrow! So I need not fear her presence on the roads, today anyway!  Well, things change!  At 7pm, she returned home, change of mind, no explanation given

 Meanwhile, Opposition leader, Tony Abbott presented his response to Tuesday’s Budget, in Parliament tonight, and it was greeted by a stony faced Prime Minister and Treasurer on the other side of the despatch table.  In typical  Abbott style, there was much negativity directed towards both the Government and  Tuesday’s budget provisions. One principal point, that I noted was Abbott’s suggestion that the Labor Government of 2011, was so far removed from those  policies and  attitudes that had attracted it towards that strata of society that traditional Labor has so long represented –  families and workers –   has moved so far away from those origins,  that the Liberal Party is these days more representative of the rights of families, etc.  Mr Abbott said his task is not to offer an alternative budget, but to offer the people of Australia a new direction for the future.  He said the rising cost of living is already hurting households and the Government’s budget has only hurt them more. “Families already know what it’s like to tighten their belts,” he said.  “They don’t need Government to do it for them yet the only certainty from this budget is further upward pressure on interest rates because this Government is still borrowing $135 million every single day.”   He will return the budget to a surplus but not with a great big new carbon tax –  in fact much of the latter part of his speech was related to the proposed carbon tax, and a challenge to the Prime Minister to go to an election on the carbon tax proposal  –  on the basis that she won the last election on a promise there would be no carbon tax, then changed her mind, when the new government was elected!

As for my football team, well, after the last four weeks it is appropriate Carlton supporters, not to mention the players, have a weekend off. No game this weekend, will give Carlton people the opportunity to enjoy a stress free weekend after four close games.  It all started with a draw against Essendon, followed by a late come from behind victory against Adelaide after looking comfortable winners earlier in the game. Then the hoodoo breaking, come from behind win over Sydney after the Swans had led by 18 points in the wet, mid-way through the third quarter. To top off the stressful month, it was a nail-biting 3-point win over St Kilda on Monday night. Another come from behind in the final quarter after looking comfortable winners during the third quarter. And after all that, one of my favourite players, Ryan Houlihan is set to make his long awaited return to football this weekend in the Northern Bullants [or Carlton Reserves team] away game against Frankston on Saturday afternoon. Houlihan has not played a game this season after injuring his calf in January and again on his return in late March in a VFL practice match. Houlihan is Carlton’s most experienced player in terms of games played for the Club, having played 195 matches for the Blues since making his debut in round 11, 2000 at Visy Park. We hope to see him back playing with the senior Carlton team within a few weeks, looking forward to that.

Now, recent history is showing that I seldom sleep well on a Saturday night – in fact, lately, any night!!! This weekend probably won’t be any different, and not helped by the fact that the English FA Cup Final is on this Saturday – which for us fans in eastern Australia means a 12 midnight starting time!!! Well, I think I have been watching that particular event since the late 1960s, so I don’t really want to spoil my record –   this year, I see it is Manchester United versus Stoke City, at the Wembley Stadium.  Now that second team is not generally a ‘household’ name over here, not one of the teams that we hear a lot about throughout the English season, and I certainly can’t recall seeing them play in an FA Cup final previously. Anyway, as indicated, regardless of whether I need the sleep or not, I  shall be sitting up here in the early hours of Sunday morning, quietly cheering on Manchester United!!

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