Posted by: jkirkby8712 | June 27, 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011 – a few rambling notes and views on a range of issues.

These days, one doesn’t get a great deal of feedback about the ‘kid’s’ [all adults now] activities, which I guess is fairly natural. So in many ways, I have to depend on the occasional Face Book entry of one or other of them to find out what is going on. So I was pleased overnight to notice a ‘conversation between eldest son & daughter, commenting on their current studies – both are currently undertaking post graduate teaching courses, and James in particular is doing a few ‘school’ placements as part of that course. His descriptions range from ‘up half the night doing lesson planning’ to ‘awesome day at school’ actually presenting those lessons. Overall, sounds as though he is enjoying what he is doing – always thought he would be good with the younger kids [he is training at the Primary level], and it is appearing as though in the long run that feeling will be proved correct. Susan on the other hand is training at the Secondary level, and as she hears of James’ adventures teaching the younger kids, it seems to confirm her personal preference to teach the older students when she has completed the course. I gather that Susie has fallen a little behind in her program for the year, as, in her own words, she got a little distracted [by the boyfriend breakup] – certainly, she has being spending more time on campus over the past couple of weeks, presumably in an attempt to make up that ‘lost ground, which is good to hear.  Also good to know that there is some definite communication with at least one other member of the family.

Certainly, I hope that both continue with these particular courses –  it will really only be distractions that cause problems, and I think it is probably the kind of distractions which the son faces that I worry about more these days – works hard all week, currently both studying and part-time job but tends to ‘party’ just as hard over the weekends, and other periods when the pressure is off!!  Certainly, not as socially conservative as was [and still is] his father!!

On a more national front, Federal Parliament this week was either celebrating, or trying to forget, that today was the 1q2 month anniversary of when [as Tony Abbott puts it] ‘Julia Gillard knifed Kevin Rudd and replaced him as Prime Minister, and much is being made of the claimed existing rift still between the two factions, and suggestions in many circles [especially by the Opposition] that Kevin Rudd wants his ‘old job’ as Prime Minister back, and is discreetly trying to undermine Julia Gillard in the background. True or not, Tony Abbott is obviously going to persist in his pushing of those innuendos, and with the following kind of argument, which appeared in today’s Liberal Party release.

“Twelve months ago today, Julia Gillard knifed Kevin Rudd and replaced him as Prime Minister. Ms Gillard – the very person who had been involved in every key decision of the Labor Government and was the Minister responsible for the waste, rorts and mismanagement of the $16 billion BER program – said Mr Rudd had to go because “a good government had lost its way”. But a good government doesn’t lose its way. A bad government does. And everything this Labor Government does just turns out to be a lemon.  In her first press conference as Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her priority was to fix three problems:

  1. Labor’s disastrous mining tax,
  2. The flood of illegal boat arrivals and
  3. The lack of community consensus on climate change.

One year later and the mining tax remains unresolved.  Instead of leadership, we have witnessed the embarrassment of Julia Gillard’s East Timor ‘solution’. This has been accompanied by a $1.7 billion budget blowout in the cost of building and running detention centres for the more than 11,400 illegal boat arrivals who have taken advantage of Labor’s weak border protection policy. Now we have Julia Gillard’s Malaysia ‘solution’, except that Malaysia has not agreed to any deal!  Julia Gillard’s weak, directionless and incompetent handling of these issues is only exceeded by her blatant breach of trust with the Australian people in reneging on her promise that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”.  Labor’s carbon tax will unnecessarily drive up prices and threatens thousands of Australian jobs and crucial Australian exports.  For Australian families, a carbon tax means only one thing: more pressure on already stretched family budgets as it flows through to higher electricity, gas and petrol prices and more expensive groceries.  For young families planning to build a new home, Labor’s carbon tax will mean higher costs for building materials.  For workers in many of our manufacturing industries Labor’s carbon tax means uncertainty about the future of their jobs.\  The cost of living is skyrocketing and all Labor has to offer is a carbon tax that will make cost of living pressures worse for average Australians and their families.  Julia Gillard has continued Labor’s incompetence, wasteful spending and economic mismanagement:

  • The Budget deficit has now soared to almost $50 billion – the second largest since the Second World War.
  • Net government debt will climb to a record $107 billion in 2011/12 – equivalent to $4782 per person.
  • Labor is now borrowing $135 million every day.

Australia continues to drift under a weak, directionless and increasingly divided government.

Julia Gillard is not up to the job of Prime Minister. Even her colleagues know she isn’t up to the job, and Labor powerbrokers are talking about who will replace her. Meanwhile, Australians are paying a high price as our country continues to drift.  On the first anniversary of Ms Gillard’s leadership, the contrast could not be clearer between an ineffective Labor Government and a Coalition with clear direction, good policies and strong leadership”.

The Liberal Party under Tony Abbott have been repeating these arguments adnausem for months now, and as I think I have noted a few times recently, the negativity and lack of firm alternative approaches to much that is being attacked [as demonstrated through the tone of the above statement], is starting to grate on this Liberal supporter, not enough to change sides, but certainly enough to begin thinking that we have the wrong leader and/or the wrong ‘approach’ to the whole question of opposition and presenting one’s party as an alternative government. It seems to be working in the polls, but I am yet to be convinced that this approach is pleasing the majority of the electorate.

Meanwhile from the GETUP organisation, news of their latest campaign push – on the environment this time.  ‘In the early hours of this morning, the Tasmanian logging industry and environmental groups signed off on a final agreement to protect 570,000 hectares of ancient high conservation value forests, with the majority of it being protected immediately. The conflict between these two groups has been a part of the political landscape for a generation of Australians – but last night’s agreement can end it.  This turning point will mean nothing if the agreement does not have the full commitment and financial support of State and Federal Governments. Environmentalists, unionists and loggers have over a year negotiating this agreement – [and GETUP suggests that now is the time for it’s supporters to come in – by sending an email to our local MP or Senator, asking  them to commit to implementing this agreement by creating Australia’s newest national parks for Australia’s oldest trees] –     Ending the 30 year deadlock hasn’t been easy. Both sides have agreed to significant compromises. Long-held positions were challenged and set aside in order to come to an agreement that can deliver real environmental protection and a sustainable timber industry that is competitive in the 21st century marketplace.   The agreement opens the way for the government to immediately save almost half a million hectares of Tasmania’s ancient native forests. Like the Daintree rainforests and Kakadu, Tasmania’s forests are a key part of our national identity.  Despite the fact that the newly released agreement is a complex one, which addresses some issues up front and leaves others to be resolved through ongoing processes, GETUP needs to show the government that is it not just the representatives of the timber industry and environment groups who support an end to the conflict over Tasmania’s forests, but the ordinary people of Australia’. This kind of debate over forest and water resources in Tasmania has been going on for decades, and obviously, any outcome will have affects on lives, employment, and perhaps the long term future or otherwise of many small towns and communities that have always depended on the timber industries for their survival.  I haven’t  seen the details of the ‘agreement’ but presumably this kind of effect, etc will come into the document in some ways, and not just be all favourable to the environmentalists.  GETUP have provided the reference to the ‘agreement’ details, and maybe I should try and find time to study it to some degree!!

My football team is going into this Sunday’s game against the West Coast Eagles [another team on the rise of success] with a fair degree of confidence [much different to recent years]. But as coach, Brett Ratten said last night  ‘CARLTON still has a way to go before the swagger truly returns to Visy Park’, but he concedes that he is starting to see some parallels between his third-placed Blues and the dominant teams he was part of during his 255-game career less than a decade ago. The coach was at pains to point out that winning finals is the only true measure of a team, but this year’s resurgent defence at least has him confident his current group is on the right path to emulating the successful teams of the club’s past.”When people look at Carlton, they look at the swagger or that type of thing, but I think it’s more about our attitude and our hardness,” Ratten said from Visy Park.
 “I think when you reflect a bit [maybe people] have looked at Carlton as a flair team, but I think our great success at our football club has been [built on] our defence. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been in finals and won them, but reflecting back to 1995 when I was part of that [premiership] team you look at Stephen Silvagni, Peter Dean, Michael Sexton and Andrew McKay; they were just ruthless and hard. That was where our Carlton spirit came from.”  Ratten said the Blues still have a lot of work to do this season, despite recording nine wins from 12 games, and don’t yet deserve to be considered a genuine threat to premiership favourites Collingwood and Geelong, having been beaten by both this campaign.  Carlton’s stocks have risen in the eyes of many after last weekend’s clinical disposal of former bogey team the Sydney Swans and Ratten said a similar effort against West Coast this Sunday would be a good indication of his team’s improvement this year. West Coast have been in really good form,” he said.

On a more personal front again,  I received an email from Robert tonight, from Japan, where he and Evelyn were on a ‘cycling ‘holiday’,  planned I noticed, so that they would be back in time to watch the Tour de France!!  Anyway, in a joint email, sent to his son, Stuart, and myself,  Rob had the following news.  ‘Half way through our Hokkaido cycling trip. Riding is going well but weather not too kind for past 2 days – rain and freezing (top of 10C); riding with 3 layers + rain-jacket + arms + long-fingered gloves! It is summer! Hopefully things will improve tomorrow! Only 2 decent climbs so far (one of 14km and the other of 10km); Evelyn did well on both.  Thursday morning we were on north-east coast when at 7.00 am there was another large earth-quake off Sendai (centre of last disaster) which we felt way up north. Interesting in the coastal town we were in that night, to see tsunami evacuation directions everywhere and sea walls about 2 metres high (the Sendai tsunami in March was 35 metres)!   All meals are pretty much traditional Japanese, so will be desperate for a steak by time I get back. No need to have brought clothes for evening as every night for dinner we wear kimonos and slippers! All hotels we stay have only tiny bathrooms in room (if any), but all have communal hot baths – takes a bit of getting used to but relaxing after a long ride.
Tonight in a nice hotel on edge of A caldera lake (Akan); room actually has beds so a change from sleeping on futons. A beautiful spot (whole country is very scenic); tried walking into town after dinner (not in kimonos) to see some local parade, but freezing so returned to hotel after half hour”.

Overnight,  Australia’s young tennis star, Bernard Tomic continued his rain interrupted 2nd round match at Wimbledon  –  I have to admit, I wanted to watch it, but eventually, thinking he would end up losing anyway, gave it away at around midnight, not long after Susie came home – presumably from Bendigo via somewhere else she had been tonight.  Earlier, Jodie called by briefly again, dropping off some bread from her part time  workplace [Bakers Delight], had a brief spell on Susie’s computer, and in response to a text she sent to Susie, discovered that the latter was returning tonight, but when, she didn’t know.  I hoped, as the night got later, that she was not out on the highway somewhere, but I don’t really get told much about her goings on these days. At least when she and Jimmy were together, I generally had some idea of where Susie was from one day to the next. Currently, I seem to know, or be told, very little about her comings and goings!! Anyway, back to Bernard Tomic, he fought back from two sets to one down overnight against Igor Andreev, and eventually went on to win his 2nd round game in five sets, a great effort from one who should not really have been expected at this stage to win even the 1st round at Wimbledon. This followed on from his first round win over the number 29 seed, Nikolay Davydenko.  I wonder how long he can keep up this great form? With Saturday approaching, we have Bernard, and Jarmila both to play in 3rd round matches – would love to watch both games, but up all night of a Saturday, is not a good option for this writer, with his early Sunday morning radio stints!!



  1. Hello 🙂

    Glad your brother seems to be enjoying himself. He has picked the worst time in a way to come as it is mid-rainy season over here at the mo, where I am, it hasn’t stopped (literally) raining since the middle of last week. The advantage is that it is a bit cooler which is a welcome relief from the ever closer to 40 degree temps. And he was right about the quake. I was lying on my futon reading a book before heading to school when that one happened. Also, loving the timing of the trip to end in time for the tour de France. Am a huge fan of that myself, and I hated not being able to tune in for the daily coverage of it.

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