Posts Tagged Sydney
Browsing through the candidate profiles for the upcoming election, I noticed that the Greens are running an old, rich, white guy who studied commerce/law at UNSW, is a small business owner, used to work for the Reserve Bank, and is married with children. Meanwhile the Libs are running a young, public school-educated white guy who studied arts, worked in marketing, has ‘strong civil liberty, equality and environmental credentials’, and lives with his male, Danish partner, whom he plans to marry in Denmark.
Way to buck the stereotype there…
Chris HARRIS – The Greens
Harris completed Law and Commerce degrees at the University of New South Wales and has been self-employed most of his working life. He had a brief stint as a researcher with the Reserve Bank before starting his business in 1979. Harris was the first Greens Councillor elected to the City of Sydney in 2004, served as Deputy Lord Mayor in 2006/07, and retired at the 2012 election after completing two terms. Harris is married with two adult daughters and lives in Kings Cross.
Shayne MALLARD – Liberal
48 year-old Mallard was born and raised in Penrith where he attended local public schools. He has a degree in Australian History and Politics from Macquarie University and has had a career in marketing and public affairs roles and also working as a small business owner in the inner city. Mallard’s political career started as the NSW State President of the Young Liberal in 1993 and in 2000 he became the first Liberal elected to the former South Sydney Council. He was subsequently elected to the City of Sydney Council in 2004 and 2008, increasing the vote on each occasion. Mallard also contested Bligh against Clover Moore at the 2003 state election. Mallard stepped down as the Liberal candidate for Lord Mayor in 2012 to contest the anticipated Sydney by-election. Mallard describes himself as a progressive Liberal with strong civil liberty, equality and environmental credentials. He lives with his Danish-born same sex partner Jesper, and the two intend to marry under Danish law next year.
It gets better. On the Greens website:
Chris was also responsible for the City’s Affordable Housing Policy and lobbied the then Labor Minister Borger & the Federal member for Sydney to deliver a 100 apartment complex on the old South Sydney Hospital site at Zetland.
So he is also pro-development and lobbying against Labor NIMBY-ism. I think this is my favourite ever Greens candidate…
Eyebrows across the state were raised today as the NSW government announced its new plan to repair the state’s ailing transport ‘system’.
The Liberal government has come under criticism recently, with numerous claims that no real progress on transport has been made since they won power in last year’s landslide election. Government officials are heralding today’s announcement as the answer to these doubts.
“We are very proud of this announcement, and rightly so,” said Premier Barry O’Farrell. “How can anyone say that this government is doing nothing now?”
Mr O’Farrell observed that this is the third new plan announced this year, noting that the previous Labor government had generally waited at least nine months between transport plans.
Former Premier Nick Greiner, the head of Infrastructure NSW, pointed out the progress that the government has made since the previous plan.
“We are completely tearing-up Parrammatta Road now.” Mr Greiner said. “This is much more radical than the tunnel under Parrammatta road that we had planned before.”
“We have also decided to focus on expediting construction of the North-West rail link.”
Some residents of Sydney were not so sanguine.
“This all sounds wonderful, but who cares if they turn Parrammatta Road into a bloody super-highway?” asked Liverpool resident Cid Ne Seider. “It’s too bloody expensive to park my f**kin’ car anyway! This lot is just as bad as the last lot!”
Coogee resident and ADF Sergeant Neve Seth Welchman agreed, saying, “you know it’s a bad sign when you go on a tour of Afghanistan and find yourself admiring the efficiency of the public transport system in Kandahar.”
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson also condemned the report, saying that Tony Abbott is a horrible misogynist and is not fit to be Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Greens leader David Shoebridge condemned the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and called for a complete ban on commercial fishing in the Tasman.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian rejected these criticisms, telling Major Karnage that, “this plan is so good, the people of Sydney will not know what hit them. In fact, they may not even realise that they have been hit!”
According to Mr Greiner, Infrastructure NSW is not taking its responsibility to the people of NSW lightly.
“We have just used the windfall from cutting the education budget to launch a whole new inquiry into our planning process,” he said. “We aim to have a new plan every two months by 2015.”
Mr Greiner also said that the government are due to begin construction on the new transport system by 2020, although he stressed that this is subject to the next transport plan, due to be released in December.
No real politicians were interviewed in the writing of this blog post.
It’s always great to see Australian domestic issues making headlines around the world. This morning, it is yesterday’s High Court decision on plain packaging of cigarettes that is doing the rounds.
The judgment upheld the benevolent decision by my Government to not allow me to look at all of those cigarette packages that were already hidden away in a cupboard behind the counter of any store.
Thank Government, I say. The temptation from that multicoloured packaging underneath the pictures of cancer and gangrene was so strong sometimes, it was all I could do to pull myself away. Now I guess I will be able to overcome the overwhelming desire of buying a little blue and white box with a huge picture of a diseased eye.
I particularly liked this report from the Jerusalem Post:
Several major tobacco companies challenged Australia’s legislation. But the industry’s attempt to derail this effective tobacco control measure failed.
Plain packaging is a highly effective way to counter industry’s ruthless marketing tactics, Chan said.
It is also fully in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which was ratified by 170 countries including Israel – but not the US, due to its strong tobacco lobby, and went into effect in 2005. “The Australian lawsuits filed by Big Tobacco look like the death throes of a desperate industry.
Sounds horrifying. Ruthless marketing tactics, Big Tobacco, strong tobacco lobby. Lucky Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek are here to protect us from this evil!
… as they were very keen to point out.
“This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco-related illness,” Nicola Roxon, the attorney general, and Tanya Plibersek, the health minister, said in a joint statement. “No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard.”
Mobile billboard?? Quick! Ban them! We can’t have mobile billboards with cigarette company logos under all those pictures of gangrenous feet and rotten teeth!
Even better was Roxon in Question Time:
I do indeed have some good news for the House: today the highest court in the country has confirmed legislation that was passed by this parliament. That means that Australians will no longer be subjected to tobacco being sold in packaging which is attractive to young people and which entices them to take up what is a deadly and addictive habit. This decision is good news for every parent who worries about their child taking up this habit.
Attractive to young people? Government forbid! Thanks Nanny Nicola for protecting us from that. As a ‘young person’ myself, it’s nice to know that I am in good hands.
But it’s not just the ALP that is looking out for my best interests. See, a few weeks ago a young man was tragically killed in Sydney’s Kings Cross by a random attack. Fortunately, the perpetrator was found and imprisoned. It seems as though he was on some kind of a rampage at the time.
Luckily, the NSW Liberals know exactly how to respond to such random acts of violence: regulate!
The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has announced the government will introduce a ban on shots, doubles, ready-to-drink beverages and glassware after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays for the area’s 58 venues.
No more than four drinks may be purchased at a time after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays under the changes and from 11pm two responsible service of alcohol ”marshalls” must patrol all venues and alcohol sales must cease one hour before closing.
Clearly there is a problem with alcohol-fuelled violence in Kings Cross after 11pm.
Yes, you could say “well the boy was killed just after 10pm”, or “there’s no evidence that the attacker had been drinking heavily”, or “this was a random attack and is not really evidence of an ingrained culture”. And you would technically be completely right on all counts:
The man accused of murdering Sydney teenager Thomas Kelly, 18, in Kings Cross this month went on a crime spree lasting more than an hour, punching four people in total, police said.
According to police documents, Kieran Loveridge, also 18, allegedly began his crime spree at 10.03pm on Saturday, July 7, assaulting an 18-year-old boy on the corner of Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street.
But why let a little thing like the truth get in the way of some good regulation? Clearly if I am no longer allowed to keep ordering drinks at night before I wonder out onto poorly-policed streets with no way of getting home, I am much less likely to go around punching random people in the head!
It must be all that alcohol that’s the problem, not the fact that the 3am enforced closing time happens to coincide with cab changeover and comes two hours after all public transport has ended, which actually leaves no way of getting home for hundreds of people.
That couldn’t be it.
This is actually one of those rare occasions where I agree with NSW Labor.
The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, said the measures ”will not put a single extra police officer on the streets and they do nothing to address one of the biggest problems in Kings Cross – and that is getting revellers home on Friday and Saturday nights”.
I know, someone pinch me.
Ross Gittins thinks it’s a horrible idea to give up our penalty rates and allow for more flexible working hours because those nasty “bosses” will stop workers from seeing their families and because having access to goods and services during “non-business” hours is bad for us because it stops us from doing things like kicking a football.
Thanks Ross, I love when people tell me that I shouldn’t be doing what I want to do because that would be “commercialising leisure”, which is bad, because “commercial” means bad and anything that doesn’t involve commerce must be good. Right?
It’s not hard to see why there’s been so little public questioning of this push towards a 24/7 economy. It’s highly convenient to be able to shop whenever we have the time. The more two-income families we have, the more we value the ability to shop throughout the weekend.
It also fits with the trend towards leisure being commercialised – becoming something we buy (a meal out, a show) rather than something we do (kick a football in the park with our kids).
But this belief that life would be better if shops, restaurants and places of entertainment were open all hours rests on the assumption you and I won’t be among those required to work unsociable hours to make it happen. An even less obvious assumption is that the push for a 24/7 economy will stop when it has captured shopping and entertainment; it won’t continue and reach those of us who work in factories and offices.
As usual, the ”flexibility” being sought is one-sided. Employers gain the ability to require people to work – or not work – at times that suit their firm’s efforts to maximise its profits.
If those times don’t fit with your family responsibilities – or just with your desire to enjoy your life (you selfish person, you) – or if the boss’s requirements keep changing in unpredictable ways, that’s just too bad.
Gittins is a columnist, which is not necessarily a 9-5 job. I am willing to bet he has the chance to sleep in some days and that he can get things done during the week.
Like most people, I have a job that goes 9-5, Monday-Friday and more often than not, this ends up being 8:30-6:30. With the current industrial relations regime in Australia, as soon as 5pm hits shops and restaurants need to start paying their staff more, which means it becomes less viable for them to be open and the city all but dies after 6. That means all of the shops and cafes that I would go to in the evenings are closed, as are other service I’d access like doctors etc — meaning that I don’t ever go to them.
Ironically, one by-product is that, since I never have time to shop (except on Thursday nights, when everything is so busy that it’s unpleasant anyway), I have even more reason to buy things online, from overseas and hence help kill Australia’s retail sector, putting the people working until 6pm out of their jobs. Of course, there are other factors at play (hint: protectionist trade barriers, high wages and high property prices), but this is definitely significant.
Similarly, the fact that cafes can’t afford to open on Sundays mean that the people who would otherwise be working on Sundays and enjoying my patronage are instead not working. Rather than having a job, the penalty rates are giving them no job. That’s great for workers!
It also puts Australia at odds with the rest of the world. I love being in places like New York or Tel Aviv where you can get access to anything at any time and the city feels alive at all hours. Sydney and Melbourne will never feel like this so long as penalty rates turn the cities into ghost towns after 6pm. I think this has a very negative effect on the social aspects of the cities in general.
Finally, as always, it’s really about choice. Mr Gittins can go to the park and kick a football on weekends if he wants to, as can I, but why should I not be allowed to also go shopping after dark? Especially if there are uni students willing to work a 1pm-9pm shift and serve me because they get to sleep in? Why should that be banned?
Oh, that’s right, because if it’s “commercial” it’s not really leisure.