Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

2AM Lockout, Did we win?

May 31 022 Did we win? I’d say mostly yes but with concessions.

I’ve never been to a protest..well not on purpose anyway. I rocked up at about 5:45 and by 6:10 it was over. I was very surprised to see a huge turnout of around 3000-4000 people acting very calm and supportive. The protest had some excellent speakers who put the points across to the crowd.

As of this afternoon, 80 venues have successfully received exemption from the 2AM lockout. The catch? Venues have to double its security staff and they can not promote the fact that they have an exemption. Yes, more bald headed 100KG bouncers are the solution. There is a reason we have trained police instead of putting gorillas on every street corner. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one venue that has bouncers (sorry I mean licensed crowd controllers), that are inviting to its patrons and can hold a normal conversation (Melbourne Central Lion Hotel).

bouncerkick.jpgToday’s Herald Sun features a bouncer kicking a guy laying on the pavement. Yes, he did break up another beating and good on him but surely we can’t have private individuals/companies being judge, jury and executor. Also in the paper this weekend was the lack of police officers in many areas of Melbourne. Are we seeing a trend here? The government is essentially getting venues to foot the bill for bouncers to serve as police. Once again, the government misses the fact that fights happen ON THE STREET…one more time..ON THE STREET. How in the hell will having more bouncers in a venue prevent violence in the street?

Be proud of your asshat government. Hell, maybe we should get Connex to manage Melbourne’s nightlife.

Herald Sun: Wild brawls in Melbourne’s CBD as clubs fight 2am ban

Youtube: Video of the Protest

2AM Lockout: The end of nightlife in Melbourne

2amlockout.jpgRoving police patrols at night targeting violent hotspots was a great idea but Premier John Brumby‘s 2AM lockout is just ridiculous. Last week, Brumby announced a trial starting on June 3, that imposes a 2AM lockout in areas in and around Melbourne. Some areas affected include Fitzroy (i.e. Brunswick St.), the CBD, St. Kilda, and Prahran. Once you step out of a venue and its after 2AM, you will not be allowed back in. This is supposed to curb increasing violence in Melbourne. Licencees who breach this lockout will be face fines up to $6800. The only exception to the ban unsurprisingly is the government revenue maker, Crown Casino.

  • Most of the late night violence has been occurring outside venues on the streets. By locking out patrons, this will just be putting more people onto the streets. More people means more fights.
  • Want to go out for a smoke? Sorry, can’t come back in. Phone call? Nope. Designated driver? No way. Sorry, I lost my girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/sister etc. Sorry, can’t come in.
  • First Floor, Bubble, and The Exford are three places that thrive in the late night. Take First Floor (Brunswick St., Fitzroy) as an example. It is open until the early hours of the morning but it only starts to get packed when most of the bars close on Brunswick Street. The 2AM lockout is thus removing late night licences.
  • The city of Yarra consists of a large area including Collingwood, Fitzroy, and Richmond. Public drinking IS allowed. Yes, you heard that right. What do you think people will be doing on the street when they cannot get into a venue? Get ready for parks and street corners to be the new hot venue of choice.

You really have to wonder how our Victorian government comes to conclusions without any notice and without consulting with venues, patrons or generally reading any history on the issue. Only a couple of years ago, England repealed it’s 11PM closing law in order to STOP violence. It’s not just the lockout, only yesterday , the Brumby government announced that it was making certain roads in an around Melbourne, clearways during peak hour WITHOUT even consulting councils. I know the Beijing Olympics are coming up but I was pretty sure we are not living in a dictatorship government. I highly suspect that after the three month trial of this lockout, the government will come out with some skewed figures showing success and proposing that the lockout be extended permanently.

Have your say! Join the protest May 30th at Parliament House (5PM-7PM and 11PM-Midnight). Please don’t show up drunk or being an idiot.

Links:

2AM Lockout Website (an “impartial” site created by those great guys from Melbournepubs.coms )

Melbourne Locked Out (The official protest site)

Facebook Group

Facebook Event

Herald Sun: Protestors fight for their right to Party

1990 Tram Strike

tramstrike.jpgIf you thought taxi drivers blocking Flinders & Swanston street was bad, imagine 250 trams parked on all of the major city routes along with public buses and picketers blocking all tram transportation. That’s what happened on January 2, 1990 and continued on for a month.

The year was 1989, the Cain government was suffering a severe overspending problem and was desperately seeking to cut money from anywhere it could. In August of that year, they revealed plans to convert to a scratch ticketing system on buses, trains and trams which would see 500 tram conductor jobs cut. Trams would be converted into a “driver only” mode and ticketing would be done via a ticketing system and security camera. Tickets were also able to be bought at convenience stores. Basically, the system that we have now.

As you would expect, conductors were not happy and with the support of the union staged various stop workages, refusals to collect fares, running trams without government’s approval, taking over of depots and finally the the straw that broke the camel’s back, parking 250 trams throughout the city. At this point, the government decided to cut off the power to the trams. Workers staged a 24-hour a day picket, setting up makeshift kitchens in tram depots. After a month of this madness, the government conceded on February 2 and although they moved forward to implement “driver only” trams, the conductors all kept their jobs.

Conductors were in the job until around 1998, when all trams were fitted with automatic ticketing machines.

“The reduction in numbers and eventual elimination of conductors saw a rise in assaults, robberies, graffiti and vandalism on trams staffed only by drivers. One hundred roving conductors were employed on Victorian trams in 2000 in an effort to combat these problems. In 1989, the Cain government believed that replacing conductors with scratch tickets would save $24 million annually. With automated ticket machines installed on trams, operators estimate that $50 million is lost each year through fare evasion.”

And where are we now? We are one year behind schedule on the new Myki system which won’t be fully implemented until 2010 and out of pocket $500 million dollars. Those those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Links:

Wikipedia: Myki

History Cooperative: The end of the line: an examination of the 1990 Victorian
tram dispute

Thanks to the avid cyclist Strider

Picture by James Popple

Lack of GPs

Apparently, the State Government has a secret plan to recruit up to 2500 doctors from overseas. What I do not understand is why it is a secret plan. Does the government plan to present 2500 recruits as a fait accompli? That, is rather difficult considering they can’t even fixed our water supply problem.

Are we lacking in GPs? I suppose we are but I wouldn’t know. The turnover rate at my local medical centre is so high I never get to see the same doctor twice. Either they (the doctors) are being paid peanuts or the stress of seeing too many patients are driving them away.

I don’t know if recruiting more doctors will solve the problem either. I think better training for the local doctor population would serve the community better. But then, there are so many things wrong with our State health system …

A 3.5 metre John So advertisement?

News.com.au reports that a new illuminated sign (a 3.5m John So as the author predicts) above Young and Jackson’s Pub has been approved, as long as the City of Melbourne gets free advertising up there. Planning permission in exchange for free advertising is a bit of an ethical dilemma. That’s like a having a politician who accepts campaign donations from big business, in exchange for supporting the business governmentally. Oh wait….

Anyway, here is my mock Photoshop of how it will look. It was surprisingly easy to find odd John So pictures.

News.com.au: All ale the lord mayor

Original Picture by doniu

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…And the winner is…

Well, so that was it – Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor Party have officially won the elections (no surprise, no surprise) – it was a narrow sweeping victory (updated after votes and seat count were finalised). Regardless, from where I am now (not in Australia), the news came as a whimper; slightly disappointing.

Will the Labor win be affecting you much, or do you think it will mostly be ‘life as usual’? I reckon it will likely be the latter for most of us.

Election Eve

It’s that time again. Don’t know who to vote for? I don’t blame you as both candidates have run a campaign of one-ups and mistruths. The pillar of modern campaigns is the advertisement debunking the other candidate.

Youtube: Liberal Scare Tactics

Ok, now to get down to business.

Who to vote for?

howshouldvote.com.au
From the people behind GetUp!, this online quiz will match your answers to the candidates in your electorate. Those answers will then be SMSed to you. Too easy.

OzPolitics Quiz
This was posted a few months ago but wasn’t too well received by readers. Take it with a grain of salt.

How to vote?

If you can successfully read this website then I have faith that you will be able to figure out how to write numbers in boxes. But if you can’t:

How to vote practise tool

Where to vote?

Voting Centre Search

Thanks to Digg, Lifehacker.

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Harold Holt: Suicide, Spy, or Accident?

Harold Holt was an interesting figure in the Australian political landscape. His accomplishments include the planning and preparation of the decimal currency, breaking down the White Australia Policy, and including indigenous Australians (Aboriginals) in the census. Despite that, he is world famous for his sudden death less then two years into being Prime Minister.

On the morning of December 17, 1967, he went for a swim at Cheviot Beach near Portsea. Despite advice from friends who were with him that day, he went out into the water known for strong currents and dangerous rip tides and never came back. His body was never found which has caused many conspiracy theories to develop in the 40 years since his disappearance.

One such theory is that he spent his lifetime as a spy for the Chinese. ASIO found out about this and was going to make an arrest in a few days. So on the day of his disappearance, he swam out and a Chinese submarine collected him. Sounds likely.

In a TV special premiering Tuesday and hosted by Ray Martin, the mystery around Holt’s disappearance will be further examined. This time the theory of his death is suicide. Unlikely? Yes, but more plausible then a Chinese submarine taking him away.

Who Killed Harold Holt?
9:35PM, CH 9

The Bulletin:Sex, Lies, and Suicide

Wikipedia: Harold Holt

Harold Holt Murder
(Good for a laugh. “Holt was murdered, because he was opposed to American bases such as Pine Gap being built on Australian soil”)

Picture is of the Harold Holt Swim Centre in Glen Iris. Oh, the irony. Taken by fotodudenz.

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2007 Google Election Site

A couple of weeks ago, Google launched a website dedicated to the Australian Elections. On the site, you can see candidate videos, their electorate margin, and a whole lot of other details that you probably didn’t know (or care about).

It’s interesting to see that the city fringe areas are mostly controlled by Labor, suburbs controlled by Liberals, and woop woop areas controlled by the National party.

Google: 2007 Australian Federal Election
[via MarketingEasy]

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Join the army when Australia needs YOU

Johnny needs YOU!Note: This is actually a light political commentary.

The new citizenship test has yet another tricky one – it includes a controversial question which only correct answer beckons new immigrants to ‘defend Australia should the need arise’.

Let me first say that it is entirely acceptable to indicate one’s responsiblity to defend one’s country (of residence) – yet, there are various categories of ‘defence’ that do not include military action. I am pretty sure this question is perfectly harmless – no, the issue is not with the question. This article is critical of the questioner.

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