Monday, April 25, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This Easter break I have seen it all when it comes to human nature.  From the very good to the very bad.  I am going to stick with just one example however as this one has a bit of everything.

On the Thursday before Good Friday, on a relatively male dominated forum I frequent (no I am not trawling for men, although for single ladies, this is really not a bad idea!), a fellow that I have never met posted something that had many of us worried and all of us angry at some of the low-life acts that humans can perpetrate on each other.

This bloke, whom I shall call Steve for the sake of the exercise (not his real name – or at least I don’t think it is!) has recently set up his own business and as anyone who has done this knows, in the beginning you struggle to find your market and get repeat business.  Needless to say he’s been doing it tough financially.  Steve also has a chronic illness and suffers with depression.  His much loved mum also passed away on Good Friday so, even though not technically the anniversary of her death, the day is still forever a sad one.

To top off what has been a less than stellar start to his new career, the vehicle he absolutely must have to carry out his new profession died and needs a new engine.  He found a secondhand one online (it’s a difficult to find one apparently) and the seller wanted a rather large deposit before he was prepared to ship it interstate.  Steve scrimped and saved until he had enough for the deposit and duly passed on the money and he also paid for and booked a spot on a road-train to bring the engine to him.  The seller never got the engine to the scheduled collection and has not returned Steve’s many calls, messages and emails.

This is “The Bad” part of this story.  Someone, for whatever reason, stole money from/defrauded another person without a care in the world for the impact their actions would have on the poor victim of their selfish act.  This is what saddens me about what is becoming an all-too-frequent occurrence.  When did so many people become devoid of a conscience?  How did we fail at what I consider a necessity in basic human decency?  When did this selfishness creep in?

Anyway the act of this low-life was the straw that broke the camel’s back and it would appear has pushed Steve to the edge as, reading between the lines of his post, he is now struggling to find reasons to not end his life and the only thing that has kept him here are the thought of his kids.

So many of the forum regulars, me included, posted words of encouragement and support to Steve but you got a sense of everyone wanting to do more.  I will admit I tossed and turned a bit that night wondering what I could do to help and hoping Steve hadn’t done anything stupid.

The next morning I found a personal message from another forum member commenting on what I had said and also saying he wished he could do something to get Steve back his money. From there stemmed the idea of an ANZAC Day “Whip Round” of the virtual hat.  Some 100 personal messages later and here comes “The Good” which has gone some way to restoring my faith in humanity.

Some of the people on that forum know me personally but the vast majority do not, although I have been there over 5 years now.  Without batting an eyelid or showing any concern about having no real idea who I was, every single person we contacted has dug deep for a mate.  Not only did we manage to get enough to recoup Steve’s lost dollars, but with my husband’s contacts in the motor vehicle industry, we will be able to buy Steve a brand new motor as well.

This is the true Aussie spirit.  The spirit of ANZAC and mateship.

Lest we forget!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Little Government who Apparently Couldn't

Ever since Joolia stuck a knife in Kevvie’s back  in that “bloodless coup” we have had a government in limbo.  I despaired at the thought of it but vowed to give them a chance to show what they were made of, to see what vision and forward thinking they were going to put on display to dazzle the masses.

I am still waiting and sadly, now they have a great deal of ground to make up to redeem themselves in my eyes.

Between Kevin oh-seven (really?!?) and the tenuous reign of Queen Jools so much has made us all shake our heads and proclaim….well I didn’t vote for them!  Actually that’s exactly what this country did to itself.  So tired of the coalition years (lead by a man who seemed to be stuck firmly in 1952) and not greatly enamoured by the alternatives we ended up with a dead heat.  The nation held it’s collective breath, scratched its’ head and wondered what the hell happens now?

I know I am going to upset some with this entry.  That some will disagree with me a little or a lot.  Politics can be such a touchy subject, one that you are almost reluctant to discuss in public for fear of the inevitable verbal stoushes that can result.   We have been given the government we deserve.  We couldn’t decide and far too many people decided to cast a “donkey” rather than make an actual choice.  Maybe those votes, if cast correctly would have resulted in a clear winner, one way or the other.

Instead, for weeks we had no clear winner whilst backroom deals went on between the two major parties and the handful of independents who essentially held the country to ransom. 

We have a puppet regime, aren’t we lucky?  We may very well be about to see a government crumble before our eyes if ONE MAN does not get his way.  Yes folks a single person holds this country and its right to a stable government in the palm of his agenda-driven hands.

What agenda?  How much each and every one of us can choose to spend using a poker machine.  Sounds silly that it’s all come down to that doesn’t it?

Do I gamble?  Rarely.
Do I play the pokies?  It’s been about 2 years since I last did I think.
Do I have a problem with gambling?  No
Do I know someone who’s life has been ruined by gambling?  Yes.  Twice.

So you may well ask what my problem is, gambling can ruin lives.  Well yes it can if not done responsibly.  Therein lies my issue.  I do not need, nor do I want some other party telling me on what I can choose to spend my hard-earned and how much of it I can choose to spend.  It’s my money.  I earned it and you already got your cut when you took my taxes out now back away!

Yet again the majority has it’s actions dictated to because of the irresponsible minority.

Why stop there?  What else can they give us pointless rules and regulations for?

Lets see….drinking ruins lives so lets have some system where you need to give a DNA sample to buy a bottle of wine.  I’m sorry Mrs Curvey, the computer says you have reached your yearly allowance.  Come back again in 11 months.

Cars can ruin lives.  How annoying would it be if half way to work one day the new government controlled car suddenly comes to a stop because you’ve travelled your weekly quota of kilometres (bet you regret that trip to the secluded little B&B for a nice weekend away now don’t you?).

Apparently putting your wheelie bin out and forgetting to bring it back in immediately can ruin lives too because we recently got a letter from our local council advising us that the bins had to be removed from the nature strip within 24 hours of collection or we face a fine.  Seeing as our bin day is Friday, there goes any chance of a long weekend away without arranging a bin-sitter (what’s the going rate for that? Is a box of Cadbury Roses too cheap?)

We can’t prune our trees without a permit.  Yet when we didn’t we copped a fine via the local council for having a tree too close to the power lines.  Well we TRIED to get permission to remove it but you wouldn’t let us!!!

Once upon a time the council hard waste collection used to be the ultimate community recycle program.  You put your junk on the nature strip on Saturday and by Monday morning two-thirds of it was gone.  You had also replaced your junk with great junk from other people’s nature strips.   Not allowed to do that any more either unless you want to be fined.  Isn’t recycling a good thing?? (As an aside that reminds me of the story of the bloke who put an old sofa bed on his nature strip feeling sure someone would want it, a week later it was still there so he went out and put a sign on it “For Sale - $25.  It was gone within the hour).

Mark Webber accused Victoria of becoming the Nanny State.  Guess what Mark, I don’t think it’s just Victoria anymore because the way we are heading on a federal level we shall soon have to change our motto to the Nanny Country.

And to our quasi government.  I put you on notice - you have a long and ever-growing list of disasters and fiscal mismanagement since Labour replaced Liberal 4 years ago.

The insulation debacle that ended up costing lives, homes and millions of dollars and has not helped our environment one bit.

The education revolution - my kids are still waiting for the computers you promised.  Three shiny new school halls near me cannot be used because of poor design and planning consultation with the CFA.  How much money was thrown at that scheme we may never really know.

The mining super profits tax - you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money telling us why we needed it and yet it has been put in a storage room somewhere in Canberra with all the other policies that never saw the light of day once they got a government elected.

Lets add to it the new tax for disaster relief.  Wish you’d said something earlier before I tapped out my bank account making donations!  Half our state is still under water 3 months later by the way, but we shall probably see two parts of bugger all of the funds raised which will inevitably be mismanaged and handed out willy nilly to shonky service providers like it was with the insulation program.

Now you want to cut funding to medical research.  That just about takes the cake.  This country leads the world in medical research and nothing good can come from this.  Our best and brightest stars of medical science will be forced overseas.  People will continue to suffer disease and misery for longer than may be necessary, countless thousands (or more) may die waiting for the slow wheels of under funded research to find a cure or a better treatment.

Give me a government that does not just think short term, that actually has a vision and a plan for the future of all Australians, not one that panders to the agenda of one man who only one small part of our country actually voted for.   Give me a government who has a little put away for a really rainy (and windy) day because they haven’t wasted the budget surplus they inherited on disastrous, poorly managed “schemes”

Give US a government that can govern.  Get rid of the preferential system of voting and lets have a straight forward they-with-the-most-votes-wins.  Nobody can claim that isn’t fair.  Nobody needs to worry about who they may be inadvertently voting for because they really don’t understand how the preference thing works.

Give me strength!!