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Waltzing Australia

WALTZING AUSTRALIA
WALTZING AUSTRALIA

Sunday, December 19, 2010

21. Assange To Escape From Police At The Top Of Some Stairs

POLICE said they expected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to attempt an escape, probably at the top of a long flight of stairs.

Following Mr Assange's arrest, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson confirmed there would be nothing they could do if he broke free but then accidentally tripped and hit every step on the way down.

Stephenson said Mr Assange would be held for questioning at a central London police station but due to a problem with the central heating they would have to keep moving him between floors.

He added: "Unfortunately the lifts are going to be broken the entire time he is custody."

He said: "I wish Mr Assange was not going to break his neck later this afternoon, but there is nothing my officers can do to stop him.

"They will shout something like 'hey you' or 'stop escaping' but he will be too quick for them.

"Also he will have forgotten to tie his shoelaces."

Sir Paul dismissed claims that the arrest was political but admitted international warrants were controversial and that it would have been more efficient to use the British system of pretending Mr Assange is a Brazilian electrician.

Meanwhile governments across the world were celebrating Mr Assange's arrest and imminent escape, stressing that history proves if you focus all your efforts on stopping one man then the thing you don't like will just go away. Source here

Note
We are aware the Julian Assange has been granted bail. This is submitted for the irony.

20. At a Glance: Wikileaks Cables

Timeline

28 Nov: First cables released

29 Nov: US brands cable leaks an "attack on the international community" and says criminal investigation ongoing

29 Nov: Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin calls for Mr Assange to be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders"

3 Dec: Wikileaks forced to change web address after coming under cyber attack

3 Dec: Sweden issues new European arrest warrant for Mr Assange over sex crime allegations but wording is wrong

6 Dec: Sweden issues new warrant and passes it to police in UK

7 Dec: Mr Assange is arrested in London after voluntarily walking into a police station

I really fear for the safety of Julian Assange if he is extradited to Sweden. Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said the Assange case highlighted the dangers of the European arrest warrant.

He said: "I don't know of the quality of the evidence in Mr Assange's case but it does seem that he is involved in political turmoil and intrigue and there are a lot of people keen to shut him up and there is nothing a court in the UK can do to look at the evidence before they extradite him."

Analysis by Clive Coleman
BBC News legal affairs analyst.

At a full hearing, which is not likely to take place for some weeks, Mr Assange will be able to raise his arguments against extradition.

The "fast-track" European arrest warrant system is based on the concept that all the participating countries have legal systems which meet similar standards, and fully respect human rights.

If Julian Assange is to avoid extradition he would need to show the warrant is politically motivated. This has been argued successfully in the past by Russian oligarchs, though Sweden has a better judicial record than Russia.

Or he would need to use technical arguments - arguing the warrant does not show specifically what law has been broken. But most technical mistakes could be resolved eventually and the warrant reissued.

Wikileaks Cables

Read KEY REVELATIONS AND QUOTES FROM WIKILEAKS' release of thousands of US embassy cables pertaining to Afghanistan, Australia, Baltic states, Burma, China, China - Africa, Cuba, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Koreas, Libya, Libya - UK, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia - Hezbollah, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, UK, UK - Royal Family, United Nations, United States.

19. Wikileaks - Collateral Murder By U.S. Soldiers

Collateral Murder
Wikileak video COLLATERAL MURDER is an eye-opener.

On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr. Manning a 'hero'. He is currently imprisoned in Kuwait. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see bradleymanning.org.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.



The U.S. military claimed the victims died in a battle that took place between U.S. forces and insurgents.

"There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force."

- Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehi, spokesman for U.S. forces in Baghdad.


Among the dead were two Reuters employees - Saeed Chmagh, a respected Reuters driver and assistant and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Namir, aged 22 came from a family of journalists and was considered one of the best war photographers in Iraq.


As I watched these videos, I was filled with a growing disgust, not just for the cold-blooded murder - and make no mistake, it was murder, but at the contempt exhibited by the U.S. soldiers and their behaviour. They wanted to kill these people, they could barely wait for the signal to finish off the wounded man lying on the ground.

They, and their bosses are despicable and morally reprehensible.

It was after viewing these that I felt nothing but scorn for a government that covers its wrong doings and hounds a man for showing the world the truth.

18. Wikileaks - Another Watergate?

The man responsible for what is now known as "Watergate", Daniel Ellsberg, supports Julian Assange.

Said Mr. Ellseberg, "Julian Assange is not a criminal under the laws of the United States. I was the first one prosecuted for the charges that would be brought against him. I was the first person ever prosecuted for a leak in this country—although there had been a lot of leaks before me. That’s because the First Amendment kept us from having an Official Secrets Act. . . . The founding of this country was based on the principle that the government should not have a say as to what we hear, what we think, and what we read. . . ."

Read more from DANIEL ELLSBERG.

Watergate
Daniel Ellsberg was a Marine from 1954-1957, and when he visited Vietnam during the war he was astounded by what he discovered.

Ellsberg had 47 volumes - 7,000 pages - of documents in his safe at Rand. On October 1, 1969 he started secretly xeroxing them. They were later called The Pentagon Papers. These documents proved that each President, from Truman to Nixon lied to the public about Vietnam. “It wasn’t that we were on the wrong side,” he says, “We were the wrong side.” The Presidents lied to the public about many things happening in Vietnam, including the Tonkin Gulf incident which led America deeper into the war. According to his papers, this was a completely fabricated incident.

Daniel Ellsberg faced 115 years in prison, but a mistrial was pronounced during the trial.

17. Pentagon Bans Its Journalists From Reading Wikileaks

Is the USA now the USSA - The United Soviet States of America?

Now I'ved heard everything. The Pentagon has banned its journalists from reading Wikileaks - no, I'm not joking, this is fair dinkum. They've banned journalists with the popular defense daily Stars and Stripes from consulting leaked diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.

The daily wrote "The newspaper editorial independence of Stars and Stripes and its readers' right to news free of censorship are being threatened by an overly broad and misdirected response to the Wikileaks debacle."

"Amazingly, the government wants to bar this newspaper's journalists -- along with most federal workers -- from reading information already plastered all over the public square."

In the article, the daily's ombudsman Mark Prendergast revealed that the Pentagon communications department had advised that "access to any classified information hosted on non-DoD systems from any government-owned system is expressly prohibited" even if it was now in the public arena.

This week, the Air Force blocked all connections from its computers to the Internet sites of 25 media organizations that have published the leaked cables.

This meant computers used by Air Force employees could not access newsites, including the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Speigel, that have posted the cables online, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP. Story here

The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of the Press in the United States
Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as prohibiting the government from interfering with the printing and distribution of information or opinions, although freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions, such as defamation law and copyright law. Source, Wikipedia

" although freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions" - perhaps this also includes people who have embarrassed powerful governments?

With an opprobrious attitude like this, one could be forgiven for thinking the United States has become the new China. Anerica the Land of the Free? Don't make me laugh. On a well-known IQ test originating in the United States, one of the questions is "Why is freedom of speech important in a democracy?"

16. Wikileaks - Open Letter To The Prime MInister

Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister condemned the "illegal act" behind the flood of leaked American cables from Mr Assange's organisation. As a result, hundreds of lawyers, academics and journalists rallied to his cause.

Laurie Oakes, one of the most respected political journalist in Australia (he won the Gold Walkley award) has stated publicly the PM was wrong and he supports Assange. He said her comments were "ridiculous".

A protest letter to the Prime Minister warned that Mr Assange was at risk of becoming the Gillard government's David Hicks. The letter was originally signed by 200 people, including human rights barrister Julian Burnside QC, federal Greens politicians Bob Brown, Scott Ludlam, Adam Bandt and academic Noam Chomsky. More than 4,000 people have now signed this letter.

The Letter
6 December 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

“We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.

William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?”

“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.

“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.

Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.

And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).

In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing.

Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.

As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.

A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial — it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world.

In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.

We look forward to your response.

Letter to the Prime Minister.


Governments have been shown for the fools and buffoons they are and this is what sticks in the craw of those that are baying for his blood. They've been embarrassed because the whistle has been blown and comments from politicians etc have been repeated. They were caught with their trousers down around their ankles and for this they call for an assassination? A trumped-up charge of espionage?
Pffft! Pull the other one.


Feelings are running high, and many in this country take the view that the Australian Government ought do more to assist its vilified, beleaguered citizen.

It's disgraceful and disgusting the way Assange is being treated. Think he'll get justice? Huh! And all because the American government has egg on its face. What a joke they have become. It will be a long time before I have any respect for them, if ever. And it will be a long time before I respect the British justice system. As for the Swedish government, well there's an old saying - "If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

15. Wikileaks - Rape Accusor Linked To CIA

One of the women in the alleged "rape" case against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, reportedly has links to the US CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA). Does Anna Ardin have ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups? Described as a "leftist", she published her anti-Castro diatribes in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba.

While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group. A declassified 1976 document revealed Posada to be a CIA agent. He has been convicted of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people.

The speed in which Julian Assange has been arrested is unbelievable. How many genuine rape victims see the "rapists" locked up in prison in so short a time? Real rape victims STRUGGLE TO BRING THEIR RAPISTS TO JUSTICE.

But then again, those men are not involved in the embarrassing of powerful governments. The US government want him locked up (in their gaol of course) so - Sweden calls for his extradition from Britain and if they succeed, the US calls upon the Swedish government for his extradition to the US and your guess is as good as mine what will happen to him then.

14. Wikileaks - No Condom, That's Rape

What a convenient coincidence that Julian Assange has been charged with rape. It certainly has come at the right time hasn't it? Just a little too convenient if you ask me. The might of the US govenment has been embarrassed and has egg on its face and has been shown to be no better than anyone else. For all they sprout about being the Land of the Free, that obviously doesn't include freedom of information if it doesn't show them in a shining light. America - your halo has slipped and it will be a very long time before you are looked up to again.

By continuing to pursue Julian Assange with the ferocity of a mad dictator, they show themselves for what they really are - a bunch of bully boys who can't stand that anyone has seen through them. And what they don't seem to understand is they are doing more damage to themselves than good by their actions.

So, let's just have a look at this so called rape charge. Apparently it is illegal in Sweden for two adults to have consensual sex without a condom and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape.
And for this, Assange is being pursued?

Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was embarrassed in August this year when they leaked to the media that they were seeking to arrest Assange for rape then on the same day withdrew the arrest warrant because in their own words there was “no evidence”.

Statements by the two female “victims” Sophia Wilen and Anna Ardin that there was no fear or violence would stop a rape charge in any western country dead in its tracks.

Ardin hosted a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the ‘crime’ and tweeted to her followers that she was with the “the world's coolest smartest people, it's amazing!”

Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these and thereby destroy evidence of Assange’s innocence She has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends.

Read the full story HERE and also HERE.

Friday, December 17, 2010

13. Strine

What is Strine? Strine is what we call real "Aussie" speak. Mum would have called it slang, but somehow over the years these words have become known as Strine. The word as far as I can tell, derived from the word Australian. Many Aussies pronouce it Ostrayan, or Ostrine which then led to "Strine". You may hear Australia pronounced as Austraya.

So, lets' take a look at some "Strine". We do tend to shorten some words and add an 'o' at the end. Like arvo, decko garbo etc. Now unless you're an Australian or have lived here for a good many years, you probably won't know what on earth we're talking about and would look like a stunned mullet!

Ambo - Ambulance, or ambulance driver
Arvo - Afternoon
Bizzo - Business
Compo - Worker's Compensation pay
Decko - Have a look (at something)
Doco - Documentary
Garbo - Dustbin man, municipal garbage collector
Goodo - That's fine, alright
Gyno - Gynaecologist
Journo - Journalist
Metho - Methylated spirits
Refo - Refugee
Rego - Vehicle registration
Relo - Family relative
Righto - Alright, yes I agree
Servo - Petrol station
Smoko - Smoke or tea/coffee break
Thingo - Whatsit, wadjamacallit, thingummy
Yobbo - A lout or uncouth person

Note
If you look like a stunned mullet, it means you have an expression of disbelief or incomprehension on your face. In other words, the sort of expression when you don't understand something.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

12. Remembrance Day - Armistice Day


On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns of Western Europe fell silent after four years of hell and bloodshed. The Armistice treaty was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest and marked the end of The Great War (now called WWI)

On the first anniversary of the Armistice, in 1919, one minute's silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony to remember those who had fallen.

The story of the Poppy
 
Above: Flanders poppy
Red poppies - Flanders Poppies - were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades drenching the ground. It is for this reason the humble red poppy is worn on Remembrance Day to remember, honour and pay homage to all those who died.

"Mateship"
The Great War contributed to the Australian definition of mateship as a shared experience based on mutual respect and the significance of Armistice and Remembrance Day has continued for Australians. Many households were cast into mourning in the face of such terrible losses. Many streets in towns and suburbs across Australia were marked by households bereft of men.


And so, every November, on the 11th hour of the 11th day, we remember those who have fallen and made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars, as we bow our heads in silence while "The Last Post" is played.


The Last Post
In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. The Last Post is the trumpet or bugle call sounded at 10 pm each night to inform soldiers that they should be inside their quarters for the night. It is also sounded at military funerals and commemorative services ... to indicate that the soldier has completed his life's work and has entered into his rest.

Remembrance Day Service
There are four parts ~
The Ode
The "Last Post"
The Silence
"Reveille"

The Ode
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


From "For The Fallen" Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

Remembrance Day 2010
I attended the service today at my local RSL. These photos were taken during the service and I also filmed the ceremony, the videos (in three parts) can be found at the end of this post. The first one is the longest whilst the other two are considerably shorter.

Above: Commemorative plaque

Above: Memorial Cross

Above: The Flag Bearers

Above: Placing a poppy

Above: Paying respects

Above: Two diggers

Above: Lest We Forget











Monday, November 1, 2010

11. Derby Day Deluge

Derby Day
Derby Day is the start of the Spring Racing Carnival and is held the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day, and like Cup Day, ladies dress up in summery clothing, don fascinators and high heels. It's about looking good it's about looking your best it's about being dressy in your bits and bobs and having a wonderful day at the races ~ as well as having a flutter or two on your favourite horse!

Let's ga back a year to Derby Day 2009 - a lovely warm day with a pleasant breeze, blue sunny skies. What could be better? Below are a few shots from last year.


Above: A Bevy of Beauties

Above: Derby Day Damsels

Above: The Yarra

Derby Day 2010
Let's fast forward to this year's Derby Day on Saturday, 30th October and what a huge difference. The BOM (Beareau of Meteorology) had been predicting we would get a month's rain in two days! Well rain it certainly did. Melbourne received about 53 mm of rain on Saturday and in the north east of Victoria they had 50 - 60 mm rain.



Above Wet

 
Above: Wetter
That $200 fascinator that looked good in the mirror at 9.00am in hte morning wasn't looking its best by the afternoon and walking around in high heels in slushy, muddy, soggy grass isn't much fun but these gals still looked like they enjoyed the day.

Umbrellas were or course the most popular fashion accessory - and unheard of thing in Melbounre for many years due to the long drought we have been experiencing - as were see-through plastice raincoats. Your fancy dress that you got tizzied up in earlier in the day might leave you shivering but at least it was on show.

Above: Wettest
This young lad wades through the waters in a local street. Fancy a swim?

Rain, Rain, Rain,
The rain made quite a sound as it poured down and here's a short video - listen to the sounds of rain.

Monday, October 25, 2010

10. The National Anthem

Today on the radio they were discussing our national anthem - Advance Australia Fair, and giving opinions on whether people should sing along when it is played. One (or was it both?) of the radio chaps said people should not sing the words, said it was "un-Australian". Un-Australian my foot - whenever I hear Advance Australia Fair being played on the television (example just before the Grand Final or the Olympics, etc.), I always stand and I sing the words with gusto. I mean how could anyone say singing the words to your national anthem is un-Australian? Or un-French if you're French, of un-Greek if your Greek, etc? Bah, what a load of bollocks - sing, sing along I say and be proud.

The Littlest Republican
I remember when I was a child when we went to the pictures, God save the queen was always played before the picture (film) started and we had to stand up and it annoyed me because the seats would flip up every time you stood and fwit whack it'd hit you right on the back of the legs. When I asked mum and dad why did I have to stand up for I was told it was God save the queen. Who's the queen I wanted to know and on being told she was in England I took an instant dislike to her and wanted to know why do I have to stand up for some old bag in another country?

When in my late teens, every night when the television station closed for the night (there was no such thing as 24 hour televsion then) just before closing they played - you've guessed it. God save the blooming queen. As a young nineteen year old I made sure my derrière was firmly ensconced on the seat!

Change
Then some years later we at last had a national anthem that was ours - Advance Australia Fair. And about time too, who ever heard of a country having as their national anthem one belonging to another country?

A Little Bit of History
In 1860, Carl Linger from South Australia wrote ‘The Song of Australia’ and it was suggested to the Prime Minister in 1929 as a possible national anthem.
Before the 1956 Olympic Games which were held in Melbourne, the issue of an Australian national anthem was again raised (quite persistantly) and the two songs most in favour were "Advance Australia Fair" and "Waltzing Matilda". Waltzing Matilda was written in 1895 by Banjo Patterson, one of our most famous poets.

There were other, later polls and in 1974 "Advance Australia Fair" polled 51.4% and after this the  Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam announced that "Advance Australia Fair" would be the national anthem, except on specifically Royal occasions, when both it and God save the queen would be played.

Liberal Backflip
But in 1976, after a change of government, God save the queen was reinstated for Royal, vice-regal, defence and loyal toast occasions, with ‘Advance Australia Fair’ to be played on all other official occasions. (It should perhaps be noted for the benefit of non-Australians, that we had a Labor government in 1974 and a Liberal one in 1976)

So now we come to May 1977 and a national poll was conducted to get the public choice of a national anthem (more than seven million people were issued with ballot papers)and the results were - "Advance Australia Fair" 43.2%, "Waltzing Matilda" 28.3%, "God save the queen" 18.7% and ‘Song of Australia’ 9.6%.

Our own anthem at last
It was not until April 1984 that the Governor-General issued a proclamation that God save the queen was designated the Royal Anthem, to be played at public engagements in Australia attended by the members of the Royal family. "Advance Australia Fair" was finally declared to be the Australian national anthem.

I came upon this version of Waltzing Matilda and I must say it is really a wonderful rendition.


I would also like to add "Song of Australia", which to my mind is on a par with "Advance Australia Fair" and in some ways I think I like better.

Here is the first verse of "Song of Australia"
There is a land where summer skies
Are gleaming with a thousand dyes,
Blending in witching harmonies, in harmonies;
And grassy knoll, and forest height,
Are flushing in the rosy light,
And all above in azure bright -
Australia!


As there are five verses in all, rather than write them all, you can read them here which is from the Flinders Ranges Research and has information about its writer, Caroline Carleton.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

9. Our Sally Wins Gold

Above: A victorious Sally Pearson
Sally Pearson won the 100 metre sprint in 11.28 seconds. Sally finished the final first ahead of Nigeria’s Osayemi Oludamola (11.32) and Natasha Mayers of St Vincent and the Grenadines (11.37), with England’s Katherine Endacott fourth.

Commonwealth Games Fiasco
Sally Pearson was stripped of her Commonwealth Games gold medal after a protest was lodged by the English team. Pearson had taken a victory lap and was preparing for the medal ceremony when she was told of the protest.

She (Pearson) was originally cleared by track officials to race despite appearing to false-start alongside England's Laura Turner. Time sensors at the stadium found Turner had broken from the blocks 0.001sec ahead of Pearson, but England's team management argued the margin was so small as to constitute a dual false start.

England's protest was eventually upheld – and survived a counter-protest from the Australians – after four hours of deliberations before an IAAF appeals jury. That allowed another English sprinter, Katherine Endacott, to be elevated from fourth to the bronze medal position and Oludamola to claim the gold.




Payback?
The claims that stripping Pearsons of her 100 metres Commonwealth Games Gold medal is payback by the English team could very well be true - Nick Honey from Athletics Victoria says there's bad blood between the teams after an Australian appeal at the last games saw the English team disqualified in the women's 4x400 relay.

Above: A devastated Sally Pearson
She may have had her Gold medal taken from her, but there is still the undistputable fact that Sally Pearson won the race and came first. And the English contestant came fourth. Had there been no false start, would Pearson still have won? Most likely. Had there been no false start, would the English contestant have won a medal? Most likely not.

So there you have it folks - payback, or getting even as some might say, is something that children practise. England may have a bronze medal but it is a hollow victory - Endacott won by default. It's a little like cheating in an exam - you might get a good mark, you might even get first in class, but deep down you know you didn't earn it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

8. Location of Australia

Where is Australia?


Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and lies between the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean and has a total land mass of 7,686,850 sq km. The Australian coastline stretches for 25,760 kms and has claim to an Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 sq km.

States and Territories
Australia has six states and two territories -
Queensland
New South Wales
Victoria
Tasmania
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory
A.C.T. (Australian Capital Territory)

Monday, September 27, 2010

7. Aussie Slang

Australianisms

Most Australians will use the Aussie vernacular - in other words, slang. The most well-known is, of course fair dinkum. There's also dinky di, but fair dinkum is the most common. It means it's really true, honest to God. If you ask fair dinkum? that means you're asking if someone's on the level.

Footy is Football (Aussie Rules) - often sounds like foody, just like instead of saying twenty, some people say twenny.
If something's cactus it means it's had it, it's dead. We do have many colourful phrases, which I'll call "Australianisms"

Shot through like a Bondi tram
A stubby short of a six-pack
Not the full shilling
A sandwich short of a picnic
Not all there in the upper storey
The lights are on but nobody's home
Kangaroos in the top paddock
As useful as an ashtray on a motorbike
As useful as tits on a bull
As useful as a pork chop in a synagogue
Flash as a rat with a gold tooth
Dry as a dead dingo's donger
Mad as a cut snake
Bending the elbow
Freeze the brass balls off a monkey
You're like a wet week

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

6. The Australian Flag

The Australian flag has the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star, or Federation Star.

The Southern Cross is one of the largest constellations visible in the Southern Hemisphere

The Federation Star has seven points representing the States and Territories of Australia. All the stars have seven points except the small star which has five and in Bible numerics seven means completion - Seal of God (ie seven days of the week).

The Union flag in the corner symbolises Australia's history as six British colonies and the principles upon which the Australian Federation is based,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

5. Oakeshott Threats - Talks Cancelled

Mr. Rob Oakeshott

It appears the good citizens of Port Macquarie still haven't come to terms with the idea of Mr. Rob Oakeshott's decision to help Labor form a minority government.

Australian Federal Police are investigating threats made against Independent MP Rob Oakeshott - the public meeting with Mr. Oakeshott has been postponed after threats were made to a local newspaper in his electorate.

A number of threatening calls have been made to the office of the Port Macquarie News and to the Port Macquarie Panthers club, where the public meeting with Mr Oakeshott was to have been held on Thursday night.

Port Macquarie News general manager Janine Buesnel said "It's become apparent that there are some people who plan to use the night as a chance to vent their rage at Mr Oakeshott. Based on advice, we have decided to postpone an audience with Oakeshott that was planned for tomorrow."
Ms Buesnel also said over 200 tickets to the event had been sold and they (the paper) planned to stage the event "once it is considered safe to do so."

Mr Oakeshott, the member for Lyne, was one of three independents who were in the spotlight after Labor and the Coalition both failed to get the required 76 seats needed to form government.

What has this country come to when a politician gets dictated to by his constituents? This group of well-heeled, snotty rich folk are acting like a bunch of spoilt brats throwing a temper tantrum because they didn't get an ice-cream! They may be silvertails but they're still a bunch of yobbos.

Well welcome to reality where you don't always get your own way and things very often do not go the way you want them to. If people think because they have money they're entitled to what they want, then think again. To use the Australian vernacular - stiff bikkies!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

4. Government gets sworn in

Canberra, 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Julia Gillard with Governor-General Quentin Bryce

Quentin Bryce, the Australian Governor-General, today swore in the new Labor government comprising 19 cabinet ministers, 10 ministers and 12 parliamentary secretaries at Government House.

Julia Gillard swore allegiance to the Queen earlier today. It is the second time in just a few weeks that Ms. Gillard has been sworn in as Prime Minister after former PM Kevin Rudd was ousted on June 24th. Labor won enough support from the Greens and Independents to form a minority government, after the Federal election held on 21st August.

Cabinet Ministers, from L to R Simon Crean: Minister for Regional Australia, Warren Snowdon: Minister for Indigenous Health, Chris Evans: Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations, and Kevin Rudd: Minister for Foreign Affairs.


Less than a week after being sworn in, Kevin Rudd will be off globe-trotting again, this time in Washington on the Friday and then on to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly next week. Mr Rudd attended the past two such meetings when he was PM. Our new PM is not intending to travel and will allow Kevin Rudd to address the General Assembly on Australia's behalf.

If there was one thing our former PM did well, it was travelling around hob-nobbing and rubbing shoulders with VIP's. I hope someone makes sure he has a hair dryer with him this time around, better yet - make sure he has his own personal hair dresser on call. We don't want any more temper tantrums!

Prime Minister Julia Gillard signs the commission during the swearing in ceremony

Mad Monk vows to smash Labor's NBN
Labor's plan for a NBN (National Broad Band Network) looks like being met with opposition all the way. Poor deluded Tony (Abbott) doesn't see (or understand) thie importance of an NBN. He has made Mr Turnbull communications spokesman for the Opposition and said Mr Turnbull "has the technical expertise and the business experience to entirely demolish the government on the issue", which will be a "white elephant on a massive scale". Mr Abbott also said Mr Turnbull will hold the government "ferociously to account".

Our Tony doesn't beleive in a National Broadband Network, he's too living in the age of dinosaurs of the past.

Friday, September 10, 2010

3. The Red Earthed Land

The Red Earthed Land

Out in the far far way we went
Along the dusty tracks
To where the sun beat down by day
And the sun slew back by night
Of an ancient land with clay red earth that white men never came
Until the time of sailing ships that change the face of this great land
A face that tweren't the same.

But out there in the dusty red earth desert of the wild
A dark man roamed with childer three and wife and family
The tribe for that is what they were
Lived freely off the land
And tended it with care and love
And doused it with their pains
Of lave and loving of this land

These people dark did dwell
And nurture it with passion true
And keep the land and tell
Their childer all of stories from the
Dreamtime land they came

A dingo calls across the plains
The winds howl across the skies and a tree rustles its leaves
Along the road by a dimly lit way
A waterhole gently laps
There comes a creature of the wild to drink in dissaray
Its tail droops and it takes its fill
Of life to slake its thirst

For in this land of red clay earth and soil and gums so tall
This precious water comes to fill the hollows of the land
With billabongs and coolibahs that stand in majesty
Unto a far horizon of wondrous sights to see.

Australia my country!
You are filled with many strange delights and
Those of great beauty
The cockatoo with snowy breast
And parakeets so bold
Their colours like a rainbow
That dance with blue and gold.

A tale to you now will I tell
Of raging thunderstorms
And lightning strikes and floodings
In this land of contrast fell
With heavy downpour
To a dry and arid land
A land so vast and huge and wide
A land with desert storms.

And as I looked up to the sky and saw the clouds did burst
With fervent prayer I asked for more to come to feed the earth
The lightning flashed across the skies
With bright and silver light
And landed on a tall ghost gum
That set the night alight
Then came the men with sacks of cloth
To fight this rolling blaze
A blaze so huge it rolled and span
Out of control of man
All through the nights these men of old
Did fight with all their strength
Their might and power of less accord
To quench the mighty length
Of bushfires burning, burning, burning
That did engulf the land

And after it did take its toll
Of foresty and flora
There are the blackened stumps,
And carcasses fills the nostrils
With burnt out aura

But then, then look! a new shoot comes forth
Comes forth to regenerate
And it will grow, grow tall and strong
Just like its parent grew
For fire is needed to replace
The old ones with the new.

And should you go one starry night
Out in to the far beyond
Remember those who came before
Helped make this future land so bright
A land so filled with contrast
Of power and beauty and might.

BlossomFlowerGirl

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2. D Day - 2010 Style

Decision Day
Well, yesterday (Tuesday 7th September 2010) was an historic day, one you can tell your grandchildren about in years to come. After having a hung Parliament, a caretaker government for 17 days, at precisely 3.31pm, Australia has a Government.

On 21st August 2010, Australia went to the polls and the result was nothing short of a nightmare. With both major parties going neck and neck, and neither party having the required 76 seats to form government, the outcome was going to depend on which way the Greens candidate and four Independents would go.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard
The Greenie backed Labor as did Andrew Wilkie. The country watched, and waited to see which way the three stooges - Bob Katter, Tony Winslow and Rob Oakeshott - would go. After 17 days, that's right folks - 17 days! they gave their decision. Katter broke ranks about an hour earlier and said his vote would go to the Coalition. At 3.00PM Winslow gave a speech and said he was backing Labor, and then we had to listen to a 20 minute waffle from Oakeshott before he said "Labor". I mean, how long does it take to say I'm backing Labor? Methinks Mr. Oakeshott enjoys the limelight and he and the other two all like being big fish.


The Prime Minister and the Opposition leader
Tony Abbott, leader of the Opposition isn't best pleased - he so wanted to be our next PM. Why, even on election night, his speech sounded like a victory speech, but he, and his party are still in opposition. I'd not put it past him and his cronies to make things as difficult as possible for Our Julia and do all they can to cause a double dissolution thereby forcing an early election.

The Prime Minister has a difficult job ahead of her - she will have to be able to handle and pander to some big egos. Forming a minority government means treading very carefully, trying to appease the Greens and the Independent candidates.

Oakshott will face a backlash on returning to his electorate. A 74 year old retiree from Port Macquarie is seriously pissed off at what she says is a "betrayal" and said she'd never vote for Mr Oakeshott again. "He sold us out for 30 pieces of silver, what's wrong with remaining an independent? There are so many people up here who are really upset by what he has done."

What she, and others like her must remember is this - Rob Oakeshott is an Independent, and he formed and independent decision to give his vote to Labor and not the Coalition. He did what he thought was best in the interests of Australia. The retiree further went on to say "This is a conservative electorate, not Labor Party heartland" - in other words, they have money, it's not a community of struggling working class people living on a minimum wage. Although we have what we call "swinging" voters (sometimes they vote Labor, sometimes Liberal), basically those with money vote Liberal (Coalition), those who don't, vote Labor. Simple as that.

The Labor party is really going to have to work hard at making this government work, if they don't and we go back to the polls in 18 months, it'll be a very long time I think before they get re-elected again. They have to make it work - they need to make it work.
I don't envy Ms. Gillard her job - it certainly won't be an easy path to tread.

I should imagine Tony Abbott is no doubt rubbing his hands with glee hoping for a real battle between the gov, the greens and the independents and hoping they have a falling out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1. My Country

This is my first post and it's really sort of a test post so I can see which colours to choose for this blog. And what better way than to have as an opening post than an excerpt from one of my favourite poems. We all know the line "I love a sunburnt country..."

My Country
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968)