To Stanwell Park: 3 – and amazing events in NSW!

Bussing it over the Sea Cliff Bridge. Wonderful!

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The Sea Cliff Bridge is a balanced cantilever bridge located in the northern Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The $52 million bridge links the coastal villages of Coalcliff and Clifton. Featuring two lanes of traffic, a cycleway and a walkway, the Sea Cliff Bridge boasts spectacular views and is a feature of the scenic Lawrence Hargrave Drive.

The Sea Cliff Bridge replaced a section of Lawrence Hargrave Drive that was permanently closed in August 2003 due to regular rock falls. A public outcry emerged over the road closure as Lawrence Hargrave Drive is the only road directly linking Coalcliff, Stanwell Park, Otford and Helensburgh to the northern suburbs of Wollongong. The bridge was officially opened by NSW Premier Morris Iemma at a ‘ribbon cutting’ ceremony on 11 December 2005, and has met with great public approval and increased business for the area’s tourism industry…

The Sea Cliff Bridge is one of only seven off-shore parallel to coast bridges in the world…

This is Austinmer:

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Soon after the rain started coming down. Conveniently it stopped just before we got to Wollongong.

And speaking of NSW Premiers…

How was yesterday?  Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned, overshadowing the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in Sydney.

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign owing to a “massive memory fail” when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Tuesday.

Mr O’Farrell denied receiving a $3,000 bottle of wine in 2011 from Australian Water Holdings (AWH) executive Nick Di Girolamo. – 16 April 2014

At the Steelers Club the ongoing story – and the royal tour – displaced sport from the main big screen!

While commentator Paul Sheehan is clearly kinder than he would have been if a Green or Labor pollie had been involved, he does have a point here – and also reminds us of some exciting times in NSW and a couple of good books.

Even though what O’Farrell said was wrong, the sheer size of his diary provided plausible deniability. This, coupled with a frank admission that he was wrong, made it a survivable lapse. The public was not going to demand his head over a bottle of wine, given that O’Farrell has worked so hard to build a reputation as a cleanskin and is otherwise not linked to scandal.

This is why there is speculation bubbling, on the basis of nothing, that it was not just about a bottle of expensive wine.

Such cynicism is based on the corruption that was in the DNA of the longest-serving Liberal government in NSW, run by Robert Askin from 1965 to 1975. When Askin was premier every operator of an illegal off-track betting operation or illegal casino knew that the best way to get things done or to stay alive was to drop a donation, off the books.

Askin had a terrible gambling problem and was always on the hook to his bookies. But he always paid his bills because his fixer always had cash flowing in the pipeline.

The terrain was brought to light in a book, The Prince and the Premier, published in 1985, by a former editor of The Sun-Herald, David Hickie. The book’s sub-title does not leave much to the imagination: The Story of Perce Galea, Bob Askin and the Others who Gave Organised Crime Its Start in Australia.

It details how millions of dollars in pay-offs flowed from the illegal gambling industry while police commissioners Norman Allan and Fred Hanson allowed it to flourish because their boss, the premier, was in on the take.

Another book, The Politics of Heroin, by Alfred McCoy, describes Askin as regularly having dinner with Sydney’s most notorious criminal, Abe Saffron, at the Bourbon and Beefsteak in Kings Cross.

Now that’s corruption. It makes this scandal seem like an episode of Mickey Mouse…

Probably unrelated, but rather perhaps connected to his being on the third and least winnable spot for the next NSW Legislative Council election, I see that my former student Trevor Khan MLC seems to have deactivated his hitherto excellent and active Facebook page.**

On his own performance Mr Khan said he told the party room he would continue to ensure there is a perspective given on a variety of issues that 20 or 30 years ago we would not have gone into,

“.. what they saw in the past, is what they will get in the future,”

Trevor has been a very progressive presence on a range of issues. See Trevor Khan talks about his decision to abstain from a vote on a Euthanasia bill in the NSW Upper House and this:

Nationals MLC Trevor Khan, who is also a member of NSW parliament’s cross-party working group for marriage equality, told the Star Observer that growing support for same-sex marriage in Australia and recent moves in New Zealand and the UK meant the issue was only gathering momentum.

“I think, in respect of the law, the Committee will conclude that the State has the power to make a law with respect to same sex marriage. The majority of the academics were clear on this point,” he said.

“What is less clear is whether the Committee will decide it is ‘appropriate’ for the State Parliament to enact a law, or whether it should be left to the Federal Parliament.”

I know he took time out recently to holiday in Tasmania. Could the suspension of his Facebook page be a pointer to a change? Or has he just decided to take a break from social media?

And on social media, read Jamberoo farmer Clover Hills Dairy on Social media denatured. There is a great infographic there.

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Update 23 April

Trevor Khan’s Facebook page is back online.