Great weekend for sentimental favourites! Bulldogs and Sharkies!

I wanted them both to win and they both did! I had no money on it though…

There’s lots to love about AFL Grand Finals winners the Western Bulldogs who broke a 62 year drought to defeat the Sydney Swans last Saturday.

They had the former PM Julia Gillard on side of course.


But how great to see Footscray, Bulldogs territory, up there as it represents just about everything the Revenant of Oz and the barking mad “Patriots” don’t get. Look at this wonderful photo site The Mean Streets of Footscray:


And study this ABC feature Footscray: melting pot turned hipster hotspot for more wonderful photos and comments.

I come here 40 years ago. Before, there were many European people in Footscray, but now, not much. Everything a little bit different. It has changed, for the better.

Nick Tsiligiris

Read Western Bulldogs embrace multicultural fan base in lead-up to grand final.

…Bulldogs supporter Samar Ageed and her family arrived in Australia in 2006 as refugees from Iraq.

Today she took the morning off work to take her nephews, niece and mother to the last Bulldogs training session before Saturday’s grand final.

“I am a big fan,” she said. “In Iraq we don’t have footy, we have only soccer. But I’m into it because it makes me feel a sense of belonging, and the sense of community and how you can engage and interact with other Aussie fellow supporters.”

Ms Ageed was introduced to the game through her work as a refugee case worker.

The Western Bulldogs run a program to help integrate refugees, asylum seekers and other new migrants…

James Machar, 20, arrived from South Sudan three years ago as a refugee, and settled in the western suburb of Wyndham Vale.

He has been on camping trips and excursions into the city with the Bulldogs and says the experiences have helped him make friends, learn English and understand Australia better.

“I really love the Bulldogs,” he said. “I never miss a game on TV. I lose my voice cheering for them, and I like them because they are helping young refugees a lot.”..

Bravo Bulldogs!

And then of course my own home town came good at last on Sunday. In their fiftieth season!

The porch light of Cronulla supporters may soon be switched off forever (search ‘Jack Gibson and Harold Holt’ if you are unsure what this means), as the Sharks again eye off what would be a drought-breaking rugby league premiership.

There have been grand final appearances — including a midweek replay — and minor premierships that have given diehard Sharks fans hope but ultimately left them crestfallen since their entry into first grade in 1967, although there is renewed optimism ahead of Sunday’s clash with Melbourne.

Grandstand takes a look at some of the heartbreaking moments in grand finals and play-offs endured by the men from the Shire… (Read more at the link above.)

See my post Go the Sharkies!


Five years ago: March 2011 on this blog

See all. The feeds on the sidebar there are worth visiting too. Interesting to see which of those sites/blogs are still going.

“The Stone Gods” — Jeanette Winterson (2007)

Posted on March 16, 2011 by Neil

Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

I thoroughly enjoyed this dystopian parable.

9780241143957HPeople say to me, ‘so is the Stone Gods science fiction?’ Well, it is fiction, and it has science in it, and it is set (mostly) in the future, but the labels are meaningless.

I can’t see the point of labelling a book like a pre-packed supermarket meal. There are books worth reading and books not worth reading. That’s all.

This new world weighs a yatto-gram

The Stone Gods is written in four parts; The first part begins on Orbus, a world very like earth, and like earth running out of resources and suffering from the severe effects of climate change. This is a world where everyone is bio-enhanced and bored to death. It is a world that has run out of possibilities. Then, a new planet is discovered, perfect for human life. This planet, Planet Blue, has only one drawback – the dinosaurs. A mission leaves Orbus to get rid of the dinosaurs.

Our guide through the novel is Billie Crusoe, a disillusioned scientist in Parts 1,3,4, and a young sailor, (Billy), in Part 2, which is set on Easter Island in the eighteenth century. Billie is part of the mission to Planet Blue, and so is Spike, a perfect robo-sapiens. What happens between them explores the boundaries between carbon and silicon life forms – in other words, what is a human being, how do we define what is human, and how do we define what is love and what is possible when love is present?

Yes, it’s a love story along with a survival story. It’s the story of repeating worlds, repeating mistakes, chances for change…

Read more from the author’s site.

Perhaps the weak response the world has been making to climate change issues since 2007 makes the novel even more pointed.

See a damp review in The Guardian (a reviewer with a defective sense of humour?) and rather better “amateur” reviews here and here.

…Winterson explores many idea in this book. How we treat our planet for one—the idea of global warming is prevalent—are the grievances we have committed to our own earth going to come back to haunt us? Orbus’ inhabitants are forced to contemplate a move to another planet because they have so ravaged their own planet. And yet they do not hesitate for one instant when it comes to setting up their new planet in the same manner. It’s almost as if their worlds are disposable. Their own planet is wasting away, so they’ll just find a new one! A metaphor for today’s world, I’m sure. We know some of our actions cause the planet harm, but we do little, or nothing, to deviate from our destructive behavior. The situation in The Stone Gods is just a magnified, hyperbolic display of our own behaviors…

First Sunday out of cardiac ward: Mount Kembla Pub

Posted on March 13, 2011 by Neil

…with Sirdan and P.





Uglier far than Julia Gillard’s “lie” on the carbon tax…

Posted on March 24, 2011 by Neil

… is the licence to parade Tea Party populism and worse as if this were some kind of conservative wisdom.







Exit pursued by a Turnbull…

Around 11.30am yesterday at City Diggers I said to Alex: “Will Tony Abbott be there at the end of the week?” His answer: “No.” Or as Jim Belshaw posted on Saturday: “Even if the Liberal Party holds the seat [of Canning] without the expected swing, the present Australian government is probably just too accident prone for Mr Abbott to survive.”  (Worth reviewing Jim’s posts on Mr Abbott.)

Turnbull ousts Abbott as Prime Minister in late night vote

Updated about an hour ago

Malcolm Turnbull has won a ballot for the leadership of the Liberal Party by 10 votes over Tony Abbott, and will become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. Mr Turnbull says he’s humbled and he’s looking to lead a conversation that persuades, rather than lectures the public about the future challenges of the economy and the nation. Changes are expected to the Government frontbench, but Mr Turnbull says he’s not expecting to call an early election.

As I write I have – rare for me – breakfast TV on: ABC News 24 of course. Nice cartoon by John Shakespeare:


That heads a Herald piece by former Liberal minister Peter Reith.

What many people may not appreciate is that an important part of John Howard’s success was that he was good with colleagues. Some of them were a pain in the neck but John managed them all. My guess is that Tony was a long way short of John Howard in that department. People management is a key criteria for being a successful PM and hence one reason that Julie Bishop’s name is often mentioned as a future PM and not surprisingly Bishop will play a key role in working with colleagues.

Second, his office still had problems. Tony kept his chief of staff out of a sense of loyalty but there was a bigger loyalty required. Namely his loyalty to his team and supporters.

Thirdly, the reality was that the daily restatement the government has a plan was not in itself enough. The latest unemployment figures were better than expected but they are only part of the picture. There was no excuse for Abbott’s lack of a comprehensive plan. This problem started well before the 2013 election and two years later no one could tell you the government’s thinking on key reforms like federal/state relations, and tax and workplace relations. Instead of making decisions on these vital issues, they have all been shoved off for yet another report.

It is no secret that I have not been Tony Abbott’s greatest fan. Witness this image for example:


Just a couple of points. Last night Tony Abbott said:

The prime ministership of this country is not a prize or a plaything to be demanded. It should be something which is earned by a vote of the Australian people. There will be a party room ballot for both the leadership and the deputy leadership positions later this evening. I will be a candidate and I expect to win.

Others say similar things, but I reaffirm that here in Australia the people do not vote for the Prime Minister. That office is in the gift of whichever party wins a Federal Election: that party’s leader becomes PM. We just vote for our local member of parliament.

Malcolm Turnbull said, among other things:

We need to restore traditional Cabinet government. There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls. We need to be truly consultative with colleagues, members of parliament, senators, and the wider public. We need an open government.

Let’s hope that becomes the case.

Ironically, Tony Abbott’s tenure as PM was shorter by a year than Julia Gillard’s!