The Jewel Of The Molonglo

A guide to Canberra for the Jewel citizen.

All Australian politicians are worried. And it’s not just the fear of being ousted from office, or found nude in a seedy bar, or with their hand jammed crosswise in a charity tin. They are worried about being related to…wait for it…wait for it…relatives.

Not that this is a new thing – the politicians prior to 1972 were desperately keen to hide their ancestry in case it contained a criminal who had been deported to a penal colony. After the election of the Whitlam government and the blossoming of national identity known as the Bogan Spring, the fear shifted to the possibility of not having a criminal ancestry. Many of the ministers who were horrified to discover a pristine family history hurried to soil it as fast as they could – and many succeeded.

Now it has turned out that our national constitution contains hidden pockets of legislation that disqualify politicians from office based upon the national rulings of other countries. Some of the pollies are finding that even if their ancestors were pillars of the community in their old countries as well as Australia, it still comes back to bite them. A number have found that the various turns of not only Australian but British, Commonwealth, and foreign law have dished them.

As different people find out that the T’s were not dotted and the I’s not crossed on  various citizenship forms back in the last century, and as a consequence they are now citizens of the Dutch East Indies, Formosa, French Indo China, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and British Umboopooland, they are desperately taking legal advice from lawyers –  who in their turn have no idea what to do except issue receipts and order another case of scotch. Every social media fan-boy and fan-girl who thinks that their side is winning is doing high fives…until one of their favourite senators or members of parliament turn up on the news ” taking advice “.

I predict there will be a fast re-writing of the section of the constitution that has caused this, a ka-ching to the lawyers who got onto it quick, and a season of cat-calling between the leaders of the major parties. Who nonetheless welcome the sideshow as a diversion from the things that they cannot say, do, or solve.

I’m just hoping they will fight it out in burkas…Pink burkas with glitter…bitch slapping on the floor of the House.

None of this could have happened to a nicer set of people…

 

The Statue In The Park

I have said before that my flabber is rarely ghasted, but this last week has more than made up for it. Leaving aside the North Korean foolishness, and the predictable nature of the unpredictable, we came to the hot summer rioting in the CSA and the subsequent reactions by various authorities.

This sort of clash is nothing new for the place – I can remember it back in the 1960’s, when the temperature rose and some clash set off a riot. I even seem to recall Baltimore losing a couple of whole city blocks to fire in the middle of one of them….though that may have been Philadelphia or Newark. In any case, late summer, before the kids get back to school, is the traditional time for rioting and looting. If you haven’t got a television by August it is your chance to bring one home before the football starts…

The thought of incipient riots has also proved useful for the Baltimore city administration – allowing them an excuse to edit out any of the civic statues that they don’t like on a prophylactic basis. Fair enough, though given what modern sculpture looks like these days, one could wish that they would widen the scope of their concern and pay for the cranes to take away some of the grottier pieces of new scrap iron art.

As it is, I think they could have saved a lot of work and expense by just hiring a signwriter to re-name the existing statues. Unbolt the bronze plaque that says ” General Lee ” and attach a plate that reads ” Malcom X “. Just scrub out ” Stonewall ” on the Jackson statue and write ” Samuel L. ” in its’ stead. Any one else who might be less recognisable could be tagged as Patrice Lumumba or O.J. Simpson, and everyone would be happy.

Not the rioters, mind. You don’t get a free Motorola by renaming statues…

Here in Australia we have seen a most amazing piece of theatre by Senator Pauline Hanson. For overseas readers, she is a politician from Queensland ( and that is fruitful ground for many, many posts…) who rose to fame by hating Asians* professionally. Now that she has achieved a seat in the Senate, she hates Muslims professionally. To express her dislike for them she paraded into our federal Senate chamber wearing a full-coverage burka garment – then tried to argue that she wants it to be banned.

No, I’m not making this up. It really happened. I don’t have that much imagination.

I do not know whether she has any shares in a restaurant, or owns a pick handle, or plans to change her name to Lester. I don’t really want to think about it. I have an old flabber and if it is ghasted beyond its’ rated pressure anything could blow.

I also don’t want to think about who her next professional hate is going to be. I’m not sure if she has done with the Asians, though she’s gone somewhat quiet about them. The Muslim seam will eventually play out, and she may still be digging.

Perhaps we could get her busy removing statues…

*Mostly to the Chinese, though she was prepared to be unpleasant to Japanese and Thais as well.

A Foot In Many Camps*

The dual citizenship game is heating up.

New Zealand apparently regards anyone who has ancestors or close relatives who were or are New Zealand citizens as ” citizens by descent “. They have put up an advertisement promising them a passport if they register. Many of my friends who have some sort of Kiwi connection are delighted with this. I am going to take leave to be horrified…in a kindly and genteel way.

It’s not New Zealand – that is a wonderful place full of wonderful people – it’s the concept of someone declaring you to be something…in this case a citizen… without you having a say in it. It comes very close to someone declaring you to be something else , good or bad, that you have no say in. Both actions can damage your life, if improperly applied.

In the case of Australians who wish to fully participate in their own nation’s political life, they have the problem of a flaw in the wording of the Australian Constitution that sets a wide prohibition to the ability to stand for election; no dual citizenship, and no hint of it by dint of entitlement or allegiances. Sounds good, but it means that if some other nation says you are eligible for dual citizenship –  EVEN IF YOU DO NOT TAKE THEM UP ON IT – that automatically cancels one of the most basic civil rights here.

That’s a flaw in our constitution. It needs mending…and soon.

Otherwise, the door is open to a number of abuses. A local political party could exploit some nebulous promise of foreign citizenship to deny Australians with New Zealand or Israeli or Greek connections a right to stand. A foreign government could target potential Australian political candidates who they do not want to see in power here by attaching a spurious dual citizenship to them. Even if it proved to be false, it might keep someone out of the hustings during an election. Talk about interfering with the polls…

Nope. Hands off our parliament and hands off our citizens. You’ve got enough on your plates in your own countries. It’ll be up to us to amend our constitution to show this up for the nonsense it is, and to grow up as our own legislature.

Note: This is not a push for any political party. It is a call for political independence. And for common sense.

*  But not in many mouths.

 

 

” If You Don’t Know…”

” I’m not going to tell you.”

How often have we heard that one? It was the constant litany of the Kool Kids at school when the rest of us asked a question. It was used to make us feel left-out…even more so than to begin with. And it worked very well for the first few times that it was employed. We would go off sad and insulted, and there seemed to be no answer to make.

I bring this up because of a Facebook posting recently that floated past my feed line. It was a topic I would normally have taken no interest in, but it appeared because a friend had entered the general discussion. She was interested in one person’s assertions regarding nutrition, and asked very politely for some references that she could pursue in her studies.

Well, she got a sneering version of the standard reply. And then some equally rude passing commentary from other anonymous sources. It was the schoolyard all over on the internet.

I mentioned earlier that this sort of thing worked well for the first few times. My school days were a long while ago, and it has stopped working – indeed it stopped working long ago. But the interesting thing was that it was a standard ploy used in many situations for a very long period of time.

When I encountered this sort of rudeness from people of my own age I was able to dismiss them as fools or braggarts that had no information or knowledge to back up their assertions. When I encountered it from a lecturer in the University of Western Australia’s Dental School I was taken somewhat aback. But it took a further 10 years of solo practice to harden me enough to respond to it when it happened again.

The chap had moved on to be a specialist consultant in a mechanical branch of dentistry. I had a patient who needed the sort of thing he did – and referred the patient by letter to the specialist. Apparently they did not get on well – and I eventually received a high and mighty letter sneering at me for sending that referral and telling me not to do it again. And I never did – I sent the people who needed a prosthedontic specialist’s attention to other practitioners and everyone was happy. I did have the satisfaction of writing a polite note acknowledging the order*.

I suspect that whenever this sort of thing happens it is because of a number of factors:

a. The person being rude does not know what they are talking or writing about .

b. They have no material to which they can refer.

c. They are naturally ill-mannered. Or they have developed ill manners as a cover for worse characteristics.

d. They are writing from Mom’s Basement, with no other connection to social interaction than the reactions to their trolling posts.

I suppose we can be grateful that at least they are not in specialist practice…

* Good manners in the face of bad is always the best answer. Public good manners is even better…

The Nose To Tailer

Having just written a humorous Facebook post about nose-to-tail car accidents in morning rush hour…and that will tell you a lot about my behaviour on social media when they let me loose…I have dived for the editorial keys to vindicate myself.

Let me say at the outset that I am against such accidents – both on principle and in practice. I think they should be avoided. I have so far managed to not be there when they have happened.

But unfortunately I suspect that I don’t really have a say in the matter anyway. The behaviour of the drivers of the large SUV and tray-top vehicles seems to determine when these will occur, and they are getting more desperate by the day.

My life currently allows me to be off the road during morning and afternoon crushes, and sometimes to be on public transport for the average town journey. It is heaven not to have to worry about the driving and parking, and makes a journey into our main city shops actually worthwhile. I am also able to access at least two major suburban shopping complexes on the bus or train, so as long as I am not buying a refrigerator I can do my shopping on foot.

Nose-to-tail has no winners. Everyone accuses everyone else and everyone and authority blames them all. It only wants one link in a crash chain to have no insurance or license to delay any repairs or settlement, and the meat in the sandwich cars can sometimes be written off with horrifying ease.

Let’s hope that winter eases up in a month or so and we can get back to dry roads and small comfortable motor crashes…

Hold Me Close – Stab Me Deep

I am somewhat amused to see that Bette Midler and Donald Trump do not like each, though I am not surprised by it. Even if they shared the same political affiliations – which I take it they do not – there would still be ample cause for them to be at each other’s throats – the chief of which is they are both overbearing…and do not appreciate it when they cannot dominate each other. As it is, they both have a very good thing going in their animosity – it assures them of a place in the news sheets and the social tweets. And they both want to be in all the news all the time.

This closeness that they do not admit sharing is also seen in many other arts and crafts – dancing has it, painting has it, sculpture has it…as does any other art you care to name. I can find you collectors of model cars who would stab each other with a 1:43 scale Morris sedan if they could get away with it. Rivalry, angst, bitchiness, treachery, and deceit can be found everywhere.

It can be petty, like the person who falls upon spelling or grammar errors to score points. It can be serious, like the glaring matches that break out at amateur dramatics between sets of parents. It can be useful…though frequently useful only in starting an even bigger fight. And sometimes it can be profitable.  Send me $ 15 in used notes and I’ll tell you how…

I used to be horrified when a friend betrayed me. Then I discovered that after the world had come crashing down around my ears it could be set back upright – and frequently looking a bit better – within days. And the terrible act was somewhat of an inoculation – no-one could ever do exactly the same thing again. Oh there would be new betrayals to conquer, but that particular one was a dead issue. One less person and/or circumstance to worry over.

Is this to be taken as an encouragement to be horrible to others? No, you should still be as kind as you can to everyone. But it does put a lot of the things we see into perspective, and if it helps us to genuinely shrug off a hurt, it is valuable.

 

” You’ll Be Sorry… “

” You’ll be sorry…”

a. ” When I’m gone. ”

Yes, probably I will be. There will be things missing and ugly discoveries in the back of cupboards. There will be more work for less reward. But I will see it through.

b. ” If you eat that chocolate cream stuffed lamb chop. ”

Undoubtedly. Pass the maple syrup, eh?

c. ” You ever met me.”

Yes, and I am starting now, while you’re here – so it’s fresh. No good trying to get the same consistency in stale sorrow.

d. ” If you don’t buy it now. ”

Possibly, but I am betting on a greater probability of sorrow if I buy it at all. You own it now and you don’t look any too happy…

e. ” With the fringe on top. ”

NOW I know what happened to my OLKLAHOMA LP! Give it back!

The preceding was brought to you by the National Council For Regret. If the Australian Government cannot make you sorry, then nothing can.