Occident Prone

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Archive for May, 2008

Fran the man wants a gag

Posted by occidentprone on May 27, 2008

Despite the name, Fran Logan is a man. Well, he’s male but we’re not sure how much of a man he is. Is it manly to proposition subordinates to join him in a threesome? It was a joke, he says. What a wheeze. The alleged propositionee says she was offended, although it has taken three years for that offence to go public.

Fran Logan is the West Australian Minister for Energy, Resources, Industry and Enterprise. A menage a trois implies he has the energy and maybe even enterprise. But Minister for Wishful Thinking would be more accurate. Or Minister for No Way On This Earth You Filthy Old … His press secretary is right now earning every penny, combing over every salacious detail and alleged detail looking for the right degree of spin.

Just when you thought WA politics couldn’t get any sadder or sink any lower a minister of the Crown plumbs new depths – and is threatening to sue for reporting it.

The West Australian says today that Logan:

has hired one of Australia’s biggest law firms in an apparent bid to gag debate about his offer of a “threesome” to a Government adviser, threatening last night to take legal action against The West Australian if it continued to pursue the issue or refer to the matter again. 

Does that gag extend to blogs? And what does reporting of the “issue” mean? What about reporting that it was reported? What about printing his denials? What about discussing the joke he says it was in the broader context of the joke that is WA politics right now? 

It is another try from among the WA Government to muffle debate and discussion and it is a push that should be resisted from both mainstream media and from blogniks. So stand up and expose! (We’re talking to the media not you politicians, we’ve seen enough of you already.)

Talk about enough to make you gag …

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Garden of Eden Hill withers

Posted by occidentprone on May 21, 2008

While on the subject of planning and potential, what is – or isn’t – going on in Eden Hill? The multicoloured monstrosity on Morley Drive that once was a supermarket and now is God’s house – or God’s outdoor dunny at least – is a disgrace that makes a lie of the government’s claim to be cleaning up next door Lockridge. Until recently it was a mauve abomination but only a little purple survives. It’s now a deep blue and apricot job with the only violet to survive around the gutters.

Along with the abandoned Noongar camp in Caversham and the old demolished Pyrton prison site, both on the river, and nearby Rangeview Tavern, the Eden Hill Family Church is a joke. We’re not sure of attendance numbers or even gate takings in the new op shop there but the sprawling carpark only ever has a couple of cars tops. The nearby Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Lockridge is filled to the rafters every weekend so it’s not like the sheep are not willing.

The Rangeview and the concrete offering to the heavens have been made infamous by The Worst of Perth. But the Bassendean Town Council says its hands are tied. Mayor Tina Klein says:

Minister MacTiernan advised Council that housing was unacceptable and that the site should remain commercial but only for local area needs and not for any district or regional commercial activity. Back to square one.

Council is now talking to the owners to see what can be done to get the site redeveloped. Talks will include any assistance that Council can give and Council has not ruled out looking at the potential of using the site as a marketplace.

There are a couple of problems here. Housing is not what the area needs. It needs facilities, attractions, shops. If the state government was serious about revitalising Lockridge and stripping away old stigmas, it would not exclude sizeable ‘activity’. 

Markets would be a good start. Apparently a party from the burnt down Midland Military markets expressed an interest but was turned away. Farmers markets would be ideal, the kind that doesn’t sell food but p-r-o-d-u-c-e. And no hustlers offloading cheap imported plastic junk. But maybe the demographic isn’t ready for $10 jars of chutney or certified organic radicchio just yet. Interest rates and eye-popping petrol prices hit hard in this part of the world. 

Mayor Tina says she’s hamstrung – oh woe is us – but a local website says she stymied any steps forward. Oh woe is Eden Hill.


Posted in Diversions, Perth | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Dance with the Muses in Northbridge

Posted by occidentprone on May 21, 2008

Plans for a microbrewery and piazza in Northbridge have been getting some press but is the proposal enough to get Northbridge back in our social good graces? 

The City of Perth says work on the piazza will start next month.

Well-considered design features and uses in and around the piazza will ensure its vitality, comfort and safety: As well as providing for everyday informal activity, the flexibly designed spaces allow for performances, festivals and other cultural and even sporting events.  A large grassed area, for example, could host anything from cricket matches to markets. Al fresco dining from surrounding cafes and restaurants will spill into the space, adding on-going life to the piazza. Perth’s first permanent LED screen is expected to be a major attraction, operating 24 hours a day.

As only local government can do, they’ve made it sound sterile and without spontaneity but we still hold out hope.

Northbridge’s history has been up and down, trendy and ugly, ethnic ghetto and mainstream, drunken dark corner and sunny family spot. It is in a bit of a lull at the moment (although the media stories about louts and violence seem to have waned).

But after walking through both Northbridge and Perth city centre in daytime in recent weeks, at least Northbridge has a soul that can be revived. There is life in pockets of small shops, cafes and boutiques. Art galleries and art supply stores will draw that recently recognised commodity – the creative class.

Scoff if you want, but in these days – and this state – of flowing wealth successful baby boomers and X-ers are prepared to spend to buy soul back into their overworked lives. Watercolour painting on the side, weekend writing or joinery or cake decorating courses, thousands dropped with ease at the Fender store. And not with an eye on glory (well, maybe) but with an eye to filling the void, creating something.

So business gurus and planners, don’t underestimate how much people like to hang out with the Muses in dark corners, feeding their inner boho with inspiration – and spending large while they’re at it. That lust for life can’t be built into a structure, it’s a vibe and it’s made by people.

 Now what are they doing about Forrest Place and the Hay Street Mall – what a mess.


Posted in Diversions, Perth | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Bruvver slaughters opposition lamb

Posted by occidentprone on May 18, 2008

Wow, that was quick – and hopefully painless. News.com.au reports:

THE man who wants to topple Kevin Reynolds says he has been sacked from his job as a union safety officer in retaliation for his election challenge.

Darren Kavanagh, 39, said yesterday that Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union staff told him that a decision was made to sack him from his $90,000-a-year job after he announced his leadership bid on Friday.

And this:

“They (Mr Reynolds and the executive) will no doubt come up with a reason. They will say I went to the media and started campaigning in work time. 
“I am sure they will come up with some excuse.” 
Mr Reynolds denied yesterday that Mr Kavanagh had been sacked, but said the union’s executive would meet this week to discuss the safety officer’s future. 
“I don’t know what individuals have been talking about, but I certainly have not been in any discussion with our executive about terminating him at this stage,” Mr Reynolds said. 
“I am very concerned about the lies that are being told.”

Indeed Kev, so are we. And concerned about democracy and freedom of association and political influence and … the list goes on. 

Mr Reynolds said he had been challenged only twice previously during his 35-year tenure as union secretary. 
He said Mr Kavanagh’s grievances seemed to be directed more at his deputy Joe McDonald. 

So much for Kavanagh’s Dare to struggle, dare to win.


Posted in Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

But does he have the stomach for it?

Posted by occidentprone on May 17, 2008

Darren Kavanagh is a brave man – he’s challenging Kevin Reynolds in a CFMEU election in October. Big Kev is ‘morally corrupt’ says Kavanagh. He wants generational change.

Kavanagh claims Reynolds is pushing the builders union towards helping campaigns for independents running in the next state election. And Reynolds’ wife Shelley Archer is an independent MP, having quit the Labor Party after being disgraced.

To be fair, Reynolds denies that’s the case – that there’s no mention of putting money into any such campaign. But he has been state secretary for 35 years and does not concede one tiny bit that Kavanagh has a fair point. 

For readers outside WA, here’s a hint on Reynolds’ profile: he’s a gutsy bloke and image-wise he makes Troy Buswell look like a sensitive new aged guy.

Looks like the super heavyweight is going up against the lamb to the slaughter.


Posted in Perth | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Now that’s just a blog-o-lies

Posted by occidentprone on May 15, 2008

The blogosphere has intruded rudely on to Troy Buswell’s reality.  Blognik Matt Hayden posted a joke in January that Busty Buswell had once played quokka soccer.  

Then joke blog post became blog post became rumour became a fact in the making and before you could say PETA activist, reporters were mentioning the Q-word and intimating there had been something rotten in the state of Rotto.

So Hayden had to publish a retraction and Buswell put the rumour to rest.

We’re no experts but the question is this: If there is a clause within defamation laws to excuse clear satire, why is the onus on the blogger to clear it up if reporters can’t tell their ludicrous internet japes from plausible stories?

Ok, given that Buswell’s past carrying on has more ridiculous episodes than a Carry On film he does make it tricky, but still bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible for gullible journos.


Posted in Media, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Get amongst it: Northbridge

Posted by occidentprone on May 10, 2008

OP is not in the business of tourism, or even travel writing (we wish). But the blog is an (overwritten) microscope-telescope to encourage jaded West Australians to look at their home anew. Maybe it will bring a fresh view of the landscape, and possibly even new ideas about how to live in the country, urban and suburban landscape. In that vein, here is the first in a sometimes series on places in the heart.

Northbridge  and its precursor North Perth have been through the ups and downs of inner city areas everywhere. Its ethnic background of many hues and nightclub-crime profile has seen it labelled fashionable, dangerous, dirty, edgy, family friendly, back to trendy and back to bleak. 

Step outside the clubby-pubby scene, blink into the daylight, and make an excursion.

It’s no secret that the northern end of William Street, from Bulwer down, is brimming with cheaper restaurants and food stores. Take away roast duck – whole, violin, chopped or boned – or stop in a yum cha house. Take the kids on a free Cat bus tour or seek out op shop gems. 


Posted in Diversions, Get amongst it, Perth | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The woman in red gets a lawyer

Posted by occidentprone on May 10, 2008

She of the ruby red lips and power dressing, Jaye Radisich, has got herself a lawyer to speak her mind for her, says The West Australian  today. The MP is steeped in a ‘he said-she’s neither confirming nor denying’ tussle with premier Alan Carpenter over that alleged bra-revealing karaoke session in Bunbury a few years back.

Carpenter has begged Radisich to say it isn’t so but Jaye is keeping mum. Instead, she’s hired John Hammond her. Hammond said his client refuted the inference that she had used the alleged incident to ‘blackmail’ Carpenter into preselection favours.

Despite Jaye’s lashings of scarlet lippy, this is not gonna be pretty folks.


Posted in Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Building a western bohemia

Posted by occidentprone on May 7, 2008

Here at Occident Prone we’ve become mired in party politics. It was never our intention and we’d hate to end up with an American-style political arena where affairs and other hanky-panky overshadow the nitty gritty of policy and substance. So let’s take a breather from the hot and heavy and talk arts.

Alan Carpenter’s government seems well aware of its awesome responsibility of state building. All those mining royalties rolling in – let’s do something big, they’re saying, let’s do something grand. And for that they should be commended. Alannah McTiernan is at the forefront, pick in hand turning the sods to give us the Mandurah railway. Next stop Perth city waterfront, a grand plan for a world famous deadspot.

Perthwaterfront.com.au   Perthwaterfront.com.au

While the designer’s mental picture of what should happen on the foreshore is up for debate – and let’s have lots of it – at least someone somewhere is saying this is something worth fixing up. 

Let’s stop loving the big country town image and embrace all the sophistication and cosmopolitanism that comes with wealth and migrants. From these things grow ideas, culture, a collective self-confidence and an inner wealth as well as outer gads of cash.

The so-called creative underclass might not be the ones swanning about the restaurants and fancy bits on the foreshore but they will be tapping into any pathology that lurks beneath. And any city worth its salty air needs writers, painters, songwriters winding stories and fables and images from its streets and sordid past. (Not to mention our sordid present – there’s fodder enough for a three-book deal right there.)

The state government is also to be lauded loudly for its commitment to an international literary award.

Mr Carpenter said the inaugural Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award, worth $110,000, had the power to excite and expand the State’s cultural horizons.

Culture and Arts Minister Sheila McHale said the award was part of the Carpenter Government’s exciting $73million ‘Ignite!’ package, the biggest single State Government arts funding injection designed to transform literature, dance, theatre, music and visual arts.

The award is open to any book-length work of literary fiction published in print or electronically – something recognising the increasing predominance of electronic media, such as online and mobile phone formats.

The judging panel will consist of three renowned authors and literary experts drawn from some of the nominating countries. They include Pakistani born and multi-award winning author, Kamila Shamsie, author of ‘Kartography’ and ‘Broken Verses’ and Sri Lankan born, Hong Kong based columnist and founder of the ‘Asia Literary Review’, Nury Vittachi.

“This award is a fabulous vote of confidence which I know will kick-start a writing revolution,” Mr Vittachi said.

The $110,000 prize makes the award the richest in the nation. Where the winning entry has been translated into English, the author will receive $88,000 and the translator $22,000.

The award is open to works written by an author resident in Australia or Asia, or which are primarily set in Australia or an Asian country. Works must have been either written in, or translated into English and published in the preceding year.

Entries for the award are now open and will close on May 31, 2008. Forms can be downloaded from the Department of Culture and the Arts website: http://www.dca.wa.gov.au

The award follows a government unveiling in December of a $73 million package of arts and culture “initiatives to transform dance, theatre, music and visual arts, as well as change the shape of WA’s cultural landscape”.

Perth is literally on the path to nowhere. It’s an endpoint, a terminal. This, along with its isolation, has forged a visage, complete with shimmering haze, of a mythic land across the Nullarbor full of cowboys and gold-diggers. But for some of us Bohemia is more alluring than El Dorado and that kind of spontaneity needs a little planning.


Posted in Diversions, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Buswell hangs on by the seat of his pants

Posted by occidentprone on May 5, 2008

Troy Buswell survives as leader of the opposition, as our alternative premier. 

Liberal MPs met today to vote on a spill motion to get rid of Buswell as leader. The spill fell, Buswell won and we have learned that the following is acceptable – nay rewardable – behaviour:

Chair sniffing: This is officially A-OK, even if the context is misogynistic, juvenile, demeaning and humiliating. Hell, you might even be rewarded.

Bra pinging: It’s the 21st century and the Liberal Party is not afraid to show off its sensitive side.  What better way than a little battery-by-underwear, particularly if the target is a woman and an employee.

For how long Buswell remains top dog is another question, as reported in The Australian

At a press conference this evening, Mr Buswell said he did not believe he would have to deal with further incidents as serious as the chair-sniffing scandal, for which he came under intense pressure to quit. 

But Mr Buswell said if there were other incidents in which he had offended people, “no doubt those matters will be brought to light”.

Mr Buswell, appearing drawn and stressed, said he had no idea how many MPs had supported his leadership in today’s vote on the spill motion.

Troy Buswell is the man many will choose to lead WA at the next election. As premier he would be the figurehead of the state as it does big big big business with Japan and China if the resources boom rolls on. Talk about losing face – take a bow, Libs.


Posted in Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »