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Archive for June, 2008

Cousins and Newman show us what we hold dear

Posted by occidentprone on June 25, 2008

This morning we had two indicators of where our moral compass lies:

Recovering drug addict Ben Cousins may play in the Victorian Football League this year, aiming to return to AFL ranks in 2009.

The former West Coast Eagles captain and Brownlow medallist is expected to be registered to play in the VFL before next Monday’s deadline, News Limited has reported.

It’s possible he may sign for the WAFL, but the Herald Sun said it was more likely he would pull on the boots for one of 10 VFL sides. (Source: The West)

The ABC says it’s not a done deal:

But his manager, Ricky Nixon, says no decision has been made and clubs from both the VFL and WAFL are still in contention and he refused to close the door on nominating for the draft later this year.

Mr Nixon says the Brownlow medallist has received offers from almost 200 football clubs from around Australia.

“It really comes down to playing in the best competition or training rather with the better sides closer to AFL level,” he said.

And another fallen star is back on his feet:

Sam Newman is set to return to the AFL Footy Show on Thursday night, three weeks after Nine Network bosses ordered the star to rest, News Limited newspapers report. 

Newman was asked to take an indefinite break from performing three weeks ago following a series of on-air incidents, including groping a lingerie-clad mannequin while holding an image of journalist Caroline Wilson over its face and making suggestive remarks.

News Limited said Newman’s departure on May 28 marked a drop of 70,000 viewers within two weeks. (Source: The West)

So a footy star famous for running with gangsters and bingeing on drugs and a loathsome, neanderthal TV personality are back in good graces with proprieters (who are in the business of making money) without any public demonstration that they are worthy of such good fortune.

On the one hand, we could argue they are examples of a society which values forgiveness and believes in redemption. On the other, you could argue a big-dollar earner can get away with whatever he wants. A short spell in coventry for appearance’s sake then get that guy back bringing in the dough. And we can formulate the redemption ‘narrative’ afterwards for a New Idea deal.

Newman and Cousins are not irreverent or merely unruly – which we could dismiss as larrikinism. They both transgressed the very generous lines we set for them, and have shown little or no remorse. True, Cousins had a drug problem, which can mask the true morality of an otherwise good person. But what’s Newman’s excuse? No matter how clean living and sober he gets, he’s still a mean spirited, malicious misanthrope.


Posted in Diversions, Media | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

1000 a week warm to State of Emergency

Posted by occidentprone on June 25, 2008

People are flooding into WA, where the streets are apparently paved with gold and money flows as freely as natural gas:

Figures released by the Bureau of Statistics show Western Australia’s population has increased by almost 1000 people a week.

Australia’s population increased by 332,000 people to 21.18 million.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory had the fastest population growth of 2.4 per cent in 2007.

Western Australia’s increased was due to interstate and overseas migration, and natural increases.

The figures show 4000 people from interstate moved to Western Australia during the year. (Source: ABC)


Posted in Perth | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Statue to draw more deviants to Perth

Posted by occidentprone on June 24, 2008

Taxpayers will pay for the perverse and deviant to get their jollies when the City of Perth forks out $23,000 to display a rudie statue.

The disgraceful bronze “artwork” will make a mockery of the clean living image Perth has spent decades cultivating: Sensible drinking hours, a foreshore devoid of sinful temptations, no shopping on the Lord’s day, holding the tide against daylight saving and so much more.

News Corp’s Perth Now is outraged. You can tell because they lead with how much it costs taxpayers.

THE sculpture of a nude nine-year-old girl will be displayed on a Perth city street and ratepayers will cough up thousands of dollars to cast it.

Perth City Council had been recommended to approve casting Judith Anketell in bronze for public display at a cost of about $23,000.

Tonight, councillors voted unanimously to do so.

The sculpture will be displayed outside the building at 18 Howard Street, Perth, where it was created, provided it is approved by the Heritage Council.

And the blatantly debauched signal it sends to the world is denied by the lithesome model – now an 80-year-old.

The proposal had coincided with a controversial display of photographs of nude children at a Sydney art gallery. 

Amid the Sydney controversy, Ms Anketell denied the Perth statue of her as a child bordered on on p***nogr*phy. 

“Nobody has said anything in the 70-odd years that mine (the sculpture) has been made about it being improper or indecent,” she said 

“It was very tastefully done. 

“It was a beautiful reproduction of my body.” 

Perth Now doesn’t use the P-word, it (almost) lets the victim, Ms Anketell, do it. 

The West takes a more subdued approach on its website but there’s still time for the issue to take hold in the letters pages.

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

7 ways to survive WA’s gas crisis

Posted by occidentprone on June 24, 2008

The state government tells us the gas crisis will last another six months. As winter gives way to spring, and then summer we will all still be ignoring pleas to ease back on energy use. But if you do want to do your bit and halve energy consumption between now and December, as suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here are some tips to help you on your way. 

  1. Pull on a jumper, turn off unused lights, don’t leave appliances plugged in, all that stuff.
  2. Throw off the electric blanket and switch off the heater: Ask a colleague for a threesome. Although not official government policy, it is endorsed by the Energy Minister who would if he could.
  3. Fill your car up with petrol then realise the “gas crisis” isn’t the worst thing to happen this year.
  4. Come summer there are a whole lot of other problems that come with keeping cool. In extreme heat tempers fray so we can all be charitable by lifting a colleague’s top for a little temporary (light) relief. 
  5. Sort your Apache Energy blasts from your Apache Indian’s boom shak alak. Easily confused, but no, dodgy sub-continent hip hop is not responsible for this crisis. Maybe in India he has a lot to answer for but we are blaming the American gas company for this.
  6. Leave the house and use someone else’s energy. If you are in any position of power you could get a lobbyist to take you to lunch, but only if you can stomach an hour of staring into the sweaty, puffy face of the ugly side of business. Life is full of such trade-offs.
  7. Stay home, turn off the lights, computer and telly and curl into the foetal position. Accept that we are stuffed. Uncurl only to vote at the next state election.

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

A blog called malice

Posted by occidentprone on June 22, 2008

Soon after the internet started it seemed everyone was an expert. Now, with Web 2.0 everyone is a critic.

YouTube, imdb, Amazon, social websites ask us to rank and comment, to demonstrate our good taste and our level of cool. Click a star rating and be a star. Even eBay asks us to rate each deal and sort the fair traders from the rogues.

And if you’re a blogger and you want more hits than The Sopranos, load up and start shooting. For Perez Hilton and Popbitch, cattiness is bread and butter. Even low-end bloggers see tastefully bared claws as the way to better rankings.

A friend, through a series of coincidences, found that he had a YouTube video dedicated to himself. He was featured on a blog which ridiculed the tasteless and other affronts to style. My friend’s choice of accessory had made him a marked man and a nest of gripers let the world know it through their funny but poisonous comments. They had never met my friend but video footage from the street meant they had seen enough to judge him and make assumptions about the rest of his life. (These critics were sitting at their computers bitching about strangers while my friend was out, you know, having a life.)

Aesthetes and intellectuals have found a stage for their egos and gossips spread rumours with tsunami devastation, all fancying themselves to be Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker.

Take the world famous example of Max Gogarty, who briefly blogged for The Guardian website. Read more about the Max fiasco at Social Media Influence.

The world outside the www (and yes people there is one) is of course an influence. The hyper-shallowness of glossy mags, lifestyle shows and photoshopped popstars mean we have aesthetic expectations (no matter how unrealistic), and goddamn it we won’t settle for anything less. In fact should anyone dare to hit the footpath in scuffed Hush Puppies and Target sunnies, video the outrage and post it, pronto. He deserves to be vilified.

What are we aiming for here? A culling of people at the extremes – don’t like fat people and too skinny is unhealthy, don’t like the overly sensitive or the outright boofish, don’t like Shannon Noll and Simon Tedeschi is a tosser – and then what do we have? A landscape of more of the same boring wannabes.

I have no right to hurl rocks, my own glass house is pretty untidy too – and I still think politicians are fair game. But for now I’m looking to Web 3.0, giving the karma thing a go and dreaming of the world (wide web) as it might be.


Posted in Diversions, Media | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Dan Sullivan finds his niche

Posted by occidentprone on June 22, 2008

Dan Sullivan said he wanted to offer a serious alternative to the Liberal Party in WA. 

Then he started the WA branch of Family First.

The political powerhouse is called WAFAMILYFIRST.COM. It’s all capital letters which spells SERIOUS ALTERNATIVE and with a dot com in the name which spells 21st century, you know, like computers and the interweb.

I’d love to ramble on about their robust economic policy blah blah blah but I’ve wasted enough minutes of my life already.


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

Gas worker tells Crikey all

Posted by occidentprone on June 19, 2008

A whistleblower tells Crikey what he knows about the gas explosion at Varanus Island:

Too much pressure, too many idiots, and money, money, money — it could have been prevented!

We had 166 people on the island, and lucky enough not one was injured. But fark, we ran for our lives as it was really, really, really scary.

Go to the Crikey website www.crikey.com.au  (highly recommended) for more details.

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

Libs want some Ruddy help

Posted by occidentprone on June 19, 2008

WA Libs are accusing the prime minister of not doing enough to aid WA in its hour of cold and darkness, says ABC. Fair call.

Liberal Senator David Johnson has accused both the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter of inaction over the crisis.

Senator Johnson says Mr Rudd should confirm if the Government has the constitutional authority to enact the Liquid Fuels and Emergency Act.

“If we’re on solid ground there should be an emergency declared,” he said.

The Senators and MPs also called for the price of diesel to be stabilised to ease demand for gas and for gas energy users to be switched to diesel so gas can be freed up for small and medium business use.

I  haven’t read all of the Liquid Fuels and Emergency Act, I got confused with all the roman numerals, so I’m not sure what it means for us.  But Kevin Rudd doesn’t have time to be worrying about boring old gas crises and something-or-other Act, now that he’s started packing for the Olympics. Much more important stuff on the horizon.

The Australian reports on Rudd’s perspective:

The concerns of business were echoed in Canberra yesterday, with Kevin Rudd saying: “Given WA’s crucial significance to the overall performance of the Australian economy, there will be wash-through for us all on this over time, but in WA right now it’s being felt directly.”

… Carpenter said yesterday he had briefed the Prime Minister and was confident Mr Rudd was prepared to assist.

Mr Carpenter said his first priority was getting federal support for people who were put out of work but did not normally qualify for Centrelink assistance.

He gave no details of changes being put in place.

The pair discussed the national strategic fuel supplies stored at Garden Island, south of Perth, but Mr Carpenter said it was not yet necessary to seek access to them.

“We have to make sure we don’t do that pre-emptively or unnecessarily, because those fuel supplies are exactly as they are described – they are strategic national fuel supplies normally there because of disaster or a complete breakdown in the liquid fuel supply,” he said.

Mr Rudd said the Defence Minister had the power to make available extra diesel supplies for power stations in the west.

“We will invoke the provisions of the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act if required,” he told parliament yesterday. “This act provides the Australian Government with the authority to prepare for and manage a national liquid fuel supply emergency.

“During such a situation, the Minister for Resources and Energy can control the production, transfer and stock levels of crude and liquid fuel.

“We … are advised by the (WA) Premier that action involving the invocation of that act is not required at this time.”



A postscript to Carpenter’s power appealathon the other day. If we are all cutting our power reduction, why did he appear on TV? He should have had a letterbox drop. Or posted notices on all those soon-to-be redundant power poles. 

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

We are doing a great job, because we say so

Posted by occidentprone on June 19, 2008

The popularity of Alan Carpenter’s government is rising, says The Australian today. WHAT? Oh, according to the government. That makes more sense.

Public satisfaction with the performance of the Carpenter Government is surging – according to the Government at least.

The Government released figures today showing that community satisfaction with the way it does its job has jumped from just 33 per cent, giving it the thumbs up in October last year, to 45 per cent in January this year. 

Those percentages believed the Government was performing well or very well. Another 34 per cent said its performance was “fair” – leaving just 21 per cent unhappy. 

The results of the latest quarterly community attitudes survey commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet to keep tabs on how it is travelling were tabled in parliament today. 

The figures also suggest the Government is most popular with women and young people, and rates better in the metropolitan area than the regions. 

Of the 750 people interviewed by telephone in January by market research company Synovate, just 5 per cent felt the Government was performing “very poorly”, and 16 per cent branded it “poor”. 

Forty-seven per cent of females said the Government had performed well or very well. Just 16 per cent said its performance was poor. 

This compared to 43 per cent of men giving the Government a tick, and 25 per cent who said it was poor or very poor. 

The survey was taken before the gas fiasco, before Fran Logan’s threesome joke, before the shirt-lifting allegation. Nuff said.

Do they take a survey and wait months until a bad patch and pretend it’s news (which The Australian thought it was)? And is there a statute of limitations on this stuff? Are they going to pull out results from Dr Gallop’s rein and say she’s apples.

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

Don’t be dooced

Posted by occidentprone on June 18, 2008

The blog vs work dilemma has been played out in a few famous cases around the world. Bloggers who’ve spewed bile about their workplace have had the good fortune of having the workplace pulled from beneath them.

Read about a hostie who was fired. The BBC analyses the issue. And here’s an Australian perspective on blogging at work.

But in little ol’ Western Australia, there’s been little discussion of blogging and the ethics and issues around it – particularly for those juggling a paying job and blogging, and even more particularly if the blogging has some topic crossover with the paying job.

So we’re doing an informal study of our own for a new page on blogging in WA. 

  • What’s your blogging vs work experience?
  • Do you have your own guidelines to make sure you don’t cross any lines and burn bridges?
  • Does your boss have a policy for bloggers?
  • Do law firms have concerns about being open to litigation after loose lips from a wordy solicitor?
  • Do media companies worry their employees are wasting words in the blogosphere when they could be churning out more copy at work?
  • Do public service bosses fear state secrets are being belched into cyberspace?
  • Do cubicle overlords fret workers will find a personality and a mind of their own through their online diary?
  • Is industrial espionage (sounds more exciting than it is, I suspect) an issue?

Email occident@iinet.net.au with your experience and thoughts and we’ll publish the results. Confidentiality assured of course.

Meanwhile, here’s advice from a careers expert.

Posting company news, pictures, and even making positive comments about a company have cost bloggers their jobs.

Wow, even posting good comments about the firm can get you the pink slip?

More good advice here. (I especially like the tip about blogging anonymously.)

PS Dooced is described as getting fired because of something that you wrote in your blog. 

Posted in Diversions, Media | Tagged: | 6 Comments »