The open secret

Cardinal Pell’s conviction took place in December 2018 but could not be published in Australia because another trial in which Pell was the defendant had yet to be held. That case has now been dropped and the gag order lifted. It’s understandable that a gag was placed on Australian media, but to expect it to apply elsewhere must have been wishful thinking in this Internet age. Needless to say, many of us … Read more

China’s taking too much fish

I saw in the news that China consumes 50% of the world’s caught fish. In economics, exploiting shared resources is called “the tragedy of the commons” and refers to the common grazing area used by a community of farmers. When they share equitably, there are no problems, but when one adds extra livestock to graze, he depletes the land available for the rest. If he continues to do that, the others get … Read more

The creeping hand of authoritarianism

Little by little the creeping hand of authoritarianism reduces us to sheep-like cyphers, and as usual the vastly overstated threat of terrorism is used to justify it. The innocuously named Assistance and Access Bill 2018 is intended to force companies to provide information about how their systems work, thus compromising their cybersecurity. It’s an extraordinary overreach by officialdom in the name of fighting terrorism, which is nowhere near the level of threat suggested by the … Read more

Black as Night

It’s two o’clock in the morning and she’s alone. Jason has left it too late to say he can’t make it. Kids are sick, apparently. Dragging anyone else in now is out of the question. Most nights see only a few customers drop by, but it’s been an hour since the last customer left, and it will be some hours before Sharon and Judy turn up to relieve her. She moves around … Read more

My experience with religion

My experience with religion is interesting (at least to me). I was brought up as “no religion” by my parents, one of whom was a failed Catholic, the other with barely any comprehension of religion. I and my brothers were sent to Sunday school so that our parents could have some “afternoon delight”, but after the required ten weeks to score a bible, we stopped going and went to play instead. After … Read more

Customer disservice

When I received a letter from Telstra saying that I hadn’t paid my bill and if payment wasn’t made by two days earlier (!), I risked having my phone and internet service suspended, I was close to being ropable. First off, they hadn’t sent me a bill for July, and secondly I’d  already taken the precautionary step of paying enough to cover the likely charges. I phoned and was given the usual … Read more

The worst political attribute

Hypocrisy. It can be deliberate or — I hate to use the word ‘innocent’ — unknowing. If deliberate, it smacks of deceit and ruthlessness. If the perpetrator is unaware of their hypocrisy, it is symptomatic of a mindset that is incapable of impartiality, an inability to self-examine, a static belief in their, or their party’s, absolute rightness. What brought this to mind recently was the LNP’s claims that Bill Shorten is a … Read more