Happy New Financial Year!!

1 July is now upon us! If you’re like me and like to lodge your tax return early, I’m sure you know about e-tax. If not, find out more here and download it.

Another day of disgrace for the Sydney road network

I certainly feel for those affected by the shutdown of the M5 East tunnel, and no apology from Eric Roozendahl can bring any sort of satisfaction to angry commuters who will be late for work today. You’d think that there’d be some sort of backup plan or system for such a complex tunnel network as the one that seems to be stuffed up today, as opposed to forcing motorists onto already clogged roads such as King Georges Rd and Bexley Rd.

Ray Hadley’s totally correct – we’re being run by a bunch of Muppets, and there are several million Statlers and Waldorfs booing and hissing every inept move that the government make.

Source: News Limited

John Della Bosca in hot water…

The NSW Education Minister may be in a bit of trouble over allegations that him and his wife, federal MP Sandra Neal, were abrupt and rude at a Gosford restaurant on Friday night.

Regarding the furore over his lost license, even though he may still have it and is awaiting its suspension, his behaviour in the restaurant, and that of his wife, is rather inexcusable for 2 prominent members of the local community. A very reasonable request was made of them and they acted like tall poppies in their refusal to acquiesce to the request.

I doubt Morris Iemma will do all that much to intervene though, but Della Bosca’s rap sheet is growing and he’d do well to pull his head in before something else happens.

Source: News Limited

Double demerit points

As the clock ticks over to midnight in about 6 hours, the holiday period of double demerit points starts on NSW roads.

And with that, even though I’ll be asleep, I’ll roll my eyes and wonder why. My opinion has nothing much to do with the fines, but the fact that with the ability to record extra demerit points, the RTA probably revels in its role as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to your driving record.

You can take fines to court if you believe them to be unwarranted, but you can never have the points removed through the same avenue, since the RTA refuses you right of appeal. Of course, I agree that there is merit in having some sort of points system to remind people of their driving responsibilities, but the notion and belief that doubling the points for a few days (and starting the whole exercise well before the long weekend actually starts – doesn’t it commence on Saturday, not Friday) is just daft.

I’ll certainly be driving safely over the next few days, but not because I fear facing twice the punishment from the mob who issue me with my license, but because there are other road users who don’t need me driving like a lunatic.

Another promise broken by the NSW Government…

…but I have to say that this one was more a case of foolishly promising too much instead of withholding something plausible. A proposed wireless broadband network for the Sydney CBD and other city centres around the metropolitan area has been scrapped. Roads Minister Eric Roozendahl has put on his commerce hat (seemingly for the first time some may say, since the only time we ever see him is when he defends road infrastructure) and said that the plan was technically and financially unviable – which would have been obvious in the first place, I’d have reckoned.

A comprehensive network to be used by hundreds of thousands of people would shift the costs from the consumers who usually pay generally reasonable prices for their networking and Internet usage to the Government, who, based on what we already know, should be pumping their revenue into far greater resource issues (not including the desalination plant by any means). I think that businesses would easily generate enough revenue in trading that they could invest in their own private systems and not have to leech off a third party.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Reflections on Anzac Day

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Tomorrow is the main day of the year when Australians stop to reflect on the significance of the work of those who have gone to war to fight for our nation, some losing their lives in the process. I would imagine that many Australians are not too many generations removed from ancestors who have served as part of our armed forces. My grandfather was one such person who, whilst not part of the battle line, served as part of a medical team on the Kokoda Track in World War 2. Whilst I never got the chance to find out much about his experiences (he passed away when I was 10), I can only imagine that he shared the experience of many who have recalled a tremendously daunting and laborious fight against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea.

Even though I won’t be attending an official gathering at a war memorial, I will certainly take some time tomorrow to contemplate the fact that not just in the past, but now, there are people who are putting their lives on the line for the safety and sake of their nation (or whomever they are in combat for). It is hard to say that warfare is a noble pursuit, but for those who are willing to face an enemy in the act of warfare, their courage and boldness I admire. It’s evident that our younger generations are beginning to realise the sacrificial nature of war in their attendance of dawn services and the Anzac Day parades that happen around Australia. This can only help to ensure that as the diggers who fought during battles and wars die, the legacy of their national service will live on.

2020 Summit not worth the effort?

News Limited’s website says that the bulk of comments from its news stories indicate that Ruddfest (aka. the 2020 Summit) had little in the form of substance, innovative new ideas, and ordinary Australians. Being keen to see for myself whether such critical analysis was warranted, I downloaded the Initial Report that contains the ideas generated from the summit for a quick glean.

On the whole it seems that the document merely reinforces ideas and “needs” that have already been explored/raised in the past, and only in some places fleshes out these ideas for future application. I think Kevin Rudd will find himself in a rather sticky and unenviable position, in that he will feel the pressure to somehow enact as many of these ideas as possible without fail.

I’m not prepared to dismiss the notion of a summit as a waste of time, but as the years go by and come 2020, there’s no real progress in key areas, one can’t help but think that this past weekend will indeed be looked upon as a gathering of the elite who were just too unrealistic and ambitious for the good of the country.