Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dirty business

The dirty business is not only the ALP hanging on to power in S.A., holding 26 seats to the Libs 18 despite achieving only 37 percent of the vote.

But rather, I am referring again to the sad business of the secret judicial system in China - and the ten year sentence given to Australian citizen Stern Hu of Rio Tinto, with Australian consular officials denied access to the courtroom for the trial. There are aspects of comic opera, although for the persons convicted it is no comedy.

Local and personal, of course, outweighs the national and international for most of us.

Yesterday our little group of friendly singers and instrumentalists gave its quarterly concert at the Elanora Home in the town of Stansbury. I used the digital camcorder to record the proceedings but due to human error (guess whose??) the camera ran out of battery juice and so missed Angie's solo and the group finale. My name will be mud. Report card: Can Do Better.

At least the Aussie cricketers completed their clean sweep over the New Zealand Black Caps in Hamilton, winning both Tests of the short series.  Now the top guns from both teams are headed to India where they are signed up to play for various teams and for serious money.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back from Adelaide. Two State Elections: any winners?

OK. In the U.S. Obama got his health care reform through Congress and into law. Then he talked to Israeli PM Netanyahu who said, "These are not settlements. This is Jerusalem. This is our capital."  The Brits expel a top Israeli diplomat because of the forged passports debacle. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith waits to see if we should do likewise, since Australian "identities" were also stolen (also Irish, French and German - in the assassination carried out on a Hamas top guy).  In Beijing the RioTinto (Australian) negotiators Stern Hu et al are on trial for "taking bribes" (I thought this was standard Chinese business dealing). They are the fall guys, the scapegoats.

So much for the world. Me, I am just back from Adelaide and the first two of my minor eye operations: this morning and on Monday two days ago. Next round, three weeks away and not next week as at first planned. It went well.

In Tasmania, post-election, there is a "hung parliament" where the two major parties look to have ten seats each and the Greens hold five, a great showing, which surely means they will have a strong role in a likely coalition. But with whom?

Here in S.A., Rann is gloating at the prospect of his Third Reich, sorry, third term as premier after Labor fell over the line to hang on to 24 seats, possibly even 25. No-one knows until all the postal  votes come in. There were strangely uneven swings away from Labor candidates in ALP-held constituencies, 7% to 10% being typical, but the previous margins were mostly enough to see these people returned. Jane Lomax-Smith lost her Adelaide seat and with it her Education portfolio. Michael Atkinson chose to retire as Attorney General. Today Lib leader Isobel Redmond graciously conceded that Rann's lot had won but promised to fight hard to form government four years from now. I for one will hope that the Premier does not last that long. The Greens did poorly in the state. Are we more apathetic than Tasmanians?

Friday, March 19, 2010


Well. tomorrow's the day. State elections in Tasmania and here in South Australia. Will Rann the Man survive? Will Libs in Opposition leader Isobel Redmond become the new State Premier? 24 hours from now the votes will be being cast, and by tea-time the counting will be under way. Will they care in Afghanistan? Nope. But for a few of us it will make some difference. Not that I support either of the main parties!

And of course, my own electorate Goyder is just about the safest Liberal seat in the whole state; farming country, deeply hostile to a perceived threat by the present administration to downgrade regional hospital facilities, and there are always city versus country issues. Sitting member Steven Griffiths is very popular, a capable and good bloke.

Who knows?

On Monday I have to be away to the city for the first of those four (SLT) eye operations.

Today I am treating myself to FoxSport coverage of the First Test between Australia and New Zealand in Wellington. The month's subscription for the sports channels is $16, but I intend it to be for one month only, remembering - or having the discipline - to cancel.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Note on Leadfoot Tommy Kouts: pre-electioneer

Go there to read some more about the latest grab for cheap low-shot votes on the looming S.A. state election. By none other than West Torrens member Koutsantonis, who, as our Road Traffic minister, accumulated many unpaid speeding fines (reports I've seen varied from claiming 30 to 100 of these). Beyond the serially illegal and dangerous behaviour is the deeper question of how he was able to (1) evade timely dealing with the matters, and (2) keep his licence. One supposes that ordinary citizens in such a position might find themselves doing jail time. TK is now - can you believe it? - Premier Rann's Correctional Services minister.

The new issue is his pamphlet campaign to stir up vigilante action - he claims it isn't - to curb unseemly sex activity in a park in his electorate. However, the substantial online responses, for and agin, include sour remarks from a number of local residents who say that this and other things of concern have been ignored by their political representatives (guess who?) for years, until now. Couple of weeks out from election day. Hmm. Gotta be coincidence. Thanks, BB, for the link.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hardly bearable

The week has flown. Last Saturday's fireworks opening of the Adelaide Festival has long since faded to black and I was amused to read in friend Bill's blog that he, at the same event, noted that SA Premier Rann was booed when he started his bombastic speech (before, that is, he even opened his mouth).

Yesterday our singer group gave a first for 2010 performance at Melaleuca Court Nursing Home. Next week we do another special 'gig' for the Senior Citizens Club in a different town, and meanwhile the creative souls are planning a program for the annual August Concert. Angie injured a knee a week ago but bravely showed up and even performed a duet with Denis as both singing partner and prop, as in propper-upper. Various teddy bears were in this performance as props for the famous TBs' picnic song which found its way into the final bracket for a lighthearted touch. A blend of the not-too-serious and downright ultralight is our trademark.