Another Digger Dies

The ninth digger has died in Afghanistan.

I never know what to write when this happens but I immediately think about the families who have lost a loved one…and of course the soldier who died in our country’s service. 

Remember that its the politicians that send our young men and women to war.

We  can never really know what it is like for soldier’s families who lose a loved one. 

The closest we came to that understanding was in 1988, was when our 16 year old son was kidnapped, at gunpoint, by ten “Rascals” in Port Moresby, PNG – we thought he was dead that night – he went on to serve in Baugainville (4 months) and Timor (7 months)  during his 12 1/2 years service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the United Nations (UN). 

Its the waiting that gets you, for the phone call that says we’ve found him – dead or alive?   Or, in the case of soldiers, sailors and air service personnel,  till the deployment termination date (ie tour of duty is over)…

ADF families all over our country dread the knock on the door and seeing a senior officer’s uniform on the porch…there is usually only one reason that happens.  Spare a thought for them tonight.

To our latest fallen Digger, rest in peace, cobber. 

To his family my deepest thanks, respect and empathy.

Lest We Forget

More here: 

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25198720-421,00.html

Politics, money and sport – Queensland style

My Queensland ferret, who calls himself an ALP offsider, refers to them as the Victorian AFL diaspora. These Southern immigrants follow the alien form of football but live in that Rugby League dominated State. Many are economic migrants who followed the mining and other booms North over the last forty years or so. Many others are retirees, in their place in the sun.

The famous Gold Coast, centred on Surfers Paradise, is their epicentre. These heathens helped to make the Brisbane Lions AFL premiers 3 years in a row. They are now waiting to have their own team in an upgraded stadium at Carrara.

So what’s the connection with the State election on Saturday? Well, the government support helping the stadium with $60 million but the leader of the Opposition, Lawrence Springborg, is strongly opposed. You don’t find many Aussie Rules fans in his traditional rural and regional heartland.

… Liberal National Party (LNP) Leader Lawrence Springborg conceding he may have lost some votes on the Gold Coast.

Mr Springborg says he supports having an AFL team on the Gold Coast, but says upgrading a stadium is not as important as other issues.
Health more important than football stadium, Springborg says

It could be his political health that’s threatened if the election is as close as the polls are predicting. Government will be won or lost in the South East. The recent elections in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory showed how important a handful of votes can be.

Crikey looked at this issue a week ago (in Free Mode) but it’s had little coverage since:

As Mudgeeraba Labor MP Di Reilly, sitting on a margin of just 2.7%, remarks with some understatement in today’s Gold Coast Bulletin: “this is a gift that goes on giving”.
Carrara stadium funding political football raining goals for ALP

The oil spill on the other holiday/retirement coast has been a bit of a distractor. Gave new life to the old cliché about a week in politics.

Meanwhile an interesting and related sideshow has been taking place. After dining with Barack Obama at Teddy Kennedy’s birthday party, Queensland’s wealthiest man has been in the news:

CLIVE Palmer has poured his first dollars into the LNP in a late boost to the Opposition’s campaign to bring down the Bligh Government.
In the same week that he dined with US President Barack Obama, Mr Palmer made his first donation to the LNP since it was formed from the merger of the Nationals and Liberals last August.
Tycoon Clive Palmer donates to LNP in campaign push

Yesterday Palmer’s son Michael was ejected from a public place:

Liberal National Party candidate Michael Palmer was today asked to leave Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall after he was spotted handing out election flyers.
Teen candidate learns the hard way

Apparently the nineteen year old was distributing leaflets against the government funding of the stadium. The safe Labor seat he’s contesting is not on the Gold Coast.

With Queensland’s use of optional preferential voting, the administrators of the Australian Football League may have a tense wait while the votes are counted.

P.S. Apologies to the architects of the amalgamated party. I keep reversing the name. Too many years of the Country Liberal Party in the NT. The ghost of Joh Bjelke Petersen still lingers. I preferred the simpler days when his Country Party was running everything up North. We knew who the enemy were then.

Federal Legislation

This is just a quick thread for a couple of important pieces of legislation that is before parliament at the moment:

  • Alcopops. This is the legislation to make the changes introduced last year into law, and it looks like being blocked in the senate. From what I can see, the tax change did exactly as intended – it reduced the consumption of alcopops and the research shows that this did not translate into a corresponding increase in hard liquor.
  • Electoral Reform. This is being blocked in the senate by the coalition, under the guise that it does not go far enough.

Are these potential triggers for a double dissolution?

UPDATE:

On the subject of alcopops, Tony of South Yarra, also makes this observation:

The government’s ill-conceived ‘alcopops’ tax is about to be voted down in the senate. Introduced ostensibly as the main weapon in Labor’s ‘war’ on binge drinking among teenage girls, it has failed to win the support of any of the non-government senators:

The Government faces the prospect of paying back almost $300 million to the alcohol industry and forgoing $1.6 billion in tax revenue after the Greens, independent Nick Xenophon and Family First’s Steve Fielding refused to endorse the tax.

The government is steeling itself for more trouble in the senate, with its emissions trading scheme and industrial relations reforms both looking unlikely to find the necessary upper-house support:

Greens senators Bob Brown, Rachel Siewert and independent Nick Xenophon made it clear they were not to be trifled with on the alcopops bill or other key government legislation.

“They (Labor) need to see that we are quite strong, quite determined and not going to be treated in this way by the (health) minister or the government,” Senator Brown said.

“We are serious about this and it’s up to the government to act like a government that understands the functioning of the Senate instead of expecting that the Senate is simply going to give it what it wants every time,” he said.

As Don Chipp would no doubt remind us if he were alive today, the role of the senate, and the balance-of-power cross-bench senators in particular, is to ‘keep the bastards honest’. Long may it be so.