Lest we forget


Cyclone Monica 24 April 2006 – Maningrida

Today is the third anniversary of Cyclone Monica, an extreme category five storm that struck Maningrida on 24 April 2006. It was the strongest cyclone ever recorded on the mainland of Australia.

It’s time to edit my mate Mason Scholes’ video. This is Part 1, which was seen on TV News around the world.

Kevin Rennie

Victorian Bushfires stir compassion and conflict

Cross post for Global Voices: Victorian Bushfires stir compassion and conflict

The grim toll of the Victorian bushfires now has 201 confirmed deaths, including a volunteer firefighter, and 1834 homes destroyed. There have been moving, controversial, bizarre and even innovative responses in the blogosphere to the tragedy.

Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, reflected popular reaction to news that some of the fires were deliberately lit by talking of “mass murder”. Following the charging of one man with arson causing death, Facebook groups emerged that published his address and other details that had been suppressed by court order. These have apparently now been removed by Facebook. One group has this message:

Brendan Sokaluk, you will pay. you will be found out. and you will suffer. and when that day comes, Australia will have another Public Holiday to celebrate.


These pages have stimulated an intense debate about issues such as the right to a fair trial. Some even fear that the lynch mob mentality and surrounding publicity may hinder the chances of a conviction. A warning: much of the comment on these sites is very disturbing for a whole range of reasons.


Kevin Rennie

‘Australia’: somewhere over the rainbow

It seemed fitting to see Baz Luhrmann’s movie Australia on the Australia Day long weekend. The opening credits tell us that it’s about the stolen generations, an aboriginal story set against a backdrop of cattle empires, love and war. It has been promoted as an old style blockbuster and its sheer length and star cast put it in that territory. Continue reading

Midweek Mayhem!


Welcome to Midweek Mayhem!

The place where we get to talk about everything, including sensitive health issues.

Health and nutrition. Now who would’ve thought that the regular household Aussie icon Vegemite would come in for a severe serve of criticism due to its salt content. Apparently it’s been revealed as a major health hazard with  headlines around the world demanding that it be immediately removed from supermarket shelves.

All well and good. As long as those same supermarket shelves remained well-stocked with healthy and nutritious cigarettes my breakfast routine shall remain relatively unaffected. I’ll just switch to that kiwi shite Marmite instead.

Chemists.  Now they’re meant to be interested in our health aren’t they? Why is it then, that they continue to sell so called “weight loss” products that simply don’t work? 

They’re definitely not interested in our financial health when a  bottle of Listerine costs a helluva lot more than you’d pay at the supermarket.  

I use Listerine every day, and now I find that it too, is determined to kill me.

And then there’s the people who work at Chemists.   The “pharmacists.”   What a pack of dullards. You know the type. The ones who can’t just simply handover your medication without first asking a diatribe of meaningless, irrelevant questions “have you taken this medication before?”  “Make sure you take this food,”  “have you got high blood pressure?”   YES OF COURSE I DO. THAT’S WHAT THE MEDICATION’S FOR YOU F**KING MORON!”

And then they have to wear those little white jackets that button at the collar with a name badge pinned upon her bosom “Jill” (I wonder what the other one’s called? I ponder for a moment) with every movement and gesture silently shouting “I wanted to be a doctor, but this is as close as I could get! Please think of me as a doctor, and not just some lowly shop assistant”

I refuse to play along with the charade anymore. “Make sure you don’t take these on an empty stomach.”

” I know!” I howl “That’s what my doctor said. “You know, my REAL DOCTOR. He who hath the power to write prescriptions.”

“Make sure you take one in the morning and one at night.”

 “I know!!!!” I protest.  ” I can read you know, that’s what it says on the packet!!!” 

“I’m not completely incapacitated, or some docile moron that never reached my full potential of achieving some life long ambition to really make something of myself, by healing the sick and infirm, only to find myself working in a shop all day long handing over little white boxes to people that I don’t know, don’t care about, and couldn’t care less whether they lived or died, but desperately pretending that I do by offering useless titbits of ‘medical advice’  if only to desperately maintain the illusion that ‘I am making a difference,’   ‘I am a doctor’ when the sad and harsh reality is that you’re not. You’re destined to maintain your miserable little existence of false pretence because, when you return home at the end of each working day, you can look yourself in the mirror, and say –  I did say  “only take two twice daily”.

“Now just give me my drugs and f**k off!”

Now where did I put that valium…..

Aside from that, I’m sure they’re lovely people…

You can’t say “God doesn’t Exist”

A sight you won’t be seeing in Australia any time soon


Author Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, lends his support as the London bus atheism advertising campaign is launched. Photo: Reuters

Following on from the Labor Government’s recent splurge of some $140+ million of Australian taxpayers’ money to host the Catholic Church’s visit by the Pope in Sydney last year, it comes as some surprise that a group of individuals who wish to promote an atheist perspective – through a privately (ie non-government) funded advertising campaign have had their proposal rejected.

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Generation of Aussie Teens Lost to Binge Drinking

Every now and then you come across an individual that is truly passionate and dedicated to a worthwhile cause.

One such individual, for me at least anyway, is Paul Dillon, the director of the private consultancy Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia.

For what must be some ten years or more, Paul Dillon has been at the forefront of educating young Australians about the effects of various drugs and alcohol abuse. He has done so without being sanctimonious or condescending – unlike the approach taken by so many other public figures.

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