Monday, 27 June 2011

Kill the Fatted Calf

While I was away in Germany I belatedly read a report that the Federal Government had banned live cattle exports to IndonesiaThis is a typical policy on the run, poll driven, populist response to a TV program, in this case 4 Corners on the ABC.

As a result, thousands of people are at risk of being thrown out of work, many more Indonesians are being deprived of staple food, and once again our Federal Government is looking like a bunch of incompetent amateurs.

This is not to condone cruelty to any living creature, no intelligent, compassionate person would, but things need to put into perspective. For a start I find it hard to believe the powers that be did not know cruel practices were being carried out in some Indonesian abattoirs.

Why did it take a TV program to alert them to something everyone in the meat industry already knew about? So, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they were ignorant of the situation in Indonesia.

And anyway, what happened to diplomacy!?

Surely someone in high authority (What about “…Kevin, I’m from Queensland and I’m here to help”) could have allowed the Indonesians to at least save some face and embarrassment by holding talks in private to discuss the situation to the mutual benefit of all parties.

This government is like (pardon the pun) a bull in a China shop when it comes to diplomacy. Our, at the time, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd set the scene when he referred to the Chinese as “rat f….rs” at the climate change conference in Copenhagen last year.
No wonder Asian countries have seen the West as barbarians for so long.

By the way, when are we going to shut down the live sheep trade, after all we have to be consistent, even incompetently consistent. And, last but not least, has anyone visited a chicken factory (sorry, farm) lately? You’ll never eat KFC again if you do.

I hope all those people complaining and demonstrating about cruelty to animals are actually walking the talk and are or becoming vegetarians.

If there were no meat eaters there would be no market for meat, live or otherwise.
And yes, just in case you are wondering, I am a vegetarian.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

No, Prime Minister!

I saw Prime Minister Julia Gillard being interviewed on TV the other evening and, for the first time I thought she looked stressed and under pressure. I could also hear some nervousness in her voice.
The following evening I saw an interview on ABC 7.30 with the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

What a contrast!

Mr Key looked and sounded calm, relaxed, confident and, unusual for a politician, somewhat humble.

New Zealand is hardly a major player on the world economic stage, but they have actually implemented an emissions trading scheme, which seems to be working for them.

Whether you agree with climate change and its causes, the Kiwis have actually done it while our politicians play politics trying to score cheap political points against each other.

And, what's more, New Zealand has operated with a minority government for at least the past ten years.

I've been a keen observer of politics for the past 40 years and I have never seen such a rabble on both sides of politics that we now have in Australia.

Talk about "dumbing down".

Where are the great leaders, statesmen with conviction and vision!? They are nowhere to be seen.

Australia stands at the precipice of the greatest mining boom in its history and it seems our political "leaders"
have no idea on how to come up with and communicate policies which will set the nation as a whole up for decades to come.

What an opportunity going to waste!

That having been said there are foreboding omens on the economic horizon due to the deteriorating financial situations in the U.S., Europe, Japan and the U.K. And don't forget China!

Some economists are forecasting a slowdown in China over the next few years due to rising inflation and debt levels caused by a property boom (sound familiar?). Unless we position ourselves to absorb any financial shocks from overseas, I fear Australia may finally experience an economic downturn, notwithstanding the mining boom.

Sad to say I don't have a great deal of faith in our political leaders until they stop playing to the media and actual grow up and start governing.

What do you think?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Never say "never".

I attended a blogging course yesterday through UWA extension service. It was presented in excellent fashion by Amanda Kendal, it was a lot of fun and, I have to say, somewhat exciting. So much so that, still recovering from jetlag, I woke up several times last night with my mind blogging away.
I also did something I said I would never do and that is sign up for facebook.
I've got no idea what I am doing yet, but like everything else, the more you do it the better you get.
Anyway, all these people have been turning up on my page and I'm not quite sure which button to press yet, so I hope I don't offend anyone if I get it wrong.
I must say I have instantly warmed to the idea of blogging and look forward to lots of inspiration to get me going.
We do a blog for the business at or should I say Gai does. I just write the content, but now I have my own personal blog and I look forward to it with great anticipation.
Anyway I can highly recommend the course at UWA Extension Sevice and I am now looking forward to the advanced course in August.


Home Sweet Home

Greetings all and welcome to this first post of Bernie's Blog.
Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be relating my recent trip to Berlin, but today I would like to begin at the end.
I arrived home last Thursday from my trip to Germany having been delayed by the Chilean volcanic ash cloud.
I was watching BBC World in the days leading up to my departure for news about airport closures etc, saying to myself " it couldn't possibly happen to Perth".
Well, guess what?
When we arrived in Singapore Qantas told us QF 78 had been cancelled and we were being put up in The Trades Hotel.
After a 12 hour flight from Amsterdam it wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, but I've learnt over the years to just go with the flow so I accepted my fate with some degree of semi eager anticipation.
The Trades as it turned out was at least 4 star, maybe even 5 star so I felt rather important booking in, even though Qantas was actually paying for it, and all credit to them for looking after us so well and efficiently.
The bad news was that the flight had been rescheduled for 5am the next day and we were to leave the hotel by shuttle bus at 3am, after a 2.30 wake up call.
The wake up call wasn't required as I woke up at 1.30 as bright as a button, the body clock being somewhat confused after 2 weeks in Europe.
As I was waiting to check out of the hotel, at ten to three, a group of young Aussie men were just arriving home from a night on the town, in varying staes of inebriation.
One of them asked me when we were flying. I said the plane was due to leave at 5am that morning and the shuttle was departing in 10 minutes.
You should have seen his face. He and his mates thought we were flying at five in the afternoon and it was pure luck that they had decided to come home.
So, to coin a popular cliche and cut a long story short, the flight to Perth was vey pleasant, good food, pleasant company and SOOOOO good to hear Aussie accents again after two weeks conversing in a mix of German/English.
Gai and the two youngest grandchildren, Ellie and Katie were at the airport to meet me and it was so nice to be on familiar turf.
Trip was fantastic and as I always feel on retuning from overseas, "there really is no place like home".
Tune in next week for the start of the story.