Saturday, 3 August 2013
Today it’s reported that a new detention center, to house asylum seekers, is planned for construction at Singleton, in the Hunter Valley.
It’s to be built on available Commonwealth land. Very little imagination is needed to guess that it will be located on or near the site of the army’s old 3TB which housed thousands of conscripts and others during the heyday of National Service in the sixties and seventies.
There’s a mad piece of symmetry about this, embedded in political expediency, national neurosis, and frantic dog-whistling.
Back in the days of conscription in peacetime to fight Vietnamese in Vietnam, the bogey was Communism. This was a very successful menace-de-jour in that, with the aid of the DLP, it helped keep the Coalition in power until reality finally dawned in the late sixties, leading to the withdrawal of Australian forces in 1972.
That war, and all its horror and misery, was elegantly symbolized by the stark rows of drab huts that housed thousands of young Australians over the years.
Are the huts still there? The diggers aren’t. Those who survived are now old men. They carry the honour and scars of service, keeping the former to themselves and sharing the latter with partners and family.
Now the bogey is boat people.
The Coalition has very successfully used the boat people as the menace-de-jour since Tampa, and it has worked for them. To its eternal shame, Labor has cottoned on to the same expediency, and trashed a proud and noble tradition in the process.
That last factor has destroyed the perfect symmetry. At least Labor stuck to its guns back during the sixties and seventies.
We can look forward perhaps to a new species of political collateral inhabiting those old huts. No longer twenty year olds – but still humanity to be bought and sold in the interests of political expediency.
I wonder about the inter-generational scars that will endure for this new cohort of cynically marginalized people.
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
|TRAMS* crew in Toowoomba|
I was looking for something else entirely, when I found this article penned by local, Dr Mark Copland.
As it happens, the common-sensed tone of Mark’s article is blessed relief from much of the hysteria promoted by both sides of politics on the issue.
So up it goes.
An extract - Giving us permission to spread just a little bit of fear and ignorance. Well, I am still naive and idealistic enough to believe that we can be better than this.
So am I.
Hopefully, I’ll find exactly what I seek and post it soon.
Monday, 29 July 2013
After using it for a number of months now, in about six different vehicles, I'm impressed.
It does everything it's advertised to do, and once set up, you can set and forget it.
It does, however, have a few faults. It's quite difficult to set up, and the lock feature is a bit obscure in terms of calibration. The instruction manual reads like a bad translation from Urdu.
It will unexpectedly let go of the windscreen, and fall down. It's sturdy enough to withstand this, but it is disconcerting.
I've posted this video to give you an idea of how it works at night.
Set up this way, it shows GPS readings which (providing you were doing the right thing) could be useful in court.
This segment was taken between Esk and Gatton, into a setting sun.
The vehicle was a Commodore ute.
Here's a link to the instruction manual, if you're interested.
Some places attract “the” in front of their name.
Mt Isa (The Isa) is one example.
Obi Obi (The Obi) is another. I don’t know if the people who live there these days use the title, but they did back in 1964 and 65 when I was a student at Nambour State High.
There were a few wild and woolly kids from that part of the world, and they called it The Obi. They used to go on a bit about a swamp called, naturally enough, the Obi Swamp, which sounded a little bit like something Tony Joe White may have sung about. You know, dark, evil and smelly.
Anyway – I went back to The Obi yesterday on account of visiting my bride’s youngest sister who lives there these days. It’s a picturesque neck of the woods, and quite hard to access from the west.
You’re best to try coming in from Kenilworth to the north. Especially now, since the road in from Mapleton was half washed away in the 2011 floods. They’re still fixing it, and one is closed and controlled by lights 24/7.
When we came by, there were about twenty bikers (not bikies) queued up on their Kwackas, Hondas and Suzies. Given the way they ride on these mountain roads, I reckon 2 out of every hundred end up in hospital (or the morgue) most Sundays.
I went a bit mad with my Canon (that’s a camera – not a firearm, stupid……)
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