Archives For General

Where do Fairfax find these people?

The Age: W-class shake and rattle should be rolled into retirement

It’s quite possible that any resident of San Francisco, Vienna or even Bendigo – all of which have trams – might have seen photographs of the flying W-class at the Commonwealth Games and thought Melburnians a tad backward.

October last year

Second Melbourne tram joins San Francisco’s historic streetcar fleet

One of Melbourne’s iconic W-Class trams was presented to San Francisco as a gift to run on the city’s heritage streetcar service.

Yes, they think us so backward they ask for more W class trams.

The Age: Airport road won’t cope with demand, study shows

In its brief to IMIS, the Department of Transport specified it must measure the likely popularity of the train line based on a $16 one-way fare (the cost of the existing SkyBus).

It found few people who now drive to the airport would be convinced to use the rail line, and it would instead take passengers off existing bus services and taxis.

It also found an airport rail link would ruin the taxi industry, which relies on 7000 trips a day to the airport.

Wrong. So very wrong.

Sure, it would kill the Sky Bus, but it wouldn’t ruin the taxi industry. When was the last time anyone could say they visited an airport with a rail link and not found a busy cab rank. I haven’t been into Brisbane that often but always see cabs. Have been to Sydney fairly regularly, and I always have to queue for cabs, even though there’s a perfectly good rail line that connects into the city.

The misunderstanding is one of taxi use: people catch a cab now because it’s quicker and drops you to your door.

The Sky Bus on the other hand gets caught in traffic and is piss poor.

If you had an express train to the city from the airport, you’d actually have more users than the Sky Bus.

Would some switch from cabs: yes. But likewise it may also force Melbourne cabs to reduce charges to the airport as well, which in my experience traveling are some of the worst in the world price wise.

To get from Mont Albert to the airport costs me a staggering $90 in a cab…to travel 38kms. If I could get on a train that takes 10 mins into town, and a 25 minute trip out, hell I’d consider using it…because in traffic and thanks to a piss poor situation at the end of the Eastern Freeway, it takes just as long, if not longer in a cab, unless it’s early morning or late night.

I’m not anti-freeway or anti-car by any means: connect the Eastern to Citylink tomorrow I say, but likewise if Melbourne believes it’s a serious city in a global sense, it would also build a line to the airport.

PS: and it should connect to the Doncaster line, which should ALSO be built ASAP.

SMH: Rudd mea culpas have shot party in foot, say ministers

THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has alarmed colleagues with what some believe is excessive criticism of the government’s performance as he seeks to lift it out of its slump.

ABC AM this morning suggested it was a play from Beattie’s handbook (remembering Rudd was the senior mandarin in the Beattie Government) but it begs the question: what is internal ALP polling telling Rudd about the position of the Government?

I don’t believe Rudd would be stupid enough to talk down the Government so much without it being poll driven…after all, everything he’s done so far has been part of a poll driven strategy, even on the run.

There’s definitely an anti-Rudd Government mood in the electorate, but big enough to warrant Rudd’s current strategy? After all, the chances of the Government being a one termer are very slim at best. If I had to place a bet, I’m guessing that they’re shit scared of losing at the next election…well, at least Rudd is.

The Labor Party is right to be concerned though, Rudd is delivering the Liberal’s ads for the next election.

The Age: Most attacks on Indians not racial: report

One in seven assaults on Indians in Australia in the past 14 months has been racially motivated, an Indian government report claims.

But here’s the kicker which The Age completely ignores:

A list collated by the Indian high commission in Canberra and tabled in the Indian Parliament, records 152 assaults on Indians in Australia since the start of last year.

The 152 is a very significant number, because the assault rate in Australia is (according to NationMaster) 702 per 100,000 people.

According to Wikipedia, there are 235,000 people of “Indian origin” living in Australia.

If the 152 figure is correct, that’s an assault rate of 66 people per 100,000.

Indians are assaulted in Australia at a rate 10 times less than the “average” person.

Does that sound like a racist crime wave to you? Indian media, does that sound like Indian students are being singled out vs non-Indian residents.

Let me repeat that: the assault rate against people of Indian origin living in Australia would appear, at least according to an INDIAN GOVERNMENT REPORT to be more than 10x less than the average in Australia.

Game over.

Smells Like 98

February 23, 2010 — 2 Comments

As negative news story after negative news story swamps the Rudd Government, 2010 looks like 98 redux.

The election is due by early next year, but with the Government already playing the double dissolution election trigger game this year, I’m betting it will be sooner rather than later. Unlikely a double dissolution, but Rudd could go early.

via Wikipedia (well, to get the section right anyway)

Section 28 of the Constitution says: “Every House of Representatives shall continue for three years from the first sitting of the House, and no longer, but may be sooner dissolved by the Governor-General.

Despite the constant attacks in the media, Tony Abbott is doing a solid job and isn’t causing a lot of damage; sure, he’s a love him or hate him sort of character, but people can respect a leader with convictions, even if they don’t always agree with them. The rank opposite to Turnbull, who although a highly talented individual was a dithering fool as Opposition leader.

Of note is that the last 4 Federal elections were held in October or November; Hawke/ Keating liked March, but the last quarter of the year (and the odd September) constantly pop up through Australian election date history (full list here.) It’s the favored time for elections, and it would be a fair bet at this stage to guess that Rudd wont wait for the new year. I’m guessing he will try to avoid looking like he’s going very early (well, polls aside) so late October or November.

It’s not impossible that Rudd will lead a one term Government, but it’s unlikely, despite the various issues. History shows that: I can’t find a definitive list, but if memory serves me right, there’s only been a handful of one term Governments: Scullin in 29, Cook and Fisher in 13/14 respectively.

Indeed, it smells like 98.

In 98, Howard was on the nose, and scrapped through the election by the skin of his teeth.

I’m going to bet that Rudd might just scrape through as well.

However there is a catch: Rudd looks like Howard in 97, lost at sea in a pool of scandal, although admittedly Howard sacked his Ministers, Rudd just seems to ignore serious issues among his team.

But so far Rudd seems like a dithering fool (well, not Turnbull like, but close.) Mr Waffles would be an appropriate nick-name.

But Howard turned things around by retaking the agenda; so far, Rudd continues to seem to be lost at sea.

People’s houses are burning down, interest rates in Australia are the highest in the Western world, the Government has spent like a wounded bull..oh, and the nanny state has ballooned beyond Howard’s efforts to include the introduction of Chinese style censorship (Note: I don’t believe the ABC push polling on censorship: most people are concerned. If you want a lesson in push polling, I can come up with any result to suit 🙂 )

I should note there that in some ways there’s not a huge amount of difference between the two parties: the flaw of the Howard Government was that they were gigantic socialists who oversaw huge amounts of middle class welfare. The only difference with Rudd is who gets the money, and they’re spending more of it.

But at least Howard could balance the books; Rudd can’t, and the Australian public remembers what happened the last time the Government racked up shit loads of debt.

My prediction: October election, ALP by 2 seats, less than 50% of the vote.

The rough prediction: increased minor party support in the Senate: more green seats (“young” people don’t like Rudd either, which will help the Greens) and maybe some other minor parties breaking through.

Is The ABS Now Racist As Well?

February 19, 2010 — 1 Comment

The Age: Local-born more at risk of assault

PEOPLE born overseas are less likely to be assaulted than those born in Australia, according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics data…

It showed an assault rate of 3.6 per cent for Australian-born people, or 445,000 victims, compared with an assault rate of 1.7 per cent, or 82,000, for those born in other countries.

Wait, if local born people are assaulted at twice the rate, isn’t that discriminatory against Australians? Or maybe we just treat our visitors with more respect?

The Government Is Spooked

February 19, 2010 — 1 Comment

SMH: Labor digs in for early election

After saying over and over again they wouldn’t go early, all of a sudden they’ve changed their minds…at a time polls are heading in the wrong direction for them, and the media has reports such as concern from ALP back benchers that this could be a one term Government.

Still, at least Conroy got his skiing holiday in before the campaign starts proper. 🙂

I Love Kevin Smith

February 12, 2010 — 4 Comments

Kevin Smith on Avatar (via Wired)

“I enjoyed it for what it was,” Smith said of James Cameron’s Avatar. “I’m totally with the big blue fucking cats. Especially the one cat that was sexy and I wanted to fuck her.”

Per the earlier post on a Melb poker night, I loved the idea so much we’re now sponsoring it.

32 people. We’ve gone from 9 to 18 today. If you’re in Melbourne, and have avoided MTUB, or are a regular, either way come down. It’s free, and there is free prizes for those who register. I’m hoping a free drink for all, then after that a prize for the winner, not sorted yet, but it will happen.

The thing I love about Poker is that it’s the great equalizer, even vs MTUB itself. You sit on a table with folks, you get to know them. Full stop.

Come join us for a fun night even if you’ve only played a couple of times. It’s a friendly night, with the opp for you to meet a pile of ppl.

Register here.

Melbourne Poker Night

February 8, 2010 — 4 Comments

The folks behind MTUB (Melbourne Twitter Underground Brigade) have organised a poker night Feb 24.

Details here.

If you like poker (and there’s no secret that I love the game) and want to meet some Twitter/ tech people over a friendly game, sign up, it’s completely free.

If you’ve ever played Pub Poker before you’ll also know that a poker table is a great way to meet new people as well. Poker is the great equalizer.

My only disappointment: it’s an “annual” event. If we can get enough people it should be more frequent. If not, I’ll have to start holding poker nights at my new abode…well, when I eventually get that place that is 🙂