The Omni-Shambles of the Omni-Bill


Comrades, do you know that in that Omni-Bill (more like a bloody Omni-shambles) that Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison (ScoMo) wants to push through both Houses of Parliament contains some very nasty surprises for anybody with an HECS debt. Morrison has come up with this very nasty surprise in that bundle of bills

At the moment the HECS repayment threshold is $54,869 pa, just under $55,000 pa. That means you don’t pay anything back if you earn less than that amount. But Morrison wants to change that threshold to $51,956 pa. That means more people are going to have to repay their HECS debt sooner and faster than before. This change will impact everyone with an HECS and FEE-HELP debt.

Students on Youth Allowance will also cop it as well. Until this year, students on Youth Allowance were eligible for a $1,025 scholarship each semester. As of the 1st January, new students who didn’t receive a scholarship had the opportunity to take a loan out instead, gees thanks for that Mr. Morrison. The government is also proposing that students who were enrolled prior to 2016 will lose their scholarships, saving the government $405 million.

The Turnbull Government – like the conservative government in Britain –  is loading young students up with more and more debt and expects them to pay it off quicker. It’s a bit like your bank manager offering you a huge loan and after you sign the contract turns around and increases the interest rate to 10 per cent and expects you to pay it off in 10 years instead of 20 years!

The Turnbull and successive governments have for years been pushing more and more debt onto younger people and expects them to pay it off no matter what. Now, this is despite many of the people proposing these harsh changes to HECS and FEE-HELP were the beneficiaries of free higher education, with many on the government front benches benefiting from free tertiary education. Yet they don’t like to be reminded of this.

The argument used to support increasing HECS debt and earlier repayments from graduates is they are paid higher salaries when they enter the workforce and thus can afford it. However, recent statics have shown there is an over-supply of graduates such as teachers and even doctors, with many forced to go overseas for work and of course experience.

Most students who undertake higher education might undertake double-degrees in law, engineering or science. Then upon graduating they might enrol into a graduate diploma or a master’s course. After a few years you might decide to up-grade your skills and enrol into another course of study to assist your career. Either way this also costs money at the full-fee rate and you can either pay for it, or defer the payment onto FEE-HELP and eventually pay it off through the taxation system each and every pay until it is finally paid off. The debt is indexed to the CPI rate. If you’re fortunate enough, you might be able to claim your study as a legitimate work expense.

Your degree, depending on the discipline of study will vary from $6000 to $10,000, and if it’s a double degree then up to $18,000. A full fee degree could cost up to $90,000, depending on the discipline studied. With medicine, veterinary science and dentistry up to $122,000.

So a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) HECS degree with further post graduate study, which includes Fee-HELP could cost a student from $30 to $60 thousand, depending on the field of study.

So the Omni-Bill will quickly turn into an Omni-Shambles for both the Turnbull Government and current and future university students.News__students_throw_mortarboards_-_JULY_14

Dead Man Walking

Dear Comrades, in case you missed it there have been 2 polls out today that spell very bad news for PM Turnbull – He’s a Deadman Walking – with News poll showing a continues swing away from the Liberal/National Coalition Government, making it line ball with the ALP. Now the Essential Poll has had the ALP on 51 % to the Coalition on 49 %, but the first preference vote for the Liberals has fallen to 40 % and with second preference vote takes it to 49 %, down 2 points from the recent Federal Election. The ALP’s vote has been on 51 % for several months since the August election, and looks to either stay on that number or go up in the next couple of months.

The Turnbull Government is going to tie its self in knots of same-sex marriage (SSM) and will continue to push for the Plebiscite, which is estimated to cost anything from $160 to $200 million; money we’re told the federal government doesn’t have!

All it will take to change the law on marriage is a very simple vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Now when former Prime Minister John Howard changed the marriage law back in 2007 he did not forewarn the Australian public he was about to change the law to prevent Same Sex Marriage. He wasn’t going to allow all those ‘gays’ too marry on his watch.

The ALP, much to my disgust supported the motion to prevent its self from being ‘wedged’ on the subject. So after the vote on the floor of federal parliament it was passed into law that marriage was to be legally defined between a ‘Man and a Woman’ and nothing in-between!

Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, could have overturned the law during his reign, but chose not to. Prime Minister Gillard opposed Same-Sex Marriage on the grounds claiming she was opposed to the ‘Institution of Marriage’, despite years earlier claiming to be in a lesbian relationship whilst at university. But, her opposition to Same-Sex Marriage might have had more to do with the support she required from the right-wing SDA faction – or the former DLP – that was diabolically opposed to the notion of homosexuality let alone Same-Sex Marriage!

For the plebiscite to go ahead the Turnbull Government must first present a motion in the House of Representatives to hold the plebiscite, before it goes to the Senate for approval. However, there is a very good chance the Motion and Bill might be defeated in the Lower-House even before it gets to the Upper-House.

Today, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will table a private members bill for a vote on Same Sex Marriage motion.

Now his private members bill – or stunt – might fail, but then again it just might pass as well. There are 69 Labour members and on the cross-benches; 1 Green, 2 Independents, 1 Nick Xenophon Party and 1 Bill Katter’s Australia Party member, making it 75. There are 76 Liberal and National Party Coalition members, taking 1 out for the Speaker of the House. The numbers are even. There is a good chance that Shortens private members bill might be carried, if Bill Katter supports the motion. Then the Speaker of the House, Tony Smith might be forced to use his vote as a casting vote, thus torpedoing the whole bill.

But, if Shorten is smart and puts up another bill against the Plebiscite on Same-Sex Marriage, then Coalition members opposed to holding the Plebiscite and Same-Sex Marriage might cross the floor in support of the motion, thus preventing it from going to the Senate.

Now, in the Senate the numbers are evenly split, which means any motion in support of holding a plebiscite would surely be defeated thus saving the Australian Tax payers an estimated $200million on a plebiscite the majority of Australians are opposed to!

As for Prime Minister Turnbull? Well he’s unable to go back on his word in supporting the plebiscite because it was part of the deal with the right-wing of the Liberal Party to support for PM Abbotts policy. Perhaps it’s time for Turnbull to grow-a-pair and stand up to the right-wingers and assert his authority over the party and the Coalition. Where would he and his colleagues rather be? On the Treasury Benches in charge of the money? Or divided and in opposition? If Turnbull doesn’t assert his authority then he is a ‘Dead-Man Walking’.

Australia has blood on its Hands!

Omid prior to setting himself alight
Omid prior to setting himself alight


In case you’ve missed the news a second refugee on Nauru has set themselves on fire at the Nauru Island Detention Centre in protest of their continued indefinite detention. It is reported a 21 year old woman from Somalia doused herself in petrol set herself alight. Her attempt at self-immolation comes after another refugee attempted to set himself alight on Saturday, but was stopped by friends

The Somalian Woman is currently receiving treatment in the hospital, but that doesn’t mean much. The 23 year old Iranian refugee who recently died, Omid was left in execrating agony for 10 hours before he was given a shot of morphine for the pain. Just imagine being left in agony for 10 hours, unable to receive proper pain relieve. He might have been given Endone or OxyContin tablets, but that medication can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes before the meds kick in and do not give immediate pain relief, which would have only added to the poor man’s agony!

With any burns it is important to cool the burns as quickly as possible with cold water and given effective pain relief, this is within minutes and not hours after the incident occurred. If required the person is placed into a self-induced coma to assist in pain management. It is obvious that none of this occurred to poor Omid. He did not receive proper pain-management, nor did it appear was any attempt made to cool his burns. He was left in agony, screaming agony for 10 hours, ten long burning hours!

The Australian Government has blood on its hands, or the burned skin of Omid on its hands. This is despite the Australian Federal Government reassuring the people of Australia that the refugees who have been sent to Nauru & Manus Islands have appropriate up to date modern medical facilities that can treat almost any medical emergency. So long as there are no serious life-threatening burns or women require abortions or need to give birth, then I suppose the medical facility can treat serious medical issues; but it can’t!

Omid, is the third refugee to have died in the off-shore detention facilities of either Manus or Nauru Islands and makes a mockery of the government’s claim when it introduced the policy of placing refugee boat arrivals in the camps in the first place! How many more refugees are going to die or attempt self-immolation in the hell-holes of Manu and Nauru Islands before this clearly failed policy is dumped?

Meanwhile, there was a rumour going around that the Turnbull Liberal Government is seriously looking at re-establishing the failed proposed ‘Malaysian solution’ of the Gillard Government. The same policy that Joe Hockey stood in the Australian Parliament and said, “Over my dead body”. So wheel Hockey back to Australia so his Liberal mates can walk – or stomp- over his cold dead body! Now, the same policy that Abbott and Hockey attacked and mocked is the same policy Turnbull intends on implementing as a last resort. This is despite the High Court of Australia ruling the proposed ‘Malaysian Solution’ as unconstitutional. But, hey since when has a high court ruling stopped a desperate federal government before in this country? The Howard Government was so desperate to stop asylum seekers from traveling to Australia by boat it excised the whole of Australia from the Migration Act and even that has not stopped the boats!

Australians should be proud of the fact that refugees and asylum seekers are prepared to risk life and limb to travel to this great southern land. We are a beckon of freedom and liberty, that respects human rights and individuals, is politically stable and has a fair law system. The majority of Australians are opposed to both major parties policies towards boat-arrivals. When they vote it is not the governments refugee/asylum seeker policy that determines their votes; it is bread and butter issues, not poor refugees. The ALP should also hang its head in shame for giving into the racist and xenophobes in the Liberal party, which has never really supported a multi-cultural Australia, in fact John Howard couldn’t even bring himself to saying the word. The only Liberals who have supported a multi-cultural Australia was the late Fraser and former Victorian Premier Jeff G. Kennett (Bloody Jeff!).

If we are to change the policy of off-shore detention (or indefinite detention) then it means continuing to put pressure on both major parties to change the inhumane treatment towards refugees and asylum seekers. How many more poor unfortunate refugees and asylum seekers have to die before the government/s finally realise it’s a failed discredited policy?

The policy has been designed sorely to crush the refugees hope of ever coming to Australia. The government hopes they’ll give up their attempt at trying to enter Australia and hopefully return to their country or origin. This is despite being persecuted or even facing the death penalty if returned to their home country. Iran is well known for carrying out public execution by hanging of gay men! We also know that there are two openly gay men stuck on Nauru who are persecuted by the local Nauruan people. Abortion is also against Nauru law as well, which is a real problem for women who have been raped by those lovely Nauruan men who don’t understand Australia’s ‘political correct’ ways.

The refugees on Nauru have printed tee-shirts with Omid’s face printed on the front to protest his unnecessary death. Omid, took the very brave step of using his own body to protest at his plight. Just as Bobby Sands and other IRA Hunger Strikers used their bodies to protest at their treatment in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland. The IRA Hunger Strikers wanted to be recognised as ‘Prisoners of War’ and not as common criminals. They eventually won, in fact the Thatcher Government was on the verge of pulling out of Northern Ireland all together. In Ireland the strongest form of protest is a hunger strike, which linked their cause with the Great Potato Famine in Ireland from 1845 – 52, in which over a million Irish died and a million emigrated from Ireland to flee the famine. The British Government did nothing to help the starving Irish.

The refugees have seen how powerful Omid’s death has been to their cause and if more of them decide to ‘self-immolate’, which I hope they don’t do, or go on a hunger strike, then the Australian Government would have a real problem on its hands. Just imagine how it would look for the government if a number of refugees either starve themselves to death or become extremely ill, or set themselves on fire as the woman did on Monday (2/5/16) .The reason for placing the refugees on the Islands would be in tatters, including the country’s international reputation. New Zealand has offered to take a large number of refugees off the Islands, but, Minister Dutton (Dutton-the-dud) has put the kybosh on that idea claiming it would allow refugees to come to Australia via the “backdoor”. If that is the case then perhaps the Australian Government should consider stopping all immigration from New Zealand!

The Turnbull Government has made a rod for its back by continuing to follow the failed Abbott Government policy of indefinite detention on the hell holes of Manus and Nauru Islands. And I’m going to make a prediction that by the end of the month half-a-dozen refugees will either attempt suicide setting themselves on fire, or accurately succeed in taking their lives. This is on top of the number of people who daily swallow detergents and other cleaning products in a desperate attempt to get off the rock of Nauru and Manus Islands. But, if the refugees are ‘desperate’ enough to get off the Islands – which they are – and organise themselves into a ‘lottery’ of protest and part of that is to use their bodies, then we will have a real problem.

The wreckage of Clive

Well in-case you have missed news reports it is pretty clear that Clive Palmer and his political career as the Member for Fairfax and leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) is well and truly over. Big Clive has been a very naughty guy and has been found to have breached his duties as a director and acted recklessly under the Corporations Act. His company Queensland Nickel (QN) was declared bankrupt, owing up to $100 million to creditors, $75 million of that to the 800 workers. Now, there is a good chance the Australian Taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill to pay for the workers entitlements. Thanks a lot Clive!

Now, why did this happen? Well because Big Clive used Queensland Nickel as his own private ATM to fund his so-called political ambition and career. He syphoned more than $200 million from QN, donating $21 million to his political party the Palmer United Party, thus forcing the company bankrupt. Big Clive of courses blames the demise of QN on the low nickel price. The administrators FTI Consulting of QR claimed the refinery could have continued trading even with the low nickel prices.

Clive Palmer was a former media director for the Joh Bjelke-Petersen National Government in Queensland, where mixing politics with business interests was an accepted way of doing things.

In 1984 Big Clive wanted to build a 66-storey townhouse development on peaceful rural land in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but the local council knocked back his planning application. Big Clive was going to take this lying down so contacted his mate and minister, Russ Hinze, (also known as the minister for everything) to overturn the council decision. Palmer made the second-largest donation to the QLD Nationals of $15,000, writes Sean Parnell in Clive: The Story of Clive Palmer.  Palmer knew the importance of using politics for personal business.

Clive considered Joh Bjelke-Petersen the best premier in QLD’s history, despite Joh being charged with perjury from evidence given at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and his government considered one of the most corrupt in modern Australian history. A number of ministers were also jailed for corruption, including the police commissioner. But hey, but you know the adage: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.  Joh ran Queensland as his own political fiefdom due to the corrupted Gerrymander in place at the time, which allowed the Nationals to rule QLD for 32 years.

Hopefully Big Clive will face criminal charges and do time in prison for what can only be described as corporate criminal behaviour. When he entered the federal parliament as the Member for Fairfax he was meant to have declared all his assets on the federal parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests and placed all assets into a ‘blind trust’, with no contact allowed between himself and his business interests. It is a fairly straight forward policy, but not for Big Clive as it was revealed he used an alias email account under the nom de plume of Terry Smith to communicate with his nephew, the Director of QN, Clive Mensink. This is clearly in breach of the register of members interests. He also wrote on his register that he resigned from QN on the 5th April, 2014.

Will Clive face any penalties for not declaring his “hands-on” role and allegedly lying on his register of members interests? Perhaps not, other than being made to correct his “mistake” on his register. He might be dragged kicking and screaming before a parliamentary committee or the speaker of the House might impose sanctions or fines for his misdemeanour. But then again after July the 2nd Clive’s political career is over, along with the PUP’s only senate seat.

He has left a trial of wreckage in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, with people glad to see the back of his rather large fat arse. The federal government could force Big Clive to pay his 800 workers their entitlements, perhaps he could sell off his large portfolio of 17 properties valued at $43 million!

Not only has Big Clive ruined the lives of 800 workers, but there is also the environmental consequences of the nickel refinery closing down. The tailing ponds around the refinery are noxious and an environmental disaster just waiting to happen. Last year one of the tailing ponds overflowed, which was a major risk to the local environment and the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Government might be forced to clean up and remediate the site, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $25 to $40 million. Former owner BHP believed the environmental clean-up cost may exceed $100 million. Whilst the plant is operating workers are able to maintain the assets. But if it is left vacant it is a great risk to the environment.

But, already Big Clive – as we should expect – is blaming administrators for sacking the workers and for the refinery closing down. He labelled the administrators report as “lies” and “fantasy”. He said he would release documents that “prove the allegations made by the administrators are false”. Including denying that he acted as a shadow director. Typical of Big Clive, it is always somebody else’s fault!

Wiping out Whyalla

Comrades, I’m a little bit confused here at the moment, perhaps it’s the drugs. But, we’re we told that Whyalla was going to be wiped out by the introduction of the former Gillard Governments Carbon Tax which was going to “wipe Whyalla off the map!” Well that’s what former PM Tony Abbott claimed, yes but we all know what happened to him don’t we? He got on his bike and rode around the back blocks of the country for ‘Polly Pedal’ along with selling copies of his book Battlelines. He was also able to claim all his over-night expenses as he’s a federal politician; not sure if that including the non-sales of his book.

Abbott did claim Whyalla was going to be wiped out by the Carbon Tax, which it didn’t because he and his pissants rescinded the Carbon Tax legislation; remember how the Abbott front bench all celebrated in federal parliament? So the dumped Carbon Tax has nothing to do with the possible demise of a once mighty steel making town of Whyalla. The rescinding of the Carbon Tax was meant to take a great weight of industry and make it more efficient and productive. No, what might see the demise of Whyalla was Abbott’s push for free trade deals and the complete removal of protection for the steel industry in this country. Another example of why the man should never have been PM, or allowed near the office again!

Now, what does this mean for ‘our’ esteemed Minister for Industry Minister, the Honourable Christopher Pyne and other Liberals from South Australia? Well, there is a good case the majority of Liberals could lose their seats, including a number of Senators, such the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, who is a moderate and a strong Turnbull supporter. In other words the Liberals are in deep shit in South Australia and might want to consider reviewing their industry policy and pretty damn quick.

If Whyalla closes, who is going to supply the steel for the submarines and ships earmarked to be built in SA, the Chinese? I don’t think so! However, the Chinese might jump at the idea of supplying steel for sub’s and destroyers that might one day be used to either monitor them, or God forbid, involved in a conflict with the Chinese People’s Liberation Navy! The steel I dear say might be filled with defects.

If the Arrium steel works in Whyalla closes it would be a death blow for the town and the Eyre Peninsula. There is not much in the steel town of Whyalla, which has only one major employer and that is the steel works. If workers are made redundant they can forget about selling up and moving on as there would be no buyers and the town could possibly end up a ghost town looking like Detroit in the US, with boarded up worthless housing. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Here is a question for you all to ponder on: Why is it all right for the federal government to provide assistance in the housing industry, such as negative gearing, capital gains tax and the first home owners grant. Yet it is not alright to provide government assistance to industries such as the steel and automobile manufacturers? Now, the IPA will suggest it is a waste of tax payer’s money for the government, any government to provide any industry assistance or support in the way of grants, tariffs, quotas or subsidies as it props up unstainable industries and is a form of socialism.

The steel for these important and very expensive ships and subs should be source from within Australia. It is also time to review Australia’s industry and manufacturing policies before the country is completely deindustrialised.

On the bright side, I hear the surf is excellent in Whyalla and so is the fishing.

The Cardinal and his memory

Cardinal Pell said he was glad the questioning from the Royal Commission was over “as it had been a hard slog”! Oh and let’s not forget his classic excuse for why Pell didn’t act against a criminal paedophile priest. It was because the Child didn’t ask Pell to report it to the Victorian Police at the time. I mean what an appalling excuse from one of the highest ranking Catholic Priests/Bishop at the time. Pell has blamed his former predecessors, such as Arch Bishop Little (A good and decent man) and others who are either now dead, have dementia or are dying of cancer. He has blamed everybody else except himself, but has taken all the ‘Glory’ for improving the reporting of child abuse, but he didn’t do enough.

Pell’s so-called ‘Melbourne Response’ to child abuse by paedophile priests and Christian brothers was to minimize costs and responsibility as much as possible to the Catholic Church. Make no mistake, the only reason Pell was promoted and offered the finance post in the Vatican was because of the money he saved the Church in compensation payments to victims; which in manner cases was totally inadequate and inconsistent in payment rates to victims.

Pell’s promotion is built on the suffering of children abused by criminal paedophile priests. It wouldn’t be too far to claim Pell’s career has been built on the bones of victims of the Catholic Church!

Pell can blame his former predecessors and claim he didn’t know or wasn’t present at the meetings when the crimes of paedophile Priests were discussed as much as possible. But the simple fact is, he was the highest ranking official of the Catholic Church and should have reported the crimes, or at least put in place correct policies and procedures for dealing with criminal behaviour.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse at all!

As for the victims who sat in the hotel room and in the hall in Ballarat, it would have been hell for them having to endure four days of Pell’s obfuscation, denial and Sargent Schultz like statements of “I know nothing…Nothing!”  And then of course is his infamous statement when asked about paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, said his crimes were of “not of much interest” to him at the time. Very comforting words to the victims. Not!

Pell may or may not eventually be held to account before a criminal court for the evidence that he has given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. But, the court of public opinion has already marked the man down as being more concerned for his career then for the suffering of the victims of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Pell
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

For nothing will save the Governor-General…

Gough Whitlam 11, November. 1975.Forty Years ago to this date the then Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, stood on the steps of the old – wedding cake – Parliament House (Australia’s second parliament house. Yes, Australia’s first federal parliament was in Melbourne in the Old Exhibition Building) and famously said these words on the 11/11/1975.

“Well, they may say God save the Queen. Because, nothing will save the Governor-General!”

The shadow of that day has stayed in the background of this country ever since. The justification given for the ‘Dismissal’ was that the Whitlam Government was totally out-of-control with the economy in complete ruins. Well if we are to apply the current economic policies and formulas for judging the economic credibility of government, then having constant budget surpluses then the Whitlam Government would have passed the test with flying colours. It actually ran budget surpluses for its whole period of government. However, by Mid-1975 Western Economies were plunged into a world recession and ‘Stagflation’ a combination of inflation and a recession.

The Whitlam Government was also determined to pursue its ambitious policy of ‘buying up the farm’, by purchasing all of Australia’s entire resources, much of it untapped at the time. The Whitlam Government hoped to raise the funds from the global markets, borrowing petro-dollars.  Minister for Resources, Rex O’Connor, placed his trust in a shady character called Tirath Khemlani, who reassured O’Connor he could get the loans, but Khemlani clearly could not. O’Connor was later dismissed by Whitlam for misleading him on the ‘Loans Affair’.

It was around this time that the Fraser Liberal/Country Party Opposition decided to pursue the policy of ‘Blocking Supply’ in the Senate to force an early election.

The Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, decided to over-come the ‘Supply’ crisis was to dismiss the Whitlam Government, install the then Opposition leader Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister into a care-taker government and call an early election for December 1975.

Whitlam went to see Kerr on the morning of the 11th November to call for a half-Senate election as a way to overcome the Constitutional Crisis.

However, Kerr the snake and drunk of a man did not accept Whitlam’s proposal to hold half-senate elections and instead handed Whitlam his dismissal notice of his government.

What occurred on that Remembrance Day in 1975 was nothing short of a ‘Constitutional Coup’ by a man who deceived not only his Prime Minister, but the Australian people!

Kerr was a drunkard as was so clearly demonstrated at the 1977 Melbourne Cup when Kerr was asked to present the Cup to the winning Trainer, Bart Cummings and Jockey, John Duggan; Here is the footage to remind you all of how bad he was,

This footage is from a Channel 7 Report on the Cup presentation.

Kerr was pissed to the eyeballs as he had been given a few ‘chargers’ by the former Victorian Premier, Sir Henry Bolte, also well known for being a bloody drunk. Interesting how all these former conservative leaders loved hitting the sauce bottle.

In fact Whitlam’s staff recount a night at Kirribilli House when they heard noise outside late at night or early in the morning, when somebody knocked on the window. It was the Governor-General Sir John Kerr, in search of Scotch Whiskey after he had run out of the amber-fluid in the GG’s official residence Admiralty House. It was claimed Kerr knocked on the window holding an empty crystal decanter, requesting any scotch they might have in the house. The staff did a quick search, found some and watched as Kerr staggered away into the night to continue on his drinking binge. So in other words the man that decided this country’s fate was a drunkard, a womaniser, a liar and somebody who came close to starting a damn civil-war all because of his damn ego!

What is worse in on the 40th Anniversary of the dismissal of the Whitlam Government, the British Monarchy, in whose name the dismal was carried out in, have appeared on our door step to be treated and feted as the born-to-rule royalty and monarchy that they’ve become used to. You’d think they’d be a bit more sensitive to our country’s history, but it appears they too have learnt very little from that tremulous events in 1975.

The Cannonball Run Mark II NT style

Once again the Northern Territory (NT) is promoting its unrestricted open speed limits, just as it did in the early 1990’s as a way of attracting tourist, especially motoring enthusiasts and rev-heads who could be let loose on the Stuart Highway. In 1993 the then Country-Liberal Party (CLP) was in a bit of a pickle and looked as it might lose the next NT election scheduled for later in 1994. So to help with its election it was suggested it support the idea of a race called the ‘Cannonball Run’, which the CLP embraced whole-heartily allocating money and resources to the event.

The race was promoted as the NT version of the unofficial American version in which drivers would race from Darwin to Alice Springs then back to Darwin in the quickest time. In the American version drivers participated in the event from the Atlantic East Coast, New York City, to the Pacific West Coast, Los Angeles. The race was intended as a protest against strict traffic speed laws that were about to come into effect due to the 1970’s Oil Shock. Hollywood got into the act producing The Cannonball Run, starring Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise. Remember them?

The Northern Territory Government of, Mr Adam Giles Country-Liberal Party (CLP) is in a spot of trouble at the moment and on the nose with NT voters, just like his CLP colleagues were in 1994. This is due in part to a bloody leadership coup led by Mr Giles, against the then Chief Minister, Mr Terry Mills, in what could only be deemed the biggest piece of political bastardy ever see in this country. The coup against Mr Mills occurred whilst he was overseas on a trade mission to Indonesia and despite him winning a decisive victory over the ALP seven months earlier.

Then 12 months later three Indigenous CLP parliamentary members resigned and moved to the cross-benches becoming Independents. The CLP’s numbers went from 16 seats to 12 seats with the ALP holding 8 seats. The Speaker of the NT Legislative Assembly resigned from the CLP in July increasing the number of independents to five.

So Chief Minister Giles is and has been a spot of bother since the coup with the party’s polling figures plummeting soon after the coup and have not recovered. The most recent ReachTEL telephone polling, conducted in September, shows the CLP trailing Labor 28 per cent to 37 per cent on first preferences. After distribution of the two-party vote predicts a 16 percent swing against the CLP, putting its vote at 39 per cent to the ALP’s 61 per cent. Which could reduce the CLP to a rump of perhaps 3 to 4 seats in the NT Legislative Assembly, or nothing at all.

So the CLP is desperate to lift its polling figures from the so-called ‘death-zone’, which on current trends would see a first term government losing power, just like the LNP Government of Campbell Newman in Queensland. So the Giles Government is clutching at any novice idea to help lift its dismal, including promoting the open speed limit on the Stuart Highway to car manufacturers, enthusiasts and just pure rev-heads who want to test the speed and endurance of their cars.

The Stuart Highway has an unrestricted speed limit between Alice Springs and Barrow Creek, with drivers able to travel well over 200 kilometres per hour or more. The Northern Territory used to have restricted speed limits of 130 KPH, brought in by the former ALP government. However, one of the first things the CLP did was remove the limits and returned the highway to unrestricted, but only within certain areas.

The Stuart Highway is not a dual carriage-way such as the Hume Highway, but a single shared highway, with bush scrub on either side. This makes it perfect territory for cattle, and feral animals and Australian natives to suddenly appear from the bush in front of a car travelling at extremely high speed. Forget about cleaning the mess from the grill; it will be from the back window on the inside, if you’re lucky. Your $200,000 plus Ferrari would suddenly be transformed into a convertible, but without a front-end!

In the 1980’s I was traveling in a bus from Darwin one night, when an unwise cow wondered out onto the road in front of us. Instead of slowing down the driver accelerated and went straight through the cow. All we felt was a slight bump as the cow ended up on the Bullbar and everywhere else. The driver didn’t have much choice, it was either the passengers, or the cow.

So on the 22nd May 1994, the then Chief Minister of the NT, Marshall Perron waved the chequered flag and 118 drivers took off in the first ever legal Cannonball Race. The NT Police were called upon to clear the Stuart Highway of traffic whilst the race was on.

The race was going swimmingly until it got to Alice Springs, that’s when things went off script. On the 24th of May, during one of the timed sections a $500,000 Ferrari F40 driven by its owner, a millionaire Japanese dentist and his co-driver. He hit some gravel, spun out of control and slammed into two race officials and their cars. Oops, that wasn’t in the script! The same driver had earlier been clocked at 141 miles per hour, not kilometres!

Although the organisers said the race would continue, speed limits were reduced to 180 KPH with a no overtaking rule imposed on the racing participants. The NT Coroner later found that excessive speed was responsible for the men’s deaths. The race was never run again and the CLP went on to win the next election. The question is, will Adam Giles win the next Territory election? Who knows? But despite the tragic car accident in the 1994 Cannonball Race, the CLP under Marshall Perron went on to win the election held later that year in 1994. So who knows it might just work for the current Chief Minister, Mr Giles, but I somehow doubt it!