Sweaty weekend

There was a corporate team building event last Friday afternoon, as part of year end/Christmas thing for the corporate services team. Since a new executive general manager came in earlier this year (end March I think) a bit of reorganisation has come about and the legal department has moved from being part of commercial services (reporting to the CFO) to this new “CST” team, which also comprise internal audit, risk and compliance and some parts of project management.

The event was an “Amazing Race” type of chasing around the city. The company, Uplift Events, was the same joint which organised the same event while I was at AIA. To complete the trifecta, I had helped the company when it was setting up and I had helped with stuff like the shareholders’ agreement, web terms and disclaimers and participation forms and disclaimers and the like. To see the company grow and keep going has been a little pleasing.

So Friday I went home tired… but when I got home, the sight of a mound of mulch greeted me. 3+ cubic meters of stuff to be shovelled/raked/ barrowed was horrifying, especially after crisscrossing the city for a couple of hours earlier in the day.

Tress, Kiddo and I decided to just go out for dinner, and when we came back, we worked for about an hour, until it turned dark close to 9pm. I was glad we started as not only we did some work we managed to create a work system and momentum which we could then just pick up on the next day.

And so early on Sat Tress and I woke, had our coffee and toasts and then went to work by about 7am. Tim, who had provided us with the mulch, had also loaned us a large wheel barrow and a couple of shovels. One was a pitch fork which was certainly the right tool for the job. Before long, Kiddo joined us and after a few hours we managed to clear the mounds and spread the mulch through the areas which needed it. Around noon, after cleaning up, we went to Madam K and then off to the city to catch the King Kong musical at the Princess Theatre on Collin Street.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep momentarily a couple of times – the show was a spectacular one mechanical wise as the animation was surprisingly smooth and natural considering it was given effect primarily through cables and pulleys, worked by maybe half a dozen athletes. The music and acting was so so…but it was entertaining all the same.

On Sunday we went to church, went back to Madam K for lunch after that, and then off to some grocery shopping. Then after returning the tools to Tim we went to the Whitehorse Carols at the Whitehorse Civic Centre on Whitehorse Road. When we got home it was nearly 9pm and we had time to fix my lunch and I was so tired I could barely wake up this morning.

Christmas is only just over a week away and it was a busy weekend but best of all, it was loads of activities for the whole family right through the weekend.


The Sydney Morning Herald – How Labor booby-trapped Australia’s future

This is a well written summary of why someone like me who once admired both Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and also once thought highly of Kevin Rudd, came to the conclusion that Labor is not to be trusted at all when it comes to fiscal management of the country. Labor thinks the world owes it and its supporters a living.

Paul Sheehan in the SMH today:

When Joe Hockey was growing up and dreaming of becoming prime minister, he would not have imagined that his dream would lead him to joining a bomb disposal unit. Tomorrow, he will unveil the first bomb he must dismantle and it is almost nuclear in its capacity for destruction.

At 12.30 on Tuesday, Hockey, who has also been the stand-out thespian of the new federal parliament, will unveil the real horror, dysfunction and narcissism of Kevin Rudd’s contribution to Australian political history, disably assisted by Julia Gillard. Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, known in the trade as MYEFO, which will show a budget deficit much worse than Labor led us to believe, probably close to $50 billion, debt obligations much higher than Labor led us to believe, and unfunded liabilities that are so irresponsibly crushing the government will have to walk away from many of them. The most monumental folly is the National Broadband Network, whose economic rationale was worked out on a piece of paper by Rudd. The scheme subsequently created by former communications minister Stephen Conroy would cost more than $70 billion and never recover its cost of capital. The Abbott government will have to start again.

Rudd also authorised the spying on the President of Indonesia and his wife, a booby trap that duly exploded in the face of his Coalition successor. Rudd also poisoned the relationship with China, with his lectures to Beijing, which has also come back to haunt the Coalition government. Then came Gillard, who directed a decisive shift of funding and power to the unions. She exposed the Commonwealth to a massive unfunded financial obligation for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

She provided political cover for the disgraced union official Craig Thomson. And she set up and then stacked the Fair Work Australia bureaucracy with former union officials and Labor lawyers.

Labor booby-trapped the future.

It is also busy booby-trapping the present, putting improvised explosive devices everywhere, with the help of the Greens. Together, they have engaged in scorched-earth, rearguard, morally bankrupt obstructionism as if the 2013 federal election was a meaningless exercise, the will of the people has no moral authority, and the idea of a mandate, delivered by the only poll that matters, is an empty ideal to be ignored. The worst among equals in this cynicism are Labor’s leader, Bill Shorten, his deputy, Tanya Plibersek, and the Minister for Gutter, Anthony Albanese, assisted by the deputy leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt.

Contrast their scorched-earth cynicism with the response of the defeated Coalition government in 2007, when it conceded the public had rejected its Work Choices industrial relations policies and Labor had a mandate to create what would become Fair Work Australia. This was the great issue in 2007 (after the unions spent millions to make it so) just as the carbon tax and curbing people-smuggling were the great issues of 2013.

For the past year the Coalition restricted itself to a small but emphatic range of policies that clearly differentiated it from Labor: repeal the carbon tax, repeal the mining tax, re-introduce temporary protection visas (which closed off asylum status), re-introduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission and end Labor’s deficit spending. This was the message. These policies became the mandate when Labor was thrown out of office in a landslide and the Greens suffered an even more emphatic 28 per cent plunge in their vote and lost the balance of power in the Senate.

And what do we get? Labor and the Greens opposing all four mandates, and everything else, and some of Labor’s booby traps already exploding. Rudd’s authorising of spying on Indonesia’s President and his wife blew up on Tony Abbott, who suffered further damage as he doggedly covered up for Labor. Labor’s multi-billion-dollar expansion into school education, a state issue, also exploded when Education Minister Christopher Pyne ineptly fumbled his attempt to rein in its costs and impositions.

The government must now wait until July 1 next year, when the new Senate is sworn in, and hope the independents and the eccentric Palmer United Party senators are more moral and pragmatic than the Greens, who think 8 per cent is a moral majority and a mandate to obstruct everything. Everything, that is, except removing the debt ceiling, where the Greens sided with the government, but only because they feared if they did not the government would start slashing spending with a chainsaw.

The key figures in dealing with Labor’s booby traps are Hockey and Eric Abetz, the leader of the government in the Senate. Hockey has shown the most ticker in dealing with debt and deficit, and Senator Abetz has carriage of the crucial reform agenda in industrial relations. After Hockey, he has the most bombs to defuse.

Crucially, in addition to restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and tackling the tainted culture of Fair Work Australia, Senator Abetz must navigate the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill into law. This is the bill that will drag the unions out of the 19th century. It establishes an independent watchdog, the Registered Organisations Commission, with powers modelled on those of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to bring union governance into line with corporate governance.

The bill is designed to create a stronger, cleaner and more transparent union sector.

Labor and the Greens are opposing the bill at every step.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-labor-boobytrapped-australias-future-20131215-2zf8y.html#ixzz2nalkcAH3