OPEN HOUSE.

I know you people just love to talk politics but I thought a post sans Gillard and Abbott might be interesting.

I’m currently in the process of selling a house. Now, I’ve been through this a number of times, so it is nothing new. Except the house we are selling is on the North Shore of Sydney.

When I looked at a house (that I eventually bought) in Newtown, way back in 1980, there was a motorcycle being rebuilt in the dining room. And literally hundreds of cockroaches scurrying across the floor and kitchen benchtops.  But I could see a potential in the place, so the ‘presentation’ of the place had little bearing on my decision to buy.

When I bought the current house, the owner, obviously not a gardener, must have been advised to tidy up the front and rear gardens. So she brought in a truckload of woodchip and had someone scatter it around. It didn’t sell me on the place . . . but bought it regardless . . . I could see the potential (I now, sort of wish I hadn’t).

Real Estate agents will tell you ‘presentation is everything’. And of course they would, it makes their job easier. But should a ‘lived in’ house be turned into a mausoleum for the Wednesday/Saturday inspections? And does this necessarily mean a higher price? Or is this ‘presentation is everything’ mantra a ploy by agents to make their lives easier, while making the vendors life a misery?

If you have a story about buying or selling a property, or an experience with the real estate industry, here’s your chance.

Otherwise you can talk about anything you like, but let’s try to make it politics free. (Wishful thinking, I know.)

The bar is now open . . . enjoy!

“Blood on their hands!”

Like a many people here, I grew up in the 60’s. It was a time of polarizing politics mainly as a result of the Vietnam war, conscription and enormous social change.

There was a deep political divide in those days with the government committed to both the war and conscription… ‘All the way with LBJ’,  etc. The ALP stood on the other side – anti war/conscription. And, as everyone knows, it wasn’t until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972 that the troops were brought home and conscription ended. It was a very popular move at the time and one I personally celebrated. (I was in the ‘lottery’ just prior to the election and although I didn’t ‘win’ a few of my friends did.)

We were in the Vietnam war at the behest of the United States. And no doubt there were strong feelings that, given the US had ‘saved’ us during the battle of the Coral Sea, Vietnam was seen as some sort of ‘payback’.  Needless to say, a lot of those born post WW2 didn’t see it that way.

It seems things have changed now.

It was comments by Andrew Wilkie, and more so Mal Washer, that initiated this post.

In Australian politics today, it seems that both sides cannot agree on:

*the best way to alleviate problems associated with the climate

*how best to get a fair deal from the mining boom

*how best and when introduce a disability scheme

*what’s the best way of dealing with the Murray/Darling

…the list goes on..

But it seems the one thing they do agree on is WAR…i.e, “’completing’ the job in Afghanistan”.  So we have a situation of bipartisanship.  Who would have believed it!

Is there any end purpose in Afghanistan?  How many more will die before the schedule departure date?

Is Australia’s involvement making Australia a safer place? Or are just there at the behest of the U.S.?

What motivates a Labor Government to support a seemingly unwinnable war? Why ‘stay the course’?

This is not the Labor Party I first voted for in 1972!

(I might add that I have nothing but admiration for the Australian armed forces and the work they do. This is not about the personnel)

Over to you.

IT’S TIME!

Such was the  success of my previous post,  HOWARDS WAY IS THE ONLY WAY,  that I have had numerous invitations from the MSM to offer my services. Hedley Thomas said, ‘You are the tour de force of modern journalism’.. Michelle Grattan said,  ‘ You are what Fairfax, needs.’  And Tony Abbott said: ‘NO”… I could go on …

So here it is folks…the chance to predict what will be the ALP slogan for the 2113 election.

Here are some past slogans:

1951: “What Labor Promises, Labor Will Do

1961: “Let’s Put People First”

1963: “Time For Action”

1966: “Vote ALP and End Conscription” / “What Price Freedom”

1969: “Labor, Where the Action is”/ Join the swing to Labor

1972: “It’s Time”

1974: “Go Ahead” / “ Whitlam, he’s so much better”

1975:  “ Shame, Fraser, Shame”/ “Advance Australia Fair”

1977: “Get Australia Working”

1980: “Raise the Standard”

1983: “Bob Hawke: Bringing Australia Together”

1984: “Put Australia First”

1987:” Let’s  stick together” / Let’s See it through.

1990:”Bob Hawke For Australia’s Future.

1993: “Australia deserves better”

1996: “Leadership”

The rest are far too crappy to even mention.

So there you have it.

What will/could be the ALP slogan in 2013?

Will it be: “Julia by a neck”:  “Gillard: A nose in Front”: “Abbott: Why bother”

And please, keep it light. It’s been a long week.

HOWARD’S WAY IS THE ONLY WAY!

Mig’s topic about Abbott selling his arse prompted me to think about how the LNP will sell him (and the LNP) at the election, which is still not due for at least 12 months.

So I’m looking for suggestions as to what will be the LNP slogan for the next election.

Here’s a few from the past:

1974: THINK AGAIN

1975: TURN ON THE LIGHTS

1983: WE’RE NOT WAITING FOR THE WORLD

1984: STAND UP FOR YOUR FAMILY

1987: GET IN FRONT AGAIN

1990: THE ANSWER IS LIBERAL

1996: FOR ALL OF US

1998: KEEP AUSTRALIA IN SAFE HANDS

2001: HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

2010: STAND UP FOR REAL ACTION, go for growth.

Pretty asinine, but don’t worry, Labor’s aren’t much better.

But this is about the LNP. (if the post is successful we’ll do Labor next week…) In other words Iain et al you’ll get your chance. :)

So go for it, and the more puns the merrier.

What will be the LNP slogan for 2013?

And PLEASE, nothing serious. (Well almost).

Aside

When I was 12  I calculated that I would be 49 by the year 2000. It seemed so far away!

It’s now 2012, and if your are as astute with sums as I was at 12, you’ll know I am now over 60.

With this in mind, and encouraged by others, this week I applied for a NSW Government Seniors Card.

Now to get this little slice of welfare you have to be over 60 (I don’t look it!) and work less than 20 hours a week (that’s enough for me).

There are no questions about how much money you have in the bank, shares etc (I have none).

With the card (if it is approved) I can travel practically anywhere on public transport for $2.50. And probably get a discount from any number of stores such as KFC. Can’t wait.

I haven’t checked out all the magnificent thing I’ll be able to do with this card, or how much money I will be able to save. I suppose I will find out when the card arrives.

But this benefit must cost the NSW Government heaps There appears to be no means testing, with the only requirement being you’re over 60 and don’t work too much.

Anyway, I look forward to a $2.50 return trip to the pub at Brooklyn (normal price $6.80) for beers and lunch (and should I admit it, $50 in the pokies) with an old mate. And although the saving won’t go close to paying for another schooner I’ll probably feel richer.

Do you think these sort of schemes should have greater entrance requirements?

When I was 12 �…

When the wheels have fallen off….

There is a phenomenon where people who lose a leg can still feel it. It’s call the phantom leg. The mind is telling you it is still there, when it is not.  Addiction is similar..the mind tells you you are in control, where in fact, the way things are, you are not.

“My name’s John and I’m a compulsive gambler…” I looked out at sea of faces. It was my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting, and this was large one, about 50 people. They had gathered to ‘celebrate’ some occasion so there were people from many other GA groups. 99% were there because of a poker machine ‘addiction’.

At this time I was an ‘inmate’ of a rehabilitation unit. I had been there a week, and, as part of the program had to attend the meeting.

After I had ‘told my story’ and listened to others I thought “How in the hell did I end up in this situation?”  “What brought me to the stage where I chose to enter a rehabilitation hospital?”

“What the hell was wrong with me?”

It was a Wednesday, in June 1999, that I took myself to the local GP.  I had reached ‘rock bottom’. I just couldn’t live with myself any longer.

For years I had ‘enjoyed’ in playing poker machines. Mostly it was with friends but increasingly became a solitary endeavour. I had lost thousands. Spent a $5000 work bonus in 2 days. I had become a liar and a thief. As a person, was the complete antithesis of all that I knew was right.

So, after seeing the GP and making my ‘reservation’ at the clinic I went to the local club and spent whatever money I had available and ‘checked in’ on the Friday.

So, back to the meeting. For the first time I was with people who had ‘been there, done that’.  who understood the misery of a gambling addiction. Some had experienced worse, some not so. But generally the stories all contained a common theme – the slow, sometimes rapid descent to a place, an unimaginable hell, where death seems a good option.

For the gambling addict, particularly those in the final stages, there becomes this overwhelming need to punish yourself. You know you’re not going to ‘win’ (although that hope lies at the back of the mind), but you also  know if you do ‘win’ you’ll be back again… to lose. I used to go to the club/pub, but would always leave the majority of the cash I had available in the car. A deluded sense of self control. Of course there would be a number of trips back to the car…and then the nearest ATM…and when the money ran out, the hatred of self for what I had done…often waking at 3am, sick in the stomach, wondering if the craziness will ever end.

Well it did end for me. But I know for others, the craziness and misery is either beginning or continuing.

I was a poker machine player for 30 years before I reached my nadir. Mostly in that time I was under some ‘control’. At times I would go months without playing, and in the days of single feed machines, although it was possible, you need a lot of time to do damage. I will say, with the advent of multi-line and note accepting machines losing lots of money became a whole lot easier!

The suggestion that voluntary pre-commitment will work is wrong. When I was ‘in action’ I wouldn’t have wanted to take such action…in fact I would have resented the suggested intrusion.  You see I always thought I was in control. I see things more clearly now.

Mandatory  commitment won’t work because, if you have an addiction there is ALWAYS a way around the law.

To my mind, this is an issue that can never be completely resolved. RBT won’t stop some people from drink/driving but it certainly had an impact on the number of road deaths. Everyone hated the restriction being placed on them. Clubs and pubs cried foul at the potential loss of revenue, but hey, it has ‘saved’ a lot lives, and clubs and pubs still exist. And we tend to accept it now.

So I suppose it’s down to harm minimization. I would suggest:

  1. Maximum single cash feed of $50 (this will also impede money laundering, which is rife in clubs and casinos) You can put another $50 in only when you’ve lost the first.
  2. A limit of $1 per bet with ‘jackpots’ adjusted accordingly.
  3. Remove linked ‘jackpots’ , they are the ‘impossible’ dream
  4. Remove all ‘features’ and restrict line plays to three.

You’ll still be able to lose heaps but it will take a lot longer. Will the club and pubs lose? Maybe a little.  Will it help problem gamblers?  It will limit the damage, and like RBT, even save some lives.

POSTSCRIPT

This was written in November 2011. I held it back hoping that some government action might be taken in the meantime. It seems those with the power of money prevail.