Give Tony Abbott a horse

For the mere sake of wanting something to say, Tony Abbott – that walking, talking suggestion box – sniffed some political opportunism when emerging from the dusty camps of Alice Springs declaring that the place (and just about everywhere else) needed another intervention.  News.com were there to capture this Gillard trumping, black fella fixing policy gem.  It came under the heading of breaking news.  I tend to think that it was more like breaking wind.  Full of shit to be more precise.  Except for one small bit:

“I accept that the original intervention wasn’t perfect,” he (Abbott) told ABC Television today.

It never was going to be.  In 2007, in response to the Northern Territory Report into sexual abuse called Little Children are Sacred, the Howard Government announced a national emergency in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

The ‘NT Intervention’ involved sending police and the army into remote communities, alcohol bans, winding back Aboriginal land rights, health checks for Aboriginal children and the quarantining of welfare payments in over 70 Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal groups strongly condemned the NT Intervention. The authors of the Little Children are Sacred report also spoke out against the intervention, arguing that its heavy handed, top-down approach was inconsistent with the recommendations in the report.

Forty Aboriginal organisations put forward an alternative proposal for action based on consultation and partnerships with local communities, welfare organisations and women’s groups. This proposal was ignored and the NT Intervention went ahead.

It sure wasn’t perfect.  But look who gets some blame:

He (Abbott) said the government needed to get fair dinkum about enforcing current laws, noting that there had not been a single truancy fine imposed in the territory for 10 years.

Yes, let’s have the news.com readers assume that this must be the Gillard Government’s fault.  Why wouldn’t the journalist have the morality to report that this comes under the jurisdiction of the Territory Government?  No, Tony’s on a roll . . . let’s do some more bashing.

Alcohol is also causing serious problems, said Mr Abbott, who urged retailers to get involved in the solution.

“I would certainly appeal to everyone involved in the retail alcohol trade, from Woolies and Coles down, to ask themselves the question: this might be good for business, but is it good for the country?”

Oh, so now it’s their fault too.  The first intervention hasn’t worked because the government fails to impose truancy fines on people who can’t afford to pay them and supermarket giants continue to sell alcohol.  Unbeknown to Abbott and news.com (though it was reported in regional media at the time and Abbott was in opposition by then), the food vouchers provided to Newstart recipients in lieu of their allowance were being traded for cash to buy grog, for as little as one-fifth the value of the voucher.

Opposition indigenous spokesman Nigel Scullion, who was with Mr Abbott on the tour, said retailers should be acting now to take cheap grog off the shelves.

Then why do we need an intervention?  Let’s just take cheap grog off the shelves.
Mr Abbott said he was disappointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard didn’t take up his invitation to join him in Alice Springs, saying the issue requires bipartisan support.
Of course he was disappointed.  He had to troll around dusty camps in Alice Springs while the real Prime Minister was jetting around the world winning friends and admirers.  How humiliating.  “She should be toughing it up here while I’m posing in Fukushima in my Gae Waterhouse approved suit”.
 
Well I’ve covered just about all of the article I didn’t see anything of substance.  Abbott wants another intervention but he hasn’t even mentioned issues such as health, schooling, employment, living standards, municipal services or policing.  And he was never going to.  And neither do the media expect him to.  Let Abbott speak and we’ll make a story out of it.

Like John Howard he just wants to mount his gallant steed and ride into the Northern Territory as the returning hero.  Can someone give Tony Abbott a horse?

Multiculturalism: it’s on the agenda

In January 2007 the then Prime Minister, John Howard officially scrapped multiculturalism.  In 2012 there are those that would endeavour to embrace a multicultural Australia and those who continue, viciously, to oppose it as Howard intended.  Today, I have seen both.  I will talk first about the efforts of those to embrace an multicultural Australia.

The recently established Joint Standing Committee on Migration has commenced an inquiry into multiculturalism in Australia.  Some of the key issues to be addressed will be: the role of multiculturalism in the Government’s social inclusion agenda; the effectiveness of settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees; how Australia can better utilise the skills of migrants; and incentives to encourage small business development.

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration shall inquire into the economic, social and cultural impacts of migration in Australia and make recommendations to maximise the positive effects of migration. The inquiry shall examine and report on:

Multiculturalism, social inclusion and globalisation

  1. The role of multiculturalism in the Federal Government’s social inclusion agenda; and
  2. The contribution of diaspora communities to Australia’s relationships with Europe, the UK, Middle East and the immediate Asia-Pacific Region.

Settlement and participation

  1. Innovative ideas for settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees, that support their full participation and integration into the broader Australian society; and
  2. Incentives to promote long term settlement patterns that achieve greater social and economic benefits for Australian society as a whole.

National productive capacity

  1. The role migration has played and contributes to building Australia’s long term productive capacity;
  2. The profile of skilled migration to Australia and the extent to which Australia is fully utilising the skills of all migrants; and
  3. Potential government initiatives to better assist migrant communities establish business enterprises.

With over 6 million immigrants since the end of WWII, Australia is one of the most successful culturally diverse societies in the world.  The Inquiry into Multiculturalism in Australia provides a framework for strengthening community harmony and promoting the economic, cultural and social benefits of Australia’s cultural diversity for all Australians.  Australian multiculturalism embraces the heritage of Indigenous Australians, early European settlement, our home-grown customs and traditions and the experiences of new migrants coming to this country, and promotes mutual respect and equality, aiming to enhance social cohesion.

Our multicultural policies also affirm that all Australians have the opportunity to be active and equal participants in society, and are free to maintain their religious and cultural traditions within Australian law.  There are other benefits of multiculturalism for Australia – we are not only considerably richer in experiences, but we enjoy much closer economic and social links with other nations as a direct result of our diverse multicultural population.

However, some people do not recognise the richness of a diverse Australia and it is perhaps no coincidence that they have raised their voices at the time the government announces an inquiry into multiculturalism.  They long for a return to Howard’s way and support their argument with hand-picked data that conforms with their opinions.

. . . we pretend culture doesn’t count.  And we import refugees who always would struggle to fit in.

First it was the under-educated Lebanese Muslim refugees we took in from the Lebanese civil war.  Then it was the often parentless Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees, many rejected by other countries.

Later still it was refugees from poor Muslim nations – and Muslims and Christians fleeing Somalia and Sudan.

Consider now the consequences of our willful blindness to the culture of those we brought in.

Look at the high crime rate among those born in Lebanon and Vietnam. At the 20 Muslims jailed on terrorism-related charges. At an unemployment rate among Muslims that’s between two and four times higher than our average.

Consider now the brawls in the Sudanese community, or the young Somalis returning “home” for jihad.

The Howard government’s last immigration minister, Kevin Andrews, did warn in 2007 of the violence among African refugees, only to be howled down by the usual screams of “racist!”.

————

So has our fervent desire to seem nice – and not racist – again overwhelmed our responsibility to be wise? How smart was it to give 20,000 such people a home in Australia, so remote in so many ways?  How fair to them, and to us?

No, Andrew, it is only unfair on them if we don’t provide a country that promotes multiculturalism in the Government’s social inclusion agenda, such as the effectiveness of settlement programs and how Australia can better utilise the skills of migrants and to provide incentives for them.  The latter, of course, has gone unannounced in the media.

Multiculturalism is certainly on the agenda; those for it, and those against it.  And those against it are making the most noise.

Open Forum: Questions Asked, Answers Needed

The popularity of the current Labor Government is perilously low.  In my opinion this is undeserved.  The team is winning but they trail on the scoreboard.

Is it low because this government has failed, or is it low because there is only a perceived lack of success?  Is it low because this government offers no vision for the future, or is it low because it is perceived they offer no vision for the future?  Either answer, the electorate sees the coalition as the preferred alternative government.

Perhaps, dear readers, one among you can come up with the answer.

My ANZAC

Poppies are sold every year as an act of remem...

Image via Wikipedia

I am pleased to offer this guest post from TB: My ANZAC.

I could try and wax lyrical about the Aussie Spirit of Anzac and the professionalism of our ADF members (for they truly are) . . . but my authoring capabilities are fairly limited to my own experiences and thoughts.

Anzac Day is, I believe, many things to many people and in fact has become Australia’s de facto Remembrance Day (11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) .

A few still seem think that it’s a sabre rattling exercise – far from it, most soldiers I know/knew aren’t all that keen about being shot at! (Unfortunately, free speech doesn’t actually come for free).

Despite the awful mess at ADFA this year, that, I believe, should not taint the professional service of hundreds of thousands of military personnel past, present and future.  They are, after all, human, just like the other 99.8% of the Australian population – in round figures the ADF is about 50000 out of 22 million.

I didn’t want to be a soldier and I haven’t been in combat . . . but I’ve known a few who have.

Both my grandfathers served in WWI.  One served in France and was gassed but survived.

My parents served in WWII, Mum on anti aircraft batteries during the London Blitz and my Dad in the Royal Navy on Atlantic convoys (North and South) as a signalman.  My mother’s sister also served in the ATS and two of my uncles in the Navy.

Post WWII, two more uncles served in Germany as National Servicemen, one in the air force and the other in the army.  Another uncle, a professional, served as a WO during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya in the 1950’s.

In 1961 we emigrated to Australia and in 1969 I was called up for National Service . . . I never left Australia but two of my training platoon mates never returned from Vietnam . . . our training platoon was unique in that we had a volunteer with us – an Aboriginal . . . the National Service Act didn’t apply to Aboriginals. (I became an Australian Citizen some years after my Army Discharge).

My son served in the ADF for over 12 years, enlisting as an army apprentice, he was attached to a number of units and was eventually accepted into the Paratroop Regiment, 3RAR. He was deployed to Bougainville and Timor, where he was seconded to the UN – 11 months in Timor with two days leave!  (His wife and two year old son eventually came from Townsville to live with us for six months).

My first “real” Anzac Day was at Bulimba in Brisbane … I was part of the Honour Guard provided by 1 Base Workshop . . . a dozen diggers in polyesters and shiny boots lugging an SLR rifle about . . . commanded by a very nervous 1st Lieutenant (pronounced “left-tenant” for those who watch American movies).  Then back to the Bulimba RSL for a beer or two and a chat with the old diggers there.  Very dim memories!

I avoided Anzac Day Parades for nearly thirty years after I left the Army. (Nothing to do with me – I was just another Nasho).

But . . . I hadn’t been speaking to my parents for a number of years and Dad asked my son if I’d go to the local Dawn Service – I did – and when the wreaths were laid, a little girl, eight or nine years old, slowly wended her way through the crowd, clutching a small, wilted, bunch of yellow flowers and laid it gently amongst the poppies.  I’ve never missed a Dawn Service since.

My son and I are both ex-members of the Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (RAEME).

We’ll attend the local Dawn Parade with my 13 yo grandson (who proudly wears his great grandma’s WWII medals, my son his own and his grandad’s).  We’ll have our own Gunfire Breakfast on the seafront and pour three tots of rum – one for me, one for my son and one for my father who passed away nine years ago – a small ritual, that we began in Dad’s RSL, the year he died.

And then into the city by train at 10 am to meet up with the RAEME contingent.

One of us a Nasho soldier and one a professional but we’ll march, side by side, father and son, through Brisbane (something else that was never on my “bucket list”),  to remember our colleagues and their families – NEVER forget the ADF families and the support they give our troops and the hardships they suffer while loved ones are away.

I have never believed in the “reasons” for the wars in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan but I will always support the diggers, air force and navy personnel that have had to fight them.

Even our former enemies, and now friends, understand and remember.

I saw this for the first time (I know it’s been around for a long time!) at Anzac Cove last year . . . carved into a massive stone.

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives.

You are now living in the soil of a friendly country therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.

You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.

After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Written by Kemal Ataturk, the Commander of the Turkish 19th Division during the Gallipoli Campaign and the first President of the Turkish Republic from 1924-1938.  Ataturk must have been an exceptional person.

Ironically, last year, we were in Nurnberg on Anzac Day.

Every generation of my family has served in some capacity in international conflict.  I sincerely hope that my son was the last.

From a Nasho digger . . . thank you to all who have served before me, with me and serve now . . . and thank you to all the people who support us all . . . the living and the fallen . . . on Anzac Day.

TB

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

“For the Fallen” – Laurence Binyon – Poems of the Great War (1914)

Mr. Rabbit’s Doubts, Deliberations and Decisions About the Royal Wedding.

Many of us here in Downunderland
Living far away from the Motherland,
Question the need for a royal wedding.
We’ve heard too much of prenuptial bedding
By this young and attractive royal pair
And their ‘on again, off again’ affaire,

The British government seem overjoyed
To have something for their unemployed
To smile about as they drink their beer.
Although we don’t have that problem here,
The populace is pleased and seems excited
By the thought that we have been invited.

So, our Red Queen and partner will attend.
This,  Mr. Rabbit simply can’t defend.
Our Governor General will act graciously,
But that woman’ll behave mendaciously!
She lies!   And worse!   She is living in sin!
But that, he must not say;   to his chagrin.

He knows our PM and her ‘de facto’
Have just met Emperor Akihito
On an official visit to Japan,
Where due deference was shown ‘her man.’
How will Mr. Rabbit contain his spleen,
When these two meet Her Majesty, the Queen?

So public opinion is in suspense.
For many this marriage does make some sense.
If only to produce a legal heir.
But there’s already one. No, two! And spare!
So all this great expensive spectacle
Is so ‘royals’ can look respectable?

Our Mr. Rabbit is always urging
Young women here to refrain from merging
With others;  even with their fiancé.
For this royal bride he’ll just have to pray.
‘Cos the whole world knows he is far too late
To counsel thus our Prince William’s Kate.

Suddenly, the wily Mr. Rabbit
Has seen a chance and he thinks he’ll grab it.
He can promote himself as Mr. Clean,
Proclaim this sinful charade obscene!
Even declare himself Republican!
He pauses.  Could he cross that Rubicon?

Downunderland gets roused by many things,
It hates dead empires and corrupted kings.
No need for a double dissolution!
He Can Do It!   Cry, “ People’s Revolution!”
As absolute ruler of this nation,
Who’d dare not send him a royal wedding invitation!

What’s for Easter?

It is very hard to find something unique about Easter to get this thread rolling.  In my humble opinion Easter is celebrated in many ways and we will ourselves celebrate it thus.  Talk about anything you like.

The spiritual significance of Easter is lost on most people.  Me included.  And I’m sure there’s something religious behind the giving of Easter eggs, but I’m ignorant to it.  I also think that a new tradition has evolved because of the egg giving, and that is to have children as the focus of Easter.  Big win to the retailers there.  Amazing thing Easter, how we in Western society have very strangely managed to combine fluffy bunnies and choc-o-late yum, give me choc-o-late yum, with all that sad stuff about a young Jewish bloke who came foul of the law and ended up well . . . crucified.

Somewhere around the world, some zealously religious people will have themselves nailed to a cross and share that very experiences with Jesus.  Jesus also died on the cross.  Perhaps they should try that too.  Allegedly Jesus later rose from the dead.  I’m guessing that such luck will not be cast upon the modern day actors.

Have you tried getting near a bottle shop today?  Judging by the throngs of people streaming in and out of the local bottle shops they are announcing that to them, Easter is a time to drink one’s self into a stupor.  Ask them what Easter is for and the obvious answer would be to ‘get pissed’.  But isn’t life a bit like that the strange, the odd, the things that we don’t expect and it all ends up somehow coming together and if the pieces of the puzzle don’t quite match what the heck, let’s just appreciate the moment . . . and drink.   I know a few folk who visit the Café will be nodding their heads in agreement and would dearly love to offer some anecdotes over the coming days.

But even at Easter it’s very hard not to want to talk about that human headline, Tony Abbott.  You can bet your last dollar that the mainstream media will be doing their utmost best to keep him on the front page while the rest of us are giving eggs, getting pissed, or nailing ourselves to the cross.  So in the given that he’s going to be the major Easter headline, why not say something about him?  After all, it will be topical.  A friend, Kate, has kindly given me permission to get the ball rolling.

Just a bit of light hearted fun to start the Easter break. My letter to [the media] was printed today. It was in response to some idiot who complained the ratio of Tony being ‘lampooned’ on Dave Hughes’ show wasn’t in proportion to the ‘lampooning’ of Julia. Never watched the show but couldn’t resist making the following comment:

“Stirling Newman (14 April) is concerned that Dave Hughes lampoons Abbott and his cohorts on his show while Labor gets a free run. Well Stirling, a comedian can only work with the material available, and he can’t help it that Tony Abbott is such a good source.”

Perhaps we can take that as an invitation to have a bit of fun on the thread.  Enjoy your break, drive carefully, and have a safe and happy Easter.

The Barnaby Phenomena

Look into my eyes, Look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, dont look around the eyes, look into my eyes * Click* your under

The year is 2013 and following his massive win in the lower house seat of New England, Barnaby Joyce spoke with the same modest somewhat unassuming manner for which he is renown.

Tony Windsor had of course decided not to recontest New England once it was confirmed that Barnaby would stand against him. “How could I possibly be in contention against an intellectual icon such as Joyce”, Windsor was heard to mutter.

Joyce: “I set myself a goal and I achieved it. No this wasn’t beyond my wildest dreams, I have lots of wild dreams and this wasn’t one of them and so because I didn’t dream it, it couldn’t be wild now could it and.. Ummm or somefin’….”

But honestly, I am at a complete loss how the media can even treat Barnaby’s whiz-bang idea seriously with articles such as this one

Senator Joyce said he had been approached by several key Nationals figures who urged him to run for the lower house at the next federal election.

I should imagine that if Joyce does make a move from the Senate, and I’m certain that it will not be New England which Tony Windsor holds with a majority of 21.5%, that those in the Senate will be doing high-fives that they’ve finally got rid of him. I would be suspicious that Joyce’s motivation for making the move from the Senate is for one reason only – that he will no longer be able to hog the limelight once The Greens take control in July.

Caption by debbiep 🙂

Come Monday: The Holier Than Thou Edition

The headline on news.com that food giants were joining the war on carbon tax stirred me out of my severe case of Mondayitis.

Business opposition to Julia Gillard’s carbon tax has intensified, with food and grocery producers falling into line with miners to warn the levy could destroy jobs and slash living standards. . . Companies represented included  . . . George Weston Foods, Nestlé Australia [and] Yakult Australia.
Dear oh dear.  Destroy jobs and slash living standards!  As if  they’d all know.  Just look at the track record of these holier than thou companies and tell me if they’re concerned about lost jobs and/or slashed living standards.
George Weston Foods
  • Company has brands that are rated ‘red’ in the Greenpeace True Foods Guide, signifying that brands that may include GE-derived (genetically engineered) ingredients in their products.  This includes brands that either: contain GE derived ingredients and/or, have no clear policy on GE-derived ingredients, and/or: have ignored or refused Greenpeace’s request for information regarding their policies on GE-derived ingredients.

Nestlé

  • Nestlé has been criticised for irresponsible marketing of infant formula in developing countries leading to infant deaths. The original boycott, in place from 1974 to 1984, has been reinstated due to a perceived non-compliance to World Health Organisation Code regulations.
  • They have been criticised for marketing breast milk substitute to women in third world countries despite being banned from this by the World Health Organisation.
  • They have also been criticised for the promotion of bottled water and undermining local control of water supplies in communities by turning water into a profit driven commodity (Source: Corporate Accountability International).
  • For continuing to buy cocoa from the Ivory Coast despite the use of forced child labour in that country (Source: Global Exchange).
  • The International Labour Rights Forum highlights corporations known for violating workers’ freedom of association and right to organise.  Nestlé was selected on the basis of their ties to violence against trade unions and suppression of the universal right to organise.

Yakult Australia

  • Has failed to fulfil its obligations under the National Packaging Covenant, a voluntary agreement to encourage waste minimisation.

Let’s see if an other holier than thou companies came out screaming how much a carbon tax will cut jobs and slash living standards: jobs and standards that they can’t themselves deliver on.

Unless stated, the information has been sourced from Ethical Shopping! 2011.

The Child Who Fell From The Sky: Invisible Disabilities

“If language naturally evolves to serve the needs of tiny rodents with tiny rodent brains, then what’s unique about language isn’t the brilliant humans who invented it to communicate high-level abstract thoughts. What’s unique about language is that the creatures who develop it are highly vulnerable to being eaten.” — Temple Grandin

Wallace: After everything she told me, and checking on your excellent record in college, I’m wondering why you choose to drive a taxi for a living.
Donald Morton: At my interview with IBM after I graduated college, they asked me what my plans were, and I said, “Probably go to McDonalds for a 12-piece McNugget and two cheeseburgers, and then do my laundry.”
Wallace: Did they laugh, at least? – Mozart and the Whale, Biography & Autobiography by Jerry and Mary Newport (both have Asperger’s and Mary is also an autistic savant)

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Isaac Asimov, John Denver, Jim Henson, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hughes, Andy Kaufman US comedian, subject of the film Man on the Moon , Charles Schulz creator of Peanuts and Charlie Brown, Bill Gates, Dr. Temple Grandin doctor of animal science.

A list of well known identities, seemingly a random list – but not so as these people all have something in common and this is Asperger’s Syndrome.

Very often our perception and judgment of a person is based on what is visible or apparent to us – what we can readily notice.

For many people, the word disabled conjures up images of physical disabilities of the sort which involves visible signs. These seem to be the easiest to understand, are the ones that are most prevalent in the media and therefore are the ones that people are most exposed to. There is also a spectrum of visibility with some disabilities being more obvious than others. Asperger’s Syndrome is but one of these where a person’s disability is not readily obvious, nor might even be discernible to those who might be aware of the condition.

It is human nature to believe that all are “just like me” and so it is assumed that a person does not have a disability until proven otherwise.

“Seeing is believing” is just as true when it comes to disabilities. If your disability can’t be seen, there will be some who think that it simply isn’t there. Some may even come to the conclusion that the person is looking for special treatment or that they want to “get out of” something. People have been told that their assistance dogs are fake, that they do not deserve handicapped parking, or that they do not qualify for help at school, just because they don’t fit the stereotype.

Disability is a matter of perception and ideally, I think, it’s just about remembering that people are different from each other, and that differences should be acknowledged and appreciated.

Note: Why the odd title. The reason is that one name that Aspies like to call themselves is The Earthbound Alien.

State Governments: Pokie Addicts

The purported greed of clubs and pubs has been well documented over the past week given their vociferous opposition to set limits for poker machine players.  Their concern for the welfare of problems gamblers is apparently non-existent.  Their profits at the expense of these unfortunates are far more valuable.

However I would speculate that they are not the greediest players.  And neither are the gambling addicts the most addicted.  The State Governments are both.  One in particular, the SA Sate Government, as an addict to poker machine tax, turned a blind eye to their addiction and allowed it to manifest out of control.  All the warning signs were ignored.

Here’s an example.

Poker machines were introduced into South Australian hotels and clubs in July, 1994.  A decrease of $72,000 was recorded by the Salvation Army in South Australia in 1995 from the previous year’s donations.  Coincidentally, South Australia was the only state to record a decrease that year.

It is estimated that in SA the major charities now lose more than $1m in fundraising revenue a year since the introduction of poker machines.  One of the considerations cited is that fundraisers in the past had derived significant revenues from the sale of instant bingo tickets and eyes down bingo sessions, both of which have fallen in popularity in favour of the pokies.

As fundraising revenue fell, services provided by charity organisations received cutbacks.  Decisions were made at Salvation Army accommodation sites and were adjusted according to available funding.  At a random hostel/refuge bedding would have been given to 18 homeless people instead of the maximum, say, 24, or alternatively, another random site may have decided to provide services for six days a week only.  The issuing of food vouchers or food parcels was rationed, and if necessary, this service was withdrawn until further funding was available.

There was a mood of concern as to the repercussions that might confront the community in the future.  For example, will many of today’s gamblers be tomorrow’s homeless?  The number of people and families now seeking assistance from the Salvation Army is increasing an unprecedented 10% each year, and it is likely that welfare agencies could well be drained of resources if this rate continues.  With so much money being lost by the public through poker machines, perhaps Governments should have considered channelling more of the windfall back to the public.

Dream on.

Approximately thirteen months after the gaming machines commenced operations in South Australia, the then Premier, Dean Brown, announced that an inquiry would be held into their impact.  The subsequent Hill Inquiry failed to conclude their impact on the charity organisations.  Whilst it confirmed that fundraising had fallen significantly in that period, it was inconclusive that poker machines were the sole cause.  Other factors cited as possible causes included that fundraising had become competitive in recent years which itself had made an impact on any individual charity organisations; the economy had been relatively subdued; there was high unemployment; market place competition was fierce; and the Inquiry also speculated that the community was becoming less trusting towards charity groups.  The Government used this as leverage in defence of the poker machine impact, declaring that the charities problems begun before their introduction.  It was their solid argument against paying adequate compensation to the charity organisations.

In other words, by then the State Government, which was already receiving machine tax of almost $150M a year, had become addicted.

And therein lies the root of the problem.