Friday, 27 January 2017

Trump The Diplomat – or A Series of Unfortunate Events


The gender card, the race card, the gay card – in fact, all the minority cards have been trumped in America. We have officially entered the age of the pussy-grabber. The Donald spent his first week in office laying pipe over environmental groups, Native Americans and any other group that caught his tweeting attention span.


While seated on his golden throne, Trump squeezed out bills that effectively ended The United States efforts to stem global warming, citing alternative facts – namely, that there is no global warming.


Like Rome’s Hadrian and China’s Great before him, Little Hands signed his intention to build a 35-foot wall along the entire US-Mexican border. Many rejoiced at the news, most notably manufacturers of 36-foot ladders. Detractors claim the wall does nothing to stop the 40% of illegal immigrants who enter the country legally and then overstay their visa, although, using another set of alternative facts – it does.

Like the mobile barricades blocking roads in New York to allow Fuckface Von Clownstick to continue living high above the rabble he now rules, many feel the Mexican wall will serve no purpose while causing problems for those forced to live with it.

Building a wall on the Mexican border has been tried before. That wall dissected towns, golf courses and families. Geography impedes any actual wall on the border, and alternative geography is not proving as malleable for this fledgeling administration as alternative facts.

This results in some areas of America lying outside the wall but inside the U.S border. “This shouldn’t be any problem as the area between any fence, and a border is likely to be a warm and inviting place,” – said one former East Berlin resident.


Donald Trump is that guy in the bar who knows everything and wants to tell you about it. He’s so confident in himself he believes he’s the world’s specialist. Unfortunately, his speciality is proctology, and he has no degree, so he’s just some guy surrounded by arseholes.

Trump believes business solutions will work on global problems. He believes hard business negotiations will serve as well as diplomacy and he believes the bottom line of a good deal, forgives all and any transgressions on the path to that deal.


His retaliatory taxes on companies that shift jobs offshore and then import goods back for sale may well have an immediate effect. His 20% tariffs on all Mexican goods coming to the US may force that country to negotiate some contribution towards building a pointless giant wall along their border. 


There is a chance some middle and lower income earners in America will end up better off in the short term thanks to Trump. The danger is in the long run everyone else loses.

The issues that are most important are the agreements that ensure individual rights, freedoms and a sustainable future. The global climate crisis is a life and death negotiation for the human race.

While nineteen out of twenty scientists declare global warming a fact, Trump and his supporters prefer to believe the other guy.

Maybe we should steer the argument towards debunking that twentieth guy. He’s the single scientist the cynical, paranoid, conspiracy-believing, emotion over fact, Alt Right supporter is betting on with the human races' future.
  
The Donald may be headed for some or even many short-term successes, but he's already trampling on rights, on facts and on established international diplomacy. 


He’ll argue an increase in wealth cancel out any negatives along the way, and his supporters will chant his name because, as the saying goes, he who has the gold has the power, and Trump shits on a golden throne, just because he can.


The elephant in the Oval Office is Giina – or China as the rest of the world knows it. They are dredging the sand of the South China Sea, to create new islands to populate, in formerly international waters. Expand and occupy is a very successful policy and has been for millennia. Of course, it often leads to conflict, and that’s when we need to call on diplomats with years of experience to step in and broker peaceful solutions.


And into these delicately flowing waters comes the hippopotamus of negotiators, Donald J Trump. Renowned investor Warren Buffett said The Donald was a great businessman in regards to licensing and branding, but not so much in the running of an ongoing business. Now Trump is running a country. The idea of Donald Trump going about something methodically, slowly and with unreserved patience is so foreign it’s overstayed its visa.



If the manager of a china shop walked into his store and found Donald Trump and a Bull, he’d be hard pressed to know who to blame for the damage.

For the first time in my life, I fear a real possibility of a global war. When you get arrogant, egotistical leaders whose ethical and moral compass only exists within the lines of a balance sheet – you can bet, not just on self-interest, but also on human casualties.

How does Donald Trump’s value system measure the value of life?
It doesn’t - because to him, it’s like comparing apples to solid gold oranges.     





Saturday, 21 January 2017

An Australian Day Poem - Marsupial Pride

MARSUPIAL PRIDE.
They came from every corner, from the north amongst the palms,
They came from in the middle where the sands replace the farms.
There were some who came from coastal plains, where oceans grind the land.
Or way down deep within the ground below where most would stand.


They were coming for a meeting, a marsupial call to war,
And only native animals could help create their law.
The fences stringing through the land divided up their ground,
And growing mobs were left without the room to bound around.
So they sent along their leaders to represent each group,
A furry, feathered, native, marsupial, Aussie soup.


And they argued long and hard over every last complaint,
To try and find solutions, to please without constraint.
A furry little bunny bobbed along to join the crowd,
But the native Aussie true bloods with one voice shouted loud,
“You’re not an Aussie, ‘Hoppy’; you’re not a native here,
You don’t get to have a say, now kindly disappear.”


So the little furry bunny hipped and hopped off on his way,
And the full blood Aussie icons argued on throughout the day.
But those fences making patchwork of the famous sun burnt plains,
Couldn’t be prevented and acted just like chains.

The fat Koala up above decided he would sleep,
The possum with the curly tail he found a well lit street.
The emu standing proud on arms, was left to fade away,
And his mate the mighty kangaroo would also have his day.
The wombat and the bandicoot just hid behind the scrub,
While the dingo and the wallaby began to push and shove.
The magpie and the kookaburra laughed and took to air,
The fence below, not their concern, they didn’t really care.
Then the rest of those all proud true blue, slowly left the summit,
And for years ahead, like passing time, their numbers all would plummet.


The platypus was rare to find, the tiger gone forever,
That famous meeting, long ago, the last one all together.
And when koala bear awoke, from sleeping far above,
He found his own kind almost gone, along with those he loved.
So he called on burra’s laugh to bring the arms to meet,
The kangaroo and emu came and argued at his feet.


They didn’t care about the health of true blue Aussie friends.
They only wanted to go back to distant southern trends.
The wise koala argued hard, “Those days are all long gone,
A new and different time has come and looking back is wrong.”
The arms that stand proud face to face weren’t ready to give in,
“Australia is what it is; to change would be a sin!”


The big red roo with thumping tail, bounded fast away,
His mind was set and wouldn’t change, as sunset found the day.
He bounded fast across the field to reach his loving mob,
But in dim light, vision fades and barbs his life did rob.


When old man emu heard the news that big red died that night,
It sent him into deepest thought, his instinct fight or flight.



He stood alone and watched the days that come and go with time,
He watched the quoll, the skink and bat and sensed the coming crime,
The potaroo and piping shrike, the kinkajou and rat,
He called upon the lyrebird to come and have a chat.


He asked and sat and listened clear, as liar told him tales,
Of mobile phones and distant roars and funny facebook fails,
The emu with his feet so firm could see where they’d gone wrong,
Their foolishness to block and fear the growing foreign throng.
He walked and ran and travelled far to ask the hare to tell,
How they would use the wide brown land and seem to fare so well?
They came in late and weren’t true blue, but now thrive all the same,
While the native population was clearly on the wane.
“The fences”, Mr Bunny said, as he offered sage advice,
“You need to work together and never haggle over price.
We dig the centre post and the fence is on the ground,
And then we’re well away before the jackaroo comes ‘round.


Sometimes the very least will be, the very best to use,
So be careful what you say and do and watch who you abuse.
Rabbits and hares, who really cares, as long as we get through,
We’ve used the mice, once or twice, and they’re hardly on our crew.”
The emu learnt from what he’d heard; enough to change his ways,
He came back to the oldest bloods with an awful lot to say.
“It’s no-one’s fault, nor should we blame, what’s done is best we leave,
But not to open up our ranks will give us no reprieve.”
The big red roo, the next in line, he’d seen his father fall,
Was first to change his younger mind and first to heed the call.
He counseled friends and foes alike, some enemies for years,
To leap the greatest hurdle that included all their fears.
They’d be no less Australian, if the toad and hare took part,
They’d always be their true blue selves with a bright red centered heart.


But if the new could help and stand up strong when they were needed,
How could they remain true blue if in good times they impeded?
Some anxious moments followed, true, not everyone agreed,
Some even left the meeting, but their offspring stayed to heed.
And when the forum ended, there was good will all around,
Even ringtail possum came from well inside the town.
They were going to sure their country up, this time they’d all be one,
They wouldn’t do it violently by using any gun.
They’d use the skills that each possessed and sweep across the land,
Nothing dared get in the way of a force once hand in hand.
The bunnies did what bunnies do and burrowed underground,
The magpie and the burra brought whatever could be found.
They laid it on the barbed wire fence, that now lay flat and low,
The land was theirs again to use, or just to come and go.


The lucky country kept its luck because it grew and changed,
And it’s still a lucky country with its droughts and flooding rains,
But it now has something extra that has come from far and wide,
And no longer just marsupials can swell with Aussie pride.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A New Date for Australia Day

I feel conflicted about losing Australia day, but I understand how celebrating everything that makes us proud to be Australian shouldn't be held on the same day indigenous Australians regard as the anniversary of the occupation of their land.

I personally don't feel any need to celebrate the landing of the British and the declaration of this country as a colony of Britain as THE day we should celebrate our national day. To celebrate the birth of our nation on a day when it was already 40,000 years into its life only perpetuates our long neglect and ignorance of the native people of this land.

The fact we're moving towards a republic, even if it is at a deathly slow rate, only underlines that many Australian's share this view and the number grows year by year.

So we need a new date. A date we boat people, and descendants of, can throw a V8 doughnut in Bunnings carpark while eating a dollar snag and feel nothing but pride, instead of the lingering guilt over being part of some long dark and continuing history that so disrespects an entire race.

Australians new and old pride ourselves on the Australian character. That streak of the larrikin, the trait Bob Murphy so aptly calls the rascal. If we could come up with a day to celebrate Australia that is also the birthday of a great Australian rascal - a figure who could unite and not divide us in celebration - a person who stuck it up the oppressive Brits and reminded us we are all in this together and on the same side.

If this person's birthday fell in our perfect January summer and allowed us all to have a party in the country's honour, triggered not by a dishonest application of the doctrine of Terra Nullius and two hundred plus years of outrage and oppression, but a date that celebrated everything we know Australians hold to be the spirit of Australia. If the day quietly nodded to those who were here long before any European thonged foot ever squeaked our whiter than white sandy beaches, all the better.

Burnam Burnam is such a man with just as convenient a birthday - January 10th. On the 26th of January, 1988 Burnam Burnam planted an Aboriginal flag below the white cliffs of Dover and decreed to take possession of the lands of England on behalf of the Australian Aboriginal people. In effect, he colonised England.


To me, nothing could be more Australian than that cheeky act of a loveable rascal. It was a serious point well made while having a bit of a laugh in the face of an indefensible, humourless act that still has an impact and can never be undone.

It makes perfect sense that Burnam Burnam's birthday, as a mark of respect towards him as an activist and to his people, whose welfare Burnam Burnam cared and fought for so fiercely throughout his life, that his birthday could easily be adopted as our national day.


Here was a proud descendant from the original Australians, perfectly taking the piss out of the mother country in a manner any Australian, old or new, would be proud to claim as their own.


The time has come for Australia to be an independent nation, a republic and to have a new birthday - why not January 10 - and why not a new flag while we're at it.





Friday, 6 January 2017

LEY BY NAME - F*#CK YOU BY NATURE.

Government Health Minister, Sussan Ley proved she has her finger on the impulse of the nation when she revealed the purchase of a property, while on a ministerial trip to the Gold Coast, was unplanned.

Some condemned the minister for buying a property worth around $800,000 on impulse, but it’s an easy trap to fall into and reinforces why properties aren’t displayed at supermarket check-outs.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten ignored Minister Ley’s attempt to kick start the trickle-down-economy by inserting a catheter into her portfolio and leaking onto the nation's poor, instead, like a union official at a gentleman’s club, he leered over the cost of the tax-payer funded trip.


Remembering how well the tactic worked when, extra from Wentworth, Bronwyn Bishop hired a private helicopter and told the Australian taxpayers to sit and rotate, Shorten scrutinised Minister Ley’s ability to make it rain on the government tab while on a trip that included her unplanned, late night purchase at a Gold Coast street auction. (Who hasn’t been there?)

Outrageous, out of touch, political elitism at its most blatant? Without question - which is why the purchase of the luxury beach-side property went without question. If you’re wondering where the current string of protest votes comes from; why the UK Brexited; why Trump trumped Hillary: Why we have Pauline Hanson the sequel, it’s because people are tired of being told to bend over by people like our Health Minister while she gauges the nation's temperature with her ever expanding property portfolio. 


Sussan Ley is the co-payment nobody wants. She’s out of touch with your average young non-home-owner. Yet Bill Shorten is silent about a Government Minister spending fifteen times the average wage in the same way most of us buy bread, milk and a kayak from Aldi. He’s silent at a time when the government, so governed by self-interest, are ready to swindle their parents out of their pensions? He’s silent about their entitled lives while Minister Ley and her colleagues trawl Centrelink recipients like a patient with an STD calls ex-lovers, “Yeah, hi, not sure If I gave you something extra or not – but now it’s up to you to check.”

It’s this sort of behaviour and Bill Shorten’s silence that is encouraging voters to look to outrageous alternatives. People see sameness between the main parties and are rolling the dice, figuring if the alternatives can’t fix the system, they’ll at least blow it up.

Sussan Ley charged $3,125 in travel expenses to the Australian taxpayer while her party surgically excises wealth from the poor to heal the deficit. She says her $800,000 purchase of a luxury property was, “Not planned or anticipated,” – to which I say to you Health Minister – "Don’t splash me with your urinary tract trickle down policy and tell me it’s raining."

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Photos from the 50's & 60's now rediscovered

Just over a year ago my father died and my mother spent the last year reordering her life after fifty-two years of marriage. One of the things to be catalogued were their old slides, hidden away in boxes and stored deep at the back of a cupboard for the best part of fifty years.

There were 842 images in all spanning from their individual world trips from 1955 through until their meeting in 1961. Then came their passage to Australia and their earliest years together with the slides ending around 1975 when they switched to prints and albums.

Here's a selection of the slides we've digitalised. Once we've catalogued them all I'll post more, but even with these scant few, there's a sense of a time long gone and an even stronger sense that my parents, as amateur photographers, had considerable talent.















Please don't copy or reprint these pictures without permission.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Moonman TV Series - ABC TV Australia


The ABC has decided not to pick up Moonman as a series. Everyone involved is disappointed, of course - but we are looking for another home. 

I would love to let the world see what we had planned - the marriage, the birth, the twitterstorm fuelled by Lawrence's unique ability to incite outrage.




As to the show or shows the ABC went with - that's for the ABC to announce - but I have seen the iView figures and can confirm the decision went with the most viewers, the most word of mouth - so no complaints from me there. 

International Student has been announced - so good luck to them going into a series - and same goes for any others that get the nod from the ABC's Comedy Showroom. It was a great initiative and my thanks to Rick Kalowski and all at ABC, Screen Australia and FilmVic for making it possible.

The most important people to thank are still in on the journey and, like me, have their fingers crossed this is not the end of almost four years work - That includes everyone at Renegade Films, most notably Joe Connor our EP and Jen Livingston our Producer. Clayton Jacobson our Director. The entire cast of Moonman, with a special mention to Ian Smith who revelled in being the bad boy - and the multi-talented Lawrence Mooney.

Lawrence and I began this whole thing way back in July of 2013 and it would be a shame to see it end so abruptly.


You can also still see the show - but, of course, there's a fee. Find it here.