Sunday, September 11, 2011


The Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard walks into a Perth bank and asks to cash a cheque for $2000..

Teller: "No problem madam. Could you please show me your ID."?

Gillard: "Well, I didn’t bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need. After all, I am the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard"

Teller: "Yes, I know who you are, but with all the regulations, I must insist on seeing ID."

Gillard: "Just ask anyone here who I am and they will tell you. They all know who I am."

Teller: "I am sorry, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

Gillard : "Is there some other way around this?"

Teller: "Look, here's what we can do: a while ago now, Greg Norman walked into the bank without ID. To prove he was Greg Norman he pulled out his putter and a golf ball and trickled it ten metres across the floor into a cup. Then we were sure he was Greg Norman and cashed his cheque.

Another time, Pat Rafter came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and lobbed a tennis ball fifteen metres - right into my coffee mug. After that spectacular shot we cashed his cheque.

So, what can you do to prove to me that you are really the Prime Minister of Australia?"

Gillard stands, deep in thought for what seems like minutes then finally says: "My mind's a complete blank. Honestly, I can't think of a single thing"

Teller: "Would fifties be OK, Prime Minister?"

Fallout from Greenie dam-hatred is expensive

Desalination is the crazy alternative that Greenies have forced on governments around Australia, even though there is plenty of potential for more dams to serve the growing population

Fifteen months ago workers at a dam 200 kilometres south of Sydney switched off a set of high-pressure pumps that have played a critical role in safeguarding Sydney's precarious water supply.

Transfers from Tallowa Dam, on the upper Shoalhaven River, had added more than a trillion litres to Warragamba Dam over the past decade before the taps were turned off.

The absence of that extra water, which fell from 152 billion litres in 2008 to zero this year, has been crucial to Warragamba remaining below 80 per cent full - the trigger point at which the Kurnell desalination plant must be shut down.

Had those Sydney Catchment Authority engineers - acting on the instruction of the state government - kept the pumps running, Sydney's water supply would today stand at 94.6 per cent, according to expert projections supplied to The Sun-Herald.

With the Warragamba catchment at 78.9 per cent in reality, experts say the government is clinging to a reason to push ahead with the $1.5 billion sale of the desalination plant. While it is running, the cost of the electricity-guzzling plant adds $96 a year to Sydney water bills.

"The state government has an incentive to keep the Warragamba Dam below full," says Professor Stuart White, of the University of Technology, Sydney, who helped write the current Metropolitan Water Plan.

"When we're paying 70¢ per cubic metre of desalinated water, it would not be a good look to have it spilling over the top of Warragamba for free."

It is also arguably not in the government's interests for consumers to be aware of pure water flushing out to sea from Tallowa while they are paying for seawater to be transformed into drinking water.

White is one of a number of experts who believe the O'Farrell government will go through with the privatisation against the best interests of the populace.

"The government has the opportunity to pursue a sale for a one-off capital win or take a one-off hit - but do the right thing by the consumer and shut the plant down. It's a radical step to shut it down but that's what should be contemplated to save this needless waste of energy."

White describes the planned sale as a "win, win, lose" situation in which consumers are the losers. "The state government wins with a capital windfall and an investor locks in to a long-term, guaranteed return," he says.

For the past two years Tallowa Dam has been full and is currently allowing excess "environmental flows" to flush through the Shoalhaven and out to sea.

The Greens, who support environmental flows for the Shoalhaven, nonetheless believe the switch-off at Tallowa is part a strategy to justify the existence of the desalination plant. They have accused the government of scrapping a range of water recycling schemes for the same reason.

"Tallowa has been ramped back to make the desalination plant look like a much more attractive investment when it is privatised," the Greens MP Dr John Kaye says. "It's a much cleaner deal if there looks like there is at least a need for the desalination plant. It's all about appearances."

The government recently appointed the investment bank Goldman Sachs to run the sale.

Bankers familiar with the tender process told The Sun-Herald that investors, probably from overseas, would line up to buy the plant because the contract would stipulate a return whether it was operational or not.

The government has established a taskforce consisting of representatives of Sydney Water, Treasury and the Finance and Premier and Cabinet departments to establish the guidelines for privatisation.

A spokeswoman for Sydney Water, Emma Whale, confirmed the 80 per cent threshold for switching off the plant remained under the O'Farrell government. "The dam levels should not have bearing on the sale or the contract. IPART is currently determining both a water usage and availability charge," she said.


Cancer Council wants to kill Paddle Pop lion and Coco Pops monkey

Even though the best evidence is that there is NO harm in sugar, fat and salt

THE Coco Pops monkey and Paddle Pop lion would be scrapped under a Cancer Council proposal to ban cartoon characters and sports stars from spruiking unhealthy kids' food.

Cancer Council NSW, backed by the Obesity Policy Coalition and The Parents' Jury, are seeking a ban on promotional characters, movie tie-ins and the athletes who promote foods high in sugar, fat and salt.

Although stopping short of calling for plain packaging, Cancer Council nutritionist Kathy Chapman said regulations around the marketing of foods to children were urgently needed.

"What we'd like to see is the removal of these promotional characters - whether they're cartoon characters, sporting celebrities or movie tie-ins - from all foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt," she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Research by Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney's Prevention Research Collaboration found that nearly 74 per cent of promotional characters on Australian food packets promote products to children that would fail healthy nutritional standards.

Among the foods targeted are Bubble O'Bill ice-creams, which have 25 per cent of a child's recommended daily saturated fat intake in one 65g serve, and Kellogg's Froot Loops, which have almost three teaspoons of sugar per 30g serve. Coco Pops are more than one-third sugar and contain nearly a third of a child's daily sodium intake in one 30g serve.

It is estimated that one in four children are overweight or obese. Obesity Policy Coalition senior policy adviser Jane Martin backed the Cancer Council's call.

"We'd like to see these powerful kinds of endorsements by licensed characters, company-owned cartoons and celebrities not allowed on unhealthy foods," she said.

"Children in particular are vulnerable to this thing. They are familiar with the character so it's not surprising when you are using Sponge Bob Square Pants and Bart Simpson to advertise food that children relate to these characters."

Ms Martin said packaging was a key part of a promotional arsenal. While her organisation welcomed cricketers fronting Weet-Bix, which were high in fibre and low in salt, she said Ky Hurst spruiking the high-sugar cereal Nutri-Grain misleadingly gave it "a healthy halo".

Parents' Jury campaign manager Corrina Langelaan said plain packaging would be the first step in attacking pester power.


Widow attacks SA government hospital after her husband's death

Bureaucrats trump doctors

A grieving Mrs Sherwin is blaming bed shortages at public hospitals for her husband's death. SA Health figures show major metropolitan hospitals have been operating above capacity several times in recent months.

Mrs Sherwin said her 53-year-old husband was discharged from FMC last month before he had CT (computed tomography) scans to determine the cause of blood clots on his lungs.

"Why did this happen? Because the Government wants to get people out of hospital beds to make themselves look good," said an angry and traumatised Mrs Sherwin, 50, of Whites Valley, near Aldinga. "I've decided to go public about this because if raising the issue saves one life then my husband won't have died in vain."

Mr Sherwin first had trouble breathing in July and on Friday, August 5, went to his GP who referred him to Noarlunga Hospital, where an X-ray showed blood clots on his lungs. He was transferred to FMC. Mrs Sherwin was in the emergency department with her husband of 26 years when they were told by a female doctor his condition was "life threatening" and he could not be released from the hospital until CT scans had been done.

Mr Sherwin, a former welder at Mitsubishi, was transferred to a respiratory ward. Mrs Sherwin said her husband told her he had one CT scan in the emergency unit and was advised he would need further scans. "He kept asking what was happening about the other scans and they said they couldn't get him in yet as he was not considered a priority," Mrs Sherwin said.

"Tuesday morning comes and he rings me and says they are releasing him. I asked him about the CT scan and he said that they told him he would have to come back as an outpatient and would be sent an appointment (mail)."

Mrs Sherwin took her husband home about 11.30am. About 1pm, Mr Sherwin collapsed in the bathroom, saying he "can't breathe". "I heard him hit the floor before I got back to the bathroom - I was there for 20 minutes performing CPR and then I saw his eyes dilate, so I held my hand over them and saw no reaction and I knew he was gone," Mrs Sherwin said. "I really want to know that no one else will ever have to go through this."

Mrs Sherwin said she believed her husband would be alive today if the tests he needed to have were carried out in hospital. "Instead, having to get out of the hospital bed and having the clot move around resulted in his death," she said.

SA Health would not comment until a coronial inquiry was completed.


Dumb teachers: Errors in Queensland Core Skills test highlighted by students themselves

EUROPE is not a country! That's just one of the duh! messages a fed-up student has sent in a letter to the creators of the Queensland Core Skills tests who claim their tests are "world-class".

More than 30,000 Year 12s across the state recently sat the tests, which are used to help calculate overall position (OP) scores.

Infuriated by the "appalling standard" of testing, the student who declined to be named, insisted the Brisbane-based authority take a closer look at how many countries there are in the world. A multiple choice question claims there are 188. Much less than the current widely accepted 196.

One part of the student's complaint to the Queensland Studies Authority reads: "The unit included a graph plotting the 'number of countries' against 'global GHGs (%)'. The graph not only claims that there are 188 countries in the world but classified Europe as a country.

"Europe is a continent. It is widely accepted that there are about 196 countries in the world. Even if the whole of Europe is classified as one country in this graph, Europe has more than eight countries in it. It was frustrating to have to lower myself to the appalling standard of calling Europe a country in order to calculate an appropriate response."

These are just some of gripes in the long letter, which also questions the use of the word quote as a noun and argues the difference between the meaning of the word tone and tonality.

Social blogging site Tumblr was red hot last week with student post mortems on the tests.

A QSA spokesperson said in a statement that the QCS tests were of a world-class standard. He confirmed the graph used was 12 years old. The QSA statement said: "We have not been contacted by any school about perceived errors in the 2011 QCS Test."


1 comment:

Paul said...

Coco-Pops monkey and Paddle-Pop Lion?

Its the safety lesbians again, watching over us all.