Friday, April 20, 2012
Do any of these wankers know how HOT it gets in the tropics?
It's all just fine for them in their air-conditioned offices of course. For over a century, Qld. rail workers have worked outdoors in temperatures that would be regarded as a life-threatening heat-wave in Europe -- and clothing appropriate for the heat was a major factor in enabling that
IN A fight tailor-made for our great state, an epic stoush is brewing over men's work shorts following the decision by Queensland Rail to ditch railworkers rights to a fashion statement as synonymous with Queensland as XXXX and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Courier-Mail broke the news of QR's fashion edict yesterday and was flooded with feedback. The long and er ... short of it?
Most Queenslanders were not happy, but opinion remains divided on the future of men's work shorts.
The fashion world has backed the Rail Tram and Bus Union's calls for shorts to be saved. Yet due to safety concerns, including the risk of skin cancer, occupational healthy and safety experts are backing QR's move.
Leo Ruschena, lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, said the traditional image of the Aussie worker was changing.
"The bronzed ANZAC image of the bronzed labourer wearing shorts, maybe a singlet and boots I think is something we should consign to the dust bin of history," Mr Ruschena said.
Mr Ruschena said the heightened risk of skin cancer in Queensland required stricter sun protection including the centimetres of skin between socks and shorts. "Whether it's railway workers or farmers they're all subject to the same UV rays and need to cover up," Mr Ruschena said.
He said an organisation's move to cover up their workers was often about protecting their own interests with the rates of workplace negligence claims for skin cancer soaring. "I imagine (QR) would have a large number of claims in relation to skin cancer and those claims around Australia is on the rise," Mr Ruschena said.
Despite this, Brisbane's fashion elite claim there should always be space for shorts in a man's wardrobe. "There's all types of shorts ideal for a lot of industries ... we have very hot days where we need shorts," Brisbane fashion designer Daniel Lightfoot said.
Mr Lightfoot said the fashion world was experiencing a resurgence in shorts, harking back to the 1960s "Gold Coast look" and the shorter the shorts the better.
Aung Lynn, general manager at Brisbane menswear chain Mitchell Ogilvie, agreed. "In Europe people are wearing shorts and jackets," Mr Lynn said. "It can look very trendy but you can't be working at the bank and wearing shorts," he said.
Tony Abbott promises to get rid of carbon pricing scheme within six months of being elected to power
TONY Abbott has pledged to get rid of carbon pricing within just six months of the Coalition winning government.
The Opposition Leader said that if blocked in the Senate he would immediately call another election, a double dissolution, and invite the ALP to commit “suicide twice". “I won't reduce the tax, change the tax, or redesign the tax. I will repeal the tax," Mr Abbott said in Brisbane today.
The Coalition is maintaining its course to make the election scheduled for late next year a referendum on the carbon pricing scheme set to begin this July.
Mr Abbott ramped up his intentions to scrap the entire scheme if elected, and assured voters they would not miss out on pension increases and tax cuts to be funded by the scheme's revenue.
“There is no mystery to this. Essentially, all that it requires is the passage of the repeal bill through the Parliament," Mr Abbott said. “After all, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation.
“I don't expect the Greens to support repealing the carbon tax. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the Labor Party, beaten in an election that's a referendum on the carbon tax, committing suicide twice by resisting the new government’s mandate.
“If they do, there is a constitutional procedure designed for just this eventuality. It's called a double dissolution. I would not hesitate to seek a second mandate to repeal this toxic tax. Indeed, it would be my duty to do so."
Mr Abbott said that “because the electorate would double-punish the Labor Party for wilful obstruction, I expect that the repeal arrangements would be in place within six months.”
Mr Abbott dismissed the Government's argument that scrapping the scheme would cost voters extra welfare payments and tax cuts which it plans to fund from pollution penalties paid by major companies. “Well, the public aren't mugs. They know that a tax cut paid for by a tax increase is a con, not a cut," he said. “The only way that taxes can sustainably be lowered is if government spending is lower or if the economy is larger.
“The Coalition can deliver tax cuts without a carbon tax because we will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary government spending and because lower taxes and higher productivity will boost economic growth."
Prayer rooms at football?
HAVING succeeded in convincing the AFL to introduce prayer rooms at all venues, Bachar Houli was unfazed last night by a stinging backlash sparked by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, who called the idea "stupid" and "political correctness gone mad".
Football fans took to websites to condemn and ridicule the move, but at his home in Melbourne the AFL's first Muslim player told The Australian: "The main thing is we've got what we want, and you can't change that.
"At the end of the day, people want to go and enjoy the footy as well as continue with their beliefs, and if it means they have to pray once a day at the footy, we're not asking for much."
Mr Kennett said the move was "ridiculous" and complained that political correctness had replaced "the great days" of football, when there were few stands, mud on the ground, meat pies sold for sixpence and fans braved "the smell of the urinal".
Describing Australia as "a Christian society of many faiths", the former Liberal premier and former Hawthorn club president said communities should not have to change their "very fibre" to accommodate multiculturalism.
"To put prayer rooms into sporting venues is not part of the Australian lexicon, it's not the way in which we've behaved," he said. "I think it's an overreaction, I think it's political correctness, I think it's absolute rubbish. It's not practical, it's stupid, it's political correctness gone mad."
Houli, who plays at Richmond, where he prays before and after games, pressed for prayer rooms to be introduced at grounds in his capacity as the league's multicultural ambassador.
He said devout Muslims, who pray five times a day, were forced to pray in carparks or stairwells during games, and said more Muslims would come to the football if they had a place to pray.
Multi-faith prayer rooms have been introduced at the MCG and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, and Sydney's ANZ Stadium. The AFL intends to press for prayer rooms at all other venues, including the SCG.
The move was welcomed by Muslim leaders, including Muslim Australia vice-president Ikebal Patel, who said the AFL deserved full marks. "What is the harm?" he asked. "What's the problem in someone enjoying a game of footy and at the same time being mindful of their religious obligations, whatever they may be.
"Full marks to the AFL for being inclusive when we have people from different backgrounds and faiths. It's not only Muslims who might like to pray. It is engaging with God, and they might even be praying for Hawthorn to win."
The AFL's newest club, Greater Western Sydney, backed the move last night, saying: "Western Sydney is a culturally diverse region and the Giants welcome all people regardless of their background. We are proud of the contribution clubs like Muslim AFL team the Auburn Tigers have made to growing the game in Western Sydney, and the Giants would be happy to support any initiative which makes the game more accessible for all people."
AFL chief Andrew Demetriou said the league had an obligation to make venues welcoming to people of all cultures.
Many football fans took to websites to condemn the move. "What next, the Adhan over the loudspeakers instead of the final siren?" posted one Richmond fan. "Or . . . half-time breaks to coincide with mid-afternoon prayer? Or designated women-only areas at the ground on the top deck completely out of sight and earshot of any men? Actually, that one's not a bad idea. "Seriously though, I don't like this decision at all and it's just another example of how this country is changing."
Others posted: "This is OUR game and I'm sick of all this multicultural crap that is dividing our country"; "The last bastion of Australian culture to be stripped away from us in the name of Islam"; and "Football should be football. It's a religion in itself. Let it be."
Note: I have another blog covering Australian news. It is more specialized so is not updated daily. See Australian police news for news on police misbehaviour. Three posts today
Telstra backs Abbott's alternative to Julia's fibre broadband
Telstra CEO David Thodey says the Coalition's proposed NBN model is cheaper than the government's. Source: News Limited
THE National Broadband Network model proposed by the Coalition if it wins power would be faster and cheaper to roll out than the $36 billion design being pursued by Labor, Telstra has declared.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey said that adopting the fibre-to-the-node network - the model favoured by an Abbott government - would be lower-cost and faster than the approach of laying fibre to the home and could result in faster payments to the telco for the use of its infrastructure.
Mr Thodey also revealed that if the Coalition does take office at the election due next year, renegotiations of a multi-billion-dollar deal that secured Telstra's involvement in the NBN rollout would "not be significant in the overall structure of the deal".
The comments cast a shadow over Labor's warnings that the Coalition would face an uphill battle to strike a deal with Telstra.
Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull argued this week that Telstra would get faster payments for providing access to its infrastructure under his plan as the NBN rollout would be quicker - a potentially welcome move for Telstra's 1.4 million shareholders and the millions more Australians who have a stake in the No 1 telco through superannuation funds.
Under Labor's NBN, Telstra's copper network will be replaced with a super-fast optic fibre rolled out to 93 per cent of the nation's homes and businesses, with the rest served by a mix of satellite and fixed wireless.
Under the Coalition's plan, the copper cables that run into homes would be retained instead of replaced with fibre. The fibre would stop at a cabinet - the node - that would serve a street, although it would take the more costly approach of laying fibre to the home in some instances such as in new greenfield estates and for some brownfields areas.
While he stopped short of backing either major party's broadband model, Mr Thodey said a fibre-to-the-node network would be quicker. "There are different technologies to use; they have pluses and minuses on both sides.
"Definitely fibre to the node is a faster and cheaper deployment. However, in some areas the copper has been there for a long time and there could be issues.
"If you have a purist view about an ideal world, fibre to the home is definitely the ultimate solution.
"But just like when I'm building anything within Telstra, I have to make a good trade-off in terms of the returns I get," he said.
NBN Co currently estimates it will take about 10 years to complete the NBN, but the project has already been dogged by delays that critics estimate have put the project 15 months behind schedule.
"The government needs to make their own decision about the priorities of where they're investing," Mr Thodey said.
"The Labor government made their decision about the priorities - that's their prerogative - and should the opposition ever get into power, they may have other priorities for that investment. That's their business. I can't really comment on that, but, yes, fibre to the node is a lower cost and faster deployment.
"But it may have longer-term consequences over 30 or 40 years, so it's just pluses and minuses just like any business case any commercial person would look at."
The comments have sparked another political furore over broadband policy. Last night, Mr Turnbull seized on the comments.
"Obviously we're very open to working with Telstra," Mr Turnbull said.
"The point I've made for some time is that the approach we are taking would be a win-win. It would result in the rollout being much less costly for the taxpayer and, while Telstra would get the same amount of money because the rollout would be achieved more quickly, they would get it sooner, so there is some timing benefit for them."
The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy last night said: "Telstra recognise their Alan Bond when they see him."
The line was a reference to Kerry Packer's famous comment that "you only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime" as he bought back the Nine Network for a fraction of the $1bn price the businessman had paid for it a couple of years earlier.
Kevin Rudd, as prime minister, and Senator Conroy announced they had orchestrated a deal with Telstra in June 2010, but the deal only came into force last month.
Labor had threatened Telstra with curbs on its opportunity to buy wireless spectrum and to force it to divest its half-ownership of Foxtel if it were not prepared to reach agreement over the NBN.
Telstra's co-operation is important to both major parties as fibre can be rolled out more quickly, cheaply and with less overhead cabling by accessing Telstra's infrastructure, such as its exchange space, pits and ducts, while paying Telstra to migrate its customers from copper to fibre would ensure take-up.
Mr Turnbull recently revealed that he would expect Telstra to hand over ownership of its copper lines at no extra cost as it made decisions on the ground about the rollout - despite Telstra considering that the copper network has significant value.
Mr Thodey said yesterday that the opposition had indicated "they would continue with the NBN but in a slightly different technology design".
"If that's their policy then I have little concern," Mr Thodey said. "However, if there was a different policy it would be very hard to speculate. But of what has been publicly said, there should be no change."
Telstra would still get payments for migrating customers from copper to fibre, but if that was accelerated under Mr Turnbull's plans, "then there are different cash flows which could be seen as advantageous to Telstra".
"I have a contract with NBN Co and with the government that stands," Mr Thodey said. "Should they want to renegotiate that contract my door is always open and I will negotiate in the interests of creating value for shareholders." He emphasised that he was looking forward to the project.