Thursday, May 02, 2013

Taxi drivers bar Aboriginal actors

Unsaid below is that most Melbourne taxi-drivers are Indians and that they have had huge troubles with refugee Africans robbing  and attacking them.  An Indian would be unlikely to be able to tell one black from another. The Aborigines were in other words victims of the politically correct refugee policy that imported large numbers of Africans, with their usual high propensity for crime, into Australia.  If you were an Indian taxi driver in Melbourne, you would run from black faces too

Aboriginal actors in town to rehearse an indigenous version of King Lear were repeatedly refused a fare by taxi drivers in Southbank on Monday night, and racially abused on the St Kilda tram Tuesday morning while making their way back to work.

The Malthouse Theatre is now scrambling to find Southbank accommodation for the cast, which includes eminent actors such as Tom E Lewis, star of Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Rabbit-Proof Fence star Natasha Wanganeen, Redfern Now star Jada Alberts, Chooky Dancer Djamangi Gaykamangu, and Ten Canoes actor Frances Djulibing.

Four separate cabs booked to pick up the performers from the Malthouse on Monday from 6.30pm refused the fare once they arrived and saw the passengers, according to actor Jada Alberts.

"It was a series of cabs," Ms Alberts told ABC Melbourne radio. "As one would rock up, then they would say they couldn't go that distance and drive away. It happened once they'd arrived, when they met the passengers."

Ms Alberts said that a white theatre worker was successful in hailing a cab to take the performers to their St Kilda hotel but "as she goes to usher the company into the vehicle, the cab driver gets a look at them and says 'can't do it' and drives away."

The fifth cab booked by the Malthouse did agree to take the performers to St Kilda.

This comes six months after musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was refused a fare over the colour of his skin outside the Palais Theatre last December.

Although the Malthouse issued the cast with Myki cards so they could travel around Melbourne, several of the cast members were bailed up on the St Kilda tram on Tuesday morning by a fellow passenger who yelled that "you Aboriginal people, you don't exist in this country, you don't even have tickets". The passenger then told the driver to call the police and evict the Aboriginal passengers, a request the driver ignored.

"I know that it's not a usual occurrence, for those things to happen within the space of 24 hours was pretty heart-breaking for all of us to deal with," Ms Alberts said.

Playwright and actor Jada Alberts, left. Photo: Anthony Johnson
"We are now looking at accommodation options for all the artists within walking distance of the Malthouse so that they don't ever have to deal with this again," says the Malthouse's media manager Maria O'Dwyer.

"Obviously, this has been an extremely distressing situation and we are very upset that a very vocal minority in the Melbourne community have treated our artists with such disrespect – it's quite devastating that they have been subjected to such repeated racism in 'cosmopolitan' Melbourne."

"Some [drivers] pulled over for me (I am not Aboriginal), but drove away when I tried to usher the Aboriginal actors into the taxi. I tried hailing passing-by taxis with the same result (despite their lights indicating that they were available)," she wrote.

"The assumption that we have made is that the decision not to allow these people entry to your taxis was based in racism. Although, if you can offer any other explanation, I would love to hear it.

"I invite this as I am eager not to believe that I witnessed such a hideous display of racism, and that such disgusting and shameful acts are still taking place towards Aboriginal people in Australia."


Dispersing bat colonies is now a local council problem in Qld.

War on green tape

THE State Government has washed its hands of troublesome bat colonies by handing over responsibility for dispersing their camps to local government.

Previously councils have had to apply for a state permit to move the creatures to ensure cruelty issues were addressed.

Bats have become an urban issue since widespread clearing has seen them move in to heavily treed urban areas and the advent of two bat-borne viruses - Hendra and lyssavirus.

In March Premier Campbell Newman moved to shift blame about flying fox camps away from the Government to councils by threatening to mobilise his own bat squad to cull the native creatures, an action that would be illegal.

Mr Newman said he would charge "lily-livered councils" for the bat squad because they were not applying for mitigation permits.

The Government has already approved the shooting of flying foxes by farmers and amended laws to ensure they did not receive the same protection under cruelty laws as other native wildlife.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the move was in line with the Government's war on green tape.

"We appreciate the significant impact flying foxes have had on some towns across Queensland and these new measures will make it easier for local communities to minimise those problems," Mr Powell said.

Councils in designated urban areas would be given the authority to make their own decisions to disperse or otherwise manage flying fox roosts consistent with an agreed code of practice.

Mr Powell said the flying fox dispersal was a complex issue and consideration had to be given to where the animals might go once they were moved on.

"We believe those decisions are best left to ... local governments," he said.

The authority would apply for non-lethal removal and the dispersal of animals would need to comply with Commonwealth, state and local government laws.

Wildlife Preservation Society chief executive Des Boyland said the move was clear evidence that the Government was giving up on caring for native fauna.

"They've given up on caring for the environment (vegetation clearing and national park development). That's obvious. What's next 'roos?" he said.

Mr Boyland said it was ironic that the move to resolve problems with councils might see the local authorities clashing with the Federal Government's powerful Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act because it protected grey headed and spectacled flying foxes.

"I don't think anyone can move their camps without impacting on the EPBC Act," he said.

Mr Boyland said the issue should be handled on the basis of science and real amenity impacts, rather than fear or ignorance.



I was first in the door at my local Dan Murphy's today and got  a single bottle for $669 -- JR

After months of frantic anticipation, excited previews and controversial price rises, Australia can pull the cork on the latest release of Penfolds icon Grange shiraz after it was officially unveiled this morning.

Ground Zero was Penfolds' home base at Magill Estate in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, where chief winemaker Peter Gago opened the first bottle at 7.30am to share a taste with loyal followers of the wine, which is traditionally launched every year on the first Thursday in May.

A queue of Grange fans lined up at the Magill Estate cellar door to match their first sip of Grange with breakfast treats before forking out a whopping $785 for each bottle of the much lauded 2008 vintage shiraz.

The wine was originally priced at $685 when first soft-launched to media and trade in early March, but after an extraordinary 100 points out of 100 review by the respected international review The Wine Advocate, Penfolds executives raised the price again by $100, citing unprecedented global demand after the review had put pressure on supplies.

The Wine Advocate review included the lines: "This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label".

Other leading critics also have pointed the wine highly, with James Halliday scoring it 98 points, Tyson Stelzer 99 points, and Philip White at strong 96 +++ points , his pluses indicating it will be better in many years to come and calling it "the Grangiest Grange in many many years."


Cheques to die within five years following 66 per cent drop in use

THE cheque has one foot in the grave with predictions it could be killed off within just five years.

It has raised fears the move could result in a repeat of the massive backlash that resulted in the UK and saw the decision to ban cheques overturned.

The Australian Payments and Clearing Association's Milestones Report released today showed cheque use plummeted by 66 per cent in the 10 years to December.

The report stated it was only a matter of time before the downhill shift saw cheques wiped out completely.

"Based on the current rate of decline and assuming no plateau in cheque use, it could be predicted that cheques will no longer be used in Australia in 2018," the report stated.

But a similar move in the UK to ban cheques by October 2018 provided disastrous and strategic business relations company RFi's director, Alan Shields said it resulted in a complete backflip.

"You have to look at what happened in the UK, the UK Payments Council said they were getting rid of cheques but there was such a backlash they had to do a 180," he said.

"They wouldn't want to go down the same road as the UK."

The UK Payments Council postponed its decision in 2011 to ban cheques following significant outrage and announced, "cheques will continue for as long as customers need them."

Mr Shields said the death of the cheque would be inevitable if businesses started to turn away cheques.

"It's going to be contingent on people accepting cheques, if they stop accepting cheques then that's going to be the biggest nail in the coffin," he said.

"The people that use them are a minority but it's not going to be an easy drug to kick."

APCA's report found between December 2011 and December 2012 the total number of cheques written fell by 12.5 per cent from 256 million to 224 million per year.

APCA chief executive Chris Hamilton said the dramatic shift away from cheque use forced its future to be seriously questioned.

"There's a lot of nostalgia, there's lot of history associated with cheques . . . but they really are quite expensive as a payment medium," he said.

"As people find good electronic alternatives and as they live more of their lives online and electronically then the cheque is just less useful.

"This is a product that's gradually phasing itself out, our biggest concern in all of that is there are still some people including older Australians or for historical reasons those people that are still very attached to their cheques."

The report said cheques volumes had fallen across the world with data compiled from 19 developed countries including Australia and found volumes fell from 34 billion in 2010 to 31.6 billion in 2011.


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