Friday, August 28, 2015
Australia's national cheese
Nobody that I know seems to have realized it but Australia has a national cheese. We all know and love our national toast and sandwich spread -- Vegemite -- but we are, if anything, even more focused on one type of cheese.
The French would of course think of us as insane and the Brits too might be a bit scornful -- except for the fact that they too have a well-acknowledged national cheese of their own: Cheddar.
But our national cheese is far more pervasive than Cheddar. When I go into the dairy aisle of my local Woolworths supermarket there are yards of shelf space devoted to it, with other types of cheese almost totally absent. On the very top shelf there are very small quantities of a few "foreign" cheeses: Jarlsberg, Romano, Havarti, Mascarpone etc.
So what is this remarkable cheese? It is -- most unimaginatively -- called "Tasty". And it certainly is tasty. Various dairies make it under their own brand but it is always identified as "Tasty". And I for one cannot tell the product of one dairy from another. It really is the same cheese that they are all making. You can get it in various sized packs and you can even get it grated but Tasty it is.
When I first started work as a NSW public servant in central Sydney in 1968, I worked in a building that had a cafeteria in the basement. We all went there to order our sandwiches, pies, Chester cakes et.
I was saddened when I visited Chester in England in 1977 and asked for a Chester cake. I was told: "No. We only do those on Wednesday". They did them every day in Sydney.
And if you ordered any type of a cheese sandwich from the basement cafeteria, the sandwich lady would say: "Mild or Tasty"? and point to the two trays of sliced cheese in front of her. Even at that stage, I was surprised at the limited offering but it now seems to have become even more extreme. Packs of "Mild" have to be searched for. Sometimes there is only one there.
The only other offering from more than one dairy that you see is "Colby". That is a smoother and milder product than Tasty. After many years of eating Tasty, I am now a Colby man. You also see "Coon" cheese but it tastes the same as a "Tasty" to me. Perhaps I should do a blind tasting sometime.
There was at one stage a claim that "Coon" was a naughty word -- politically incorrect. But it seems to have survived that onslaught.
And then there is the sliced cheese section. Again Tasty dominates but a surprising thing is that the "Home Brand" stuff is unlike any of the block cheese. It is a very mild, Cheddar-type cheese. So if you like Cheddar cheese you have to buy it pre-sliced!
ALP leader Bill Shorten silent in the face of Leftist racism
POUR a little acid on Labor’s lies about free trade, the environment and same-sex marriage and the Abbott government’s policies shine as beacons of hope in a landscape dominated by malevolent propaganda.
With scandalous entrenched dishonesty within the trade union attack dog the CFMEU being exposed by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, Labor and its union puppeteers have responded with all the virulence and venality of a cornered rat.
That Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his acolytes have failed to check the falsehoods being promulgated by the union movement reflects their lack of character.
The union movement’s racist and extraordinarily xenophobic advert about the China free trade agreement plays to the historic fears of the “yellow peril” on which the formation of the ALP was based.
Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong, who has supported this campaign, must revisit her party’s history and note how relatively recently former Labor leader Arthur Calwell felt quite comfortable joking that “two Wongs don’t make a white”.
He went on to write in his 1972 memoir “and any man who tries to stigmatise the Australian community as racist because they want to preserve this country for the white race is doing our nation great harm ... I reject, in conscience, the idea that Australia should or ever can become a multi-racial society and survive”.
Labor played the race card before the NSW state election and it is playing it again now.
Wong, who believes same-sex marriage is the most pressing issue facing the nation, although the people must not be permitted to decide the matter, needs reminding it was the Liberal Party, not Labor, which encouraged the building of trade and cultural bridges to our Asian neighbours through the successful Colombo Plan.
This plan gave many students from around the region the opportunity to study in Australia and take home the values of our liberal democratic society — and it is the conservative government, again, not Labor, which has revisited the Colombo Plan to restore foreign ties destroyed by successive Labor governments.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was correct to point out last week that the China free trade agreement being mendaciously attacked by the historically corrupt CFMEU was supported by former NSW premier and former foreign minister Bob Carr, who said: “There will be more jobs and higher wages in Australia if the China free trade agreement goes ahead.”
“We know that the Labor Party takes the CFMEU’s money, but they should never take the CFMEU’s dictation,” Abbott told parliament.
“If they do take the CFMEU’s dictation, the ghosts of the White Australia policy will come back to haunt the Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition should make sure that the slime of an earlier age does not come back to contaminate this parliament.”
Contrary to the racist lies broadcast in the union adverts — supported by the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster the ABC — the Chinese free trade agreement does NOT open the doors to Chinese workers on 457 visas.
The union adverts and arguments state that (and this is from the ACTU’s website): “The FTA allows Chinese companies to bring in their own workforce for projects over $150 million and removes the requirement that jobs be offered to local workers first.”
This is an absolute falsehood designed to be a distraction from the royal commission.
Unsurprisingly, it has been swallowed by many in the Labor-aligned Canberra press gallery and the ABC’s perpetually biased Fact Check Unit.
To assist the ABC’s editor-in-chief Mark Scott with his overdue correction and apology (as if), I direct him to the protections for Australian workers spelled out in the agreement’s outlined investment facilitation arrangements.
They clearly state that employers must show the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that there is demonstrated labour market need, that Australians have been given the first opportunity through evidence of domestic recruitment activity (i.e. labour market testing) and there are no suitably qualified Australians available.
In addition, they must demonstrate that they are a direct employer, are lawfully operating for at least 12 months, are financially viable, have no adverse information, have had no redundancies in the past six months, and meet training requirements.
The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash has debunked Labor’s claims in the Senate, while pointing out that multiple unions have employed sub-class 457 visa holders in an act of incredible hypocrisy and duplicity.
Cash noted that the trade unions have been employing overseas workers as workplace relations advisers and copy-writers on 457 visas — to help orchestrate the misleading and damaging campaign against foreign labour provisions in the China Australia free trade agreement.
“Not since (Briton) John McTernan was employed as a communications director on a 457 visa in Julia Gillard’s office, from where we witnessed a political campaign against 457 visas, have we seen such blatant hypocrisy from the union movement,” Cash said.
Labor’s totally dishonest campaign threatens thousands of much-needed jobs which would add billions to our economy and result in higher living standards for Australians.
This is economic vandalism from an irresponsible party. The unions are expected to spew such rubbish but Shorten and Wong should know better.
Corrupt NSW prosecutors
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) is an absolute mess riddled with corruption. There is a drug taking culture amongst the prosecutors with has resulted in a recent arrest, the Director of Public Prosecutions Lloyd Babb SC is busily trying to cover-up their responsibility for the Sydney Siege gunman being free on bail.
Public prosecutors should be squeaky clean but only a couple of months ago senior management in the DPP office called the police to investigate the drug taking culture in the office. One has been arrested and maybe others will be:
“THE top echelon of the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions asked police to investigate its ranks fearing a drug culture was emerging among its star team of lawyers.”
“The ODPP Director’s Chambers sparked a targeted police investigation into alleged drug supply that has so far seen one solicitor charged with cocaine possession.”
“The solicitor, Lisa Munro, was a member of the ODPP’s elite team of lawyers, known as Group 6, which deals with high-profile cases including referrals from the Independent Commission Against Corruption.”
and “The sources said the Director’s Chambers was concerned about drug use throughout the organisation.”
It is amazing that there could be a drug culture in the Office of the DPP given these are the people who are meant to jail the drug dealers. It would also leave the prosecutors, who are drug users, open to blackmail from the criminals. I suspect a few might be up for taking bribes as well given they obviously have no respect for the law.
Ms Lisa Munro as mentioned above pleaded guilty last week to cocaine possession and will be sentenced in September.
The drug taking culture has been happening under the nose of Lloyd Babb and he has to take a large part of the responsibility for it happening.
Building industry in crisis, says Boral boss
Australia’s construction market is in a crisis that has been brewing for decades, according to Boral chief executive Mike Kane, with millions lost each year.
Mr Kane said the political controversy engulfing the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was “a real distraction” from serious issues.
Announcing a net profit rise for Boral (BLD) of 48 per cent to $257m for the financial year, Mr Kane said a union black ban was costing the company $7m each year.
Revenues at Australia’s largest building materials manufacturer fell 15 per cent to $4.41 billion, which reflected the divestment of its gypsum division into a joint venture with Chicago-based USG.
Mr Kane said Boral’s US division was profitable for the first time since 2007, with earnings of $6m after posting a $39m loss last year.
Strength in the New South Wales housing market had pushed margins higher in Boral’s construction materials and cement division, and Mr Kane said the impact of Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union action in Victoria was contained.
“We have the largest construction union in this country under the control of criminal elements who are on a campaign to create inefficiencies in our system, that are violating the law on a regular basis, that have issued a campaign against Boral,” he said.
“(It’s) designed not just to send a message to Boral but to the entire construction industry that they’re in control and the law doesn’t apply in the construction market.
“Without getting into controversy, which I think is a real distraction, I think the work of the Royal Commission is absolutely necessary for the efficient operation of construction markets in this country,” Mr Kane said.
A court in Melbourne yesterday heard underworld figure Mick Gatto had demanded $100,000 from Boral to settle a long-running dispute with the CFMEU, with the price to increase by $100,000 for every week the building materials giant did not take up the offer.
Mr Gatto has denied the allegation.
Boral is suing the CFMEU for $28 million over a two-year blockade which has pushed the company into the middle of a dispute between the union and developer Grocon.
“If the ban ended tomorrow, it would take us almost three years to recover because most of the work for the next three years has already been awarded in the Melbourne CBD,” he said.
“Our ability to get back in to the market after this illegal activity stops is a prospect of our future damages and those are being made clear to the court.
“As we sit here today the CFMEU is taking the position that no black ban has occurred nor is it continuing, they refuse to acknowledge the fact that an injunction was bought against them and they were found guilty.”
Boral shares were pushed lower when the market opened this morning, down 6 per cent to $5.90, after the company said the outlook was mixed, with continued strength needed in the Sydney market to offset depressed markets in Queensland, with subdued infrastructure work and tapering demand for construction materials for LNG projects.
Boral, which sells everything from cement to plasterboard, has been reaping the benefits from an overhaul of its business that reduced the size of its workforce and resulted in the closure of some unprofitable operations.
“We’ve improved Boral’s cost base, strengthened the balance sheet and we are managing our portfolio of businesses more efficiently,” the company told the Australian Securities Exchange.
Boral said earnings from its construction materials and cement unit, the company’s largest division, rose 9 per cent due to strength in Australian housing and higher margins for asphalt, cement and concrete products.
The Australian-listed company also reported a turnaround in its US business.
“After a protracted period of depressed market activity in the USA following the global financial crisis, Boral USA returned to profitability in fiscal-year 2015, with a positive $6 million of earnings before interest and tax,” the company said.