Friday, 27 September 2013

What not to wear on Casual Fridays

It's been two weeks since the LNP took power, and already we are seeing slashes to education, science, arts, and all that is good in our country. Therefore, I think we need some lightness in our day. 

You will recall that I competed in the Young Lawyers Golden Gavel competition, where I was given a topic and 48 hours to prepare a stand-up routine. This year, my topic was... well, not shit. Below is an edited version of the routine I did. Enjoy!

MC: Some say, he has the sense of humour of an under-cooked pavlova, and that he thinks 'yo mama' jokes are the highest form of wit. 
Some say, he once finished a trial by making a pass at the judge... and has the wig to prove it. 
All we know is... he's Barnaby Grant!"

BHG: "I found it somewhat surprising that they asked me to talk to you about fashion. But then, I realised that they had done their research well. After all, my topic today is 'What NOT to wear.' 

If, after this presentation, you wish for more in-depth instruction on what NOT to wear, I invite you to have a look at my Facebook profile. The photos there should be quite instructional!

But there is one thing I think we can all agree on. Whether you have fashion sense, or are legally blind, we all know that Ugg Boots are the worst thing you can be caught wearing. Honestly, they are a crime against fashion and decency!

Ugg boots... not even once. 

Ok, but now for some more sensible advice. There is a long-held view that you should take your cue from your boss. If they are in a suit, you should probably at least be wearing a tie. If they are in board shorts, you should probably still be in pants. 

So I took this advice to heart at my first job. As casual Friday approached, I went and asked what the appropriate dress was, and what they would be wearing. My boss gave me a description, and I decided to dress to match. Things didn't go so well when I turned up in a skirt and heels. 

I therefore learned a valuable lesson from this. The parable SHOULD have been... "dress to match the highest ranked person of the same gender." This went well, until I started working at Christopher Legoe Chambers. [Explanation: google "Heather Stokes"]

But depending on the job, anything pretty much goes, unless A) it includes Ugg Boots, or B) it has ever appeared on the set of the Jersey Shore. 

Remember, 'Friends don't let friends wear ugg-boots.'
Who here has casual clothes days? Anyone? You? You fucking hippie wankers!  Seriously, you are such sheeple! Casual Fridays are a marketing and HR joke, designed to make you THINK you are getting a good deal at your workplace. Now, I would LOVE to have been a fly on the wall at the staff meeting when this was first considered. 

Boss: "Thanks for coming tonight. Look, I have identified an issue with productivity, professionalism, and staff morale. I think I have found a solution though!"
Staffer: "Oh, oh, are you going to pay us more? Raise our salaries above minimum wage?"
Boss: "What? No, fuck that. I'm letting you wear jeans on Fridays!"
Staffer: "So, what, are you  going to make us more professional by letting us wear whatever we want?"
Boss: "Don't be ridiculous. If you aren't dressed appropriately, I'm still firing you."

Seriously, that is totally going to improve morale, you cheap bastard. 

Unfortunately, this reflects a trend in today's society, where it is becoming closer and closer to being acceptable to wear ugg boots. 

I think we can all agree though that Casual Fridays were invented by men, for men. Seriously. Women get to wear whatever they want, any day of the week! But men, we have to dress in exactly the same clothes, day after day. The biggest excitement in the average man's wardrobe is a Star-Wars tie he got for Christmas last year. 

Mind you, if women wanted to lower the necklines, raise the hems, and take a few liberties, I don't think there would be much complaining! So long as they weren't wearing ugg boots. That would just be wrong.

Since we are [were] in the middle of an election, I thought I would take a political angle. Let's look at our candidates. 

Tony Abbott is the paragon of what you shouldn't wear on Casual Fridays. Or ever. Not a week goes by without a new picture of him splashed across the papers wearing speedos, pink boardshorts, or head-to-toe lycra! Please, don't do lycra. Nearly as bad as ugg boots. 

Which leads to the stream-crossing horror of ugg-boots and lycra. Now that is an image you won't get out of your head!

Another lesson from Tony Abbott is never to wear anything with 'sex appeal' unless you want to be hit on by the most appalling 'dad jokes.'

Tony: "Hey Fiona, what has 100 balls and screws old women?"
Fiona: "Sigh. I don't know Tony, what?"
Tony: "Bingo! Ahahaha. Ha. Heh. Hmm.  

Thanks for your exuberance Tony. I wonder if that is an acceptable time to wear Ugg Boots?  Just on a side note, I just heard from James Ashby, who tells me that the Ugg Boot trick didn't stop Mr Slipper!

On the other hand, Ladies, you should never wear anything around KRudd that makes you look remotely like a flight attendant!

But since this battle between TinTin and Titan seems to have caused the nation to subside into a fit of apathy, I thought I should tackle the really big issues. Yes, who has the best policy on TURNING BACK THE UGG BOATS?

I'm voting for Tony Abbott, because he has a six-point plan for turning back the Ugg Boats. No one knows that those points are, but we can be sure it will involve the word 'No' at least 600 times. 

Kevin Rudd tells us that he has a regional solution for turning back the Ugg Boats, but I don't think we can trust him. After all, the man posts photos of twitter of him cutting himself shaving! I don't think we can trust the man to take a hard line on ugg-boots! 

I'm going to take a quick break from my topic to talk about Stephanie Bannister. After all, who wants to oppose the nation of Islam as a country? At least she doesn't have anything against Jews, who "aren't under harrum, they have their own religion that follows Jesus Christ." She also doesnt' like the government remaining at a 5-star budget, when economy is just as good!

Maybe she wears ugg boots. 

But I want to give you one final rule about Casual Fridays, which comes from Peter Dowling. Whether you wear thongs, (footwear or otherwise), jeans, skirts, or ugg boots, I think we can all agree that whatever you wear, you shouldn't be caught wearing a glass of wine on your dick. 

Thank you.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

First impact of Court cost-cutting measures

First, please read this link from (sadly) Adelaide Now. This article first appeared in the Advertiser on 25 September 2013.

As you know, the Court system has been squeezed by budget cuts from all directions.

Magistrate D Whittle SM, the regional manager for the Port Pirie area, told us last month that he was struggling not to cut sitting days at Port Pirie, after a directive to cut the costs of the circuit. Currently, the Court sits for approximately 22 weeks/year at Port Pirie, for 5 days.

Mr Whittle's solution was to make Friday Pre-Trial Conferences occur by video link from Port Adelaide Magistrates Court, which reduced the costs of accomodation for a Magistrate and his staff. Secondly, he changed the Monday sittings (first appearances) to AVL as well, cutting another night from the circuit.

Unfortunately, whilst AVL is now of very high quality, it results in delays whilst matters are called on, and miscommunications between Courtrooms. Also, defendants who are being sentenced have a right to be sentenced in person; the Act specifies that a defendant must be present in Court if he is to be sentenced to a period of imprisonment.

There is a significant detriment to country practitioners, as well. Ending in late 2012, it was common for the Legal Profession in the surrounding areas and the Prosecution Unit to meet with the Magistrate socially after

Monday, 23 September 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer update

Wow, 40% of the way there! Thanks heaps to everyone who has donated so far!

A big reminder; the fundraising dinner is this Saturday at the Flinders Rest Hotel in Warnertown. Please let me know if you can make it, so I can get the booking numbers right! Phone me on 0449 520 222 to reserve your seats!

I may have a spot on ABC local radio in the next few days; they have suggested a call in the breakfast spot to promote the event, and are going to discuss it this week!

Finally, I spent the weekend in Adelaide, and I had the entirety of Sunday free, so I set my self an ambitious goal; cycle to the highest and lowest point in Adelaide in one go. I didn't quite make it; I got to Mount Lofty, then down to Glenelg, but I didn't quite make it back home to make the whole trip count. (I stopped and had lunch first!)

You can see my rides on Strava, (Link here) or check out the picture below, showing my route. Just one quick note; the section from Belair to Crafers was the single hardest hill I have ever climbed. Upper Sturt Road is the devil.

Thanks for all your support, and keep it up! (

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Windfarms going the way of mobile phone towers

You could be forgiven for thinking that I have an axe to grind on the topic of windfarms. I think this is the third post I have made about them, mostly in response to websites like

(My new favorite post is this one:
"Secret report on wind farms to reveal turbines have slashed ‘billions’ from the value of rural homes The Daily Mail 23 August 2013 Wind farms have slashed ‘billions’ from the value of rural homes, a secret Government report is expected to disclose. " 
Read: "Secret Report," "expected to disclose" and the best of it. "The Daily Mail.")

So you can imagine my satisfaction to read this article on InDaily (S Chapman, "Money: the 'cure' for wind turbine syndrome", InDaily, 18 September 2013). Its conclusion was that in the late 90s, there were huge fears about mobile phone towers causing harm to humans. Welp, you can see that all the mobile towers were cut down, and their land sewn with salt... oh wait, no.

Which brings me back to grinding axes, and conspiracies. Ok, I just brought that up, but have a look at the 'stopthesethings' site.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Why An Abbott Election Victory Would Be Good

Rule 1: Read this article:

Rule 2: Read it again.

(Text copied shamelessly from the above article, written by Andrew P Street and posted on this morning. 

Dear Fellow Left Wing People,
First up: yes, I know. I feel it too. That desperate confusion, that disappointment, that anger. We're not a small-minded, petty, terrified people… are we? Really?  At a time when we have the planet’s most robust economy we're going to ignore the fact and sniffily proclaim that we want more, all the while refusing to help desperate people – in comparatively tiny amounts, by international standards – who are so in love with the idea of Australia/not being persecuted that they risk their lives in the hope of enjoying freedoms that most of us take for granted, and some of us actively resent. Voting? That's a Saturday morning pissed away. Thank you very much, democracy.
But when I think of an Abbott victory, I think the following:
Not good because he’ll be a great leader – we’re about to get our own George W Bush, a man who can’t open his mouth without providing the world with a new malapropism and who is prepared to destroy his country rather than entertain the possibility that his political and economic philosophy is flawed, not to say straight-up mistaken.
Not good because it will be a positive time for anyone who's not a mining magnate or a media baron. If you’re not wealthy, you’re in for a difficult few years – and if you like things like education, healthcare, environmental protection, workers rights, refugee rights, gender equality or any of that kind of thing, you’re going be getting angrier and angrier.
And that’s what’s good. That’s what we need. 
Think about it. Even if Rudd sneaks in on Saturday via some mathematically-improbable fluke, what’s the likely scenario? 
We'll get three years of Labor desperately trying to keep the middle ground – no shift on asylum policy, probably some destructive efforts to get an entirely-symbolic budget surplus – with a probably uncooperative Senate and a stronger opposition leader – my money's on Joe Hockey – with the weight of the Murdoch press behind them hammering home the message that everything would have been better if you’d just voted a Coalition government in. Rudd will be an ineffectual leader in an even weaker position than Gillard was in, there'll be another election, a Libslide, and we will welcome another Howard-esque conservative dynasty. 
But if Abbott wins?
We already know he can’t open his mouth without saying the exact wrong thing. We already know that he’s terrible on policy, can’t think on his feet and dodges responsibility. At the moment he can largely get away with blaming the government; once he’s Prime Minister, that’s not an option anymore. He will look like what he is: a man of narrow views and narrower knowledge woefully out of his depth.
And look at the Abbott front bench: it's a viper’s nest. They’re not supporting Abbott because they think he’s an inspiring leader, since he’s demonstrated comprehensively that he’s not: they've backed him because the greatest strength they have had against Labor over the last 18 months has been in presenting a united front. 
Once they’re in power this bunch of smart, ambitious and shrewd politicians are going to be a lot less forgiving of a leader who's an obvious and embarrassing liability. Hockey isn’t going to fade back into the benches. Neither is Turnbull. Neither is Bishop. Neither is Morrison. Those squabbles have been sublimated for the time being because they had a common enemy: Labor. Once in power, they’ll have a different common enemy: each other. 
Abbott will also almost certainly face a hostile Senate, with Greens and most of the sitting independents already indicating an unwillingness to pass many of his tentpole promises. He's already implied that he'll ask for a double dissolution if his agenda is not passed, which means that Labor, the Greens and the minor parties now have a chance to buy themselves another year of campaigning ahead of another election. Don't worry about winning on Saturday, hopefuls: worry about winning after the Libs implode a bit down the track.
If there's a double dissolution we will see an ineffective leader throwing a tantrum, and the Australian public are not going to thank him for calling us all back to another Saturday at the polls before we absolutely have to (and incidentally, it's easier for a Senator to get up in a DD scenario as the quotas are halved. Want to get more independents and small parties clogging up your upper house? Call a double dissolution).
Meanwhile Labor in opposition will be stripped back to the MPs and Senators who’ve kept the faith of their electorates. The embarrassments and the dead wood that have made the last two years so difficult for the party will be gone. And those that are likely to survive – Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong et al – are no fools.
So what do we do for the next three years? We fight. We hold on to every asinine headline in the Murdoch press this week, and we use it as a stick to beat them with when the Coalition fail to deliver. We stop bitching on Twitter and start campaigning for the progressive causes we support (hell, it's an early summer, the weather's lovely for marching). We give Labor an incentive to move back to the left, because there are enough of us to be worth listening to.
But most importantly, as those depressing numbers come in on Saturday night, we remember that there is one great final secret about the Left, and it is this: in the long run, we always win
Change never comes as quickly as we want it to, and it's often in a frustrating two-steps-forward-one-step-back waltz rather than a decisive sprint, but look at the Australia of 2013 compared with ten years back. Or twenty years back. Or forty. There are always new battles to fight, and specific issues like asylum seeker policy or workplace rights or interventions in remote indigenous communities have seen some humiliating retreats in recent times, but eventually things progress. 
The Coalition wasn't at all interested in carbon schemes or marriage equality under Howard; now they know that they have to at least acknowledge these issues, if only to stall movement on them – and stalling only works for so long. These changes are often slow and incremental so we can be forgiven for not noticing at the time, but when you look at the bigger picture it's clear: Australia progresses. Consensus takes time but ultimately we're going to win. We always do. 
But in the short term we need to stop being lazy, we need to stop being complacent, and we need to start working together. Hell, I'm more guilty than most in thinking a snarky Facebook status or a punchy tweet has fulfilled my community obligations: I need to lift my game, and so do you. It'll be easier if we all do it together, and then we can totally get a drink afterwards. I'll get the first round in.
And that is why I look at the forthcoming Abbott government as an emetic: it will make us feel incredibly sick, absolutely, but that’s how we vomit the poison out. 
Your comrade,
Andrew P Street

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

My take on the asylum-seeker debate

Unlike many political issues this election, I believe the asylum seeker issue has actually seen meaningful debate. Various different solutions have been discussed, albeit from a political standpoint.

I say this only to differentiate from issues like gay marriage, which have been the subject of much talk, but no meaningful debate. Beyond that, I can't say that the asylum seeker debate has been effective or unbiased.

I am not going to discuss the demonisation of 'boat people' in mainstream Australian media. I don't need to. I am not going to discuss how dangerous it is for people to be travelling to Australia by boat, and I don't think it is worth arguing that we should be trying to stop people from making this perilous journey.

I am going to discuss what we should be doing to save lives, and increase the quality of life for millions of refugees around the world.

Underlying issues:
This morning, it was reported that approximately 67 people were killed in Baghdad, in a wave of 'coordinated bombings.' (ABC News article here)

It is becoming clearer that the Assad regime has been using chemical weapons against the rebels in Syria, which has been suffering unrest for some time.

The Egyptian situation is rapidly devolving into another civil war.

These are just the headline issues; there are also the ongoing tragedies in the Gaza area, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and much of North- and South Africa. These conflicts have displaced an estimated 42.5 million people, both internally and externally (as estimated by the UNHCR at the end of 2011).

Monday, 2 September 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer training update

The last few weeks has been abysmal in terms of time on the bike. I had it serviced in Adelaide three weeks ago, but then it rained for the entire weekend. Although I am very eager to get out there, I am not yet a fan of climbing hills in the rain. Worse, descending them.

The following weekend I was engaged with training for the SES. (I am now an accredited, trained member of the rescue team! Woo, go me!). I also kinda came down with a bug that kept me home on Monday.

Finally, last weekend, I managed to find time to get out on the bike, and what a day it was! Saturday was about the perfect weather for cycling. Mid-20s, clear skies, and hardly any wind. I got out there, bright and early at 8.00am,...

and came down with a leg cramp. Bother.

10k's later, I realised that I wasn't going to be able to keep up with the bunch, and went home. About the only benefit was that I learned a new style of cycling... one-legged cycling!

Yesterday was my last chance, and I made the most of it. Although my leg was still giving me grief, I managed to get 50k's out before I ran out of steam.

Perhaps not where I wanted to be, but given I am still sick, haven't been training, and ran out of water half-way through, I am pretty happy! Now, to find some hills and climb them!

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