Australiana Archives

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Australia promises $1 billion in aid to Asia Tsunami

6 January, 2005 2:43 PM

Well at last I can say I'm proud of something our government is doing. Howard promises $1 billion in aid - Asia Tsunami

'The Prime Minister, John Howard, today pledged $1 billion over five years to the Indonesia's tsunami reconstruction, the largest donation made so far for the relief effort.


On the eve of today's international summit in Jakarta, Mr Howard announced a historic package which includes $500 million in direct aid and $500 million in concessional loans. He said the Indonesian President, Susilo Yudhoyono, had been “overwhelmed” by the offer and “would never forget it”.'

Little Johnny Spammer - Australian PM Continues to Annoy Voters in Lead up to Election

5 October, 2004 6:36 PM

It seems that Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, really wants to get close to the people of this country in the lead up to the federal election this Saturday. A few weeks ago we reported he engaged in SPAMMING the Australian public - today reports are surfacing of him using phone spam - recorded messages to tens of thousands of Aussie homes with messages endorsing Liberal candidates.

"The Liberal Party today defended its use of pre-recorded phone messages from Prime Minister John Howard, with which it is bombarding households across Australia in the lead-up to polling day.

The Liberals are expected to contact tens of thousands of households between now and Saturday, with messages from Mr Howard declaring his support for local candidates in electorates across the country.

A Liberal Party spokesman, who referred to them as advocacy calls, said the party had been contacting voters in this way since 1996.

The only difference was that in the past, campaign workers had read from a prepared script, he said."


Read more at Australian IT - Howard defends phone spam

The Libs are calling them 'advocacy calls' - I call them plain annoying and a waste of money. I think we should start a campaign of bombarding the PM's office with prerecorded messages and emails and see how it goes over.

Melbourne Cup Winner

18 September, 2004 2:00 PM

Get all the latest news on a variety of topics at Breaking News Blog

The Melbourne Cup 2004 results are:

1. Makybe Diva
2. Vinnie Roe
3. Zazzman
4. Elvstroem
5. Hugs Dancer
6. Distinction
7. Mamool
8. Catchmeifyoucan
9. Razkalla
10. Strasbourg
11. On A Jeune
12. Media Puzzle
13. Grey Song
14. Roman Arch
15. Upsetthym
16. Another Warrior
17. Winning Belle
18. Lashed
19. Mummify
20. Don Raphael
21. Pacific Dancer
22. Hard To Get
23. Delzao
24. She's Archie.

The Melbourne Cup is being run at 3.10pm on Tuesday 2nd November in 2004. It's the 'race that stops the nation'. Who will the winner of the Melbourne Cup be in 2004?

Following is a list of Melbourne Cup information, articles, tips and llinks to help you prepare for your Melbourne cup day.

- Melbourne Cup - Official Site - 'The Melbourne Cup, it is the race that defines Australian horse racing, it's the race that stops a nation, people from all around Australia stop for the spring carnival. They engage in betting on the Australia spring carnival and it is also a huge part in the Australian racing history. Held at the Flemington race track in Melbourne and organised by the VRC the Melbourne Cup is definately a horse racing bookies dream.'

- Field for Melbourne Cup - all the horses listed with odds. Barrier draw will be added as it comes to hand.

- Melbourne Cup Jockeys - A list of the 2004 Melbourne Cup Jockeys - with their previous records.

- The Age - Horse Racing Page - with all the latest Melbourne Cup news, information on horses, jockeys, lead up races, tips etc.

- Culture and Recreation - Melbourne Cup - Australian Government page descibing the event.

- Melbourne Cup Blog - a blog with the latest Melbourne Cup news, tips, articles and gossip.

- About.com - Melbourne cup - the Countdown begins.

- Ozeform - Melbourne Cup. 'The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous horse race, and is truly the "race, which stops a nation".

All over Australia, millions of people tune in to watch or listen to the famous race - even proceedings in Parliament cease so that Members can hear it.

In Melbourne it is the reason for a Public Holiday and is considered the biggest tourist attraction in its home state of Victoria.

In many ways the Melbourne Cup is an anachronism - being a handicap and run over the unfashionable distance of 3200m - when in other countries the feature events are more likely to be run at weight-for-age and over 2000m to 2400m....'

- Racenet - Melbourne Cup - Melbourne Cup Stats including past winners, jockeys, horses, colors, barriers etc.

Blast hits central Jakarta - Australian Embassy Targeted ?

9 September, 2004 4:13 PM

It looks like the Australian Embassy in Jakarta may have been the target of a bomb in the last few hours. Will follow the story here on this post - more to come.

update - Australian news reports are now reporting 7 now dead with over 50 wounded. Pictures of the buildings around the blast show evidence of a massive explosion. It is being called a terrorist attack.

Eye witnesses say that it was a car bomb.

'I am now a couple of hundred metres back from the bomb site. It really is a chaotic scene. There are sirens going off in the background - fire engines, ambulances and police are everywhere. A huge crowd has gathered here to try to find out what happened. There is a massive crater outside the Australian embassy. There is a green security fence and the crater is the other side of that.... There are mangled remains of cars and motorbikes that were thrown up into the air by the force of the blast. Eyewitnesses saw two bodies being carried away. I have seen body parts on the ground.' Read more at Eyewitness: Jakarta blast

"A powerful blast has hit Jakarta's central business district near the Australian Embassy, killing at least three people and wounding many more.

Several bodies" were seen just outside the Australian Embassy's 6- meter (20-foot) high steel gate, which was mangled in the blast, CNN's Maria Ressa reported.

The blast -- which Ressa said was "far larger" than a blast which killed 12 in the JW Marriot Hotel in the same district last year -- shattered nearly all the windows in seven surrounding buildings, including several high-rises.

Witnesses reported hearing the blast as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) away." Read more at CNN.com - Blast hits central Jakarta

A powerful bomb exploded near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on Thursday, killing at least three people and wounding 50, witnesses and officials said.

No one inside the heavily fortified embassy was wounded in the blast, though windows were shattered, said Lyndall "Sachs, a spokeswoman for the Australian foreign ministry in Canberra. Local security officials said that an Indonesian security guard manning a post outside the gate was among the three dead.

In the same neighborhood last year, a suicide attack at the JW Marriott hotel killed 12 people. Australia, the United States and several other countries have recently warned that Muslim militants may be planning new attacks in Indonesia.

Hospital officials said that more than 50 people were wounded." Read more at Bomb at Australian Embassy Kills Three, Wounds 50

'Six people are believed to have died in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, the Australian prime minister has said. John Howard said it was thought the explosion was a car bomb. The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta says the blast left a large crater in the ground and damaged nearby buildings and motor vehicles. Helicopters, ambulances and police units are at the site, in Kuningen, a district to the south of the city.' Read more at Massive blast at Jakarta embassy

Read more at: - Huge Blast in Jakarta, at Least Three Dead
- Terrorists behind fatal bomb blast
- No Australians killed in bomb blast
- Australia not intimidated by bomb: PM
- Jakarta Blast Pictures
- Bomb blast rocks Australian embassy
- Bombing at Australian Embassy in Indonesia Kills Seven, Wounds 98 - Indonesia shares slip after blast
- Australian Embassy in Jakarta Shattered by Blast
- Australian embassy evacuated in Jakarta
- Howard sends envoy, bomb experts
- Bomb blast heard 2km away
- Travel warning issued for Indonesia

2004 Australian Election Results

18 August, 2004 1:38 PM





What the results of the Australian Federal Election in 2004 be? Will Latham's ALP win or will John Howard retain the job as Prime Minister?

John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

Australian Federal Election Winners

10 August, 2004 1:13 PM





Who will win the Australian Federal Election in 2004? John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

Australian Federal Election Results

9 August, 2004 1:32 PM





What the results of the Australian Federal Election in 2004 be? Will Latham's ALP win or will John Howard retain the job as Prime Minister?

John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

An afternoon at the 'Footy'

8 May, 2004 5:46 PM

mcg.jpgJust spent the afternoon at one of Melbourne's more spiritual centres - the MCG (pictured) where I watch the mighty Blues run over the top of our arch rivals the Magpies.

Ok that sentence probably didn't make much sense to non Aussies - I'm talking about Australian Rules Football - Footy as we call it. My team is 'Carlton' and adjoining suburb to where we live and their logo/nickname is 'the Blues'. The other team is 'Collingwood' (who Phil over at Signposts goes for (not that I'm rubbing it in) and their logo is a 'Magpie'.

Anyway, all this to say I had a good afternoon doing something almost as Aussie as it gets.

Australia Day 04

26 January, 2004 8:12 PM

Well it is Australia Day (public holiday - yay!) and I probably should write something deep and meaningful on what it means to be an Aussie - but I'm afraid inspiration has not come knocking on my door. So I thought I'd link up to those that have written on the topic.

Jan decides to take a positive spin on Australia this year and writes - 'There is much I would like to change about government policy, but I am glad I am an Australian. I am glad I live in this ancient land of sometimes harsh beauty. I am thankful for our relative free way of life. I find it hard to envisage living permanently anywhere else. '

Tim Blair links up to a column written in a Jerusalem paper about Australia. Go figure! :-)

Dogfight at Bankstown celebrates with a poem - 'Surely God was a Lover...'

The Spin Starts Here takes a good hard look at the 'Australian of the Year' awards.

Kick and Scream renames the day with his post 'Happy Invasion Day'.

Back Pages takes a close look at our PM's words in relation to Steve Waugh's Aussie of the Year award.

Marty's Insight takes the traditional approach of drinking beer and cricket - a true Aussie!

John Quiggin reopens the Republic debate.

Finally Red Wolf sums it all up with the Australian Manifesto.

Melbourne Hotels

6 January, 2004 10:53 AM

A number of visitors to this site that have visited through our Virtually Melbourne Tour page have asked for recommendations and suggestions for Hotels and Accommodation in Melbourne. As a result I have put together this Melbourne Hotel Guide with information on individual Melbourne Hotels as well as useful Melbourne Hotel and Accommodation Online Resources. I hope those of you searching for a Melbourne Hotel find what you are looking for here - feel free to leave your comments and Melbourne Hotel recommendations below in comments.

Melbourne Hotel Resources and Guides

  • Melbourne Hotels (Red Flag) - A Melbourne hotel guide, with everything from luxury hotels through to cheap hotels.

  • Melbourne Hotels (Hot Travel - dedicated to fast, cheap and secure online hotel reservations in Melbourne.

  • Melbourne Hotels Guide - Melbourne Hotels organised by location

  • Discount Melbourne Hotels - With Discounted rates on Melbourne Hotels ranging from 3 star through to 5 star accommodation

  • Cheaper Than Hotels - Discounted 2 star to 5 star hotels in Melbourne and Sydney

  • Where to Stay in Melbourne - They provide a wide selection of properties� - budget, business, tourist, luxury, bed and breakfasts and apartments accommodation. HolidayCity Melbourne hotels offer comfort, quality and great value for the money, ideal for leisure and business travellers.

  • Melbourne-Stay - A professional online bookings service for a number of Melbourne Hotels

  • Melbourne City Life - With plenty of suggestions on Good Melbourne Hotels by location - but also a lot of other quality Melbourne tourist information.

Melbourne Hotels

  • Melbourne Grand Hyatt - Grand Hyatt Melbourne located at the top end of prestigious Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne's central business, shopping, theatre and restaurant district and is within walking distance of many of Melbourne's tourist attractions including Federation Square, National Gallery of Victoria, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne Museum and Melbourne Cricket Ground. Grand Hyatt Melbourne is the ideal Melbourne hotel for both business and leisure traveller and it is just 30 minutes drive from Melbourne Airport.

  • The Windsor Hotel - The elegant Windsor, Australia�s only remaining Grand hotel, combines the
    classic beauty and culture of Victorian architecture with the comforts and facilities of a modern five-star hotel, including broadband internet access, 24 hour room service, the Towers Fitness Centre and signature restaurant 111 Spring Street.

  • Le Meridien at Rialto - uilt at the end of the 19th century, Le Meridien at Rialto is one of Australia's finest examples of 'fin de si�cle' architecture. Located in the heart of Melbourne, it is only a short stroll from Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Telstra Dome, theatres and well-known shopping areas. The European style of each bedroom makes for elegant and intimate accommodation.

  • Eden on the Park - Overlooking picturesque Port Phillip Bay and the Albert Park Lake, home of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and Aquatic Swim Centre, Eden on the Park is an award-winning Deluxe Boutique Hotel offering 4 � star accommodation and Conference and Function facilities suitable for functions from 10 to 800 guests.

  • Bayview on the Park - Bayview On The Park is an award-winning four-star hotel situated on Queens Road opposite Albert Park Lake and Golf course and only minutes from the St Kilda Road Business District.

  • Melbourne Short Stay Apartments - Melbourne Short Stay Apartments offer a range of one, two and three bedroom quality executive apartments for the corporate and leisure traveller in a residential tower giving you a feeling of home.

  • Park Hyatt - Conveniently situated in one of Melbourne's most historic areas, at the top of Collins Street and opposite St Patrick's Cathedral, Park Hyatt Melbourne overlooks a district of Victorian architecture and is bordered by Melbourne's delightful Fitzroy Gardens. Just 13 miles from Melbourne Airport and convenient to the city's attractions, this boutique-style Hyatt hotel provides a warm ambience and exceptional levels of personalised service to its guests.

Feel free to leave your own recommendations and suggestions for quality Melbourne Hotels and Accommodation.

So this is Christmas

25 December, 2003 3:11 PM

Happy Christmas friends.

I'm blogging from my parents house. They live on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne and we've just had a lovely afternoon of food, presents and laughs.

Last night we had a quiet evening at home watching Christmas Carols on TV, sipping champagne and eating cheese while wrapping presents.

V's Dad and brother came for a Christmas brunch of french toast and fruit this morning. Then it was out here for lunch of roast pork, vegetables and icecream Christmas pudding for lunch.

This afternoon we're calling in on a couple of friends and tonight are dining with V's mother and her family. I think we're having prawns and chicken.

Today is around 30 degrees celcius so we're all in our shorts and Tshirts - probably a little warmer than some of your Christmas days.

Tomorrow we head down the Western coast of our state to visit one of the Livingroomers who is down in Warnambool working on her family farm over the summer. A couple of other livingroomers join us the day after for some fun on the beach. Its beautiful down there so it should be a relaxing and fun weekend.

Anyway - that is Christmas Aussie style - hope your day is as full of good times as ours has been so far. Peace to your and your family.

We had some rain

4 December, 2003 11:03 AM

bigdudley_street.jpgThe last few days we've had a bit of rain here in Melbourne.

The worst of it was in the northern suburbs close to where we live.

Luckily we live one floor up from street level and the worst damage we had was from leaving our bathroom window open a little bit and getting a wet floor.

Read More

Photo Source - The Age

Using Culture as a Bargaining Chip

21 November, 2003 10:56 PM

I'm watching the AFI (Australian Film Industry) Awards on TV as I write this. Its no academy awards thats for sure - but interesting. Japanese Story won best film.

Almost every person accepting an award made comment on how the Australian Federal Government is using culture as a bargaining chip in free trade talks with the United States.

'Filmmakers say their worst fears were borne out yesterday at a meeting with Federal Government officials, where it was confirmed that local content regulations for TV and new media will be traded-off and used to extract concessions in the free trade agreement.

"Australia has handed over its cultural policies to the United States, which effectively means our cultural policies will now be determined by the major US studios," said the executive director of the Australian Screen Directors' Association, Richard Harris.'

Also in the paper today regarding Australia/US relations at present is US hid vital war data from allies.

Summer arrives early

19 November, 2003 4:12 PM

It was hot again today. Last I heard it hit 35.5 which is rather warm for November here - we don't usually heat up until January/February.

Of course to me it felt a little hotter than that because I was unloading electrical appliances in a warehouse (tin shed) where one of my colleagues measured the temperature at 44.6 at one point this afternoon.

I think I might go pass out in the bath (cold) for a while.

Rugby World Cup - Go Australia

16 November, 2003 8:40 AM

Go Aussie.jpgAustralia 22 - New Zealand 10

Wallabies put it Together

Home forwards show spark as they douse Kiwi fire

Finally, Wallabies deliver

World at our feet

At last the Wallabies stand up

Aussies Stun All Blacks

Wallabies crush All Blacks

Kiwi fans stunned and bewildered

We're not chokers: NZ Coach

Rugby World Cup Showdown

8 November, 2003 11:14 PM

Well we are getting to the business end of the Rugby World Cup and the long awaited semi-final showdown between the Australian Wallabies (having beaten Scotland) and New Zealand All Blacks (having beaten South Africais set for next Saturday night.

On form the All Blacks should win it, but it is one of those match ups where anything could happen in what should be a great atmosphere in Sydney between these two great rivals.

Australia - The Lucky Country....for some

4 November, 2003 11:06 PM

A boat load of asylum seekers were seen approaching Melville Island (a small island North of Darwin Australia) earlier today.

How does our government respond? The following is an excerpt from The Age newspaper.

Thousands of islands in Australia's north have been cut off the map for migration purposes in a dramatic response to the arrival of boat people on an island near Darwin.

The federal government called an urgent executive council meeting this afternoon to pass the regulations to remove the islands from the migration zone, which retrospectively came into affect from midnight.

Last year they did a similar thing with 3000 islands off the northern coast of Australia also.

I'm ashamed of my country tonight. We boast about being one of the 'most livable countries' in the world - the 'lucky country' - a multicultural nation. And yet when a group of desperate people attempt to find sanctuary here we move our borders so that they can be turned around and rejected on a technicality.

Melbourne Cup

4 November, 2003 10:04 PM

V and I went to a Melbourne Cup BBQ this afternoon. Was a beautiful day.

As happens at virtually every such gathering we had a sweep where each person pulled a horse or two out of a hat (cost $2). There is a prize for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last place.

How did our 3 horses go? One came 1st, another came 2nd and the other came last. Embarrassing times....the minister and his wife clean up!




The Irish Hit Melbourne

31 October, 2003 9:49 PM

If you're thinking of visiting Melbourne this weekend you'd better have booked some accommodation a month or two back because the news reported tonight that there is not a spare room in any hotel in the city. Actually there isn't even a spare room in Geelong or Ballarat (two cities 45 minutes and 1.5 hours out of Melbourne). You see the Irish have invaded for one of the biggest sporting weekends of the year.

Tonight Australia is playing Ireland in International Rules Football. (Ireland won the game, but not by enough to stop us winning the series). Tomorrow night Australia and Ireland are playing in the Rugby World Cup.

On top of that Melbourne is in the middle of the Spring Horse Racing Carnival which draws huge crowds of hundreds of thousands on Saturday with Derby Day and then climaxes on Tuesday with the Melbourne Cup (we even get a public holiday for it...woohooo). Irish stayer 'Holy Orders' is running in the cup to complete the weekend for the Irish.

Update: Phew - Australia won the rugby by 1!

George W. Bush in Australia

23 October, 2003 4:15 PM

George W. Bush waltzed into Australia last night and has been received with a very mixed response.

The protests in most capital cities around the country started last night and continued throughout the day with around 5000 people booing him as he entered Parliament in Canberra.

He started a Mutual Admiration Society with our Prime Minister. He had an Aussie BBQ at our Prime Ministers house with some of out top sporting stars.

His speech to our parliament was disrupted by two of our Senators who were then asked to leave. Other MPs protested a little more subtly by wearing armbands, badges and not standing to applaud him (radical hey!?!).

He avoided any contact with the Australian media.

This afternoon he's lay a wreath at the War Memorial and head off after his 21 hours in the country.

Too White for Asia?

21 October, 2003 10:52 AM

'The tiny island nation's Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, said Australians could not be regarded as "indigenous Asians".' This is how Melbourne's Herald Sun reported Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's remarks. The Age and The Australian pick up the same story.

It's an interesting question. It boils down to a question of identity - Who are we?

It reminds me of the statement a friend made recently about this - he said 'You are trying to be like America. Your roots are in Europe and you're living in Asia. You guys have no idea who you are.'

So what are our roots? From where do we come?

Indigenous Australians have lived here for thousands of years. In the latest two centuries we were 'settled' (many are now realizing it was actually an invasion) by the English. Since that time there have been waves of immigration from a variety of countries of origin. Early on it was mainly those from the UK and Northern Europe. This century there have many from Greece, Italy and other Southern European countries and more recently an influx of new Australians from Asia (5% of our population were born there), Africa and the Middle East. (Since World War II about 5.5 million immigrants have come to Australia.)

25% of Australians were born overseas. 40% have at least one parent who was born overseas. We are increasingly multicultural and have an incredible mix of ethnic backgrounds. Melbourne is proud of its multicultural influences and for years boasted of having the largest Greek population in the world outside of Athens.

But the fact of the matter is that the majority of Australians are Anglo and yet geographically we find ourselves in the Asia Pacific.

Politically we are increasingly aligning ourselves with America.

George W Bush recently called us the 'Sherif' of the Asia Pacific - a partner (should that be pardner?) of the US in keeping law and order in the region. This was met with cries of protest from the region. Some responded by labeling us the 'puppet' of the region. To me the 'sherif' tag reeks of arrogance and shows a lack of understanding of the region.

So who are we? We are Australian. We need to remember that we are small in population (19,967,601 last time I checked. (it will increase by one every 2 or so minutes) Despite our leadership's power plays, ideas of self importance and arrogance we are but a bit player on the world scene. Perhaps we need to quit pretending we are anything else and get on with loving our neighbor and serving our region.

Japanese Story

19 October, 2003 6:09 PM

Just saw Japanese Story starring Toni Collette and Gotaro Tsunashim. Its been receiving pretty good reviews in the papers, but I'm afraid I found it rather slow.

The basic plot is about a Japanese man visiting the outback of Australia who falls in love with an Australian woman. There were some good things about the movie — the first half was interesting. The interaction between Japanese and Australian cultures, some amazing scenery (its my favourite part of the world) and some humorous scenes. It was ok until they fell in love — and then I'm afraid I began to doze. Toni was good, but the characters all seemed underdeveloped but the plot ...well it lost the plot. 5 out of 10.

George W. Bush is 50 Cent!

17 October, 2003 10:55 PM

GeorgeWBush.gif50Cent.jpg50 cent is heading for Australia and as usual when such artists announce tours the debate begins as to whether people with criminal records should be allowed in the country.

Its happened before - most recently with Eminem. The protest will be made (I wouldn't be surprised if it is actually started by his tour promoters) - pressure will be applied on the government - there will be a media frenzy - he will be allowed entry - the concerts will happen - they will be sold out due to the publicity - there will be no incidents but lots of rumors - 50 cent will leave Australia a lot richer.

If only George W Bush could pull the same scam on his upcoming visit to Australia - he'd be able to fund his upcoming presidential race purely out of the pockets of teen age Australians.

Hmmm....maybe 50 Cent and George W. Bush are actually one in the same person and they are out here to raise campaigning money! That would explain why they are both here at once. Has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same room before?? I think I might be onto something here.

Remembering

12 October, 2003 9:59 PM

Today Australia remembered. Dog Fight At Bankstown does so in a simple yet powerful way.

Sporting Obsession

10 October, 2003 10:25 PM

Sport is in the headlines on a number of fronts in Australia today.

In Cricket Matthew Hayden broke the world record for the highest individual score in a Test match by scoring 380 today against Zimbabwe after 622 minutes at the crease.

The Rugby Union World Cup kicked off tonight with its opening ceremony and a comfortable win to Australia against Argentina 24 - 8.

Its going to be a good few weeks of Sport ahead.

Bali Remembered

9 October, 2003 11:35 PM

This Sunday (October 12) is the one year anniversary of the bombing in Bali. Australia is presently fairly focused upon remembering the tragedy in which 202 people (including 88 Australians) lost their lives.

My fear has been that the media will go into 'frenzy' mode as it often does on such occasions. So far I've seen a few examples of hype, however there have also been some worthwhile articles.

Of particular interest is the approach that The Age Newspaper is taking. They have a wide range of articles from different perspectives, but the centerpiece of their reporting is their 88 Australian Stories series in which articles have been written telling the story of each Australian that lost their life. As I read a number of them today I felt as though I was undergoing some therapeutic exercise.

Storytelling is such a powerful medium and for me is probably the most appropriate way of remembering the event. My prayer is that in the sharing of these stories (and in the telling of stories for the other 114 victims internationally) that the families and friends of those that were lost and Australia (and the world) as a whole will find they are able to continue to move through their grief and somehow find some peace in their sufferiing.

Virtually Melbourne

4 October, 2003 11:10 AM

melbourne.jpg

Have you ever wanted to visit Melbourne Australia? Got a spare 15 minutes? Let me show you around using a series of Melbourne web cams and other sites (you might also like to visit our Melbourne Hotels page if planning a trip to Melbourne).


Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria which is on the south eastern corner of the mainland of Australia. Here is a map to help you get your orientation. The population of the Melbourne and its suburbs is in excess of 3.5 million people. The suburban sprawl extends out from Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River for up to 50km in some directions. It is well known for its many gardens and parks, great shopping, passion for sport, cosmopolitan food and wine and great weather (some days!).

melbourne-1.jpgTo get the best webcam views of Melbourne head to This Site which has 28 different cams from all over the city. (some are better than others - just hope its not raining or night time when you look!)

Visit Victoria and Visit Melbourne both have have a plethora of information including information on upcoming festivals, things to do, accommodation (for your non virtual trips), maps, weather, nightlife and our Top 20 Tourist Attractions. This site also has heap of info and pictures of Melbourne.

mcg.jpgThe MCG - Melbourne Cricket Ground is a central feature of our city. It is the home of football (Aussie Rules) and cricket. There is nothing like a capacity crowd of 90,000 or so screaming people when your team is on top! This site has some great 360 degree virtual views of the ground.

Melbourne is famous for its zoo. Check out what's happening live in the butterfly and gorilla enclosure! Also worth the trip is Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.

One of the most spectacular destinations in our state and my personal favorite is The Great Ocean Road where there is some amazing views of a rugged coast line, some great little towns, some beautiful beaches and great surfing. This person's gallery will give you a feel for the coastline.

koala.jpgAnother popular destination is Phillip Island where tourist flock in their thousands nightly to see the penguins march up the beach with tummies full of fish for their babies. There is also a koala reserve as well as some great surfing, diving, seal watching and coastline/beaches. Its a great place to spend a week.

There is of course a lot more that can be said about and seen in Melbourne. Below are a number of Melbourne information links and an assortment of online galleries and 'virtual tours' for your perusal. If you're a Melbournian or have visited feel free to leave your own personal descriptions, highlights, Melbourne links in comments.

Melbourne links

City of Melbourne - official site

Stats about Melbourne

Weather Bureau

Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Park - Home of the Tennis Australian Open

Melbourne Aquarium

Melbourne/Vic Public Transport

Lonely Planet on Melbourne

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

AFL - Australian Football League

Assorted online Melbourne Photo Galleries and Virtual Tours

Miscellaneous Melbourne Architecture .

Skyline shots.

Assorted Melbourne Photos including some of our parks and night skyscapes.

Melbourne's Drains!

A much better Virtual Tour of Melbourne and Victoria than mine! Check it out.

360 degree Panoramic Views from around Australia (there are heaps!)

How to live like an Aussie links including guides to eating Vegemite, going to the footy, having a BBQ Aussie style, surviving a hot Christmas downunder, finding a best mate, plus lots more.

Outback Australia Virtual Tour

Australian Wildlife Virtual Tour

Melbourne Virtual Tour

Aboriginal Australia Virtual Tour

Melbourne Hotels

Australia's most spiritual gathering?

27 September, 2003 12:01 PM

If you live in Melbourne and you want to do a day trip to the beach or the wine region - today is the day. If you want to go to the museum or aquarium or art gallery, go this afternoon. In fact if you want to go anywhere that there are normally long lines of people - today is your safest bet for having the place to yourself.

Its grandfinal day in the AFL. (Australian Rules Football...or 'Footy' as we call it). Its a wonderful occassion to celebrate the best code of football in the world!

This afternoon the teams from Collingwood (the Pies...as in Magpies - they are from Melbourne) and Brisbane (the Lions...as in...ROAR!) will run out onto the MCG (Melbourne CRICKET Ground - ironically referred to as the home of FOOTBALL). 72,814 people will be there (normally we get closer to 90,000 people, but there are some 'renovations' going on in one of the stands) despite the expected rain to participate in an event that many see as one of Australia's most spiritual gatherings.

This is one of the few occasions when Aussies sing together. They also drink a lot of beer (which might explain the singing), eat a lot of meat pies (not mag-pies) and do a lot of screaming and dancing around together. Its quite a tribal gathering and something to be experienced.

Those of us Aussies too unconnected and poor to get tickets will gather around TV sets throughout the country (and around the globe) - beer and meat pies in hand - cheering our teams on. It is quite the event.

We're having a couple of friends over to watch the game with and tonight some more will come for a BBQ on the balcony to debrief after the game.

I'm still in two minds as to which team to support - Collingwood is a Melbourne team, but they are my team's (Carlton) arch rival - I don't think I can bring myself to go for them. Brisbane are from interstate - but they sort of originated from the suburb I live in before moving to Brisbane. So I guess Brisbane it is.

GO LIONS!!!

update: as you can no doubt tell by the comments - the Lions won convincingly - it was quite a comprehensive win. That is three years in a row they've come away with the premiership.

I went to the morning after Melbourne celebrations which were held at the end of our street this morning which was fun. Pity the game wasn't a little closer...

A Pommy view of Melbourne

23 September, 2003 2:28 PM

Ok I know I've referred to this blog 3 times in the last 9 posts - this will be the last time for a while - but Ian has just posted his reflections on my wonderful city of Melbourne on his blog. He comments on Cafe Culture, the Arts, the Christian scene and Aboriginal Christian Art. Hopefully it will give those of you who are curious a bit of a feel for where us Melbournians live. (through the eyes of a Londoner)

Australia

12 August, 2003 8:30 AM

Last week at dinner Gerard Kelly was asked what his impressions of Australia were. He replied:

'You are trying to be like America. Your roots are in Europe and you're living in Asia. You guys have no idea who you are.'

Go Poo!

6 July, 2003 10:05 PM

You can do it!!!

Update: No he can't!

Rain

21 February, 2003 4:50 PM

This morning V and I woke up to a very unusual sound. It was raining! After months...no years of very little rain today has been the first day that I can remember for quite some time where it has barely stopped raining! People all around our state are rejoicing because this is the first step towards ending one of the worst droughts this country has ever seen. It also is a step towards putting out the fires that continue to burn in the North East of our state. So far these fires have burnt uncontrollably for over 40 days and have destroyed over 1,000,000 hectares of bushland.

The only downside to this rain is that tomorrow I'm marrying a young couple in a garden wedding! Not sure how it will work, but we'll get there!

Melbourne Wanderings

13 February, 2003 4:53 PM


This afternoon I went into the city of Melbourne to make a long awaited purchase of a new ibook computer. The wait was over - or so I thought - the time had come for my computing hardware to move into the new millenium.

I have not been in the cbd much of late - I guess I've not had much need to go.

I had lunch with V first which was a nice treat after a week where we've not had alot of time together. She was happy to see me and I her - nice.

Then I went to get the computer only to find that despite being told earlier in the day that they had stock that they did not. There would be a few hours wait until they were able to rustle one up.

So I was alone in the city with a few hours to spare and I decided to wander around, grab a coffee and see the latest sights. Things have changed in Melbourne of late - I noticed quite a few changes.

Firstly we have a new centre piece - Federation Square (pictured right)- a whole city block that has been reshaped with some what modern architecture, cafes, museum space and miscellanous other nooks and crannies. Interesting place although it cost something like $300million more than was budgeted....I shudder at the thought of the waste...

Secondly there were tourists everywhere! Backpackers - tour buses - people from all nations. Many from Asia, but also alot of Europe and the US. Its a great time of year to come to Melbourne I guess, great weather and it is a beautiful city. (free plug for the Aussie tourist Industry!)

Thirdly I was disappointed to find alot of sidewalk sellers of all kinds of description. I was approached by four charities (from 'save the children' to 'amnesty' to 'greenpeace'), two football clubs selling raffles, two religious groups (both of whom were concerned that I wasn't really saved despite me being a endorsed minister of religion with two major denomination), two mobile phone companies, one jewelry company and one guy trying to drum up business for the local topless bar. I found the whole experience more stressful than anything, I might have to get a T-shirt that says "I gave at the office" for my next trip.

Of course that next trip might be sooner than expected as after three hours of wandering I got a call from the Apple shop saying the ibook was still out of stock and that I should come back either tomorrow or Monday to pick it up.


Aussie Day Off

27 January, 2003 5:47 PM


Today was the public holiday for Australia Day - we take it off even though the official day was yesterday....we guard our public holidays jealously. Went to the botanical gardens with friends for a picnic. It was very pleasant to sit in the sun - eat some amazing food and have some good conversation. Our American friend Melanie joined us again and gave us a bit of a US history lesson - also shared some more of her impressions of Australia with us. Its always interesting to hear those types of comments. In fact just to be spending time with her forces us to take a look at our country (and ourselves) in a different light. Its interesting to see the 'normal' things that you see every day through someone who hasn't seen them before.

Came home and watched the soup bowl - what was Shania thinking when she picked that outfit??? - I don't mind watching American football (although why do you call it FOOTball when you only kick it 10 or so times in a few hours?) I get a little frustrated with the whole stop start process of the game - but do enjoy the strategic aspect of it. I don't rate it as a game as highly as I do Australian Rules football (footy) where we kick the ball regularly and the play doesn't generally stop for until the quarter is over (25 or so minutes later).

Then again - its all sport and I'm generally satisfied watching it no matter what code it is.

Australia Day 03

26 January, 2003 12:51 PM


Its the day we celebrate our Aussieness - well sort of - tomorrow is the day we get a public holiday for the occasion.

What should I write about Australia on this day of celebrations? What should I write about this place that in a couple of centuries has gone from a small convict colony to a modern vibrant society? As I contemplate the task I've got some mixed reflections on my country at this time. These reflections will not just be unique to Australia - but sum up some of the feelings I have towards my country.

First and foremost - I'm proud of my country.I love many many things about it. I love the diversity of this place. Diversity in its people groups (this must be one of the most ethnically diverse countries around), in its vast and beautiful landscape (from snowfields, to dessert, to amazing coastline) and in its weather (here in Melbourne at least - if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes...illustrated by yesterdays 44 degrees and tomorrows 20 degrees with showers).

I love the freedom we have in this country - to worship, to express ideas and thoughts, to travel and to express ourselves creatively.

I love many of the typical attributes of Australian people. I love the Aussie sharp sense of humor, the ability to laugh at themselves, to use satire and sarcasm well, their laid back attitude towards life - epitomized in the statement 'SHE'LL BE RIGHT'. I love the 'Aussie battler' spirit - the ability to face overwhelming circumstances one step at a time and eventually overcome them. I love that we often support the 'underdog' - I find it remarkably similar to the attitude of Jesus. I enjoy Australians ability to be direct and honest as they interact with one another - even to the point of bluntness at times. The ideal of 'mateship' is also something that appeals to me which is apparent in the way many of us relate to one another.

I could go on - but as I've been writing there are also things that cloud my view of my wonderful country. It is not all rosy here unfortunately. I hesitate to raise it on a day like today - but we do have a long way to go as a nation.

I am ashamed at the way our people have treated its Aboriginal people over the past two centuries. The past decade have seen some reconciliation - but there is still more to do - our Prime Minister is still yet to utter the word 'Sorry' - out of fear of the consequences of doing so. As Rick Farley states in his Australia Day address : "for Aboriginal Australians and many others, January 26 is not a day for celebration. To them the date signifies invasion and dispossession."

I worry about our foreign policy as I've blogged in previous days. Our seeming to blindly follow our American friends into world conflicts which we don't seem to be thinking through ourselves. Why do we seem to need to impress the US so much? Do we perhaps have a self esteem problem as a nation?

I worry about some of the attitudes of intolerance towards asylum seekers/refugees and people with a Muslim belief system which seem to be rising up within our society. Likewise I worry about the way in which we are treating our environment - the efforts to change this have been considerable, however many of the damaging trends continue.

I flinch every time I go to the shopping centers or into the city and see the rampant consumerism and consumptionism that seems to have gripped our people. The striving for happiness through having, experiencing and succeeding which seems to leave so many empty. Perhaps this is one of the contributing factors to our sky rocketing suicide levels, particularly among young men.

As a nation celebrates I have mixed feelings. There is much to celebrate as I look at my country - I'm so glad to live here - however there is still a long way to go. I get the sense that we've lost our way a little in some of the above areas, perhaps we're struggling a little with our identity or place in this changing world. The opportunities exist for us to be a nation that makes a positive contribution to our world - I pray that we're able to see a way forward that might help us to succeed in this quest.

Hot Times

26 January, 2003 9:48 AM


Yesterday was 44.1c degrees (111f)in Melbourne - the hottest day in 64 years and therefore my life. Spent the day with V and Mel in my airconditioned car touring the Yarra Valley Wineries. It was actually quite a fun day and a cool way of spending the day as all the wineries were air conditioned.

Sleep last night was impossible - we have a little fan, but no air con - I feel very tired today.

Its getting hot in here

24 January, 2003 10:04 AM


The discussion over the past 24 hours has been rather hot at times - I've never recieved so many emails (both encouraging and very anti what I've written) on a topic or had so many hits on this blog (when I logged on this morning we'd already passed the record amount - humbly small as it is - of hits for a day after just 8.5 hours since I've changed to the new stats page) - abortion is a topic that generates such an incredibly deep felt response in so many.

I thank all for your comments and emails and blogging on your own pages. I also want to apologise if I've cause offense, anger or hurt by my posts. I've only wanted to encourage others to think about what they say and expect others to do so for me also. Lets continue put the effort into seasoning our conversation with Grace.

I will take a break from discussing this topic in my main posts as I feel the topic is sidetracking me and perhaps others. It also left me feeling very drained and a tad battered. Its never been my attention for this blog to be a commentary on such issues as I've gotten into of late. However it has been a useful discussion in my mind. I'm happy to continue the discussion either in the comments of this or the past two blog entries or via email.

Speaking of heat - its getting HOT in Australia again. Today its 37c in Melbourne (99f), the forecast tomorrow is 40c (104f) with some parts of the state getting up to 43+ (thats over 110f) The fire danger continues to be extreme with the outskirts of our city and rural Victoria on high fire alert.

Australia on Fire continued...

22 January, 2003 3:39 PM


Fires continue to burn across Australia. Tasmania had over 40 separate fires burning this morning. The north East of Victoria (my state) reported fires 100km in perimeter last night - but there were only 4 houses lost which is quite amazing and illustrates the vastness of the countryside. Unfortunately it is suspected that many of these fires were deliberately lit and that the state government had been warned about the susceptibility of these regions to such an emergency without doing anything to intervene. Its amazing to see the media's reporting of the situation. Some of the TV footage is amazing, people filming at the centre of intense blazes. Its full on stuff!

Heard another amazing story on the radio this morning from one woman in the north east who spent last night sheltering in a mine shaft with her family and a number of animals. It was the only place she could escape to - and even there they had to keep watering down the heshen bags they'd put up at the entrance because they kept catching fire. Scary stuff - enhanced by the immediacy of the reporting. She talked on the radio via satellite phone this morning as she fought the fire around her house. Literally hose in one hand phone in the other - her description of what she saw and felt was amazing.

Australia on Fire

20 January, 2003 5:34 PM


This morning V and I went for a walk at 7am (part of our fitness kick). Its a lovely walk normally, especially this time of year when it gets so hot later in the day. This morning was eerie. Melbourne was covered by a blanket of smoke. Instead of the crystal clear sunrise we saw a blood red sun trying to shine through the haze. Visibility was down to under 3km. Its not unusual at this time of year for their to be bush fires on the outskirts of our city and for us therefore to be able to smell smoke - however this morning things were different. There are no major fires within hundreds of kilometers of the city - the smoke had traveled some distance, from the north east of our state where the news report I just heard said fires are burning that rival any in that regions residents memory.

Our nations capital, Canberra, has had the worst effects in of fire in the past week. 400 homes have been lost so far in the past 48 hours - 4 have lost their lives and some of our countries most beautiful forests have been leveled. The news reports that I watched earlier in the day about the Canberra fires were heart breaking. One woman told the story of trying to escape her suburban home in Duffy in her car. The tyres were on fire and yet they drove on - desperate to escape. The car contained her family, pets and a few hastily grabbed mementoes - it was full. Even though the tyres were on fire, people in the street tried to get in - the fire was so intense. In the end she had to lock the car doors because they couldn't fit anyone else in and she had to drive off from those who had no way to get out.

The news services tonight will be filled with more stories like this - more pictures of complete streets of houses gone - more gloomy weather forecasts of hot and windy days with no rain in sight. Australia is experiencing the worst drought its had in decades, some say the worst in centuries - the bush is dry - all it takes is a spark to get an inferno going - things are gloomy. Would you pray for our nation?

Yet in the midst of the heartbreak and chaos there is an Aussie spirit that seems to shine through. Amidst the stories on the news tonight will be stories of firefighters traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to help fight the fire in other states. There will be stories of money and supplies being donated. There will be stories of heroism and of people left with absolutely nothing who still manage to crack a joke or look at the positive of their situation. The Aussie spirit will live on.

PS - Jan is doing some great updates of the fire situation around Australia at her blog - Shalom

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