Monday, February 22, 2010


One of the appalling excuses used by both Governments and bureaucracy led business is that ‘change takes time’. This excuse is absolute rubbish but is still used by people who are unable to make decisions. Nothing happens except talk.
But an even more dysfunctional change is driven by people more suited to detail work [the block people] rather than those capable of a broader vision [the jigsaw people]. The block people’s changes are riven through the community because they can’t see the consequences of actions outside of their own narrow perspective.
Hence we all suffer at the hands of these people because single lone voices of discontent mean squat when compared to a major organisation whose senior management can’t make decisions and whose block people can’t vision the results of their changes.
Unfortunately it seems that Liquor Licence Victoria has, through community pressure, panicked and set their ‘Block’ people to the task of creating change. This they have done but in the process have alienated every liquor licence holder as well as the public and, far worse, have created an internal quasi police force that wastes time and money and simply cannot engender the changes they seek to make.
How a caravan park, selling $5k worth of bottled booze a year [6 bottles a week], can be deemed to be a threat to the public and subject to an increase of licence fee from $100 approx to $6,000 is beyond anyone’s imagination. How increasing licence fees can make any difference to street crime at all is a nonsense. How a small suburban restaurant with a 10pm licence can be deemed a risk to the public and have the cost of their ‘on-premise’ licence double and a licence, designed to allow diners only to purchase wine to take home, increase by 400% is also a nonsense. There are many more examples of this gross stupidity.
How long must the people of Victoria put up with the expensive, dysfunctional attitude and policies of LLV. Remember we as Victorians, pay for their mistakes. For eight of the last ten years LLV have been a delight to deal with but over the past two, someone inside LLV has reverted its thinking to early 19c norms. For example, why do LLV send their own police out to venues to see if licensees have bits of paper stuck on a wall? Do LLV think this will reduce perceived violence on the street? I really hope not.
Perhaps some LLV block people have thought, “Got to be seen to be doing something, don’t want to think too much, don’t want any open communication and most of all I want my own power base with my own police and I want to be feared”. Farfetched? Maybe and maybe not.
This whole mess is another Labour Government screw up. Under Liberal, LLV ‘worked’ and most licensees did the right thing. This Government is taking Victoria backwards as has also been proven by its return to a 19c ‘Monday to Friday 9 to 5 thinking’ [instead of joining the real world of 24/7].
Labour seems to want to return to a ‘big-brother’ highly regulated environment where quasi-police inspectors run rampant across our public transport and now our entertainment environment. Instead of dealing with the problem, these people just address the result – after the horse has bolted.
I wonder what international visitors think when they see dark-clothed people burst into a fine dining restaurant during service, flash a badge [albeit whip it back into a pocket before any real identification can be made] and proceed to demand that the manager stop dealing with customers to prove to them they have a liquor licence and that four bits of paper are pinned to a wall. I can tell you what they think because it happened to us. People were horrified and disappointed that Victoria has gone so far downhill towards a ‘jackboot’ state.
The same can be said for public transport inspectors. Draconian and failing to remedy the problem. As an example, we sometimes catch a tram from St Kilda to Fitzroy. We have never seen more than 5% of customers purchase and/or validate a ticket. Once again, the inspectors are not fixing the problem and, in this case, they are not even addressing the dysfunctional result. The amount of money lost to Victoria is staggering - $270 for one trip on one tram that we know about.
Visitors think we are a police state yet these inspectors are not police but do have powers of detention. Is Labour determined to build their own Government led quasi-police force? It seems so.
It’s a bit like we are heading back to the strike prone public transport anarchy [a state of lawlessness and disorder usually resulting from a failure of government] of the 1960’s. No wonder Mr Kennett had to sell management rights of our public transport system – if for no other reason but to squash the anarchy that had developed through years of bad Government. Same reason we got those dreadful ticketing machines.
Now we are seeing the same thing develop with Liquor Licence Victoria. Our Government has failed to address rising levels of unease in the community because of a perception of uncontrolled violence. To be seen to be doing something they have created a jack-boot system where both LLV and public transport management seem to believe they are close to God and must be obeyed or the wrath of the inspectors will rain down. Give me a break.
Hasn’t anyone told the Government that it’s better to work with people so they want to do the right thing rather than penalise them for any errant behaviour? The first is harder but works whilst the second is used by people who don’t want to think too much but want to be seen to be doing something - and doesn’t work.
A perfect example of a major change handled well was when the Federal Government and the ATO brought in GST. There were teams of people out there talking to small business helping them with systems, support and general help and advice. These people had a great attitude, were a delight to work with and really squashed the old image of the ATO as a draconian organisation destined to ruin your life. They worked with us to do the right thing and it worked. Ring the ATO and see for yourself the massive change in attitude compared to even 10 years ago.
This brings us back to the LLV and public transport.
No one wants a return to a strike prone union dominated public transport system but removing the human element is very dysfunctional for Victorians and for visitors; both perceptually and for safety. Just as the human element worked for the ATO, it can work on public transport. Perhaps, bring in roving and singing conductors to sell tickets [remember the paper variety?] and convince people to do the right thing by education and shame rather than penalty. Perhaps a few singing drivers would also differentiate our trams from the rest of the world [?]. Secondly install videos in all carriages etal and prosecute violent people to the nth degree. But this requires the same sort of attitude change that the ATO achieved.
LLV need to scrap their current program because it’s rubbish and cannot achieve the changes required. They too, can take a lead from the ATO. Get rid of the jackboot inspectors and send out supportive people to help licensees do the right thing. Just inspecting bits of paper wastes everyone’s time and money and makes LLV a joke. Just see the current publicity to see how badly they have failed. Once again install cameras in known trouble areas and prosecute bad people to the nth degree. Booze is only a catalyst – bad people do bad things with or without a catalyst. Good people don’t do bad things even with a catalyst. LLV inspectors checking bits of paper on a wall will not and cannot change bad people. Simple logic.
Personally, I would send offenders to look after detainees at Christmas Island so they can learn respect from people who have done it tough and need support to survive.
The whole inspector ethos needs to be addressed and fixed. LLV need to get rid of their current system and actually think globally [jigsaw thinking] before creating even more angst and dysfunction. Public transport needs to be cost effective and safe and fun. Not haemorrhaging money, dodgy and frustrating. Bring back some of the human element and actually address the problem.
I don’t think this Government is capable of addressing these changes as they are proven to be heading inexorably in the wrong direction – as did the previous labour government.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


There is a risk that our Government is trivialising and/or pontificating on the critical issue of respect.
A Minister of respect? What a wank.
Respect is given by a person who admires someone for something they have done. Something in line with their own beliefs. Respect is earned by someone doing something others believe is in line with their own thinking.
Hitler was respected by the brown-shirts, serial killers respect other serial killers, Christians respect Christians, Muslims respect Muslims, creationists respect creationists, evolutionists respect evolutionists, unionists respect other unionists, street thugs respect other street thugs, most people respect our legal system and drivers who run red lights respect no one even themselves. Yet, Christians do not respect the opinions of Muslims, Muslims do not respect the opinions of Christians, evolutionists do not respect creationists and serial killers do not respect the legal system.
Therefore, it is obvious that focused respect is not always a good thing. This is not about right or wrong but about respecting others opinions.
The message is that by using a ‘narrow’ definition of respect, everyone will say they exhibit respect for someone or something – and they will. However, this means squat unless this narrow definition can be expanded to include areas outside of personal beliefs. This does not mean accepting some actions evolving from certain beliefs [Hitler or suicide bombing for example] but trying to understand why people have certain beliefs and respecting their right to those beliefs.
The problem is that people under societal pressure will narrow their perspective into a tunnel vision in order to cope. Smokers are a perfect example – they ignore medical, societal and attitudinal pressures and instead focus on argument by exception. They need to do this to continue with their beliefs and do the thing they want to do.
Same applies to other relationships such as union/business, Christian/Muslim and thugs/police.
No one in their right mind would or could respect suicide bombing as a solution to anything and surely this is the final act of desperation by a section of society marginalised by a set of circumstances outside of their control. Blinkers are up, tunnel vision is alive and well and respect is introverted to like thinking people within their own enclave.
Perhaps a solution is the common enemy or something which binds disparate opinion into a singularity for a common purpose.
A simple example was the world wide coverage a burnt and wild Koala being given a drink after the Black Saturday bush fires was given. People forgot their own survival-critical-tunnel-vision and refocused. They ignored inculcating trauma for a few brief moments and moved outside of the tunnel vision. They gave ultimate respect for the Koala as a survivor.
Tattooed bikers, some of whom have less than law abiding lives, are given respect when they donate stuffed toys on mass for a good cause.
The respect message is obvious.
Provide a focus which all people will respect and identify with – together with all other parts of the community.
I personally think creationists have lost the plot and fly in the face of known and provable science yet I respect their belief that there is some deity which is always good, kind and provides a model to live by. Evolutionists don’t necessarily share this life-living model; what a pity. Just because I believe creationists are a fraction challenged does not mean I don’t respect the values they hold and live by.
It is possible to have fundamental disagreements yet maintain respect.
I think anyone who a jumps out of a plane, without needing to, is definitely a sandwich short of a loaf yet I admire and respect their courage. The fundamentalist sky-diver perhaps will not respect anyone who chickens out on these suicide attempts yet he may respect the pilot because he has a job that the fundamentalist admires and respects. I don’t understand vegetarians yet it doesn’t change the respect I have for them as people because they may enjoy a few glasses of red; something I do understand and respect.
How good is life when I can respect people whilst still arguing about their obviously errant beliefs.
Politics is great because everyone has an opinion; it’s just that everyone else is wrong! But what good fun the discussion is – as long as people see the discussion as just that – a discussion not something impinging or subverting core values or respect.
The respect message is easy – enjoy others for the things you find mutually important and respect their rights to have opinions which disagree with your own.

World without atmosphere

There is only one way to reduce nasty emissions in our democratic and hedonistic society.
Forget the global warming / climate change arguments because it will take decades for people to get on board to produce any meaningful results. Forget the politicians because their agenda is to stay in power. Forget the cost of investing with low emission providers because a world without atmosphere will eventually make the cost of non-investment irrelevant.
People will only respond to change for two reasons. Firstly, because they are physically threatened by immediate catastrophe – this will not happen because climate change is seen as beyond our life span. Secondly because people will gain an immediate financial benefit from using low emission providers.
This is so important that our Government needs to focus on just one thing - making the cost for the average person of selecting low emission providers cheaper than selecting high emission providers.
People will change within days. Simple.
Cut the endless bureaucracy and debate and use any excuse and make it happen immediately.
Australia must make an immediate and massive investment in solar power, wind power, wave power, thermal power and indeed any other renewable energy source so that prices immediately fall below dirty power. Partnership, develop, subsidise, support and ROI.
Let people change without thinking about anything other than improving their lifestyle through and by saving energy dollars and it will happen.
Let the northern hemisphere self destruct but let’s keep beautiful Australia, beautiful.