Thursday, December 2, 2010


Good morning Mr Baileau,
This is not a congratulatory letter rather a ‘gauntlet’ letter. The opportunity is for your Government to accept the overriding and massive challenge that the previous Government ignored. You, as did Jeff Kennet, must believe yourself not as a Premier but as the CEO of Victoria and treat your role as does any CEO. Not involvement with mundane crap stealing time and energy [leave that to the minions] but with strategy, vision and a future focus. Jeffrey saved our bacon as a state from the junior level management of which Brumby was a part and dragged us back to AAA+ ratings. Then we rewarded his success by giving his job to Bracks – can’t help stupidity. Thanks to Howard and Costello we as a nation hardly felt a ripple from the GFC where other countries are still in the deepest poo excreted from their own ineffectual rhetoric and action. Dare I suggest that they had politicians to lead them rather than CEOS’. Once again we reward Howard and Costello by giving their jobs to Gillard and Swan – despair is not a strong enough word.
In the bluntest of terms, ‘we as a State cannot survive without a rock solid vision for the next 20+ years’. You as leader of your party must give us hope, a future focus and a determination to eclipse all others in our collective race to survival. Piece of cake really.
Myki, along with a myriad of other mis-managed concerns, is not really important. What is important is our future and the development of Victoria by and through the eyes and intelligence of our best and brightest. We must harness the power of the collective into a future focus. One possible way to do this is to offer graduates elimination of university fees providing they spend say 12 months as part of a collective ‘think and do tank’ for the sole benefit of Victoria. Can you imagine 100 of those best and brightest developing our future through sustained and controlled projects – and they do it year upon year. I get excited just thinking about it.
Congratulations on a campaign well done and indeed coming across as someone who understands respect and integrity.
Good government,
Jon Langevad.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Mining Tax

I wonder what it’s like to be a labour back bencher in the Rudd government when their leader is out of control?
How dare he contemplate a ‘super tax’ profit from specific businesses touted by him as ripping Australian’s off just because they have the temerity to be profitable. This is beyond big brother, beyond Maoism and beyond Stalinism – it an affront to every Australian living in our free enterprise supposedly Westminster based democratic society.
I heard a lame excuse from the Prime Minister that it was because the taxed companies were foreign owned, successful and indeed mining Australian natural resources. Canada is champing at the bit just itching to garner investors dismissed by Rudd as I bet are many other countries. How would Rudd explain it if other countries taxed Australian companies profits in their country just because they were profitable? His actions are bordering on nationalising a countries infrastructure through financial stealth – this happens only during war or if your name happens to be Mugabe. This amounts to taxing management success.
There is no doubt that foreign investment in our country needs to be curtailed but this should be controlled by controlling the resource and who owns it, not by taxing the managers or the shareholders. So much for self funded retires using dividends from ‘blue chip’ stocks as a living wage.
This man is ignores climate change because other countries ignore the issues, retreats Australia to the back of the pack by his actions when we should lead the world and now he bolts from proper controlled foreign investment by suicidal profit nationalisation.
Get rid of this Government.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fare evasion and political diatribe

Do politicians responsible for our public transport system and fare evasion do anything other than continually reiterate the problem followed by the inevitable and meaningless, “we need to do something”? Obviously they feel they must give the impression of action so they pontificate with staccato-punctuated monosyllabic sentences trying to sound decisive, important and forthright. Unfortunately, the sole intent is to dissuade scrutiny and avoid any sort of decision-making.
The Government and the operators know that fare evasion is rife and that their in-house quasi police inspectors are a public relations nightmare and don’t work. They know the losses involved and what it’s costing every Victorian in real dollars.
On the few occasions we have taken the 96 tram between St Kilda and Fitzroy only 10% of people buy or validate a ticket. This endemic behaviour for one tram and one ride lost around $200 in revenue. Just imagine the money lost to the whole system.
Given that the operator’s gross profit remains static and given that everyone pays, then simple arithmetic shows that everyone’s fares could drop by at least 50%.
If everyone pays then everyone benefits. I would like to see the existing quasi-police inspectors turn into roving conductors who sell tickets with a smile rather than fine people with a stick. That will work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Royal Melbourne Golf Club [RMGC] taking over the operations of Sandringham Golf Links [SGL].

[Response to the WAFR article dated April 23rd 2010 by Mathew Dunkley]
Why do I feel uneasy when intelligent people at RMGC submit an allegedly overpriced tender to local council to take over the management of SGL when even a cursory analysis of the reported AFR figures show they can’t turn a profit? This is financial suicide by the RMGC but, because the golf course will suffer by and through a lack of operational finances, could also end badly for SGL.
On Mr Dunkley’s reported figures, RMGC will lose more than $150,000 a year. This will need to be subsidised by RMGC members through and by special levies because, according to Council, green fees are lease controlled.
No one in their right mind at RMGC would lead them down this route unless there was a carrot. Equally, no one with even a smattering of intelligence at the council would accept a tender in the expert knowledge that the RMGC couldn’t turn a profit.
The inevitable results for RMGC, SGL, the public and the Council are negative, costly and substantial.
The Council’s press release in three years could read, “We have tried to manage SGL through competitive tender but due to unforseen financial circumstances we will now have to sell off the back 9 holes to RMGC – but the public will still have a 9 hole course albeit we will have to sell some sections of that too for a commercial driving range and further sections for a hotel complex. We realise that the heritage value will be compromised but it’s unavoidable”.
If anyone is of any doubt that this is a real possibility, just take a look at what is happening at Elsternwick public golf course. This original condition suburban public course is perhaps inappropriately maintained and managed and will reach a point of degradation when the council will act on its plans to reduce its layout but with the addition of a commercial driving range and other commercial infrastructure using the excuse, “Due to unforeseen circumstances we will have to sell 3 holes to commercial ...”.
Rings a bell, doesn’t it.
Perhaps Council needs to be accountable for decisions taken in the face of obvious dysfunction.
And, it’s not only golf courses at risk by a government’s dereliction of duty - government allowed the destruction of one of the last great Victorian seaside gardens at Erskine House [Lorne] for ignominious cheek and jowl apartments. In my opinion, the value of those heritage gardens was abjectly dismissed by Government in favour of short term commercial gain.
RMGC is a beautiful golf course in the Australian tradition where manicuring is minimal and golf is played as it should be, in natural surrounds.
Sandringham public course is easier for the average golfer with fewer bunkers, slower greens and less rough. But it still has that traditional Australian influence and considering the sheer volume of players is absolutely beautiful and extremely well managed.
With very few changes, the back 9 at Sandringham could well equal RMGC in terms of beauty and challenge. It must be a powerful carrot to RMGC especially as it and SGL have common fences!
Do I agree with everything that has happened at SGL? No of course not. Everyone has opinions and ideas relating to their own perceptions of what a golf course should be.
We all suck in our breath at the natural beauty of courses such a Barnbougal Dunes in Tasmania or The National on the Mornington Peninsula or even Narooma public in NSW. As pretend-golfers we itch to accept their challenges and/or feel the privilege of just wandering around in such natural beauty.
Yet, there is still a balance to commercial reality as high profile but badly managed golf courses have gone broke and there is always the humungous cost of the infrastructure needed to maintain such a huge expanse of grass.
At SGL I personally think they have removed too much natural bush, made a couple of beautiful raised postage stamp greens into megalithic monsters, filled in a couple of the deep-as-the-devil-bunkers and built a cafe totally out of character with the original building.
Plus, more effort should have been made by Council to create water storage dams, water courses and subsequent automatic close cut-fairway-watering whilst leaving say three levels of rough; in the Australian tradition.
Can SGL be improved? Yes, of course! But, with the current management actively supported by Council and heritage values.
There are no hidden agendas with the current management as has been proven over approximately 40 years yet RMGC must have a hidden agenda because no one willingly loses money.
There needs to be a legal commitment by the Council and the management company never to sell or lease any part of the existing 18 hole layout to another golf course operator for any reason whatsoever AND a commitment by all to keep and realise the heritage values of the course AND a legal commitment by all to ensure continuance of quality through infrastructure [watering, buildings etal].
Whilst keeping the 18 hole course I personally would love to see a separation between the first and second nines by ramping up the back nine with the inclusion of another fifty or so bunkers, multi-level rough and multiple tees. The front nine remains easy for us mere mortals whilst the back nine becomes an object of desire. $15 to play the front nine and $25 to play the back. I will back it in [pun intended] that there would be monthly waiting lists to play the second 9 from first light to dusk!
Controversially, there is also room for a car park on Cheltenham Road between Reserve Road and the entrance gate whilst the existing car park and to be razed cafe could become a low rise hotel / motel / catering venue. This could be an architectural delight in the heritage veranda manner and would indeed be profitable.
The danger is with pepole who have power, no ultimate responsibility and are consumed with profit at the expense of heritage and public access.
Elsternwick public golf course and Erskine House are but two examples.
We as Victorians have a responsibility and a commitment to maintain our public spaces in their original heritage condition - for the benefit of everyone.
Once they are gone – they are gone.
Obviously, SGL can be improved but I question whether or not RMGC is the right manager given their reported desire to lose money or whether the Council has thought beyond being dazzled by the also as reported financially suicidal tender.
Jon Langevad MBA
‘Pretend golfer with around 40 years experience at Sandringham Golf Links’
‘Professional consultants in business, spatial design, finance, hospitality and management.’

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Black Saturday Royal Commission

How many fire fighting planes and/or appliances could we buy for the cost of this Royal Commission? Even just for the cost of lead counsel? Given that Black Saturday was a one off and uncontrollable event where it seems no human interference could have changed the result, why is it taking so long and so much of our money to decide who was responsible for managing it when it was clearly unmanageable? I am confused. Does this witch hunt actually serve any purpose other than to unearth a few management blunders from overtly stressed people? Perhaps the lawyers and Commissioners involved in this gravy train should purchase ‘Elvis III’ and donate it to Victoria from just part of their earnings.

Melbourne - hate and danger

Melbourne is turning into a war zone detention camp. Arriving in Melbourne over the Westgate Bridge used to be an absolute delight, with fabulous views right down our lovely bay past the cruise ships and Melbourne’s heritage piers whilst on the other side Melbourne the city ethereally hovered in the short distance. A real wow!
Now gross political stupidity has surfaced by and through the erection of badly made and maintained razor wire fencing stretching the full length of the bridge turning this lovely tourist introduction to Melbourne into one of danger and hate.
No one in their right mind could believe the erection of a fence will stop people committing suicide or worse infanticide because it’s a simple fact that people will always find a way if they are so driven.
It does however show the length politicians will go to prove they actually do something albeit in this case with absolute disregard for the realities of human behavior, consequences for tourism and indeed every person commuting over the Westgate.
Turning beauty into crap for political purposes is unforgivable when there are many many options.
When will this Government actually think through issues instead of knee jerking and wasting substantial amounts of OUR money whilst destroying our beautiful city.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

W Class Trams

We should think of Melbourne as a ‘new’ city, one devoid of history and culture because most people don’t give a toss.
For God’s sake, we have new sexy trams with bumblebee logos which waft us from place to place. They may be a bit plastic and ‘hose down’ but then isn’t that the direction we want to pursue? After all, individual character inculcates minority thinking and surly that’s bad, isn’t it?
Stand up for your rights and tell those past-glory imbeciles we want our transport to be as devoid of character as possible. Plastic hose down surfaces are great and really deter us from having errant thoughts about comfort or history or character. No thinking around here then!
Those damn W class trams are a prime example. They speak of Melbourne’s history, have an almost sensuous sound and have real wood on the inside. All factors which create unrest in our society. We need to become plastic people with no individual or emotive thoughts lest the evil ‘let’s show some character empire’ takes over with anarchy and free love as directives.
But, isn’t wood renewable and plastic not? Isn’t character what makes humans, human? Isn’t sensuous sound one of the basic senses to which we all fall in supplication? Isn’t Melbourne’s history one of culture? Aren’t we a society which believes our history defines who we are? Don’t we enjoy quirky and out-there?
On second thoughts, stuff the new trams – make more W class trams and enjoy the past.

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.