Friday, 22 August 2003

The Australian Street

This is going to be short, as tonight I'm feeling shattered.

Up at the crack of dawn ( it was raining, HOORAY! We're still under tight water restrictions ) to catch the first direct flight from Canberra to Brisbane. Flight delayed due to weather. Then boarding a 737-800 (with the neat winglets), and a 170 KPH tailwind got us in only half-an-hour late. Back again on the last flight from Brisbane, this time a BAE-146, which cruises at 700 KPH rather than 850, and fighting a headwind, so we got in late after over 2 hours in the air. Just ahead of the Fog - landed on a clear runway, but during taxiing, the fog rolled in and visibility went down to 20 metres. Still, we need all the moisture we can get - rain, fog, snow, anything. Very much Deja Vu all over again, reminds me of February, only then it was smoke choking the city, not a nice, cool fog.

Anyway, on to the meat of the article. When I was in Brisbane, I had to take a $50 taxi ride to my final destination. The driver was a Marionite Christian from Syria, who had come here 25 years ago. We got to talking about the Hanson Affair. I've always found Taxi drivers to be a good source of info on what people are thinking. They listen to their passengers haranguing them about the issues of the day (they've no choice), and then broadcast what they've heard to anyone who will listen.

The conclusion : that the whole business stinks.

Then after a long and gruelling session of consulting (mainly giving bad news to the customer, who'd suspected all along that things were going pear-shaped but wanted an expert opinion), back again to the airport. This time, the Driver was a One Nation supporter - but like most such, was less than clueful. He didn't know, for example, that Ms Hansen had paid the money back long ago, and that the only reason she got it was because of the half-million votes she got at the election. The subsidy is just over a dollar a vote, but can only be given to properly registered parties. As the party wasn't properly registered due to a technicality, the money had to go back into the Government coffers. But to imprison someone for 3 years for this, and essentially in "Solitary Confinement" for her own protection, that's so completely Over The Top that heads will roll. Probably starting with the Judge who handed down the sentence.

This story won't go away.

Unlike me, who's totally exhausted. I've still got a pile of e-mails to answer, a report to write, and a Master's course to work on. But not tonight, too exhausted.

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