The View From Down Here #106 – I hate politics! edition

More scores, and more rants, including a long-winded tirade against Australian politics, for which I apologise in advance. The new format finally received its first positive feedback (its first feedback at all, actually) and so I am inclined to keep on going like this. So enjoy…

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round 20
Essendon 10.4 (64) hammered by Collingwood 24.18 (162)
Carlton 23.18 (156) hammered Richmond 10.7 (67)
Fremantle 13.9 (87) def by Sydney 14.12 (96)
Western Bulldogs 9.6 (60) hammered hard by Geelong 25.11 (161)
Port Adelaide 8.13 (61) just def West Coast 8.12 (60)
Brisbane 13.19 (97) def by Adelaide 15.14 (104)
Hawthorn 15.9 (99) def Melbourne 12.6 (78)
North Melbourne 9.9 (63) def by St Kilda 17.13 (115)
Two stories –
The first concerns everyone’s favourite AFL punching bag – Ben Cousins. He has allowed a documentary crew to follow him around over the past few years and the documentary is set to air very soon, revealing some rather unsavoury truths about the man as he attempts to clean himself up after his much publicised issues with drugs. This is a brave move by Cousins and could actually be used to help others going through similar issues – it’s not easy, but giving up can be done. This could be a problem for the AFL’s image – their much-vaunted anti-drugs policy NEVER caught Cousins, the police did. This just highlights how ineffective they are and how pathetic their anti-drug stance is. So what are they going to do? They are seriously looking at hammering Cousins, taking out the messenger, even though they are saying it could be a positive for others in society. Oh, and they accuse the Seven network of exploitation for showing it. This could be a positive for so many; the AFL is making it into a negative because they are morons.
Next is the fact the AFL wants to limit the number of interchanges in a match. To quote North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, they are doing it on a ‘hunch’ and not based on anything like, I don’t know, data, science or studying. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Morons.
SANFL Round 21
Central Districts 16.10 (106) hammered Port Adelaide 7.5 (47)
North Adelaide 17.11 (113) def South Adelaide 11.7 (71)
West Adelaide 3.9 (27) def by Sturt 8.2 (50)
Woodville-West Torrens 5.13 (43) def by Glenelg 12.4 (76)
Bye: Norwood
Well, it seems the SANFL are going to let part of the most successful club in Australian Rules Football wither and die. All right, that’s not quite true. They’re going to let the Port Adelaide Magpies wither and die, and the PAM team is the current entity in the SANFL that bears the Magpies name after the real Port Adelaide Football Club moved on to the AFL. No matter, it’s still going to die because the SANFL just are not going to help it survive at all. They’ve cut off the financial lifeline that was being offered, and now they’ve declined to help themselves. Why? Well, a lot of it has to do with jealousy and the fact Norwood never got that AFL licence because Port jumped the gun leading to the creation of the Adelaide Cows. Crows. Whatever. And part of it has to do with the fact the SANFL is at the moment having a knife held to its nutsack by the AFL over nearly every aspect of their operation. Yes, it’s once more all the fault of the AFL. And Norwood. And probably Glenelg as well. And maybe even Mark Latham… I mean, he’s being blamed for everything else in Australia at the moment, why not this as well?

Rugby League
NRL – Round 23
Brisbane 14 def by Parramatta 30
Cronulla 18 def Sydney Roosters 12
Gold Coast 37 def North Queensland 18
Canterbury-Bankstown 14 def by Canberra 28
Warriors 22 def Newcastle 10
Melbourne 18 def South Sydney 16
Wests Tigers 44 def Penrith 24
St George Illawarra 32 def Manly 10
After all the high level defections from rugby league ranks of late, it had to happen – some in rugby league circles are now pushing for their code to poach players from other sports. Sure, they’ve had some success dragging some in from rugby union, but when you look at the comparative salaries, that’s not a great surprise. It’s when they start talking about Aussie Rules and basketball and the US NFL and soccer that it seems, well odd. Maybe they should be asking why people are leaving league in the first place? Could it be the comparatively short careers of league players? Or the salaries those at the lower end get paid? Or the stigma associated with being involved in a sport populated by drug-taking, alcohol-fuelled, misogynistic, brain-dead, no-neck morons? Meh. Their call, I guess.

Slovenia 2 def Australia 0
A-League Round 2
Wellington Phoenix FC 3 drew with Gold Coast United 3
Newcastle Jets FC 1 drew with Melbourne Heart FC 1
North Queensland Fury 2 def Sydney FC, Full Time 1
Melbourne Victory FC 0 def by Perth Glory FC 2
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 drew with Adelaide United FC 1
Australia now has a national coach! Yay! He’s a German. Ohhh… kay. Not an Australian, a German. One who freely admits to having never seen the A-League in action. One who apparently did not know Australia even had a professional league until he was offered the job. And one who thinks sucking up to his bosses (judging by his first press conference / statements / whatever) is the only thing you have to do to stay in the job. Sigh. Four more years in the wilderness, here we come.

International Test
(Test 2) Australia 69 def Jamaica 42
(Test 3) Australia 71 def Jamaica 40
Still not a huge amount to report. At a local level, in South Australia we have some issues with netball SA dumping teams – including last year’s premiership winning team – from the state league because of reasons no one seems to actually know. So netball is administered just like every other sport – politically, secretly and poorly.

We have a federal election next week, and we are headed for something close to a hung parliament.
So this week I thought I’d let you in on some of the political things that are bothering Australians.
The main issue that people are talking about is so-called boat people. Being an island nation, the only way illegal immigrants enter the country is by over-staying work or student visas, or by arriving by boats. These often dangerous and over-crowded vessels are filled with desperate people who just want to get away. Now some may well be escaping justifiable persecution, but many are legitimate refugees from their homelands. They total around 11,000 (and it is hard to get good numbers, but this is the highest I could find) a year. The way the politicians talk you would think a veritable army of billions is waiting to launch an attack against us. They are pandering to a crisis that does not really exist, stirred up by racist and bigoted media types. Some of my friends are boat people – they fled Vietnam in the late 60s, early 70s. But these are different. Somehow. And the Australian population has fallen for the line that they are evil. Yes, jumping the so-called queue of refugees waiting for legitimate passes into the country is rude. But if rudeness was a crime, no American tourists would be allowed into Australia ever.
The next big issue is the state of telecommunications. One party wants to roll out a fantastic, fast national broadband network costing billions; the other wants to cheaply cobble something together because apparently the Internet is not important. They totally ignore the black spots in mobile phone coverage, the fact that by phasing out analogue TV several places in Australia will have no television at all, and the way the infrastructure is owned by a private company that does what it damn well feels like with what should be a government resource.
The next one is the state of out rivers. Australia has essentially one major river system – the Murray-Darling – which is in a state of near constant drought. Queenslanders don’t care and so allow so much water to be diverted to irrigating crops that should not even be grown in Australia (e.g. rice) that even in times of good rain my state, at the arse end of the river, sees very little. The mouth of the river needs constant dredging because it is silting over. And what is promised by the politicians? Words and committees and things that don’t make sense.
Then we come to censorship. Australia is the most censored country in the Western world. More books, films, video games and ideas are banned here than anywhere else. And the two parties want to make it worse with a religion-based filter that would make only China and North Korea more censorious than Australia. They say it is to stop child pornography, which is clearly why sites on euthanasia are to be banned as well. Just another form of over-zealous, religion-based censorship. Then there is the issue of refusing to classify games as being for adults, meaning that to get a heap of games in that adults might want to play, they have to go to New Zealand.
Then there is a tax on super-profits of mining companies that is set to take the money states like South Australia earn from mining and put it into the pockets of people in Sydney. Or the other side wants to let all the money from mining go off-shore and leave Australia with nothing.
These are the things that have struck a chord with the Australian public. No mention at all of:
* WTO forcing us to take in diseased fruit from other countries;
* prices for our products overseas being stripped because of unfair practices (and, yes, we are looking at you, USA);
* over-bureaucracy;
* population growth and associated infrastructure (both sides want to cap it, or make it grow, depending on the day of the week);
* gay marriage rights (oh, yes, that was mentioned – both sides hate it because the religious – Christian, Muslim and other – vote is so damn important);
* our health system being left to die because both sides of politics want to prop up private health instead of supporting the public system;
* education in this country dropping to levels of third world countries because they have wasted money and resources and want to institute a national curriculum which dumbs down everything we’re currently teaching our kids;
* genuine tax reform.
Now, I love my country, but I think we are being governed by a bunch of ignorant, power-hungry, bigoted morons who only care about the next election and not the next generation or the state of our nation.
But I guess that could be said of just about any place, right?

And that’s the View through to August 16.

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