Phew, that was close

Fred, or is it Freda? Butcher bird
Not to miss a day —  did you know we had a near miss?
It only came to light yesterday but an asteroid passed us by a day or two ago. The thing is, it was 1Km in diameter. If it had hit Earth, it would have been a mass extinction event, as they call it. That size is enough to wipe us out.  In fact, the nearest it came was 14x the Earth – Moon distance. That’s a good miss, no problem.
What makes me mention it is that it was only picked up on 10 June on its way in because it was a dark-material asteroid, not very bright and it didn’t show up in telescopes.
Ten days’ warning! If it had hit us, bye bye.
The point is: do it now. If you want to do something, go somewhere, connect with someone, do it now. There may be no tomorrow. Where do you think all those craters on moons and planets and this planet came from? Hits.
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That’s why, when I found another good price for that Sigma 120-400mm APO lens I missed last week, I put in a new order today. Different company, still Aussie based but imported stock.
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I went further with that Dick Smith complaint I wrote about yesterday. I copied it in edited form to the official Dick Smith web site.  After an age of filling in all my details (address, phone number, email address etc etc) I clicked SUBMIT (great word, that – submission).
Nothing happened, except the whirling circle. It went on and on, one minute, two minutes — eventually I simply switched away to another app, not cancelling, just letting it do its thing.
I came back 5 mins later to find my complaint in the text box garbled, corrupted. Did it go through? I have no idea.  Great Aussie service. Crap. I buy on-line now.

Just for interest

Today, 21 June, is the winter equinox, the shortest day of the year. Maybe tomorrow, but anyway.
I did a series of photos spaced exactly 2 mins apart from 4.46 to 5.46pm, 69 shots. No effort on my part – camera on tripod, intervalometer set for 2 mins, GO. The result is above.
I think this has been a complete waste of my time. Blogger is so bug ridden that I can see already there are major faults.
Yes, it is a disaster. This Google Blogger is so full of bugs that every post is a battle. The video above is 6.08MB in size. That’s 48.64Mbits. I have a roughly, 4Mb/s connection, so it should have uploaded in 12 seconds, yet it took nearly 10 minutes and it’s full of errors. Nearly every image I post takes 3, 4, 5 upload tries to get an undamaged example to post. It takes ages.

To keep uploading this is going to take me hours and will be a waste of time.  For comparison, I downloaded a 10.8MB video file from another source this morning and it took roughly 11.9secs! I was amazed and pleased.

So much for that experiment. It’s a bit interesting anyway.

Hmmm

Space timelapse   Credit NASA
Interesting day today.
As I drove to Karrinyup, I was stopped at the lights behind one of these:
Mercedes SL350 Coupe
That’s the rear view I saw. It oozes power and money. It’s much bigger than your piddly little CLKs.
On the seat beside me, I had two letters I’d just received: one from Kidney Health and the other from World Vision.
I was sorely tempted to get out and knock on the window of that Merc in front of me and ask if they’d take these letters and donate.  The price of that car, new, is $242,780.  Even a 4yo used one costs more than $150,000.
That kind of money given to World Vision would keep a hundred villages out of poverty for a decade, I would guess. Yet here, it’s a plaything, a status symbol, an executive’s reward, the payoff for a share deal or something. 
I’m sure they donate, but on the table beside me I’ve got a newspaper cutting: Too few participate in philanthropyResource-rich West Australians “are not spreading [their] effort enough.” The average annual donation in WA is $303, 40% lower than the national average.
No point me saying any more.
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As I drove, I was having a little trouble holding the steering wheel. My right hand has become cracked and painful with little cuts. They’re not injuries, they are just severe dry skin opening up. As I went on and into the mall, pushing a trolley, I found it’s even oozing a little (there’s that word again). Yet it’s only the right hand. Why?
No smutty jokes please. I realised this morning that it’s the hand I’ve been using to rub Aveeno Skin Lotion into my legs, which are doing the same. The lotion seems to have only minimal effect in easing the itching, yet my hand is suffering. I wonder if the lotion is causing some of the problem with my legs!
I’ve switched to Australian Lanolin and Lemon Tea Tree creams instead. At $1.98 per tube, versus $8.95 or so for the Aveeno …
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Coincidences again. I was in BigW and heard an ad on the store radio: “Are you not tall enough to reach some of your cupboards …” or something.
At that very instant, an amazingly tall African woman strode past me. She must have been well over 2m tall and played basketball for the Nigerian Globetrotters, I’m sure. Coincidence again!
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Oh, you stupid Aussie shopkeepers. I was in Dick Smith and asking about Samsung Galaxy tablets because I’d just seen the Galaxy Note and it sparked an interest.
Yes, we stock them said the girl, and led me to a locked glass cabinet. There it was in a box, but she made no move to show me. Er, can I look? I said. She unlocked the cabinet, got the box out, opened it with some difficulty and let me look inside for about 1 second then closed it again. Er, am I allowed to get a better look? No, we aren’t supposed to open the box because once we do, we can’t sell it as new.
OK, girl, you’ve lost that sale! I didn’t say it, but that was that. I wandered off, still curious and another guy came over, very cursorily said, need some help? I said, er, I was wanting to look a the Galaxy Note but it seems I can’t. Sorry sir, and he walked off!!
Then, still wanting to look around (this is the new Karrinyup Dick Smith – first time for me) I started looking at a bargain box marked From $2.  It had lots of Verbatim DVD-R/DL in boxes of 4. Wow, are these $2 each? I started to load up.
But not one of them had a price marked. What does from $2 mean? I looked around for help but no employees were to be seen, except that useless guy and he was busy. Just then a loud beep alarm went off in the shop. I stood there for a minute or two, trying to get help, getting frustrated by this annoying alarm, but it went on and on. No-one was cancelling it.
After a while I threw the disc box down and walked out. Yet another no-sale. Probably won’t go back either. I will look on-line instead. It’s hopeless.
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Poor Minnie. As I was going out this morning I thought, uh oh, did you fart, Minnie? She usually never does, it’s not a problem, but I could smell it.
An hour ago I could still smell it and went looking. Oh dear, she has pooed in the spare bedroom and passage. No problem, it’s bare concrete, easily cleaned up.
Dogs NEVER poo in their own nest. It hasn’t happened since she was a puppy. But now I realise —-  last night in that cold, wet, winter evening, about 9:30pm she wanted to go out. I tried to get her to go out the front door if she must, but no way. I got so mad I shouted at her. Eventually she turned and went back to her bed inside.
After I went to bed at 10pm or so, I heard her moving around in the passage and called to her to join me in the bedroom, but as always, she wouldn’t. Now I know why she wanted to go outside and why she was moving in the passage. She couldn’t hold on any longer.
Holy Dawg, I don’t deserve this dog. I am mortified. Serve me right.

Rotten to the core

They’re everywhere!   Credit NASA

 Apple (the computer company) has been fined more than $2.5 million for making misleading claims about 4G compatibility of the iPad 4 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-21/apple-fined-over-ipad-4g-claim/4083874

They knew it was wrong: the iPad 4G function/connection does not and cannot work in Australia, but they went ahead and publicised it anyway. They knew they were doing wrong, they just didn’t care.
They also get their iPad, iPhones and other Apple products made at Foxconn in Shenzen, China, where working conditions are so horrible (eg employees must stand, are not allowed to sit on stools while working) that workers are committing suicide from the stress.
I have one Apple product (iPod Touch, bought 2 years ago) but I refuse to buy any other Apple product.
In the same item, internet firm (ISP) TPG Australia has also been fined $2 million for continuing, over a long period, to push a low priced deal which they could not provide to lure customers. Despite legal warnings, they knowingly continued to make false advertising claims, misleading customers into signing up for more expensive plans.
So we’ve reached this stage: companies will defy the law if they think they can get away with it.
A certain big newspaper proprietor has allegedly been caught out allegedly perjuring himself in the Leveson Inquiry in London. On oath, he has allegedly made claims about phone calls to the British PM of the time which the PM’s office has denied took place and can prove it. It has also been shown that this ex Aussie pushed Tony Blair to take a stronger role along with George W. Bush in the Iraq war. (The Guardian – I urge you to support this paper.)
A newspaper owner, pressing for greater war efforts! Men were laying down their lives in Iraq, but the ex Aussie wanted more aggression! More men to die, because he thought so. Unelected, not in any government, not even a Brit, but inserting himself into British political decision making!
He has yesterday, made a bid to gain even greater control of media in Australia. Having 70% of newspapers was not enough! He’ll win, too. And Gina Rinehart is not buying into Fairfax just to make money – she is doing it so that the papers will push her anti-government, anti-resource tax, anti-carbon dioxide emission tax views. She’ll win too. That amount of wealth, $30 billion is unstoppable. This is frightening.

I no longer buy Murdoch newspapers nor read any Murdoch web content. This man is not good news. Nor will I read any Fairfax news from now on.

(The bugs in this Blogger software are unbelievable. The font size has just reduced for no reason. I waste so much time correcting bug induced errors! They are bizarre – random shifts and changes that sometimes can’t be fixed. Oh, I see, it has reverted to Arial without any command from me. Shaaaat!)

It’s RAW!

 
Brrrrr!  It was 3degC this morning and it’s not even real winter yet. August is the worst month.
This was the backyard this morning. I took it just to show how different the light is from yesterday afternoon, but notice how contrasty it is? Our eyes cope with this but ordinary photos can’t deal with such a range. This is the jpeg image straight out of the camera, ie as the camera processed the sensor data.
This is exactly the same shot, taken at the same instant, but this time I used the RAW file from the camera and made adjustments in Photoshop. It looks a little flat in this form, actually, but you get the point. RAW is good. RAW saves information for later fixing. Use it if your camera is capable of it. If you care about good photos for the future.

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See that bare tree in front of the shed, btw? In about 7 weeks’ time, it will be a mass of white. It’s an almond tree and it bursts into flower about a week into August every year. Very nice. I’ll post a comparison photo, and if possible (weather permitting), do a time-lapse movie of it.

It will also be humming with bees, come for the flowers. I felt very bad about a news item yesterday. You may know that bees are dying out all over the world from the Varroa virus – extremely dangerous because we depend on bees for pollination.

Except in Australia. This country, so far, is free of the virus. Phew. We may be the last island with disease free bees and that has huge implications for the future.

But someone in Newcastle in NSW got into a farm and sprayed insecticide over about 150 beehives, killing millions of bees. It caused about $150,000 worth of loss, but more importantly, it wiped out an entire colony of bees. The beekeeper said it will take him at least two years to recover, and the bees used to move to Mildura during the almond blossom season in August. They can’t do that now, so we don’t know what the effect will bee (sic).

Sick is right. What kind of person would do this? It’s not the first time. Someone in Qld has been doing something similar to vege crops, spraying entire crops with pesticide or some poison. These aren’t normal humans; they’re not animals either, they are sub-human.

This madman must be found and stopped. They don’t know who did it yet, but I think he should be put into a room of bees and left to his fate. This is almost worse than murder.

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Minnie slept inside last night and even now (11:30am) is inside in the warm. Quite unusual.

Oh my Dawg

Minnie dozing  20 June 2012
What a cold, rotten winter afternoon. It seems colder and wetter and harsher than I remember in previous winters.
Minnie has been inside all afternoon since the thunder at about 1pm. She seems happy, as shown in the shot above, dozing, snoring, noticing every move I make, but happy. I gave her the bone she expects at 5pm and this time, I let her eat it inside (very unusual) without moving. She chewed it all up and seemed happy. I gave her a small meatball as well.
But 20 minutes ago, just when I was thinking of providing her 6.30pm dinner, while the wind is blowing and the rain is drizzling and the cold is clamping, she went to the door and wanted to go out. Maybe she wanted a poo, but she hasn’t come back. I saw her poo earlier. It’s better, of course, if she eats less, just like me!
I tried to keep her in, but she wants to be outside, no matter how cold, no matter how bleak. I give her her wish, but it hurts me. She hasn’t come back into this warm room. I hope she’s OK.

7:15pm – aah, not so bad. I went out of the room then came back and there she was, lying on the cold concrete outside the back door in the rain. I opened the door and she came in and accepted her dinner. I will try to keep her inside for the night, but she’ll almost certainly insist on going out again soon. She does it by going to the door, panting, grunting and looking back at me: “Let me out.” I can’t insist.

Looking on the bright side

We’re just near that little Rottnest Island in the middle.
I read an American (he’s in Wisconsin) photography blog every day and the author put up a quite personal item a few days ago about houses, mortgages, credit and living in the USA. I found it fascinating and started to respond by email, then had second thoughts when I realised I wasn’t really talking about the same topics.
But I think it’s worth posting what I wrote:
I’m in Oz and many Australians use the term “the Lucky Country” here in a self-congratulatory way, but it was actually coined (by Donald Horne) as irony, meaning things just fell in our laps. It’s not all luck, but this dry, dessicated, mineral rich, harsh country treats us well, provided we treat it well. For most of us here, it is pretty easy to do well.
I’m 65 and retired now, and I have been since I took a voluntary redundancy payout from my job as an electronics technician at age 52. Yes, I have not had to work since late 1999, and I’ve lived well: it’s been easy. Why? Because I had a secure, fairly well paid job* (electronics technician*). I bought my first house in 1982 with a fairly small saved deposit, sold it after renovating it for three years and bought my present house later in 1986 in a sort of distressed sale but in a top area.  “Worst house in the best street.” Boy, it paid off.
I cleared my mortgage in 11 years by paying a bit more each month than I had to (ie by paying 26 fortnightly payments rather than 12 monthly ones), plus making extra payments very occasionally. I’ve seen its value increase x11 fold since 1986! 
When I was made redundant in 1999, I had zero debt, because I was always careful not to go into deep debt. My payout plus my savings saw me through to age 65 and now I get the Age Pension which will see me through to my grave. It’s not quite enough to live on with my beer tastes, but my father lived on it. It can be done. I have other money to supplement it, but the pension is good.
Australia is nowhere near as wealthy as America, as you know, but it’s easy to do OK here, especially now. I have some US friends of (a bit younger age) but they are not doing nearly as well, and I don’t quite understand why. I think it’s because they never got a solid qualification in some vocation, instead, working at a variety of less skilled jobs.
Especially at this time of massive global wealth disruption, Australia is cruising. We never had a recession in 2008/9. Our housing market didn’t crash. Unemployment is less than 6% and falling. We had GDP growth of about 3.5% last year and my state, Western Australia, is booming. Unemployment is less than 3.5%, growth is about 6% and employers are in despair at being unable to get workers – in fact labour shortages are stopping our growth.
Yes, it’s not all good: cost of living is high, accommodation is scarce, youth crime is bad, drugs are just as much a problem as anywhere else, etc etc. But generally, we are doing OK.
Sorry to crow, but we have universal top quality free health care (by an income levy, of course), excellent pharmaceutical benefits (my prescriptions cost $5.80 each), and no-one need fear falling ill or being out of work for a prolonged period. The dole doesn’t stop (provided you play by the rules, keep looking for work and take jobs when they’re offered.) If you’re sick or disabled, you’ll be OK. You will get the care you need. We generally don’t have beggars on the streets, unlike America.
We have reasonable tax rates (tax-free threshold is $18,200, then 19% for each dollar over that to $37,000 etc etc.) The average wage is about $1400 pw (approx. $70,000pa). The housing loan interest rate is 6.8% and falling. Banks have money to lend and there’s no such thing as, what’s it called, “lock up and leave”? — mailing the keys back to the bank and losing your equity if you can’t keep your payments up? If you have to sell up, which can happen, you don’t lose your equity.
We don’t allow guns, nor do we worship them. You can own guns, but you have to jump through hoops and prove to the police that you have a good reason to own one. No-one can carry a gun except the police and armoured car guards.  We don’t need bank guards.
We also don’t kill people. We banned capital punishment decades ago and we don’t kill people just because we don’t like them or their government, or because we want revenge.
We don’t attack other countries. We don’t feel we have the right to invade other countries.  Yes, we’re in Afghanistan and were in Iraq and Vietnam and Korea with the US, but that’s because we were supporting America. Other countries don’t hate Australia as they do America, except for our association with America.
And shock, horror, voting is compulsory in Australia. You don’t have to actually vote – no-one sees whether you do or not, but you do have to attend the polling booth and be counted off or cop a $20 fine, that’s all. It’s not hard.
*All I had to do was get  a good qualification (by putting in the hours at tech college and getting my Diploma)  when I was young, and do my job well. I was lucky to be bright and have generally good health, but the rest fell into place. A few years ago I could call myself a millionaire in assets and savings (in fact, I even have a share of a luxury villa in Bali), but I’m just an ordinary tech! It wasn’t that hard.
So with all America’s wealth, all America’s population, all America’s skills, talent, resources, why is life so tough in America for so many people? Australia is not as wealthy, but the wealth we have is spread so much more evenly. Yes, there are poor people here, but nowhere near as dirt poor as in the USA, that hugely wealthy country. I don’t understand America.

At last!

That guy who pushed a man through a window at the Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe, resulting in the man dying a horrible death, has been found guilty of murder.
At last a jury in WA has done justice. I’ve been wanting to comment on this for the past week but didn’t dare because of sub judice rules.
Now I can. If you’ve seen the pictures of the scene, it was the upper window that was smashed! To me, that shows that the thug, the murderer as we can call him now, pushed Andrew Marshall so hard that he lifted him off the floor and propelled him through the upper pane of a window, where he fell to the street below and died of the fall and glass cuts.

He pleaded not guilty and said he didn’t plan to kill him. Bit late, mate. For once, for once, our court system has returned justice.  I’ve long felt that in this state, you can get away with murder, but if you’re innocent, you’ll be found guilty. Proven in five separate, terrible cases. Shame, WA, shame!

Rain, beautiful rain

Misty rain
That misty look is rain! Compare that with the previous golden afternoon light views. When it rains here, we love it. Bloody cold, though. I’ve just had to put the heating on in the middle of the day, first time I’ve done that in years.  Of course, I could put my cardigan on … hadn’t thought of that.
Poor Minnie is huddling near me right now, panting with fear from the thunder outside. She tried to pull the gate open just now. There’s nowhere to run, she just has to get away from the thunder.
Here’s what it looked like about 10 mins ago:
W-I-D-E angle thunder clouds
Those are thunder clouds. It was rumbling.  But notice how wide the view is? I’ve just this morning received my Sigma 10-20mm super wide zoom lens. I’ve owned this lens before in Canon mount but sold it last year. Now I’ve got a Pentax version at about 40% less than I paid in 2008. One of those on-line bargains, not eBay, not from HK or China, from Brisbane. Happy to support local businesses.
Having said that, I was surprised to see a ResMed CPAP machine in the window of a chemist’s shop at Innaloo yesterday. They were never sold at retail level in the past – doctors only, at high prices (my machine cost $1600. Even the plastic mask alone costs over $200). If you wanted spares, even as recently as last year, I had to make an appointment for a week ahead for them to access my records and assess whether they might deign to supply me. After all, it might need fitting …
I went in and enquired about getting a replacement tube for mine. I don’t actually need it yet, but I was just asking.
They don’t keep stocks, of course. Not a tube, anyway. The woman got out a ring file and started to look up the part and price.
Five minutes of this and she still hadn’t found it in the list. I was just about ready to say forget it and walk away. I explained that I bought one last year from the hospital and it cost $22 but I had to make an appointment a week ahead and collect it at Northcourt, Karrinyup. I’d subsequently found that I could order it from a US web site, supplying the same ResMed product, for US$10!
Oh yes, she said, we hear that these days, and continued searching her lists with no result. Eventually I said I’ll come back another day. Oh, just let me ring the distributors. OK, she did and after much questioning (for Dog’s sake, I’m using one of the most common machines, a ResMed S8 Autoset) she finally got the price: $35. And when she mentioned my US$10 price they said, no, we can’t do anything.
So I carefully explained that I’m not necessarily going to buy from the US, but how can the same part, from the same maker, ResMed, an Australian company, cost $10 there and $35 here?
If they’d been able to produce the item in the shop, on the spot, or even given me a price without such hassle, I would have paid the $35. But probably not now. What a pity.
The same applies to software. I got an email this morning offering me something I want for $49.99. I thought, YES, I’ll have that so I followed the link. It took me to the US website, but that’s OK, I can download it. But no, it has to be supplied in a box. But they won’t ship to Australia.
OK, sigh, I’ll buy it from the Sydney web site. But the price is DOUBLE! $99.99 if bought here. No way. I’m not putting up with that. I’m trying to find a way to express my displeasure but they don’t make it easy.

Unions, don’t ya hate ’em?

Watch out, union members about!
[This post came about because I read a Canadian website which talked about the way the Hormel company in Canada, which used to be a fantastic place to work, was taken over and became a hellish, anti-union, anti-employee, ‘if you don’t like it we can get someone to replace you’ smoking ash pile. Just try working at Foxconn in China where they make Apple products – workers do 60-70 hr weeks and get fired if they complain. They are driven to suicide. Terrible stories.] 

I don’t get it. I must be dumb*. More on that in a minute.

I spent 25 years as the union delegate (union rep, shop steward, whatever) at my work, a TV station. My experience was that everyone wanted the benefits the union gained, but no-one wanted to pay. Everyone wanted me to explain the award (workplace contract) but no-one wanted to get involved in the union. Not “no-one” – we did have members, about 20% of employees joined and I have eternal respect for them. For the freeloaders, you get my eternal contempt.

Everyone wanted help from the union when difficulties arose or they got laid off. They ALL wanted me to explain their work conditions or interpret the award for them, even if they weren’t union members.

Many of the younger employees who asked me for advice didn’t even know what award they were employed under, what an award was, what rights they had or even their own pay grading! Yet according to the employer, they were supposed to be able to negotiate one to one for their own work contract with no outside help (ie union interference).

All the anti-union people wanted their own contracts, but the contracts they wanted  included all the conditions our union had won. They couldn’t see the contradiction. I used to say, OK fine, negotiate your own deal, but start from scratch! Start from NO conditions and work it out for yourself. They looked at me in bemusement. What do you mean? OK, I mean start from working any number of hours the employer wants, 176 hours a week maybe. Then negotiate your hours. Er, um, gee, haven’t we always had 37.5 hrs? NO, the union got that. What about 40 hours a week? No, in the 1950s, 48hrs a week was normal, until unions won the 40hr week. Gee, I didn’t know that. Haven’t we always had 4 weeks annual leave? No, the union got that. Even in my own working life, it was only 3 weeks in the 1970s and 80s. Leave loading. No! The unions won that in the 1980s. Gee.

All the conditions you take for granted, 38hr week, 4 weeks annual leave, leave loading, long service leave, sick leave, maternity leave, bereavement leave, overtime rates, shift rates, transport allowances, meal breaks, public holidays — ALL were won by union actions paid for by members with courage, going back decades. Freeloaders, bystanders, cowards, contributed nothing but still want the benefits.

Before One-Tel collapsed in about 2002, all the staff were proudly proclaimed to be on individual contracts. But when the firm closed its doors and the staff found themselves literally on the street in Sydney, who did they turn to? Greg Combet was there to help the very few members, but all the other staff gathered around and said, “Help!” And he did.

In the James Hardy asbestos scandal, who did all the work in getting justice for all the victims of mesothelioma? Unions.

The other thing all the TVW non-members said was, “But Harry Bluck called that strike in 1969 and they all had to go on strike!”
a) it was 1969
b) it was a different union (though affiliated)
c) so? Sometimes it takes a bit of courage.

But above all, the question was, What does it cost to join? It always boiled down to that: I want it but I don’t want to pay for it. Why pay when I get it for free (via the fees and effort of the union members)? Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s the mantra of this age: Why pay for it when you can steal (download) it?

Why is it that in every form of human endeavour (except literature and art, surprisingly), teamwork is prized above individualism? But when it comes to dealing with bosses, teamwork bad, isolated negotiations good. Funny that.

The answer? Employers hate dealing with union officials or employees who know their onions and can’t be bamboozled. The employer wants to have the upper hand and doesn’t want to have to deal with anyone who knows the law and knows how to negotiate.

Now, why did I say it paid off? When I and other employees in my nationwide network were offered redundancy payouts in 1999, the union got us double what the employer was offering and I walked away with enough money to not have to work again. My union fees were repaid a hundred times over.

But most of the the anti-union employes, surprisingly, got the same payout and took it!!! Hypocrisy ruled. I was and remain disgusted.

*I said I must be dumb because I can’t understand why employees want to stand alone in their workplace dealings. You employ a solicitor to do complex law things, an accountant to do your tax, a doctor to do your health, a plumber to do your pipes. Why do you reject employing a professional (at very cheap rates) to do your workplace negotiations?

Answer: because people know the union will do it for free when they negotiate for members. Same old story – people don’t want to pay if they see they can steal from others.

The other thing I really noticed in my working life was the lack of courage of my work colleagues. Any hint of possible union action and they faded away into the background. Didn’t want to get involved. One guy asked the union rep, “Why is it that so many union reps are Poms?”  In my opinion, it’s because Poms, British people, have more courage than Aussies. YES, I truly believe that. UK people have a long history of standing up for themselves and others. I never saw that from Aussies in my workplace life here.