And again!

photolightparticlewave

This is an actual photo, not an illustration. This is the first time someone has been able to show light as both particle and wave at the same time. (We all know light sometimes acts as a wave and sometimes as particles, don’t we?)

ALWAYS check your receipt, right? They got me again. The same IGA where I’ve been stung so many times before – I made the mistake of not checking before I left and came home. Same story, item marked down on the edge of the shelf, but when it’s scanned, no price reduction.

Bloody hell! I cannot get through this store without there being a pricing error, and it’s always in their favour. So now I have to go back and complain again, despite having done so at least four times already. I think a letter to Consumer Affairs will be required.

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I’m also upset this morning – I’ve just had two hours house cleaning done by a pair of ladies. As far as I’m concerned, their ad said $30 per hour. It did cross my mind to wonder if it was $30 each, but no, I was sure of what I saw and didn’t query it when they arrived. If they wanted to work together for $30 an hour, that’s fine, I thought.

So at the end I handed over $60 for the two hours. “Oh, no, it’s $30 per hour each.” Bloody hell!! $120 to get 2 hours cleaning done? NOT good value. I’d rather do it myself. I was left fuming, but as usual, I didn’t say anything. I think they could see I was a bit upset. I do need help with cleaning now, so I’ve booked them for an hour in two weeks’ time, and they’ve said they’ll do an hour each in succession, so I get one lady at a time for $30, so for two hours that’s $60. Weird. I’ll see how it goes.

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Never over-estimate the intelligence of WA people. There are still people writing to The West Australian saying what a great guy Lee Kuan Yew was and how he cleaned up the hooligans in Singapore. It’s safe there because they’re all in jail, you see?

So what are you suggesting? That we immediately jail anyone who shows any anti-social tendencies? Don’t jails have a reputation as breeding grounds, training schools for violent criminals? They come out worse than they went in.

And so we invite a Lee Kuan Yew, a strong man as a dictator in this state or country? What about the parliament? What about the courts? Singapore’s courts do the bidding of the dictator of the day in Singapore. They suppress all opposition by bankrupting political opponents, so forcing them out of parliament. There is no effective political dissent allowed in Singapore.

So when our dictator has cleaned the place of hooligans and is jailing his political opponents, do we just say, “OK, thanks, that’s enough, you can go home now.” Dictators become dictators precisely because they crave power, they will do anything to hold on to their power, and they are ruthless in suppressing opposition. That was what Lee Kuan Yew was like! How would you get rid of your friendly dictator in WA once you’d put him in supreme power?

Don’t be so bloody stupid!

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That stupid Labor politician in Queensland, didn’t disclose his criminal record and so looks like destroying the political balance over there.

What gets me is how pathetically incompetent the pre-selection people must be in his electorate. Didn’t anyone think to check his past before they pre-selected him? It’s happened before, here in WA in one of the Perth Liberal seats. Some local businessman was pre-selected as the Lib candidate, and only later did they discover he had criminal convictions. No-one thought to check.

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Damn. Everyone knows that iiNet is brilliant at customer service. That’s why I signed up here, after years of bad experiences with other firms. And now that I have fibre past my house, I’m on the brink of signing up for that, too.

But now iiNet look like being bought out by TPG, and the word I keep reading in connection with TPG is “ruthless”. I’ve read bad reports before in the computer magazines, and that word is used a couple of times in an article in last Saturday’s Weekend Australian. They suggest that TPG ruthlessly cuts costs by ruthlessly cutting service.

So it was too good to last. I’m not going to stay with a company that is ruthless with its staff and customers. I may have to find another service provider yet again. It hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll wait until it does. The owner of TPG is a Malaysian billionaire. Optus is majority owned by the ruthless dictatorship of Singapore. The choice narrows down. I may have to go back to Telstra. Gasp!

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I continue to be intrigued by SBS’s If You Are The One, the Chinese dating show on every night. And I continue to be pretty fed up with the pickiness of the women. Time after time, quite presentable and personable guys are completely rejected for the most trivial reasons – too skinny, too old, too short, too tall, don’t like red shoes, don’t like red pants with a red belt – the stupid reasons for rejection just keep coming.

But it’s not all one way. Two nights running, there have seemed to be perfect matches. One of the girls will make it abundantly clear that she’s fallen for the guy and wants him badly. They seem to be well matched. The audience sees it, Le Jia sees it, the host sees it.

But twice, the guy has chosen another girl. The first time, he insisted on sticking with his favourite even though she’d made it clear she didn’t want to go with him, so he walked away and the girl who badly wanted him was left disappointed.

Then last night, the guy chose one of the other girls and again left the other poor girl massively disappointed. I think he might have been frightened off by her enthusiasm. You could hear the sigh of disappointment from the audience. What a pity.

I often wonder about myself in that situation, of course. “Hi, my name’s Peter and I’m from Australia and I’m 68.”  Bong, bong, bong, bong, all the lights would turn red immediately. “But think about this girls, you wouldn’t have to work and you wouldn’t have to wait long to become a rich widow.” Heh heh.

But many of those girls are just stunningly beautiful. If I had to choose my favourite, or choose between half a dozen to get the final two, I doubt I’d be able to choose. I’d want three or four of them. Wow, they are stunners. Many would be too hard to handle, of course. There are a few who are really aggressive and domineering. Uh oh, stay away from those, no matter how nice they look. But the others … Wow.

Amazing

6010410-3x2-940x627

Atlantic Ocean currents

Amazing – the German pilot commits suicide but takes 149 innocent people with him. What kind of evil mentality is that?

I think the rule that there must always be two people in the cockpit must be universally enforced.

What a year for aviation: first, Malaysian MH370 disappears somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Then Malaysian MH910 gets shot down by Russians. Then the Air Asia nosedives into the ocean off Java. And now this German plane does a CFIT – Controlled Flight Into Terrain. It’s a worry. At least we know that in no case was the aircraft mechanicals to blame.

And another thing: why did the pilot need to leave the cockpit for a piss only 20mins into a 90min flight? Why didn’t he go before they left the airport?

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I used to have a couple of friends who repeatedly said that “We need a Lee Kuan Yew in this country, a benevolent dictator.” No matter what I said, they stuck to this view, that Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore was the way to go. Well, in yesterday’s West Australian, this letter to the editor:

No-one will deny the late Lee Kuan Yew’s success in guiding Singapore to economic prosperity and social stability, and there are many who will even assert that Australia needs a Lee Kuan Yew. The question they need to answer is whether they are prepared to pay the high price. Heavy-handed one party rule, ruthless persecution of political dissidents, close government control of press and trade unions and cynical denial of human rights are all part of the reverse side of Singapore’s success story.
Mr Lee’s admirers should consider this before recommending his imitation by ‘any other country, Ieast of all Australia for whom he expressed lightly veiled contempt. Lee Kuan Yew received a double first at Cambridge but he rejected the democratic ethos of British society and the hard-won acceptance that a political opposition can properly claim to be loyal to the state.
What he did appreciate was the assistance of British Special Branch who detained his political opponents under the colonial government’s draconian Internal Security Act, a piece of legislation that remained on the statute books of independent Singapore to continue politically useful detentions without trial.
I worked for a year for a daily newspaper which came into existence on a promise by Mr Lee’s People’s Action Party in 1969 that dissent on “non-core issues” could now be permitted in a prosperous and confident Singapore.
When it was seen to overstep the notional mark, the newspaper was quickly forced to close by a process in which Mr Lee  took a high-profile part. China’s Teng Hsiao Ping may well have learnt something from Singapore’s economic model, but it was Mao Tse Tung who established the cynical precedent of “let a hundred flowers bloom”.
Emeritus Professor Bob Reece, foreign editor, Singapore Herald (1970-71)

In other words, “benevolent dictator”? BULLSHIT. Singapore’s government is corrupt in a much worse way than Indonesia’s. Singapore crushes opposition by forcing opposing politicians or dissidents into bankruptcy via a compliant (read corrupt) judiciary. They rule by fear. You can be jailed indefinitely without trial, and caned for the most trivial offences. They still legally kill people (ie the death penalty). Singapore is one party rule and woe betide you if you cross the government.

So, former friends of mine, is this what you advocate for us? Oh, but it would be only temporary, I hear you say, just until this country had been whipped into line. Yeah? And how would you tell the dictator it was time for him to go?

This idea ranks with letting the Ord River water flow downhill to Perth, using atomic bombs to mine iron ore and dredge harbours up north, sending young hooligans out into the desert in boot camps to fix their bad ways and voting Liberal expecting election commitments to be kept, as crazy lunatic ideas.

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“For a bloke with so many risk factors, you’re in remarkably good health.” That’s what a GP told me about ten years ago. I got the results of my latest three monthly blood tests this morning: liver – perfect; kidneys – perfect; lipids and cholesterol – perfect; thyroid – perfect; HbA1c – 6.6! I’ve been checking my blood pressure regularly for the past month or so and the readings are fantastic – around 115/60 nearly all the time. Brain – perfect; memory – perfect; personality – perfect; integrity – perfect. Perfect in every way. 😉

Importantly, no sign of congestive heart failure, and no worsening of the CLL/cell morphology results.

So I think I can safely say, for someone of my age, carrying far too much weight, with diabetes, I’m in remarkably good health. Some say I drink too much. Bulldust. I used to, but I’ve cut way, way back. Some nights I don’t have anything now. (To the person who told others I’m an alcoholic, you made a giant mistake! You got it horrendously wrong. Have the integrity to admit it and apologise. Fat chance – you don’t do apologies, do you. Stupid woman.)

So why do I still feel so bad? I’m carefully eliminating medications (carefully!) to see if that makes any improvement. I stopped Amiodarone (the anti-arrythmia drug with potentially nasty side effects and the lo-o-o-ng half life) last year and everything seems OK. I stopped the diuretic last week, but no improvement, so I’ll start it again, I think.

Meanwhile I’m beefing up my vitamin and mineral tablet regime. Magnesium – seems to be very important.

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Grrrrrr! I posted off the faulty OCZ Solid State Hard Drive to the makers in Taiwan yesterday. $52.75! That’s what it cost to send it by courier delivery. Bloody hell. Their drive went faulty in the warranty period (12 months, I think), so why should I have to pay to send it back like this? Why can’t I just return it to the place I bought it in Osborne Park for a replacement?

I’m going to send a hot email to OCZ in Taiwan saying I want not just a replacement, but my shipping cost refunded, OR two replacement drives in exchange. Yeah, fat chance. I’m afraid OCZ are going to get some unwelcome publicity on the web forums as well as here. Don’t buy OCZ.

That was quick!

_DSC0399Et voila! Ordered last Thursday 19th and both copies arrived together this morning, six days later. Not bad is it? I compose here on my desktop, send the result electronically to Melbourne (takes about 30 mins), the files are then sent to Shah Alam, near KL, Malaysia, the books are printed and shipped back to me within six days. Payment is electronic too. Amazing stuff.

I suppose in 20 years’ time even this will be considered slow and clunky. We’ll have one of these “Print on demand” machines at home – files in one end, bound book out the other in 10 minutes or so. I’m beginning to sound like an old man.

I’m working on Vol. 2 now, covering the Bruce Rock years. What a pity my siblings will have no say in what I put in or what I write, as they have ruled themselves out of my life. They no longer meet my standards. They will never see the result or be able to show their children. This is family breakup in vivid colour.

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The United States continues to repel me. In the Guardian today, a woman has been released and her conviction quashed as wrongful after spending 22 years in prison, on death row no less, for a crime she didn’t commit. I made the following comment to the article:

22 years on death row? Then found to be completely innocent? The US Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”. By any standard, these cases of wrongful conviction and, effectively, life imprisonment, with the prospect of death at the end, are cruel! What does it take to get US courts to abide by their own constitution?

In any case, if the death penalty worked, why are murders still committed? The death penalty in the USA, “land of the free “, is just revenge. The USA lines up alongside China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea and other bastions of democracy as one of the last of the most barbarous countries on Earth.

A Republican ( = Liberal Party, hard right wing in philosophy ) bloke in the US has just announced that he is a candidate for election next year for President. He announced it at the Texas Christian University, and proceeded to invoke God’s blessing on America and himself. Then he pledged to strengthen the gun laws so that all Americans will be able to bear arms, if he is elected.

This is a sick, sick country. I will never go there again. I didn’t feel unsafe when I was there nearly 30 years ago, but I would feel unsafe now. No thanks. The USA joins the list of countries I will never visit.

Another one

_IMG0367aHaving vivid memories of the Dismissal on 11 November 1975 and the period leading up to it, I have been a Malcolm Fraser hater ever since. I thought what he did was utterly wrong.

I never thought I would say this, but when he died on Friday, I actually felt some sorrow. Why? Because he came around to the proper views, that this Abbott Liberal government is atrocious, that the treatment of asylum seekers should be condemned in the loudest terms, that we are far too close to the US in foreign policy terms and so on.

In fact, this current Liberal government is so bad that as far as I’m concerned the same or worse conditions exist for it to be dismissed by the governor general. But having accepted the dollar, the cocked hat, the badge and the sash, that boot licker Cosgrove would never bite the hand that fed him. I will NEVER call him Sir. He was a craven fool to have accepted that stupid title.

Getting back to Malcolm, I can see now that his acceptance of Vietnamese refugees was one of the best things to come out of the late 70s and early 80s. Look at the result – Vietnamese have entered into all levels of Australian life and are now fully accepted and contributing to our life.

If only that attitude was accepted now. I am ashamed of an Australia that practices deliberate cruelty on asylum seekers; that practices what amounts to torture; that imprisons without trial, with no hope of release; that deliberately allows prison camp guards to get away with crimes; that breaches international law by imprisoning refugees; that knowingly sends refugees back to the dangerous conditions they are fleeing from; that makes jokes about UN condemnation; that demonises people who are trying to do some good. The list goes on and on. How any Australian can think this is OK is beyond me. I am sickened. If you think this is OK, you’re no friend of mine.

Anyway, RIP Malcolm.

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I always ask for my receipt, right? I caught another one yesterday. I was charged twice for one of the components of my bacon and eggs at my local Dome cafe. Only discovered it once I got home. It’s a trivial amount, but I’m going to show them next time I’m there.

I also noticed a petition to be signed asking for a community swimming pool for this area. YES! I need it for the exercise. I suspect I’ll be gone before it ever happens, though. IF it ever happens.

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As I said, my previous Coles coffee machine died, so I’ve bought another one from them. It’s a different brand this time, and at $49 it’s not too big a risk.

But I’m finding the coffee is unsatisfactory. It uses smaller capsules than my previous ones and I just don’t seem to be getting the flavour I used to get. As well, it only dispenses the demi tasse size of serve, i.e. about 100ml of coffee, the very small cup size. OK, push the button twice and I get more, but the coffee is diluted and hence the flavour is gone. Dang!

I guess this is what you get for buying cheap, but the jump up to the full price models starts at about $250 and goes up to thousands. Nuh. Not for me.

I keep reading about the Aeropress, but it’s a filter coffee maker, which means grounds and filter papers and grinding beans. The capsules are so convenient by comparison.

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I finished my Croft History Vol. 1 and sent it off for printing on Friday. I’m taking advantage of a special where I bought four vouchers in December last year – 8.5″ x 11″ 40 pages at two for $59. They expire on 5 May. I have two vouchers left so the next volume has to be done asap!

I checked the cost of running off extra full priced copies for relatives and they cost $95 each! Ouch. I’ll keep an eye out for another special, but if you want a copy, you have to let me know.

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Wow, the weather’s changed. A week ago I was complaining about week after week, day after day of 35C maxs. Now it’s 24C and sitting here, I actually feel a bit cold. Nice, but a really noticeable change.

Yes!

kate-silverton-0017Phwoar. Phwoar! “Girls who wear glasses get more passes.” They do from me, anyway, although I think I’ve got the saying reversed.

I saw this lady for the first time on the UK TV show, Would I Lie To You? She’s Kate Silverton, a TV newsreader on one of the channels, maybe BBC? She’s 44 and married with at least one child. No ring in this shot, though.

Anyway, this is what I like!

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I continue to be fascinated by the SBS show from China, If You Are The One. I’ve mentioned it before, where 24 single women are lined up and single guys are brought out one by one to offer themselves for love and marriage.

Many of the women are very beautiful and many have high educational achievements (one particularly beautiful one a few nights ago had a Masters in Law – and she offered herself to the guy and he turned her down. What a fool.)

It’s quite a thing for these people to do. Many of the guys are completely rejected, and that must be pretty hard to take. On the other hand, the women have to decide whether to keep their light on for a guy, knowing very little about him, and risk rejection themselves.

I never cease to be amazed at the rejections of the guys. Some are obviously idiots, or too boastful, or just a bit weird, but many, many seem like really good guys and it’s very hard to see why all the women reject them. Some of the reasons given are just weird themselves – too skinny, too chubby, too young looking (even though the guy may be 27 or 30), too strangely dressed, too conservatively dressed, and weirdest of all to us – single eyelids, or double eyelids. Single eyelids are very Chinese whereas double eyelids, as we have, signify foreign blood …sometimes single is more desirable, sometimes double. I can’t work it out. But I’m not Chinese. And not a woman.

The list of rejections is too arbitrary. I feel really sorry for many of the guys.

Similarly, some of the women stay up there on offer for show after show, week after week and never get picked as favourite, but they hang in there. Some are just too weird themselves (the Monkey King woman! The corn woman). A few come across as too intelligent or mature and scare the guys away, but they hang in there. Nearly all the women have been without a partner for at least a year, often two years. Highly intelligent, highly educated women seem to have trouble finding partners in China.

Personally, I’d go for Ms Huang Han any time.

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Darcey, Bill, Ern & Jack 001

Darcey, Bill, Ern and Jack (my Dad) Sydney city, c. 1934?

Nearly finished the WA Croft Family History Vol. 1, 1900-1949. I’m talking to my cousins in Sydney and Brisbane and learning many things that I was either hazy about or just didn’t know. Similarly, my Brisbane cousin didn’t know why we came back to WA in late 1949. Now he does.

The next volume will be from 1950 on. I’ve got hundreds of photos, more than I have of Sydney, so it should be interesting. I have pre-paid book vouchers which expire in early May, so I’ve got to get moving.

That means the model trains are taking a back seat for now.

We don’t need unions, do we?

Union is strength cropCleaners treated unfairly by 38% of contractors, says ombudsman

The cleaning industry employs about 99,000 people, and its workforce is susceptible to exploitation. More than 55% are women, and 65% are over 40 years old. [The Guardian 12/3/15]

But … but … but … Liberal governments tell us we don’t need unions, that we can deal directly with our employers and they’ll treat us fairly.

Oh yeah?

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I’ve just bought my fourth espresso capsule coffee maker in less than two years. I’ve said before that two machines I bought from Woolworths at $49 each failed within about three months. I got my money back both times, so at least it didn’t cost me. Except that I was left with a packet or two of unused capsules that don’t fit any other machine.

Coles then had a similar machine, but of different make, on special for $49 too. I bought one about 8 months ago. It was working fine, then a couple of weeks ago it stopped with a flashing error LED and nothing would clear it. I tried to take it apart but it wasn’t designed to be dismantled, seeming to be solidly glued together. I had to give up and threw it out. Forty nine dollars down the drain, and three unusable boxes of capsules!

Now I’ve bought a fourth machine, again from Coles, again $49.50. It also uses different capsules! All the capsules for these different brands of machine are different. We’ll see how this one goes, but I’m keeping the receipt and if it fails, I’ll be taking it back for a refund.

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My latest box of model railway goodies arrived this morning from the UK. It includes two locos, both second hand ones from Hattons stock. One works, but one doesn’t.

I don’t want to have to send it back, but I can’t see how to dismantle it at the moment. These are quite expensive items even second hand. This one was £54 = $105 ! So here we go again, having to return faulty goods.

As well, I have to package up and send an OCZ brand solid state hard drive back to the makers, in Taiwan! It failed completely last October, dead as a doorknob, right at the end of doing the reunion organisation. That was not funny.

I’m not having much luck, am I?

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001I’ve nearly completed my next Photobook, Volume 1 of the History of the Croft family, the WA branch anyway. This incorporates all the old photos I’ve inherited from Dad and Uncle Darcey of their early Sydney and Mona Vale days.

013 023Who dat dere? Cute, wasn’t I?

I’m calling for caption information from the eastern states cousins to fill in the gaps. Nearly finished. Then Volume 2 will be from 1950 onwards, with our early lives at Bruce Rock, Cunderdin, Wundowie, Rockingham and so on.

It will necessarily include many shots of my siblings, but as they are no longer with me, they will be unable to have any input into the book or the captions. They’ll never see the book either. It’s a pity in the sense that our history will stop here. Their offspring will not inherit anything. They’ve never shown any interest in our old family photos. I’m the only one who ever took any serious photos and they’ll die with me. The Croft family history in WA stops here, with me. Pity.

Now I’m REALLY angry

0170042-01I’m sure you know by now that I take a slightly left of centre position on the political spectrum (!). Well, this awful Liberal government has excelled itself now.*

Last year, the Melbourne lawyer Julian Burnside QC asked us to write an individual letter to an asylum seeker imprisoned in the concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island. We sent our letter to him in Melbourne and he forwarded them in bulk to the refugee camps for distribution. We included a self addressed stamped envelope for a reply if the refugee wished.

The letter was to express our sympathy at their awful plight and our support and best wishes, to let them know that not all Australians hold the terrible, cruel, racist views of the Australian Government in general and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in particular. And of the cruel minister, Scott Morrison, who knowingly allowed torture and abuse of children in these concentration camps.

I sent my letter off in mid last year and here it is:

30 April 2014

Dear friend,

I am one of millions of Australians who are totally against the Australian government’s policy of harsh treatment of asylum seekers like you. Not all Australians are hard people.

I want you to know that we wish you could be housed in decent accommodation in Australia while you await processing for a visa.

We feel very bad about the way you are being treated and want to help you. The way you are being treated is not the Australian way. I am one of millions of Australians who want to show compassion to you, not harsh punishment. You have not committed any crime. You are not criminals. We know that.

But our government thinks that by treating you so badly, it will stop other asylum seekers from coming.  This is a very bad policy. You have done nothing wrong.

I hope you can bear the conditions where you are and that this letter will help you. Be assured that many of us are trying to change the mind of the government.

I wish you luck and good health.

You can write to me if you wish and tell me your story. Where did you come from? Why did you leave your country? How did you get here? Are you alone or do you have family with you?  If your life was in danger in your home country, please tell me about it. It will help me to make other people understand and change their minds.

Best wishes,

I wondered a bit why I’d never got a reply, although I wasn’t that surprised.

But on Saturday, I found out why. The letters were intercepted by the Department of Immigration and stopped from delivery! They were never passed to the refugees! Apparently other people had noticed the lack of replies and contacted Mr Burnside. It took him months of enquiries to the department and the minister, with a notable lack of replies, before FOI enabled him to apply pressure. Finally, a few weeks ago, the department of Immigration sent Mr Burnside three large boxes containing the thousands of our letters, all marked RTS, Return To Sender.

The department used the excuse that the Nauru government would not accept the Australian stamps on the return envelopes. But why should that have stopped delivery of the letters?

Mr Burnside thinks this illegal action may constitute a crime, being interference with the mail. If there’s a class action possible, count me in!

What a dirty, nasty, underhanded, dishonest thing the Department of Immigration has done. This is a government department which is paid for by you and me, which is supposed to be fair and impartial. Plainly, they are being directed from above by that awful maggot Morrison. I am furious!

* Of course, Lord Rabbott QC SC KCVO VC Bart. has said Aborigines want to live in their ancestral desert homes as “a lifestyle choice”! Does this idiot know nothing?! Does he learn nothing? Does he think before he speaks?

I say keep it up, Tones. The longer you stay PM, the easier we will be able to reinstate a rightful Labor government next year. What an idiot.