Outrage is such a good feeling. Pity it doesn’t actually achieve much.

With the very popular reception to the Royal Commission into banks and people enjoying their daily shot of outrage, I thought of a great idea. There are many other juicy topics that can be put before a Royal Commission, such as the ATO, Centrelink, climate change, electricity prices, live animal exports, immigration, Islam, Sydney’s light rail, renewable energy, Sydney property prices and what about the legal system itself and lawyers fees? With all of these opportunities for outrage the whole population would be abuzz, like flies on the carcass of a dead sheep heading for the Middle East.

But it still might not be enough, so I propose the ultimate “Royal Commission into Everything!” In many years, after it draws to a close and presents its 325 million page report with 17,325 recommendations we could all breathe a sigh of relief that Everything was now OK. There would be silence in all the pubs, nightly news would be a sports report, and the newspapers would all close their doors. Barry Cassidy would retire.

Peace would reign. Good night.


Remember the ‘Talkfest’?

Kelly O’Dwyer once said that the proposed Royal Commission would become a “talk-fest” that would kick the can down the road for a number of years. Proponents of the commission now are crowing that the recent revelations prove they were right, but I think they actually prove that Ms O’Dwyer’s original take was correct. All that the commission is achieving is airing matters that have already been dealt with by existing regulators.

The existing regulators do a good job and very little gets past them. The bank I work for is extremely diligent about meeting the requirements of the regulators and has been enhancing its compliance capability year on year, long before the Royal Commission. So why do these incidents keep happening? Given staff turnover in, say, a five year period, a large bank may have 60,000 individual employees and thousands of associated agents and brokers engaging with millions of customers in millions and millions of transactions, some of them extremely complex. Some employees may make mistakes and others may be bad eggs. The bad eggs are gotten rid of and the mistakes a compensated. Among those millions of customers there will always be some dissatisfied customers and if each of them gets a day before the commission then this is going to be a very tedious process.

It is laughable that the Royal Commission is ‘revealing’ issues that were satisfactorily dealt with long ago. Is it just an excuse for some popinjay to strut about making sarcastic comments?

It also seems that one particular bank is coming up over and over again, but no one in the press is brave enough to point fingers at which bank.

One person giving very emotional evidence that her bank’sĀ financial advisor had destroyed her retirement plans attracted a lot of attention. But when you read the details of her case you found that she was merely lamenting the unfortunate fact, that after a lifetime of work, she and her husband were ‘poor.’ They had received compensation. The advisor who gave them bad advice made the mistake of not telling them, at the outset, that their retirement dream was not affordable. Besides, the real culprit turned out to be one of the rules surrounding how SMSFs can invest.

Anyway, the simple-minded and voyeuristic will again have another chance to feel outraged, and that’s important.

Case against Pell reminds me of the search for extra-terrestrials

Many years ago there was a TV program looking at the evidence that UFOs really exist. A man had a trove of films of various objects in the sky, each of them evidence of the reality of UFOs. However, he was confronted when one of the films was proven to be fake.

“Oh, yes. That one. That one was fake… but the others, they are real.”

Of course, someone will always believe.

Making decisions under pressure!

The cricket players made bad decisions.

We feared that the authorities would not react with enough decisiveness. What a mistake! The decision to impoverish these players, who now can’t even play domestic cricket, who will have no livelihoods, and unlikely to ever regain their skills after twelve months out of the game, ranks as one of the most cowardly and disproportionate decisions you can imagine.

We didn’t want a slap over the wrist, but come on!

Consider some other cases of bad behaviour. Nick Kirygios abuses a referee and forfeits a point. Sebastian Vettel shunts another driver off the track and gets a five second penalty. A soccer player takes a dive that gets his team a free kick – he’s a hero. A golf player is seen picking up his ball in the rough – two stroke penalty. A Rugby player performs a dangerous tackle – two matches. A boxer headbutts his opponent in a clinch – one point deduction for the round. A runner jumps the start – eliminated from the heat. American footballer Brady tampers with the football to deflate it – four matches.

Conspire to unsuccessfully scratch a cricket ball – penalty: several millions of dollars and effectively the end of your career!

What sanctimonious pricks think that cricket is so special, so pure and precious, that this sort of sanction is in any way proportional?

Recycling dilemma shows absurd thought processes

Imagine this. I have a business producing stuff that nobody really needs, but it’s so cheap to produce that people consume it anyway. Good business for me. However, when the people are finished using them, someone (same people, but collectively through government) has to pay a fortune to clean up the mess that my goods make.

Surely, someone should stop me. I’m a menace.

That’s exactly the case with recycling (http://www.smh.com.au/national/recycling-rout-was-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-20180131-p4yz5g.html)

But why don’t they stop me? Why do we continue to let the packaging industry, supermarkets etc. use plastic to make their lives easier and profits higher, but create a big mess for the world?

Listen politicians, it doesn’t make sense! The price of the product should include the cost of disposal and then revenue raised can cover any cleanup.


A life half-lived

Imagine every embarrassing moment of your life being relived over and over. Groundhog Day without the good bits. What a terrible inhibition on one’s ability to live one’s life.

Well, that had been my life until recently. There was, for instance, the time that I said something complimentary to one person that I later realised to be a terrible insult to another person present; a simple clumsiness that I regretted later; something from my childhood years, my adolescence, my first marriage, at a social function, at school, at work, in front of my workmates or my relatives, whatever, would pop into my mind at any time of day or in any place. I would cringe and groan and then try to forget it; but the memory would come back a few days, weeks or years later, only to repeat again. With seemingly hundreds of these cringe moments, it wasn’t uncommon for my wife to often say, “what’s the matter?” and I would shake it off and say, “ah, nothing.”

Well they are all gone now. I found a solution. Whenever a cringe memory hits me now, I think about what happened, I write it all down on an imaginary piece of paper, with a pretend pen; I try to learn from what happened, ask forgiveness, then fold it up and place it inĀ  an invisible envelope and post it into a make-believe letter box to nowhere. It never seems to come back. No more cringes, no more groans, no regrets. All gone!

I just hope I don’t regret writing this.


I’m pretty boring. I know it. That’s why I’m not in television. Some boring people make it into television – they are called ABC news-readers. I have met a few flamboyant, irrepressible and down-right disgusting people in my time, even in my limited experience. But I feel that when you enter the realm of entertainment that the likelihood of people there being debauched, pretentious, conceited, egotistical sociopaths rises exponentially. I don’t want to excuse bad behaviour – definitely not – but I don’t want to condemn people who are not like me just because they are not like me. I don’t want to watch television where only people like me are allowed on the set.

Recently we have had a lot of news about some entertainers’ lascivious behaviour. There has also been a lot of nonsense spoken, like poor Oprah’s tedious speech. The sight of a woman displaying her ample bosom, surrounded by a lot of women, apparently attending a public function in black underwear, demanding more respect seems odd.

There do need to be some standards – Harvey Weinstein should probably go to gaol and maybe share a cell with Dustin Hoffman. On the other hand, when we hear about someone’s behaviour, and it’s behaviour that we would consider unacceptable for ourselves, which of us really has the right to condemn them?

Our own Australian-made pair of Don Burke and Craig McLachlan have been exposed with shock and horror by Fairfax and the ABC. Their compulsive and at times repulsive behaviour has outraged everyone who likes to be outraged and brought their respective careers to a halt. But, when you examine what they actually did, you have to ask the questions, were the participants adults, who was actually harmed, which laws were broken and how much of what the accusers are saying is just in their own minds?