Thursday, May 25, 2006

Au Revoir, I'm off to chase dreams...

Today I missed out on my dream job.

The big hole in my CV was a lack of media experience. Get some articles published and you might have a better chance they said. It was the same story with another exciting job about 2 months ago.

I have enjoyed political blogging, but there is something about getting your work past an editor that gives you an edge over self published opinion, however incisive or relevant. Before I blogged, I had things published, and if I had not been putting my spare writing time into my blogs I would probably have several more pieces out there.

Possibly, I would have landed one of these jobs.

Legal Journo and Political Advisor, respectively, in case you're curious.

So I'm going to make a renewed effort to get published, and end my poliblogging for the time being. I will keep visiting my favourite blogs via my feedreader and comment sometimes. I may even do some more personal blogging, from time to time, somewhere out there.

Wish me luck, because I am about to chase a few dreams.

And stay in touch, and drink with me when you pass through sunny Melba.

Au Revoir Armagnac'd.

UPDATE: Better balance struck, see the next post up!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Top Terrace Tumor Terror

Not so good:

The top floors of one of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's (RMIT) buildings in Melbourne are set to be closed after seven staff were diagnosed with brain tumours. The staff work in the Tivoli building in Bourke Street, with five of them on the top floor where the business faculty is based.

It is believed there is a mobile phone transmitter on the roof of the building.

Adding to the injury already caused by horrific ring tones.

Budget response isn't Beazley's Guadalcanal

Predictably they're saying this is his big test, a kind of final chance to show his wares. I'm very much in the Beazley doubter camp but I think that's simply setting him up, unfairly, for failure.

This is weak ground for Labor, unfortunately. It isn't Labor or Beazley's fault that people don't like to have money taken back out of their pockets, so any argument for redirecting these tax cuts into more responsible social investment is going to be difficult to put. The strongest potential for attack is at the periphery; too much to the very wealthy perhaps, not enough for the needy.

Going in hard for young singletons and asking how many waves of additional 'family' benefits they must pay for is unfashionable in marginal seats. I'm married and on the cusp of considering the family thing, yet I think it's palpably unfair that they get continually snubbed because they don't form a significant enough voting bloc.

Not only that, it makes no sense to keep giving them incentive to head offshore. We aren't there yet, and to take up from my previous post Gen Xers and Ys haven't done all that badly, but society is in a transition which if it keeps going could leave the young professional class feeling that their role is to pay huge student debts, rents and taxes and work themselves to the bone for the more influential family and grey votes.

If I was just starting out and had the kind of debts Ys are now being saddled with, the temptation to spend a decade somewhere with lower taxes coupled with a stronger currency would be very strong.


Realistically for Labor, any attacks on this budget, a product of largess that is likely to be overwhelmingly popular among key voters, need to be modest and well-targetted. Certainly Beazley's ability to mount any sort of attack on it would reflect well on him. But he shouldn't be expected to pull a flame out of his arse- he needs to do that attacking the IR laws, or working up stronger health and education policies. That's where Labor can win, that's where he needs to prove himself.

UPDATE: Two comments in a row that sum up my concerns about this budget, and the ongoing saga of the generations, on an Age blog.

This budget totally leaves out young professional people, it is Australia's loss though, UK/Europe, Asia and USA's gain.Not to worry, i am joining many of my friends and younger sister in Europe to work permanently. There is no future in a little known country that cares not for young people who stive for excellence and work hard and is only a parochial quarry with a view. Ciao.
By the time anyone under 55 gets to drawn down super I will bet that the economic conditions will have changed and the newly abolished 15% withdrawal tax will be re-instated.
Given what happened to Higher Ed fees that's not an unrealistic fear...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Free education, houses, now a gold-encrusted retirement

Imre, arrogant slob that he is, sums up the baby boomers' budget in a nutshell: encouraging the over-60s to combine super with an income stream, he is making it easier for boomers to do what they do best - hog all the best jobs and drive generations X and Y nuts in the process.
Why do the rest of us even bother?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"The Network" - Labor's Opus Dei...

Or not? Does it even really exist?

I have only ever encountered cryptic references to this group. I picture Silas in King Gee slacks, photo of 'BS' Santamaria taped to his chest, quietly taking out social progressives in the hours before an important conscience vote.

Sounds like a blockbuster in the making, though The Boyd Code just doesn't have the same ring....

Monday, May 08, 2006

More West Wing than Cavenagh QC

Over the weekend I made a decision, which I acted on today, that will significantly shape my future for better or worse.

For the past couple of years I've toyed with the idea of becoming a criminal lawyer. I even applied for a couple of prosecution and defence positions, but wasn't offered anything serious so the idea remained hypothetical. The appeal of criminal law is that it is the most advocacy driven area of law; you spend most of your time in court, not behind a desk, and there is far more arguing than paperwork. Also it is undeniably interesting and dominated by issues affecting real people. It is the best area to work in if you are contemplating a smooth transition to Barristerhood.

Last week I got two offers: an interview (to be held today at lunchtime) with a prosecution service and a job offer with a leading criminal defence firm.

This morning I turned both down.

Despite the appeal, I realised the entire field is not me. For a lefty I'm quite law and order when it comes to violent criminals, but on the other hand have loads of sympathy for property and drug offenders who appear as driven by desperation as anything. I don't really suit either side of this heated and passionate area.

Life goes on. We continue to look at houses, and consider bumping up to Preston (but not Sydney thanks SB!). Warne canoodles. Miners languish behind walls of rock. Dozens more die in Iraq. Beazley has a halfway decent week, perhaps fired up by talk of his demise. Life goes on.

Sex and Sporting Performance

Clearly the old requirement that athletes abstain wasn't based on science. Warne takes 7 for 99 despite bowling two maidens over with his omniprescent leg stump:
"Shane's a stallion and very willing to experiment. He loved playing around with the inflatable and was up for anything."
What a nice compliment to receive from a lady!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What grump lies beneath?

Mao and I have been taking it in turns to slip into depression. It could be a virus, maybe I've caught cat flu or feline aids, that would explain the strange drawn out minor cough that yesterday turned into a sore throat. I've never had a cold with this 'pattern' before, but I suppose they mutate frequently.

Interviewed for two jobs, a third lined up next week. Another may come through with an interview shortly after that. They involve big choices that twist around my brain like earthworms. Having options seems good when you don't, but it ramps up your blood pressure when you don't exactly know which one you'd rather take. It's a policy versus court thing, I won't go further as I've whinged about this in previous navel gazing posts. I have found that staring down the barrel of a job in criminal defence law has made me aware of all the ways I don't fit the stereotype small-l liberal when it comes to law and order.

I think repeat violent offenders should be locked in a psychiatric institution until they are safe. That sort of thing.

Beloved and I have strained at little things, pointless arguments erupt through the surface expressing the magma underneath. Not about us, I'm pretty sure of that. We're both just a little over the house search, the endless disappointments and almost-not-quites. The people taking loans five times their salaries in order to pip those of us who try to cling to a modicum of common sense. And maybe it's an Autumn thing, who knows?

At least, while Mao and the two of us are by turns grumpy, little Minh-Minh is a ball of up-beat, big-eyed fluffy love. Just watching her jumping around on the lawn warms my soul.

Please don't touch the Kelpie...

Only in Queensland can you say this without feeling self conscious:
He has to be the leader. He's so safe you could leave your girlfriend or your kelpie with him.
Or your Kelpie. Glad he won't do to Kelpies what he also won't do to girlfriends.

Meanwhile Beazley potters on. There's a fire in that belly I'm sure, but whether it fires over policy or just the seat inhabited by Johnny is another matter. How many chances do you get before you accept that maybe you're not leadership material. Maybe you don't even believe in anything worth fighting for.

I started reading the Latham diatribe again the other day, got about 3 pages further in and retired it again. Why are there so many people in my party with such strong beliefs that accord so precisely with the dry wing of the Liberal party? People who probably sit to the right of Amanda Vandstone or Petro Georgiou?

I would like to see a Rudd-Gillard team sweep in now, but my fear is that they wouldn't make enough headway before the next election, lose, and get dumped prematurely by the party in its hand-wringing uncertainty as people muttered about what a mistake it was to ditch Beazley.

If the party has little chance of winning next time, wouldn't that be a good opportunity to run a few strong policies up the flag, road test them, see where the public might actually tolerate or even warm to something progressive? Sometimes we are so conservative that I wonder if Labor winning with Beazley and the roosters at the helm would be an improvement at all...