Omnibus – no bus at all …
The election is long gone, the census debacle a faint memory, and I thought I should just check on the $6.5 billion omnibus bill …a $1.3 billion cut with the removal of the clean energy supplement. That amount equates to $14 a fortnight for those on aged pension and indeed all other welfare recipients including those on Newstart, who receive a meagre $260 per wk.
At the risk of being acerbic, omnibus is the Latin meaning “for all”, and refers to a passenger-carrying vehicle, originally an enclosed horse-drawn one. Are we being penalised – transported back to the Victorian era for having spent at least $227 million holding the election and $440 million for the census (on 2011 stats), probably more with the technology bungle by IBM..$660million plus when government wasn’t even sitting. Source: Image courtesy of The Saturday Paper Aug 28, 2016 , Journalist Sophie Morris and Heath Pickering. Deputy Editor, Election Watch, 2016.
September is a creative month in Cairns, there’s the Races, fashion and the 8-day Cairns Festival (Fri 26 Aug – Sun 4 Sept). This year is particularly exciting because I noticed months ago that there was a workshop at the Tanks for float construction. http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/festival/news-events/events/event-workshops/float-concept-And-design-workshop
The last time I watched the Grand Parade was when the Festival was called “Fun In the Sun” and my son was only five. Since then what floating impressions I gained were marked by a large number of utes with balloons and cardboard advertisements. This year I believe it will be better, much better.
The August edition of Cairns Life showcased the Melbourne SKA Orchestra on its cover (Sun 28 Aug 6.30pm). The Cairns Festival website is promoting the Soweto Gospel Choir who will be performing in the new open air space at Munro Martin Park on Saturday 3 September. And of course there’s the Carnival on Collins and the Grand Parade on Saturday 27 August, starting at 5.30pm followed by Fire Works at 7.30pm. It’s the best time to be in Cairns.
In my July blog I featured a piece on installation art and again in that vein, projection art will feature in this month’s blog. It’s all about light. Enjoy…
This artwork of magic orbs was featured recently in the Weekend Australian’s magazine. Solness is in Cairns for the Festival and he will produce five of his famous Field of Orbs events in locations around the city, painting our communities with light. Source: Images courtesy of Peter Solness.
Also tonight EnLIGHTenment – Ocean and Earth will see the Cairns Library coated in light and colour. From 6.30pm to 9.30pm Australian artist Craig Walsh will project digital video artworks onto the Library building using 3-D, mapping, sculpture, photography and sound. “His works incorporate stories and perspectives [that] connect with communities in a meaningful and empowering process of self-reflection in relation to environment.” Source – Cairns Festival website.
This artwork was a collaboration between Art & About Sydney and the Australian Museum. Acknowledgement: Craig Walsh and website developers, Yuki Nakano and Scott MacKenzie.
On Cairns public art, I have to say I do not understand ‘Embrace’ a piece of public art costing $165,000 which is supposed to depict the reef and deltas of Far North Queensland. Why is it black ?
The artist behind the design and work is Braham Stevens, a Woopen Creek based sculptor. Woopen Creek is near Mt Bartle Frere, south of Cairns. It’s almost as bad as the marble rock plonked outside the JCU Administration building.
However…Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Acknowledgement : Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton), who wrote many books, often under the pseudonym of ‘The Duchess’. In Molly Bawn, 1878, there’s the line “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, which is the earliest citation of the phrase in print. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/59100…
So let’s be inspired by this beautiful lightgraff work, light graff meaning drawing or writing with light. Karim Jabbari is a Tunisian artist known worldwide for his drawing and writing with light. Jabbari is a calligrapher whose work is inspired by ancient Arabic scriptures. This artwork was produced at the top of a steep cliff near Albany, Western Australia.
Source: Victoria Laurie, journalist – Feature : Light on the Landscape, The Australian.com.au/review July 30-31 2016.
Now to a more serious discussion.
Youth unemployment in Cairns is now at 39.1% (June 2016). Cairns total unemployment rate is 9.9%, way above the national average. Newscorp is to be commended for running a campaign to find 5000 jobs (in 50 days) for young Australians desperately seeking work. However this is a national campaign and I don’t see any movement by Federal member Warren Entsch or State member Rob Pyne to alleviate Cairns’ staggeringly high youth unemployment rate. This is a 10% increase in youth unemployment in a year! The only light on the horizon was a job advertised today with the Cairns Regional Council for an Employment Strategy Coordinator.
In Cairns and the region we understand what a low wage economy is, with casualisation employing more than one in three people in tourism or retail related positions. There are of course exceptions – jobs in the public service are well paid, dare I say, inflated to provide senior bureaucrats with salary packages in some cases double those of ministers, and in every State the public sector jobs have grown. While these positions are not classed as welfare dependent, they are government funded via the tax payer and with the new Turnbull government seeking to address the deficit, yesterday citing it as a moral challenge, it seems cruel to attack those with the least, including young people on Newstart.
I discovered that a driving instructor working in Cairns is likely to be taking home $600 a week while working a 60 hr week. Subdued wages growth is sapping domestic demand and economic growth according to Paul Cleary, an economist writing for the Weekend Australian Business Review this month.
Unions are battling to hold on to weekend penalty rates but have been unable to address growing job insecurity and casualisation, which is hiding mass levels of under employment. The minimum wage is set at $17.70 per hr but many employers are finding creative ways to avoid even paying that minimum.
The Economist suggested we review Keynesian economic theory – when an economy is operating below full employment, demand rather than supply determines the level of investment and national income. This suggests spending rather than saving, a suggestion that would probably cause Scott Morrison to have an apoplectic fit. But I’ve got a solution why don’t all the politicians (and senior bureaucrats) take a hair cut. Backbenchers earn $200,000 a year, and don’t get me started on their entitlements.
Asteroid – too close for comfort
Lastly on Tuesday August 2 (as reported in the Courier Mail), NASA announced plans to launch a probe to study Bennu, an asteroid which crosses the Earth’s orbit every six years. In 2135 Bennu will fly between the moon and the Earth, too close for comfort according to Arizona University Professor Dante Lauretta who says the asteroid could affect the earth’s gravity and potentially put it on course for the Earth. The asteroid travels at 101,000 km/hr. The NASA probe with align its orbit with Bennu in August 2018. Clear for take-off.
Footnote: ” Grandpa Trump trained as a barber, but made his money with a string of saloons and brothels” up on the Klondike (Yukon, NW Canada) in the 1890s. Friedrick Drumpf – grandmother of Donald was a German immigrant who returned to Germany after the goldrush in 1901. He was subseq-uently deported back to the US for dodging his tax obligations (sound familiar) and military service. With a changed name, ‘the Donald’ seems to be a chip of the old block, the trump card – a trickster.
Source: Ben MacIntyre – The Times, London March 5-6, 2016
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