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I’ve been watching the minions of the left have conniptions about the proposed changes to the way that Job seekers are expected to show their willingness to find work. On one hand you have the Government suggesting that the Unemployed should be willing to make 40 job applications a month and on the other side you have people insisting that its too much to ask.
I sort of think that both sides are right and wrong here.
Its very clear that in some parts of the country there simply are not enough jobs for the people who need them. and no amount of badgering the unemployed to make more of an effort is going to make thee needed jobs magically appear. Frankly the mad drive to import every more people is not helping either because every new arrival is going to be competing for that scarce commodity,namely a job. Further the march of the technology that is so beloved by our Latte sipping friends is only going to make things worse. Take the example of your local supermarket. Have you noticed they all now have the self serve checkouts? well do you realize that those self serve checkouts only have one person watching say six units in use and to help customers make their purchases? That represents the loss of five jobs right there. Now while working in retail may not be that glamorous it is an honorable profession that has sustained many workers, (mainly women) in the quest to provide for their own and the sustenance of their families. This sort of automation is happening in every aspect of our society. Its in the your library, its in your bank its every where and the trend is accelerating. The trend simply means that no matter how many more people we have the machine of our economy needs fewer people to run it. Likewise I draw the attention to those cute little robot vacuum cleaners that are endlessly advertised on TV and ask you to consider how long will it be the case business will be using them to replace cleaners in their offices?
On the other side of the ledger the obligation to make 40 approaches for those ever decreasing job opportunities will probably not be that hard to meet if a Job seeker digitizes a generic application letter and their resume that they send out to any business or potential job source entity. It does not even need to be customized for each instance that it is sent. Now I’m guessing (because I’m not personally playing this game) this on top of checking any jobs that are actually advertised would meet the obligation. How long till someone develops an app to do precisely that? However having made the obligation more onerous and punitive it hardly going to make the lives of the unemployed any easier. Worse yet it will turn every job seeker into something of a Spam merchant and if my friends in small business don’t just mark all of the extra job applications as “spiced ham” I would be very surprised indeed.
The other aspect in play is the old “work for the dole” which I have some serious reservations about. Mainly those reservations concern the amount of time that individuals will be obliged to work each week and the effective hourly rate that they will be working for. Its just manifestly unfair that any work people are obliged to do should be anything less than the going rate for such work. On top of that just what work are these people going to be asked to do and who is going to manage organize and supervise such work? Further I have concerns about the possibility that participants may be subject to bullying by those who run any “work for the dole” schemes. Finally there is the issue of cost, these schemes will cost more to run than any potential savings in the welfare budget so will it really be about the savings?
In conclusion though we can’t escape the fact that all of these proposals will require legislation to be made to happen and I just can’t see the current Senate passing many of these proposals which means that when the rubber hits the road what we will see will be somewhat diluted from what is currently being discussed. Sadly what neither it nor any alternative from Labor is going to address the clear structural issues that the march of technology is going to pose for humanity without that in the mix neither side of politics and certainly not the ordinary people are going to be winners. The Politics of this are pretty obvious though The Government is playing to its most hardline economic neoCon demographic who believe that welfare is just a waste of taxpayer’s money and that the poor or unemployed are just an inconvenience and generally a cohort of bludgers. The simple truth that conservatives like me recognize is that our welfare system is a necessary bulwark that ensures that we have a truly civil society and not one where the underclass is driven to a life of intrusive criminality to sustain the necessities of life Maintaining that bulwark at a cost that our economy can afford is the trick of it and on this score both sides of our politics play the “cruel to be kind” game (remember Gillard’s treatment of single parents?) Taking the longer view I am going to reserve my judgement on this whole thing until I see just how it comes out in the wash.
Its a good thing that the use of signature for electronic transaction is coming to an end, as far as I’m concerned
But advocates for the elderly and disabled still have concerns about the new system.
‘‘The purpose of this is better security but for some people it will have the reverse effect,’’ Council on the Ageing Australia’s chief executive, Ian Yates, said.
The council has had reports of bank staff advising elderly people with memory problems to carry a written record of their PIN.
‘‘I’m sure that’s not the official bank position … but that’s what some people will do,’’ Mr Yates said. ‘‘The security implications are worrying.’’
The president of Blind Citizens Australia, Greg Madson, said many older members had never navigated a terminal keypad. ‘‘We will be advocating for some sort of uniformity across the design of these [terminals] so that people who are vision impaired … [do] not have to struggle around the keyboard,’’ he said.
The executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman, said retailers were prepared for the switch and the majority welcomed it.
‘‘It’s going to be far more secure,’’ said Mr Zimmerman, who knows of one man who regularly signed for credit card purchases as ‘Mickey Mouse’. ‘‘Retailers just do not look at these signatures.’’
I have long thought that it was just too easy to copy a signature on the back of a credit card, so much so that I have long had “Pin only” written on the back of my credit card. To be honest I don’t think that there will be a substantive number of may fellow codgers who have problems with this change. Heck I think that many of them will have , like yours truly, already embraced the Paywave tech which makes the use of even a pin number largely obsolete.
Sometimes change is worthwhile but you won’t hear that said often from me.
There is a lovely Aussie tradition of mates helping each other out on big projects and this film is an example of that tradition made manifest. My brother Peter has built himself a super new shed to keep his vintage cars in and today he organized the pouring of a concrete floor for about half of the shed ( the rest will be done in a few weeks time) after setting up the boxing laying the moisture barrier and steel reinforcing mesh he also arranged for a whole tribe of his mates to come out and help lay the slab. Fortunately his mate Charlie has done this sort of thing before so the end result was the beautiful floor that you see in my final shot. In keeping with another fine Aussie tradition after the work was done it was my job to cook everyone burgers and snags on the barbie and most importantly a few ales were shared to celebrate the end of a job well done.
Yesterday I visited the bowels of hell and it is actually a rather dull and dreary place that is far from being as glamorous as its public image would suggest.
You see I had to go to Surfer’s Paradise so that my daughter could spend some time with her friend from Tasmania who was on holiday with her family there. The drive there and back was nice for the conversation with my daughter , terrible for my back ( I am likely to be bed bound all day today as a consequence of the journey) but as it has been many years since I have spent any time on the Gold-Coast I spent some of my time there at looking at just what sort of place it has become in that interregnum.
The overwhelming impression one gets is of squalor with a veneer of tat and pretence. The footpaths are an unending patchwork of different surfaces and pose a great risk to anyone, like yours truly, who walks with a cane. Once you raise your eyes to the many people on the streets its hard to see much real joy among them. It seemed to me that most were trying very hard to “have fun” with a rather grim determination.
To give my daughter the most time with her friend I spent most of my day reading ” Dexter is Delicious” I finished the book as it happens and in many ways it was a most apt read for the day because the Miami setting Of Jeff Lindsey’s novels are so very similar to the place were I was reading his clever prose. I also could not help but wonder about the lives of those people who serve the tourists because I did not see even one person in the shops and Cafes who looked even vaguely happy or even marginally cheerful .
By my calculation it must be more than thirty years since I have been to Surfers Paradise and if I manage to go another thirty years before I again visit I will consider that to be too soon for this old codger.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone ” is rattling around in my head this morning and that is because I am actually rather more, well, distressed may be a bit extreme, but I am quite bereft to be honest and its all about meat and the things that we hold onto in a quest for some certainty and predictability in our lives. Regular readers may recall that I previously mentioned that the butcher shop that I have been patronising for more than twenty years was to shut forever. well it has come to pass and I find that there is no seamless moving to another purveyor of the fleshly foodstuffs for me. When I did our shopping this week I went into another establishment that I have scoped out as a possible replacement I found the public part of the shop was lined with self serve cabinets and most of the meat was pre packaged. After about three seconds I just turned around and walked out profoundly disappointed. Yesterday I had to resort to buying meat from Woolworths even though I don’t like the way that they package their meat either.
The search will continue until I find a suitable replacement source for the family meat because I just can’t bring myself to continue succumbing to the perversion of pre-packaged meat. I feel the need to pick both the precise pieces of flesh that I want and to have it cut and presented as I like it. I don’t know any way to put it but the closure of may favourite Butcher shop has utterly disrupted my conceptions of the culinary arts and its going to take awhile to find that inner peace once again.
In mourning Comrades
Off to my brother’s to pick up an engine so I expect to be out for the better part of the day (even missing “The Insiders” and “The Bolt Report” also calling in on brother number two to pick up a set of Honda side draft carburettors which should mean that I will then have all of the ingredients for my Absolutely Retro Minimalist simplification of my sports car. I have lined up a place to weld up my manifold which will be a cut and shut of the Honda and Nissan elements. a Morris distributor with an electronic ignition upgrade will eliminate the computer entirely I have a new low pressure fuel pump to match the carbs and I have even managed to find the much longed for speedo drive gear for my transmission which means that I will no longer have to rely on my Sat Nav for my speed measurement.
Oh yeah I almost forget the count is on in the WA uber By election and guess what, not much has changed !
Sorry for my rather slim postings of late but I have been quite distracted by a bad trot in the back department, a problem with my sports car and well just feeling a bit down over all.
To deal with the last first there are times when chronic pain just gets you down and no mater how well you have intellectualised that you have the right stoic attitude so that you can endure and still find purpose and meaning in your life it does not take much to tip you onto the unwelcome slippery slide. this time it was being told that I had to get a pain specialist to give me the tick of approval for the continuing prescription for Norspan patches, so like a good patient I duly contacted the pain clinic and after some weeks I got a letter back telling me that they did not want me to be a patient there. The upside is that I have discovered that all I need is the approval of a second GP to continue to get the medication. I know very well that there has to be adequate controls on S8 drugs however its not as if I am asking for self injectable morphine here. Worse still though is the feeling of vulnerability you have when it looks like the medication that you need may suddenly become unavailable to you. Simply put its a worry I could well do without. It will probably surprise no one that as a consequence it feel even more disgust and disdain for recreational users of opiates because its their propensity to lie cheat and steal that have made such control measures a necessary impedimenta to those who have a real medical need to use this class of drugs.
My sports car has been running like a total dog lately and it to has been doing my head in. There is a problem with the fuel injection system that means it just refuses to run smoothly and it just keeps cutting out and refusing to run at all well above idle. I have tried mucking ar0und with the the throttle position sensor as broken wires (since fixed) caused similar symptoms but that has not solved the problem. It could be a wiring fault elsewhere but the complexity of the wiring from the donor car is mind bogglingly horrible. After much thought I have decided to seek a rather radical solution by going totally retro in the fuel delivery department which will mean that I can have an amazingly simple wiring loom in the car . to make this happen I have just bought a Nissan N15 engine (the whole car for $100!) that will mate up to my transmission the same as my N16 motor does but instead of a computer triggered ignition system it has a camshaft driven distributor to provide the sparks. on the intake side I am going to completely remove the EFI manifold and replace it with the twin Carbs off a 91 Honda civic this will necessitate me having to make or modify an inlet manifold. My plan is to make a new manifold in steel because I can weld steel and fabricate the whole thing myself without having to shell out hard earned cash to have it made in aluminium. This should not be that hard to do I will just have to cut two flange plates from 4mm sheet and then cut and shape the four tubes from each port to meet with the two carb throats . Living in Queensland there will be no real need to provide an coolant supply to the manifold and as my braking system is not boosted I won’t even need to have a vacuum take off for that either will need a vacuum supply to the Trimatic though and it seems that the wisdom is that there should be a connection between the two pairs of inlet runners to equalise them . Though there is a weight penalty for using steel the manifold and carbs air cleaner et al will undoubtedly weigh less than intake runners and plenum that they will replace and as ditching the EFI for simple carbs will mean that my electrical system can likewise be minimised I am thinking that I ought to be up to 10kg better off overall.
As for tuning the carbs to the Nissan engine well I know that they were working fine in my brother’s Honda until it did its timing belt and went bang so I won’t fiddle with them any more than I have to and as the Honda engine is only 1oocc smaller than my Nissan lump I doubt that they will be that far off in terms of the jetting.either. The result I am looking for is a car that is much more amenable to user maintenance, that has some weight loss and better usability over all. Now that is not too much to ask now is it?
If all of this works then I will be a some what happier camper but at the moment I am feeling rather, to put it politely hacked off about life in general there is not much joy when you have everything around you seems to be competing for my attention and requiring me to do so many things at the same time. Oh I will get over this temporary ennui as soon as I have something that is going my way for a while…. speaking of which my better half has just come to me telling me that the damn washing machine is not doing the right thing either! Its not my day today …
Wish I could find something to cheer about Comrades