John Cummings

Surfcoastwombat

Introduction to My Blog

I hope those of you who visit my blog find my posts interesting. Now that I have achieved septuagenerian status, I feel that I can say that I have “been there, done that” and hindsight is a wonderful asset. If you do find my topics interesting, please pass my blog address on to your friends.  Some of my posts are topics I am passionate about and some of them are letters I have written to newspapers – primarily “The Age” – some do actually get published!

If you would like to respond to one of my posts, please click on the post header to go to the “Leave a Reply” page.

My first ever letter to The Age letters page was submitted on Friday 30 June 2000, the day before GST was introduced. In those days, The Age had a “letter of the day” and it was published at the top of the Opinion page. I was very proud of that letter and I have included it in this blog as my first post – see below – the topic is still very meaningful today and I encourage you to read it. The Age titled it – “For some of us, the chains grow heavier”.

Penalty rates

By | Letters to The Age - published | No Comments

I never thought I would see the day when I agreed with Senator Eric Abetz.  Penalty rates need to be reviewed, especially as many people regard weekends and public holidays as just another weekday.  But for existing employees who are managing a mortgage and family budget based on the fact that they are legally entitled to an agreed penalty rate, reducing their pay would be immoral.  By all means lower or reduce penalty rates where common sense prevails, set a date from when it will take effect, and new employees after that date should be subject to the new entitlements.

Read More

Boots on the ground

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

Australia is open to US plan for “boots on the ground” in Syria (The Age online 17/2).  Every time the US says jump, Canberra says “how high”.  Why is it always Australia that fights alongside the US?  Why aren’t other countries doing their share of cooperation or increasing it where they are already?  France, Germany, Britain, China, South Africa, Spain and so on. The more we put “boots on the ground” in the Middle East, the more trouble we are creating for ourselves in the future.

Read More

Andrew Bolt

By | Letters to the Herald Sun - published | No Comments

Andrew Bolt is telling us that it is time to axe Malcolm Turnbull and that the next leader has to be a right-wing conservative.  Someone like Morrison, Dutton or even Abbott.  God forbid! Andrew Bolt is so anti left wing it’s a wonder he can walk in a straight line.  We have people who profess right wing views and also those who have left wing views.  Surely common sense states that the best people to govern this country are those who hold the centre view and are capable of negotiating with the right and left wing factions.

Read More

The blame game

By | Letters to The Age - published | No Comments

I have enjoyed an email friendship with a guy in New York for some years now.  I was stunned when he told me he was voting for Donald Trump.  When I asked why, he said that most of the powerful politicians in the USA are corrupt and that Hilary Clinton was the most corrupt.  He argued that anyone with no political baggage was preferable to Hilary. Could this happen here?  Absolutely.  It already is.  The last election sent a strong message to Canberra which has been ignored.  The pollies are not governing for the State or for the Country.  They…

Read More

Contacting companies

By | Letters to The Age - published | No Comments

There was a time when one could pick up the phone and ring a company with an enquiry or complaint and the call would be dealt with promptly and efficiently.  But that came at a cost and the cost cutters didn’t like that. Phone numbers started disappearing from letterheads and web sites and replaced with email addresses.  If you were lucky, you might get an email reply within a few days.  But in time this process fell out of favour – it meant hiring more people and training them. Then the email support addresses disappeared and we were encouraged to…

Read More

Faysal Ishak Ahmed

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

I had a heavy heart and a tear in my eye when I read Michael Gordon – “Death raises questions over detainee’s medical treatment” – (the Age 26/12).   Faysal Ishak Ahmed fled the horrors of Sudan looking for a new life and who knows what he might have achieved given the opportunity.  He may have been a surgeon, or a teacher, or a pilot – we’ll never know.   Sadly, for him, he picked the wrong country at the wrong time.  He was clearly ill and in need of proper medical attention yet we denied him that right.  We…

Read More

Carols by Candlelight

By | My thoughts - FWIW | No Comments

One reason I don’t watch much of Channel 9 is because I am sick of the mind numbing ads that scream out at the viewers.  They certainly know how to pack them in.  So one would think that maybe, just for one evening, Channel 9 could broadcast Carols by Candlelight without these intrusive ads.  But no – it is a captive audience and there is a lot of money to be made.

Read More

NBN tax

By | My thoughts - FWIW | No Comments

The Turnbull government wants a levy on Telcos to help pay for the rollout of the NBN in regional areas (Telco ‘tax’ for NBN rollout – The Age 13/12) Blind Freddie will tell you that the Telcos will pass this cost on to the users which means in effect that we will cop this ‘tax’.  And if the tax is – let’s say – 10% – then the Telcos will pass on a little bit more claiming additional accounting costs to them.  I wouldn’t mind so much if we were getting a decent broadband network but as a retired IT…

Read More

Let Turnbull pursue what he believes in

By | Letters to The Age - published | No Comments

Everybody is entitled to their viewpoint, even people with extremist views.  But it isn’t healthy when people with extremist views hold power.  One only has to read a history book to see why. We actually have a Prime Minister in this country who is not an extremist but he has no power which is a tragedy.  He is running the country with a knife over his head. I don’t know what the solution is but we need a system whereby at the end of the day, the Prime Minister, having listened to all viewpoints, is responsible for making the final…

Read More

The big question about climate change

By | My thoughts - FWIW | No Comments

I sent the letter below to both The Age and the Herald Sun.  The Age chose not to print it but the Herald Sun did – but – they doctored it removing the reference to Andrew Bolt.  If you criticise Andrew Bolt to the Herald Sun, they won’t print it, and if you do the same with The Age, it seems The Age are wary of printing it in case they are seen as “knocking” a journalist from a rival newspaper.  So Andrew Bolt escapes public scrutiny. ******** If I am unwell, I go to my doctor.  If my car…

Read More

Harmony in politics

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

Steve Price says that he doesn’t want anyone’s sympathy after it was suggested he was bullied on The Project.  And so he shouldn’t.  It is people like Price, Bolt, Hadley, Jones et al who are the bullies in the media world dominated by media moguls like Rupert Murdoch. It seems to me that the right-wing media are brainwashing the world.  I don’t see anywhere near the same amount of left-wing bluster nor from the centre believers. I was brought up not to put things in either the black or the white basket but to look at both sides of an…

Read More

What happened in America has already happened here

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

Many people are suggesting that what happened recently in the US with Donald Trump winning the election, could happen here.  But in my mind, it already has. When Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott, many Australians, including those who are not Liberal Party members, thought that this action heralded a new era.  We thought that Malcolm would bring some common sense to government. Immediately his popularity surged to a level that suggested if he called a snap election straight away, he would romp home with a massive majority. But he didn’t call an election, and he succumbed to the Coalition right…

Read More

The US Election

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

Whatever happens tomorrow in America, they are going to end up with a President who is unlikely to unite the country.  The lies, hatred and bigotry that has been the hallmark of this unbelievably long campaign leaves me saddened.  The country is split down the middle – and it seems most likely that whoever wins will not win convincingly.  This is not a healthy outcome for the troubled world we live in. I have a distant cousin I correspond with in New York, a mature age man who is highly intelligent and very easy going.  He stunned me recently when…

Read More

Justin Gleeson

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

Justin Gleeson has resigned (Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson resigns over George Brandis dispute – The Age online 24/10).  Senator Brandis’ arrogant response is “in the circumstances, Mr Gleeson’s resignation is the proper course of action for him to have taken”.  The more proper course of action would have been for Senator Brandis to have resigned. No doubt champagne corks will be popping this evening and I wonder who will be next – Gillian Triggs?  

Read More

The American Presidential election

By | My thoughts - FWIW | No Comments

In Australia, elections to vote in a new government take place every three years unless the government of the day decides to call an election early, which is not uncommon unfortunately. Election campaigns normally only last for a few weeks. The last election campaign that we endured recently lasted for 8 weeks and by the end of it we were sick to death of it all. The previous Liberal Coalition government was returned to power with a majority of one in the House of Representatives and a divided Senate that includes more minor party members and independents than are normally…

Read More

Journalistic ethics

By | Letters to The Age - not published, Uncategorized | No Comments

The Australian Journalists’ Association (AJA) Code of Ethics 1994 states that each member of the Australian Journalists’ Association is bound by its rules to observe their Code of Ethics which include among other things: To report and interpret news with a scrupulous honesty; not to suppress essential facts nor distort the truth by omission or wrong or improper emphasis; not to allow his personal interests to influence him in the discharge of his duties; and to do his utmost to maintain full confidence in the integrity and dignity of the calling of a journalist. I can name many journalists, in…

Read More

Poker machines are not addictive???

By | Letters to the Herald Sun - published | No Comments

Tom Elliott says pokies are not addictive (“Play the pokies? Let adults choose”, Herald Sun Sep 30). Yes Tom, some people can play the pokies, have a smoke and have a drink, and they can take it or leave it. But I can assure Tom, that for many people, these activities can become terribly addictive.  The cost to them and to society in general is enormous. And if you really believe some poker machines are not rigged, then you must believe there are fairies at the bottom of your garden.

Read More

Grand Final tickets

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

I wonder how many die hard Western Bulldogs or Sydney Swans fans will miss out on this year’s grand final?  People who would love to be there and have supported their team religiously, year in and year out, especially the Western Bulldogs fans who haven’t tasted Grand Final success for so long. The AFL is making plenty of money from TV rights, gate receipts, sponsorships and so on.  Surely for this one game of the year, the club supporters should have first choice of a ticket instead of these tickets going to people who support neither club but just want…

Read More

Tradesmen left alone in a house

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

A tradesman asked if he could carry out some work in my home even though neither my wife nor I could be present.  When I refused, he got upset saying he would never get any work done if everyone thought like me. For a while, I had a retirement hobby fixing people’s computer problems.  Often I would be told where to find the key to the house and to make sure the door was locked when I left.  I did this a few times but always felt uncomfortable.  One day I found myself in a house that clearly had a…

Read More

More on the Plebiscite

By | Letters to The Age - not published | No Comments

At last someone has published a sensible article on the Plebiscite – James Massola – (Make no mistake, Labor and the Coalition are playing politics with same-sex marriage – The Age online 27/9/2016). This plebiscite is doomed – the Liberal right wing doesn’t want same-sex marriage and they are demanding Malcolm Turnbull push for a plebiscite because they know Bill Shorten will oppose it – he has to – he is in Opposition.  Opposition parties oppose everything as John Clarke and Bryan Dawe said (Clarke and Dawe do Turnbull – ABC 16/04/2009). Malcolm would love a free vote but if…

Read More