It’s difficult to demand safer roads for motorcycle riders in a week when a 21-year-old L-plater lost his licence for texting while travelling at high speed down Sydney’s M2 on his Ducati Monster.
If bike riders are too stupid to look after themselves, why should we expect public authorities to spend time and money doing the job for us?
Fortunately one federal MP and long-term bike rider has persisted in this cause with a timely warning to Parliament. Australia’s one million motorbike owners deserve more attention from road safety experts, the Nationals’ Luke Hartsuyker, shadow minister for youth and sport, has said.
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The Communists have been vanquished! The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) confirmed yesterday that the Communist Party of Australia had been deregistered as a political party for the second time in 90 years.
The reds are gone. The Punch discovered this morning they’re not even under the bed. We called five Communist contacts on the CPA’s website and not a single comrade answered the phone. And the AEC told The Australian yesterday the party was deregistered because they didn’t respond to a notice querying whether they met the required membership threshold.
While your natural reaction might be: hoorah! The Glorious Bourgeois Capitalist Machine has won! The Resistance is dead!!! The reality is, it’s a bittersweet victory. The end of communism means the end of all kinds of cultural touchstones we hold dearly.
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Foreign Minister Bob Carr held a press conference yesterday and was peppered with questions on what we’re going to do about Syria.
Over 9,000 Syrian civilians had been killed in the uprising against tyrant Bashar Al-Assad. At least 108 people were killed in the recent Houla massacre, including 49 children and 34 women. Some killed by shell fire, the majority appear to have been shot or stabbed at close range.
But what about Schapelle Corby?
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Today is World No Tobacco Day, observed each year on 31 May to help reduce a global tobacco death toll that will hit 5 million in 2012 and 8 million by 2030. Four in five of these deaths will occur in developing countries where many of those affected will die in agony because they can’t access morphine.
If you are ambivalent about these incomprehensible numbers because you think smoking is a choice, please read on.
Progress on proven measures to encourage people to choose not to smoke has been invariably blocked in ways that would not stymie low-cost steps to improve other areas of global health. Why? Smoking kills, but unlike comparable causes of death such as dysentery or malaria, it also makes billions of dollars for ruthless multinational companies.
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That meddling loon we call “science” has struck again. Not content with smashing particles into each other and allowing Michael Bay to discover CGI, it has confirmed that other people do, in fact, feel things and are not imaginary characters in the movies in our heads (except Tom Hanks’ idiot spawn Chet Haze, who we can only hope is not a real thing).
Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have concluded - through a study of 239 students - that even a quick smile or a flash of eye contact can make strangers feel more connected. Some students even reported feeling unsettled when others failed to acknowledge them.
It would appear - contrary to the belief of the scowling, shoe-examining hordes that seemingly populate our transportation networks and supermarkets - that people actually enjoy being smiled at. They neither contort in agony nor screech in rage when a person they have never met elects to nod in their direction instead of scrambling past them.
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The development of the artistic impulse in new humans is a thing to behold. In early childhood, illustration is usually a happy accident. Toddler X will be chewing absentmindedly on a crayon and inadvertently dribble Blue Poles onto a square of lino.
Toddler Y will eat too much birthday cake and produce a perfect replica of Cy Twombly’s Nine Discourses on Commodus all over the hired party mermaid.
Then, if you’re really lucky, toddlers D, A, M, I, E, N, H, I, R, S and T will stumble upon a 4.3-metre tiger shark and a vitrin of formaldehyde, and voila! Charles Saatchi is flogging their cute little conceptual masterpiece for $8 million.
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Talented young sportswoman Ellyse Perry has been given a bit of an ultimatum. The 21 year old has been representing Australia in both cricket and soccer since she was 16. But now, her W-League club, Canberra United, says Perry must ditch the cricket commitments which often cause her to miss soccer training, or find a new club.
Perry says she will decide soon, but what do you lot think? Is this discrimination, or the perfectly reasonable demands of an employer? Sheesh, this is starting to sound a lot like one of our Friday dilemmas, isn’t it. And it’s only Thursday!
In other news, what’s news in your neck of the woods?
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Even Julian Assange’s own legal team were scrambling tonight to get on top of the judgement from the UK Supreme Court to reject his appeal against extradition to Sweden, asking for a two-week stay as it rested on a point of law not raised during the hearings.
So it’s best to leave the legal arguments to the Law Lords.
But there’s a principle at play here that is anathema to our system here at home, like it or not Assange’s home. Secrecy.
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We should be preparing children for a life full of bitter disappointments. Magic might not happen. Just because you dream it doesn’t mean you can do it. Someone has to come last, and sometimes it will be you.
According to research, telling little Tyler that he is a golden angelic mini-God who can fly to the moon and be an Olympic champion and that his crayon drawings are the precursor to a life of creative brilliance will not only turn him into a prat, but could turn him into a bully as well.
RMIT psychology lecturer and bullying expert Professor Helen McGrath says the “failed self-esteem movement” has led to children with an overinflated idea of themselves, and these little emperors are more likely to be ringleaders when it comes to bullying.
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We watch blokes bouncing off ropes and banging into each other in TV wrestling knowing it is a lot of fun but not much to do with wrestling.
There was the same sensation watching the House of Representatives this morning as Opposition MPs rattled locked doors and dived into advisers’ boxes to avoid being associated with Craig Thomson’s “tainted” vote.
It was a lot of fun, but didn’t have much to do with representative democracy. Craig Thomson’s vote is not tainted. It is of equal value and standing to that Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. To argue that one elected representative’s vote is worth less than another is to tip the entire Westminster system on its head.
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