Dogs belong in backyards digging up bones. Cats, curled up on couches and starring in viral internet videos.
That’s their element.
But what do you think about them wandering around shopping centres? Scurrying around the workplace? Reigning over the window seat on the train? That’s what some of our pollies want.
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This Punch post isn’t about WWE wrestling. Nothing to do with star John Cena delivering an elevated chokeslam to Kane.
But it’s about something that shares a lot of amateur theatrics and even biffs: local politics in this country.
A hilarious story did the rounds yesterday about Holroyd City Council, near Blacktown in Sydney’s west. Restauranteurs at the La Vita restaurant in Merrylands on Tuesday found themselves witness to one of the council area’s great all-time political battles.
We shop in supermarkets because we love the choice. We guzzle supersized drinks. We flock to superhero movies because we love the action, and when there’s horizontal action on the menu, apparently we’re red hot for super brothels too - unless they’re somewhere where we actually live.
The NSW land and Environment Court has given the green light for a really big red light in Sydney’s inner west. Plans for the expansion of the existing Stiletto brothel were originally rejected after a local Liberal councillor called it the “Westfield of brothels”.
There is no suggestion the councillor was referring to the likelihood of a two dollar knock shop appearing on the premises right beside a Mister Minit. Though when you think about it…
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in Singapore yesterday. She got a flower named after her. She fell in love with the place. \
As a matter of fact, she loved it so much that she decided that she might as well move there. Just for the next few months, anyway.
Why wouldn’t you? The shopping is great. It’s clean. There’s a restaurant precinct where you can find almost any national cuisine you could think of. And besides, with Blackberries and Skype and the internet and social media these days, she could easily do her job just as well from the south-east Asian city-state.
The news that a municipal council in Melbourne has banned local cricketers from playing the popular, fast-paced Twenty20 in more than 40 parks raises questions about the increasingly litigious and risk-averse culture in which we live today.
According to reports, the Boroondara Council introduced the ban to minimize the risk of injury and property damage. Apparently one ball had shattered a car window.
It is also a reminder of one of the most well known judgments in the English common law.
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It is likely that the 2013 federal election will be accompanied by three referendum questions. The last 110 years have not been very successful in terms of changing the Constitution; only eight of 44 referendum questions have received the required double majority.
One likely question concerns local government - the third attempt! Referendums in 1974 and 1988, on whether local government should be recognised in the Constitution, were soundly defeated.
The third attempt, planned to allow the Commonwealth to directly fund local government, deserves to be passed. It has bipartisan support, and unless state governments fight to retain their power over the local sector, it may be successful.
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‘Tis the season to pretend there’s nothing wrong with starting Christmas celebrations this early in December, as we wind our way through the shopping malls and homemaker centres of suburbia.
We start in the southeast corner of Melbourne, where one council has decided to change up its approach to the festive season. The Mordialloc Chelsea Leader reports that Kingston council, sick of squabbling over public liability insurance rates, has packed up the tinsel streamers and hanging fairy lights – safe in the knowledge that no plastic stars can fall on the heads of passers by.
Instead, they’ve chosen to cover rubbish bins in Christmas wrapping. For the price of $26,000, some 200 bins in the area get to be wrapped with reusable Australiana-themed livery.
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My first brush with politics was in local government. I think I was eight.
My father was an independent ‘alderman’ on our local municipal council. A significant part of my youth was spent standing on polling booths, pounding the pavement to deliver Dad’s election newsletters and fielding constituent calls after school before Dad got home from work, as my older brother refused to answer the phone.
I remember one year standing on a polling booth for Dad where the big issue was council amalgamations. Dad was strongly opposed. So there I was, arguing the case for grass roots democracy against the monolith of big council bureaucracy.
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It was a meeting last week with a fired up General Manager of the Bogan Shire Council, Mike Brady, and the Deputy Mayor Jim Hemstead over the town’s swimming pool which really got me thinking about bogans.
The news was full of chk-chk-boom bogans, and to top it off I even had 30 kids from Bogan Shire’s St Josephs School come into the Parliamentary office whilst on an excursion to Canberra.
After a moment of quiet reflection I am now convinced there is a bit of bogan in every Australian. I realise the statement may shock and dismay some of our nation’s more refined citizens.
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