Allan Takes Aim Blog

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Sincere apologies to readers but I won’t be able to be online again until further notice.

At the moment I’m in hospital but hope to be back blogging again shortly.

Best regards




Posted on: 5 July 2013

Editing corrections to blog: “ Beware the quality of political leaders.”

Due to tiredness brought on by attending on someone who is ill, the above blog contained a number of grammatical mistakes. These mistakes have now been rectified.


Don Allan.

Apology for a wrong post

Yesterday I posted a blog titled Letters to the editor. Today, to my discomfiture, I found that I had posted a draft of the blog not the finished article.

As to why it happened I won’t weary you with an excuse except to say it occurred because I was trying to do too many things at the same time. Unfortunately, these were not chores that could be put aside.

And so I am posting today the finished blog that should have been posted yesterday.

Apologies again..

Yours sincerely,

Don Allan



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 Is Technology destroying democracy?

The caption may be a slight exaggeration of the present state of state of affairs but, like it or not, the day is looming when if we want to find out what our local parliamentary representative is doing on our behalf we’ll have to check on his /her twitter site to find out. Additionally, if we want to get a message to our representative we have to send it to their parliamentary twitter or e-mail site.

You may disagree with me but, websites aside, there’s no doubt that Twitter is now taking a major role in the parliamentary communication process to the extent that constituents will need to go to a Government’s Twitter site to see any tweets announcing where and when Cabinet will be in attendance to talk to the community.

Sounds very democratic, doesn’t it? But midst the Government’s use of Twitter, what attention does it pay as to how older people without access to Twitter who, even if provided with the technology that would give them access, either through reading and hearing about it had, nonetheless, become anti Twitter or wouldn’t know how to use it. The result: instead of Twitter enhancing their lives they have become prisoners in a society dominated by technology and worse, make their lives and possibly democracy, deteriorate.

Not that all older people are in the same boat. Some can afford the technology that gives access to Twitter and e-mail and can also afford to pay for the advice on how to use it. Unfortunately in Canberra, whose aged population grows by the day, many older people without the necessary financial means find themselves in difficulty.

And so they look for information to guide them. Coming from a generation that relied on the local telephone directory for that purpose they turn to the directory again. Like the phone the directory and information system has changed also. Indeed when they call the information number they face a barrage of instructions that says they can get all the information they need by logging on to: or, if they hang on they will (eventually) be answered by a human asking: how can I help.

The next stage can be more confusing than helpful because they have to answer questions by pressing numbers on the phone’s keypad. This also makes them even more confused and so they discontinue the call.

This is not an imaginary situation. I have tried to explain the system to my wife – who has a memory problem common to people of her age – and is also intelligent. But intelligent as she is and as hard as she tries, unless she gets an answer immediately, she will discontinue and try again – and again. She also becomes stressed.

Many older people in Canberra are in the same age bracket as my wife but without her problem. Like her, many have not as yet adjusted to the age of technology nor, I suspect will they adjust. And the same thing applies to older people in the rest of Australia and to communities in many other parts of the world.

It seems to me that on a universal basis, it behoves governments to make sure that older people do not get left behind as younger people rush to take up the latest piece of technology. That apart,  who knows how long Twitter and e-mail will last?

Finally the young should remember that without the efforts of these older people they might not be enjoying the technology they currently use. And Governments should do the same.

Comment welcome.

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My blogs are always available at: To make direct contact e-mail me at:

Priests and politicians: is there a difference?

This week, two events occurred: the election in Vatican City of an Argentine Cardinal to be Chief Priest of the Roman Catholic Church (The Pope) and Canberra’s 100th birthday. Of these two events which do you think will be remembered, if remembered at all, as being of importance? Possibly neither, though the Papal election is the most likely.

No doubt some people will be upset at pairing the Vatican and Canberra but the fact is that environment is much the same as Vatican City is as much a political city as Canberra. That said perhaps the comparison should be between the Pope and Australia’s Prime Minister whose official home is Canberra.

It could be said that both the Pope and Australian Prime Minister reached reach their positions in the same way. The Pope was elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church by a conclave of equals and the PM by a conclave of Labor politicians. The only difference: the result of the Pope’s election is not known before the papal conclave starts whereas the result of the political conclave is known before it starts.

As to the philosophy preached by the two leaders, the Pope advocates caring for the poor, tolerance, humanity, love of God, truth, honesty, integrity and kindness et al, a philosophy set 2,000 years ago, that will get you to heaven. That the philosophy still stands is due to the fact that, apart from claiming to be the Son Of God, as a good politician, Jesus Christ its creator of the philosophy used a cabinet of 12 apostles (who today would be called priests) to promote it.

By example these priests did their best to convert people to the philosophy that later became known as Christianity. And that they were successful is clear as today 1.2 billion people still follow the philosophy. (A brief personal statement: Although I believe in parts of this philosophy but not in God I am Agnostic. But neither do I hold any brief for any other religious group such as Islam, Hinduism et al or any particular political philosophy)

Odd as it seems there is little difference between the basic philosophy of most Christian religions and Australia’s Labor Party. Christian religions promise us entrance to a mystical and glorious heaven when we die if we adhere to their philosophes, while Labor promises heaven on earth (Utopia) if we follow its philosophy. Unfortunately for both, neither have evidence to back their claim.

Despite this lack of evidence the Australian Labor party is still promising Utopia. Unfortunately for Labor, Utopia seems anchored fast in dreamland. One would not need to be a member of Mensa to see the reason why and also see why more and more people in Australia now disbelieve most Labor politicians. The reason: not only does party philosophy change overnight but, at the whim of the PM and some cabinet colleagues and for reasons of expedience, it can change hourly so leaving some cabinet and non- cabinet MPs bewildered.

A glaring example of the latter is the proposed media reform. Demanding that this media reform bill be made law is the height of arrogance. And while voters might admire firm leaders they dislike like arrogant leaders particularly when they seem to have stopped listening and stumble from one disastrous policy to another such as PM Gillard and her cabinet have done.

Labor’s memory of these mistakes has conveniently vanished into the mists of time where it will bump into many other Labor mistakes, the list of which is too long to publish. What will not be Included in that list is the legislation that has increased taxes and keeps on increasing the cost of living thus creating misery not Utopia.

For the benefit of the Prime Minister Gillard let me paraphrase the old saying, marry in haste and repent at leisure into: become PM in haste and repent at leisure. Unfortunately, Prime Minister, come September you will find out that after making mistakes repentance always comes too late. At the same time you will find that when push comes to shove and despite their fine promises of loyalty, those who helped you make those mistakes will desert you to minimise any damage to their ambitions.

In ending this piece and looking for a succinct message to summarise the image of the PM what came to mind was not that she is Australia’s first female Prime Minister but that she seems to have qualities of Emperor Nero of whom it was said: he fiddled while Rome Burned. The other Nero similarities she displays are her extravagance and the execution of people perceived as enemies.

The extravagances are so well known they speak for themselves. Hopefully the politically executed will also be able speak for themselves because while the physical execution of political enemies has now largely died out in the western world, executing perceived political enemies is still carried out as many in the Australian Labor Party and, for that matter, the Liberal Party can testify to.

Cuckoos and CanberraWhat motivated me to write this short article was a letter to the editor of the Australian (Sept 4th) from a lady in Canberra who wrote: “I have evidence of disruption to the natural order: spring has sprung without a first-cuckoo letter being sighted.” No doubt over the years the editor received many letters but in today’s global warming, climate change environment, this letter seemed interesting.

Now I don’t know if it seemed interesting to the editor but it seemed interesting because living for a long time in Canberra I’ve never had to wait to Spring to hear or see the first cuckoo. Indeed I know many people in Canberra think the city beset by cuckoos every day

While ornithologists usually welcome the cuckoo in September, the non- ornithologists among us think Canberra is beset by different species of cuckoo not only in Spring but also in Summer, Autumn and Winter. The main species are better known as Labor, Liberal and Green Cuckoos while there are some indeterminate species some of whom exhibit the same kind of behaviour as the three main species.

Naturally where you find birds you find twitchers. In the case of Canberra however, these twitchers are political twitchers whose job is to report the various comings and goings and falling outs of the political cuckoos. At times, however, their reporting of the goings on of one of the three main species of political cuckoo makes them seem like a related subspecies. If truth be known, they are.

But I don’t want to focus only on the cuckoos in their nest on Capital Hill but draw your attention to another set of politicians with a different affliction.

Firstitis and the ACT Assembly
Some ACT Assembly cuckoos are also afflicted by Celebrity and Obsession

When these afflictions raised their head during the first few Assemblies most residents thought them passing phases. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. With the introduction of the internet, Facebook, Twitter and a variety of apps, not only had these phases not passed in some MLAs they became major afflictions whose most obvious symptoms were Celebrity and Obsession.

The more I observe them the more I think that some have become members of the Celebrity Cult as they spend more time on Facebook and Twitter advertising themselves and their own ambitions rather than on that of their constituents for better services and better government. This is supplemented by appearances on TV and radio or photographs and reports in The Times and Chronicle.

You may not agree with me about obsession although let me confess that often I wish some MLAs were more obsessed particularly with the issues the community they represent think most important rather than the issues they personally think most important.

What disturbs me also is that if the Assembly is not changed by the next election the same pattern of juvenile behaviour that, in a sense, portrayed the last Assembly as a kind of school playground will be repeated, and voters treated as uninvolved spectators of playground spats.

While honesty and integrity should define the behaviour of the Assembly how many MLAs of that ilk will form the next Assembly , I wonder if the next Assembly will simply be a continuation of a Celebrity Cult meeting room or a centre for new obsessionists. You might not agree with me that obsession is rife. Often, indeed, I wish some politicians were more obsessed particularly with the issues the community they represent thinks the most important rather than the issues they personally think most important.

Let me express a personal point of view that it’s about time the media, apart from giving Labor, Liberal and Greens the opportunity of continually espousing their policies, gave voters the opportunity of reading and/or hearing the policies of the Bullet Train for Canberra Party, Liberal Democratic Party, The Community Alliance Party (ACT), Marion Lê Social Justice Party, Australian Motorist Party and Pangallo Independents Party (?), so that they can decided for themselves if they are worthwhile.

They can you know.

That said, and though it is said also that the age of miracles is not yet past, I doubt the leaders of these parties will be knocked out by the rush of journalists to their door.


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