Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

To get better, we need to look ahead, not back

Disclaimer: this post isn't perhaps as polished as I'd like, but it's time to get it posted. I love nostalgia. How many blog posts have I written that fondly look back? 78, apparently. But I'm acutely aware that rose-coloured glasses distort our view of the past. And while we might like to visit the past, when we think rationally about it, we wouldn't actually want to go back there.

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Council elections – if party affiliations aren’t obvious, look for the clues

As already noted, it's council voting time. In some council areas, including here in Glen Eira, council candidates aren't overtly aligned with political parties. But a number of candidates have affiliations. You just have to look for clues. Look for photos of candidates with state or federal MPs, ministers and leaders, particularly at events not publicised in advance (eg party events)

Bentleigh, Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Bentleigh Uniting Church takes a stand

Many around Australia would know of the Gosford Anglican Church, thanks to Father Rod Bower and his famous signs. A couple of weeks ago this sign appeared at the Bentleigh Uniting Church. It now seems to have disappeared in favour their more usual list of events. It pleases me to see messages like this. Immigration, and the mandatory detention of refugees, is a difficult issue. I'm not go

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Border Force farce

If you haven't heard about Friday's Australian Border Force debacle in Melbourne, here's the background: Timeline: How Operation Fortitude unravelled It started with their Friday morning statement, which said, among other things: "ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with." The media dutifully reported it. The pros

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Down to business: a study in contrasts

I'm not the world's biggest drinker. So last Thursday night after a chat with a PT industry insider over 2 pints and a pot, I was feeling a bit tipsy as I headed home. Waiting at Flinders Street for a train home, I encountered one of the Spring Street state press gallery's Finest and Brightest, and we had a chat on the platform then on the train for a few stops. Hopefully not too many words were

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

The #EWLink billion dollar booby trap

The previously secret East West Link "side letter", offering compensation even if the contract was deemed invalid, seems to underscore just how desperate the State Coalition was to build the road -- despite it being a project that: is highly controversial is more expensive than just about anything previously built in Victoria has a Benefit Cost Ratio of well below 1.0 had no mandate fli

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Election wrap-up: Counting continues, East West Link, and Pudding!

A few thoughts post-election... Bentleigh As I write this, the seat is still too close to call. Counting is continuing, but it would seem we are destined to remain a marginal seat for the next election -- in fact some voters reckoned they were deliberately voting to stay marginal. Elsewhere, some sandbelt (or as I prefer to call them, "Frankston line") seats are still being counted, thoug

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Election day!

Some photos from election day... The seat of Bentleigh is marginal, so we've been getting a lot of attention. The booth I usually vote at leans towards the Liberals (or at least did in 2010), so we had Labor politicians galore: local candidate Nick Staikos, along with Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, and Labor luminary Simon Crean. Independent candidate Chandra was also present.

Bentleigh, Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Where’s the community’s focal point? It’s the railway station.

Two sleeps until the election. Apart from trying to get citizens out to a public meeting, where in the neighbourhood is the best place to meet as many people you can, face-to-face? Judging from what the politicians and lobby groups have been up to, it's the railway station -- on weekdays, at least. I've lost count of the number of flyers I've been handed at Bentleigh station over the past

Politics and activism, transport

Online state election advertising

Only a few days until the state election, and the campaign is heating up. Here's something interesting I've noticed: apart from posting and advertising on Facebook, the Liberals have paid for Google Adwords advertising -- that is, links to appear above search results on Google. They've covered the names of a number of Labor candidates in marginal seats, plus their state leader's name (li