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ADF reaction to Andrew Hastie's photo use was political, hypocritical

June 10, 2016
Like many I'm deeply disappointed by the decision to dump politician Andrew Hastie from the Army Reserve, simply because he had a photo of himself in uniform in campaign material and refused to remove it

Clearly, the rule about non-politicization of the army is being applied selectively. There have been many cases in which serving soldiers have worn the uniform in highly politicized contexts and they suffered no punishment. 

So Hastie's sin was not to be political. It was to be the wrong kind of political. That is, he was being politically incorrect. Therefore expelling him from the Army Reserves was also a highly political act. That's what makes this punishment not just unfair, but also dishonest -- even a bit sinister. 

In that sense it was typical of PC tactics. Its proponents are always pursuing an agenda, often punitively. But they hide behind the pretence that they are enforcing principles, being fair and impartial. 

The general line that the Australian Army is an apolitical institution is fraudulent anyway. As the renowned military historian Carl Von Clausewitz famously wrote: "War is merely the continuation of politics by other means." I think that pretty much nails it. 

When a conflict rages overseas, making a choice about whether or not to send troops there is obviously extremely political. Similarly, deciding to enlist is a political decision on the would be warrior's part.

Politics is everywhere here. Which is why the ADF looks so silly, and should not have made Hastie's use of that photo an issue in the first place. 

Mandurah and Mindarie attacks likely to reignite Perth's shark wars

June 8, 2016
It wasn't a matter of if but when there would be another shark attack in West Australian waters. And now we've had two fatal ones in quick succession.

Not surprisingly there's pressure on the government to act. That's why they've placed baited drum lines off Perth's northern beaches to try and hook the noah responsible for the Mindarie attack.

It's a targeted action and seems like a pretty mild, almost symbolic response to what happened. But even this is seen as some sort of crime against natur...
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Fremantle is more like Sydney than Perth

May 17, 2016
Now living in Sydney and recalling my latest time in my home town of Perth, I keep thinking about key aspects of the two cities that give them their unique character.

Architectural history is a key point of difference. One thing you really notice in Sydney, particularly when you're close to the CBD is just how many old buildings there are. And it's not just landmarks and heritage sites. It's also the residences. The majority of occupied houses in suburbs like Stanmore, Newtown and Balmain are ...
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Perth's street art is far better than Sydney's

May 17, 2016
There are many huge differences between Perth and Sydney. Most are to be expected. Take film and TV production. Of course Sydney has more of this because of its far greater size, along with its proximity to other large population centres on the east coast. 

But there are some fields of creative endeavour in which Perth really punches above its weight, even leading its more populous counterparts on the other side of the country. Take street art.

In recent years numerous impressive murals have ap...
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The Fremantle War Memorial, overlooking the historic port city

May 14, 2016
I grew up in Perth and have been to Fremantle countless times, though I have never lived there. Although these two population centres are only about half an hour away from each other on the train, they are very different in character.

Fremantle is definitely more evocative of history than Perth. I think this has much to do with the fact that even though it was established at around the same time (1829) it's much smaller and less built up, so its many heritage listed buildings are more noticeab...
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Renting in Perth has become cheaper, for a while at least

May 14, 2016
I read with interest this story about the big surge in rental vacancies recently, and how this has lowered the average cost of renting in Perth.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) figures show the number of properties available to rent in Perth is nearly three times above what is considered to be the long-term average.

The oversupply of available rentals is putting downward pressure on prices, with the median rent down to $395 per week for the three quarters to the end of March...

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Subiaco parking inspector subverts paradigm, risks feminist backlash

May 7, 2016
A little story about a gift left to a driver by parking inspector in Subiaco really caught my eye. See, a woman had paid for her ticket but the machine wasn't working, so she called the ranger to tell him. She rather snippily cut him off when he said he'd "leave her a little something on her windscreen". He was good to his word, and left her flowers and a charming poem. 

A couple of things stand out for me here. He definitely behaved in a way considered atypical for members of his profession. ...
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Sorrento shark barrier approved. Issue still looms large, it seems

May 6, 2016
For me, one of the biggest features of living in Perth from 2010-2015 was the shark menace. Some fatalities and numerous sightings over that time and previously meant that pretty much everyone heading to the beach was concerned about the potential risk.

This was a massive change from decades ago. Now having just cracked the half century, I grew up in Perth in the seventies and eighties and was a keen surfer over much of that time. The thought of getting munched by a white pointer was the furt...
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Now living in Sydney, still thinking of Perth

March 4, 2016
You'll notice that I haven't posted for many months now. There are several reasons for this. But the main one is that I actually relocated to Sydney in recent months. I moved for various reasons I won't go into here. But I will probably return eventually (then leave again after a few years!). I have done this several times already. Having grown up in Perth it's still "home" even though I have to get away from it from time to time...

After getting settled in the east I didn't know what to do wi...
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Tareq Kamleh joining ISIS proves emotion trumps intellect

April 26, 2015
Not so long ago it was reported that a former economics student from Perth called Muhammed Sheglabo had signed up for jihad with ISIS. Now there's been an even more alarming story in the same vein.

Doctor Tareq Kamleh, who practised for some time in Subiaco, is now appearing in recruitment videos for the gruesome pre-mediaeval death cult. If this doesn't disprove the hackneyed ol' PC theory that Islamic radicalization springs primarily from legitimate anger against the greedy, racist eeevil we...
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Good books about and set in Perth and Fremantle
Line of Sight
When War Came to Fremantle
The Devil's Garden
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