Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Melbourne Memories #1

State Library of Victoria

Largest and oldest library in the state located in CBD (Corner Swanson and La Trobe Streets) with Melbourne Central the closest station. The La Trobe reading room is famous for its dome and structure. From November 2012 to November 2013, it celebrated it's 100th birthday. Paintings, old documents and Ned Kelly’s original armour and death mask are on display in hallways. It was established by Sir Redmond Barry who saw it as the "people's university" where information and knowledge was available to every Victorian regardless of social or financial status. Victorian students use the State Library to study using the great availability of resources and internet access. Coming in with a small bag is alright but coming in with a big bag will require the person to rent a locker. The library's outside has a big lawn where students take a break or study in the sun. There is also a specialized room for kids to play while adults study. Tourists also visit due to it's long history and heritage with artifacts and scripts displayed showing Victoria's long history. Every state in Australia has a State Library but La Trobe reading room and dome makes Victoria's State Library unique and stand out. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Australians vote

Labor or the Liberal National Coalition? Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott?

Liberal National Coalition

Julia Gillard announced on January 30 2013 that the 2013 Federal election was to be held at September 14 2013. This however clashed with the Yom Kippur holiday. After Kevin Rudd's return, the election was held on 7 September 2013.

Labor's Kevin Rudd won the 2007 Federal Election and ended 11 years of Coalition rule along with John Howard losing his own seat of Bennelong. Despite having left government with a budget surplus, the returning Labor government went back to deficit. He made a formal apology to the stolen generation and increased military spending due to the threat of China. Close to the 2010 Federal Election, there had been reports that Rudd's performance was going down with concerns about the next election along with support from the Labor caucus. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard challenged Rudd in a leadership spill and won unopposed. This was because Rudd believed that he did not have the numbers to win the spill and resigned as prime minister but remained as foreign minister. In February 2012 shortly after coming back from Washington DC, Rudd resigned as foreign minister and challenged Gillard for the leadership of the Labor party. He believed that he was knifed from the leadership in 2010 and wanted to continue the work that the Australian people voted him to do. He lost the leadership spill 71-31 but remained as a backbencher for Griffith.

Shortly after the Gillard took power and became Australia's first female prime minister, she led Labor in the 2010 Federal Election but had a hung parliament and lost her party's overall majority. She only managed to hang on to power due to the support of the crossbench (Independents and Greens).

Gillard had continued the Labor Party’s trend of budget deficits. Ever since Labor was in power in 2007, budget surplus became deficits and debt was rising in billions with $220 billion in total deficits including the forecast over the next four years. Former treasurer Wayne Swan had constantly promised a surplus but showed more care for the Australian people which was part of Labor’s left wing political policy of government ownership. Gillard imposed a mining tax, carbon tax on polluters and a Gonski plan which provided billions of dollars to schools. She cut border protection spending and used it on accepting boat refugees and spent $6 billion on detention centres. She also set up a National Disability Insurance Scheme at the expense of cutting the $5000 baby bonus for mothers. Swan promised many times for a surplus and less debt but kept on spending and ended up facing an “unexpected” budget black hole worth over $12 billion.  He also promised that the government will be back to surplus in 2017 as 2013's budget is at $18 billion deficit. Gillard refused to back down and stood her ground believing that she and her Labor government are doing the right thing for Australia. sSe also has patience as striving for surplus too early will cut jobs and take Australia “through a European road of savage austerity”. Overall, she believed that she saved so many jobs in Australia by not cutting back and remained on deficit.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott wanted to continue the Liberal Party’s trend of budget surpluses. He opposed the carbon tax as it was damaging businesses and cost of living with compensation to families barely enough while pollution will still rise. He was also against the Gonski plan for schools as it will discriminate private schools. He was also disappointed with the Gonski plan being funded by cutting university funding. Abbott followed the Liberal’s policy of stopping the boat refugees with fully funded border protection as he believed that boat refugees are involved with dangerous people smugglers. If elected, he and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey won’t promise but will try to get the budget back to surplus and pay back the debt that Labor government has made. By having to make big budget cuts in order to get back on surplus, he will follow the Liberal’s right wing political policy of encouraging private ownership and enterprises to compensate for the job losses. Abbott's relationship with Gillard had deteriorated after being accused of being a misogynist and was appalled by Gillard’s leadership “as the great country has been let down by a bad government”.

Gillard sees Abbott as a “policy weak man” and believed that he will make huge budget cuts causing huge job losses if he is elected. In a parliamentary speech she accused and labelled Abbott a misogynist (a man who hates women) with evidence like Abbott's past remarks about women and when during the anti carbon tax protest, Tony stood next to signs that said “Ditch the witch” and “A man’s bitch” which seriously offended her. For the national broadband network, she offered it for free and stated that Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull (shadow minister for communications and broadband) will make it expensive with slow speeds and only available in limited areas. She made a big warning to the Australian public that if Abbott was elected, he will “cut to the bone” in funding and reduce the country going backwards with deep unemployment just like the Liberal state premier in Victoria. While the Liberals were impressed with Abbott's 2013 budget reply speech, Gillard was barely impressed believing that Abbott will do anything to be elected and end up failing to deliver. Gillard also pointed out Abbott’s remark of climate change as being “a load of crap” and is sceptical about him being “loose with the truth” and believed that he struggled to answer properly, told lies and hid the truth while talking to the media. Throughout her years as prime minister, Gillard managed to endure Abbott's constant criticism and destructive feedback in both parliament and media.  
Abbott believed that Gillard is part of the “faceless” people of a “hopeless” government that sacked their own Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He also pointed out that Gillard has had many broken promises like tax cuts, no carbon tax and the promise of a budget surplus which she and Wayne Swan mentioned over 500 times. Abbott was appalled when Gillard announced the carbon tax when before the election, she clearly said on national television “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. He was also disappointed with Julia when a boat load of refugees arrived in Western Australia without detection and questioned her negligence of border protection. Abbott also questioned Gillard’s spending spree and affordability like the Gonski plan for school and the fast increase in defence spending. Due to countless spending, Abbott was disappointed with Gillard for making the states pay for the big plans and projects while being hesitant on providing federal funding. For the national broadband network, he believed that Gillard providing it for free will leave a $90 billion debt and promised to deliver a faster and cheaper way than Gillard’s delayed version. Overall, Abbott believed that Gillard’s Labor government will never be able to deliver a budget surplus. Abbott also believed that Gillard has led “a bad government” with no unity which had two failed coup attempts by her own Labor members that resulted in four ministers moving to the back bench. This occurred after another leadership spill which Gillard and Swan won unopposed in 21 March 2013.

Gillard's opinion polls went down after her announcement of the election date. There had been growing pressure for her to resign after a series of Labor defeat including the 2013 election in Western Australia. Rudd supporters believed that they have the numbers for Rudd to win. Rudd supporters believed that Rudd will bring Labor back up in the polls. This is to prevent a possible landslide Labor defeat (similar to 2012 Queensland election).With Abbott's coalition in government, Labor feared that Abbott will follow the British Conservative Party's policy of austerity which is to cut all funding to the bone and make Australia go backwards into recession (similar to the Victorian Coalition Government). Rudd agreed to contest the spill on 26 June 2013 (same night as game 1 of State of Origin). Both Rudd and Gillard agreed that the loser will quit politics after the next election "once and for all". Rudd won the spill 57-45 with Anthony Albanese being the new deputy prime minister and minister for broadband up against Malcolm Turnbull.

The National Broadband Network is a hot topic with a political fight to the death. Labor proposed having fibre optic cables connecting to all houses at 1000 megabits per second. Turnbull's coalition plan offered a cheaper and quicker version with fibre optic cables going in a street corner box with copper cables connecting to households from the box. It is at the speed of 25 to 50 megabits per second and the reason for the downsize is to make the budget balanced and help make it affordable for low income earners along with higher speeds in the future. In comparison to today's internet, 25 megabits per second is "five times faster than the current speed". Turnbull defended his NBN plan and had backed up evidence that around the world, companies like at&t and Deutsche Telekom have provided great service similar to his plan. In response, Labor sent a team around the world to promote the Coalition's broadband plan which resulted in laughter and rejection by the fact that Abbott had offered 25 megabits per second which would be delivered at 2019 when other countries have faster internet. Labor tried to expose the fact that Turnbull wants to charge Australians thousands of dollars. The Coalition had promised 100 megabits per second by 2019 with a smaller budget and poor areas getting the highest priority as opposed to Labor's claim. Turnbull also fought back saying that a household having fibre to the premise with 1000 megabits per second will cost $20,000 a month.

Gillard and her loyal supporters like Swan and Garrett moved to the backbench. Rudd's return meant that more female members became ministers.
After Rudd came back to power, he abolished the carbon tax in order to silence Abbott's shadow cabinet. He scrapped pro green projects which angered the Green Party. He also disallowed refugees and resent them to Papua New Guinea due to the extreme activity of people smugglers.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham critisised Rudd's return as "jihad of revenge". He believed that Rudd sabotaged Labor's 2010 election campaign and caused a split in the caucus. To stop the Labor party's division, he suggested kidnapping Rudd and send him to Albania with a note telling him not to return after the 2013 election. The division in Labor existed with over 1/3 of the caucus refusing to work with Rudd after his return to power. Looking at the Labor caucus, Latham believed that the caucus is unmanageable due to 25 of it's members are "factional warlords".

Under new treasurer Chris Bowen, growth went down to 2.5% from 5.75%, unemployment went up 6.25% and the budget deficit went up from $18 billion to $30 billion with a $33 billion forecast of deficits.

The campaign had started off with Rudd in Western Sydney while Abbott was in Adelaide. Abbott toured factories while Rudd toured schools. Abbott also went to Tasmania to promote more jobs as the state has a high unemployment rate. The seat of Greenway is a marginal seat with Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz struggled with the interview and failed to provide a six point plan to stop the boats and the question about company tax. Diaz's fumbled interview went viral online with more searches than his leader Abbott. A week later, Diaz was out campaigning and met Tony Abbott while ignoring the media who constantly asked him about the six point plan to stop the boats. Abbott then went off to Queensland along with Campbell Newman (Queensland premier) and campaigned against Labor's insulation plan at Rudd's own seat at Griffith. Rudd went to Tasmania to campaign in an attempt to save Labor from losing it's seats as Tasmanian polls prefer the coalition. Abbott met with Indigenous Australians and wanted to form an Indigenous council and have them fully recognised in the constitution. The Greens had started their campaign at Victoria and vowed to have Adam Bandt to remain as the member for Melbourne and have a second Victorian Green senator. Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie was selected to run as Labor candidate for Forde in Queensland. Despite, having supported Gillard and criticised Rudd, he left behind his past and agreed to work alongside Rudd. Rudd also campaigned in Bennelong (John Howard's old seat) and helped Labor candidate Jason Yat-Sen Li. Li knows five languages and with a big Asian community in Bennelong, Rudd is confident that Labor will win the seat of Bennelong.

Julian Assange (trapped in the Equadorian embassy) set up his own Wikileaks Party and aimed to become a senator representing NSW. It is likely that his party will take votes away from the Greens but the Greens still support Assange and transparency. Questions about whether he will win or how he will get out of the Equadorian embassy for the senator job remained unknown.

On 11 August 2013, both Rudd and Abbott had a debate live at the National Press Club in Canberra. The winner of the debate was unclear and Rudd was accused of cheating by bringing in notes. Abbott dodged the question of how funding for big projects will happen while Rudd gave the promise of passing a bill for marriage equality within 100 days after being elected into a new term. Abbott dismissed claims that the marriage equality promise will help Rudd win the election.

Abbott campaigned in Victoria and New South Wales while Rudd campaigned in Townsville where he visited a school and an army base to thank the soldiers for their service. Abbott was disappointed when a Coalition MP told the media that the incoming Coalition Government will break it's promises due to Labor's budget black hole. Treasurer Chris Bowen and finance minister Penny Wong showed their statistics to challenge the coalition said that Labor will be back in surplus in 2017. Malcolm Turnbull promoted a $100 million mobile blackspot upgrade to improve mobile coverage for accident prone and bushfire areas.

Rudd fully committed to marriage equality while Abbott fumbled his way around the topic and described it as "The fashion of the moment". While Rudd still visited schools, Abbott was out campaigning in Longman and was in hot water for describing Fiona Scott (Liberal candidate for Lindsay) "abit of a sex appeal" which was criticised by Labor with Mark Latham describing Abbott having "beer goggles" at the time. Abbott advised the Liberal Party to make the Greens their last preference instead of Labor. This was Abbott's hope to prevent Bandt from retaining his Melbourne seat and under no circumstances work with the Greens should he have a minority government. He also told Rudd to "man up" and join him in a fight against the Greens. The Greens however were confident that they will retain the seat of Melbourne along with more senators.

Peter Beattie was burnt in the polls as 60% of people in Forde preferred their current LNP member Bert Van Manen. Abbott was campaigning in Melbourne while Rudd was at Perth and later went to Adelaide. Rudd promised half a billion dollars for the car industry to save jobs but the coalition says it a distraction to all other issues of the election campaign. The coalition was pressured to release their reports on what they will cut and when they will reach surplus. Abbott promised that all women who give birth after June 2015 six months of leave on full pay. He also wanted a crackdown on crime by having a minimum 5 year sentence for smuggling guns into Australia and commit $100 million for Customs to have extra screening. While Abbott was confident that he'll win the election, Rudd promised to commit $50 million for stroke sufferers.

Abbott promised $25 million for upgrading Great Ocean Road and $5 million for the Brisbane Broncos club for extra facilities and training areas. Early voting began on 20 August for those unable to vote on September 7. During a debate between the Labor member and Liberal candidate in Wakefield, the Liberal candidate was in the spotlight after he failed to answer questions about Liberal Party's policies.

The second debate happened on 21 August at Brisbane at the People's Forum with undecided voters watching. The debate got very intense to the point where Abbott asked "Does this guy (Rudd) ever shut up?". Rudd tried to warn the public about Abbott's big cuts to jobs while Abbott talked about going back to surplus and wanted to be an infrastructure prime minister which meant Australia having 21st century infrastructure. Rudd attacked Newman's Queensland Government about the cuts it made and used this as an example if federal Liberal is elected.

Rudd campaigned in Western Sydney while Abbott was in Darwin taking part in army training. He wanted to spend $20 million to buy boats and prevent them from being used by people smugglers and asylum seekers. This move was considered rubbish by Labor. Rudd's campaign was suspended on 24 August as he went straight back to Canberra to meet with security officials about the crisis in Syria involving chemical weapons. Abbott had a briefing about Syria's crisis on the next day. The polls had turned to the Coalition with polls in Griffith suggesting that Rudd might lose his own seat just like John Howard in 2007. Abbott refused to believe the polls and described this election as a "very close race". Rudd promised $10 million for the National Broadband Network to help the broadband sector. Abbott was campaigning in Adelaide along with Christopher Pyne (Shadow education minister and manager of opposition business) and promised $7.5 million for a leasure centre.

On 25 August, Abbott made a big push by starting his official coalition campaign. At the LNP conference in Brisbane, he wanted defence spending back up along with a surplus. Labor questioned about who will be victims of the coalition cuts. Labor had predicted that a coalition government in the next decade will represent a very small percentage of the economy meaning deep budget cuts. The coalition had began settled with the fact that returning to surplus in the first term would mean deep austerity cuts and a surplus would not happen until the coalition's second term in government.

On 28 August, both Rudd and Abbott had their third and final debate at Rooty Hill at Sydney. It was a major battle with some saying that Rudd won while other say it was too late as the polls turned to the Coalition. Rudd wanted high speed rail along the East Coast of Australia and had an argument with Premier O'Farrell over the decision to close Garden Island naval base in Sydney and move the ships to Queensland. O'Farrell complained that this move was desperate and thousands of jobs will be lost if the base closed. Rudd wanted to move ships up north to combat potential terrorism and turn Garden Island for cruise ship industry as tourism. Rudd was at Darwin visitiing a new hospital but the Northern Territory Government forbid the media to come in. Abbott was in Townsville to campaign and also participated in a sprint and also promised $20 million to floodproof the local roads. He ditched plans to campaign in Western Australia to campaign in marginal seats in Western Sydney.

While the polls still headed for the Coalition, Rudd made last minute promises and warned that an Abbott Government could get Australia into recession and damage the AAA economy. He promised $4.4 billion tax breaks for small businesses, $6000 for apprentices and Commonwealth takeover of TAFE. Abbott denied big spending cuts after being elected and dismissed Rudd's claims and promises as a "powergrab" for state responsibilities. While campaigning, a Reserve Bank board member said that Rudd had "trashed his credibility in the last few years, and done the Labor party enormous damage". Abbott then went to Sydney's Holsworthy Army Base to promote his defence policy while Green's Christine Milne had a talk at the National Press Club and said that she never met Abbott and was keen to prevent the Coalition to gain full control of the parliament. Rudd visited a training centre at Queensland to promote more support for apprentices. Abbott then went to Adelaide to promote more powers for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and then to Sydney to promote his intention to cut company and carbon tax to ease the burden on small business. Labor fought back with the highlight of the National Broadband Network and it's 1000 megabits per second compared to the Coalition's 25 to 100 megabits per second. Labor also set up a website to show the extent of Abbott's budget cuts in every part of Australia. Abbott's paid parental leave scheme was under fire as Labor questioned about whether hard working Australians should pay their taxes for rich women having a baby. Rudd was questioned from a pastor about gay marriage and the discussion included the bible. Rudd responded by saying that the bible talked about slavery being natural. There was backclash among christians about Rudd's gay marriage support. Clive Palmer (Leader of the Palmer United Party) refused to comment on the issue as his party was in no position to decide on the issue yet. Palmer made a claim that Rupert Murdoch's former wife Wendi Deng was a Chinese spy. He thought about personally sueing Murdoch and "bringing him to account". At the National Press Club, Bob Katter spoke against the coalition for slashing 2000 jobs in the fishing industry, 5000 jobs in the tabacco industry, 1500 jobs in the dairy industry and 1500 jobs in the sugar industry.

After alot of pressure from Labor to get the Coalition to release it's actual costings of it's budget, Joe Hockey (Shadow Treasurer) released the actual costings on September 5. He announced a further $9 billion of savings on top of $31.6 billion of savings along with $4.5 billion of foreign aid cut in order to fund infrastructure. He also promised a $16 billion reduction in government debt. Greens leader Christine Milne wanted a new mandatory rule that would make all political parties to release their costings earlier in the election campaign instead of the Coalition's last minute move to release it's own costings.

On September 6, Rudd slammed the Coalition about it's last minute intention to propose internet censorship 24 hours before the election. revealed that Rudd's ancestors were convicts while Abbott's ancestors were shipyard builders who build ships for convicts to sail for Australia. 14.7 million Australians have been registered to vote and expect claim that there will be a big increase in donkey (invalid vote). The polls around the country showed that the Coalition was in the lead. Voters of the minor parties chose Wikileaks and other small parties to make sure the major parties are honest and transparent. Treasurer Chris Bowen's seat at McMahon was at risk along with the seat of Kingsford Smith where Labor's new candidate had been struggling.

On Election Day (September 7 2013), Abbott and his family casted their vote at Freshwater Beach in Sydney. Bill Glasson (LNP candidate for Griffith) was not confident in winning the seat from Rudd and relied on preferences. The Greens were confident that they will pick up more seats in the senate and secure Melbourne for the second time. Abbott was touring Southern Sydney (a safe Labor area) and was forced to leave after he was confronted by angry Labor supporters. Newspoll tipped that Abbott might win 40 seats.

Tony Abbott and the Coalition won the election with an overwhelming majority.

  • Barnaby Joyce (Former Queensland senator) won the seat of New England after voters were unimpressed with Tony Windsor supporting Labor after the 2010 Election
  • Peter Slipper (Former House Speaker) tried to recontest his seat of Fisher. After a scandal of disturbing text messages about women, he lost the seat with only 1207 votes (1.6%) while Liberal National's Mal Brough won with a 5.9% swing
  • Adam Bandt retained the seat of Melbourne after hard campaigning for the Greens.
  • Craig Thomson (Former Labor MP) tried to recontest his seat of Dobell. He became an independent after a credit card scandal using union money on prostitutes and brothels. He continued to deny it despite being expelled from the Labor Party but the evidence were shown nation wide. He lost his seat with only 3444 (4%) votes while Liberal's Karen McNamara won with a 5.7% swing.
  • Bert van Manen retained his seat of Forde defeating Labor's Peter Beattie (Former Queensland Premier)
  • Jaymes Diaz narrowly lost the marginal seat of Greenway. He refused to accept the lost and banned the media from entering his campaign headquarters.
  • Clive Palmer had a hard fight for the seat of Fairfax in Queensland and was three votes ahead on September 18. The votes had to be recounted after Palmer was less than 100 votes ahead. After the recount, Palmer was 53 votes ahead and now headed for parliament.
  • John Alexander retained his seat of Bennelong after a hard fought campaign from Labor's Jason Yat-Sen Li
  • The Wikileaks Party failed to gain senate seats. Julian Assange who ran for senator for Victoria only had 1% of the vote.
  • Kevin Rudd delivered his concession speech and confirmed that he will resign as leader of the Labor Party. Bill Glasson (LNP candidate) launched a hard campaign at Rudd's seat of Griffith and had the most votes in the first preference counts before being Rudd prevailed over the preference votes.
  • Tony Abbott had alot of hate both prior and after the election. Labor supporters labelled him as the Australian version of George W Bush. They also pointed out about his National Broadband Network plan, education funding, his plan on internet censorship and budget cuts that will cause huge unemployment and send Australia into recession. People were also concerned about his refusal to support gay marriage and that a equal marriage law might not happen for the next three years. Greens were also the enemies of Abbott due to his promise of scrapping of the carbon and mining tax, lack of care for the environment and his education funding. The Greens also criticised Abbott's investment in infrastructure and wanted the billions of dollars to be used on investing more in public transport and high speed rail.
  • Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese had placed their bids for the Labor Party leadership while Chris Bowen was acting Labor leader.
  • Tony Abbott had announced his new cabinet on September 16. Julie Bishop became foreign minister and was the only woman on Abbott's front bench. Labor's Chris Bowen slammed the new government of having lack of women saying that even Afghanistan has more women (3) in it's cabinet than Australia.
  • A report surfaced about Bob Carr resigning from the senate and replaced by Paul Howes (Former Australian Workers Union national secretary). Carr represented Australia in the G20 summit in St Petersburg as foreign minister. He refused to lead the Labor Party as leading the Opposition from the senate was too hard.
  • Mark Latham recommended Mark Dreyfus to become the new leader of Labor. Between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese, Latham preferred Albanese and described him as an "interlectual lightweight".
  • Clive Palmer accused the Australian Electoral Commission of being corrupt with links to ex-military officials. He feared that he will not win the seat of Fairfax and demanded a fresh election with the AEC run by independents.
  • Julia Gillard made online statements congratulating Labor for retaining the seat of Lalor and the Labor party for their election effort. She moved back to Adelaide and purchased a house worth over $1.85 million. She claimed that Rudd's loss in the election was due to lacking new ideas.
  • Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews slammed Federal Labor for their lack of unity and described their past six years as "toxic soap opera". He still believed that the federal election defeat will not hamper Labor's chances in the 2014 Victorian State election.
  • Victorian seat of Indi fell to Independent Cathy McGowan with a 9.2% swing from the Liberals. If Sophie Mirabella did not lose her seat, Abbott stated that she would have been in his Cabinet.
  • Upon returning to government, Treasurer Joe Hockey presented a $18 billion deficit on the federal budget which is the same as the previous Labor budget. Hockey pointed out that the budget is "still deteriorating". Former Treasurer Wayne Swan called him to stop acting "childish". Hockey was concerned that the US Government shutdown will hurt the Australian economy. 
  • Bill Shorten was elected as leader of the Labor Party. Tanya Plibersek became deputy leader of Labor and shadow foreign minister. There were also 11 women in the front bench.
  • The new parliament consisted of 90 Coalition seats and 55 Labor seats and 5 crossbenchers.
  • Kevin Rudd resigned from parliament resulting in a by election in Griffith. Bill Glasson got the most votes but was defeated by Labor's Terri Butler in the preference countings



Here is the political situation around the states of Australia as of September 7 2013.

Northern Territory - The Country Liberal Party won the 2012 state election from Labor with Terry Mills being Chief Minister until March 2013 when Adam Giles won a leadership spill.

Australian Captital Territory - Labor's Katy Gallagher managed to hang on to power despite having fewer votes after the 2012 state election with both Liberal and Labor having eight seats each and Greens having one.

Tasmania - Labor's David Bartlett took office in 2008 and managed to hang on to power despite having fewer votes after the 2010 election. He retired due to family reasons and was replaced by Lara Giddings. Both Liberal and Labor have ten seats each while the Greens have five. Giddings is Tasmania's first female Premier.

South Australia - Labor's Mike Rann had been premier since 2002 and still managed to hang on to power despite having fewer votes after the 2010 election. He retired in 2011 and was replaced by Jay Weatherill. Liberal's Isobel Redmond was replaced by Steven Marshall after a leadership dispute in 2013. Marshall created a new shadow cabinet with eight members rather than fifteen.

Western Australia - Liberal's Colin Barnett narrowly won the state election in 2010 and faced alot of controversies like railway line to demestic airport terminal which was about to close, deals with the Aboriginal communities and rising state debt. Against Labor's Mark McGowan in the 2013 state election on March 9 2013, the Liberals scored seven extra seats with a 10% swing in votes. The Nationals also gained two seats while McGowan only blamed himself for the election defeat. He remained as leader of the opposition for the state. The Liberal and National Parties have only formed a partnership rather than a coalition after it was broken when Labor took power in 2001. Barnett's did not see his victory in the 2013 state election as a second term but rather a new start. Both state and federal Labor were happy when a deal was finally reached with Barnett to sign WA up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Queensland - Labor dominated Queensland while the National Party was larger than the Liberal Party due to majority of the population living in rural areas. Despite coalition efforts, the two parties merged and became the Liberal National Party led by Campbell Newman. Newman, former mayor of Brisbane, became leader despite not having a parliamentary seat with his area of Ashgrove preferring their Labor candidate. During the 2012 election, Anna Bligh and her Labor government lost 44 seats and was reduced down to seven seats (aka netball team). Newman and the LNP had a landslide victory and won 78 seats out of the 89 seats in the Queensland parliament. Katter's Australian Party also won two seats with Bob Katter's son Rob being state leader of the party. The LNP hoped that the coalition will win the 2013 Federal Election to guarantee funding for upgrading Charles highway and floodproofing it.

New South Wales - Labor controlled the state since 1995 with Bob Carr being premier until 2005 with three different premiers since the 2007 state election due to leadership spills. After 16 years of Labor, Barry O'Farrell and his Liberal National coalition won a landslide victory in the 2011 state election and scored 34 seats while Labor lost 32 seats and reduced down to 20 seats. After countless scandals and corruption problems, Kevin Rudd and federal Labor took full control of the state's Labor party.

Victoria - Labor's Steve Bracks ruled the state from 1999 to 2007. The Liberal and National parties seperated and went their own ways against the Labor government. After the 2006 election, Bracks resigned in 2007 due to family reasons and John Brumby became premier. Labor had problems with rising crime, a failing Myki ticketing system, late/delayed/cancelled public transport, rise in living costs and long waiting lists on hospital surgeries. The Liberal and National Parties formed a coalition again and won the 2010 state election. Liberal's Ted Baillieu promised change but it was not an easy road for him. A police report was published which was believed to be an attempt by former Chief Commissioner Simon Overland to make Labor not look too bad at stopping crime. Overland resigned and Ken Lay became the new Chief Commissioner. Former Labor spokesman and current leader of the opposition Daniel Andrews took his fight against the Coalition government to a new high. The coalition had made serious cuts to TAFE, huge increase in waiting lines for hospital surgery, $66 million cuts from rural firefighters, 41,000 jobs lost, dispute with teachers pay, ambulance crisis and VCAL cuts. Labor slammed the Coalition for cutting Victoria down to recession. Andrews tried to be an effective opposition leader by joining protests against Coalition cuts and talked to victims of job losses including the 1200 job losses from Ford in Geelong and Broadmeadows. Ted Baillieu resigned after a police tape scandal along with a number of scandals from Geoff Shaw. Despite the scandals, Baillieu supported him but Shaw ditched him and became an independent. This left the state parliament with the Coalition losing it's majority with 44 seats and Labor having 43 seats. Baillieu resigned and was replaced by Denis Napthine who became premier on his 61th birthday. Andrews demanded answers to the leadership shift and stressed that the job of premier is not a birthday gift but is elected by the people. National leader Peter Ryan remained as deputy but under Napthine, no longer had his police minister portfolio. The Napthine Government had agreed with the Rudd Government on school funding and had decided to build an $8 billion East-West link tunnel. The opposition opposed this as it would not ease congession and believed that Napthine had his priorities wrong. Kevin Rudd and Bill Shorten managed to reach a deal with Napthine to sign up to Gonski.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Mojito, Vodka Martini and Bloody Mary

Here is how you can make these three cocktails in an innovative way.



·         45ml White Rum
·         1 fresh lime
·         8 mint sprigs
·         2 bar spoons of white sugar
·         Soda Water

  1. Cut a lime into six wedges. Roll the lime to make the membranes release the juices 
  2. Squeeze and drop the lime wedges into the mixing glass.
  3. Put 2 bar spoons of sugar and 45ml rum into the mixing glass.
  4. Muddle the ingredients.
  5. Put the crushed ice into the mixing glass along with 8 mint sprigs.
  6. Place a mixing tin on the glass and shake.
  7. Pour everything into a highball glass without a strainer and top up with soda water.
  8. Put a half slice of lemon for garnish.
  9. Squeeze and clap the mint leaves and place it as garnish.
Vodka Martini
·         60ml Vodka
·         10ml Vermouth
  1. Pour Vodka into the mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour 10ml of vermouth on a martini glass, swirl it around the glass and dispose.
  3. Stir the vodka on the mixing glasses and pour on the martini glass with a Hawthorne strainer.
  4. Use a straw to twist the lemon zest or have olive in a toothpick and place it into the drink as garnish

Bloody Mary

·         45ml Vodka
·         15ml fresh lemon juice
·         4 dashes of Celery salt
·         4 dashes of Black pepper
·         4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
·         4 dashes of Green Tabasco sauce
·         4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
·         Tomato juice
  1. Pour Vodka into the mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Squeeze half a lemon into the mixing glass.
  3. Put the dashes of celery salt, black pepper, Green Tabasco sauce, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce into the mixing glass and top up with tomato juice.
  4. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of ice.
  5. Cut a thick slice of lemon and a long strip of cucumber as garnish.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Food safety 101

If you think a chef only just cooks and plates up the food then think again. Safety is vital with food and cleanliness. Lack of safety means food poisoning and can make the business lose money due to declining amount of customers. As more people go out and eat, food safety is vital.

The most common word in this topic is cross contamination which means bacteria from a dirty source can transfer to clean source.

The worker

Every employee (both chef and waiter) must have clean clothing and bathe daily to keep up the good hygiene. Wearing clothing from outside to work can transfer bacteria to the food and there are establishments that have changing rooms and lockers. Not only should the clothing be clean but also be light coloured to see clearly whether is it needs washing or not. A professional chef has clean ironed uniform unlike a lazy worker with dirty uniform. Dirty uniform can contaminate the food.

The hands carry the most bacteria as it is used to touch EVERYTHING so it must be washed at all times. Most establishments have a hand wash basin that provide hot water and soap. The reason is because the main sinks are used to wash or used for soaking or defrosting food and not for washing dirty hands at which the bacteria might stick onto the surface. Hands must be washed before starting work and after toilet, handling rubbish, smoking, coughing/sneezing, touching face/hair and handling raw food/dirty items. Always wash hands after smoking as the hand is in contact with the mouth which can transfer bacteria when making food afterwards.

Tasting food requires a clean spoon and avoid double dipping by cleaning the spoon after tasting. Using fingers to taste is seen as unprofessional.

Jewellery is not recommended as the skin underneath is warm and harvests bacteria. There is also a chance the ring might fall off and end up on the customer's plate! Nails should be short as bacteria can harvest underneath and nail polish is not allowed as it can flake off into the food.

If injured during work like having a cut, wear a coloured waterproof bandage so it can be seen if it falls out. To be safe, wear a disposible glove over the coloured bandage. If the wound makes contact with the food, the customer could potentially get sick. If you're sick, quickly call the manager/supervisor that you cannot make it. Don't be a hero as the sickness can spread to the food and onto the customer.


When storing foods in the fridge, cooked food is ALWAYS stored above raw food. If raw food is stored on top or on the same shelf as cooked food, the dripping liquid from the raw food can cross contaminate the food underneath or on the same shelf.

Foods stored in the fridge is at the temperature under 4c. Hot foods must be cooled before storage otherwise it will rise the temperature of the fridge and the foods inside and cause bacteria to grow. Foods with strong smells like onions must be sealed otherwise other foods will absorb the smell. Overcrowding the fridge will cause the lack of air flow making it difficult to keep all the foods chilled. Freezers have the temperature of under -18°C.

The dry store should be a cool and dry environment with no moisture and heat as it cause the sealed/dry foods to go off. Food should be stored at least 20cm above the floor as storing on the floor is unhygienic.


Fridge storage is under 4c while freezer storage is under -18°C. When defrosting food, place the food in a fridge overnight, run under cold water or use a microwave. Using boiling/hot water will start the cooking process or make bacteria grow. Poultry must be cooked fully at 75°C (or 82°C to be safe) with no pink juices visible as it contains a deadly bacteria called salmonella. Mince must also be cooked at 75°C while pork is cooked at 72°C to retain the juicy flavour. Food reheated must be at 70°C to 75°C. When being kept warm, the temperature is at 63°C. If it is any hotter, the food will continue to cook and will become dry and overcooked. The temperature between 5°C to 60°C is the danger zone which bacteria can grow. Steak can be served while it is raw in the inside as bacteria only exists on the outside and a  well done steak however, becomes dry and chewy.


Food being on display have the maximum time of two hours. Bacteria will grow after that time frame and will multiply as time goes. After a long period of time, bacteria will turn into spores which is to protect the bacteria. Toxins are waste produced by bacteria. Spores cannot be killed by normal cooking and can only be killed by cooking at 100°C for 4-5 hours while toxins can be killed while cooking at 100°C for 30 minutes. Of course, boiling food for hours will waste time, gas and end up turning the food into mush/soup which is inpractical. So the best thing to do is to discard the food. Spores also exist in dirt and soil so when cooking vegetables (e.g. potatoes), make sure you wash it fully. Chefs fill a sink full of water to clean a large load of vegetables in preparation for service.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sprite fusion cocktail

30ml Vodka, 30ml colour of liqueur of your choice and topped up with sprite. Enjoy with a cherry garnish
Blue – Blue Curacao
Yellow – Banana liqueur
Gold – Kahlua
Red – Strawberry liqueur
Purple – Cassis liqueur
Green – Melon liqueur

Alternatively for a sweet flavoured sprite fusion, put 60ml Vodka, 30ml of Shott Honey Blackcurrant syrup or Shott Spiced Berry and top up with sprite.
By offering a variety of colour, the customer has not only has choice but also be able to choose the colour that represents him or her. For example girls would prefer red or purple while guys prefer blue or green. With a cherry garnish, Sprite fusion is quick and easy to make while at the same time, customers can still enjoy the alcohol’s fusion with sprite.



Saturday, 1 June 2013

Melbourne facts


Melbourne Cricket Ground

·         Stadium capacity of over 100,000 located in Richmond

·         Home of the National Sports Museum located in the Olympic stand and provides stadium tours

·         Cricket during the summer (e.g. Boxing Day test) and AFL during the winter

·         Located in Richmond, east of the CBD. Jolimont and Richmond are the nearest train stations.

·         Tram number 70 can be used to get to the MCG from the CBD to stop 7C.

·         Location of the grand final for the AFL and the host of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 1956 Olympic Games.


·         Rugby and football stadium with capacity of 30,000

·         Hosting football’s A-League, rugby’s Super 15 and the NRL.

·         Home of the Melbourne Heart (A-league), Melbourne Victory (A-League), Melbourne Storm (NRL) and Melbourne Rebels (Super 15).

·         Tram number 70 can be used to get there at stop 7D. Richmond train station is the nearest station.  Located in Melbourne’s Olympic park.

·         Well known for its Bio-frame roof using lightweight steel and a combination of glass, metal and cladding.

Hisense Arena

·         Capacity of 11,000 located in Olympic Park.

·         A multipurpose stadium hosting the ANZ netball championships, Australian Open tennis, track cycling, NBL basketball and concerts.

·         Home of the Melbourne Vixens and Melbourne Tigers

·         Set to host ice hockey matches between USA and Canada on June 14 and 15.

·         Next concert will be the Boomtown Rats on May 23

·         Tram number 70 can be used to get there at stop 7C. Richmond train station is the nearest station

Rod Laver Arena

·         Capacity of 14,000 and located at Olympic Park

·         Hosted basketball in the past but now only hosts tennis and concerts

·         Upcoming concerts = Robert Plant (April 3), The Script (April 6), Aerosmith (May 4), Pink (7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16 & 17 July, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22 & 23 August), Rihanna (September 30, October 1) and One Direction (3, 16, 17, 28, 29 & 30 October).

·         Tram number 70 can be used to get there at stop 7B. Richmond train station is the nearest station

Etihad Stadium

·         Capacity of 53,000 located at Docklands

·         Hosts cricket, concerts, NRL, AFL and football (A-League) and the Lions tour (29 June)

·         Tram numbers 48, 11, 31, 70, 35 and 70 can be used to get there. The stadium is located right next to Southern Cross train station.

·         Corporate suites provide good views for up to 16 guests, VIP car parks and a buffet. At the price of $3500 to $7800 per game.

·         The Diamond Club is a two storey suite providing an excellent view, luxury comfort, 3 course meals and a bartending service.


Flemington Race Course

·         Home of the Melbourne Cup. The 2013 race will be on 5 November 2013

·         A train line dedicated to the venue is used during race day via the Craigieburn Line.

·         Upcoming events are the Winter Race Day on August 1, Community Race Day on April 13, ANZAC Day race on April 25 and Green Fields Race Day on May 4.


St Kilda Beach

·         St Kilda is a bay side suburb not far from the CBD. It is famous for its beach and sun.

·         Can get there through tram numbers 96, 79 and 112.

·         Also an area for 94 restaurants, cafes and bars.

Luna Park

·         Family theme park full of rollercoaster rides, bumper cars and Ferris wheel

·         Can get there through tram numbers 96 (From Crown), 16 (From Swanson), 3, 67 and 79 (From Richmond).

·         Entry is free. Unlimited rides cost $33 (kids) and $43 (adults). Single rides cost $7 (Child) and $9 (Adult)

Melbourne Museum

·         Located at Nicolson Street north east of the CBD. Can get there through tram numbers 86 and 96. Nearest train station is Parliament.

·         Showing a variety of displays from biology to science to historical Melbourne and Victoria.

·         Latest exhibits include Afghan treasures showing until July 28, Bunjilaka showing until June 16 and James Bond 007 showing at November 1.

·         Opens from 10AM to 5PM. Adult tickets cost $10 while kids and concession is free.

·         Museum cafe and car parking available

·         IMAX cinema has the third largest screen in the world (32x23 metres) showing world class 3D. The latest educational films showing are the Flight of the Butterflies, The Last Reef and Born to be Wild. Blockbuster films like Top Gun and Oz the Great and Powerful are currently being screened.

Immigration Museum

·         Located in Flinders Street. Can get there via the City Circle Tram or from Flinders Street train station.

·         Showing exhibits and stories of how all immigrants came to Australia for a new life and to escape war and poverty.

·         Latest exhibitions include Leaving Dublin showing until August 25, Sweets showing until June 2 and IKONA portraits showing until May 12.

·         Adult tickets cost $10 while children have free entry.

Science works

·         Science museum located south west of the CBD. The nearest train station is Spotswood via the Werribee/Williamstown line.

·         Showing exhibits, facts and the fascinating world of science and engineering

·         The latest shows like the Moon, Earth’s climate and the Black Hole are showing until May 19

·         Adult tickets cost $10 while child and concession tickets are free

Eureka Skydeck 88

·         Located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, Melbourne’s tallest building located in Southbank; south of the CBD

·         The lift travels from the ground to the 88th floor at the speed of 9 metres per second

·         Have a magnificent 360 degree view of the entire Melbourne.

·         30 minute helicopter rides around Melbourne are available for $199 per person

·         The edge experience is being in a glass cube sticking out from the building at 300 metres above the ground. Not for people who fear heights.

·         Adult tickets are $18, kids are $10 and concession is $14

·         Cafe available

Melbourne Zoo

·         Located north of the CBD. Can get there via Tram 55 or stopping at Royal Park train station via the Upfield line.

·         A huge variety of animals on display like birds, carnivores, herbivores and sea animals.

·         Adult tickets cost $23, concession costs $20 while kids under 15 get free entry

State Library of Victoria

·         Largest and oldest library in the state located in CBD with Melbourne Central the closest station.

·         The La Trobe reading room is famous for its dome and structure.

·         Paintings, old documents and Ned Kelly’s original armour are on display

Chinatown Melbourne

·         Located in Little Bourke Street in the CBD. Parliament train station is closest.

·         Home of 24 restaurants, mainly Chinese

·         Also the home of the Chinese Museum showing the heritage and generations of Chinese Australians

Queen Victoria Market

·         Located at the corner of Peel and Victoria Street; north of the CBD

·         Trams number 57 and 55 can be used to get there

·         A thriving market selling fresh produce and meat, deli products, clothing and merchandise.

·         Opens on Tuesday, Thursday (6am – 2pm), Friday (6am – 5pm) and Weekends (6am – 4PM).

Royal Exhibition Building

·         Located at Nicolson Street north east of the CBD next to Melbourne Museum. Can get there through tram numbers 86 and 96. Nearest train station is Parliament.

·         One of the oldest remaining pavilions and the site of the 1901 Federation of Australia.

·         Now used for cultural and community events, fairs and trade shows.

National Gallery of Victoria

·         Located in Federation Square next to Flinders Street train station and at 180 Saint Kilda Road

·         A huge display of artworks from both Australia and around the world

·         Free entry along with guided tours and art exhibits showing for a limited time

Melbourne Theatre Company

·         Two theatres = Southbank Theatre located at 140 Southbank Boulevard and Arts Centre Melbourne located at 100 Saint Kilda Road.

·         Can get there by tram or from Flinders Street Station

·         Showing world class plays. The upcoming plays include Beached, True Minds, Zeitgeist, Rupert and The Mountaintop.

Melbourne Aquarium

·         Located at the corner of Flinders and King Street in the CBD. Can get there from a city circle tram, Southern Cross or Flinders Street train stations.

·         A display showing a vast variety of sea animals like sharks, fish, penguins and eels. Fish feeding and diving activity is provided.

·         Adult tickets cost $35, concession costs $29 and children tickets cost $21.50

·         Also has a cafe providing fresh food and coffee.

Yarra Valley Vineyards

·         Located north of Lilydale. After stopping at Lilydale Train Station, take a bus to Yarra Glen, Healesville or Warburton.

·         Tours provided by Yarra Valley Winery Tours, Top down Tours and Link Tours.

·         Two restaurants Bulong Estate and De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate offer quality foods with fresh produce and to provide a good wine experience

·         Wine tasting sessions available

Point Cook Museum

·         Located in Werribee. Take a Werribee Shuttle Bus to get there from CBD.

·         An Air Force museum showing exhibits and history

·         Free entry. Opens on Tuesday to Friday 10am to 3pm and on weekends 10am to 5pm.


·         Taxi service is mostly active around Melbourne. The biggest taxi company is 13CABS and you can arrange pickup on their website.

·         To use public transport, you must have a Myki card. It can be purchased at a city loop station, a retail store or online for $5. Don’t forget to keep it topped up, touch on and touch off to avoid penalty fare. The old Metcard has already been phased out. 

·         Melbourne transport has been divided into two zones. Zone one is the CBD and inner suburbs. Zone two is the outer areas. This helps determine an appropriate fare.

·         Nightrider bus services are provided between the CBD and outer suburbs after midnight every 30 minutes during the weekends.

·         V/Lane provides train services to rural Victoria. They mostly start at Southern Cross train station. Alternatively, they provide coach services. They provide easy travel to gold rush towns of Bendigo and Ballarat, the second largest city Geelong and rural Gippsland.

·         Catering is provided on the Albury, Bairnsdale, Swan Hill, Shepparton and Warrnambool lines.

·         Skybus provides a bus service between the airport and Southern Cross train station 24 hours a day every ten minutes. They also provide minibuses to pick you up from your hotel in the CBD. One way costs $17 while return costs $28.

·         A City Circle Tram (35) is provided for free that runs every ten minutes

Car rentals

·         There are many companies and the main one is Budget that has 46 locations around Melbourne

·         Companies provide a variety of cars from hatchbacks to SUVs.

·         There are special offers like $40 off or happy hour.



·         7 Alfred Place, Melbourne CBD

·         Three course French Cuisine meals and a variety of wine available

·         Awarded One Chef Hat -The Age Good Food Guide 2012


Flower Drum

·         17 Market Lane, Melbourne CBD

·         Awarded 2 Chef Hats - The Age Good Food Guide 2007-2013

·         Chinese restaurant offers both A La Carte and Banquets.


·         187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

·         The Age Good Food Guide Diners' Choice Award 2013

·         A La Carte three course meals along with a huge variety of wine and cocktails

II Bacaro

·         168-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

·         Italian and European cuisine. Gluten free foods are available.

·         Awarded One Chef Hat - The Age Good Food Guide 2012


·         1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne CBD

·         Awarded Two Chef Hats - The Age Good Food Guide 2009-2013

·         A variety of Spanish cuisine and Tapas.


·         6 Russell Place, Melbourne CBD

·         Awarded One Chef Hat - The Age Good Food Guide 2013

·         A variety of Italian cuisine and wine. New head chef Paolo Masciopinto recently arrived

Cafe di Stasio

·         31 Fitzroy Street, Saint Kilda

·         Awarded Two Chef Hats - The Age Good Food Guide 2012-2013

·         Offering Italian cuisine along with a huge variety of wine

Steer Bar and Grill

·         641 Chapel Street, South Yarra

·         Awarded One Chef Hat - The Age Good Food Guide 2013

·         New York style steakhouse using Australia’s best steak



·         1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

·         Japanese Bar offering a variety of alcoholic beverages

·         Also includes Japanese dining


·         1 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne CBD

·         Monday to Saturday 5pm to 1am

·         The bar offers a huge variety of alcoholic beverages from a beer to a nitrogen chilled martini


Bar Americano

·         20 Presgrave Place, Melbourne CBD

·         Opens Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to 11pm

·         Professional bartenders able to make a huge variety of cocktails and coffee