The Sweep Story.

On the last day of October 2020 was also the last day of a good friend and college, taken by mesothelioma.

It was not a plesent experience for the relatives and people who knew the journey but in the end it was a relief to those knowing the pain and discomfort of the patent.

A story we probably we have all heard before but is close to me and my wife.

Mick (Sweep) and I both are boilermakers, both worked the Evens Deakin shipyard, and both apprentices to that organisation and did the same work. I won’t go into the exposure to asbestos but it was extreme and we both did it without any knowledge of the consequences.

Mick got mesothelioma, I got asbestosis.

Why we were effected differently is in the hands of the medicos for explanation but it certainly makes you think how precious a day is.

But in retrospect we had a great apprenticeship. The best we felt, working and being taught by some true tradesman. No shortcuts, no inaccuracies, it was a culture where you were judged on your product you produced, be it a bracket, a stringer, or a shell plate. Each and every welding run you put down had to be as close to perfect as you can and that standard was adopted by about 98% of the lads and those who failed the mark were really did not last.

The benchmark was set by the Master.

Our Master was Slam Sullivan. No one knew his real first name. A mountain of a man with hands as big as frying pans that you were never silly enough to smart mouth.

That 2% I spoke about was weeded out and addressed often by a smack in the ear or if required a back hander to convince you to consider your attitude to the job.

Oh yes I can hear the cries of violence to the youth but it was mans trade then and you grew up or did not survive. No mummy’s boys, no crying to the big boss as you would be regarded as a wimp

Slam worked on the Story Bridge a time where accuracy was demanded and his experiences and standards were passed on and to his credit turend out tradesmen that were welcomed once knowing your shipyard training in other factories in any other facets of the boiler-making trade.

Mick stuck with the trade his whole life, I divested after about 10 years and went to PMG, Telecom, and Telstra, but did not escape the asbestos exposure as the pits and conduits.

Again though, part of our training was life experiences few experienced.

The years was a melting pot of cultures. Walking distance from Yungabah hostel the landing point of New Australians arriving and having a job almost immediately if you had experience in any part of the shipbuilding industry.

Every day was a learning experience, be it trade or life working alongside of people who were too learning about our culture and us theirs.

Yes the lingo was in todays terms racist and unacceptable but it was common language then yet those of us who really wanted to know how the rest of the world worked it was an open book, in a time in the late 60”s where everything was being challenged from culture, working conditions, life styles, music ,everything that represented authorities including governments.

Some great discussions, ideas and arguments and at time fights but looking back a great base for me that you could never experience in a class room or office job and we had it on tap.

This could be a sad story but I won’t allow it.

Although we both got some shit disease unknowingly we did have some experiences in our youth that would never pass the occupation health and safety standards today and both of us would probably be in jail if we did to each other what was did then.

Setting little traps with welders, tools ,electricity, acetylene and whatever we could invent to get a laugh or get square was all part of learning a trade and character building, and that experiences carry us through life and give us sometimes a different view of life few can accept at times.

To be honest it took years for Mick and me to realise we both worked at the yard as there was about 200 of us covering many trades so we played golf against each other misbehaved accordingly and as age does we did not recognise each other in that light until one afternoon the penny dropped when is saw Mick walk into the clubhouse dressed in his work gear and I said boilermaker, then it all fell into pace, the toolbox was opened and it we started swinging the 4 pound hammer of our youth, driving in the wedges and dogs of the past

He remains in my mind a true tradesman full stop. He stayed and practiced the game to the end and I hope he passed on his standards to his subordinates in trade but I’m pretty sure he passed them on family in another forms and they will live with them.

His legacy remains in many ways.

Thanks for the memories old mate and meet you at the lunch room for the game of 500 with the big school.

Slam No Trumps.

The Dog is Off, Sabbatical Over.

Since my local newspaper got the chop for Murdock I’ve had a bit of a rest from writing as I was a contributor to opinion writing in Letters to Editor and other little tasks to prompt thought outside the main stream media.

That break also give me time to rethink my sources of news and the way to get bio the meat of a story without the bullshit, hence I have moved away from TV and gone directly to radio, a once critical part of my upbringing.

Radio National ABC , along with my internet sources complete my morning intake locally and world wide give some a broad news without the need for personality opinion disguised as news.

My first issue of distain is the way our government is handling this #China syndrome of scare.

One of our biggest traders , clients China is vital to our industry especially our agriculture and food chains and the fact that America is having issues done not mean we have to play lap dog, even though our PM is mimicking every move #Trump does to appease.

Its obvious #Morrison is not a lateral thinker and playing bum boy to power is the way he has got the top job even though he won the election he never wanted to win is obviously agonising on having to use a socialistic principals to keep the nation afloat during the pandemic, actions that are at odds with is radical right wingers who see capitalism must survive at all costs, again mirroring Trump.

You will also notice his ability to play the leader of the national cabinet when decisions are made then send in his snipers to attack those decisions. A gutless act from a man who run away from responsibility in the bush fires, attacked premiers in the early stages of the pandemic for implementing safety measures to protect and play the political states game of blame, right down to the incompetence in the age care areas.

A leader he is not, a shady used car salesmen is more to his calling, and when it comes to accountability he hides under a rock along with his stooges, who under the Westminster Government rules should stand aside at least until incompetence or corruption is disproved.

Not under Morrison who regard it badge of honour, a right to use your public office to increase personal wealth directly or indirectly.

So will the Opposition do a better job?

Coming out of this pandemic will be a tough job regardless and we as a nation will need compassion as depending on the outcome in America will set the course for at what rate that recovery will take.

Its obvious now that Europe, China and Asia have parked up and are in wait and the isolationist policy’s of Trump will be trigger for the block to let America drown in its own sewerage if stays on Trumps present agenda.

That leaves Australia, NZ., Japan, Indonesia, block possibly increasing trade opportunities and that not leaving China out either..

That will test any government in the wake of a possible depression.

Anyway that decision is in the hands of the American people come November as it has the voice to stay in track and have a head on with itself, or take a side track before collision and run out of rail.

What a choice, delusional old men trying to stay relevant regardless of which party you vote or not.

Sadly until some vision from the younger Americans is given a chance America will not avoid a calamity that emulates Hiroshima and Nagasaki without the bomb, on a larger scale all self inflicted.

Life’s Tool Kit will be Required After Covid19.

Out of the mires of woes COVID has delivered there are some positive lessons our society has experienced especially our youth.

In the past our life skills were learnt over years and experience but this virus has accelerated this experiences and highlighted some overlooked by not only the youth but parents equally.

Skills like patience, adaptability, social consciousness, sharing, sacrifice, ingenuity, self discipline all critical in making up quality characteristics of a reputable citizen of the world played out in a relatively short time of confinement.

It also has highlighted the shortcomings of self indulgence, greed, often displayed by parents then passing to siblings qualities that will be remembered long past this crisis.

I remember my grandparents and their friends when our country was at war and in depression recalling people who broke the social expectations of unity when our country was in crisis and those who had the character to stand united and it was the latter that this country rebounded in those times.

We are not quite in those times yet but the no one knows where the world will end up, but one thing is certain, the people who have the life’s character toolkit will be called and go to the coal face first as in our grandparents time.

Wayne Offer

Our Youths Health is Not a Political Tool

There is lot of political noise about who when and where our educational system will resume to what is seen as normal again but let’s see who is driving this debate and If our kids are really the cherished concern of politicians.

The higher education faction are split into the high profit making sector and the general day to day public sector both with differing needs highlighting the fact that education should never be outsourced with reliance on outside clientele to support our national mainstream system.

Out tiered primary and secondary system geared to the your wallet is always a tool used as a vote catcher appeasing the ideology’s of each and every constituency hence we are having this national debate on when is it safe to return to schools.

Our National Cabinet of State Premiers is proving it worth and each premier has the responsibility for their populations some vastly different in demographic, density, and cultural diversity so no comparison can be drawn, however that does not stop politicians and the media making hay out of this complicated situation made worse by a PM spreading crumbs to keep his keepers on side.

Until we put our youth’s health and well-being first and unleash the media on who is stands to make a buck by getting their puppets to squark, we will be no better than Trump’s America.

Wayne Offer

It’s Getting Just too Hard for Scotty from Marketing.

No doubt our country is going through a political identity crisis at the present and our political party’s don’t really know who their actual base is as they try to find a space that suits the current climate and suits their factional nemesis’s

Once the proud County Party now the Nationals used to represent the man on the land, the cocky,the producer, now its total focus is running a case for big coal and gas that rips the guts out of agricultural land, contaminates or irradiates underground water surrendering fertile country for the bag of fools gold.

They themselves have created a vacuum that the Greens and other groups with nowhere near the knowledge of the forefathers to fill, all self inflicted.

Amazing diatribe from Allan Jones about coal and climate denial yet the same man led the protest at Aplin against coal expansion. You have to ask who is paying the piper then conveniently forgets or hope we forget.

This country is crying out for leadership on important issues such as climate, mental health, economic certainty for business yet this government and its factions cannot decide what seat they sit in Canberra Parliament, what ideologies to have to suit days narrative, what we expect from Trumpsville but not in a thinking democracy.

If only we thought, listened and questioned more, and actually engaged we the punters could raise the bar if we choose.

Wayne Offer

Our Working Poor Does not Fit Scotty From Marketing’s Model.

It’s rude to eves drop. It’s probably unethical to write about it but this is a story that needs to be told.

While shopping in a major chain complex i inadvertently overheard two employees discussing if one had received a email from management re a issue. A negative reply then the conversation expanded into why the email was generated as one employee dared to question a manager.

The end result was that employee lost hours, and then the fear of that happening to them fully revealed how we allowed our people be manipulated as throw away human beings.

When loosing one hour is the difference of having a roof or on the streets for a family it becomes inconceivable to some who live in the land what we regard normal Australians.

These people are the working poor and in some cases destitute. They have pride and often present well clothed from charitable outlets or in uniforms and the only thing they have to trade is their labour and when your that low in the labour chain you are expendable and the ruthless employers prey on that vulnerability.

My initial thoughts was seek union advice but this contract society has taken away that safety net, and keep in mind millions of these are officially employed although they may only have 4 hours or less and do not appear on national un employment data, and then we wonder why our crime rate continues to rise as people struggle between New Start and manipulating employers of survive but when it gets down to feeding your kids or loved ones people resort to desperate measures, filling our courts and costing the community billions in enforcement.

Scotty from Marketing’s “have a go get a go” slogan does not apply to this level as his rejection of New Start increase is rejected and big business gets tax breaks about sums up the care factor to raise the living standards of all Australians not just the Silent Ones.

Wayne Offer

Greta Thunberg Like Bernie Banton Stands Her Ground.

It must be a pretty big thing to have the President of the United States to fly 4 thousand Kilometres to have a lash at a young teenager. Probably a bit of diversion politics from home issues but this trend to attack the young climate messenger across all media platforms is actually building the case and growing the support no matter of how many of the climate deniers propaganda portray her disability, age, school level, or intelligence.

Its a hard road if you choose to take on an issue that establishment see their status quo challenged, however without those who choose to step up always face the wrath of quite often personal attacks over a debate on fact.

Personally me and many others have to thank our real warrior Bernie Banton who’s fight against politicians. Lobbyists, shareholders and the greater business sector who suffered the same wrath that Thunberg is copping today and that fight is still ongoing across the world as politicians deny or covered up to appease their donors and launched into personal attacks as a means to deflect responsibility.

Be sure this kid ain’t going nowhere and while the men in suits go into palpitations every time they see her one thing is certain,

we had our chance and blew it when this issue first arose back in the 80’s and 90’s and that’s a fact no one can deny.

Wayne Offer

In the Know, You Got the Dough from Scotty from Marketing.

Over my time involved in the Not For Profit (NFP) organisation’s I am well aware of the pains and hoops the members and supporters have to do to get support from either Federal or State governments and no doubt it helps to have support from your elected member but once that process is completed we all expect each and every application to be judged on equal merit because politics and sport should not be mixed.

That was the case until of late when Scotty from Marketing come on the scene with his slogans, but unfortunately like all things they have a expiry date.

You know “Have a Go the Get a Go” now has morphed in this case to “If you in the Know you get the Dough” and I could go on but really my issue is about all the little clubs who need basics like sprinklers, disability handrails, general repairs small ticket items to help the little organisations who are struggling to survive overlooked and funds given to organisations with massive turnovers or high end exclusive paying memberships taking 6 figure sums out of the pool.

I have no doubt those funds will be used legally but those exact funds spread lightly across the entire spectrum would have a better impact.

Sorry if that sounds to some like a Socialist point of view but if I was a elected member I would rather all my constituents had a bit that only the selected got all, but like all political landscapes there are winners and looses, and its always the little people who loose.

To me if their was ever a case for a Federal ICAC this is it. Australians love sport and fair play, and this is not within our code of sporting ethics and to those who repeat consistently the Sandpit Response of “They All Do It” is a cop out if we want our kids regardless of demographic be given a fair go regardless of who is in government.

Trust and Truth are Targets of the Skeptics.

Regardless of what the skeptics would have you believe our nation is is experiencing a apoplectic event never seen in this countries lifetime, that is ever since white mans presence.

For those of us that are exposed to social media we have seen photoshopped newspapers, photos, data that was impossible to collate at the time due to uninvented technology trotted out as fact designed to influence the unsuspecting public not attuned or caring to partake in public debate period.

It’s said Truth is the first casualty in any war or dispute, and might I add trust to that casualty list.

Taking away trust in areas such as science, medicine, technological gathered data is the task set by those who feel that information will have a monetary effect on their support base only not humanity as a whole.

We as a human race have advanced with the help of evolving technology, from the stone axe head to a iPhone some good some bad, but in laymen’s terms, we embraced the transitions although some chose to remain in the past.

Their choice, but trying to discredit fact via fabrication puts trust and all those who have dedicated their lives challenging theories, scientific outcomes, medical tests as part of proof testing before public release in a position of some sort of blame if the data doesn’t suit your ideology.

The simple fact is now we are experiencing the science we chose to ignore and are paying the price not only here but world wide.

Our PM Morrison Runs Scared.

Not since when the Japanese were on our doorstep and the Brisbane Line was envisaged have we seen our Prime Minister vacate his nation and seek refuge in a foreign land. Menzies headed for England and now Morrison to a American outpost while this country is in a national crisis.

How good is it when every time you turn on a TV or radio you hear how the country is either burning or its population being sizzled by heat, starved of water or oxygen or economically driven into poverty while they protect this governments failing mantra of a surplus.

No wonder our youth or younger people has lost faith politics and are taking things into their own hands.

Each and every day I read or see people on the streets all over the world rebelling against authoritarian, nepotistic, corrupt or just plain arrogant old people who have made their fortunes by manipulating the system they were elected to protect, the we have the audacity to attack those who choose to expose or highlight or hold to account weather it be a journalist, whistle blower or a fourteen year old kid.

It sickens me even more when when I read us mature adults chose to use the autocratic moral high ground when we are questioned by youth then expecting them to go back to their rooms and behave.

If we did our jobs ,listened, planned involved our youth there would be no need for rebellious action but no we are the keepers of all knowledge and now reaping the crop we sewed.

Other nations manage youth successions in business and politics in the national interest unlike us where we see the corporate interests supported by politicians as the norm and our actual island where we live is just a place that is supposed to keep on giving.

Well it’s all over red rover for those who played the schoolyard game, and our PM’s thoughts and prayers are as effective as his understanding of what it takes to be a leader who stands along side those who are doing it rough not from his hotel in yank a colony.

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