Sunday, 2 July 2017


by Dave Wheeler  
   This anecdote is mainly about my old mate, Brownie, (the late Owen Brown). It is to a lesser extent about a bloke who was employed by the ACT Police Force in 1971, who, in my opinion, brought his organisation into disrepute. It is also about the Apartheid system which once operated in South Africa. It is also about rugby. It is also about injustice. 
     In regard to Brownie, I could write a book about him. When I get together with my mates he is often the main topic of conversation, as we have a myriad of humorous stories regarding his sense of humour, his propensity for practical jokes and his adventures. Brownie was a highly ethical bloke, even though he had his own code of ethics which some may not have understood, and he was a dependable and loyal mate.
    During the year of which I mainly write, 1971, and the years that preceded and followed that year, Brownie and I got up to much that brings a smile to my face. I also had two insane years living with him in Evatt in the mid 70’s, and he features often in the book I wrote entitled, “Tales of a Canberra Boy.” 
   What I am writing about revolves around the 1971 Springboks tour, and what happened to Brownie when the Springboks played the ACT at Manuka Oval on the 21/7/1971.

  To the left of the photo above is my old mate, Trout, aka Ric Fitch, who is in the black teeshirt. It was taken at the Dickson Pub (which has since been demolished like many other unique and/or historical buildings in the Berra) circa 1973, at his buck’s party. He had just sculled a yard glass when the photo was taken. The subject of this story, Brownie, is to the far right of the photo, in the light blue teeshirt, laughing and clapping.
   After consulting with Trout I will add that the reason everyone was clapping and laughing was because Trout had vomited back into his yard glass during his first effort at trying to scull its content. And because he had a persistent nature he sculled it again, along with pieces of whatever tucker he’d been eating that had been regurgitated. He somehow managed to keep it down.
   Just after the photo was taken a lady in her late fifties, who had been sitting at the table next to us, yelled at several of us in an angry, broad, high-pitched Australian accent. Her words were,
“I know you young people like to enjoy yourselves, but that was disgusting!” She then left. I suppose she was right.
    The story begins at the very end of my 1969 school year, when I attended Dickson High and was in what is now called Year 11. I had turned 17 in September of that year and had bought myself a 1959 Ford Consul ute. 
    During a lunchtime several of us went to Brownie’s house, which was in Antill Street, Watson. Brownie’s parents were at work, so we carried-on in the unrestrained way lads of that age and our type carry-on. Life was one big joke and we were full of youthful exuberance and optimism.
   I can recall the contents of the sorts of conversations we would have as 17 year olds when we met as a group.  It was mainly about creating laughter, which was usually achieved by recounting humorous and often anti-social events, taking the piss out of each other and telling each other about our very limited, and in some cases non-existent, sexual exploits. Had our conversations been recorded they would be regarded as loud, raucous and degenerate. They would have horrified our mums. 
     When, on the occasion of which I write, it was time to go back to school, I, with Brownie in the passenger’s seat, reversed my ute out of Brownie’s parent’s driveway. But, because of my inexperience I didn’t look properly, and I reversed into the tail end of a car that was driving past. As luck would have it the bloke  driving the car was an off-duty copper, in uniform, driving his own car to or from work. 
    Brownie began laughing hysterically after he realised I had run into a cop, but the copper did not see any humour in what had occurred. After he got out of his car he told me I'd spoiled his driving record of 13 years without an accident. I could hear Brownie, and our mate, Ouncie, (John Outhwaite) laughing in the background after he muttered those words.
   There was virtually no damage done to my old ute, although I'd put a large dent in the rear side of the copper’s car, and his car appeared to be near-new. 
    The ACT Police had an accident squad at that time. They were called and were not too far away. When they arrived the copper I had pranged into of course knew them well, and they addressed each other by their first names.
     The accident squad coppers asked Brownie how fast he thought the off-duty cop’s car was travelling, and when he told them it was above the speed limit they said to him,”You’re a liar!” They then booked me for negligent driving, and because my tailpipe had come off I was also booked for having an insufficient silencer. They did not issue on-the-spot fines at that stage, so I went to court, pleaded guilty, paid the fines and forgot about the incident.
    Little did I know that that was not the last I would see of the copper I pranged into. Nor did I know that he would, from the way I believe things went, change sides and become a criminal while still working as a copper. Although having said that, I would be surprised if he had not committed criminal acts while working as a copper before I pranged into him. 
     As I am not identifying the said copper I will refer to him for the rest of this anecdote as “Quoll,” because I thought he looked like one, although I would say he had far less courage than a quoll. They are fearless and ferocious little marsupials if cornered.    
    I will now fast-forward to 1971, when the South African rugby team conducted its controversial tour of Australia and played the ACT at Manuka Oval. At that time Australia was divided, as was much of the rugby world, when it came to whether we should play rugby and other sports against South Africa, considering South Africa was run by a brutal racist regime and non-whites were excluded from selection when it came to representative sporting teams.
   Some, at the time, argued that sport and politics should not be mixed, and that if we engaged in sporting activity with South Africa we could convince them of the error of their ways, and that not engaging with them would have no effect on whether or not they retained Apartheid. 
    Others argued that by playing sport with them, having diplomatic relations with them, and trading with them, we were in-effect telling them we either condoned what they were doing or that we didn’t particularly care.
    Although I agreed that Apartheid was an evil regime that should not have existed, I could see glaring inconsistencies when it came to the suggestion that we should sever diplomatic relations with that country as well as impose on it trade and sporting bans. I say that because although the regime was immoral and brutal, it was not necessarily as bad as other totalitarian regimes and pseudo-democracies of that era that also shat on their poor and powerless, irrespective of their race. Yet we continued to trade with those other countries, play sport with them and retain diplomatic relations?
    Many of the countries of which I refer had no laws that prohibited child labour, and some turned a blind eye to child prostitution and sexual slavery. Some of them still do. And when it came to racist regimes, the Indonesians truly qualified for such a title. They treated the West Papuans appallingly and they continue to do so. And they are right on our doorstep!
   So, why was the protest movement focussing just on South Africa? Was it a matter of fashion? Whatever the reason, I found the inconsistency totally irrational. 
     I was of the belief at that time that we should be semi-isolationist and sever ties with most of the rest of the world and I have retained that belief.

   Others who agreed with me, to the extent that they could also see the inconsistencies, argued that even if we were being irrational by focussing just on South Africa, if Apartheid was abolished in that country by the West ostracising the place, it would still be a real positive. It would be a positive even if worse regimes in other countries continued unabated because some good would have come out of our efforts.
     History has shown that those who thought in the latter way were right, because it was mainly sporting bans, trade bans and the severing of diplomatic ties by most of the West that led to the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa. 
      Getting back to the subject, although I can’t speak for Brownie, when it came to my going to Manuka Oval to watch the Springboks play the ACT, I gave it some thought (but not enough) and decided to go so I could enjoy the game, the action on the sidelines and the company of my mates. 
   I thought at the time I could morally justify watching the Springboks play the ACT because I was aware of the inconsistencies I have just outlined. But, with the wisdom of hindsight and having given the matter further thought, I now believe I should not have paid money to see the Springboks play unless I was willing to protest and attempt to disrupt the game for the reasons I have already outlined, and that I did not do.
   So, here was Brownie and I at the game. We could see where the protesters were, so we went down amongst them and stood right next to the 7 foot high fence separating the crowd from the game. 
   Behind the fence there were around 600 coppers strung right around the ring of the oval at arms length from each other. There were also coppers inside the fence in front of the protesters, making sure they did not attempt to jump the fence to disrupt the game. There were smoke bombs being let off and rotten smells coming from several spots. Most of the time the protesters chanted, “Racists go home!”
   We were having a great time, as we were enjoying watching the rugby, and the sideshow between the protesters and the coppers at the same time. We witnessed several people being arrested and carried through a narrow gate while we were watching, although I could not see what they did to warrant being arrested. 
    While this was happening, I noticed, on our side of the fence, Quoll, the same copper who I had backed my car into in 1969, standing there, facing the protesters. We thought this a great joke, so we edged-up closer to him. I looked at him, gave him a little smile, and said,”Do you remember me mate?”
   I was baiting him to a small degree, but he had a lot more power than me at the time given that the place was swarming with hundreds of his colleagues, so there is no way I could have been seen to have been attempting to intimidate him in any way.
   I am led to believe the police were not armed at the time, although I am sure some in the senior ranks who were there would have had access to arms if needed.
   His response to my question was, “Should I? And if you call me mate again I’ll arrest you!”
   Brownie began laughing at his reply, so he said to Brownie, “Do you think it’s funny?” 
   Brownie, when replying, got out the words, “Under the circumstances,” and at that Quoll had him arrested. Several coppers grabbed Brownie, lifted him up and carried him through the narrow gate and into a paddy wagon. 
  When I reflect on Quoll he was obviously shitting himself, and as such obviously in the wrong job. Why was he so stressed-out while in the presence of so many other coppers? What possible harm could we have done to him? Other than that, the protesters were mainly uni students and hippie types who were essentially harmless. It may have been a different story had they been a crowd of neo-nazis or members of the traditional left, such as wharfies or the BLF.
    Quoll would not have lasted 5 minutes if he was employed privately as a bouncer in a nightclub given that bouncers have zero authority and are unarmed. Actually, I doubt he could have handled being a private security guard at a shopping mall for the same reason. I wonder how he went while working as a copper when he was by himself and had to confront violent people. I'm guessing he always carried with him a spare pair of reg grundies and daks, as he would have lost control of his bowels on such occasions.
   When I asked him if he remembered me he could have replied to my question with a few well chosen words instead of threatening to arrest me for calling him “mate,”given that he had no legal authority to do so. He could have also engaged me in conversation or simply ignored me. It’s not as if I was a threat to him in any way. And it’s not as if he was a young and inexperienced copper who had just been recruited. He must have been in his thirties.
   The following link will take you to footage of the said game in 1971, which includes arrests. I'm sorry I cannot embed it. The blurb before it states that 49 people were arrested at the game (Brownie would have been one of the 49) and that observers complained of rough police treatment and of the arrests being arbitrary and unreasonable. That was an understatement!
   The two links that follow the first link are descriptions and photos of the event from the Canberra Times.

   I took the blurred photo above immediately after Brownie was arrested, which shows the coppers taking him away. It’s blurred because I was jostled by the crowd while trying to take the photo, and unfortunately Brownie is not visible within the photo. All that can be seen are the coppers who were carrying him towards the small gate in the fence at the time.
    Brownie told me that after he was arrested and placed into the paddy wagon with a bunch of protesters the copper who was driving made their ride as uncomfortable as possible by deliberately and intermittently slamming on the brakes.
    The irony of it all was that Brownie was a rugby fanatic and had gone there to watch the game. He must have stuck out amongst the uni student protesters like a Jap on Anzac day! The poor bugger was arrested with a bunch of protesters and was guilty of nothing more than being the mate of a smart-arse, who also did nothing that warranted arrest. 
    Unlike me, Brownie as an adult continued to play rugby, and in the last years of his life he became the president of Canberra’s Easts rugby union club. The above photo is of Brownie’s Easts rugby team in 1976, several years after the event that led to his arrest. Brownie is in the front row 3rd from the left. Thanks to Trout for the photo.
    I went to the Civic Police station to see if I could get Brownie out without involving his parents, and I was told by the coppers at the reception to “Fuck off!”
    I’m not sure exactly what happened with Brownie after he was taken to the station, but I do remember being told that his mum, who I always liked, (partly because she was never backwards in coming forward, particularly in matters concerning her kids), after learning about what had led to her son’s arrest, confronted Quoll and reminded him of the fact that I had run into him outside their driveway.     
   Apparently he did not handle it well, as he must have realised it would not look good for him if the matter went to court. Other than that, I had taken down the name and contact details of a bloke who had witnessed what had happened, and he was willing to testify on Brownie’s behalf. 
   Brownie was eventually charged with having used indecent language. From memory they alleged that he had said, “All coppers are cunts,” or words to that effect that contained the words coppers and cunts.
    When a copper fabricates a charge he has committed a criminal offence, and as such has gone to the other side and joined the crim’s he is paid to control. When that occurs he has no right to moralise or pretend he is a pillar of the community. And because I was there when Brownie was arrested, and I clearly remember what Brownie said, (or did not say), I believe Quoll was a criminal. 
   A criminal is defined as a person who commits a crime. The definition, as such, includes people who commit crimes but are not charged or convicted for such crimes.
   Later on all charges against all protesters were dropped because of a legal technicality, although not before Brownie and I had seen a solicitor and made contact with the other witness, (who I got to know and still see occasionally)
   My guess is that the real reason the charges were dropped was not one of a legal nature. I believe it highly likely that the whole thing was politically embarrassing for the government and that once the tour was over they thought it best to say as little as possible about it in the hope that it would all be forgotten. I also believe that a large number of coppers would have been exposed for charging people for offences they did not commit.
   Quoll was very lucky the charges against Brownie were dropped. Had they not been dropped Quoll would probably have been exposed as a bullshit artist and a criminal when the matter was heard in court. And that would have been the best outcome he could have hoped for.
    If Brownie had been charged and convicted for having used the indecent language he did not use, Quoll would not have known what hit him. A wronged Brownie was unstoppable. He would have ensured Quoll regretted the day he was born, and whatever Brownie decided to do to seek vengeance I would have been morally obliged to assist, considering I was the smart-arse who brought the whole thing on.
   I hope Quoll, for his sake, saw the error of his ways, quit the police force and got a job as a clerk, where the greatest risk would be having a filing cabinet fall on him, as he was clearly not suited for the job.
    Now, although I have really given it to Quoll in this anecdote by publicly ridiculing the man, if he is still alive he will not suffer from what I have written nor will his reputation be tarnished, as I have not identified him. And I doubt anyone reading this yarn, other than the other witness to Brownie’s arrest, will know who he was or is. Had I retained a grudge against the man I could have identified him without risking being sued, because I can back up what I have written. 
   It could be argued that fabricating evidence related to a relatively minor charge, which is what Quoll did with Brownie, pales into insignificance when it comes to bringing the AFP into disrepute when compared to the proven and/or alleged actions and comments of the ex AFP commissioner, Mick Keelty, in relation to the arrest of the Bali 9 and what he said before the trial of Schappelle Corby.
    In relation to 1 of the Bali 9, Scott Rush, whose father asked the AFP to stop him leaving Australia to prevent him being arrested in Bali, (which they did not do), a youngish copper I met said, to me “Keelty threw a hospital pass to every copper in Australia. What parent will ever trust a copper again?” And many Australians believe Keelty has blood on his hands in relation to the executions of Chan and Sukumaran.
    When senior coppers and politicians talk about how they have no sympathy for drug smugglers and how they can justify cooperating with countries like Indonesia because they know they are saving lives by stopping drugs reaching the arms of addicts, they are insulting the intelligence of their audience. Corruption is a way of life in Indonesia, and drugs of a hard variety are always readily available as long as they are bought from certain people. Politicians and senior Australian coppers know that. Do the latter have any pride or self-respect or is that a rhetorical question?
    I do not carry a grudge against Quoll and I sincerely hope he has had a good life, because although he behaved very badly by fabricating a charge against my mate, 46 years have elapsed since the event took place. And as I have said in many anecdotes and essays I have written, I have no right to cast stones against anyone because of their bad behaviour given that we all do things we regret, and I have done many, many things in my youth I regret. 
    Other than that, I don’t believe we possess contra-causal free will. And if you don’t understand what I mean by that last statement you may want to read the essays on the following links. They say nothing new, but they’re hard-hitting and very well-written, and you may find them liberating.

by Nick McConchie
   INTRODUCTION by Dave Wheeler-This anecdote was written by my old mate, Nick McConchie. It tells of his narrow escape while visiting the Philippines in the early 90’s, with our mutual mate, the late Geoff “Fitz” Fitzgerald. I attended Dickson High with both Nick and Fitz. 
   When Australians travel to Asia they are warned of the draconian punishments most Asian countries have for persons found in possession of drugs or engaging in other behaviour that is dealt with far less harshly in Australia. Although most Australians realise the consequences of disobeying foreign laws, many, in their naivety, do not realise that they are taking a small risk by just visiting such countries without breaking their laws, as many tourists over the years have been set-up and have suffered many years in prison, and worse, for committing no crime at all. Most of Asia is rife with corruption, brought about by poverty and desperation, and to expect to be dealt with by honest police and to receive a fair trial in most Third World countries is like expecting the arrival of the tooth fairy. It is far easier for a middle class Australian to be moral than it is for people who battle every day just to get a feed. I spent a small amount of time in Thailand during my youth and had no problems, as has been the case with most tourists who have travelled to Asia, but you are far more likely to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in a Third World country than you are in Australia, as Nick will tell you. Why we have extradition treaties with countries that are so bent and why the Australian government does not openly criticise their legal systems for the corrupt farces they are, probably comes down to money, as in not wanting to disrupt trade. While there are live cattle to be exported (and tortured) and other commodities to be bought and sold, expect things to continue as they are. 
   In this introductory rant I have expressed my personal views, which are not necessarily the views of Nick McConchie.
Dave Wheeler
by Nick McConchie
   The behaviour of the relatively new Philippines President Duterte, in allowing or indeed encouraging law enforcement officials to shoot first when drugs are involved, reminded me of the dangers of that country. In particular, I recalled an incident when I was in Manila during the early 1990’s.
   I had travelled to The Philippines with my then wife and my 2 year old son. The purpose of the visit was to introduce my son to his grandmother and for my wife to catch up with her family. In order to alleviate potential boredom, I invited my friend Fitz to come along. Fitz features in other posts on this site.
   One afternoon in Manila, Fitz and I left the family in our hotel and ventured out for a few drinks. We went to several bars and sunk a few cold ones. As the afternoon turned into night, we continued to bar hop and eventually found ourselves in a quieter street, a little way from the bustling tourist area. Our reason for leaving the relative safety of the tourist strip has been muddied through the effluxion of time. None of that actually matters. What matters was that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Somewhere in Manila.
  We were walking along the street, minding our own business, talking bullshit to each other while looking for somewhere we could quench our rapidly growing thirsts. A police vehicle stopped and two heavily armed policemen alighted and approached us. We were told that we were making too much noise and needed to accompany them. Not being in the business of arguing with armed Filipino police, we complied and climbed into their “ute”. Not much was said, and we assumed we were being taken to a police station – no such luck! After a short time, the driver turned into what appeared to be an empty car park. It was walled on three sides with an entrance on the fourth side. We were told to get out of the vehicle. As we did so, one of the policemen walked a short distance and stood there with his back to us. The other pointed his pistol at us. He said words to the effect, “My Sergeant needs money, how much you have”? 
 The photo above, taken in 1974, shows from left to right, Spud Murphy, the late Geoff ‘Fitz” Fitzgerald, Mick Gladwish and Nick McConchie, the author of this post. All of the above are ex Dickson High boys. The photo was also used in the essay, “ A Canberra boy reflects on his escapes,” because we do not have many photos of Fitz in his younger years.
   At this point Fitz and I were a little concerned for our safety, though that fear was somewhat diminished by the alcohol that we had consumed. I cannot recall how much we offered in the first instance but it probably equated to $10.00 or so. We gave the money to the policeman who while still holding his gun, walked over to the sergeant. They mumbled a few words then the underling returned. “Not enough,” he said. We gave a little more. He again walked over to the sergeant and again returned saying “Not enough”. About the 3rd or 4th time we emptied our front pockets to show that that was all we had – about $60 between us. This time the Sergeant came back and said “OK”. 
   The underling, while waving his gun, then said, “You can escape now.” I did not know what Fitz was thinking at this point, as I had my own thoughts to contend with. My thoughts over the next 2 seconds ranged from – "If we run, then surely they will shoot us – justified as escaping prisoners. If we walk fast, we will be easier targets. If we don’t do anything, will they lock us up?” 
   We ran, zigzagging in some lame attempt to dodge any bullets that came our way. Normally, Fitz would have been a faster runner than me, but not that day.
    As we ran from the compound and turned into the street, I was relieved that there were no gunshots. In today’s Duterte environment, we could easily have been shot as suspected drug felons. I digress however. 
  We jumped onto the back of a Jeepney, (a public transport jeep with colourful if not kitsch decorations). We were not obviously being followed, much to our mutual relief. Coincidentally, the Jeepney was headed through one of the bar areas of Manila, so now, in much need of a drink, we alighted and headed into one of the many bars that lined the strip.
   Earlier in this piece, I mentioned that we had emptied our front pockets - fortunately we had more in other pockets. So, here we are, sitting in the bar, enjoying a beer or two, talking about our experience and how we were “gunna” bash the coppers and should have bashed the coppers and so on, when at the entrance to the bar, appeared one of the policemen that we should have bashed.
   He looked straight over at us but did nothing. He left a minute or two later. After several more beers and perhaps some whiskey, we deemed it safe and returned to our hotel.
   The next morning there was a knock on my hotel room door. I answered to a hotel employee, who held up a piece of paper and said “is this your licence? “ Indeed it was. He explained that he was hotel security and he knew what happened, and with his help we could sue the police for a large amount of money. I took my licence, which had obviously been given to him by one of the policemen, though I had no recollection of giving it to him in the first place, and politely declined his offer.
   Over the course of the next few hours, every hotel employee (I exaggerate), but a number of them, asked how long we were staying, when are we leaving? What airline and what time? Paranoia began to set in. At this point, what could we do? So Fitz and I crossed the road to an open air bar and had a few beers, while trying to decipher what it all meant (the meaning of life at that instant). We were there for a very short period of time, when a truck pulled up, and half a dozen policemen dismounted and came into the bar. They simply stood around, giving us perhaps furtive glances, whilst talking amongst themselves. They left quite soon after their arrival. Paranoia?, I do not know, but we were becoming quite uncomfortable with the situation.
  We were booked on a flight out the following night. Hotel staff were offering to arrange transport. What time you want? Where you go? And so it went on. We had visions of perhaps being robbed on the way to the airport or worse. It just seemed very peculiar to us. I was of course concerned for my wife and child, so around lunchtime that day, without checking out, we walked out and caught a cab to the airport. We arrived at the airport safely albeit some 12 hours before our flight. How did we alleviate the boredom? – At the airport bar of course!
  The photo above shows the author of this post with a group of his mates in Kings Cross in 1970. They are from left to right, the late Brent Bolas, Nick McConchie, Spud Murphy, Keith Dickerson and Max Duncan. Max played an incredibly good blues harmonica and often accompanied Spud, who was on the voice and also played the blues harp.

by Dave Wheeler

    Several months ago I assisted a mate by accompanying him on five visits he made to a solicitor in Manuka. The details of his legal problem are not relevant to this essay. What is relevant is that every time we met with the solicitor we walked from my mate's house to the solicitor's office, then back again, and in doing so we walked past the notorious Stuart Flats. These government-owned flats are located in the old Berra suburb of Griffith. They consist of several blocks, and are inhabited by low income folk. 
    I can only describe the Stuart Flats as a sewer. I’m not referring to the physical structure of the Stuart Flats, as the buildings have nothing wrong them, even though they could do with some basic maintenance and a clean-up. I’m referring to the whole atmosphere of the place, which emanates hopelessness and a potential for violence brought about by it being inhabited by many persons with really obvious mental health problems; mental health problems of a kind that has led the afflicted to suffer poverty, poor physical health and in many cases addiction to legal and illegal drugs. 
   The tragedy of it all however, is that if the tenants suffered in silence and did not disrupt the wellbeing of those that surround them they would be ignored. But, unfortunately the behaviour of a significant percentage of the Stuartites does affect the wellbeing of others, because that percentage is also into crime. The crimes I refer to can be low level, such as noisy behaviour, but have also included theft, selling drugs, unauthorised prostitution, arson, vandalism, and acts of varying degrees of physical violence, including homicide.  
     I am not saying they are all that way inclined by any means, as some Stuart Flat tenants are fully employed, not drug dependent or at all criminally-inclined. I am referring to them having a far larger proportion of tenants that are severely drug dependent and/or criminally-inclined than most other Canberra neighbourhoods. 
    Obviously there is a wide variety within all groups of people that come under any classification, be they government housing tenants, property developers or politicians. In regard to government housing tenants, I would classify them from an overall perspective as being better quality human beings than a random group of politicians or property developers, but that does not mean they make better neighbours. And when people try and tell us that as a group they are no more or less likely on a per head of population basis to be disruptive neighbours or to be criminally inclined they are insulting our intelligence, as it is obvious bullshit. That however, does not mean I am saying that they should be treated like untouchables and not given a fair go. Many of those who dwell within places like the Stuart Flats have been shat on all their lives. 
   I grew up in a house that was a govie until my parents bought it, but at that stage govies were not restricted to those on very low incomes. And of course the poorly paid are more desperate and as such more inclined to commit crime and to have mental health problems than those who are employed. That does not mean it should stay that way. About 90% of dwellings in Singapore start off as government housing, and the houses and flats are usually eventually bought by the tenants. We should have a similar system here. We should also ensure that nobody is involuntarily unemployed, on a very low income or homeless. It could all be done.
   In regard to the Stuart Flats, although it was a mistake putting large numbers of flats for low income people in one place instead of distributing them throughout the community, because they already exist I am not putting forward an argument to support their demolition. I say that because there is nothing structurally wrong with the buildings and they could become a relatively pleasant place to live and not so unpleasant to walk past or live near. 
   The first link below will take you to a newspaper report of a stabbing murder in the Stuart Flats. I have no idea if the accused is guilty, but what we can determine for a fact is that a bloke was stabbed to death in the Stuart Flats, and I believe the flats have had several other homicides. The second link tells of how the accused could not be given a mental health order because he was considered too violent to be treated in a hospital.
   I can now hear some readers condemning me for being an elitist and looking down on the less fortunate, but that is not the case. On the contrary; as I am of the traditional left (Not the trendy, lycra-wearing, chardonnay-drinking, pseudo-socialist new left.) my politics don’t run in that direction at all, and I would like to see the psychologically damaged and other less fortunate persons properly taken care of under an ecologically sustainable, socialist and partly isolationist government, using Maxwell’s dual economy model and kibbutzim, (depending on how you define the term socialist).
   I regard myself as being of the traditional hard left and as such in opposition in many respects to the middle class chardonnay drinking, pseudo-environmentalist, pseudo-socialists who mumble platitudes but are divorced from reality and unwilling to make real changes to their lives or the system. I place the Australian Greens in that category, particularly in regard to their right wing pro growth, pro high population, pro corporate stance. They are in bed with the Labor Party, which, like the Lib-Nat coalition, is to the far economic right. The Greens' policies regarding the environment are piss weak and pure tokenism.
     The system could start by giving the Stuartites a fair go, as I doubt many of the tenants of the Stuart and other ACT govie flats have ever been given a fair go. We live under a system that promotes a dog-eat-dog form of capitalism (globalised neo liberalism) that has become progressively worse in the last 40 years, and many of the tenants of the Stuart Flats are victims of that system. On top of that I would be very surprised if most of the more disturbed tenants of the Stuart Flats had not been subjected to abuse and neglect from conception until they were left to fend for themselves. 
    For about 2 years I lived in a govie bedsitter in MacPherson Court, O’Connor, during the late 70’s. I was on the dole during some of that period, madly studying philosophy, and writing. MacPherson Court has since been demolished. During that time I was probably looked upon by others as a young feral, even though I was never into piss or illegal drugs, I was capable of working when I needed to, I did not get into crime and I could handle my money. I was however, by no means the only tenant of MacPherson Court who was not a down-and-outer. A lady who was an old age pensioner lived opposite me, a respectable non-druggie mother and her two teenage kids lived next to me, and quiet and harmless persons tenanted the three flats below me. I am not saying that during that period there was a total absence of persons in MacPherson Court with drug or behavioural problems; I am saying there was not enough of them for it to be a problem. But, about the time I moved out and moved to Adelaide for a few months, things began to change. After returning to the Berra I ran into a tenant who had stayed on, who told me that life had become hellish for him in MacPherson Court because many of the newer tenants had moved in as a result of the closure of mental asylums, because of the  “deinstitutionalisation” policy. Various governments have claimed they implemented deinstitutionalisation for humanitarian reasons. In reality, deinstitutionalisation came about because governments found it cheaper to house the mentally ill in places like MacPherson Court and the Stuart Flats, even though it is only cheaper in the short term, which is all politicians care about. 
   If we lived in a country that was run by a compassionate and rational government that was not scared to make hard decisions, and willing to think and act holistically and laterally, some of the tenants of the Stuart Flats with mental health problems would be living in humane institutions and being looked after properly and others would be gainfully employed and self-sufficient. That would change the atmosphere of the Stuart Flats entirely, because there would be few, if any, tenants who had behavioural problems that were serious enough to impact on those around them. 
   During the times we walked past the place I saw two syringes on the lawn. On one occasion we were going to cut a corner and walk across the grass when a bloke, about our age, who was going in the same direction to us, said, “If I were you blokes I wouldn't walk across the grass. The people in those flats let their dogs shit all over the place and they don’t clean it up." I thanked him for his warning, because once we looked on the ground we could see there was a good chance we would have trod in the "Richard the thirds" that were scattered all over the place. What miserable lives those flat-dwelling dog inmates must lead.
The photo above shows part of the Stuart Flats.
   On another occasion while walking past one of the blocks of flats we could hear a couple screaming at each other, with every second word being a swearword. We saw another flat that has been fenced-off because it had recently been burnt-out. 
   I saw on separate occasions two particular broken-down blokes walking towards their flats. It is said, “the face is the mirror of the mind,” and judging by their gaits and expressions it was obvious to me they had lost the will to live and were only going through the motions. They each had a bottle of piss in their hands, and I saw one of the poor wretches raise his bottle to his lips as he walked. He couldn't even wait until he got back to his flat.
    On one of our ramblings we saw a heavily pregnant woman in her thirties with a bloke of a similar age walk towards their flat. Their appearance also reflected their states-of-mind. I really pitied them, but I had greater pity for the woman's unborn child because of the battering it must have been receiving. She sucked on a cigarette as she walked, and it would be more than likely she would hit the piss as well as other mind-altering baby-bashing drugs after she entered her flat.  
    The fact that we elect governments that allow people like that to inflict that sort of damage on innocent unborn kids, and in doing so often damage the children physically and/or mentally for the rest of their lives, is a reflection on the lack of empathy most Australians have for the helpless. Maybe it's because kids don't vote their wellbeing is of no real concern to politicians. 
    If we were a moral country that regarded the interests of children as paramount we would elect governments that, other than giving everyone a fair go by ensuring we all had employment and housing, required people to gain a license to reproduce, conditional upon them showing they have the capacity to raise kids properly without abusing or neglecting them within or outside of the womb. Those with a history of seriously abusing or neglecting children would be given irreversible sterilisations. 
     Those who do not agree with what I have stated regarding sterilising people who abuse or neglect kids may change their minds if they worked directly with abused and neglected kids or within a child protection area.
    When I refer to unborn children, as do the religious pro-lifers, I hope I will not be taken as a religious nutter, as I don’t believe there is a god looking down and smiling upon us. I am simply referring to unborn children. (I have never heard the religious thank God for malaria, polio, hookworm, tsunamis and childhood cancer.)
     There is of course debate in regard to when a foetus becomes a baby, but it is generally considered a baby if it can survive outside the womb, which is after  20 to 24 weeks from conception. We do not know when it becomes sentient, although it would have to be sentient before 20 weeks if it could survive outside the womb. 
   Irrespective of this, if a pregnant woman intends giving birth, even if the foetus/baby she carries has not reached the stage of being sentient, should she engage in behaviour that is abusive to the foetus/baby, it is almost as immoral as the abuse of a baby that has been born. I say that because the woman is choosing to inflict damage on what will become a child, and in doing so risks that child suffering permanent defects.  
    I recently saw a documentary about the ice epidemic in Nowra. They interviewed a woman who was supposedly an ex addict who told of how she was intending to have an abortion but decided against it and instead tried to kill the foetus/baby by way of drug abuse. Her effort did not succeed, and the child was born. It must have suffered horrific abuse while inside her womb, and it must have been sentient at the last stage of her pregnancy and born with an addiction/s. She did not even seem to show any shame for her actions. There is little hope for people like that, and we should not risk allowing her another chance to inflict that sort of damage onto another child. She, and her spouse or boyfriend, if she had one who could be found, should have been given irreversible sterilisations. 
   Obviously not all the tenants of the Stuart Flats are down-and-outers like the woman from Nowra, although a significant proportion of them could not be described as anything else. If it were not for the Stuart Flats they would be living on the streets, as do thousands of other Australians. 
   As I have indicated, I can usually judge a person by way of their facial expression, and I judged another one of the flat's inmates, who was aged around 40, to be intelligent by way of that method, although I also saw him as being highly disturbed and having virtually lost the will to live. 
   Maybe he was very intelligent but lacked the ability to handle what he saw and understood regarding what was going on around him. Anyway, the poor bugger was walking up the lane behind us when we were returning from one of our visits to the solicitor before he turned off to walk towards his flat. He was coughing uncontrollably, a deep, loud, prolonged, phlegm-gurgling cough. He was obviously in need of hospitalisation. His face was drooping evenly as if he had had a stroke that had affected both sides of his body, and it reflected total apathy and pain of both a physical and psychological kind. I doubt he will last another year.  
    I heard a recorded interview of the late Bob Randall, the Aboriginal elder who wrote the song "Brown skin baby they take him away." He spoke of how some of his people believe that if a person maltreats himself, or is maltreated, his spirit will excuse itself and get up and go before its time, and the person’s body will therefore die before its time unless it's reunited with its spirit. This belief does not have to be taken literally to be appreciated, as it is an excellent metaphor. By maltreating oneself or by being maltreated by others, a person can feel that life has no purpose, which can result in what is called in the West spiritual bankruptcy,which could also be described as an absence of spirit or an absence of the will to live. What it comes down to is the fact that when the spirit goes the body will follow before its time. 
    While walking past the Stuart Flats most of the time I could only feel pity and compassion for the down-and-out I observed, which caused disruption, to a degree, to the meditative state-of-mind I like to adopt for as much of my waking time as I can. 
    When however, we came across one violent mentally ill inmate of the Stuart Flats on the way back from one of our walks, I had to change from my semi-meditative state-of-being to survival mode, in case he attempted to assault us. And when one is in survival mode and as such ready to either take steps to avoid a confrontation or prepare for partaking in defensive physical violence, it is not a pleasant experience. That is one of many reasons why one should avoid violent and obnoxious people.
   I do my best to avoid crowds, excess noise, traffic and obnoxious people, in order to retain a meditative state-of-mind for as much as my waking time as possible, because the objective of life is to maximise pleasure and minimise pain. And when one has a meditative state-of-mind in which one can savour the simple pleasures of the present one minimises pain and maximises pleasure, even though what occurs around us ensures we are unable to retain a meditative state-of-mind for 100% of the time. There's a reason why Buddhist monastries are quiet, peaceful places. I can't see a Buddhist monk achieving many intense meditative states-of-mind if he was made to live in the Stuart Flats. It would be difficult for him to get out of survival mode.
   The obnoxious and violent bloke I refer to was living in a flat near the lane we walked on that was situated to the side of one of the blocks. We could hear the poor wretch, who I will call "Kevin Andrews," screaming profanities and threats and throwing his possessions around his flat. He was screaming at someone who was trying to calm him down, telling him to, "Get the fuck out of here!" I don't know if he was on "ice," alcohol or some other mind-altering drug, or whether he was just another unfortunate who had a congenital mental health problem. Whatever the case, because of his state-of-mind I'm sure he would have been capable of committing acts of real physical violence upon his fellow human. Imagine a young single woman or an old age pensioner trying to live near him!
        Although the poor, tortured, broken biological machine, who, I remind you, I am calling “Kevin Andrews," never came out of his flat to threaten us, we were conscious of the fact that there was a possibility he would. And as I have indicated, I of course made contingency plans in regard to what I would do if he did, as did my cobber. 

    Above is an old photo of Gowrie Court, Griffith, just after it was constructed in the mid fifties. I am led to believe these flats will also get the bulldozer. What a waste! Imagine the amount of CO2 that will be produced while the houses or multi-storied flats that will be built on the site are constructed. Demolishing any existing building unnecessarily and replacing it with another is dirty. Yet I could be fined if I dropped a totally biodegradable banana peel?
   The idea of getting into a scrap with someone like Kevin Andrews did not appeal to me, partly because I find the idea of bashing anyone disturbing, even if it is in self defence, and more so a poor broken-down bloke like Kevin Andrews. The main reason for me hoping he would not see us and turn his anger towards us however, was because there was a good chance he was hep C or even HIV positive, and if I had blood-to-blood contact with him I would, with good reason, fear I could become hep C or HIV positive or contract some other nice disease. That would have put a real damper on my walk from the solicitor's.
    I did not fear Kevin Andrews shooting us because if he ever got hold of a gun it's unlikely he would hang onto it for long. He would hock it as soon as he needed drug money.
   I looked up the Stuart Flats on the net and found the following newspaper links which tell of its intended sale and demolition, as well as the sale and demolition of many other ACT Government-owned flats.
  From what I have read the following flats ACT Government-owned flats will be destroyed over the next year or so and the remaining residents rehoused. They include: the Stuart Flats, Gowrie Court, Bega, Allowah and Currong Flats in Civic,  Northbourne Flats, Lyneham Flats, Dickson Flats, Karuah Flats, Red Hill Flats, part of Strathgordon Court Woden, and other flats in Narrabundah. 
   Most of the latter flats were built in the mid fifties when Canberra had about 40,000 residents, and many housed single public servants and building workers who were by no means down-and-outers. The main reason there were few down and outers during that period was because there was virtually no unemployment and subsequently virtually no dole. We now have close to 400,000 residents in the Berra and 431,000 within the Berra/Beyan area. On top of that the Berra had, during the fifties, MacPherson Court, O’Connor, and Fraser Court, Kingston. Both of those places were demolished several years ago. Life was much easier in the 50's.
  I have also been told by an employee of ACT Housing that Throsby Court in Griffith will be demolished as well as Windeyer Court, Watson, (where a murder took place this year), but I have seen nothing in writing, so it may not be true, although I would be very surprised if it was not. 
   I have also been told that because of the intended demolition of all the flats I have mentioned, for the last 3 or more years any flat in the previously mentioned buildings that became vacant was not filled by persons needing accommodation. That policy of course means there are now considerably fewer people the ACT government has to rehouse. 
    We should also bear in mind that the Baringa Gardens, aka the Melba Flats, Melba, which consisted of a very large number of ACT Government flats, as well as Burnie Court, Woden, and the previously mentioned MacPherson Court O’Connor and Fraser Court, Kingston, were demolished within the last 20 years. And people wonder why there are so many homeless people?
   On top of selling flats and other government-owned assets, I believe the ACT Government also intends selling MacArthur House, the Dickson Motor Registry, the Dickson Ambulance site, the Belconnen Remand Centre. two Belconnen fire stations, Dame Pattie Menzies House and the ACT Tourist Bureau on Northbourne Avenue. I believe the leases for the ACT Courts have already been sold and that the ACT Government is now handing over rent money, which is dead money. 
   Selling public assets to pay for overspending has become very fashionable from the 70’s on, for   state, territorial and federal governments, particularly when it came to selling very profitable state-owned monopolies, as the buyer is virtually guaranteed a healthy profit. And after selling the family farm these governments have had the temerity to say they are good money managers! It’s the equivalent of a person with an investment property congratulating himself for blowing $400,000.00, then, to pay his debts, selling his investment property for $450,000.00 and boasting about being $50,000.00 in the black. 
   Politicians are only interested in the short term, yet people continue to vote in the same low-life, election after election.
    After my cobber had sorted out his legal problems and after I became conscious of the fact that the Stuart Flats and many other government-owned flats within the ACT were to be demolished, I decided to visit most of the remaining govie flats before they are demolished, as I wished to record their current existence by taking some photos. I was to find there was no shortage of down-and-outers living in the remaining govie flats.
    I wondered what was going to happen to the folk who dwelt in these govie flats, and I also wondered what life would be like for the generations that have followed me and the generations that are yet to be born. As I have always said, we are living under one of the worse forms of dog-eat-dog capitalism, and because we have a government that would rather pay an impoverishing dole than create non-exploitative full time work, then blame the unemployed for their situation and manipulate the statistics in regard to job availability, down-and-outers are a growing group of people and a distinct, marginalised subculture.
   The above photo shows part of the ACT Government-owned Windeyer Court, Watson, where a homicide occurred on the 3/11/16. I don't know if the above block within Windeyer Court is the particular block where the homicide took place, but as I photographed the same block that was shown in the Canberra Times I am presuming it is. I have been told that Windeyer Court will be getting the bulldozer, but I have seen nothing in writing. However, given the value of the land in Watson I would be very surprised if the place was not flattened within the next few years. If any Windeyer Court residents have concerns about whether the place will be demolished they should ask the ACT Minister for Housing to give them a firm yes or no. If the minister does not give a definite no, one would not have to be Nostradamus to accurately predict what will happen.
  Above is Throsby Court, Griffith. which I have been told the ACT government also intends selling to a developer, so it can be demolished, but I have seen nothing in writing. Given the price of land in Griffith and the contempt the Coalition, Labor and the Greens have for the poor and downtrodden, I would be flabagasted if they were not bulldozed within the next few years. If this is not the ACT Government's intention let the minister for housing say so.
   Another reason the plight of the addicted and hopeless concerns me is because most of the people I know who are well-disciplined, to the extent that they have no serious addictions, they can manage their money, acquire and keep a job, and generally speaking have reasonably good mental health, have had either one or two kids or none at all. 
    I am by no means trying to imply that all those who have had three or more kids are mentally defective, as I know many parents who have excellent mental health and have had large functional families; I am saying that the latter are an overall minority and that many of society’s unfortunates with mental health problems and addictions have brought 3 or more kids into the world, and the pattern continues. I cannot produce statistics to back up what I say because I doubt they are kept. I ask the reader however, to think of the parents you know, and you will find that most of those who have functional mental health and do not have serious addiction problems have had no more than two children. 
   In another essay I wrote I told of a semi-retarded woman our office was dealing with when I worked for Chid Protection within the ACT government. She had 10 feral kids from 10 different blokes, and we dealt with many more like her.
   The Bega, Allowah and Currong Flats in Civic, in the process of being demolished, are shown aboveI am told they were also known as the “Sui Flats because of the suicides that occurred there. There was a particular floor on one of these buildings, probably the one shown, which people would jump from for many years. Choosing that particular floor became a tradition. If I am wrong someone may be able to give me more detailed information regarding which floor on which block was used for that practice. One of my mates, a very nice bloke who has had mental health problems for years, witnessed two suicides while living in one of the above flats.    
  Nor am I suggesting that those with good mental health, and who are well-disciplined, should have more than two kids to counter the dysfunctional’s birth rate. What I am saying is that future generations will have to cope with the results of dysfunctional parents producing numbers of dysfunctional kids that exceeds the number of functional kids that have been brought into the world. 
    To ensure I will not be seen as a disciple of Hitler, when I use the word “dysfunctional” to describe some people, I am not referring to those who may have low IQ’s or who are poor physical specimens with health problems. Many of those sorts of persons functioned very well in times when they had access to full and permanent employment and housing. I am referring to the sort of person whose mental health renders him or her incapable of raising children in a way in which his or her children do not suffer and in which their needs are fulfilled.
    I know many people of my generation who were not too bright who I could describe as the “salt of the earth.” When entering the workforce in my era most of those persons were able to get low-skilled jobs, which they kept, most were not thieves or addicts and most were reasonably good parents. Unfortunately, nowadays that sort of person finds it very difficult to procure gainful employment, and they consequently often suffer a life of casualised work, welfare, homelessness, poverty, drug addiction and crime. 
    Above is the ACT Motor Registry which is also getting the bulldozer. What a waste! I can clearly recall the building being built when I was in my teens, and it was there I got my license to drive a car a day after my 17th birthday in 1969. It was closed on my birthday. The demolition of this building will happen with the blessing of the ACT (CO2-loving) Greens. I would be very surprised if Motor Registry staff are not moved into a privately-owned building, which means the ACT taxpayer will have to continue to pay the bill for ongoing rental costs. 
   Maybe the whole issue presents to people an uncomfortable truth of which they do not wish to be made consciously aware, as they find it depressing and would rather watch sport, buy material goods they don’t need and drink piss than face up to the fact that real problems are being created for future generations. 
    As I have indicated elsewhere, before my retirement I worked for the ACT Government in the child protection area as an admin worker; not a child protection worker. Nonetheless, I could not avoid having some contact with those who neglect and abuse kids, and it made me more conscious than I had been as to why people need to be licensed to have kids. Although I do not have the authority to speak on behalf of all child protection workers, it is because I worked with a very large number of them for about 10 years (there was a very large number of them during that period because the job has a very high staff turnover) I’m convinced the overwhelming majority of them would also want to see people licensed to reproduce, even though few would be prepared to stick their necks out and publicly express that sentiment. After seeing what they see they would have to be devoid of empathy  if they wanted the status quo to continue. 
   I also worked at Quamby (The Berra's kid's gaol), for about 3 years, and I had to deal with the final product of unlicensed breeding. I really felt for those kids, but for most of them it was too late for any assistance to be effective. 
  Okay Wheeler; you smart-arse. You talk about the down-and-outers in these flats and the violent atmosphere they create, and then you rabbit on about how bad it is because the government no longer adequately caters for these people. How would you like a violently insane bloke like the Kevin Andrews you refer to living next to you? I know you wouldn't, you hypocrite. You wouldn’t put up with it at all! What would you do to solve the problem if you were running the government if you know it all? 
  And you talk about saving the planet, yet you drive a car and consume fossil fuels like everyone else. You’re no better than the rest of them. You make me feel sick!
   Fair crack of the whip 2! I never said I would like to live next door to Kevin Andrews or anywhere near the Stuart Flats, but I do know how the problem could be mostly solved, and how the Stuart Flats and other govie flats could be turned into pleasant places; the sorts of places I would not mind living within or near.  
     Without going into too many details as to how I would change our economic system entirely, I would not knock down any govie flats in the Berra as there is nothing wrong with them structurally, they are desperately needed, knocking them down doesn’t fix the problem and CO2 is produced while the building that replaces it is being built.
     And as I’ve already indicated, if all else failed I would ensure people like Kevin Andrews were housed in humane institutions.
    Before doing that however, I would give Kevin Andrews types a fair go, because, as I have also said, I doubt many of the residents of the Stuart Flats and the other govie flats around the Berra have ever been given a fair go. And if Kevin was given a fair go, by being given compulsory rehab and a job, there’s a slim chance he would turn into a stable and employable person. 
    And as to me not living an ecologically sustainable lifestyle as a result of my driving a car, etc, what’s the point unless it's done at a national level? 
    I say there would be a slim chance Kevin's character would change, because even if Kevin is not genetically flawed, and is the way he is because years of childhood abuse and neglect led him to engage in years of drug abuse, the damage he has suffered would in all probability be irreparable. 
  If a bloke like Kevin Andrews was born into a hunter gatherer society, or even a society of subsistence farmers, his life would in all probability have been far more positive and enjoyable. Drugs were limited in those sorts of environments and in some cases non-existent. And if there was at any time a surplus of drugs there is no way Kevin, as a hunter gatherer or a subsistence farmer, could get away with too much overindulgence. His tribe could not afford the luxury of carrying a dysfunctional person. Nor would he make an arse of himself for too long or be too violent towards those with whom he was interdependent. If he acted in those ways he would be ostracised, or worse.
  It’s that simple is it? You’re a moron Wheeler! I'd really like you to tell me how you could get rid of illegal drugs and give everyone a good and permanent job. I suppose you’d also give everyone a house? 
   Even with dictatorial powers that would be impossible. If it were that simple it would have been done already. Stop having yourself on! You may as well wish for the tooth fairy.
   I never said it would be easy 2, even if I had dictatorial powers, but I could clean up places like the Stuart Flats as well as the rest of Australia, and I could ensure future generations had every opportunity to live healthy and happy lives, even if I could not produce a paradise where everyone was happy. 
    And watch who you're calling a moron! Any fool can name-call, which is okay if you can back-up the name-calling with rationally-based arguments as to why a person should be called such names, but you haven’t presented any yet. 
   Having said that, I would have to write a book to tell you how I could transform our society in the way I have claimed it could be transformed.
   Do you really think Australians will ever install a system that actually works, to the extent that everyone has the chance to get a job in which they are not exploited, everyone has the chance to buy a house, everyone has free medical care and education and we can live in a state of self-sufficiency in an ecologically sustainable manner, where we can maintain a population that is ecologically sustainable and in which children are not raised by dysfunctional parents?
   You're asking a rhetorical question, aren’t you 2? You could design the best motorcar in the world, but if its components were faulty it would continue to break down. The problem with humans and democracy is that democracy amounts to equal votes for unequal minds, and most humans still possess the mindset of their hunter gatherers ancestors. 
    Some argue that democracy is better than totalitarianism because totalitarianism has been proven to bring out the very worst in human nature. But, because we are now drowning in our own shit and are unable to control our numbers or to stop dysfunctional people giving birth to dysfunctional kids that live lives of pain, we must conclude that democracy has also been a monumental failure.
   Our current situation has been compared to that of a man falling off a multi-storied building who, just before he reaches the ground floor level, says to himself, “As I have not been injured yet my future looks good!”   
   What we elect to our parliaments are shocking examples of humanity. One would think they would be a gathering of persons with a similar intellect to Bertrand Russell. But no, what we have is a representation of what most people look up to, and most politicians are selfish fools. Some are semi-retarded Sarah Palin types.
   As I have said already, the system I would favour would incorporate ecological sustainability, Maxwell’s recession and depression-proof dual economic, partly-isolationist economy, kibbutzim and many other radical changes. And only a dictator who did not abuse his power could implement such a system.
    It would not be implemented by way of the democratic process, because other than the herd being too ignorant and stupid to realise that it is not in its best interest or the best interest of future generations to continue with our current system, should a political party that favoured my preferred system was by some miracle put into office by way of the democratic process, it would not last long enough for it to be able to implement its policies. It would not last because it would step on too many toes and would be overthrown by way of a coup, as occurred when the democratically elected Marxist government of Chile was indirectly overthrown by the USA in 1973.
     So, as nobody is going to give anyone dictatorial powers (even if they thought the dictator would not abuse his or her power) so the system I prefer could be implemented, and as I have zero chance of convincing the Australian populous to adopt my preferred system by way of the democratic process, I would be wasting my time writing a book explaining and promoting such a system, and I’m wasting my time discussing it with you, 2.
  You’re a miserable bastard Wheeler. Lighten-up and make the most of your life!
    You just don’t get it do you 2? I was making the most of my life before you interrupted me. I don’t make a practice of dwelling on negative facts, and I only write this blog for mental exercise. I will now go back to savouring my here and now and I suggest you do the same. I was about to click on, listen to, and savour, Buckwheat Zydeco singing Jolie Blon, before you interrupted me. You’re welcome to listen to it with me if you like, not that you have any choice. 
    Hold on Wheeler! Aren't you being a bit selfish? Don’t you owe it to future generations to at least have a go at ensuring Australia is as good a place to live, if not better, than when you arrived in it?
   Don't be a drongo 2! Australia only had something like 8.6 million people when I was born, which was in 1952. How could I possibly make it a better place than it was before I came into the world with its current population given the environmental damage that has been done since my birth and given the fact that further environmental damage is unstoppable? 
     You asked me how we could live under a better system and I’ve partly told you, even though it would require my being given dictatorial powers. And as I have said, that is not going to occur. As I have also said, I will now listen to Jolie Blon being sung, which is on the embedded youtube clip below. I’ve wasted enough time talking to you already.

 Pictured above are a part of the Lyneham Flats. They will soon be bulldozed. Why? They are an excellent design, and because they are not multi story they do not create an overpopulated ghetto of disadvantaged people. If we are going to continue with the current system, having flats like that spread out over several kilometres with private houses in between would ensure crime would not congregate in any one area.
 Above is the ACT Visitors Bureau, which is between the Dickson Flats. It will also get the bulldozer, which is a pity because it's a very useful building and a very convenient stop for tourists.    
These Civic flats above will probably have already been demolished.
 The above sign outside of what remains of the Lyneham Flats during their demolition process says  in part "Better Suburbs." They may be if you consider an overcrowded cheek-by-jowl suburb "better." 
   It also says, "Better Homes," and again, if you like living in a multi storied sewer they could be better homes. It also says, "better communities," and for those who like living in communities where a person is unable to keep a dog and where they are jammed together like battery hens and  continually exposed to neighbour's domestics and toilet noises, such communities could be real paradises.
 Above is what is left of the Dickson Flats. I am led to believe the block shown will not get bulldozed as a gesture to those who wanted the flats to remain heritage listed. 
Above shows some of the soon to be demolished Northbourne Flats, near Civic.
  Pictured above is Dame Pattie Menzies House, which the ACT Government intends to sell. According to an ad I read in Allhomes, the purchaser can lease it back to the ACT Government for three years. I wonder if I should sell my house then rent it back from whoever buys it. It makes great business sense. What sort of subhumans have we got running this place?
 Above is Civic in the 1960’s showing the Civic Flats in the background. Notice the amount of car spaces, and it was always free parking. Civic was a nice and relaxed place to visit in those days, even though traffic was allowed to drive through it. It is now an overcrowded toilet.
   The shot above is of the Big Hole, which is located outside of Braidwood within the Deua National Park. 
   There are many arguments against capital punishment and I can see better alternatives. But having said that, if I became an Australian dictator I would seriously consider rounding up all the current members of the ACT Legislative Assembly who belong to the “Canberra Liberals,” “Labor” and the “Australian Greens,” and herding them, with the assistance of electric cattle prods and blue heelers, into the “Big Hole.” If the Assembly was composed of representatives of “Family First,” “One Nation,” or any of the other minor parties that have recently gained seats federally or in state elections, they'd be herded into the “Big Hole” with the rest of them.   
   The late Russ Hinze, shown above, became an angel after he died, because just before he died he become a really good bloke and a born again environmentalist/socialist/semi-isolationist. He often visits me, and he tells me he feels for the poor and would like to see all Australians given a fair go. 

   I met the two lads shown above in Cameron Road, Queanbeyan, last week. They told me they had suffered discrimination all their lives and were prevented from enrolling in Queanbeyan Public School because they were of mixed species. At the moment they are couch-surfing, but hoping to find permanent accommodation.

by Dave Wheeler
    Another title I was considering for this essay was, “The other man’s grass is always greener.” I will explain why in full eventually. It focuses primarily around how I missed out on having a relationship with a beautiful young Canberra girl I knew many years ago, and how sometimes such negatives, and I had more to come, can turn into positives. As usual I have brought philosophy into it.
     Before going there I will, as I often do, begin from an entirely different angle. I will let the reader know that like most people I can get extreme pleasure from music. It can have a very strong effect on one’s emotions in many ways, and it can also send a message.  It takes me into another world. 
    I’ve done my best to develop an appreciation for many genres of music, and in doing so it probably means I receive more overall pleasure from music than I otherwise would. I love folk, and traditional rock and roll; and as I write I’m experiencing euphoria listening to the blues being played and sung by BB King and Paul Carrack. They’re doing an amazing version of “Bring it on home to me.” You may want to click on the song so you can play it as you read.

   I even love the music of the Pacific, in all its forms, having spent time there in my youth. Last night I attended a party where a group of Tongan churchgoers were singing hymns, and even though I’m a non-believer the singing was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. 
   I also love some of the older Australian folk songs that were composed before Australians wrote Americanised songs and sang them in American accents. “Moreton Bay” and “The Woolloomooloo Lair” are examples of Australian songs that were written from the heart in a way that truly depicted the emotions of the composers, even though the latter song is humorous.
     And Chad Morgan? I love him! I like his melodies, and I love his brutally honest and unrestrained lyrics, which are totally devoid of any form of political correctness. His lyrics are pure Chad, a down-to-earth and irreverent Queensland, Anglo Celtic/Aboriginal country boy of his time just being himself. Many Australian musicians sing and compose as if they were other people living in another country. Not our Chad. 
   Although I have listened frequently to most of Chad’s stuff, a couple of nights ago I listened on youtube to a song he wrote that I had not heard entitled, “The night I went below.” It was about how he dreamt he visited Hell, and how he overpowered the Devil and escaped from him at a speed that would have broken Herb Elliot’s mile. 
    Unfortunately, in his dream, he was caught by a sort who had also been sent below. He described her as having overgrown horns and told of how she wanted to marry him so they could produce little devils of their own. That really was Chad’s idea of Hell! When he awoke he was relieved when he realised he had been dreaming, which made him determined not to die. I have embedded the song below. 

   I have to accept that I also love much in the way of American music, such as the previously shown blues of BB King. Part of me wishes I didn’t, as I'm not a fan of American culture, but the fact is I do love much of their music, so having accepted that fact I simply enjoy it when I can.
    One American song that gave me inspiration as a young man was entitled, “ Pamela Brown.” It was written and sung by Tom T Hall. He wrote of how, as a lad, he had dropped his balls over a girl named Pamela Brown, and how Pamela preferred another lad over him because the other lad drove a ute. 
  I may be entirely wrong, but I’m guessing the song is autobiographical, and if so the rejection must have broken Tom’s heart. The song suggests he didn’t get over Pamela for some time, so rather than find another girl and marry early he roamed around experiencing life as an unattached young man. 
     As he aged and thought about what may have happened had he not suffered unrequited love at the hands of Pamela, he became grateful to her for rejecting him. He realised that had she not rejected him he would not have experienced the freedom and joy one can experience when one is single and devoid of responsibility. He would have instead lived a mundane suburban life. I have embedded Tom doing his song below.

   What made me think about the messages of Chad and Tom, and what then motivated me to write this essay, occurred a day ago after a mate sent me a link to a Canberra Times photo and description from 1972. It shows and identifies a stunningly beautiful 17 year old girl who I had taken out a few months before the photo was taken. To use a modern expression, I was punching above my weight. 
    She is obviously no longer a girl and is entitled to privacy, which is why I'm not identifying her. For that reason I will just refer to her as “the girl,” as she was a girl when I knew her. She would be turning 63 this year (2017) and is probably a wife, mum and grandmother. Hopefully life has been good to her. 
   As I do not wish to identify the girl, I’m not going to give the link to the Trove archived Canberra Times page that shows her photo. A very large number of attractive young women had their photographs in the Canberra Times during 1972, and for that reason I don’t mind mentioning that she was just one of them. Other than that, her identity should not matter. The purpose of this essay is philosophical, as in its objective is to argue that apparent misfortunes should always be put into perspective. The implications of what occurred could apply to anyone in similar situations.
   In describing her as stunningly beautiful, that is of course only my opinion, as beauty and ugliness are not absolute, whether we are referring to inner or outer beauty. They are nothing more than subjective perceptions.
     I met her at Mick Catanzariti’s small and informal gathering to celebrate his 21st birthday. It would have been in September of 1971. Mick didn’t know her. She came along with her female friend and a couple Mick and I knew.
    I had a really enjoyable time at Mick’s gathering when I was with her, and I dropped her and her friend home that evening. My mate, Colin Bishop, who had come with me, had by that time linked-up with the girl’s friend. 
    I took her out the next night, and I got so much pleasure from her company it seemed too good to be true. 
   The photo above, taken in 1974, shows my old mates, from left to right, Spud Murphy, the late Geoff “Fitz” Fitzgerald, Mick Gladwish and Nick McConchie. It was used in another yarn as we have no other photos of Fitz when he was young. When taking “the girl who made the Canberra Times” out the night after I first met her in 1971, I first took her to the now demolished Scottish Bar at the Canberra Rex, where I ran into Fitz, one of the lads I have identified in the above photo. Because they had threatened to ban him from the place he told us he was going to have a quiet night, but within a few minutes he was having a scrap with a barman, some of whom were not renown for being great blokes. I had to restrain the said barman because the other barmen were restraining Fitz and giving his opponent an unfair advantage. The girl was drinking Ouzo and lemonade when I was with her. I cant recall what I was drinking. At that time I had not developed the dislike I now have for alcohol as I had not seen or experienced the damage it does. 
    As I was dropping her home she seemed keen to see me again, so we arranged to meet at a set time at the Canberra Rex, in the Jet Club.
    But, she stood me up! 
    She may have sensed I was not a normal lad of my age, and my other shortcomings may have also become apparent to her during our night out. For that reason she may have thought it best to ensure the contact ceased. 
    And if my shortcomings were not consciously obvious to her, it may have just been a matter of chemistry. I say that because on a number of occasions in my youth after I was initially attracted to certain girls, and took them out once or twice, I lost interest, and it was unrelated to the girl’s looks, personality or prospects. It came down to the inner workings of my brain and mind, which were beyond my understanding or control. The beautiful young lady I had taken out may have had a similar experience with me. 
     She may have also become conscious of the laws of supply and demand, and realised that if she had a relationship with me she would have been underselling herself. With her looks she would have known she was  in high demand and could attract someone who was better looking than me and a proven provider earning good money. All I possessed was a few dollars and a dark blue 1958 Holden FE panel van with a white roof. 
   Then again, maybe I’m being over-analytical. When I think about it, judging from my conversations with her, it’s more than likely she had far more depth and did not think like I have suggested she may have thought in the previous paragraph.
     Whatever the reason, had she had an initial attraction to me it had obviously vanished. And when it’s gone it’s gone! Only fools cannot accept reality, and I have often seen fools persist in such situations, even though those around them could plainly see that the attraction was one-sided.
        The marriage game is based on barter. Looks and chemistry obviously play a large part in the equation for most people, as do personality and temperament, but in the case of blokes they usually also need to prove they are either good providers or have the potential to become good providers. Most women want someone who will hang around and provide for any kids they may bring into the world, which is fair enough. 
   Obviously there are exceptions, as we can easily observe men and women who have badly undersold themselves in the marriage game, but they are a minority, and they often do not know they've got a dud until the marriage has begun. 
   Above is the FE Holden panel van I owned in 1971 during the period of which I write. Beside it is my old mate, Jan Aamodt, who introduced me to “the girl.The panel van had windows on its sides despite it being a panel van. The photo was taken in White Cliffs, NSW. When we moved on from White Cliffs the car continually boiled, and at one stage we had to piss in the radiator because of a lack of water. After the engine seized I sold it for $15 in Boggabilla.
   Yes, she could have contacted me and told me she had changed her mind and didn’t want to continue to see me, instead of having me turn up, all excited, waiting for her, only to be let down badly when she failed to meet me as we had arranged. But, who am I to cast stones? She was only a teenager, and the thought of telling me she didn't want to start anything would have been very daunting for her. And when it comes to acts of immorality, her standing me up fades into insignificance relative to some of the immoral acts I carried out in my youth.
   People’s basic personalities don’t change much throughout their lives, but because their frontal lobes develop and they experience more of life, in other respects they usually become entirely different people after they have entered adulthood. If we are to speak metaphorically, we could say our former selves die. I would not like to be judged today by the way I was as a teenager, or the things I did during that period. Yet some people I know still hold grudges against certain people they went to school with over 50 years ago, and in doing so they are crediting those school kids with having been developed adults, when in fact they were just kids with kid’s brains, even if they were old enough to drive cars. 
      Regardless of what occurred, if I choose to think about the girl I have very fond memories of her. I remember her as a lovely girl to talk to, and that aspect of her held a greater attraction for me than her physical beauty. She was also very pleasant to me on the few occasions I ran into her after she stood me up. I last saw her at a party in Batman Street, Braddon, sometime in early 1973, and I have no idea what happened to her after that. 
    I actually can’t recall, prior to my receiving the link to her photo in the Canberra Times, when I last gave her any deliberate conscious thought. But despite that, having been reminded of her, when I do think about the time I spent with her I can recall in detail almost every moment, as is the case with many other events in my youth that were of an intense nature.
     If someone is coming off an extreme high of any sort, be it the sort of extreme high a musician feels while on stage or the sorts of extreme highs I experienced in my youth when I was in the company of certain young women, it is imperative they accept the reality of their relatively mundane here and now once the source of their euphoria has gone. 
    This can best be done by doing everything they can to ensure their focus remains in their here and now. And to maximise one’s chances of remaining in the here and now it is best to focus on one’s breath and muscles and to not feed unasked for thought with conscious thought whenever one becomes conscious that one is thinking. 
   It is deliberate conscious thought of any sort that is unrelated to ones here and now that often leads to unasked for negative thought unconnected to one’s here and now, which can lead to depression. When one is thinking thoughts not connected to ones here and now one is in danger of losing control of ones thoughts.
   Mindfulness has become a fad in the last few years, although a positive fad. Why this ancient practice was forgotten for so many years by mainstream Western societies is beyond me. I wish I had been taught the concept from a very young age rather that stumble across it in my youth in the way I did. 
     I didn’t truly fall in love at the time I had contact with her because it was for such a brief period of time, although I would definitely have done so had I have continued to see her. I did however, experience some withdrawals from the intense high she had given me. But, again, because the contact was brief, and because I had accepted the reality of what had occurred, and because she was not my first “Pamela Brown,” I was able to deliberately not give her much conscious thought after the rejection. 
    Although I was never a sheila-magnet, I went on to experience plenty of very short term relationships prior to my marriage at the age of 29, with only 2 or 3 lasting more than a month, and none lasting more than 5 months. For the overwhelming majority of the period prior to my marriage I enjoyed being unattached and devoid of responsibility.
     Remaining unattached for that period was made easier because other than my not being a normal person I showed no signs of having the potential to become a good provider. And for our species, when a lad does not have the ability to show potential marriage partners he is, or has the potential to become, a good provider, it’s the equivalent of a peacock not having a tail to display to peahens. I didn’t actually become a good provider until after I married. My wife, to her credit, took a big risk. I don’t think I would have married me. 
    Anyway, I can relate to the words of Chad and Tom, even though both of them married, as did I.  When I reflect on my life prior to my marriage, and the years I had of roaming around enjoying myself as an unattached young man devoid of responsibility, I’m very grateful to the beautiful young girl who was photographed by the Canberra Times in 1972 for giving me the slip. I would have only just turned 19 when I took her out, and although I would have adapted at that age to a serious relationship by getting a career of some sort, saving my money, buying a house, remaining faithful, etc, etc, I was far too young to have my wings clipped. 
    I know two couples, now in their late sixties, who became couples when they were 14 years old. Although their marriages could be considered successful, it seems to me they must be conscious of the fact that they did not experience a full youth, to the extent that they must realise that the life of an unattached young person incorporates many experiences couples cannot experience. 
   I escaped several relationships prior to my marriage because of incompatibility, and several more, as occurred with the beautiful young girl who made the Canberra Times, stopped before they started because I was, fortunately, rejected. 
     My advice to young unattached people is for them to realise that although marriage does suit some, there is always a price to pay. Something like a third of marriages end in divorce or separation, and that figure only accounts for actual marriages; it does not include serious defacto relationships. And I know many married couples who live very separate lives, even though they remain married and live under the same roof in a house that remains under both names. Those sorts of couples have no interest in remarrying, and simply can’t be bothered selling everything and going through the trauma of divorce and financial separation. The Bureau of Statistics has statistics that erroneously suggest that such couples have had successful marriages, when obviously they have not. 
   As a guess I would say that truly successful marriages and defacto relationships are something like 1 in 4.
    I reiterate, marriage is not the answer to life, and there is no such thing as a free lunch. After first meeting someone who pushes all the right buttons the initial hit of intense bliss one receives through brain chemistry of the type I enjoyed when I was with the beautiful young lady who made the Canberra Times in 1972, does not last. The bonding usually takes on a different form over time, but as it does the intense thrill diminishes. It’s all nature’s trick; a way of bringing people together for the purpose of gene replication, irrespective of whether the coupling increases or decreases one’s quality of life. 
    Marriage often includes conflict, boredom and drudgery. And it can also include having troublesome kids, or worse. Imagine the suffering of parents who have kids who are serious drug addicts, or criminals, or who have severe mental health problems or disabilities. Some parents have to attend their kid’s funerals.
     If you ask parents if they are glad they had their kids, almost all will say they are. In answering the question however, they are imagining life without their kids, which is the same as them imagining life if their kids suddenly died, which is not the question being asked. I say that because to say the bleeding obvious, if their kids did not exist they would feel no sense of loss. 
   Because it is impossible for a parent to imagine life without their kids without them imagining feeling like they would feel if their kids died, it is impossible for them to answer that question in a way that takes into account the true nature of the question.
    I have however, asked couples whose children had reached adulthood, and were off their hands, if they would have more kids if they were able to drink from the fountain of youth and be given back their 23 year old bodies. After them thinking about it I found very few wanted to repeat the experience of raising kids, which says something about what they must have experienced during the process of  raising the kids they had.
     When I experience an experience which, from an overall perspective, I would describe as positive, to the extent that the positives outweigh the negatives, I wish to repeat the experience. If I did not want to repeat the experience I could deduce that it was, from an overall perspective, a negative experience. Therefore, it would seem that those who said they would not bring more kids into the world if they were given back their 23 year old bodies found that from an overall perspective raising their kids was a negative experience. If it was a positive experience they would want to repeat the process. 
   The fact that they love the kids they raised is irrelevant, because had they never had them they would be experiencing different pleasures and different pains, and to labour the point, their absence would not represent a void in their life had the kids never existed. How can you miss what you have never had?
    Some of the latter parents however, said there would be no point in them having more kids if they drank from the fountain of youth because they already have their kids, albeit grown-up kids. Such an answer however, is tantamount to them saying that the purpose of them having kids was not for the enjoyment they received during the process of raising them; it was primarily for the fulfilment they received once their kids had left home and had become self-sufficient. I doubt that that was their objective when they decided to bring kids into the world initially.
   “Mum, Dad and the kids” is, relatively speaking, a very new phenomenon in the history of our species. Until relatively recent times our ancestors lived tribal existences in which members had an interdependent relationship in order for them to survive and reproduce. This forced them to make every effort to resolve their differences. 
    Husbands and wives had very few joint decisions to make, as most decisions were tribal. And as child-minding was also a shared task couples were relieved of a lot of the stresses that modern couples suffer.
    Tribal people also had very limited privacy, and when tribal couples fought with each other the fact that they had an audience would have usually limited the intensity of their disputes. And if things got out-of-hand others could intervene. Unfortunately we no longer live tribal existences and divorce or separation are the easy options.     
    If you are young, single and unattached, heed the advice of Chad, Tom and me, and enjoy your freedom and lack of responsibility while you canThose who dislike being single usually do so because they think they are missing out on something by not being married. That is where “The other man’s grass is always greener” comes into it. 
   Instead of yearning for married life, why not just make the most of your situation by enjoying your free time and savouring life’s simple pleasures? As I have said, there is a price for everything.
  PS Although I believe my grandad made a mistake by volunteering to fight in WW1, because unlike WW2 it was a war that should not have involved Australia, his experiences and how he handled them were an inspiration to me from a young age.
    Whenever, from my late teens onwards, I suffered a pain or hardship, I would compare it to how my grandad must have suffered on Gallipoli and the battlefields of France. Other than him receiving a fractured skull and shrapnel wounds, he saw many of his mates blown to pieces before his eyes and innumerable other horrors that could not be adequately described. 
   By being conscious of what he went through it meant that whenever I felt the pain of tragedies such as a hard day at work, a hard sporting event, very cold or very hot weather, having my car break down or having had someone bend its aerial, snapping a shoe lace, and in particular being rejected by a girl, I asked myself if my suffering could be compared to that of my grandad during WW1. It was of course a rhetorical question.
    Yet my grandad went through it all, and after he returned to Australia he simply put his head down and worked for the rest of his life. He also enjoyed tending his bee hives and fruit trees in his spare time. I never heard him complain about what he had suffered. His attitude was very Buddhist, without the religion attached, to the extent that he had accepted the reality of what had occurred and then turned his attention towards living in the present and making the most of it.
     Part of the reason many people cannot handle being sacked from a relationship or experiencing unrequited love is because they have a romantic and almost supernatural view of what it’s all about. In reality it can all be reduced to brain chemistry, and for that reason when leaving a relationship one will suffer in the same way one suffers when coming off a drug of addiction. But, if one can accept the pain, eventually the brain chemistry rights itself, unless of course one chooses to become idle and/or consciously dwells on the breakup or the rejection. And unless one looks like the elephant man one can usually find another person who will produce in oneself the same sort of brain chemistry one produced prior to the breakup or rejection, if that is ones wish. 
    But, should a person who is destined to live a life without a spouse accept that reality, that person should make the most of the situation and remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch, as in, there are pluses and minuses to being single or married. “The other man’s grass is always greener.” 
  The late Russ Hinze, shown above, became an angel as a result of him becoming a really good bloke just before he died. He often visits me, and he reminds me that he had no problems getting onto sheilas when he was living in QLD as a mortal. And he never suffered unrequited love.
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