Old people are getting younger
You know how, these days, you often meet 70-, 80- and even 90-year-olds and the thought occurs that 70, 80 and 90 ain't what it used to be, that there are still plenty of people in those age groups living lives normally associated with people in their 50s and 60s? Well, one of TFF's readers in Grafton was on a bus a short time ago, when the bus driver pointed out to the other passengers a fellow about to get on: "Here comes Ken Weekes. You all know he is 101." Everyone is impressed bar one passenger, whose voice rings out from the second seat: "That's no big deal, he was in my class at Grafton High School." That was Mrs Rene Crispin the same age. Mr Weekes has since turned 102, and has just bought a new house – a little elevated from potential floods, to store his precious gear including his lawn mower.
Bravo, Sir. You too, Mrs Crispin.
Old stories also holding up
Yes, I was surprised too, as I'll bet he was, when it was announced that our own Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, had been given an award as the World's Best Minister, by the World Government Summit, whatever that is, in Dubai. It was still heartening, however, to hear the reaction of the Minister's wife, Paula, who simply said, "You've still got to put the bins out."
Good, but not quite as good as my favourite spousal reaction to her partner's achievements. (I've told it before, but don't care!) Back in 1984, see, Senator John Glenn, the former astronaut, was going hard after the presidency of the United States and was rapturously introduced to a Houston audience with the final exultant words before he took to the podium: "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one of the last great men left in the United States ... SENATOR JOHN GLENN!" Later that night back at the hotel, after brushing his teeth, Glenn mentions to his wife that he thought the fellow had a point and that there were nowhere near as many great men as there used to be. "As matter of fact, darling," he says, "how many great men do you think there are in America these days?" "About one less than you do," she replies, giving him a kiss and turning off the light.
Pell's refusal is unforgivable
The Cardinal Pell refusal – nominally because he is too crook – to come back to give evidence in person to the Royal Commission on sexual abuse of children in Ballarat while he was in their system? I know it, you know it, and he knows it. It is ludicrous and unforgivable to decline to appear on such an important matter, where the allegations are so grave. Yes, people get crook. But people too crook to fly around the world First Class, don't hold down their day jobs meantime and Pell, as far as we know is still running the Vatican Treasury.
Joke of the week
In the English class of a certain Sydney Catholic school a year or so ago, the teacher asks her English class for an example of a dependent clause. Little Johnnie puts his hand up and said: "Our cat has ten kittens, all of which are good Catholics."
"Well done," says the teacher, "what a good answer. It shows your faith as well as being good correct grammar."
A week later, a very important visitor was being taken around the school and is shown into that very class. The teacher is anxious to impress the visitor, so she says "Johnnie, can you give me an example of a dependent clause?"
Johnnie stood up and said, "Our cat has ten kittens, all of which are good agnostics."
The teacher, horrified, says, "But Johnnie, last week your kittens were all good Catholics. Please can you explain to Cardinal Pell why they are agnostics now?"
"I'm sorry Miss," says Johnnie, "but now their eyes are open."
Republican movement surge
Thank you, thank you all! Great week for the Australian Republican Movement, starting with the Newspoll at the beginning of the week showing a 10 per cent surge our way, with 51 per cent of Australians actively favouring the view that it's time. And yes, there have been a few commentators gravely intoning that Australia's not ready yet. Thanks, Scoop. You hold the front page, and I'll make the coffee, and let's pull an all-nighter. Of course we are not ready yet. Hillary wasn't ready yet for the summit of Everest when he was in the foothills of the Himalayas. That's why he started to climb. And that is what we are doing. Climbing. Fast! Seeing as you ask, we are very close now to quintupling our numbers since this time last year, helped by a fabulous morning yesterday at Kangaroo Valley Show, signing 'em in DROVES!
They said it...
"The fact that a cleaner at Spotless pays more tax than the company itself is telling ..."
– Dave Oliver, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, on Q&A last Monday night.
"It is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report [paedophile] suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds."
– Vatican guide to newly appointed Bishops.
"Their systems function to protect the interests of the institution. They don't put the protection of children first. They will not change until they are forced to change. There is no question that mandatory reporting laws need to be expanded to include people who work for religious institutions. They have to be forced to put the welfare of children first."
– Nicky Davis, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, in response to the Vatican guide, above.
"The main complaints seem to be that you can't drink till dawn any more and you can't impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm. I understand that this presents an inconvenience. Some say this makes us an international embarrassment.Except, assaults are down by 42.2 per cent. And there is nothing embarrassing about that."
– Premier Mike Baird, defending the lock-out laws.
"While my plans were always to make the journey home to appear in person, my doctors have made it very clear that at the present time my health prevents me from undertaking long-haul travel."
– Cardinal Pell, really, truly, sorry that he can't fly back to Australia, not even in first class, to appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"Some women tell me the show is too combative, too adversarial. Many admit they're hopelessly polite. Brilliant listeners, not interrupters. But these are sharp witty women who love to talk and have me in stitches on the phone."
– Q&A producer Amanda Collinge on why not many women appear on the show. She adds, "On the other hand, week after week I field relentless calls and emails from men, young and old, bristling with confidence and badgering for a spot."
"After careful consideration of Auburn City Council's submission, and given the serious nature of the allegations the council is facing, it is clear that it is in the public interest to temporarily suspend the council during the course of the inquiry."
– NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole.
"[I'm] genuinely humbled."
– Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt about being named as "best minister in the world" by the World Government Summit this week.
"You've still got to put the bins out."
– Greg Hunt's wife, Paula.
"An affront to the administration of justice."
– NSW Court of Criminal Appeal about the original seven-year sentence given to the former head of Bega Cheese, Maurice van Ryn, for child sex abuse. The court increased the sentence to 13 years and six months.
"Closing the Gap hasn't got a buy-in from Indigenous communities. There's a lot of aspiration and maybe good intention, but unless you get participation from Indigenous entities at a local level and community level, it's not going to work. Without Indigenous participation it's going to be doomed to fail and all we'll see is another record of some achievements in some minor areas, but we're basically just changing the tablecloth on a table without really realising that the white ants are eating the legs out of the table, and we have to restructure the whole nature of our relationship."
– Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson, who, with other Aboriginal leaders, is calling for a new compact with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull amid warnings the government's signature Closing the Gap policy has slipped seriously off-track.