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Two Little Old Men

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2007/10/21/australia121.jpg
Election ’07. For most voters, it’s not what policies are the best or who is giving the most tax cuts. For the deciding amount of Australian voters, their decision on Saturday will be determined by which little old man they hate least.
Some people are liberals all their lives, some only vote labor. Others vote green because they don’t like anyone else and don’t have much of a choice anyway.
Democracy in this country is sadly lacking. I always thought the romantic notion of a colosseum full of normal citizens of ancient Greece actively participating in the running of their country was a fantastic idea – until it was converted into its modern day form.
Okay, okay, so there isn’t a colosseum big enough to house the entire population of Australia but don’t you think it would be nice to actually be asked what we want? Not what they think they can win us over with the quickest and easiest? I find it hard to believe that the politicians actually think we believe them when they make pre-election promises. GST anyone? We know all bets are off once they are actually in power and that we now have to wait 4 years at least to get rid of them.
But hey, it could be worse. We could have a president! Wouldn’t that be fun! At least then their terms would be restricted. Australians have a tendency to put one party in power for around a decade or so, and then we get sick of them and put the other party in for 10 years. This could be due either to the wonderfully apathetic nature of the typical Australian or the fact that it doesn’t matter which one you go for because they are both the same.
I personally find this very frustrating as I took politics as a subject in year 12 and learnt all about the roots of the liberal and labor parties. I had one of those frightening teachers who was really good at her job – scary, but good – and she always used to say that when she went to the polls and the two people standing in front of her were having a conversation something along the lines of:
“Who you gonna vote for?”
“Labor.”
“Ok, me too.”
She would feel a burning desire to create a new swear word. I don’t blame her. I think people just tune out when these men come up on the TV screen yelling at each other and telling their faithful followers how lazy and unpatriotic the other one is.
But as politicians it is their job to sling crap at one another all in an effort to save face and smear your opponents’. As a writer it is my job to provide everyone with my opinion, cultivated after many hours of drunken conversations and opinion polls taken at work. I decided to ask who they thought they would vote for. Do you know what the most common response was?
“Whichever one I hate less on the day”
Wow, now that’s a view that inspires confidence! But I have to admit I feel like a spoilt rich brat complaining about the lack of Evan water in my fridge when other countries can actually be taken over by the army or some power-hungry random and no one can do a thing to stop it.
Compared to that, I’ll take the little old men any day.

Enter the 2008 Family Business Awards

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Family Business Australia
Family Business Australia Awards 2008

Why do we run the Awards program?

These awards celebrate the achievements of Australian family businesses, and their contribution to our life, economy and culture.

The awards are open to all Australian businesses (both public and private) which are substantially owned and operated by a family or group of families. The awards are in four categories:

First Generation – founders and owners manage the business
Second Generation – children or family relations of the founders manage the business
Third Generation – children or family relations of the second generation manage the business
Fourth Generation & Over – children or family relations of the third generation manage the business

How will this benefit YOUR business?

Winner of the 1st Generation Award in 2006, Peter Levi of Colorific in Victoria said “We were delighted to win the 2006 Award and it has been an invaluable boost to team morale and in our marketing, where we use the logo everywhere we can. Our customers and suppliers have been very impressed and it has helped to take our business to the next level”.

Winner of the 4th Generation Award in 2007, Mary Lynne Pidcock of Thomas Pidcock and Sons Pty Ltd said “Winning the National Award in the Fourth Generation and Beyond category has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the heritage and colourful history of our family business and tell the story of our journey so far. The recognition from the judges that our past and current business success is based on innovative solutions to problems, a commitment to sustainable development and best practice corporate governance will hopefully provide encouragement to other family businesses to review their operations, to honour their past, to create a successful future – and to enter the Awards in 2008.”

Where can I get an entry form?

Send an email to fbansw@fambiz.com.au

How do I complete the entry form?

There are two options for completing your entry form:

1. We will email you a Word format form which you can complete and send back to:
FBA at PO Box A1144, Sydney South NSW 2000 OR email to fbansw@fambiz.com.au

2. We will organise for an interviewer to meet with your or telephone you to complete your entry. This is coordinated through Peter Pastars, a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. The interviewer will spend a few hours interviewing you, compile your entry and send it to you for editing and submission.

How are the Awards judged?

The NSW Committee appoints three or four experienced family business members and practitioners to evaluate the submissions. The judges are highly qualified to evaluate family business best practice.

How are the Winners announced?

The winners of the NSW & ACT Family Business of the Year Awards will be announced at our State Conference lunch as follows:
12:30pm-2:00pm
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Sydney Convention Centre
Darling Harbour, Sydney

What happens next?

All State winners are then automatically entered into the National Awards Program. The announcement of the National Winners will be at the Gala Dinner at National Conference in Cairns on 9 August 2008.

For more information about the Awards or to request a nomination form, please contact fbansw@fambiz.com.au

Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide

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Leonard Maltin''s 2008 Movie Guide
BOOK REVIEW BY RAMA GAIND

Leonard Maltin’s 2008 Movie Guide
Published by Penguin Books
1627pp
$24.95

Every film buff should have this reference book in their library. It’s almost like an annual ritual: Maltin keeps churning out these thick volumes and we gain knowledge about the world of cinema.
This all-purpose guide features more than 8000 DVD and 13,000 video listings and in excess of 400 new entries.
Together with an updated index of leading directors and performers, procedures for buying and renting DVDs and videos and code rating, you will also enjoy reviews of little-known sleepers, foreign films, rarities and camp classics.
It’s a benchmark guide that’s had many changes, corrections and additions made to it with a view to making it current and accurate.
The laborious task by an enthusiastic team of collaborators has ensured that the latest handbook pays handsome dividends.
Maltin finds this Herculean task rewarding because it gives him a “chance to call people’s attention to worthwhile films that somehow slip through the cracks”.
Along with informing readers, he hopes it will lead to people seeing such worthwhile films as The Lookout, Sweet Land, Boynton Beach Club, Driving Lessons, The Secret Life of Words, The Namesake, Miss Potter and The Painted Veil to name a few. His favourite film of 2006 was Little Children.
Among the interesting anecdotes is one in which he recognised a supporting cast member in Catch a Fire as Marius Weyers – a South African actor who starred in the runaway sensation The Gods Must Be Crazy in 1981. Weyers also had a small role in Blood Diamond.
Not only will this comprehensive book make an ideal Christmas gift, but it’s also perfect for many a trivia night!

Candy

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Candy - gripping tale.
DVD REVIEW BY RAMA GAIND
Film: Candy
Year: 2005
Rating: MA15+
Stars: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Noni Hazelhurst, Tony Martin
Length: 85 minutes
Director: Neil Armfield
Distributor: Madman/AV Channel

Gut-wrenching as it is, watching this film about two heroin junkies is a rewarding experience.
In the title role, Candy (Cornish) with her indefinable, don’t-touch-me air, has a magnetic quality which compels as you see her getting dragged into heroin abuse by her user boyfriend Dan (played to perfection by Ledger).
This is an amazing love story which takes you on an emotional rollercoaster as the couple rapidly abandon their values from petty theft to prostitution.
This powerful piece stands out because it neither moralises nor glamorises the drug issue. Instead, it concentrates on the love story, focusing on the realities that are enough to scare everybody.
other casting is great with Rush as the couple’s mentor Casper and Martin and Hazlehurst and Candy’s helpless parents.
Adapted from the autobiographical novel by Luke Davies, the movie is striking enough and speaks for itself so the special features including interviews with director Armfield and Davies and deleted scenes are an added bonus.
Making his transition from theatre, Armfield has pulled off a commendable coup. His technique of allowing silence, instead of dialogue, to create emotion is particularly effective.

Kenny

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Kenny --- for those who like a laugh.
DVD REVIEW BY RAMA GAIND

Film: Kenny
Year: 2006
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Shane Jacobson, Eve von Bibra, Ronald Jacobson, Ian Dryden, Chris David, Jesse Jacobson
Length: 104 minutes
Producers: Clayton Jacobson, Rohan Timlock
Writers: Shane Jacobson, Clayton Jacobson
Director: Clayton Jacobson
Distributor: Madman/AV Channel

This warts-and-all unconventional mockumentary about a portaloo plumber won Australian hearts and earned a best actor AFI award for Shane Jacobson who plays Kenny Smyth.
An improbable (and unsung) hero, Kenny installs portable toilets at events and festivals with his crew from Splashdown (an apt name).
However, it’s not all hard work as he has a backstage pass to the town’s best functions. The trials and tribulations of his business will tweak your interest and you will be amazed at the way he artfully re-arranges his commitments to fatherhood, emergencies and sewage.
There is not much of a storyline, but it’s hilarious listening to Kenny elaborate on the plumbing and septic crisis. His laidback honesty, coupled with comical anecdotes, sees him asking all the right questions including will there be spicy food or curry served at the function? Explicit tales of the effects on your tummy are inevitable!
An eternal optimist, Kenny is keen to help – as witnessed with an incident on a plane enroute to a convention in the US and landing a multinational contract.
This production is very much a family affair: developed from a successful short film, it is co- written by Shane and Clayton, and their father, Ronald, also makes an appearance.
The film is shot entirely on location in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney and Nashville, Tennessee in the US.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

How To Be Happy

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Smile!
Happiness. All of us want it; we know when we feel it and are even more aware of it when we don’t. But how does one achieve happiness? What’s the secret? These twelve steps make a good start.

Realize You Deserve To Be Happy
It’s a fact – we are way too hard on ourselves. A lot of us deep down think that we don’t deserve to be happy. But being happy is actually a biological necessity for healthy living. The more you laugh, smile and generally feel good, the better you’re emotional and physical health will be. Happiness creates certain enzymes and chemical changes in our body which are conductive to our health, wellbeing and longevity. Author of the secret Rhonda Byrne says in her book that to be happy all you have to do is ask and you shall receive. Start with a smile. Listen to a song which makes you feel like you want to sing along at the top of your voice. Why waste your time being sad when you could be filled with that zingy feeling?

Do What You Love
The only decent piece of advice my grandfather ever gave my mother was “you may as well get paid for what you love doing anyway” and he was 100% right. Those that truly love what they do are much less likely to get the 9 to 5 blues. They wake up in the morning and bounce out of bed, happy to be going to work and ready to get on with it. Sounds impossible? Not so. If you love singing, teach it or start a band. Big geek? Get into computers and become IT support. One of the smartest people I know left school before the end of year 10 and his salary now reaches past $100,000 every year, because he’s the best at what he does. And yes, you guessed it, he’s a professional geek!
We spend a very large amount of our lives at work. Why be miserable when you can enjoy it? Don’t be guided by money either, read anything by Anita Bell or David Bach and they’ll show you that you don’t have to earn a massive salary to end up wealthy. And while we are on the subject of money, its not surprising that material goods will not actually help you in your quest for happiness. Sure money makes the world go round and having it makes things easier, but it won’t make you happy unless you’re Mr. Burns.

Find Comfort In Healthy Habits
Yes, I know you have heard this before but that’s because there is truth to it. Eating healthy and exercising makes a massive difference to your state of mind. I’m one of those people that have to exercise or I get cranky, and even something as simple as a 10 minute walk in the morning can do wonders. So go on, get out there, you don’t even have to walk fast. Take your time, breathe in the fresh air and soak up the scenery of one of the most natural cities in Australia. Aim to spend a bit of time in nature everyday, and to do this Canberrans only have to step outside their front door.
I find my habits comforting. The little daily rituals I do every morning set me up for the best possible start to the day. Want my secret? Juices. No, really, fresh juices are the easy way to be healthy! If you can drink down 2 sticks of celery, 2 stalks of spinach, 2 carrots, 1 apple and 1 orange every morning that’s over half of your daily fruit and veg requirements. Done. Combine that with Heidi Klum’s rule of eating something green with every meal and your set.
I know I might be labeled a traitor to my gender for saying this but I don’t get diets. Why on earth would I want to deprive myself of eating pasta? I drink water; eat my veggies and exercise so what’s the problem? Aim for happiness and your weight will follow. Best of all if you are focusing on being healthy to be happy the habits you develop will last.

Be Grateful For Something Every Day
Coffee! I know I’m always grateful for coffee in the morning. I’m grateful when I get all green lights on the way to work and I love that I can dance around my living room to “Hakuna Matata” whenever I feel the need. I’m sure my neighbors are grateful for the amusement this affords them too. See what I’m getting at here? Excellent. So go on – be grateful for something right now. Friends are a big one. And having lived in Sydney for a few years I’m consistently grateful that I can always get a decent kebab when I want one!

Just Smile
Your mood will follow. Seriously. It’s hard to be sad when you’ve got a big stupid grin plastered on your face.

Love
Forgive me for being cheesy but love and happiness go hand in hand. They are interlinked and inseparable. And part of loving someone is being selfless. I love buying presents for people that I know they will use and enjoy, and wrapping Christmas gifts has to be one of my favorite things to do. Love is something humans need to be happy. Period. So do something nice for your family, wash up for your mum or buy your sibling their favorite chocolate bar on the way home from class. Small things make a big difference.

Affirmations
I’m telling you, the hippies have it right. If you tell yourself often enough that something is true, it becomes so. There’s no reason the same principle can’t be applied to happiness. Every day when you wake up be grateful for seeing another sunrise and tell yourself that you will have a fantastic day. And you will. Sure life will get you down sometimes, but what makes the difference is how quickly you bounce back from that.

Try Meditating
Having peace of mind is a really good feeling and nothing keeps the mind quiet like meditation. Whether it’s in the form of yoga and a salute to the sun in the mornings or 10 minutes stretched out limb on your bed at the end of the day, any form of meditation will make a big difference.
Start with a big stretch to get all tension out of your muscles and take deep breaths. Gently push away any thoughts that come into your head. You can imagine yourself in a peaceful place or just lie there and breathe. Put on some of that hippy rainforest music too – it actually does help.

Laugh Long And Often
The more you laugh the better you will feel. Oh, and you’ll live longer too! Laughing releases endorphins (the feel good chemicals) into your brain. Pets, especially dogs, are fantastic for this. Eddie Murphy comes in a close second for me, followed by Carl Baron and the only man who could voice the genie – Mr. Robin Williams.

The Right People
Why waste your energy on friendships that are one – sided or on people you don’t feel truly good being around? My best friend is a small bouncy woman with a quick tongue and an innate sense for how I work. Being around her is effortless and that’s the way it should be. Of course all friendships take work, but the more time you spend with people who make you feel good, the happier you will be.
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves” so make it a good one.

Chase your dreams
Ever seen someone living their dream? They glow from the inside out. They know that they are where they should be and that when it’s all over they will have no regrets. So get out and start chasing yours, no one else is going to do it for you.
Write down what you want and figure out baby steps to get there. Write an affirmation and say it to yourself every day. Doing this creates a strong sense of belief and once you got that there will be no stopping you!

Find Your Key
The key to happiness is individual. For some people it is doing work that they love, for others it might be just listening to music. For me, it’s Disney. I’m the most tragic Disney fan you will ever find and a good mood for me is just a DVD away. When I can’t get to them I recite them to myself and while you may be thinking ‘O My God this chick its nuts’ remember that next time your suck in rush hour traffic feeling the burning desire to create a new swear word, I’ll be in the car over shaking my butt to ‘Be Our Guest’ and singing at the top of my voice.

Giralang Shops: Relooked

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Out of action
The residents of Giralang have been saying goodbye to their shops for the past two years. Land owner Dimitri Nikias of the Nikias Nominees Property Group had closed all but two of its stores; the petrol station and the Vietnamese Restaurant.

Residents are only aware, that Nikias is in the process of planning residential development of the Giralang Shops which now only has the service station and the Vietnamese Restaurant operating.

The stand still stores have left its residents wondering what is going to happen next, and when will it happen? Residents have claimed the state of shops is their highest concern at the moment and some say it has now become a potential hazard for the community.

“Graffiti marking the walls, smashed windows. It’s disgusting, ” says one resident with disgust.

Initially, Nikias wanted to change the site’s lease to allow for the construction of twelve residential town houses. The proposal was introduced in 2005 at a meeting at Giralang Primary School. Residents had opposed to the proposal thus forming the Giralang Residents Action Group. GRAG is a group of residents fighting for a quality local centre.

A group of people within the neighbourhood uttered their frustration to see nothing has been done regarding the plans for re-development. A majority of residents have expressed their concerns about the impact future developments will have on the character of the suburb.

Peter Nolan, a member of GRAG says, “The idea of having somewhere to come together gives you a sense of being a part of a community as opposed to being somebody that just lives in a place.”

Some residents believe that Nikias had purposely left the shops to deteriorate. However, Nikias argued that the shops were falling apart because of the lack of support from the community. He stated in the Canberra Times, “The supermarket was going backwards.”

GRAG’s Ross Calvert said: “There were suspicions the suburb’s shops had been allowed to run down to give developers the opportunity to build residential units.” This has been a key concern in the community; he continues “regarding that some lessees may have been deliberately allowing commercial business to run down to fit the criteria and get approval for redevelopment to medium density residential.”

Prior to this meeting, the shops had been in decline for some time, with shops closing one by one. In some instances, leases were not renewed by the shop owners. Owner of one of the shops says “The rent was just too high and with the Supabarn opening up [in Kaleen], our business slowed right down.”

Owner of the Vietnamese Restaurant N. Nguyen confirmed “business has been quiet.” His nephew adds “The way the place looks now is why business is slow.” Nguyen did not confirm why, but rumour has it residents believe that Nguyen is holding on to be a part of the next development. Well why not, this is their livelihood!

The last meeting regarding the proposal was held with Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in April this year. The meeting included Nominees Associates and a few members of GRAG. The gathering looked into issues in past meetings, and considering the concerns of the residents.

Residents were said to believe that the shops were not successful owing to its poor access. It was competing with traffic to the doctor’s surgery and primary school. They argue that it has limited potential for the cafe style development Nikias may be planning. Nolan argued for GRAG that according to the development phase, town houses would be built before the shops. Also, contingencies and conditions that are surrounding the shops may result in the shop never continuing any further development.

Nolan brought to the GRAG meeting some plans had not previously been seen by the community. On the face of it, these further plans seemed to address some of the specific concerns raised with the plans displayed at the school in November 2006.

Any plan to redevelop the site requires a change to the lease which in turn requires the ACT Planning and Land Authority to assess the commercial viability of a shopping centre. This does not mean an assessment of whether the existing shopping centre is viable, but whether any form of shopping centre could be viable in that location given the size of the catchment, proximity to other centres and other demographic considerations. If the authority accepts the report’s conclusions, the company can then submit a residential development proposal.

According to Labour MLA Mary Porter, Nikias is yet to futher negotiations with GRAG and will be proceeding to lodge a development application. The application will include four retail shops and commercial units, as well as residential units. Extra parking has also been included since the original proposal was presented to the community. It is unknown how long it will be before construction will commence.

Resident of 18 years, Keith Garzoli says “The Nikias family had given a massive commitment to Giralang; they’ve traded the shops for nearly 30 years. It’s not like he bought it just so he could sell it. It has only been the last ten years that it hasn’t been working out and I can see they are now looking for options to exit the asset.”

Ms Porter comments, “My concern is to have the site re-developed as soon as possible whilst ensuring that the views of residents are taken into account.”

The future is unknown for Giralang. GRAG has been successful in preventing the site from being developed as full residential, and will continue to lobby to have a greater number of commercial stores incorporated in any development proposal.

Ms Porter continues positively: “The whole community worked on a very innovative submission, which the cabinet accepted and resulted in Giralang Primary school remaining open. They are equally determined that the Giralang shop site will also end on a positive note.” For now, the residents eagerly await the first day of constructin.

Japanese whaling season kicks off – sign the petition

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Whaling at its best...
A Japanese whaling fleet sailing toward waters off Antarctica to kill protected humpback whales has been warned that they will be stopped.

In two weeks’ time members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, will sail from their mooring in Australia into the Antarctic waters to head off the Japanese fleet and this time round they have placed saving the humpbacks at the heart of their vigilante mission, codenamed “Operation Migaloo” . Using nothing more than a high-speed, 53-metre former Scottish fishing vessel, the Robert Hunt, Sea Shepherd activists have vowed to do whatever it takes to stop the whalers, even if it means physically disabling Japanese ships up to eight times their size. Tactics resorted to last year included ramming, throwing smoke bombs on board the ship’s decks or dropping long knotted coils of polypropylene into their propellers.

Greenpeace said its protest ship Esperanza was searching for the fleet south of Japanese territorial waters and would shadow the ships to the South Pacific to try to reduce their catch in their standard non-violent manner.

The Japanese ship’s plan is to allegedly kill up to 50 Humpbacks in what is believed to be the first large-scale hunt for the once nearly extinct species since the giant marine mammals were put under international protection in 1963. It also aims to take as many as 935 Minke whales and up to 50 Fin whales in what Japan’s Fisheries Agency says is its largest-ever scientific whale hunt. The expedition lasts through to April.

The International Whaling Commission, the IWC, has entirely banned commercial whaling since 1986. However, Japanese officials claim the whaler’s need to kill the animals under a controversial provision in global rules in order to conduct research on their reproductive and feeding patterns.

Sheep Shooting for Boredom

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Kill Boredom at work
Underworked

Bored Sick: How workplace boredom affects you (maybe?)

Have you ever wondered where that email sheep-shooting game came from? It was probably created by someone who was bored at work. If you ended up playing the game, you might be one of them. Underwork, in the sense of having literally nothing to do while at work, is one of many causes of boredom and may be just as harmful to employee and employer as overwork.

What would happen if your working day only involved internet “research”, reading and sending emails, trawling through some self-guided learning, and stacking papers neatly for the umpteenth time? It might be fun at first, but eventually leads to boredom. While there are more factors that cause boredom at work – such as personal predisposition, environment, task and situation – the sheer lack of work is a major contributor. According to a survey by Sirota Consulting LLC in the USA, of more than 800,000 employees at 61 organizations worldwide, those with “too little work” gave an overall job satisfaction rating of 49 out of 100, while those with “too much work” had a rating of 57.

So what? Who are these dissatisfied people, those who spend their day sharpening their pencils rather than their wit? These are the “underworked” or “underloaded,” and may be in your own office.

Underload can be qualitative, in which job demands are too simple to adequately use an employee’s skills, or quantitative, in which the employee doesn’t have enough work to fill the work day. Quantitative underload can happen for a period of minutes, hours, or a day, to longer periods of weeks or even months. Typical industries with occasional quantitative underload include service (retail, hospitality) and administration (reception, accounts), where demand fluctuates unpredictably. Think of a supermarket cashier who is waiting for a customer to arrive. In a project-based environment such as engineering and research, boredom through underload can be caused by poor planning/scheduling, too many employees, temporary downturn in demand, and over-qualification for positions.

These underloaded workers may not realise their peril: boredom is not healthy for mind or body. Studies at the University of Northumbria attribute the lack of stimulation at work as a cause for “underload syndrome” aka “bored sick”, resulting in more sick days due to depression, fatigue and headaches. On a physiological level, when the body does not experience rushes of stress, there are no endorphins in the system to provide energy, which then drops the metabolic rate, leading to immunodeficiency.

As for boredom’s effect on the mind, the worker can feel worthless, bitter and dull and may also face resentment from overworked colleagues.

Jamie Travis, an occupational therapist with private practice, nth Degree, sees underload syndrome as a convenient label for a range of non-specific physical and psychological symptoms arising from work conditions Travis describes the psychological impact of boredom at work causing job dissatisfaction. “The worker may ask themselves ‘Why the hell do I exist here?’, when the job lacks clarity and purpose.” The overall malaise from monotony thus increases the incidence of recurrent absenteeism and the development of musculoskeletal pain in the future.

These health effects of underload can affect any level of job, as described by Hugh*, an engineer with a doctorate in Telecommunications – physical layer technologies.Hired by an engineering firm to do testing, which was constantly delayed, the firm kept him busy with secretarial work – scanning, printing, binding and word processing, or as Hugh describes: “Basically all the work that no one else wanted to do and the company didn’t want to employ anyone to do it. It made me feel depressed and suicidal. Instead of solving project problems.I gossiped, whinged, and surfed the internet for a new job.” Hugh has since escaped his underloaded environment and uses his brain to develop cutting edge technology at a university in Victoria.

Hugh’s ex-employer may have experienced the common consequences of boredom at work, such as absenteeism, worker dissatisfaction, accidents, reduced performance on vigilance tasks, horseplay, and sabotage, as identified by Professor Cynthia D Fisher, industrial psychologist and Head of the Department of Management at Bond University. Fisher and her colleagues studied enlisted men in the US Marine Corps. Outside of the programmed hours of Marine activity but largely confined to base, some soldiers did not report any boredom at all. Many, however, were bored and dealt with the experience of having “nothing to do” in one of two ways. Some were destructively bored, drinking and brawling, while others were constructively bored, choosing to go to the gym, read, or enrol in a correspondence course.

Whether employees are marines or mail clerks, the employer must take action to prevent underload, and thus avoid the presence of underload syndrome, which may lead to absenteeism and workplace claims for psychological injury.

Ellen Jackson and Rachel Clements described in InPsych magazine that the average cost of a psychological injury claim is $27,798 per claim compared with $18,913 for a physical injury claim and the average time off work is 21 weeks compared with 8 weeks for a physical injury claim (WorkCover NSW Statistical Bulletin 2003/04).

If only to save money, what can the employer do about qualitative underload? Fisher recommends that they ensure that workers have background tasks to fulfil, such as improving processes, preparing for meetings or helping another employee. Travis recommends that the company should conduct a psychologically based risk assessment, which is mindful of the health and productivity hazard of underload. A staff survey should measure against key indicators of job satisfaction, such as role uncertainty, lack of workload control and lack of support in the workplace.

What can an employee do about quantitative underload? It depends on whether the underload is short term (hours or a few days) or longer (weeks to months). The following tips explain how to cope with underload, to avoid underload syndrome.

Short term underload:

clean up your desk and your hard drive and sort your documents into folders
finish any outstanding correspondence
build up social capital with colleagues or clients
go the extra mile for a client or help a coworker who is overloaded
or you could always go to the “Bored at work website” http://www.boredatwork.com/
Long term underload:

use the time to do some learning:
see if your company has on online university and take a course
share your skills with others by coaching/mentoring a less experienced employee
help someone with their job and see if you like it, and take away some of their stress
tell your boss that you can offer the company more, and ask for additional responsibilities.
You may even need to change careers; if the work is enough to occupy most of the day, and yet you are still bored due to qualitative underload, then you may suit a job that is more congruent with your skills, or where the pace of organisational life is faster.

So if you find that you’re a sheep sharpshooter, you’re not alone. The key is to make the most of the downtime, or move on.

Annual National Park passes

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I sent the following message to www.nationalpark.nsw.gov.au/kosciuszko on the 5th October 2007. To date no reply/comment has been received.

Annual passes
Two years ago I purchased a 2-year pensioner pass at the rate of $120.
I recently went to Guthega for the long weekend in October and needed to renew my pass as it was expired, I found to my astonishment that as I am an ACT pensioner, I do not qualify for any discount, and the 2 year pass
now costs $335, or $27 per night (which I could only afford for that day).

NSW pensioners get free entry and seniors get a discount.

As the ACT is like an island in the large state of NSW and pensioners are the people most likely to use the parks on a regular basis, this is a gross discrimination. Not only is this discriminating ACT pensioners, but pensioners from other states too. How are we going to afford these kinds of fees on a pension that only pays $250 a week? And what do we really get for these park fees, as it is all in the natural state? The upper road to Guthega has still not been sealed after all those years and traffic has increased since it became Perisher Blue. On the day I went, the road was not even cleared of snow, and it was difficult getting up there. I would appreciate your comments as soon as possible.

I re-sent the message on the 16th October as no reply had been received:

On the same day (16th October 2007), the following (automatic generated) answer was received:

Object: NPWS website – confirmation that your feedback has been received
(Ref=NPWS-782BB9 )

> Thank you for your feedback. An NPWS staff member will respond as quickly
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I can only assume that National Parks are not willing to review this situation.

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Dore Program for Learning Difficulties Opens Latest Clinic in Canberra

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Professor David Reynolds and Ian Glasson
The opening of the Dore Clinic in Canberra is a relief to the many families in the Capital Region and South Coast of NSW that have had to travel to Wagga Wagga and Sydney for treatment.

The Dore Program is a revolutionary treatment for people with learning, attention and behavioural difficulties including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. The Program is also effective in relieving the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome.

These learning difficulties affect up to one-sixth of Australia’s children.

For many parents, the Dore Program is viewed as the last resort available. They know their children are being labeled as lazy, disruptive or troublemakers at school.

“There is the perpetual struggle with homework, mood swings and the emotional challenge of dealing with a child who is depressed or even suicidal” says Dore Medical Services Manager, Glynis Howard.

Our classrooms contain many children with reading and writing difficulties, unintelligible handwriting and poor social skills. This is not a teaching or parenting problem – it is a physiological problem.

Research has shown a person who experiences learning difficulties has an under-developed cerebellum, the small part at the back of the brain about the size of a mandarin. The Dore Program develops neural pathways between the cerebrum, or main thinking brain, and the cerebellum.

The exercises are tailor-made for every client. The average duration of the Program is between 12 and 18 months depending on the client’s compliance.

The Clinic was officially opened on the 13th of November at 9:30 am by Canberra Times Editor-at-large Jack Waterford. Professor David Reynolds, Professor of Education at University of Plymouth and a highly acclaimed researcher talked about his latest research report. Following the official ceremony the Clinic and facilities was opened to the general public. Dore Management & Program Specialists were in attendance to provide information.

Guidelines in the life of a waitress

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Guidelines in the life of a waitress.
By Charlotte McBride

There are different lifestyle choices that will affect your view of the simple job of waiting on tables. These is turn can affect the rest of your life. For those who choose waitressing as a part time job in order to fulfill those hefty school bills, these people have a glimpse at the hidden depths of waitressing but will never see the full picture. Those who choose the hospitality industry as a career usually end up so embittered with life that if they once knew the inner workings of a café, then they probably lost them after the first five years.

The year I turned eighteen I spent a year off school, moved out of the warm, safe cocoon of the family home and took up a waitressing job at a local café in Civic. During the year that I worked there I learnt my first real life lessons, aided along the way by characters such as the patronizing father figure, obsessive customers and the manager couple who screamed their fights all through the café, regardless of the bemused customers.

After my apprenticeship at what must have truly been Canberra’s Most Dysfunctional Workplace, as well as reminiscing with my old waiter buddies, I have learned a few guidelines to aid those who are considering a full time job as a waiter/waitress, (readers bear in mind that the effects of waitressing can concentrate over extended periods).

Early Days

When searching for the right café for you, it helps to choose one within a quick walk from your residence. This will be highly useful in the event of the dreaded Early Morning Dash. While daylight saving is a recurring cause of the EMD, the most popular sequence will involve your manager screaming down the phone at ten thirty the previous night that she couldn’t find a replacement to give you time to recover from your fever and for you to sort it out. Thus, when you inevitably sleep through your alarm, you are still able to pump yourself full of panadol and run to working a drug induced haze until your replacement can be contacted.

In the beginning, many waiters believe in that pink, fluffy idea that the customer is always right. While not wanting to dishearten those sincere, though naïve, beginners, there is some logic to the argument that if customers wanted their eggs Benedict cooked the way their mothers did, they should have continued to live at home. On one occasion, an American gentleman gave me a vicious lecture when he was told that he couldn’t have his eggs cooked the traditional Texan way. It seemed difficult for him to grasp the fact that not many Australian cooks would know what that involved.

When starting a new hospitality job, the best approach is a firm but fair attitude. If this fails, using their sarcasm right back at them usually succeeds in enough embarrassment to coax them to leave with no further fuss. In the event of a particularly difficult customer, there is always the option of pawning them off to your manager. This can have the added benefit of getting back at her for not finding a replacement for you during your sickness.

Warning Signs
Throughout a long career of waitressing, I have picked up a few warning signs that your career at a café might not last all that long. I have written a few methods of survival, however the following can kill off a career in hospitality faster than throwing a mosquito into an empty room with a florescent light bulb. And the method is usually similar.

Difficult Bosses
These can come in many guises. I have been fortunate to savor many.

The most common is the two faced variety. Nothing quenches a working Spirit more than a boss who is your best friend one minute, then the café equivalent of Mr Hyde the next. There is no immediate way of discerning these characters from the genuinely caring bosses. However, if the person in question starts your shift off with enthusiastic greetings, then ends it trying to explain why he yelled at you in front of the other customers because the coffee wasn’t delivered, chances are that you are really just a big, human-shaped stress ball and things won’t be changing in the near future. No matter what promises he will make as you try to escape the premises.

The second common variety is the patronizing father figure. This situation usually concerns waitresses and involves you being addressed as “honey” or “babe”. At the last café that I worked at, the boss in question put his arm around my shoulders and told me in a loud and slow voice that I wasn’t learning fast enough every time I made a mistake. While he probably thought that he was helping, the result was me feeling increasingly nervous and botching up tasks more. The only reason that I didn’t resort to violence was because I was more professional than him. Plus he had arms like tree trunks.

For the above, the only recommendation I can make is that you can’t get out of that situation fast enough. IF you try responding forcefully, then the first will become more aggressive, (not a good thing during the rush hour), wheres the second will merely think you adorable and you will never rise above Team Mascot. There may be people out there who can put up with this. I salute you.

Shady customers

It is not common knowledge but waitresses are often the centre of infatuations concerning lonely, forty something year old men whose mothers never taught them that it is rude to stare. At my café, there always used to be a man who would watch the younger waitresses as they worked, and would give out his number when he paid. Eventually it got so bad that we used to have to send the younger waitresses on break when he arrived.

Dealing with strange customers has always been a downside of any waitressing job. They are different from the rude ones because they don’t understand sarcasm and your manager will think you too soft if you pawn them off to them every time they arrive. The only technique I have usually used in these cases is the famous Waitress Stare. The eyes are slightly unfocussed and held at a level slightly above everyone’s heads. The head then performs a swift, sweeping motion, so as to take the measure of the room but avoid “noticing” those customers who are frantically waving their hands at you. Then the waitress goes to perform a vitally important task, usually involving polishing something. By the time that task is finished, the manager has sent another worker who wasn’t quick enough to complete the sequence.

I have barely started to scratch the surface of café life, a novel would not be long enough. These are the most important guidelines that I have learned from my time served and accounts from other waiters and waitresses. While there are people out there who enjoy owning a café, or working in one, the hospitality industry can be an unhappy trap for others. However, if you want a job that will teach you life skills such as how to deal with old men who are a little too friendly, or how to learn to keep the tears at bay when you are yelled at for something that you had no control over, it might be worth your while to spend a brief period working at a café. Just not too long.

(Names of the cafes mentioned have been left out)

MICFest

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MICFest 2007 followed the momentum of John Frolich’s, head of Communication, Media and Music at CIT, quote of “Its like CIT’s version of Big Day Out”. And right you were John, as in its nine hour duration MICfest did not fail to keep festivities alight with two stages inside and out, both acoustic and electric. As soon as one entered you can hear the sound of a reknown CIT band like the Sexy Chicken Feathers or CosMIC Debris. And not to mention that one could climatise to the event with a drink or something from one of the various food stalls and feel safe knowing there were security guards controlling the crowd surfers and emo kids alike. In order to encompass a range of musical talent, a School Stars Band Competition was held with a line up of bands from across the ACT’s High Schools including Sunken from Lyneham High, Slovac from Caroline Chisholm High and Crazy Bob and the Cancer Sticks from Canberra College. Following on in the same light a solo singing competition, ‘Going Solo’ was held on the acoustic stage with solo artists including Nichola Weatherly with her soft and gentle vocals or Morgan Quinn’s violent and rash tunes in the competition. If you wanted to chill out a bit and lye down you certainly could since there was a place of the same name ‘the chill lounge’ there for you to basically chill out and listen to even more music or watch a movie if you wanted as part of the film screenings that were being shown in there.

As the sun came down and the outside stage came to a close, the fun didn’t stop there as the festivities went out in full swing well into the night with headline CIT bands like the Gods of Love and a Hairspray tribute band with costumes and all inside.

So Saturday 11th November at the Southside CIT campus saw a day of talent, hard work from all of the Communication, Media and Music Department crew but above all the fun you can have at an event that only happens once a year with an audience of the CIT community and gig goers alike.

help us end the mess in Iraq

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Sam McMillan + Louise Barry
Last week, we saw the Prime Minister launch his campaign – and the most astonishing thing happened. As the leader of a nation at war, setting out his vision for the future, Mr Howard failed to even mention the war for which he is responsible – not a single word.

??We are not experts. But we are two young Australian women who know something about the real cost of this war in Iraq. I, Louise, survived the 2005 London bombings. I underwent six operations and spent three months in traction. And I, Sam, was married to Jacob McMillan – an American soldier, my 25 year old love, who was killed in action in Iraq last December. ??

Please. Join over 60,000 of us calling for accountability – and a plan to end the mess in Iraq by putting your name to the petition below: ??www.getup.org.au/campaign/OurOwnPlanForIraq

??We think anyone who wants to lead Australia must have a plan for peace. So today, we are publicly asking Mr Howard to meet with us before the election so we can directly present your petition and report his answer back to you. ??We don’t know if he will agree to meet. We’re just two people. But we do know that when thousands of Australians sign the petition, we all become part of something too big to ignore. So please sign below: ??www.getup.org.au/campaign/OurOwnPlanForIraq

??We know war can seem remote to many Australians, especially this war in Iraq, but it is very real to us. It has changed our lives – and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. ??This issue must not simply slip away because our politicians would rather ignore it.

Together, we can make sure that what happened to us doesn’t have to happen to any more Australians before we finally start down the road towards peace. ??Please add your name today: ??www.getup.org.au/campaign/OurOwnPlanForIraq ??

Thank you for standing up, ??–Louise Barry and Sam McMillan ?Tuesday, November 13th 2007

??P.S. Whilst in Sydney recently to accept the Sydney Peace Prize, the former UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix caught up with GetUp Executive Director, Brett Solomon. He had some really interesting things to say about how we got to where we are, and how to get from here to peace. You can read Hans’ message to GetUp members on our blog here.