Yet more things about Australia

  • The whole world saw the deadly fires in Victoria last year, so the dryness and heat are no joke. In the wake of those events they’ve introduced a new level of fire risk – above Severe and Extreme – called Catastrophic. It’s been used in VIC and NSW the last couple of days. Living close to the coast, as I do at the moment, means it’s often 10 degrees cooler here than it is even on the other side of Sydney.
  • .com.au is taking a bit of getting used to.
  • Flies are really persistent here. Trying to wave them away rarely does any good, they’re right back in there. Or maybe they just like foreign food.
  • I miss London’s Oyster card system for transport. There was a bit on the news the other night that Sydney’s been studying the implementation of an integrated transport card system for 9 years now. I hope they get that sorted out soon.
  • I grew up in Canada, another country that has a history of European colonisation of a land that already had indigenous people on it. I’m sure it’ll take me years – if ever – before I understand all the social context and sequence of events that brought Australia and its Aboriginal people to where they are today. But the initial view I have is of a nation wracked with hand-wringing guilt over some genuinely extremely abhorrent circumstances. The previous federal government actually suspended its Racial Discrimination Act to intervene in the distribution of social security money in the Northern Territory (it was reportedly going to drugs and alcohol rather than food); there’s now pressure to reinstate the Act. Diseases like trachoma, easily treatable and wiped out in other developed nations, is still endemic in parts of Australia’s Aboriginal population. There are some tough problems with no easy answers, and I don’t yet know enough to say much about them.

2 Responses to “Yet more things about Australia”

  1. 1 Miss B
    November 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    We love those flies too – but we love Aeroguard even more! By the way – Brisbane has a similar integrated card to Oyster called the GO card. Still has a few hiccups, but on the whole it’s getting there.

    B x

  2. November 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    South Australia’s had some shocking weather recently http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/19/2747022.htm and unlike here the weather frequently stays at high temperatures over night.
    Flies are annoying, but the mosquitoes drive me insane. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that “oyster” card although it would be awesome.

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