Supercars in Perth – Sensational, but What’s Gone Wrong?

Supercars Perth Sunday 7th May 2017

A couple of photos of each car, in Driver alphabetical order. The photos were taken on the Sunday, during qualifying and the race. I do have approximately a dozen photos of each car on file - too many to post here

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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_blanchard-1.jpg]20Tim Blanchard 21
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-1.jpg]20Mathew Brabham 3
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-2.jpg]20
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-3.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_bright-1.jpg]10Jason Bright 56
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_bright-2.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_caruso-1.jpg]10Michael Caruso 23
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_caruso-2.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_coultard-1.jpg]10Fabian Coultard 12
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_courtney-1.jpg]00James Courtney 22
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_davison-1.jpg]00Will Davison 19
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_de-silvestro-1.jpg]00Simone De Silvestro 78
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_holdsworth-1.jpg]00Lee Holdsworth 18
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_lowndsie-1.jpg]00Craig Lowndes 888
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_moffat-1.jpg]00James Moffat 34
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_mostert-1.jpg]00Chas Mostert 55
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_percat-1.jpg]00Nick Percat 8
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_pye-1.jpg]00Scott Pye 2
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_r-kelly-1.jpg]00Rick Kelly 15
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_reynolds-1.jpg]00David Reynolds 9
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_rulo-1.jpg]00Alex Rullo 62
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_scotty-1.jpg]00Scott McLaughlin 17
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_slade-1.jpg]00Tim Slade 14
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_t-kelly-1.jpg]00Todd Kelly 7
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_tander-1.jpg]00Garth Tander 33
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_van-gisbergen-1.jpg]00Shane Van Gisbergen 97
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_waters-1.jpg]00Cameron Waters 6
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_waters-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_whincup-1.jpg]00Jamie Whincup 88
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_whincup-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_winterbottom-1.jpg]00Mark Winterbottom 5
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_winterbottom-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_wood-1.jpg]00Dale Wood 99
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This gallery features a couple of shots of each car, in alphabetical order (Driver’s surname)

With DJR Team Penske taking it to Red Bull and passing them, plus Chas Mostert finding his mojo again, not to mention Garth Tander and GRM turning into a remarriage made in Heaven, Supercars has become exciting again, (not before time!), but sadly, here in Western Australia, the fans don’t seem to buying it, nor for that matter are the sponsors –  the event and the WA Sporting Car Club appear unable to attract sponsorship dollars.

I haven’t seen official attendance figures, however the crowd on Sunday was barely a crowd, there were metres and metres of blank white advertising fencing around the circuit and very little in the way of merchandising. It was particularly telling at the Red Bull trailer, where the girls were actively trying to give away material and pull people into the stand. Last year, the same girls were dismissively offhand – “Sorry, if you’re not a team member, there’s no sense in queuing, or trying to buy anything.”

Of course, the boom times are over in the West – yes, they’ll be back, but not for a couple of years, people simply don’t have the discretionary dollars, times are tough and it’s very expensive to live in Perth. Yet that reality doesn’t seem to have registered with Supercars management. A family of five (mum, dad and three kids would pay around $300.00 to get in, plus another $100.00 – $150.00 for pit passes, then there’s food, drink and the inevitable merchandising souvenirs. I very much doubt a family of five would get away with paying less than around $600.00+ for the day.

Last year, Supercars introduced the ‘Meet the Drivers’ walk, it was free, extremely popular and worked, a really great idea, letting the fans get up close to their heroes. So successful, they dropped it this year! A friend of ours asked various officials (around the Control Tower area), whether it was happening again, but nobody could give her an answer. Now I don’t know the reasons why, but the ongoing lack of interest in grass roots fans will eventually bite – perhaps it already is and as I mentioned earlier, there is already a lack of interest by potential sponsors.

Scotty Celebrates!

The bogan in every Aussie motor racing fan loves a victory burn - out and Scotty McLaughlin didn't let us down - he had a lot to celebrate with a hugely successful weekend in the West!

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Yet, there was a great programme on the Sunday, although nothing really happened until around 10.30am – once upon a time, you needed to be at the track by 8.00am, or you’d miss the start of the excitement. Not this time. We used to plan on leaving the house by 6.30am at the latest, to try and get there by 8.00am. On Sunday, we didn’t leave home until 8.15am and after having parked the car and caught the free bus to the circuit, plus queueing to pick up our tickets, we were walking by the corporate boxes by 9.05am.

Stadium Super Trucks at Barbagallo Raceway May 2017

Stadium Super Trucks is the official name, but I very quickly named it Cut Snake (as in mad) Racing. It's the first time this circus has come to Perth and it is magnificent entertainment, with drivers giving a real show - a sort of racing wrestling. I've posted quite a few photos, in sequence, as they whole thing was almost unbelievable, But I'll let the photos do the talking.

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The Stadium Super Trucks were a magnificent addition, pure entertainment, even the corporate guests became animated! Absolutely wonderful stuff and the Australian GT Championship round was beautiful to watch – incredible racing and stunning cars. But no sign of the Dunlop Super 2 Series? And I don’t know whether it was just me, but the Supercars sounded far louder than the last couple of years – my ears are still ringing, good to see – hear? There ain’t nothing like 25 V8s straining at the leash waiting for the green light. We sure as hell don’t want Supercars to become the pussy sounding event that F1 has become!

Australian GT Racing Championships, Perth Round, Sunday 7th May 2017

This is a fabulous race series and all motor sport fans are very grateful to see the teams make the long journey across the desert to the West. The racing was full on, long and genuine. I haven't sorted the photos out into team order, rather I've left them in sequence, to tell the story of the day's racing.

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I’ve long thought the whole Supercar circus was getting out of hand in terms of costs to both teams and fans, even the TV broadcasts have become ludicrously expensive with the Foxtel deal taking the cake as an absolute rip off. There comes a time when events and goods simply price themselves out of the market. Sure, fans might initially be angry and miss not being able to afford to attend a race meeting, or watch the broadcast from another state, but at some point they will replace their interest with enthusiasm for something else and if the kids don’t grow up with the sport, they probably won’t form an adult interest. Less teenagers are getting driving licences, at some stage, it will no longer be a rite of passage and interest in motorsport will wane. The accountants at Supercars have been very successful, it’s just a shame they obviously regard marketing as unnecessary. Something needs to change and certainly there is a desperate need for change here in Perth.

It is of course, easy to point a finger at organisations and in the case of the WA Sporting Car Club, one feels terrible doing so – the club is made up of wonderful volunteers who love their motorsport and give their heart and souls to ensure race days (and there are a lot of them during the year), are a success, but it is obvious management at the club has dropped the ball, in terms of the Supercars round. I don’t wish to offend, however I love the sport and don’t want to see it fade away, as the approach to marketing and sales has fallen short of what’s required in an admittedly tough environment. The metres of blank signage space is testament to a failure at some level.

Barbagallo Raceway May 2017

[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0244-001.jpg]100Top Hat Man
This guy's at the track every year, an insitution
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_img_20170507_095259.jpg]10The DJRPenske boys
Fabian and Scotty with my wife Ann - she's a big Scotty fan, so much so, she's now a Ford supporter - Volvo annoyed her.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_img_20170507_095407.jpg]10The GRM Boys
Garth looking more relaxed than he's looked for a couple of years and James, again with my wife Ann.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0103.jpg]10Dad and his Boy
I don't know who they are, but this guy should get the World's Best Dad title - he's there with his son every year and it was great to see the little fella was able to stand up for a while to watch the races.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0206.jpg]00Blank advertising space
Something is terribly wrong when there is this much blank advertising space around the track at the major meeting of the year.
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Nobody’s asking me, but if I was organising things for next year’s event, I’d create excitement in the lead-up, by staging a family friendly event at the track prior to the Supercars, make it affordable, encourage mum to come along, have a marquee for mums, where they get a manicure – perhaps a talk by Simone De Silvestro – I’m sure Harvey Norman would contribute, give families a special deal on tickets for the Supercars event. Throw in driver education for young people with recognised motorsport figures. As for advertising space around the circuit – if you’ve got to offer deals, do so! The market dictates. Go in early.

The opportunity is also there to have a good sized truck and machinery display during the Supercars round – Roger Penske didn’t come to Perth as he likes the weather! WA is a big market (in Australian terms) for his products and most blokes who like motorsport also like and quite possibly work with trucks and machinery. As anybody who’s attended the DTM racing rounds in Europe knows, the car manufacturers all have great displays on race weekends, admittedly, it won’t happen here – Barbagallo, the main luxury car dealer in Perth, already has the track naming rights and attendant signage, but does their contract forbid other manufacturers from displaying or advertising at the track? Perhaps for cars, (and boats?), but not for trucks and machinery.

There is much to be talked about, both with potential corporate partners and sponsors and also the State government, this is a wonderful exciting event. The basis is there to rebuild on, the drivers and teams gave us fantastic racing and excitement, Supercars and the WA Sporting Car Club owe it to them and the fans to bring the soul back into the circus.

PS: A couple of records were broken during Sunday’s Supercar round – no safety car and Roland Dane didn’t appear on television moaning.

Greg Ross

 

Nurse / Patient Ratios

I’m currently receiving multiple ‘same question’ emails from nurses re my position on nurse / patient ratios, obviously part of a well-orchestrated campaign, not that I have anything against that, or nurses!

I note WA nurses are campaigning strongly for a 1:4 nurse to patient ratio, while not professing to be any sort of expert in hospital management, it is a relatively easy task to call up world wide research into nurse patient ratios, although a touch time consuming.

Several USA based  research papers demonstrate irrefutable statistical proof that hospitals with a nurse patient ration of 1:8 have five more deaths per 1,000 patients than hospitals with a 1:4 ratio.

However in some ways, there is no correct answer – some low risk hospitals  or wards, are perfectly safe and manageable on a 1:8  ratio, while ICU units may well require a ratio of 1:1 0r 1:2 and  palliative care units may work very well on a 1:6 0r 1:8 ratio.

Other factors include wards where post-operative patients regularly  arrive  throughout the day, different days may mean a heavy operation schedule requires a nurse patient ratio of 1:2, rather than a normal 1:4. Staggered shift starts are one method of dealing with this issue.

The WA Nurses Federation makes an interesting point in that nurse / patient ratios go out the window with patients stacked in corridors – I’ve experienced this as a patient and  witnessed it as a friend, I suspect corridor stacking is rife in Perth, through no fault of medical staff.

I realise, through financial mismanagement by the Liberal Party and an unwillingness by WA Liberals to take on the insanity of the GST carve up (which the Liberal Party was responsible for),  money is very tight and best practise simply may not be immediately possible. However my thoughts are that we should set immediate targets and long term (three year targets, as follows:

  1. All major hospitals and private hospitals to immediately (with a three month grace period – to locate staff) to introduce a 1:6 nurse patient ratio for wards other than ICU.
  2. All ICU wards to immediately introduce (with a three month grace period to locate staff) a 1:3 ratio
  3. All wards on busy post-op days to immediately introduce 1:3 ratios (a three month grace period to secure staff)
  4. All major hospitals, public and private, to introduce 1:4 standard nurse /patient ratios within three years.
  5. The absurdity of nurse (all medical staff), paying for parking at hospitals, must immediately cease. It is gouging people for whom public transport is of little value.

Greg Ross

Vote Greg Ross 1 for Midland

 

 

Who the Hell is Greg Ross and Why Midland?

 

Who the Hell is Greg Ross

[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_greg-ann-april-shots-013.jpg]920Greg in business mode.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_l1020044-002.jpg]100My wife and me enjoying a long lunch
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_fmgs-haul-road-156.jpg]90Out on the FMG Haul Road at Christmas Creek
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_fbk-northern-wildflowers-tour-album-title-photo-framed_0.jpg]90Tour guide work with the fantastic Goldrush tours
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_driving-a-coach-chassis-across-the-nullarbor.jpg]60Delivering a coach chassis across the Nullarbor
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_img_20160507_102313.jpg]60Photography and motor sport
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_1-signed-picture-mark-webber.jpg]50Mark Webber smokes up the Red Bull F1 machine
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_jack-in-perth-003.jpg]50Sir Jack and the RX7 in Kings Park
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_the-larrikin-feb-2013-010.jpg]50Every bloke has to have a toy!
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_acting-oscar-001.jpg]70All the World's a Stage - Garrick Theatre Guildford
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_aunty-jack-greg-ross-charity-run-at-kununurra.jpg]60Aunty Jack comes out of the closet for charity fundraising events
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_image27.jpg]40
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_image1.jpg]50A couple of days on the mighty USS Stennis
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_image.jpg]50
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_political-campaign-pics-004.jpg]70Dunno who the bloke on the left is, but that's Greg Ross on the right.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_l1050041.jpg]70David Morrison, 2016 Australian of the Year.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/who-the-hell-is-greg-ross/thumbs/thumbs_charlie-hebdo-003.jpg]70Support for Paris
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A dad of four and granddad of three, married to Ann (they’ve just celebrated their second wedding anniversary). After a long period in West Australian tourism as a tour guide driver (something he still loves), followed by many years in the corporate sales and marketing world, roles including marketing Barbagallo Group marketing manager, Dowerin Field Days CEO and marketing manager / joint acting CEO of Yirra Yaakin Theatre, Greg retired from the corporate world to follow his passions of writing, photography, acting and music (a freelance journalist for some 20 years and a past guest lecturer at WAAPA on Arts Marketing), working occasionally as a FIFO road train driver to keep the wolf from the door.

His personal and business experience has given him a unique outlook on life in Western Australia – he’s seen how it is on both sides of the fence – the corporate world and the blue collar battler territory. A passionate believer in the Aussie ethos of a fair go, he has become more and more concerned at the lack of support and respect for working people, pensioners, the long term injured, including police and service men and women, plus the horrendous constantly rising cost of living versus an ongoing steep decline in real wages.

A deep concern at the realities of major party politics, with a belief that more often than not, the party is more important than the voters, led to him standing as an Independent at the 2013 WA State election, for the electorate of Kalamunda. Greg had played a major role with the City Gatekeepers in the fight to try and stop the Elizabeth Quay vanity project and the insidious Development Assessment Panels (DAPs). The same dedicated group could also see the unrestrained spending of the Barnett Liberal government was dangerously speculative when balanced against the inevitability of an end to the mining boom, Greg and the others in the group tried to warn voters that the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming locomotive.

As history shows, Greg wasn’t elected and the Liberals won in a landslide, but as we all witnessed, the mining boom did burst and financially, WA slipped into inexcusable debt, with a situation where our population is now in decline, full time employment is being replaced by part time and casual work and the state has been brought to its knees financially.

Worse, while the Liberal and National parties complained bitterly to all and sundry that the GST carve-up was killing WA financially, there was an obvious reluctance to find a way to fix it. The major parties are run by Eastern States head offices and in the case of One Nation, policy is fiercely dictated by a Queensland head office. Not only that, current West Australian Federal parliamentarians seem singularly uninterested in the ludicrous GST situation.

Julie Matheson approached Greg to run as a candidate, her concerns for her beloved Western Australia matched Greg’s and, with his wife Ann’s permission, he accepted, specifically requesting that he be allowed to stand for the electorate of Midland.

Why Midland?

Greg loves trains and Midland has a marvellous historical railway history. In his days as the Barbagallo Group marketing manager, he staged the first event at the then dilapidated railway workshops. The MRA was just about to begin the redevelopment and CEO Kieran Kinsella was delighted with Greg’s ‘off the planet’ themed event. The event launched the new Audi A4 and featured a live steam train, vampires and even James Bond rescuing a fair maiden. Some time later Greg and Ann moved to live in Woodbridge, virtually next door to the Midland Railway Workshops

 

Audi A4 Launch Midland Railway Workshops

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Midland is a wonderful mix of people and cultures, from Noongar, through to Indian Ocean countries and Europe, with a rich cultural history and a natural geographical position as the gateway to the East or the City of Perth. Yet it’s been neglected in the past, as a councillor said the other week, “Midland is a place you pass through on the way to somewhere else.” However development is now happening, as the city spreads out across the coastal plain, however at what cost is the sixty four dollar question? The City of Swan has just voted to develop the town’s only oval, in spite of widespread public disagreement. There is also major disquiet at plans to destroy an old hotel for yet another service station, once again, the community is not being listened to and certainly the current Liberal government is not exactly renowned for its belief in community over development. What inevitably occurs when development accelerates, is ordinary people get pushed out, simply because rents and purchase prices rise as places become gentrified, single income people, those on a pension, or those without a job, will find themselves pushed further and further out of town. The soul of a place often disappears – Subiaco is a prime example of how to kill off both the spirit and the viability of a community. Greg feels he can help people keep the community going, while ensuring reasonable and much needed development continues.

Campaign Dream – Don’t Tell Me I’m Dreaming! Together we can make it happen!

Greg is passionate about pushing every agenda possible to fix the insanity of the GST system, he specifically wants to look after pensioners, unemployed people, Indigenous issues, long term injured workers, tourism and road safety and has a passion for the arts and education.

He feels voters are now understanding the benefits of committed, reflective and passionate small parties and that the old two or three major party system is broken and no longer serves either the State of Western Australia or the nation.

The Mythology of Drunken, Raging, Raping Muslim Men Running Rampant in Germany

As with most of us, I like to think the mainstream media outlets in western democratic societies are fundamentally reliable in terms of providing us with genuine proven news, along with unbiased reporting and expert analysis. Certainly the ultra conservative bias of the  Murdoch media empire is obvious to all, but that in itself is no real problem, the reader or viewer can easily judge where the fact ends and loathing begins. It’s become so obvious it’s now humorous.

Of course opinion is an end-product of detailed examination, consequently opinion pieces and Letters to the Editor provide for stimulating debate.

I’ve long been a writer of letter to newspaper editors and grateful that editorial staff often see fit to print my letters. As I live in Perth, naturally the staff at the West Australian newspaper are more often burdened with my thoughts on matters important to me, than Eastern states based media. I genuinely only write if I care / see a wrong that should be rectified, or indeed a right that should be praised.

As any inveterate letter writer knows, they’re not always published – another may write of the same topic more succinctly, or perhaps the editor feels there is little public interest in continuing a debate. However for the first time, I am feeling a little uneasy about a letter of mine not being published, in fact it’s three letters, on the same topic, over three years, all written in answer to the letters of others. Normally that still wouldn’t give me any cause for reflection, however the topic happens to be Muslim people and their behaviour.

This latest occasion centres around a letter published in the West Australian on Wednesday 15th February (this week). As you will read in the copy below, the writer  is overjoyed at finding some of the Muslim faith drink, personally I’m more concerned at Christian priests and ministers sexually abusing children, but it seems Muslims are the real danger to our society. But that’s not what prompted me to pen a reply to his letter.

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The writer goes on, as have others in the past couple of years, to warn that Muslim men are running rampant through Germany and Sweden, molesting women. I am married to a German and my wife and I spend at least two months in Germany and Europe every year, often longer. This so called fact, is an example of fake news, it is patently incorrect, worse, it is stirring up racial and religious intolerance on a falsehood. The letter I wrote to the West Australian in response (on the same day) is as follows:

While my observations concur with Charles Hunt’s statement re Muslims drinking alcohol as apparently negotiable (as indeed is the consumption of pork for many Jewish people these days), as a frequent traveller to Germany (married to a German), I take strong issue with Mr Hunt’s assertion that drunken Muslim men are running rampant through the streets molesting women. One is far more likely to see neo-Nazis actively pursuing hatred and vitriol in the streets. My experience of Muslim men in Germany, is they are unfailingly polite and courteous, almost always offering to help women and the elderly with suitcases and shopping etc at street crossings and railway stations.

Greg Ross

I am open to criticism that my reply may have been badly composed and there were a couple of spelling mistakes (the letter was composed on my phone), however it worries me that the West Australian seems content with printing letters from people making these assertions, (which in these uncertain times), many may choose to believe, yet they don’t appear to want a dissenting, experienced view aired. Given the orchestrated fear of Islam and Muslim people constantly created by fanatical, lunatic terrorists and governments such as the Abbott / Turnbull circus, or the increasingly bizarre President Trump,  I feel saddened that mainstream media appears to be allowing the festering flames of intolerance to go unchecked.

As Paul Simon wrote in that beautiful song … “Silence like a cancer grows.”

Greg Ross

 

Reality vs Political Promise in Western Australia

Pigs A Flying

Here in the West, the major parties and their respective leaders are promising to fix anything and everything that’s wrong with Western Australia and Pauline, the Liberal’s new best friend, is saying what  Liberals don’t want to be seen saying, spraying venom against anyone she doesn’t perceive as being “Astrayan”.  I’d like to raise both the tone of the debate and the plight of many people working in our state.

The cost of living has been spiralling out of control for several years, day to day costs are genuinely horrendous, most families could not get by without two incomes. Just the other day, would be replacement Premier, Liza Harvey, tweeted that the Liberals had kept the power going, neglecting to mention that under her party’s stewardship, the cost of power has become so expensive for families, power bills are now sent monthly with reminder messages to consumers that their bill is due in “three days” etc.

Meanwhile, real wages have been dropping dramatically over the last 18 months and available work is increasingly part time or casual. Many jobs are being converted to casual, as a method of circumventing holiday and sick pay requirements. Indeed, in reversal of past practice, casual rates are now often less than full time rates of pay – the carrot being, “If you work for us for a period of months, we might offer you full time employment at a higher rate of pay!”  If you look up from your screen, you may well see a sounder of swine flying by.

As I write this, at a mining camp in WA, I’m watching a group of workers, who’ve just been given the news, the sub-contractor company they work for, through no fault of that company, has lost the job to the main contractor. To add insult to injury, they are being asked to train their replacements, who are coming in to do the same job for almost exactly half the rate of pay – from $36.00 per hour down to $18.00ph. These guys, who were already working casually, albeit with continual work, will all be unemployed by the end of next week. The shareholders of the European based company will no doubt be ecstatic at this year’s AGM, with the cost reduction achieved.

All of these guys have kids, mortgages and bills to pay. At this stage, they don’t care about balancing budgets, burqas, Roe 8, Elizabeth Quay, or Metronet, they want a secure job, so they can pay their bills and look after their families, but nobody seems to care. And if anyone thinks this is an isolated incident, it has become the norm.

I’m going to say that I care, that’s why I’ve made the decision to stand for Midland – somebody has to fight for ordinary working people and their families.

Greg Ross

Candidate for Midland

Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party

 

Greg Ross – the Considered Alternative Safe Choice for Midland.

 

Fours years after campaigning very hard as an Independent for the Lower House seat of Kalamunda (see the story at this link: http://www.gregross.com.au/news-and-opinion/so-you-think-that-you-might-like-to-go-to-the-show-the-trials-of-a-first-time-battle-scarred-independent/ ), I unexpectedly found myself being asked by Julie Matheson if I would consider running as a candidate for her party – Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party.

It’s fair to say, I expressed an initial reluctance and declined the invitation to once again run for Kalamunda. What I had learnt during the 2013 campaign, was that the blue collar workers and ordinary people in the working class suburbs of the Kalamunda State electorate, such as Maddington, were very supportive, but the rusted on Liberal supporters of the more leafy sections of the electorate where not at all enthusiastic, burgeoning state debt and Liberal Party infighting were preferable to some roadtrain driver in a hi-vis shirt! I vowed to myself that if ever I was silly enough to put myself through the pain of a campaign again, it would be Midland – the long term Labor seat had almost gone to Liberal – Labor retained it by just 24 votes, such was the dissatisfaction of the electorate, yet I instinctively knew it had been a protest vote. I thought the sitting member would probably retire at the 2017 State election and Labor would offer a new face, but that hasn’t happened. Yes, a small redistribution has weighted the seat a little more in favour of Labor, but it’s only a small percentage, in reality Midland is now one of the most marginal seats in Australia, it’s on a knife edge politically. Yet, I am sure neither party is particularly interested in the voters and their day to day needs, other than as a means to gain power. Call me naïve, but I just don’t think it should be that way.

To add to the complexity, Pauline Hanson’s one Nation Party is now looming as the go-to party for a protest vote, but I wondered if voters would realise a vote for One Nation would always be a vote for the Liberal Party.

Having satisfied myself that Julie’s aims and aspirations were aligned with mine – I particularly liked the fact that she has a wonderful Aboriginal candidate for Fremantle, as well as people from all over the world (and Oz of course!) proudly displaying their Australian Citizenship certificates. I became even more interested when she told me that a friend, Russell Goodrick, was going to run for the East Metropolitan Upper House seat. I asked if I could offer myself as the Lower House candidate for Midland, and Julie readily agreed.

I rang my wife Ann (she’s overseas visiting her mum at the moment) and asked her what she thought. Her initial reaction was to have me certified for Graylands, but on her third glass of champagne, she became enthusiastic. I then emailed my employer (I’m a FIFO worker), he was marvellous and readily agreed to give me time off, even telling me I’ d be an excellent MP for the people. I’m still going to work some of the time, but hopefully I’ll have enough time to reach out to Midland people. We don’t have the enormous advertising budgets of the major parties and from past experience, most of the main stream media will no doubt treat us as no-hope losers who have no right offering ourselves for election, interesting, when you look back on how many journos fawned over Troy Buswell and Dean Nalder etc. I must add that in the last State election, apart from the marvellous, utterly ethical Post Newspapers under Bret Christian, I found 882 6PR Talkback Radio to be the fairest in terms of giving all candidates and parties an opportunity, no quarter was given, hard, but fair, exactly as it should be. It’s almost as if one needs permission from elite journalists to run as a candidate, but hey, that’s the game, roll with it. And so to the hard slog:

A vote for One Nation is a vote for the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party nationally is actively working against pensioners and people who through no fault of their own need welfare support, while here in WA, the Liberal / National Party coalition has proven to be financially disastrous – now they want to sell Western Power to try and claw money back, power prices will skyrocket even more. The Liberal Party is the party of big business – there’s nothing wrong with big successful business, however the ordinary worker is of no interest.

Labor will probably get in, but will unions allow the concerns and wishes of ordinary working people to take precedence over union demands and excesses? Labor has a number of candidates who’ve been in parliament for a long time and are desperate to get back into power and become Ministers once again. There’s nothing inherently wrong with ambition, however Ministers are very busy people, that’s why you usually don’t see them in their electorate until the next election. Sure, they might really like their electorate, but they don’t have time to service the people properly.

We’re all seeing the headlines with the same old promises being trotted out, only to be broken the morning after the election. We all know the money is not there to pay for the promises. If the Liberal Party gets back in, they’ll sell Western Power, then tell us things have got tighter and they can’t do the things they’ve promised – well, history tells us Barnett will continue on with a vanity project or two.

If Labor gets in, within a week, they’re going to tell us they’ve gone through the books and the situation is far worse than they were led to believe, consequently they’ll have to drop their promises. Yes, they’ll probably be telling the truth, but the reality is the promises will not eventuate.

Now I can’t make them keep their promises, as I believe we are too far in debt – we are already borrowing to pay the fortnightly public service wages bill, but I can go in to fight for you against utility price rises, aggressive public service and utility actions and Development Assessment Panels and councils selling off public land to developers and so on, as a voice not beholden to big business, unions, or a party run by the eastern states, with zero interest in Western Australia, other than as a piggy bank to be raided as necessary.

I know a lot of people wish to make a protest vote – we’ve seen how effective protest votes can be – look at Nick Xenophon in South Australia – he has no affiliation with Labor, Liberal, the Greens, or One Nation, his SOLE concerns are South Australia and the people who voted him in, I admire what he does, as a person of principle and my aim would be to look after the people of Midland and the good of WA, in the same way he does. Take a look at the candidates the Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party offers – people from all walks of life and many nationalities, we are a genuine Western Australian party, inclusive and determined to see small business boom, jobs created and reward for hard work, while at the same time looking after those who need a helping hand. I believe I am the safe, considered Lower House choice for Midland voters, whether disaffected, Labor or Liberal.

Kind regards

Greg

Greg Ross

Mob: 0418 953 275

E: gregory.w.ross@gmail.com

 

A Super Moon, down by the Swan Riverside.

Super Moon Monday 14th November 2016

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We (Ann and I) know there’ll be lots of superb photos taken  of the Super Moon with Perth City in the foreground and great shots taken in the country, so we thought we’d take a couple of photos in our local area. First we stood on the pedestrian bridge at Success Hill, then we wandered down to the shore of the Swan River beside the Guildford Bridge, just to see what we could get. As the Moon rose, as expected, it became too bright to properly photograph (without tripods and time!), but we were happy with what we managed to get over about an hour.

As I write this post (10.20pm), the Super Moon is, we are told, at it’s fullest and brightest, we can see it overhead from our north facing balconey, however clouds have formed and that big old sivler Moon, just peaks out now and then, although there is a silver glow seemingly across the sky. Nature is so beautiful.

Cheers

Hardy Hits the Big 70!

 

Hardy's 70th

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Great mate, fellow Kiwi Aucklander, Chris Hardy hit the big 70 this week, kicking off celebrations with a Boys Own lunch at Royal Perth Yacht Club, followed by a smokey night at Devlin’s Cigar Bar in Subiaco.

Hardy, now enjoying glorious retirement, is of course one of Perth’s best-known Bon Vivants, in days past, an architect of renown, past Commodore of Royal Perth Yacht Club – he can be seen in the wonderful Australia 11 video clip with Bob Hawke in that jacket. He also spent penance – sorry – time, as a Perth City Councillor in the days of the Nattrass reign, indeed the venerable Peter may be seen in some pictures

I didn’t manage to get a good shot of Tim (Chris’s son) – apologies, but later at Devlins, when his daughter Caroline turned up with the new bub, I got a couple of reasonable pics of granddad, Caroline and bub.

And yes, the ladies turned up in force at Devlins, demanding to know why lunch was a Boys Own affair – easy ladies, so we could all look at the gorgeous French universities sailing team!

And more apologies for the lack of pics of the ladies, but I had to leave and head home to my wife Ann, who’d flown in from Germany early in the afternoon – I’d pushed my luck as far as I dared!

 

Airbnb … A Bit to Air

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None of us can be in any doubt the internet has changed our world forever, the ability for anyone with access to the internet to instantly communicate has both despotic and democratic governments floundering as they struggle for ways to limit the flow of information, or, as demonstrated by the Australian census fiasco, even gather information. Suddenly everyone has a voice. Where once Joe Public could only be heard through a letter to the editor, or talk-back radio, these days if you’ve got something to say, you can put it out to the world on platforms such as Facebook, or Twitter, or indeed a Blog such as this and these mediums can be very powerful tools. If anyone despairs of actually talking to a company representative about an issue or complaint, don’t bother using their website complaint forms, try Tweeting your complaint, you’ll hear from a company representative within minutes as they genuinely attempt to resolve the issue – read shut you down!, or alternatively, ‘Like’ the company Facebook page, then post your (legitimate!) complaint, you’ll be astounded at the speed and reaction. There’s a social downside, where a newspaper editor or radio producer can edit, cut off or ignore the virulent, the vicious, or the insane, there’s seemingly no way to prevent these same trolls, under the protective cover of anonymity, from freely lashing out at anyone anytime. However perhaps the biggest effect of the internet, has been on sales methodology – whether you’re flogging vacuum cleaners, cars, houses, or jobs, the world wide web has the reach traditional forms of media, such as newspapers, can only dream of, as they watch their advertising income dwindle to death.  You can research and find the car, the house, the holiday, the airline you want, anything, without leaving your chair at home.

Need a cab? Tap your Uber app on your mobile computer (phone) and you can even see where available cars are, along with the driver’s name, phone number and car registration. It’s so convenient, such a brilliant concept, that it’s changed the taxi industry forever, perhaps decimated would be a better choice of word. Although Uber is a Dutch company, for whatever reasons, the concept was developed by a couple of Americans and they’ve built the world’s biggest taxi company without owning a single vehicle, or even having financial responsibility for those vehicles, hell they’ve even appropriated the word Uber from their next door neighbours!

Around the same time, (2008 / 2009), another couple of Americans who couldn’t afford overnight accommodation, came up with the Airbnb concept and the parallels with Uber are astounding – Airbnb is becoming the accommodation solution of choice for travellers around the world, yet Airbnb own no accommodation and have no financial risk in terms of bricks and mortar, they have a website where private home or apartment owners can list their property for rent, whether it’s an overnight stay or longer. And just like Uber, they’ve been operating on the fringes of legality, driving governments to distraction.

As any traveller will tell you, accommodation cost is the biggest killer of any holiday, or trip, far outweighing the cost of flights – if you live in Australia, you fly return to Europe for $1,600.00, which roughly equates to about four night’s accommodation in a reasonable hotel. Most of us have stayed with relatives of friends when travelling and house swapping has long been an option for some people, not to mention the time-honoured old hippy method of collapsing on somebody’s couch – these days appropriately named Couch Surfing and of course, all organised on the web. So an idea to let people advertise their house or apartment for short term lease and make some extra cash (once again the Uber parallel) was at once both brilliant and a no-brainer.

We started using Airbnb four or five years ago, in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, with great success, even making friends with some owners. All homes have quirks or faults, or maybe a cat that needs feeding and owners would leave a written list of where the cat food was, or how to run the hi fi, what public transport there was, where local shopping centres were and great places to visit etc. It was fun, a lot cheaper than hotels and in way, you felt like a local. We reached a point where we couldn’t imagine returning to using hotels. But sadly, things have changed.

Airbnb appears to have no control systems in place to establish the veracity of what is being offered, sure they offer a genuine resolution system, but, if you’ve arrived in a strange city and found yourself at a place that’s not as advertised, or is not in a suitable condition to use, the reality is you’re in trouble. At least with a hotel, you can hot foot it straight down to reception and get the matter sorted very quickly, with Airbnb, resolution at best will mean getting your money back, at some point! Meanwhile, you either put up with what you find, or pay out more money to stay at a hotel. Our recent experiences indicate some blatant fraudulent advertising and an increasing number of places needing urgent maintenance. Airbnb does not appear to be imposing standards or conducting inspections of advertised properties. I’ve reached the conclusion the travelling consumer is of no importance to Airbnb, other than a source of income.

I am going to write about three recent experiences to illustrate the current risk of renting through Airbnb.

Sydney  (Australia) Feb 2015:  We rented a Barangaroo apartment for two days, it looked fabulous on the website, but when we got there, although the apartment was relatively new, we found the bed was a mattress on the floor and there were no tables or chairs, just a sofa and from memory, the TV didn’t work. We contacted the owner, she apologised, giving some excuse re running out of time etc, telling us she’d like us to stay and if we would, she’d refund some money as an act of good faith. We agreed – it was too hard to move and she said she’d drop the money off. Of course, she never did and never answered any more phone calls.

Weimar (Germany) Dec 2015: This was a real eye opener, although the apartment was close to the old town square as promised, it was unfit for habitation, the second bedroom was actually the lounge, the fridge didn’t work, there were bare electrical wires hanging down in every room and the plug socket in the bathroom actually came out of the wall, exposing bare wires when  you inserted a hair dryer or shaver. Worse was to come, the double bed collapsed during the night. When we removed the mattress, we found broken plastic slats had been broken previously and just inserted back in as best they would fit. We contacted the owner who told us a new fridge was on the way, she’d organised for the electrical work and, expressing surprise at the bed condition, she agreed to have it looked at. As with the Sydney owner, during our four day stay, we neither saw nor heard from her again. A few months later, my wife noticed on the Airbnb site that other people were complaining about the broken bed and the other issues. The lying bitch had no intention of fixing anything and Airbnb were obviously quite happy to let the situation continue.

Amsterdam (Netherlands) Aug 2016: The apartment was advertised as two bedrooms, with a courtyard and ample storage for clothes etc. We were a touch concerned, as in the two days before we were due to arrive, my wife had tried several times to get instructions for key handover etc, but the only responses she got, were strangely generic – “Hi, hope you’ll have a great time, Sam.” When we arrived at the pre-appointed time, it was pouring with rain and there was nobody to greet us. After about five minutes an apartment owner from the same block took pity on us and let us into the foyer, though by now we were soaking wet, however she was concerned about the cat – apparently it had gone missing after the previous people had stayed at the apartment we were renting. Then 15 minutes later, a nice young guy turned up with the keys. Apparently he wasn’t Sam and he had no idea where the apartment was in the complex, I had to tell him! He let us in, apologising for his lack of knowledge, explaining that his job was to deliver keys, which puzzled us. Anyhow, off he scooted.

Then we discovered that although it was a two bedroom apartment, the second bedroom was locked and the door handle had been removed! The backdoor to the courtyard was locked with no key to be found and the one available wardrobe was full of clothes. We rang ‘Sam.’ He at first said it was raining so we wouldn’t need the courtyard!  He did however give the impression of being shocked re the second bedroom told us to wait and he’d come round as soon as possible. By now we’d wasted an hour and a half. Half an hour later, another nice young bloke turned up, his name wasn’t Sam either. We showed him the Airbnb website pics and description of the place and the locked second bedroom door etc. He’d never seen the apartment either and no idea what to do. By now, I had become very angry, we explained to him that my wife’s mother was travelling with us, she was a smoker, which is why we’d specifically taken an apartment with a courtyard. He admitted there was nothing he could do about the second bedroom and we all searched for a backdoor key. I eventually tried a key that was in the main bedroom window lock and it worked. I told him it wasn’t satisfactory, however my mother in law was willing to sleep in the couch in the lounge, but we’d want the fee reduced by 100 euros to match the going price of one bedroom apartments. He said he’d have to ring his boss. It turned out he worked for what was basically a real estate company looking after Airbnb rentals, he had no idea who owned the apartment or where to even contact them. The company agreed to the discount and by now, some three hours lost and still wet, we resignedly agreed to stay. Off went whatever his name was, apologising profusely. Then we discovered the bare wires for the dining room table lights and later that the plugs for both the spa bath and the washbasin were broken.

I Tweeted my displeasure to Airbnb and they came back almost instantly asking for the  booking number etc. I told them that although it was false advertising, fraudulent really, we’d decided it was just too hard to find another place at that point in time and that the agents had agreed to a refund, so we’d accept the situation. As I write this, some five days later, there is no sign of the refund and some other poor sucker has posted a complaint on Airbnb about the fraudulent two bedroom claim. However the description of the place has been changed from two bedrooms to one.

Sadly Airbnb has changed from what was a great concept, to a “Come in suckers!” rip off of genuine travellers. Our experience is they are letting owners get away with shoddy, badly maintained apartments and let’s be brutally honest, fraudulent advertising. There are obviously no checks and balances, worse, real estate agents have got involved, as they can see a quick buck and real estate agents have never had any interest in tenants or renters. When you combine those factors with fraudulent, lying owners, purposely letting out substandard dwellings to make a quick buck, suddenly hotels look very attractive.