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The Outsider: The freeway to Damascus


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Today, life gets just too hard on the campaign trail, the South-Eastern Freeway becomes the Road to Damascus, our political culinary come-down, and a special celebration of International Women’s Day.

It’s all too hard

Which MP has been accused by volunteers of “giving up”?

Frustrated vollies say the MP’s campaign has been slowing down to a crawl because the pollie is convinced a loss is on the way.

Last time we looked at the less than lion-hearted pollie’s electoral position, a loss wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

As implausible as this sounds – could it be that they know something that we don’t?


I can see clearly now

Back in the noughties, decisions taken by the Mt Barker council made the town the fastest-growing non-coastal centre in Australia.

Then the State Government said  – “ok we’ll give you more of what you want”, and announced plans to rezone rural land to massively expand the town boundaries.

Faced with a community revolt, the council decided that growth was bad and squealed long and loud.

This week, it was announced that the first significant development in the rezoned land would go ahead and – surprise, surprise – the council is pro-growth once again.

Here’s what Mayor Anne Ferguson said in July 2010:

“The massive and rapid growth … will put enormous pressure on health and education and public transport and waste water and road works.  It just creates a whole host of negative impacts that we really don’t need to deal with. How big a suburb would that be? Can you imagine 9,000 homes? I can’t, I can’t. I just can’t visually do that.”

Here’s what she said in today’s Advertiser about the 1800-allotment “Aston Hills” development, the first step on the road to those 9000 homes:

“The Aston Hills development will deliver a significant part of the future vision for Mt Barker, to preserve our lifestyle and provide a safe and family-friendly area to live, work and visit. We anticipate future developments to meet or exceed these high standards.”

Infrastructure is all hunky-dory, she adds. “… It’s a big and exciting future.”

Time heals all wounds. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em. Shit happens. What goes around, comes around.

You choose the appropriate cliche.

Mayor Anne Ferguson speaking out against evil development at a public meeting in 2010.

Mayor Anne Ferguson speaking out against evil development at a public meeting in 2010.

Wok’s happening?

The economy is in the toilet, the Libs haven’t released detailed policies on huge areas of state importance, and Labor’s solution to our budget problems is to use The Secret in the hope that cheques will be magically drawn to us through the power of our positive thinking.

Which makes it a little depressing that the big story of the week (for some) is the fact that Steven Marshall once invested in some “Wokinabox” franchises.

The presentation of the story – which appears to be apropos of absolutely nothing – also misses the point.

The question here is not why Marshall didn’t reveal the investment.

Rather, what does it say about South Australia that the successor to Don Dunstan – both in seat and, it seems likely, in role – has sunk so low on the culinary food chain?

In the space of a generation we’ve gone from the Bacchanalia of Don’s Table to $4.95 noodles served in a cardboard box.

We’ve come so far

International Women’s Day is upon us, just a week after the State-sponsored Celebration of the Objectification of Women – less formally known as the Clipsal 500 .

The enlightened “matchmaking service”, Elite Singles, decided to celebrate the day by surveying  50 of their “most dynamic singles” about their dating lives.

One of the findings was this: “An enormous 58% of respondents said that having a man open a door for them or carry their luggage is ‘extremely attractive.’ Indeed it seems there was no correlation between chivalry and female empowerment.”

Meanwhile, state women’s minister Gail Gago has today announced funding for a digital media campaign to build self-esteem in young girls.

It’s the media’s fault, apparently, that young women and girls are faced with intense pressure to conform to “a particular set of beauty standards”.

It has nothing to do, of course, with lithe models parading in bikinis and skimpy clothing for the entertainment of men at events like the state-sponsored Clipsal.


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