local

Voting


This weekend just past, I had to vote in the local government elections in New South Wales, Australia. Voting is compulsory here or you cop a small fine. I think it is currently $50-55.00 AU for local government elections. Many chose to pay the fine, while others cast a ‘donkey’ vote, or one that was useless deliberately. Some put down the US president as a choice, while other doodled on the ballot paper. Some others probably tried to vote correctly but did the wrong thing. Many votes were passed in as invalid.

In the local government area where I live, I can’t say that I knew much about the various candidates – with the exception of one whom I regard as a waste of space in local government. Needless to say I didn’t vote for him. I found myself simply voting along traditional lines because I knew no better.

Most candidates are viewed as clowns or worse in elections here, which is quite a shame. Serving one’s country in government should be seen as an honourable profession. However, it is not and those who actually have something useful to offer turn away from the process because of the joke that government is often perceived to be. Those who really can make a difference are choosing to avoid serving in government and that is a real shame.

Astronomers’ Monument – Lightning Ridge


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The ‘Astronomers’ Monument’ is located at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia. It is another of those strange sights to be found in that town. The monument is simply a local’s hobby, being built as a memorial to famous astronomers.

The Astronomers’ Monument can be found on the self-drive ‘Red Car Door Tour’ at Lightning Ridge. Visit the Visitor’s Centre at Lightning Ridge for a brochure.

SWOOPING BIRDS


 

It was the official first day of Spring here in Australia. However, Spring has really been with us here for quite some weeks now, given the very warm days and bushfires we have already experienced. In fact August 2009 was the hottest on record.

plovers and chicks Given that it is Spring it is time for a new season of new growth in the gardens and of new birth in the surrounding wildlife here in Tea Gardens (though it isn’t that clear cut obviously) and there is plenty of wildlife here.

On the way home from work today I was swooped by a Magpie – several times. The Magpie does this in its breeding season to drive off potential threats to its nest and young. Recently I have also been savagely swooped by the local plovers, which attack with even more ferocity than the Magpie.

The plovers had been defending their nest for some weeks prior to their eggs hatching. Their nest was beside the artificial lake in the centre of the village where I work at Tea Gardens Grange. The nest is just a small spot on the ground on which the eggs are laid. In this case their were four. They seemed to sit on the eggs for between 4 and 6 weeks before the young were hatched – swooping the entire time if you ventured too close, as well as making plenty of noise. One of the adults sometimes seemed to pretend to have a bad leg as it hobbled away from the nest in an attempt to get any threats to follow it.

At the moment there are two remaining chicks that are growing fairly rapidly now. The parents are still defending their young with menace.