Monthly Archives: August 2012

“I thought this was a kosher school, but I see it’s full of pigs” – memories of high school Afrikaans

Out of the blue, for no reason at all, I found myself recently thinking about my high school Afrikaans teacher, Mr H, a character from my school days in South Africa in the early 1990s.

Mr H was a short, little man with glasses, a thin moustache, balding and bloody terrifying – well that’s how I remember him – we’re talking 1990 or 1991!

His most famous line, one I will never forget until my dying day was yelled out one afternoon after lunch break, probably as we sat behind our desks listening to Mr H read out aloud, that old South African literary classic “Kringe in die bos” (Circles in the Forest) by Dalene Matthee.

Now, I should first point that we were all jewish kids at jewish day school in Johannesburg.

And I remember we had a double period at the end of the day, where we had to sit and listen to Mr H, in his posh Afrikaans read aloud, with dramatic pauses in all the right places, a story set in the Knysa forests about woodcutters and an elephant called “Old Foot”.

God help anyone who forgot their copy of “Kring in die bos” at home…God help anyone who did not prepare or do their homework.

Anyway, the words that leapt out of Mr H’s mouth one afternoon, in that dim classroom as we all probably thought about going home, or rugby, or girls or that new cartoon show, The Simpsons, and accompanied by the evilest look you can imagine were:

“I thought this was a kosher school, but I see its full of pigs!”

I don’t remember anyone laughing at the time, but we certainly laughed about it later. It was an outrageous thing to say and I wonder if it was a line he kept tucked in his back pocket for special occassions, because surely it could not just have come out fully formed like that.

Mr H was prone to quite a few outrageous one-liners, which I still remember quite vividly. One of his best lines and one said on a few occassions was:

“Barbare, morone, idiote”

Translation:

“Barbarians, morons, idiots”

Another, reserved for people who forgot their copies of ‘Kringe in die Bos’ or their homework:

“[insert classmates name]…do you want me to lick your arse for you too?”

Funny the things you remember from your school days!

My obsession with New York-style coffee

There’s a little Starbucks that’s opened across from Flinders Station, a tiny kiosk of a shop, and while I have, in the past, sworn off such establishments, I have found myself ordered my morning coffee there most mornings before work since it opened a few weeks ago.

Why go to Starbucks?

After all Australia is a country that takes its coffee-making extremely seriously, and some over here might even suggest – oh the blasphemy! – that Australian’s could teach Italians a thing or two about a good coffee, that’s after Italian immigrants taught us how to make it in the first place.

But since visiting New York last year and drinking a lot of cheap “drip” coffee , I am drawn to the brewed coffee they sell at Starbucks.

It’s cheap too – $2.90 for a “grande”, as opposed to the $5 I paid when I made the mistake of ordering a “large” cappucino in the little art deco kiosk in the underground arcade under Flinders Street. The barista behind the counter (tattoos, laid-back, shuffling along like he’s doing the moon walk, makes coffee like he was born in front of an espresso machine) did point out the large cup as if to make sure I really wanted it before nonchalantly asking that I hand over five bucks.

(It’s the kind of place, where people sort out their own change. While I was waiting for my drink, a guy stuck a $20 buck note under an empty coffee cup that serves as the till and helped himself to a $10 and $5 note – a little too la de da for me!)

But back to New York and drip coffee.

It’s a one dimensional drink, it has none of the richness and flavour of a proper Australian coffee (I am always amazed at the consistently good standard of coffee in even the most ordinary, dreary café in Melbourne).

Drip coffee is bland, boring, quite watery and invariably served so hot you peel off a layer of skin from the inside of your mouth when you drink it.

But drink it do – and as if I am Proust dipping Madeleine cake into tea – it all comes back to me.

I am sitting in a working class café, on a stool at a bench by the window looking out onto a grubby street in Brooklyn, eating the purplest blueberry bagel you could imagine, wrapped in wax paper.

The bread is chewy and warm and almost violet in colour, flowing with rivers of dark blueberry and topped with about a whole philadelphia-tub’s worth of cream cheese.

It was a sweet moment – the uncool, coolness of Brooklyn (liquor stores with the neon signs in the window, old ladies in scarves pulling their groceries in wire trolleys, old-fashioned bookshops, terrace housing, an air of decrepitude, but distinctly New Yorkan, with Manhattan off somewhere in the distance).

I savoured that bagel. Man did I savour it. Like I was De Niro in a Scorcese flick. Or maybe a character in a Woody Allen film, the neurotic jew about to see his analyst.

Sipping my coffee, biting chunks out of the bagel. browsing a pile of magazines at the window, looking out at Brooklynites passing by…

And so I find myself queuing outside Starbucks on the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth in downtown Melbourne.

There’s a little bit (a tiny, tiny bit) of New York in Melbourne. The yellow taxi cabs for one rushing by and occassionally hooting. People huddled against the cold. The underground subway behind me leading into the train station. The high-rise towers down Elizabeth Street and up towards the Paris end of Collins Street.

Three times they have got my order wrong at Starbucks. Twice they’ve told me they have run out of brewed coffee and yet I come back.

Carry my steaming mug of blandness across the street, remembering Brooklyn, the bagel and the coffee and how I felt.

Now if only I could find a decent bagel store.

If Twitter decided our next prime minister…

If the number of Twitter followers decided who should be Australia’s next prime minister, then Kevin Rudd would win in a landslide.

Currently K-Rudd has over 1.1 million Twitter followers making him by far the most popular tweeting politician in Australia, with four times as many followers as our prime minister, Julia Gillard.

And with over 5,000 tweets, Kevin Rudd is also the most active politician on the social media site.

Tony Abbott (our next prime minister it seems) has around 76,000 followers, a lot fewer than the 116,000 who follow his main Liberal (but far more enlightened) rival, Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull – the shadow communications minister – is also the second highest tweeter after Kevin Rudd.

It is interesting (and perhaps telling) that in both the case of the prime minister and leader of the opposition – they have less of an audience on Twitter than their main party rivals.

Interestingly opposition immigration minister Scott Morrison is third highest tweeter, but not many people appear interested in what he tweets – he has less than 8,000 followers.

Here’s the most followed (perhaps most popular) politicians on Twitter as of August 21 (more commentary underneath):

Politician Followers Tweets
  1. Kevin Rudd
1.143 million 5,092
  1. Julia Gillard
263,000 1,043
  1. Malcolm Turnbull
116,000 4,580
  1. Tony Abbott
76,000 841
  1. Joe Hockey
45,000 962
  1. Wayne Swan
21,000 770
  1. Bob Carr
18,000 742
  1. Julie Bishop
16,000 887
  1. Peter Garrett
14,000 690
  1. Bill Shorten
13,000 358
  1. Anthony Albanese
12,000 1,271
  1. Rob Oakeshott
11,000 428
  1. Barnaby Joyce
10,000 776
  1. Penny Wong
10,000 161
  1. Scott Morrison
7,900 3,296
  1. Greg Hunt
7,000 899
  1. Andrew Robb
6,900 553
  1. Chris Bowen
6,600 298
  1. Wyatt Roy*
6,500 278
  1. Bob Katter
5,800 136
  1. Simon Crean
4,800 270
  1. Eric Abetz
3,600 646

* If you are wondering who Wyatt Roy is, he is Australia’s youngest MP.

Of course it would be naïve of me to even suggest that the number of twitter followers correlates with a Federal election result.

But the observation can surely be made, that if you follow someone on Twitter you are interested in hearing what they have to say, whether you agree or not.

Secondly the number of Twitter followers you have must say something about the willingness of younger people to listen to what you have to say. In this regard, it appears the youth of Australia (many of whom may not yet be old enough to vote) appear to be more interested in what Gillard and Rudd have to say then Abbott and Hockey.

And thirdly, while it might not win you an election, few would argue that Twitter has now surpassed Facebook as the most influential social media platform – just think of how quickly an ill-thought out tweet can ruin a reputation.

Lastly, I should point out that Senator Stephen Conroy, Australia’s communications and broadband minister – and someone advocating for censorship of the internet via a government filer – does not have a twitter account as far as I can garner.

Conroy’s fake Twitter account – as the minister for censorship and facism has around 370 followers.

Other prominent politicians who are not on Twitter include Christopher Pyne and Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

Tony Abbott and asylum seekers: another demonization opportunity

There can be no doubt that Tony Abbott, if he is elected prime minister at the next federal elections will take a hardline, perhaps even extremist approach, to asylum seeks arriving by boat.

Indeed the opposition leader is tackling the issue of boat people in the same way he has gone about dealing with the carbon tax; by demonising the matter.

According to Abbott, asylum seekers arriving by boat (or any means bar holding a visa) are criminals.

Last week he was in conversation with ABC Melbourne 774’s Jon Faine – never one to step back in an argument.

This is the relevant bit in the debate, following Abbott’s conjecture that Nauru was “good policy”

Abbott: We’ve had 22,000 illegal arrivals, almost 400 illegal boats,”

Faine: They are not illegal. Tony Abbott, do I need to remind you that the use of words in this is critical? They are not illegal arrivals. There is nothing illegal about seeking asylum when you are a refugee.

Abbott: Well, I am making my point.

Faine: So am I. And it has been made to you before

Then Abbott tries to change tack and talk about “untold tragedies” and shift the blame to the government’s inability to adopt the Coalition’s policy, which he says they are now finally doing.

(You can listen to the whole interview here)

Let’s be clear – Abbott has certainly made it plain that he equates those that seek asylum by coming to Australia by boat as nothing more than criminals.

Here’s what he said about them in July in an interview on ABC Radio Perth:

“I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door. And I’m all in favour of Australia having a healthy and compassionate refugee and humanitarian intake program. I think the people we accept should be coming the right way and not the wrong way. If you pay a people-smuggler, if you jump the queue, if you take yourself and your family on a leaky boat, that’s doing the wrong thing, not the right thing, and we shouldn’t encourage it.”

Essentially, this is just a re-hash of John Howard’s fiery assertion in 2001 at the height of his power that: “We will decide who comes here and under what circumstances they do.”

There’s an excellent rebuttal piece to Abbott in The Drum written by Julian Burnside, QC, a barrister and human rights advocate, who makes the point that there is “no queue when you run for your life”.

Burnside goes on to write: “The recent execution of an Afghan woman by the Taliban (another example of a very well-established pattern) gives some idea of why people seek asylum.

“A significant proportion of boat-people in the past 15 years have been Afghan Hazaras fleeing the Taliban.”

He then points out that firstly, the Australian embassy in Kabul is kept secret for security reasons, and then, even if a refugee could find it, (Burnside quotes from the Department of Foreign Affairs website) that the “Australian Embassy in Kabul has no visa function”.

So, there’s no front door for many refugees – only the backdoor (or the illegal route a Abbott prefers to call it)- even if that be on a dangerous, unseaworthy craft – it’s better than torture and persecution.

Burnside also points out, what should be bleeding obvious on both sides of politics, that these are people to whom “we owe a duty of protection according to our own laws, and according to the obligations we voluntarily undertook when we signed the Refugees Convention”.

Burnside also reminds us that Abbott, a well-known Christian who once trained to be a member of the clergy, is vilifying a group of people, many of whom are Muslims.

“It is inconceivable that he failed to notice that some people, hearing his comments about boat-people being “un-Christian”, would have understood him as criticizing boat-people because they are Muslim, not Christian,” says Burnside.

“It is a sad reflection of the depths to which political debate has fallen in this country that an avowed Christian could stoop to such shabby tactic.”

And it’s a sad reflection on our society that opinion polls point to Abbott winning power at the next election.

If they do, we’ll get the government we’ve voted for – conservative to the extreme and hell-bent on turning the clock backwards (even beyond the Howard-era compromise that’s being put in place) on refugees, the environment, labour relations and many other important issues.

Why are we obsessed with boat people?

This article first appeared in Crikey (sister publication to the website I write for Property Observer) and behind the pay-wall. I’ve also included some of the comments my story generated underneath.

For all the eight years I have lived in Australia — I am now a permanent resident — I  have never understood the obsession we have with people who arrive by boat and the apparently desperate need for some sort of policy that “stops the boats”.

“Stop the boats” — these three words make me think of an invading horde, not a group of mostly desperate people taking extreme and dangerous (often life-threatening) measures to make a life in Australia.

There’s talk in the so-called expert asylum seeker proposal from Australian defence force chief Angus Houston of a “no advantage” policy for boat people. As if there really is some kind of “advantage” gained by arriving in a derelict craft across choppy seas to be placed in detention for an indefinite length of time with the hope of being granted the right to stay.

The only people who are advantaged are people such as me, who come to Australia with an education, skills, find a job, get a visa and are able to call Australia home and fit into society like the proverbial hand in a glove.

But I have never understood the near hysteria (raised to maximum pitch by the media) of so many people in this country opposed to people who arrive by boat. Governments seem to come and go based on how good they are at deterring boat arrivals just as much as by their ability to manage the economy and keep the unemployment rate down.

“Illegal” boat arrivals are a tiny “problem” that hardly makes a dent in the fabric of our society, except to give us the opportunity to expand our multicultural tapestry.

The recommendations in the asylum seeker report by Houston recommends increasing Australia’s intake to 27,000 within the next five years from current level of just 13,000.

Figures from the Department of Immigration reveal Australia received 168,000 new migrants through its various visa schemes in 2010-11 with 185,000 expected in this financial year. Up until July 9 this year 5459 people made the journey to Australia via boat, last year there were 4565 and in 2010 there 6555. Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics put the number of humanitarian visas at less then 10,000 for 2009-2010.

So we are talking about less than 10% of all visas being granted on humanitarian grounds and less than 5% all migrants arriving in Australia via boat.

We are a rich country, with jobs for nearly everyone (an unemployment rate the envy of the First World) and a proud history of building out culture on the backs of waves of migrants from all parts of the world. If you visit a suburb such as Footscray in Melbourne, you’ll find east African restaurants, many of which would have been started by refugees, alongside the popular Vietnamese eateries.

Thankfully there are many humanitarians in this country who actually believe in the plight of desperate refugees, not an unrecognisable Labor government (on this issue anyway), who is intent on adopting any policy that may revive its fortunes in the polls, no matter how far its strays from its humanitarian principles.

As I understand it, Labor is in favour of circumventing our pledge on human rights under UN agreements to get the Malaysia people swap deal through — all in the name of politics, votes and power.

People swap — as if we’re trading gold, silver or cotton.

But at least I can understand the politics. I don’t get the core reason we are so obsessed with these desperate people, who make up a tiny proportion of new immigrants to Australia

Perhaps I have not been here long enough. Perhaps I am too much of a lefty. Perhaps I am soft.

People talk about refugees applying through the normal channels and not “jumping the queue”. As if they were standing in line for tickets to the grand final.

But what queue are we talking about? Do those displaced in countless domestic conflicts around the world come to a crossroads with two arrows — one pointing to the left saying “Persecution this way” and the other point to the right saying “Australian humanitarian visa this way”?

Anyone who thinks a refugee is taking the easy way out by jumping on a boat and “jumping the queue” should watch the film In this world by acclaimed British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom about Afghan refugees journey fleeing a Pakistani refugee camp for a better life in London to get a sense of what it really means to be a refugee.

It includes a scene of families couped up in a cargo container, with not enough air so that when the ship arrives at its destination in western Europe, most of the people are already dead.

Surely there is space for the tiny numbers of people who come by boat, without all the political game playing, which has been going on long before I landed on these shores.

Perhaps you can let in fewer of my kind in future and make room for those who don’t really have any choice.

Comments from Crikey readers.

  1. ELIZABETH THORNTON

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

That is silly Larry.You have not read the rules.

Media requires stimulation of tired brain cells.

Media inflicts great pain on anyone who introduces ethical discussion.

media run Australia mostly by courtesy of Rupert murdoch.

Murdoch plays with very nasty persons

Boat people are “Catchy”

Boat people make great pictures especially children.

Boat people sound like terrorists and often look like terrorists {Leaving aside certain Norwegians and Americans who are exceptions to the terrorist rules}

The war against the Axis of Evil has created an opportunity for all the Bigots and Racists to feel free to express their contempt of anyone not like them.

  1. TINMAN_AU

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

I don’t get why we don’t process these people at our embassy in whatever country they are in and then just fly them here once cleared.

Be a whole lot cheaper than the Naru thing…

  1. ARTY

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

Larry , you can get a response to your question if you can be satisfied with slogans and abuse.

Otherwise don’t bother waiting.

  1. MERLOT

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

Larry, the political game playing is because “stop the boats” means 3 completely different things to the 3 different parties with infinite variations in between.

For the Greens and your sense of the phrase – “stop the boats” means denying legitimate refugees the right to claim asylum on Australian soil

For the ALP “stop the boats” means a specific preventative measure to cut down the 500+ death toll from drowning.

For the Coalition “Stop the boats” means stopping refugees from coming by boat.

A pox on all 3 parties I say.

The ALP as the governing party should have negotiated with the Greens after the pattern of boat deaths became obvious instead of trying to wedge the coalition which was futile.

The Greens had a proven opportunity to pass the Malaysian solution with a sunset clause and an increased intake, but they chose to ignore the short term problem of people drowning because for them allowing Malaysia was like Meg Lees voting for the GST; political suicide.

The Coalition chose to oppose the ALP because in good faith they believe the John Howard solution worked, and cynically because they know that every day the issue is in the headlines is a good day for them.

It’s proven almost impossible for me to have a conversation with people about the need to stop people drowning now without being put into an anti-refugee box which I’m not since I support a liberal refugee intake policy. I find the discussions with the left exactly the same as trying the convince the right on the need for action on climate change; it’s like arguing with an immovable object and my motives get questioned. None of which particularly helps refugees who are now stuck with a ‘free range’ Nauru solution with no expiry date and no end in sight.

A pox on all 3 political parties AND their members who can’t differentiate between short term problems and long term solutions.

  1. ARTY

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

I am with you Merlot.

Even the simpliest conversation is impossible, unless it is a conversation with one’s self. With anyone else it soon descends into the the sickening fog of hatred.

What would Jesus do?

Weep.

  1. DAVID HAND

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

Larry,
You write a classic piece of left elite prose, that adds nothing. I can dig out a piece written by any luminary last year, the year bfore that or even earlier that puts out all the points you make. So I’m not sure why Crikey put this up for publication, apart from an editorial decision to campaign for the Greens.

The flaw in left elite thinking, as exemplified by you, is that you know better, that you are morally superior and that somehow the Australian public have been duped by some shock jock into being afraid of boat people.

Let me state this very simply so you can understand it. Middle Australia does not want the boats to come. I’ll repeat it so we are clear. They don’t want the boats to come. Your article sheds no light whatsoever on why that is. It rests on an elitiist view that it is some sort of irrational obsession. While the left continues to believe that, I will be assaulted almost daily by shrill, superior, self righteous and smug rants such as yours.

In contrast, both major parties know that adopting the Greens policy of on shore processing and letting anyone who turns up into the country is electoral death. Most people don’t want it.

You have no insight at all about why that is so. Here’s a possible insight. The entire basis of left elite thinking about who are actually on the boats is not what everyone else thinks. Most people think customers of people smugglers are like you. Oh, and like me. I’m an economic migrant too.

  1. COL CAMPEY

Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

The refugees on boats issue is another addition to a long list of reasons why we’d be better off with non-partisan government. See
colflower.blogspot.com.au

  1. NOODLE BAR

Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

I’m from middle Australia. Born here. I have never comprehended the whole “stop the boats” thing either. I did write a letter to the Government for Get Up suggesting that they be re-named “potential tax payers” and welcomed. Also pointed out that anything when applied to a group with “solution” in the title sounds somewhat final.

  1. KEVIN TYERMAN

Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:18 am | Permalink

David Hand responded:
Let me state this very simply so you can understand it. Middle Australia does not want the boats to come. I’ll repeat it so we are clear. They don’t want the boats to come. 

I am afraid that I am not an economic migrant – can you please define “Middle Australia “, and why you/they/whoever think it is “elitist” to be concerned by the needs of other humans in a much worse situation than themselves?

  1. CML

Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:23 am | Permalink

Good try Larry, but for once I agree with DH. The majority of
Australians do not want refugees, particularly of the boat variety,
coming willy-nilly to this country. I think its an equity thing, an
orderly process thing, whatever.
Having followed the asylum seeker “problem” for many years, I think
it is more a dislike of fundamentalist religious types, rather than anything
to do with racism. There are known religious groups who do not readily
integrate into western societies – witness what is happening in places
like France – and maybe many people here in Oz do not want to see
the same social problems erupt here.
There is also the so-called economic versus genuine refugee debate,
the security thing and the huge costs involved. Seems strange to me
that there are so few asylum seekers refused entry. Then we pay for it
later with people smugglers gaining entry along with those who
attempt terrorist attacks and those who preach jihad – or something
similar. Its a bit late to undo this kind of damage once these people
have gained citizenship (or permanent residency).
I think we can do all this stuff much better, and more carfully, than just
an open slather approach.

  1. DAVID HAND

Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

Kevin,
“Middle Australia” is a loose description of Australian’s who are not rusted on Labor/Green supporters or Liberal/National supporters. They’re the people who reduced Labor to 7 seats in the last election. They are firmly in the coalition camp at the moment, giving Jilia’s government the most dismal polling in living memory. Some of them might shift a bit now as the boat people issue has become bi-partisan with Labor re-embracing much of coalition policy.

Being concerned about the needs of other humans is not elitist. Having a view that the majority of voters are too stupid to make up their own mind about an issue and labeling them as “hysterical” is elitist. The left has made its mind up that middle australia has been duped by shock jocks.

Larry here even believes that Labor has moved simply because of votes and power, missing completely the possibility that the Houston panel, by finding in favour of deterrence, may actually be promoting good policy and Julia has been handed a chance to back down and bow to the will of the people.

Don’t forget that one in twenty people who get on a boat drown. Greens policy perpetuates that outcome.

  1. DAVID HAND

Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

Here’s a great example about what gives so many of us the shits. Front page of ttoday’s Australian. An asylum boat puts out a distress call. A container vessel is asked by Australian authorities to rescue them, the passengers are transferred off the “distressed” boat and the Indonesian crew promptly sail off to Indonesia in a boat that is suddenly not “distressed” any more.

We are being had.

Seven Olympic sports we could definitely do without…

The London Olympics have come and gone and once again – as is the case every four years-  we’ve watched sports, that were they to be televised any other time of the year, we’d be changing the channel faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 metre dash.

I am talking about sports we only care about if an Australian is a medal contender, but if someone asked you the rules or who the current world champion is, you would not have a clue.

These are sports which only garner headlines in the back pages of newspapers at Olympic time and disappear without a trace soon after.

These are sports that are so marginal, that if we really must include them, we should also include made-for-television nonsense like ‘Wipeout’ and ‘Gladiators’. At least they’d be entertaining!

These are sports that should come with a warning – “It’s worse than watching lawn bowls”

So here’s my list of 7 Olympic sports I’d pull before we have to endure them again in Rio in 2016.

Sailing

Any sport that requires you to use a pair of binoculars should immediately get the boot. Honestly, who really wants too watch a bunch of boats bobbing about in the middle ocean chasing each other around buoys with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Rubbish! I think this hilarious Irish commentary sums up my feelings about the sport.

Badmington

There’s a reason they don’t play squash at the Olympics. Its boring! So why do we have to watch Badmington. Does anybody enjoy watching people on opposite sides of a tall net, doing their best impression of swatting at a fly? It’s such a terrible spectator sport that people actually lost on purpose at these Olympics (that’s right four teams were disqualified for not trying hard enough)

Synchronised swimming

I ask you? Do we have ballet on ice at the Olympics? Is there a gold medal for the cha-cha? No! And you know why – because that would be stupid. So is this ridiculous “sport”. And it’s discriminatory – the only Olympic sport (aside from rhythmic gymnastics – see below) for women only.

Rhythmic gymnastics

See comments for synchronised swimming. We could at least laugh if men were also twirling ribbons and playing with balls.

Diving

Can anyone with their naked eyes judge – apart from a belly flop – that the dive of a gold medallist is better than that of the silver medallist? It’s impossible. I cannot for the life of me tell a good dive from a bad one.

Shooting

Should we be glorifying guns at a sporting event that’s all about people from all around the world coming together to compete on the world stage in a spirit of comraderie and good will. The Olympic spirit etc. Plus its boring. No one watches this event except to see who won gold.

Trampoline

Seriously? Why not include the merry-go-round, jungle gym and swings? Dreadful!

So let’s ditch these sports and include these far worthier alternatives…

Rugby Sevens

Now a truly world game that would draw huge crowds and show the world the nimble-footed Fijians, Samoans and the best of the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks, English, Irish, Welsh and French. Even the Americans and Canadians and a team from China could compete.

T20 Cricket

What better way to launch cricket on the global stage. T20 is a version of the game that is guaranteed to yield a few upsets and it’s fast paced, there’s lots of action and there’s always the possibility that a team like Ireland or the Netherlands could cause a huge upset.

International rules (AFL and Gaelic football-hybrid)

A sport where Australia – like the USA in basketball – is virtually guaranteed a gold medal, or at least a dog-fight with the Irish. What a great way to spread one of the world’s least understood but most fiercely competitive game.