Pollie Crackers

The Feather Duster had the pleasure of attending the annual Science and Engineering Challenge held at Young last week, where Henry Lawson High School took the honours again by a considerable margin, outscoring 6 other schools including 2 that many Weddin Shire students attend.

This is the 9th time that THLHS has won the local challenge. It has previously gone on to make the state finals 8 times and the nationals 3, which speaks volumes for the school, for Brad and Colleen in the past and Ashley currently. Something good is happening here.

So this week’s dedication goes to the pupils and staff of THLHS, and is the monumental hit by British group Queen, “We Are the Champions.”


The Tasmanian election has come and gone, with a fairly comfortable win for the Liberal Party. In this state which historically votes Labor, Liberal leader Will Hodgman is only the second Liberal premier to win a second term.

The election attracted attention right across Australia when the Labor Party adopted a crazy-brave policy of getting rid of poker machines from clubs and pubs, restricting them to casinos only.

The Labor leader for the past year, Rebecca White, was interviewed endlessly about this policy and had to explain time and time again that it was based on research identifying the social harm that pokies were causing to Tasmanian communities, almost always to the people who could least afford it.

These are people with limited incomes but living in perpetual but forlorn hope of a big win. Meanwhile their families go without. No doubt the research could apply equally to the other states.


The outcome of the election for Labor was not the hiding that some forecasters predicted, but a minor improvement overall. It appears that Taswegians were not put off by Labor’s stance, an observation confirmed by most of the polls conducted during the election campaign.

A striking feature of the election for the Liberals was the plethora of ads on TV and radio supporting poker machines and predicting massive job losses in the club and pub industry if Labor won.

The numbers won’t be in for a year, but many observers are confidently predicting that the Liberal Party has received the benefit of an enormous coordinated donations program from the mainland.

If this is correct, it means that the gambling industry saw Tassie as a major threat and wanted to make sure the movement was stomped out before it affected any mainland states.


Almost on cue, the NSW Minister for Racing made a “major” announcement last week, to the effect that he had placed a cap on pokies in disadvantaged areas and would not be licensing any more.

The announcement was made as if it were a positive step to manage harm from pokies but in reality it was nothing more than a statement that the status quo would be retained.

It seems the government is content with the present amount of harm being done by pokies and is not interested in making a serious attempt to help the less-well-off.

Never-the-less, it may be a start.

Many sensible people play the pokies casually and with restraint. It’s the ones who can’t that the pokie industry targets and draws in.

The recent bombshell about Woolworth’s pokie pubs was clear confirmation of predatory practices.


One of the organisations taking on the gambling industry is the Alliance for Gambling Reform which has examined political donations to the major parties.

Their ability to identify the sources of all donations was hampered by the curious law which only requires donations over $13,200 to be disclosed (and them not for a year!): anything smaller remains a secret.

Some of the figures that were identified were:

*NSW Liberals – disclosed $9.65 million of $21.8 million,

*NSW Labor – disclosed $5.44 million of $8.24 million,

*Federal Liberals – disclosed $498,000 of $2.39 million,

*Federal Labor – disclosed all donations over $1,000, amounts not reported.

In every case a massive amount of money was raised from donations under the threshold. The Alliance believes that the bulk of these are coming from multiple donations by the gambling industry, deliberately kept low so that they remain confidential, forever hidden from public view.


The Feather Duster has often ranted and raved about political donations, in the firm belief they are how the rich and powerful exert their influence and control governments of all persuasions.

The sooner ALL political donations are banned, the better it will be for the rest of us.

Feather Duster No 3 – 

T Lobb

What's been happening in politics from around the globe?

What's been happening in politics from around the globe?