#qantas

Wider World created by Warner

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To be honest my elder brother sounded more sincere when he apologized in front of my parents after smashing my orthodontic brace-filled mouth 35 years ago. Dave Warner’s media appearance showed next to no contrition. Sure there were tears. References to the stress on his family and how he’d be lost without them. Indeed, had he considered his family before deciding to cheat then he’d never have to run a rearguard action to protect them. That doesn’t condone the actions of social media thuggery on family members but there was absolutely no surprise in the fast pace bouncers peppered at him from the press gallery, all of which he dodged with the same insincerity for someone whom apparently “only ever wanted to bring glory to my country!” Strange way of showing it.

At least in Steve Smith’s case he projected absolute authenticity in his admission of failure. Bancroft was just a startled bunny in the headlights. Warner seemed to be begging for forgiveness in that at some point might allow resumption to expand his property empire in Maroubra than pleading to restore the lost glory back into the ‘game.’

Warner typifies the ‘win at all costs’ mentality cultivated from the top of Cricket Australia. It isn’t just his two teammates that have worn this failure of leadership. Magellan has already pulled $20m in sponsorship, countless others will follow and the upper hand in negotiations over broadcast rights has all but vanished. That means that Cricket Australia will have $100s of millions less in the kitty to pay players, develop kids at tender ages to sustain the game in the future and draw crowds. Less for facilities, less for promotion, less for match bonuses. Less, less, less. Cricket Australia needs a total overhaul too.

Cricket to Aussies is like Rugby Union to Kiwis. It is on another level to other sports. Our hall of fame includes the likes of Bradman, Spofforth, Trumper, Woodful, McCabe, Morris, Simpson, Border, Waugh, Ponting, Taylor, McGrath, Warne…the list goes on. Were Buck Shelford, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jonah Lomu or Richie McCaw found guilty of bringing the All Blacks side into disrepute through blatant tampering they’d be publicly hung, drawn and quartered with their heads tossed into the mud pools of Rotarua. The New Zealand media would not be calling on people to give any cheater a ‘fair go.’ That is the irony. Most of these elite sportsmen have had way more than a fair go but it wasn’t enough. Otherwise there was no reason to cheat.

Some in the Aussie media now cry out for leniency. They made a mistake, apologized…all lessons learnt. Then again it isn’t any surprise that the media is also short on ethics much of the time. Go back to bed like it was just a bad dream. Talk about being ‘role models’ for kids?!? Most Aussie fans won’t view it that way. Talks of two years in the penalty box and then Steve Smith can resume the captaincy shows how shallow the thinking is. While he may have shown himself to be a sincere individual he most certainly proved he has no place leading the team ever again. He should refuse to take it on if he ever plays again.

One has to question whether the bowlers knew something was up. It is not a question of being complicit in the crime rather a fast bowler spends 6 minutes every over staring at the ball in his walk back to his mark, polishing one side on his trousers, checking the condition of the rough side to consider what type of delivery to bowl. Every. Single. Ball. A bowler usually has 5 to 6 overs a spell so at least half an hour to study the curious round object in his hands. Bat strikes leave particular types of marks as does the pitch and fence. So a sandpaper mark should look rather ‘manufactured.’ Certainly surprising that this would go unnoticed.

In any event, this is not the last we’ve heard form this fall out. Warner should never be able to play for Australia again. He neither represents the country, takes pride in the honour of donning a ‘baggy green’ and most certainly has a very weird way of bringing glory to his country. The only one that matters for Warner is himself.

Steve Smith should resign. If not he should be sacked

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Cheating is cheating. Gaining an advantage outside the rules is cheating. Money and match fees are such nowadays that players seemingly will do anything to win. Cricket was so much better when it was an amateur sport. When a bad decision from an umpire couldn’t be reviewed. It was just part of the game. Sometimes it went with you and others against you. Cricket hasn’t often been about the “spirit” of the game. Not any more.

Of course modern technology can provide instant feedback on the correct decision but I’ve always viewed it as wrong to challenge authority when it suits. Really, what message do we send young kids who grow up to think they can protest any decision they disagree with? What lessons or values get taught? TV cameras are everywhere. How do these sportsmen think they’ll get away with claiming a catch they didn’t take? Now this.

While a full inquiry hasn’t commenced it is clear that the player caught tampering was the one fighting hardest to keep his seat, Cameron Bancroft. However team captain Steve Smith admitted he knew in the press conference. While adamant he won’t step down as captain because it will never happen again (Scout’s honour), if he is found implicated in this mess he should be sacked. Period. So should the coach Darren Lehman. I absolutely admire Smith’s crazy talent as a batsman but find such lapses in judgement no excuse and even less worthy of having the honour of leading a national team. If found guilty he should face a lengthy suspension.

Any board would call on their CEO in the corporate world to resign if he/she hadn’t already volunteered it. Yet sports stars, much like politicians, believe hollow promises that the incident won’t happen again should be punishment enough. Qantas should fly these cheats back economy.

Which brings about the ethics of the game. As Smith is the highest ranked batsman in the world will the authorities go weak and impose lighter sentencing to keep the turnstiles ticking? What message does that send? If Smith is in charge he should take the fall for this shocking behaviour and be fined in the $100,000s.

Australia already has a shocking record for bad sportsmanship most infamously with the underarm delivery against NZ in 1981. This test series has been disgusting in many levels. Players mocking other players about the sexual antics of their wives and so on. Australia should forfeit the match and lose their fees. Cricket Australia should be forced to compensate the fans for this debacle and the players responsible fired. Just because Bancroft was fighting to save his career doesn’t excuse him from wrong doing. Sure, playing for one’s country is the highest accolade but any fan wants to see players reach and stay at the top through their hard efforts not through cheating.

What it does tell us is how terrible the governance is within the Australian team. Where were the whistleblowers?  Or do the millions they earn each year somehow cloud their judgement? How could the coach condone it? He was on TV admonishing fans for sledging players walking up the race after being dismissed. What a hypocrite if he knew what the team was up to. No excuse. South African Captain Hansie Cronje received a life ban for match fixing. While ball tampering is not quite as severe as throwing matches it is still cheating.

Fans will be judging the response by the authorities and Cricket Australia. Will CEO James Sutherland issue an apology and some harsh words to really clamp down on this? Or will he gloss over the sordid tour, hope time will heal and think of dollar signs only because  fans can be treated as mugs.

Ethics? A sign in society today of how little it means.

Truth in advertising?

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Imagine if Delta released an ad like this today? 45 years ago it offered military personnel cheap tickets. In an era where sex, drugs and rock’n’roll ruled, such a risqué advert (torn asunder all the promiscuous women are seemingly white) was one can only guess “in step with the times” back then.  Then again the same Delta Airlines has just cut off its association with law abiding NRA members for simply flying to see the inlaws. CM noticed that National Geographic has just issued a formal apology for its racist and bigoted articles from 100 years ago. The editor wrote, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” One would imagine that all the editor did was raise an issue that a majority of its readers never thought about and hold present journalists and photographers to some sort of ‘Day One, Year Zero’ doctrine.

What is it with this “shaming” culture we live in today where corporates must make collective apologies for things that were done before people were born to people who are most likely dead on matters they had zero control over? Just spare the sanctimonious lectures and thought control. I can’t remember the last time I heard a wolf whistle but some want this made a ‘hate crime’. Not condoning it but a wolf whistle is generally viewed as a compliment not a slur. Just like those Hollywood actresses wearing three postage stamps held together by dental floss chanting #METOO all the while they kept quiet about mass sexual harassment because their careers were more important than principle. Spare us the hypocrisy.

Surely people’s sensitivities can’t be such that this should be a jailable offence? Even Qantas staff have been handed newspeak dictionaries on what they can and can’t say to customers to avoid the 0.00001% risk of offending someone. Where do we draw the line? Seems like the line is being drawn further to the point of endorsing a whole industry built on victim culture.

Instead of acknowledging humans have flaws, celebrating differences and accepting it we are being cornered into smaller and smaller ‘legal’ boxes of what is deemed ‘with the times’ and straying outside that risks an innocent person being labeled a bigot, racist, sexist or homophobe. Worse, more laws (like Canada’s M-103 or Australia’s 18-C) risk jail or massive fines for anyone that makes a factual statement. The worst part about it is that lives have been ruined based on trumped up charges willingly egged on by groups like the heavily biased Australian Human Rights Commission, a group that encourages people to lodge complaints but gladly tweets justices it self-serves on its own side  no impartiality

We can all look at the above advert from Delta 45 years later and see it doesn’t really fly (no pun intended) but most of us do not need some sort of state sanctioned manual to ensure we all are indoctrinated to know it is bad form with a law laced on top. Yet this is exactly the type of thing we are seeing day in and day out.

Qantas – do you think this might work better?

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Qantas is training it’s staff not to use words like “honey”, “darling” or ”husband & wife” to avoid offending minorities onboard. Here’s a better idea Qantas. Instead of blanket removing words from the new speak dictionary why not improve your service to a level where customers at or before check-in can elect to let you know what they’re happy with being called? That way everyone can praise the airline for “attention to detail”, an accolade that is generally not bestowed on Qantas. If CM is called darling or honey I won’t be offended.

Qantas would probably find 99% of passengers couldn’t care less. Presumably all 63 genders will need to be cited ahead of the safety briefing. What about if a 7yo child feels offended that the parent/adult/guardian puts on their oxygen mask first is inappropriately ignoring that he/she/xie identifies as a 19yo? Maybe Qantas should install 63 toilets onboard to really make sure all levels are catered for? Or prayer rooms for all faiths? PC nonsense going too far.

Alitalia – what is it with airlines and government support?

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Last Friday Italy extended a bridge loan for Alitalia, which is in special administration as plans for it are determined by the state.  Italy’s cabinet has  passed an emergency decree to add a further 300 million euros on top of the 600 million euros it made to the ailing airline in May. It has extended the deadline for the repayment of the loan from November 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.

Airlines are perhaps one of the worst industries as an investment one can find. High fixed costs, variable fuel prices, volatile economic cycles and intense competition. Yet with all of this, governments see them as national icons. Losing the flag carrier is viewed by some governments as a sign of economic impotence.

Several years ago, Japan Airlines went through a state-funded rehabilitation where the airline was able to overhaul its fleet while its legitimately profitable and unassisted competitor All Nippon Airways (ANA) got nothing. In the reverse poor old ANA was effectively taxed as its biggest rival got free kick after free kick from the government.

Qantas reported a $235 million loss in the last half of 2013 and cut 5000 employees to save the company $2 billion. The government was pressured to give state aid to prop up the airline but then PM Tony Abbott said, “because we do not want to be in the business of subsidising any single enterprise. It’s not sustainable in the long term”. So Qantas didn’t get help in 2014 and the airline has since rebounded and recently compensated its CEO Alan Joyce over $24mn as the shares have stormed 6x since the lows of 3 years ago. Most of the 5,000 let go have been recovered.

Which begs the question of state subsidies. When looking at Australia once again the state spent billions over decades to defend a bloated, inefficient and uncompetitive car industry. Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota, GM Holden and Ford all closed local auto making opps. When businesses are subsidized, the necessity to reform is numbed. There is less need to get fit and look for efficiencies to get off the taxpayers’ teat. So even after 20 years and $12 billion spent to protect 45,000 jobs, all makers packed up and went home. Would have been better to write each worker a $250,000 cheque.

Of course some will argue that protecting jobs is a noble quest. Nobody likes seeing people unemployed. However if the rest of the world can make the same products cheaper and more efficiently why should consumers and taxpayers be forced to prop up those who won’t make the effort to reform.

Alitalia is yet another one of these businesses that is in the citizen’s pockets. If KLM and Air France can pair, Lufthansa and Swissair can join why shouldn’t Etihad back the initial investment it made in Italy’s national carrier. Another Loan is Time-warped, All Logic Is Abandoned.

Same Sex Marriage – Shaming didn’t work before. Why now?

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Ahhh. Where have we seen this before? 2016 US election? Brexit? Yes. It’s the name and shame game. Make people feel that failure to vote “yes” in the same sex marriage (SSM) plebiscite makes Australia as backward as predominantly Muslim countries (which ironically are the same countries the liberal left will scream unwavering support if any criticism is thrown at them, despite their stance against homosexuality), a few former communist states and Thailand. The irony of SSM is the campaigning and advertising is probably the worst spent money ever. How?

If I asked all the Aussie people who adorned their page with “I’m voting yes” I’m guessing 99% had already made up their mind and nothing would change it. So any “No” campaigns should have slid like water off a duck’s back. The same goes for those in the no camp. 99% have probably made their mind up and no amount of “Yes” campaigning will change that. Posting memes which aim to shame people has the opposite effect by further cementing their “No”  vote.

I’m not confident this plebiscite will pass. No amount of tears from Senator Pratt, $1m from Alan Joyce, rainbow banners forcibly added on my blog draft page or friends telling people they have a moral obligation to vote Yes will have any effect. Why the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is charged with handling the plebiscite and not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is beyond me .

Going a step further, we see that the ABS has sent multiple ballots to some addresses because of  outdated information of former tenants, rogue postmen have threatened to use torches to  throw out “No” votes they find and a government that introduced emergency laws to ban free speech on SSM. Personally I think the plebiscite fails but the more concerning thing about the SSM debate has been the attack on free speech. How?

Anyone that would seek to tamper with an official vote (mail tampering is an offence), vote multiple times or seek to get people who are in the “No” camp deregistered from the medical profession or think government leaders using tax payers to support the “Yes” cause only to influence an outcome indeed would place Australia in the right column which contain countries that in many cases don’t believe in democracy. Having emergency laws on free speech to curtail it in a way that would only punish the “no” side tells us all we need to know. A gay journalist can happily tweet he’d “hate f*ck the homophobia out of conservative politicians” and that is passed as a racy joke but if conservatives said they’d “hate f*ck the homosexuality out of a gay progressive politician” they’d be hounded into the courts.

Indeed Australia is rightly positioned in the above column. Just the heading of the study should be “rights to free speech” not “equal marriage rights”