Sunday, January 15, 2006


I came across this quote today and it reminded me of several of our politicians of both sides.

"He did not care in which direction the car was travelling, so long as he remained in the driving seat".
Lord Beaverbrook on Lloyd George.

Monash University researcher Mr. Luke Howie has found, as part of his PhD research that there is a growing level of discreet and covert discrimination amongst workers in Melbourne. He interviewed workers about their daily routines since llth September, 2001 and found that people were fearful and cautious of sitting with, or near, others on public transport who they deemed to be of foreign or middle-eastern appearance.

We haven't had a large-scale terrorism attack here but many Australians are almost obsessive about a perceived terrorist threat. Mr. Howie said, "This fear and dread has attached itself to our psyche and many people living and working in Melbourne have changed their personal and professional behaviour to reflect this."

According to Mr. Howie, many Australians identified September ll as a turning point in their lives. Since then, acts of terrorism have continued to occur around the globe and public anxiety about these events has heightened. This has not been overtly displayed but has occurred subtly. For example, people classed as foreigners are being treated differently by areas such as the retail sector, who fail to engage in customer service with them.

Even though a large scale terrorist atttack on Australian soil is highly unlikely, Mr. Howie said the perceived threat of terrorism was changing Australia to a society where people were fearful of one another.

One thing Mr. Howie hasn't said is whether the people he interviewed put their fears down to just the September ll and consequent terrorist acts or if it's been reinforced by this government's attitude and newspaper and television reporting. When I was travelling into the city a week ago, I was amazed by the numerous nationalities boarding the train. Call me naive but I thought this was marvellous, that people from all over the world could sit in a carriage, in peace. I catch a lot of taxis so I have had drivers of all nationalities and, there's no pc way to say this, of all colours. Because of my knees I usually sit in the front seat and I have never felt the slightest fear or discomfort with any of these men. It's a sad thing that Mr. Howie has uncovered but it's reinforced every day by this government just as they are reinforcing their views of gays and lesbians as second class Australians.

Mr. Howard remains in the driving seat.

Mr. Howie's research wasn't the only interesting thing I found wandering through Monash University. I have a name, I am a cyber-slacker. I have washing to put on the line, ironing up the ceiling, enough dust on the furniture to grow weed, er, weeds but because I am here on the internet, I am cyber-slacking. Cyber-slacking was a term first used in 2001 and refers to staff who use their work internet access for personal reasons while maintaining the appearance of working.

Dr. James Phillips and Miss Kerryann Wyatt from Monash's School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, assessed the internet use of 83 participants. They looked at five personality traits - neuroticism, extraversion, openess to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness - and their potential for predicting internet use.
The study showed that cyber-slacking could seriously affect workplace productivity, with participants reporting they spent more than a quarter of their time on the internet on non-work related tasks.

I thought I was being lazy, procrastinating and googling for fun but I'm a cyber-slacker in a big way.

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