The Insurance Council of Australia echoes my views

More than a week ago I suggested that home insurance should be compulsory. Quite simply, if home owners can’t afford the insurance then they can’t afford to own a house. It’s gratifying to learn that the insurance industry has just come out with a similar statement. Australian insurers would like compulsory insurance for residents in bushfire prone areas. However, I would extend that to all home owners in all areas, not just the bushfire prone areas.

    The following extract comes from Sky News March 1

Australian insurers are leading a call for compulsory insurance for residents in bushfire prone areas, in the wake of Victoria’s devastating fires.

The Insurance Council of Australia has also questioned, how much of the $200 million Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, should be given to uninsured victims.

ICA boss Paul Giles says there’s no incentive for people to insure against bushfires, if their uninsured neighbours are going to be helped to rebuild anyway.

He also claims a compulsory home and contents insurance scheme would be no different to current Compulsory Third Party car insurance.

A Victorian government spokesman says the issue of compensation to uninsured victims, would be examined by the bushfire royal commission.

Tale of the Ancient Lobster or Free Lili

While watching the BBC news on TV this morning, we held the following conversation.

“I didn’t know that lobsters could live for 140 years.”

“Course they can’t. Where did you hear that?”

“On the BBC right now. The ticker tape thingy at the bottom said that one hundred and forty year old lobster was released from a restaurant in New York.”

“Can’t be true,” says husband. “What they mean is that 140 lobsters who were one year old were released.”

“How could 140 lobsters fit into a tank in a New York restaurant? Must have been some big tank, don’t you think? Besides, why would that make it into the news amidst Gaza conflict, earthquake in Costa Rica and quarrels over halted Gas supplies from Russia through the Ukraine?”

Further discussions along the lines of what I thought I had read and husband being adamant that I had got it wrong.

“OK then, let’s wait until the ticker tape comes around again and we’ll read it together this time.”

But you know how things are in life. Just as it was the turn of the lobster story again, some commercial break interrupted the news. So my husband got out of bed and looked up the BBC news site on the internet.

“Well?”

“Yep,” the husband confirmed. “Apparently, a restaurant in New York had this 140 year old lobster in its tank for two weeks and some animal rights activists petitioned to liberate it.”

“Good for them,” I beamed.

I never did like any animals to be in cages. I even hate the idea of circuses and zoos and don’t get me started on pet canaries in cages and dogs and cats in the confines of apartment buildings.

“So how did they know it was 140 years old?”

“They can tell by its weight.”

Husband tried to get back to reading his newspaper. Not for long though…

” Hmmm. Must be a guesstimation. Cause it can’t be like telling how old a tree is on account of the number of rings. Couldn’t this particular lobster be obese rather than old? I wonder why human beings shrink as they get very old then? And another thing, why do ticker tape announcements disappear just when you want to read them again?”

“The Black Balloon” wins awards…but

This year’s winner of six awards at the Australian Film Industry event was “The Black Balloon”. It’s exactly the sort of film that is keeping audiences away from Aussie films. In my previous blog I gave my views on that and “The Black Balloon” only reinforces my opinion.

I wish that Aussie film makers would face reality and get beyond blue, for a change.

Here is a typical scenario of a potential cinema goer. It’s Saturday night and you decide to take your girlfriend to the movies. Would you choose a film about a dysfunctional family—aren’t we all dysfunctional, anyway? Would you want to watch autism tearing a family apart? Would you want to munch cheerfully on pop corn while an autistic adolescent is ranting and raving in public on the screen?

Would you leave the cinema feeling happy and romantic and perhaps hoping for more than a cup of coffee at her home? Or would you just want to sit in silence wishing that you had chosen a different film?

Autism is a reality and yes, it is a tragedy, but during recessions and people losing jobs and homes, audiences need relief, unless they are some sort of sado-masochists who get off on other people’s suffering.

During the Great Depression, the American musical comedy was thriving. People went to see Shirley Temple and Charlie Chaplin, just to experience some moments of hilarity in their gloomy lives.

Here we are in the midst of a recession or depression or whatever you want to call it and people are hurting out there. So what does the Australian film industry produce? Misery, guilt and tragedy. That should brighten up a date!

I’m amazed that Australian film producers don’t include a whip with every ticket sold. A few scarlet welts should guarantee a perfect evening, for some people perhaps, but not for the average movie-goer.

Perhaps these films are made to win awards rather than box office success. In that case, the producers have achieved what they wanted. Lots of pretty little statues in their display cabinets!

Griffith University’s Saudi link

To visit Vassar College in New York state is to appreciate what philanthropy can do when it comes to education. The college was set up originally by a brewer called Matthew Vassar for the liberal arts education of young ladies.

I had read about Vassar in literature and heard references to it in American films, so it was truly a pleasure to walk around its beautiful buildings dating back to the Nineteenth Century. I was in architecture heaven and would have loved to live on campus.

This is what money can do when it is used for causes more worthy than buying a football team. But money can also be used as a bribe and as a tool for propaganda. Continue reading