Happy New Year

For the uninitiated, Twitter can be harsh. Due to my political beliefs, and the fact I hang around in #AUSpol so much, I’m used to getting all manner of trolls jumping into my #TStream and hurling abuse.

Let’s face it, I thrive on taming these #rwnj trolls. It’s not only a game to me, but a community service and revenge on these mindless fruitcake for what they did to PM Julia Gillard. I treat it as a sport and it can be quite entertaining. Those small minds on the other side of their tweet doing their damnedest to ridicule me, I often let fly in return.

I tweet as the Barón Emilio Death and, I meme. A lot!

Image of Abbott and Margie in front of a Christmas tree playing dumb on why people are doing it tough
Marie Antoinette Abbott’s Christmas message: “… for whatever reason, are doing it tough …”

Mainly, I meme about this pathetic Abbott Government and how Australia is being dismantled and destroyed by a Pommie bastard who shouldn’t actually be in Parliament at all. This is why I’m such a troll magnet.

That’s an example of one of my memes.

Now you might understand why #AUSpol #rwnj Trolls seek me out for a flaming.

Allow me to digress for a minute to give you some background. In real life, I work in Sydney’s CBD. While going to meetings, buying my lunch, or even just grabbing a coffee, there’s no way to avoid crossing paths with one of the seemingly hordes of homeless people on the streets begging for money.

Possibly worse are the number of mentally ill people roaming Sydney’s streets these days. It’s very sad to see these poor unfortunates wandering aimlessly talking to themselves around our streets. Unkempt and unclean and clearly desperate and in need of support and assistance. Some are placid and quiet, others are clearly a danger to themselves and possibly others.

No matter whether they are homeless or mentally ill, I empathise and count my own blessings. They are all human beings and these citizens need help. It’s disgraceful that Governments of all persuasions and at all levels, have closed down housing support for these people, all of whom, really need a hand.

Let’s get back on topic. You can imagine my surprise when I created a meme which I initially thought would be innocuous. It was Abbott free and so I didn’t expect to get much reaction from it at all.

Image: meme about $7.2 million going up in smoke for Sydney's New Years Eve fireworks display
Sydney’s NYE 2015 Fireworks – $7.2 million up in smoke each New Years Eve

On my traversing the internet, I came across this article about the cost of the 2014 NYE fireworks in Sydney. Now, worldwide Sydney is renowned for its fireworks and so I was a bit shocked when I saw the price tag of $7.2M for this years display.

Think about it — $7.2M dollars!.  And who foots this bill? NSW taxpayers and the ratepayers of the City of Sydney.

I created this meme and tweeted it out. Initially, there was much support for its message: that the fireworks is a wasteful extravagance when there are so many needy people homeless and vulnerable on Sydney’s streets.

Let’s be clear here: at no point have I ever put that the fireworks should be stopped altogether. I enjoy them too. And I accept that they bring tourists into the city.

But, $7.2 million? Please! We’re all told that we have to pull in our belts and to be more frugal. That’s been Abbott and Hockey’s message for years before they were even elected. Mind you, they blow money like its going out of fashion, but, that’s a blog post for another day.

Not only is there the financial aspect of $7.2M fireworks funding being better used to build/maintain unknown numbers and combinations of much-needed homeless shelters, women and children’s crisis shelters, public transport, public houses (we’ll get to this one in a minute), and other benevolent uses to help make Sydney a better place. Blowing up $7.2M in a few hours on one night, when so many could benefit from that amount of money all through the year seems extravagant to me.

FWIW, I specifically put “public houses” in the meme, rather than public housing, because I was trying to convey a concept of publicly owned houses. NSW Governments of all flavours have gradually been reducing the number of publicly owned houses and I think that this policy helps to explain why so many people are homeless on our streets. Yes, in hindsight, I could have put affordable houses, but how many homeless or mentally ill people can be taken off the streets by private home ownership?

Of course, it wasn’t long before one bright spark decided they’d jump in and have a go about “public houses” ie meaning pubs. Pubs haven’t been called public houses in living memory and the connexion is archaic these days. If you lack the intelligence and common-sense to take two words and put them in context with those that surround them — more fool you.

There’s also the impact of the fireworks in torturing Sydney’s pets. The fireworks drives the animal residents of Sydney — batty. Escapes are commonplace as Sydney’s household pets try to do anything to escape the noises which terrifies them. As for Sydney’s resident Fruit Bat population in Hyde Park and the Domain — smack bang in the middle of the noise, smoke and airborne sparks — if they aren’t safely ensconced at one of the Bars on Oxford Street by 20:00 buying watered down drinks at double normal prices, heaven help them.

Further, consider also the pollution and the effects on the environment of the fireworks. Speaking of which, the clean-up the next day has a multi-million dollar price tag associated with it as well. As for the fireworks going off even in total fire-bans, that’s just crazy. The sparks travel for kilometres and Sydney is in the Summer bushfire season.

One of my Twitter followers pointed out that there’s never enough public toilets either. I agree, I’ve queued up myself on NYE’s past. So revellers urinate and defecate on other peoples property or anywhere its dim and dark. Happy New Year!

Next thing I know, the anti-meme Tweeps jump in for their say. Fine, it’s a free country go for it. Apparently, the $7.2M fireworks display earns Sydney millions of dollars more than it costs. And all that GST it rakes in. They way they paint it, the streets of Sydney should be paved in gold! But, it’s not. There’s still homeless people. There’s still mentally ill people wandering the streets.

As far as I can see it, the $7.6million benefits the pub and club owners of Sydney. It benefits the restaurants, hotels and motels of Sydney. It benefits the businesses of Sydney with the increased numbers of tourists. It certainly benefits the “entrepreneurs” who price gouge food, alcohol and accommodation.

Rather than taxpayers/ratepayers footing the bill and the common citizens seeing very little for the $7.2M that goes up in smoke each year, why not shave 1% from all poker machine revenue in clubs and pubs within a 5 kilometre radius of Sydney to fund this fireworks extravaganza? How about asking the Casino’s to also contribute 1% of gambling revenues for the fireworks? At least this would free up some money to be spent on Sydney’s vulnerable and needy.

As of the time of writing, its one of my more successful tweets/memes, having been retweeted/fav’d many times more than I imagined it would. See for yourself.

I know I come across as a wet blanket in putting this point about the inordinate wastage of $7.2M on fireworks — pardon me if I don’t have an entrepreneurial outlook on life where money matters more than human beings. I believe we should have fireworks but I don’t believe NSW taxpayers and Sydney ratepayers should fork out $7.2M for a fireworks display when the profits sit in deep and greedy pockets of price-gouging entrepreneurs.

As a society, aren’t we morally bankrupt to waste such an extraordinary amount of money each year? Each year, the bill for the fireworks goes up. When does it stop? What’s the limit for the fireworks budget to be: $10M? $15M?

I remain unconvinced the city gets any real benefit out of all this money going up in smoke.

That’s my say. Have yours with me, I’m @krONik on Twitter. Just remember: if you can’t take the heat get yo’ arse out the kitchen. I’m on a mission.


G'Day! Feel free to leave a Reply