Beyond the soft palate

Category: BUSINESS


Selected posts from this blog can also be found on odd occasions at The Australian Independent Media Network (AIMN). Here are links to a few of the more recent…





Now, for a few words about beer

Beer giant Carlton and United Breweries has sacked the entire maintenance workforce at Melbourne’s biggest brewery, prompting threats of a boycott of the popular VB.

Dozens of electricians and fitters lost their jobs after CUB axed a long-standing maintenance contract and have been protesting outside the gates of the Abbotsford brewery for 12 hours a day for the past four weeks.

The 54 workers were laid off last month before being invited to reapply for their old jobs on individual contracts, for what they say would be a 65 per cent wage cut once penalty rates and other entitlements were factored in.

The brewery is having non-union replacement labour bussed in and out of the site every day past picketing workers.

I do not drink any of the beers shown below, my preference being Resch’s, however, if you do, I would urge you to reconsider and find a more palatable alternative …


… Otherwise, we cannot be friends.


UPDATE – In comments, Flogga has just pointed out that Resch’s is also a CUB brand (despite not being on the list shown), so I cannot be friends with myself.

“Choose another beer, Ross”. “Yes, yes, I shall”. Damn. Damn it all to hell.



Once upon a time …

It is 1983 and I am 24 years old, employed and on a wage of about $20,000 gross per annum.

After a few brief and bootless assays at sharing flats with girlfriends (break up, move back to the parents, break up, move back to parents, repeat chorus), I decide I shall find my own place, me, myself and I, for I am a solitary man by nature, a misanthrope some would (justifiably) say, and yearn for a modest Fortress of Solitude that I may call my very own.

Eventually I do. A one-bedroom older-style flat in a small block of six.

In Sydney’s Kirribilli.

For $65.00 a week.

Yes. You have read that correctly.

After a couple years, one night there is rap upon the door, and it is the owner who regretfully (for I have been a good tenant) informs me he has decided to sell.

“Oh”, I say, and then, out of curiosity, I ask him, “How much are you selling it for?” and he responds, “The agent thinks I could probably get 65 or $70,000 for it. Why do ask? Are you interested?”

It is an amount of money I can grasp, I can understand, about four year’s annual salary, and yet, because I am a single man, with no desire to marry or have children any time soon, and barely a half dozen years out of school, the thought of being beholden to a debt for the next twenty or twenty- five years holds no allure.

At this point, you must understand, the national obsession with “property” had yet to evolve into what it has become today, an almost psychosomatic illness of avarice, of base greed. There was no stigma about renting back then, and a young man or woman could happily rent (at a reasonable cost) for as long as they liked, sow their seeds as they saw fit, party ‘til they dropped, before the thought of “settling down” with a partner, having children, whatever, became an attractive and desirable option to them.

However, we now find ourselves in a world where, as soon as you finish high-school and venture into the domain of adulthood, you can expect to be immediately assailed and assaulted by some dreary, sallow-skinned, dead-eyed, beef-necked knobhead from the world of finance, investment and real estate insisting you must immediately start planning for retirement and “buy, buy, buy!”, “now is the time to get into the property market, now, now, now!”, every day these shills, shysters, hucksters shriek, every day is the time, every week, every year, and “DON’T MISS OUT!”

Why wait until tomorrow when you can panic now and avoid the rush?

I digress.

I begin to look for alternative lodgings, and find myself in a suburb which shall remain nameless (think of skeletal blue-rinse ladies and small, yapping, snapping, fluffy white dogs; think of a zoo) in a concrete, sunless shithole for $90.00 a week, and then, after a year, $110.00, yet my wage has barely changed from what it was two years prior. To relieve this increasing burden upon my purse, I make the decision to seek out share accommodation, and spend the late 1980’s and all of the ‘90’s in same.

After seven years sharing a flat in Sydney’s inner west with three other people (and, frankly, having a ball most every night), the flatmates have found partners, they have paired off, and moved out to begin their lives together.

I have not.

I begin looking around for a new place to live, preferably by myself, (for I am now 40 years old), the same general area, as I work in the CBD, and somewhere close would be preferable, however, as I peruse the “To Let” advertisements, I realise this will not be possible, as the rents being asked now amount to over one-third of my monthly wage.

“I can’t afford that” I think, for my wage (still), has not kept apace with the rising cost of living.

I move to the N.S.W. Central Coast where the rent is affordable, and resign myself to a two hour commute each day, not exactly a gruelling hardship, but by the working week’s end, the only way anyone could get me on a fucking train over the weekend would be at gunpoint.

I stay there for almost five years, yet I have tired of the job I had at the time and seek out another.

I find one. In Brisbane, Queensland. I move.

There is a flat, a 30-minute walk to work, a 10-minute walk to the train station and shops.

$360.00 a week.

It is affordable to me, for, by this time, after 30 years of continuous employment, I have finally attained that magical, mythical status of “average wage earner”.

Can I have a “Hallelujah!”? Can I have an “Amen!”?

I am there for 10 years and 7 months, after which time, I return to Sydney, having been made redundant in February of this year. It was a job worth losing, and I was fine with that, as the last several years my mental health had rapidly deteriorated (Queensland will do that to a person, being Queensland), panic attacks, anxiety, depression and such; however, as the bartender in Billy Wilder’s “Irma La Douce” would say, “That’s another story”, and for another time.

4 or 5 years before this, the flat across the hall from mine, identical in size and layout, is sold.

For $500,000.

Yes. You have read that correctly.

I think to myself ,“Who in their right fucking mind would pay half a million bucks for a 2 bedroom flat?”

It has a view of the flats across the road, and the flats either side of it, its only difference from mine being wooden floorboards, and Miele appliances in the kitchen, the kitchen being the size of an en-suite toilet.

For a half-million.

Equal to over 8 times my then gross annual wage.

A half-million. Plus interest.


Piss off.

And now, in this time, not that one …

On Channel 7’s “Weekend Sunrise” on Sunday, mortgage mogul John Symond, of Aussie Home Loans fame and fortune, was bemoaning, wailing, most shrilly, changes to the current negative gearing rort being proposed by the Australian Labor Party.

He warned of an “economic Armageddon” should these changes be implemented. He warned of the loss of 10’s of thousands, hundreds of thousands jobs lost. He spoke of “mums and dads”, and he spoke of them again. And again. And again. Ordinary, humble investors of modest means (mums and dads), they’re fucked, they’re done for, they’re in the toilet, losses of thousands upon thousands and thousands of dollars on their investment, mums and dads and dads and moms, the whole country, ruined.

This “negative gearing” thing, when I hear it spoken of, my eyes glaze over, my head aches, it gives me facial tics and Tourette’s, and it doth cause me to pirouette in dizzy circles, bark at shadows, and bite the heads off chickens, it maketh me squirt, it leaveth stains on my trousers, and sweat upon my furrowed brow.

Why, it was not that long ago, not long ago at all, that John Symond, owner of a 50 million buck mansion on the harbour with 5 toilets (I pass no judgement, I merely assume he has an extremely weak bladder) said this

“Negative gearing wasn’t designed for people who can afford to go and buy $1 million, $2 million, $3 million houses or apartments for negative gearing to offset the bulk of their interest payment off their tax. So negative gearing does need to be looked at in the tax system because I don’t think it is fair at the moment. I think it leans very heavily to the high income earners and that needs to be brought into line, as is hundreds of other aspects of the tax system.”

And this

“Two years ago when I went out and said listen, I believe property prices are going to drop five or 10 per cent, well, did I cop it from the industry players, from the real estate players. That doesn’t worry me. And if it means we cop a flat patch in our business, I’d rather long-term health that short-term pain.”

And …

“How can young people get into housing? I looked at statistics a couple of weeks ago and I was appalled. In Sydney alone there’s more than 100 suburbs where the average home price is $1-million. In Melbourne, 40 suburbs. Come on! You know, that is crazy. And what’s worrying me about the social impact, this is opening up the great divide of the haves and the have-nots.”

Which brings me to this …

If you are the type of man or woman, or young couple on an “average” wage and you are prepared to shell out upward of four or five hundred thousand bucks for a characterless, hastily built ratbox in a block whose foundations are most probably made with dodgy Chinese steel and electricals simply to get into the “market”, then you are a bloody idiot and you should be beaten about the head with a golf club repeatedly until you wake up to your stupid fucking self.


If you are the type of person who is prepared to fall for The Big Cons peddled by the vested interests of the real estate, investment and banking industries, the scare campaigns, the bullshit, the lies which, if told often enough, you begin to take as truths, then you are a bloody idiot.

Lest we forget, the Global Financial Crisis was not sponsored by any union movement or members.


It was sponsored by those aforesaid industries, no member of whom has, or ever will be, held accountable for it.

And so, I beseech you …


Pay no heed to this screed of greed, for all possessions, in the fullness of time, are lost.

If these grasping bastards are looking to you for a blood sacrifice, tell them to slit their own wrists.

As John Waters, of Hairspray fame said during the 2015 graduation speech at the Rhode Island School of Design

“Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully. Design clothes so hideous that they can’t be worn ironically. Horrify us with new ideas. Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living. Make me nervous…. It’s time to get busy. It’s your turn to cause trouble.”

Can I have a “Hallelujah!”? Can I have an “Amen!”?

John Symond


3.45pm, Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

I am called to a meeting with my manager who informs me that my position with the company has been made redundant. Some aspects of my work shall be outsourced, others taken on by remaining employees (of which there aren’t really that many left).

“Oh. Okay”. I reply, flatly.

I am provided with a “Deed of Release” which sets out the terms of my redundancy. I sign it.

By 4.30pm, I have left the office, walked home, and sit at the local pub, reading the days’ papers and drinking a Peroni.

Ten years and seven months. It’s over.

“Fucking brilliant!”, I text a few friends.

Then I think, “Shit, I have to move. Pack, clean, move. Organise things.

“Shit”, I think, “I’ll have to buy a computer”.

I’m still getting around to that.

Having never been unemployed before over 40 years of work, getting out of the habit is strange. There has always been somewhere to go, and things to be done, even if they were loathsome.


That’s where I’ve been these past several weeks.

Sitting on the couch mostly. Thinking. Or, to put it more aptly, procrastinating.

Procrastinating about thinking. And so on.

In other news, it seems the country has come to realise that our “new” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has turned out a rather gammy little squib.

Aw, shucks.


I understand there is a thoroughfare in Sydney, a road, a brief stretch of vehicular track upon which, if one chooses to travel along it, allows fair commuters of that fine city to spare themselves the Lovecraftian horrors and unrelieve’d tedium of the fifteen minutes precious, irreplaceable time otherwise wasted in transit had they chosen to go the rat-run instead.

For this “privilege”, our fair commuters are charged a fee of five dollars and some changeeach way – and I wonder whether I live in a bloody country full of fucking idiots; that I have taken craps which have lasted fifteen minutes, and that fifteen minutes is not a significant amount of time in any circumstance unless that circumstance involves rushing your wife to the hospital because she’s about to give birth to triplets on the back seat, “TAKE MY FIVE BUCKS! NOW!!”, but in any other circumstance, paying five bucks for fifteen minutes of time sounds like either (a) an offer from a very unfussy streetwalker having a post-clearance Christmas sale, or (b) a VERY BIG CON of the highest order.

You decide.

I wonder how we, as a civilisation, have come to this, where such things as these are presented to us as if they were gifts to be savoured, blessings bestowed and showered upon us, favours granted, for our benefit and ours alone, and do I live in a bloody country full of fucking idiots for buying this shit, for allowing them to be sold it, to be time and time again gulled and shamelessly cozened into thinking this brand of bunco and others like it, these rackets, these weasel songs of numbing-to-the-senses spin ‘n’ sting, spruiked and shilled by flimflam men and women of no repute but their own, of no worth, of no substance, of naught to anything beyond a brazen talent to conjure, and conjure again, ways and means by which they can help themselves to our money for the provision of the illusion of something that is really nothing and not worth two-fifths of fuck-all.

“But you save FIFTEEN MINUTES!”

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with it, put it in a fucking BANK? Is there a BANK for that? A TIME BANK? Does the “extra time” pay out on my deathbed with special features, free spins, a jackpot and a lap-dance? IT’S FIFTEEN MINUTES, you pack of thieving scumbags, I’m keeping my five bucks, I’m going the long way, you don’t like it, you can FUCK OFF!”

A “service fee”, a “levy”, a “toll”. An “administration fee”. A “processing” charge.

These things are all that shall speak to the legacy of those who gave them to us, the white-shirt, blue tie cognoscenti of the corporate/managerialist classes, blank of face and dull in speech, absent and anonymous of character, chaotic in morals, banal in taste, insubstantial in every facet of their being; that’s their light in that nondescript office building, burning late and long into the night, where the big things are rarely, if ever managed at all, only little things, where everything is an optional extra, and the small stuff sweats a high tide 24/7, sweats an ocean, and it’s all a feller can do just to keep treading water to keep hisself from drownin’ in it all.

“What do you do for a living, Daddy?”, asks the child of The Administrator.

“I’m … er … I’m … in management”.

“Yes, but what do you do? Like, Tommy’s dad is a truckdriver, Sam’s dad is a builder, and Mitchell’s dad is a ‘lectrician, what do you do?”

“I’m an Adm – … I’m a, um, I do. Um. Ah. I … You’re too young to understand. Why don’t you go ask your mother?”

The tragedy of this?

We’re stuck with it.

We’re stuck with them.

The errand boys of big business, the clerks from central casting, the gormless goons on high in Head Office.

Their numbers are legion, far greater than ours now, those of us who choose to actually work for a living.

Always looking for an angle. A way in to where you already are, where you’ve already been, there’s always a way in, and they’ll always find it, and each and every time they do, they’ll find a way to charge you fifty bucks to use the key you already have to get the fuck out of the house you already own, and then they’ll have you send them a “Thank You” note for their troubles.

It’s nothing personal. Just business.

“BUT, BUT, WHAT IS THE WORK YOU DO, DADDY?!?, implores the child again, crying now, red-faced,  in confused frustration.

Daddy knows the “work” he does is no “work” at all, no type of work fit for a “man”, nor woman neither, no.

So Daddy steals downstairs one night, late, and without a sound.

He puts the barrel to his eyeball, then he fires off a round.

“What did your dad do for a living? Before this happened.”

“I dunno. Office stuff. I dunno. There’s this guy who writes this blog in Australia reckons people like my dad are just a pack of thieving scumbags”.

“Are they?”

“I dunno. Ask me mum … I dunno.”

Last Exit


Amanda Vanstone, former Government Minister for Something turned talking head/typist for hire recently did a spot of creative typing for Fairfax media on what she feels is the unseemly habit of “average” Australians (that is, people who work for a living) to criticise millionaires and billionaires (that is, people who like fucking people over who work  for a living) for being nothing other than dumb cunts with money who talk out their arses about things they know fuck all about, and lie and cheat and steal their way to riches.

Vanstone calls this “the politics of envy”.

Reading this piece (if you can bring yourself to) of muddle-headed, badly written primary school prose, complete with a few dodgy statistics thrown in, is an exercise in tedium about as compelling as being whacked across the head repeatedly with a water-logged copy of “Atlas Shrugged” whilst being buggered up the arse with a Platinum Amex card.

The nub of Vanstone’s Big Dick vs. Little Dick “argument” is that when dumb cunts with money who talk out their arses about things they know fuck all about, and lie and cheat and steal their way to riches , us little people should realise that not all dumb cunts with money are cunts …

“Daily we are invited to assume that wealthier people are creeps, tax cheats and the cause of others among us being poorer. It is undoubtedly true that some wealthier people are creeps, tax cheats, selfish and carry any number of other unattractive traits. Equally there will be poorer people who are bash-up artists, druggies and thieves. In both cases, they are the exception rather than the norm.”

As one of the “little people” without bags of money, I can assure Ms. Vanstone that “envy” has nothing to do with it. Contempt, yes. Envy, not so much …

John Kampfner in The Guardian

“In the complex psychology of the super-rich, victimhood is a natural concomitant to entitlement. By the same token, a sense of innate superiority is the flip side to the desperate yearning for reputation. Like the robber barons, billionaire philanthropists such as Warren Buffett and Gates have come to believe that they are best placed to spend the money that might otherwise have gone into state budgets from taxation.”

Sound familiar?

Our richest dumb cunt with money, Gina Rinehart, whose dad, Lang Hancock, was a dumb cunt with money who didn’t much like niggers and had a penchant for fucking the hired household help, occasionally carries on in the tradition of dear old dad by banging on about some aspect of the lives of us little people that displease her. We don’t work hard enough. We should work for less. Poor people are just lazy, and the unemployed …. bibbity-bibbity-bibbity rah-rah-rah and so on and so forth, you’ve heard it all before.

Here’s Callam Pickering in Business Spectator on Gina …

“Rinehart has no public policy experience beyond lobbying and rent-seeking. She is a businesswoman but not an economist nor an expert on politics or political economy. She has no expertise on social issues or social work or psychology. She is neither a lawyer nor a tax expert.”

Not to be envied, so much as laughed at.

Then we have dumb cunts with money like Jamie “Dacs” Packer having a wrestle in a public street with some other dumb cunt with money over some dumb cunt of a girl who wears underwear for a fucking living, and all us little people can only think is “What a couple of dumb cunts”, and fall about laughing at their dumb cuntyness.

Dacs makes his money (and loses it) from helping other dumb cunts with money lose their own by building whopping great Phalluses of Misery everywhere, otherwise known as “casinos”, gauche, gaudy shitholes studded with carnival games and fruit-machines which provide essential money-exchange services for criminal cunts with money, mostly property developers I suspect, and dodgy Asian “businessmen”, whose business is none of ours, and if we tried to make it ours, would probably call in a few “bash-up artists, druggies and thieves” on their payrolls to come ‘round our houses and lop off all our fucking fingers.

Dumb cunts with money like to keep company with their own kind. Kampfner again …

“They mix with a narrow group of similar-minded people, sparring with each other at the same auctions, fraternising on each other’s yachts. They compare themselves only against each other, leading them often to be dissatisfied with their lot, believing themselves to be not wealthy or powerful enough. They pay as little back to the state in tax as they can get away with. They reinforce each other in their certainties, convinced that their acquisition of wealth, and spending of it through charitable enterprise, has earned them their place at the apex of global decision-making and moral supremacy.”

We have Slime-King Supremo Rupert Murdoch, and his two Man-Children, both of whom could’ve beaten Christian Bale for the part of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” if they’d just showed up at audition looking like this …


These two dumb cunts with money have form in fucking things up for the little people, that is to say, us people who work for a living, because they’ve got so much fucking money, they think they’re entitled to be in charge of things, and when they put themselves in charge, or are parachuted into a management position by dad, they don’t so much run things as run them into the fucking ground and out of fucking existence altogether, because neither of them have got a fucking brain in their fucking heads or an ounce of fucking talent, but by Christ, they’ve got a whole bunch of fucking money, and as far as these two dumb cunts are concerned, that’s all it fucking takes.

It’s not the “politics of envy”, Amanda.


It’s Fed-Up-To-The-Fucking-Back-Teeth-Shut-The-Fuck-Up-And-FUCK-OFF-BOREDOM to be constantly whined at and nagged at by these narcissistic, self-righteous, dumb cunts with money who talk out their arses in vague brainfarts of self-reflecting glory about a Great Society of Utopian Perfection if we all just listened to them and did what they told us to.

Then, when we tell them they’re just dumb cunts with money talking out their fucking arses about things they know fuck-all about and retaliate with ridicule and contempt and criticism of their gibbering rubbish, they get all shirty and delicate and get the fucking sulks because they’re not being paid enough fucking attention, and they should be paid attention, and they’re not, and it’s only because’ everyone’s jealous, so there, everyone’s just jealous, that’s all, they’re just jealous, so there, I WON’T EAT MY VEGETABLES MUMMY, I WON’T, I, WON’T, I WON’T!

So there.

We have dumb cunts with money like Maurice “You Can Call Me The Space Cowboy” Newman, Senior Accounts Clerk turned Instant Scientist, add full retard, sprinkle with idiocy, bake in the hot desert sun for fifty years, and voila! A fuckwit arises.

There is no “politics of envy”.

We’re all just fucking sick and fucking tired of listening to these dumb cunts with money rabbit on all the fucking time about how fucking wonderful they all are and how they became so wonderful, and what wonderful ideas they have about everything under the fucking wonderful sun, when they’re ideas are not wonderful, they’re just very, very, very fucking STUPID.

They’re dumb cunts with money, and complete dicks about it to boot.

Callam Pickering again …

“Would you ask Justin Bieber for investment advice? Is economist Paul Krugman the best person to help build your home? And should venture capitalist Tom Perkins really be helping you study for German history? If you answer no, then why would we turn to business leaders to help fix economic or social issues?”

Would you take diet tips from Gina Rinehart?

No. You would not.

Dumb cunts.


The Company has a Vision.

A Global Vision.

One World. One Way. One Company.


To this end, over the last couple years, the Company has been engaged in a series of “restructures”, to streamline processes and procedures and systems – addressing “cost efficiencies”, they call them – so that the Company may better serve its key “clients” and “shareholders”, etcetera and so on and so forth.

You know the drill.

A decision was recently made, for example, to outsource and centralise the Company’s network and desktop support services.

To India.

New Delhi, to be precise.

Where, once upon a time, some odd error message popped up on my screen, or I could not access a particular application or whatnot, I would wander across the hall to the office that held our local support people and I would say, “Hey James, do you know why X is happening when I try to do Y?”, and James (for that was his name) would say, “Give me a minute and I’ll come over to have a look”.

And then he would come over to “have a look” and, ten or fifteen minutes later, he would say, “Okay, that’s fixed”, and it would be, and I would say, “Thanks James, you’re a star” (for he was), and I would then carry on with my work.

Last week, as I was trying to do Y and X kept happening, I emailed details of this problem, complete with screenshots, to our new “support” people. Our “support” people in India. Or New Delhi, to be precise.

A couple hours later, my phone rang …

“Ross Sharp”, I answer.

“Ros? It (indecipherable) from (indecipherable) which (indecipherable) (indecipherable)” comes a faint and faraway sounding voice.

“What?”, I say. “Um … what?

“You have (indecipherable) issue (indecipherable) (indecipherable) java (indecipherable) logon please?”

“Um? What do you want?”, I ask.

The reply is the same. Indecipherable. However, I glean from the words “java” and “logon” that perhaps I am dealing with our new “helpdesk” people.

In India.

New Delhi, to be precise.

Yes. Yes I am.

“Can you (indecipherable) (indecipherable) (indecipherable) sign in (indecipherable) Lync?”, I am asked.

“What?”, I ask.

Their reply is the same, and I am becoming irritated with myself for being unable to understand what the blazes they are saying. However, I latch onto the words “sign in” and “Lync”, and realise they are asking me to activate our instant messaging software so that they may remotely view and take control of my desktop.

Clever me.

I do this.

They take control of my desktop.

For the next ten minutes, there is silence on the phone, and I watch as they move a cursor around the screen, doing nothing with it, just moving it around. I have a few browser windows open, one for Facebook and another for The Guardian Australia. They click on them, one at a time, and nothing further happens for a few minutes.

I ask “What are you trying to do?”. There is silence. The cursor moves around the desktop.

“Tell me what you’re trying to do, and I’ll do it”, I offer. There is silence. The cursor continues to roam.

“How much longer will you be?”, I ask.

“We (indecipherable) (indecipherable) minute.”

I have been on this call for twenty minutes now.

The cursor moves. It does nothing else. It just moves, hither and thither. It is a wildebeest, a pointy, pixelated wildebeest, migrating from one corner of the screen to the next. This is all gnu to me.*

I have been on this call for twenty-seven minutes now. I am becoming agitated and irritable.

“What are you trying to do?”, I ask once more, exasperated.

“Just (indecipherable) (indecipherable) (indecipherable) (indecipherable) more.”

“I have to leave”, I say. “I have to leave soon.”

The moving cursor moves.

“No, no”, I say at last. “I have to leave. I have to leave now. Now”.

“Oh, we (indecipherable)”.

“I am leaving now, do you understand? Now”.

I take back control of my desktop, disconnect the messaging application, and hang up the phone.

The call lasted thirty-four minutes.

Nothing happened.


Not quite.