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Laugh at him or admire him, Dick Smith as as fair dinkum as The Wiggles, Qantas, sausage sizzles at polling booths and Akubra hats. It is with some sadness that our favourite and preferred brand of peanut butter—OzEnuts (crunchy, of course, what else?)—will soon disappear. We read in the news a couple of days ago that Dick will be closing his food products business for reasons best known to him but, as he says, putting the blame on the supermarkets for making it impossible to compete on a level playing field.
When you visit your supermarket, finding Dick's OzEnuts can be a challenge; more often than not, they're placed on the bottom shelves. Coupled with the fact that they're higher priced than their competitors, OzEnuts (and other products from this business) are not turning customers on. Indeed, one commentator suggests that the failure of Dick Smith Foods is a natural consequence of being too pricey.
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I don't know too many people who haven't received these telephone calls that come out-of-the blue and start by a heavily-accented person on the other end introducing themselves as "I'm from the Telstra technical department and we've decided to disconnect your internet for the next x days ...". The problem with these phone calls is that they prey on the innocent, the naïve, the technically clueless and the gullible in our society who are ready to believe that they're at risk. In particular, because we read each day about the latest virus that jeopardises businesses and institutions around the country and around the world, because of the recent surge in cyber-terrorism, ransomware and other threats to our liberties, we're worried that we might be unknowing participants and how we should prepare ourselves in case these threats appear on our own doorsteps.
OK, I thought, I'll humour them. I said, "Please terminate my internet." I don't think that's what the guy was expecting me to say. He said, "Are you saying that you don't want the internet anymore?" "Yes," I replied, "please terminate my internet now." Anyway, this to-and-fro went on for another 30 seconds, by which time I was practically begging "Telstra" to terminate my internet ... and the guy just hung up.
I wouldn't recommend this approach to everyone but, by the same token, there's not diddly-squat that these con-artists can do in terms of hurting you if you don't (a) give them any personal information, (b) give them access to your computer, or (c) sound like you're in the least bit worried by their threats. Game over. *heh-heh-heh*
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One in 10 people in some NSW regions is now relying on the disability support pension, with statistics showing almost 20,000 people, the equivalent of five Australian Army brigades, joined the disability welfare line in the past three years.The Daily Telegraph 22 May 2014
I freely admit that I am not a regular reader of tabloid newspapers or of The Daily Telegraph in particular. I usually flick through tabloid newspapers, if they happen to be lying around, when I'm passing time eating a meal in a fast food restaurant during breaks from driving when I'm travelling long distances. The only other times I have any reason to look at such "stories" are when I'm reading commentary posted on the internet. It was an occasion such as this that attracted my attention towards such a "story" for more than my usual 10 seconds' glance.
What attracted me to the front page headline on The Daily Telegraph of 22 May was an essay written by Frank Quinlan—CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia, the peak non-government body representing the mental health sector in Australia—in which he characterised the paper's journalism "[a disservice to those] who are battling every day with a serious mental illness or who care for somebody with a serious mental illness."
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As any parent knows, it's a tough job looking after children. It's tough in modern times, juggling one's priorities to go to work, to make enough money to pay the bills and to enjoy a reasonable quality of life in order to deal with everyday needs as well as to provide for the security and well-being of our children. For many Australians trying to make ends meet, it's just not possible to be able to go to work if one has children not old enough to attend school and many families depend on childcare centres to look after children during work hours. Parents who rely on childcare centres need the security of knowing that their children will be properly cared for by those who are employed in such places. Childcare workers are people, too, who have thier own bills to pay, who want to enjoy a reasonable quality of life, just like everyone else. I'm saddened that our Government, in what I can only consider to be a cynical exercise in political point-scoring, has not grasped any understanding of the needs of parents and childcare workers in undertaking this vital role in raising our kids.
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