Archive for December, 2010

New Year – a time for Beer glorious Beer!

December 31, 2010

You know the old joke: How do Queenslanders spell “beer”? Answer: XXXX

Well, here is something that is not a joke. Since 28 August 2009, your friendly Australian Federal Government, via its agency the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has changed the definition of beer!!! And I quote the ATO:

”In summary, a beverage is a beer if it is brewed and:

-is the product of the yeast fermentation of an aqueous extract of predominantly malted or unmalted cereals, but may also contain other sources of carbohydrates

-contains hops, or extracts of hops, so that the beverage has no less than four International Bitterness Units. If it contains other bitters, the beverage must have a bitterness comparable to that of a beverage with no less than four International Bitterness Units

-may have spirit distilled from beer added to it if that spirit adds no more than 0.5% to the final total volume of alcohol

-may have other substances, including flavours, containing alcohol (other than beer spirit) added to it but only if that alcohol adds no more than 0.5% to the final total volume of alcohol

-contains no more than 4% by weight of monosaccharide and disaccharide (sugars)

-does not contain any artificial sweeteners, and

-has an alcohol content more than 1.15% by volume.”

Stop the presses!!! Obviously Lion Nathan and Fosters have gotten their beer marketing all wrong. Instead of “a hard earned beer for a hard earned thirst”, they need to tell the punters that their beer is “the yeast fermentation of an aqueous extract of cereals that contains no less than four International Bitterness Units”.

Crikey! Who knew that we had International Bitterness Units (IBU’s)? In Germany it appears to be more dangerous for a beer maker and publican to play loose with the truth when it comes to IBU’s. In Germany selling Pilsner beer with an IBU value below 20 constitutes fraud!!!

After all that you would expect a beer with a higher IBU to taste, well, more bitter than a beer with a lower IBU. According to my research at, “The International Bitterness Unit is NOT a measure of perceived bitterness, but of the concentration of a certain class of chemical compounds from hops.” And to measure the level of IBU’s you need a spectrophotometer in your chemistry kit!

It appears that the male fantasy of being a beer taster in a brewery is at least an exaggerated one. While many consider a nice cold beer is one of life’s simple pleasures and beer may well be simple for a Queenslander to spell, you nevertheless need a chemistry degree and a laboratory full of equipment to avoid breaking the law in Australia or committing fraud in Germany!

As another New Years Eve celebration approaches, it is cheers from me and remember – be responsible – don’t drive and consume your International Bitterness Units at the same time!

STOP PRESS: Really, Australians and Germans are so prudish concerning the definition of beer when you compare them to the Russians. For the Russians, beer is more a food than alcohol and well, beer at 5% alcohol is hardly alcohol at all when you compare it to 40% alcohol vodka! Get the story here.


Making My Mark in 2011

December 29, 2010

How will you make your mark in 2011? That was the title of a talk back session on ABC radio today. What a great topic for me, looking forward to 2011.

On 6th December 2010 I resurrected this blog because I wanted to. At the same time I committed to posting three times a week during December and January because I could AND because I wanted to. In the three weeks since then, not only have I kept up with my committment but I have enjoyed the blogging journey. That tells me I am on the right track with this one.

On 15th December 2010 I also wrote a post entitled “SHOULDed to the nth degree”. It contains some warnings. The opening paragraph is sufficient to warn of ambitions that one SHOULD have but which one is NOT committed to:

“SHOULD is a deceptive word. SHOULD is not an entirely bad word. Indeed it has the ring of being a virtuous word. However SHOULD is a word that is apt to grow tentacles. It is a word that is synonymous with obligation but it is also a word that is liable to take you places that you do not wish to go.”

Bearing the above in mind, how would I like to make my mark in 2011? I would like to be self employed in 2011 first with a sustainable income, then with a bountiful income. This ambition is coloured by a horrible employment experience for part of 2010. It is also influenced by some indifferent experiences during job interviews and less than encouraging results when applying for other jobs.

Self employment though is not a goal I seek lightly. My several previous attempts at sustainable self employment have ranged between not quite sustainable and abject failure.

The positive intent for my self employment goal is that there are several things I am good at: analysing businesses, dealing with people and share investing. I have several outlets for these abilities: becoming a BAS service provider and bookkeeper with the bonus of being an accountant, helping other businesses through the power of Childsplay Marketing and investing my own money (when I make some!). I have been able to look after the clients of other people and make money for them. I would now like to look after my own clients and make money for myself!

This goal of sustainable and then bountiful self employment is not one that will immediately appear. But it is my dream for 2011 and beyond. It is how I would like to make my mark in 2011. And you just know that there will be future blog posts on this topic. Stay tuned.

How will make YOUR mark in 2011?

Enough to curl your hair

December 27, 2010

I bought shampoo today. This is not as easy an exercise as you would imagine. Actually, it was easy for me. I looked along the rows of shampoo bottles looking for the supermarket tags that indicate what brands are on special! I suspect that most blokes shopping for their own shampoo use the same method. Unless they have their hair coloured, styled and zshooshed at a hair salon. Then, I suspect, they buy their “products” at the salon.

A brand I have used recently was on “special” at $5.94, for not a large bottle. I thought “special” for that brand was about $2 cheaper. I settled on a brand that was $4.99 for a 400ml bottle. Not the cheapest shampoo I’ve ever bought but is THIS shampoo any better for my hair?

Well, this shampoo is at least for “normal” hair, which in days gone by meant not oily and not dry. I really have no idea what sort of hair I have but it definitely does NOT belong to the ever growing list of categories – hair that is coloured, wavy or Martian! Actually I made up that last category. But it may well be real for all the sense the others make. I mean wavy? Is that naturally wavy or wavy as induced in some hair salon? The normal/dry/oily/wavy/coloured conundrum is only the start of the shampoo journey.

My shampoo is in a green bottle, the sub-brand is “Naturals”, it has “Active Nourishment”, contains “Fruit Vitamins & Aloe Essence” and is “up to 7 X smoother*. I don’t care about any of this but you just know I had to go and read what came after the * (asterisk). That was on the back of the bottle in considerably smaller type than the 7 X. I also assumed that 7 X means seven times smoother, not 7 X smoother as if indicating an adults only product. The * says, “Using __________ Naturals Active Nourishment Shampoo and Conditioner vs non-conditioning shampoo”. So, I’ve done my dash. I didn’t buy the Conditioner. Apparently the all capitals Naturals Active Nourishment Shampoo alone is not enough to defeat the lower case non-conditioning shampoo. Or at least not enough to defeat it 7 times over. I mean, due to my meanness in not spending an additional $4.99, I have missed out on 7 X smoother hair! The sacrifices I make!

And what of the “Fruit Vitamins & Aloe Essence”? The ingredients list on the back of the bottle is in the smallest type of all. If the ingredients are listed in order of decreasing prominence in the final product then the fruit vitamins and aloe essence are indeed scarce. And when reading shampoo ingredients lists, one is best prepared if one has a chemistry degree. After the first ingredient, water, I am lost. Of the 26 (!) ingredients number 19, “Citrus Paradisi” and number 20, “Aloe Barbadensis Extract”, seem to fulfill the promise of “Fruit Vitamins & Aloe Essence. I am curious about number 21, “Pyrus Malus Juice” as the name sounds entirely made up. I mean it is juice but does that make “Pyrus Malus” a fruit? It sounds more like Latin for ruined paper, as in “I spilt my glass of juice and ruined the paper”!

Of all the ingredients, numbers 25 and 26 perturb me the most. While they are present in perhaps the smallest of volumes, their names sound anything but natural in a range of shampoo called “Naturals”. Number 25 is Methylchloroisothiazolinone and number 26 is Methylisothiazolinone.

Perhaps I am more influenced by the implied promise that if I use the “Naturals Active Nourishment Shampoo with Fruit Vitamins & Aloe Essence”, albeit without the accompanying Conditioner, my hair should at least be 3 1/2 X smoother than any other non-conditioning shampoo!

Hope. Christmas is full of Hope.

December 24, 2010

Ironically it is easy to be melancholy at Christmas time. Christmas is, at least in the Western world, a time for families, togetherness, celebrations over meals and for Christians, the time of the year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of God’s Son, Saviour and representative on this earth.

Perhaps melancholy at this time of year is not such a stretch. Families disperse for all sorts of reasons, beloved family members die, some people are more worried about their immediate financial or residential future to worry about what might be on their table at Christmas. There are some that will have been hurt by their experience with “religious people” and who have no need to be reminded by the occurrence of another religious festival.

Some may think that perhaps this melancholic phenomenon is a recent one. Say, latter 20th century recent, with all the family breakups, rabid consumerism and departure from “good old-fashioned values” that a modern age has brought.

I don’t believe it. Christmas for as long as it has been celebrated has occurred in Europe and North America as a mid-winter festival. The days are short, the weather is freezing. I bet there were big blizzard years when no one moved very far, long before snowed in airports became the bane of 21st century travellers. Cold weather, short days and a general lack of sunlight are not good for the healthiest of people let alone those who are biologically pre-disposed to depressive melancholy.

And yet. And yet. Human beings have survived several millenia despite inhospitable winter conditions. Although the origins of 25th December being the celebration of Christ’s birthday are uncertain, it has been noted that one explanation is that it is close to the date of pagan northern hemisphere winter solstice celebrations. Early Christian Church leaders were thought to want to draw the attention away from pagan celebrations towards the Christian faith. One way or another, Europeans in particular, in the depths of the hardest time of the year, were determined to celebrate getting half way through winter and started looking forward to longer and warmer days ahead. As the focus moved to the birth of Christ, there was similarly hope that from humble beginnings, Christ was destined to become Our Saviour for the eternal life ahead. Pagan or Christian, the message is one of hope. That better is ahead, whether temporal or eternal.

At least according to Western calendars, December is at the end of the year. Christmas is almost at the end of December. Human beings are wired to take notice of patterns, seasons and the tick over of time. With Christmas almost at the end of one year and with traditions of feasting and meeting up with extended family, what better time to also consider the year ahead? And the hope of a New Year is that its story is yet untold, there is the possibility of having dreams fulfilled, there is time to make new beginnings.

So while the approach of Christmas can be melancholy for those that cannot be with family, or will not enjoy a sumptuous feast, the New Year nevertheless beckons. Christmas, a mere week before the New Year, is a time for Christians to recall the birth of Christ the Saviour. For the Pagans, there is much to rejoice at having got at least half way through a tough winter (or trying summer)! For all it is a time to pause, to tell stories of the year gone by and to anticipate the year ahead.

However you look at it, Christmas heralds Hope, Christmas is full of Hope!

QEII belongs on our coins in perpetuity

December 22, 2010

The longevity of Queen Elizabeth II as monarch raises some curious issues. Hardly anyone under 50 in Australia remembers pre-decimal currency. ALL decimal coins have featured QE II on one side. Admittedly the “model” has been updated throughout the years but for those who cry out “heads” at the start of a sporting match are hoping to see the Queen’s profile.

QE II has in fact been the queen since 1952, so hardly anyone under 70 will have ever spent an Australian coin that did not feature the Queen.

I have a suggestion. When the Queen gets to 60 years as the reigning monarch, then I think it should be formalised that her likeness should stay on our coinage in perpetuity, including even if or when Australia ever becomes a republic.

Why do I lobby for this option? For at least another 60 years or so there will be people around who will only ever have known her as monarch. The sight of Charles or even William on the currency may just be too much for many to take. And should Australia become a Republic, I don’t see a great demand for successive short term Presidents to appear on the currency. For all of these successive monarchs or heads of state I would authorise a run or series of postage stamps but that’s it.

So, why keep a person’s head on coins at all? Well, we need a “heads” on a coin to distinguish heads from tails. The technical terms, obverse and reverse are hardly going to catch on at the toss at the tennis, cricket or football. And who can remember which one is the obverse and which one is the reverse anyway? Heads and tails is so much easier and with the monarch’s head on one side, is a concept that even the youngest of children will intuitively understand.

The other reason to give QE II perpetual rights over the “heads” side of our coins is that some time in the next 20 to 50 years, coins are likely to become curiosities which are only of interest to collectors and as keepsakes for those who grew up with them. For around twenty years we have had phone cards for use in public telephones. Phone cards are simply one limited form of a stored value card. Limited because they are only usable in public telephones. Come to think of it, public telephones are on the decline with the ubiquity of relatively low cost mobile phones.

Stored value cards are already common in various public transport systems around the world. These types of cards are also being adapted for other small purchases such as parking meters and low value purchases from vending machines and at convenience stores, news agencies and the like.

By 2040 we are unlikely to ever need coins again and to thank her for her longevity we should honour Queen Elizabeth II with the distinction of being the last person to ever grace our coins.

Twenty 20 Cricket ….. Explained

December 20, 2010

So, you know a little about Test Cricket. No good. Forget everything you know.

Wait a minute. You understand a few things about Sheffield Shield or English County Cricket. Even worse. No use whatsoever!

You’ve watched every Cricket World Cup and Australian International Limited Overs matches since 1987. Well, closer but still not there.

Twenty 20 Cricket (T20) is principally about money. Lots of it. And batting. Lots of it. Lots of both. And coloured clothing, with as many sponsors logos on the uniform as possible. The coloured clothing is the ONE THING that connects T20 cricket to Limited Overs cricket. There are no other similarities. The names on the back of the shirts for T20 are usually nicknames. It is only a matter of time before nicknames and sponsors names merge in the ultimate sponsorship immersion. Instead of Mr Cricket and KFC it will become Mr K.F.C.ricket. Or instead of Punter and Ford it will be Blue Oval Punter. All for a fee of course.

Or perhaps T20 could be described as follows:

One side is in and one side is out. Both sides are on – on air that is – there will be a consistent dribble of drivel between commentators, batsmen, bowlers and the interview guy on the sidelines. Everyone is on the air.

Anyway, the side that is out tries to get out the batsmen from the side that is in. No they don’t. The side that is out in the field just tries to avoid the missiles that the batsmen send back after the bowler bowls the said missile to them. The batsman’s job is actually to launch the missile over the fence of the cricket ground and to hit a designated sign for additional monetary reward. Ker-ching! The batsmen can do this because they are holding about four kilos of sculpted willow in their hands while the poor bowler only has the use of his own limbs!

The side that is in is only in for twenty overs unless of course the side that is out gets all the side that is in out before the twenty overs is up. But of course any side that is in that gets out in less than twenty overs is…in rather a bad way.

An exception to the twenty overs of being in also occurs if it rains! As the entire match is limited to three and a half hours there is little tolerance to add on additional time at the end of the evening. The solution? T20 at a minimum becomes the best of five overs a side. Five overs??? So now T20 becomes F5. For that length of game they may as well avoid the inconvenience of having to hire a stadium and simply play the match with a tennis ball and any old timber stick out in the car park, or at the beach or in the driveway at someone’s home.

T20 though is IMPORTANT. After all the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been running since 2008, employs both up and coming and near retirement cricketers from around the world in a competition where the privately owned teams have no allegiance to a county, a state , a province or a country. They all however do have allegiance to the US dollar but only in denominations of more than a million dollars.

And that is T20, on the days that it is not F5, explained!

My cats are registered – how soon can they drive?

December 18, 2010

Our beloved Cairns Regional Council has now brought in by laws that all cats in the council region must be registered. Registration between now and 30 June 2011 for de-sexed cats is **free**, otherwise $35. After next 1 July who knows. The hitch is that a cat owner needs a vet certificate verifying the de-sexing before the free registration can proceed. I am soon to find out how much that will be. But wait a minute, all de-sexed cats have a tattoo in one ear. I feel like fronting up to council chambers to show the staff the tattoo. Maybe I will do that!

Actually I’m glad that the Council is now requiring registration of cats. My dog has been registered for years but he still can’t drive the car because his legs are too short. With THREE animals now registered hopefully they can work together with all the controls to chauffeur me around town. That’s NOT the purpose of pet registration? Pity.

Actually I will be relieved once the cats are registered. A couple of years ago Marmaduke, the ginger male (de-sexed!) cat disappeared for a couple of days. To know how unusual that is, Marmaduke loves his food too much to EVER voluntarily miss dinner time. To miss one was unusual, to miss two meant we mounted a search party.

It turns out after another day missing that he has gotten down the storm water drains near home and was unable to get out. Actually the story we discerned was that Jacinta (female, fluffy cat), who is disdainful that she has to share the pet role in the household with Marmaduke and a DOG, in fact must have lured Marmaduke to the drain entrance. Then she “pretended” to hop into the drain to show Marmie how easy it was. In truth, while Jacinta’s fluff makes her look larger than she is, she is in fact quite a small cat.

So it took a while to get Marmie out of the drain, a whole extra day. And is there any help available. Fire Brigade? “We don’t do that.” They do on those cutesie TV shows where the owner is an adorable child or a charming female! Cairns Water? “Our staff aren’t authorised to work in the drains.” Hello! YOU are Cairns Water! “Sorry, no can do.”

So, with cat registration, if there is a next time, or perhaps with Marmie it is when there is a next time, I will demand to see my taxes in action!

Why England Invented Twenty 20 Cricket

December 18, 2010

Twenty 20 cricket started for the same reason that One Day Cricket (or Limited Over Cricket) started. The English were really crap at the preceding versions of cricket, so they invented a new version.

Way back in 1877 the English finally deigned to play an Australian team on equal terms and to call it a Test. Prior to this the English had regularly played “colonial” teams that contained more than the regular 11 members. In 1877 however they struck a snag: Australia won, on equal terms, in Australia. Five years later in 1882, England was beaten by Australia in England. It was during that series that the “death” of English cricket was mockingly announced in a newspaper, some bails were burnt and the history of the Ashes began.

Not long after this South Africa joined the test cricket scene. This was not good for England as they now had TWO colonial rivals to their cricket crown. With the arrival of other Test playing nations during the 20th century, England definitely had to share the glory of Test cricket superiority!

One Day (or Limited Over) cricket began in England in 1962 as a contest between the counties. The Poms had limited over cricket fairly much to themselves until 1971 when due to copious amounts of rain in Melbourne washing out almost all of the intended 3rd test of the series, the first international one day match was played. You guessed it, that first international limited overs match, 40 overs per side, was won by Australia by 5 wickets.

It was all down hill for England in Limited Over cricket after that. By 1975 there was the first World Cup of Cricket, a limited overs tournament involving all of the test playing nations plus a few minor nations besides. Although the inaugural cricket world cup was held in England, the tournament was dominated by the finalists, Australia and eventual winners the West Indies. Of the nine cricket world cups, Australia has won four, West Indies two and India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won one each. And England, the inventors of Limited Over Cricket? They’ve been hosts four times and runners-up three times. Foiled by the Colonies again!

The ’70’s was a rather good decade for the Windies, as Mr Kerry Packer was quick to notice when he created World Series Cricket for two years in the late 1970’s. By the 1980’s it was all over for England in Limited Overs Cricket – whether Australia, West Indies or the rising Asian tigers of India and Sri Lanka. A South Africa readmitted to world cricket in the 1990’s and Pakistan taking the 1992 World Cup of Cricket only added to their woes!

For a game that England started, every time they shared it with the world, the world took it over and made it their own.

Back to the drawing board. In 2003 England invented Twenty20 cricket, once more as an inter county competition. It suited their climate. Three and a half hours in summer twilight was not only achievable but could attract spectators who could watch an entire game in one evening.

This time, the world caught on a lot faster. By 2005, Australia had domestic T20 games. In 2006, the West Indies had their own competition with USD$28 million in prize money.

Where money goes interest can only follow. India, the 21st century centre of power in world cricket, began the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. Apart from copious amounts of money and private ownership of franchises, the IPL attracted cricketers from throughout the world. Young up and comers who had never played state or national cricket had an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Older players who were at the end of their international careers had the opportunity to top up their superannuation. In 2010 IPL games became the first ever sporting event to be broadcast live on YouTube!

Not only are there international T20 matches but there have been three T20 World competitions in 2007, 2009 and 2010 won by India, Pakistan and finally…England.

So the history of cricket: invented by England, perfected by everyone else. England just keeps inventing different versions, so for a short time at least, they are the world champions ….. until the current version escapes!

SHOULDed to the nth degree

December 15, 2010

SHOULD is a deceptive word. SHOULD is not an entirely bad word. Indeed it has the ring of being a virtuous word. However SHOULD is a word that is apt to grow tentacles. It is a word that is synonymous with obligation but it is also a word that is liable to take you places that you do not wish to go.

SHOULD can be at its most helpful when uttered lightly by a friend or a confidante. As in, “You SHOULD go for that job.” or “You SHOULD ask that person on a date.”

SHOULD grows cancerous tentacles when uttered more frequently and NOT lightly by family members and unhelpful acquaintance. As in, “You SHOULD get yourself more organised.” or “You SHOULD lose weight/save money/get married/…..” I trust you get the difference.

The most corrosive of all SHOULDS are in one’s own mind and uttered from one’s own mouth. I am currently on sick leave for at least a month. The SHOULDS that swept over me within the first few days were: clean my house, completely; get my tax returns up to date; start exercising regularly; lose weight; do useful things rather than sleeping in and watching television. And a list of smaller sundry SHOULDS.

The reason the internal SHOULDS are so corrosive is that these self exposed expectations set oneself up for failure. Three weeks into my leave I have had partial goes at most of the SHOULDS above but have completed none of them to the satisfaction of the initial SHOULD.

It was the re-discovery of this Tom On Tuesday blog about ten days ago that led to a change in my outlook. I re-discovered this blog because sometime in the last two years this blog site was hacked by some tool and my access to the site was blocked. About ten days ago I came onto the Word Press site to attempt to start another blog. I discovered that Tom On Tuesday had been unhacked, albeit that all the content had been removed. I would liken it to reformatting a hard drive. You lose all the information but at least you have control again.

So upon regaining access to Tom On Tuesday, I decided to start posting to it regularly. Of course, the inclination was to publish at least once a week on a Tuesday. I realised that with some articles in the archive, several weeks at least where I would be away from regular work and a genuine desire to write again, that perhaps I could, I might like to, commit to publishing three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It was my first new post on procrastination that firmed up my resolve.

The best part of the previous paragraph is that the word SHOULD is absent. THAT has made the difference. There is a “could” where I decided what might be possible. There was a “would” taking account of whether I had the time for the committment. The most important phrase though is ” I might like to…”. I decided to try something without the guilt, expectation and “set up to fail” certainty of a SHOULD.

Be wary of being SHOULDed to the nth degree.

Yes, No, Don’t Know, Don’t Care!

December 12, 2010

Most polls, whether political, social or taking the temperature of consumerism have a major flaw. When questions are posed they allow for responses of yes and no and various gradations: strongly and mildly agree or disagree. Some even allow for indecision: don’t know. But rarely does the pollster offer or record another powerful option: don’t care!

Yes or no are self explanatory. Even “Don’t Know” indicates that the pollee has considered the question but either has insufficient information or has had insufficient time to consider a more definite response. Either way a “Don’t Know” pollee is engaged with the poll.

A response of “Don’t Care” by definition is unambiguously an intention NOT to engage with the poll. “Don’t Care” is a response that many deem irresponsible, without thought and without merit. On the contrary, a firm “Don’t Care” informs the pollster that a definite decision on the subject matter has already been made and that the pollsters task is at an end for that pollee.

There is at least one poll that can make an informed guess at the level of “Don’t Cares”. Election polls in Australia, where voting is supposedly compulsory, give an indication of the possible size of the “Don’t Cares”. For in Australia, as in each of its State and Territory jurisdictions, enrolment to vote is also compulsory.

At the last Federal Election in 2010, the national turnout of voters was just over 93% of enrolments. So 7% of 14,088,000 potential voters couldn’t or wouldn’t turn up to vote. Nor did they take the opportunity to cast their votes in any one of several other ways the Australian Electoral Commission provides for those who would for some reason have difficulty turning up to a polling place. So about 985,000 people failed to vote despite being enrolled.

A further 5.5% of those who did vote, or 729,000 people, voted informally either by choice or by unintentional voting error.

Finally of people over 18, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) estimates around 1,400,000 are not enrolled at all in 2010.

So at the 2010 election we had an eligible voting population of 15,488,000 of whom 3,114,000 (20%) couldn’t vote (not enrolled), didn’t vote (enrolled but didn’t turn up) or voted ineffectively (voted informally).

There are indeed a myriad of reason that people are not enrolled, don’t turn up to vote or vote informally. However The AEC makes it their business to limit the numbers in each of these categories through advertising, education and making voting available to people regardless of their circumstances.

So, let us assume that half of these 3 million people intended to vote effectively but for some reason they were not on the electoral roll, could not take advantage of the myriad of ways to vote or simply unintentionally and unknowingly made a mistake on their ballot that made it informal.

That still leaves 1,557,000 adult Australians who one way or the other DON’T CARE about the outcome of the main election in Australia every three years. In case that doesn’t sound like a lot, 1,557,000 people, evenly spread among the 150 lower house electorate amounts to around 10,380 per electorate who don’t care! Or if they were divided into their own electorates, the “Don’t Cares” would amount to an extra 15 electorates. In a country that now has a hung parliament with no party having a majority and six independents or somewhat independently minded, an extra 10,000 votes per electorate or an extra 15 electorates could make or break the intentions of ANY intending government.

And as to polling of matters outside politics? Oprah coming to Australia: at least 75% “Don’t Care”; Justin Bieber touring Australia and tickets can be purchased online: over 18’s 98% “Don’t Care”. And the 2%? They are the parents of the tweens who do the drop off and pick ups!

Finally how does the pollster know to record a “Don’t Care”? If the poll is by phone, the phone being hung up before the end of the first question renders all answers “Don’t Care”. If the poll is in person, a closed door, a person who walks away or any other show of disinterest is a “Don’t Care”. The great thing about the “Don’t Care” response is that the pollster will know after one question!

To the pollsters of the world: all polls, surveys and questionnaires are incomplete without a response of “Don’t Care”.