Haven't posted much recently, but two rather surreal stories caught my eye recently which I thought were worth paying attention to, which just goes to show how ridiculously crazy Australian governments are getting about regulation and how the nanny state just continues to grow and grow.
1) Queensland has banned rollerblading, skateboarding and foot scooting after sunset. Just like that. Ostensibly because such types, rather like ghosts or vampires, have the magical power to suddenly become "invisible" at night which makes them a threat and a menace to everyone. However, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan is desperate not to be seen as a party-pooper, assuring us it's for these people's safety and that she's not out to spoil anyone's fun. Well, I'm sure a hundred thousand teenage kids agree with you there Rachel! No doubt there will be a call for night-time scenes in Tony Hawke's Playstation games to be censored next. Oh Queensland. What would Australia be without you. You're so incredibly reactionary in such a cute way.
2) Moving a little further south, New South Wales, not wanting to be beaten by Queensland has also proposed some new bans. Not wanting to be outdone by its friendly rival up North, the NSW proposal is to remove the popular energy drinks V and Red Bull from store shelves everywhere for having too much...sugar? Nope. For having too much caffeine... WTF???
Primary Industries Minister Ian McDonald self-righteously froths and foams: “It’s simply unacceptable that these products, clearly marketed at youths [notice the big gaff - this guy's obviously a total old fart who just doesn't get "young people", seeing as he's still using the politically incorrect term "youth" in 2009 - Jesus, even when I was a "young person" that was already a big NO-NO. Get it together McDonald!], have appeared in the market so the Government has taken immediate action to get these illegal products off the shelves.”
But, good Lord, what next? Why just V and red Bull? They've been around for years now. Is it possible that NSW going to ban coffee next? I mean V and Red Bull contain about as much caffeine as in a standard cup of coffee. The V website states that there's about 78mg of caffeine in a 250ml can of V, while an average cup of instant coffee contains about 100mg. According to the ABC's Quantum web-site (a reliable enough source IMO), the real average for coffee is closer to 85mg (which is still more than V).
Are NSW cafes serving espressos then next on the list? But why now? Caffeine is and has been legal for ever everywhere in the world, including in NSW, so I'm just wondering if McDonald didn't walk into work the day he announced it having smoked one too many bongs and become totally confused, mixing up the drug "caffeine" with the drug "alcohol", about which there is endless talk of higher taxes and more regulation lately.
Because I just cannot think of any other explanation for suddenly deciding to ban two perfectly legal soft drinks other than that the bloke has totally lost the plot. It'll be interesting to see if the plan is successful or not.
(Disclaimer: Life Of A Rat is a regular drinker of V-white and thoroughly recommends mixing it with a double shot of Tequila as an instant hangover cure.)