Hindmarsh: An Aussie Election Post

Hindmarsh, South Australia, is the federal electorate I lived in prior to Mersin and where my electoral address is. It is for the candidates from Hindmarsh (and the Australian Senate) that I will be voting this weekend. What? Isn’t the Australian election is on the following weekend (the 9th)? Ah, but I’m sending a postal vote.

Yesterday I received my postal voting form from the Australian Embassy in Ankara. This weekend I will send the completed postal vote form back to Ankara to ensure my vote is counted in the most important Federal election for many years. The current Australian government has lied and misled the Australian public and downgraded the institution of government for long enough. A few examples:

*Lying to the Australian public by providing a false reason to send Australian off to an unnecessary war on the other side of the world.

*Politicising the Australian Public Service far more than any government previously.

*Kowtowing to the current US government at the expense of Australian autonomy, Iraq and the free trade agreement being two examples.

*Not holding their parliamentary members accountable for their actions.

*Throwing money everywhere during this election campaign instead of providing good policy.

I don’t know yet who I will be putting first on the ballot but I do know that it won’t be the candidate representing the current conservative Liberal/National coalition government. The incumbent Liberal member, Christine Gallus, is retiring so instead, Simon BIRMINGHAM, the Liberal candidate hoping to replace Gallus, will be fighting the loonies from One Nation and Family First for last place on my slip.

In the 1996 federal election, my first election after gaining the right to vote (by turning 18 in 1995), I actually voted for the Liberal candidate as I was sick of the then long-term Labor government. How times have changed. Since 1996 I don’t recall voting for either of the major parties and I don’t think I will this time although I want Labor to win by default, as they are the only conceivable alternative for government and they have focused on policies and not abusing their opposition.

I am probably more interested in this election than any other election previously. It is difficult to follow the action properly from Turkey but I am still reasonably informed, at least on the national level. A few websites I have been following the election are Crikey, Back Pages and John Quiggin. The latter two links are left-leaning blogs. This is the first Australian election where blogs (weblogs – web diaries like mine) are an issue, albeit not a major one. For future elections the blogging influence can only get larger.

This is also the first federal election for Family First, a God-bothering party closely associated with the Assembly of God church. This party was established in South Australia and ran in the previous state election. Read this and this for some thought-provoking commentary on Family First.

As there is little information on the Internet regarding the Hindmarsh candidates could anyone provide a summary for me? I would like to be informed at least a little about the candidates before I exercise my right to vote.

UPDATE [30/09/2004]: Some more links:

*A long, detailed and interesting opinion piece on why the media has presented the current government with a free ride: The shape of the argument

*2 fun links: Fishty Cuffs and Throw Howard Overboard. Go on, click on them for a laugh!

Odds and Ends

Today an earthquake hit the Mersin province. I didn’t consciously feel anything but the other staff members did and they, as people are told to do when an earthquake hits, walked to the front door whilst I kept working. Thankfully, no injuries or damage have been reported.

The biggest news in Turkey of the past month has been the new penal code brought in to help satisfy the requirements to start EU accession talks. The original bill tabled in parliament included criminalising adultery. Thankfully, the EU and many different people and groups in Turkey saw this as ridiculous and the bill was withdrawn. In an emergency sitting of parliament on Sunday, a new bill, free of the adultery clause, was passed.

An interesting related story is on the BBC website.

Another article on Turkey’s potential EU accession was in The Australian. This article includes the thoughts of a person from Silifke and one from Mersin.

A few good Google search rankings for this website recently:

a) 1st out 1,410,000 results for ‘how’ ‘many’ ‘people’ ‘live’ ‘in’ ‘Turkey’

b) 2nd out of 2,600,000 results for ‘brother’ ‘joe’

Sunday Night

I had previously visited newly-weds, Efkan and Devrim’s place several times for dinner but they had not visited mine once. I’m not sure of the exact logic but it is a cultural thing in Turkey to for couples and families not to visit/have dinner at single people’s places. Can any Turks elaborate?

Last night, to break the drought, I invited Efkan and Devrim over for stir-fry with chicken, broccoli, peanuts, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, capsicums, soy sauce, oil, chilli flakes, Iranian spice mix, fresh ginger, garlic, spring onion and onion. The meal worked out well but I was a bit late preparing it and I received some valuable cutting assistance from Devrim. If this were a Turkish meal, bread and yoghurt would definitely accompany it!

Afterwards was baklava (thank you D+E) and Iranian Turkish coffee. The Iranian version is lighter roasted and has slightly ‘chocolaty’ flavour compared to ‘Turkish’ Turkish coffee but every Turk so far has enjoyed the flavour.

Devrim’s Mother comes from Iran and Devrim would like to go with her family back there for a holiday one day, particularly after hearing me rave on about the country. It would also be funny seeing Devrim and Asli (her sister) wearing headscarves!

Saturday Night

After work Saturday night I met Orhan in the centre and caught a dolmus to Karaduvar, the village the opposite side of the Mersin Free Trade Zone. There, near the main road we ate a great dinner of icli kofte, lahmacun and sarma with fellow Aussie Jane, her husband Kemal, their daughter Alisa and Kemal’s relatives. I still wore my Port scarf and jumper but Jane, as a non-sport follower from Sydney, did not even know that the AFL grand final had already been played.

To accompany the dinner and conversation I brought a few beers and a wine. The wine was a Turkish 2001 cabernet sauvignon I had bought at Huseyin abi’s shop for 13 million. Unlike many (most?) Turkish wines, this one was quite drinkable. I can’t remember the brand but Huseyin abi has a merlot of the same mark that I may have to sample next time.

I wish Turkish wines were of better quality and value!

Like almost all mixed couples, Jane and Kemal had some very interesting stories about their time in Sydney and waiting for Kemal’s visa in Turkey. Kemal’s family have a herb (mainly parsley) production and distribution business and it was in one of the delivery trucks that Orhan and I were returned to our homes by Dogan, Kemal’s brother.

I enjoyed rambling on to another Aussie and I hope to see Jane and Kemal upon their return to Mersin after a jaunt down the coast.

SAMPIYON! (‘Champion’ in Turkish)

Yesterday, in a great game, Port defeated Brisbane by 40 points to win the 2004 AFL Premiership.

My telephone’s alarm woke me up at 7am and I chucked my clothes on. Although late summer, it still wasn’t too hot to wear my Port jumper and scarf. It is impossible to be too hot to wear them on grand final day!

At Sirinler Fast Food Center I had to wake up the worker. Sleeping outside, just in from a noisy street, it took me several attempts to wake him up. Once awake, he set up the TV to Fox Sports and I was away!

Fox took Channel 10’s coverage and commentators. Anthony ‘Baby face’ Hudson, Tim Lane and Robert Walls were in the box at the ‘G. For the first 3 quarters the game was close and hard-fought but Port won convincingly at the end by 40 points, to my great delight. I had the TV to myself except for a few times when the odd restaurant worker watched briefly and asked me some questions about the game.

During the game I didn’t feel like eating and settled for a carrot juice and a cup of tea. In the after-match presentations I enjoyed a bowl of lentil soup.

BBC News almost never have AFL coverage on their website and it showed when they wrote about the game. See the screen capture below:

Adelaide?????????

For those who don’t know, “Adelaide” is the name of a completely separate team to “Port Adelaide” – a major faux pas!

Later, BBC News modified the title and story, changing all the mentions of “Adelaide” to “Port Adelaide”. See:

After the game I went to work. In the afternoon, I bought a cream fruit cake to celebrate. Here are some photos:

The Footy Will Soon Be On And I’ll Be Watching! (Eat at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER)

As I wrote in my previous post, Port Adelaide is in the AFL grand final this Saturday (beginning in 12 hours). They will play Brisbane, winner of the past 3 premierships and undisputed favourites. Port are going for their 1st AFL premiership whilst Brisbane are trying to extend their AFL record of 3 consecutive premierships. The game will be played in the neutral city of Melbourne.

I was hoping to watch the game, particularly after I found out Fox Sports Middle East was showing it and Turkey received this channel.

On Wednesday night I bribed Orhan with a few beers so I could check for Fox Sports upstairs at his currently abroad Indian neighbour’s place. Via satellite, there were hundreds of channels to choose from. Unfortunately, Fox Sports was not one of these. I was not after several dozen Italian channels, although the ladies on a soccer show were drop-dead gorgeous.

Today, as suspected, I confirmed Fox Sports was part of Digiturk, the leading subscriber television service in Turkey. Nobody I knew had Digiturk and I needed to know someone well if I was to arrive at their place 7am on a Saturday morning to use their lounge room for 4 hours!

My last resort was to call the local Hilton Hotel and ask the Australian manager if I could watch the game there. If I knew the manager was a footy fanatic she would have been my choice.

However, the last resort was not necessary. After eating my lovely leftover vegetables for lunch, I walked the short distance to SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER on Silifke Caddesi. SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER is a largely outdoors restaurant selling fast food (!), including chicken doner, tantuni, hamburgers and lovely fresh fruit juices. I particularly like the tavuk doner at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER as it includes hot chips and a fair amount of salad in the bread with the chicken.

In the last fortnight SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER installed Digiturk, largely for the Turkish soccer games. After confirming Fox Sports was on Digiturk before lunch, I went to SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER and asked the worker with the best English. He confirmed SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER:

1) Do have Fox Sports

2) Will let me watch the game; and

3) They normally open very early and 7/7.30 am should be no problems!

This last point was my main concern.

Eat at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER!

I’m excited to be able to watch the footy. Assuming there is no electricity blackout or other disruption, this will be my first game of footy in Turkey and my first I’ve seen either at the ground or on TV since I left Adelaide in June 2003.

Eat at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER!

What does Sirinler mean in English? Sirinler is the plural of sirin.

Sirin is ‘cute’, ‘sweet’ and ‘pretty’. SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER definitely fit the definition of Sirin!

Eat at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER!

In other news, tomorrow evening I will travel to the coastal village of Karaduvar for a BBQ with Sydney Jane, her Turkish husband and co. This will be the first meeting with Jane of whom I first came into contact via Joe’s Ramblings several months ago. At the BBQ I will either celebrate Port’s victory or drown my sorrows after the loss. I hope it is the former!

Eat at SIRINLER FAST FOOD CENTER! 😉

(Was) Bomb-Free News From Mersin

I was going to write about bomb-free news but I just read a Kurdish group thought to be linked to the PKK claimed responsibility for the bombing in Mersin on Sunday night.

-My favourite footy team, Port Adelaide, have made their first AFL grand final to be played on Saturday. Today I discovered the game will be shown live on Fox Sports Middle East which covers Turkey. Is there anyone in Mersin with Fox Sports who doesn’t mind me arriving early on Saturday morning (coverage begins 7am)?

-On Friday night I walked to Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani – the same location as the bombing) for the end of Petek Dincoz’s concert. I saw the final song and the impressive fireworks display. Petek Dincoz probably would not be signed to a record company if she did not look like a model.

……….what was I writing about?

-This week I received my first UniSA (the University of South Australia – my former university) Newsletter in Turkey. Although the newsletter content could be seen as less relevant for someone living in Turkey versus living in Adelaide, I actually found the articles more interesting than I have previously.

-The postcards I sent from Tehran arrived in Mersin 10 days later! Australia will probably take a month or two at this rate…

-Saturday night (18 September or 18/9) first division lotto was worth 8 trillion little ones, equivalent to almost 8 million big Aussie ones and a huge amount more than normal. On 18/9 the numbers were 9, 18, 33, 34, 35 and 36 – an unusual sequence. 14 ticketholders became lucky – I didn’t.

-The weather these evenings is stunning – early 20’s and calm. Weather to be enjoyed before the onset of rain and cool days in November.

-On Sunday afternoon I travelled to Adana to meet some trainees I had never met before. Well, I thought I hadn’t…about half way through the visit I realised I had met Barbara, the Polish trainee, in 2002 when she was a CEEDer (a kind of trainee but working for AIESEC instead of a third party) based in Istanbul. Funny!

A Bomb in Mersin

I have a lot of other things I could write about…

Last night, near the Candan Ercetin concert (part of Mersin Festivali) on Cumhuriyet Meydani, a bomb exploded under a police vehicle, injuring several people. I was in Adana at the time and didn’t find out about the bomb until this morning. At the moment, police don’t know who undertook the bombing. The money is on either leftist, Kurdish or Islamist militant groups.

Following are a few news links. Some have graphic photos of the injured, so be warned.

BBC News (no photos)

Reuters (small photo)

Xinhuanet (graphic photos)

AFP via TurkishPress.com (graphic photo)

Ledge-Enquirer via AP (no photos, post-incident analysis)