Back to Memory Lane and Alexander van der Bellen.



Gertrude Cottage

Yesterday we decided to combine a visit to our daughter and grandsons with a visit to a local market near where we used to live. It has been twenty years since we left the inner city suburb of Balmain. Faithful readers of my ‘Oosterman Treats’ of bits and pieces’ might remember we first strayed into this area back around the late 1960’s. Freshly married and with two daughters in tow, we bought ‘Gertrude’s cottage’ for $ 12500.-. It came with glorious views and shimmering sunshine reflected on the hardwood floor just below the Harbour’s bridge and its blue waters. It also came with a couple of woody-weed eating goats.

It was then possible to save and buy a place. It seemed to be within reach of a normal working young couple. Today, that’s not possible. That house would now be over three Million. I don’t understand why this is so. Some say, wealthy Chinese from mainland China are buying houses. Others claim that the shortage of houses are to blame. Some of the more radical (xenophobic) claim that the foreigners are buying up and just leave the houses empty and pick up on the capital gain.

It seems to me an accident waiting to happen. Correction seems inevitable. How can houses be left empty when the need for houses and housing is so great? Look at the refugee camps around the world. Some have housed people for generations. The young grow up into adulthood and have children of their own, all in refugee camps,not knowing anything else.

Anyway, a glimmer of hope can be gleaned from Austria. Alexander van der Bellen has become president. He nipped the anti-refugee right wing contender within a narrow margin. I like Mr van der Bellen already. At seventy three he still enjoys cigarettes ( why should I torture myself giving up smoking at my age) and loves comic books. He is also green and an outspoken champion for the underdog and refugees.

He comes from an aristocratic Russian-Dutch-Estonia background and both his parents were refugees from the Stalinist dictatorship. He is not just a tree hugger but also a professor and an economist. Not a bad mixture. Let’s hope he throws off the anti refugee mentality that now so often seems to grab headlines instead of the much more prevalent and common more humane views of the majority of people. He did win the election!

I do hope that in Australia too, we will see a resurgence of a more humane majority emerging from this steaming racist xenophobic morass of Australia that seems so often to grab the limelight. Mind you, with Murdoch still hanging around, it is not surprising.

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19 Responses to “Back to Memory Lane and Alexander van der Bellen.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    Amen, Brother!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    That was/is a very nice house. Yes the housing market here is insane as well. Glad you now have a nice guy in the government. Hope he does well and achieves good things.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. auntyuta Says:

    ” . . . a glimmer of hope can be gleaned from Austria”

    Yes, a glimmer of hope from Austria. So far not from Australia . . .

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, glimmers of hope is what we all can do more with, Uta.
      I and Helvi wish you and Peter a good time in Berlin with all your friends, children and relatives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Indeed, I hope we are having a good time. We booked our trip before the refugee crisis erupted and I’m sure, I would not go now if we hadn’t booked already. The political right is on the upswing in Germany too. Next year there are federal elections there and it could be a watershed.

        Seventy years after the war the countries of Europe seem to return to the old prewar attitudes.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Well, I hope that it will not end up as you seem to fear, Peter. It, the fear of the foreign, is exploited by the media who will do anything to get readers away from computers and buy the rubbish they so often spout. But, I am sure you have the finger on the pulse of what is happening in Germany a lot better than I.


      • berlioz1935 Says:

        I haven’t bought a paper for years now. We saw the Daily Telegraph the other day at the hairdresser and I near threw up. Page after page there was ant-Labor poison. From this, you would think Labour is a foreign force ready to invade peaceful Australia.

        A couple of months ago I even cancelled our online subscription to the SMH and when they asked why, I told them whether they a good look at their first page – it is now pure tabloid.

        They have lost so many good writers who now are at the Guardian, the Monthly or the Saturday Paper.


  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    The president of Austria has a ceremonial role only, similar to our Governor General. What he can do is remind his fellow Austrians to not take the wrong path to the right. I’m not sure they will listen as the election result shows there is a deep divide among the population.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anneharrison Says:

    well said, shall wait and see if our election brings hope ( but with the bookies backing Liberal 3:1 the odds are not in favour). Much is written about the death of Europe, but it is proving far more progressive than many other places in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. sedwith Says:

    So close though Gerard and such a frightening alternative. And here empty houses and corporate shiny multistory office blocks…Darwin is so empty.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    We can use hope wherever we can find it Gerard. Laughing a bit at the smoking. My dad used to play that card. “I’m 80 years old and it hasn’t killed me yet.” –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My dad smoked till he died. His ashtray still had the last of his butts when we all flew over for his funeral in Holland in 1988. He was a keen short-wave radio enthusiast as well.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        My dad started early and was still into ‘roll your owns’ as he called them. Since I was in the business of hassling the tobacco industry, we always had ‘discussions,’ but they were good humored. –Curt


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