No tulips with Octane 95 or Ethanol.

September 14, 2017

IMG_0623tulips

With our ‘almost’ new car came a 300 page manual. We are faced with having to make a choice of fuel. Throughout life I never gave buying petrol much thought.  Petrol would be last on the list of urgent considerations. One pays for it after studiously watching the bowser tick over to the exact cent. A boring unavoidable duty sometimes made better by watching others going through the same ordeal.

Some petrol stations now are like supermarkets. One sees people coming out with both arms laden with mainly sugary or salty items. Huge quantities of food. Sometimes the arms are so full that car keys are held between their teeth. Heaven knows what it does to their health.  It annoys the shit out of us. Yet, the bowser has a strict notification not to move the car before paying for the fuel.  There is no option but to grit teeth and hope the owners of the car queueing in front isn’t on an eating while shopping expedition.

The 308  petrol Peugeot we bought makes a recommendation on the inside of the fuel cap not to use fuel less than 95 Octane. I might be skating on scientific thin ice here, but I assume, the higher the octane level, the lower its needed temperature for combustibility. In other words, the higher the octane,  the lesser temperature is needed for the fuel to ignite/explode driving the engine.

In the handbook it also approves of a fuel with an ethanol (alcohol) component of not higher than 10%. This fuel E10, is less polluting and cheaper, more environmentally friendly. However, this ethanol added fuel seems to be confusing. It doesn’t come with an octane level at most petrol oulets. Researching the issue the Government gives a list of cars and models that can safely be driven on this better and cheaper fuel. At the risk of boring the faithful readers so bravely following this blog, I give you the site;

https://www.fcai.com.au/environment/can-my-vehicle-operate-on-ethanol-blend-petrol

The manual that came with this car does also approve the cheaper E10 fuels with a proviso it is at least rated at 95 octane.

I filled up with the E10 fuel and the car drives well, and without any difference. Mind you, I drive slowly in direct proportion to my ageing.  The older I get, the slower I drive. If you see a stationary car sometime in the future, take a peak inside, in case I have carked it! My last will is in the glove box underneath the manual!

Another perplexing issue that has also now popped up is that of tulips. One of the main yearly tourist attraction’s of our town of Bowral in the Highlands, is the yearly tulip festival held in a local park. It attracts tens of thousands of locals but many too from all over the world. This year it is not any different. Busload after busload it disgorges loads of tulip aficionados.  Many Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Europeans. Many decked out with cameras and held on the end of selfie sticks at the ready.

Except…there are hardly any tulips. Someone must have done a terrible miscalculation in the timing. We had some unusual warm weather, yet the tulips are just not there in flower. This has now become a calamity. All those people who pre-paid to come here to admire tulips are now faced with just a conventional municipal park with many venues set up for tourists to buy hats, or jumpers, scarfs ,belts meat pies and other products.  But…no tulips. The music is louder than normal I suppose to compensate for the lack of tulips. Counsel has put a large notification that entrance fees have been waived. “FREE” in large lettering. But what about the overseas visitors who pre-paid their flight and entrance tickets? What about all the busloads of Sydney pensioners looking forward to tulips?

I reckon someone will get an ear-bashing over this. It can’t be all that difficult to have bulbs coming out in time for the yearly fortnightly tulip festival.

Ah well, we can listen to Tiny Tim once again.

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Byron Bay with sharks.

September 12, 2017

 

untitledGustav Aschenabch

Gustav Ascenbach

The week to Byron Bay was too short, but all good things come to an end which is never truer (incorrect spelling, it is either true or not true) when it involves a break from routine. It’s a good sign when time passes quickly. Mind you, the devouring of almost two thousand kilometres there and back in the confined space of a metal object on wheels  can be tedious.

A funny anecdote towards the end of our trip was rewarding. Out of the blue, a hissing sound emerged within the car while driving to my brother’s place at Toronto, not far from Newcastle on the way back to Sydney-Bowral. We looked at each other and I asked Helvi if she could tell me the possible direction of this hissing sound. The car has so many electronic readings on a screen it is frightening. However, the screen kept on with supplying us navigational directions back home. I stopped the car convinced I had a leaking tyre. But all were rock-hard. I remembered vaguely reading in the car’s manual that a leaking tyre would be indicated on the screen but nothing appeared on the screen.

It turned out that I had accidentally turned on the radio which was off-tune. I never listen to car radio, and thankfully Helvi doesn’t like any musical sounds inside a confined space either. We are in total harmony and well attuned to avoiding noises; musical or otherwise. The accidental turning on of the radio was because a tiny miniscule button on the steering-wheel had accidentally been activated. How do people know all those things? Do they really have the stamina to read the 200 page car-manual? Anyway, my brother and us thought it very funny and laughter was a welcome relief.

The four night stay in Byron Bay was wonderfully informative as well as entertaining. As expected, the numerous spates of shark-attacks had left its mark. There were a lot less people in the water but this was more than compensated for by many more going around on hired push-bikes.  The people that were in the water were just near the edge of the sand and kept looking out for sharks. In the town I noticed a few people walking around with missing limbs. Of course, I did not go around and ask if it was a shark that caused the shortage of their foot or arm.

The hiring-out of surf boards was at a stand-still but the canny entrepreneur soon swapped over to hiring-out bicycles. One shop even supplied electric bicycles. Byron-Bay is now an international tourist destination and it is not difficult to understand why that is so. It does have a good vibe. One reason might well be that the Haight-Ashbury like hipness and aging hippies nearby Mullumbimby caused many to move to Byron-Bay. In the sixties, Mullumbimby drew many young people with a penchant for ditching bras and smoking pot. Even today it has the largest population of people refusing vaccinations together with fluoridated water.

http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/mullumbimby-nsw

Some complain that this busy hive of Byron-Bay  used to be a simple fishing place, and now swamped with tourists. There are still many simple fishing villages along the way, and they will remain very sleepy and simple. Tourism doesn’t really go much for sleepiness.

The Byron-Bay Beach Hotel is still the pivotal attraction where most tourists sooner or later end up. For us it was the magic of musical bands each evening playing their stuff. The hotel itself is magical. More like a huge shed on the edge of the beach opening up to the sea. Lots of seating and with a choice of good food.

http://www.beachhotel.com.au/

PS. On the way home we stayed a night at a motel and the news on the TV had yet another shark attack near Byron Bay. Lucky for the surfer this shark attacked the surfboard which it broke in half. He had a piece of his wetsuit bitten out and  received a gash in his side. Of course, anyone in the water rushed out, and no doubt fewer people will venture into the water. It is a dilemma? The sea is the sharks territory. It doesn’t help killing sharks. The sharks don’t care and don’t differentiate between another fish or a surfer!

Perhaps, cycling is a safer option!

This tiny nation feeds the world.

September 2, 2017
etgedekte_boerderij,_groot_venster_met_luiken_in_het_midden,_naastgelegen_houten_schaapskooi_met_rieten_dak_en_vlechtwerk_decoratie_van_stro_-_Eursinge_-_20401995_-_RCE

Our farm house and sheep pen.

Have a look!
“One more reason to marvel: The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It’s bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it’s the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass. How on Earth have the Dutch done it?”
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/

A week in Byron Bay.

September 1, 2017

 

 

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If this blog seems a bit quiet, it is because we are not home. The blogging on the move isn’t the strongest part of my writing oeuvre. Not that the words disappear or fade, but the technical aspect of using a computer away from the familiarity of our upstairs little office is challenging. Although, I admit freely that anything away from home is now becoming a challenge. This is why we decided to wrench ourselves to the outside, and take a break up North at Byron Bay. You know how it is; sun and surf still appeals.

Did you know that two days ago my Apple iPhone became locked for no reason? The internet provided by TPG had dropped out. Both my computer and Helvi’s just did not walk. Nothing, rien, nichts or niks would make it work. It’s funny how a break in our IT world can be so unsettling. And I thought we were pretty aloof on the possibility of being hooked on computers.

A good friend suggested I take my locked Apple iPhone to a Telstra shop. Our account is with Telstra which are the biggest telephony company in Australia. The service provider of the internet however is TPG, a much smaller company. They seem to have a permanent advertisement on the TV which drives me mad but not enough to change providers.

Telstra shops are always busy and you can tell that it are the lost and the forlorn oldies that have the most trouble with  modern electronic communication gadgetry. They are doomed to forever catch up with the increasingly more intricate cell-phone world. It is all so baffling, but you can tell by their worried puckered up faces they are all at their wits end. I too joined them which gives comfort. And after I gave my name, which a man wearing a Telsra name tag tapped into a tablet, was asked to take a seat and wait for my turn.  The shop was now full of Mobile/Cell-Phone traumatized elderly people holding up their gadgets like a S.O.S.

When my name was called a young girl approached and asked about my problem with the locked iPhone. She suggested it could well be due because of the age of the phone (rather than my age). ‘Why not update and buy a new one,’ she suggested?  New iPhone made by Apple costs hundreds. I baulked at spending so much on a telephone, especially when they appear to get ‘locked’, and apparently at their own volution! I noticed a new Telstra phone for $99.- with all the colourful buttons and apps much the same as an Apple iPhone. After I bought it she tapped in all my details and as I kept the same number I was pleased to have this problem of my old locked phone solved at minimum costs.

When I came back and tried my new phone it wasn’t easy to get used to the change. The buttons were all different and the sheer number of choices that one had to make to install the workability of it all was dauntingly depressing. Just to install the phone numbers of family and friend’s in the new phone had me close to calling the ambulance, while Helvi threatened to call the police. This new phone wanted me to accept ‘good morning’ reminders of, ‘time to go to work’, all sorts of memories and reminders and birthdays. It was just so endless and pointless.  Who is the sadist thinking this all up?

It all made me wish to go back to try and unlock my old trusted iPhone.  The message of contacting Apple was still on the old Apple screen and even had a phone number which I rang. Much to my relief, but after going though another round of pressing this number and that number on my landline-phone, I got to talk to a real person. Not only real, but with an Aussie accent. To ascertain my identity I was asked secret questions for which answers were apparently given some years ago when I set up the iPhone. Fortunately, two of the secret bits of information I gave were correct. He guided me to set-up a new password, and bingo, my Apple iPhone did a Lazarus and came back to life. Of course, even though the iPhone went back to life, the phone account had been switched over to the new phone.

The upshot of it all is that I use the new Telstra phone as a normal phone ( if there is still such a thing as a ‘Normal’ phone) and the old iPhone for internet and downloading e-mails.

It’s not easy, and that’s why we are going to Byron Bay to soak up some warm sun and drink cold beer.

Bowling and toilet breaks.

August 28, 2017

IMG_0623tulips

The Sunday event of playing bowls with another club went smoothly. Most clubs don’t open before 10 am. This is probably linked to those strict license laws.  We can drink ourselves into a stupor but not before a certain time. We were told to arrive at 9.30am in Goulburn and naturally found the door closed. We walked around and found another door slightly ajar which allowed us to sneak in. It might well have been the door that the cleaners and staff used to prepare for the day.

No-one was at the desk and this will probably be our last and only time we entered a club without having to show proof of identity. Prince Frederick of Denmark; please note! After entering the bowling room upstairs, we noticed many of the Goulburn’s bowling members being present with most of our own club’s members. I was given a light green t-shirt with our club’s name  ‘The Berrima Social Bowling Club.’ emblazoned on it. It had a dark blue collar. The Goulburn club all wore a dark-blue outfit which included pants. All had name tags which was a great relief. I just hope the ladies did not think I was perving when staring at their chests trying to get to their names!

After a while we were all split into different teams. I was supposed to be a ‘lead’ in my team. I was unprepared for that role. I asked what this meant and was informed it meant my side would start the first bowl by tossing a coin.

‘Ok, I said,’ and dug out a coin, flipped it into the air and gravity did the rest. It fell onto the ground. ‘You have to call it,’ an opposing team-member said.  It turned out you have to say ‘heads or tails,.’ before flipping it. How does one know those things? I am a fast learner though, and  successfully flipped it the second time. I said ‘heads.’ It happened to land with the queen’s head showing. I bowled first. A giant leap forwards.

It turned out the two different teams were all playing together with each other and not against each other. Isn’t that a giant step forwards? This is social sport at its best. For me, a dream come true. I propose that when  Germany plays England next in soccer, that each team have a fifty- fifty mix of each others players. This will do away with all forms of violence and unnecessary competition. We play for the joy of the sport.

As I had put our own club’s t-shirt over my long sleeved shirt I was told that a T-shirt is not normally worn on top of a normal shirt. Panic struck. I wasn’t going to strip down to my singlet. The sight would have been so undignifying, some might have fainted. I have long passed the age of once perhaps being seen as the Prince of Passion, polar necked golden chained, God of the pounding surf. ( I never was.) A man over seventy should never be seen in his singlet, not even in the dark.

There were two games before lunch and one after. The lunch was ordered before hand and at 12.30 we all filed into a special dining room. Most of us went for the ‘Roast Pork with Vegetables. I had earlier inquired if this would include ‘Crackling.’ The answer was in the positive. Boundless enthusiasm followed after that bit of news. I am sure it improved my bowling.

After lunch we all filed back and took our positions behind the greens again. Of course with most of us full of the Roast Pork and apple sauce now queuing up in our intestines for digestion, it should not come a surprise that some sneaked in a hurried trip to the toilet. This happened to one of our own players. ‘I have to go to the loo’, John said. Fair enough, everyone understood and when it became his turn to bowl we all patiently waited his return. We looked to the floor and engaged in some chit-chat. However, it took a bit more time and after about ten minutes of waiting we were just about to suggest a rescue operation when, much to our relief, John re-appeared and took his turn bowling. His bowling was superb.

We had a great day.

 

Going Danish in Queensland.

August 24, 2017

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When I tried to make an attempt to increase my social life by joining an indoor carpet bowling club, I never expected friendship to grow so quickly. From a mere first timer, the progress of bowling, rapidly went to competition bowling. It still is social and not at all serious. We drive around now to other venues whereby we meet new groups just as keen on the game. Most are elderly and so am I. We might well all have reached the age where social intercourse is better.

Before the idea grew of getting about between more people, I considered taking up ballroom dancing. You know how it is. You see those elderly couples keenly trying to keep their marbles about them, (and so am I.) The music’s urging gliding along the parquetry floor taking slowly tango’s rapid littles steps, turning their heads this way or that way, taking care their interlocking legs and noses don’t collide inappropriately. It was the fear of collisions that I feared most.

In a way, the game of bowling does or can appear to resemble dancing as well. The experts seem to almost force the bowl to go to its intended journey by slow body movements alone.  A keen observer might well notice a form of ballet in action. Of course, with  ageing the ballet becomes less agile. Even so, by squinting eyes, some of us could easily have been performing Swanlake if not the dance of the Valkyries.

The friendship was further enhanced today by a lunch invitation held at the Scottish Arms Hotel. We arrived spot on at 12. I ordered my favourite salt and pepper calamari. Helvi had the flat-head fish. The price included a schooner of beer or a glass of wine. We both had a schooner of beer. The group consisted of about twenty five all seated around a long table. I think the women outnumbered the males.  Half the males were bald, but most of the women generously bouffant.

I am still battling to remember names. I suspect that I have reached a stage whereby names seem to get stuck into a colander without going through. A Kevin becomes an Eric and Jill became Joan. I am going to suggest people should wear name tags. It is funny but at clubs one needs proof of identity but not in pubs. Both serve drinks and food,  people play games, especially poker-machines. Yet, the clubs insist on proof of identity. It is something to do with liquor- license laws. I suspect there is a lot of money involved in all that.

It all came to a head when the Danish Crown-Prince Frederik tried to enter a club in Brisbane and was stopped because he could not produce proof of identity even though the  accompanying security police vouched for his identity.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-id-scanning-laws-turn-away-danish-crown-prince-frederik/news-story/a400fe9870b014896b6e37b6bcd5bee8

You can just imagine how this piece of news went viral around the world. It is true though. There are some things that seem impossible to change and that includes outdated and archaic license laws.

The prince was let through, but…there were ramification. It appeared the club had made an erroneous exception for the Prince. The police ended up apologizing for not insisting that Prince showed proof of identity. He just did not have it on him.

Australia at times can appear very quaint. The High Court at some distant date will have to decide if Australia is being governed by rogue foreigners. Row after row of parliamentarians are queuing up having discovered they have another nationality, which according to the present constitution is strictly outlawed.

What with bowling and all this, how could life not be fascinating? I can’t wait to get up early and welcome the day.

The Allure of the Trade-in.

August 20, 2017

 

 

Things have been a bit quiet for which I’ll try and give a good reason. Partly for taking a blogging break, and partly in getting rid of the two-car family with just me being the only driver. The history of owning two cars is tedious but let me briefly give the history.

Our daughter’s car was stolen so we lend her ours. ( Peugeot diesel)  In the meantime we bought a 2006 car advertised on the side of the road which had a ‘for sale’ stuck on the inside of the window. After some negotiating we bought it. (  BMW) The daughter’s stolen car was promptly recovered and my daughter gave us back the Peugeot. However, when the daughter’s car ran out of the registration she found out, to her and our horror, that the rego had been transferred in the thief’s name who was pending lengthy Court action for theft, fraud and other matters. She could not transfer ownership of the car back in her name till Court action was resolved.

So, the Peugeot once more went back to our daughter and we again drove the BMW.  In between all that we had cyclamen plants stolen and got involved with a neighbour dispute.  Some readers might well remember about this saga! When the daughter’s rego had finally been resolved, taking nine months, we ended up driving the two cars again.  We thought it prudent to let the thieving neighbours know that we could afford two cars, and alas somewhat spitefully, exploit the (erroneous) image of well-to-do pensioners, easily capable of taking Court action to satisfy and get justice over the bullying tactics of some neighbours urging us to sell up and ‘go.’

So, back to our two-car issue. We happened to drive past a sales yard from whom we had previously bought the Peugeot, and decided to trade in both cars for a 2016 Peugeot model Hatchback Sports Allure with just 10000 km on the clock. It has all those things that now seem to have infiltrated the modern car, including retractable side mirrors for which its significance totally escapes me. It has LED lights, heated seats, tyre pressure gage and…wait…touch screen technology! One never needs to be bored driving ever again.

With all the bargaining with the car salesman, and driving backwards and forwards time seemed to go so quickly. On top of all that our local Aldi store locked up for renovations. It added to all the frantic driving to another one some distance away. You know my fondness for Aldi stores and the conviviality it so often affords to the observant shopper. They are a special breed of shoppers, often very jolly and outgoing. I suppose the saving of hard earned money does make for banter.

We have also been totally amused if not gobsmacked by the antics of the US president. A good American friend told me that impeachment might not be the only solution and that involuntary commitment to an institution is now seriously looked at as well. Such chaos on home ground as well. Senators are now lining up with not having denounced foreign nationalities they weren’t even aware off. Even the deputy Prime Minister is now the holder of two nationalities.

Who thought life is dull?

Going for Thai lunch.

August 12, 2017

 

photothighs and toms

 

We have an arrangement with friends to go at least once a month for lunch. So far we have had three lunches and all have been at different Thai restaurants. In between lunches with friends we sometimes sneak in a lunch just by ourselves. Helvi really likes ‘lunching’ to be kept to a minimal. ‘What’s the point of going often when it will finally end up just as boring as putting on your socks?’ An argument difficult to counter. An oft repeated act always runs the risk of suffering the ennui which we are so keen to avoid.

Some acts oft repeated seem almost unavoidable. One of those involves getting dressed and undressed. I have written about this before. But putting on a different uniform when going to bed always has struck me as a rather futile arrangement. Why not just go to sleep? If we are part of the animal world we certainly don’t follow the pattern of animals by crawling somewhere horizontal and wait for sleep to overcome us. I don’t know of any animal that changes its coat or outer garment, do you? Why do we insist on this ritual of wearing two uniforms during each twenty-four hour episode of our lives? Has it always been like that?

Taking a holiday is also a good circuit breaker in softening the deadening routine of everyday life. In the past I foolishly argued that life ought to be exciting on its own without needing a break. Routine would just not occur if we had the nous to be creative and innovative in arranging the hours between waking and sleeping. A holiday was superfluous. Life was a holiday. But, and this is the dilemma we face in ageing; energy wanes.

I know, some maddening examples are given on Face-Book of people in their late eighties, climbing Mount Everest, swimming in polar regions or tirelessly re-marrying. But these are infuriating examples teasing us to click on a Face-Book advertisement urging us to buy   ‘Go-Ease Stool Softener,’ or worse, ‘Gastro-Stop’ . Modern parlance calls this ‘click-bait.’ Ageing is not without those sewer- entrepreneurs that cunningly exploit the old and try and ease us of our savings. The exposure on TV of the horrors of what happens in Retirement Villages could very well encourage many to hurry, and click-on ‘Delights of Euthanasia.’

I have been poring over ‘Princess” cruises which entice people to go on a large boat across many waters, explore tropical islands, get tempted by locally hand-made baskets or watch iridescent lagoons glow at the setting sun, watched over by waving palms.

When I ‘clicked-on’ the details of what to wear and what to pack in clothing on those cruises I read that they do insist on ‘smart-casual’ dress code and ‘formal’ for some days when they have social events such as ‘Gatsby’ evenings.

The women might like to dress as ‘flappers’ and the men like ‘Crosby’. Cocktail dress or frock for the ladies and black jacket and pants for the ‘boys’.

This was followed by a stern warning that jeans with holes in them would not be allowed on-board in the restaurants. We all know that jeans with holes cost a fortune. In fact the more holes or even complete missing legs are beyond the financial  resources of most people. A curious Princess rule.

When I told Helvi, she now refuses to consider a Princess cruise. She scoffed at ‘Cocktail dress’.

Nothing is easy. Best to stick to the occasional ‘Thai Lunch’.

 

 

Another day another adventure.

August 7, 2017

IMG_1087Milo 2017

Each day is an adventure that we have to make happen. It’s not just a matter of jumping jauntily out of bed and hope it might come about.

Last night was one of many evenings when we did not watch TV. The choice was somewhat bleak. A woman told her story of surviving a forty meter jump off a Brisbane bridge and why she did that. We had already read the preambles of her story. She had a problem with a new IT system introduced at her job which she felt she could not cope with. It did not sound very convincing.

This was soon to be followed by a program investigating the dismal failure of our recycling of  glass and bottles. It is used as landfill or being warehoused in huge sheds. To make things worse, some shifty middlemen wearing raincoats and fedora hats, made deals where in order to avoid dumping fees, the mountains of glass got railed or trucked interstate where dumping fees were not charged.

There we were, thinking Australia is finally doing something good by recycling glass while all the time they were importing new glass because it was cheaper. Thousands of tonnes of recycled glass is being dumped or warehoused. What about using the recycled glass into making new bottles even though it does cost more? I thought our ecology was important. We did not really want to watch that program either. It was my birthday after all.

It is hard to make each day an adventure when on top of all that, the Same Sex Marriage act is back into the doldrums. A compulsory plebiscite is on the agenda again. Remember,  in Australia we have compulsory voting! It means we MUST vote on the issue with the threat of punishment if we don’t. The Government in all its ‘non action wisdom’ is now considering if the compulsory plebiscite does not pass the Senate to introduce a postal vote on this SSM issue.

Poll after poll shows, that the choice in allowing all people regardless of sexual preferences of the sexes to marry is overwhelmingly accepted and wanted by the general population.  There is no problem and we can also rest in peace knowing marriage in whatever form or shape won’t be compulsory.

To make the day an adventure regardless of what we get so inundated with by negative news, I feel like going to Luna Park and go around on a great Ferris wheel or go for a ride in the tunnel of ghosts again. Whoop it up with some fairy floss, or just stay put and seek pleasure in the adventure of the daisies, birds and our dog Milo…

What do you think?

Trump-Turnbull and refugees. Full Transcript of phone conversation.

August 5, 2017
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Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

There are about 1800 refugees on Manus and Nauru facing their fourth year in detention.

“Australia maintains one of the most restrictive immigration detention systems in the world – Australian Human Rights Commission.”

http://www.smh.com.au/world/full-transcript-donald-trump-and-malcolm-turnbull-telephone-conversation-20170803-gxp13g.html

 

“The President: Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: I am doing very well.

The President: And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

Prime Minister Turnbull: He is a great mutual friend yes.

The President: Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

The President: Good.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

The President: That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing – it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

The President: Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

The President: Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Can you hear me out Mr. President?

The President: Yeah, go ahead.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

The President: Who made the deal? Obama?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people – none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

The President: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people –

The President: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

Prime Minister Turnbull: This is our experience.

The President: Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

The President: Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

The President: Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

Prime Minister Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

The President: Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

Prime Minister Turnbull: The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

The President: No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I would not be so sure about that. They are basically –

The President: Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

Prime Minister Turnbull: But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.

The President: Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed –

The President: Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

Prime Minister Turnbull: That is the point I have been trying to make.

The President: How does that help you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

The President: Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

The President: Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Correct, we have stopped the boats.

The President: Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

Prime Minister Turnbull: These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

The President: Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

Prime Minister Turnbull: They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

The President: They were from wherever they were.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

The President: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

Prime Minister Turnbull: No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

The President: I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You will not.

The President: Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

The President: I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

The President: [inaudible] this is crazy.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

The President: It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

The President: I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.”