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Give Mars the Ars with their healthy claptrap!

PIC: Mars Bars go up in unit price as the company declares concerns for Australians' health.

Full page ads by the Mars Snackfood Company in Sunday papers around Australia would almost reduce a sceptic to tears.

Crocodile tears that is!

The ads say that the 60g Mars Bar will be reduced in size by 11.6% to 53g to tackle the problems of big food for Australians "by reducing portion size".

Just when you thought the Mars Bar Company had become a loving, caring, sharing multi-national corporation, the company has been forced to admit there will be no reduction in the $1.70 price tag of a Mars Bar.

With national sales of 30 million a year, that represents more than a $5.9 million annual boost to the company's profits, just from the sales of the iconic Mars Bar.

With their other lines set to go the same way, the magnitude of this corporate greed - wrapped up as concerns for our health - soon becomes apparent.

The Company's General Manager Peter West couldn't help himself with his cherubic image splashed across the company's full-page ads in today's Sunday papers across Australia.

It's a pity he couldn't admit that the current tough economic times demanded innovative ways to improve his company's profits.

Claiming that the Mars Bar Company is genuinely interested in our health and well-being is much smarter marketing, even though they are loaded with fat and sugar.

Quick, Peter. Look out the window and snap a picture of those pigs flying across the sky. Maybe, you should even get an Order of Australia out of all of this for being such a decent chap.

Australian consumers are not dills, despite what Peter West and his merry band of Mars purveyors might believe.

The company's latest anti-consumer move will induce sensible Aussies to simply give Mars the Ars!


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McDonald's back to its old advertising tricks

PICS: Have a close look at these two pics. Can you decipher the fine print on the bottom? One is on offer only until 10.30am while the other is available only after 10.30am. Unfortunately, McDonald's doesn't offer its customers binoculars to read the teeny, weeny wording on its store signage.

McDonald's currently has a snazzy, American-style promotion on its Value Picks offerings.

In a new twist on the old "bait and switch" technique, McDonald's has put the Value Picks conditions in the fine print at the bottom of the promo signs.

By sucking people into queuing for 10 minutes for lunch at their Mt Ommaney Centre store in Brisbane's southwest, only to tell them that the great-looking Bacon and Cheese burger is available only until 10.30am, gives McDonald's an even money chance of snaring a different order from hapless customers.

Instead of a prominent "Breakfast Only" sign, the Yanks have gone out of their way to engage in some old-fashioned deceptive advertising trickery.

And to add insult to injury, McDonald's customers at Mt Ommaney who query the style and positioning of their misleading signage, are told that it all determined by Centre Management and has nothing to do with McDonald's.

That is nothing but a deliberate lie and a pretty dumb thing to say to a consumer advocate who has dedicated 30 years of his life to exposing these sorts of ripoffs and corporate scams.

It seems that McDonald's Big Lies are now overshadowing their discredited Big Macs!

Maybe consumers should vote with their feet to stop this Yankee skullduggery.

Everyone knows the burgers are better at Hungry Jacks!

It really is bloody hopeless that these subtle advertising tricks are being played by McDonald's just to ship their greedy profits out of Australia back home to the USA.


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AGIC Insurance is a national disgrace!

Floods tend to bring out the best in people - and the worst in insurance companies.

The recent torrential downpours at Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Central Coast once again prove the horror of being insured with a company which will do anything and everything to refuse a claim.

Take the case of the two neighbours near Coffs Creek at Coffs Harbour.

NRMA Insurance quickly and happily paid a $6000 "storm water" damage claim to one couple.

Their neighbours - insured with the Auto and General Insurance Company - were denied their $7000 claim on the basis that their damage was caused by "flood waters".

This was the same day, same storm, same creek and same inundation!

Yet, Auto and General Insurance Company used its own powerful and shrewd policy interpretation to deny what were considered as legitimate claims by their competitors.

Consumer Watch spokesman Paul Tully says AGIC is a national disgrace.

"Consumers should dump AGIC and get on board with a company that is motivated by factors other than sheer greed.

"AGIC seems to have only two corporate aims - taking people's money and denying people's claims."

He said all Australian insurance companies should follow the lead of Suncorp in Queensland and provide automatic flood insurance cover on all of its household policies.


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Warning over Commonwealth Bank email scam

The following bogus email, purporting to be from the Commonwealth Bank, has hit Australia.

Ignore such emails and warn others of these malicious attempts to gain your financial information and hack your account.


Dear Client,

As a security measure, we regularly screen Commonwealth Bank activity. Recently, we
noticed a problem with your account.

We have reason to believe that your account was accessed by a third party.

We have limited access to sensitive Commonwealth Bank account features in case your account has been accessed by an unauthorized third party.

We understand that having limited access can be an inconvenience, but protecting your account is our primary concern.

We've limited access to your account temporarily. We'll review the limitation once you respond with the information we've requested.

To respond and remove the limitation, click the link below and follow the instructions:

Thank you for helping to resolve this problem.

Commonwealth Bank Account Review Department

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you
will not receive a response.
For assistance, log in to your Commonwealth Bank account and click the Help link in the top right corner of any Commonwealth Bank page.

Commonwealth Bank Email ID CC522


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Gambling control trial is a sensible move by Queensland Government

The Queensland Government has moved to impose limits of gamblers in a trial in southeast Queensland.

This cashless gaming initiative is an excellent means of minimising some of the heartbreak caused to some families because of the ready availability of gambling venues.

The following is a media release issued today by the
Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading The Honourable Peter Lawlor:


- Bligh Government moves to reduce problem gambling with new technology -

The Queensland Government is leading the way in the prevention of problem gambling in Queensland by completing further trials of 'cashless gaming' technology in two Brisbane venues.

Minister responsible for gaming, Peter Lawlor said the new card-based gaming technology allowed patrons to set limits on the money or time they spend on the pokies.

"This harm minimisation concept offers gaming patrons more control over their spending and could potentially be rolled out throughout the state.

"While less than half a percent of the Queensland population can be identified as a problem gambler, one problem gambler is a one problem gambler too many for the Bligh Government.

"The impact problem gambling has on families and communities makes it an important area for the Government to address," Minister Lawlor said.

The trials provided the Queensland Government with the opportunity to investigate pre-commitment card-based machine gaming using two different systems.

In March 2008 the Sandgate RSL Memorial Club became the hub for one of two trials into this important harm minimisation measure.

A second trial was conducted at Redcliffe RSL Club.

"The trials showed promising results, with some patrons reporting a spend reduction of up to $25 per day," said Minister Lawlor.

The wider investigation into card-based gaming is one of a many harm minimisation initiatives announced by Premier Anna Bligh last year, which forms a part of the Queensland Government's Responsible Gambling Strategy.

Member for Sandgate Vicky Darling said the Queensland Government recognises raising awareness of gambling harm is a collaborative effort involving community, industry and government.

"I am happy to report the evaluation of the card-based gaming trials demonstrated an overall support from both players and industry alike," said Ms Darling.

"The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing has approved both systems for implementation in gaming venues on a voluntary basis.

"The Queensland Government intends to continue to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the card-based gaming systems as a larger number of venues take up the technology.


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Sol Trujillo makes a complete dill of himself claiming Australians are racist

PIC: Sol Trujillo - Goodbye and good riddance!

Adios Sol.

Your stewardship of Telstra will be long remembered - all for the wrong reasons!

As for claiming Australians are racist, the only racist remarks are your idiotic, spiteful utterances.

You made a King's ransom on your outrageous salary from Telstra, so why don't you just ride off into the sunset and never come back.


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Warning against fraudulent ANZ internet banking scam

The following email is circulating on the internet.

Don't be fooled.

If you have received an email of this nature, delete it immediately.


Subject: Verify Your Account Details

Our Valued Customer,

For your security, ANZ Bank Help desk has safeguard your account when there is a possibility that someone other than you is attempting to sign on.

You now need to verify your Identity.

To verify your identity, kindly follow reference below and take the directions to instant activation.

Thank you for helping us to protect you.

Security Advisor
ANZ Bank Online Help desk


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Crazy Royal Australian Royal Mint plans to scrap our 5 cent coin

The intellectuals running the Royal Australian Mint are at it again with a secret plan to scrap our 5 cent coin.

This will lead to a consumer rip-off of unimaginable proportions with retailers reluctant to round bills DOWN to the nearest 10 cents.

You can be sure that prices ending in 5c will be bumped up by another 5c.

In the middle of a recession when every cent counts for Australia's battlers, only the fuzzy-headed bureaucrats at the Australian Mint could have dreamed up this idiotic plan at this most-inopportune time.

One and two cent coins were scrapped almost 20 years ago, when they had become an almost valueless nuisance.

But a few 5c pieces today can add up to a tidy amount.

Now is not the right time to scrap our little echidna.

If the Australian Mint wants to win any public praise, it should scrap the antiquated "Royal" from its official title.

Imagine having the portrait of King Charles of Australia on our coins in the future.

Perish the thought!


Queensland Government's wise move to publish school results

Despite the bizarre opposition of the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU), today's publication for the first time of a comparative report card across all Queensland schools is a sensible and long-overdue move.

These figures enable parents to properly judge and compare the performance of schools across the state.

Why the QTU President Steve Ryan would be opposed to the honest and transparent publication of these results is simply beyond the comprehension of a parent of schoolboys in Grade 2 and 5 - like me, who values today's important milestone in Queensland education.

SEQ impure water explanation leaves us gobsmacked!

The official dismissal of public concerns after E.coli bacteria were detected in a SEQ water reservoir in March must be disturbing to the community.

Residents were not informed at the time which makes the claim by acting Water Grid Manager Barry Dennien that all communications were done in "an honest and transparent way" look absurd.

How can they be honest and transparent if there is no communication at all?

The spin doctors have taken over the SEQ Water Grid!

Barry Dennien is also quoted as saying the March incident was "not unusual" compared with other metropolitan water authorities around Australia.

Which is like saying Jack the Ripper wasn't such a bad chap compared with Osama bin Laden!

The State Government has acquired an on-going hot potato since taking over water management and distribution in SEQ last July.

By all reports, Barry Dennien is a decent and professional guy but he has a duty to keep the public informed of all health scares and to stop the spin-doctoring of media statements which fool only some of the public some of the time.

Ipswich to be key beneficiary of State Government's anti-rock throwing legislation

PICS: Pedestrian bridge across the Ipswich Motorway at Goodna

Media Release from Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully

Ipswich City Council has welcomed the State Government's new anti-rock throwing legislation.

It says it could save lives on the notorious stretch of the Ipswich Motorway between Gailes and Riverview with 7 pedestrian bridges and flyovers which are used as vantage points to project dangerous missiles onto fast-moving vehicles.

Goodna Councillor Paul Tully said he received regular complaints of juveniles throwing rocks at cars and semi-trailers usually at night.
"They smash the windscreens of vehicles travelling at up to 100 kph and it's only sheer luck no one has been killed.

"This has been a serious problem in Ipswich for the past 30 years."

Cr Tully said this section of the Ipswich Motorway is one of the worst stretches of road in Queensland for this sort of offence.

Cr Tully said the new legislation would give the courts the power to jail offenders for up to 2 years.

He said a powerful deterrent was needed to stop what he described as "the brainless lunatics who deserve to be jailed for their actions".

"All we will then need is for the local magistrates to impose stiff prison sentences and not just a slap over the wrist and send the offenders on their way," Cr Tully said.

Attorney-General moves against idiot rock throwers

New legislation to target rock throwers was passed in State Parliament tonight.

For years, the Ipswich Motorway has been the scene of idiots lobbing rocks onto cars and trucks from pedestrian bridges.

Maybe these clowns can now be controlled and jailed if necessary.

The Attorney-General and the State Government should be congratulated for this tough stand.

Below is the full text of the Attorney-General's media statement issued this evening.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations

The Honourable Cameron Dick


New laws passed to target rock throwers

Any person who throws a rock at a vehicle on a Queensland road can now be sent to jail, under new laws passed in the State Parliament tonight.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick said Queensland authorities now have access to the most comprehensive range of rock throwing laws in the country.

"Throwing rocks at vehicles is dangerous and deadly behaviour, that puts the lives of innocent Queenslanders at risk," Mr Dick said.

"People driving on Queensland roads should not have to fear rocks being thrown at their vehicle.

"Under the laws passed tonight, people who engage in this reckless behaviour can be sent to jail, whether someone was hurt as a result of their actions or not."

Mr Dick said the new laws create a specific offence under the Summary Offences Act 2005, to target rock throwing, laser pointing and other specified conduct which endangers or is likely to endanger the safe use of vehicles.

"In Queensland we already have tough law s targeting offenders who throw rocks at vehicles, with the intention of injuring or killing someone," Mr Dick said. 

"These people can be charged with a range of offences including manslaughter, murder, wilful damage, or endangering the safe use of a vehicle with intent.

"But the new laws passed by the Parliament tonight will allow police to charge offenders even if they can not prove intent, and no one is injured.

"These laws send a strong message - throwing rocks at vehicles is never a joke. It is a serious offence which can now result in up to two years in jail.

"The Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill 2009 also provided for amendments to the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001, to ensure the CMC can continue to crack down on serious and organised crime.

"The amendments passed have rectified the effects of a recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Scott v Witness C (2009) QSC 35, which limited the major crime investigation and intelligence activities of the CMC and its outcomes in specific matters referred to it by the Crime Reference Committee.

"The amendment ensures that major crime referrals, used by the CMC to investigate and punish serious criminal activity, including networked criminal paedophilia, terrorism and criminal activity by established criminal networks or outlaw bikie gangs and their associates, can continue to be used.

"The passing of these laws, together with the new rock throwing laws, demonstrates the Bligh Government's commitment to safeguarding the community against the full spectrum of criminal activity.

"We are ensuring our law enforcement officers have the power to investigate and prosecute both the most serious criminal activities and also the smaller, yet potentially deadly activities of people who act with complete disregard for others."

Brisbane dams reach 72% - It's time to ease restrictions!

Surely we should not have to wait until December for easing of the current, drastic water restrictions.

That would be outrageous and unfair.

SEQ residents have pulled together to minimise water use over the past 3 years.

There is no reason to have to wait another 7 months to ease the current restrictions which were implemented when Queensland was gripped by the worst drought in the state's history.

We were promised an easing of restrictions at 60% but now that it's 70%, there is no justification for any further delay.

Woolworths bites the bullet over trolley problem

WOOLWORTHS has bitten the bullet on trolley pollution, installing coin-operated trolley stations at centres including Sandgate, Moorooka, Buranda, Toowong and Bulimba.

The Urban Local Government Association of Queensland last week moved to ensure other shopping centres follow Woolies' lead after reports that up to 500 trolleys recently were collected in a six-month roundup across Logan City.

The association, representing 70 per cent of local government voters, approved a plan which could allow councils to force supermarkets to install coin operated trolley docks.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully says ALDI supermarkets already had a $2 refundable trolley scheme.

"You rarely see an ALDI shopping trolley in a park or local creek," he said.

The association also wants brakes installed on trolleys to stop them rolling off and hitting vehicles.

"The days of getting back to your car in a shopping centre car park and finding a dent in the side of the vehicle will hopefully soon be over," Cr Tully said.

A Woolworths spokeswoman said the company was aware certain suburbs had particular  issues with stolen trolleys.

"That is why we have taken the step to introduce coin-operated trolleys," she said.

"Seven Woolworths stores in the Brisbane area have already been fitted with coin locks and a further three will roll out in the next few weeks."  

ALDI says the system works. 

"We have found the coin-in-slot system to be a key preventative measure in the dumping of trolleys," the spokeswoman said.

Matthew Johns maintains his self-denial

When will Channel 9 permanently dump this sex-crazed clown?

A temporary standing down of this Rugby League has-been is nothing but an insult to all the women of Australia and New Zealand.

Johns won't even say "sorry" to the woman involved in the tawdry incident in 2002 but he willingly apologises to his family, friends and sundry hangers-on.

But not the traumatised New Zealand woman who has suffered irreparable harm during the past 7 years.

Channel 9 wants to regain its former supremacy over Channel 7 but the way it is handling the Matthew Johns affair with kid gloves suggests it will be many years before that is likely to happen.

Top Doctor claims all's well at Innisfail Hospital - even if you're dead!

Fair dinkum. The idiotic public statements coming from North Queensland about the Innisfail Hospital would make a bullocky cry.

On 3 May 2009, there was a midnight diagnosis that a patient - 92 year old Rita Ring - was dead.

The family was informed of the tragedy but lo and behold, the medical staff had got the diagnosis wrong - Rita was still very much alive.

This was discovered by nurses preparing to put her into a body bag.

Now, that's a pretty big mis-diagnosis in anyone's book.

What a farce. Even a Grade 8 biology student could tell the difference between a body which is dead and one that's still alive.

But the real tragedy in all of this is the apparent stupidity of the statement by Cairns District Medical Services Executive Director Doctor Neil Beaton who said "there was no error".

Wow! No error when you are wrongly pronounced dead! That's really great to know. Every North Queenslander will be very happy to hear they are in safe hands with Dr Beaton at the helm.

Either this guy just fell off the planet or failed Media Training 101, or both.

With a family traumatised by Innisfail Hospital's mis-diagnosis, this statement of denial by Dr Beaton is totally misguided.

All of the apologies in the world cannot forgive Dr Beaton's comment that there had been no error.

Dr Beaton would no doubt argue that a narrow, technical definition of a "medical error" has no application to Rita Ring's tragic mis-diagnosis.

Try telling that to her traumatised family.

If it had been Peter Beattie, he would have copped it on the chin, apologised and moved on.

The former Premier would never have engaged in self-denial, trivialisation or justification of the indefensible.

World's Longest Serving Labor Government

The Townsville City Council under Mayor Tony Mooney was reputedly the longest-serving Labor Government in the world, until its defeat in March 2008.

Does anyone know who holds the current record as the longest-serving Labor Government in the world?