Dob in a dog with the new Dog Dobber App.

Waverley, Randwick and Woolahra Councils have combined to develop the DogDobber App and rid the Eastern Suburbs of the scourge of irresponsible dog owners. The world-first initiative will allow residents to dob in a dog if its owner is breaking the rules, and to report their actions directly to council.

“Enough is enough,” read the joint statement from the three councils.

“Dogs and their owners have taken over every public space in the region and this App will return these spaces to the people.”

Compatible with any smart phone, the app enables users to upload photos of dogs. This information is electronically collated and reviewed for veracity, then used to issue a fine or relevant punishment to the registered owner of that animal. Users should attempt to photograph the collar of the dog, which should carry its details, in order for the dog’s owner to be notified.

Residents can photograph off-leash dogs in on-leash areas, dogs in areas that are off limits and owners who refuse to pick up after their dog.

“Residents can also provide photographic proof of dogs harassing kids while they’re kicking a footy at the park, playing on the swings, or building sand castles.”

Critics attacked the DogDobber App as an invasion of privacy which stigmatises dogs and their owners. Other claim it is completely unnecessary as council rangers are already employed to keep dogs where they should be, and that most dog owners are responsible.

In response, councils pointed out that if most dog owners were responsible, their pets would not be given free reign at Mackenzies Bay, the Clovelly rock pools and countless other public spaces. Councils also reminded owners that the best way to avoid being reported is to follow the rules.

Another area of the concern was the potential for children to be photographed. Council was quick to allay any fears that the technology could be used in this way.

“Any photograph of a minor, even if they are breaking the rules with a dog, will be reported immediately to police. If children are breaking the rules with their pet, this is less an example of irresponsible dog ownership and more an example of poor parenting.”

Councils called upon residents of the Eastern Suburbs to imagine public spaces free of marauding dogs and their droppings, where anyone can walk, play, enjoy a picnic, sunbake and enjoy living in paradise.

Randwick Council explained DogDobber operates separately from their Snap, Send, Solve App, and councils praised it as a triumph of inter-governmental collaboration and a successful fusion of state-of-the-art technology and community spirit. It will be live and fully operational at the beginning of next month.

First published in The Beast magazine, December 2021.

Tim Paine in high demand after sexting scandal.

Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer are locked in an epic battle to secure the services of Tim Paine after the cricketer was recently sacked for sexting. The prime minister and the leader of the United Australia Party are desperate for the former national captain to run as a candidate for their respective political parties at the next federal election.

“Tim is perfect for contemporary Australian politics,” announced Morrison as he pitched the Coalition to Paine.

“He is adept at scandalous sexting and mistreating women. Furthermore, he managed to keep it hidden for so many years and this is what impressed us the most. He epitomises the behaviour of the modern Liberal Party member, and he is a sporting hero, so Australians will support him no matter what he does.”

Paine was recently sacked as captain of the Australian test cricket team, which is a more important position than that of prime minister according to many Australians. He was caught sexting lewd, consensual messages to a female administrative colleague – before he was made national captain, but while he was married. Ironically, he was appointed captain due to his clean-cut public image, after the ‘sandpapergate’ scandal resulted in the sacking of the previous captain Steve Smith.

Palmer, the leader of the influential fringe party, believes Paine is better suited to his party.

“Tim’s a great Aussie. He’s a great cricketer, he’s a patriot, he wore the baggy green and he loves his country – and that’s what the UAP is all about. We’re making Australia great again and that’s what Tim did. He improved Australia’s international reputation. It was just a bit of harmless flirting on his phone, just like Warney did – and Warney’s a national hero as well.”

“People say my party’s just a bunch of crazy misfits – but Tim will fit right in here. Plus, if he’s caught mistreating women and sexting as a politician, he won’t be sacked, he’ll be promoted.”

Morrison went on to say that Paine should join the LNP because they can actually form government, before Palmer reminded Morrison that it was the UAP which greatly assisted Morrison to win the unwinnable election in 2019.

“Without me, ScoMo’s nothing,” Palmer declared.

Morrison then reminded Palmer that almost every member of the current LNP government has been involved in some form of corruption or scandalous behaviour, and not one of them has been dismissed, so Paine will be protected.

Paine has so far declined to comment on the offers as he has switched off his phone. Rumours also persist that he has received offers from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Bob Katter.

Image: Getty Images

Sunbaking to Debut at Brisbane 2032

Sunbaking will make its Olympic debut at Brisbane 2032 and residents of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are expected to scoop the medals. Sunbaking is the first new sport to be added to the program after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declared it an official sport.

“We are enormously excited to add this popular Australian tradition to the program for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games,” began a statement from the IOC. “The decision to classify sunbaking as a sport was made after reviewing images of thousands of people sunbaking without masks at Bondi, Coogee and Bronte during Sydney’s recent COVID-19 lockdown.”

Residents throughout Greater Sydney were required to wear a face mask every time they left the house during the extended lockdown, except when exercising or for religious reasons,

“…confirming that Australians are sun worshippers, which provides further reason to include the sport.”

The IOC sought advice from former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard, as well as Waverley and Randwick councils, all of whom allowed people to sunbake without masks, congregate in groups and flaunt the rules that applied to other areas of Greater Sydney. This helped greatly to sway the IOC.

Eastern Suburbs residents are already favoured to sweep the medals, even though the games are 11 years away.

“The eastern suburbs region is blessed with wonderful beaches which are the perfect training ground for elite international sunbakers,” explained Itan Allova, the newly-appointed high-performance director at Sunbaking Australia, which will be based at Bondi Beach.

“Local sunbakers also enjoy the support of regional authorities who allow them to train every time the mercury rises, even when residents of other parts of Greater Sydney are locked out of these specialised training facilities.”

The announcement is expected to attract even more people to local beaches in the coming months as Sydneysiders seize the opportunity to represent their nation at a home Olympics. Sunbaking is open to all ages, shapes and sizes, including children, meaning some sunbakers in Brisbane could be even younger than the skateboarders.

Sunbaking will take place alongside Surfing and Beach Volleyball, creating the historic opportunity for an athlete to win gold medals in separate sports at exactly the same time.

Competitors will be judged according to criteria such as consistency of tan, depth of tan and avoidance of tan lines. Sunbakers exhibiting signs of sunburn, or the British Tan, will be eliminated, and use of performance enhancing substances such as tanning oils is prohibited.

Critics argue the inclusion of Sunbaking discriminates against people from landlocked nations, and even residents of western Sydney or the Blue Mountains who live miles from the beach, to which the IOC replied:

“Well, we included Surfing.”

Image: Apostolos Vamvouras

First published in The Beast magazine, November 2021

Ruler of Waters

Pristine waters so tempting and forbidden.

Ominous black clouds wrapped Saiylie in a blanket of stifling tropical heat. She had been summoned, among hundreds of compliant subjects now shuffling reluctantly into the palace of King Manzi, Ruler of Waters.

Clad in black, as per custom.

Eyes downcast, as per custom. No witness to the magnificent waterfalls cascading down the façade of the palace, to the rooftop fountains and fantastical tributes to the Ruler of Waters. Eyes downcast, gazing into the moat below. Now devoid of deadly creatures. Now the world’s largest swimming pool. Inviting. Tempting. Forbidden to all but the 10-year-old Prince.

“My legacy,” screeched King Manzi, in a grating voice bereft of the gravitas of a great ruler.

“My legacy, my gift to you my people, is The Speaker,” and the ruling elite beamed in admiration as they gathered en-masse in the palace forecourt. The ailing and bumbling King had emerged from his private sanctum to deliver unto his people ‘The Speaker’.

The Speaker would be the voice of all future AI applications, into eternity. King Manzi was adamant the one single voice would emerge from his people. Thus, Saiylie was now shepherded between a sea of electronic cables belonging to the world’s pre-eminent AI experts tasked with measuring clarity, timbre and resonance before selecting the voice to rule all voices.

King Manzi gazed skywards, addressing the black clouds. Holding the clouds, holding his audience.

The recording began. Saiylie waited; for orders and relief from the heat. None came.

The ruling elite performed at their erudite best in the search for perfection and the hope of becoming The Speaker.

Eyes downcast, Saiylie saw the first drop, then the second. The clouds had begun to empty. An umbrella was thrust into Saiylie’s hands, and hundreds more soon snapped open to protect the elite and their precious recordings.

The rain grew heavier.

“Closer,” Saiylie was ordered.

“Closer,” and she shuffled closer to the surrounding umbrellas to form a compact canopy over the aristocracy. Massive drops of monsoonal rain then pounded defiantly on the King’s forecourt and sent the elite into a harried cacophony of raised voices.

“Continue,” commanded the King.

Louder and louder they spoke until they created their own cloud of steam underneath the canopy.

“Continue,” King Manzi yelled.

Temperature rose inside the canopy. Saiylie began rocking to and fro with uncontrollable giddiness. She felt increasingly lightheaded, and felt her feet leave the ground as the cacophony of voices created their own microclimate. Saiylie began to float, upwards and away from the voices.

Was she fainting?

Was she flying?

She rose higher and higher as the heat and humidity turned the interwoven umbrellas into a hot air balloon. Higher and higher they rose until above the palace walls.

Saiylie spotted the moat below. She released the umbrella and raised her arms skyward, slipping out of her black robes and into the blissful waters of the moat.

Geelong is the most dangerous footy team in Australia.

The Geelong Cats are the most destructive footy team in Australia ahead of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the ACT Brumbies.

The AFL stalwarts are known as the Cats, and cats are the single most destructive introduced species in Australia.

Cats are estimated to kill about 1.5 billion native animals per annum in Australia. This destruction is the work of domestic cats, stray cats and feral cats. All of these cats are derived from pet cats. Feline species have never been native to Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1994 only 26% of domestic cats were confined both during the day and night. This means 74% of cats where roaming happily, hunting and destroying native wildlife. In the same year, 42,126 cats were dumped on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Only 3% of the cats were reclaimed and 74% were put down.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright.

How do we solve this problem?

Ban cat breeding in Australia.

Ban the importation of any cat into Australia.

Introduce a cat curfew which keeps pet cats confined to their homes, or to a cat run, 24 hours a day.

Allocate more funds and resources to feral cat eradication programs.

The Rabbitohs trail Geelong in terms of destruction.

Rabbits cause about a billion dollars in lost agricultural production production every five years, and cause enormous damage to native flora and fauna. As few as one to two rabbits per hectare are able to stop native perennials sprouting, and rabbits contribute to drought conditions by removing native and other vegetation.

How do we solve this problem?

With science, and funding.

Viruses such as the calicivirus helped to reduce numbers, but rabbits soon built a resistance to this virus. Myxomatosis was later developed and was very successful in eradicating many rabbits. However, rabbits are likely to develop a resistance to this virus as well, so continued funding and research is required to keep rabbit numbers in check.

Eradicating feral and stray cats, and controlling pet cats, would help ensure the survival of more native animals. All Australians would see and hear more native birds, even in cities and suburbs, and native animals would continue to support the native ecosystem on which all Australians rely for our survival. We need native animals.

The ACT Super Rugby team meanwhile, plays under a mascot which is causing enormous damage to the Australian environment, especially in the NSW Snowy Mountains. Countless campaigns have been launched to eradicate the brumbies and protect the national park, but conservative forces in New South Wales resist their removal, claiming feral horses are part of Australia’s folklore, largely because someone wrote a poem about them as far back as 1890.

Eradicating, or at least controlling, cats and rabbits is an enormous challenge. Removing brumbies from national parks, however, is not as challenging. Various methods, including aerial culls, exist and are proven to work. The program could start tomorrow, and the national park could be saved. All that is needed is political will.

Images: Mike Bowers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Geelong Cats, Jae Park

The Guy Gets the Girl, the girl gets…

It’s the classic movie scenario. The guy gets the girl, and the girl gets the guy.

Or does she?

Not according to the movie Bumblebee.

Charlie Watson is the protagonist of Bumblebee but she doesn’t get the guy at the end of the movie, despite saving the world. In contrast, the male protagonist of the previous instalment in the Transformers franchise gets the girl after proving himself a hero.

Charlie Watson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, battles the same humanoid robots, overbearing parents and cynical government forces as Sam Witwicky, but she doesn’t finish the movie in the arms of her crush. It’s not clear if she even has a crush. Sam Witwicky, however, definitely gets the girl, and his movie-long crush is the character Mikaela Banes, played by none other than Megan Fox who was once declared the hottest woman alive.

Sam Witwicky fulfils the role of the hero. He overcomes self doubt and many other obstacles to defeat a seemingly impossible enemy and concludes the movie in a romantic scene with Mikaela. He gets the girl because he is the hero, and it could almost be said that he is the hero because he gets the girl. It’s what heroes do.

So why doesn’t Charlie get the guy?

A guy is within her reach. Her neighbour Memo is shown to have a very obvious crush on her from the moment he appears on screen and the two are drawn together during the battle against the Decepticons. Just as the music slows, peace is restored and the sun begins to set, their hands draw closer; but she pulls away. Charlie makes it very clear to Memo that nothing is going to happen. The girl doesn’t get the guy.

Why not?

Is she too young?

No. Charlie is 18. This is made abundantly clear at the beginning of the movie. In fact, her 18th birthday is the pretext for her being given the beat up old VW which later turns out to be Bumblebee. Thus, Charlie is clearly old enough to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship with Memo, but she doesn’t. Perhaps she was shown to be 18 so that she could legally drive a car, not so that she could pursue a romantic relationship. The character was also given a name more associated with males. Should we read anything into this?

Is a sequel planned?

Will they, won’t they? helps sustain the narrative during this movie and Charlie’s declaration at the end hints at a continuation of the budding romance in a future movie. Keeping viewers hooked could explain why Charlie doesn’t get the guy.

Is there a deeper reason?

Is a young female protagonist not allowed to get the guy, no matter how courageous, physically capable and badass she is?

Must she remain pure, chaste and virginal simply because she’s a young woman? Perhaps a heroine is tainted if she succumbs to any physical desires, even though Sam Witwicky certainly succumbs to his physical desires. Will one loving, extended embrace or one kiss on the lips reduce Charlie to a fallen angel, a tramp, a slut or a loose woman. Perhaps a young woman acknowledging her physical desires is simply too much for Hollywood – too progressive. No fast women, just fast cars.

If this is the case, we must ask why. The genre of the movie itself may tell us.

The Transformers franchise is clearly aimed at males. Fast cars, machines, action and explosions appeal to the stereotypical male – the same stereotypical male who believes every young woman should be chaste, except the ones who satisfy his cravings. The same males with underlying Christian notions of female chastity.

In addition, every male viewer must be led to believe that he has a chance with the good-looking Charlie (Hailee), just as they believe they have a chance with coupled Instagram models who never reveal their relationships. For this reason, Charlie must remain single.

The male viewer could also be said to control Charlie’s body and choices. Marketing-savvy Hollywood producers know what sells blockbusters like Bumblebee. They know the formula and they adhere to it religiously. They know that predominantly male viewers will reject a sexually liberated and free-thinking young woman unless she practices that liberation in their lounge chair, and not on screen. The collective attitude of men towards young women traps Charlie in the friend’s zone with Memo and denies her the opportunity to connect with Memo in the same way that Sam connected with Mikaela.

Is it positive?

This could be an empowering moment for Charlie and female protagonists. Charlie decides if the relationship is initiated, at the end of the movie and throughout the movie. Charlie is shown to be in control. The producers could also be making a statement that a heroine doesn’t need a male love interest in order to be a heroine. She is independent. Female protagonists and heroines could in this way be subverting the action movie genre. Or maybe we’re reading too much into this. After all, it’s a Transformers movie.

Charlie doesn’t get the guy…but at least she gets the car.

Actually, she doesn’t.

The movie ends when Bumblebee flies off to save the universe.

Images: Paramount Pictures

AGL creates gender-neutral coal.

Energy company AGL has been applauded for creating the world’s first gender-neutral coal as a source of energy for commercial and residential use throughout Australia.

“AGL is a leader in corporate diversity and inclusion, and gender-neutral coal is just another exciting initiative in our quest to embrace the LGBTQ+ community,” announced the company, on the same day thousands of school students across the country protested against AGL and other fossil fuel companies.

“Gender-neutral coal does not identify as male, female or any other gender. It was developed by our outstanding research and development team, in close consultation with our marketing department, and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Every Aussie should be enormously proud of this, and the fact that Australia has the largest per-capita carbon footprint of any country on earth.”

AGL then explained that gender-neutral coal damages the planet as much as gender-specific coal, and helps the company to debunk myths that the mining industry is male-dominated and not welcoming of other genders. It also looks like ‘normal’ coal

“…but we transport it in rainbow-coloured containers.”

It is not the first accolade AGL has received in this sphere. The company was recently awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace. Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

The announcement provoked a mixed reaction.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Environment Minister Sussan Ley welcomed the news, despite being famously conservative and reluctant to embrace non-heteronormative agendas. The three leaders applauded AGL for using the LGBTQ+ community to distract Australians from their environmental destruction, and thanked the company for giving the Australian delegation something tangible to take to COP26 in Glasgow later this month.

Critics argue that gender-neutral coal is not real, and never will be. They claim that coal is an inanimate object with no gender, and thus cannot be declared gender-neutral. Many suspect the announcement is yet another attempt to win public favour while the rest of the world appears to be transitioning to renewable energy.

AGL rejected assertions that gender-neutral coal is not a real thing, stating;

“It’s as real as Clean Coal”

The perfect candidate for the 18th NRL team.

The NRL would be wise to consider a Pasifika team as the 18th team to enter the competition in the next few years, after recently adding the Dolphins as the 17th team. A team comprising players with Pacific Island heritage would be popular, appropriate and very, very hard to beat.

The Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and PNG have become the new rugby league heartland and continue to supply more and more players to NRL and representative teams. It is estimated that almost 50% of NRL players have Pacific Island heritage. In addition, Rugby League is the national obsession in PNG and NRL players enjoy rock star status throughout the country, while the sport is starting to threaten Rugby Union for supremacy in the remaining three nations.

Every player in the squad would ideally possess Pasifika heritage. It would represent the islands and be based in either Queensland, for geographical reasons, or in Auckland. Auckland has a large Pasifika population, and Kiwi league fans could attend twice as many NRL games in New Zealand.

Isn’t this copying Super Rugby?

Yes. Super Rugby will add Moana Pasifika to the competition in the coming years. This is a good idea, so why not copy it?

A Pasifika team would also allow the NRL to honour the region which is supplying so many of the games best players, players who have elevated and redefined the game. Some games could be played in Pacific Island nations, which helps to grow the sport, and Channel 9 commentators might finally learn to pronounce players’ names correctly.

Would the team be any good?

Read the list of 30 potential squad members below, then consider the names that have been left out, and decide for yourself:

Fullback – Stephen Crichton

Wing – Xavier Coates, Brian To’o

Centres – Waqa Blake, Justin Olam

Halves – Anthony Milford, Jarome Luai

Props – Josh Papali’i, Junior Paulo

Hooker – Api Koroisau,

Back row – Viliame Kikau, Isaiah Papali’i

Lock – Jason Taumalolo

Squad members:

Will Hopoate, Maika Sivo, Kotoni Staggs, Daniel Tupou, David Nofoaluma, Brandon Wakeham, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Sitili Tupouniua, Tevita Tatola, Moses Leota, Martin Taupau, Addin Fonua-Blake, Siliva Havili, Tevita Pangai Jr, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Felise Kaufusi, David Fifita.

Image: Getty Images

Smoking is the new jogging.

Smoking has joined jogging as a legitimate form of exercise during the COVID-19 lockdowns because it requires smokers to remove their face masks in public places. According to strict lockdown rules, masks must be worn outside at all times unless a person is exercising, or for religious reasons.

“Smokers are smoking in public places all over the world during the pandemic,” stated the World Health Organisation (WHO), which awarded smoking its new status.

“They are removing their face masks in order to do so, and they are doing it so often, in every part of the world living through lockdown, that we had no choice but to declare cigarette smoking a form of exercise.

Had we not declared smoking a form of exercise, local authorities throughout the world would be forced to prevent people from smoking outdoors, and they appear extremely reluctant to do that.”

In many parts of the world, people are also allowed outside without a mask for religious reasons. While smoking is not a form of worship, it is one of the few vices allowed in devoutly religious societies, even those living under Sharia law.

Big Tobacco is delighted at the announcement.

“Now we don’t have to spend millions of dollars to lobby governments or to convince people that cigarette smoking is not potentially deadly to smokers, bystanders and the planet. If smoking is a form of exercise, it must be healthy. The WHO just saved us a fortune.”

Social commentators have long questioned the tolerance of smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. They argue that cigarette smoking not only pollutes the air, but weakens the immune systems of smokers and passive smokers. If more people have weak immune systems, they claim, more people will be susceptible to COVID-19 and similar diseases.

This means people throughout the world could be in lockdown for even longer.

Image: Julia Engel

Gladys Berejiklian’s fatal mistake.

EXCLUSIVE: Sources close to Gladys Berejiklian have revealed the fatal mistake which forced her to resign as Premier of NSW: she was not photographed with a dog.

Experts have conceded that a photograph with a cute dog would have distracted people from the corruption scandal which prompted her shock resignation.

“Australians trust anyone with a dog,” claimed a member of Berejiklian’s inner circle.

“If Gladys had been photographed with a dog before, or even after, the accusations of corruption from the ICAC, she would have won over every person in NSW and saved herself from having to resign. She was not forced out of office because of her rather sordid relationship with a disgraced politician, and not because of suspicious grants to a random shooting club. She was forced out because we didn’t create this photo op, it’s on us.”

Political insiders agree with Berejikilan’s team on the power of a photo with a dog.

“Australians are very gullible and impressionable, especially when people are photographed with dogs. The country is obsessed with dogs, and anyone who owns a dog, or even pretends to own one, is regarded as inherently good. Politicians, wayward footballers, corrupt businessmen and social media influencers all use dogs to soften and enhance their image, and it works.

This is why photo op’s with dogs are so useful, no essential, in Australia’s current political climate. They convince Australians that Scott Morrison is caring, that Peter Dutton is human, and that Anthony Albanese is…well…not nothing.

Somehow, Berejiklian’s team forgot this and we didn’t see any photos of Gladys with a dog. One photo with a pooch could have saved her political life.”

The failure to photograph the fallen premier with a furry friend has led some political commentators to suggest, privately, that Berejikilian was sacrificed by the LNP. Either because she is a woman, more popular Morrison, or not an openly devout Christian.

Experts also cite Morrison as evidence of the recuperative power of a photo with man’s best friend.

“Through his many failures and demonstrations of complete and utter incompetence, the prime minister has been photographed with a dog. When the public appear to be turning on him, he is photographed with a dog, or his family. When his brand is in urgent need of repair, he’s photographed with his family and a dog.”

According to leading political commentators, the only group of people who seem to see through Puppy Propaganda are members of independent anti-corruption agencies, like the one that ended the reign of the NSW premier. The same people Scott Morrison is scared to let into Canberra.

Experts were then asked if Australians are ever likely to see Berejiklian photographed with a dog.

“Only if she enters federal politics.”

Image: http://www.abc.net.au