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10 December 2016

Woolworths vs ACCC

So it looks like the ACCC lost it's "unconscionable conduct" case against Woolworths. The judge didn't think there were any laws which covered the behaviour, so even if the behaviour of the Woolworths seemed harsh it wasn't actually illegal. However, I think the ACCC fought the wrong case. It was a classic case of extortion, no different in any fundamental way to organised crime groups extorting local businesses.

It seems that Woolworths wrote to it's 821 "Tier B" suppliers, demanding one-off payments to "support" Woolworths. The payments were not part of any contract or agreement. They were motivated by missed profit targets, that Woolworths had set for themselves. They demanded around $60 million and apparently received around $18 million.

In Australia, extortion is defined in the 1899 Criminal Code as:

    (1) A person (the demander) who, without reasonable cause, makes a demand— 
        (a) with intent to— 
            (i) gain a benefit for any person (whether or not the demander); or 
            (ii) cause a detriment to any person other than the demander; and 
        (b) with a threat to cause a detriment to any person other than the demander; 
    commits a crime. 

If following through on the threat "would be likely to cause, substantial economic loss in an industrial or commercial activity conducted by a person or entity other than the offender", then the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

The nature of the detriment doesn't need to be defined. The threat doesn't need to be made privately.

Woolworths said this practice is quite normal in the retail industry. The ACCC said if it's not illegal then it should be. "Competition experts" said to win the case, the ACCC would have had to prove that the behaviour went beyond industry norms. However, Coles has been to court for the same things and the two companies are over 70% of the industry. Which would suggest their behaviour largely dictates industry norms. Imagine if the ethics of all behaviour was determined purely by narrow peer group norms.

So in summary, they should have ran an extortion case.

18 April 2016

Pasta Dream

So for a very long time I've wanted to be able to make pasta like the nice Italian restaurants do, or like the fancy jars from those delis do. Those nice Italian restaurants make tomato into a whole other food. Usually when I make it at home it tastes more like hot tomato paste. Home-style tomato paste. I had a bit of encouragement from the jars of pasta we got for cheaps at Maggie Beers last year, which were apparently overcooked but actually delicious.

Anyway, last night was stay at home and finally watch Star Trek: Into Darkness night (about three years late). And I had to watch the last 45 minutes of the Hunger Games so it was the perfect night for experimental slow cooking. So I very slowly during the Hunger Games overcooked the onions until they were really brown. Then for the first half of Star Trek I overcooked the tomatoes in the overcooked onions. Smushed up olives and added this nice red wine I found, and then cooked it some more. Until that saucy passata was really thick and brown.

And by golly it tasted like those nice Italian restaurants. Maybe not quite as good as those Maggie Beer pasta jars, but not far off. So I am really happy. I ate so much of it - like three freaking bowls - but there is still leftovers. Which will make for a very good day I think.

23 May 2010

The Scallop Burger

The Scallop Burger is the food non-animal-eaters have dreamed of since the very first animal-eaters started opening the fish and chip shops many millenia ago. Over the years I have come to appreciate the finer details of The Scallop Burger and notice the little nuances that really make one special.

The ideal Scallop Burger will have two potato scallops not one.

It will have a toasted or grilled roll because even two scallops just don't have the heating power to penetrate the cold, cold salad additions.

It will have beetroot. This really is the item that starts to move it from a cold tomato roll with fried potato to something great.

Lettuce and tomato are standard but must not be neglected.

One must ensure that neither butter nor cheese rear their pesky evil heads because kindly (albeit evil) fish and chip shop owners frequently insert them in misguided acts of dear sweet loveliness.

The Burger will have sauce. Probably BBQ but for some tomato may be preferred. It is the sauce that finally draws The Scallop Burger away from any lingering association with "health" food.

The clincher however, the addition that makes The Scallop Burger the equal of any fish and chip shop burger, the final touch, is the humble onion. Fried. Obviously. This elevates our burger to new heights. The difficulty with it being that the potato scallop's habitat is the deep-fryer while onion prefers to nest on a grill. The fish and chip shop owner may be somewhat reluctant but if you took care not to call them evil out loud back when they tried to offer you cheese, then they may oblige. And I assure you, it is worth asking.

26 February 2010

Food Bus

I've just been thinking about the idea of a food bus. It would be a normal bus in every way except that instead of being full of people it would be full of cheap organic foods that people can browse through and buy. And instead of using usual bus stops it would use parking lots and malls and just nice shady spots by the side of the road. And instead of stopping for one minute at stops it would stop for one hour. And instead of driving with diesel it would drive with vegetable oil.

It wouldn't probably make money. It would have some nice seats for people to sit and chat on. If you spent a day on the bus helping then you would cheaper food. If you gave vegetable oil then you get cheaper food too.

I like food. And communtity. And also buses. So I think it would make me happy.

8 September 2009

Good Pizza

On Sunday, I made the best vegan pizza I have ever made. It was so delicious. Almost beyond vegan belief. It didn't taste like poo or salt. It just tasted like wonderful pizza. I hope I can do it again.

12 June 2009


Who wants to have lunch today? I got an unexpected day away from the house. But everyone I know has gone away... Perhaps I will gorge myself on Korean bibimbap all alone in the restaurant down the road. Yes. Kimchi also. That will be the plan.

7 June 2009

Scouts Honour

Them: [With a mouth full of finger bun] Can I have one more finger bun please Ryan?
Me: What about a crumpet?
Them: I'll make a deal with you. If you give me one more finger bun, I promise you I'll have a crumpet. Scouts honour. [Makes scout's honour sign].

10 May 2009

Four Potato Scallops

Them: I'm going to stay at her house on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And I'm going to have four potato scallops and a small bottle of icy cold lemonade.
Me: That will be lovely. Are you going to have four scallops every day, or spread them out and have one each day?
Them: I am going to have one scallop. And when that one is gone I am going to have another one. And when that one is gone I'm going to have another one. And when that one is gone I'm going to have one more. Like that see. Then I'm going to have the last bit of lemonade at the bottom of the bottle to wash it down.

Mother’s Day

Jem and I popped over to mum's house for lunch. It was something of a miracle to get the middle of the day off and we had a nice time. We spent most of it fussing around trying to get everything brewed and cooked and organised and to swap all the things that separated families need to swap.

Jem and I cooked a risotto and it was a good one. It had a lot of mushrooms and garlic which are the two main ingredients in risotto of course. We also added rice just to balance it all out nicely.

I fixed some things on mum's computer. We set up her new iPod Nano. I got all my old paperworks that I'd hidden from myself underneath mum's house. If I'm not going to protest the government's silly economic ejaculations then I need to do my tax for the last few years. I don't like tax. Sometimes I wish the government would just take all my income and post me enough vegetables and coffee grounds to live on each week. I'll bet in Cuba they don't spend much time filling out income tax forms. And they have lots of good, fresh vegetables there.

7 May 2009

Giant Thermal Mug

I have started taking a giant thermal mug full of tea on my morning drives. The trip usually lasts a bit over an hour and the tea is still pretty hot when I get home. It really is a very big mug of tea. A whole double teapot stuffed into one giant mug.

I have been impressed by the thermal properties of the giant thermal mug. I had to drop the van off at the mechanics in the middle of a morning trip because the van started overheating. I thought it would be a quick job, but they had to keep the van overnight. Unfortunately, I left the giant mug sitting in the van the whole time.

The following day I went to pick up the van. I climbed in and noticed the giant mug sitting there patiently. I hefted it in my hand to check the weight. Hopeful. Perhaps recklessly hopeful, but still hopeful. I realised there was still tea in it. I wondered just how good these giant thermal mugs really were. They had proved to me in the past that they had some game. Well beyond any expectations I'd held. But could they seriously keep half a cup of tea warm overnight? The thought was preposterous, but that slowed my hand none as I brought the mug to quivering lips for a timid taste.

My fragile, budding hopes were roundly smashed. The tea was totally cold. I sat there for a moment, by myself, in a cold van, on a cold and grey morning, with a cold cup of stolen promise resting in my lap.

Then I drove home and made myself a pot of tea in the four cup teapot. Some would say it was immoderate consumption as means of escape. They may be right.

31 March 2009

Is that how you treat me?

[After baking a chocolate cake that didn't rise and could be cut with scissors]
Me: Would you like a piece of chocolate cake?
Them: Yes I would.
[I walk over with some cake on a plate]
Me: Chocolate cake.
Them: Is that how you treat me?
Me: Do you not want it?
Them: I do.
[They eat cake. Short pause]
Them: Can I have another piece?

7 March 2009


One of the few disappointments I have with L'Arche is the number of pancakes we have when we have pancakes. We have them frequently, but when we do there seems to be an unspoken rule that we are only to have two or three pancakes (although sometimes it is spoken quite loudly). Previously I would content myself with six or seven or eight pancakes, so things have changed for me quite dramatically. But I am struggling through. Everything else about L'Arche is pretty great, so I get by.

25 January 2009

A little bit on fire

J: Can I have some raisin toast?
R: Yes. Why did you smash the cups? Was it because there wasn't enough butter for you to cook the mushrooms?
J: Yep. There wasn't any butter so I had to throw the mushrooms in the garbage. I couldn't eat them. And the fan caught a little bit on fire. So I had to turn it off.

13 January 2009

Thirsty Babies

And the baby talks to the stomach and tells the stomach when it wants to come out. And hey presto! When we get back to Sydney, we walk to the nurse's house and say the baby wants to come out, and would like to come out, and please take the baby out now because it's so thirsty. The baby really does want a cuppa. I'm not joking.

2 January 2009

Pavlova and passionfruit

J: To celebrate the happiness of going steady Brian is going to come over for pavlova and passionfruit.
R: Like an anniversary?
J: Yep. We've been going steady my whole life. He's my one and only whole life person.

23 December 2008

Stomach Approval

My stomach likes me. It approves of me. My stomach wants me to have a nice christmas lunch. I am fit for christmas lunch. My stomach knows it. My stomach wants us to have a lot of nice memories together.

26 September 2008

Proper Vegans

I think I am deciding to be a good, old-fashioned sort of vegan again. I have been for a while. I was meaning to blog about it before. I ended up deciding symbolic lines were actually helpful. The artificial constraints are a good discipline. Deciding what you think is ethical on the fly is hard work, tiring and confusing for other people. Labels are frustrating, but not easy to do without. Becoming a vegan the second time was definitely a slower process than the first time. I hope there isn't a third time.

6 September 2008

Training away

Trains really are the most fun. It's just like being in an old mystery movie. All these different people have been thrust together and are stuck on this train. I think there's some mischief going on with the crew. I just walked past two crew in the kitchen and one of them said "Sssshhh. None of them can know." There was also a strange passenger man standing next to them, who I now assume is compromised. I'd like to assume the best of him but I know that these train trips really bring out the spy in people.

I also found a very noice pumpkin soup for dinner. They have a lot of delicious, budget (in price and quality) train food which reminds me very fondly of plane food. Although perhaps that is not so surprising.

It is wonderful though. So much better than driving. And apart from the industrial espionage everyone is so laid back. Totally winner.

13 August 2008

ALDI has fair trade organic tea

Always pushing the boundaries, ALDI now has fair trade tea and coffee. Most of the big supermarkets I go to don't even have fair trade tea (coffee seems to be the popular one). So good on you ALDI. You make me so happy.

They also have full-on drill presses for $49.95. Brilliant.

Update: The tea is actually good too.

15 February 2008

Vanished Again

Emmeline and I spent our Valentine's Days eating suburban pizza at No. 1 Alberto's Pizza and watching Vanishing Point. It's my third seeing of it, and it doesn't get any worse. What a lovely film. And there are a few great scenes that I really love. Even Emmeline thought it was reasonably alright I think.

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