State Rail Causes Ovine Confusion

Yesterday morning was just like any other normal workday morning. I got up, showered, breakfasted whilst watching Kochie make a fool of himself on 7’s sunrise, walked to the train station and waited for my train. Listened to the announcement on the PA system, “next train on platform 2 stops at Lewisham and all stations to Redfern, Central, Town Hall and the City Circle”.

“Good-o” I thought – so I boarded the train.

We travelled and arrived at Central, Platform 16. The driver then announced “this train is terminating, will all passengers please alight and take the next City Circle train from Platform 17.”

Fair enough. We got off and moved across to platform 17. There was then an announcement on the Central Station PA to the effect that “the next City Circle train will depart from platform 16”. At this point we all rushed back to our original train and boarded it (although many folks remained in the doorway).

A train then arrived on platform 17. It was at this point in time that the ovine ((of or pertaining to or of the nature of or characteristic of a sheep or sheep – definition from Wordnet Online – I have wanted to use that word again for such a long time. It was great to be able to use it in the blog)) nature of Sydney Railway train passengers was noted. One man alighted from our carriage and moved to the train waiting on platform 17. This resulted in 90% of the passengers of our train alighting and following him across to platform 17. The doors then closed on our train and we went to the next station with 90% of our original passengers waiting on the next train to leave.

Apart from the incorrect State Rail announcements which cause all sorts of confusion, I was amazed at the ovine nature of the passengers who for no real reason rushed to a train that was not going anywhere.

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New South Wales’ Counter-Terrorism Website

I discovered the other day that we New South Welshmen have our very own Counter-Terrorism website. Yep, it’s there under the New South Wales Government Gateway at http://www.secure.nsw.gov.au/. I learned two things today from it. The first was that Australia has had a national counter-terrorism alert level system in place since 1978. Boy weren’t we forward thinking or was it simply a response at the time to the 13th of February 1978 bomb blast outside the Sydney Hilton when the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting was due to take place?

The second thing I learned was that the three-level system that was implemented then (I guess that was Low, Medium and High Risk) was replaced in June 2003 with the current four-level system of low, medium, high and extreme.

Of course, the two most interesting things about that were that the level has been at medium in the over 4 years the four-level system has been in place. Guys, really, don’t you think that medium now loses some significance after the alert level’s been left at that level for so long? I mean who is going to take that seriously anymore?

The other interesting thing is that the extreme level applies when a “terrorist attack is imminent or has occurred”. I can understand extreme when one is imminent but having an extreme level after one has occurred seems a little like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. I am sure this rates with the Australian Government’s insistence that aircraft meals into and out of Australia be served with plastic knives, which are in themselves three times more dangerous than the metal butter knives they replaced.