Friday, January 23, 2009


from w
Almost since the word was coined 'Wowser' - is where I fit. It's an Aussie word that means 'strait-laced, opponent of drinkin', smokin', gambling, etc.)From way back I won't have a bar of gambling. Drinkin' okay for others, not me. And No Smoking signs all over our house. But mainly it's about gambling. Why give money away with the minute chance of reward? Pokie machines in Australia are a blot on society I reckon, people wasting time and money on such a silly purpose. And when the PM Rudd gave out millions as a 'jump-start' to the economy, how much of it went on the pokies that day? Well, the stats are out. They called that day 'Kevin Rudd Thursday'! I agree with Tim Costello in his attitude to gambling - that it really can hurt many poor people. The pokie machines are in venues in the disadvantaged suburbs - of course!

from today's Age newspaper
Pokies binge follows hand-out
Jason Dowling and Marc Moncrief
January 24, 2009

CHRISTMAS came early to Victoria's poker machine operators with punters' losses soaring in December. Figures released yesterday appear to confirm anecdotal evidence that much of the Federal Government's cash hand-out was spent on gambling. In one of Victoria's biggest monthly poker machine splurges, gamblers dropped almost $250 million in December — almost $30 million more than the same month in 2007.

Last month, some Melbourne pokies' venue operators said turnover on the machines had been up by up to 40 per cent on the day of the hand-outs.

"We called it Kevin Rudd Thursday," a manager said.

The Federal Government paid out $8.7 billion in December, with Victorians receiving about $2.2 billion.

Single pensioner and seniors health card holders received a one-off $1400; every pensioner couple $2100; every carer an extra $1000 for each person in their care; and each family receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A an extra $1000 for every child in their care.

Opposition spokesman on gaming Michael O'Brien said yesterday the hand-outs had caused a "massive pokies binge in Victoria".

From July 1 to December 31, Victorians lost about $1.4 billion to the pokies — $46.6 million more than the same period last year and $29.3 million of that increase was in December alone.

Monash University health and gaming researcher Charles Livingstone said the big increase in poker machine spending during dire economic times showed some could not control their gambling. "Problem gamblers are likely to have got the money in the bank and gone straight down to the pub and put it straight into the machines," he said. He said gamblers clearly "put an awful lot of the money Rudd gave them into the machine and that is exactly what you would expect really".

Community Services Minister, Jenny Macklin defended the December payments. "The Australian Government took decisive action to strengthen the economy and we've encouraged responsible spending," she said. "We believe that most people have used the lump sum payments responsibly and in the interests of their families."

Victorian Government spokeswoman Rebecca Harrison said the sharp rise in December poker machine spending could not be attributed to the Federal Government's economic stimulus package alone.

"Gaming machine net expenditure figures fluctuate from month to month and we can't assume these variations are caused by a single event," she said. "While the Commonwealth payments may appear to be distorting the December data, losses are increasing at slower pace this year than last year."

Mr O'Brien said the increased poker machine spending would deliver millions to the State Government through taxes on gaming. "Really, Kevin Rudd should have just sent the cheque directly to John Brumby and cut out the middle man," Mr O'Brien said.

And here's some colourful meanings of the word 'Wowser'!
Aussie words


The term wowser — surely one of the most impressive and expressive of Australian coinages — is used to express healthy contempt for those who attempt to force their own morality on everyone. The person who abstains from alcohol (for whatever reason) is not thereby a wowser: s/he’s just probably very fit. But when s/he tries to force everyone else to do as s/he does, then s/he is a wowser. Or as C.J. Dennis defines the term: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.

The term originally meant ‘A person who is obnoxious or annoying to the community or who is in some way disruptive’ and was applied, for example, to prostitutes and public drunks. Feminists and equal opportunists got the ‘wowser’ guernsey too: Truth(Sydney) (1902): ‘Another of his whims or freaks was to promise a number of wowsers of the "wild woman" type (to use a term coined by Mrs Lynn Linton) that he would supplant men in the Public Service with women’.These ‘wild women’ wowsers were seen as on a par with ‘the warrigal wowsers of Waine’ whom Truth(1904) castigates as ‘lewd larrikin louts’.

The shift to the present sense of wowser (to wit, a mealy-mouthed hypocrite, a pious prude, one who condemns or seeks to curtail the pleasures of others or who works to have his or her own rigid morality enforced on all) occurs at the turn of the century. The earliest citation for this sense in The Australian National Dictionary is 1900. In 1903 Truth bugles again: ‘He ridicules the mournful croakings of"the wasted wowsers" who denounce every earthly pleasure as sinful’.
It's a beaut word, isn't it?

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