Posts Tagged ‘Sunday lesson’

…especially in Oz.  This year alone, speeders and disobedient drivers have paid $61 million dollars to the Victorian government, which is the state where we live.  I discovered this tidbit of information while reading an article in last Sunday’s paper, The Herald Sun. 

The editor, Peter Rolfe, explains that “in the first three months of this year, 631,861 fines – more than 7,020 a day – were issued for motorists ignoring speed limits, running red lights and failing to pay tolls.”  What I find most interesting is how these law-breakers are discovered and punished.

Throughout Victoria, and other major cities in Australia, there are hi-tech cameras strategically placed on freeways and in cities.  There are very few police on the road and most traffic violations are caught through these cameras.  Ryan actually informed me of this during my visit last month when I made a flippant comment about how slow he was driving on the freeway.

If you are the unlucky driver caught breaking the law, your license plate will be caught on camera, you’ll receive your ticket in the mail and will have to pay a fine.  From the sounds of it, fines are in-line with what we’d expect to pay in the US and increase based on the scale of the offense.  In your lovely letter, you’ll also be notified of how many demerit points you’ve earned due to the offense.  Speaking to an Aussie with experience (who shall remain nameless), each driver can earn up to 12 demerit points before his or her license is suspended or revoked and each individual offense can earn you several points.

I feel like this is where I should say.  “Hi, I’m Laura.  And I’m a speeder.”  But, since the thriving metropolis of Des Moines was installing cameras at a snail’s pace when we left, I doubt I’ll have anything to worry about even by the time I return.

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We’re starting a weekly theme — or bi-weekly (I’m not super strict) — about what we learn from the news headlines.  Thanks to Caroline and Joanna for helping me come up with this idea.

The Sunday paper and other weekly news mediums are chock-full of tidbits and insight into the Aussie way of life.  My first time digging into the paper last weekend led to some very interesting findings.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love babies.  I love baby smells, I love cuddling babies, I love those cute newborn baby photos of teeny tiny feet.  I read mom blogs simply to hear the stories about moms with their babies.  I’m completely normal though, trust me.

Flipping through the paper, I discovered that here in Australia they call moms and babies, mums and bubs.  Oh.My.Goodness.  It’s only a slight variation to American English so I don’t know why this news was so exciting.  But seriously.  Mums and Bubs.

The other thing I learned is that the Australian government has recently introduced the first national Paid Parental leave plan which grants mums 18 weeks paid parental leave.  That’s right, four and a half months!  I know of some places in the US where full-time workers would be lucky to get 6 weeks.

The plan was only approved January 1 of this year so I will definitely have to have a chat with my Aussie friends about previous parental leaves and how they were structured.  I wonder if they were similar to the US and just now they are supporting leaves of this length like many countries in Europe.  Maybe the US will follow suit?  I’m (sadly) only joking.

I learned a lot about our host country in my short hour reading the paper.  On the otherhand, I feel guilty that I don’t enjoy the Sunday paper back home.   Note to self…

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