Monday, April 2, 2012

Memo: from "Punk Commute" to today

Subject heading: Progress report of NSW voter’s attempt to seek redress for a grievance
Date: Tuesday 27th March 2012
Matter: From ‘Punk Commute’ to punishment for non-payment of Victims Compensation Levy
Author: Sue Abbott
I have asked myself to list briefly what has been achieved in the ten months since the Punk Commute was held on Friday 20th May 2011.

- Meeting to discuss revocation of bicycle helmet law with the Hon. John Ajaka MLC (Parliamentary Secretary to the Hon. Duncan Gray MLC), Professor Chris Rissel (Professor of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney), Dr Paul Martin (Specialist Anaesthetist, Ipswich, Queensland) and myself
- Another court appearance as a self-represented bicycle helmet litigant, another section 10(1)(a) – July 2011
- Directive received to pay Victims Compensation Levy (VCL) - July 2011
- Request made to the Hon. Greg Smith MP for a VCL exemption – July 2011
- [meanwhile in the United Kingdom, a British Medical Journal (BMJ) poll reveals that 68% of their readers do not think it should be compulsory for adults to wear helmets]
- [meanwhile in Australia, elite Australian Universities properly consider the causation of bike share failure in Melbourne & Brisbane]
- VCL repealed by NSW Parliament for section 10 (1)(a) offenders in August 2011
- My request (s) made to the Hon. Greg Smith MP for a VCL exemption refused several times over several months, the final refusal coming from the minister himself in October 2011
- Indefinite suspension of my driver’s licence for refusal to pay VCL enacted – November 2011
- Property seizure order issued for refusal to pay VCL - January 2012
- Sheriff of Muswellbrook visits my home in my absence for property seizure purposes during January & February 2012, and again last week - March 2012
- Registration renewal for my Subaru forester refused - March 2012

In terms of my engagement with my Parliament as a voter residing in New South Wales, I have come to the conclusion that very little has been achieved. I can only deduce from the overall political reaction that many politicians are of the opinion that it is not my place to try and reform ‘bad law’.

I am extremely disappointed with the mechanics of politics, and wonder why any of us, the general voting public, bother.


  1. I feel your pain, Sue.

    Just wait until the next oil shock (might be just around the corner if the sabre-rattling continues)... they'll have a hard time trying to catch all the helmetless cyclists then! :-D

  2. If you feel you're at a bit of a dead end Sue, I have a slightly different angle I'm working on. I'd like to get your opinion on a letter I sent to the relevant SA minister. I don't want to publish it here (just yet) but I can't find an email address for you. Do you have one you can give me here? If not, you could email me at huluhoop at

    1. Love to read your letter, Steve! - try infoatvirtualgypsiesdotcomdotau

  3. Couldn't agree more Sue. I feel the problems we are all experiencing are the result of a deep underlying problem in the democratic process itself.
    Our fight to overturn the unjust and mistaken Helmet laws demonstrates this failure which is characterised by a number of features : Lack of honesty and transparency; failure to review poor legislation ; Government funded research designed only to reinforce bad laws; lack of interest in any issue not perceived to be a 'vote winner'; the ignoring or correspondence between citizens and their elected representatives; failure to act in the public interest; Politicians paralyzed by the fear of loosing their seats and silenced by Party politics. I remember a time when they listened when people took to the streets. Now they know they can safely ignore every Public demonstration because it is unlikely to effect the result of the next Election. This is partly why people are reluctant to turn out and protest. So it doesn't matter what we do, nothing changes. Government is moribund in this country at the moment. I have already made the decision not to vote in the next election. Despite all this I remain optimistic and hope that you are able to as well. Next time you're in Victoria come for a ride and we'll have a great big whinge together.

  4. Sue, do you think it might be time for your many supporters worldwide to launch an internet campaign to bother the various authorities concerned in this petty oppression?

    I ask, because as you may be aware, a campaign was organised last week by the Copehagenize blog to demand explanations from a small town in Spain where the local police took it into their heads to persecute an English resident for carrying his two daughters to school on a bicycle, which is perfectly legal but still rather unusual in provincial Spain. Large numbers of people pinging the municipal website and sending in e-mails does seem to have flummoxed them rather badly - after all, no one really wants that sort of publicity - and it seems as though ears were soon clipped in the local police department.

    Could you give us e-mail addresses, websites etc. for the authorities concerned?

    1. Why not!!!! - sounds promising...

      ...I'll get some handy emails et al ready!!!

  5. Sorry, forgot the link for the Spanish story: