Editorial-Social media makes defamation as easy as one, two, tweet

By Dominic Geiger

Anyone who uses Facebook or Twitter should undergo defamation training.

There, I’ve finally said it. That sense of irritation after viewing countless jaded lovers, frustrated friends and embittered families commit defamation against those who have wronged them on Facebook or Twitter’s public forums has finally got to me. As a member of the media, I, along with everyone else who publishes information, am bound by the laws of libel. I am not allowed to make public, slanderous, false accusations under the guise of truthful statements. Such offenses are punishable in a court of law. It doesn’t even matter if only a small number of people read these statements, as it only takes three people for a defamation case to be instigated: the perpetrator, the victim and a member of the public. So if I can be fined and even imprisoned for making false, damaging accusations to even one member of the public, why should someone with 500+ friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter feel as though they will be treated any differently?

The truth of the matter is that historically, social media defamation victims have been less likely to press charges against perpetrators of libel than if they were defamed in, for example The Sydney Morning Herald. Recently however, this has begun to change. Many criminal cases of defamation committed via social network sites have started appearing around the world.

Even our own rural community of Condobolin hasn’t managed to escape such controversies, with Condobolin police currently investigating a complaint from a teenager who was defamed via Facebook. Speaking to The Condobolin Argus late last month, a Parkes police spokesperson said the page, which has been designed to impersonate a Condobolin teenager, contained “names and comments of a distressing nature.” Police have since been liaising with Facebook officials, however as Facebook requires a court-issued subpoena before they will hand over material, the case has been progressing slowly.

Then there was the case of Condo Goss, the notorious Facebook page created by an ‘anonymous’ user who used the site for the sole purpose of spreading malicious rumours about different Condobolin residents. Recently, the site has disappeared, however a reactionary Facebook page attacking the Condo Goss site still remains.

Nothing is easier than feeling anonymous on social media websites. The ability to create fake profiles, view online information without contributing and the relative ease of hacking a friend’s Facebook or Twitter account have all led internet users to feel as though they can do as they please on the web. The problem with this sense of anonymity is that it is false. Every computer has an IP address, its own little electronic signature if you will. Though difficult to achieve, police can obtain IP addresses from both Facebook and Twitter.

So next time you’re sitting with your laptop or iPhone in a huff because your significant other, friend or family member has wronged you, think twice before you publish something hurtful and untrue. You’re nowhere near as anonymous as you might think.

Paul Riley Electrics – July business of the month

Apprentice Anthony Toohey and Paul Riley of Paul Riley Electrics. Anthony shows their great customer service by cleaning up after a job. KT

Professional, reliable and available are three words most would want to associate with an electrician.

Paul Riley is one of the rare few who do indeed fit this description.

This is exactly why The Condobolin Argus has chosen Paul to kick off our business of the month promotion for July.

Paul has had six years experience in the electrical industry and does all general electrical work and maintenance from small domestic to large industrial jobs.

The Argus has had some great feedback about Paul’s services from happy customers including;

“He’s reliable. If he says he is going to be there he will be”.

“He cleans up after a job. There’s nothing worse than being left with a big mess after you’ve had an electrician come to your house”.

Paul has also recently taken a new apprentice under his wing: Anthony Toohey of Eugowra.

Anthony plans to continue working in the business after finishing his apprenticeship with Paul so you can expect to see a lot more of him around.

And as part of our promotion, for the month of July only, mention to Paul that he is the Argus business of the month, and you can receive a 9KW Panasonic inverter split system, fully installed for the incredible discounted price of just $3500.


Photo News

The 2011 Essential Energy Nyngan Ag Expo

On Saturday August 6, 2011, head to the Essential Energy site at the Nyngan Ag Expo for sky high fun with cooking demonstrations, face painting, photo booth and more!

Lachlan Shire Council held a 'Welcome to Condobolin' evening for new residents.

Teachers Sarah Norton, Ashley Bower, Ineke Higgins  and Shire IT manager Terri Clarke at last Thursday’s Lachlan Shire Council welcoming ceremony for new shire residents held at the Condobolin Motor Inn. DG

Elvis performs in CondobolinJune Lewis, who was celebrating her birthday at the RSL club, was also invited up on stage
for a serenade from the King. DG

Registration lunacy in the land of bureaucracy

By Dominic Geiger

Bureaucracy isn’t fun.  Attempting to deal with the tedious details of various types of contracts, license applications, and paperwork can all drive a man close to tears. Despite this, most of the time, bureaucracy has its place (even if you do end up spending an hour on the phone to an outsourced call centre operator who sounds like they’re at the bottom of the ocean). There is one bureaucratic process however, that entirely defies all logic and reason: switching a car’s registration from interstate to New South Wales.
After having moved permanently from the land of sunshine to the ‘first state’, I was informed I’d now have to register my car at my new address. “Sure,” I thought. “It can’t be that difficult; probably only a phone call to get the details switched over.”
How I was wrong.
Upon inquiring at the local RTA office, I was told I needed several things before I could re-register my vehicle.
“You’ll need your NSW license, a pink slip saying the car is roadworthy and a receipt showing the date you purchased the vehicle, the amount you paid, who you bought the vehicle off, the VIN number and the engine number.”
Though not as easy as I’d expected, I reasoned that these various items wouldn’t be terribly difficult to acquire. Matters only began to get difficult however, when after having taken my car to the mechanic to get a pink slip, I was told that pink slips were only for NSW drivers wanting to re-register their cars. I on the other hand, would need the more scrutinising ‘blue slip’ evaluation.
After I’d managed to find the only place in town that offers blue slip evaluations (and only just failed the evaluation due to an extraordinarily minor problem) I was told there were more colours I needed to add to my list of necessary slips.
“You’ll also need a green slip,” the mechanic said.
“Sorry? A green slip? What’s that?” I innocently asked.
“A green slip is what you need if you accidentally kill someone while driving; it’s compulsory third party insurance.”
“Oh,” I said, “so when the RTA told me I needed a pink slip, what I really needed was a blue slip and a green slip, and the only way to get a green slip is to get a blue slip and I can’t get the blue slip until I fix what’s wrong with the car?”
“That’s right,” the mechanic said, “and you’ve only got 14 days to do the necessary repairs otherwise I’ll have to charge you another $57 for the blue slip evaluation.”
Now I consider myself a reasonably motivated individual, but the hoops I had to jump through to get the necessary paper work over the next two weeks was pretty ridiculous.
While all this tedious, bureaucratic lunacy was going on, I happened to have received the registration renewal papers from my previous state of residency, which had been forwarded to my new address. On a slightly masochistic impulse, I read the form, only to find that if I were able to re-register my car in my previous state, I would have merely had to sign the form on the dotted line at the bottom and pay the registration fee.
Over the weeks it took to sort out this issue, I complained a fair bit to other people. Consequently, I discovered I wasn’t alone in my confusion as to why one state should have such different standards to another’s regarding vehicle registration. If I can drive around for five years in a perfectly safe car in Queensland only to have it deemed ‘un-roadworthy’ on the other side of an imaginary line, you’ve got to start wondering about the logic behind such a ridiculously bureaucratic system. And, considering how much more money I ended up shelling out to eventually get my car registered and insured in this state, I think I may have an inkling as to why logic isn’t a big part of this ridiculous process.

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,

I am concerned to read that the Condobolin Community sees the preschool recently opened by Lachlan Children’s Services as divisive.
While being federally funded for children who are not yet attending preschool, the centre is open to all families; and offers the community choice in its early childhood education.  Initially open only two days a week, the new centre is expanding to four days a week, once again offering choice to families.
Currently working from a  room at Condobolin Public School, the preschool plans to move to a new building constructed to house all Lachlan Children’s Services; including Family Day Care, Vacation Care, Out of School Hours Care and the mobile van and its equipment.
Working to the guidelines of the Early Years Learning Framework, the preschool is celebrating the confidence and capabilities the children have, the skills they are developing and their place in our community.  The children are building their confidence and talents, and learning about the influence they have on those around them.
Every class or school is influenced by those participating; and the new preschool offers families a choice in learning styles and environment.
I have experienced the Italian town of Reggio Emilia, which has an internationally respected reputation for the care the whole community takes in the education of their children.  Many Early Childhood Educators emulate the “Reggio” style of teaching in their classroom.  I hope that Condobolin Cares for their children enough to celebrate a diversity in culture, community and opportunities available to their children.  I would like to see Condobolin as passionate about Early Childhood Education as the residents of Reggio Emilia.

Anna Caskey,
The Gilgais,

Letters to the Editor

Dear Madam,

I am writing in reply to a recent letter in the Argus as an employer who knows what it is like not to receive a single response to an advertised position.
We would also like to see our town promoted. There has to be people in the outer areas of the city that could enjoy a better lifestyle both financially and socially with a move to the country.
Condo has so much to offer:
• Lake – boating and fishing
•Most sporting codes, Golf and bowls, Gym, Motor Bike Club
• Community Centre – Arts & Crafts
• Sing Australia
• Rifle Club
This is just naming a few as there are many more Clubs & Societies.
As well as younger families we would like to see mature aged or even empty nesters being encouraged to our town and bringing their skills and experience to our community.
On the housing front there is a range of good investment properties and top quality homes for far less than the equivalent in the metropolitan areas.
The mining boom is a great boost to our towns economy but it also drains our small pool of experienced tradesmen and we as a business in Condobolin want to keep employing apprentices and offering goods & services to the community for the years ahead.
Even those of us in secure jobs isolated from staff shortages will not be immune as we have to travel  to a bigger centre for more everyday services that will not be available in the town due to lack of workmanship.
It is very encouraging to see people opening new shops in Condo. We hope this positive attitude continues.  As to how to go about promoting it viably is the question.
We ourselves will continue to advertise.
Thank you for allowing me space in your paper
Concerned citizen.


Dear Madam,

For more than a decade I’ve been attending sporting events in Australia and internationally providing technical race support and as a photographer. The Condo 750 may not be Dakar or the Australasian Safari but the genuine welcome received in Condobolin makes it one of the highlights of my year.
The efforts to attract sponsors such as Slattery Auctions have been rewarded with much needed helicopter medical services, the perfect supplement to the work put in by the organisers, controllies, sweeps, course markers and officials, not to mention the land holders who demonstrate the ultimate in community spirit by hosting the event year on year. The Condo 750 just gets better and better!
Max Sullivan
Maximum Motorcycle Consulting
Parramatta NSW
27 April 2011

The Condo lingo (I’m so hungry I could eat a fly struck ewe)

By Dominic Geiger

Moving to a rural town from the city is a little bit like moving to another country.
People eat different things (I really miss a good beef vindaloo), people have different customs and people even speak a different language. I’ve been told it’s English, but when I’m sitting at the pub and people start talking about tractors or the size of their property, they might as well be speaking Chinese. Naturally, coming to terms with this new terminology has presented a few difficulties, and in the past three months I’ve been guilty of more than a few embarrassing (albeit funny) colloquial failures. For example, I’ve learnt that there’s actually no such thing as a ‘Dorker’ ram, and, while we’re on the topic, those Dorper rams next door aren’t actually giving birth. I’ve also been told that if I were to try and ride a sheep, it probably wouldn’t work and I’ve learnt that agronomists don’t particularly like it when you ask them if their profession means they’d be a good backyard gardener. I was also confused when someone told me to watch out for the cat-heads in the lawn. What’s wrong with calling them bindis or prickles? Despite all these language failures there’s still one idiomatic misinterpretation that takes the cake; most farmers would be aware of a perennial shrub known as ‘Old Man Saltbush’. It’s a very useful shrub for keeping sheep away from fresh pastures, or so I’ve been told. Which I guess explains the agronomist’s confusion and then laughter when, in my innocent misunderstanding of local lingo, I managed to ask, “So tell me about the research you’ve been doing on old salty man bush?”

A long way from home

Compiled by Olivia McInnes

The Condobolin Argus recently welcomed a new journalist to its ranks. You may have seen him around town, notebook in hand and nose to the ground for the latest happenings.
Here is an official introduction and an ‘up close and personal’ peak into the life of Dominic Geiger.

Name:  Dominic Geiger
Age:  21
Hometown:  Brisvegas (Brisbane, QLD).
Qualifications:  Mass Communications degree from Queensland University of Technology majoring in Public Relations and Journalism with a minor in French.
Professional experience; Community radio current affairs program host 1 year (2 different stations), Scene music magazine journalist/writer 1 year, copywriter/marketing assistant at Link International (motorcycle parts wholesaler) 6 months.
Other interesting life experiences:  Dominic spent two months in Morocco teaching English to school children in the poorer areas of the capital city, Rabat.
What are your interests/hobbies:  “Listening to good music, travelling, fishing and reading good books (preferably all at the same time if possible).”
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? “I don’t know, West Africa is pretty cool but I don’t like couscous that much. Probably the North Coast NSW, near Yamba”.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? “When I was in year one I wanted to be a marine biologist. I still kind of do, but I’m going see how this journo thing works out. Maybe one day I can combine both interests.”
Who is your idol/who do you look up to? “Warren Zevon’s my hero”.  (American rock singer-songwriter and musician).
What events led you to Condo? “Had a big night at the casino in Brisbane. Woke up here, decided I needed a job and the Argus were the only people crazy/nice enough to hire me. Nah, I finished uni, wanted a job in journalism and The Argus was hiring. Condo seemed like the sort of place I could get some really hands on experience and take a break from city life for a while”.
What were your first impressions of Condo? “HOLY CRAP EMUS!”
What are your impressions now? “Condobolin’s actually a lot bigger than it seems once you realise there are real people living and working in all those little buildings. It really just feels like a suburb in Brisbane that isn’t anywhere near anything else. Like, rather than having a neighbouring suburb with people and buildings, there are neighbouring sheep and cows”.
What would you like to bring to the Condobolin Community through the Argus? “Balanced, unbiased reporting on topical issues affecting people in town. I also want to encourage people to let me know if they’ve noticed any major/controversial/humorous issues around town they want to see covered in the paper. Beyond that, I hope some of the things I contribute to the paper are entertaining and, where possible, give people a bit of a chuckle’.

(Editor’s note:
Dominic is too unassuming and polite to tell you he beat over 70 applicants into the position at The Argus – but we will.
The Argus conducts a very stringent selection and induction process including sponsoring applicants to attend a practical session over a two day period of tough reporting assignments. You may have seen applicants around town during December and January.
Dominic is a delightful young man who has a tremendous attitude towards himself and those around him and a keen sense of providing quality service to community.
There are stringent criteria attached to Argus reporting. We welcome Dominic to our small team of Argonauts (as we know you will welcome him to our community) confident his contribution will positively impact our ongoing endeavour in providing a professional news service and helping and promoting growth in local organisations and businesses.)

Cartoon: Karen Tooth www.karentooth.com

Dominic Geiger cartoon by Karen Tooth.

The Country Wave

When I made the decision to move from the city to the Central West, I anticipated having to get used to a few new things. And for the most part, this has been relatively easy.
I’ve become accustomed to the frogs who have well and truly set up camp in my toilet, and I’ve come to accept the fact that banks never seem to be open when I want them to be. There is one thing however, three weeks after I arrived in town, that still does my head in as I pass fellow drivers on the roads just outside Condobolin: The Country Wave.
Some people do it, some people don’t. Some people use two fingers, others use their whole hand. When I first arrived it seemed very strange; I didn’t know these people, so why were they waving to me?
After a while I began to try and replicate it, but I was still confused. The timing was difficult to get, as people seemed to wave neither fast nor slow, just at a comfortable pace. Often people would wave at me and I’d forget to wave altogether, and feel rather bad having not responded to such a friendly gesture. Then I began waving at everyone I passed, though many people wouldn’t wave back. It felt like a massive conspiracy just to confuse me.
Since those first few drives I’ve managed to understand the wave a bit more. I now generally wait for people to make a move before I raise a finger. Unless I know them, in which case I’m more than happy to instigate the wave. I still occasionally stuff up though, and have lifted many a finger far too late for the other driver to see.
So if you pass someone on the road around Condobolin who doesn’t reciprocate that incredibly endemic country salute, please don’t take it as an insult, it’s probably just me or some other person from the city trying to learn the complicated language of country road sign language.
– Dominic Geiger

The Condobolin Argus 2011

Welcome back! Hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday break.

We have returned to the office after a three week break and are getting ready to bring out the first edition this year on Wednesday, 19th January, 2011.

In case anyone had noticed that the Argus had not been updated since Wednesday, 8th December, 2010, there were two editions published after that- Wednesday 15th and 22nd December. Unfortunately the updates from those editions did not make it onto the website as our office was a little ‘snowed under’ leading up to Christmas.

Our office is back to normal now and we look forward to bringing you another great year of news.

Welcome to The Condobolin Argus!

As The Condobolin Argus is celebrating its 9th year of publication, we thought we’d mark the occasion with a new website.

Our website has had a makeover with new features making it much easier to navigate and to search for articles within the site which go as far back as February 2007.

Along with the calendar and the Lachlan Shire tab (currently under construction), we hope to give a current guide to all the events and news within Lachlan Shire to keep you up-to-date and help you plan ahead.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out as there’s still more ideas in the pipeline for the Argus website!

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