Create Your Own Garden Journal

The garden journal is an important component of the garden planning process. It allows the gardener to revisit last year’s successes and failures. This evaluation reduces the chances of repeating the same mistakes, helps create a healthier garden environment and helps reduce expensive gardening mistakes, especially for beginning gardeners.

A journal does not have to be anything fancy and can range from a simple school notebook all the way to an elaborate leather bound journal. Some gardeners even use technology to design a one of a kind garden journal that does everything for you accept plant the seed. The key to the journaling process is to pick one that works for you and one that you will really use.

Whether you are a beginning gardener or starting a new garden, the first step in this process is to draw out the garden space. Some individuals find it helpful to do the drawing to scale but that really is not necessary. The important component is that the dimensions of the garden are noted.

Do not limit yourself to the traditional idea of what a garden is. All gardens need to be planned and this includes container, mulch, and straw bale gardens along with hanging baskets, and flower pouches. Keep in mind though; that the information described below is geared for land-based gardens and in doing so will need to be adapted for other types of gardens.

Once the garden space has been drawn out, the next step is to add environmental information. The north, south, east, and west directions need to be placed on the garden drawing. General wind direction and how the sun hits the garden space during the growing season also needs to be noted.

Weather conditions are another component that needs to be added during the growing season. This includes temperature, moisture level or rain amount and any natural disaster that may have affected the garden space. Including this information will help the gardener deal with microclimate issues and help them make a more precise determination of the success of the garden.

Another environmental feature that needs to be added to the garden journal is the health of the soil. This includes pH level, soil type and any nutrient problems. This information is easily obtained through a kit that can be picked up at any local extension office.

External features surrounding the garden space also need to be added to the drawing. This information is very important since shadows from buildings, vegetation, and fences can affect the garden space. Also, noting plant material that is around the garden can help reduce the chance of plant incompatibility. A prime example of plant incompatibility is that of the tomato and the black walnut tree.

Once the garden journal has been created, the next step is deciding how much you need.

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New South Wales Criminal Law and Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

Is it an offence to be in a motorcycle club?

The short answer (which you would only get from a lawyer), currently no. But potentially yes.

The New South Wales Government has in the past enacted legislation aimed specifically at motorcycle club members. ln April 2009 the NSW Government introduced legislation to control the behaviour of club members. This followed an incident at Sydney airport in which Hells Angel Anthony Zervas was tragically and callously killed.

The Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Bill 2009 (NSW) was assented to on 3 April 2009. The High Court however ruled that this legislation aimed at outlawing motorcycle club members, passed by NSW Parliament in 2009, was invalid. The Supreme Court had been asked by police to issue a declaration under the Act outlawing the Hells Angels motorcycle club in NSW. A member of the club, Derek Wainohu, applied to have the law declared invalid. See Wainohu v New South Wales [2011] HCA 24, 23 June 2011 for details about this High Court decision. The High Court deemed the legislation as invalid because it allowed Judges of the Supreme Court of New South Wales to make a declaration, that being a declaration that a club is a criminal organisation, without actually giving reasons as to how or why that finding came about.

The High Court on appeal was of the view that the legislation created the appearance of a judge of the Supreme Court making a declaration while denying a hallmark of that office, the requirement to give reasons, and that this perception was to the detriment of the Court itself.

More recently the abovementioned piece of legislation was given an overhaul by NSW Parliament who enacted the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012 (NSW). The new Act empowers an eligible judge to make the declaration sought by the commissioner of police if the eligible judge is satisfied that members of the organisation associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity and the organisation represents a risk to public safety and order in New South Wales. A judge who declares an organisation as a criminal organisation can make orders controlling members by disallowing them from associating or communicating with each other. If a person is deemed a controlled person by the Court, the Court can also suspend or cancel that person’s authorisation to carry on certain businesses like security businesses, racing, casinos, motor traders, repairers and tow trucks.

Where do the Police Get Their Evidence From? How Do They Build Their Case?

An interesting thing about the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012 (NSW) is Section 28, Part 4 of the Act. Which allows the Court to treat information or ‘intelligence’ as confidential and consider the information without the parties to the case hearing or seeing the evidence nor their legal representatives. Sounds like a Star Chamber I know, but read the section if you don’t believe me:

Section 28(3): A determining authority is to take steps to maintain the confidentiality of information that the determining authority considers to be properly classified by the Commissioner as criminal intelligence, including steps to receive evidence and hear argument about the information in private in the absence of the parties to the proceedings and their representatives and the public.

The section is controversial for various reasons. But it becomes apparent that a concern is the safety of the sources of information. When a source of information is protected and kept hidden, that source of information keeps the information coming. The section is also inherently prejudicial. If a Court accepts evidence without the sources of evidence being known by parties, parties lack a basic aspect of the ability to test that evidence. It also suggests if evidence is accepted in accordance with the section that the group or persons under review by the court are too dangerous to know where the information came from.

The law could indicate that undercover operatives seek better protection and concealment under law, or that people generally are reticent to give evidence in these types cases.

Are there any laws that I should know about if I’m in a club (Consorting)?

Definitely. Apart from what has been mentioned above, you should be familiar with section 93x of the Crimes Amendment (Consorting and Organised Crime) Act 2012. The section makes it a crime for any person who habitually consorts with two or more convicted offenders on two or more separate occasions. This means that if a person on two or more occasions consorts with a person who is a convicted offender and that person after having been given an official warning by the police in relation to each of those convicted offenders continues to consort with convicted offenders, will be guilty of a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment.

This law is incredible and so overly wide in scope that it means that just being in the company of or associating with two or more people who are convicted offenders on two or more occasions will be committing a crime, if the police have warned that person that the people they’re hanging around are convicted offenders.

This law enables the police to disclose to the person being warned that the person they’re associating with has a criminal record. So if you have a criminal record from years ago but you’ve put it behind you, it could be disclosed by the police if they decide to officially warn someone that they are consorting (associating) with a convicted offender, that being you. Or say for example you’re consorting with your best mate from childhood who has been convicted of an offence, you could receive an official warning by the police & if it happens again (you consort with someone else on another occasion) you could be liable to imprisonment.

There are defences to a charge under this section however the defences just like the offence itself are crude, unsophisticated and lack forethought by our legislature.

If you have any questions arising from this article feel free to contact us or call us on 0450 953 884 today!

Disclaimer: This article is for research purposes only and does not substitute legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different. You should seek the advice of a qualified and experienced legal practitioner within your jurisdiction. You should not rely on the contents of this article.

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Hardware Maintenance – Independent Multi-Platform Provider vs Original Equipment Manufacturer-Vendor

The days of all your business applications being based on a single mid-range or mainframe system are past. Today, few organisations are ‘single-vendor shops’, having acquired systems to meet specific purposes from several sources, as well as running key applications and file-serving on Intel-based servers.Given that you now operate a range of platforms, probably from a range of different vendors – what are your best options for maintaining them? This article looks at the benefits of using an independent multi-platform hardware maintenance service provider versus an Original Equipment Manufacturer for your mixed environment.Single Point of ContactWhen something goes wrong, you need help fast. If you have all your critical systems covered by a single independent hardware maintenance contract there is just one supplier to contact.An independent hardware maintenance service provider which is focussed on rapid response will provide you with a direct pager number for your dedicated service engineer, so you won’t have to waste time talking to an overseas contact centre. Your engineer will call you back in just ten minutes, and can be on your premises, often with the appropriate spare part, within two hours.Skills and ExperienceAn engineer dedicated to your account becomes familiar with your IT environment, your locations, your staff and your business imperatives. In other words, they become an extension of your team, working beside you to maximise system uptime and enhance the reliability and performance of your business systems.With Intel servers responsible for hosting the majority of business-critical systems today, their smooth operation is imperative. An engineer skilled in diagnosing and resolving issues across multiple vendor platforms has a far superior knowledge to a vendor’s engineer who only has experience of the one platform.And, as independent hardware maintenance providers are able to offer more varied and interesting work and better opportunities for career advancement, your supplier will have attracted the highest calibre of vendor-trained engineers with a can-do attitude and strong focus on customer service delivery.Streamlined Supplier ManagementBy combining all your equipment under a single independent hardware maintenance provider you reduce the administrative overheads of managing multiple suppliers and contractual arrangements.If a fault could be attributable to one of several pieces of equipment – for example your servers, routers or data storage – then having a single maintenance provider can reduce resolution times and avoid finger-pointing between multiple suppliers.Beware – many vendors offer a ‘total maintenance solution’ which includes support for platforms other than their own. But they subcontract the other equipment to third parties, which can result in confusion over the ‘ownership’ of problems and introduces risk.Economies of ScaleAnother benefit of having just one independent hardware maintenance service provider is the cost savings you can achieve by consolidating multiple hardware maintenance contracts across all your equipment at all your locations, regardless of vendor. Multi-platform service providers such as Interactive can provide volume discountsAgain, beware of equipment manufacturers offering a multi-platform maintenance arrangement based on sub-contracted services. You may be paying a single bill for all your hardware maintenance but, in reality, your critical equipment is being supported by multiple organisations, all operating their own processes and teams of maintenance engineers – and all needing to make a profit – which reduces the service value you get for your dollar.Many vendors require annual payment in advance – look for a third-party maintenance provider that bills monthly. Apart from the cash flow benefits, such an arrangement should enable you to add and delete equipment from your maintenance contract on just 30-days’ notice – which minimises the administrative overheads involved in reconciling invoices with inventory lists.FocusWhen considering whether to contract with a hardware vendor for maintenance – or going the independent hardware maintenance provider route – ask yourself about the core business and key objectives of each organisation:

Will they focus on upgrades and selling me more hardware – or will they be dedicated to helping me get the most out of my existing technology investment?

Are they truly focussed on minimising system downtime and maximising systems availability? Do they have the methodologies and processes in place – including optimum ratios of engineers and spare parts to systems under contract – to meet the service levels we need to support our business? (A good measure of these factors is their “first-call fix rate”, as this has a direct bearing on the time taken to resolve your hardware issues.)

Finally, will my vendor declare an arbitrary End of Service Life (EOSL) after which they will no longer offer maintenance and support, forcing me to upgrade – or can I extend the life of my equipment by using an independent hardware maintenance service provider?

While vendors tend to promote upgrades every three years, according to industry analyst Gartner, companies with hardware replacement cycles based on an asset’s true useful life within an enterprise – three to five years – can achieve savings of 10-20% on their overall hardware budget. The next article in this series looks at how an independent hardware maintenance provider can help you extend the service life of equipment, giving you a better return on your hardware investment.

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