Oh boy, oh boy, what a month this has been. We now have a psychopath elected ‘leader of the free world’, another is running the Philippines and in Syria we have Assad. In Australia we have Malcolm, a man without backbone, integrity and principles who still believes that one day he will become our country’s first President. Nobody has described Malcolm better than Fairfax columnist and author Andrew P Street in the title of his new book: “The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull: The Incredible Shrinking Man in the Top Hat”.

And again oh boy, oh boy, it’s rally time in Melbourne again. On Saturday 4 December from 1pm the Victorian Taxi and Hire Car Association (VTHA) together with something called Taxi Power announced yet another demonstration in front of Parliament House.

The rally is in response to the Andrews Government’s outrageous decision to compulsorily acquire (buy-back) all Victorian perpetual taxi licences. The offer is $100,000 for the first licence, $50,000 for the second and zero thereafter. So a family who over a lifetime may have acquired say five licences, valued in 2011 at $2.5 million, will receive $150,000 for the lot. Not only that, the government says it will pay the money over eight years.

No wonder that the plate owners are outraged and want to show their anger, but another Parliament rally, on a Saturday when the place is empty and there is minimal traffic in Spring Street, what’s the point? Had they been in France they would have blocked all access to the cities and airports, burned tyres and overturned police cars. There are no UberPop aka UberX in France anymore and French taxi plates are worth today what they were before Uber tried to muscle in.

Nevertheless we should all wish them well with their rally and hope it provides the desired result. Regardless, the VTHA, according to its President Sandy Spanos, is still planning a class action against the government for fair compensation, and this time, she told me, they have a top law firm representing them. I for one can’t see how they can lose.

In the meantime the taxi industry mafia is in chaos, they have started fighting amongst themselves. Some, lead by Cabcharge owned 13CABS, want to introduce ridesharing to compete with Uber, others, like Silver Top, believe that taxis are taxis and ridesharing is an abomination. Cabcharge has just launched its new 13CABS app in direct competition with the ihail app despite having a 10% stake in the company. Full story here

Now, I have been vehemently opposed to Uber since it invaded Australia four years ago and to UberX driver when they were operating illegally and even after ridesharing was legalised by every state government. However, when the largest taxi network in the country decides to jump on the bandwagon and hundreds if not thousands of taxi drivers are using Uber and goCatch to improve their dwindling earnings from driving taxis, it’s time for me to bite the bullet too. Full story here

This magazine was started 17 years ago for the primary purpose of pushing for better conditions for taxi drivers. During that time we have frequently exposed the ways the mafia and their lackeys have exploited and mistreated especially bailee drivers. However, following the legalisation of ridesharing the plights of Uber drivers are similar to ours. So as from this issue, OZ Cabbie will be backing rideshare (private hire) drivers together with taxi drivers for better pay and conditions. One thing I agree with Donald Trump on is that we need “to drain the swamp” a term, which his allies say was directed at lobbyists, donors and political cronies. True or false, that’s how I, and millions of people understood it.

Stop the world, I wanna get off!

Peer Lindholdt

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OZ Cabbie February 2017

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