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Abbott’s disaster relief payment cuts are a disaster

cyclone marcia 2The town I live in and surrounding areas have just endured a cyclone. The damage is heartbreaking. The stories from people and the hardship they are enduring are even more heartbreaking.   Through this experience, I no longer believe we live in a lucky country.

The state of the economy and the focus on debt now over-rides the importance of providing people with a hand-up in times of need.

 

During cyclone Yasi three years ago, the people of Townsville qualified for Federal Government disaster assistance under the Labor Party.  This is $1000 per adult and $400 for each child.  During the fires in the Blue Mountains last year; Abbott in all his humanitarian wisdom changed the criteria, so only those who have had suffered significant damage to their homes or had injury or death as a result were eligible. So many in desperate need after this cyclone are not eligible for assistance through the Federal Government.

I know this may sound reasonable to those who support the Liberal’s ideology. Especially the ones who are being harsh and judgemental to those who are disadvantaged across social media. The ones who have the privilege of being able to scoot off to another town to live in air conditioned motel accommodation, afford a generator, had no difficulty paying for takeaway food every night and have no problem restocking their fridge; or who have never really experienced first hand a disaster, but can type their elitist annoyance and judgements via a keyboard; or the number of people who vote against their own interests, for reasons too psychologically complex for me to attempt to understand.

The loss of electricity for a week or more for some people has resulted in so many low income families unable to restore sufficient food to their homes to feed themselves and/or their children. In addition, families have lost important medication that required refrigeration and for some, this means paying for a visit to a doctor for script renewal as well as the cost of medication.  We have had an army based field hospital here as the local public hospital and doctors cannot cope with the amount of infections and food poisoning that is occurring.

The newly elected state MP for Keppel Brittany Lauga, has tackled this head on and is personally advocating for people who are having difficulty meeting the criteria for the state based grant, which will assist people with immediate need for food.  Ms. Lauga is doing this by making a list of urgent assessments and she has progressed these matters to the Premier and relevant Ministers. There have been glitches identified in the system, and subsequent changes and it is now being reported that people who were classified as ineligible on their first attempt have now been paid.  People are still reporting issues, but Ms. Lauga is continuing to take up this fight on behalf of each individual. The community is praising Ms. Lauga’s efforts as outstanding all over local social media and deservedly so.

The LNP member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry has taken the opportunity to play politics during this disaster.  I will use a very often used Liberal Party term for this behaviour – unconscionable.  While the new state MP, Brittany Lauga has been visiting areas and offering first hand personal assistance to so many in need; the LNP member for Capricornia, decided to blame Labor and Ms. Lauga for ineligibility to disaster funding.

landry blaming Labor landscape

Ms. Lauga, Labor State MP, has immediately recognised inequity in the system set by the former Newman LNP Government and has stated her anger on this issue and progressed issues for disaster relief immediately to the Premier, and positive changes have followed. However,  the LNP member for Capricornia has not once publicly announced she is appalled at the strict criteria imposed and the changes made by her Government for assistance.

Landry and the LNP’s position to leave it all up to the State Governments and placing full blame on the State Labor Government, who have only been in for a matter of weeks; is the mindset of a small, hands off approach Liberal Government. However, small, hands off approach Governments are never good for communities. This mindset simply oozes “I don’t want to help, I don’t care, I had to do it myself and everyone is equal anyway.”  A Liberal Government so focused on debt does not care one iota for quality of life.  That is why the costs involved in rebuilding a normal life, such as all the food lost and destroyed, just as one example, simply does not register for them.

Some areas of Rockhampton have a socio economic score of  899.7 (Berserker), 849.3 Rockhampton City & Depot Hill and 797.6 for Mt. Morgan, compared to Brisbane’s 1047.7 rating (SEIFA, 2011).

This punitive approach for the disadvantaged simply has to stop.

Ms. Landry always falls back on the “It’s Labor’s fault” mantra.  So let’s have a look at if it is really Labor’s fault.

On October 18, the day after the bush-fires tore through the Blue Mountains, our Prime Minister (who was posing as a hard working volunteer fire fighter, full of compassion and community unity), changed the eligibility criteria. (I’m sure Mr. Abbott is the best friend that disaster victims have ever had, if we ask him).

NSW bushfire victims denied compensation under new rules (SMH 26/10/2013)

“The day after bushfires tore through the area, the federal government tightened the rules for disaster payments leaving hundreds of residents who were forced to evacuate without any financial help.

Eligibility for payments, available in disasters such as the January Tasmanian fires, were changed on October 18, so residents who did not lose their homes but had to relocate for days at a time would not receive assistance.” (Excerpt)

”Mr Keenan (pictured with Michelle Landry, MP above) has heartlessly removed assistance for people who have been cut off from their homes for more than 24 hours, or been without water or electricity for 48 hours,” Mr Dreyfus said. (SMH 21/10/2013)

Bill Shorten and Senator Doug Cameron just some of the very vocal members of Labor constantly pressuring Abbott to change this criteria. As we can see from Cyclone Marcia, to no avail.

Then when the bush-fires tore through South Australia, Tony Abbott clammed up and refused to comment (The Australian 7 January, 2015)

Then, because blaming Labor simply would not work, Tony Abbott resorted to denying the truth (Bill Shorten, MP November, 13, 2013)

In addition, the Abbott Govt has employed the productivity commission to recommend changes to disaster relief system, which includes a recommendation of a drop of Commonwealth funding to help rebuild from the current 75% to 25%.

Doug Cameron summed it up with, “I think the underlying position here is how do you do more cost-cutting? How can you penny-pinch more against people that are in trouble?” he said.

The Liberal National Government contests that this is not about budget cuts, but about encouraging mitigation. Until mitigation is fully implemented in communities, the cuts and changes do nothing but continue to inflict hardship to those in need who have survived a disaster.  This is yet another punitive ideological view in its current form. “If you don’t do this, we will not help you.” Unfortunately, the Blue Mountains and the Rockhampton Region have not had time to implement mitigation strategies as required by the Abbott Government prior to their disasters. 

Here is a very clear explanation of the changes by the Abbott Government and the timeline:

The Liberal National Federal Government removed the last three criteria which applied under a Federal Labor Government. This should clarify why people who suffered under Cyclone Yasi received the $1000 payment and $400 for each child received the payments. However, many who have suffered through the Bush-fires in the Blue Mountains and Cyclone Marcia in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and surrounds cannot access these payments.

changes disaster funding

Under the old criteria under Labor, which Michelle Landry, Michael Keenan and Tony Abbott and the rest of the LNP do not support and changed; everyone who had no electricity for 48 hours or more and lost all of their food, would have been eligible for $1000 plus $400 for each child post cyclone Marcia.

disaster cuts landscape

My understanding is that the state based criteria was developed by the previous Newman LNP Government and I understand the Labor party have only been in a matter of weeks, but the entire system for the state based disaster relief system also needs an urgent review.

As for the Federal changes, all parties and communities across Australia, need to stand up and fight against these cuts to disaster relief, and have them reversed as passionately as they are fighting against other harsh cuts imposed by the Liberal Government.  No community should ever have to go through this again.  I am, you are, we are Australian.

Should Michelle Landry, Michael Keenan and Tony Abbott hang their heads in shame? Yes, they should. How many people now across fires and cyclones have now suffered under cuts to disaster relief by the Liberal National Government?

I know a lot of people truly believe that it does not matter who you vote for, but as I always say, your vote counts. Always, always, put Liberal and Nationals LAST for a progressive and compassionate Australia.

libs

With Gough’s passing, It’s time to think about where we are headed.

goughToday’s passing of Gough Whitlam has left me today with a heavy heart, along with so many other people in this country.  To simply reflect on how one man has progressed this country like no other, is overwhelming.   I believe as a collective, we don’t really stop and appreciate what we have.  We do take our wonderful country, our people and our existing social support systems for granted.  So many things we would not have without Gough Whitlam. Thank you, to a great man.

Like many others, I spend my days and nights thinking about the Abbott Government and worrying about their next plan or policy that could harm us now and for generations to come.  I worry about the deals in the Senate and what destructive policy may slip through for approval. I worry about the vulnerable, the disadvantaged.  I worry about families, teenagers, the elderly and young children.  I worry about our nation’s first people. I worry about our environment, entire communities, particularly in rural and regional areas.

I have realised, that I am part of a collective, that in reality is taking part in a war; but we use our voices, not guns.

I know this, as I know there are many like me, who stay informed and are active and do everything we can to prevent Abbott’s destructive policies and plans for our communities and country. (and to these people I say thank you.)

Last night, I was researching the IPA’s influence on our Prime Minister.  For those of you who are not aware of the IPA., they class themselves as the “independent, non-profit public policy think tank, dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of economic and political freedom.”    In a nutshell, they are a union. Not the type of union that fights for rights and equality, but one that aims to demolish rights and equality through their right-wing ideological view of what Australia should look like.

On the 4 April, 2013, Tony Abbott promised the IPA that he would adopt their ideas. Some of the IPA’s ideas adopted or flagged as intended by our Prime Minister so far are:

  1. Repeal the Carbon Tax
  2. Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
  3. Repeal Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act
  4. Introduce fee competition to Australian Universities
  5. Cease subsidising the Australian Car Industry
  6. Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:
    a) Lower personal income tax for residents
    b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    c) Encourage the construction of dams
  7. Repeal the Mining Tax
  8. Privatise Medibank
  9. Privatise Australia Post
  10. Cease Funding the Australia Network

For those of you who may thought that the Abbott Government thinks up their own ideas, sorry to break it to you, but…no…as you can see above, an un-elected party –  IPA runs Australia.

The above list is from a more extensive list titled “Be Like Gough – 75 Radical Ideas to transform Australia.”  The title is not admiration of the left, but the right’s intrigue of how Gough Whitlam  radically transformed this country, with such a lasting legacy in such a small space of time.

With Gough’s passing, it is time to take a look at ourselves as a country and how we want to progress and what are we prepared to lose?  

What struck me as I was completing this research was a quote from the IPA’s  John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg’s article:

Only radical change that shifts the entire political spectrum

AND

And the public’s bias towards the status quo has a habit of making even the most radical policy (like Medicare, or restrictions on freedom of speech) seem normal over time.

How will we be shaped by the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm to adopt and enforce policy under the direction of the IPA?  So many people at the moment are up in arms about freedom in the current climate of war and ISAS; but so many of us calmly sit at home and not realise what terror is upon is on the domestic front.

The reason why it is so important to stop and really take in what is happening here is, what does this IPA list really mean and what should we take from Abbott’s eagerness to adopt this list?

Essentially, the IPA has requested Abbott push the country as far right as possible, so it then becomes adopted by the public as the status quo and becomes normal over time.

As we sit around complacent and taking for granted our University system, our health system, our industrial relations protections, our right to live peacefully and not be racially vilified, a social welfare safety net and a basic minimum wage; we need to stop and think that with the wrong Government it could all be gone.

Everything mentioned above, that we enjoy, take for granted and cannot simply imagine not being there are also on the list of the IPA to attack, destroy and disintegrate.  A list that Abbott is so keen to ratify.

Stop and think for a moment.  If Abbott & the IPA’s agenda pans out; right-wing, neo-liberal ideology will become the norm.   Can you imagine one day for it to be normal to scoff at the idea of a Government wanting to introduce bulk billing doctors and free medical treatment?  Stop and think about that.

Gough’s “It’s Time” campaign was central to motivating the people of the country to recognise it was time for change.  Time to move beyond the selfish, stagnant, egoist policies of a Liberal Government and progress.   Malcolm Fraser said today that the Liberal Party has jumped leagues to the right and the ALP has jumped leagues to the right from Whitlam.

It is time to speak up about progress, to want it, to desire it so much it hurts.  It is time for the opposition to lead the country back to the left. To set a solid platform for strong change and progress.  Real respect for Gough starts with respect and commitment to the legacy he left for us.  It’s time for change.

Gough’s policies changed Australia forever, in a very good way. The best way and the way forward.  It only takes one election to have us put our guard down. To be complacent, to donkey vote, or to take slogans as something meaningful and promising for our nation, rather than seeing them for the vapid, empty, soul-destroying agenda’s that they really are.

Gough Whitlam’s passing today really highlights how destructive the Abbott Government is. It is heartbreaking our country has come to this.

To understand the Real Solutions the Budget Brings, You Need to Think Like a Bastard

Over the last few days, I have been at a loss to try to work out, what problems the Liberal National Coalition are trying to solve with their 2014 Budget. It didn’t matter what I came up with – a solution to increasing the value of our education…Nope. A solution to providing support to the jobless to secure employment and make their way in the world…Nope. A solution to improving our standard of health in this country…Nope. Then I realised…I needed to think like a Bastard. I did tweet this today and a fellow tweeter responded with a more apt update:

What can help understand the budget? The Bastard Thinking Cap Can!

The Bastard thinking cap blocks out all empathy and rational thought and just makes you think like a conservative, pompous, out of touch with reality, elitist Bastard. If we put our Bastard Thinking Cap on, the problems the budget is trying to solve becomes crystal clear. I will now outline the problem and solutions below with my Bastard Thinking Cap firmly in place.

613395-joe-hockey

 

 

Left: Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey demonstrate their custom designed Bastard Thinking Caps.

 

 

Problem – Australia currently does not have a big enough class divide. We have far too much of the ‘middle class and frankly they don’t do enough.’ We need to widen the divide so we create an elitist ruling class and a poverty-stricken class. The poverty stricken class must be large and live in abject poverty and the Elitist ruling class must be extremely wealthy and have a lot of power.  This will then act as a driver to the middle class who are the main drivers of  the economy. They will then try to work their guts out for a long time, until 70 to achieve status of the elitist ruling class (but we will make sure they don’t get there), out of fear they may end up in the poverty class. This increase in productivity will be good for the country, as long as we can keep this model sustainable.

Solution:  Budget 2014 – Force people into abject poverty for at least six months of the year and take thousands of dollars from the lower and middle classes. This will create a massive class divide. If they don’t end up in the poverty class, they will get a taste of it and that is a good way to solve our problem.

Problem – The problem with Australia is we currently have a lot of those low socio economic leftist thinkers and ugh ‘poor people’ making a lot of noise and disrupting the good work of the Government with all their protests and ideas.  If they didn’t have ideas of their own, they wouldn’t protest.  We certainly need to stop them getting into any area where they might have power or make laws for this country. How can we stop the ideas from the socially left rabble and ugh ‘poor people’?

Solution part A -Budget 2014 – Firstly we need to stop of those kids from poor families attending a public school getting into university. We need to rip out a lot of money from the school system. Parents of Calibre who love their children will already have made something of their life to earn enough to put their child into a private school.  This way nearly all university students will be from the elitist ruling class, and deservedly so. 

Solution part B – Budget 2014 – We need to make it really tough for poor people to enter University. Our main aim is to stop any ideas from poor people and prevent them at all costs from getting into jobs where they have power or create rules or laws.  Therefore as part of Budget 2014, we will make sure that it is really expensive to go to university. Parents of Calibre will already have made something of their life to support their kids at uni. This way only the elitist class will graduate into jobs that gives them power and ability to make rules and laws, and deservedly so.

Problem – The  problem is Australia has too many poor people sponging off the health system. If the elitist class need to spend their hard earned money to pay for private cover, why should they fund the poor people to go to the doctor as well? We need to make sure that they understand that going to the doctor is just for sick people. Not just bludging hypochondriacs who mooch off the tax payer.  Besides, we can’t have these people clogging up the public system. The problem in Australia, is if there was an epidemic or major disaster and the doctors and private hospitals didn’t have enough room, we are paving the way to ensure that some simply cannot afford to go. This will make room for the elitist class if they need to use the health system, in the event of an epidemic or major disaster and deservedly so.

Solution:  Budget 2014 – Get rid of Universal Health Care. Charge poor people to go to the Doctor. This means that they won’t go to the Doctor as much and won’t be clogging up the health system.  The public system should be thought of as a contingency plan or ‘safe haven’ for the elitist class, in the case of an epidemic or disaster and there is no room in private.   For the under 30s who will have no income at all; this will encourage them to stay fit and healthy and looking for work, or they will need to suffer in silence as they don’t even have $7.00 for the doctor.  I mean, if these poor people sold the mags off the Commy and put on standard rims, they would have plenty of money to go to the doctor. It is simple really.

So there we have it folks. The Bastard Thinking Cap truly works. You really can think like a Real Bastard with one on. You really do think and feel like the 1%.
It makes understanding the Real Solutions behind the budget very easy indeed. Go on. Try it!

 

The original pic of Tony Abbott in this blog post he was wearing this rainbow hat:

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This is in fact a photo of Abbott in a rainbow hairnet worn by SPC and Ardmona workers in Shepparaton to raise awareness regarding organ and tissue donation, via the charity Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation.
http://www.zaidee.org/about/


Zaidee Turner was the only person under the age of 16 to donate her organs and tissues
When she died of a cerebral haemorrage in 2004. Zaidee had lived in Shepparton

 The Author apologises if any offence was caused. No offence or intended mockery of this cause was intended by the Author.

Liberal and National Voters – Celebrate Hard This Xmas For All You Have Given Us

Well its the holidays Liberal & National Voters all around our wonderful country of Australia.  Get your Champers cracking because this week (just in time for Christmas Cheer) you have achieved…

Cutting funding to critical programs that support good and decent people and programs in our communitiesThe federal government has cut billions of dollars from programs ranging from the environment to health and indigenous legal aid  READ MORE HERE

Disrespecting the voice of our Indigenous People (again) ‘What Tony Abbott is proposing to do is slash funding to a body of elected indigenous representatives while spending $1 million to establish a hand-picked Ministerial Advisory Committee in its place (Shayne Nuemann) READ MORE HERE

”The new government has shown that they do not support real decision making for our families and communities through a national representative body chosen by our Peoples, for our Peoples.” (Kirstie Parker and Les Malezer)

Hitting the most vulnerable where it hurts I know the Liberal Party tell you that they believe “In a just and humane society, where those who cannot provide for themselves can live in dignity” (Federal Platform of the Liberal Party) this also means giving these people your precious Liberal Voting Tax Payer dollars – ie MONEY, not just your pity. READ MORE HERE

“I am very concerned that this approach people will see people facing a significantly increased risk of poverty as they are dumped people onto the lower Newstart Allowance. Reducing and restricting access to the DSP is about saving money, not getting people into work.” (Senator Rachel Siewert, The Greens)

Really, what better gift can you give those who have lost their homes?  With Australia’s bushfire and cyclone season looming, the Federal Government has announced an inquiry into national disaster funding arrangements. READ MORE HERE

Senator Cameron, who lives in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, which suffered a big bushfire in October, has accused the Federal Government of short-changing residents affected by the fires there (Looks like he is right….)

ABC News Comment post

ABC News Comment post

Destroying Hope for the most vulnerable in our society  Now, after the election, Mr Hockey is saying all cuts are on the table, including the NDIS.”   READ MORE HERE

“Forty-five per cent of Australians with a disability live in poverty. We need the NDIS to change those things and the last thing we want to have just before Christmas is the suggestion that it might be wound back.” (Australia’s disability discrimination commissioner, Graeme Innes)

Liberating workers from the Production Line Prime Minister Tony Abbott is happy to announce that he celebrates with you, the fact that all the people who have lost their jobs at Holden and associated industries, will be so liberated they will be lining up to thank you…the Liberal and National Voters of Australia READ MORE HERE

“Some of them will find it difficult, but many of them will probably be liberated to pursue new opportunities and to get on with their lives,” (Prime Minister Tony Abbott)  

Losing your job is not a ‘liberation’, Tony Abbott (Read Van Badham’s moving story here)

Now Now, we know its not personal against Holden, you will also celebrate the loss of hard workers at Toyota A private meeting between the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and leaders of the main manufacturing union has reinforced their fears that no extra taxpayer assistance will be offered for Toyota Australia to keep its car production operations in Melbourne, where it has a total workforce of 4,200. READ MORE HERE

Yay attacking those Greenies again. Gees…it’s not like they are a business and contribute to the economy or anything… A government decision to remove funding from environmental legal centres will expose communities to damaging development and reduce scrutiny on the mining industry… READ MORE HERE

Conservationists say mining industry will be ‘breaking out the champagne’ at cuts to Environmental Defenders Offices

 Aww sweet Liberal and National voters – you have someone to celebrate with!!

Giving gifts to the people who tell Tony Abbott what to do – The IPA and Rupert Murdoch are so excited, maybe their gift to themselves to will be a belated Christmas present, or an early birthday present.  All in all Liberal and National Voters, you can celebrate the battle for “Request number 50 to Tony Abbott from the IPA” Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function READ MORE HERE

Group Hug Liberal and National Voters. Your attack on humanity must be so appreciated amongst your own kind…. This Christmas, when you are kissing under the mistletoe with your much loved family and friends, firing up the BBQ on Christmas day and opening up gift wrapped I-Phones, I-Pods and I-Pads, please try to be humble this Christmas in your thoughts or prayers (if you do pray) and think what your #1 in the Ballot Box for Liberal or National has given Asylum Seekers this Christmas….

The Abbott government has disbanded a key group that provided advice on the health of asylum seekers in detention, as research reveals psychiatric problems – such as self-harm – are the most common reasons for the large number of detainee visits to hospital emergency departments. READ MORE HERE

Two women being held in immigration detention have lost their babies after repeatedly being turned away from medical care  READ MORE HERE

Ignoring the Experts (again) The Department of Immigration decides who leaves Christmas Island and the manner in which they leave. Doctors may say a child needs urgent surgery in Perth but the department decides when, if ever, that child will reach a hospital on the mainland. READ MORE HERE

And just in case you get the million dollar question and no lifelines – “What is a trait of Narcissistic Leadership…”A trait of Narcissistic Leadership is to Blame others and this is exactly what Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has done. Although he is in charge, somehow this is the fault of the previous Government….. 

An intellectually handicapped asylum seeker, who was deprived of her medication by authorities on Christmas Island and then separated from her mother, has begun exposing herself to male detainees, prompting fears she could be sexually assaulted. READ MORE HERE

And Progress will never be made whilst Foreign Ministers are stealing their wages by not doing an honest days work. An honest day’s work for an honest days pay should be the standard for everyone….Ms Bishop has come under fire for praising the conditions for asylum seekers on Nauru, after Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young that the minister had only visited staff housing, not the detainee tent accommodation  READ MORE HERE

Yes Liberal and National Voters, its all so easy to Celebrate when you have a helping hand by employing inappropriate people to the top jobs (but nudge nudge wink wink, as long as they are on your side, hey).

Jobs at Mate’s Rates – The Abbott Government has moved to reform the Australian Human Rights Commission by putting in charge a critic of the body whose former employer had called for it to be scrapped. READ MORE HERE

Late update: Anti-Bullying program may be cut to accommodate Tim Wilson’s $320,000 salary READ MORE HERE

The defence of free speech is vitally important, especially in Australia, but this should not come at the expense of the dignity and equality of the disadvantaged (Sarah Joseph)

And while we are on the subject of free speech, the Speaker of the House gives plenty of it to her party…. The parliamentary speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, faced fresh complaints about her impartiality after she appeared to take a dig at two Labor frontbenchers  READ MORE HERE

‘The office you hold is greater and more important than your own political rhetoric,’ (Tony Burke)

NB: Please see another blog , which covers discrimination due to the current marriage laws, amongst other areas of discrimination:  This is ongoing until it is addressed – An Open Letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women.

That was the week that was 15-21st  December 2013. Anyway enjoy your week-end coalition voters. Absolutely amazing effort this week. Don’t drink too much, you need to stand proud and all that…Cheers. See you next week.

 

Think Before you Vote.  Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left-wing/progressive parties. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! Read a wide range of news media. Work hard to prevent right-wing Governments like the Liberal-National Coalition destroying our great country, embarrassing us on the world stage and instilling great hardship on our loved ones, friends and neighbours and on our communities. You CAN make a difference! 

A Very Coalition Christmas And The Wonderful Gifts They Gave Us

To keep with the spirit of Christmas, I’ve done a new take on my blog this week. You will still get the same updates and happenings from the Abbott Govt., but just with a different theme. As I feel like I have been plunged into an alternate Dystopian Universe, since the election of this Govt, I’ve decided its a pretty apt setting for this week. Its my type of satire, I hope most of you enjoy it….(If you want to just read the weekly update, just scroll down past the story to the links :/ (ya grinch!) )


A Very Coalition Christmas & The Wonderful Gifts They Gave Us 

(A Christmas Tale set in Dystopian Abbotstraylia)

It was only ten days until Christmas. A type of mediocre Christmas Cheer filled the air. People were busily going about their day and then suddenly everyone stopped. They stopped eating, stopped working, stopped everything. Since the the dissolving of the old Senate and the laws passing through the new ‘tough laws’ committee headed by Dictator Newman of Newmansland; everyone knew it was in their best interest to immediately view any messages from their leader and assistant to the reigning Monarch. In a matter of seconds, millions of Phones in Abbotstraylia hummed and buzzed simultaneously with a new You Tube message from the country’s leader.

The video was panned all the way out and he was standing near his exquisite Christmas table, full of fine food, with his party seated in rows behind him, faithful smiling dutifully in the background (except for the education minister who was doing a weird thing with his nose).  The speaker of the house wasn’t aware that they were now live to air. She interjected, “Order Order, I need to check the video….again! I want to make sure that Nick Champion isn’t gate crashing our party. I’ve kicked him out of OUR house so many times already!!! “SHHHHHH!!!” the foreign affairs minister said, “oh shush, I’m trying to out-stare the cameraman, please be quiet” she whispered indignantly, (all whilst remaining very focused, unblinking and with a slightly poised head tilt to the left).

Then out of nowhere, all was calm and all was quiet. They all returned to their conservative demure states. Only glancing ever so slightly out of the corner of their eyes to see a giant black clipboard and a pointing finger.  The cameraman obviously taking directions from somewhere in the room, shakily zooms closer to the leader’s image. The Nation’s Leader, standing in an poise which was so overtly practised to show ‘calm, but dignified’, clasped his hands ever so gently in front of him, he coughed, blinked his eyes and licked his lips and begins….

“Umm Ahh First of all….Um…I’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Ahh umm As you know, since our Governor General Howard agreed to dissolve the Senate and replaced them with the Ah “Big Ideas’ ,”Tough New Laws” and “Good Friends, Very Good Friends and Best Friends” Committees, we were able to Ah axe the tax and stop the boats by removing ourselves from that Ah messy charter the previous very bad Government signed. I must say this though, we have done our part for humanitarian aid, as our 457 visas have a massive take up for just $2.00 a day. We are proud to give jobs to so many people from countries of our good friends and best friends and BFF’s for Life friends.

We are also Ah very pleased that the take up of half price schooling for your children, has started to really pick up by linking this as a reward by the signing of individual contracts with the Bourgeoisie under ah um version 26 of Work Solutions.

The country is open for business and by Ah Umm next Christmas, I want to be excited to tell you that we will have achieved 50% employment.  To encourage more women to stay at home, we have ah um discounted the paywall for Foxtel, our National Broadcaster by $100 per month. This is great news as more women staying home and doing the ironing, will free up the jobs for the real men of this country and will help turn around the mess we have been trying to clean up, left by the previous very bad Government.  I just need to stress again, this was a very bad Government. As promised, as we are an open and transparent Government, unlike the previous very bad Government, I now turn behind me to the wonderful men and woman in blue ties to give you the following wonderful gifts to share with all of you” Once again, I wish you a safe and happy Christmas. 

The camera then pans back out and the Nation’s leader sits amongst them, right in the middle. Its as if he is about to burst into “close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you..” but instead he pauses and takes a breath and smiles…

.“Thank you to everyone who voted Liberal and National in September 2013. Whether you are rich and elitist, or whether you have no clue you were rabble-roused and voted against your own interests, it doesn’t matter. I thank you for all these wonderful gifts we can give the nation. For without you Coalition voters, we wouldn’t be able to deliver any of this……” 

Ms Ellis said the government’s process was ”shambolic” and ”cruel” to child care workers before Christmas.

Whilst engaging in active rabble-rousing to convince you to think Unions are evil, we say things like this, “The aged care scheme was “unionism by stealth” (Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker)

  • As you know Liberal and National Voters, we only like people who are are good friends, our very good friends, our best friends and our BFF 4 Life friends.  Do BFFs tell tales on their BFFs? No, they do not! In the past, Salvation Army workers have blown the whistle on harsh conditions at both Manus and Nauru.

“I particularly worry the quality of advice they’re now going to receive from experts will be diminished.” (The chairman of the First Peoples Education Advisory Group, Emeritus Professor Paul Hughes)

Mr Abbott said the High Court decision was ”disappointing” for couples who wed in Canberra at the weekend under the ACT’s now defunct same-sex marriage laws, but that they knew the risks of the pending court action by his government.

NB: Please see another blog this week, which covers discrimination due to the current marriage laws, amongst other areas of discrimination:  – An Open Letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women.

That was the week that was 8 – 14 December 2013. Anyway enjoy your week-end coalition voters. Absolutely amazing effort this week. Don’t drink too much, you need to stand proud and all that…Cheers. See you next week.

Although my Christmas Story is set in a Dystopian era, my view is that if people are not engaged and do not understand who and what they are voting for, this Dystopia could become a dreadful reality…

Think Before you Vote.  Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left-wing/progressive parties. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! Read a wide range of news media. Work hard to prevent right-wing Governments like the Liberal-National Coalition destroying our great country, embarrassing us on the world stage and instilling great hardship on our loved ones, friends and neighbours and on our communities. You CAN make a difference! 

merry-christmas2

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women

I am concerned that as the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women, your narrative suggests a very poor understanding of women’s issues in Australia……..This is a letter I have sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women today.  I have published this as an open letter as I would appreciate feedback and discussion on these points. Many things have occurred in Government since this statement was made, but I haven’t forgotten the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women’s comments on 3AW in September and I am posting this to bring this back into the minds of people who care for and fight for equality for women. I will update you with a response, if I receive one.

Update: International Women’s Day 8th March 2014.  I sent this via land mail to PM & Minister for Women, Tony Abbott, cc copies to Senator Moore and Senator Cash on 12 December 2013.  I received an in-depth response from Senator Moore within two weeks. To date as of 08/03/2014 almost three months later, I still have not received a response from the Tony Abbott, Minister for Women or Senator Cash, Minister assisting the Minister for Women.  

4th June, 2014: After assistance from Senator Larissa Waters of the Greens, I have now received a letter from Mikaela Cash on behalf of the Prime Minister for Women. My question of would he publicly apologise for stating on 3AW that “Women do not suffer legal discrimination in Australia” was not addressed.

Dear Prime Minister

I am concerned that as the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women, your narrative suggests a very poor understanding of women’s issues in Australia.

On Friday, 27 September, 2013 Neil Mitchell (Radio 3AW) asked you, “Do you believe women do suffer discrimination in Australia?” 

Your response as Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Women was

“I don’t think women suffer legal discrimination and I don’t think anyone these days sets out to do the wrong thing but it is very difficult for women to combine work and family if they don’t have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme and that’s going to change very soon under the Coalition.”

Yet women in Australia do experience both legal discrimination and discrimination by default.  Your comment above appears to be very short-sighted in terms that you view discrimination against women as ‘accidental’. Comments such as above will continue to enable our society to view discrimination against women as non-harmful and ‘nothing to really worry about’ and not as an ingrained, enabled and supported societal construct that urgently needs to be addressed.

It is also my concern that you appear to take the view, from your comments above, that a paid parental leave scheme is a panacea to eradicating existing discrimination against women. Many areas of discrimination will not be addressed by a paid parental leave scheme, regardless of the avenue of funding. In fact, some of the personal concerns from women detailed across various social media forums indicate otherwise. These women have expressed that they may be further discriminated against if an employer paid parental leave scheme was introduced.  I have taken the time to list many of my areas of key concern; however, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Discrimination against Pregnant Women in the Workplace

    • The increasing casualisation of women in the workforce excludes many women from rights surrounding pregnancy in the workplace.
    • Dismissals of casual women workers upon revealing they are pregnant
    • There are significant issues for Indigenous women and pregnancy in the workplace. These include, requirement of additional time off for cultural reasons to travel home to give birth; higher rate of diabetes requiring more time off. This can be increasingly difficult for women in remote or isolated locations.
    • Some women in rural and remote areas have no choice but to stop work, due to the inability to travel.
    • Teenage pregnant women who experience discrimination do not have the self efficacy to use the complaints process.
    • Some teenage pregnant women are not kept on after their traineeship, due to pregnancy.
    • Women from non-traditional families and same-sex families experience pregnancy discrimination due to social attitudes in the workplace.
    • Women with disabilities experience pregnancy discrimination as employers do not accommodate their changing needs
    • Women experience pregnancy discrimination during the selection process for employment. Many women are asked at interview their plans for intending to have a family or increasing their family. (Source: Australian Human Rights Commission)

The Sex Discrimination Act (Cth) (SDA) makes it unlawful to treat a person unfairly because they are pregnant, potentially pregnant, breastfeeding or have family responsibilities. It includes both direct and indirect discrimination.

  • Discrimination against Women and Parents returning from parental leave

    • In 2011 to 2012, 21% of complaints under the Sex Discrimination Act received by the Commission related to pregnancy discrimination and family responsibilities. The Commission received 160 complaints related to pregnancy discrimination, 63 complaints related to family responsibilities discrimination and two complaints related to breastfeeding discrimination. The overwhelming majority of these complaints were submitted by women.
    • Similarly, 21% of the complaints investigated by the Fair Work Commission in 2011-2012 related to an allegation of pregnancy discrimination.
    • The ABS ‘Pregnancy and employment transitions 2012’ data reveals that approximately 67,300 women employees (19%) perceived experiencing some level of discrimination in the workplace while pregnant. The most common kinds of treatment women reported in the survey included: ‘Missed out on opportunity for promotion’ (34%); ‘Missed out on training or development opportunities’ (32%); and ‘Received inappropriate or negative comments from their manager/supervisor’ (28%) (Source Australian Human Rights Commission)

The Sex Discrimination Act (Cth) (SDA) makes it unlawful to treat a person unfairly because they are pregnant, potentially pregnant, breastfeeding or have family responsibilities. It includes both direct and indirect discrimination.

  • Discrimination against women in achieving leadership and management roles and

  • Discrimination by default, due to under-representation in management and board positions in Australia

    • In virtually all sectors of the paid workforce, women are underrepresented in leadership roles.
    • Women account for over half of academic staff, however only 27% of women are Senior Lecturer or above.
    • 64% of law graduates are women, however only 22% of women hold senior positions in law firms. Only 16% of women are on the bench in the Federal Court of Australia.
    • Women chair only two per cent of ASX200 companies (four boards), hold only 8.3% of Board Directorships, hold only four CEO positions and make up only 10.7% of executive management positions
    • In 2008, women held 5.9% of line executive management positions in ASX 200 companies; a decrease from 7.5% in 2006. Line executive management experience is considered essential for progressing to top corporate positions.
    • Women make up a third of members on Australian Government Boards and Committees.
    • Despite comprising more than half of all Commonwealth public servants, women make up only 37% of the Senior Executive Service.  (Source Australian Human Rights Commission)

It is reported that women are more likely to have postgraduate degrees than men and score higher academically. The statistics indicate that women are discriminated against in terms of accessing the appropriate training for progression or are discriminated against covertly during the recruitment and selection phases of appointments for leadership roles.

It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against a person who is an employee or prospective employee because of the attributes of the person.

  • Discrimination against Breastfeeding Mothers

    • Breastfeeding mothers have experienced being denied goods and services
    • Breastfeeding mothers refused lactating breaks to feed their baby in the workplace.
    • Breastfeeding mothers are harassed, verbally abused and targeted to be subjects of humiliation in public, due to a lack of public understanding surrounding this issue.
    • Breastfeeding mothers experience discrimination due to some service providers and employers not providing sufficient accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. (Source ADCQ; Australian Breast Feeding Association).

Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding

  • Discrimination in the justice system against rape victims through under-reporting, lack of convictions and poor sentencing outcomes and

  • Discrimination through the virtual denial of the right to safety.

    • It is a fact that one in five women will experience sexual violence and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Women with a Disability are more likely to experience sexual and physical assault
    • It is estimated that less than 30% of sexual assaults are reported. The perception that the victim will be blamed instead of the perpetrator and the high rates of acquittals in the justice system are two a main reasons for non-reporting of sexual assault.
    • Sexual violence is less likely to be reported by Indigenous women.
    • Younger women and teenagers are more likely to be sexually assaulted than older women and young women and teenagers are more likely not to report the sexual assault to the police.
    • Where a matter does proceed to trial, evaluations of trial transcripts consistently show that many complainants are:
    • Accused of lying or making false reports.
    • Asked questions about behaving in a sexually provocative way.
    • Asked about alcohol intake on the day of the offence.
    • Asked about the way they were dressed at the time of the offence.
    • Similar questions are asked of children alleging inter familial sexual abuse.
    • A Victorian study that asked barristers, judges and magistrates for their opinions found that almost all of them believed that “rape complainants have a significantly different experience as witnesses than victims of other forms of personal violence”.
    • The average length of questioning endured by victim complainants in sexual offence trials is double that for victim complainants in trials involving other assaults.
    • The situation facing Indigenous victim complainants is significantly worse, with more questions, longer periods of cross-examination, and racist imputations being made in court. (Source South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault)

 “Rape laws which do not specifically exclude the application of sexist, discriminatory, and Ill-informed attitudes and beliefs in determining outcomes of sexual assault cases tacitly condone rape, condemn women to suffer in silence, and perpetuate and compound this harm consequent on a sexual assault. Law and education play a fundamental role in challenging assumptions and stereotypes surrounding sexual assault” (Source – The Australian Institute of Criminology) 

  • Discrimination against women arising from casualisation in the workforce and high numbers working in insecure employment and

  • Discrimination against women through the continuation of lower wages in ‘traditional women’s industries’, and the general availability of fewer opportunities of penalties and overtime. Please note that in 2011, the gender pay gap was 17.2% for full-time workers and

  • Discrimination against women in the workforce, or who are job seeking who either cannot access or cannot afford childcare

    • More women than men in Australia continue to work in jobs that provide less security and stability
    • Some of the lowest paid industries in Australia such as Accommodation and Food Services, Arts and Recreation Services and Retail trade tend to employ the highest proportion of female employees without paid leave entitlements (61 per cent, 48 per cent and 34 per cent respectively
    • 30 per cent of female employees who are lone parents with dependent children, are casual employees without paid leave entitlements
    • In 2012, the total cash weekly earnings by gender were $1189.00 (Men) $852.00 (Women)  (Source Australian Bureau of Statistics)
  • Ingrained discrimination and ignorance against the stolen generation, mothers and children alike.

Although an apology has been given to the Stolen Generation by the previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd; there are a myriad of serious effects on those who were stolen and on birth mothers and fathers, and so much more work needs to be done. The extent of the abhorrent discrimination towards this group, by our Governments and services requires urgent attention.

As the Prime Minister of this country, your speech suggesting that there was too much reference to ‘Indigenous heritage’ in the History curriculum (Tony Abbott, National Press Club, September 2013); only serves to permeate in our society, a narrative that continues to discriminate against the Stolen Generation and their future generations. This narrative also seeks to exclude all people of Australia from the truth.

My other concern is if changes to our history curriculum are approved, future leaders will make policy and decisions based on truth built from ignorance; and the mothers, the women, men, girls and boys of the stolen generation, will never see an end to discrimination and disrespect on our Government’s behalf.  Adequate compensation in dollar terms and the continual development of support services for this group will be an issue that will forever remain silent. 

  • Discrimination by default suffered by women who, as primary parental care givers, end up with reduced superannuation earnings in retirement and

  • Discrimination by default suffered by women, will receive less superannuation over time, through the continuation of lower wages in ‘traditional women’s industries’

    • Only 60% of Indigenous women have superannuation coverage compared to 80% of women in the general population.
    • Many women work more than one casual job across different employers and do not receive super from any individual employer, due to earning less than $450 per month.
    • The mean super balance of men earning under $5400 per year is just almost double the amount for women in the same group. (Source ASFA)
    • Women have significantly less money saved for their retirement – half of all women aged 45 to 59 have $8,000 or less in their superannuation funds, compared to $31,000 for men.
    • Currently, the average superannuation payout for women is a third of the payout for men – $37,000 compared with $110, 000.
    • In Australia, women working full-time today earn 16 per cent less than men.
    • Women also receive less super across the board, due to the gender pay gap of 17.2%  (Source Australian Human Rights Commission)
  • Discrimination against women in current abortion laws

    • Within Australia, women’s rights in terms of reproductive choice are not viewed as a humanitarian right. There is no federal approach to abortion as a basic humanitarian right and various states have different levels of access and legality.
    • In some states, women have no reproductive rights, except on the grounds of serious risk to life or health of the mother. In some states abortion is criminalised.
    • The limited access in place is inequitable for women based on their geographic location.  The entire systems of laws for abortion are discriminatory towards all women, as these laws do not allow a woman to be in control of her own individual reproductive rights.
  • The under-representation of women in parliament, amounting, in the absence of any system to redress the imbalance, to discrimination

It is concerning that not only are women under-represented in Australian politics, but Australia is ranked number 43/142 countries for women in national parliaments.

The Australian Government Office for Women, which is part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; aims to ensure a whole-of-government approach to providing better economic and social outcomes for women. However, the analysis by Waring et. al. of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of women in politics; would indicate the Australian Government Office for Women is not well placed to achieve these aims, due to under-representation of women in Parliament, and an absence of a system to redress the imbalance.

I have outlined the reasons below:

    • If women are not present at policy and decision-making levels, there is a democratic deficit. Decisions taken without women’s perspective lack credibility in a democratic context
    • The participation of women leads to a new perspective and a diversity of contributions to policy-making and to priorities of development, and it gives the female population a role in deciding the future of their country and the rights and opportunities for their gender.
    • A democracy which excludes women, or in which women are represented only marginally, is not a real democracy. Women’s participation in policymaking is a question of justice and equality
    • Women’s greater participation would impact upon the traditional values held by men. Sharing of power and responsibilities would become reality. Political meetings and programmes would be scheduled to take into account domestic responsibilities of both men and women.

In the current Government we are now faced with very little representation of women in Government.  Margaret Fitzherbert’s lecture (APH, 2012) outlines many reasons why the Liberal party lags behind in representation.  The main reasons are:

    • No persistent pressure to pre-select women
    • Liberal party culture – a culture which largely tolerates branch members asking women candidates for preselection questions about their parental and marital status.

Margaret Fitzherbert sums up with, “It’s time for the Liberals to take a lesson from the past – acknowledge the problem, and stop relying on a blind faith in ‘merit’ to somehow provide a sudden increase in numbers of  female MPs.” 

  • Discrimination against women, through lack of legislation supporting marriage equality.

Although both men and women are discriminated against through lack of legislation supporting marriage equality; my focus for the purpose of this letter is to discuss points of discrimination, particular to women.  I will address two areas, discrimination through legislation and discrimination by default through exclusion in society.The Subsection 5(1) of the Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage as ‘…the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’   The definition of the marriage act, merely states that this is a union voluntarily entered into for life.  There are no specific parameters which specify what a union means.  This is defined in Mary Case’s journal article, “What feminists have to lose in same-sex marriage litigation’  

A marriage certificate now allows heterosexual couples to have an open marriage, to live in different cities or in different apartments in the same city, to structure their finances as they please, without having their commitment or the legal benefits that follow from it challenged (p. 1203). 

As there are very little restrictions relating to the private behaviours of the marital union, this act is discriminatory purely on the grounds of sex. This is only for persons who identify with having physical, hormonal or genetic features that are distinctly characterised as male or distinctly characterised as female.  Therefore, Marriage as defined as a union between a man and a woman, itself is discriminatory based on sex alone.

Women are discriminated within this act as it focuses on ‘sex’ and not ‘gender.  This act excludes all persons who identify with a gender, that isn’t normative to their physically or biologically recognised ‘sex’. This act discriminates against all persons who identify as inter-sex. This Act excludes all persons on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

Women are also discriminated against, through legislation informing a society, which excludes understanding and valuing the experiences of unions that are not specifically between a heterosexual man and woman.

Various academic journals discuss that marriage is ingrained in the patriarchal notion that women are subordinate in society. Although this notion is not as entrenched within our whole society today; a quick search of Google for ‘subordinate wife’ will return over six million hits, with a high volume supporting the subordination of women/wives, particularly in a religious context.  Through legislating marriage as it currently exists, many women are discriminated against and are exempt from marriage, simply because they choose not to have a union with a man and some because they view marriage as placing women in a subordinate role to men.

Mary Case also highlights in her article, that before becoming pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger advocated for a normative view on gender in relation to subordination of women.  This is an excerpt of his 2004 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World.

“This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality……… While the immediate roots of this second tendency are found in the context of reflection on women’s roles, its deeper motivation must be sought in the human attempt to be freed from one’s biological conditioning. According to this perspective, human nature in itself does not possess characteristics in an absolute manner: all persons can and ought to constitute themselves as they like, since they are free from every predetermination linked to their essential constitution.”

My concern is, if we do not allow same-sex couples to just ‘be’ as others are allowed to just ‘be’, our social fabric will always be woven by those in a superior position and superior privilege.  Unless our social fabric allows for equal contributions from all, how will we ever have a full understanding of each other? How can our social fabric ever be complete, when we are unconscious to a discourse that is currently silent about family, love, understanding and togetherness as experienced by all? 

  • Discrimination against Women seeking asylum

In a journal article published in the journal of Refugee studies, “Marginal Women, Marginal Rights: Impediments to Gender-Based Persecution Claims by Asylum-seeking Women in Australia”, McPherson et. al (2011) have  identified two barriers to women’s claims of Gender Based Persecution: Emergence Barriers, and Assessment Barriers. Emergence Barriers speak to the factors impeding articulation of a claim.  Although the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has responded to the authors of this journal article, the following were not addressed:

    • Women applicants should systematically be interviewed separately from their spouse and should be allocated a female case officer, interviewer and interpreter.
    • Case officers should receive training and advice, from appropriately qualified staff working in the women’s violence services or refugee trauma support services, to help them understand the psychological effects of trauma, and its links to non-disclosure.
    • Every negative decision should be independently reviewed by a second officer or panel.
    • Applicants should be systematically informed, from the outset, that asylum requests may be based on claims of GBP.

This article also highlights that

“The bases upon which clients of our interviewees made asylum claims included sex slavery, rape, sexual abuse and attack, fear of honour killings, female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, one-child policies, discrimination due to sexual orientation or feminist political activism, children being under threat, general religious restrictions on women, sexual harassment, denial of education, forced marriages, slavery, trafficking, and imprisonment” (p. 331)

It is my concern that your hard-line stance on Asylum Seekers and ‘turning back the boats’ has become instrumental in ensuring that the reasons women seek asylum remain silent, through the absence of leadership highlighting the atrocities asylum seekers are fleeing from, particularly women.  It is also my concern that your hardline stance and popularity on the issue, has become instrumental to the increase in expressions of hatred and vilification of asylum seekers, particularly noticeable across social media forums. Once again, your leadership highlighting reasons women flee asylum is absent and you make no move to challenge this growing discourse. This only serves to further oppress and harm women, fleeing abhorrent levels of violence which ordinary citizens in Australia could never imagine.  It can be summed up by this quote:

“Before atrocities are recognized as such, they are authoritatively regarded as either too extraordinary to be believable or too ordinary to be atrocious. If the events are socially considered unusual, the fact that they happened is denied in specific instances; if they are regarded as usual, the fact that they are violating is denied: if it’s happening, it’s not so bad, and if it’s really bad, it isn’t happening (MacKinnon 2006: 3, cited in McPherson, et. al, 2011).

The Hon Judi Moylan MP states in her article “Desperation, Displacement and Detention: Australia’s Treatment of Asylum Seekers Past and Present” Prison Service Journal (2013) that:

It is axiomatic that tough deterrent policies have not stopped boat arrivals and it is unlikely that any civilised jurisdiction can invoke penalties so harsh, that they stop people escaping unimaginable brutalities. Managing the human dimensions of refugees fleeing war and civil unrest will require a return to regional processing, including ‘effective protections’ and a commitment to resettlement by participating host countries as indicated by UNHCR”

It is my concern that there is a plethora of research which highlights that this Government and the former Government’s stance on off shore processing, only seeks to place those seeking asylum, particularly women seeking asylum under more hardship and harm and as the Prime Minister and Minister for Women, your policies encourage this.

Thank you for reading my letter and taking the time to view my concerns. Would you now consider publicly retracting your original response to Radio 3AW and would you publicly advise the citizens and particularly women of Australia, how your office will address the above areas of discrimination outlined?  It would be appreciated if each point could be addressed individually.  I ask this, as each point affects women differently and each point deserves individual attention and not an ambiguous collective response, nor a response that disparages any former Governments. My interest is what are your commitments on these issues for the women of Australia?

Yours faithfully

Patricia Corry

Libs Are Rockin’ In The House Tonight!!!!!! Yes!! Great week everyone! Let’s celebrate this!

Well what a week it has been for the Liberal and National Party Voters of Australia.  I know so many of you were really truly excited during the election to read the Liberal Party’s Pamphlet  “Plan for Real Action”  or “Real Solutions” I know my local member must still be in election mode, she is still using slogans like “Open for Business” and “Shorten’s Shambles” as recently as this week. Anyway….. let’s celebrate the achievements of this week against the “Plan for Live  Real Action” (Sorry for that slip, Turtle Man)

Lets see how the Coalition Shaped up this Week

Backflipping on Education

(Real Solutions P. 40) We will deliver better schools, encourage better teachers, better teaching and give principals, communities and parents a greater say over schoolsWe will put parents, principals and school communities, not unaccountable bureaucrats, in charge of determining how their school will be run to improve performance

Kudos Mr. Pyne, for the first move towards wiping your hands of ‘Governmental Responsibility’ Back flipping on Gonski, because it seems only the “Principals of Calibre” will know how to spend money wisely. The Commonwealth has implied that, if there is a reduction in funding … that reduction may well only come out of public schools http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/gonski-public-schools-targeted-for-cuts-says-adrian-piccoli-20131129-2yg3k.html#ixzz2m1VV82pa

Here, Jane Caro explains what “Shorten’s Shambles” means in dollar terms, as the Liberals appear to have extreme difficulty in applying any clarity or reasoning behind their childish nicknames  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-26/caro-gonski-funding/5117260

GST for Online Purchases

(Real Solutions P. 18) We have a plan for Australia – a plan to lower taxes….We pledge to the families of Australia that we will never make lives harder

(….Except if you shop online to save money, only big corporations are allowed to save money, not the peasant people) http://www.smh.com.au/business/open-letter-to-state-treasurers-you-should-all-be-sacked-20131129-2yf7u.html

Maybe the promise that “we won’t change the GST” left wriggle room to mean “we won’t change the GST, but it’s the states’ tax so if they want to change it, we won’t stand in their way”. That spreads the political pain (Michael Pascoe)  

http://www.smh.com.au/business/states-must-unite-for-gst-reform-20130920-2u3zl.html

Closure of yet another vital service

(Real Solutions P. 38) “That is why the coalition is so determined to deliver a strong, prosperous economy, because it allows us to invest in more government services, like NDIS, Health, Aged Care and Education. 

(…Except if it is education on drug and alcohol prevention, we don’t mean that type of community prevention and education) The Alcohol and Other Drugs  Council has now ceased due to Tony Abbott’s cuts) http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/alcohol-and-other-drugs-council-of-australia-in-administration-after-tony-abbott-cuts-20131126-2y836.html

…That’s when good Neighbours (don’t) become good Friends

(Real Solutions P. 24) We will develop stronger people to people relationships and foster mind-set and and skills set needed to make the most of Asia’s ongoing economic transformation.

Now I know it will be hard to believe, Abbott apologists, but the Jakarta Post is not owned by those left wing trollsters at the ABC. But hey, at least your hero is popular. Front page and everything!

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australias-reputation-in-indonesia-hits-new-low-20131123-2y2k2.html

Now Now, before you scream “It was Rudd the Dud” this one is worth a read… http://theaimn.com/2013/11/30/indonesia-remains-important-for-australia-under-abbott-or-why-indonesians-dont-like-him/

I think it is time to raise your glasses again. This time to the fact that the coalition will ensure that 40 percent of year 12 students will preferably learn an Asian language (Real Solutions P.41) . This is needed desperately, especially for our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop as China says,

‘Australia’s irresponsible statements on the East Sea air defence identification zone are completely mistaken; China cannot accept them,” the statement said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-27/china-rejects-australian-criticism-of-new-air-zone/5120920

NBN Update

(Real Solutions P. 32) We will roll out super-fast broadband using whichever is the most effective and cost efficient technology and we will use existing infrastructure where we can.

Raise your glasses Liberal and National Voters because tonight you can celebrate your wonderful party talking about the NBN longer, because it is going to take oh so much longer…

The Coalition’s national broadband network model will prove inadequate for many businesses, is poorly planned and is unlikely to be completed on time, according to NBN Co’s internal analysis for the incoming Abbott government.

http://www.afr.com/p/technology/deadline_doubts_for_coalition_nbn_YhOEFqv0zeFtIpITWLjz8H

Small Business

(Real Solutions P. 26) We have an economic plan for Australia – A plan to help small business grow and create stronger jobs growth. 

(…..But we don’t mean those small rural and regional businesses….the ones with really bad internet that stifles their day to day operations and competitiveness)

The FTTH NBN isn’t needed by small businesses in regional communities. Saving money on big Labor waste used to help businesses such as this, must make you overjoyed that you voted for your local Liberal or National candidate.

http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/net-glitch-stymies-business-bouldercombe-adsl/2099649/

Employment 

(Real Solutions P. 33) We will generate one million jobs over the next five years and two million jobs over the next decade)

(…..except you pesky people who work in Car Manufacturing….you will just have to find new jobs. We think you will find it consoling that the coalition is so committed to education and training)

Up to 200,000 direct and indirect jobs are in the balance as the Government sends mixed signals about whether it will meet requests to provide continued co-investment in the industry.  http://workinglife.org.au/2013/11/26/car-industry-cant-wait/

(More) Asset Sales 

(Real Solutions P. 38) We will deliver better Government services by working in close co-operation with the State and Territory governments.

(Except Government services that could be lucrative asset sales…we don’t mean those Government services)

Mr Hockey has offered his state and territory counterparts potentially billions of dollars in tax incentives if they sell off public assets and put the money into new job-creating infrastructure.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/recycling-public-assets-vital-for-future-growth-joe-hockey/story-fn59niix-1226770406737

Enjoy your weekend!

That was the week that was 24-30 November 2013. Anyway enjoy your week end coalition voters. Absolutely amazing effort this week. Don’t drink too much, you need to stand proud and all that…Cheers. See you next week.

Think Before you Vote.  Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left wing/progressive parties. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! Read a wide range of news media. Work hard to prevent right wing Governments like the Liberal-National Coalition destroying our great country, embarrassing us on the world stage and instilling great hardship on our loved ones, friends and neighbours and on our communities. You CAN make a difference!

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. I am a proud member of the Australian Labor Party and you will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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